Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Les Mysteres

I have mentioned before that when I get down to the last couple of downloads in my eMusic account every month I head to the "international" section and select some albums more or less at random and give them a go. Here are some tracks by a couple of artists I discovered that way, Fatan Kwass and Ziphus.

I know nothing about these lads, but I know what I like. When you google them about the only hits that come up take you back to the albums on eMusic (although Ziphus has also made it on to Amazon - whether that means he is a bigger name, who knows). Fatan Kwass is clearly from somewhere in Francophone Africa. Ziphus may be as well, but there is a touch of zouk in his sound which suggests he may be from a French-speaking island in the Caribbean or the Indian Ocean. If any of you know anything about either of them, please let me know.

Anyway, here is Fatan Kwass with "N'sellibesse": http://www.box.net/shared/q5599v4q3e

And here is Ziphus with "Vitale Famille": http://www.box.net/shared/ilxbirugvc

One other mystery has been solved, though. Congratulations to a Mister F of London who correctly identified Sunday's mystery song as a jazzed up version of "Agadoo" by Black Lace. His prize: he has been offered the first ever guest post here on 27 Leggies. Watch this space.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Travel Advice Needed

Does anyone know how to get from London to Psychedelphia?

I assume it must be possible to fly there, otherwise how would Plato & The Philosophers - currently residing in "Doomsday Nowhere City" - have been able to book themselves on the "Thirteen O'Clock Flight To Psychedelphia": http://www.box.net/shared/65a90r5ash

I've been planning a trip to "Psychedelphia" ever since hearing about it from Mary Jane Hooper: http://www.box.net/shared/74e8f7cfy0. I would imagine that scenes like this are an everyday occurrence there:

But so far things aren't going well. I can't even find it on a map, let alone book a flight. I can see this is going to be as frustrating as my unsuccessful attempt to have a long weekend in Funky Town:

Sunday, 28 June 2009


Which means "Nice!!!" in Afrikaans, which should be enough to tell you that we are following up yesterday's post of that name with some smooth jazz sounds from South Africa.

Today we feature "Yho! Yho!" by Winston Mankunku Ngosi, and "Stokvel Gumba" by Sipho Gumede. Sax player Ngosi is from roughly the same generation as Hugh Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim but unlike them never left South Africa during the apartheid years (during which he apparently used to regularly perform behind a curtain to disguise his identity). While he missed out on international fame, he is held in almost as high regard as they are in South Africa and like them is still going strong. Bassist and band leader Gumede got started in the 1970s and sadly passed away in 2004.


Quiz: As a bonus, here is a mystery track from Bobby Hendricks - not the one who used to sing with the Drifters, the one who was the acknowledged king of "langarm" music (a sax led style most popular in rural parts of the Cape Province which mixes the dance band sound with traditional South African "boeremusiek"). This is a cover version of a song that was a major hit in the UK in the 1980s. The first person to identify it will win a prize. What would you like, Mr F?


And if after all that you still crave more smoothness, take my hand...

Saturday, 27 June 2009


It is a lovely sunny day in London. It reminds me of those glorious summers in the early 1980s when the world was young and we were all effortlessly cool, drinking our freeze dried instant coffee and listening to Sade and the Style Council.

I don't think it was ever dignified with a name - we didn't have genres when I was a boy - but there was an awful lot of that sort of pop-jazz around at the time. Most of it was utter rubbish, of course, but not all of it.

Here are a couple of vaguely hip favourites of mine from 1983:

"Native Boy" by Animal Nightlife: http://www.box.net/shared/35pesluv88

"Breakin' Down (Sugar Samba)" by Julia & Co (apologies for the slight jump near the start): http://www.box.net/shared/hsndsp564r

And from the same year but perhaps slightly less hip:

Stop complaining and just be grateful it wasn't Modern Romance.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Tom Paxton 6

As I am sure is the case with your own families, the extended Goggins family has wildly varied musical tastes - from my cousin who, like me, is a Van Morrison fanatic to my brother who, to his shame, once bought a Katie Melua album. The one person we all agree on is Tom Paxton.

My Mum and her sisters have been fans of his since he started and me, my siblings and my cousins all grew up listening to his music. He is part of our cultural heritage, if you like, and every few years we will hire a mini-bus and have a Goggins family outing to see him play live when he is in the UK.

