Search This Blog

Friday 29 December 2017

The Hits (And One Big Miss)

Staggering towards the end of the year, we find ourselves literally on our last Leggies. In no particular order, here are some new releases I enjoyed this year that you might want to check out (or not, as the mood takes you):

"14 Steps To Harlem" - Garland Jeffreys
"Bedouine" - Bedouine
"Moonshine Freeze" - This Is The Kit
"Hallelujah Anyhow" - Hiss Golden Messenger
"What In The Natural World" - Jake Xerxes Fussell
"Earl Grey" - Girl Ray
"Adios" - Glen Campbell
"Lenore" - Lenore
"Ad Out" - Dylan Hicks
"A Short History Of Decay" - John Murry
"Bobby Fuller Died For Our Sins" - Chuck Prophet
"From Where I Started" - Sera Cahoone

I have featured a number of them on here already, and the good folks at For The Sake Of The Song have already beaten me to it with one of the others. So here are some cracking tunes from a few of those that remain.

"Monday Tuesday" - Girl Ray

"Hotter Colder" - This Is The Kit

"Wrong Man" - John Murry

And with that, it is time for me to say goodbye until 2018 with the help of one of this year's most lamented - the great Glen Campbell. Adios.

Wednesday 27 December 2017

Gigs of the Year

This will be the penultimate post of the year. The last one will include a handful of records that I particularly enjoyed this year but have not previously featured (though which ones, as of now I couldn't tell you). But to warm up for that, here are my top three gigs of the year.

Choosing them was even tougher than usual this year. Honourable mentions go to the likes of John Murry, James McMurtry, Girl Ray, the Spacebomb Revue, the Rainforest World Music Festival in Borneo and - less credibly - the great Gilbert O'Sullivan.

But after much consideration, the top three are: Garland Jeffreys at Nell's Jazz and Blues, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou at 229, and Margo Price at Islington Assembly Hall.

Here is a track and photo from each, finished off by a seasonal video from Gilbert and a friend.

"I'm Alive" - Garland Jeffreys

"Finlin Ho" - Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou

"How The Mighty Have Fallen" - Margo Price

Sunday 24 December 2017

Christmas All Over The World

Warning: Not all of these Christmases are happy ones. Here's hoping yours are though. Ho ho ho to all our readers.

"Child's Christmas in Wales" - John Cale

"Christmas in Nevada" - Willard Grant Conspiracy

"Christmas in New Orleans" - Rickie Lee Jones

"Christmas in Kakamas" - David Kramer

Friday 22 December 2017

Toumast, Too Young

Some hypnotic Tuareg blues from Niger to get you into the mood for Christmas. You can almost hear those sleigh bells a-jingling. Both tracks from Toumast's 2006 LP "Ishumar".

"Ikalane Walegh"  - Toumast

"Maraou Oran" - Toumast

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Crazy Names, Crazy Guys!

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Elbert and Melvin. You may know Melvin's sister.

"This Is Elbert, Operator" - Pete Mario

"Melvin" - The Belles

Saturday 16 December 2017


Great excitement in the Goggins household this morning. I've just booked my tickets for the reunion of one of my all-time favourite bands, the mighty Microdisney. For two nights only - one in Dublin and one in London - the old gang is getting back together to perform "The Clock Comes Down The Stairs" LP. And, hopefully, all the hits.

Here are two from my long list of personal favourites. Neither of them are actually from "The Clock Comes Down The Stairs" but, hey, there's plenty of time for that.

"Gale Force Wind" -  Microdisney

"Our Children" - Microdisney

Thursday 14 December 2017

Auntie Knows Best

Let me share with you a long-buried memory. It was a Bonfire Night in the early 1990s - I can't remember exactly which year - and I was making my way to a fireworks display in Highbury with some pals when we got stopped by a couple of lads with a video-camera and microphone.

They explained that they were trying to get some "vox pop" to include in a tour video for a band called Red Aunts who were playing nearby that evening, and they had a very particular - and peculiar - request. They wanted me to claim that exposure to the music of Red Aunts had caused my genitalia to increase significantly in size.

Back then the Internet barely existed, which meant you didn't worry about doing things that might one day turn up on YouTube and embarrass you. So I agreed. I put on a silly posh voice, made the outrageous claim they had asked for, then went on my way and promptly forgot all about it.

That was until today, when I popped into our local charity shop and there was "Drag", the 1993 debut album by Red Aunts. I bought it, of course, then headed home to test out the theory. So far there is no evidence of any change in Little Ernie whatsoever, but maybe the effects aren't immediate.

"Lethal Lolita" - Red Aunts

"Teach Me To Kill" - Red Aunts

PS In researching this article, I discovered that I should have been worried about things turning up on YouTube to embarrass me in the future.

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Mighty Morgan

How can Derrick Morgan plausibly claim to be the ruler when it is obvious Cherry still rules his heart. He is fooling nobody but himself.

"I'm The Ruler" - Derrick Morgan

"Cherry Home" - Derrick Morgan

Friday 8 December 2017

Baby Scott

This post is especially for my pal Mister F, who is a big Scott Walker fan - so much so that he even claims to like all that 'clink clank bang' stuff Mr Walker produces these days.

Back before he was the serious artist he is these days, even before he was rebranded Scott Walker, young Scotty Engel of Hamilton, Ohio released a few singles under his own name. Most of the ones I've heard were forgettable examples of the sort of sugary pop that was being churned out in the late 1950s. These are two of the better ones.

"Too Young To Know" - Scott Engel

"Take This Love" - Scott Engel

They aren't anything special, to be honest, but I'd still rather listen to them than this:

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Johnny Hallyday RIP

Au revoir, French Elvis. Hope you made it to la Terre Promise.

"La Terre Promise" - Johnny Hallyday

"If I Were A Carpenter" - Johnny Hallyday & Emmylou Harris

Sunday 3 December 2017

Single Song Sunday

It has been about six months since our last Single Song Sunday. That was 'Then You Can Tell Him (or Her) Goodbye", and one of the star turns was the version by Barbara Lynn. Well, Babs is back, this time with her signature tune.

"You'll Lose A Good Thing" was written by Barbara herself, and she took it into the US top ten and to number one in the R 'n B chart in 1962. Over the next decade or so it was covered by almost every female soul singer you can think of, from Aretha on down. I have limited myself to just two of them, plus Little Royal as the token soul man.

The only other chart version that I'm aware of is Freddy Fender's, which topped the US country chart in 1976. Compare and contrast it with the more sombre interpretation by Germany's one-man super-group,  Dad Horse Experience, whose distinctive vocals suit the song surprisingly well. It's off his brand new album "I Am A Stranger Here Below", which I can heartily recommend.

