Search This Blog

Monday 23 December 2013

Review Of The Year

This will be my final post of 2013 as I am heading off to Marrakech for a week tomorrow. So it seems appropriate to leave you with a selection of tunes covering twelve of the main events of the year.

"Sweet January" - If

"Cold Days Of February" - Trembling Bells (with Mike Heron)

"March Rain" - Michael Chapman

"April Anne" - John Phillips

"My Girl The Month Of May" - The Alan Bown

"June Hymn" - The Decemberists

"Cold July" - Whitehorse

"August Day" - Thomas Lang

"23 Days In September" - Richie Havens

"October Song" - The Incredible String Band

"After November" - Jeb Loy Nichols

"December 25th" - Rebekah Pulley

Have a groovy Christmas and a funky New Year. See you on the other side.

Saturday 21 December 2013

Stortford Special

I was in Bishops Stortford earlier visiting a branch of the Goggins family, and on my way back to the train station I called in at the eight charity shops in the town centre. If Charity Chic were ever to venture south of the border, he could do a lot worse than Bishops Stortford. Although he might be miffed to find that I had already snapped up the Jimmy Shand compilation in the Sue Ryder shop.

Amongst the other CDs I acquired, the most exotic are an album of Latin American protest songs called "Cantos De La Revolucion", featuring all sorts of bods I have never heard of, and a Sri Lankan compilation called "The Stars Of 70s, Vol:3". On closer inspection the latter turns out not to be the original hits but re-recordings made in 2001 and featuring Sri Lankan stars of the 1970s, including former members of the Moonstones, the Super Golden Chimes and the Winslow Six to name but a few. But neither you nor I would have been any the wiser I suspect.

Here is a track from each of the three albums I have mentioned, picked entirely at random as I have not listened to any of them yet.

"Lady Dorothea/ Major John" - Jimmy Shand & His Band

"Senora Chichera" - F. Foundry

"Samuduru Devi" - Errol Fernando (formerly of Los Cabalaroes)

According to Wikipedia, the only notable (sic) musicians to originate from Bishops Stortford are Bill Sharp, the keyboard player from Shakatak, and anarcho-punk collective Flux Of Pink Indians, which would make for an interesting (sic) double bill. You may not be surprised to learn that there appear to be no Flux of Pink Indians videos on YouTube, so you are getting this instead. Sorry.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Dos And Don'ts

The post is called Dos and Don'ts, but that is not entirely accurate. While there are plenty of don'ts, there is only one Do.

But what a Do it is! This Friday the Wild Hare Club has its annual Christmas bash, and Richard has really pulled out all the stops this year. Topping the bill are The Urban Voodoo Machine, supported by an accordion playing DJ, a burlesque artiste, and a bloke from Flesh For Lulu. Truly, something for everyone! If you are even remotely on the same planet as Hereford, get yourself down there.

I think "something for everyone" also describes our selection of Don'ts. I have been playing and singing along with the first one obsessively this evening. Still, it gets you a seat to yourself on the number 8.

"Don't" - Elvis Presley

"Don't Be Angry" - Nappy Brown

"Don't Tell Me Because I'm Young" - Patrik Fitzgerald

"Don't Touch Me Tomato" - Phyllis Dillon

"Don't Let Your Love Start A War" - Pale Fountains

"Don't Believe In Christmas" - The Sonics

Saturday 14 December 2013

Tsonga Tsaturday

Exciting times for London-based Tsonga disco fans. I mentioned recently that my mate Brian* over at Awesome Tapes From Africa had just re-released Penny Penny's classic "Shaka Bundu" album for the world to enjoy. Well, now we learn that Brian will be playing a couple of sets at Cafe Oto, where me and the rest of the hipsters hang out, on 3 and 4 January. He is bound to play some Penny Penny in amongst the general awesomeness, so get yourselves down there.

* When I say "mate", we have never actually met. We have however corresponded on a number of occasions by means other than social media, so by Internet standards we are virtually married.

We can't keep you waiting until then for some Tsonga Disco, so here are a couple of tracks from a man I've rather neglected in the past, Richard Maceke. I love the introduction to "Vasivara William", to such an extent that I keep rewinding it and sometimes forget to play the rest of the track.

"Vasivara William" - Richard Maceke & The Makhasa Sisters

"Papa Boyi" - Richard Maceke & The Makhasa Sisters

Here is another Richard who can belt out a decent tune.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

A Brief Post For Simone

In the unlikely event you are tuning in to marvel at my eclectic yet tasteful list of albums of the year, you are out of luck. Real life is a little busy right now, and I don't have the time to go back through all the goodies I have got this year and refresh my memory.

Gigs of the year, in the other hand, is easier, if only because there are less of them to choose from. It is a strong field but as a rough top five I'll go for: John Murry at the Birkbeck Tavern, Kaleidoscope at the Islington Assembly Hall, Jimmy LaFave at the 100 Club, Jupiter & Okwess International at the Open East Festival in the Olympic Park, and Simone Felice at St. Giles-in-the-Fields.

As it happens, Mr Felice's people have recently been in touch. They have kindly sent me a stream of his new album, "Strangers", which I am not meant to share with you, and his new single "Molly-O!", which I am. So here it is.

"Molly-O!" - Simone Felice

Good, eh! As for "Strangers", while it is clearly premature to be talking about my albums of the year for 2014 when I can't even hazard a guess as to what they are in 2013, I would be surprised if it wasn't on the list somewhere. It is out in March and you should nab it when you can.

As a bonus, here are some songs about Simones. The first two are about girls (and the first is a bona fide Afrikaans classic). The last is about a boy, although you possibly know him better as Simon.

"'n Brief Vir Simone" - Anton Goosen

"Simone" - Denny Doherty

"Il Ballo De Simone" - Guiliano & I Notturni

Sunday 8 December 2013

Praising Julius

Here's someone I've been meaning to feature for ages - Orlando Julius Ekemode, best known simply as Orlando Julius. One of the founding fathers of modern Nigerian music, he paved the way for Fela Kuti and many others with his funky mid 1960s recordings, and is not averse to bunging into the mix a bit of soul, calypso, reggae or jazz as the mood takes him. Still going strong at the ripe old age of 69, he played just down the road from me a few months back. Irritatingly, it was when I was out of town. Hopefully he'll be back soon.

"Boju Bari" - Orlando Julius

"Erora Miliki" - Orlando Julius

On the subject of African founding fathers, this one is for Madiba.

Thursday 5 December 2013

Bonnie Lassies

The Bert Jansch tribute concert at the Festival Hall on Tuesday was a great night. It was good to see some old favourites (Donovan, Beverley Martyn) and acquire a new one (Lisa Knapp). But if I could only pick one highlight it would be Bonnie Dobson, Robert Plant and Danny Thompson's version of Bonnie's classic "Morning Dew".

"Morning Dew" is Bonnie's best known song, but she made plenty of other good recordings back in the day, including these two Jackson C. Frank covers. She is alleged to be working on a new album.

