Saturday, 4 July 2020

A Different Bobby

Me and my friend Mr Perfect - I've mentioned him here before - have been bonding over Bobby Womack lately. I thought you might want to join us, so here are a couple of tracks from Bobby's 1975 album "Safety Zone".

"I Wish It Would Rain" - Bobby Womack

The best known track on "Safety Zone" is probably "Daylight". Being an old fart I am normally a bit sniffy about attempts by modern so-called pop stars to update old soul classics, but I have to concede that Kelly Rowland of That Destiny's Child made a decent fist of "Daylight". Not sure about the fellow's headgear though.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Double Digital

Part 2 of our belated tribute to the late Bobby Digital. Today's tracks are from the "Serious Time" compilation on VP Records. 

"Kingly Character" - Garnett Silk

"How Them Flex" - Cocoa Tea (featuring President Brown)

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Bobby Digital RIP

I heard earlier this week the sad news that Bobby Digital passed away in late May. Bobby was one of the most influential reggae producers of the last 30 years or so, working with the likes of Shabba Ranks, Garnett Silk, Sizzla and many more.

If you want a good introduction to his work I can recommend two 2-CD compilations released on VP Records in 2018. The first is called "X-Tra Wicked" and the second "Serious Time" (although confusingly the song "Serious Time" appears "X-Tra Wicked").

Here are a few selections from the extra album, we'll add some from the serious one next time.  

Belated R.I.P., Mr Digital.

"Sweet Jamaica" - Tony Rebel

"Little Sound Boy" - Johnny Osbourne

Monday, 29 June 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 16

Stage 16 of the Grand Tour, and the first of two consecutive stops in the beautiful Baltics. But before we land, a public service announcement.

Stages 18 and 19 will take us to Luxembourg and Malta, and I am really struggling to find decent music to feature. I have no doubt it exists, but it isn't easy to track down. If any of you lovely readers are able to help that would be greatly appreciated.  

No such problems in Latvia, fortunately, which is awash with wonder by comparison. I was lucky enough to visit Riga a few years ago. It's a top town, and I only wish I had been able to stay longer to see a bit more of the country.  Anyway, on with the show.

"Trīsi, Trīsi, Sikspārnīt" - Ingus Baušķenieks

"Sesas Pedas" - Oranžās Brīvdienas

"Lidmasina" -  Jumprava

"Saules Deja" - Vējam Kabatā

"Mana Kafejnica Ir Salauzta" - Dzeltenie Pastnieki

If you listened to all of those you may have drawn the conclusion that the Latvians are an earnest bunch. Let's correct that misapprehension immediately with this first video, featuring what I believe is the only Eurovision entry ever covered by one of the leading lights of Scotland's thriving pirate metal scene (Alestorm - but you knew that). 

Friday, 26 June 2020

Long Ago In Lima...

I recently acquired a great compilation of 1970s Peruvian psychedelia and Latin Soul called  "Cumbias Psicodelicas: Volume 1 Ayahuasca". You can find it on the Bandcamp site of the thoroughly excellent Repsychled label, and at a mere €7 it's an absolute bargain. Here are a couple of cracking tunes from the album to get you in the mood for the weekend.

"El Arbol" - El Comienza

"Kashanga" - El Opio

Among the other delights on "Ayahuasca" is a decidedly groovy version of this old favourite.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

More Sounds Of Now!

The lovely people in Promoland have been back in touch, sending me goodies to share with you. And this week's goodies are extra good.

"The Joy of Forgetting" is the new album by Allegra Krieger, a Florida-born Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter, and its a cracking good listen. I'm not very good at describing why I like a record, as regular readers know, so let's just say she has a distinctive voice, strong songs and interesting arrangements that sound slightly off-kilter - making the album ideal listening for the off-kilter world we're living in at the moment.

"The Joy of Forgetting" itself isn't out until 7 August but the latest single "Welcome" came out last week, and here it is. Have a listen then head straight over to Allegra's Bandcamp page to pre-order the album. If you do that you'll get "Welcome" and the two earlier singles from the album for free straight away. Her earlier stuff is well worth a listen as well. 

According to the promo materials, Allegra is RIYL ("Recommended if you like" for those of you not up with tastemaker jargon) Sharon van Etten and Liz Phair. That's probably true, but for some reason the singer she reminds me of most is Devon Sproule. So here's a little bit of Devon as a bonus.

"The Warning Bell" - Devon Sproule

Monday, 22 June 2020

The Real McCrae

What better way 
to start the day
than with a bit of Gwen McCrae

I'm a poet and I didn't know it

"Rockin' Chair" - Gwen McCrae

"For Your Love" - Gwen McCrae 

You may have heard of her ex-husband.

Friday, 19 June 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 15

We've reached the 15th stage of our 27 stop tour, and we're in Italy. I've been lucky enough to visit many times over the last 30+ years and have never had a bad experience, not even when I got attacked by a Mother Superior after I asked one of her nuns if she wanted to sit on my shoulders to get a better view of the Pope. It was a fair cop.

As well as being one of my favourite countries, Italy may be the home of my great lost love. Five or six years ago I was staying in a cheap hotel in the Trastevere district of Rome and indulged in a bit of light flirtation with the delightful receptionist. When time came to check out, she suddenly clasped me by the hand, looked me deep in the eyes and said "You..." - dramatic pause, even deeper look - "are a beautiful chicken!".  

If it had been a film I would have got half way to the airport before realising I was making a mistake, jumped off the bus, flagged down a Piaggio Ape and headed back to the hotel to propose to her. Now, if lockdown has taught me anything it is that I must seize the day, so that's exactly what I'm going to do when we're allowed out again. Let's hope I'm not too late. And let's hope I can remember the name of the hotel.

