Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Swamp Thing

Just slipping in under the wire, a late contender for album of the year from one of my musical heroes, Swamp Dogg. "The White Man Made Me Do It" came out in November but I only got hold of my copy a week or so back. I haven't been able to switch it off since - even at 72 he is still showing the youngsters how to do it properly.

One of the many stand-out tracks is this tribute to Sly Stone. We follow it up with some seasonally inappropriate sentiments from Sly himself.

"Can Anybody Tell Me Where Is Sly" - Swamp Dogg

"Hot Fun In The Summertime" - Sly & The Family Stone

Unfortunately, the lurgy has laid me low with the result that my plans for the evening now consist of going back to bed rather than grooving to the Minestrone of Sound. But for those of you planning a big night, please remember that a big night is often followed by the big light.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Lest We Forget

This year, as every year, we have lost some great musicians. Big names such as Bobby Womack, Phil Everly and Pete Seeger rightly received plenty of attention when they died. We would like to pay a small tribute to some of the less famous artists whose deaths you may have missed but who have left some great music behind.

So R.I.P. Rosetta Hightower, James Govan, Barbara Jones, Lapiro de Mbanga, Clive Palmer, Mighty Hannibal, Jo Jo Benson, Hopeton Lewis, King Kester Emeneya, Stephen Fromholz and Lynsey de Paul

"Remember Me" - Rosetta Hightower

"Help Me, I'm In Need" - James Govan

"Come And Get Some" - Barbara Jones

"Jolies Filles" - Lapiro de Mbanga

"Spirit Of Love" - Clive's Own Band (C.O.B.)

"Meet Me At Mary's Place" - The Mighty Hannibal

"Pickin' Wild Mountain Berries" - Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson

"Cool Collie" - Hopeton Lewis

"Milonga Kwango" - King Kester Emeneya

"A Little More Holy" - Stephen Fromholz

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Yes, They Know

In two days' time it will be Christmas all over the world. And in space. Have a groovy time everyone.

"Space Christmas" - Shonen Knife

"Party For Santa Claus" - Lord Nelson

"Away In A Manger" - Swamp Dogg

"Darlin' (Christmas Is Coming)" - Over The Rhine

"I'd Like To Have An Elephant For Christmas" - Hank Thompson

Some folks might argue that today's clip is not a seasonal song. To them I say - this is always seasonal somewhere.

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.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Going Nowhere

It has been a bad week for travelling. As of Tuesday afternoon my schedule was: Wednesday fly to Madrid and give a speech followed by a slap-up dinner; Thursday fly from Madrid to Athens; Friday have some meetings followed by another slap-up dinner; then stay on for the weekend to catch up with friends, see a gig and raid the record shops. But then the Greek air traffic controllers announced a strike on Tuesday evening, and on Wednesday fog descended on London City Airport resulting in all flights getting cancelled.

Never mind. We can still have a musical trip to Spain and Greece. Fasten your seatbelts, make sure your luggage is safely stowed in the overhead lockers or underneath the seat in front of you, but don't turn off all electrical equipment. Now pretend you're on a jet plane in your rocking chair.

"Que Mala Suerte La Mia" - Los Amayas

"To '69" - Pavlos Sidiropoulos

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Fiesta Fun

Wakey Wakey! What better way to get you out of bed than with some Nicaraguan party pop courtesy of the lovely Las Nenas.

"Y Si Me Gusta" - Las Nenas

"Que Alegre Esta La Fiesta" - Las Nenas

I mentioned in my last post that there were two Yanqui hits of yore that will from now on always remind me of my visit to Nicaragua. The first was "Shake Your Booty", the second is a classic 1980s power ballad. The gent pictured below is Gerson Gonzalez, who drove me from the airport to Leon on the night I arrived.

Gerson took great delight in showing me the various ways in which he had "pimped his ride" - shouting "crazy taxi!" each time he did so - and in singing along with his "greatest power ballads" cassette. After 45 minutes or so I decided that I was not going to beat him, so joined in, and as we drove into Leon we were belting out this deathless dirge.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Voice of Godoy

We will start our random trawl through the CDs I picked up in Nicaragua with Carlos Mejia Godoy, as his was the name that cropped up most when I asked people to recommend some local music. Although I fear that those of us who were not in Nicaragua at the time he first rose to prominence with never really be able to appreciate why he is held in such reverence there, particularly if - like me - you don't speak Spanish and so can't understand what he is singing about.

To give you the brief version of his Wikipedia biography: "Carlos started  his career on the Radio Corporacion, where he would daily compose songs that would rain ridicule and scorn on all politicians and political parties with a biting sense of humour. Many of his songs became associated with the Sandinista movement as songs of the workers and revolutionaries. He even composed a mass for the working classes of Nicaragua."

"Comadre, Téngame al Niño" - Carlos Mejia Godoy

"Alforja Campesina" - Carlos Mejia Godoy

There is plenty of love in Nicaragua for Yankee imperialist music from the era when Carlos was at his most influential, and two songs in particular will stick with me from my own visit. Today's selection is the song that - for reasons that are too confusing to explain - I sang with this lovely lady from Dona Elba's cigar factory in Granada while she rolled me a cigar. I'll tell you the other one next time round.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Jimmy Ruffin R.I.P.

Very saddened to hear of the death of Jimmy Ruffin. While "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" is an undoubted classic, this is the song that always meant most to me. And it clearly meant a lot to a young soul rebel way back when.

"I'll Say Forever My Love" - Jimmy Ruffin

"Reminisce, Part 2" - Dexy's Midnight Runners

Monday, 17 November 2014

Disc Jacqui

Evening all.

I got back yesterday from an excellent holiday. The bulk of the time was spent in Nicaragua, somewhere I would recommend to all of you - groovy place, groovy people. You will not be surprised to learn that I picked up loads of local music - mostly on dodgy bootleg CDs retailing for 20 cordobas each (about 40p) - and I will be sharing the highlights with you as I work my way through it all. I am particularly looking forward to "Nicaraguan Hits of the 60s and 70s (Volumes 5 and 6)". If anyone out there has volumes 1 to 4, let me know.

Before coming home I made a slight detour to the wilder edges of New York State to see my cousin Jacqui and her family. Jacqui is even groovier than your average Nicaraguan, and this small selection of Jacquelines and Jackies (plus one Jaqee) is a sort of a tribute to her.

