Sunday, 18 August 2019

Single Song Sunday

Two series in two days, I'm not sure I have ever been this organised. It won't last.

After yesterday's Japanese jamboree, today sees the return of our long-running but infrequent Single Song Sunday series. And it is a bit of a corker if I say so myself - Barry and Robin Gibb's mighty "To Love Somebody".

You may think of it as a song that it is impossible to mess up. You would be wrong, as my extensive research for this column has found. Roberta Flack's decision to slow it down and get rid of the tune didn't really work for me, the less said about Jimmy Somerville's cod reggae effort the better. Also,  both the Michaels (Bolton and Buble) have had a hack at it.

You'll find none of that stuff here. Instead we have pure pop from Gary Puckett and the Bee Gees themselves, soul from Nina Simone and James Carr, country from the Burritos and even a Mexican version! The Mandatory Reggae Version comes from Bunny "Rugs" Clarke, way back before he hit the big time with Third World.

"To Love Somebody" -  Bee Gees

"To Love Somebody" -  James Carr

"To Love Somebody" -  The Flying Burrito Brothers

"To Love Somebody" -  Nina Simone

"To Love Somebody" -  Eric Burdon & The Animals

"To Love Somebody" -  Gary Puckett & The Union Gap

"To Love Somebody" -  Slobberbone

"To Love Somebody" -  The Sweet Inspirations

"To Love Somebody" -  Grupo Tolerados

"To Love Somebody" -  Bunny Rugs & The Upsetters

That's it from me for a little while - I'm heading off on my travels in a few hours, back in ten days or so. Stay groovy in the meantime.


Saturday, 17 August 2019

Sazanami Saturday 3: Drive Time

Two more tracks from the excellent "Girls Sazanami Beat! Volume 1" compilation that I picked up while visiting Japan last month. This week it's all about getting behind the wheel (or getting someone else behind the wheel).

"Driver's Licence To Love" - The Lady Spade

"I Wanna Weekend Driver" - Velvet Go! Go!

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Big Old Buster

A couple of old classics for you today from the great Buster Brown. And that is really all I have to say on the matter.

"Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby" - Buster Brown

"Fannie Mae" - Buster Brown

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Sazanami Saturday 2: Let's Go!

We're back with some more splendid sounds from "Girls Sazanami Beat! Volume 1". This week the emphasis is on getting going. Me from Me & Bye Bye☆Cats! - I am assuming Me is the lead singer - is primarily concerned with getting her own gang going. Tigerlily are much more inclusive.

"Let's Go! Me & Bye Bye☆Cats!" - Me & Bye Bye☆Cats!

"Let's Go! Shake" - Tigerlily

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Death Of An Heir Of Sorrows

Very saddened to hear about the untimely death yesterday of David Berman (AKA Silver Jews), all the more so coming so soon after his long-awaited and thoroughly excellent reappearance in the guise of Purple Mountains. RIP Mr Berman.

"Death Of An Heir Of Sorrows" - Silver Jews

"Random Rules" - Silver Jews

"Darkness And Cold" - Purple Mountains

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Pookie & Moses

Some smooth soul sounds from two magnificently monickered men. Both tracks are from a compilation called "The Northern Side of Philly Soul".

When my Sister Kate was little we used to call her Pookie, hence the bonus track. Love you Pookie!

"This Gets To Me" - Pookie Hudson

"Try My Love" - Moses Smith

"I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate" - The Olympics

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Sazanami Saturday

Ladies and Gentlemen, we bring you the Greatest Story Ever Told.

Back in 2008, the cool cats at Tokyo's Sazanami record label decided to ring up all the female beat and punk bands they knew and get them to contribute to an album. The result was "Girl Sazanami Beat! Volume 1" (sub-title: "Japanese Girls Beat A Go Go!").

There are 21 tracks on the album and almost every one of them is a cracker. So for the next few Saturdays at least we'll be sharing the highlights in a new series called "Sazanami Saturday". And while we are doing that I'm going to see if I can find Volumes 2 to 5.

We'll kick things off with Kumamoto's own The Portugal Japan. You may find the lyrical complexity a little overwhelming at first but stick with it. And who wouldn't want to have a surfin' hootenanny with the groovy gals of That's A NO NO!? I know I would.

"Yeah Yeah" - The Portugal Japan

"Surfin' Hootenanny" - That's A NO NO! 

Thursday, 1 August 2019

The Purple People Peter

Fifty years back Peter Daltrey was the main man in the legendary UK psych band Kaleidoscope. After they and his subsequent outfit Fairfield Parlour both went belly up, he disappeared from the scene - at least in terms of recordings - for the best part of a quarter of a century.

He reemerged in 1995 with a couple of albums that were released only in Japan. I managed to pick up a copy of one of them, "English Roses", when I was over there recently. While the passing of time had made his music a bit more mellow and mature, it was instantly recognisable as the great man.

