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Thursday 30 April 2020


If you woke up this morning and thought to yourself "What I really need right now is some exiled South African jazz musicians from the mid 1970s", you're in luck. Ladies and Gentlemen - Jabula!

"Baile - They Are Gone" - Jabula

"Badishi - Herdboys" - Jabula

They played on "Ommadawn", you know, but I'm going to spare you that. Instead here's a song called "Jabula" (it means "rejoice") by the chirpily named Teargas.

Monday 27 April 2020

The Sound of the Streets

And when I say "The Sound of the Streets" I mean it literally. Yesterday while I was out having my daily constitutional I spotted a CD lying on the pavement which had the cryptic words "MIN THEB" written on it. I picked it up carefully and took it home, cleaned it up with some of the disinfectant I had been saving for lunch - I'm on the Trump Diet - then stuck it in the CD player. Slightly to my surprise, it worked.

The CD in question turned out to be "Menos el Oso", the 2005 album by Minus The Bear. It's not really my cup of tea, but here's one of the better tracks for you. I've padded things out with some other bear-based bands.

"Hooray" - Minus The Bear

"I Won't Be Hangin' 'Round" - Bear

"Pirate King" - Edward Bear

Saturday 25 April 2020

Punky Reggae Party

Way back when a lot of the punk bands had a go at covering reggae songs. I'm not the sure the compliment was returned to any great extent, apart from Errol Dunkley doing "I'm An Upstart" and Peter Tosh briefly fronting Peter & The Test Tube Babies on tour when the other Peter was unwell. But that's by the by.

One of the better efforts was Stiff Little Fingers' remake of a Bunny Wailer song. I say remake rather than cover because apart from the riff and the refrain they changed pretty much everything. Maybe that's why it works. Here are both versions.

"Roots Radics Rockers Reggae" - Bunny Wailer

"Roots Radicals Rockers And Reggae" - Stiff Little Fingers

Thursday 23 April 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 9

We're back on the road again. We're heading way up north to the land of Lapps, lingonberries and Lasse Viren - FINLAND!!!

I have been lucky enough to visit Helsinki a few times and always enjoyed it. On one occasion I was asked to leave a rock club after accidentally falling in with a bunch of Irishmen who were arguing violently about the name of the bird in 'Peanuts'. You had to be there.

We have something for everyone this time - assuming, that is, that everyone likes one or more of Finnish punk, Finnish hip hop, Finnish folk music, Finnish Bobbie Gentry covers and the Finnish Jethro Tull. 

"Akateeminen Poika" - Pella Miljoona & N.U.S.

"Heruuks" - Fintelligens

"Ottajat" - Varttina

"Deep Thinker" - Tasavallen Presidentti

We are now a third of the way through the Grand Tour and we have a couple of big stops coming up next - France and Germany. Until then, let's groove to some more top Suomi sounds.

Tuesday 21 April 2020

The Sound Of Swingin' Spain

Los Pekenikes were a Spanish instrumental group that started in the early 1960s and were around for at least twenty years, possibly longer. I've heard a couple of their albums from the 1970s. A lot of it is pretty bland, to be honest, but every now and then they got funky. Whether that was by accident or design, who can tell?

"Cielo Rojo Sobre El Golan" - Los Pekenikes

"Cachimba" - Los Pekenikes

Sunday 19 April 2020

Single Song Sunday

It's this time again - and we have a Jimmy Webb song for you, which is always a guarantee of quality.

For many years the only version of "Do You What You Gotta Do" I knew was the one by The Four Tops, which made the Top Twenty in the UK in 1969 (but which wasn't even released as a single anywhere else as far as I can tell). I had always assumed theirs was the original version, but I was wrong. There had already been three charting versions before Levi and the boys got round to it.

Admittedly none of them were what you would call global smashes. Al Wilson had the first go and took it to No. 102 in the Billboard charts in early 1968. Nina Simone dwarfed his achievement by getting it to No. 83 later in the year. Larry's Rebels, on the other hand, did get into the Top 10 with their rendition, but only in New Zealand.

Rounding things up, Tom Jones gives it a bit of a belting, B.J. Thomas goes for a more mellow take as you might expect, while Meg Baird is wispy and wistful. The Mandatory Reggae Version comes from Mr Pat Rhoden. 