"Jacquelne" - Bobby Helms

"Jackie" - World of Oz

"Kokoo Girl" - Jaqee

"Both Ends Against The Middle" - Jackie Moore 

"Le Coeur Au Bout Des Doigts" - Jacqueline Taleb

"Jackie Blue" - The Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Friday, 31 October 2014


At some point before dawn on Sunday I will be setting off on my hols. As is sort of traditional now, I will leave you with a selection of songs first featured back in the early days of the blog when it was just me and the ether (and the ether didn't do much either).

The list starts vaguely on message but rapidly descends into randomness.

"I'm Not Going To Work Today" - Joe Tex

"Explorer" - The Incredible String Band

"Halfway Hotel" - Voyager

"Angelina" - Caiphus Semenya

"Fair Maiden" - Lucifer

"Lovin' You" - Janet Kay

"Do The Standing Still" - The Table

"Abbay Mado" - Mahmoud Ahmed

And sticking with tradition...

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Funkin' In Firenze

I was working in Milan for a couple of days earlier this week and managed to squeeze in some sightseeing and record-buying. On paper, the highlight of my purchases was "L'Anthologia Funk" which - as the name hints at - purports to be an anthology of Italian funk music from the 1970s and 1980s. Take the word "funk" out of that sentence and you have a more accurate description - unless "funky" is defined as "has a bit of slap bass on it", this mostly isn't.

That said, it is not entirely without its charms, as we demonstrate below. I particularly like the track by Andrea Mingardi, who comes across as a sort of Italian Ian Dury.

"Xa Vur Dalla Vetta" - Andrea Mingardi (1981)

"Like Io, Funky Tu" - Enzo Avitabile (1983)

For today's clip, let's stick with some Italian music from the early 1980s. This is dedicated to my friend Lucia Liuzzi who, at the age of two, has discovered the joys of telling people to "Stop It!".

Friday, 24 October 2014

Lady Rock

I was pootling around on eMusic the other day and came across an excellent compilation called "Girls Gone Rockin'", which has 75 female fronted R 'n B and rock 'n roll tracks from the 1950s or thereabouts. There are some absolute crackers on there. Here is a small selection.

"Ring Ding Dilly" - Big Maybelle

"Black Cadillac" - Joyce Green

"Is There A Man In The House" - Lillian Briggs

"Go Get The Shotgun Grandpa" - Ann Castle

Ann Castle seems to be suffering from a bit of a jealous mind. RIP Alvin.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Bloody Hippies

Not those sort of hippies - these sort of hippies.

"Hippy Dippy Daddy" - The Cookies

"Hippy, Skippy Moon Strut" - The Moon People

"The Hippy, Hippy Shake" - Chan Romero

Here are a couple of those sort of hippies, at their hippiest.

Monday, 20 October 2014

John Holt R.I.P.

Very sad to hear about the death yesterday of John Holt. Mister F and I used to invoke his name whenever a song that was totally unsuited for performing in a reggae style came on the jukebox in the Little Driver. "John Holt could pull it off", we would say. And I bet he would.

Here are a couple of choice covers plus one of his own, while the clip features probably the best known cover of a John Holt original. Rest in Peace, Mr Holt.

"Baby I'm A Want You" - John Holt

"Sister Big Stuff" - John Holt

"Sweetie Come Brush Me" - John Holt

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Bahir Dar Days

Almost exactly two years ago I had a fantastic trip to Ethiopia. One of the many highlights was visiting the wonderfully decorated churches on the islands and peninsulas of Lake Tana.

The base for exploring Lake Tana is Bahir Dar, which is a pretty groovy town in its own right. While I was there a nice man in a local record shack bunged about 150 mp3s onto a disc for me and charged me next to nothing for the pleasure. I somehow managed to mislay the disc and have only recently rediscovered it. Here is a small selection of its many delights.

"Egnaw Entarek" - Neway Debebe

"Grmamogese Nesh" - Mikias Chernet

"Webetu" - Dagmawit Teshaye

Today's clip brings you the song that was all over the Ethiopian airwaves when I was there. For the record I would like to make it clear that I disapprove strongly of the inappropriate focus on feminine pulchritude in the video - obviously. But the song itself is ridiculously catchy.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Junior Choice

Last night I went to see Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express promoting the new album "Night Surfer". They were excellent as always, and very good value with a set clocking in at just over two hours.

Support was from Jonah Tolchin, who was pretty good in his own right. I was sufficiently impressed to buy his new album, "Clover Lane", which may feature here once I have had a proper listen. His set included a cover of "Lost Highway". I have count of the number of times I have heard people cover Hank Williams live. Wouldn't it be nice if, just once, someone covered his boy instead.

"Family Tradition" - Hank Williams Jr

"New South" - Hank Williams Jr

One of the unexpected treats of the evening was when Stephanie Finch (Mrs Prophet) took the mike for a very nice rendition of this old favourite.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Cultural Overload

It was a busy day culturally yesterday, even for old "Two Gigs" Goggins (as I have never been known). It started in the afternoon in Trafalgar Square for the "Africa on the Square" festival, where much fun was had by all. I particularly enjoyed the set by Aar Maanta, a UK-based Somali who is much funkier live than he generally is on record.

Then I strolled over to the South Bank to meet the lads for "Language is a Virus from Outer Space", an event celebrating the centenary of William Burroughs that was "curated" by Richard Strange. I was only going to see the long-awaited reunion of Doctors of Madness, which was just as well because the rest of it was utter twaddle. Fortunately the Doctors were great, and probably clinched the "Most Unlikely Guest Appearance of the Year" award when Joe Elliott of Def Leppard joined them to share lead vocals on "Suicide City".

Here's "Suicide City" without Joe, plus a track from Aar Maanta and - as a bonus - Richard Strange's finest solo moment.

"Qalbiga" - Aar Maanta

"Suicide City" - Doctors of Madness

"International Language" - Richard Strange

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Tsonga Thursday

Some long overdue Tsonga sounds for you today, courtesy of the delightful Sunglen Chabalala. These two cracking tunes are taken from the fantastically named "Beer 3" album. It came out in 2011, so she is probably on to "Beer 4" or "Beer 5" by now. I imagine that by the time she gets to "Beer 6" the tunes will be starting to get a little maudlin, so it may be a good idea to skip that one and wait until she gets her second wind around "Beer 8".