Having rediscovered the urge to make music back in 1995, he hasn't stopped since. He has released something like twenty albums in one guise or another, many of which you can find on his Bandcamp page. I personally had the great privilege of seeing him live about five years ago backed by Trembling Bells - a fantastic show.

As a treat for you all, here is one track from Kaleidoscope's debut album, 1967's "Tangerine Dream", and one from "English Roses". You'll need to set aside the best part of twenty minutes to listen to them both - more if you add the groovy video.

"The Sky Children" - Kaleidoscope

"The Unicorn" - Peter Daltrey

Monday, 29 July 2019

Shiny And New

I'm back from my travels. Japan. I dropped a few clues into the last post before I left but none of you seemed to spot them.

I had a great time discovering many new delights. Some of them were culinary - who knew eel bones would look and taste like Twiglets? - and some of them were musical. I've picked up some very promising looking stuff to share with you, including one CD that I am already convinced is my favourite compilation album of all time (and I haven't even listened to it yet).

I also managed to fit in a gig while I was in Tokyo, at the very hip O-Nest in Shibuya. You go up in a rickety lift to the 6th floor, walk through the bar and down the fire escape at the back to the venue on the 5th floor.

The gig was excellent value. There were five bands on the bill, it was technically free to get in but you had to pay 1200 yen (about £9) for two drinks vouchers. You would be hard pressed to buy two beers for that price in a normal bar in Tokyo.

I missed the first two bands. Of the three I saw, the best thing about The Freddie Mercurys was the name, but the other two were pretty good. Both Luminous 101 (the moody gent below) and Verandah (the fiery lady) had what I felt were some obvious 1980s influences, but nobody else in the audience would even have been born in the 1980s so maybe they felt differently.

Here is a track apiece from Luminous 101's self-titled album - out now on Spotify and possibly elsewhere - and Verandah's first album "Any Luck To You" which came out in 2017. They released a second album called "Anywhere You Like" last year. According to Google Translate, their song title means "Early Talk", but I would take that with a pinch of salt.

"Jigoku no Kodomo" - Luminous 101

"早い話" - Verandah

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Sayonara For Now

This is the last you'll be hearing of me for a while. I'm off on my travels on a few hours - one week working followed by one week holiday.

I'm not going to tell you where I'm going because I don't want to sound like I'm showing off. Suffice to say it is somewhere I have long wanted to go to but never previously had the chance, and I am very excited.

To give you all something to listen to until I'm back, here is a random selection of completely unrelated songs.

"Chu Chu Chu" - The Carnabeats

"Fujiyama Mama" - Wanda Jackson

"Future Stepper" - Jumbo Maatch

"Hello Tosh" - Pato Banton

"Juso Station" - Ché-SHIZU 

"Japanese Gum" - Her Space Holiday

"Shimendoka" - Harry Hosono & The Yellow Magic Band

"Going Back To Okinawa" - Ry Cooder

"I Am A Japanese Cowboy" - Hank Sasaki

"Lost To A Geisha Girl" - Skeeter Davis

"Do What You're Doin'" - The Rising Sun

"Natsu Nandesu" - Happy End

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Overly Specific Series Spot

It's Wednesday evening where I am, which makes it the perfect time to launch our new series "Wednesday Evening Wednesday Evenings".

That's right. Every Wednesday evening we are going to be spinning songs about Wednesdays and evenings. Let's get this party started.

"Wednesday" -  This Is The Kit

"Shadow Of The Evening" - Evie Sands

Monday, 8 July 2019

The Great Gilberto

Last night we had the great pleasure of seeing Gilberto Gil in concert. He had some health issues a little while ago but he's back and looking and sounding great for a mere lad of 77.

Gilberto is touring to promote his most recent album, "OK OK OK", which came out last year. Today's first selection comes from the album, and went down very well last night; the second dates from exactly fifty years earlier. And as for the clip from 1967 - Wow!

"Na Real" - Gilberto Gil

"Procissão" - Gilberto Gil

Sunday, 7 July 2019

The Future King of Kampala

Watch out, Eddy Kenzo, there is a new kid in town coming to steal your crown. He still has some way to go, judging by the indifference of the general public in his video. But they will feel very foolish when Original Papyrus conquers us all.

P.S. Look out for some top quality sawing action about 90 seconds into the video.

"Ngamba (Ndeete)" - Original Papyrus

"Ogutateganya" - Original Papyrus

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Conjunto Crazy

I know there are a few Tex-Mex fans that pop in here occasionally. Hopefully they will enjoy this. Hopefully the rest of you will too.

Until recently I had never heard of Los Texmaniacs, even though they have been going for over twenty years. I imagine there might well have been occasions when they wish they hadn't saddled themselves with such a naff name. I feel that way about 27 Leggies sometimes, but it is too late for either of us to change.

