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Friday 31 July 2015

It's Ring-Rang-A-Dong Time

I'm off on my summer holidays tomorrow (Armenia, since you ask). As has become traditional on these occasions, here is a selection of tracks we featured in the very early days of the blog, back when we had about as many visitors as an Azeri disco in Yerevan. Hope you like at least some of them.

See you soon, folks. Stay groovy.

"The Invasion Is Coming" - The Invasion

"Macongo" - Letta Mbulu

"Radiation Vibe" - Fountains Of Wayne

"Vitale Famille" - Ziphus

"Tupelo Honey" - Little Milton

"I've Been Losing" - Chrissy Zebby Tembo & Ngozi Family

"Born To Cry" - Dion

"Nothing But A Miracle" - Diane Birch

"El Mundo Tras El Cristal" - Los Chunquitos

"London Life" - Anita Harris

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Random Rules

Do you ever get one of those days when none of the 22,053 songs on your iPad quite fits your mood? On those occasions I go to eMusic, click "New This Month" followed by "International" then have a stroll round to see what I can find.

That is what I did today, except I eliminated the strolling round bit - I just closed my eyes and dabbed. The result is today's selection. I have not listened to these tracks. They could be great, they could be awful. I am relying on you to tell me.

The band is called Makina Kandela, and they appear to be from Chile. The tracks are taken from an album of the same name released in 2012. Let me know what you think.

"Esclavo Moderno" - Makina Kandela

"Tocatesta" - Makina Kandela
With the same spirit of adventure, for today's clip I went to YouTube and typed in "Top of the Pops 1975". This came up first - Fantastico!!!

Thursday 23 July 2015

All Kinds Of Everything

Everything. It's all I've got, folks.

"I Can Only Give You Everything" - Them

"I'll Be Your Everything" - George Soule

"I'm Everything You Need" - R.B. Hudmon

Sunday 19 July 2015

Three Mighty Nubians

On Friday we went down to the Brixton Academy to see a Bunny Wailer and Beres Hammond double header. Beres was good, but Bunny was great - although admittedly I may be a bit biased as he has been a hero of mine for over 30 years.

If the show was good, the organisation was pretty dire. Doors opened over an hour late and we had to queue for nearly another hour to get in. On the plus side, I got to spend quality time with some friends that I don't see often enough. And I bought a CD off an enterprising fellow who walked the length of the queue selling the works of the niftily named Yeshuah The 1st Mighty Nubian (whether it was Yeshuah himself doing the sales I don't know).

Yeshuah describes his music as "conscious hip-hop". I am not a hip-hop buff but this is not bad, as you can tell from the sample below. If you like it and want more your best bet is probably to contact him directly on Tell him Ernie sent you.

"Who Feels It" - Bunny Wailer

"Queen and Lady" - Beres Hammond

"CRS" - Yeshuah The 1st Mighty Nubian 

The only real disappointment of the evening was that we didn't manage to meet up with my sister-in-law Pam (of True Identity fame) who was in the VIP lounge hob-nobbing with the likes of this lady.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Lutalo Pidgin

Our old friend Eddy Kenzo, the Prince of Ugandan Pop, released a new video yesterday. Glance down a little and there it is.

Before you watch it, here are a couple of tracks from Eddy's fellow Ugandan popster David Lutalo. Both come from his 2014 album "Far Away". The first is decidedly Kenzo-esque, while the second features the distinctive stylings of Sizo Lam (you know, Sizo Lam).

"Asimini" - David Lutalo

"Bigambire Nyowe" - David Lutalo (featuring Sizo Lam)

Sunday 12 July 2015

Beautiful Chickens

A couple of fine chugging tunes from 1970s Zimbabwe courtesy of the delightfully - and suitably for a Sunday - named Hallelujah Chicken Run Band.

"Kare Nanhasi" - Hallelujah Chicken Run Band

"Mwana Wamai Dada Naye" - Hallelujah Chicken Run Band

When I was in Rome a couple of weeks ago I was rather taken with the delightfully scatty receptionist at the hotel. The feeling appeared to be mutual, as when I left she clasped my hand, looked deep into my eyes and said in a sultry voice, "You are a beautiful chicken".

I suspect something may have got lost in translation but it was clearly heartfelt. So today's clip is a tribute to the lovely Anna at the Hotel Domus Tiberina. The oldies among you will recognise the tune.

Friday 10 July 2015

Blood and Suicide

I've been to a couple of interesting gigs this week, the first of which took me on a trip way, way back down Memory Lane.