 "Vunghamula" - Sunglen Chabalala

"Humelela" - Sunglen Chabalala

For those of you inclined to glamorise drinking, let the sad case of George Jones be a salutary lesson to you. Drink too much and you will end up duetting with Garth Brooks.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Elephant In The Room

I will start with a quick plug for "Lateness of Dancers", the excellent new album by our old favourite, Hiss Golden Messenger. You should get it.

I can't be completely sure, as he is pretty prolific, but I think Mr. Messenger's last release under that name before the new album was last year's single "Hiss Golden Messenger Plays Elephant Micah Plays Hiss Golden Messenger" on which, as the name suggests, he and Elephant Micah performed one of each others' songs.

I was not previously familiar with the Elephant's oeuvre, but was sufficiently impressed by Mr. Messenger's version of his song "My Cousin's King" that I decided to check him out. And he's not at all bad, as these selections show. As a bonus I've added the cover version that kicked it all off.

"Levi And Daniel" - Elephant Micah

"If I Were A Surfer" - Elephant Micah

"My Cousin's King" - Hiss Golden Messenger

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Oggins Bloggings

You can blame George at Jim McLean's Rabbit for this one. He asked for a post on the theme of "people whose name rhymes with Oggins". Apart from a handful of Loggins & Messina tracks that I have left out to avoid this becoming what might be called a Loggins-jam, this is all I can offer. The quality is, I think it is fair to say, somewhat variable. We start with Cousin Curby and end with Dr. Pants. Read into that what you will.

"Come Home To Daddy" - Curby Goggins

"Please Come To Boston" - Dave Loggins

"Boogie In Muskogee" - Enois Scroggins

Kenny Loggins" - Dr. Pants

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Top Of Los Pops

Allow me to start with a largely irrelevant anecdote. When I first went to Russia in the early 1990s, shortly after the arrival of Yeltsin and the first MacDonalds, the locals were mad for anything even vaguely "Western". In particular, many of them were sporting T-shirts with slogans in English. It did not really matter what they said, they just had to be in English. I can still see the big bruiser barreling down Nevski Prospekt in St. Petersburg with "Romney Marsh Garden Centre" proudly emblazoned on his chest.

The reason I mention this is because I think a similar phenomena must explain the names that many Mexican pop and rock bands adopted in the 1960s. Aiming for a name that shouted "rock 'n roll", they ended up with something that was more of a Google Translate attempt at "rock 'n roll".

Without further ado, we present Los Johnny Jets. There will be some sort of prize for the first person to correctly identify the two songs being covered.

"Es Lupe" - Los Johnny Jets

Dedos Con Alma" - Los Johnny Jets

Monday, 29 September 2014

Malagasy Monday

Some top tunes from Madagascar for you today, folks, courtesy of a compilation called "Feedback Madagascar". If you like these two - and being people of great taste and refinement I know you will - I would strongly encourage you to buy the whole album from Bandcamp as 50% of the proceeds go to support charitable initiatives in Madagascar.

"Tsy Hagnaligno" - Zambey

Maintsokely" - Oladad

Any of you with a small nephew whose idea of entertainment is watching the same blessed DVD over and over again will immediately understand the relevance of today's video selection. This one's for you, Caleb.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

... And Mac

Maybe I need a break, or maybe I just need a break from attempting to come up with themed posts, but the fact I even considered "people whose names rhyme with 'orris'" as a theme must be a cause for concern. Still, here it is.

Mac is obviously the odd person out here. Let's give him a bit of attention so he doesn't feel left out. His full name is McLauren Green. Him and Maurice started out in the Radiants before setting up as a duo. Inexplicably, "You Left The Water Running" was not even a minor hit, and nor were any of their other singles.

Maurice is Maurice McAlister. Borys is Borys Benzo, Doris is Doris Svensson and Horace Faith is really Horace Smith. Now you know.

 "Ves Como Lloro y Me Dejas" - Borys

Grey Rain of Sweden" - Doris

Black Pearl" - Horace Faith

You Left The Water Running" - Maurice & Mac

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Hillbilly Heaven

If you want "proper" gospel music, head over to Jim McLean's Rabbit every Sunday for a welcome dose. If you want the hillbilly variety, hold your horses. You can get that right here with these tracks from a fine compilation called "Hillbilly Gospel 1948-58"

"Shake His Hand" - "Peanut" Faircloth

When The Wrath Of God Comes Down" - Ernest Martin

From Peanut to Coconuts.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Single Song Sunday

I used to think "Dark End of the Street" was one of those indestructible songs that could survive any assault upon it and emerge with its dignity intact. I had to qualify that view slightly when I heard the Diamanda Galas version, but as a general rule it remains true that it is a song that can make average performers sound better.

The other general rule - and one that needs no qualification - is that the best version is, and will always that be, that by James Carr. But don't let that lead you to turn up your nose at the other eight below, as they are all genuinely good in their own right. Clarence Carter's reworking is probably my second favourite, and Gary Stewart takes you down the street and into the honky-tonk with his. And of course we have the obligatory reggae version, this time courtesy of Mr. Pat Kelly.

"The Dark End Of The Street" - James Carr

Dark End Of The Street" - The Flying Burrito Brothers

Dark End Of The Street (Live)" - Richard & Linda Thompson

The Dark End Of The Street" - Joe Tex

Dark End Of The Street" - Pat Kelly

Dark End Of The Street" - Gary Stewart

Dark End Of The Street" - Artie White

"Making Love (At The Dark End Of The Street)" - Clarence Carter


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Massive in Maputo

There is much talk of independence today. That is not surprising, as next June it will be 40 years since the good people of Mozambique shook off the colonial yoke of Portugal and became a free nation.

To mark the occasion, here are a couple of tracks from an excellent compilation called "Tales of Mozambique". If you think the Rosalia Mboa track sounds a bit like the Tsonga disco that we treat you to every now and then, it is possible there is a good reason. There are a lot of Tsonga folk in southern Mozambique. Whether Rosalia is one of them I don't know, but she may at least have been influenced by their music.