And, finally, we have not one but two Mandatory Reggae Versions (and there are plenty more where they came from).

 "You'll Lose A Good Thing" - Barbara Lynn

 "You'll Lose A Good Thing" - Jean Knight

 "You'll Lose A Good Thing" - Denise Lasalle

 "You'll Lose A Good Thing" - Little Royal

 "You'll Lose A Good Thing" - Freddy Fender

 "You'll Lose A Good Thing" - Dad Horse Experience

 "Don't Try To Lose Me" - Linval Thompson 

 "If You Should Lose Me (You'll Lose A Good Thing)" - Yellowman

Saturday 2 December 2017

Winter Blizzards

We welcome December in the old traditional way, with some Dutch blues-rock from the late 1960s. It comes courtesy of Cuby + Blizzards. Cuby's real name was Harry Muskee, but Harry + Blizzards doesn't have quite the same ring to it I suppose.

On "Appleknockers Flophouse" Harry's vocals remind me very much of Tim Rose, who was also known for his apple-related tunes. I've added one for the purpose of comparison.

"Appleknockers Flophouse" - Cuby + Blizzards

"Checkin' Up On My Baby" - Cuby + Blizzards

"Apple Truck Swamper" - Tim Rose

 While we are on the subject of apples...

Thursday 30 November 2017

Halls Of Fame And Infamy

Earlier this week I had to dust off my monkey suit for its annual outing to an awards ceremony related to the day job. The culmination of the evening - I say 'culmination' because I couldn't really use the word 'highlight' with any sincerity - is the dishing out of the lifetime achievement award. Which got me thinking about other, more interesting, Halls of Fame.

"Dreamers' Hall of Fame" - Jeb Stuart

"Fools' Hall Of Fame" - Ike Lovely

"My Home Ain't In The Hall Of Fame" - Jonathan Edwards

While we're on the subject, you might want to know that voting on the next batch of potential inductees to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame closes next Tuesday. I've voted for these three.

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Mister Matafale from Malawi

Last time out we had some top tunes from Zimbabwe for you. Today we are hopping over the border to Malawi to bring you some soulful reggae courtesy of Evison Matafale and his Black Missionaries.

Evison died while in police custody in 2001, officially due to natural causes linked to a pre-existing illness. He was a critic of the then President of Malawi, Bakili Muluzi. There are those who suspect the two statements are not unconnected.

"Yang'ana Nkhope" - Evison Matafale & The Black Missionaries

"ZakaZonsezi" - Evison Matafale & The Black Missionaries

Some of you may have noticed things have been a bit irregular around here recently. That is mainly because I've been travelling quite a bit, but things are quietening down on that front so should be livening up on this one. I'm even considering a special 'Twelve Days of Nederfolk' feature for you, if I can get round to getting it sorted (you may have your fingers crossed that I don't).

Until next time, here is an utterly unrelated video. This is for a pal of mine.

Friday 17 November 2017

Big in Bulawayo

What with Zimbabwe being in the news at the moment, I thought I would dig out a few oldies but goodies from the Harare Hit Parade of yesteryear.

"First Aid" - Safirio Madzikatire & Sea Cottage Sisters

"Ekhaya" - Jobs Combination

"Manheru Changamire" - Hallelujah Chicken Run Band

While Mugabe's departure - if that is what it turns out to be - is long overdue, it is hard to think of a military takeover as being a good thing in itself. Unless, perhaps, you are a Liberal Reactionary like Charity Chic. On which subject, that crazed despot has insisted that I bring you a bit of Lulu, so here she is. The title seemed suitable for a military coup.

Wednesday 15 November 2017

What Have We Got? Two Lous

Well, four Lous actually, and a Lew thrown in for good measure.

"Love Is A Hurting Thing" - Lou Rawls

"Understand Each Other" - Lou Ragland

"She's Not Mama's Little Girl Anymore" - Lou Roberts

"Why Must Our Eyes Always Be Turned Backwards" - Lou Bond

"Come On With It" - Lew Kirton

And here is another Lou attempting, less successfully, to do the soul thing.

Monday 6 November 2017

Da Doo Ronnie Ronnie

This will be the last post from me for a week or so. I'm off to Germany in the morning for a few days' work followed by a weekend mooching round Berlin.

Bearing in mind the somewhat lukewarm response last time we featured some German popular music on here, I have decided to spare you that - although you know as well as I do it is just deferring the inevitable. Instead, here are six soulful Ronnies to keep you company while I'm gone.

"Put Your Tears Away" - Ronnie Jones

"A Wednesday In Your Garden" - Ronnie Dyson

"I'd Much Rather Be With The Girls" - Ronnie Spector

"Guess I'll Never Understand (The Workings Of Your Mind)" - Ronnie Walker

"Se Algeum Chorou" - Ronnie Von

"A Million Miles to Paradise" - Ronnie Cook & The Superbs

And here's another excellent Ronnie as an extra special treat.

Friday 3 November 2017

The Taxman Cometh

A couple of selections tonight from "Confessions of an I.R.S. Groupie", a 1988 compilation from - obviously - I.R.S. Records. Judging by this album, the former home of REM and The Go-Go's had started to go off the boil quite badly by 1988. There is an awful lot of dodgy heavy metal, dull jazz-rock instrumentals and an attempt at blue-eyed soul that might have been OK had it not been for the dreadful production values that blighted nearly all soul music in the 1980s.

But it is not all bad. Here are couple of tracks from two bands I had never previously heard of. Reckless Sleepers is clearly "inspired by" Tom Petty, but is none the worse for that; and I do like The Balancing Act (although I could have done without the guitar solo).

"If We Never Meet Again" - Reckless Sleepers

"Can You Get To That?" - The Balancing Act

The only actual hit on the album is this one, which I've always had a bit of a soft spot for, although for the life of me I couldn't tell you why.

Tuesday 31 October 2017

The Baobab Boys Are Back!

Had an excellent night out last night, watching the current line-up of Senegal's legendary Orchestra Baobab bopping away in Camden. It was good to see many of the original members still involved, and showing the youngsters a thing or two. Coming after the - possibly even better - Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou gig a few months back, this is clearly a vintage year for veteran West African orchestras.

At the other end of the age and experience scale, I also enjoyed seeing Girl Ray while on my travels in Eindhoven last week. Their debut album, "Earl Grey" - see what they did there? - is recently out and well worth a listen.

Here's a couple of golden oldies from the golden oldies, and a video clip from the bright young things.

"Kelen Ati Len" - Orchestra Baobab

"Jirim" - Orchestra Baobab

Saturday 28 October 2017

Fats Domino R.I.P.

