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Thursday 29 January 2015

The Old One Two

The mere existence of Mike Heron is enough to make the world a wonderful place. Seeing him with his daughter Georgia, the Trembling Bells and some hairy lad on fiddle whose name I didn't catch at the Old Queen's Head last night elevated it to new realms of wonder.

After writing that, I originally started rambling on about how the first two tracks on his album "Smiling Men With Bad Reputations" constituted the greatest opening salvo I know, but then belatedly remembered that I did what was basically the same post way back when. So I cut this one short.

Those of you who are interested in the waffle can find it in the original post. For the impatient ones among you, here's the music. I still marvel at how a Scottish hippy with a slightly wonky voice and a South African free form jazz band could combine to create a soul standard; and the combination of Mike's vocals and lyrics and Richard Thompson's guitar makes "Flowers Of The Forest" his finest moment to my mind.

"Call Me Diamond" - Mike Heron

"Flowers Of The Forest" - Mike Heron

Today's clip has no connection with Mike. It was requested by a woman at work with twelve tattoos. And what Lydia demands, she tends to get.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Tsonga On Tsunday

Sunday is the day for missionary zeal, so we are returning to our oft-forgotten original mission (as set out in our mission statement above). Today we feature for the first time Thomas Makholwa and the lovely Migewu Sisters, with one track apiece from volumes 4 and 5 in their "Iwaxitekwa" series of albums.

"Kulaveka Tyming" - Thomas Makholwa & Migewu Sisters

"Nagungula" - Thomas Makholwa & Migewu Sisters

To mark Burns Night tonight I had intended to include a clip of Michael Marra's utterly beautiful rendition of "Green Grow The Rashes", but that wee scamp Charity Chic has beaten me to it. So instead here are some other Scottish standards.

Thursday 22 January 2015

Ernie's In Love

Don't panic, folks, it's probably not you. Unless you happen to be Dr Andrea Hill (the former Andrea Carroll), in which I have an urgent need to tell you that I love you madly and your "Doolang" is my new favourite song of all time, at least until the weekend.

I am sure I am not the first to fall for Andrea because of this song. After all, what man could resist a lady sidling up to them and whispering in their ear the magic words "Hey, Daddy Cool, come and meet me after school and do the doolang".

In an attempt to keep things respectable, I have added a couple of other cracking tunes from "Girls, Girls, Girls Volume 1", the 7 CD compilation on which I discovered Andrea. Check it out.

"Doolang" - Andrea Carroll

"Itty Bitty Heart" - Johnnie Mae Matthews

"Hi Diddle De Diddle" - Cathy & Cookie

"Doolang" is, of course, inspired by "He's So Fine" by The Chiffons. I couldn't find any clips on YouTube of them doing that back when it was first a hit, but this is just as good.

Monday 19 January 2015

No Show Orlando

I had been looking forward to seeing veteran Nigerian afro-funk pioneer Orlando Julius in concert later this week. Then I heard this morning that the show has been postponed. The promoters are a bit vague as to the reasons, but one website suggests it is some sort of visa problem. Whatever the cause, let's hope it is sorted out by May, when the show has been rescheduled for. Until then, we can tide ourselves over by listening to a couple of his groovy tunes.

"Jagua Nana 2" - Orlando Julius

"Ijo Soul" - Orlando Julius

And now for something completely different (but really rather wonderful).

Friday 16 January 2015

Hannah's True Identity

Before getting to the music clips today, a quick plug for what promises to be an excellent gig coming up next month. My good friends True Identity will be playing at the Forge in Camden on 13 February as part of a special "Voices of Reggae" evening, along with the Blackstones and Kwest.

All reggae fans and surfers of the zeitgeist - to quote Charity Chic - who are at a loose end in London that night should get down there. And if you are not at a loose end that night, cancel all your plans and get down there anyway. For details of tickets, click on the venue name above. I'll see you there, folks.

There is no good reason why True Identity would need to recruit an extra member, being perfect as they are. But if they were ever to contemplate it, they could do worse than see whether Hannah Marfo was free. Here she is with some reggae-tinged Ghanaian gospel grooves to ease you into the weekend.

"Meda Woase" - Hannah Marfo

"Yen Som Obiara" - Hannah Marfo

As a taster for next month's show, here are the True Identity ladies rehearsing with B.B. Seaton for some of his own shows last year. I am not normally a jealous man but, unless the camera angle is very misleading, Pam appears to be getting a bit too over-familiar with him for my taste at 1:03. I am off to find a quiet corner to cry in.


Wednesday 14 January 2015

He Did It Otway

John Otway is generally thought of - if thought of at all - as a novelty act. Which is grossly unfair, as he has written some lovely songs over the years. Here are a couple of examples; the first very seasonal, the second about a different season altogether.

"Middle Of Winter" - John Otway

"Josephine" - John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett

Today's clip marks the sad passing of Trevor Ward-Davies, better known as Dozy from Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich. I can only concur with everything Pete Murray says.

Sunday 11 January 2015

Single Song Sunday

For our first Single Song Sunday of the year, we have a message for those of you still mooching after last year: Don't Look Back.

Written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White, "Don't Look Back" was first recorded by the Temptations in 1965, although I first come across it through Peter Tosh's version a decade or so later. Despite the vocal gurning of Mick Jagger, it is probably still my favourite. Here are those two and half a dozen more. I have spared you Teena Marie's disco version.

"Don't Look Back" - The Temptations

"(You Gotta Walk) Don't Look Back" - Peter Tosh (with Mick Jagger)

"Don't Look Back" - Bobby Womack

"Don't Look Back" - Betye Swann

"Don't Look Back" - Busty Brown

"Don't Look Back" - Youssou N'Dour 

"Don't Look Back" - Joe Wilson

"Don't Look Back" - Darts

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Christmas In Addis

Today is the day Ethiopians everywhere celebrate Christmas. To mark the occasion, here are a couple of tracks from the great Aster Aweke, with a clip of her performing live as a bonus.

መልካም ገና to all our Ethiopian friends.

"Gerado" - Aster Aweke

"Hagere" - Aster Aweke

Saturday 3 January 2015

The General Speaks

We start the new year with an old favourite. It has been a while since we have heard from General Muzka, the erstwhile Prince of Tsonga Disco (Papa Penny will always be the King as far as I am concerned). Here are a couple of tracks from his "Tiwili" album.

"Lexingaherikixa Hlola" - General Muzka

"R20,000 For Lobolla" - General Muzka

"Lobolla" is the term given to the dowry paid by a bridegroom to his bride's family. In the old days it used to be paid in cattle; these days most families find cash rather more useful. The General complains about the going rate of 20,000 rand, which at current exchange rates is about £1200. Call me a romantic old fool but that strikes me as an absolute bargain for the right lady.