May 132021

It’s been a while – the standard text is below. Not sure Mr. Mod wants to continue to be the contact for the “mockcarr option.” I’m trying SoundCloud as a host for this music, and they may pull it down since it is likely copyrighted. But in the meantime – what are your impressions of this track? And do you have any idea which well-known musician plays a prominent role in this production?


Let’s review the ground rules here. The Mystery Date song is not necessarily something I believe to be good. So feel free to rip it or praise it. Rather the song is something of interest due to the artist, influences, time period… Your job is to decipher as much as you can about the artist without research. Who do you think it is? Or, Who do you think it sounds like? When do you think it was recorded? Etc…

If you know who it is, don’t spoil it for the rest. Anyone who knows it can play the “mockcarr option.” (And I’ve got a hunch at least one of you know this one.) This option is for those of you who just can’t hold your tongue and must let everyone know just how in-the-know you are by calling it. So if you know who it is and want everyone else to know that you know, email Mr. Moderator at mrmoderator [at] rocktownhall [dot] com. If correct we will post how brilliant you are in the Comments section.

The real test of strength though is to guess as close as possible without knowing. Ready, steady, go!

May 112021

Last night, after the rest of the family went to bed, my strangest thought for a long time popped by to say hello. 

I tried sending it away, but it would not go. It just sat there, like Winnie the Pooh stuck in his tree, or the cravings described by Mrs H and female friends and relations when heavy with child. I knew I’d be unable to sleep until my craving was addressed and sated.

It’s been a long old week. That’s my excuse, anyway.

We’ve had local and other elections over here. My day job means I get noticed by those whose role it is to staff them. Because I’m an obliging bloke, and never have spare money, I always agree to help.

So, roughly once a year, but less during a pandemic, I get up at an hour night owls consider bedtime, leave the house (which now, of course, I’m unused to), set up my polling station, work fifteen hours with no breaks – we’re not allowed to go outside other than checking the signage hasn’t blown away – meeting, greeting, and being pleasant to the same public I didn’t want to be nice to again when escaping live retail more than 20 years ago. 

After dark, we close the doors and pack the station down again. I get the added thrill of driving the paperwork across town and sitting in a queue of over a hundred cars doing the same all at once, knowing there is just one desk to process everything at the drop-off. So that takes another 2 hours. Getting home, I try not to notice the hour I got up at yesterday morning approaching the brow of the hill.

This year, I helped at the count as well, driving halfway across the county and back on both Friday and Saturday. I know they’re not like your counties, which are about the size of our continents, but our roads don’t work like yours, with holes like canyons on large and small thoroughfares alike.

To celebrate covid, they gave us clear screens between the counting staff and the candidates, lending the arena a zoo-like atmosphere. I half-expected candidates to start pushing bananas through the gaps between them. It might have improved our performance if they had, or got past their self-absorption.

It takes a certain type of individual to think this bunch of sleep-deprived administrators, all eager to finish and go home, were hand selected by evil genii for their sinister determination to falsify and subvert the vote in ways only the likes of your former leader can imagine in less lucid moments. But exist they do and these individuals are called candidates. Since the elections were postponed last year, two years on this was their moment to shine, and boy did they make the most of it, looking important in their big rosettes and suits even I could tell didn’t come from places I shop

So, Stan, I hear you say, this is all very well, but what’s it got to do with music, let alone the ROCK we come here to talk about? We want to put aside our cares of work and not think about people whose fragile egos demand the validation of an English parish council electorate, representing fewer people than those who turned out to see our bands playing gigs after school.

May 112021
He was a great…man!

Even in his prime, Van Morrison wasn’t ever accused of being remotely “hinged.” He hasn’t married his wife’s daughter yet, so for me, I haven’t quite reached the level of discomfort I feel over Woody Allen. I wonder if he’s fully losing his mind, maybe getting dementia or some other condition that people at his age can get.