Don't let the name put you off, though. They are a cracking combo, and clearly highly regarded in Texas. Their 2015 album "Americano Groove" - from which today's tracks come - features guests like Joe Ely, Augie Meyers, Alejandro Escovedo and David Hidalgo from Los Lobos. Also the less well known but equally cool Rick Trevino (see below).

"Ya No Te Quiero Ver" - Los Texmaniacs

"Big Night In A Small Town" - Los Texmaniacs (with Rick Trevino)

Speaking of maniacs, as we were, it is a little known fact that Mr Acker Bilk - he of the waistcoats and smooth clarinet - was in Screaming Lord Sutch's band early in his career. Sutch always used to introduce him to audiences as Maniacker Bilk.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

From Malmo to Margate

It was a nice day on Sunday so I treated myself to a trip to the seaside - Margate, to be precise. I popped into the always excellent Old Bank Bookshop for a browse while I was there and found that they had a "three CDs for £1" offer going. Obviously I took advantage, and as two of the three I picked out were double albums it worked out at 20p per CD.

The sole single CD was "Blå Himlen Blues", the 1985 album by Sweden's very own Imperiet. I had never heard of them but I was attracted by the colour scheme on the sleeve. Musically it is very much of its time, as you will spot immediately. I doubt I will dig it out very often, to be honest, but I don't begrudge them the 20p.

First up for you today is a song articulating the frustration one feels when the printer runs out of toner, followed by a song that is either inspired by the Swedish word for peace or by somebody called Fred - possibly Freddie Mercury if the occasional burst of Brian May guitar is a musical clue.

"Tonårs Jesus" - Imperiet

"Fred" - Imperiet

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Cable & Wireless

Let's have a bit of rock steady this sunny Saturday. Two tracks from The Cables, who possibly took their name from lead singer Keble Drummond (or possibly not). Both songs come from their 1970 album "What Kind of World", produced at Studio One by Sir Coxsone Dodd.

"What Am I To Do" - The Cables

"Let Them Talk" - The Cables

Because I'm in a good mood, and because "wire" is a bit like "cable", here's a bonus track - produced by Clive Chin just five years later and a couple of miles down the road from Studio One at Randy's Records. The sound quality is a bit ropey I'm afraid. That's my fault, not Clive's.

"Miss Wire Waist" - Carl Malcolm

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Sigma Variations

Last time we met we were having a frantic time up in Thessaloniki. Now we're packing our bags and heading down to Athens, where things are a little more mellow.

Sigmatropic are an Athenian outfit who have been going for about twenty years now. Their initial breakthrough came in 2002 when they released a Greek language album on which all the songs were based on poems by Nobel Laureate, Giorgis Seferis. This proved so successful that the following year they remade it all in English with a selection of guest singers.

The album is called "Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories" and the guests are an impressive bunch. They include Robert Wyatt, Alejandro Escovedo, Cat Power, John Grant, Laetitia Sadler, Howe Gelb, Mark Eitzel and the two we are featuring today - Steve Wynn and Lee Ranaldo. Steve's track in particular is rather excellent, and the whole album is worth tracking down if you can.

"The Jasmine" - Sigmatropic (featuring Steve Wynn)

"Haiku Twelve" - Sigmatropic (featuring Lee Ranaldo)

Mr Seferis was quite a man. As well as being one of the leading Greek poets of modern times he was a career diplomat - including a stint as Ambassador to the UK in the late 1950s - who then became one of the heroes of the resistance against the military junta that ruled Greece between 1967 and 1974. He died in September 1971, around about the time this was riding high in the local charts.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Frantic Times

It's Sunday, so obviously we have some surf and garage revivalists from Greece for you. They are called The Frantic V and they hail from the fair city of Thessaloniki - birthplace of the Young Turks among many other claims to fame. These tracks are from their 2004 album, "A Long Play With The Frantic V".

"Room 409" - The Frantic V

"Good Lovin'" - The Frantic V

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Specialist Subject

I have been accused of often featuring music on here that appeals only to niche tastes. I say accused, it was possibly meant as a compliment - I certainly took it that way.

Either way, what could be more niche than Grupo Niche, the salsa combo from Cali in Colombia. They started way back in 1978 and are still going strong even though their founder Jairo Varela passed away in 2012. Both today's tracks come from a 1994 compilation called simply "The Best". As Grupo Niche compilations go, its better than all the rest.

"La Negra No Quiere" - Grupo Niche

"Una Aventura" - Grupo Niche

You can thank (or blame) George for today's video. Last time out we featured the Soul Train dancers letting it all hang out to Disco Tex's "Get Dancin'", which prompted George to write in with the extraordinary claim that it had been the 82nd best selling single in Canada in 1975.

Obviously I had to check that out - he's right - which inevitably ended up wiht me frittering away valuable time looking through the rest of the top 100, telling myself it was "important research". To help justify that claim, here are the Soul Train gang again, this time strutting their stuff to No. 66.

