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

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Kids Of Today

Calling this post 'Kids of Today' is a bit misleading. It's true of the Hush Kids - today's track is from their self-titled album released last year - but the Daloms are from the 1980s and the Goldens from the 1960s. Maybe 'Kids Of All Ages' would have been more appropriate.

"Morning Is Made" - Hush Kids

"Nomathemba" - The Dalom Kids

"Tak Dej Se K Nám A Projdem Svět" - Golden Kids

I'm off to Athens tomorrow for a few days' work, but will hopefully have time to visit my favourite second hand record shop in Kolonaki so I can return laden with goodies. Until then, remain united!

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Cumbia, My Lord, Cumbia

I've just booked my tickets to see La Yegros in April. If you're not familiar with her work - and I wasn't until I saw the show advertised and checked her out - she is an Argentinian performer who describes her music as "an explosive combination of the urban and folkloric chamane dubs, mixed with funky coplas and cumbia raps".

I don't know what that means, but I know I like it. I think you might too. Here are a couple of tracks from her 2016 album, "Magnetismo". Her new album "Suelta" is out shortly, and she's touring Europe in April and early May (the London gig is her only UK show unfortunately).

"Carnabailito" - La Yegros

"Chicha Roja" - La Yegros

For today's clip, some music inspired by (although not originating from) the great country of Argentina. Especially for several of our regular readers.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Babies and Buddies

Today we feature one of the great New Orleans' blues dudes, Mr Earl King. Apparently his real name was Earl Silas Johnson IV. Personally I think he should have stuck with that, it is much more distinctive that being yet another bluesman called King. But what do I know?

"Well-O, Well-O, Well-O Baby" - Earl King

"Buddy, It's Time To Go" - Earl King

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Issue Of The Day

Never mind Brexit or Liam Neeson or any of those other things we are told are the issues of the day. The question dominating discussion in my local last night was this: If Yvonne Elliman married Yellowman, would she be known as Yvonne Elliman-Yellowman?

I'll leave that one with you.

"I Can't Explain" - Yvonne Elliman

"Yellowman Getting Married" - Yellowman

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Chocolate Through The Ages

The Chocolate Watchband were one of the leading lights of the original American garage band scene back in the mid-60s. You could be forgiven for thinking that they left the stage stomping and snarling as soon as the 1970s rolled around never to be heard of again.

But you would be wrong. The band did indeed break up in the late 1960s, but the old gang got back together in the late 1990s and are still going strong. The current line-up includes three members from the old days, including the lead singer David Aguilar. They've just released their first album in nearly 20 years. It's called "This Is My Voice" and its pretty good.

I had planned to feature their classic "Are You Gonna Be There At The Love-In?", but that is one of the many victims of the Great Music Library Transfer Disaster of 2019 (see previous posts). Instead you are getting their moody take on a Bob Dylan tune from 1966, followed by one of the many fine tracks on the new album. You wouldn't think there were 53 years between them.

"Baby Blue" - The Chocolate Watchband

"Take A Ride" - The Chocolate Watchband

Monday, 4 February 2019

Arise, King Bed Bug the First

If you're a fan of innuendo, then the calypsonians are the men for you.

A few years back I was privileged to see the great Mighty Sparrow in a rare London appearance. At one point in the show he asked members of the audience to shout out a topic on which he would them extemporise a calypso. Shamefully, one member of my party yelled out "SEX!!!" at the top of the voice. 

This led to much disapproving tutting from the rest of the audience, not at her vulgarity but at the lack of ambition. Where is the sport in single entendre? Fortunately Sparrow ignored her and picked some other more innocuous subject. I can't now remember what it was, but needless to say it was all "sex, sex, sex" from the second verse onwards.

Which brings us on to Lord Invader and his explanation of why he wishes to be reborn as a bed bug. Once he's finished, Lord Kitchener describes the unfortunate set of circumstances that led to him being struck off by the General Medical Council. We round things off with Sparrow himself and a stinging critique of the then Trinidadian government's decision to restrict food imports from Guyana.

"Reincarnation (The Bed Bug) " - Lord Invader

"Doctor Kitch" - Lord Kitchener

"B.G. Plantain" - Mighty Sparrow

Friday, 1 February 2019

Groovey Joe and Jerry Lee

If these don't get you in the mood for the weekend I don't know what will. Have a groovey one (and, indeed, a Poovey one).

"Ten Long Fingers" - Groovey Joe Poovey

"High School Confidential" - Jerry Lee Lewis

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Day of the Jackal

I bought myself a new PC recently - the old one was so ancient you had to turn the crank at the back to get it started - and while most things went smoothly I've been having some problems with my music.

I use a well-known device beginning with a little "i" to play my music on, and it seems that when you transfer the library over to the new PC all the tracks originally uploaded from CDs need to be reactivated one by one in order to be able to play them.

On the one hand this is intensely irritating as it will take me ages to reboot the whole library. But on the bright side, it means I am coming across things I haven't listened to for years and rediscovering their manifold delights. One such is "Golden Hits Collection" by Don Carlos, which we feature now for your listening pleasure.