I have returned from the Netherlands with a few choice additions to my CD collection. Most promising of all is "Rare Dutch Folk: 43 Lost Classics from the Golden Age of Nederfolk 1967-1987". Experience suggests that not all will prove to be "classics", and choosing to include 43 tracks rather than the more conventional 40 might seem like an attempt at spurious authenticity. But I am sure overall it will be a delight.

Before we get round to that, though, here is a belated and woefully inadequate tribute to the late, great Fats Domino.

"Goin' Back Home" - Fats Domino

"Along The Navajo Trail" - Fats Domino

Sunday 22 October 2017

Nearly in the Natherlands

Tomorrow morning I head off for five days in the Netherlands - mostly work, but I am hoping to catch up with an old pal or two while I'm there. Here are a couple of Dutch crackers to get me - and hopefully you - in the right frame of mind. 'Inkpot' in particular is rather splendid.

"Inkpot" - Shocking Blue

"Silver Girls" - Penny Wise

Regular readers will already have guessed what is coming next.

Friday 20 October 2017

Wizzz Into The Wekend

While browsing in the dustier corners of eMusic the other week I came across a series of compilations of vintage French psychedelia going under the collective name of "Wizzz". To be honest, most of it was utter drivel, but there were a few gems in there as well. Here are two of them.

"Toi Le Shazam" - Papy

"Maintenant Je Suis Un Voyou" - Bruno Leys

In other music news, I was down at the Sebright Arms a couple of nights ago enjoying the Nightingales and Ted Chippington who are doing a sort of Vindaloo Records reunion tour. Excellent overall, but there were two minor disappointments - Ted did a proper joke, and they didn't play the hit. I can never undo the memory of the first, but I can put the latter right now.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Junior Choice

Tonight we're going way, way back to way back when with Mr. Junior Wells.

"Messin' With The Kid" - Junior Wells

"The Things I Do For You" - Junior Wells

Saturday 14 October 2017

Going Postal

One of the news stories in the UK that might have attracted more attention if the world was less demented than it is at the moment is the possibility of national strikes in the privatised postal service over jobs, pay and pensions. In a show of solidarity, here is our tribute to the humble but heroic postie; including, in the final selection, to the humble but heroic striking postie.

"Mr Postman" - Walter & The Beggars

"Thanks Mr Postman" - Bobby King with Orchestra

"Dreadlocks Postman" - Wayne Jarrett

"Nothing Was Delivered" - The Byrds

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Bebey, I Love You

Two classic tracks from the mighty Francis Bebey. Any attempt to describe them would be utterly futile.

"The Coffee Cola Song" - Francis Bebey

"Pygmy Divorce" - Francis Bebey

Saturday 7 October 2017


I had a most enjoyable evening at the Barbican yesterday courtesy of the Spacebomb Revue - a one-off gig featuring an array of artists who have had their records released on Spacebomb Records and/or recorded in Spacebomb studios and/or produced by Spacebomb head honcho Matthew E. White.

Hosted by Mr. White, as was only right, the singers were rotated rapidly using the "if you don't like this one, there will be another one along in a minute" system. Fortunately I liked most of them, including some I had never heard of before such as Cocoon and Bedouine.

It helped that, musically, for most of the evening you could have been back in the 1970s. There was no shortage of Southern soul, louche funk and Laurel Canyon moments. Foxygen appeared to be going for the Lou Reed meets 'Discovery'-era ELO vibe. And as for Howard Ivans - while I'm not sure the world really needs a new Boz Scaggs, if it does then its him.

"Follow The Leader" - Foxygen

"Retreat" - Cocoon

"Skyline" - Bedouine

"Never Over You" - Natalie Prass

Sunday 1 October 2017


We kick off October with a selection of some of the better freebies that I've received over the last couple of months. They are all from new albums that have either just been released or are just about to be. I've added the album title so you know what to look for when you decide you need to explore further.

"So True" - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (from "The Echo of Pleasure")

"Scene Here" - SISTERS (from "Wait Don't Wait")

"Ambulance" - Dylan Hicks (from "Ad Out")

"The Light Of Day" - Kacy & Clayton (from "The Siren's Song")

"The Moon's Detriment" - Shannon Lay (from "Living Water")

Another favourite recent freebie is "War Surplus" by Becky Warren. I was going to include it but then spotted that it first came out last year but is being promoted again. A good job too because I missed it first time round and I suspect many others may have done too. Here's a video clip:

Friday 29 September 2017

Head to Head

Tonight's heavyweight DJ clash is between I Roy and Prince Jazzbo. On my card I make it a narrow points victory for I Roy - Jazzbo opens strongly but isn't as light on his feet and doesn't last the distance as well as his opponent.

"Straight to Prince Jazzbo's Head" - I Roy

"Straight to I Roy's Head" - Prince Jazzbo

Jazzbo accuses I Roy of being a mere U Roy impersonator. That is maybe a little harsh but, as good as tonight's two contenders are, I reckon U Roy could beat either of them with one hand tied behind his back. And as for his suits...

Sunday 24 September 2017

A Little Bit Off The Top

Back in the late 1970s when I was a young paddler in the zeitgeist - gingerly dipping my toes into it rather that surfing atop it as I do so effortlessly now - there were two reggae albums that were 'must haves' for all us boys in the shallow end. One was "Two Sevens Clash" by Culture, and the other "Best Dressed Chicken In Town" by Dr. Alimantado.

"I Killed The Barber" has always been one of my favourites from the good Doctor's masterpiece. But it is only fairly recently that I finally heard the original track over which he meanders so magnificently. Here they are together.

"I Trim The Barber" - Jackie Edwards

"I Killed The Barber" - Dr. Alimantado

Friday 22 September 2017

Murry and Mate

Yesterday evening was spent in an old church round the back of St. Pancras station listening a man effing and blinding away.

The man in question was John Murry, currently touring to promote his new album "A Short History of Decay". I am not quite sure how to describe his performance, but I'll settle on "charismatic". Certainly you can't take your eyes off him, even if his stage patter is largely incomprehensible. You should definitely go along to see him if you get the opportunity.

Support came from Nadine Khouri, a new name to me but worth a listen as well. She also has a new album out. It's called "The Salted Air" and that is where this track comes from.

"Silver and Lead" - John Murry

"Catapult" - Nadine Khouri

As is often the way, there was a reasonable sprinkling of twerps at the gig. One sat right behind us and insisted on bellowing along with all John Murry's songs in order to show off to his pals - which is fine on the raucous numbers, but less so when Mr M is dramatically re-enacting his heartbreaking heroin traumas.

And then there was another who kept asking if people knew "his friend", indie superstar producer John Parrish. I toyed with pretending I thought he meant Man Parrish, but in the end decided "what would be the point?".

Sunday 17 September 2017

Have You Ever Seen The Wayne?