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.

Monday, 27 May 2019

African Long Songs

I got back from my travels this morning. I'm a bit discombobulated due to a combination of a long overnight flight and the dreaded lurgy, but thought I should try to get back in the saddle. 

I'm not yet up to generating original ideas for posts, so have decided to contribute to (or nick from, if you prefer) the old Monday's Long Song genre.

I have been off visiting family in Cape Town, which explains the first choice. "Mannenberg" was written about the destruction of District Six, and the song itself then become one of the theme tunes for the fight against apartheid.  

Today's second selection is a little less mellow and more obviously political - neither of which will come as a surprise to you when you see Fela Kuti's name is attached. It is here as a robust variation on "Taxi for Theresa May".

"Mannenberg" - Abdullah Ibrahim

"Coffin For Head Of State" - Fela Kuti

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Single Album Saturday

Later today I'm heading off to spend a bit of time with old Ma and Pa Goggins, but before leaving you in the lurch I thought I would try out a potential new series on you.

Regular readers will be familiar with our long-running but increasingly intermittent 'Single Song Sunday' series which - as the name suggests - features different versions of the same song. As a sort of variation on that theme, I thought I would have a go at cover versions of different songs from the same album.

I have started with a nice easy one in "The Beatles" (AKA The White Album). There are some right crackers here - I'm particular fond of Fats Domino's effort - and "Bungalow Bill" may sound better in Finnish because you can't tell how ridiculous the words are. As is traditional, John Holt rounds things off with the Mandatory Reggae Version.

"Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey" - Fats Domino

"Helter Skelter" - Siouxsie & The Banshees

"Savoy Truffle" - Ella Fitzgerald

"Viidakko-Jim (The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill)" - Eero Raitinnen

"Cry Baby Cry" - Ramsey Lewis

"I Will" - John Holt

Let me know if you think this is a series that is worth persevering with. I'm not sure it will be quite as straightforward trying to do "Fulham Fallout" by The Lurkers, or any of my many Gentle Giant albums, but I could give it a go.

We'll sign off with the big hit cover version from the White Album. See you in ten days or so.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Have You Ever Heard The Reign?

Even we zeitgeist surfers have the occasional blind spot. For me, one of them was Reigning Sound. Until a couple of weeks ago I had never heard of them, even though they have been knocking about Memphis and Asheville for the best part of twenty years and play on at least one album I own (the great George Soule's comeback album, "Take A Ride").

Then I heard a couple of tracks from "Abdication... For Your Love", recently reissued by Merge in the UK, and I realised instantly I had a lot of catching up to do. Here is a track from "Abdication", along with the title track of their 2002 album, "Time Bomb High School".

"Call Me #1" - Reigning Sound

"Time Bomb High School" - Reigning Sound

By the sound of it, the lads of Reigning Sound would be well advised to try to get a transfer to another school. This one, maybe.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Loadsa Lonnies

Last time out we featured Lonnie Holley. If you liked that, then you're going to like this six times as much.

"Baby Without You" - Lonnie & The Legends

"Zydeco" - Lonnie Brooks

"Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O" - Lonnie Donegan

"Galveston Bay" - Lonnie Hill

"I Found A Love" - Lonnie Mack

"Down By The River" - Lonnie Youngblood

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Buddy Donegan's Blues

I had a real treat last night when we went to see Lonnie Holley play in the church down the end of my road. I really can't do justice to him or his extraordinary life story, but this feature in The Guardian last year makes a gallant attempt to do so.

The short version is that Lonnie is a highly regarded so-called 'outsider' artist whose works have been displayed in museums all over America, from the MOMA and Smithsonian on down. He has been making and recording music privately for many years, originally using a second-hand Casio keyboard and a karaoke machine. He made his first album in 2012 and his third album 'MITH', released last year, has rightly generated a lot of interest.

Lonnie played keyboards last night, accompanied by two of his regular collaborators on drums, trombone and effects. The first part of the set was a little bit one-paced at times, to be honest, while still being pretty good. The best bits sounded like a Donny Hathaway album (if the album in question was "Donny Hathaway Sings Songs About Space Ships And Air Conditioning Units").

As the set progressed they went up a gear or two. The extra oomph suited both Lonnie's songs and voice, bringing out their preacherly qualities (appropriately given the venue). They finished on a real high with "I Woke Up In A Fucked Up America" and a plaintive but funky love song to Siri. Yes, that Siri.

I would recommend investing in "MITH" if you haven't already done so. Until it arrives, here are a song apiece from his first two albums, "Just Before Music" (2012) and "Keeping A Record Of It" (2013).

"Mama's Little Baby" - Lonnie Holley

"Six Space Shuttles And 144,000 Elephants" - Lonnie Holley

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

The Fabulous Fabienne

A real treat for you today. Some fabulous slices of French pop to take you back to the Swinging '60s from the magnificent Fabienne Delsol. A glorious mix (or mélange as the French might say) of ye ye and what, following our earlier request for clarification, the Académie française has confirmed should be called le cadence de caprice.

