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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):