Monday, 10 August 2020

Hyland's Fling

Brian Hyland did some terrible things in his youth - "Itsy Witsy Tennie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" to name but one - and then spent the rest of his career trying to atone for them. 

In 1970 he took Curtis Mayfield's "Gypsy Woman" to Number 3 in the US charts with a bit of help from Del Shannon, and then in 1977 he teamed up with Allen Toussaint for an album called "In A State Of Bayou". Very nice it is too, with a sort of Johnny Rivers feel (which is always a good thing as far as I am concerned).  

"Hail To The Man" - Brian Hyland

"Killin' Me" - Brian Hyland

Saturday, 8 August 2020

The Little People

Hello my dear friends, to quote Tiny Tim. Here he is with four other people called Tiny, and a video that is dedicated to my friend Jennifer for reasons she will understand.

"Livin' In The Sunlight, Lovin' In The Moonlight" - Tiny Tim

"Miss You So" - Tiny Topsy

"The Train Kept A-Rollin'" - Tiny Bradshaw & His Orchestra

"Help Me To Find A Love" - Tiny Timmy Tipp

"Bossy Woman" - Tiny Powell

Sunday, 2 August 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 20

Our Grand Tour brings us to The Netherlands, land of tulips, cheese, total football and flood controls, and many other delights too numerous to mention. I first visited more than 35 years ago and it is always a treat to go back. This post is dedicated to my friends Charlotte and Eveline and to the great Dennis Bergkamp.

I have a fair amount of Dutch music in my collection, including this little gem which I picked up on my first visit to Amsterdam.

In his day Rudi was the cocktail cabaret king of Old Amsterdam. The cover is better than the contents - the other side has a photo of the Great Man and a pencil drawing of the exceptionally ugly Apollo Hotel - but I've included a short extract as a treat for our Caledonian readers.

As for the rest of the selection, I could have spent days agonising over which artists to choose. But I'm off on holiday for a week tomorrow so instead I have picked five tracks more or less off the top of my head, all of them pretty groovy in their own way.

"The Wee Cooper O' Fife" - Rudi Feenstra

"Kicks And Chicks" - The Zipps

"Rock In The Sea" - Shocking Blue

"Tattoo Song" - Herman Brood & His Wild Romance

"Salama" - Kasba

Longstanding readers may recall that I always feature the same video when I go off on my summer holidays, and as it happens its by a Dutch duo (it is almost as if this planned). We'll follow the ring-rang-a-dong with some ding-a-dong and then slowly descend into gibberish.

Friday, 31 July 2020

From Far I to Faro

Until a couple of weeks ago I had never heard of Rachel Faro, then a happy accident happened and I'm now a devoted fan.

I was online trying to find out more about Risa Potters, a 1970s singer-songwriters who I have one song by but about whom I know nothing. I still don't but my search led me to an online forum in which someone was raving about Rachel's debut album "Refugees" which came out in 1974. I tracked it down and was soon raving too.

Ms Faro's subsequent career is a textbook definition of "interesting and varied", as her biography explains. After one more album she moved mostly into production, working with Latin, folk and blues artists and many more besides, which in turn led to her setting up her own label. I'm pleased to say she's still going strong. 

Here's a couple of songs from "Refugees", and a live performance of a song originally produced by Rachel (and now brought to you exclusively by DJ Neno),

"Smooth Sailing" - Rachel Faro

"Time Passes Slowly" - Rachel Faro

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

As Far As I Can Tell

Two tracks from the great Prince Far I for you today, both from his 1980 album "Jamaican Heroes". 

The album features an eclectic bunch of musicians. Some of them you would expect, like Sly & Robbie. Some are not completely surprising when you consider the era, like Ari Up from The Slits. And then there's all the Flying Lizards apart from the woman with the weird posh voice.

"Natty Champion" - Prince Far I

"Golden Throne" - Prince Far I

Monday, 27 July 2020

The Lad Thad

An old favourite of mine has finally made a long overdue return. Thad Cockrell's first album under his own name in eleven years - "If In Case You Feel The Same" - came out last month. You can pick up a digital copy on Bandcamp for as little as $7, where it is also available in a tasteful pink vinyl version.

It wasn't meant to be this long a wait. Thad originally started raising the money for the album through Pledge Music way back in 2016, and was one of those still waiting to receive the money he was due when it went into administration last year. He has now managed to finish the record and despite not receiving a penny has sent CD copies to all of us who pledged - presumably leaving himself out of pocket as a result. He's an honourable man.

Thad has long since moved on from the country sound of his first couple of albums. It's still there on "If In Case You Feel The Same" but there is plenty of pop, rock and gospel in the mix as well. If you go back to the beginning and then listen to 2009's "To Be Loved" and the albums he made as part of Leagues you can see how it has been a progression to this point. 

To help you do that, here is one from the first album, one from "To Be Loved" and - in the video - a live version of one of the highlights of the new album.

"How Far Can I Drive Tonight?" - Thad Cockrell & The Starlite Country Band

"Rosalyn" - Thad Cockrell

Friday, 24 July 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 19

Part 19 of our grand tour of the EU brings us to Malta. I am dedicating this edition to my sainted mother, who was born there. She's not Maltese - my grandfather just happened to be working there at the time - but its the closest connection I have with that enchanting island (at least until I can raise the €900,000 needed to buy one of their passports).

One of the challenges with preparing a post on Malta is that is virtually impossible to find any music online from before the last 10-15 years. In other countries we have visited there are often labels dedicated to reissuing old favourites, sometimes by buying up the rights to the old state record labels like Hungaroton and Balkanoton, but there does not seem to be anything of the sort in Malta.

Which means all those of you hoping for a burst of Freddie Portelli or Joe Grech will be disappointed. However we do have a decent selection of more modern tunes, compiled once again with the help of George and Bandcamp. Let's get the show started with some singalong summery sounds. Even Old Ma Goggins will be tapping her toes to this one.  

"Xemx u Xita" - The Travellers

"The One I Love" - Bark Bark Disco

"Mur Imma Mur" - Mana Tapu

"Astroboy" - Beangrowers