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K J Bennett: The Blog

Writing & Other Stuff

It's about me, writing, publishing and stuff

Sad Reality

Music Posted on Mon, June 06, 2011 18:01:50

It was a slightly surreal moment when I accidentally found myself switching to ITV1 HD on Saturday night and finding Myleen Klass introducing Popstar to Opera Star.

I have no issues with anyone trying to sing opera: tough stuff to master, I’d say. The problem for me was not the concept but one of the contestants. Eight ‘celebrities’ appear, and seven can at least claim with a degree of confidence that they have been pop stars, but one of them definitely cannot.

Step forward Mr Joe McEldrey. Take a bow.

Joe won the X Factor in 2009. He had the Christmas number one off the back of it. Again, i have no problem with the cynical manipulation of the charts by Mr S Cowell & Co – it business, isn’t it? But what happened to Joe Mc next is rather sad and stupid.

The Great British Public (GBP) voted for Joe. They bought his record, and it sounded like the Joe they’d voted for. Then came the next single. Cowell & Co had managed to take a reasonably talented lad with a distinctive voice and turn him into an anonymous-sounding pop clone. GBP did not vote to hear that shite! Here’s a link – – I can’t be bothered to embed it! Sounds a bit Jimmy Sommerville, to me. I’m told the album is equally crap, but I haven’t heard it. Next, Cowell dropped McEldrey from his label.

So what we have is Joe McEldrey, wannabe pop star, now trying to resurrect a non-existent career by going on Popstar to Opera Star.

But he never was one.

If he pulls it off he may rightly claim to have super powers.


Music Posted on Sun, December 05, 2010 22:37:41

If you only buy one Christmas record this year, let it be this.

When it comes to Christmas songs there is so much cheese that it’s hard to find the cracker lying beneath. Well here it is – Shake Up Christmas – perhaps the best Christmas record ever.

Oh yeah, I was in the audience for the live sequences. They were filmed at the Train gig in the Shepherds Bush Empire on 25 October 2010. It was a great place to be that night.

(PS sorry about the advert that pops up at the start of playback)



Music Posted on Sun, June 13, 2010 20:44:03

Just heard an oldie on the radio and thought I’d create a MUSICBRICK .

Enjoy …

A blast from the past

Music Posted on Wed, May 05, 2010 16:03:06

OK, pop-pickers. Get down and boogie to the hottest sounds of the eighties.

Well, moderately warm stuff.

That is to say, not very cool …

Oh, what might have been – CLICK HERE – you won’t regret it (tee hee).

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Seth Lakeman – St Albans, March 2010

Music Posted on Sat, March 06, 2010 17:23:38

//–>Of all the young talent to emerge from Britain in the last ten years, Seth Lakeman must surely be the greatest.

I first encountered him on a BBC 3 broadcast highlighting the Mercury Prize nominated albums for 2005. There was this slightly built and rather handsome fellow thrashing away at a violin at breakneck speed with amazing accuracy, and at the same time he was singing in a perfectly modulated voice with incredible clarity. It was one of those jaw-dropping moments when I realized I had to get some new albums. ‘Kitty Jay’, the nominated album, was the first to hit my CD player, then ‘Freedom Fields’, and lastly, ‘Poor Man’s Heaven’. I realise I am one short – ‘The Punch Bowl’ still awaits me.

I managed to get tickets for Seth’s gig at the open-air Regents Park Theatre in 2008 and it was a magical night of music and jollity. It was something of a surprise, then, when I found out he was playing the Alban Arena, St Albans, but 15 minutes from my front door, on 3 March. Then, imagine my joy when those nice people at the Arena e-mailed to say there was no support act, and Seth would take to the stage at 7.30 PM: this would surely mean more Seth for the money? It really did.

Playing two sets with a band to die for, featuring big brother Sean Lakeman on guitar, the acerbic-looking Bill Nicholls on double bass and banjo, Simon Lea on drums and percussion (which included what looks like a cheap stereo speaker from the 1970s on which he sits and bangs with two wooden paddles, and fifth man Benji Kirkpatrick at the back on a selection of 4-, 6- and 8-stringed instruments, harmonica and backing vocals, Seth stormed through a selection of songs including a massive back-catalogue and a good number of new material from his forthcoming album, due for release in April. Classics such as opening song ‘The Hurlers’ and ‘Solomon Browne’, ‘Riflemen of War’ blended with new material, most notably in my book, the haunting ballad ‘Changes’, featuring Seth on a plucked violin and Bill Nicholls at his powerful but restrained best on double bass.

The mesmeric ‘Take No Rogues’ along with ‘How Much’ and ‘Poor Man’s Heaven’ demonstrate just how powerful non-electric music can be. The energy poured off the stage and into the auditorium as if it were a gas. The resonance of Bill Nicholls’ bass was astounding, almost organic. The highlight for any Seth fan must be his solo effort, ‘Kitty Jay’, where he works himself into a frenzy and sheds bucket loads of sweat, yet still his voice remains controlled and always tuneful. After that, the encore, which saw the front of the auditorium flooded with nubile ladies performing a jig or two and high kicking in a hoedown manner!

Who said folk can’t be sexy?