"Milk And Honey" - Bonnie Dobson

"You Never Wanted Me" - Bonnie Dobson

As a bit of bonus, here are some other Bonnies for you.

"Too Long At The Fair" - Bonnie Raitt

"You're Gonna Love Yourself In The Morning" - Bonnie Koloc

"Where's Eddie?" - Bonnie Bramlett

And where is the bonniest of all, you ask? Why, here she is with the old Welsh Elvis himself.

Sunday 1 December 2013

The Only Ones

A sad day here at Leggies Central. I received an email from Roberto at Neoworx, who provided the visitor counter that used to appear down in the bottom right corner of the blog.

Neoworx are getting out of the old counting business because, to quote Roberto, "the shift from blogs to social networks and the overwhelming competition of free services has dramatically decreased my customer base to the point where I can no longer pay for the hosting of my servers".

Shakespeare once said, "nothing in his life became him like the leaving it". And so it is with Roberto for, despite his personal difficulties, he has found time to send his remaining customers one final count, showing the number of different unique visitors they have had, by country in descending order.

I have managed to rack up visitors from 184 countries. The top of the table is pretty predictable - US, UK, Germany, South Africa for the Tsonga Disco. More intriguing are the 21 countries from which I have only had one visitor. I would like to bring you a song about each of them but - in the absence of any tunes praising the Faroe Islands, Surinam and the Cook Islands - you will have to make do with these six.

"Paraguay" - Ludditak

"Woman From Liberia" - Jimmie Rodgers

"Uzbekistan" - Abdulaziz Karim

"Liechtenstein" - David Hoffbrand

"Kanaky - Nouvelle Caledonie" - Tim Sameke

"In Belize" - Jared Bartman

For what follows I apologise to you all. But most of all I apologise to Jared.

Friday 29 November 2013

Rain And Snow

I am looking forward to what promises to be a memorable night at the Festival Hall next week, when friends and admirers gather to pay tribute to the late great Bert Jansch. I was lucky enough to see one of his last gigs with Pentangle there two years ago. Most of the surviving members will be in the line-up next week, along with the likes of Martin Carthy, Donovan, Robert Plant and someone called Clapton.

Today I have been working my way through some of the complimentary albums that pop up in my in-box, and about an hour ago came to "December Moon", the new album by a bunch of Irish sisters called the Henry Girls. Very nice it is too, and one of the stand-out tracks is their version of the old Pentangle standard, "Rain and Snow". Here is are both versions.

"Rain And Snow" - The Henry Girls

"Rain And Snow" - Pentangle

As I am feeling in a benign mood tonight, we'll give you some more rain and snow.

"Feels Like Rain" - John Hiatt

"Rainfall" - Bruce Cockburn

"Snow" - Georgia Seddon

"Snow Shadows" - Vince Martin

Wednesday 27 November 2013


There are some band names that are unlikely ever to be alighted on by more than one group of people - like "Fruupp" and "Frumious Bandersnatch", to look just at the "Fru"s. Others are more popular. Of late I have been banging on about the old British psychedelic band Kaleidoscope. When they were at their peak there was an American band with the same name plying their trade over there.

I have records by three different bands called Odyssey. Here is a track from each of them. The first comes from an album titled "Setting Forth" released in 1969, and is a mildly psychedelic blue-eyed soul version of the Janis Ian song. The second comes from an album called simply "Odyssey" that was released on various Motown subsidiaries in 1972. And the final one, from the best known of the three groups, was rightly a big hit here in the UK in 1980.

"Society's Child" - Odyssey

"Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love" - Odyssey

"If You're Looking For A Way Out" - Odyssey

Some bands have had to use different names in different countries to distinguish themselves from local acts. For example, the band we fondly remember as The Beat in the UK are fondly remembered as The English Beat in the US. But by far the greater indignity was inflicted on The Spinners, who were forced to call themselves The Detroit Spinners over here to avoid being confused with this lot.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Myths and Legends

I promised a brief review of the two gigs by legendary bands that I went to at the beginning of the week. Here they are.

On Monday morning, Mister F got in touch to say he had picked up free tickets to see Mott the Hoople that evening, so off we toddled to the O2 Arena. Had we paid, my view would probably be similar to that of the man from the Guardian. But as we didn't it seems a bit churlish to complain, so let's just say the last half an hour was great and you would have to be a bit of an old misery not to have had a bit of a lump in the throat when they finished off with "Saturday Gigs".

The Kaleidoscope gig the night before, on the other hand, was fantastic from start to finish. Peter Daltrey looked and sounded great, in the Trembling Bells he has found the ideal band to bring his songs to life, and we had the bonus of Ed and Danny from the original line-up joining them on stage for a few numbers. Even the tediously self-regarding support acts could not spoil a perfect night.

From legends to myths. Here are four pop-tastic songs with links to assorted mythical kingdoms.

"The Legend of Xanadu" - Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

"Eldorado" - Electric Light Orchestra

"Atlantis" - Donovan

"Give Him A Great Big Kiss" - The Shangri-las

And here's that "Saturday Gigs" moment I mentioned, with thanks to Georlron and the man in front of him with a very emotional hand.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Papa Penny/ Nerija

UPDATE: I got an infringement notice today from Box telling me they had taken down "Keliai Savi". Now, they are an occupational hazard in this game, but to be honest I had not expected to get one for a track from a 1970s Lithuanian funk and schlager combo. However, the fact that the second track survives unscathed leads me to suspect this is the work of S. Vonderio's "people". Boo! Hiss!

Later in the week when I have a bit more time I will regale you with tales of the Kaleidoscope and Mott The Hoople gigs I have been to the last two nights. But for now, a quick public service announcement.

Our good friends over at Awesome Tapes From Africa have reissued Penny Penny's classic "Shaka Bundu" album in almost every format known to man. You lot being hipsters probably have it already but - if not - BUY IT NOW.

That was the announcement.

How better to follow the King of Tsonga Disco than with some vintage Lithuanian funk? You will recognise - or you would have done if the b*gg*rs hadn't removed it - "Keliai Savi" as a slightly luke-warm version of "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder (or S. Vonderio as he is called on the sleevenotes). The second track may possibly be an original, but I am happy to be corrected.

"Keliai Savi" - Nerija

"Ar Nebuvai Miške?" - Nerija

Here is Stevie showing us how to do it properly.

Saturday 16 November 2013

ReviewShine Time

I've kept you waiting long enough for a round-up of some new releases sent my way by the nice folks at ReviewShine, so let's get straight down to business.

The pick of the bunch is Declan O'Rourke. Declan, as his name hints, is Irish, and like many Irishmen he coaxes much more beauty out of the English language that we English do. I saw him support John Prine at the Barbican earlier in the year. "Time Machine" was the highlight of that set, and it leads off his new album "Mag Pai Zai". The other "must hear" is a great live acapella version of "Marrying the Sea", but the whole album is well worth a listen.