Not that they actually date from the Swinging '60s. Fabienne, who is properly French but was living in the UK at the time, made a handful of albums for the Damaged Goods label in the 2000s. These top tunes are both from her debut album, 2004's "No Time for Sorrows". 

"When My Mind Is Not Live" - Fabienne Delsol

"Don't Fall In Love With Me" - Fabienne Delsol

Also on the album is Fabienne's cracking cover version of France Gall's "Laisse Tomber Les Filles". But, good as it is, you can't top the original.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

From Cuba To Croatia

This should set you up nicely for the weekend. Some vintage Cuban sounds, from a Luaka Bop compilation called "Cuba Classics 2".

I found it in a second-hand record shop in Zagreb. I wasn't aware that Cuban music is popular in Croatia - maybe it isn't if it is only found in the dustier corners of second-hand shops.

"Llegué Llegué/ Guararey de Pasto" - Los Van Van

"Fifi, Teté Y Popó" - Orquesta Revé "Changui '68"
Legend has it that Los Van Van named themselves after their hero Van McCoy, although I can't guarantee that is true.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Huffin' And Puffin'

I have lured you in under false pretences. We have no huffin' or puffin'. Nor, for that matter, do we have any stuffin' or bluffin', or even chuffin'.

But that doesn't mean we have nuffin'. Here are three Ruffins and two Muffins.

"Walk Away From Love" - David Ruffin

"Was Ezo" - Martha & The Muffins

"Ooh Child" - Bruce Ruffin

"The Muffin Man" -  World of Oz

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

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Buenos Aires Beat

A couple of months back I featured the mighty La Yegros, the Queen of Nu Cumbia (and much more beside). I mentioned then that I was going to see her live when she came to London.

The gig was last night and it was every bit as good as I had hoped. She had great tunes, enormous charisma and a fabulous band. If they are ever playing near you, you should definitely go and see them.

La Yegros has a new album out called "Suelta". My copy is on order. To tide us over until it arrives, let's have a track apiece from her two previous albums, "Viene de Mi" (2013) and "Magnetismo" (2016).

"Trocitos de Madera" - La Yegros

"Sueñitos (feat. Lindigo)" - La Yegros

Support on the night came from King Coya, one of the founding fathers of Argentinian folktronica - not something you can say of many people. It was just him and a lot of the music was pre-recorded, so it wasn't the most stimulating of live spectacles, but I liked the noises he made.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

French Falsehoods

Some French freakbeat from 1966. I'm not sure what they call it in France. Probably just "le freakbeat", although "le cadence de caprice" has a nice ring to it. I might copyright that.

Anyway, these people are all impostors. Erick's real name is Patrice Raison, and he has nothing to do with Yves at all. And as for the other five, they are clearly no gentlemen.

"Le Temps D'y Penser" - Erick Saint-Laurent

"Dis-nous Dylan" - Les 5 Gentlemen

While trying to select a video to go along with these tracks, I had a look at who was in the French charts in 1966. One of the biggest stars was Sheila, who had three number one hits that year (and many more before and after). By 1979, she was doing this sort of thing.

Monday, 22 April 2019

The King Returns

You can't beat a bit of King Stitt in the morning.

"I For I" - King Stitt

"King Of Kings" - King Stitt

Continuing our oblique Easter theme...

Saturday, 20 April 2019

New Buds Are Blooming

Being a proverbial S of the Z as I am, I get sent loads of new music - sadly, much more than I can ever get round to listening to. So the tracks that follow are not necessarily the best new records I've been sent, but they are among the best of the fairly small percentage I've had a chance to play.

Taking them in alphabetical order, we start with An American Forrest (real name Forrest van Tuyl). For reasons best known to himself the album is called "O Bronder, Donder Yonder?" and it comes out on 10 May.

Next is the only one of today's gang who has featured here before - in fact, the only one of them I had previously heard of  - Congolese whiz kid Baloji. His new album, "Kaniama: The Yellow Version", is some sort of reworking of last year's album with a similar name and is out on 3 May.

Third in line are Elva, featuring Allo Darlin's Elizabeth Morris and one or more Norwegians. This is the title track of their album that came out yesterday, and very nice it is too.

I'm unlikely to sit through the whole of Flamingod's "Levitation" album (out 3 May) again, as most of it isn't really my sort of thing. But who can resist a tune apparently named after Turkish psych guitar god Erkin Koray and performed by a bunch from Bahrain in a style that combines The Beloved and Steve Hillage? Not me.

In fifth position alphabetically is Susan James. The album is called "Sea Glass" and it is co-arranged by Sean O'Hagan of Microdisney and High Llamas fame. Perhaps as a result there is fair bit of Van Dyke Parks and Judee Sill in the mix, although not so much on this track. You'll have to wait until 6 June to pick up this one.