Probably my favourite of Tom's albums is "6" from 1970. My old vinyl copy is suffering from the effects of old age and over-use, so I was delighted to discover that it has finally been released on CD by the Collectables label in the US. I managed to find a copy on EBay and it turned up yesterday.

The best known tracks on the album are probably "Whose Garden Was This?" and "Jimmy Newman", and rightly so. But with the notable exception of "Molly Bloom", they are all good. So here are a couple of minor gems from the album: "Crazy John" (a tribute to John Lennon) and "Annie's Going To Sing Her Song".


And here he is back in the days when he had hair:

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Bad Day At The Office

I had to spend the best part of twelve hours in the office today, for the most part feeling that - in the words at Girls At Our Best - I was "Getting Nowhere Fast".


Dolly Parton expressed similar sentiments in "9 To 5". Call it a failure of imagination on my part, but as often as I have heard that song I have never before associated it with Snow White, Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck. But it appears I was wrong. And if you think this is strange at the beginning, just wait until it gets going:

Monday, 22 June 2009

For Maya

There was great delight in the Goggins household today after the safe arrival this morning of my latest niece, the beautiful Maya Elizabeth. This is for her.

The late great Minnie Riperton named her daughter Maya, and her big hit "Loving You" apparently started out as a lullaby for her. If you listen to her original version you will hear her sing Maya's name over and over at the end of the song. I was going to post it but assume most people have it already. So instead here is a lovers rock version by Janet Kay:


"Loving You" wasn't the only song Minnie wrote for her daughter. Her 1975 album "Adventures in Paradise" includes the next track, "Love And Its Glory". It is a fairy story about a girl called Maya with the message "if you find a chance to love/ you'd better grab it any way you can". And so say all of us.


And here is Minnie with the original "Loving You":

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Tsonga Disco + Botswana Bonus

I have been rather neglecting my mission to bring Tsonga Disco to the masses recently, and it is time to put that right. Regular readers will know that as my collection of Tsonga Disco is fairly meagre that means one of three people: Madlaks, Thomas Chauke or, as in this case, Joe Shirimani. Today's Joe selections are:

"Senivuyile": http://www.box.net/shared/e44u3as2s6

"Dom Dom": http://www.box.net/shared/8qt5emf24d

As a bonus, I can also offer you some music from Botswana that I came across while delving into the dustier recesses of eMusic. I have no idea what musical style this is so I'm going to take a wild stab and call it "pop music from Botswana". Anyway here are Stiger & Sister with the very nice "Sola Oka Dancer":


I Hate The Music + April Sales

I'll be taking all the links for April down at the end of the month, so if you like old punk, Nigerian funk, Swedish and Korean folk-rock, Dion etc and want to take advantage of them before they go, here they all are:


To make this post a more visually stimulating, here is a clip of John Paul Young performing "I Hate The Music". This was a massive hit in South Africa in 1976, which is where I was living at the time, and as a 13 year old lad I thought it was utterly fantastic. I think I still do. I have been trying for years to track down a copy without success. In the unlikely event that any of you can oblige with an mp3 version, I would be eternally grateful.

Anyway, here is JPY strutting his stuff in a sailor suit under Sydney Harbour Bridge:

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Sophisticated Boom Boom

Cricket fans everywhere will be tuned into the action at Lords tomorrow when Pakistan take on Sri Lanka in the 20:20 World Cup final. All eyes will be on Shahid "Boom Boom" Afridi after his match-winning performance for Pakistan against South Africa in the semi-final.

Afridi is not the first person to be given the nickname "Boom Boom". There was the boxer "Boom Boom Mancini", immortalised in song by Warren Zevon:


Then there was Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon, whose many hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s included the great "Tallahassie Lassie":


As well as Afridi, Mancini and Cannon there is plenty of evidence that a "Boom Boom" is a good thing. Why else would Basil Brush choose it as his catch-phrase, for example? And then there is this little number from John Lee Hooker:

But be warned. If you get too cocky and start adding extraneous booms, things can go disastrously wrong:

Friday, 19 June 2009

The Sugar Lords

Heading East from Aruba we arrive at Trinidad, home of calypso. Today we feature two of the greatest ever calypsonians, both discoursing on a similar theme: Lord Kitchener with “Sugar Bum Bum” and Lord Melody with “Sugar Jam”


As much as I enjoy the grooviness of these tunes, I find the titles troubling. As a Type 2 diabetic I have to avoid sugar jam like the plague. And I was once laid low with a violent bout of Sugar Bum Bum.