"Time Machine" - Declan O'Rourke

We'll round up the round-up with some tasty blue-eyed soul from Saint Jude's new album "Saint Jude II", and some funky Dutch Cajun sounds from Cochon Bleu's "Not Blue" to put you in the mood to face the world this chilly Saturday morning.

"Remember" - Saint Jude

"Eh Ya Ya" - Cochon Bleu

I mentioned up the top that I saw Declan O'Rourke supporting John Prine. Here's John with what - if pushed very, very hard - is possibly my favourite of all his wonderful songs.

Monday 11 November 2013

Kwela, Bless My Soul

Quick one tonight, folks. Some sparkling South African pop courtesy of Mafikizolo and their very special guest, Mr Hugh Masekela. Both tracks taken from their 2004 album, "Kwela".

"Uyakwazi Ukwena" - Mafikizolo

"Kwela Kwela" - Mafikizolo (featuring Hugh Masekela)

Here's more Hugh for you, with a song by Fela "Rhymes With Kwela" Kuti.

Friday 8 November 2013

Old Friends

Evening dudes (and, indeed, lady dudes). You'll be pleased to hear I don't have long to linger, but I wanted to give a quick plug to a couple of old favourites who are back with new material.

First up, Eureka Birds, who I had the pleasure of seeing play in Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn a few years ago, in the company of several of the band members' parents. Their new album, "Strangers", was released a week or so back and is available on Bandcamp. And it is very good too. Here is the lead off track, "Baby's Got A Blade":

Even more exciting, we have a - possibly exclusive - pre-release from Annie Dressner. You may remember me raving about her 2011 album, " Strangers Who Knew Each Other's Names" (I made a pledge only to mention albums with the word "strangers" in the title today). Well, she has a lovely new single coming out soon, and here she is introducing it. If you want to hear the whole thing you will have to wait until 25 November, but you can pre-order it on Bandcamp.

Vocally, Annie has a similar sort of tone to one of First Aid Kit (don't ask me which one). They are one of my favourite new acts of the last few years, and you can tell they have made it by the number of "new First Aid Kits" whose PR stuff turns up in my inbox. They are of variable quality but these two, whose video turned up today, sound pretty good to me. They have an album out too, but it does not have "strangers" in the title so you will have to research that yourself.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Faintly Blowing My Mind

Great excitement in the Goggins household today. I have bagged a ticket to see Kaleidoscope at the Islington Assembly Halls on the 17th. Creators of a couple of classic albums of English psychedelia, "Tangerine Dream" and "Faintly Blowing", who last released a record in 1970, it is one of those gigs you never thought would happen.

It must be conceded that you could not claim the band have reformed, as only one member of the old line-up will be involved. It is the important one, though - the singer and songwriter Peter Daltrey. And his pick-up band for the night is none other than the Trembling Bells, of whom regular readers will have heard me rave many times. His magic mixed with their magic promises to make it a very special night.

"Black Fjord" - Kaleidoscope

"Do It Again For Jeffrey" - Kaleidoscope

Here's another Daltrey for you.

Sunday 3 November 2013

Massive in Moscow

I mentioned in my last post that a charming gentleman in Rostov-on-Don had persuaded me to part with £1 for a disc containing what he called a "rock classic mix - 200" of Russian rock. It turned out there were only 190 tracks and, of the ones I have heard to date, you would struggle to argue they were all classics. But there is some good stuff on there.

Here is a small selection to whet your appetite, including the only known case of a band naming themselves after a writer of detective stories (I stand ready to be corrected, as always).

"Triller" - Agata Kristi

"Www" - Leningrad

"Devochka" - Mumij Troll

"Labrador-Gibraltar" - Vjacheslav Butusov

Wednesday 30 October 2013

The Love Lives of the Native Americans

Last week I spent a few days in the fine city of Rostov-on-Don (or Rostov na Donu as the locals call it). The local market was a musical treasure trove. They have a rather relaxed approach to copyright over there - I realise I am in no position to cast stones - with the result that you get some amazing bargains, like 15 Tom Waits' albums in mp3 format on a single disc for £1. For the same price I picked up what the gentleman assured me were "200 Russian rock classics". There are only 183 of them, and it remains to be seen if the rest of his description is any more accurate.

But the undoubted musical highlight of the trip was catching Sweet in the middle of their current Russian tour. There is only Andy Scott of the classic line-up left - Brian and Mick are sadly no longer with us, and Steve is in the States - but that did not matter to me and their small but ardent local fan base. They put on a great show.

I was going to give you a Sweet special today, but I got distracted by Wig Wam Bam. It struck me that it was only one of many songs that address the delicate matter of the romantic lives of Native Americans with a rigour that professional anthropologists can only envy. Here's a selection.

"Wig Wam Bam" - Sweet

"Running Bear" - Johnny Preston

 "Indian Love Call" - Tex Ritter

"Indian Wedding Song" - The Indians

"Squaws Along The Yukon" - Hank Thompson

"Big Chief Litle Puss" - The Olympics

Now, the Rostov gig was closer to Old Age Rampage than Teenage Rampage, but never mind.

Monday 28 October 2013

Two For Lou

One from the man himself, one from his old sparring partner. They said he could break a mountain in two.

"Fly Into The Sun" - Lou Reed

"Half Past France" - John Cale

Saturday 19 October 2013

Straight Off The Urals

Off to Russia tomorrow. First I have a few day's work in Moscow then I'm heading down to Cossack country to have a look around. Here are some songs about Russia and Russians to keep you going in my absence. See you in a week or so.

"Man From Russia" - The Blow Monkeys

"White Russian Doll" - Lucky Soul

"Mayday In Moscow" - The Fire Hydrant Men (featuring The Fabulous Fezzettes)

"Rockin' Behind The Iron Curtain" - Frankie Ford

"Stalin Wasn't Stallin'" - Robert Wyatt

"Rus Pu Tin" - Panadda Chayapark

Thursday 17 October 2013

Teanet Time!

The late, great Peta Teanet - the first King of Tsonga Disco - always goes down well with our core constituency. So, pandering to you as shamelessly as a Tory politician inventing immigration scare stories, here are a couple of tracks from his album "Double Pashash".

"Ha Hela" - Peta Teanet

"Dlawelwa Kulunga" - Peta Teanet

"Double Pashash" came out in 1995. Back in Blighty this was a big hit that year. I remember dancing to it in the Rio Nightclub in Leamington Spa with a group of drunken civil servants - happy days!

And of course you can't have that without this as a 2-for-1 treat. Mandy Dingle!

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Very Big In Vilnius

I had a very pleasant time in Lithuania last week - definitely worth a visit if you have not had the chance to do so before (and, indeed, if you have).

One of the cultural highlights was seeing Arbata in concert in the very groovy Puntojazz Club in Kaunas, promoting their new album "Kiekvienas Tiesus". To put it another way, according to Google Translate, I saw Tea promoting their new album "Every Straight".

I enjoyed the show a lot. The accordion player gave them a feel of the Waterboys just at the point they started moving from The Big Music to Fisherman's Blues (not that I'm equating the two bands, you understand).

