Search This Blog

Saturday 31 March 2018

Gig By Rigby

Last night we went to Clerkenwell, fighting our way through the woolly-hatted whisker-wearers to the Betsey Trotwood pub to see the great Amy Rigby promoting her new album. Someone who writes the sort of classic pop songs that she does shouldn't have to play in tiny rooms above pubs, but luckily for us the world is not a just place. It's a moral dilemma.

The new album is called "The Old Guys" and, judging by last night's set, it is well worth getting hold of. I have, and it is sitting on the top of my "not listened to yet" pile ready to go. In the meantime, here are a couple of oldies but goodies.

"Don't Break The Heart" - Amy Rigby

"Balls" - Amy Rigby

Amy roped her husband in to help out on bass guitar and backing vocals. He's done a few decent things in his time as well.

Monday 26 March 2018

Righteous Queen

In my humble opinion Ventrice Morgan, a.k.a Queen Ifrica, is one of the best female reggae singers to emerge over the last decade or so

Today's selections can both be found on her album "Climb" which was released last year (although "I Can't Breathe" originally came out as a single in 2015). And there is plenty more good stuff where this came from.

"I Can't Breathe" - Queen Ifrica

"Ask My Granny" - Queen Ifrica

It wasn't just Granny whose influence can be felt. The Queen's father knew his way around a tune as well.

"Seven Letters" - Derrick Morgan

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Great Googie Boogie

Here are a couple of tracks from someone who, in all honesty, I had never heard of before today.

I popped into a local charity shop and spotted the Ace Records logo on one CD, which always means it is worth pulling out of the racks for a closer look. The CD was "Wham Bam: The Best of the Googie Rene Combo".

Googie - real name Rafael - was the son of L.A. based songwriter/ producer/ label owner Leon Rose, and he turned out to be a bit of a whizz of the keyboards. As well as acting as a talent scout and band leader for his father's Class label, he was allowed to release some records of his own. Some of them were pretty good too - these ones for example.

"The Slide (Part 1)" - The Googie Rene Combo

"Wiggle Tail (Part 1)" - The Googie Rene Combo

This rather marvellous clip features Class Records' biggest ever hit, which you'll all be familiar with I'm sure. Written by Leon, there's a fair chance Googie is on there somewhere.

Sunday 18 March 2018

The Rovers Return

These days it seems like everybody is trying to get back to where they once belonged.

"Going Back To My Home Town" - Hal Paige & The Whalers

"Goin' Back To Miami" - Wayne Cochran

"Going Back To Louisiana" - Delbert McClinton

"Goin' Back To St. Louis" - Mack Vickery

"Going Back To Big Sur" - Johnny Rivers

"Going Back To Okinawa" - Ry Cooder

"Going Back To Georgia" - Nanci Griffith

"Going Back To California" - Steve Young

Friday 16 March 2018

Croatian Compo 2

The second selection from the treasures I acquired recently in Zagreb is another compilation album, this one rejoicing under the title "Mala Antologija Hrvatskog Rocka 1963 - 1997".

I had been looking forward to digging some groovy Slavic sounds of the sixties, but it was not to be. It was only when I got it home I noticed the "3" at the end of the title on the side of the CD container. What I bought is the final instalment of a 3-CD collection.

I think I would probably have preferred Volumes 1 and 2, but it's OK. I like the Darko Rundek track, which was apparently 'Song of the Year' in Croatia in 1996. As for the ITD Band, well, if you ever wondered what Bruce Springsteen might have sounded like had he been born in Zagreb rather than the USA, now you know.

"Apokalipso" - Darko Rundek

"Roden U Zagrebu" - ITD Band

The ITD Band seemed to specialise in rewriting hit songs to make them about Zagreb. As well as Bruce, here they are with a remake of an old Bread standard. They are essentially a slightly more pompous Croatian version of Frank Sidebottom.

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Back To The Front Line

A month or so back I featured a couple of tracks from "Front Line Presents Reggae Discomixes", a compilation of 12" singles from the late 1970s on Virgin's short-lived reggae subsidiary, Front Line. It is far too good a compilation to fob off with a single spin, so here are two more highlights.

"Innocent Blood" - Culture

"Cairo/ Cairo Dub" - Joyella Blade

The old farts among you may be thinking to yourself "this is a cover version of the old Amazulu hit", but you would be wrong; it is the other way round. Joyella's original came out in 1978, while Amazulu didn't get round to it until 1983 (also their version wasn't actually a hit either, but I'm not going to rub your noses in it). Personally I like both versions, so here's the cover.

Saturday 10 March 2018

Free As A Bird In Zagreb

I mentioned in my last post that I have recently been in Zagreb for work. While there I paid a visit to the excellent Free Bird Music Shop, generally regarded as the best second hand record shop in Zagreb - and, I would guess, very possibly in Croatia as well. If you are ever passing through, make sure you find time to pop in.

As you can see from the photos on their website, the good folks at Free Bird have gone for the "pile 'em high" approach to retail in a big way. The owner, Tomislav, and his colleague made me very welcome and tipped me off to some promising looking vintage Croatian rock and soul, which I'll no doubt be featuring at some point in the future. He also kindly chucked a local compilation CD on to pile for free.

We'll start with a couple of tracks from that CD, which is called "HGF Retro 1996-2009". From what I can work out, HGF is a competition for unsigned Croatian bands that has been running for over twenty years. There were two CDs issued in 2010 - one featuring all the past winners, and this one featuring bands that missed out on the big prize but went on to have decent careers nonetheless. It isn't all my cup of tea, by any means, but I rather like these two.

"Automatic Disco" - Dogma

"Putovanje Vlakom" - Cota G4

And as a sort of companion piece to "Automatic Disco"...

Thursday 8 March 2018

Triple J Action

I'm just back from a few days in Zagreb, where I managed to pick up some very promising looking local stuff of various vintages. More of that anon, but first a couple of cracking tunes from Mr Jerome Louis Jackson, known as J.J. to his friends and fans. Why J.J. rather than J.L., I hear you ask? I'm afraid you must ask in vain, as I haven't the faintest idea.

"But It's Alright" was his hit, making the US Top 40 in 1966, and both of today's tracks were on the album of the same name. If Wikipedia is to be believed, "The Stones I Throw" is one of the earliest recordings of a Robbie Robertson song.

"But It's Alright" - J.J. Jackson

"The Stones I Throw" - J.J. Jackson

Saturday 3 March 2018

Toronado Time

A couple of corkers to get you in the mood for Saturday night, courtesy of the T.S.U. Toronadoes.

Hailing from Houston, they originally met at Texas Southern University (hence the T.S.U.) and established themselves as an unofficial house band for any big name passing through town. Their best known unknown contribution to music was playing on Archie Bell's "Tighten Up", the riff of which was based on an instrumental they wrote. But they released some cracking records in their own right too.

"Getting The Corners" - The T.S.U. Toronadoes    

"Play The Music Toronadoes" - The T.S.U. Toronadoes