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Tuesday 31 May 2016

Ollie Days

I'm back from my annual trip to South Africa, laden down with assorted Tsonga and other musical goodies for you to enjoy.

More of that anon. But first here are a couple of cracking soul tunes from 1968 by Ollie & The Nightingales. Formerly gospel group the Dixie Nightingales, they sold their souls and went secular when they joined Stax in 1968, changing their name in the process. Ollie was lead singer Ollie Hoskins.

These Nightingales are not to be confused with Birmingham's own Nightingales, who are still going strong after more than 35 years. Or indeed with Maxine Nightingale, who may be as well - let's hope so anyway.

"Brace Myself For The Fall" - Ollie & The Nightingales

"I've Never Found A Girl" -  Ollie & The Nightingales

"Paraffin Brain" - The Nightingales

Wednesday 18 May 2016

It's That Time Again

I'm off on my hols tomorrow. Normally on these occasions I delve into the archives to give another spin to tracks that were featured way back in the early days of the blog. But we are breaking with tradition and instead featuring some brand new music (I know, I know, I'm not sure either, but let's give it a go).

I get sent quite a lot of promo tracks. Most of them I never get round to listening to, but I try to find time to check out at least a few. And I've struck lucky recently - there seems to be a lot of good stuff about. Here is a small selection from albums that are either just out or just about to be out, all of which are worth a listen.

"Walk In The Park" - Still Parade (from "Concrete Vision")

"Drapetomania" - Ted C. Fox (from "A Gospel of Dirt")

"Men Without Hats" - The Burning Hell (from "Public Library")

"Kogarashi" - Kikagaku Moyo (from "House in the Tall Grass")

"Querelles Inter-Minables" - Alpha Blondy (from "Positive Energy")

The other tradition when I go on holiday is to sign off with this clip. I do not envisage ever deviating from that tradition.

Monday 16 May 2016

Multiple Choice Exam


"What Kind Of Girl (Do You Think I Am?)" - The Charmaines


A. "The Worrying Kind" - The Ark

B. "The Jealous Kind" - Bobby Charles

C. "The Rebel Kind" - The Chicks

D. "The Choking Kind" - Jimmy Riley

E. "The Roving Kind" - Guy Mitchell

The first correct answer in the comments box get some sort of prize or other.

Ms Donna Summer's entry has not been accepted because "Lovesun" is not a proper word.

Saturday 14 May 2016


Being a proud resident of Tower Hamlets for the last twenty years or so, I have a tendency to look down on all things Hackney. Even our hipsters are more exotically bewhiskered than theirs. So when I was invited to see an outfit called the Hackney Colliery Band at our very own Wilton's Music Hall I was a bit sniffy.

I am graciously willing to concede that I was wrong. Until the Tower Hamlets Timpani Orchestra gets into its stride, they have bettered us.

The Colliery Band is a nine piece ensemble - two on percussion, seven on brass - and they put on a bloody good show. I began to warm to them when the man with a sousaphone arrived on stage - you don't see enough sousaphones, certainly not being used as part of a tight rhythm section - and things kept getting warmer after that. A funky, friendly 90 minutes followed.

Regular readers will know I'm useless at describing music. But if I tell you that my favourite of their original numbers - "The Morning" - had a bit of a Hugh Masekela vibe that hopefully gives you the general idea. An even better idea would be to go to their website, watch some of the clips and check the dates for their UK tour that starts next week. If they are playing anywhere near you I would encourage you to go along.

But first, here are some more brass-tastic tunes for you to enjoy.

"MRA" - Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath

"Fat Mama" - Tito Chicoma Y Su Orquesta

"You In Your Small Corner" - If

"Movin'" - Brass Construction

A brass band last night. Eurovision tonight. What clip could possibly combine the two?

Wednesday 11 May 2016

More Mongols

In recent weeks we have treated you to some Mongolian hip-hop and some Mongolian throat singing. Now it is time for some Mongolian indie pop-rock, for want of a better description.

Close followers of the Mongolian indie scene may already have guessed that I am talking about The Colors. The two tracks featured today - both from their 2014 album "Unuudur Heden on Be? Noyon Tagtaa" - are from the poppier end of their repetoire. The album also has some longer, heavier stuff for those of you who like that sort of thing - I don't much. But this stuff is not bad, and "Ehlel" is a bit of a corker in its own way.

"Ehlel" - The Colors

"Huuhdiin Duu" - The Colors

And linking back to our previous post, here is Donovan with his heartfelt tribute to these Mongolian pop pioneers.

Saturday 7 May 2016

Sunshine - Super, Man!

I have always had a bit of a weakness for weedy Scottish hippies, as anyone who has heard me ramble on about the Incredible String Band will know. So when I get a chance to go to Donovan's 70th birthday bash at the London Palladium last night I leapt at it.

While his voice may be occasionally wavery, Donovan still puts on a good show. He was up on stage for an hour and three quarters and treated us to a nice mix of the hits and less often heard but fondly remembered album tracks (even "Remember The Alamo"!). And his apparent conviction that everything was to be played in D until instructed otherwise by the band was endearing.

I was particularly pleased to hear these three personal favourites. And it was worth the admission money just to hear him finish the set with the incomparable "Atlantis".

"Sunny Goodge Street" - Donovan

"Barabajagal" - Donovan & The Jeff Beck Group

"Lalena" - Donovan

Thursday 5 May 2016

It's Here, George!

Our regular reader George has been pestering me almost incessantly over the last week or so for a photo of the giant Genghiz Khan statue and some Mongolian throat singing. So here they are. The throat singing (or "khoomei" as they call it in Mongolia) comes courtesy of one Sereenen Bayasgalan. We have one track from the traditional end of the khoomei spectrum and the other from the pop end. The first one sounds rather like a Scotsman clearing his throat, which might explain why George is so keen.

"Khoomiin Turul" - Sereenen Bayasgalan

"Gariin Arvan Horuu" - Sereenen Bayasgalan

As far as I'm aware Sereenen Bayasgalan is no relation to acclaimed English actor Sereenen McKellen. Who by extraordinary coincidence appears in  today's video clip.

Sunday 1 May 2016

Sunday Six

While the rest of you have been spending your Sunday frolicking around, I have been beavering away at work catching up on the things I should have been doing when I was frolicking around last week. Being the only one in the office I was able to whack the iPod on shuffle and sing along to my heart's content without disturbing anybody.

Here are six of the things I sang along to - fortunately for you, without my guest vocals - starting with the great Lord Invader. Arise, King Bedbug The First!

"Reincarnation" - Lord Invader

 "Chances Go Around" - Titus Turner

"Teenage Head" - The Flaming Groovies

"Sheebeen Queen" - Rikki Ililonga & Musi-O-Tunya

"Sing The Delta" - Iris Dement

"Take It Easy On Me" - A House

And I truly massacred this one...