The album I enjoyed slightly less. It is a good listen, but on most tracks they replace the accordion with keyboards which makes their anthemic ambitions a bit more obvious. I've never been a great one for anthems, and it is perhaps no surprise that my favourite track on the album is the one that sounds most like the live version.

"As Tave Rasiu" - Arbata

I can also announce an exciting discovery for you fashion fans. As you can just about make out in this picture, the suit jacket with sleeves rolled up to the elbow look is still alive and well in Kaunas. It's like the 80s never left us.

Sunday 6 October 2013

Oldies But Goodies

You are not going to hear a lot from me this month, folks. In a couple of hours I'm off to Lithuania for a few days' work followed by a few days' holiday, I come back to change my socks, then I'm off to Russia for more of the same. Still, think of all the Lithuanian disco and Russian folk-rock you have to look forward to!

I'll leave you for now with a selection of tracks that we first featured back in our formative days but are well worth playing again. We start with something from an album of Virginian soul and funk that I bought in the State Library in Richmond (now that's a library!). We follow it up with some Filipino pop, some "post punk" from the UK and Belgium, before finishing with some South African reggae and a tribute to the Korean alphabet. Something for everyone.

"I Was Born To Be A Drummer" - The 35th Street Gang

"Shing-a-Ling Time" - Helen Gamboa

"Expert" - pragVEC

"Give Me A Gun" - Lavvi Ebbel

"Ke LeRasta 4 Life" - Rastaman Nkhushu

"Mi Ga Na Da Ka Ma Ba (My Loving Korean Alphabet)" - Kim Jung Mi

Regular readers know what you're going to get as the video clip when I'm off on my hols. But instead of the usual clip, here's the boys back together in 2004.

Friday 4 October 2013

Freddy's Revenge

To get you in the mood for the weekend, here are some vintage tunes from that fast-talking son of a gun, Daddy Freddy.

"The Girl Is Fine" - Daddy Freddy

"The Crown" - Daddy Freddy

"Ickie Fashion" - Pepper & Daddy Freddy

He was at the height of his fame in the late 80s and early 90s, but Freddy has never really been away. Earlier this year he popped up, with many other old favourites, on Congo Natty's "UK Allstars":

Of course, Congo Natty himself has been around the the 80s as well, only then he was calling himself Rebel MC. Which gives me all the excuse I need to play this (not that any excuse is ever needed):

Monday 30 September 2013

A Pig Of Many Parts

I felt compelled to do this post from the moment the iPOd shuffle dealt out the first two tracks one after another this morning. So - with any necessary apologies to our vegetarian, Jewish and Muslim readers - here is my tribute to that most versatile of beasts, the humble pig.

"Three Little Pigs" - Lloyd Price

"Dangerous Bacon" - Stackridge

"Beef and Pork Rasta" - Lord Melody

"Rag Mop" - Doc Sausage

"Here Comes The Judge" - Pigmeat Markham

"Big Ted" - The Incredible String Band

Saturday 28 September 2013

Zouk on Zaturday

Zouk is a style of music popular in the French-speaking Caribbean: part island rhythm, part what the young people mistakenly think of as r 'n b, and part French soppiness. Here are a couple of examples from a compilation called "Jet Set du Zouk".

"Reviens Dans Ma Vie" - Passi (featuring Jacob Desvarieux)

"Nuit d'Insomnies" - Patrick Andrey

Here is some more French-infused pop.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

High Church Lowveld Style

A couple of weeks ago I finally got around to listening to a CD I picked up for next to nothing in a second hand record shop in Cape Town over Easter (this is quite quick for me). The CD in question is "Hypocrites Unite" by Danny de Wet & the Lowveld Garage Band, and on the back cover it is described as "a collection of gospel songs including five secular tracks".

I believe - but cannot swear to it - that this is the same Danny de Wet who, as a drummer, has been a stalwart of the South African rock scene for many years with the likes of eVoid, Petit Cheval and Wonderboom. If it is him, then he was already "veteran drummer" Danny de Wet by the time this CD came out in 1999. Today's selections are two of the "gospel" songs. Nibs van der Spuy helps out on guitar on "Jesus Is Guarding Me".

"R.E.L.I.G.I.O.N" - Danny de Wet & the Lowveld Garage Band

"Jesus Is Guarding Me" -  Danny de Wet & the Lowveld Garage Band

And here is Danny (or a Danny anyway) looking faintly ridiculous behind the drumkit for Petit Cheval way back when. No prizes for guessing the decade.

Saturday 21 September 2013

Big Jimmy

On Thursday, Mister F and I went to the 100 Club to see the mighty Jimmy LaFave live, something I have been wanting to do for many years but had never previously had the chance. Needless to say he was marvellous.

Inexplicably the 100 Club was barely half full. But hopefully Jimmy will remember the warmth of the welcome rather than the size of the crowd and be back before too long.

Mister F has expressed the view that Jimmy is even better live than on record. I think it is probably too close to call, so in a spirit of compromise (or indecison) I have picked some live recordings for you. In 1999 Jimmy released "Trail", a sort of official bootleg of live concert and radio recordings. He has recently followed it up with "Trail Two" and "Trail Three". Here is one from each.

They are all Dylan covers. He does a lot of them, and often better than Bob does.

"I Threw It All Away" - Jimmy LaFave (from "Trail")

"Not Dark Yet" - Jimmy LaFave (from "Trail Two")

"Love Minus Zero/ No Limit" - Jimmy LaFave (from "Trail Three")

The other highlight on Thursday came at work, when I hosted a visiting delegation of Lithuanian business people. As a token of thanks they presented me with a big Lithuanian cheese. And it is in that same spirit that, in turn, I present you with some big Lithuanian cheese.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Hey, Paula!

I have a monthly account with eMusic and, when I get down to my last few downloads each month, usually take myself off to "New This Month - International - Least Popular" to see what I can find.

Sometimes you can understand why they are tucked away in one of the dustier corners of cyberspace. But not this month, because I came across the self-titled debut album by Os de Paula, three brothers from São Paulo. Very good it is too.

"Que Mina É Essa" - Os de Paula

"Fala Ai" - Os de Paula

This smoothie, ladies and gentlemen, is their old dad, Netinho de Paula.

This Paula is no relation, as far as I know.

Saturday 14 September 2013

A Rare Attack Of Newness

I have had some cracking stuff sent to me recently, including some great re-releases from the ever-reliable Tompkins Square and VP/Greensleeves labels which I will get round to soon. But we'll start with some new records.

The first two acts have both been around for a while but for one reason or another I have never heard them before. The first, Joseph Arthur, has just never appeared on my radar. My loss. He has a new double album out now called "The Ballad of Boogie Christ". The man himself says it is "a psychedelic soul record about redemption and what happens when you find it and lose it". Now, I don't know about that, but I do know it is an excellent record that all right-minded people will enjoy. On this track you can play Spot the Mott.