Enough of me, on with the music. We start with some sexo and end with some deatho. All human life is here.    

"Sexo!" - Ivan Cattaneo

"Noia" - CCCP Fedeli Alla Linea

"Ell" - Rita Pavone

"R.I.P. (Requiescant in Pace)" - Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Direct From The Workshop

McCully Workshop sounds too dull to be the name for a psychedelic band, who were normally called things like The 14th Eye or Abigail's Mushroom. But that's what they were, and one of South Africa's finest. Here are a couple of tracks from their 1971 album "Genesis", which is considered by most aficionados to be their masterpiece.

"(We All) Look For The Sun" - McCully Workshop

I can't find any clips of the Workshop in their prime on YouTube. There are, however, many hundreds of some outfit called Genesis. Hopefully this will temporarily sate George's craving for ludicrous videos.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Warning: May Contain Nuts

Today: songs about peanuts, peanut-based products and purveyors of peanuts. Just because.

"Peanuts" - Little Joe & The Thrillers

"Peanut Butter" - The Marathons 

"Peanut Brittle" - The Actors

"The Peanut Vendor" is one of those tunes that pops up all over the place - here are just two examples.

Friday, 12 June 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 14

It seems to have taken forever, but we are now halfway through the EU farewell tour. And where better to celebrate the achievement than in Ireland. 

The series has not been without its challenges. For some countries, the challenge has been to track down enough good stuff to make a full post. That is going be the issue next month when we do the three Ls and then Malta

With Ireland the problem is the exact opposite - what to leave out? I could have spent days agonising over my selection but decided against it. This is today's five; if I had done this tomorrow most if not all of them would have been different. 

It being Ireland we'll need some folk, some showbands and a bit of literary pretension (as opposed to the sort of pretension embodied by that gigantic arse B**o). We have ticked all those boxes, and taken the opportunity to pay tribute to Brendan Bowyer, one of the greats of the showband era who sadly left us a few weeks ago. Microdisney are in there because they are one of my favourite bands, while the "Munster Hop" must be one of the happiest sounds in the world.

"The Hucklebuck" - Brendan Bowyer & The Royal Showband

"Endless Art" - A House

"The Auld Triangle" - The Dubliners

"The Munster Hop" - Sharon Shannon

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

From Mia to Maia

Last time out we featured Mia Doi Todd. Just add an A and that gives us Tim Maia. Well, strictly speaking, adding an A and a Tim and taking away Doi and Todd gives us Tim Maia, but you know what I mean.

The late, great Tim was and always will be the undisputed Brazilian King of Soul. He also released ten different albums called "Tim Maia", which really puts that weed Peter Gabriel in his place.

"Que Beleza" - Tim Maia

Monday, 8 June 2020

The Mighty Mia

I have recently discovered the delights of Mia Doi Todd. She has been making records for the best part of 20 years but for whatever reason had completely escaped my attention until a few months ago. Then the lovely people at ORG Records sent me a copy of her 2008 album "GEA" which they have just reissued.

"GEA" is a cracking album and I would heartily recommend you give it a listen. It set me off on trying to track down her other records, and I have now acquired a handful of them. Apart from "GEA" my favourite is probably 2011's "Cosmic Ocean Ship". Here are a couple of tracks from that.

"Summer Lover" - Mia Doi Todd

"My Baby Lives In Paris" - Mia Doi Todd

Friday, 5 June 2020

Top Of The Hill

We're now well into the 12th year of this blog, yet somehow we've never featured the mighty Z.Z. Hill. What an extraordinary omission. It's time to put things right.

"Let's Make A Deal" - Z.Z. Hill

"Cheatin' In The Next Room" - Z.Z. Hill

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 13

Part 13 of our EU Grand Tour brings us to Hungary, land of spas and goulash. Also the home of Zsa Zsa Gabor, Ferenc Puskas, Franz Lizst, Laszlo Biro and these formidable performers.

I went to Hungary once. I liked it very much and I would like to go again. I realise that reads like something a primary school child would produce if asked to write about their holidays, but the creative juices aren't really flowing at the moment. Maybe I need a couple of shots of palinka to stir them up.
"Fekete Beat" - Sarolta Zalatnay

"Részeg Hajnalok" - Bergendy

"Vetettem Violat" - Marta Sebestyen

"Sunhanni" - Kampec Dolores

"Tiz Ev Az Uton" - Kati Kovacs & Locomotiv GT

You may notice a common theme to the videos. It would appear that in 1976 some bright spark decided to ship a job lot of pop stars down to Lake Balaton and shoot all that year's promo videos in one go to save money.

The lake works nicely as the backdrop for some wholesome fun while Beata Karda is smiling sweetly, but it all becomes slightly seedy when Hairy Gyorgy turns up. And you have to feel sorry for Corvina who get fobbed off with a pedalo. Presumably the budget had nearly run out by then.

Monday, 1 June 2020

Carol Goes Galactic

Nobody could accuse Sister Carol of being parochial or of lacking ambition. First she's going to conquer the world, then she's going to conquer the universe.

"International Style" - Sister Carol

"Lost In A Space" - Sister Carol

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Listen To What The Man Said

Way back in 2003, some bright spark came up with the great idea of rounding up some veteran soul singers and setting them loose on some Van Morrison songs. It was an impressive line-up, including the likes of William Bell, Eddie Floyd, Little Milton, Syl Johnson and many more.