"Umunghani Ma Wani" - Rosalia Mboa

A Beleza Da Repriga" - Alexandre Langa

If you type "Mozambique music" into YouTube, you quickly come across the works of one Anita Macuácua. I have never heard of her before, but this one is quite jolly.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


Some vintage blue-eyed soul courtesy of Islington's own Chris Farlowe. A couple of B-sides from 1966 and 1967 respectively. You know, for the kids.

"Headlines" - Chris Farlowe

What Have I Been Doing" - Chris Farlowe

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Queen Karine of Nineveh

Here at 27 Leggies we are remaining strictly neutral as regards the impending referendum on Scottish independence. Plans have been made to move my Proclaimers and Jimmy Shand albums into the "World Music" section of my collection in the event of a "yes" vote, but that is simply a precautionary measure.

I had thought about doing a Scottish special based on my ten most listened to Scottish acts according to my stats. It turns out most of them are either ones that I have featured here plenty of times before (like Frankie Miller and the Incredible String Band) and/or pretty well known (like The Blue Nile). But there one name on there that may not be familiar to some of you, and that is the marvellous Karine Polwart. If the Scots do vote for independence and then decide they no longer want the Queen as head of state, she wouldn't be a bad replacement.

"Follow The Heron" - Karine Polwart

"The Sun's Comin' Over The Hill" - Karine Polwart

Whatever the outcome of the referendum, I worry about what the future holds for Gallagher and Lyle. It appears there is one in each camp (either that or they are both "don't know"s).

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Apres Le Guerra

I went to a gig last night that managed to be both very good and a bit disappointing at the same time. Billed as a "performance" John Cale and Liam Young, the gimmick was the use of drones (the flying ones) as part of the act.

All the advance billing went on about it being an "experiment in sound" and that sort of thing, so we went along expecting the drones to be an integral part of the performance, transmitting or distorting the sound in some way. In fact they were just for decorative purposes. John Cale and his band played a normal set while the drones drifted prettily but irrelevantly overhead.

That said, judging it purely as a normal gig, it was great. I don't think Mr Cale is capable of being anything other than interesting, and he certainly delivered his part of the evening's entertainment, a 15 minutes long Hi-NRG version of "Sister Ray" being a particular highlight.

Having got that off my chest, let's turn to today's music. It comes from the Dominican Republic, courtesy of Juan Luis Guerra. Very jolly it is too.

"La Bilirrubina" - Juan Luis Guerra y 440

El Costo De La Vida" - Juan Luis Guerra y 440

As it happens, Mr Guerra can also teach John Cale a thing or two about how to integrate modern forms of transportation into your live act effectively.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

From Malaco Via Malmo

I had a bit of a disappointment when I was in Malmo at the weekend. I found an excellent second-hand record and comics shop just off Lille Torg which had some boxes of intriguing Swedish vinyl albums from the 1970s and 1980s going for about £1.50 a go. Rather than lug them around with me while sightseeing I decided I would pop back there at 4.30pm to snaffle a few. It was only when I returned that I discovered that pretty much all the shops in Malmo shut at 4pm on Saturday and don't reopen until Monday. So they are all still there, calling me back.

I did not return completely empty-handed though, because on my first (and, as it transpired, only) visit to the shop I picked up a CD. Titled "Malaco Soul Brothers Volume 1", it is a collection of tracks recorded for the Malaco label in the earl1970s by Chuck Brooks and Joe Wilson. Very good it is too. Here is one from each of the lads.

"You Can't Be In Two Places At One Time" - Chuck Brooks

"Sour Love, Bitter Sweet" - Joe Wilson

One of the albums I had been eyeing up was by Svenne & Lotta. Possibly a narrow escape. Love Svenne's outfit though. And hair. And "dancing".

Friday, 5 September 2014

Hurdy Gurdy Honky Tonky

I am off to Malmo in the morning to have a look around, then on Monday I'm heading over the bridge to Copenhagen for a couple of days work. I don't know if they have any honky-tonks in Malmo, but if they do that is where I'll be tomorrow night.

"Honky Tonkin'" - Gary Stewart

"Honky Tonk Man" - Johnny Horton

"Honky Tonk Women Love Redneck Men" - Jerry Jaye

"Honky Tonk Song" - Webb Pierce

"Honky Tonk Stardust Cowboy" - Jonathan Edwards

Come to think of it, this lot were from Sweden, weren't they? Maybe it will be a quiet night in after all.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

My Kind Of Gal

Short and sweet today. Here are a couple of tunes from leading Brazilian chanteuse (or whatever the Portuguese for "chanteuse" is - Google Translate opts for "cantora" but I am not sure I trust them), Gal Costa

"70 Neles" - Gal Costa

"Nua Idéia (Leila XII)" - Gal Costa

Especially for our regular reader, the schlager lout Mister F, here is another Costa. I know which I prefer.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Single Song Sunday

I had better start with an apology. I always knew that putting together different versions of the same song was not a remotely original idea. But I did not know that unconsciously I had borrowed the title of this series from Mr. BoyHowdy at "Cover Lay Down". If he gets to learn of this, I hope he will consider it a homage not a rip-off.

Anyway, back to the business of the day. You will all be familiar with "Try A Little Tenderness", but - like me - you may not have been aware that it was written way back when by three English songwriters, Harry Woods, Jimmy Campbell and Reg Connelly. It was first recorded by Ray Noble and His Orchestra in 1932, since when it has been covered by pretty much every crooner that ever crooned a tune.

I have tried to avoid the obvious versons that you will have, like those by Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, but there are still plenty of good ones to choose from. We will start with what I think is the earliest version in my collection, by the delightfully named Little Miss Cornshucks, and finish off with a surprisingly sprightly rendition by a Welsh youth choir. In between we have the obligatory reggae version , the less obligatory calypso and disco versions, and some sublime moments from the likes of Charlie Rich and Etta James.

 "Try A Little Tenderness" - Little Miss Cornshucks

Try A Little Tenderness" - Solomon Burke

Try A Little Tenderness" - Etta James

Try A Little Tenderness" - Charlie Rich

Try A Little Tenderness" - Ohio Players

Try A Little Tenderness" - Bitty McLean

Try A Little Tenderness" - Mighty Sparrow with Byron Lee

Try A Little Tenderness" - Cor Ysgol Glanaethwy

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Tsonga Thursday

Followers of our intermittent offerings of Tsonga Disco will recall that we have spoken of the alleged bad boy of the Tsonga music scene, Benny Mayengani, who is accused of having been responsible for a series of spats with his former mentor, the great Joe Shirimani, and others. Might he have been misjudged?

