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Saturday 31 December 2016

Get Thee Behind Me

As regular readers will know I'm not normally given to moaning. But it must be said that, one way or another, this has been a bugger of a year. Collectively we've shown ourselves to be a lot less nice than we pretend to be, and we've lost a lot of folks who made it a better place to be.  

Oh well, onwards and upwards, eh? Happy New Year. May your feet be first.

"This Year, This Year" - Curtis Mayfield

"New Year's Eve" - Amy Allison

"My New Year Starts Today" - Courtney Granger

"In Our Bedroom After The War" - Stars

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Women And Nomads

Last post before Christmas, folks. I'm heading off to Morocco for a winter break tomorrow, getting back just before the end of the month - so this may turn out to be the last post of the year as well.

I'm not going to do the usual "these we have lost" tribute - the list is far too long and far too depressing - but here are few of my personal musical highlights.

Man of the Year for both recorded and live music is the great William Bell, for "This Is Where I Live" and his show at the Union Chapel in July. Hiss Golden Messenger get an honourable mention in both categories as well.  Other memorable gigs included the bizarrely brilliant Tuvan-Tuareg combination of Sainkho Namtchylak and Terakaft.

I won't attempt to rank all my favourite tracks of the year, but looking through the list I noticed that a disproportionate number of them were by female singer-songwriters and desert blues ensembles. So here are three of each which may perhaps have passed you by.

"Small Talk" - Julia Jacklin

"Assossamagh" - Imarhan

"Irene" - Courtney Marie Andrews

"Akhar Zaman" - Bombino

"The Girl From The Banks Of The Ohio" - Ana Egge & The Sentimentals

"Ahile Lamma" - Kel Assouf

We'll round things off with the Man of the Year and the Party Hit of the Year. Happy Christmas to all our readers.

Sunday 18 December 2016

Two For The Price Of One

Two for the price of one for you today, from the album of the same name by Larry Williams and Johnny Watson (later Johnny "Guitar" Watson - the album came out in 1967 before he picked up his guitar).

I'm not sure whether the former rocker and future funker came together by natural or artificial means, but either way it works. The album is a fine example of the classic male duo soul sound of the era.

"Two For The Price Of One" - Larry Williams & Johnny Watson

"Mercy Mercy Mercy" - Larry Williams & Johnny Watson

Thursday 15 December 2016

From Freddy To Freddy

I recently picked up for a couple of quid  "Amexica", the 2014 album by Trujillo. I had never heard of him/them before, but it looked interesting. And so it turned out to be.

Extensive research - I googled the press release - reveals that Trujillo is one Freddy Trujillo, a bass-playing singer-songwriter originally from California but now based in Portland. He has been around since the 1980s and played with various bands, of whom the best known is probably Richmond Fontaine.

According to the blurb, "Amexica" is "a kaleidascopic romp through Freddy's own colorful history, with nods to musical heroes as well as odes to fallen friends, personal relationships and his own beloved children", and "nothing less than the sum-total of all dues paid: having played every possible type of venue, crafted every type of song, and immersed himself in the study of his Mexican heritage".

Now that's as maybe, but its a good record. Here are a couple of the highlights, including one of those nods to a musical hero. The musical hero himself appears below, modelling a classic look.

"Santa Fe" - Trujillo

"Freddy Fender" - Trujillo

Sunday 11 December 2016

Single Song Title Sunday

It has been a long time since we've had a proper Single Song Sunday here. This isn't a proper one either, really. Rather than a collection of cover versions, what we have for you is a selection of songs with the same - or very similar - title: "I (or I've) Got A Feeling".

Just like the real Single Song Sundays, we have something for everyone. Top notch Motown, folk, blues and R&B. The Mexican Beatles and a cover of the song by the real Beatles by some Serbian punks with a great name (the performance is less great but it was that or the Laibach version). Some groovy modern gospel. And the Mandatory Reggae Version courtesy of The Heptones.

"I Got A Feeling" - The Four Tops

"I Got A Feeling" - Los Dug Dug's

"I Got A Feeling" - Otis Spann

"I Got A Feeling" - Ricky Nelson

"I Got A Feeling" - Rev Matthew Mickens & The New Highway Travelers

"I've Got A Feeling" - Pentangle

"I've Got A Feeling" - Baby Washington

"I've Got A Feeling" - Elektricni Orgazam

"I've Got A Feeling" - The Heptones

"I've Got A Feelin'" - Big Maybelle 

That's a lot of feelings. And so's this, but stick with it.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Still Playing Possum

It's been far too long since we had some outright country music misery on here. Let's put that right with the best in the business, the late, great George Jones.

"These Days (I Barely Get By)" - George Jones

"King Of The Mountain" - George Jones

 George may feel that he can't be the king of the mountain when he's a fool on the hill. But you can be both!

Friday 2 December 2016

1989 Time

To ease you into the weekend, three top tunes from 1989, as featured on Volume 7 of Jet Star Records excellent "Reggae Hits" series - the "Now!" of reggae. Something for everyone.

"Zigitup" - Ninjaman & Flourgon

"Take You To The Dance" - Anthony Malvo & Daddy Lizard

"Extra Classic, Super Fantastic" - Vivian Jones

I strongly doubt whether Vivian had this hit from the same year in mind when naming his song. But I may be wrong.