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Al Wilson

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Nina Simone

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Larry's Rebels

"Do What You Gotta Do" - The Four Tops

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Tom Jones

"Do What You Gotta Do" - B.J. Thomas

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Meg Baird

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Pat Rhoden

Inexplicably I can't find videos of any of them performing the song on YouTube. In fact all there seems to be is a very badly recorded live performance by Linda Ronstadt and an acoustic version by a Fleet Fox. So instead here are some different videos from some of those folks.

Thursday 16 April 2020

Jimmy Mac

Like many people, I first became aware of James McMurtry fifteen years ago when he released "We Can't Make It Here". Since then he has become one of my favourites and I've been lucky enough to see him live a few times.

But even back in 2005 James had been knocking about for a fair old while. On a trip to Belfast earlier in the year I managed to pick up a copy of his second album, "Candyland", which came out way back in 1992. Here's a couple of the highlights.

"Safe Side" - James McMurtry

"Where's Johnny" - James McMurtry

Tuesday 14 April 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 8

After the last edition's Celebrity Special, normal service is resumed. Well, what passes for normal in this series anyway.

Our eighth EU country is Estonia. A big shout out to the Mighty George for his help in putting this together. Between us we've got you some folk-rock, some punk and new wave, some wistful crooning and some magnificently wonky pop from 1980. And much, much more.

"Kus On Mu Kodu" - Agent M

"Hobusemäng" - Vagilased

"Tartu Mnt 52" - The Tuberkuloited

"Viin Sind" - Mari Jurjens

"Stopp, Seisku Aeg" - Velly Joonas

Sunday 12 April 2020

Tsonga Tsunday

Long-standing readers may remember that once upon a time we had a mission round here. It was to bring Tsonga Disco to the masses. We abandoned it a long time ago in a grubby chase for higher ratings, but every now and then I feel a twinge of conscience and I remember the man I used to be.

Which is a melodramatic way of saying that we have some newish Tsonga music for you today, courtesy of SLT Records. The label was set up by one Sheggie QT, a performer/producer originally from Tzaneen in South Africa's Limpopo Province (where the bulk of the Tsonga or Shangaan people are to be found).

I'm not sure all the artists on the label are Shangaan, but I reckon the two D-men and Navetisa definitely are. Durro Durro in particular has that distinctive Tsonga Tsound.

"Bulula Lawa" - Durro Durro

"Huku Vayi Dlaya Hixisuti" - Dunuza

"Nlava Swa Matolo" - Queen Nghunyuta

Friday 10 April 2020

New Music Alert

Good morning, Zeitgeisters! Thanks for dropping by.

The subtle clue in the title may have alerted you that we have some new music to bring to your attention.

First up is an old friend of the blog, Lesley Barth, who we previously featured about 18 months ago. Lesley has a new album out in May called "Big Time Baby" and the lead single, "Woman Looking Back At Me", was released yesterday. You can buy the single and pre-order the album from her Bandcamp page. You should do both.

"Big Time Baby" is Lesley's first album since giving up the day job to concentrate on music. Having been lucky enough to get an advance copy, I can vouch that musically at least it has paid off. As good as her previous records were, this one is a real step up. It is a bit pop, a bit country with a nice 70s Carole King sort of vibe throughout. As for the single, think stripped back "Heart of Glass".

The other new record is a compilation from the Polyvinyl label called "Stay Home". It's available exclusively on Bandcamp for as little as $5 (although they would like you to pay more if you can afford it). All proceeds go directly to the artists, many of whom have obviously been affected financially by the lockdown.

There are some relatively well-known names involved - the likes of Xiu Xiu, of Montreal and Pedro the Lion - but plenty of new ones for you to explore as well. I've picked a nice Karen Dalton cover by Palehound. While you are still on Bandcamp make sure to pick up her 2019 album "Black Friday". It's top notch stuff.

"Something On Your Mind" - Palehound

We have a video from Lesley to finish off with. A couple of years back she challenged herself to write a song a day for 30 days. This is one of them that ultimately made it on to "Big Time Baby".

Wednesday 8 April 2020

John Prine RIP

I woke up this morning to the sad news that John Prine isn't going to wake up this morning. I have been a fan of his ever since I saw him play an unscheduled short set at the Cambridge Folk Festival way back in 1980.