On his most recent album, "Ntombi Ya Ku Xonga", Benny includes a track called "Jelly Na Custard". Now I don't speak Tsonga, so it is always possible that this is a vitriolic attack on his enemies who he accuses of having no more backbone than jelly. But can a man who writes songs about custard really be all bad?

Let Benny speak for himself.

"Byalwa" - Benny Mayengani (from "Tiba Ben")

"Bomba Na Maseve" - Benny Mayengani (from "Ntombi Ya Ku Xonga")

And sticking with Bennys (and, indeed, Ernies)...

Monday, 25 August 2014

The Show Must Go On

From the mid 1950s to the mid 1970s, the showbands ruled Ireland. Almost every town big enough to call itself that had a dance hall, into which every Saturday night as many locals as were able would squeeze themselves, in the gaps between the rhythm section, the guitarists, the brass section and the two or three singers.

There is a great four disc compilation called "The Fabulous Irish Showbands" which is pretty representative of the average showband repertoire. It consists of about 30% pop hits of the day, 30% country standards and 30% "I'm far away in Amerikay but I miss [insert name of town of county here] so", with a smattering of originals to round things off.

With such riches to choose from it was hard to narrow it down to three, but here goes. We start with a bit of pop-psychedelia from Dickie Rock, before moving on to an utterly bonkers version of Neil Diamond's "Kentucky Woman" by Brendan "Hucklebuck" Bowyer. I find it hard to describe our last selection, but my guess would be it was inspired by East of Eden's "Jig-A-Jig".

"Uncle Tristan's Moonship" - Dickie Rock & The Miami Showband

"Kentucky Woman" - Brendan Bowyer & The Royal Showband

"Boola Boola" - Seamus Shannon & The Drifter Sound

I can't find a clip of Brendan in his prime doing the Hucklebuck, so you'll have to make do with this version instead.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Taxi Time

Any of you who have spent any length of time in a big city in Africa will know that the group of people who do more than anyone else to keep the place running are the drivers of the minibuses and collective taxis, without whom large chunks of the population would never get to work.

Here are some tributes to those undervalued African heroes. I was going to call them unsung heroes but as they are getting sung about that would not strictly be accurate. The songs come from Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, and the last two from South Africa.

"Taxi Driver (I Don't Care)" - Bobby Benson & His Combo
"Jo Le Taxi" - Les Garagistes
"Take Me Home Taximan" - The Soul Brothers
"Taximan" - eVoid
 I was at school in Boksburg with Erik Windrich, the lead singer with eVoid, many centuries ago. We were in the school production of HMS Pinafore together. Gilbert & Sullivan don't appear to have been a major influence on his subsequent musical direction. Understandable I suppose, but also a bit of a shame in a way.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Mixin' Ma Toasties

Here is some top notch toasting from the legendary Big Youth.

"My Time" - Big Youth

"Jah Jah Golden Jubilee" - Big Youth

And here is some less successful toasting from Paul Young and accomplices.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

ReviewShine Time

It is time for a quick, and long overdue, dip into the ReviewShine goodie bag.

First up is our old friend Kathryn Caine. Kathryn's new album is called "Better" and - with no slight intended to her previous records, all of which I enjoyed - I think it probably is. The backing band seems to have a bit more oomph this time out, and it suits the songs well, especially the title track. Check it out then track down the album on the usual digital sites.

The second act today is a sort of German alt-country super-group (although they would need to sign up the Dad Horse Experience to make it a real super-group). The album "Sample & Hold" is what happens when Mr A Million Mercies and Mr Broken Radio - neither I suspect the names they were born with - set aside their solo careers and make music. Very good it is too. It is out now on Hausmusik.

For our final selection we leave Germany (and ReviewShine) behind and head over to Sweden, where we find Johan Hedberg waiting for us. His new album, "Paradiset", is out on Labrador Records on 23 September, and the nice folks at Labrador have sent out a taster to share with you.  His whistling, while not exactly up to Roger Whittaker standards, is perfectly passable and sets the whole thing up nicely.

"Better" - Kathryn Caine

"Easy Come Easy Go" - A Million Mercies & Broken Radio

"Nackamasterna" - Johan Hedberg

I don't know about you, but "Nackamasterna" reminds me a little bit of this...

But somehow not of the bits of "Flight Test" that remind me of this...

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Tsonga on Saturday

We are overdue some Tsonga Disco, so let's put it right with a couple of tracks from Sayicology. Sayicology was part of the old Limpopo Poison gang with Benny Mayengani, Prince Rhangani and Joe Shirimani before it all went pear-shaped (see earlier posts for the ins and outs of the story). What the future holds we will have to wait and see.

"Ghuwa" - Sayicology (featuring Joe Shirimani) [from 'Poison']

"Hosi Malumulele" - Sayicology [from 'Round 2']

Here he is in a sort of semi live performance at an awards show last year.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Buenos Aires Beat

Some nice people have reissued digitally lots of Spanish and Spanish language singles that were originally released in the 1960s and 1970s on the Ekipo label. Thanks to them I have discovered the delights of Argentinian popsters, Mantra.

If the combination of the Emociones Mezcladas website and Google Translate are to be believed - and I would trust the former more than the latter - Mantra were formed in 1970 in Corrientes from former members of Los Pokers and Los Dandy Boys, and enjoyed considerable success in the ten years of their existence, achieving "first 7 national posts, 4 in Uruguay and 2 in Colombia" between 1972 and 1974 alone.

Here are a couple of their hits from 1973. Emociones Mezcladas/ Google are particularly keen on "Saravah", which they describe as follows: "an exciting song, of just 3 minutes, intense pace of Pop & Beat Latino, arrangements incredible winds, incessant chorus, and a topic very advanced for the time, (warm evening, phosphorescent, are like fire and shut down nobody) repeats the song, It is definitely one of the best pop songs of the 70s".  I am not sure I would go quite that far, but it is a right cracker.
"Trinidad Tobago" - Mantra

"Saravah" - Mantra

Two short years after Mantra visited Trinidad, Typically Tropical decided to head to the Caribbean as well, taking Pan's People with them.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Weird In Warsaw

We interrupt our scheduled programming to bring you something truly weird and wonderful.