As I may have mentioned in the past, I'm a big fan of the man they call 'The Man'. I'm also a big fan of many of the singers who got involved in the project, so this was always going to be a winner for me. Even their decision to give the album the dreadful title of "Vanthology" couldn't spoil it. Here are a couple of highlights.

"Real Real Gone" - Betty LaVette

"Warm Love" - Otis Clay

Here is old Furgone di Piufiglio performing the same songs, for the sake of comparison.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Old Friends, New Sounds

Afternoon All. We have a quick update for you on what two friends of the blog have been up to recently. 

First up is Asthmatic Harp. Not only has she featured here in her own right, but also very graciously acted as guest curator for the Danish leg of our EU farewell tour. She has an excellent new single called "To The Boats" coming out next week (Wednesday 3 June to be precise).

I don't know whether it is the strange times we are living in, but the sentiments and the mood of the song really struck a chord with me when I first listened to it. Details of how to buy the single will appear on Ms Harp's website in due course. Until then, here is the video.

Our other returning friend is Lesley Barth. We featured the first single off her fantastic new album "Big Time Baby" at the beginning of April. The album is now out and it would be utterly foolish of you not to head over to her website and buy it immediately. I have been listening to it a lot since I got hold of a preview copy, and enjoying it more and more with every listen.

The latest single from the album is "You Gotta Hand It To The Man", which turns out to be more topical than Lesley probably imagined when she wrote it. She's made a lockdown video with a message to go with the single. It's a message I'm sure we can all agree with. Over to you, Lesley.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Samba Soul Sensations

Two slabs of sunshine for you today courtesy of the always excellent Strut Records. Both come from their compilation "Black Rio 2 (Original Samba-Soul 1968-1981)". Pretty much every track is a winner. One can only imagine how good Black Rio 1 must be.

"Bananeira" - Emilio Santiago

"Não Vou Chorar" - Os Diagonais

Monday, 25 May 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 12

Part 12 of our Grand Tour, and this time we are off to Greece. For the last six or seven years I have been lucky enough to get to Athens a couple of times a year for work, and I usually manage to extend my stay. It's one of my favourite cities, with a good music scene.

On one trip I found myself performing Neil Sedaka's "Oh Carol" with a bouzouki band to an audience of representatives of the local transport union. But that is another story, and probably not an example of the good music scene, judging by the union reps' reaction. Better to leave it to the professionals.

"Rain And Tears" - Aphrodite's Child

"Ti Simveni" - Nostradamus

"Zw" - Dimitra Galani

"Terma To Dialeimma (I Mpampesa)" - Magic de Spell

"Chalasia" - Villagers of Ioannina City

Friday, 22 May 2020

Funky Friday

Last time out Starship Commander Wooooo Wooooo was instructing us all to get funky. He would no doubt be delighted to know that top Nigerien Tuareg rockers TisDass have done as instructed. It does not get much funkier than the opening to "Adounia".

Both tracks are from their 2015 album "Yamedan", released on the always excellent Sahel Sounds label and available on Bandcamp now at a bargain price.

"Adounia" - TisDass

"Ayatma" - TisDass

In further funky news...

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Starship Special

Over the years we're featured a fair number of acts with peculiar names - the Hallelujah Chicken Run Band, Tedious Matsiko, Me & Bye Bye☆Cats! and Dr. Pants to name but a few. But today we have what may be the most strangely named of them all.

What were Mr and Mrs Connors thinking?

"Get Funky" - Starship Commander Wooooo Wooooo

"You Are My Starship" - Norman Connors (featuring Michael Henderson)

Monday, 18 May 2020

Cola Wars

That Charity Chic fellow is doing another one of his series where he plays two opposing songs and asks you to vote on your favourite. This time it is Heaven vs Hell.

The choice of salvation or damnation may seem important to some, but it is insignificant compared to choosing your favourite carbonated cola. Today we are asking you to vote on that important subject.

In order to stop CC spotting we are nicking his idea, we are using the classic school debating society format. There are.two teams of three speakers, one arguing for Pepsi and the other for Coke. Please pay them the courtesy of listening to all of them before casting your vote.

"Pepsi's Got A Lot To Give" - Johnny Cash

"Pepsi Generation" - Michael Jackson

"Pepsi's Got A Lot To Give" - B.B. King

"Coke Is It" - Aretha Franklin

"Things Go Better With Coke" - Ray Charles

"Coke Is It" - The Thompson Twins

And in third place...

Friday, 15 May 2020

Phil May RIP

Bloody Hell. Little Richard, Betty Wright and now Phil May all gone within a week.

I had the great privilege of being at The Pretty Things' retirement gig about 18 months ago. At the time I suspect we all thought they would really come back. Sadly not. RIP Mr May.

"Don't Bring Me Down" - The Pretty Things

"Loneliest Person" - The Pretty Things

"Grass" - The Pretty Things

The Long Goodbye: Part 11

Part 11 of our grand tour brings us to Germny. How can you do justice to German music with five mp3s and a few videos? You can't.

I thought about maybe making this a schlager special or a crash course in Krautrock, but in the end have tried to find something for everyone (or in the case of our old friend The Dad Horse Experience, possibly something just for me).

I had to find room in the mix for a bit of country music in recognition of one of the strangest musical experiences of my life. A few years ago my pal Mister F and I found ourselves in Berlin at the same time as the annual country music festival, so we went along. It was wall to wall line dancing and people dressed like this.

"Arizona Man" - Mary Roos

"Hero" - Neu!

