Friday, 29 November 2013

Fare Thee Well - Dink's Song

Well I thought I was going to definitely get sued for this one because its a Bob Dylan song and its the main song from a film about to be released but hey what's this its actually an old folk song. (I got a third party content warning for my cover of Radioactive - Imagine Dragons you know). Turns out I didn't go back far enough. Apparently it was originally heard being sung by an African American woman as she washed her clothes at a camp in Texas back in 1908. Her name was Dink of course.

Here's the wikipedia entry:'s_Song which also contains the full original lyrics, which have been changed by everyone it seems. Including me.

And here's my version. I'm off to stick the washer on.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

3 Day W3dn3sday

Ok I'm struggling. The best three most listened to songs are the same as the last couple of weeks. So here are some all time Wednesdayers on a rap theme.

1. The Unknown - Mark B and Blade - The Unknown
2. Quality Control - Jurassic 5 - Quality Control
3. It's All Good - De La Soul - Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Don't Get Cold an Original Song by Nick Akester

So here it is, this its only the first version. Don't Get Cold. What's it about I hear you say... Well... Its about 5m18s...

I don't like to explain songs for two reasons one it spoils peoples own interpretations of the song which they may like better than my own. And second If I'm doing my job of writing properly I shouldn't have to. And three you don't always have to understand a song to enjoy it... I Am Walrus, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds anything in another language, anything by Nelly. Plus you're no slouch you'll crack this one...

And for old times sake you know you wanna listen to this now...

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Mark Kroos and some scary stuff from behind the curtain.

First saw this guys Duelling Banjos video which got me to subscribe to his channel. He plays it with himself on a double necked guitar

But some of his own arrangements are fantastic.

Worth a watch for inspiration or pleasure.

Its OK seeing someone who is better than you at guitar, I don't know about you but I don't get jealous I just get inspired. Unless its this...

Its not just that they are better players than me its that they're all playing in time with each other!!!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

...And then two come along at once

In the space of an evening I've written a song called Don't Get Cold it's about my Mum and Dad. That sentence will give you totally the wrong idea so wait to hear it. I say an evening but its really just the coalescing of all the little ideas I've had over time. Here's what I want to get across to you: Make Notes. When you have an idea put it down somewhere and go back to your thoughts when you need them. When I came up with the chords I turned to the notebook and the song just about wrote itself. It's gutting when you remember having a great idea and can't remember what the idea was. WRITE STUFF DOWN. Roald Dahl once had an idea for a story while driving and for lack of pen and paper he got out and wrote the idea in the dirt on the boot of his car. It became one of his major novels I think it was James and the Giant Peach but I could be wrong. Don't learn the hard way as I did.

So that's two new songs not one. I feel an EP coming on haha.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

3 Song W3dn3sday

Yes they're all from the same person. No its not a special because she is 70 this month, its because she's 70 that it reminded me to get some of her stuff. I've always had her on my list to listen to but I never got round to it. (what! have you been waiting for?! I know I know!). I have to say I have had A Case of You for years but never listened to anything else. The real issue was which 3 to choose. What a superb songwriter... I must try harder.

1. Carey - Joni Mitchell - Blue
2. Woodstock - Joni Mitchell - Ladies Of The Canyon
3. Both Sides Now - Joni Mitchell - Clouds

We are stardust we are golden...

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Final Score

Did the charity busk for Children in Need. Messed up but also nailed it. Overall good and earned £103.29. Not bad for a couple hours work. The songs I didn't practice were the ones I messed up but I added some at the last minute to bulk out my set. This was a mistake I should have just repeated my best ones. Having said that half the problem was getting distracted by stuff going on around me. It was a busy town centre on a Saturday afternoon. I wasn't so much nervous as just not used to the environment I was playing in. But I hope this will be something that I get used to as I do more gigs, I think it will be.

Now I had to be told this as I sing with my eyes closed but the diversity of people donating money was great, those you would think would have the least: Pensioners, Teenagers, Kids, Young lads and lasses were putting in as much as anyone if not more. It was really touching and made me proud to live in a town full of such kind and gracious people. I've always said Scunthorpe people were fine lot.
From reading up on busking I was expecting people would come and speak to me and ask about the music but no-one did. This had made me resolve to be better next time... or it could have been because I had my eyes closed hah.
The best thing for me personally besides the fact that we earned so much for charity in such a short time is that when I started to sing some songs there was a palpable hushing of the general hubbub as people started to listen.
A big thanks goes out to everyone who came down. To Paul and Becky and my Dad for their logistical assistance. For my niece and nephew for their artistic contribution
The last song I played was this... From the Film Inside Llewyn Davis that I've mentioned in the Music Film post and this weeks Wednesday pick.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

3 Song W3dn3sday

I posted this on Wednesday it even linked to Google+ and for some reason it unposted it and reverted to an earlier draft version. This has given me a bit of rage. Anyway listening to these might calm me down.

1. Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song) - Oscar Isaacs & Marcus Mumford - Inside Llewyn Davis Movie Soundtrack Album
2. Dirty Paws - Of Monsters and Men - My Head is an Animal
3. Why'd You Only Call Me When Your High - Arctic Monkeys - AM

Mission Permission III

Well it looks like I have permission in principle from the council - license to be picked up Saturday morning. On way to pick up a battery now.

As the man says "I love it when a plan comes together"

The only problem is its become real now. I had sort of convinced myself I wouldn't have to do it... And now I'm bricking it.

But as the other man says "It's better to do a thing than live with the fear of it"

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Mission Permission II

I have permission to busk!!! I spoke to the manager today.
However I don't have permission to do it for charity. I need to get a collections licence. This could be a problem if I want to get one in time for Saturday. I also need to get that battery and charger now as there is definitely nowhere to plug in.
We'll see how it goes.

I can be issued a license today but it requires authorisation from the charity. Trouble is CiN is not a registered charity so can't authorise but hopefully evidence of contact will be enough for the council.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Hallelujah Cover

Its better than watching X Factor. I'm not really that religious but its a good song.

Mission Permission

I collared the local security and Community support officer today in the town centre and asked about busking for charity. They said I need the shopping centre managers permission... but she was not at work that day... but if its for charity then they will probably say yes. And hopefully in that case they will let me plug in.

I will know by Monday.

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Best Films about Music (Not Musicals) Part 1

So there are two sorts of films about music - Documentaries and Stories. Let's leave documentaries for now and concentrate on stories. So stories; biopics, comedies or, you know, just stories, and then of course there is Moonwalker, which is something else entirely.

Now wherever you have a "best of" involved there is always opinion in the mix so rather than do a chart I'll just do a list in no particular order. There are a fair few that could be number 1 and rather than pick one above all others it would be better if we can just agree what is up there at the top of the pile of DVDS. In fact its not really about that its about finding something good to watch. I realise that most charts in magazines are supposed to be a little provocative to spark discussion and interest. I don't want to go down this route because its not very honest. For example the NME chart of 50 best musical films had Twenty-Four Hour Party People at number 1. Its only my opinion but... What, no way! Steve Coogan's performance stands out maybe, but "Best music film ever", I don't think so.

OK what's going to be solidly in there on any list:-

Spinal Tap - brilliant film, much quoted and full of stuff musicians and music lovers anywhere can relate to.

The Blues Brothers - another timeless piece of genius. There is a temptation to dive into Quotes and Trivia here but I'll resist.

Now I have to admit I haven't seen all the films in the world (I know, it's terrible, I feel I've let everyone down) so I can't add any more all time classics but here are some really really good films about music. Before I get into this thanks to all the folks who suggested good films to me. Also I'll try not to give away any real spoilers.

In no particular order...

Almost Famous - Its a semi-biopic based on the experiences of the director Cameron Crowe as a young music journalist (and I mean young). Its a bit sentimental but I really enjoyed it. And without giving anything away; the scene on the plane is a one off.

The Commitments - Probably my favourite film on the list. I'd like to put it on the all time list. Its a comedy but its also a great story and an honest love of music comes through in almost every scene.

School of Rock - There are enough films out there with the "put a school band together for the big competition" format (including Bandslam oh yes). but this one stands out. Jack Black is just Jack Black in it. But in this film that's what makes it.

Walk the Line - I love how Johnny Cash sits and messes about to write his songs (probably because that's how I do it), I love how his songs are mean as well as touching. This film is not just about Johnny Cash  its as much about June Carter as well. (This film made me finally read The Prophet by Khalil Gibran worth it for that alone.)

8 Mile - Eminem and 2Pac would have been lyrical poets if they had lived 300 years ago, quaffing and being melancholic and dying of syphallus and all that we would be groaningly learning about them in English lessons today. But they weren't. A film about giving people off the cuff abuse to a beat. (2Pac's not in it by the way. What's that film he's in... Gridlock'd I have seen it. I can't remember it. That maybe says it all)

Step Brothers - people will say "that's not a music film". I can't argue why it is without spoiling it. And my argument isn't that he plays the drums in a novel way. Boats & Hoes.