I was browsing through the Twinkle Brothers albums in eMusic last night, as you do, when I came across one called "Twinkle Inna Polish Stylee", credited to Higher Heights. I was powerless to resist clicking on to find out more. And I am very glad I did.

Higher Heights was a collaboration between Norman Grant and Dub Judah of the Twinkle Brothers and three Polish folk musicians from the Trebania family. The recordings were made in 1991 and, as far as I can work out, are all traditional Polish folk tunes that have been twinklified. And, as unlikely as it seems, it works really well.

Most of the English lyrics seem to concern an outlaw called Johnny who has either come out of hiding and is on his way to his home village to see family and friends, is enjoying the company of family and friends in his home village, or has recently been killed having foolishly decided to come out of hiding to go to his home village to see family and friends. Whether this is a reflection on the paucity of Polish story-telling or some obsession of Mr Grant's I cannot tell you.

"Going To The Village (Krzesany Po Dwa)" - Higher Heights

"Who Killed (Zabili Janicka w Segedynie)" - Higher Heights

To save Mister F the trouble of writing, we will not be using this as an excuse to show the clip of this year's Polish Eurovision entry. If it's a pair of tits you are after, you are out of luck. Obviously.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Bonnie Jean

What better way to ease into Sunday than with some vintage British lovers rock courtesy of the late Jean Adebambo.

"Pipe Dreams" - Jean Adebambo

"Pain" - Jean Adebambo

You will probably have recognised the second song as a cover of Betty Wright's immortal classic. As I'm feeling kind, here is the original as a bonus.

"Pain" - Betty Wright

Friday, 8 August 2014

Mister Jon Him Good

Earlier in the week I had the great pleasure of seeing a joint set by Jon Langford and Robbie Fulks at the tiny 12 Bar Club. It was a warm up night for a mini-tour of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland with (or possibly as) The Mekons, on which they have now embarked.

Most of the audience was there to see Robbie Fulks. Nothing wrong with that, of course - I am a big fan myself and it is over ten years since he last played in London. But there was a small boorish element who I felt showed a lack of respect to Jon Langford, who after all is a bit of a legend in his own way. To redress the balance, here is a small selection of his work under some of his many guises. All but "No Place" got an airing on Tuesday.

(Sometimes I Feel Like) Fletcher Christian” – The Mekons

No Place” – The Three Johns

Walking On Hell’s Roof Looking At The Flowers” – The Waco Brothers

Nashville Radio” – Jon Langford

And before anyone asks, no, he is no relation to this woman, even though both have a penchant for nautical tunes.

He is, however, a proud son of Newport, like these people.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Single Song Sunday

A shorter than usual Single Song Sunday for you today, partly because of my ongoing problems with Box and partly because of the nature of the song. The decent cover versions of "Ooh Baby Baby" - written by Smokey Robinson and Pete Moore and a hit for The Miracles in 1965 - either stick fairly closely to the original format, slow everything down or add a reggae beat. We bring you an example of each. There have been some attempts to funk it up but they don't really work.

UPDATE: The Miracles' version has been surgically removed by Box after a complaint about breach of copyright. Sorry, Smokey.

"Ooh Baby Baby" - The Miracles

"Ooh Baby Baby" - The San Francisco T.K.O.s

"Ooh Baby Baby" - Laura Nyro

"Ooh Baby Baby" - Janet Lee Davis

It's amazing what a difference an extra "Baby" can make:


If, like me, your reaction to the early stages of that clip was "Who is Gunter Gabriel and where can I find his music?", here is the answer:


You will have to find Steffan Waggershausen yourself.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Teddy Time

Teddy Afro (or Tewodros Kassahun as his Mum would call him) is one of the biggest modern-day stars in Ethiopian pop. When I was in Addis a couple of years back I managed to wangle a ticket to his comeback gig at the Ghion Hotel after a period in jail on what his fans would say were trumped up charges. Unfortunately I got laid low by a bout of Menelik's Revenge and never made it.

The first track is from his 2005 breakthrough album, "Yasteseryal". The other two are from "Tikur Sew", the album he was promoting when I nearly saw him in 2012. They are all pretty groovy.

Lambadina” - Teddy Afro
Azobigne” - Teddy Afro
Africaye” - Teddy Afro
Here is another Top Teddy.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014


Greetings, dear friends. I am back from Italy and - some lingering quirks with Box permitting - ready to resume normal service.

We'll kick off with tracks from a couple of CDs I picked up over there. Neither of them could really be described as "must have", but for the combined cost of €4 they were worth a punt.

First up is Franco Battiato's 1981 album, "La Voce Del Padrone". According to Wikipedia, this was the first Italian album ever to sell a million copies. 33 years on it is difficult to work out what got the Italians quite so excited, although the same could be said for a lot of things from the 1980s I suppose. Anyway, it is OK. Next is a track from "Le Cena Delle Ceneri", a 2011 mini-album by Andromeda Lodge. Not really my cup of tea at all this one.

"Cuccurucucu" - Franco Battiato

"Una Stagione All'Inferno" - Andromeda Lodge

Andromeda Lodge are from Pesaro, and it was in Pesaro that the musical highlight of the holiday occurred - a free concert on the prom from Moreno "Il Biondo" Conficconi and his Orchestre Grande Evento. Il Biondo is one of the greats of the Emilia-Romagna music scene, and the show had something for everyone. Highlights included a red key-tar, a tribute to Valentino Rossi - born up the road in Urbino - and guest vocalist and future Mrs Goggins, Anna Maria Allegretti. But not, unfortunately, any of these line dancers.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Cloudless Skies

I am off on my holidays shortly. I had hoped to leave you with a selection of summer sounds to keep you smiling until I return, but Box is playing silly buggers again. It claims that all my files have been deleted, which clearly isn't true seeing as you still play them using the links in earlier posts.

So until I return from my travels - or until Box sorts the problem out, whichever is longer - here is our traditional Summer holiday clip. To be fair, it is better than anything else I would have put up.

Have fun!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Single Song Sunday

I promised you a super Single Song Sunday and, with all due modesty, I think I've delivered. How can eight versions of the world's most wistful song, "We Had It All", be anything other than super?