"Din Daa Daa" - George Kranz

"African Reggae" - The Nina Hagen Band

"Lord Must Fix My Soul" - The Dad Horse Experience

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Lost Sounds of Luanda 2

Today we bring you Part 2 of our two part series on the 1960s Angolan music scene. All tracks come from the excellent "Angola Saudade 60-70" box set.

"Nadia M'Gongo Ge" - Nito Nunes

"Nizambi" - Teta Lando

"Lata D'Agua" - Mamukueno

José Adelino Barceló de Carvalho (better known simply as Bonga) is considered one of the all time greats of Angolan music. His career started in the early 1970s in Portugal, where he had originally moved to pursue an athletics career. He's still going strong at 77.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Betty Wright RIP

This year is just going from bad to worse. Yesterday Little Richard went, today we've lost the great Betty Wright.

Betty has been a big personal favourite ever since the mid-1980s when I first heard "Pain" and was blown away. I was lucky enough to see her live about eight years ago in a small venue (the Jazz Café in Camden) and she was every bit as wonderful as I had hoped.

She was still making great records as well - 2011's "The Movie" album was up there with the best. As is she now. RIP Ms Wright.

"Thank You For The Many Things You've Done" - Betty Wright

"Pain" - Betty Wright

"Tribute To My Girls" - Betty Wright

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Little Richard RIP

Just heard the sad news that we've lost Little Richard. This is turning into a sod of a year. RIP Mr Penniman.

"Keep A Knockin'" - Little Richard

"Directly From My Heart" - Little Richard

Friday, 8 May 2020

Lost Sounds of Luanda 1

A major milestone was reached in the Goggins household yesterday. I finally got to the end of the backlog of CDs that I had acquired over the last couple of years but never had time to listen to. My next job is to start digitising random bits of vinyl. You can look forward to some real tat when that gets going.

Right at the bottom of the pile of CDs was something I picked up in Aveiro in Portugal the best part of two years ago. it is a 4 CD set of Angolan music of the 1960s called "Angola Saudade 60-70". I really should have put it on the top of the pile because there is some weird and wonderful stuff on there

Here's the first selection. There will be another one along in a few days.

"Ritmo Da Ilha" - Africa Show

"Sheike Adeus Azevedo" - Noombe Jazz

"Zeca Camarão" -  Mario Rui Silva & Ana Paula

And here are some more modern Angolan sounds. I would have to say that if anyone here today kicks ass it's Noombe Jazz not the Don, but he's pleasant enough.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Music For Grown-Ups

My last trip before the lockdown was to Athens in early March. I was there for work but managed to sneak in a visit to my favourite record shop. I don't know the name, the sign outside is in Greek only, but I always find something interesting there.

This time round I picked up two Garland Jeffreys' albums from the early 1980s. "Guts for Love" (1982) has its moments but you wouldn't call it a career highlight. The 1981 live album "Rock & Roll Adult", on the other hand, is splendid from start to finish. Here's the evidence.

"35 Millimeter Dreams" - Garland Jeffreys

"Cool Down Boy" - Garland Jeffreys

Monday, 4 May 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 10

For the tenth leg of our European tour we are hopping over la mer to visit our friends in France. I have acquired quite a lot of French music over the years, so for the first time in a while I was spoilt for choice. I couldn't find room for the likes of Hallyday, Piaf, Gainsbourg, Guetta, Jarre or Jacques, let alone Daft Punk and Ottowan; but even without them today's selections are truly encroyable.

I'm dedicating this to my old friend Jeni and her family in Paris. Jeni is from West Bromwich originally so obviously found Paris a bit parochial by comparison when they first moved there, but she seems to have adjusted. She also has a nephew called Coolio, but that's for another day.

"On Nous Cache Tout, On Nous Dit Rien" - Jacques Dutronc

"L'Anamour" - Françoise Hardy

"H.S.B" - Electric Callas

"Velomoteur" - Les Calamites

"La Fille Du Selecta" - Massilia Sound System

Saturday, 2 May 2020

From Bear To Bare

Earlier in the week we brought you an assortment of bears. Here's one of a different variety - the great Bobby Bare, with a couple of tracks from his magnificent 1980 album "Drunk & Crazy".

Drunk and crazy he may have been, but that didn't prevent him from handing out some sensible dietary advice.

"Food Blues" - Bobby Bare

"Willie Jones" - Bobby Bare (with Charlie Daniels)

Thursday, 30 April 2020


If you woke up this morning and thought to yourself "What I really need right now is some exiled South African jazz musicians from the mid 1970s", you're in luck. Ladies and Gentlemen - Jabula!

"Baile - They Are Gone" - Jabula

"Badishi - Herdboys" - Jabula

They played on "Ommadawn", you know, but I'm going to spare you that. Instead here's a song called "Jabula" (it means "rejoice") by the chirpily named Teargas.

Monday, 27 April 2020

The Sound of the Streets

And when I say "The Sound of the Streets" I mean it literally. Yesterday while I was out having my daily constitutional I spotted a CD lying on the pavement which had the cryptic words "MIN THEB" written on it. I picked it up carefully and took it home, cleaned it up with some of the disinfectant I had been saving for lunch - I'm on the Trump Diet - then stuck it in the CD player. Slightly to my surprise, it worked.

The CD in question turned out to be "Menos el Oso", the 2005 album by Minus The Bear. It's not really my cup of tea, but here's one of the better tracks for you. I've padded things out with some other bear-based bands.

"Hooray" - Minus The Bear

"I Won't Be Hangin' 'Round" - Bear

"Pirate King" - Edward Bear

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Punky Reggae Party

Way back when a lot of the punk bands had a go at covering reggae songs. I'm not the sure the compliment was returned to any great extent, apart from Errol Dunkley doing "I'm An Upstart" and Peter Tosh briefly fronting Peter & The Test Tube Babies on tour when the other Peter was unwell. But that's by the by.

