“SONG FOR EWE”
with PETE ASTOR
“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is a singer songwriter previously of The Loft and The Weather Prophets, who can make you cry. His album is called “Spilt Milk” but crying over it would be no futile purpose.
A Creation Records favourite, also more recently of the bands The Wisdom of Harry and Ellis Island Sound, for his latest solo record he’s been collaborating with James Hoare of Ultimate Painting & Veronica Falls, and playing with a backing live band including members of Withered Hand, Hefner and Male Bonding. He also teaches about music at The University of Westminster and writes about it too, including authoring the 33 1/3 series book on “Blank Generation” by Richard Hell & The Voidoids In esteemed company, with impeccable taste and a fantastic ear for a song he’s made one of the albums of the year, so I’m chuffed to welcome to Velvet Sheep Mr. Pete Astor!
Not afraid to sing about people ranging from ex-girlfriends to Tony Hancock or Marvin Gaye, and being such a student of music (“Mr. Music”) I waited with bated breath for Pete’s choice. Hope he hasn’t been waiting with bated breath for me to publish it, as i’ve sat on it a pretty minute. I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve forwarded his choice to Bob Dylan to reply to after he’s formally responded to being awarded the Nobel Prize. We await a statement.
In the meantime, and without further ado, it’s over to Pete:
“Things Have Changed
One of my pleasures as a Dylan fan is finding my way around his brilliantly inconsistent output from about the 80s onwards. In the 60s and 70s is was pretty simple – most of the records were good, some were better than others, most of the sounds and the look of them was fine.
Beginning in the 1980s, things started to get much messier. The misfire of the cover of Empire Burlesque says it all. It’s quite a distressing experience to see someone you look up to wearing a jacket like that.
And making a record that used the kind of production that made Dylan look like he was trying much too hard to be something that he was not. So, the job now was finding the unreleased versions, and tracks in places you might not expect. A perfect example is Things Have Changed. It’s on the soundtrack to a film called Wonder Boys. It may be a good film, it may be a terrible film. I don’t really care. But the song, only available on the film and the soundtrack is one of Dylan’s very best. In exactly the way that he made sure that a song like Blind Willie McTell remained unreleased, he put one of his best ever songs out on a soundtrack. And here it is…along with a pretty odd video, featuring Bob eating a Hamburger With Attitude. But close your eyes and listen.
And again, here he is doing it on an awards show. Great performance. What on earth is going on in his head?
Finally, a live version: bizarre, I’d say, but I watch it again and again.”
CHEERS PETE, MUCH APPRECIATED!
“SPILT MILK” IS AVAILABLE ON Slumberland Records.