In “Sugar Bum Bum”, Lord Kitchener actively encourages his friend Audrey to shake her “fat behind”. Others would be less enthusiastic. Joe Tex for example:

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

More Standing Still

I managed to get one of the Belgian 1980s compilation at Brussels-Midi yesterday. This trip it was 1981. I now have 1981, 1983 and 1989 - only seven more to go and I will have an entire decade of Flemish favourites.

My interest in 1981 was piqued by the inclusion of "Do The Standing Still" by an outfit called The Employees. Given the unusual title I naturally assumed it was a cover version of The Table's classic 1977 single. But it isn't - it is a completely different song. Devious chaps, the Belgians.

Here are both songs. I know which I prefer, but what do you think?


I'll have a proper listen to the rest of the CD and return with more essential sounds from the Antwerp Underground in due course.

On a completely different subject, we had a visitor from Aruba yesterday - welcome! To my horror, though, my subconscious responded by lodging the phrase "Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya" in my head where it has been stuck ever since. So if I'm going to have to listen to "Kokomo" I think the rest of you should share my pain:

Monday, 15 June 2009

Diane Birch

Having studiously avoided posting any music by new artists in the first four months or so of this blog - mainly because I haven't got any - I'm now doing it for the second time in less than a week. I promise I am not attempting to become cutting edge and that I will not be offering home-made remixes of Val Doonican or anything like that. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Today's recipient of my largesse is Diane Birch, whose album "Bible Belt" was released earlier this month. I like it because it sounds like it could have been made in the 1970s - some of the tunes have a touch of Carole King about them, and vocally she reminds me a little of Phoebe Snow at times (others have said Carly Simon although I don't really see it myself). It is nothing ground-breaking but it's very well done, and she has roped in stalwarts like Betty Wright and Lenny Kaye to good effect.

I'm not going to put anything from the album itself up as it has only just been released, but what I am posting are a couple of tracks from a session she did for Daytrotter.com recently. Both tracks are on the album as well: "Fools" and "Nothing But A Miracle".


To hear the full session go to: http://www.daytrotter.com/dt/diane-birch-sxsw-session-like-you-were-walking-onto-a-yacht-concert/20030670-3737980.html

To finish off, here is the video for "Nothing But A Miracle"

Off to Brussels for the day tomorrow. I'm going straight from the train to meetings and back again so no time for exploring, but will try to pop into the record shop at the station to see if I can find another in the series of compilations of 1980s Belgian new wave. But no promises.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Robot Men

Yesterday the excellent Kat at "Keep The Coffee Coming" posted "Robot Man" by Jamie Horton:


This inspired me to dig out two other versions of the same song for your pleasure. The first is by Connie Francis. This was released in 1960 at the same time as the Jamie Horton version, and it was this version that was the hit in the UK - apologies for the sound quality, especially at the beginning. The second, and probably my favourite, is from 1983 and is by the all-female punk band The Gymslips.


"Robot Man" focuses on the perceived advantages of a relationship with a robot, but it is not all upside as Dee D Jackson points out in this philosophical treatise from 1978:

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Lusaka Fuzz Guitar

I know what you're thinking: never mind all that, how about some fuzzed-up Zambian rock from the 1970s. Well, OK.

Here are Chrissie Zebbie Tembo & Ngozi Family with "I've Been Losing" (1974).


And here are Amanaz with "Khala My Friend" (1975).


I had hoped to illustrate this post with a clip of The Piranhas doing "Zambezi" but I couldn't find one, so instead let's skip over Zambia's northern border for something authentically African.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

The Highway

With the tube strike in London over the last couple of days we have had to explore ingenious new ways to get to work, and so it was that I found myself on the number 100 bus this morning.