One of the better efforts was Stiff Little Fingers' remake of a Bunny Wailer song. I say remake rather than cover because apart from the riff and the refrain they changed pretty much everything. Maybe that's why it works. Here are both versions.

"Roots Radics Rockers Reggae" - Bunny Wailer

"Roots Radicals Rockers And Reggae" - Stiff Little Fingers

Thursday, 23 April 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 9

We're back on the road again. We're heading way up north to the land of Lapps, lingonberries and Lasse Viren - FINLAND!!!

I have been lucky enough to visit Helsinki a few times and always enjoyed it. On one occasion I was asked to leave a rock club after accidentally falling in with a bunch of Irishmen who were arguing violently about the name of the bird in 'Peanuts'. You had to be there.

We have something for everyone this time - assuming, that is, that everyone likes one or more of Finnish punk, Finnish hip hop, Finnish folk music, Finnish Bobbie Gentry covers and the Finnish Jethro Tull. 

"Akateeminen Poika" - Pella Miljoona & N.U.S.

"Heruuks" - Fintelligens

"Ottajat" - Varttina

"Deep Thinker" - Tasavallen Presidentti

We are now a third of the way through the Grand Tour and we have a couple of big stops coming up next - France and Germany. Until then, let's groove to some more top Suomi sounds.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

The Sound Of Swingin' Spain

Los Pekenikes were a Spanish instrumental group that started in the early 1960s and were around for at least twenty years, possibly longer. I've heard a couple of their albums from the 1970s. A lot of it is pretty bland, to be honest, but every now and then they got funky. Whether that was by accident or design, who can tell?

"Cielo Rojo Sobre El Golan" - Los Pekenikes

"Cachimba" - Los Pekenikes

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Single Song Sunday

It's this time again - and we have a Jimmy Webb song for you, which is always a guarantee of quality.

For many years the only version of "Do You What You Gotta Do" I knew was the one by The Four Tops, which made the Top Twenty in the UK in 1969 (but which wasn't even released as a single anywhere else as far as I can tell). I had always assumed theirs was the original version, but I was wrong. There had already been three charting versions before Levi and the boys got round to it.

Admittedly none of them were what you would call global smashes. Al Wilson had the first go and took it to No. 102 in the Billboard charts in early 1968. Nina Simone dwarfed his achievement by getting it to No. 83 later in the year. Larry's Rebels, on the other hand, did get into the Top 10 with their rendition, but only in New Zealand.

Rounding things up, Tom Jones gives it a bit of a belting, B.J. Thomas goes for a more mellow take as you might expect, while Meg Baird is wispy and wistful. The Mandatory Reggae Version comes from Mr Pat Rhoden. 

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Al Wilson

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Nina Simone

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Larry's Rebels

"Do What You Gotta Do" - The Four Tops

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Tom Jones

"Do What You Gotta Do" - B.J. Thomas

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Meg Baird

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Pat Rhoden

Inexplicably I can't find videos of any of them performing the song on YouTube. In fact all there seems to be is a very badly recorded live performance by Linda Ronstadt and an acoustic version by a Fleet Fox. So instead here are some different videos from some of those folks.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Jimmy Mac

Like many people, I first became aware of James McMurtry fifteen years ago when he released "We Can't Make It Here". Since then he has become one of my favourites and I've been lucky enough to see him live a few times.

But even back in 2005 James had been knocking about for a fair old while. On a trip to Belfast earlier in the year I managed to pick up a copy of his second album, "Candyland", which came out way back in 1992. Here's a couple of the highlights.

"Safe Side" - James McMurtry

"Where's Johnny" - James McMurtry

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 8

After the last edition's Celebrity Special, normal service is resumed. Well, what passes for normal in this series anyway.

Our eighth EU country is Estonia. A big shout out to the Mighty George for his help in putting this together. Between us we've got you some folk-rock, some punk and new wave, some wistful crooning and some magnificently wonky pop from 1980. And much, much more.

"Kus On Mu Kodu" - Agent M

"Hobusemäng" - Vagilased

"Tartu Mnt 52" - The Tuberkuloited

"Viin Sind" - Mari Jurjens

"Stopp, Seisku Aeg" - Velly Joonas

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Tsonga Tsunday

Long-standing readers may remember that once upon a time we had a mission round here. It was to bring Tsonga Disco to the masses. We abandoned it a long time ago in a grubby chase for higher ratings, but every now and then I feel a twinge of conscience and I remember the man I used to be.

Which is a melodramatic way of saying that we have some newish Tsonga music for you today, courtesy of SLT Records. The label was set up by one Sheggie QT, a performer/producer originally from Tzaneen in South Africa's Limpopo Province (where the bulk of the Tsonga or Shangaan people are to be found).

I'm not sure all the artists on the label are Shangaan, but I reckon the two D-men and Navetisa definitely are. Durro Durro in particular has that distinctive Tsonga Tsound.

"Bulula Lawa" - Durro Durro

"Huku Vayi Dlaya Hixisuti" - Dunuza

"Nlava Swa Matolo" - Queen Nghunyuta

Friday, 10 April 2020

New Music Alert

Good morning, Zeitgeisters! Thanks for dropping by.

The subtle clue in the title may have alerted you that we have some new music to bring to your attention.

First up is an old friend of the blog, Lesley Barth, who we previously featured about 18 months ago. Lesley has a new album out in May called "Big Time Baby" and the lead single, "Woman Looking Back At Me", was released yesterday. You can buy the single and pre-order the album from her Bandcamp page. You should do both.

