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Wednesday 31 December 2014

Swamp Thing

Just slipping in under the wire, a late contender for album of the year from one of my musical heroes, Swamp Dogg. "The White Man Made Me Do It" came out in November but I only got hold of my copy a week or so back. I haven't been able to switch it off since - even at 72 he is still showing the youngsters how to do it properly.

One of the many stand-out tracks is this tribute to Sly Stone. We follow it up with some seasonally inappropriate sentiments from Sly himself.

"Can Anybody Tell Me Where Is Sly" - Swamp Dogg

"Hot Fun In The Summertime" - Sly & The Family Stone

Unfortunately, the lurgy has laid me low with the result that my plans for the evening now consist of going back to bed rather than grooving to the Minestrone of Sound. But for those of you planning a big night, please remember that a big night is often followed by the big light.

Saturday 27 December 2014

Lest We Forget

This year, as every year, we have lost some great musicians. Big names such as Bobby Womack, Phil Everly and Pete Seeger rightly received plenty of attention when they died. We would like to pay a small tribute to some of the less famous artists whose deaths you may have missed but who have left some great music behind.

So R.I.P. Rosetta Hightower, James Govan, Barbara Jones, Lapiro de Mbanga, Clive Palmer, Mighty Hannibal, Jo Jo Benson, Hopeton Lewis, King Kester Emeneya, Stephen Fromholz and Lynsey de Paul

"Remember Me" - Rosetta Hightower

"Help Me, I'm In Need" - James Govan

"Come And Get Some" - Barbara Jones

"Jolies Filles" - Lapiro de Mbanga

"Spirit Of Love" - Clive's Own Band (C.O.B.)

"Meet Me At Mary's Place" - The Mighty Hannibal

"Pickin' Wild Mountain Berries" - Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson

"Cool Collie" - Hopeton Lewis

"Milonga Kwango" - King Kester Emeneya

"A Little More Holy" - Stephen Fromholz

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Yes, They Know

In two days' time it will be Christmas all over the world. And in space. Have a groovy time everyone.

"Space Christmas" - Shonen Knife

"Party For Santa Claus" - Lord Nelson

"Away In A Manger" - Swamp Dogg

"Darlin' (Christmas Is Coming)" - Over The Rhine

"I'd Like To Have An Elephant For Christmas" - Hank Thompson

Some folks might argue that today's clip is not a seasonal song. To them I say - this is always seasonal somewhere.

Saturday 20 December 2014

Best Of The Rest

Being an international taste-maker and surfer of the zeitgeist as I am, those nice people from the Internet send me lots of free music. I only ever have time to listen to a fraction of it, and only get round to posting a fraction of that. Here are some corking tunes that slipped down the cracks when I received them this year, but are well worth rummaging around for.

"Black Lemon" - Generationals

"Ugly Girl" - Ikaya

"Follow My Light Back Home" - Space Daze

"Goosebumps" - TaQuita Thorns

"Segure Tudo" - Bossacucanova

"Traces Of Our Tears" - The Rentals

"If You Ain't Never Had The Blues" - Boo Boo Davis

"The Ramones & George Jones" - Heidi Howe

If all that has not zeited your geist (or even geisted your zeit), then this year's albums from Simone Felice, Hiss Golden Messenger, Sturgill Simpson, John Edward Baumann and Chuck Prophet should be checked out.

Top gigs ranged from the Berlin Country Music Festival to John Cale with pointless drones at the Barbican, via the likes of the Sorrows, Jimmy Lafave and that man Prophet again.

As for the prestigious "Pop song I found most difficult to get out of my head this year" award, this is the runaway winner.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

More Salsa

And why not?

"La Temperatura" - Los Hermanos Lebron

"Macho Perez" - Hector Tricoche

"Macho Perez" goes straight into my "Top 3 songs with the word macho in the title" list, alongside these two.

Sunday 14 December 2014

Single Song Sunday

I would not claim to be an expert on the subject of falling in LURVE, but I have a go at it every now and then just to keep my hand in. The words of "It's All In The Game" seem to me to sum up the downs, ups and uncertainties of the whole experience pretty well. Nobody will ever do it better than Tommy Edwards, but there have been some gallant attempts.

Here are three soul versions, Slim Whitman - probably the pick of the country versions in my collection, although Bobby Bare's is also worth a listen - and the mandatory reggae cover. There are many crooned efforts, but they are all pale imitations compared to Tommy.

"It's All In The Game" - Tommy Edwards

"It's All In The Game" -  The Four Tops

"It's All In The Game" -  Isaac Hayes

"It's All In The Game" -  Tyrone Davis

"It's All In The Game" -  Slim Whitman

"It's All In The Game" -  The Gaylads

Van Morrison does an excellent interpretation on "Into The Music". It is probably my second favourite version,  but I have been beaten up by his "people" before so am not going to risk posting the track itself today. This live version from 1979 (the year the album came out) gives you the general idea though.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

The Jolly Baumann

Texas has produced a long and distinguished line of story-telling troubadours. The latest one off the block is John Edward Baumann, about whom I know very little apart for the fact that his current album "High Plains Alchemy" is very good indeed, as is his 2012 EP "West Texas Vernacular". Here is a track from each, both about yer actual Texas.

"Eagle Ford" - John Edward Baumann (2014)

"Bible Belt" - John Edward Baumann (2012)

To me there is a touch of Robert Earl Keen about Mr Baumann's songs. Here is a frighteningly young Robert with one of his standards.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Long Walk To Freedom

I hope you have half an hour to spare - if you planned your weekend right that should not be a problem on a Sunday evening - because you are going to need most of it to listen to these two. They both clock in at well over ten minutes. The more important thing they have in common is that they were both adopted as unofficial anti-apartheid anthems in the mid 1970s. And they are both great.

"Mannenberg" - Abdullah Ibrahim

"Papa's Land" - Sonny Okosun

 Abdullah Ibrahim started out life as Dollar Brand. You know what's coming.

Friday 5 December 2014

Friday Salsa

I recently got hold of a disc with about 120 salsa mp3s on. I have never really paid much attention to salsa before, but there is a lot of good stuff on this disc, so I thought about kicking off an occasional series to be called "Saturday Salsa". Then I belatedly remembered I am not about tomorrow, so you are getting it today. Tough.

"La Noche Mas Linda" - Adalberto Santiago

"La Voluminosa" - Cesar Pedroso

This may be the reason why I have subconsciously avoided salsa up to now.