Amoeblog

UK Inmates Allowed String Guitars Thanks To Campaign Led By Billy Bragg

Posted by Billyjam, July 28, 2014 04:15pm | Post a Comment

Billy Bragg "A New England (live at Amoeba San Francisco: October 2013)"

As reported today by British media outlets including the NME (New Music Express) UK inmates will finally be allowed use of string guitars thanks to a campaign led by Billy Bragg and including such other musicians as Johnny Marr, Dave Gilmour, and Radiohead's Ed O'Brien and Philip Selway. The political campaign which was kick-started by Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan, with Bragg leading the musicians in the crusade for prisoners' rights, set about overturning the long-standing ban on steel-string guitars in British prisons. According to UK prison authorities, the guitar ban was based on fear of their parts being used as weapons. "This is a victory for common sense and I'm pleased after months of campaigning the UK Government has listened," said the Cardiff West MP upon hearing news of the lift of the ban.

"The power of music to help prisoners to rehabilitate is well documented. I started the campaign after prisoners wrote to me explaining how they had saved from their small prison wages to buy guitars and how therapeutic learning to play the guitar had been for them before the ban," added the MP. Billy Bragg noted upon news of the lifting of the ban that prisoners being allowed use of steel string guitars, "can really help the atmosphere on a prison wing." A long time champion of the underdog and with a history of fighting against civil injustices, Bragg founded the Jail Guitar Doors rehabilitation initiative to try and overthrow the ban against ban arguing that guitar playing helps greatly in the rehabilitation process of inmates.

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Even More One Album Wonders

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 28, 2014 12:11pm | Post a Comment
The vinyl LP was introduced by Columbia Records in 1948 but the 45 inch single remained the primary market for the music industry until the dawn of the album era, which began in the mid-1960s. In that era, for any number of reasons, many fine musical acts released only one studio album -- Perfect for completists on a budget! Here's Part III of a look at some of my favorite "one album wonders."


MARGO GURYAN - TAKE A PICTURE (1968)

Music History Monday: July 28

Posted by Jeff Harris, July 28, 2014 07:00am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: July 28, 1979 - “Good Times” by Chic hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for six weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for one week on August 18, 1979. Written and produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, it is the second R&B and pop chart-topper for the seminal New York City-based R&B band led by musician and producers Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers. Like many of Chic's other hit singles, lyrically they will seem quite ambiguous on the surface, but in truth will often mask a much more profound and deeper meaning within the lyrics. The duo will refer to their songs having a "deep hidden meaning" behind them. Edwards and Rodgers will base "Good Times" conceptually on depression era pop songs like “Happy Days Are Here Again” and “About A Quarter To Nine,” juxtaposing them with the state of the late 70’s economy and the unbridled hedonism of the "Disco Era," making a veiled statement about people’s need to escape and to forget about their troubles. That concept will even extend to the packaging of the accompanying album Risque, which will feature the members of the band posed in a sepia toned black & white photograph depicting that bygone era. Released as a single on June 4, 1979, "Good Times" will be an immediate smash, both on the dance floor and on the radio. It will go on to become one of the most influential records of the late 20th century and beyond when it also becomes a cornerstone of Hip-Hop culture. Its innovative bassline will be used as the basis for the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” as well as spawning numerous songs either directly copying or influenced by it. "Good Times" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.