"Big Time Baby" is Lesley's first album since giving up the day job to concentrate on music. Having been lucky enough to get an advance copy, I can vouch that musically at least it has paid off. As good as her previous records were, this one is a real step up. It is a bit pop, a bit country with a nice 70s Carole King sort of vibe throughout. As for the single, think stripped back "Heart of Glass".

The other new record is a compilation from the Polyvinyl label called "Stay Home". It's available exclusively on Bandcamp for as little as $5 (although they would like you to pay more if you can afford it). All proceeds go directly to the artists, many of whom have obviously been affected financially by the lockdown.

There are some relatively well-known names involved - the likes of Xiu Xiu, of Montreal and Pedro the Lion - but plenty of new ones for you to explore as well. I've picked a nice Karen Dalton cover by Palehound. While you are still on Bandcamp make sure to pick up her 2019 album "Black Friday". It's top notch stuff.

"Something On Your Mind" - Palehound

We have a video from Lesley to finish off with. A couple of years back she challenged herself to write a song a day for 30 days. This is one of them that ultimately made it on to "Big Time Baby".

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

John Prine RIP

I woke up this morning to the sad news that John Prine isn't going to wake up this morning. I have been a fan of his ever since I saw him play an unscheduled short set at the Cambridge Folk Festival way back in 1980.

Today's first selection picks itself. The second is possibly my personal favourite John Prine song. It's at the head of a very long list though. RIP Mr Prine.

"Please Don't Bury Me" - John Prine

"Lake Marie" - John Prine

Monday, 6 April 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 7

Our tour of the European Union has been on hold for a while - think of it as the aural equivalent of a 14 days quarantine period - but we're back with a bang. You are in for a very special treat today.

One of my favourite new(ish) artists has very graciously accepted my offer to guest host the blog on this leg of the journey. So, without any further ado, let's hand the controls over to her:

"I am delighted to welcome you on a musical tour of Denmark. 

Let me introduce myself properly: I am Asthmatic Harp, a Danish singer-songwriter based in Glasgow. My new indie-folk single Bird of Paradise had its premiere here on the blog just a couple of weeks ago. 

I can’t give you a tour of Denmark without first mentioning the composer Carl Nielsen. In Denmark many of his songs have become an integral part of the national heritage. During my years singing in the Children's Choir of the Royal Danish Academy of Music it was always the Carl Nielsen songs that seemed to bring out the most tears in the audiences' eyes.  

My personal favourite is called 'Som en Rejselysten Flåde'. The flow of the melody reminds me of salty, wind swept summer days by the sea. 

Som en Rejselysten Flåde” - The Children's Choir of the Royal Danish Academy of Music

Moving on, here's Denmark’s Grandmother of Electronic Music: Else Marie Pade. A real pioneer! Start by listening to ‘Lyd og Lys’ (Sound and Light).  

"Lyd og Lys" - Else Marie Pade

Efterklang is one of my favourite Danish bands. The art-rock ensemble produces music that is both intimate and magnificently orchestral at the same time. I am sure that you will soon be listening to ‘Modern Drift’ on repeat.

"Modern Drift" - Efterklang

I wouldn't want to let you miss out on a good old classic from the Danish Peace & Love era. ‘Herfra Hvor Vi Står’ is a song by the duo Skousen & Ingemann. They are the real deal! 

"Herfra Hvor Vi Står" - Skousen & Ingemann

Kim Larsen was a real darling in Danish pop/rock music known for his big mouth and catchy tunes. One of his most famous songs is ‘Midt on Natten’.

"Midt on Natten" - Kim Larsen

Finally, I wanted to introduce you to a relatively new artist crush on the Danish music scene. Listen to Katinka and her track: ‘Vi Er Ikke Kønne Nok Til At Danse’ (We are not pretty enough to be dancing)." 

"Vi Er Ikke Konne Nok Til At Danse" - Katinka

Ernie here. Many thanks to Asthmatic Harp for that excellent, eclectic selection. Even more thanks are due because she has kindly shared her brand new video, released just yesterday. It's a lovely cover of My Brightest Diamond's "I Have Never Loved Someone The Way I Love You". The best way you can show your appreciation is to head over to her website and buy stuff. Now!!!

I chose the other videos myself. I mention that because I feel I should take full responsibility for Dr. Phil.

We'll be back soon with Estonia, for which the redoubtable George has played a blinder. In the meantime, if any members of Hanoi Rocks or Lordi want to help out when we get to Finland, please get in touch.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Which Roy?

Some U Roy for you today. Not to be confused with I Roy. Or with He Roy, She Roy, We Roy or They Roy for that matter.

But before we get to Good Old U, make sure you tune in on Monday. We have something special lined up for you.

"Stick Together" - U Roy

"Love In The Arena" - U Roy

From Roy, U to Roy O.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

There's Afous Loose...

I mentioned at the weekend that I had bagged a couple of fantastic albums from the Sahel Sound label. Today you are getting a selection from the second one.

Afous d'Afous - so good they named them twice - hail from southern Algeria. Their album "Tenere" came out in 2017 and it's... well, see for yourselves.

"Nak Amahah" - Afous d'Afous

"Tarhanine Tegla" - Afous d'Afous

Elderly Caledonian readers may recognise the title of today's post as a reference to the old standard "Hoots Mon" by Lord Rockingham's XI. Unfortunately I can't find a video of them performing it live, but we have something just as good instead. First, though, a word from our sponsor.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Mellow Monday

Some soothing sounds for you this morning. 