"Springheel Skanking" - Don Carlos

"Hog And Goat" - Don Carlos

Next in the "pile" is a compilation called "100 Hits: 80s Weekender", which I honestly had no recollection of acquiring. But I tracked down the original 5CD box set, and if the sticker is to be believed I only paid £1 for it. There are enough goodies amongst all the dross to make it a decent buy at that price. Here's one of them.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Beep Beep

I'm off to see Pete Wylie this evening. You're an intelligent bunch, you'll get the connection.

"Coyotes" - Don Edwards

"I'm A Roadrunner" - Junior Walker & The All Stars

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Mpharanyana Returns

All this reminiscing about the early days of the blog got me thinking about the greatest South African soul singer - and in my opinion one of the great singers full stop - the mighty Mpharanyana. I featured him a lot back then, but haven't done so for years. It's time to put that right.

"Sathane Ngiyeke" - Mpharanyana

"Moketa Wa Thabo" - Mpharanyana

On many of his records, Mpharanyana makes a distinctive little cough at some point. Apparently the first time it happened it was genuinely a cough, but they decided to make a thing of it, like when Bobby 'Blue' Bland clears his throat. And if its good enough for Bobby...

Monday, 21 January 2019

Listeners Choice

Last time out I asked our loyal listeners to help me mark ten years of the blog by sending in random numbers between 1 and 3900, the idea being that the next playlist would consist of the songs that had those numbers on my spreadsheet of tracks we have featured during the life of the blog.

We've had six suggestions (well, five plus a nice comment from 1001 Songs who thoughtfully already has a number in their name). This is what you came up with. To be honest, it is a better selection than I normally manage. I may have to delegate the pop picking to you all again at some point.

"P'tit Femme Mon Gate" - Cormoran Group (selected by Ramone666)

"Cousin Rude Boy" - Culture (George)

"Mabibi" - Esta M (1001 Songs)

"I Love This Town" - Clive Gregson (Apothecary)

"Tupelo Honey" - Little Milton (Charity Chic)

"Raciste" - Ismaël Lô (Mister F)

That's enough looking back. Time to look forward. And what does the future hold for us - Peace and Prosperity? Doom and Gloom? Or Quark, Strangeness and Charm? My money's on the latter.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Ten Glorious Years

Today is a momentous anniversary for all of us here at 27 Leggies (i.e. me). It was exactly ten years ago that our first ever post was published. If my records are correct, since then we've featured 3903 different tracks and roughly 2300 different artists, from Admiral Dele Abiodun all the way to Zuluboy.

Way back then I would never have dreamed that we would become Surfers of the Zeitgeist. After all, we weren't even paddling at that point - more sitting in the car with sandwiches and a thermos flask on a rainy Sunday afternoon hoping the weather would clear long enough for us to manage a quick stroll on the beach.

Some of the many highlights of the last ten years include: becoming penpals with Mama Coconut; being pestered by hip European DJs for cutting edge Tsonga Disco samples; being bigged up on US National Public Radio; meeting the legendary Klaus Voorman; getting on the guest list for some excellent gigs; being relentlessly trolled by irate Elkie Brooks fans for daring to suggest her disco version of "Only Love Will Break Your Heart" was less that great; and, most of all, getting to know all our lovely friends and followers.

To mark our 10th anniversary, here are the first five songs I posted back in 2009. If you would like to make your own contribution to the celebrations, stick a number between 1 and 3903 in the comments and I'll put together a playlist of whatever tracks have the equivalent numbers on my spreadsheet. It is alphabetical by artist so if you fancy a bit of Tommie Young go high.

"They'm" - Rainbow Ffolly

"They Crowned An Idiot King" - Swamp Dogg

"Femme Africaine" - Soule Ngofo Man

"Ti Ricorda Ancora" - Fabio Concato

"Who Let The Flowers Fall?" - The Act

Monday, 7 January 2019

Arnaldo Then Away

I'm off on my travels tomorrow, and will be back (with a bang!) in about ten days. But before I go, here are some tunes from Brazilian polymath Arnaldo Antunes.

I had never heard of him until recently when I found his 2001 album "Paradeiro" in a charity shop and decided it looked interesting enough to merit an investment of 50p. It was. Indeed, I enjoyed it so much I went rummaging around the Internet to find more of his stuff, a small portion of which I present to you now.

"Querem Mandar" - Arnaldo Antunes

"Desistiu de Mim" - Arnaldo Antunes

"Do Vento" - Arnaldo Antunes

See you soon, folks. Stay groovy in the meantime.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Strait Shooter

I have always had a bit of a soft spot for George Strait. Back in the 1980s and 1990s he was one of the few major country artists keeping the flame of "proper" country alive - or at least the Nashville version of proper country anyway.

That's a theme he himself returns to every now and then, as in today's video and in "House Of Cash", his duet with Patty Loveless. I could not find a video for that one or would have added it as well; it is well worth seeking out if you haven't heard it.

But first a couple of personal favourites from way back when. Let's hope George has got over his fever and is feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning.

"Friday Night Fever" - George Strait

"Amarillo By Morning" - George Strait

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Going Commando

We start 2019 with some Ugandan pop from way back in 2018. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Zacks Commando.

"Yogera Gyozalwa" - Zacks Commando

"Omusayi" - Zacks Commando