Search This Blog

Friday 29 November 2019

Thirty Glorious Years

As mentioned in a recent post, I have decided against doing any "best of the year" posts this year. There are two reasons.

The first is that I'm not got to be around much between now and the end of the year. I'm having a week away for Christmas, and tomorrow I'm off to Muscat for a fortnight's work. Please rest assured that I will be scouring the souks for examples of 1980s Omani jazz-funk and post-punk to share with you (probably unsuccessfully).

The other reason is that, based on previous experience, I've probably only heard a fraction of the music released this year that will be in my collection in a few years' time. There are bound to be many top tunes that slipped past me at the time but which I'll catch up with at some point in the future.

The same was true way back in 1989. There are no doubt still some stray songs out there, but here are ten I've rounded up for you. We'll start with a couple of Kings of the New York streets, romp through the rest, and finish off with what may just be the pick of the bunch.

"King Of The New York Streets" - Dion

"Dirty Blvd" - Lou Reed

"Companero" - Mighty Gabby

"Divorce Case" - Peta Teanet

"Madonna Of The Wasps" - Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians

"The Downtown Lights" - The Blue Nile

"Thievin' Legacy" - Mutabaruka

"From Pain To Joy" - Betty Wright

"The Horses" - Rickie Lee Jones

"Entella Hotel" - Peter Case

See you in a couple of weeks, when we may have another ten from 1989 if you behave yourselves in the meantime.

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Rootsy Rachel

Here's Rachel Baiman. I don't know much about her except that she was born in Chicago but is now based in Nashville, she was the Illinois State fiddle champion at the age of 17 according to Wikipedia, and her 2017 album "Shame" is very good indeed - although there is scant evidence of her fiddling prowess.

 "Getting Ready To Start (Getting Ready)" - Rachel Baiman

"Let Them Go To Heaven" - Rachel Baiman

And here's another Rachel.

Sunday 24 November 2019


It's getting to that point of the year when registered music bloggers are contractually required to start thinking about their end of year "best of" charts. I'll probably opt out this year, but if I was compiling a top ten glam rock reissues in 2019 chart, I know what would be top.

"All The Young Droogs" is a 3CD compilation with the exceptionally clunky subtitle  "60 Juvenile Delinquent Wrecks, Rock 'n Glam (And a Flavour of Bubblegum) From the 70s".

There are a handful of well known acts included, like Mott The Hoople and Be Bop Deluxe, but most of them are utterly obscure. In some cases deservedly so - there is some very derivative stuff on there - but there are many top tunes as well, including some smashing stompers.

"Little Boy Blue" - Angel

"Let Me Tell Ya" - U.K. Jones

"Ultrastar" - Rococo

Friday 22 November 2019

Dread At The Controls

A couple of cracking tunes from the mighty Mikey Dread for you today. They date from 1978 and 1982 respectively but both can be found on an excellent 1998 compilation called "The Prime of Mikey Dread". Each track starts with a jingle from his "Dread At The Controls" radio show on the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation.

"Barber Saloon" - Mikey Dread

"S.W.A.L.K" - Mikey Dread

If you take the L out of S.W.A.L.K. it leaves you with this. "Put the L back in!", I hear you cry.

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Retro Rockin' in Roodepoort

I got back yesterday from one of my regular trips to Cape Town. I'm afraid that musically it was slim pickings - my regular Tsonga Disco supplier closed a couple of years ago, and the chain stores now mostly sell games and DVDs (like chain stores everywhere it seems). However I managed to get a few goodies from Mabu Vinyl.

One of cheap CDs I got there turned out to be entirely blank, which was disappointing (but by no means the worst things I've ever bought).

The other was a 2006 sampler from Fresh Records featuring highlights of their RetroFresh series of reissues of South African rock albums from the late 1960s to mid-late 1980s. One of today's selections dates from 1970, the other from 1981. I think you'll probably be able to work out which is which.