Will Beeley is a Texan singer-songwriter who made a couple of albums in the 1970s and then had to focus on making a living and raising a family. He was rediscovered a few years back by the good folks at the Tompkins Square label, who reissued his old albums and got him back in the studio for first time in forty years. 

The new album, "Highways And Heart Attacks", came out last year and is well worth checking out. But my favourite is 1979's "Passing Dream", which both of today's selections come from. I have been listening to "Sailin' With You" a lot recently. I think its better for me than watching the news too much.

"Sailin' With You" - Will Beeley

"Rainy Sundays" - Will Beeley

There's obviously something in the water in Texas that produces that sort of sound.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Tuareg Tuesday

I have mentioned here before the excellent Sahel Sounds label, whose mission to promote the music of the Sahel region (obviously).

For those of you who don't know where that is, Wikipedia describes it snappily as "the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south".

Anyway, earlier this week Sahel Sounds had a one day sale over on Bandcamp, and I took advantage of it to grab a couple of excellent albums. We're featuring the first one today, the second will follow soon.

The first album is "Anou Malane" by the extravagantly named Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou from Niger. Made in 1995, it is apparently one of the first studio recordings of Tuareg guitar music. And, I would venture to say, still one of the best.

"Ifitalane" - Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou

"Anou Malane" - Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou

Turning to sadder news, the great Bob Andy died yesterday aged 75. I was lucky enough to see him perform a few years back. Probably best known in the UK as one half of Bob & Marcia, he was also a founder member of The Paragons and wrote many hits like "Too Experienced" and "Feel Like Jumping" as well as having a solo career. RIP Mr Andy.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Home Entertainment

It sounds like most of us are in some form of lockdown. I hope you and yours are all staying safe and well. Try to stay positive and remember - being at home doesn't have to be boring. Just ask Eddie, Floyd, Good Time Charlie and Nick.

"We're Staying Home Tonight" - Eddie Cantor

"Rockin' At Home" - Floyd Dixon

"I Do My Swingin' At Home" - Charlie Rich

"Let's Stay In And Make Love" - Nick Lowe

It's not all positive though. I was very saddened to hear of the death yesterday of the great Manu Dibango, who we featured here just a few weeks back. RIP Mr Dibango.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Gettin' Diggy Liggy Wit It

Before we get to today's post, a request for assistance. We will be resuming our tour of Europe next week with a visit to Denmark, and I have high hopes that it will be a special one. After that we will be going to Estonia, and I'm struggling a bit to compile a decent playlist. If anyone out there has any suggestions they would be very gratefully received.

But for now, some Cajun fiddling for you.

"Diggy Liggy Lo" - Doug & Rusty Kershaw

"Cajun Joe" - Doug & Rusty Kershaw

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Nearly Brilliant

I wasn't expecting to talk to you today. I was meant to be off on my travels for the next couple of weeks but, you know, stuff. However, any disappointment is tempered by the knowledge that I can spend more time with you lovely, lovely people.

Speaking of lovely people, I have a mate whose surname is Perfect. It creates a certain level of expectation when he is being introduced to someone for the first time that may not always be met (as groovy as he is). If he changed it Nearly-Perfect that might reduce the pressure to perform, as well as being 100% factually accurate.

Which brings us to today's guest artist, someone who is very nearly brilliant - just an "I" away in fact. It's Ekambi Brillant from Cameroon, with a couple of fantastic tracks from a compilation album of his work called "African Funk Experimentals 1975-82".

"Lambo Lena" - Ekambi Brillant

"Massoma (Remerciements)" - Ekambi Brillant

And while we are on the subject of brilliant, we should pay our respects to the late, great Kenny Rogers who sadly left us yesterday. RIP Kenny.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Happy Days

Well its worth a try, isn't it?

"Happy Day From Me To You" - Sir Victor Uwaifo

"Happy Beat" - Joe Mensah

"The Happy Song" - The Twinkle Brothers

If that doesn't do the trick, something else you could do to try to cheer yourself up is to tune in to some of the live streamed online concerts that musicians are putting on to compensate for cancelled live gigs. It doesn't match the real live experience - you will actually be able to see and hear them properly, and where's the fun in that? - but on the other hand its a chance to see some acts that might not otherwise have been round your way any time soon.

There are a couple of online gigs this weekend that I will be watching by folks we've featured here before: Dori Freeman on Saturday and Asthmatic Harp on Sunday. Click on their names to get the details, and remember to pay an entrance fee.

And if even that doesn't cheer you up, there is always Gilbert.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 6

Welcome to Part 6 of our European tour. This time we are taking you to the Czech Republic. You may as well come along because its the only way you are going to get there now they have closed the borders. Also, you can enjoy the glittering array of talent we have put together for you.

We kick things off with solo singles from two of the three members of Golden Kids, the leading lights of the 1960s Czech pop scene who were pretty marvellous by anyone's standards. We've featured "Papagallo Baby" before. It's here again because its one of my favourite records ever.

Vaclav and Helena Vondrackova, the third member, went on to have great solo success. Not so Marta Kubisova, who was targeted by the authorities for her political views and effectively banned, but who was to become one of the symbols of the Velvet Revolution in 1989. I think all you Josipa Losic fans out there might like her.

Next we've got some seventies folk-rock courtesy of Marsyas, featuring the fantastic voice of Zuzana Michnova, who I think could fairly be described as the Czech Sandy Denny. After that, well, you can find out for yourselves.

