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Sunday 31 July 2016

Single Song Sunday

After a bit of a hiatus, Single Song Sunday returns. And it's a bit of a corker, even though I say so myself. Of course, it helps that we've chosen one of the many classic tunes Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham seemed to be able to churn out at will in the 1960s - "I'm Your Puppet".

We start with Dan's own version from his 1994 album "Do Right Man", which leads into the hit (and still best) version by James and Bobby Purify from 1966. After that was a smash, the soul royalty piled in as the next few covers show. So, later on, did any number of weedy indie types. The Mandatory Reggae Version comes courtesy of Jimmy London (Dandy Livingston's is also worth checking out), and we end with a special treat for Mister F.

"I'm Your Puppet" - Dan Penn

"I'm Your Puppet" - James & Bobby Purify

"I'm Your Puppet" - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

"I'm Your Puppet" - Dionne Warwick

"I'm Your Puppet" - Irma Thomas

"I'm Your Puppet" - Joe Pernice

"I'm Your Puppet" - Jimmy London

"I'm Your Puppet" - Dave Kusworth

After James & Bobby Purify's success with the song, any number of duets tackled it. Marvin & Tammi, obviously, Sam & Dave, Mel & Tim etc. I've spared you the Elton John and Paul Young attempt, but felt I had to include this one just because the combination of duet partners is so unlikely.

Thursday 28 July 2016

Ernie's Dating Agency

This may or may not turn out to be a regular series - probably not, knowing me - but I think there is a need for someone to help lovelorn musicians to find like-minded souls.

Let's start with these two. They are clearly made for each other.

"Man From Mars" - Butch Paulson

"Girl From Mars" - Ash

Monday 25 July 2016

One Man's Meat

Today's theme, for no reason other than first of these popped up on the old iPod shuffle this morning, is poison. Nasty!

Most of you will know Graham Parker and probably The Sonics, while veterans of the punk wars like Mister F will remember The Lurkers well (if not necessarily fondly). Hemlock - it says here - were a short-lived outfit who released one self-titled album in 1973. The main man was Miller Anderson, one of those unsung heroes of the British music scene in the 1960s and 1970s (as this interview from a few years ago demonstrates).

"Cyanide" - The Lurkers

"Strychnine" - The Sonics

"Mercury Poisoning" - Graham Parker

"Broken Dreamer" - Hemlock

Wednesday 20 July 2016

He's There In The Distance

Another post, another death to report. This one is personal. A good friend of mine died of lung cancer last night, barely four months after it was first diagnosed.

Amongst his many other fine qualities was a great enthusiasm for life in general and music in particular - the last time I was due to see him was at a Fotheringay reunion gig last month, but unfortunately he wasn't well enough to make it. Two of his main musical passions were Fairport and Family, so these two tracks sort of pick themselves.

RIP Chris. Missing you already.

"Meet On The Ledge" - Fairport Convention

"My Friend The Sun" - Family


Monday 18 July 2016

Average-Sized Earl And The Girls

Yesterday afternoon saw us in Brockwell Park, basking in the sunshine at the annual Lambeth Country Fair. The main reason for going was to support my friends True Identity - who I have written about before - who were in turn supporting Little Roy as his backing singers. The weather contributed to a big turn-out, and it was great to see them strut their stuff in front of a much larger audience than usual. I am sure they got many new fans in the process.

Little Roy was no mean shakes himself. His choice of sobriquet is a bit of a mystery. His real name is Earl and, from where I was standing, he did not look particularly little. But Average-Sized Earl isn't much of a stage name I suppose. I can only assume that having settled on Roy, he found there was another, more established, one he had to distinguish himself from. Perhaps Roy Shirley. Or maybe even The Big O.

"Hard Fighter" - Little Roy

"Christopher Columbus" - Little Roy

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Clear As A Bell

On Saturday Mister F and I went to what for me is the gig of the year to date. Soul legend William Bell was at the Union Chapel promoting his fantastic new album "This Is Where I Live" - his first on Stax for about 40 years, and it sounds like he never left.

The set was a mixture of songs from the album and old favourites (and there were some old favourites in the audience as well - Nick Lowe and Paul Weller were mooching about and competing over who has the most silvery hair). It was wonderful from start to finish, and Mr Bell's voice is still amazing - all the more so when you consider he turns 77 on Saturday.

I'm not going to post any downloads from the new album, because this is one you really need to go out and buy straight away. But to whet your appetite the first YouTube clip is a live acoustic version of the first single off the album, "The Three Of Me". To get you there, two of my personal favourites from his back catalogue.

"If You Really Love Him" - William Bell

"A Smile Can't Hide (A Broken Heart)" - William Bell

Saturday 9 July 2016

Italian Exports

What you are about to hear is not a figment of your warped imaginations. It is entirely real. As hard as you might find it to believe that there is a Mongolian throat-singing version of "O Solo Mio", it is true. Here is the evidence. And what better to pair it with than Barry White's pop-reggae version of "Volare".

"O Solo Mio" -  N. Naranbadrakh

"Volare" - Barry White

We'll round things off with another Italian standard.

Thursday 7 July 2016

Bargain Binns

Who can resist someone called Bongo Tony Binns? Not me.

"Love I Madly" - Bongo Tony Binns

"Ever Strong" - Bongo Tony Binns

I was having a coffee yesterday and became increasingly convinced that I knew the waitress from somewhere. Eventually it dawned on me that she was a dead ringer for Corinne Drewery, AKA That Woman Out Of Swing Out Sister. Hence the clip.

Monday 4 July 2016

Biscuits, Blues and Hippies

I got home yesterday, and it seems I picked a good time to be away from the UK. Between the politics and the football, about the only people who are happy are Welsh 'Leave' voters.

Even in better times, I would recommend San Francisco as a place to visit. It was my first time there, and I definitely want to return, if only to spend a couple of days in Amoeba Music making my way through the huge selection of used CDs in a more methodical fashion than was possible on this occasion.

I also saw a couple of good shows while I was there. The first was at the excellent Biscuit and Blues club just off Union Square, where Chris Cain and his band played a fine set with the help of their guest, guitarist Volker Strifler (all the way from Heidelberg).

The next day I was strolling through Union Square itself at about 6pm when I came across a group of old hippies setting up on stage, with a larger group of old hippies gathering in eager anticipation. There was also a group of women dressed as Donald Duck gathering to protest against Mr Trump, but that is another story. Anyway the old hippies on stage turned out to be called Moonalice and they entertained us royally for the next couple of hours. As you might suspect, what with it being San Francisco, they are very much in the Grateful Dead style, so not something I would be likely to listen to much at home. But they put on a very good show.

Here's a little something from both of them.

"On This Fine Morning" - Chris Cain

"Greenport" - Moonalice

And we will finish off with one of the many bands to emerge from the San Francisco music scene of the 1960s.