Saturday, 20 December 2014

Best Of The Rest

Being an international taste-maker and surfer of the zeitgeist as I am, those nice people from the Internet send me lots of free music. I only ever have time to listen to a fraction of it, and only get round to posting a fraction of that. Here are some corking tunes that slipped down the cracks when I received them this year, but are well worth rummaging around for.

"Black Lemon" - Generationals

"Ugly Girl" - Ikaya

"Follow My Light Back Home" - Space Daze

"Goosebumps" - TaQuita Thorns

"Segure Tudo" - Bossacucanova

"Traces Of Our Tears" - The Rentals

"If You Ain't Never Had The Blues" - Boo Boo Davis

"The Ramones & George Jones" - Heidi Howe

If all that has not zeited your geist (or even geisted your zeit), then this year's albums from Simone Felice, Hiss Golden Messenger, Sturgill Simpson, John Edward Baumann and Chuck Prophet should be checked out.

Top gigs ranged from the Berlin Country Music Festival to John Cale with pointless drones at the Barbican, via the likes of the Sorrows, Jimmy Lafave and that man Prophet again.

As for the prestigious "Pop song I found most difficult to get out of my head this year" award, this is the runaway winner.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

More Salsa

And why not?

"La Temperatura" - Los Hermanos Lebron

"Macho Perez" - Hector Tricoche

"Macho Perez" goes straight into my "Top 3 songs with the word macho in the title" list, alongside these two.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Single Song Sunday

I would not claim to be an expert on the subject of falling in LURVE, but I have a go at it every now and then just to keep my hand in. The words of "It's All In The Game" seem to me to sum up the downs, ups and uncertainties of the whole experience pretty well. Nobody will ever do it better than Tommy Edwards, but there have been some gallant attempts.

Here are three soul versions, Slim Whitman - probably the pick of the country versions in my collection, although Bobby Bare's is also worth a listen - and the mandatory reggae cover. There are many crooned efforts, but they are all pale imitations compared to Tommy.

"It's All In The Game" - Tommy Edwards

"It's All In The Game" -  The Four Tops

"It's All In The Game" -  Isaac Hayes

"It's All In The Game" -  Tyrone Davis

"It's All In The Game" -  Slim Whitman

"It's All In The Game" -  The Gaylads

Van Morrison does an excellent interpretation on "Into The Music". It is probably my second favourite version,  but I have been beaten up by his "people" before so am not going to risk posting the track itself today. This live version from 1979 (the year the album came out) gives you the general idea though.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Jolly Baumann

Texas has produced a long and distinguished line of story-telling troubadours. The latest one off the block is John Edward Baumann, about whom I know very little apart for the fact that his current album "High Plains Alchemy" is very good indeed, as is his 2012 EP "West Texas Vernacular". Here is a track from each, both about yer actual Texas.

"Eagle Ford" - John Edward Baumann (2014)

"Bible Belt" - John Edward Baumann (2012)

To me there is a touch of Robert Earl Keen about Mr Baumann's songs. Here is a frighteningly young Robert with one of his standards.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Long Walk To Freedom

I hope you have half an hour to spare - if you planned your weekend right that should not be a problem on a Sunday evening - because you are going to need most of it to listen to these two. They both clock in at well over ten minutes. The more important thing they have in common is that they were both adopted as unofficial anti-apartheid anthems in the mid 1970s. And they are both great.

"Mannenberg" - Abdullah Ibrahim

"Papa's Land" - Sonny Okosun

 Abdullah Ibrahim started out life as Dollar Brand. You know what's coming.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Friday Salsa

I recently got hold of a disc with about 120 salsa mp3s on. I have never really paid much attention to salsa before, but there is a lot of good stuff on this disc, so I thought about kicking off an occasional series to be called "Saturday Salsa". Then I belatedly remembered I am not about tomorrow, so you are getting it today. Tough.

"La Noche Mas Linda" - Adalberto Santiago

"La Voluminosa" - Cesar Pedroso

This may be the reason why I have subconsciously avoided salsa up to now.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Single Sentiment Sunday

A lot of folks use their blogs to have a bit of a whinge about the world, and goodness knows there are plenty of things worth whingeing about. But after moaning in my last post about my European tour falling through, I stopped and thought to myself: if the worst thing I have to complain about is the loss of a freebie to Athens, I should shut up. So - if only for today - let's all be thankful for what we've got.

We start with the full length version of the William DeVaughn classic and possibly the best known cover. Dating from 1974, the Donovan Carless track was the first of countless reggae versions, although the Johnny Clarke track isn't one of them. Then we have an old Fairport standard and a pretty ropey cover, before finishing up with two old pals each giving their take on the subject.

"Be Thankful For What You've Got" - William DeVaughn

"Be Thankful For What You've Got" - Massive Attack

"Be Thankful" - Donovan Carless

"Be Thankful" - Johnny Clarke

"Now Be Thankful" - Fairport Convention

"Now Be Thankful" - The Knights of the Occasional Table

"Thankful" - Louis Armstrong

"I've Got Plenty To Be Thankful For" - Bing Crosby 

At the risk of seeming both over-emotional and factually inaccurate, this is for all you lovely people.