The 100 runs between the twin delights of Shadwell and Elephant & Castle. At the Shadwell end it passes briefly along the road called The Highway. Back in the 19th century it was known as the Ratcliff Highway and was the most notorious district in London - close by the docks and where every visiting sailor went to raise Hell, with a den of iniquity every few yards. A particularly entertaining description from 1857 can be found here:


According to the author of this piece, the denizens of the district included "women, wild-eyed, boisterous, with cheeks red with rouge and flabby with intemperance… all alike equally coarse, and insolent, and unlovely in manners and appearance”. If you have ever been to karaoke night at The Shakespeare in Bethnal Green Road you will know that such women can still be found in the East End.

Naturally Ratcliff Highway's lawlessness ensured that it was immortalised in many ballads of the time, including "The Deserter", performed here by Fairport Convention on "Liege and Leif":


When I was a boy dens of iniquity still existed, but in a rather different form:

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Pete Brown

Warning: there is some recent music in this post! I realise this is out of character for me, but it is linked to much, much older music, so bear with me.

Today we feature, in a very cursory way, the long and estimable career of Pete Brown. Starting out as a poet in the early 1960s, he became a stalwart of the underground scene.

In the mid-1960s he formed "The First Real Poetry Band" with John McLaughlin, which led to him being spotted by Jack Bruce who recruited Pete to write many of the lyrics for Cream (including "White Room" and "Sunshine Of Your Love"). After Cream split Pete continued to work with Jack Bruce, but also fronted a couple of bands of his own - The Battered Ornaments and Piblokto! - who released a few albums on Harvest in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The best stuff from this period was released on a CD called "Living Life Backwards" in 2006 - it is currently available for £7.78 on Amazon (UK) and worth every penny.

After Piblokto! split in 1972 Pete made one album with Graham Bond, since when his recorded output has been intermittent. But now, not far short of 70, he has popped up as lyricist, percussionist and backing vocalist with brand-new band T. Mandrake. And a new album with Phil Ryan called "Road of Cobras" is also apparently imminent.

You can't really do justice to Pete with only two songs, but consider it a taster to encourage you to explore further.

First up is "Station Song Platform Two" by Pete Brown & Piblokto! (1970)


And second is "Broken Flowers" by T. Mandrake (2009)


I found two fairly recent clips of Pete on YouTube but one was obviously taken by a member of the audience and is ruined by some bloody woman talking all the way through - thus recreating perfectly the average gig-going experience in London these days - and the other is just a bit dull. So instead here is his cousin, Marty Feldman.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn...

That's right, today's theme is accommodation.

First up: "Halfway Hotel" by Voyager. This was a big "radio hit" in 1979 but never did much in the charts. I spent years trying to track this down and finally found a copy in a junk shop in Kalk Bay near Cape Town at the bottom of a big pile of 7" singles - which explains why the sound quality is a bit ropey.


Next: "Motel Blues" by Loudon Wainwright III, from "Album II" (1972). This has also been a favourite of mine for years. Not sure why, I think it might be the bleakness of it all.


I was going to finish off with "Kansas City Morning" by Katy Moffatt. Until a few minutes ago I had always thought she was singing about a Holiday Inn, but listening to the lyrics more closely she is in fact lamenting the "hotel holiday airs". So we'll save her up for another occasion.

Those of you who recognise the title of this post will think you know what today's videoclip is going to be, but you are wrong. I couldn't find a decent clip of "Rapper's Delight" so instead here is a different, and in my view infinitely superior, old school rap classic which also mentions the word "holiday". Take it away, boys!

And if you are looking for a hotel in their home town of Amsterdam, why not try the Hotel Brian: http://www.hotelbrian.com/index.html. The rooms are minute, but if you are lucky you might get eggs with your toast in the morning, which is all you can ask for really.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

More Mexicans

At the beginning of the week I posted a track from "Ecos de Avandaro", a double CD of Mexican psychedelia that I picked up in Madrid last weekend. I have now had a chance to listen to it all the way through and there is some cracking stuff. So here are two more selections: "Ruidas En La Cuidad" by Los Monjes (1969) and "Vida" by Pajaro Alberto Y Conjunto Sacrosaurio (1974).