I knew it first through the Dobie Gray version, which always reduces the Goggins sisters to tears as our father insists on announcing when it comes on that he wants it to be played at his funeral. I expect him to keep saying that for many years to come.

So we will start with Dobie, Donnie Fritts (who co-wrote the song with Troy Seals), and Waylon Jennings (who made the first recording of it in 1973). All sorts of big names have covered it since - the Stones, Dylan, Dolly Parton, Ray Charles, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner - but we don't have any of those. I think you'll like the ones we've got though.

"We Had It All" - Dobie Gray

"We Had It All" - Donnie Fritts

"We Had It All" - Waylon Jennings

"We Had It All" - Two Dollar Pistols (with Tift Merritt)

"We Had It All" - Green On Red

"We Had It All" - Maggie Bell

"We Had It All" - Owen Gray

"We Had It All" - The Rockingbirds

And here are a right pair of old reprobates singing it like they mean it.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Jambatani Time

Some overdue Tsonga disco for you, courtesy of our old friend Mr. Jambatani. Today's selection come from his 2010 album "Bomba Muchangana". If you want to know more about the album, and Mr J himself, best to look at this article that appeared in The Sowetan at the time.

Quite by chance Mr J highlights in the article the two tracks I had already decided to feature when I came across it. This is what he has to say about them:

"Songs to look forward to on this album include Bomba Muchangana, which encourages all Tsonga-speaking people to be proud of being Tsongas and not feel inferior and to promote their culture and ethics, and Lava Dlaka, a song that encourages everybody young and old to have dreams, because dreams can be achieved as long as somebody is focused."

"Bomba Muchangana" - Mr. Jambatani

"Lava Dlaka Leswiya" - Mr. Jambatani

This is for our pal Bram (aka DJ Leblanc), who is a great fan of Mr. Jambatani, and of living your dreams.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Goin' Back And Fourth

I know some of you out there like our intermitent "Single Song Sunday" series. We may have a corker for you this Sunday if I can get my excrement together, as I believe our American friends say. To keep you going until then, here is a mini-version which also doubles as a belated tribute to Gerry Goffin, who passed away a couple of weeks ago.

"Goin' Back" - Dusty Springfield

"Goin' Back" - The Byrds

"Goin' Back" - Nils Lofgren

"Goin' Back" - The Move

And look who else we found!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Wedding Songs

Yesterday I went to a friend's wedding in Mottingham, a part of South London I had never heard of before and which - judging by what I saw of it - is unlikely to be requiring a tourist information office any time soon.

It does however have an excellent library, which is selling off unwanted stock at the moment. It had a small but unexpectedly interesting selection of CDs going for 50p each, and I was able to snap up albums by the likes of Baaba Maal, Ismael Lo and Yerba Buena. I also grabbed a couple by acts new to me, which is what you are getting today.

First up is Think Of One, who are from Antwerp but made the album "Camping Shaabi" in Morocco with local musicians. Second up is Doğan Mehmet, Brighton born and bred but of Turkish heritage. His album "Gypsyhead" is billed as "an Anglo-Turkish, Gypsy-Punk style mix". I have not had a chance to listen to either album yet and picked these tracks at random. See what you think.

"Antwaarpse Shaâbi" - Think Of One

"Ozman Aga / Eighteen Months" - Doğan Mehmet

They had a ceilidh at the wedding, which resulted in utter chaos as you could imagine, but makes this an appropriate choice of clip. We'll dedicate it to Katherine and Jonathan - happy life!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Shoals Galore!

Nothing says "It's July" like songs about fish. So here you are.


"Tropical Fish" - Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby

"The Fish Needs A Bike" - Blurt

"Fish Heads" - Barnes & Barnes

"Little Fishes" - Patrik Fitzgerald

Monday, 30 June 2014

Bye Bye Bobby

I was very saddened to hear over the weekend of the death of Bobby Womack. He had been a huge hero of mine for many years, and I was lucky enough to see him live a couple of years ago when he was promoting the "Bravest Man In The Universe" album. In his first set he played the album, and that was pretty good, but we were blown away completely by the old-fashioned soul revue that he treated us to after the break. It was, like the man himself, extraordinary.

RIP Bobby, no longer the only survivor left still standing here.

"Only Survivor" - Bobby Womack

"Checkin' Out" - Bobby Womack

"Where Do We Go From Here" - Bobby Womack

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Them Or Me

If there is one thing that Ernie Goggins hates, it is people who refer to themselves in the third person.

"Chris Mills Is Living The Dream" - Chris Mills

"Keith Sykes Is Sorry" - Keith Sykes

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Shrimp Samba

Some samba from Brazil - where else? - for you today, courtesy of Molejo. They started out in the mid 1990s and appear still to be going strong. I picked up a compilation dating from 2002 for 50p recently, and it was 50p extremely well spent.

First up is my new favourite song of all time, and I anticipate it will remain so until at least Thursday. The second track, with its references to bacalhau and camarões, appears to be some sort of tribute to seafood. I'm on a seafood diet, you know...

"Samba Rock Do Molejão" - Molejo

"Né Brinquedo Não" - Molejo

Still in Brazil, that Neymar chap has been attracting a lot of attention lately. While I can understand why, personally I have bit of a soft spot for his team-mate Fred. I believe I am legally required to refer to him as "journeyman striker Fred", but with an average of a goal every two games England could do with a journeyman like that. This is for him.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Random Italians

Last night Mister F and I popped down to our favourite local and found a couple of Italian acts doing their thing in our usual corner. The headliners Sibilla were OK, although not really my cup of tea. I preferred the support act, Dancing Julian, except he didn't dance at any point. Didn't even stand up.

It wasn't a particularly well advertised gig and, apart from the performers and a group of their mates, for most of the show Mister F and I were the only members of the audience. The last time something like that happened to me was three or four years ago in Copenhagen, when I was the only paying guest. Coincidentally, two of three acts on the bill that night were also Italian. The headliners were an outfit called Comaneci, and they were pretty good. Here is a track from their 2009 album, "You A Lie".

The second track is from one of the few other Italians I have seen live. Fabio Concato was big in the late 1970s and 1980s, less so by the time I stumbled across him giving a free concert in among the trulli in Alberobello in the early 2000s. But he still put on a fine show.