"Junkies and Limousines" - Joseph Arthur

By contrast, the second act is one I have been aware of through the blogosphere for some time but have consciously avoided. While their name does not offend me, yeah, as much as some others I could mention, I instinctively cringe at Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. Which is a shame, as judging by their new album "Fly By Wire" they are a pretty good band. With a very irritating name.

"Loretta" - Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

Next up we have The Halfways, known to their mums of Daniel Fernandez and Alejandro Facusse, who released their debut album "Exit" via Bandcamp earlier this year. Daniel is originally from Honduras, not that you would guess that from their music. Like a lot of bands that have popped up since the Fleet Foxes made it big, they are clearly influenced by the old Laurel Canyon sound. But rather than the pale imitators that many of them are, Daniel and Alejandro appear to be directly channeling Crosby, Stills & Nash.

"Down You Go/ The Queen" - The Halfways

Finally, the only one of the lot I already knew. You may remember me raving about "Acid Week" by John Cathal O'Brien a year or so back. John has been in touch to let us know that his new album, "Songs on Lafayette", is now available for free (!!!) on his Bandcamp site. He describes it as "even more lo-fi" than "Acid Week" - which takes some doing - but it is also n an even stronger set of songs that last time round. And at that price you would have to be made not to give it a listen.

"Far Out Lights" - John Cathal O'Brien

John is originally from Dublin but is now living in the States. Here is another O'Brien who left her homeland to seek her fortune over there.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Ukraine In My Brain

I said to myself before tonight's football started that I would post one track from Ukraine or England for each goal the respective sides scored. It ended 0-0, which would have left us with nothing to do but ponder the purpose of Kyle Walker. So let's pretend it was 1-1.

I'm not going to tell you which is which though.

"Pidmanula" - Vopli Vidopliassova

"A Begging I Will Go" - David Gibb

Sunday 8 September 2013

Military Discipline

Things have been a bit shambolic around here lately, so we have got some miltary men in to instil some much needed order and discipline. We start with two for one.

"Murandziwa" - General Muzka featuring Colonel

"Love Won't Let Me Wait" - Major Harris

"Bangarang" - Lieutenant Stitchie

"Sufficiently Breathless" - Captain Beyond

"Goddess of Depression" - Corporal Punishment

And let us not forget all the other, less prominent, ranks. Like this one.

"Them A Weave" - Nardo Ranks

Thursday 5 September 2013


Like many music bloggers, I have a desperate need to feel loved. I check my numbers on Blogger and Hype Machine every day and feel full of self-worth when they have a surge.

Recently those b*gg*rs at Box have changed something or other with the result that my posts have stopped being picked up by Hype Machine. The number of hits has plummeted and I briefly thought of doing the same, before pulling myself together.

In an effort to remain positive I have told myself that this is in fact a good thing because I am now more exclusive. And in turn it means that you are more exclusive too. This is what I believe they call a win-win situation, so let's keep it that way for a little while (but only a very little while, please, Mr Box Helpline Man).

And what is it we tastemakers are grooving to at this particular point in the zeitgeist? Why, 1960s Greek pop, of course! Especially when it is as bonkers as "Hallo Beethoven".

"Hallo Beethoven" - The Girls

"Crazy Girl" - Aleka Kanelidou

"She's Cool" - The Lou Bbogg

"Agoraki" - The Charms

Those of you who could hear that last one above the sound of you stroking your beard would have immediately identified it as a cover of this old standard.

Monday 2 September 2013

Aster Is Born

Tsonga Disco Month is over. In case any of you are worried about suffering from cold turkey, we are going to wean you off it slowly with some more top-notch African pop.

While I was in Addis last year I picked up a copy of "Atasrejugne", an album by Aster Kebede that came out in 2010. It's great. Today's first pick is particularly groovy, and likely to get a spin down the Eleanor Arms if Frankie (a.k.a. The Minestrone of Sound) goes through with his misguided proposal that I do a guest "set" one night when nobody is in.

I know nothing else about Aster. There are a few home video quality clips of her newer recordings on YouTube, but whether she is a big star back in Ethiopia I couldn't tell you. If she isn't, she should be.

"Engdih Jemeregne" - Aster Kebede

"Algebagnem Gudayu" - Aster Kebede

To the traditional unrelated 80s videoclip. Our old friend Charity Chic recently referred to Tsonga Month as a "labour of love". He was only half-right - there was no labour involved, just love - but he did prompt me to dig out this old hit by two brothers who, like Chic himself, are of the Scottish persuasion. I don't mean the Proclaimers, or the Jesus and Mary Chain, or the Longmuir brothers from the Bay City Rollers, or even Jimmy Shand and his less well-known brother, Hand. These ones.


Saturday 31 August 2013

Tsonga Month: The Last Post

And so we bring Tsonga Month to an end with a post dedicated to the man who, to my mind, has done more than anyone else to create the Tsonga Disco sound that we know and love. It is writer, producer, collaborator and star in his own right, the Shangaan Svengali, Mr Joe Shirimani.

Here are a small selection of his works. To misquote Percy Bysshe Shelley, look on his deeds, ye mighty, and get down!

"Ku Khola" - Joe Shirimani

"Wa Rita Dadu" - Joe Shirimani & General Muzka 

"Daar Kom Hulle" - Joe Shirimani & Bangoni Bandawu

"Juliah" - Joe Shirimani

"Madla Kuhamba" - Joe Shirimani & Vana Va Ndonda (featuring Benny Mayengani)

"Two Bafundisi" - Joe Shirimani & Penny Penny

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Tsonga Month: New Faces

As we wind our way towards the end of Tsonga Month here at 27 Leggies - "Bringing Tsonga Disco to the Masses" since 2009 - here are a few acts we've never featured before.

All of these tracks are taken from an excellent compilation called "Ndavuko Wa Xigaza Volume 1", released in 2007 on CCP Records (a South African offshoot of EMI) and compiled by one Phazamiza Mathonsi. Hats off to Phazamiza, I say, and here's hoping there are a few more volumes out there just waiting to be found.

"Parasite" - Masesi

"Malumi" - Richard Maceke & The Makhasa Sisters

"Xiwethula" - Boti Ready & Peter Magolongondlo

"Xitsare - Tsetsa" - Rose Nwanghonyama

Speaking of New Faces, here are a couple of bands that got their first break on the ITV talent show of the same name in the 1970s.

Monday 26 August 2013

Monday Mas

There are two things you can rely on in London over the August Bank Holiday weekend - rain and the Notting Hill Carnival. They have both duly arrived.

I haven't been to Carnival for years - I can't be doing with the crowds - but that is no reason not to bombard you with four vintage soca tunes. As a bonus I've added the track that won Superblue the Road March title at the Trinidad Carnival this year, a mere 33 years after his first triumph. I'm three days late or four days early, depending on your disposition.

