Friday, 20 May 2022

The Miniature Monarch

I can't tell you much about today's featured artiste I'm afraid. The CD from which I have taken the tracks is a Japanese release so the sleeve notes are no help to me at all, and his Wikipedia entry runs to a grand total of five lines.  

What I can tell you is that Little Royal (real name Royal Torrence) had an intermittent recording career that lasted from the mid 1960s to the mid 1980s and was known as "James Brown's little brother" due to some perceived physical and musical similarities and an unproven rumour that they were half-brothers. 

Royal's biggest hit was "Jealous" which made the top 20 of the Billboard soul charts in 1972, off the back of which he was able to record his one and only album which went by the same name. 

The reissue I have also includes a lot of bonus tracks, including today's second selection which was a 1973 B-side. The CD is hard to get hold of in physical form, at least outside Japan, but if you are willing to deal with the tax-dodging devils you can download it for £6.50. 

"Jealous" - Little Royal

"(I Want To Be Free) Don't Want Nobody Standing Over Me" - Little Royal

Here is a rare clip of Little Royal singing and strutting his stuff while wearing what appears to be Norwich City's 1986-87 kit. He is sounding great but sartorially is upstaged by the host's man bag and crocheted tank top.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Rich In Regensburg

I first heard Rich Hopkins & Luminarios ten years ago when their epic track "Friend Of The Shooter" was featured on one of those Uncut cover CDs. I was sufficiently enthused to buy the album that it comes from ("Buried Treasures") and its successor, 2014's "Tombstone", but never got round to exploring further.

That was until I found a copy of their live album "3000 Germans Can't Be Wrong" in the second-hand racks recently. It was recorded in Regensburg way back in 1998 and is one of many records they have released on the always reliable Blue Rose Records over the last thirty years. Very good it is too.

"Soul Leacher" - Rich Hopkins & Luminarios

"Dirt Town" -  Rich Hopkins & Luminarios

Here are Rich's Uncle Lightning and Auntie Linda for you.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Single Song Sunday

Our long-running but highly infrequent series returns with a song by Beatles Band. Although there have now been over 50 episodes this is only the second time we have featured one of their songs. The other was "I Want To Hold Your Hand" back in 2014. That post prompted Charity Chic to share an amusing anecdote about a greyhound track; let's hope for a similar response to this one.

This time round it is "Blackbird", which was never a single but seems to have become one of the Beatles' more enduring tunes. We kick things off with the original and a 1971 cover by Dion, which was perhaps his way of thanking them for putting him on the cover of Sgt. Pepper. 

Next comes some bluegrass and a Brouhaha, an overwrought Over The Rhine and a Spanish soft rock rendition from the 1970s by Laredo, where the streets come from.

The next three covers are grouped together in the soul section, if you define "soul" very broadly. Two of them are live recordings, the first by the magnificent Bettye Lavette and the second by Sylvester. Yes, the "Mighty Real" Sylvester. I know, I was surprised too.

And of course we finish, as always, with the Mandatory Reggae Version. The Paragons do the honours on this occasion.

"Blackbird" - The Beatles

"Blackbird" - Dion

"Blackbird" - Mary McCaslin

"Blackbird" - Kelly Brouhaha

"Blackbird" - Over The Rhine

"Mirlo" - Laredo

"Blackbird" - Anderson.Paak

"Blackbird" - Bettye Lavette

"Blackbird" - Sylvester

"Blackbird Singing" - The Paragons 

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Boom Shaka Laka

Not a proper post today but it is Eurovision tonight which means I have the excuse to share with you once more the most moving interpretative dance routine there has ever been.  

And then there is this one, where Derek Smalls conducts for a man in a penguin suit...   

Friday, 13 May 2022

And Loud Flows The Don

Don Covay, who sadly left us back in 2015, had a long and distinguished career as a soul singer and songwriter starting way back in the 1950s. In my humble opinion he was at his peak as a performer in the early 1970s. To support my case here is a track each from two great albums from that period, "Different Strokes For Different Folks" (1972) and the very modestly titled "Super Dude 1" (1973).

"Sweet Thang" - Don Covay

"Somebody's Been Enjoying My Home" - Don Covay

Don had a few hits in his own right over the years but had much more commercial success as a songwriter. Here are just some of his tunes. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

A Little Me Time

Before we get to the post that I had already prepared for today I want to give another quick plug to Ghost Woman. Last week I mentioned their self-titled new album that comes out on 1 July, and on Monday I went to see them on the first date of their short UK tour. Many thanks to John at Force Field PR for sorting out the ticket.

They are a very good live band, a fair bit heavier than on the record. The guitarist had a Crazy Horse T-shirt on which gives you the general idea. Its a shame the sound wasn't a bit better, although in an odd way the muddy mix quite suited them. They are playing in Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool and Brighton over the next week or so. If you get the chance, pop along.

Now back to our scheduled programme.

While I was on Bandcamp last Friday I decided to do whatever you call the Bandcamp equivalent of googling yourself. I discovered three tracks called "Goggins". One of them is a very tedious instrumental so I have spared you that, but here are the other two. Many apologies for Cousin David's language.

"Goggins" - Pain

"Goggins" - Akira The Don & David Goggins

At the risk of sounding like a diva, I'm not convinced they have done me justice.  

Monday, 9 May 2022

More Sounds Of The Sahel

It was Bandcamp Friday last week and, as usual, the excellent Sahel Sounds label made everything in their back catalogue available to download on a 'name your own price' basis. 

Given the consistently high quality of the records they put out that really is an extraordinary bargain, and one of which I have taken full advantage. I have now got pretty much everything they have issued.

Among the albums I picked up on Friday was "Waande Kadde" by Amadou Binta Konté and Tidiane Thiam, recorded live in Northern Senegal and featuring guitar, hoddu (a traditional stringed instrument) and some enthusiastic locals. It is a very hypnotic sound, none more so than on today's selection. 

For the avoidance of doubt, I would like to point out that while today is the start of the working week and "Guilly" goes on for over 18 minutes this is a coincidence and not in any way a breach of any other bloggers' copyright.

"Guilly" -  Amadou Binta Konté & Tidiane Thiam

One of the other albums I acquired on Friday was "Agadez", the new album by the excellent Etran de L'Air. We featured the lead-off single "Toubouk Ine Chihoussay" on here last year, don't be surprised if some of the other tracks pop up in future.

What do you get if you put "Agadez" and Mr Konté's first name together? Why, this, of course.