I scanned through his new album, with some generic title and clip-art cover. It is as execrable as you might have read in reviews. It’s got that anti-Semitic single you’ve probably heard about. And another song calling those of us on Facebook idiots. All that’s missing is a duet with Clint Eastwood entitled “Get Off My Lawn.” It’s not worth discussing the music. It’s as generic as the album title and cover art. The lyrics are pathetic.

I wonder how much more of these meltdown albums we’re going to be subjected to as the first wave of rockers who wrote their own songs reaches their final years of fear and misery. Pre-rock artists like Sinatra could be spoonfed classics written by others as their personal worldview might have been caving in. That generation of artists didn’t stand for anything personal. They could “Put on a Happy Face” from the American Songbook with the help of a nurse.

Sadly, Van Morrison still has access to his original voice while bitterly rocking away on his porch and watching the world around him become a place that threatens him. He once had the ability to “Listen to the Lion.” I’m going to keep that part of the artist alive and let this present-day crank die off.

May 052021

Until somebody far cleverer than me takes the time to post something meaningful and thought-provoking, I intend to continue clogging the RTH pipes with meaningless drivel and pointless fun and games — like this post, in which I’ve taken the liberty of running some easily identifiable lyrical snippets through online translators thusly:

English > Afrikaans > Albanian > Amharic > Basque > English

Your job is simple:  deduce what the original lyric actually says.  Here we go:

  1. Motorhead: If you want to bet, I’ll tell you I’m your husband – they win, they lose, it’s the same for me
  2. Beatles: Keep your head up, relax and swim
  3. Girl, you found me. You found me so I don’t know what to do
  4. There is a back seat now, my lover is always covered and I will talk until my dad speaks
  5. Elvis Costello: Oh girl, it’s fun to watch after so much, and I realize you weren’t surprised by how you look
  6. He’s like me, he’s like me and we’re all together
  7. ZZ Top: Get up, go down, take the word, my way, I don’t ask for much
  8. Prince: If you want to kiss me and your photo, browse
  9. Dylan: How many steps does it take for someone to call?
  10. I get up and nothing falls on me. If you have any difficulties, I have seen the most difficult ones in the area

I look forward to your responses.


Apr 272021

Please identify these albums. To assist you, I’ve zoomed in on at least one of the hands featured on the front cover — I imagine that should be enough to help. I look forward to your responses.


Apr 232021

Earlier today, I fell down an internet rabbit hole while looking at posters for obscure music festivals from the late 60s/early 70s. My question for you is simple: which, if any, of these festivals would justify a trip in RTH’s notoriously vomit-inducing time machine? Note that you would have to live as the locals do upon arrival — camp in the mud, eat bad concert food, politely refuse a nibble of the ‘shrooms being passed around, etc.

I look forward to your responses.


Apr 202021

I want to get more philosophical today and talk about what makes a band a band. The title is a reference to the Ship of Theseus, which I’ll throw a Wikipedia link to in case anyone doesn’t know what I’m talking about: Essentially the question I’m asking here is as follows: At what point does a band stop becoming the same band? I have a few theories and I’d love to hear what either you guys have to say or if you have any other theories.

Theory #1: The Same Name, Same Band Theory

This one is fairly easy to follow, if the group has the same name it’s the same band. No matter what personnel changes are made, the band is the same as long as it keeps the name it started with.

Theory #2: The Integral Member Theory

There are some bands that just wouldn’t be the same without one specific member. What springs to mind for me when thinking of this is Kim Deal of The Pixies. As the old adage goes; without Kim, there’s no Deal.

Theory #3: The Majority Replacement Theory

This theory is also fairly easy, if the majority of members of the band are replaced or changed out, it is no longer the same band.

Theory #4: The Original Purity Theory

The most hardline of the theories that I can think of. If there are any changes to the band’s lineup, no matter how small, it is no longer the same band.

So get to work rock philosophers, and solve the question that we have all been asking for ages.


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