Some vintage reggae to brighten up your Sunday, courtesy of Wayne Wade, a man who should surely have his own tongue twister. "How much weight would Wayne Wade weigh if Wayne Wade would get weighed" perhaps?.

Both tracks come from his 1982 album, "Poor and Humble". All you Blue Mink fanatics out there will be intrigued and delighted by his cover of "Melting Pot", I am sure.

"She Don't Love Me" - Wayne Wade

"Melting Pot" - Wayne Wade

Two versions of "Melting Pot" in the same post may be a bit excessive - arguably one version is already excessive - so here are Blue Mink with their other hit for you.

Wednesday 13 September 2017


After the schlager slip-up last time out, normal service is resumed with a couple of tracks from a recent compilation on Strut Records called ‘Oté Maloya’ featuring vintage tunes from the island Réunion - more details here.

"P'tit Femme Mon Gate" - Cormoran Group

"Mele-Mele Pas Toue P'tit Pierre" - Hervé Imare

Saturday 9 September 2017

Schlager Saturday

There was a bit of a misunderstanding in the pub last night, when Mister F and I were trying to impress a bunch of Germans by telling them about our love of schlager, only to discover that they weren't German after all and hadn't the faintest idea what we were on about.

I was thwarted then, but will not be thwarted now. Here are a couple of schlager standards, one vintage and one relatively recent.

"Pretty Belinda" - Bernd Spier

"The Boxer (Party Version)" - Musictramps

And to pre-empt the inevitable questions - No. Bernd Spier is not the German translation of Burning Spear. They are different people, as these clips clearly demonstrate.

Wednesday 6 September 2017

The Man Maurity

The sun has made an unexpected reappearance in London today, which prompted me to set sail to the tropical regions of my record collection. I washed up on the shores of 1970s Brazil, where Ruy Maurity took me in. Watch out for some fine squeeze-box on "Xote do Amor".

"Sete Cavalheiros" - Ruy Maurity

"Xote do Amor" - Ruy Maurity

Those are pretty mellow tunes. But they are by no means the most mellow sounds to come out of Brazil in the mid 1970s.

Friday 1 September 2017

Bonus Mabones

The original intention for this post was to bring you a selection of songs based on the "mabone" rhythm, which swept all before it in South Africa in the mid 1970s, and which was cheekily pilfered by Malcolm McLaren on "Double Dutch".

I brought in deep voiced country crooner Randy Travis to help me get the job done. Things started well when he dug out the West Nkosi hit from 1973 that started it all off. Then he dusted off the Mahotella Queens version from the following year.

And then he broke the bad news to me.

"Two Mabone" - West Nkosi

"Jive Mabone" - The Mahotella Queens

"You're Out Of My Bones" - Randy Travis

Monday 28 August 2017


It's Carnival weekend here in London, so to mark the occasion here are a couple of vintage soca tunes from Irwin Reyes Johnson, better known as Scrunter. 'Woman On The Bass' features the most over the top use of the electronic tom since 'Ring My Bell', but don't let that put you off.

"Woman On The Bass" - Scrunter

"Sing In The Party" - Scrunter

For the purposes of comparison:

Thursday 24 August 2017

Doctor's Orders

Here are half a dozen doctors for you. Most good, one bad, and one a worm. A personal highlight is "Dr. Thomas Chauke", an excellent tribute from one Tsonga music master to another, but they are all worth a listen. I even remembered to include the Mandaory Reggae Physician for you.

My sister Kate is a doctor and a general all round marvel, so this one is dedicated to her.

"Dr. Love" -  Bobby Sheen

"Doctor Worm" - They Might Be Giants

"Dr. Thomas Chauke" - General Muzka

"Doc Cunningham, 1868" - Bob Frank & John Murry

"Dr. Rodney" - Carl Dawkins

"Doctor Jon (The Medicine Man)" - Jon & Robin

Sunday 20 August 2017

The Sunday Screech

I should know better by now. Experience should have told me that a double CD featuring music performed on "bicycle wheel, violin, saw, sarangi, voice and digital delays" was unlikely to be good. But I was intrigued and it was only 50p. Your Honour.

The CD in question is called "Freedom of the City 2002 - Small Groups" and features highlights from that year's free improvisation music festival in London. The performances are evenly divided between pretentious drivel and unlistenable squawking, so there is something for everyone.

The person playing the bicycle wheel with a bow is called Sylvia Hallett, and her set is actually one of the more bearable ones. See what you make of this little ditty.

"Violet Revisited" - Sylvia Hallett

I found myself wondering whether childhood trauma might lead people to want to make this sort of noise, and thought maybe Sylvia's parents could shed some light on the issue. So I got my friend Dr. Hook to ring up Mrs Hallett. This is his report.

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Vive La France

There was a bit of an emotional breakthrough on these pages earlier this week when, commenting on the previous post, Charity Chic gave us a brief glimpse behind his Scottish Hard Man image and revealed he was partial to the girl groups of the 1960s. So let's see how he gets on with some French "ye ye" from around the same time, courtesy of the fabulous France Gall.

"Nous Ne Sommes Pas Des Anges" - France Gall

"Bonsoir John John" - France Gall

From John John, we move on seamlessly to Tom Tom. I had forgotten quite how dreary this was.

Sunday 13 August 2017

Mean Streets

Three little remembered girl group gems, from a compilation called "Boys Can Be Mean". We start with the title track.

"Boys Can Be Mean" - Sugar & The Spices

"Ain't That Love" - The Bouquets

"Here She Comes" - The Jelly Beans

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Glen Campbell RIP

Very sorry to hear the news that Glen Campbell passed away earlier today. It has been coming for a while, but is no less sad for that. Let's hope he has indeed gone to a better place. RIP Mr Campbell.

"A Better Place" - Glen Campbell

"About The Ocean" - Glen Campbell

"You Might As Well Smile" - Glen Campbell

Monday 7 August 2017

Monday Morning Magic

Ease yourself itself the week with the smooth but funky sounds of veteran afro-jazz man and all round cool dude, Hugh Masekela. Both tracks are from his most recent album, "No Borders", which came out in 2015 and is his best for a while. 78 years old and he's still got it.

"Shango" - Hugh Masekela

"KwaZulu (featuring Themba Mokoena)" - Hugh Masekela

Friday 4 August 2017

Pop in Penang, Part 2

We have had a request from George for some of the cover versions featured on the ace Malaysian 1970s compilation, "Kugirama - The Greatest Hots of Pop Band".

So here are Black Dog Bone demonstrating their mastery of both types of music - fast and slow - and Discovery with their squelchy version of "Gimme Litle Sign". As a special treat for you all, I've added Brenton Wood's incomparable original.

