Monday, 17 June 2019

Substitute Shabba

At some point in the last few months, somewhere I can't now recall, I picked up a copy of "Ragga's Got Soul Vol. 1". A gift to the world from the groovily named Discotex label, the release date isn't given on the sleeve but I would guess it came out in the early to mid 1990s.

"Ragga's Got Smooth R 'n B Vol. 1" might have been a more accurate title for the album, as most of it is in the style of Shabba Ranks' crossover records of the period. There is nobody with Shabba's brand recognition on the album, the nearest thing to a household name probably being Johnny P.

It gets a bit samey at times and I doubt I'll bother hunting down the rest of the series, but its not a bad album by any means. Over to you, lads.

"Clap" - Simpleton

"Musical Youth" - General Pecos

Two videos for you today. The eagle-eyed and sharp-witted among you will have worked out who the two artists are already. No points if you said Shabba.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Living Next Door To Elton

Last weekend my old friend Mister F and I went up to Watford to see Chris Norman, formerly of Smokie. It was a bit of a trek, and the return journey was a nightmare - cancelled trains, closed tube lines and rerouted night buses - but Chris doesn't play in the UK very often and this was the closest he's come to London in years and years.

He is used to playing to much larger crowds on the Continent, and in much grander venues - it is fair to say that the Watford Colosseum was probably not the model for the one in Rome. But what the audience lacked in numbers it made up for in enthusiasm.

If you drew a Venn diagram where the two circles were "Women of a Certain Age" and "East Europeans" that would capture about 90% of the audience. There was a fair degree of overlap between the categories as well, including both of the stalkers.


Anyway, it was well worth the effort. Chris still sounds good, it was good to hear the old hits again, and the newer material was better than is often the case at these sort of gigs. If he comes back, you should go - just maybe not if it is in Watford.

"Don't Play Your Rock 'n Roll To Me" - Smokie

"Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone" - Smokie

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Clancy, King of Cakes

A couple of crackers for you today from the great Clancy Eccles.

"Bag A Boo" - Clancy Eccles

"What Will Your Mama Say" - Clancy Eccles

If it is Clancys you want, here are some more of them, with one of their buddies. There must be a joke somewhere that ends "Tommy Makem? No they went of their own accord", but I can't quite think of it at the moment. I'll get back to you on that.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Single Song Sunday

It's Single Song Sunday time again, folks. This time out we have Hank Williams' stomping standard "Jambalaya" for you.

We start with Hank's 1952 original, of course, then follow it with two versions that hit the US charts - Fats Domino in 1961 and John Fogerty in 1973. The song was chosen as Brenda Lee's debut single in 1956 (it didn't chart) - her voice already sounds great, which is more than can be said for the arrangement.

In the second half we have some Dutch rockers and a German pop poppet, with The Residents inserted between them just in case things kick off. Then we finish with a Creole gentleman showing the rest of them how it should be done.

There is no Mandatory Reggae Version. I did find one - this effort - but, as unlikely as it might seem to regular readers, there are depths to which even I will not sink.

"Jambalaya" - Hank Williams

"Jambalaya" - Fats Domino

"Jambalaya" - John Fogerty

"Jambalaya" - Brenda Lee

"Jambalaya" - Shocking Blue

"Jambalaya" - The Residents

"Jambalaya" - Gerd Böttcher

"Jambalaya" - C.J. Chenier

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Banjo Belle

Some marvellous gnarly mountain music for you today courtesy of the late, great Ola Belle Reed - singer, songwriter and connoisseur of the clawhammer banjo. 

Born in 1916 in the heart of the Appalachians, Ola Belle made music with family and friends from her childhood until a stroke at the age of 70 rendered her incapable. She was not "discovered" by them fancy folklorist types until the mid-1960s, which is when these recordings date from. 

Both tracks come from an excellent compilation called "Ola Belle Reed and Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line" released by Dust-to-Digital. The first CD features the best of Ola Belle's 1960s recordings, and the second features her descendants and friends recorded forty years later. You can also buy a version with a book about Ola Belle and the gang, but I've not read it so can't vouch for whether it is worth the extra money.

"You Led Me To The Wrong" - Ola Belle Reed


"I've Endured" - Ola Belle Reed

Apparently this lot were named after her. Or so I'm claiming.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Six Soulful Barbaras

As it says in the title. Here are six soul singers called Barbara. Maybe they could form a self-help group to deal with their romantic woes. Barbara A certainly seems to have a potential solution to some of the others' dilemmas.

"I Know (You Don't Love Me No More)" - Barbara George

"I Don't Want To Lose You" - Barbara Mason

"Messin' With My Mind" - Barbara Carr

"I'll Bake Me A Man" - Barbara Acklin

"Don't Be Cruel" - Barbara Lynn

"Say You Need It" - Barbara Perry

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Rai Guy

Someone has dropped off a boxload of sleeveless Arabic pop CDs at one of the charity shops I occasionally frequent. They are going for 50p each, so I took a punt and picked up half a dozen, chosen more or less at random.

My initial research reveals I have acquired three from Lebanon and one apiece from Egypt, Iraq and Algeria. The Algerian CD is "Dellali", the 2001 album by Cheb Mami - the only artist out of the bunch that I had heard of previously. Here are a couple of the highlights.

"Mamazareh" - Cheb Mami

"Rim Lachoua" - Cheb Mami

I'm not sure whether Mami is pronounced "Mar-Mi" or "Mammy", but for the purposes of today's video I'm going for the latter.