Search This Blog

Monday 30 March 2020

Mellow Monday

Some soothing sounds for you this morning. 

Will Beeley is a Texan singer-songwriter who made a couple of albums in the 1970s and then had to focus on making a living and raising a family. He was rediscovered a few years back by the good folks at the Tompkins Square label, who reissued his old albums and got him back in the studio for first time in forty years. 

The new album, "Highways And Heart Attacks", came out last year and is well worth checking out. But my favourite is 1979's "Passing Dream", which both of today's selections come from. I have been listening to "Sailin' With You" a lot recently. I think its better for me than watching the news too much.

"Sailin' With You" - Will Beeley

"Rainy Sundays" - Will Beeley

There's obviously something in the water in Texas that produces that sort of sound.

Saturday 28 March 2020

Tuareg Tuesday

I have mentioned here before the excellent Sahel Sounds label, whose mission to promote the music of the Sahel region (obviously).

For those of you who don't know where that is, Wikipedia describes it snappily as "the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south".

Anyway, earlier this week Sahel Sounds had a one day sale over on Bandcamp, and I took advantage of it to grab a couple of excellent albums. We're featuring the first one today, the second will follow soon.

The first album is "Anou Malane" by the extravagantly named Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou from Niger. Made in 1995, it is apparently one of the first studio recordings of Tuareg guitar music. And, I would venture to say, still one of the best.

"Ifitalane" - Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou

"Anou Malane" - Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou

Turning to sadder news, the great Bob Andy died yesterday aged 75. I was lucky enough to see him perform a few years back. Probably best known in the UK as one half of Bob & Marcia, he was also a founder member of The Paragons and wrote many hits like "Too Experienced" and "Feel Like Jumping" as well as having a solo career. RIP Mr Andy.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Home Entertainment

It sounds like most of us are in some form of lockdown. I hope you and yours are all staying safe and well. Try to stay positive and remember - being at home doesn't have to be boring. Just ask Eddie, Floyd, Good Time Charlie and Nick.

"We're Staying Home Tonight" - Eddie Cantor

"Rockin' At Home" - Floyd Dixon

"I Do My Swingin' At Home" - Charlie Rich

"Let's Stay In And Make Love" - Nick Lowe

It's not all positive though. I was very saddened to hear of the death yesterday of the great Manu Dibango, who we featured here just a few weeks back. RIP Mr Dibango.

Monday 23 March 2020

Gettin' Diggy Liggy Wit It

Before we get to today's post, a request for assistance. We will be resuming our tour of Europe next week with a visit to Denmark, and I have high hopes that it will be a special one. After that we will be going to Estonia, and I'm struggling a bit to compile a decent playlist. If anyone out there has any suggestions they would be very gratefully received.

But for now, some Cajun fiddling for you.

"Diggy Liggy Lo" - Doug & Rusty Kershaw

"Cajun Joe" - Doug & Rusty Kershaw

Saturday 21 March 2020

Nearly Brilliant

I wasn't expecting to talk to you today. I was meant to be off on my travels for the next couple of weeks but, you know, stuff. However, any disappointment is tempered by the knowledge that I can spend more time with you lovely, lovely people.

Speaking of lovely people, I have a mate whose surname is Perfect. It creates a certain level of expectation when he is being introduced to someone for the first time that may not always be met (as groovy as he is). If he changed it Nearly-Perfect that might reduce the pressure to perform, as well as being 100% factually accurate.

Which brings us to today's guest artist, someone who is very nearly brilliant - just an "I" away in fact. It's Ekambi Brillant from Cameroon, with a couple of fantastic tracks from a compilation album of his work called "African Funk Experimentals 1975-82".

"Lambo Lena" - Ekambi Brillant

"Massoma (Remerciements)" - Ekambi Brillant

And while we are on the subject of brilliant, we should pay our respects to the late, great Kenny Rogers who sadly left us yesterday. RIP Kenny.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Happy Days

Well its worth a try, isn't it?

"Happy Day From Me To You" - Sir Victor Uwaifo

"Happy Beat" - Joe Mensah

"The Happy Song" - The Twinkle Brothers

If that doesn't do the trick, something else you could do to try to cheer yourself up is to tune in to some of the live streamed online concerts that musicians are putting on to compensate for cancelled live gigs. It doesn't match the real live experience - you will actually be able to see and hear them properly, and where's the fun in that? - but on the other hand its a chance to see some acts that might not otherwise have been round your way any time soon.

There are a couple of online gigs this weekend that I will be watching by folks we've featured here before: Dori Freeman on Saturday and Asthmatic Harp on Sunday. Click on their names to get the details, and remember to pay an entrance fee.

And if even that doesn't cheer you up, there is always Gilbert.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 6

Welcome to Part 6 of our European tour. This time we are taking you to the Czech Republic. You may as well come along because its the only way you are going to get there now they have closed the borders. Also, you can enjoy the glittering array of talent we have put together for you.

We kick things off with solo singles from two of the three members of Golden Kids, the leading lights of the 1960s Czech pop scene who were pretty marvellous by anyone's standards. We've featured "Papagallo Baby" before. It's here again because its one of my favourite records ever.

Vaclav and Helena Vondrackova, the third member, went on to have great solo success. Not so Marta Kubisova, who was targeted by the authorities for her political views and effectively banned, but who was to become one of the symbols of the Velvet Revolution in 1989. I think all you Josipa Losic fans out there might like her.