This blogging malarkey is nothing new. Back in 1980 those of us who were surfing the zeitgeist produced fanzines (although given the rudimentary production techniques it was more a case of stapling the zeitgeist). I was involved in one such enterprise in Dorset, having been recruited mainly I think because I had access to a photocopier.

It was hard to get hold of suitable records to review as the only place you could buy them in our town was Woolworths, and they weren't known for their eagerness for experimentation. So I wrote to Rough Trade asking for some freebies, and to my amazement they sent me some. That little bundle contained two classics - "How I Wrote Elastic Man" by The Fall and "Are You Glad To Be In America?" by James Blood Ulmer.

Fast forward 35 years and I found myself in Cafe Oto in Dalston with my old pal Dr Cochrane watching Mr Ulmer in action. It was a solo acoustic set, which suited my tastes as it meant he focused mainly on proper songs, tempering any noodling tendencies. He was in fine form and it was a privilege to finally get to see him live.

The next evening Mister F and I were at the Barbican watching Suicide, who were joined by the likes of Bobby Gillespie and Henry Rollins (below).

There are two ways of thinking of the gig. The first is that you were watching a legendary and highly influential band performing in a style that was as "challenging" as you would expect given their reputation. The second is that you were watching one middle-aged man in appalling trousers assault a synthesiser while another hobbled around the stage occasionally bellowing incoherently into a microphone. I have not yet decided which it was. I can't say that I enjoyed it in a conventional sense, but I'm sort of glad I was there to see it.

Anyway, here is one apiece from James Blood Ulmer and Suicide. This is not the original 1980 version of "Are You Glad To Be In America?" - my single has been rendered unplayable and as far as I am aware the album it came from has never been reissued. The Suicide track is especially for the long-suffering Mister F. And as an extra treat, we have bunged that Fall track in as well.

"Are You Glad To Be In America?" - James Blood Ulmer

"Johnny" - Suicide

"How I Wrote Elastic Man" - The Fall

We will sign off with Mr Ulmer singing the story of my life.


Sunday 5 July 2015

Single Song Sunday

This episode of Single Song Sunday features the classic "Funny How Time Slips Away", a song so good that - judging by the versions I have heard - nobody apart from Mel Gibson has been able to bugger it up completely (although I am happy to be corrected).

Written by Willie Nelson, it was first recorded by Billy Walker in 1961 and was a mid-ranking country hit for him. The first version to hit the pop charts was by Jimmy Elledge later that year, while Willie himself only got round to releasing it in 1962. Over the next 15-20 years anyone who was anyone had a go at it, as did a fair number of people who weren't anyone at all.

Here is a small selection. I can particularly recommend the Dorothy Moore version - possibly my favourite if I had to choose - Junior Parker's blues workout, and Lea Laven's seminal Finnish rendition from 1976. There seems to be a surprisingly small number of reggae versions, so Dobby Dobson fills the mandatory slot mainly due to lack if competition rather than the intrinsic merits of his effort.

"Funny How Time Slips Away" - Jimmy Elledge

"Funny How Time Slips Away" - Willie Nelson

"Funny How Time Slips Away" - Elvis Presley

"Funny How Time Slips Away" - Al Green

"Funny How Time Slips Away" - Joe Tex

"Funny How Time Slips Away" - Arthur Alexander

"Funny How Time Slips Away" - Dorothy Moore

"Funny How Time Slips Away" - Junior Parker

"Funny How Time Slips Away" - Dobby Dobson

"Ei Se Mitään (Funny How Time Slips Away)" - Lea Laven 

Thursday 2 July 2015

More Heat

As the hot weather continues, so does the hot weather music - who knows when we will get another chance? We have some soca this time. This is for my colleague Nicole or, more accurately, for Nicole's Dad.

"Party People Rock" - Arrow

"Lorraine" - Explainer

"Dat Soca Boat" - Mighty Shadow

"Gimme The Ting" - Lord Kitchener

This is also an opportunity to pay tribute to Val Doonican, who sadly died today. He was a great family favourite when I was little. While of little consolation, at least now he's in Heaven he will finally get to find out whether he won that bet about the angel with the whiskers on.

"Paddy McGinty's Goat" - Val Doonican

Wednesday 1 July 2015

Bloody Hell It's Hot

Today's selections are probably self-explanatory.

"96 Degrees In The Shade" - Third World

"Hot Hot Summer" - Johnny Osbourne