Although today's clip features the late Taiwanese superstar Teresa Teng, there is a connection. She kicks things off with her rendition of a Mexican standard before launching into a medley of hits from the 1950s. There is some truly groovy choreography to enjoy as well.

Saturday, 6 June 2009


I think we're overdue a bit of soul music. Here are a couple of tracks from Curtis Mayfield, who in a just world would have been 67 last Wednesday.

These tracks are both from his 1983 album "Honesty": "Dirty Laundry" and "What You Gawn Do?"


And here he is in action:

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Fifty Up!!!

When I started this blog four or five months ago, I was thrilled when I started getting visitors from outside the UK, because it meant I knew that it wasn't just my mates checking in out of politeness. The excitement mounted as the number of countries grew, particularly when they were somewhere small and exotic like Swaziland or St Kitts and Nevis, and I decided then that I would produce a special post when we reached the fifty countries mark.

That mark was reached yesterday. So thank you and welcome aboard Estonia.

I spent a few days in Tallinn in 1993 as part of a grand tour that took in Moscow (where my Dad was working at the time), St Petersburg (where I was interviewed live on Russian television - remind me to bore you with that story some other time) and Tallinn before ending up in Copenhagen via two ferries and a train through Sweden.

The only music I bought while in Tallinn was a cassette of Estonian cover versions of Beatles songs which had its moments - if you thought "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" was odd in English you should hear it in Estonian - but has long since gone the way of all flesh. So I found myself without any Estonian music to include in this tribute.

But thanks to the wonders of Googling I did not remain bereft for long. I came across the website of a band called Vagilased (I think there is an umlaut in there somewhere) who perform souped-up versions of Estonian folk songs, including this cracking little number: "Hobusemang" ("Horse Game" in English).


If you like that - and who wouldn't? - there is more of that sort of thing on their website: http://www.vagilased.ee/eng/. It does not seem to have been updated for a couple of years, so I'm not sure if they are still going or not.

To finish off this Eesti-Fest, here is Estonia's winning entry from the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest:

Next target: 100 countries or someone from Chad, whichever comes first.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Feel the pressure lifting off your head

Today's post "goes out" - as they used to say when I was a boy - to my dear friend Lord Styles. The combination will make sense to nobody but him, and possibly not even to him.

First, the download: here are Fountains Of Wayne with "Radiation Vibe".


And now the video: The Real Thing with "Can You Feel The Force?":

In the next post we will celebrate the Big 5-0. Tune in for something.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Home, Home On The Veld

I couldn't decide whether to post some South African music or some country today, so I split the difference. Here is some South African country music.

First up is an old favourite of mine, and someone we have featured here before, David Kramer with "Hekke Van Paradise" ("Gates of Paradise" in Afrikaans - the verses are in English, although a lot of the South African slang will be lost on most of you, and the refrain in Afrikaans translates as "why do the dogs bark at the gates of Paradise?").


Next we have Themba Msomi, the self-styled "Zulu Cowboy", with "Abafana". When my brother James gave me his CD for Christmas a few years ago I got quite excited as it had the potential to be something truly bizarre. In fact, he is rather more like the Zulu Don Williams.


I say Don Williams as if that is a bad thing - it's not. I have always had a soft spot for this one, although I don't understand why he felt in necessary to have a pop at the residents of Virginia.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Silver Buckles On His Knees

Among the goodies I picked up in Madrid was a double CD of Mexican psych and rock from the period 1969-74 called "Ecos de Avandaro" (Avandaro being the Mexican Woodstock).

When I saw a track by a band called Lucifer I was expecting something fairly heavy, rather than something as sweet as "Fair Maiden". The words (in English) are occasionally difficult to make out due to the singer's accent but in the first verse the fair maiden appears to do a Humpty Dumpty - she falls over and can't be put back together again. And then comes the chorus which turns out to be "Bobby Shaftoe". Bizarre. Here it is.


Speaking of fair maidens, it was very sad to hear that Danny La Rue has died. I once saw him dining in a short-lived French restaurant in Bethnal Green (which made the local news - the restaurant not Danny dining there - when it was discovered they sold horse meat, so the owner put up a sign saying "As featured on BBC London").

Here is the great man with his theme tune. The original Paradise Row is also in Bethnal Green, but Danny is no doubt in a different Paradise Row by now.