Sunday, 1 March 2015

Single Song Sunday

Today's single song is Cat Stevens' "The First Cut Is The Deepest". Fear not, we have avoided the Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow versions; and we have failed to find the Keith Hampshire version, which romped its way to the top of the Canadian charts in 1973, making it the first Number One version of the song. Or so Wikipedia tells me.

We start with Cat's own version, although it was not the first to be released - that honour fell to P.P. Arnold. There are hundreds in not thousands of reggae versions. Most of them follow the same template but a few are a bit more "out there" - we have one of each. Then we finish off with Dale Hawkins who is best known as a real rockin' cat. Presumably at this point in his career he was trying out a new direction, and to these ears it suited him pretty well.

"The First Cut Is The Deepest" - Cat Stevens

"The First Cut Is The Deepest" - P.P. Arnold

"The First Cut" - J.C. Lodge 

"The First Cut Is The Deepest" - I-Roy

"The First Cut Is The Deepest" - Dale Hawkins

Friday, 27 February 2015

Phoning It In

Who could resist an album called "Music From Saharan Cellphones"? Not me, certainly. Nor should you, not when it means you can dig some highly groovy grooves by paying a mere $5 on Bandcamp.

As the bumpf on the website explains "In much of West Africa, cellphones are used as all purpose multimedia devices. In lieu of personal computers and high speed internet, the knock-off cellphones house portable music collections". The good folks at Sahel Sounds have done us all a favour by scouring those phones and uncovering some real corkers.

"Alghafiat" - Amanar

"Abandé" - Yeli Fuzzo

Both those artists are from northern Mali. Head north-west from there and you pitch up in Western Sahara, home of Mariem Hassan. George at Jim McLean's Rabbit has been enthusing about one of her videos that we featured the other day, as he is a generally sound man and it was his birthday earlier in the week, I thought we would treat you to one of hers as well. Belated happy birthday, George.

"Sbar" - Mariem Hassan

Is it just me, but does the guitar riff on "Alghafiat" sound like a slowed down version of this?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Greek Gifts

I spent a few days in Athens last week for work - nothing to do with the big stuff - and managed to find time to pop into one of my favourite record shops anywhere. The Solonos is in a basement in a hard to find alleyway just up from the street of the same name, and it has an excellent selection of new and second hand records and CDs, with a particular speciality being obscure psychedelia.

That's not what you are getting though. Among the CDs I picked up was a compilation of famous local songstress Dimitra Galani, which included 50 tracks recorded between 1969 and 1989. Here are a couple of those I enjoyed most on first listen.

"Koutsi Kithara" - Dimitra Galani

"M'agapouses Thimamai" - Dimitra Galani

Posting Greek music provides an appropriate opportunity to pay belated tribute to the late Demis Roussos. Him and Barry White made it possible in the mid 1970s for us larger men to be considered sex gods. Sadly I was a few years too young to take advantage - right waist, wrong time.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Hey, Bebe!

Somewhere and somewhen along the way I picked up a compilation album called "Women of Africa". With a title like that, you won't be surprised to learn that it comprised songs sung by African women. Very good they are too.  Today's selections come from Guinea and Cameroon.

"Fenko" - Oumou Diabate

"Ami O" - Bebe Manga

Here are some more African ladies to entrance you in their different ways, from the Congo, Western Sahara and South Africa respectively.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Great Scotties!

Later in the week I will be meeting up with an old friend called Malcolm Scott. Malcolm has never been known as Scotty, but I am going to pretend he has in order to justify featuring these two corkers from the real Scotty (not that justification is needed). For "Miss Wire Waist", we will double up and dedicate it to Whom as well.

"Draw Your Brakes" - Scotty

"Miss Wire Waist" - Scotty

For a number of years Malcolm served Queen and Country as Our Man in Dusseldorf. I don't think he ever bumped into this lot though.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Whom, this concerns you. As for the rest of you, if I gave you £5 would you take yourselves off to the pictures?

"She's Royal" - Tarrus Riley

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Haarlem Shake, Utrecht Stomp

I am indebted to my old friend Mister F for introducing me to the work of Bonnie St. Claire. Bonnie was a sort of Dutch Suzi Quatro, and her classic "Clap Your Hands And Stamp Your Feet" is the stand-out track - and title track - on a fine compilation of vintage "Nederglam" available on Excelsior Records.

There are plenty of other goodies on there as well. I particularly like "Powerful Jim" by Serpentine and this track by the Heavy Dwarfs, which bears the distinct influence of That Unspeakable Man.

"Clap Your Hands And Stamp Your Feet" - Bonnie St. Claire & Unit Gloria

"Moeder Natuur" - The Heavy Dwarfs

If you want to see a clip of Bonnie and the boys in action - and I am sure you do - head on over to Mister F's place. If, on the other hand, you want to see the original Suzi's most magical mellow moment, stick around. You can do both, of course.