 "Rock It" - Merchant

"Companero" - Mighty Gabby

"Bus Conductor" - Poser

"I Don't Mind" - Winston Soso

"Fantastic Friday" - Superblue

Here is one of Superblue's main rivals this year, with a distinctly peculiar video.

Friday 23 August 2013

Tsonga Month: General Muzka

So far this Tsonga Month we've had Peta Teanet. We've have Penny Penny. But no list of Kings of Tsonga Disco past and present would be complete without Chris Mkhonto AKA General Muzka.

Here are a couple of tracks from his "Back By Public Demand" album. As they say over at the excellent but intermittent Gazankulu Republic blog, "Chris has come a long way since the days when he sang for his school as a small boy in the remote village of Xanthia, near Bushbuckridge, Limpopo".

"Hi Pepile Mimoyeni" - General Muzka

"Xenophobia I Vuvabyi" - General Muzka

The people of Bushbuckridge still talk about the day Billy Joe McAllister jumped off the Tellahatchie Bridge.

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Tsonga Month: M.D. Shirinda

I can't believe that, after more than four years of this blog, this is the first time I've posted music by Daniel Shirinda (better known as M.D. or sometimes General M.D. Shirinda). The General - to award him the respect he deserves - is still going strong in his late seventies after over 50 years of recording. Starting out when Tsonga music was still played only on traditional instruments like the mbira, he was one of the first to integrate the guitar and set in train the modernisation process that led in time to Tsonga disco and now Shangaan electro.

Here are a couple of tracks from his album "Nghena Shirinda". My copy does not have a date on it but I would guess from the cover, the absence of "General" and the production credits, that it probably came out some time in the 1970s. He is superbly supported, as always, by his actual sisters, The Gaza Sisters (named after the historic Gaza Kingdom, centred around the Limpopo river).

"Vandzi Lumbeta" - M.D. Shirinda & Gaza Sisters

"Engelinah" - M.D. Shirinda & Gaza Sisters

The General also has the distinction of being possibly the only Tsonga artist to feature on a multi-million selling album, when Paul Simon took one of his tunes and reworked it as"I Know What I Know" for "Graceland". The General and the girls played on the album, but they aren't involved in this 1987 live performance in Zimbabwe.

Sunday 18 August 2013

ReviewShine Round-Up

This is catch-up month. In between all the Tsonga Disco, here is a quick plug for some of the better records to have come my way via ReviewShine over the last couple of months.

We start with a man (and band) that can rightly be described as bluegrass legends - Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. With over 40 albums and countless Grammies and other awards to their name, they are  renowned for their superb playing and fantastic harmonies. Both of those are prominently on display on their latest album, "Roads Well Traveled", out now on Mountain Home Records. If you know anything about bluegrass you'll know that a Doyle Lawson album is as close to a guarantee of quality as you can get. If you don't know anything about bluegrass, this would be a good place to start.

"Fiddlin' Will" - Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

A rather different take on the old mountain music comes from Isobel Anderson & Ruby Colley, both of whom hail from the foothills of the mountainous Sussex Downs. They have each made albums in the past, but have been playing together for the last couple of years. The "Sussex Sessions" EP, which is available now from their Bandcamp page, is their first release, and very good it is too. "Down in Adairsville" is my personal favourite.

As there are only three tracks on the EP I'm not going to give you a free download. If you like it - and you should - you can stump up the £3 needed for the whole thing.

Also available on Bandcamp is "Whisper & Holler", the debut album from Steph Casey, a singer-songwriter from Wellington, New Zealand. There is a slightly bluesy edge to both her voice and her music which I really like. Here is an alternate version of the lead off track.

"Nice To Almost Know You (Alternate)" - Steph Casey

We will finish off with what is probably my favourite of all the albums ReviewShine has sent my way over the last couple of months, "Fifty Shades of Yellow" by The Yellow Hope Project (or, as he's known by his family, Arnold Kim). Basically, it's a great Southern soul record - if, like me, you consider Hiss Golden Messenger and the good bits of Lambchop to be Southern soul. It's all about love and loss, as all great soul records are, and some of it is played fairly straight. There is a rewrite of "Mignight Train to Georgia" from the man's perspective, for example, which sticks pretty closely to the classic sound. But my favourite moments are probably when he approaches it from a slightly different angle. Like this one.

"A Final Plea To A New Prescription" - The Yellow Hope Project

You've probably guessed the clip by now.

Saturday 17 August 2013

Tsonga Month: Teanet Time

The late Peta Teanet is rightly considered the first great king of Tsonga Disco. He did not invent it - Paul Ndlovu and maybe others have a better claim to that - but he took it to new heights of quality and popularity. His die-hard fans, who include many regular readers, would tell you nobody has ever matched him since.

Here are a couple of tracks from the 2008 compilation, "King of Shangaan Disco", which is available to download on Amazon and elsewhere.

"Cawa" - Peta Teanet

"Xizambani" - Peta Teanet

Today's video is specially for my old friend Crackers. He'll know why; it's probably best that the rest of you don't.

Monday 12 August 2013

Tsonga Month: Maluleke Monday

If you move beyond the Tsonga disco and electro scene into the more traditional Tsonga sounds, two names keep cropping up: Maluleke and Chauke. They are like the Hatfields and McCoys of Limpopo Province, although hopefully without the feuding. Thomas, the big cheese of the Chauke clan, is married to a Maluleke woman which suggests they are on friendly terms, although Thomas is married to so many women that it may just have been an administrative error.

We will come back to the Chaukes later in the month, but today we have a multitude of Malulekes. We start with the daddy of them all, George (28 albums and counting), followed by Alpheus (who must be well into double figures himself by now). And then we round things off with some Lesser Spotted Malulekes.

"Kubebula Imaxangu" - George Maluleke & Va'Wana'ti Sisters

"Vana Va Swisiwana" - Alpheus Maluleke & Ntlaveni Brothers

"Vakukwani" - Eckson Maluleke

"Papa Sibongile" - Wilson Maluleke & Mikoki Ladies

"Joni Ra Tika" - John Maluleke

Before finishing up for the day, let us spare a thought for our Australian readers in these difficult times.

Saturday 10 August 2013

The Extended Family

During the week there was a mini gathering of the clan as assorted aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins twice removed, in-laws and outlaws got together to say goodbye to one of our number who was heading back to the States. And it prompted this post, which is a tribute to the extended family. This goes out to all Gogginses and part-Gogginses everywhere.

"Granny" - Oscar Brown Jr

"Grandad" - Brave Baby

"Auntie Rhoda" - Admire Kazenga & The Ngozimbi Crew

"Uncle Jo The Ice Cream Man" - The Mindbenders

"Cousin Rude Boy" - Culture

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Tsonga Month: Madlaks

As part of this month's efforts to revive the vibe here on the self-styled Home of Tsonga Disco, it is only right we should feature the man whose music got me into it all in the first place - Madlaks.

While far from the biggest star in the Tsonga firmanent, it was the discovery of his CD "Ndlho Ndlho Volume 1" in the African Music Store in Cape Town over Christmas 2008 that led to my love of Tsonga Disco, and to the creation of this blog. So feel free to praise him or curse him as you see fit. I'm in the praising camp, obviously.

Here is one from "Ndlho Ndlho", one from his 2009 follow-up "Zindamuti", and finally one from Skadlama's "Tekani Milawu Vananga" album, on which he guests.

"Changana" - Madlaks

"Jikamajika" - Madlaks

"2010 Yifikile" - Skadlama (featuring Madlaks)

While wallowing in nostalgia, I went back to my early posts to see what the first videos I posted were. These were the first three. You've got to admit, I got off to a flying start.

Saturday 3 August 2013

It's Tsonga Disco Month!

As promised, to make up for neglecting my mission in recent months, August is going to be Tsonga Disco Month here on 27 Leggies (perhaps not exclusively, but predominantly).

And we start with the exciting news that Brian over at the mighty Awesome Tapes From Africa is working with the even mightier Penny Penny and Joe Shirimani on efforts to re-release Papa Penny's classic "Shaka Bundu" album.

We'll keep you posted on that if it comes off, but in the meantime here are a couple of tracks from his follow-up album, "Juri Juri".

"Good Morning Papa Penny" - Penny Penny

"Mhannamizamani" - Penny Penny

And to top it off here he is with a performance of his song about the Ibola virus and AIDS that was apparently arranged to celebrate the unveiling of South African Airways' first Boeing 747-400. The quality is not great, but that just adds to the generally surreal nature of the thing.

Wednesday 31 July 2013

Iggy Stardust

For no particular reason, here is a little tribute to Iggy Pop: a song he covered, two covers of his songs, and an excellent collaboration.

"Real Wild Child" - Ivan

"The Passenger" - The Jolly Boys

"I Wanna Be Your Dog" - Big Snow Big Thaw

"Punkrocker" - Teddybears (with Iggy Pop)

Rather more successful than this collaboration, in my humble opinion.

Monday 29 July 2013

Blue Baião

I picked up a job lot of Brazilian CDs in Brick Lane yesterday - 7 for £5. If the first one is anything to go by I have got a real bargain.

The album in question is "Baião de Viramundo", and it is a tribute to Luiz Gonzaga, the "king of baião" whose recording career lasted nearly 40 years up to his death in 1989. The album itself came out in 2000.

"Baião", as all of you familiar with Wikipedia will know, is a rhythm from North East Brazil usually played on a zabumba, a flat, double-headed bass drum played with a mallet in one hand and stick in the other. "Viramundo" translates literally as  something like "turning world". By coincidence it is also the title of a  new documentary about another baião master, Gilberto Gil.

We will start you off with Luiz himself, so you can see how it is meant to be done, followed by a couple of tracks from the compilation. I think it is fair to say they did not feel too constrained in how they interpreted the brief.

"Danado de Bom" - Luiz Gonzaga

"Vozes Da Seca" - Black Alien, Speed Freaks & Rica Amabis

"A Fole Roncou" - Nação Zumbi

From Gonzaga to Gonzalez. My friend Winston's sister used to go out with the lead singer, so they are virtually family.

Sunday 28 July 2013

Nickin' Chic's Shtick

I was passing through Tavistock earlier in the week, and had time to kill while Old Daddy Goggins was getting his hair cut - it is a long and not very interesting story - so I did a quick tour of the charity shops.

Guided by the spirit of recent birthday boy, Charity Chic, I picked up a couple of CDs to share with you. I have not had a chance to listen to them myself yet, so I am relying on you to tell me whether these tracks - selected at random - are any good.

The first album was "Beyond The Sun" by Billy Mackenzie, the record he was working on at the time of his suicide in January 1997 which was tidied up and released later that year. The second was Rod Stern's "Give It Up For Rod Stern" from 2006. Apparently Rod is/was the alter ego of the former bass player with the Sultans of Ping. At that level of fame, you can understand why he felt the need for a nom de plume.

"Blue It Is" - Billy Mackenzie

"If I Don't Got You" - Rod Stern

Here is Yvonne Elliman, expressing a similar sentiment to Rod but in a more grammatically correct way.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Oldies But Goodies

I'm off on my hols tomorrow, back in ten days or so. I'll leave with you a selection of songs I featured in the first few months of 27 Leggies' existence that are worth another listen.

There is all sorts in here: Singapore 1960s beat, African reggae, Trini soca, Spanish rumba, British samba, Welsh folkies and some old hippy nonsense. One of these tracks has a particular significance for this blog. The first person to work out which one it is and why will get a prize of some sort.

"Hanky Panky" - Rita Chao & The Quests

"Breakin' Down" - Julia & Co

"Wine And Bend Over" - Ghetto Flex & Denise Belfon

"Dame De Beber" - Los Chunquitos

"Angus Of Aberdeen" - Beacon Street Union

"They'm" - Rainbow Ffolly

"N'sselibessè" - Fatan Kwass

"Y Brawd Houdini" - Meic Stevens

I'm off to tropical Devon. They have tors rather than volcanoes, but when the fracking starts, who knows?

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Rink & Pete

Do you think this lot had been listening to George Harrison when they recorded this back?

"Don't Turn Me Loose" - Greenfield & Cook

Eagle-eared listeners may have spotted that, despite their very English surnames, Greenfield and Cook sing with heavy Dutch accents. That is because they were heavy Dutch dudes, real names Rink Groeneveld and Peter Kok.

"Don't Turn Me Loose" was deservedly a big hit in the Netherlands in 1972. Nearly fifteen years later another Dutch duo, Lucien Witteveen and Sven Van Veen, had an even bigger smash.

Regular readers will know that is a sign I am off on my summer hols. I don't actually go until Friday and I will try and squeeze another post in before then, but I thought I should bank Mike G and Sven now just in case I run out of time.

Saturday 13 July 2013

Starcrossed, Misbegotten Love

New record alert!!! The ever-groovy Sonny & The Sunsets have recently released "Antenna to the Afterworld", an album that was apparently inspired by Sonny Smith's visit to a medium who put him in contact with a dead friend. It is a good listen all the way through, but probably the stand-out track is the closer, "Green Blood", which tells the tale of Sonny's affair with a space lady.

"Green Blood" - Sonny & The Sunsets

Of course, Sonny is not the first earthling to have fallen in love with someone from another planet. Rock and roll is littered with the victims of doomed inter-planetary love.

"Beautiful Zelda" - The Bonzo Dog Band

"Little Space Girl" - Jesse Lee Turner

"Girl From Mars" - Ash

And if you are wondering how I came up with the particularly poetic title for this post, truth be told I nicked it from the poetic Mr Prophet.

"Starcrossed Misbegotten Love" - Chuck Prophet

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Tsonga Disco: Machonisi

I have been sorely neglecting the Tsonga Disco of late. I justify it to myself on the grounds that I have to ration my collection of 45-50 Tsonga CDs, but this has been starvation not rationing. I will start putting that right tonight. But I will also pledge that August is going to be Tsonga month.

