Arts and Entertainment

You have to applaud the restlessness and drive of a talent such as JTE's. At its best (see Harlem River Blues), the results are a beguiling blend of demon-driven countryfied rock-gospel and Earle could easily have stuck in that groove/rut.

Listening to Van Morrison, By Greil Marcus

Has he told us lately that he loves him?

The view from the stage

Nick Moore, drummer with rising stars Howl Griff, lifts the lid on the festival scene

Phil Solomon: Pop impresario who handled Them and the Bachelors and rescued Radio Caroline

Whenever British pop managers are discussed by ordinary mortals, Phil Solomon's name is less likely to trip off the tongue than those of, say, Brian Epstein or Andrew Loog Oldham. Yet he was among the more powerful and far-sighted wheeler-dealers in the 1960s, guiding the fortunes not only of contenders like the Bachelors, Them, the Dubliners and Twinkle, but those of backroom talents such as Phil Coulter, writer of Eurovision Song Contest entries for Sandie Shaw and Cliff Richard. On his books, too, were the comedian Freddy "Parrot Face" Davies and the poet Pam Ayres. Solomon was also involved directly in Radio Caroline, the offshore pirate station – and in 1966 he established the Major Minor independent record company. Among other lucrative pursuits were horse racing and breeding, and galleries in Dublin and London.

Album: Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues (Bella Union)

Robin Pecknold became so difficult to be around during the making of Helplessness Blues, he now admits, that his girlfriend Olivia left him. Then, when she heard how beautiful the end results were, she came back.

Jay Merrick: Serpentine commission is a real coup for gallery

A handful of living architects – notably Frank Gehry, Oscar Niemeyer and Alvaro Siza – can be described as unique. The word seems crude when applied to Peter Zumthor. With him we are, to borrow a Van Morrison album title, into the mystic.

My Fantasy Band: Jools Holland

Lead vocals - Bessie Smith & Solomon Burke

I could listen to Bessie Smith all day. Solomon Burke sadly died last month but I toured with him; he was amazing. His vocals inspired people like Van Morrison and Otis Redding.

Album: Solomon Burke, Nothing's Impossible (Ear Music)

What's really scary about this collaboration with Al Green's producer, Willie Mitchell (who died in January), is how much it sounds like Van Morrison: Burke's voice, the arrangements, lyrics, everything, as in the transcendent opener of "Oh What a Feeling", one of three or four total standing ovations here.

Album: Eli 'Paperboy' Reed, Come and Get It (Parlophone)

On 2008's Roll with You, Eli "Paperboy" Reed came across like the male equivalent of Joss Stone, a young white soul singer with the requisite blend of fire and ice.

Album: The Hold Steady, Heaven Is Whenever (Rough Trade)

The sum of their parts: a rock band so in love with rock form that they're prepared to wear their loot on their sleeves.

Album: Various Artists, The Bert Berns Story Volume 2: Mr Success 1964-1967 (Ace)

Songwriter/producer/label boss Bert Berns was one of the great architects of the 1960s pop sound, though rarely accorded his rightful status due to his tragic death in 1967 at the age of 38 from heart failure – by which time, The Beatles' cover of his "Twist And Shout" had earned him a house with a guitar-shaped swimming pool.

Album: Paul Brady, Hooba Dooba (Proper)

Paul Brady is the singer-songwriter's singer-songwriter, arguably held in higher esteem by peers such as Dylan, Carole King and Van Morrison than by the general public. Hooba Dooba is a typically assured set, opening in surprisingly funky manner with the gurgling clavinet and soulful organ of "Cry It Out", Brady advising blasphemy when dealing with the pain of failed love.

Mick Green: Guitarist with Johnny Kidd & the Pirates who also played alongside Paul McCartney and Van Morrison

The guitarist Mick Green didn't like to boast about his prowess as an instrumentalist, yet he was one of the most influential musicians to come out of the British Isles in the early 1960s.

Terence Blacker: We men are in touch with our feelings

A few days into the new decade, it already feels as if an age of surprise and paradox is dawning. In a warming world, we are experiencing the coldest winter for years. The Conservatives have promised to control the might of supermarkets. And – the biggest shock of all – it has been discovered that the human gender which is the more in touch with its innermost feelings, most emotionally honest and consistent, is... male.

Van Morrison, the website hoax and a mystery Texan

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