Last but by no means least is Daniel Norgren. He's a Swede who's a pal of Phil Cook (of Megafaun, Hiss Golden Messenger and himself). I don't think Phil plays on the album ("Wooh Dang") but you can hear some stylistic similarities. The album came out yesterday, and this track is also available as a single.

"Lady Godiva" - An American Forrest

"L'hiver Indien" - Baloji

"Winter Sun" - Elva

"Koray" - Flamingods

"Truth or Consequence" - Susan James

"Rolling Rolling Rolling" - Daniel Norgren

Also out later this month is "Seeing Other People", the new album by our old friends Foxygen. It's good but it may divide the fanbase as it controversially updates their sound. Some tracks sound like they might have been recorded as recently as the early to mid 1980s. Rather than get forced into taking sides, let's all enjoy one of their hits from the 1970s (a.k.a. 2017).

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Sweet Soule Music

A couple of tracks today from the smoothest dude in all of Dude Town, Mr George Soule. Both come from his 2006 album "Take A Ride".

"Something Went Right" - George Soule

"Bend Over Backwards" - George Soule

George pronounces his surname So-Ley. This may be a tribute to him.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Single Song Sunday

This time out on Single Song Sunday we have an old standard that has been recorded by at least three million artists in the 60+ years since it was written: "You Don't Know Me".

The first recording was by country star Eddy Arnold, who co-wrote it with Cindy Walker in 1955. The first hit version was by Jerry Vale the following year, but it is terribly cheesy so I am sparing you that. The classic version - and one of my favourite records of all time - is the one by Ray Charles, which made the Top Ten in both the US and UK in 1962.

You will have heard of most if not all of the other artists featured I expect - we've not exactly gone for the obscure stuff here. The Mandatory Reggae Version comes courtesy of The Heptones.

Many of us have probably found ourselves in the same position as Eddy, Ray, Patti and all the rest at some point in our lives. I know have. I thought of dedicating this post to the oblivious lady concerned using the standard formula for anonymous dedications, "they know who they are". But of course she didn't, so that would not have made any sense. Feel free instead to dedicate it to whoever you see fit.

"You Don't Know Me" - Eddy Arnold

"You Don't Know Me" - Ray Charles

"You Don't Know Me" - Patti Page

 "You Don't Know Me" - Jackie Wilson

 "You Don't Know Me" - Emmylou Harris

"You Don't Know Me" - Willie Nelson

"You Don't Know Me" - Allen Toussaint

"You Don't Know Me" - The Heptones 

Friday, 12 April 2019

Burkinabe Beat

Great excitement here in Leggies Land. Yesterday we had our first ever visitor from Burkina Faso. To welcome our new friend into the fold, and to entertain you all, here are some of the sounds that get the Burkinabe boys and girls bopping.

"Dambakale" - Compaoré Issouf

"Biye Biye" - Amity Meria

Monday, 8 April 2019

Love Achili

A couple of tracks tonight from one of my favourite compilation albums of all time. "Achilifunk: Gypsy Soul 1969 - 1979" came out about ten years ago on the Madrid-based Lovemonk label. It is a mildly unhinged romp through the halcyon years of Rumba Catalana.

You can download or order a CD of the whole album from Lovemonk's Bandcamp page, and you really should. To whet your appetite, here's a couple of corkers.

"Anana Hip" - Dolores Vargas

"Paco, Paco, Paco" - Encarnita Polo

Friday, 5 April 2019

Tejano Time

Saddle up your squeezebox, compadres, we're heading "South of the Border". That's the name of the compilation album these gems come from. I imagine there are probably hundreds of Tex-Mex compilations out there with the same name, but you can have plenty of fun while you're looking for the right one.

"Kranke" - Steve Jordan

"Joe's Special" - Conjunto Internacional

"Cactus Cumbia" - Janie C. Ramirez

These top tunes also give us the perfect excuse to feature the Texas Tornados, and a little extra Freddy too. Not that you ever need an excuse for either.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Banjos and Beelzebub

As all good conspiracy theorists will tell you, the Internet is secretly controlled by shadowy forces that try to dictate what you hear and what you think.

One of the most powerful of these Internet Illuminati is an entity calling itself George (its real identity can only be guessed at). At first it restricted its activities to the comment boxes of assorted music blogs, but it has recently become much more blatant in its attempts to influence. For example, it has infiltrated the Charity Chic blog to the extent that it now has a weekly column there, spewing forth foul propaganda about assorted American states.

It pains me to report that I have now been targeted by The George, which has sent me a copy of a compilation album called "Hillbillies in Hell: Country Music's Tormented Testament (1952-1974)". I always thought that if this day came I would be strong enough to resist. Unfortunately I am too weak-willed to do so, and the music is too excellent not to share. Here are a few of the highlights.