"Satisfied Girl" - Comaneci

"Ti Ricorda Ancora" - Fabio Concato

Friday, 20 June 2014

Choc A Block

I was in Brussels earlier in the week and, as always, popped into the CD/DVD shop in Gare Midi before hopping on the train home. There are diminishing returns these days. You can still pick up albums by unknown Dutch bands for €1 in the hope they might be decent, although invariably they are not, but there is not much else to tempt you.

I did find one little gem, though - a compilation by 1970s New Orleans funkateers, Chocolate Milk. They were Allen Toussaint's house band for a while, and produced some pretty nifty stuff of their own, as you will hear below. We have padded things out with more chocolate-based bands and, as a special treat, a great reggae version of the Hot Chocolate classic.

"Pretty Pimpin' Willie" - Chocolate Milk

"Buenos Aires Beat" - La Barra De Chocolate

"Heaven Is In The Back Seat Of My Cadillac" - Hot Chocolate

"She Weaves A Tender Trap" - The Chocolate Watchband

"You Sexy Thing" - Johnny Osbourne

I typed "chocolate" into YouTube and that is what came up. I have never heard it before but apparently it was a big Euro-hit back in 2004. It is so bad it almost makes this sound good. Almost, but not quite.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Frankie Says

I promised you some Frankie Miller so here he is, displaying an admirable consistency of message.

"Be Good To Yourself" - Frankie Miller

"Take Good Care Of Yourself" - Frankie Miller

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Get Cody Now!

I am not a man given either to overstatement or throwing my weight around, but sometimes it becomes necessary. This is one of those times.

You lot need to get yourselves over to Noisetrade right now. Cody ChesnuTT has temporarily made his 2012 album "Landing On A Hundred" available for free download, together with some bonus tracks. It is a fantastic record, and those of you who love classic soul will be as smitten with it as I am.

If any of you are daring to question my judgement, this should be enough to convince you.

"Till I Met Thee" - Cody ChesnuTT

"Everybody's Brother" - Cody ChesnuTT

We will stick with soul for today's video clip. The Scottish clip on my previous post seems to have generated some excitement, so let's combine the two and bring you the king of Scottish soul, the man North London's own Rod Stewart wishes he was - Mr Frankie Miller. If you behave yourselves, I might let you have some more Frankie over the weekend.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Carlinhos & The Caxirola

With the World Cup nearly upon us, it is time to pay tribute to the inventor of the caxirola. For those of you not familiar with it, the caxirola is a sort of maraca that was intended to be this year's vuvuzela (although presumably slightly less irritating).

It was only rather late in the day that someone spotted that the caxirola makes for quite a handy weapon as well, ideal for flinging at fatherless referees and the like. As a result, FIFA has banned them from all World Cup stadia, not that it has stopped Mr Blatter and his boys continuing to sell them on its website as official World Cup merchandise. No surprise there.

The hapless inventor of the caxirola is Carlinhos Brown. Carlinhos has had more luck as a musician than he has as an inventor, with a long successful career and an Oscar nomination for the soundtrack to "Rio". Here are a couple of tracks from his 2003 album "Carlinhos Brown É Carlito Marrón".

"Aganju" - Carlinhos Brown

"Talavera" - Carlinhos Brown

Come Thursday, the whole world will be watching, including in those countries whose teams did not quite make it. Today's clip goes out - in the spirit of brotherhood - to our old pal Charity Chic and all of our readers north of the border. I expect our lot will be joining yours on the sidelines soon.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Seeger Song Sunday

With untypical, and possibly unrepeatable, planning we have Single Song Sunday for two weeks in a row. This week it is the old protest song standard, "Where Have All The Flowers Gone". Written by Pete Seeger, it was popularised by the Kingston Trio who had a hit with it in 1961. Since then there have been many weird and wonderful versions. Some of these are more weird than wonderful, it must be acknowledged.

"Where Have All The Flowers Gone" - The Kingston Tro

"Where Have All The Flowers Gone" - Johnny Rivers

"Where Have All The Flowers Gone" - The Chambers Brothers

"Where Have All The Flowers Gone" - Earth, Wind & Fire

"Where Have All The Flowers Gone" - Marlene Dietrich

"Where Have All The Flowers Gone" - Rufus Harley

While "researching" this post I discovered that Jimmy Sommerville had covered the song, so I tracked that down. Had he done it in the style you associate with him it would definitely been here, but it turned out to be a perfectly pleasant but fairly unremarkable acoustic version. So instead, here is Jimmy doing what he does best.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

The Tsonga Svengali

Last time we visited Tsonga Soap Land we reported that Prince Rhangani, egged on by the naughty Benny Mayengani, has supposedly fallen out with his mentor, the great Joe Shirimani. We will give Benny a chance to state his case shortly, but today we give Joe some airtime. Today's selections are from "Hawu Ra Mina", the album he made with his Vana va Ndoda collective last year. The young pretenders are pretty good, but on the evidence Joe is still top of the tree.

With the World Cup coming up next week it seems appropriate to feature "Order". I am not entirely sure whether it is a tribute to the beautiful game or an extended metaphor for something or other, but I'm not sure it really matters.

"Order" - Joe Shirimani Na Vana va Ndoda

"Colour Block" - Joe Shirimani Na Vana va Ndoda

And here is another favourite Joe.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Single Song Sunday

Our occasional series returns with a soul standard - "That's How Strong My Love Is". The best known version is Otis Redding's hit from 1965, but the original recording was made the year before by the mighty O.V. Wright. Since then just about every soul singer worth their salt has had a go, as have a fair few other folks as well. Of course, we have tracked down the obligatory reggae version.

The song was writen by Roosevelt Jamison, who sounds an interesting character. As well as being a songwriter, producer and manager to the likes of O.V. and James Carr, he was a hematologist who ran a blood bank in Beale Street in Memphis. Apparently he first got involved in the music business when he let bands rehearse at the back of the blood bank.

"That's How Strong My Love Is" - O.V. Wright

"That's How Strong My Love Is" - Otis Redding

"That's How Strong My Love Is" - Candi Staton

"That's How Strong My Love Is" - Buddy Miller

"That's How Strong My Love Is" - The Youngbloods

"That's How Strong My Love Is" - The Incredible Casuals

"That's How Strong My Love Is" - Bryan Ferry

"That's How Strong My Love Is" - The Gaylettes