"Papagallo Baby" - Václav Neckář

"Nejsi Sám, Kdo Doufá" - Marta Kubisova

"Barvám" - Marsyas

"Žal Se Odkládá" - Jiri Korn

"Mosty" - Lenka Filipova & Karel Zich

We'll kick off the extra length video section with the Golden Kids. Has there ever been a better pop video that this one?

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Harp Tunes

A rare burst of newness for you today, folks.

I was recently contacted by a Glasgow-based Danish songwriter and composer known as Asthmatic Harp. She thought I might like her new single, "Bird of Paradise", which comes out officially on 18 March.

She was right. I like it very much, and I think many of you will too. There is a very nice arrangement which enhances both her voice and the song, and I particularly like the clarinet parts by Heather Ryall - worthy of Mr Acker Bilk himself.

I strongly encourage you to have a listen now, and then go straight over to her website to place your orders and to check out her earlier releases.

Asthmatic (we are now on first name terms) tells me she is a big fan of This is The Kit, as are all right-minded people, and you can hear certain similarities in their styles. Apparently the reason she got in touch was because she had come across a video that I had posted on YouTube eight years ago of Kate Stables and friend performing in a tiny and nearly empty venue near me.

Here is that video, and as a bonus one of Asthmatic Harp's as well.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Killy Billy

A somewhat belated tribute to the late Henry McCarty AKA William H Bonney AKA Billy The Kid. He's even more late than I am, and I'm 139 years late. RIP Mr The Kid.

"Every Woman I Know" - Billy 'The Kid' Emerson

"Billy The Kid" - Bobbie Gentry

"Zombie Phatha Phatha" - Billy The Kid & His Zombies

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 5

We arrive at Part 5 in our musical tour of the European Union, and I should start with an apology to the good people of Cyprus. I am fully aware that I have failed dismally to do justice to the musical vitality and diversity of your country. I'm sorry.

In my defence, there doesn't seem to be that much of it available in online music stores, and I spent a fair old time looking. Here's what I found. I hope you like it.

"Antics" - Monsieur Doumani

"Canima Degsin" - Nil Burak

"Kipriaki Pragmatikotita" - DNA - Dimiourgoi Neas Antilipsis

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Jam Jahs

Five men called Jah. Three from Jamaica, one from Ethiopia and one allegedly from the West Country (although I have my doubts).

"Lama" - Jah Lloyd

"Uncle Lester" - Jah Thomas

"Yergeb Amora" - Jah Lude

"A Way You Come From" - Jah Woosh

"Wuthering Heights" - Jah Wurzel

Other Jahs are available.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Emperor Roscoe

We're overdue some Southern soul on here, so let's put it right with the mighty Mr Roscoe Robinson, 92 years old and still going strong.

So strong that he made a new record to mark his 90th birthday in 2018 which you can listen to at this link while reading his biography. On "We Got A Good Thing Going" he sounds like a man half his age.

But before you go and do that, here are a couple of oldies from 1969 and 1971 respectively.

"I'm Burning And Yearning (For You)" - Roscoe Robinson

"Let Me Be Myself" - Roscoe Robinson 

And here he is as a mere stripling of 84.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 4

Before we get to Part 4 in our series featuring the music of all 27 EU Member States, a quick appeal. Part 5 is going to be Cyprus, and I'm really struggling for material. I have found a couple of decent current bands, but apart from that just some identikit Eurovision numbers. If any of you lovely people out there can help, please get in touch.

On with Part 4: Croatia. A top notch country and one I have been lucky enough to visit regularly over the last few years for work, which has enabled me to acquire a reasonable sized collection of local music.

By contrast, my only live music experience in Croatia was many years ago while holidaying in Rovinj, where I somehow got entangled with a Bavarian oompah band consisting of a rhythm section and six tubas. It was something to behold.

If you manage to visit Rovinj without the oompah band, though, it's great. As are Dubrovnik, Zagreb and many other places. On behalf of the Croatian Tourist Board, this is 27 Leggies saying: Posjetite danas prekrasnu Hrvatsku!

"Chase" - The Bambi Molesters

"Po Prvi Put" - Josipa Lisac

"Apokalipso" - Darko Rundek

"Legenda" - Dorian Gray

"Pjesma #3" - Time

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Texas Trilogy

In my previous post I mentioned Marty Robbins, which prompted me to think that it was about time I shared his magnificent Texan trilogy.

I am sure you are all familiar with his 1959 super smasheroonie "El Paso" - in my personal opinion, one of the greatest records ever made. But you may not be aware that he recorded two follow up songs.

The first came out in 1966 and tells the story of Feleena the femme fatale. It clocks in at well over eight minutes, making it one of the few country songs eligible for The Swede's "Monday Long Song" series. The third was released ten years after that, and is essentially a song about the song.

Here they are in all their glory.

"El Paso" - Marty Robbins

"Feleena (From El Paso)" - Marty Robbins

"El Paso City" - Marty Robbins

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Inside Laine

You know me as a taste-making, trend-spotting, genre-hopping surfer of the zeitgeist - and I would modestly suggest that I am all of those things and more. 😇, as I believe they say (or possibly 😉).

But sometimes, after a long hard day, I find I'm not in the mood for Tsonga disco or Bulgarian prog or psychedelic cumbia or such like. For comfort listening, I need some classic cowboy crooning, which means either Marty Robbins or Frankie Laine.

Last night it was Frankie's turn. Here are a couple of tracks from a CD called "Country Laine" which is a reissue of two 1961 albums, "Deuces Wild" and "Hell Bent For Leather!".

"Moonlight Gambler" - Frankie Laine

"The 3.10 To Yuma" - Frankie Laine

For an extra treat, here are a couple of fine cover versions of two of Frankie's biggest hits.