"Yodelling Heart" - Selwyn Cox

"Wrestlin' With Satan" - Zero Jones

"Which Way You Going?" - Jerry Jericho


Sunday, 31 March 2019

Pacific Party Time

Today we are off to the Pacific coast of Colombia, more specifically to the town of Timbiqui, where this bunch of lively lads hail from. I know nothing about the place, but if it is half as much fun as it sounds I'll be booking my tickets tomorrow.

"Pacifico" - Herencia de Timbiqui

"Que De Malo" - Herencia de Timbiqui

It's Mothers Day today in this part of the world. So Happy Mothers Day to my dear old Mum and to all you happy mothers out there.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Serbo-Powered Sounds

While I was in Zagreb last week, I picked up a compilation with the snappy title of "PGP Pop-Rok 80-tih Arhiv". I had a pretty good idea what most of that meant, apart from the PGP bit.

It transpires that PGP-RTB was a state-owned record label and record shop chain in what was then still Yugoslavia. It is apparently still going, but now as the music production arm of the Serbian national radio and television service.

The compilation came out in 2001, obviously well after the break-up of Yugoslavia. I don't know whether all the bands on the album are Serbian, but the two featured today certainly are. They both hail from Belgrade, and Ekatarina Velika were one of the biggest bands of the era (as I'm sure you knew).

Enjoy having it socked to you in a state-sanctioned style.

"Leto" - Zana

"Ljubav" - Ekatarina Velika

Hanging out in Zagreb itself in the mid-1980s were an arty outfit called Dorian Gray. This is one of their big hits. If you recognise the tune, you will understand why I've chosen it for today's video.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Bopping With Bridget

I'm still going through the laborious process of rebuilding my music library - see endless previous references - and still rediscovering gems I had forgotten all about.

This week, Bridget Kearney. It seems I was sent her debut album "Won't Let You Down" when it came out in 2017. I'm not sure I ever got round to listening to it at the time, which is my loss. It is a really good little pop record. Here's the evidence.

"Won't Let You Down" - Bridget Kearney

"What Happened Today" - Bridget Kearney

Sorry to hear that Scott Walker has gone. This may be considered sacrilege in some quarters, but personally I never really got his avant-garde stuff. Give him a tune, though, and by God he could hold it. RIP Mr Walker.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Deer, Oh Deer

From a second-hand record shop the size of a broom cupboard in Zagreb to your homes around the world within 48 hours. That's the wonder of the Internet. And aeroplanes.

Here's a couple of tracks from Croatia's leading surf-rock combo, The Bambi Molesters. Both come from their 1999 album, "Intensity!".

"Bikini Machines" - The Bambi Molesters

"The Wedge" - The Bambi Molesters

Can I just make it clear that by featuring these tracks I am in no way endorsing the molestation of deer or other even more heinous crimes against them.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

The Seven Cs

I am off on one of my regular work trips to Croatia tomorrow. I thought about putting up some Croatian music but having already shared most of the CDs I've picked up on previous trips - the half-decent ones anyway - I don't have a great deal left to offer.

Instead here are songs from seven other countries beginning with the letter C. There are two from Africa and one apiece from Europe, Asia, North and South America and the Caribbean. Hopefully, something for everyone. 

In alphabetical order, here they come: Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Cuba and the Czech Republic. Please make them all feel welcome.

"Srolanh Srey Touch" - Sinn Sisamouth

"Couche-toi" - Edgar Yonkeu

"When I Was A Cowboy" - Ian & Sylvia

"Pescao Envenenao" - Choc Quib Town

"Shawuri Yako" - M'Bilia Bel

"Chirrín Chirrán" - Los Van Van

"Rozmaryn" - Hana & Petr Ulrych

Friday, 15 March 2019

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves

To ease us into the weekend, two top female reggae DJs from the 1980s. Over to you, Sisters.

"Bam Bam" - Sister Nancy

"No Way No Better Than Yard" - Sister Carol

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Miki's Mummy

From Niamey in Niger we head south to... well, I am not sure exactly. I have not been able to uncover anything on the Internet about today's featured act, Eboa Moukouri & His Super Dada Orchestra. An outfit with the unlikely name of Billy Records re-released quite a few of his records as downloads last year, but have not provided any information about the Great Man.

My guess is that Mr Moukouri is from either Nigeria or the English speaking region of Cameroon and that the records date from some time in the 1960s or 1970s. But the details aren't really all that important. What matters most is that he is a jolly soul with a nifty groove and a great line in song titles.

"Miki Miki Picken For Country" - Eboa Moukouri & His Super Dada Orchestra 

"My Mummy + Your Mummy Na De Same Mother" - Eboa Moukouri & His Super Dada Orchestra

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Tuareg Time

As regular readers will know, we like a bit of the old Desert Blues round here. For those of you looking out for the new Tinariwen or Tamikrest or Terakaft, look no further. I'm delighted to report there's a new gang in town.