"Khayalan" - Black Dog Bone

"Hatiku Luka Lagi" - Black Dog Bone

"Berilah Ku Suata Tanda" - Discovery

"Gimme Little Sign" - Brenton Wood

In case you are struggling to place the Black Dog Bone tracks, here are a couple of subtle clues.

Tuesday 1 August 2017

Pop in Penang, Bop in Borneo

More from Malaysia; specifically from a most enjoyable compilation of 1970s chart smashes called "Kugirama - The Greatest Hits of Pop Band". Strictly speaking that should be "bands" but let's not nit-pick.

A fair few of the tracks are Malaysian language cover versions of US/ UK hits of the day. The only one of them that varies from the original even slightly is Discovery's remake of Brenton Wood's "Gimme Little Sign", and if you ask very nicely I'll feature them both in a future post. Today, however, we have three tracks that are - as far as I can tell - authentic originals.

"Hey Hey Taxi" - Discovery

"Si Gadis Ayu" - Black Dog Bone

"Hanya Cinta" - Sweet September

Today's clip comes courtesy of the estimable abgcantik, who has uploaded a prodigious number of vintage Malaysian music videos to YouTube. I've not looked at more than a fraction, but I can't believe there are any others better than this. Thanks, abg!

Sunday 30 July 2017

Doktrinal Days

Today we bring you the first of our slim pickings from Malaysia, bought purely on the basis of the cover:

As the eagle-eyed among you will spot, the album is "Masa Scarecrow" and the band is Doktrin Metos, which I am am advised is Malaysian for Metal Doctrine. Which gives you a pretty good idea of what you get - bog-standard metal of the era (1990) with a couple of less heavy tracks thrown in to show depth. It's not for me, but make your own minds up.

"Patahyna Sayap Malam" - Doktrin Metos

"Benar Atau Jelmaan" - Doktrin Metos

But whatever else might be said about Doktrin Metos, they are at least an improvement on the similarly named novelty band Doctor & The Medics.

Thursday 27 July 2017

Cavorting in Cameroon

Well, I'm back from my trip to Jakarta and assorted parts of Malaysia, and a great time was had by all. My visit to the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak was curtailed by the arrival of torrential rain - I suppose the name of the festival should have been a clue - but I was taught how to use a blowpipe while there. I am sure that is a skill that will come in handy in the future.

Apart from the festival, the musical pickings were pretty slim. While admittedly I didn't scour every inch of Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur or George Town, I failed to find a single CD emporium in any of them. I had better luck in Kuching, where I managed to acquire a compilation of 1970s Malaysian pop plus what judging by the cover may be a concept album involving aliens. Let's hope so.

More of those anon. For now, let's get back in the saddle with some fun and frivolity from Cameroon. Both tracks come from a groovy compilation with the self-explanatory title of "Pop Makossa".

"Mussoliki" - Bernard Ntome

"Nen Lambo" - Bill Loko

As far as I know, "Mussoliki" is not a misspelt tribute to the former Italian dictator. We don't need that kind of thang.

Wednesday 5 July 2017

Ring Rang A Dong Time

I'm heading off on my travels in a couple of days, back towards the end of the month. I'm looking forward to the trip - work in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, and a couple of long weekends in Penang and Sarawak, with a visit to the Rainforest World Music Festival likely to be a highlight of the latter.

As usual, I'll leave you with a selection of tracks that were first featured here back in the pre-zeitgeist era of 2009. They aren't quite as exotic as some of the earlier selections but that is because the dredging is nearly done now. There are a few dodgy things that I couldn't bring myself to inflict on you twice - and I say that knowing that "Finnish Whistler" made the cut - but not much else.

See you soon, folks.

"Yho! Yho!" - Winston 'Mankunku' Nkosi

"She Don't Love Nobody" - Nick Lowe

"Cuckoo" - The Monks

"Strawberry Blonde" - Ron Sexsmith

"Fools" - Diane Birch

"Finnish Whistler" - Roger Whittaker

Monday 3 July 2017

Mazhar and Moussa

A couple of slices of sunny, funky pop for you today. One from Turkey, one from Cote d'Ivoire, because that's how we do things round here.

"Bis Istersek" - Mazhar Fuat Özkan

"Black & White" - Moussa Doumbia

Which leads us inevitably to Greyhound. Those are some enormous microphones.

Saturday 1 July 2017

Jimmy Lafave R.I.P.

Some sad news to report. I found out a couple of days ago that the great Texan troubadour Jimmy Lafave died of cancer in late May.

I was lucky enough to see him play in London a couple of times three of four years back. He was very personable and he and his band knew how to put on a great show.

But the unforgettable thing about Jimmy was his incredible, emotive voice. There are very few singers, if any, who can more reliably bring a lump to my throat. R.I.P. Jimmy. It's not dark yet, but it's getting there.

"Home Once Again" - Jimmy Lafave

"I'll Remember You" - Jimmy Lafave

"Not Dark Yet" - Jimmy Lafave

Wednesday 28 June 2017

For Goodness - Zakes

Later than intended due to unexplained Blogger problems, a couple of tunes from Durban-born songwriter, producer and performer Zakes Bantwini (or Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bantwini, as his friends call him).

Both are taken from his 2013 album, the extravagantly named "The Fake Book & Real Book: My Music Bible". Most of the album is a bit too mellow for my taste, but I like these two tracks - especially the "conscious soul" of "Marikana", about the massacre of striking mine workers by police in South Africa the previous year.

"Marikana" - Zakes Bantwini

"Ifumaya" - Zakes Bantwini (featuring J Martins)

Those of you who noticed the appallingly contrived title to this post will have worked out what is coming next, but possibly not which version. I can't find a single clip on YouTube of the Swinging Blue Jeans performing their signature tune live, so you are getting this instead.

Saturday 24 June 2017

Up Our Ali

To ease you into Saturday evening, here's a couple of tracks from smooth Pakistani popster, Ali Haider. Both are from his 2004 album "Tera Naam Liya To?". The first appears to have nicked a riff off George Michael's "Faith" while the second sounds like he has roped in Tom Petty or someone of that ilk, but don't let that put you off.

"Dildaar" - Ali Haider

"Hum Tumhein Bhool Ke" - Ali Haider

And as a bonus treat, here is Ali way back in 1998 looking remarkably fresh-faced performing his biggest hit.

Wednesday 21 June 2017

I've Got Good Genes

I regret to inform you that, while my brief visit to Kazakhstan has left me culturally enriched, it has also left me musically bereft. I have returned empty handed.

Never mind. Let's distract ourselves with some top notch tunes from assorted men called Gene.