About A Boy - Maybe this isn't about music either but I've spoiled it at least twice in my Blog (ahem sorry about that). Major story points revolve around music so I'm sticking it in, because even if its not about music its still a good film. Yes it has Hugh Grant in it. But he OK in this one.

Yellow Submarine - I used to love this film as a young kid, which is the last time I saw it. But I still remember loads of it. The bit where the fish (was it a fish) eats everything and then eats itself and there's nothing left but a blank white existentialist vacuum. That used to blow my tiny mind every time, it was like the "but what's outside the universe?" question. As a kid I used to lay awake because of stuff like that, wide-eyed, staring into the night.

OK this list is going to take me ages so I'll stop here for now and break it up into parts it will also give me a chance to watch some of the films recommended to me... Except Moonwalker...

And if you haven't watched any of the aforementioned then it will give you a chance to GET WATCHING!!

(sorry caught the CAPS LOCK there...)

One thing I am looking forward to is this film (about music) out early next year - Inside Llewyn Davis. The soundtrack is out next week.

In the best Hollywood tradition...

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

3 Song W3dn3sday

Its that time again. Give these a listen, and if you've already heard them get nostalgic while listening again.

1. Brothers In Arms - Alex Cornish - The Saturday Sessions
2. How I Got Over - The Roots - How I Got Over
3. Make A Little Room - Al Lewis - Battles

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Follow On

OK here is a US Californian award winning artist called Dessy Di Lauro who's genre is, well, I don't know really, but its some kind of swing, Its a Great Gatsby vibe. Its from the album  This Is Neo-Ragtime so I guess that's what it is. Its not quite my bag baby but you know what, I don't mind it either, I'm sure its something some folks will really like. (There's a bit where the barman spills the flaming brandy. I think that wasn't meant to happen and they left it in for a laugh)

And this is an Australian Jazz, Funk R&B fusion band called the Electric Empire. Who I've watched a few videos of and I'm quite impressed. They remind me a little of The Roots but that's no bad comparison. Original song Changin' which looks like its from an EP of the same name. Their only other previous album being the self-titled Electric Empire which I'm thinking of checking out. So why's he riding the little bike...

and a cover of No Church In The Wild by the same band.

So why have I shared these two disparate musical choices with you. Well its sort of to pay them back in a way. You see - perhaps inexplicably - they both started following me on Twitter.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Bonfire Heart

James Blunt has a certain stigma attached to him as a bit of a cheesemeister. People hate, and I mean hate, Beautiful, I don't mind it but that "my life is brilliant" line gets on my nerves a bit. But he's actually a decent funny guy and his songs aren't that bad (Did you hear that, that was the sound of my credibility vanishing). 1973 is a great tune (no its totally gone). Just watch him on Never Mind The Buzzcocks he's all right. So what he sounds posh. You can't blame some one for where they were born. He's actually down to earth and most important, a good measure of anyone is if they can laugh at themselves and he can.

I learnt Bonfire Heart cos its easy its C, Em, F, Am C, G (although I capo the second fret cos it suits me better) and its current and its good for busking. I really like the chorus structure, I wish I had come up with it.

I stand by what I say If you think I have no credibility now then read back about the other stuff I like and read on in the future. But to be honest I can live with it. Its just your opinion, as this is mine. I respect it. Don't be afraid to like what you like, be yourself don't hide parts of yourself away for fear of what other people will think.

...But just let me make this clear there will be NO Justin Bieber posts

Just one note - I'm not happy with the sound of the guitar on this. I thought I had it sorted but not there yet. I worry it might be un-sortable without another microphone and a better pick-up in the guitar.

Saturday, 2 November 2013


I have reversed the decision to sing and play without amplification when busking. I got really good advice at Maplin today and have bought a 300W inverter to connect to a car battery. All I need now is an actual battery. Let's hope that cheeky beggar in the 4x4 parks in my drive again without permission.

Reach (Rough Version)

(Well that's a bit of a gimpy thumbnail.)

OK this is a "Rough Version" I do this so I can see how a song sounds from the outside. Its an essential thing to do as part of the creation process. It doesn't have to be amazing its just to get an idea. You could of course lay it down as an mp3 track but I find the camera is the quickest and its enough to show me what I'm looking, or should I say listening for. I also knowe that a few folks like to help out by watching these and giving me their own feedback.

(Warning: I swear at the end after the songs finish because I knock my stand over if you're of a gentle disposition)

I think this is probably the weakest of the songs I've got in the pipeline, mainly cos I feel its a little cheesy, but I aim to make it sound and sing it a bit more plaintively. Its also a case of getting it out of the way mentally so I can move onto something else. Any constructive comments on it would be welcome. Reach out.

copyright Nick Akester ©2013