mike collins talks music, biz & technologie


How streaming music kills jazz, classical and other niche genres!

It’s not just David Byrne and Radiohead: read about Spotify, Pandora and how streaming music kills jazz and classical sales.

"Joni’s Soul" pays tribute to Joni Mitchell!


Sunday 20 July 2014 @ The Half Moon - Putney, London:

Gina Foster’s latest musical project, “Joni’s Soul” played its first gig as a band this evening. I first heard Gina sing a Joni Mitchell song about 9 months ago with “The Band of Sisters” at The Pheasantry - the best performance of the evening for me! When I heard about her new project, I just had to be at the first gig!

The evening did not start out too promisingly - I was caught in a complete deluge of rain just as I was getting my car ready to set off. Then, when I got to Putney Bridge, running a bit late at 9.15PM for the gig which kicked off at 8.30PM, the bridge was closed! The detour took another 20 minutes or so, which meant that I only caught the last song in the first set - but this did not disappoint!

The first thing that hit me was the sheer quality of the music and the musicians on the stage. Of course, with repertoire drawn from Joni Mitchell’s classic albums such as “Blue”, “Court and Spark”, “Hejira”, and “The Hissing of Summer Lawns”, the standard of the songs could not have been higher! 

Joni’s Soul’s stated aim is “to look beyond mere faithful reproduction of Joni Mitchell’s songs to shine a light on the most soulful aspects of Joni’s words and music”. Gina Foster led the way in this quest, with guest singers Manuela Panizzo and Mim Grey each stepping up to take the microphone from Gina to add their unique tonal palettes and vocal phrasings to particular songs.

Unfortunately, I missed Manuela’s performances, but I did hear Mim Grey sing a couple - with a very confident, soothing, reassuring vocal style that really suited the songs she sang. I should mention that all three featured vocalists have extensive professional credits - Gina Foster with Eric Clapton and Sinead O’Connor, Manuela Panizzo with Carleen Anderson and Mario Biondi, and Mim Grey with Paul McCartney and Dave Stewart - and their professionalism definitely shone through this evening. 

Similarly, the band all had interesting musical ‘pedigrees’ as well - Ronnie Johnson has played guitar for Van Morrison and Bob Dylan, James Hallawell has played keyboards for The Waterboys and Graham Parker,Pat Clahar has played sax for Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross, John McKenzie has played bass for David Bowie and Everything But The Girl, and Richard Bailey plays drums with Steve Winwood and Incognito!

In the second set, I got a very pleasant surprise when vocalist Carol Kenyon, known for her work with Heaven 17 and Morrissey-Mullen among many others, appeared ‘out of nowhere’! Carol sang two songs, “The Hissing of Summer Lawns” with the band, and a beautiful ballad, “Don’t Go To Strangers” accompanied solely on keyboards by James Hallawell.


I thought that nothing else could top Carol’s stunning performance, but Gina Foster came back on stage and sang her utterly gorgeous version of “Both Sides Now” which was the highlight of the evening for me!

Nice one, Gina!

© 2014 Mike Collins

MIDEM Address of PRS' John Hutchinson

John Hutchinson explains all the issues that were concerning MCPS/PRS at the time of this address, some years ago. You should definitely read this thoroughly if you want to gain a greater understanding of the issues still facing MCPS/PRS today - especially with the recent challenges from digital music aggregators such as TuneCore who are now offering to collect royalties directly on behalf of their clients! 

Ernest Ranglin - Surfin’ (video) from Mike Collins on Vimeo.

Recorded by Guy Phethean at the rehearsal for Save The Children Fund’s ‘Night of Reggae.’ The band includes Winston Blissett on bass, Luke Smith on keyboards, Davie Ital on guitar, Christopher Newland on guitar, Robert Anderson on percussion, Greg Heath and Jamie HArris on saxophones, Kevin Robinson on trumpet and MArk Dyer on drums.

This is a great version, and it seems that Ernie came up with a neat brass arrangement on the spot, as Guy Phethean explains: ” He wrote out the licks for the brass section ‘freehand’ on a piece of paper just before handing it to them to play!” Just watch Ernie cueing Greg to play the first solo on sax, then Kevin to play his trumpet solo, then Jamie to play his sax solo. Luke Smith also played some fine solos on keyboards along with his generally excellent accompaniment.

The highlight, of course, was Ernie’s intricate and unpredictable solo on guitar, with his trademark mix of chords and single notes. Ernie’s rhythm playing, supporting the brass section during the solos was absolutely superb, and his signature ‘theme’ played with his fingers, using double octaves on the guitar opened and closed the tune perfectly!

Millions of Americans installing 'perfect spying device' in their own living rooms: Amazon Fire TV monitors and records your conversations

Read this to understand the totality of the surveillance that is intruding into all our lives!

How shellac records are made (1942)

Vinyl Records Being Made, in the 1960's.

How they made vinyl discs in the UK in the 60’s!

How Vinyl Records are Made: The Sound and the Story (1956)

Why Does My iPhone Battery Die So Fast? The iPhone Battery Fix!

21 Things You Didn't Know Your iPhone Could Do

This is a must-see interview with Larry Carlton - for all serious electric guitar players!

(Source: youtube.com)

Excellent singer, good band, great venue! Mary Pearce is surely a (musical) force to be reckoned with!

(Source: youtube.com)

"Officer, the light was GREEN not PINK!"

Here is one reason why witnesses are only correct 50% of the time:

If you let your eyes follow the movement of the rotating pink dot, the dots will remain just one colour, pink.

However, if you stare at the black ‘+’ in the centre, the moving do turns to green.

When this happens, concentrate on the black ‘+’ in the centre of the picture. After a short period, all the pink dots will slowly disappear - as though someone is rubbing them out - and you will only see a single green dot rotating!

This is an illusion created by your brain! There is no green dot, and the pink ones don’t disappear! It just seems that way to people whose brains are working normally!

This all goes to show that we don’t always see what we think we see!

The ‘yoof’ in Bahia do Tico Tico - proving that orchestras can have FUN!

(Source: youtube.com)

Another truly wonderful performance on the Konghou - the Chinese harp!

(Source: youtube.com)

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