That gang is Timasniwen, they are from Niger, and they consist of members of an extended family who have been playing together since childhood. Their first album, Tikmawen, came out about six months ago. You can get it on Bandcamp for as little as €7. I did; you should.

Apparently Timasniwen means "the transhumance to the North" in the Tamasheq language (roughly, migrating to northern pastures with your livestock). To my English ears, like other Tuareg bands, it sounds like something you would get at the chemist with a prescription. Which has a logic of sorts to it, as if you need a bit of a pick-me-up they are just what the doctor ordered.

"Kal Timasniwen" - Timasniwen

"Akalwanla" - Timasniwen

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

A Surfeit Of Johnnies

There are a lot of Johnnies out there. So many, in fact, that they have had to start teaming up together because they've run out of people with other names to partner. I wonder why poor John felt he had to shorten his name? Probably forced into it by some record company suit.

CC - apologies if I have inadvertantly complicated things for your Double J post next week. 

"Lonely Island Pearl" - Johnnie & Jack

"Over The Mountain, Across The Sea" - Johnnie & Joe

"Bumper To Bumper" - Johnny & John

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Single Song Sunday

Back by popular demand, here is our first Single Song Sunday of the year. The song in question? "It's Growing".

Written by Smokey Robinson, "It's Growing" was originally recorded by The Temptations. Released in 1965 as the follow-up to their first Number one, "My Girl", it did reasonably well, creeping into the US Top 20. But someone at Motown must have really loved the song, as they released two further versions, by The Contours (1967) and Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers (1968). Bobby is no relation to the much mellower James, who released his own version in 2008.

Otis Redding was clearly a Temptations fan, as having covered "My Girl" in 1965 he had a crack at "It's Growing" the year after. Rounding off our soul selections is a version by Margie Joseph, which came out on Atlantic Records in 1972 - maybe my favourite after the original.

We finish with not one but two Mandatory Reggae Versions. The first, by Busty Brown, is a Lee 'Scratch' Perry production from 1969. Going by what I can glean from the internet our old pal Jimmy Riley may have released a version around the same time. If he did, this one isn't it, but a more recent recording with Sly & Robbie.

"It's Growing" - The Temptations     

"It's Growing" - The Contours    

"It's Growing" - Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers    

"It's Growing" - James Taylor

"It's Growing" - Otis Redding    

"It's Growing" - Margie Joseph    

"It's Growing" - Busty Brown   

"It's Growing" - Jimmy Riley

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Birthday Boy

Today my dear old (very old) friend Mister F celebrates A Significant Birthday. We'll be celebrating in style with a Horlicks or two tonight. Until then here is a small but sincere tribute to the Great Man.

"Stagger Lee" topped the US charts on the day Mister F was born. He was born in the UK, where the No. 1 that day was "As I Love You" by Shirley Bassey. But I have gone for "Stagger Lee" instead because (a) it's a much better record; (b) I don't have a copy of "As I Love You"; and (c) I don't want him to get the wrong idea about the nature of our friendship.

Today's other selections are probably fairly self-explanatory.

"Stagger Lee" - Lloyd Price

"I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago" - Alvis Parsley

"Old Codger" - The Stranglers with George Melly

"Too Old To Rock 'n Roll, Too Young To Die" - Jethro Tull

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Rock On, Tommy

I'm still rebuilding my music library after my IT disaster, and still rediscovering things that I haven't heard in years. Today's find is St. Thomas. Real name Thomas Hansen, St. Thomas was a Norwegian singer-songwriter who died in 2007 at the age of 31 - but not before making some charming records.

"Heroes Making Dinner" - St. Thomas

"New Apartment" - St. Thomas

As far as I can tell this St. Thomas was no relation to the 13th century theologian and philosopher, St. Thomas Aquinas, author of the 'Summa Theologiae'. And speaking of Summa...

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Mr Brown

I went to an excellent gig last night down in Swingin' Streatham at the Hideaway - a new venue for me, but one I'll definitely be going back to.

The star of the show was UK reggae stalwart Lloyd Brown, backed by the excellent RiddimWorks Band and my good friends True Identity on harmonies. We also had a couple of guest spots from Paulette Tajah - pictured here with Lloyd - and Michael Gordon. All of them were in fine voice. Mr Brown is a real showman, and during the course of two and a half hours or so we were royally entertained by him and the rest of the gang. 

Here are a couple of tunes from Mr Brown that he didn't get round to last night (the collaboration with Tippa Irie seems appropriate in the circumstances). As part of his set he did the cover version of a country hit that appears to be mandatory for all reggae artists, so as a bonus here is the original by Randy Travis. I do like a little Randy every now and then.

"UK Reggae" - Lloyd Brown & Tippa Irie

"Black Bags" - Lloyd Brown

"On The Other Hand" - Randy Travis