Saturday, 12 April 2014

Missing You Already

To keep you in tunes while I'm on my hols, here are ten tracks I featured way back when starting out that are worth another listen. Hopefully there is something for everyone here, including Ethiopian funk, 1970s Catalan pop and a 1980s Yugoslav new wave version of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore". See you in a couple of weeks.

"Tonight Is The Night" - Betty Wright

"Midas Touch" - Surreal Estate

"Still Water" - Jerry Jones

"Elz Falziots" - Joan Manuel Serrat

"Madame Rasta" - Lord Melody

"Doomsday Nowhere City" - Plato & The Philosophers

"Yedetnesh" - Mahmoud Ahmed

"Barleycorn" - Tim Van Eyken

"Market Place" - Hugh Masekela

"Sjaj U Tami" - Dorian Gray

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Bedtime Beasties

South African readers will be familiar with the tokoloshe. The rest of you would do well to be aware of him. He is an evil little sod, most active at night. The only way you can be sure of sleeping safely is to put a brick under each leg of your bed so he can't reach you.

Here are a couple of songs about him. The first is by the late, great King of Tsonga Disco, Peta Teanet. The second is by the still living King of Thing, John Kongos.

"Thokoloshi" - Peta Teanet

"Tokoloshe Man" - John Kongos

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Single Song Tuesday

This was going to be a Single Song Sunday post but then the pesky uploading problems I mentioned in my last post started and I couldn't do it. They seem to have gone back from whence they came, but as I am off on my hols this Sunday I thought I would do this now rather than wait until I get back, by which time I will have forgotten all about it. So, with apologies to the purists, here we go.

After the "Who Knows Where The Time Goes" Single Song Sunday, I had a request for a selection of covers of Bob Dylan's completely original and not in any way nicked off the English folkies he hung about with in the early 1960s' "Girl Of/From The North Country".

I'm not posting either of Bob's official versions as he probably he has "people" who take umbrage at that sort of thing. But the "Nashville Skyline" version was a duet with Johnny Cash, and Johnny himself teamed up with Joni Mitchell to do the song on his television programme. It's an unlikely combination but it is really rather lovely, so we will kick off with that. As I created the mp3 from the clip at the end the sound quality isn't brilliant, but it's good enough. 

The rest of them are pretty good as well.

"Girl Of The North Country" - Johnny Cash & Joni Mitchell

"Girl Of The North Country" - Howard Tate

"Girl From The North Country" - Link Wray

"Girl From The North Country" - Jimmy LaFave

"North Country Girl" - Pete Townshend

"North Country" - Roy Harper

Monday, 7 April 2014

Normal Service Not Resumed

Apologies for being even more irregular than usual, but for some reason Box seems reluctant to upload my mp3s. I have tried all their trouble-shooting tips but none seem to help - any bright ideas gratefully received. I will try to get it sorted before I go on my hols at the end of the week but, until then, here are some top Monday themed clips to tide you over.

Friday, 4 April 2014

A Carol For All Seasons

You lot think of me as an international taste maker and surfer of the zeitgeist. Which is fair enough. But in what is laughably called "real life" I also double up as a dull office worker.

The lady who looks after me in that capacity is called Carol and, with the exception of dear old Mother Goggins, she is probably the nicest woman it has ever been my pleasure to know. Many is the time I have found myself saying, in the words of the Gladiators, "Hello Carol, I'm depending on you". This is for her.

"Hello Carol" - The Gladiators

"My Carol" - Mark Olson

"Oh Carol" - Las Hermanas Jimenez

"Sister Carol" - Barrington Levy

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Single Song Sunday Returns

A while back I briefly attempted to start a regular feature called "Single Song Sunday" which, as the name suggests, featured different versions of the same song. It petered out almost immediately, but losing an hour in the UK today because of the clocks going forward has prompted me to revive it in order to ask the age-old question: "Who knows where the time goes?".

As you will all know, Sandy Denny wrote the song, and nobody will ever do a better version than the one she did with Fairport Convention on "Unhalfbricking" - her voice and Richard Thompson's guitar are an unmatchable combination. But there have been some valiant attempts, not least by Sandy herself. Here are two, the first with the Strawbs in 1967, before she joined Fairport, and the second from a solo session for the BBC from 1973.

"Who Knows Where The Time Goes" (1967) - Sandy Denny & The Strawbs

"Who Knows Where The Time Goes" (1973) - Sandy Denny

Of the others, it is worth mentioning the Judy Collins version, which came out before any of Sandy's versions were released (her sessions with the Strawbs were not released until the 1970s when both of them were established artists). I also like the 10,000 Maniacs attempt. I'm not so sure about Nina Simone though - normally I'm a fan but I find this a bit meandering to be honest.

 "Who Knows Where The Time Goes" - Judy Collins

"Who Knows Where The Time Goes" - Nina Simone

"Who Knows Where The Time Goes" - 10,000 Maniacs

"Who Knows Where The Time Goes" - Charlie Louvin

"Who Knows Where The Time Goes" - Kate Rusby

Her old sparring partner doesn't make a bad job of it either.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Krafka Korner

I am pleased to be able to report the return to action of an old favourite. Leslie Krafka's debut album, "The White Cat Sessions", came out in 2011. She has kept us waiting longer than we would have wanted for the follow-up but with "on-ward", due out on 3 May on Smallz Records, she has finally delivered. And it has been worth the wait.

Looking back at what I laughably called my review of Leslie's first album, I concluded it was "a bloody good record". I have become no more articulate over the years, so will just say that this time around the same is true with knobs on. That those knobs are being twiddled by legendary Texas producer and pedal steel dude Lloyd Maines is a good start, but it is the quality of Leslie's songs and singing that make the record stand out. Here's an example.

"Wine, Women and Song" - Leslie Krafka

One of the other highlights of the new album is her gender-bending cover of "Drunken Poet's Dream", the Hayes Carll/ Ray Wylie Hubbard co-write which both perform with aplomb but with slightly different words. Leslie does the Hubbard version, which marks her out as a woman of taste and refinement (no matter what the words say).

If you are thinking that Ray Wylie Hubbard and Hayes Carll seem an unlikely writing team, have a listen to these two songs and think again. The protagonists are surely sons of the same redneck mother.

"Up Against The Wall, Redneck Mother" - Jerry Jeff Walker

"She Left Me For Jesus" - Hayes Carll