"My Soul Is Black" - Gene Williams

"My Baby's Missing" - Gene Faith

"Rollin' Danny" - Gene Vincent

"Sign On The Dotted Line" - Gene Latter

"To Be A Lover" - Gene Chandler

"Pick The Wildwood Flower" - Gene Watson

Sunday 11 June 2017

Songs of Strength and Stability

That Theresa May, eh? Blimey! Right now I bet she wishes she could go back to her carefree youth when the only thing she had to worry about was whether the farmer would catch her and her friends naughtily running through his wheat fields.

"Wheatfield Lady" - John Stewart

"Madman Running Through The Fields" - Dantalion's Chariot

"Fox On The Run" - Manfred Mann

Speaking of strong and stable government, I'm off to Kazakhstan in a couple of days and their President Nazarbayev seems to have cracked it as he is currently in the 26th year of his benign and wise reign. I'll be back in a week or so hopefully laden down with electric dombra freakout CDs to share with you. In the meantime, here's a word from Mrs May's nemesis.

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Scrubbing Up Nicely

Wednesday is washing day in the Goggins household. Here's a couple of tunes Old Ma Goggins likes to hum along to as she squeezes my smalls through her mangle.

"Down At The Laundromat" - Black Randy

"Song Of Doing Laundry" -  Caidanzhuoma

The second track is Chinese, which makes it a sort of response song to George Formby's "Chinese Laundry Blues". I was going to add that but decided there is no room for innuendo and double entendre here - isn't that right, Black Randy (and, indeed, Old Ma Goggins)?

So instead here is a wholesome song about a young man who likes to wash his clothes in the traditional age old manner.

Sunday 4 June 2017

New To Me

As a taste-maker and surfer of the proverbial zeitgeist, I am lucky enough to get sent loads of new music without having to go looking for it. And some good albums have come my over the last few months.

Some are reissues - I can't believe that any of you haven't already got "Two Sevens Clash" by Culture, but if you haven't you should invest in the new 40th anniversary edition. Some are new albums by familiar names, like Woods and Sera Cahoone. And some are by folks I would never heard of if they hadn't been good enough to get in touch. Here are a few choice selections from that last category.

"Sleepwalker" - Andrew Combs (from "Canyons Of My Mind")

"Problems" - Rev. Sekou (from "In Times Like These")

"Way Down In My Soul" - Zephaniah OHora with the 18 Wheelers (from "This Highway")

"Kingston-Rhinecliff" - Eerie Gaits (from "Bridge Music")

 As far as I know, the Andrew Combs album was NOT directly inspired by this 1960s classic. Which is a shame in a way.

Thursday 1 June 2017

The Biggest In All Benin

I had an excellent evening yesterday, being entertained by the artistes formerly known as Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou (now rebranded as Le Tout-Puissant Orchestre Poly-Rythmo).

There were ten of them on stage, and judging by their ages I would guess about half of them were from the original 1970s line-up and the rest were recruited when they reformed in 2009. The infusion of relatively new blood has certainly paid off, as they were decidedly sprightly and funky.

The lads are touring to promote their new album, "Madjafalao". They played most of it last night and, judging by their performance, it is well worth getting hold of. Until you do, though, here are a couple of old favourites to tide you over.

"Se Tche We Djo Mon"  - Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou 

"Zizi" - Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou 

Monday 29 May 2017

Big in Bohemia

Checking the blog today I found in the comments under my most recent post the following message from a George: "Never mind this, we need more German cover versions of Carole Bayer Sager songs".

I can't quite decide whether or not he is being sarcastic. If he is, then he deserves what is about to follow. If he isn't, he might actually enjoy it. It is some vintage Czech AOR courtesy of Michal Prokop & Framus Five. The first track is taken from their 1980 album "Holubi Dante" (which if Google Translate is to be believed means "Pigeon Dante"); the second was a single the previous year. Close your eyes and you can almost see the yachts on Černé Jezero.

"Noc Je Dlouha" - Michal Prokop & Framus Five

"Vlasy" - Michal Prokop & Framus Five
Today's clip is by way of a tribute to one of my childhood heroes, whose death was announced earlier today. John Noakes RIP.

Saturday 27 May 2017

Big In Bamenda

We have had some glorious weather in London over the last few days so, in keeping with the mood, here is some sunny music from a sunny place - Cameroon, to be precise.

"Nyam Ndolo" - Ndedi Dibango

"Douala By Night" - J.M. Tim & Foty

Hopefully the sun will continue to shine on the righteous at Wembley this afternoon. I'll be there keeping an eye on proceedings.

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Ulle, Ulle, What's Going On Here, Then?

It's Wednesday, which means it must be "1970s Hits Reworked Only Partially Successfully In The 1980s By Moody Germans" Night. This week: Ulle Meinecke

"Heute Ziehst Du Aus" - Ulle Meinecke

"50 Tips" - Ulle Meinecke

This video of Ulle in action from 1983 is wonderfully evocative of its time. The bloke in the mustard coloured trousers steals the show.

Sunday 21 May 2017

Single Song Sunday

We haven't done one of these for a while, but we're back with a bang. A smooth and subdued bang, admittedly, but a bang nonetheless.

"Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" is one of the many fine songs written by John D. Loudermilk. It was first recorded in 1962 by one Don Cherry - judging by the rather decidedly square sound, I'm guessing not the trumpet tootling jazz improvising father of Neneh and Eagle-Eye of the same name. But it wasn't a hit until The Casinos took it into the Top 10 in the US in 1967. Eddy Arnold then had a number one country hit with it the following year.

We kick things off with those three for form's sake, but they are probably my three least favourite versions out of today's selection. The possible exception is the version by The Puddle. They are from New Zealand, this track is from an album released on Flying Nun Records called "No Love - No Hate", and I can't work out which of those best describes my feelings.

The other six versions (technically five and a half as Glen Campbell does it as part of a medley) are all excellent though. If forced to choose only one I would probably go for Bettye Swann, narrowly ahead of Barbara Lynn and Solomon Burke, but Gene & Debbe's pop-country crooning is a pleasant surprise. The Mandatory Reggae Version comes courtesy of Gene Rondo, who in a further case of identity confusion is presumably not Debbe's partner.

"Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" - Don Cherry

"Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" - The Casinos

"Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" - Eddy Arnold

"Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" - Bettye Swann

"Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" - Barbara Lynn

"Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" - The Puddle

"Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" - Solomon Burke

"Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" - Gene & Debbe

"Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" - Gene Rondo

"Don't Pull Your Love/ Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" - Glen Campbell
And here is another very nice rendition to finish things off.

Thursday 18 May 2017

The Sound of the Underground

Vintage soul fans out there might want to check out a series of compilation albums called "Underground Oldies". Originally issued 15 to 20 years ago, they are now available on the likes of Amazon and eMusic. There are at least ten volumes for you to work through, maybe more.