Next we've got some seventies folk-rock courtesy of Marsyas, featuring the fantastic voice of Zuzana Michnova, who I think could fairly be described as the Czech Sandy Denny. After that, well, you can find out for yourselves.

"Papagallo Baby" - Václav Neckář

"Nejsi Sám, Kdo Doufá" - Marta Kubisova

"Barvám" - Marsyas

"Žal Se Odkládá" - Jiri Korn

"Mosty" - Lenka Filipova & Karel Zich

We'll kick off the extra length video section with the Golden Kids. Has there ever been a better pop video that this one?

Sunday 15 March 2020

Harp Tunes

A rare burst of newness for you today, folks.

I was recently contacted by a Glasgow-based Danish songwriter and composer known as Asthmatic Harp. She thought I might like her new single, "Bird of Paradise", which comes out officially on 18 March.

She was right. I like it very much, and I think many of you will too. There is a very nice arrangement which enhances both her voice and the song, and I particularly like the clarinet parts by Heather Ryall - worthy of Mr Acker Bilk himself.

I strongly encourage you to have a listen now, and then go straight over to her website to place your orders and to check out her earlier releases.

Asthmatic (we are now on first name terms) tells me she is a big fan of This is The Kit, as are all right-minded people, and you can hear certain similarities in their styles. Apparently the reason she got in touch was because she had come across a video that I had posted on YouTube eight years ago of Kate Stables and friend performing in a tiny and nearly empty venue near me.

Here is that video, and as a bonus one of Asthmatic Harp's as well.

Friday 13 March 2020

Killy Billy

A somewhat belated tribute to the late Henry McCarty AKA William H Bonney AKA Billy The Kid. He's even more late than I am, and I'm 139 years late. RIP Mr The Kid.

"Every Woman I Know" - Billy 'The Kid' Emerson

"Billy The Kid" - Bobbie Gentry

"Zombie Phatha Phatha" - Billy The Kid & His Zombies

Tuesday 10 March 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 5

We arrive at Part 5 in our musical tour of the European Union, and I should start with an apology to the good people of Cyprus. I am fully aware that I have failed dismally to do justice to the musical vitality and diversity of your country. I'm sorry.

In my defence, there doesn't seem to be that much of it available in online music stores, and I spent a fair old time looking. Here's what I found. I hope you like it.

"Antics" - Monsieur Doumani

"Canima Degsin" - Nil Burak

"Kipriaki Pragmatikotita" - DNA - Dimiourgoi Neas Antilipsis

Sunday 8 March 2020

Jam Jahs

Five men called Jah. Three from Jamaica, one from Ethiopia and one allegedly from the West Country (although I have my doubts).

"Lama" - Jah Lloyd

"Uncle Lester" - Jah Thomas

"Yergeb Amora" - Jah Lude

"A Way You Come From" - Jah Woosh

"Wuthering Heights" - Jah Wurzel

Other Jahs are available.

Thursday 5 March 2020

Emperor Roscoe

We're overdue some Southern soul on here, so let's put it right with the mighty Mr Roscoe Robinson, 92 years old and still going strong.

So strong that he made a new record to mark his 90th birthday in 2018 which you can listen to at this link while reading his biography. On "We Got A Good Thing Going" he sounds like a man half his age.

But before you go and do that, here are a couple of oldies from 1969 and 1971 respectively.

"I'm Burning And Yearning (For You)" - Roscoe Robinson

"Let Me Be Myself" - Roscoe Robinson 

And here he is as a mere stripling of 84.

Tuesday 3 March 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 4

Before we get to Part 4 in our series featuring the music of all 27 EU Member States, a quick appeal. Part 5 is going to be Cyprus, and I'm really struggling for material. I have found a couple of decent current bands, but apart from that just some identikit Eurovision numbers. If any of you lovely people out there can help, please get in touch.

On with Part 4: Croatia. A top notch country and one I have been lucky enough to visit regularly over the last few years for work, which has enabled me to acquire a reasonable sized collection of local music.

By contrast, my only live music experience in Croatia was many years ago while holidaying in Rovinj, where I somehow got entangled with a Bavarian oompah band consisting of a rhythm section and six tubas. It was something to behold.

If you manage to visit Rovinj without the oompah band, though, it's great. As are Dubrovnik, Zagreb and many other places. On behalf of the Croatian Tourist Board, this is 27 Leggies saying: Posjetite danas prekrasnu Hrvatsku!

"Chase" - The Bambi Molesters

"Po Prvi Put" - Josipa Lisac

"Apokalipso" - Darko Rundek

"Legenda" - Dorian Gray

"Pjesma #3" - Time

Sunday 1 March 2020

Texas Trilogy

In my previous post I mentioned Marty Robbins, which prompted me to think that it was about time I shared his magnificent Texan trilogy.

I am sure you are all familiar with his 1959 super smasheroonie "El Paso" - in my personal opinion, one of the greatest records ever made. But you may not be aware that he recorded two follow up songs.

The first came out in 1966 and tells the story of Feleena the femme fatale. It clocks in at well over eight minutes, making it one of the few country songs eligible for The Swede's "Monday Long Song" series. The third was released ten years after that, and is essentially a song about the song.

Here they are in all their glory.

"El Paso" - Marty Robbins

"Feleena (From El Paso)" - Marty Robbins

"El Paso City" - Marty Robbins