Friday, 14 December 2018

Good Things Come To An End

In recent weeks I have been to a number of gigs starring what might politely be called "veteran" performers. All have been fantastic, both in terms of quality and quantity. They may be getting on, but they still put in a shift that would shame many of their younger peers.

First up was Swamp Dogg (76 years old), then Frankie Valli (84). Last night it was the turn of the Pretty Things, in what was billed as their last ever gig after a career lasting 55 years. Founding members Phil May (74) and Dick Taylor (75) are both still at the height of powers, and the juvenile guest stars Van Morrison (73) and David Gilmour (72) sounded pretty good too.

We were treated to three sets. The first was a selection from their back catalogue by the current line-up (or presumably now the most recent former line-up).

For the second, they were joined by all the members of the line-up that recorded their classic "S./F. Sorrow" album - Wally Waller, Jon Povey and Skip Alan - plus David Gilmour to play selections from that album.

The final set, for part of which they were joined by Van the Man, was mostly R 'n B standards (his and theirs included) with a bit of hippy freak-out thrown in for good measure, and followed by rollicking renditions of "Rosalyn" and "I'm A Road Runner" in the encores.

Of course, even with over two hours of music, there were plenty of their old numbers that they couldn't squeeze in. Here are a couple of personal favourites that I will now never hear them play (unless they were fibbing about it being their last gig).

"You Don't Believe Me" - The Pretty Things

"She Was Tall, She Was High" - The Pretty Things

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Think Global, Act Local

A two part post for you today. In the first part, some stonking samba courtesy of one Márcio Local. Both tracks are from his album "Says Don Dree Don Day Don Don", which came out on Luaka Bop in 2009. As a label I find them a bit hit and miss, but this is definitely one of the hits.

"Ela Náo Tá Nem Aí" - Márcio Local

"Sentimento Rei" - Márcio Local

The second part is a very nearly exclusive new video from Lesley Barth for her song "Pinwheels". Lesley premiered it earlier today on some obscure website called Facebook, but in case that doesn't work out she has kindly agreed to let us show it here as well.

I like "Pinwheels" a lot - there is something about the mood of it that reminds me of Sarabeth Tucek's "The Fireman" from a few years ago, which must be a good thing. If you want to download the track, and I would encourage you to do so, you can find it on Lesley's Bandcamp page along with her back catalogue (which is well worth exploring).

Sunday, 9 December 2018

My Wild Youth

I was going to start this post by referring to Wild Youth as the leading lights of the original South African punk scene, but that would have been misleading as there wasn't really enough bands to call it a scene.

Apart from Wild Youth there was the wonderfully named Young Dumb & Violent and The Safari Suits, who were probably too arty to count as real punks anyway. I saw the Suits in Cape Town in 1978/9 and to end their first set they got one of their mates to charge on stage dressed as a policeman, denounce us all as subversives and threaten us with arrest. Unfortunately he did it rather too convincingly and most of the audience left immediately. There were only about four of us there for the second set, and I only stayed because I had to wait for my Mum to pick me up - very punk.

None of the bands were particularly brilliant, to be honest, but Wild Youth were definitely the pick of the bunch. Here are a couple of their finer moments.

"Wot About Me" - Wild Youth

"Radio Youth" - Wild Youth

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Into The Next Century

A couple of weeks ago I did a post celebrating having had visitors from 100 countries. I mentioned then that we had dawdled in the nervous 90s for several months before reaching that landmark. It seems that now that the mark has been reached, the nerves have dissipated and they are rolling in. Earlier this week, we had visitors from three new countries in a single day: Sri Lanka, Honduras and Hungary.

I have a fair number of Hungarian records that I've picked up on visits there, certainly enough to do a few themed posts if I remember. In the meantime, here is an absolute belter from the mighty Kati Kovacs (who also stars in what may be the best video I have ever shared with you). Then we have one apiece from my considerably less extensive collections of Honduran and Sri Lankan tunes.

"Szolj Ram, Ha Hangosan Enekele" - Kati Kovacs

"El Paso de la Tortuga" - Banda Blanca

"Samuganna Aawe" - Clarence Wijewardene

Monday, 3 December 2018

Into The Valli

I managed to wangle a free ticket to see Frankie Valli at the O2 Arena last night. I wouldn't normally go to the Arena - it is like watching tiny puppets at the far end of an aircraft hangar - but when it is Frankie for free, you've got to do it.

It was billed as his farewell tour, and as he is now 84 it may well be. He put on a great show, and at an hour and 45 minutes showed a level of stamina and professionalism that seems to be beyond many acts a fraction of his age. Maybe they just have a fraction of his material.

All the hits were played, with "Who Loves You" unexpectedly - but deservedly - getting the biggest round of applause on the night. Here are a couple of the less well-remembered tunes he treated us to.

"Tell It To The Rain" - The Four Seasons

"Swearin' To God" - Frankie Valli

Friday, 30 November 2018

Visiting Time

Today being St. Andrew's Day, this one is for our Scottish readers.

Over the course of his career the late Bard of Dundee, Michael Marra, recorded a number of songs about famous visitors to Scotland. Here's a small selection. I'm not convinced all these tales are 100% factually accurate, but who am I to question the Great Man.

"Frida Kahlo's Visit to the Tay Bridge Bar" - Michael Marra

"King Kong's Visit to Glasgow" - Michael Marra

"General Grant's Visit to Dundee" - Michael Marra

"Mac Rebennack's Visit to Blairgowrie" - Michael Marra

If you thought you were going to get a Dr John video after that last track, you were wrong. You'll need to listen to the King Kong song to know why I've gone for this instead.

Monday, 26 November 2018

A Long Song On Monday

Today's post is a combination of a tribute and a stopgap, although the fact it is the latter should not in any way detract from the sincerity of the former.

I've just got back from Genoa, a fine, lively city that is worth a few days of anyone's time. Later in the week I'm off on a work trip and I don't have a lot of spare time before then, so I thought I would do a quick post tonight in case I don't get another chance for a week or so.

The more discerning among you may already be familiar with Drew's excellent "Monday's Long Song" series, one which I notice has now attracted a number of other equally high quality contributors. As it happens, the only CD I bought in Genoa - an Italian 1970s prog rock compilation going for €1 in a junk shop - includes a track that fits the brief perfectly, clocking in at 18 and a half minutes.

So here it is. I haven't listened to it yet, and very possibly never will. Apologies if it is awful.

I have called this post "A Long Song On Monday" rather than "Monday's Long Song" in recognition of the fact that this is a cheap market stall knock-off of a post, and should not be confused with Drew and the others' finely crafted originals.

"Il Giardino Del Mago" - Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso