Search This Blog

Thursday 31 January 2013

Cesc Appeal

Today is transfer deadline day and so I thought I should find something football related for us to listen to as we watch the now traditonal sight of Harry Redknapp steering another club towards administration.

I thought about sharing with you the highlights of my collection of Franz Beckenbauer singles, but we'll save that for another time (unless you ask nicely). Instead I have gone for a Congolese album from last year which I picked up while in Brussels last week.

The album is "Amour Amour" and it is by a gentleman called Fabregas. I rather suspect that is not the name he was given at birth, but that he has named himself after the former Arsenal star who is now plying his trade for some obscure team on the Continent. Here is the title track and one of the other highlights.

"Amour Amour" - Fabregas

"Moyene" - Fabregas

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Soft Rock Space Race Special

You can blame Aimee Mann for this one. Towards the end of a very enjoyable show at the Festival Hall last night she name checked Poco and the Starland Vocal Band, and when the house lights came up not long afterwards the PA blasted out "Jackie Blue" by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

I have always had a soft spot for all three bands ever since, as a lad in South Africa in the mid-1970s, I spent hours adjusting my shortwave radio to pick up the likes of the American Top 40 show on Voice of America - as a result of which I have a deep-rooted sentimental attachment to "Jackie Blue", "Afternoon Delight" and "Rose of Cimarron" (and also, less explicably, Freddy Fender's version of "Secret Love").

A year or two after all these marvellous songs were hits, the likes of Mister F came along with their punk wars and spoiled everything. The punks and the ex-hippies did not have very much in common apart, perhaps, from one thing: to quote the Only Ones, space travel was in their blood.

We start with the Starland Vocal Band's star rockets in flight. Poco then encourage you to shoot for the moon, before the Daredevils warn you that the other life form's planet is not always greener.

"Afternoon Delight" - Starland Vocal Band

"Shoot For The Moon" - Poco

"Spaceship Orion" - The Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Sunday 27 January 2013

Single Song Sunday

In the latest edition of our (very) occasional series, we bring you a song that goes by several different names. Usually called "Wild Mountain Thyme", it is quite often called "Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go" (or variations on that), and once in a while "Purple Heather".

I have known the song since I was a child and for many years assumed it was traditional. While the tune probably is, and while the lyrics are loosely based on a poem by 18th century Scots poet Robert Tannahill, the song as we know it was written by Francis McPeake of Belfast and first published in 1957. Which means it became a standard pretty much straight away.

There are thousands of versions of the song out there - lots by Scots and Irish folkies, of course, but also the likes of the Byrds, Rod Stewart, and the artists featured below. I have given one of them a very obvious pseudonym in a possibly doomed attempt to put his lawyers (with whom I have had a run in once before) off the scent. You will probably recognise him without any further clues, but if you need one think of the name of a motor vehicle that is bigger than a car but smaller than a truck and that rhymes with "man".

"Wild Mountain Thyme" - Fotheringay

"Wild Mountain Thyme" - Bert Jansch

"Wild Mountain Thyme" - Lucy Wainwright Roche

"Wild Mountain Thyme" - Marianne Faithfull

"Wild Mountain Thyme" - Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians

"Will You Go" - Strawbs

"Go Lassie Go" - Aoife Clancy

"Purple Heather" - Mr. Person

Aoife Clancy is the daughter of Bobby Clancy. Here are his brothers and Tommy Makem with their take on the song. Call me a sentimental old fool, but it gets me right there.

Saturday 26 January 2013

Annies and Amys

Today we start with an appeal for your money. Not for me, I hasten to add, but for a much more worthy cause.

Annie Dressner is a singer-songwriter from New York who is now based in the UK, lured over here by the lovely weather I imagine. You can read all about her on her website. The reviews posted there are unable to agree who she sounds like - amongst the names mentioned are Kimya Dawson, Jenny Lewis, Gillian Welch, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Camera Obscura, Belle & Sebastian and Mazzy Star - a total confusion which suggests that the person she really sounds like is herself.

Annie's first album, "Strangers Who Knew Each Other's Names", came out in 2011 and is a bit of a gem. It is available from Bandcamp and all the usual places and I have posted a couple of her videos for the album below. Adding to the list of comparisons, it has the same sort of feel to it as her fellow New Yorkers Amy Allison and Amy Rigby - Brooklyn hipsters storming the Brill Building, that sort of thing.

Annie is planning to release a new EP in a couple of months, and has kindly sent me an advance mix. It is not as poppy and perky as the album, which is not surprising as most songs seem to deal with loss of one form or another, but it is just as good in its own way. And this is where the appeal comes in. In these straitened times, Annie could do with some help to get the project finished. She has set up a Pledge page - if you like what you have heard so far, go over there and do your bit.  