As the name of the series suggests, the focus is on rare and hard to find singles from the 1960s and 1970s. It is not wilfully obscure - they feature plenty of artists you might have heard of, like Gene Chandler and Billy Stewart, doing songs you probably won't remember - but of course it does include its fair share of one or no hit wonders. Like these three.

"Oh My Love, Sweet Love" - The Hill Sisters

"Ooh I Love You" - The Electrifying Cashmeres

"(Lord) Send Me Somebody" - The Green Berets

"(Lord) Send Me Somebody" got the Green Berets to No. 31 in the Billboard charts in 1969. Shortly thereafter - with a certain grim inevitability - half the members of the group got drafted, and that was effectively the end of their career. Whether any of them ended up joining their namesakes I don't honestly know, but if they did you can be sure they will have done Uncle Sam proud.

Sunday 14 May 2017

Gallons of Gargling

I was in the Isle of Man last week for work, but had a bit of spare time to see the sights of Douglas. That didn't take long, so I popped into an excellent old school ramshackle charity shop - Manx Mencap in case you're in the area - and happily browsed their wonderfully odd selection of books and CDs instead.

My prize acquisition was "50 Jahre Jodlerklub Bärgfriede, Gstaad". Released in 1993, as the title says it was recorded to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the aforementioned Jodlerklub. The lads - and they are all lads - had to trek over to far distant Oberbottigen to record it, but it was well worth the effort.

Half of the tracks are instrumental versions of what I assume are Swiss folk tunes, performed by the club's stalwart band, which comprises three accordion players, two clarinettists and a man on the double bass. The other half of the record is devoted to choral yodelling. It is an acquired taste, and I think I am unlikely to acquire it, but it is probably the most peculiar sound I've heard since I got that Mongolian throat-singing pop album - a track from which I have included for comparison's sake.

"Staldejutz" - Jodlerklub Bärgfriede

"Four Mountains" - N. Naranbadrakh

If you are a yodelling fan - and who isn't? - then like me I am sure you were cheering on the Romanian entry in yesterday's Eurovision Song Contest. I find it frankly inexplicable that it didn't sweep to victory.

Thursday 11 May 2017

Av Böcker Och Skor

The erudite amongst you will have worked out immediately that the title of today's post is Swedish for "Of Books and Shoes" (sincere apologies to The Swede if that is not in fact the case - blame Google Translate).

And that in turn will probably lead you to think that you are going to be treated to some fine vintage Swedish psychedelia courtesy of Gothenburg's finest, The Tages.

Look, you were right!

"I Read You Like An Open Book" - The Tages

"I Left My Shoes At Home" - The Tages

Given the title of the first track, this seemed singularly appropriate for today's clip.

Oh all right then, here's the other one as well.

Saturday 6 May 2017

The Magnificent Seven

We have a fine selection of cowboy-related reggae for you tonight. We start with The Duke, then Messrs Peck and Cotton recreate their duel in the sun, before we head into the Eastwood section and round things up with one of the most memorable theme tunes ever made.

"Call The Police" - John Wayne

"Poco Man Jam" - Gregory Peck

"No Touch The Style" - Joseph Cotton

"Stop That Train" - Clint Eastwood & General Saint

"Tax Me" - Josey Wales

"Van Cleef" - King Stitt

"Bonanza" - Winston Wright

And representing the opposition...

Wednesday 3 May 2017

What The Fussell Is About

Earlier in the week I ventured up to darkest Dalston to see the exotically named Jake Xerxes Fussell at the hipster hangout that is Cafe Oto. Physically he definitely looks more like a Jake than a Xerxes, as I feel this photo shows.

Musically he specialises mostly in what our American friends might call "old-timey" music, but he does it in a very sprightly and appealing way. His new album, "What in the Natural World", is well worth getting hold of. This track is actually from his self-titled debut album and was one of the highlights of his performance; as was a very nice rendition of Allen Toussaint's "Freedom for the Stallion". Nobody does that quite like Mr Dorsey though.

"Pork And Beans" - Jake Xerxes Fussell

"Freedom For The Stallion" - Lee Dorsey

Today's clip is dedicated to the peculiar Emo Phillips/ Freddie Garrity hybrid who kept trying to block Mister F's view of the support act. It is a marvellous video but - and I can't emphasise this enough - it is for research only.

Sunday 30 April 2017

Awake In Accra

Some groovy Ghanaian sounds for you tonight. Both tracks from a compilation titled "Ghana Awake Volume 1", which came out in 2011.

I haven't been able to establish whether any further volumes were ever issued - maybe it wasn't necessary if this one succeeded in getting them all up and about in Accra and out of bed in Bolgatanga.

"Konka" - Rex Omar

"Ti Dimang Be Yoli" - Ibrahim Ramatu

Also from Ghana, the delightful Daddy Lumba...

Friday 28 April 2017

Missing Merle

It is a little over a year ago that Merle Haggard left us. And it is little over 24 hours ago I acquired one of his little remembered mid-1980s albums in a record shop (possibly the only record shop) on Jersey - 1986's "A Friend in California".

It is not absolute vintage Merle by any means, but anything with that magnificent voice on it is always going to be worth a listen. So this post is a slightly belated "one year on" dedication to the great man. And the second track is also dedicated to everyone who is being missed an awful lot at the moment - like my friend Tracy's Mum and Charity Chic's Grandpa Jim - and to everyone doing the missing.

"The Okie From Muskogee's Comin' Home" - Merle Haggard

"This Time I Really Do" - Merle Haggard

Sunday 23 April 2017

Big In Benin

Big in Benin, and Particularly Prominent in Parakou. Some vintage African funky jumpy stuff to get you into gear on a Sunday morning, courtesy of Orchestre Super Borgou de Parakou.

"Bori Yo Se Mon Baani" - Orchestre Super Borgou de Parakou

"Gandigui" - Orchestre Super Borgou de Parakou

Here's another orchestra that was quite popular in the 1970s.

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Drive Carefully

Some excellent advice here from Little Village, sadly being ignored by the boys of NRBQ.

"Don't Think About Her When You're Trying To Drive" - Little Village

"Ridin' In My Car" - NRBQ

Here is another reminder of the importance of remaining focused while driving. It is really rather creepy.

Saturday 8 April 2017

Easing Into Easter

Apologies for being a bit irregular of late, but I've been travelling for work quite a lot. Now, for a break from all that travelling, I'm about to go on holiday. As usual, we'll fill the gap with a bumper selection of tunes first featured here back in 2009, when it was just me and the tumbleweeds.