Today's first selection picks itself. The second is possibly my personal favourite John Prine song. It's at the head of a very long list though. RIP Mr Prine.

"Please Don't Bury Me" - John Prine

"Lake Marie" - John Prine

Monday 6 April 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 7

Our tour of the European Union has been on hold for a while - think of it as the aural equivalent of a 14 days quarantine period - but we're back with a bang. You are in for a very special treat today.

One of my favourite new(ish) artists has very graciously accepted my offer to guest host the blog on this leg of the journey. So, without any further ado, let's hand the controls over to her:

"I am delighted to welcome you on a musical tour of Denmark. 

Let me introduce myself properly: I am Asthmatic Harp, a Danish singer-songwriter based in Glasgow. My new indie-folk single Bird of Paradise had its premiere here on the blog just a couple of weeks ago. 

I can’t give you a tour of Denmark without first mentioning the composer Carl Nielsen. In Denmark many of his songs have become an integral part of the national heritage. During my years singing in the Children's Choir of the Royal Danish Academy of Music it was always the Carl Nielsen songs that seemed to bring out the most tears in the audiences' eyes.  

My personal favourite is called 'Som en Rejselysten Flåde'. The flow of the melody reminds me of salty, wind swept summer days by the sea. 

Som en Rejselysten Flåde” - The Children's Choir of the Royal Danish Academy of Music

Moving on, here's Denmark’s Grandmother of Electronic Music: Else Marie Pade. A real pioneer! Start by listening to ‘Lyd og Lys’ (Sound and Light).  

"Lyd og Lys" - Else Marie Pade

Efterklang is one of my favourite Danish bands. The art-rock ensemble produces music that is both intimate and magnificently orchestral at the same time. I am sure that you will soon be listening to ‘Modern Drift’ on repeat.

"Modern Drift" - Efterklang

I wouldn't want to let you miss out on a good old classic from the Danish Peace & Love era. ‘Herfra Hvor Vi Står’ is a song by the duo Skousen & Ingemann. They are the real deal! 

"Herfra Hvor Vi Står" - Skousen & Ingemann

Kim Larsen was a real darling in Danish pop/rock music known for his big mouth and catchy tunes. One of his most famous songs is ‘Midt on Natten’.

"Midt on Natten" - Kim Larsen

Finally, I wanted to introduce you to a relatively new artist crush on the Danish music scene. Listen to Katinka and her track: ‘Vi Er Ikke Kønne Nok Til At Danse’ (We are not pretty enough to be dancing)." 

"Vi Er Ikke Konne Nok Til At Danse" - Katinka

Ernie here. Many thanks to Asthmatic Harp for that excellent, eclectic selection. Even more thanks are due because she has kindly shared her brand new video, released just yesterday. It's a lovely cover of My Brightest Diamond's "I Have Never Loved Someone The Way I Love You". The best way you can show your appreciation is to head over to her website and buy stuff. Now!!!

I chose the other videos myself. I mention that because I feel I should take full responsibility for Dr. Phil.

We'll be back soon with Estonia, for which the redoubtable George has played a blinder. In the meantime, if any members of Hanoi Rocks or Lordi want to help out when we get to Finland, please get in touch.

Saturday 4 April 2020

Which Roy?

Some U Roy for you today. Not to be confused with I Roy. Or with He Roy, She Roy, We Roy or They Roy for that matter.

But before we get to Good Old U, make sure you tune in on Monday. We have something special lined up for you.

"Stick Together" - U Roy

"Love In The Arena" - U Roy

From Roy, U to Roy O.

Thursday 2 April 2020

There's Afous Loose...

I mentioned at the weekend that I had bagged a couple of fantastic albums from the Sahel Sound label. Today you are getting a selection from the second one.

Afous d'Afous - so good they named them twice - hail from southern Algeria. Their album "Tenere" came out in 2017 and it's... well, see for yourselves.

"Nak Amahah" - Afous d'Afous

"Tarhanine Tegla" - Afous d'Afous

Elderly Caledonian readers may recognise the title of today's post as a reference to the old standard "Hoots Mon" by Lord Rockingham's XI. Unfortunately I can't find a video of them performing it live, but we have something just as good instead. First, though, a word from our sponsor.