I mentioned Amy Allison and Amy Rigby. Here is a song from each of them. As a bonus I have added one from the differently spelt Aimee Mann, who we are off to see at the Festival Hall next week. Should be good.

"Why Must It Be" - Amy Allison

"Breakup Boots" - Amy Rigby

"You Do" - Aimee Mann

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Jolly Nina

We are going upmarket a bit today, with Ms Nina Simone.

In 1982 she released "Fodder On My Wings", an album recorded in Paris with a three-piece band comprising Sydney Thiam (congas, bells and woodblock), Paco Sery (percussion and tympani) and Sylvain Marc (electric bass). I bought a vinyl copy some time in the mid 1980s and fell in love with it. The near title track "Fodder In Her Wings" and "I Was Just A Stupid Dog To Them" are prime examples of moody and angry Nina respectively, and there is a beautiful French version of "Balm In Gilead". But she also gets uncharacteristically jolly at times, as today's tasters demonstrate.

My vinyl copy sadly went the way of all flesh. For a long time the album was not available on CD, but that was put right a few years ago and you can now download the album for £7.49 on Amazon. You should go and do that right away.

"I Sing Just To Know That I Am Alive" - Nina Simone

"Heaven Belongs To You" - Nina Simone

Sunday 20 January 2013

Tsonga on Sunday

As promised in my last post, I have fought my way back from Cornwall through the snowy wastes of Southern England to bring you some long overdue Tsonga music from Doctor Sithole. Although he has been making music since 1993 I have only two of his albums - "Avukatini A Zimbabwe" (2005) and "Nghoma Ya Mundawu". Here are a couple of tracks from each.

"Vinyl Mali" - Doctor Sithole (2005)

"Naha Hleketa (Remix)" - Doctor Sithole (2005)

"Nghoma Ya Mundawu" - Doctor Sithole (2006)

"Mini Byela Hiku Niba" - Doctor Sithole (2006)

And here is another doctor to keep you dancing. Danish viewers may already be familiar with the work of Dr. Phil (and, as a result, will probably be logging off in their droves). The rest of you - watch and wonder!

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Happy Anniversary

This Thursday will be our fourth anniversary here at Leggiesland. I won't be able to post on the day - British Rail and the wrong sort of snow permitting I'll be in Cornwall - so I thought I should mark the occasion today instead. I'm doing that by re-posting some of the tracks that were first posted in the early months, when our readership was one man and a dog that had jumped up at the desk and hit the keyboard randomly. Although I say so myself, we had some good stuff up in those days. How things have changed.

"Khala My Friend" - Amanaz

"I'm Not The Loving Kind" - John Cale

"Electrick Gypsies" - Steve Hillage

"Choctaw Bingo" - James McMurtry

"Queen Of The Slipstream" - Son Seals

"Blind Date" - Vivian Stanshall

And it's been ages since we had any new Tsonga Disco, the original reason why the blog got started. Apologies. Stocks are running low until I get to South Africa at Easter, but we'll plug the gap post Cornwall next week with some tunes from Doctor Sithole.

To tide you over to then, here are a couple of clips featuring some fellow Cornishmen - first, Mick Fleetwood of Redruth, and then Lostwithiel's very own Andy Mackay.

Sunday 13 January 2013

Single Song Saturday

Today's post is inspired - if that is the right word - by the jukebox in the Wentworth Arms, which seems to know intuitively what I want to sing along to. It was in excellent form last night and, tucked in between "El Paso" and "Funny How Time Slips Away", gave us the Johnny Cash version of "I've Been Everywhere".

As much as I love a bit of Johnny, you have to say the Hank Snow original is better, if only because he can rattle along at a speed that Johnny can't match. The song takes us on a whistle stop tour of the USA. Others have adapted it for other regions, and it has inspired some original songs on similar themes. So today, after Hank has finished, we take you on a trip to Ireland, South Africa and the Netherlands.

"I've Been Everywhere" - Hank Snow

"I've Been Everywhere" - Dermit Hegarty

"16 Rietfonteins" - Des & Dawn Lindberg

"I've Seen Pubic Hair" - MacLean & MacLean

Thursday 10 January 2013


Over the last few days I have become a bit obsessed with "Dumplin' Shop", so I thought if I infected you as well I might get it out of my system.

My sister-in-law Pam reckons that, this being Lovindeer, the real meaning of the song is probably rather rude. I really don't see it myself - it seems to me he just has a healthy appetite that Mama Tia is kindly offering to sate. I am worried Pam may have a one track mind. She made exactly the same claim when the Mighty Sparrow sang about his large plantain that filled up some lady's pot and when Dr Kitchener recounted the tale of the young woman who was aghast at the size of his needle.

I have added a few more songs about different aspects of the Jamaican dining experience. The Perfect track is arguably a bit of a stretch but (i) I am currently a bit obsessed with that one as well, and (ii) without the likes of the hand cart boy where would you get your peppers, your ripe bananas and your peanuts?