"Boom Boom Mancini" - Warren Zevon

"Walking And Talking" - R. Black & The Rockin' V's

"Psychedelphia" - Mary Jane Hooper

"Capitalism Gone Mad" - Mighty Sparrow

"Finder Finder" - Loaf Boy

"Give Me All Your Clothes" - Microdisney

"El Baul De Los Recuerdos" - Karina

"This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" - Shawn Colvin

Normally when we do these pre-holiday posts I finish off with a clip of DJ Sven and MC Miker G. But they cropped up a couple of weeks ago after I heard that a "famous Dutch DJ" had discovered Tsonga Disco. So instead here is something that is arguably even better. Have fun, see you in a couple of weeks.

Sunday 2 April 2017

A Garland For Garland

I went to my gig of the year to date last night. After stopping for a pint in a sports bar that our resident punk historian (Mister F) told me used to be the Nashville Rooms, we ventured a few hundred yards further into the badlands of West Kensington. There we found an unobtrusive doorway next to the Sainsbury Extra, and in we went.

Upstairs was a great little venue called Nell's Jazz and Blues, and on stage - once they had made him some temporary stairs - was a great little performer, the utterly magnificent Garland Jeffreys.

Mr Jeffreys and his excellent band are over here promoting his new album, "14 Steps to Harlem", which comes out at the end of April. The man himself reckons it is his best album since "Ghost Writer" way back in 1977. Judging by the tracks from it that he played last night, he may well be right.

I suggest you rush out and buy it as soon as it becomes available. To keep you are going until then here are a couple of old favourites and - because I'm in a good mood - a bonus, unrelated Garland.

"Wild In The Streets" - Garland Jeffreys

"New York Skyline" - Garland Jeffreys

"It Rained Forty Days And Nights" - Garland Green

Thursday 30 March 2017

Madlaks Returns

Newer readers may glance up at the strapline at the top of the page and wonder, what is "Bringing Tsonga Disco to the Masses" meant to mean? The veterans among you will know that when I started this blog eight years or so ago, it was specifically to share my love for the dance music of the Tsonga (or Shangaan) people of South Africa and Mozambique.

Most of the time the masses have been largely indifferent - and we have long since strayed from the purity of the original mission - but every now and then their interest gets piqued. In our own small way we have helped the likes of Awesome Tapes From Africa and DJ LeBlanc spread the good word to their hip and happening audiences.

And it appears the masses are having another burst of enthusiasm. The other evening I logged on and found three emails asking for help in tracking down music by Madlaks. According to one of them a "famous Dutch DJ" had been playing "Jikavonunu", they had fallen for it as I did, and their search had led them to me.

I was particularly pleased to learn that Madlaks and his "Ndlho Ndlho" album is getting more recognition, as that was the record that first made me fall for Tsonga disco. To celebrate, here's a couple of tracks from the album that we haven't featured before.

"Angaharikona" - Madlaks

"Misavaseyiherile" - Madlaks

PS I was very disappointed to learn in a later email from the same correspondent that the famous Dutch DJ was someone called Young Marco and not, as I had hoped, DJ Sven. He's still the king!

Sunday 26 March 2017

Sweet Mother

Today is Mothering Sunday (a.k.a. Mother's Day) here in the UK, so this is for all you marvellous mothers out there. Especially Old Mother Goggins, the cream of the crop.

"Sweet Mother" - Prince Nico Mbarga

"Singing A Song For My Mother" - Hamilton Bohannon

Thursday 23 March 2017

Chilala Land

I spent 48 hours in Lusaka last week. Needless to say, I didn't get to see very much of the place, but the locals were lovely - including this fellow I met during a brief visit to a game reserve near the airport - and hopefully there will be chance to go back to Zambia again and have a proper look around.

I didn't have the chance to go searching for sounds in central Lusaka, but I did pop into the small music shop in the arcade across the road from where I was staying. They didn't have a great selection - mostly gospel and Western pop - but I managed to find a couple of CDs that looked worth a try.

The first was "Mukachita Shani", the 2012 album by Brian Chilala. I don't know much about Brian but, if the website is to be believed, he is a former protege of Zamrock pioneer Paul Ngozi, who has featured here before. Not that Paul's influence is particularly obvious on this album.

"Kuli Zii" - Brian Chilala

"Ulupwa" - Brian Chilala

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Chuck Berry RIP

There is not much point in me burbling on about Mr Berry and his extraordinary contribution to popular music, I'm not going to tell you anything you don't know already. So here's a handful of his marvellous tunes - five covers, one original. RIP Chuck.

"Brown Eyed Handsome Man" - Buddy Holly & The Crickets

"You Never Can Tell" - Emmylou Harris

"The Promised Land" - Johnnie Allen

"Johnny B. Goode" - Peter Tosh

"Maybellene" - Johnny Hallyday

"Tulane" - Chuck Berry

Thursday 16 March 2017

A Question Of Toughness

On the face of it, Robert Wyatt may seem to be the odd one out. But it is him who provides our unifying theme: "If it's tough you want, then it's tough you got".

"Cry Tough" - Johnny Clarke

"Tired Of This Life I'm Living" - Tony Tuff

"I'm The Toughest" - Peter Tosh

"Team Spirit" - Robert Wyatt

Sunday 12 March 2017

Large in Lusaka

Later today I'm off to Zambia for a few days' work. It will be my first visit, and I'm looking forward to it. I'm not going to be there long enough to get beyond Lusaka, but maybe there'll be a next time.

I don't have much Zambian music in my collection, so hopefully there will be a chance to put that right while I'm there. In the meantime, here are a couple of groovy tunes from the 'Zamrock' scene of the 1970s. The first one is particularly appropriate today.

"Sunday Morning" - Amanaz

"My Ancestors" - Chrissy 'Zebby' Tembo & Ngozi Family

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Who Was That Masked Man?

It shouldn't take you too long to work out the identity of today's mystery guest.

"Fish Tea" - Lone Ranger

"The Lone Ranger" - George Jones

"I Don't Want To Be A Lone Ranger" - Johnny 'Guitar' Watson

Monday 6 March 2017

In Which The Facade Crumbles

Over the years I have been doing this blog, I have carefully cultivated an image of being a hip and happening guy with his finger on the pulse of whatever musical scene is about to burst forth - a surfer of the zeitgeist, if you will.

Sadly, I must reveal that has all been a facade. I am in fact a middle-aged man with an alarming weakness for Gilbert O'Sullivan. I went to see the Great Man last night on his 50th anniversary tour, and while not without the occasional moment of naffness - it was Gilbert, after all - he put on an excellent show. His leap onto the keyboard to conduct the communal singing on "Get Down" was surprisingly sprightly for a man of 70.

Here are a couple of personal early favourites of his, followed by a video of him performing his neglected 1980s funk standard, "So What". Herbie Hancock, eat your heart out.

"Houdini Said" - Gilbert O'Sullivan

"We Will" - Gilbert O'Sullivan