We will warm you up with a couple of tracks from an excellent CD from 2008 by Machonisi called "Bohani Tinjovo Mincina". It is co-produced by Patson Chauke - whose work we have featured here before - and Nelson de Klerk. Not perhaps the most traditional of Tsonga names, de Klerk, but it's a broad church.

I have no idea whether Machonisi is a "he", "she" or a "they". In fact, I rather suspect they do not exist independently of the fevered imaginations of Patson and Nelson. What I can tell you, though, is that the music is as funky as the cover.

"Makolota" - Machonisi

"Somlandela" - Machonisi

Since I started this blog four years or so back with the aim of promoting Tsonga (also known as Shangaan) music, it has gained a much higher profile. Nothing to do with me I hasten to add. It is all down to the likes of my hipster pal Wills Glasspiegel and the good folks at Honest Jon's Records for licensing and putting out a compilation of Nozinja's electro sounds.

Now, while anything that brings Tsonga sounds to a wider public is good with me, I have to confess electro isn't my preferred variety. It is probably my age but, to paraphrase Chuck Berry's views on modern jazz, I find they play it too darn fast and change the beauty of the melody. Here's Chuck to elaborate.

Monday 8 July 2013

Second Childhood

That's right, folks! It's a jumbo selection of groovified nursery rhymes. Rather than lose those of you with attention deficit disorder or other so-called "conditions" that didn't exist when I was a boy, let's get straight on with the show.

"Nursery Rhyme Boogie" - Laurel Aitken

"Solomon Gundie" - Eric Morris

"Nik Nak Paddy Wack" - Lou Lawton

"Georgie Porgie" - Lord Melody

"Eenie Meenie Minie Mo" - Hoyt Johnson

"Bo Peep Rock" - Cheeko Vaas

"Black Sheep R.I.P" - The Playboys

"I've Got A Humpty Dumpty Heart" - Hank Thompson

Here's a modern nursery rhyme for you. All together now.

Saturday 6 July 2013

Gigs Gone And Still To Come

Last time out I mentioned I was going to see Simone Felice at St Giles in the Thingummy church, round the back of the Centrepoint building in London. Very good it was too. Simone can be a little mannered, and sometimes seems to be trying a bit too hard to be bohemian, but there is no denying his qualities as a songwriter and performer. His singing was great, and when he drummed it was like a young Levon Helm (the beard may have helped).

This was the first time I have seen Simone live. I have seen his fellow Americana Renaissance Man, Tom Russell, play countless times, and intend to see him play countless times more. Tom is touring in the UK and Ireland this month, and you should really try to get along.

I would particularly encourage you to go to see him at the Wild Hare Club in Hereford on 24 July. It is run by Richard, Friend of Leggies; between him and Tom you are guaranteed a good night. And if you are thinking Hereford is a bit far to go for a gig, why not use it as an excuse to take a couple of days off and explore Herefordshire? It's a lovely part of the world.

Here is one apiece from Simone and Tom. If you were to drive from Palenville, New York (where Simone was born) to Tom's home town of LA, roughly half way you would pass through Lincoln, Nebraska - home of Matthew Sweet. Which is an extremely contrived way of justifying the inclusion of today's last selection. It is really there because it is one of my favourite pop songs.

"Stormy-Eyed Sarah" - Simone Felice

"Purgatory Road" - Tom Russell

"Sick Of Myself" - Mathew Sweet

Simone Felice closed his scheduled set with a fantastic sing-along, freak-out version of Neil Young's "Helpless". Now, do we know any other Neil Young cover versions that worked really well?

That'll be a "no", then.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Gigs A Go Go

This week is awash with gigs. After three in a row, I have got two nights off for good behaviour before heading out to see Simone Felice play in a church on Thursday. I'll report back on that later.

On Saturday we went down to the 12 Bar Club to see punk-poet Patrik Fitzgerald, as the evidence below makes clear. It was the first time I've seen him play live for the best part of thirty years, and his style and subject matter hasn't really changed. Which is a good thing.

Last night I was at the South Bank to see Tift Merritt and classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein promoting their new album. I was a bit in two minds beforehand. I have been a big fan of Tift's since she started out, but classical music has never really done it for me. But while there were a couple of moments where I found my attention wandering, it was only a couple. Overall they seem to have found a way of merging their styles and influences that works very well.

But with all due respect to Patrik, Tift and Simone, the stand-out gig was on Sunday at the Electric Social in Brixton when True Identity launched their new EP, "Coming Home".

Individually True Identity are Joanne, Rowena and Pam (who am I honoured to call a friend); collectively they are a top-class reggae harmony act. Having supported any number of big names over the years, a record of their own is long overdue.

The EP is not commercially available yet. I'll post details here when it is, but in the meantime you can check them out at Reverbnation. The only track there that is on the EP (in a new, improved mix)is "Fav'rite Room". That and the title track - both originals - are instant classics in my view.

Other tracks on the record include "Up Close And Personal", a medley of these three tunes.

"Natural High" - Bloodstone

"Silhouettes" - Dennis Brown

"Dancing Mood" - Delroy Wilson

Joanne is normally the lead singer, but the other two takes turns occasionally. One of the highlights of their set on Sunday was when Pam stepped up to the mike for a fine version of this old standard from the 1980s.

"One Dance" - Audrey Hall

Special mention should also go to The Blackstones, whose all too short PA on Sunday night was the perfect warm up for the main attraction. Their version of "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" was particularly good, although nothing tops the original.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

A Right Bunch Of Charlies

I promised in yesterday's Bobby Bland tribute he would be back again today. I had intended to post his great version of Charlie Rich's "I Take It On Home", but then I started thinking how many other soul and blues singers had successfully covered Charlie. So I thought I would make into a post of its own.

It's no surprise that Charlie's tunes are such a good fit, because at his best they are as much soul and blues as country. In the 1960s Willie Mitchell signed him to Hi Records, and he knew a thing or two about soul music. In fact, while there, Charlie released the first ever version of the soul standard "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby".

Enough rambling. On with the show.

"I Take It On Home" - Bobby "Blue" Bland

"Mohair Sam" - Slim Harpo

"Life's Little Ups And Downs" - Latimore

"Behind Closed Doors" - Little Milton

Here's Charlie returning the favour with a fine version of Jimmy Reed's "Big Boss Man".

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Always Blue, Never Bland

I heard the news earlier today that the great Bobby "Blue" Bland died on Sunday. He had one of the great soul voices and was a great influence on our old friend Mpharanyana and many, many others. Here is a small selection as an inadequate tribute. And we know where he's gone, ready to hold true to the promise he made in this first song.

"I Can Take You To Heaven Tonight" - Bobby "Blue" Bland

"It's Not The Spotlight" -  Bobby "Blue" Bland

"You're Gonna Love Yourself In The Morning" - Bobby "Blue" Bland

"Members Only" - Bobby "Blue" Bland

If I can get round to it, there may be a little bit more from Bobby tomorrow.