"Dumplin' Shop" - Lovindeer & Mama Tia

"Sunday Dish" - Early B

"Fishes To Fry" - Culture

"Breakfast In Bed" - Lorna Bennett

"Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" - Black Uhuru

"Hand Cart Bwoy" - Perfect

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Le Nashville Sound

We continue our impromptu continental tour today. After visiting Germany and Slovakia, we stop off in France, but only long enough to bundle Johnny Hallyday onto a plane bound for Nashville.

That's right. Johnny Hallyday, the man often referred to as the French Shakin' Stevens - I am sure you all remember his seasonal smash "Joyeux Noel, Tout Le Monde". In 1975 Johnny went to Nashville where he teamed up with the great Shelby Singleton to produce the album "Le Terre Promise" (The Promised Land). Incidentally, if you are not familiar with Shelby Singleton, this obituary gives you some idea of his contribution. He was a man worth knowing.

I don't think I could in all honesty call "Le Terre Promise" a great album, but it is a lot of fun. As you would expect there is a fair amount of country on there, including a nice French version of "Help Me Make It Through The Night" ("Reste Avec Moi Cette Nuit"). But Johnny is le rocker at heart, as he shows on these renditions of a pair of Elvis and Buddy Holly standards.

"Promesses" - Johnny Hallyday

"C'Est Bon" - Johnny Hallyday

We have a couple of bonus tracks for you today. The first is another cover of the same Buddy Holly song, this time in the English folk style. The second is a belated tribute to the late Fontella Bass. This is in response to a request from our old friend Mr Jackson. When I asked which track he wanted, he replied "I'm leaving the choice to you". So that's what he is getting.

"Rave On" - Steeleye Span

"I'm Leaving The Choice To You" - Fontella Bass

And, if you can get past Cher's ludicruous look, here is a surprisingly good cover of that - not a patch on Fontella and Bobby though.

Saturday 5 January 2013

Bratislava Boogie

It's Saturday night. If you are getting ready to go out dancing, here is a little something to get you in the mood - some fine slices of Slovakian disco, courtesy of Mr Brano Hronec and his Branjo Sound.

Both tracks come from their seminal 1977 album "I Wanna Dance Bump". I had hoped to include a picture of the cover here, as that contributes significantly the album's unique charm, but there seem to be some new problems with uploading photos on Blogger unless you have a Picasa Web album (what I don't). But I would encourage you to click on this link to see for yourselves.

Let's pause for a moment while you do that...

As you will have seen, someone in Hungary wants €21 for that copy. While it would be worth every cent, I only paid €1 in a second-hand record shop in Halle for mine, so got an even better deal.

As well as the cover and the music, the album boasts excellent English language sleeve notes by one Lubos Zeman. He explains that Brano Hronec started out as a jazz musician and composer, and you sense that Lubos doe not entirely approve of the move to disco. Is it just me, or is there an undertone of regret when he notes that "bump, hustle and disco seem to be heard all over the world, and clubs are filled with young people dancing. This is a social phenomenon which has acquired also a musical expression, and the history of pop music will have to register it".

Whatever his views on disco, Lubos makes it clear that Brano's music remains "on an admirably professional level, maintaining high aesthetic criteria and laying stress upon the synthesis of art and entertainment". Cynics may think this is a bit excessive when referring to tracks such as "Cock A Doodle Do" - on which a woman sings "cock a doodle doodle do" over and over again on top of a Silver Convention type beat - but to them I say (paraphrasing David Christie): Get off your high horse and ride!

"I Wanna Dance Bump" - Branjo Sound

"Wind Is Blowing" - Branjo Sound

Friday 4 January 2013

At Large in Leipzig

A belated Happy New Year to all of you out there in Leggiesland. My old mate Mister F and I have just returned from a very enjoyable few days in the lovely city of Leipzig. After enjoying the ad hoc firework displays that marked the end of the old year, we retired to an absinthe bar to hang out with the local goths. We felt quite decadent and edgy until someone put on "Rivers of Babylon" and all the goths started singing along.

Needless to say I picked up some goodies while I was away. There was some vintage vinyl, some of which you will undoubtedly be subjected to shortly, including a couple of album by the Puhdys - the hardest rocking band in the DDR - and some classy Slovak disco from 1977.

For something more recent, I snapped up a copy of "Who Put The L In Leipzig", a compilation that came out in 2007 featuring a couple of tracks each from six local bands. I have only had a chance to listen to it once so far but these are the two tracks that stood out on first hearing.

"Breakfast For Cyborgs" - Brockdorff Klang Labor

"Illusion" - Acid Milch & Honig

One of the other bands featured on the album are Pepe Mula. Here is a clip of theirs from round about the same time. This one goes out to all the party animals in the late-night Wurst Meister.