"Out Of Tune" - Peach

"Blue Wednesday Speaks" - Abstract Truth

The biggest rock/pop band in South Africa in the 1970s was probably Rabbitt. The two main men went on to work with well-known British bands in the 1980s. One was Trevor Rabin, who gave Yes their biggest hit with  'Owner of a Lonely Heart'. The other was Duncan Faure, who took over as lead singer of a band that I know there is a lot of love for among some of our regular readers.

Saturday 9 November 2019

Random Rules

I'm off on my travels again later today, back in about ten days. I have had neither the time nor the mental dexterity to think of a theme for today's post, so I fell back on the traditional "press shuffle on the iPod and see what happens" technique. This is what happened.

I must confess I considered leaving one of these out, but decided not to in the end. It isn't in the spirit of the exercise and, besides, there is no shame in liking Curtis Mayfield.

"Possum Belly Overalls" - June Bateman with Noble 'Thin Man' Watts & His Band

"House On The Hill" - Kevin Coyne

"So In Love" - Curtis Mayfield

"Gone To Negril" - Althea & Donna

"A Taste Of Aggro" - The Barron Knights

"Downey Girl" - Dave Alvin

I had planned to choose the seventh track that turned up for today's video, but I couldn't find any for numbers 7-11. This was No. 12, and it was worth waiting for.

Tuesday 5 November 2019

Lebron From Le Brooklyn

Some top Latin soul for you today courtesy of the Lebron Brothers from Brooklyn. They started in the mid-1960s and were a big part of the New York salsa scene in the 1970s, but in their early days they produced a sort of psychedelic soul/ boogaloo hybrid sound. By the time of their "Brothers" album in 1970 they were starting to mellow, but just a little.

"Couldn't Give You Up Girl" - The Lebron Brothers Orchestra

"Don't Be Afraid" - The Lebron Brothers Orchestra

Here's a little taste of their salsa side.

Sunday 3 November 2019

Single Song Sunday

Slightly later in the day than I'd planned - things to do, people to see, you know how it is - it's Single Song Sunday. And for third time, it's the Temptations. They are evidently eminently coverable.

This time round it's their 1964 standard, "My Girl". I had assumed we must have done this one years ago but apparently not. The Temps are still tops, and so good they feature twice, once in English and once in German. Otis and Al aren't far behind.

We have funky organ for you, and some surprisingly good jazz flute. Despite their name, The Matadors are Czech not Spanish, and we keep it international with covers from Nigeria and Italy, rounding things off with the Mandatory Reggae Version from the great Ken Boothe.

"My Girl" - The Temptations 

"My Girl" - Otis Redding

"My Girl" - Al Green

"My Girl" - Orlando Julius

"My Girl" - Rahsaan Roland Kirk

"My Girl" - The Matadors

"Mein Girl" - The Temptations

"Solamente Lei" - Giorgio Bertolani

"My Girl" - Billy Preston

"My Girl" - Ken Boothe

And if you thought that was good...

Friday 1 November 2019

Wise Words

Here in the UK we are facing yet another election and some pretty unappetising choices. We could do with some wise advice. Who better to provide it than Adviser Nowamagbe?

I don't know much about the Adviser apart from the fact he comes from Benin City in Nigeria and has released copious numbers of albums with titles such as "Vote Out Buhari Now!", "Mr Subsidy, Are You From Niger Delta?", "Political Nonentities", and - helpfully for us - "Another Election, Masses Know Your Way". "Emwen" comes from that album.

Linguists among you might also be interested to know that his lyrics have been used to form the basis of an academic treatise on the Edo language. It controversially asserts that "contrary to earlier claims, Edo is not solely an agglutinating language". No doubt that will provoke an avalanche of comments, please try to keep them polite.

"Pope Must Hear This Pt. 1" - Adviser Nowamagbe

"Emwen" - Adviser Nowamagbe