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Saturday 30 May 2020

Listen To What The Man Said

Way back in 2003, some bright spark came up with the great idea of rounding up some veteran soul singers and setting them loose on some Van Morrison songs. It was an impressive line-up, including the likes of William Bell, Eddie Floyd, Little Milton, Syl Johnson and many more.

As I may have mentioned in the past, I'm a big fan of the man they call 'The Man'. I'm also a big fan of many of the singers who got involved in the project, so this was always going to be a winner for me. Even their decision to give the album the dreadful title of "Vanthology" couldn't spoil it. Here are a couple of highlights.

"Real Real Gone" - Betty LaVette

"Warm Love" - Otis Clay

Here is old Furgone di Piufiglio performing the same songs, for the sake of comparison.

Thursday 28 May 2020

Old Friends, New Sounds

Afternoon All. We have a quick update for you on what two friends of the blog have been up to recently. 

First up is Asthmatic Harp. Not only has she featured here in her own right, but also very graciously acted as guest curator for the Danish leg of our EU farewell tour. She has an excellent new single called "To The Boats" coming out next week (Wednesday 3 June to be precise).

I don't know whether it is the strange times we are living in, but the sentiments and the mood of the song really struck a chord with me when I first listened to it. Details of how to buy the single will appear on Ms Harp's website in due course. Until then, here is the video.

Our other returning friend is Lesley Barth. We featured the first single off her fantastic new album "Big Time Baby" at the beginning of April. The album is now out and it would be utterly foolish of you not to head over to her website and buy it immediately. I have been listening to it a lot since I got hold of a preview copy, and enjoying it more and more with every listen.

The latest single from the album is "You Gotta Hand It To The Man", which turns out to be more topical than Lesley probably imagined when she wrote it. She's made a lockdown video with a message to go with the single. It's a message I'm sure we can all agree with. Over to you, Lesley.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Samba Soul Sensations

Two slabs of sunshine for you today courtesy of the always excellent Strut Records. Both come from their compilation "Black Rio 2 (Original Samba-Soul 1968-1981)". Pretty much every track is a winner. One can only imagine how good Black Rio 1 must be.

"Bananeira" - Emilio Santiago

"Não Vou Chorar" - Os Diagonais

Monday 25 May 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 12

Part 12 of our Grand Tour, and this time we are off to Greece. For the last six or seven years I have been lucky enough to get to Athens a couple of times a year for work, and I usually manage to extend my stay. It's one of my favourite cities, with a good music scene.

On one trip I found myself performing Neil Sedaka's "Oh Carol" with a bouzouki band to an audience of representatives of the local transport union. But that is another story, and probably not an example of the good music scene, judging by the union reps' reaction. Better to leave it to the professionals.

"Rain And Tears" - Aphrodite's Child

"Ti Simveni" - Nostradamus

"Zw" - Dimitra Galani

"Terma To Dialeimma (I Mpampesa)" - Magic de Spell

"Chalasia" - Villagers of Ioannina City

Friday 22 May 2020

Funky Friday

Last time out Starship Commander Wooooo Wooooo was instructing us all to get funky. He would no doubt be delighted to know that top Nigerien Tuareg rockers TisDass have done as instructed. It does not get much funkier than the opening to "Adounia".

Both tracks are from their 2015 album "Yamedan", released on the always excellent Sahel Sounds label and available on Bandcamp now at a bargain price.

"Adounia" - TisDass

"Ayatma" - TisDass

In further funky news...

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Starship Special

Over the years we're featured a fair number of acts with peculiar names - the Hallelujah Chicken Run Band, Tedious Matsiko, Me & Bye Bye☆Cats! and Dr. Pants to name but a few. But today we have what may be the most strangely named of them all.

What were Mr and Mrs Connors thinking?

"Get Funky" - Starship Commander Wooooo Wooooo

"You Are My Starship" - Norman Connors (featuring Michael Henderson)

Monday 18 May 2020

Cola Wars

That Charity Chic fellow is doing another one of his series where he plays two opposing songs and asks you to vote on your favourite. This time it is Heaven vs Hell.

The choice of salvation or damnation may seem important to some, but it is insignificant compared to choosing your favourite carbonated cola. Today we are asking you to vote on that important subject.

In order to stop CC spotting we are nicking his idea, we are using the classic school debating society format. There are.two teams of three speakers, one arguing for Pepsi and the other for Coke. Please pay them the courtesy of listening to all of them before casting your vote.

"Pepsi's Got A Lot To Give" - Johnny Cash

"Pepsi Generation" - Michael Jackson

"Pepsi's Got A Lot To Give" - B.B. King

"Coke Is It" - Aretha Franklin

"Things Go Better With Coke" - Ray Charles

"Coke Is It" - The Thompson Twins

And in third place...

Friday 15 May 2020

Phil May RIP

Bloody Hell. Little Richard, Betty Wright and now Phil May all gone within a week.

I had the great privilege of being at The Pretty Things' retirement gig about 18 months ago. At the time I suspect we all thought they would really come back. Sadly not. RIP Mr May.

"Don't Bring Me Down" - The Pretty Things

"Loneliest Person" - The Pretty Things

"Grass" - The Pretty Things

The Long Goodbye: Part 11

Part 11 of our grand tour brings us to Germny. How can you do justice to German music with five mp3s and a few videos? You can't.

I thought about maybe making this a schlager special or a crash course in Krautrock, but in the end have tried to find something for everyone (or in the case of our old friend The Dad Horse Experience, possibly something just for me).

I had to find room in the mix for a bit of country music in recognition of one of the strangest musical experiences of my life. A few years ago my pal Mister F and I found ourselves in Berlin at the same time as the annual country music festival, so we went along. It was wall to wall line dancing and people dressed like this.

"Arizona Man" - Mary Roos

"Hero" - Neu!

"Din Daa Daa" - George Kranz

"African Reggae" - The Nina Hagen Band

"Lord Must Fix My Soul" - The Dad Horse Experience

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Lost Sounds of Luanda 2

Today we bring you Part 2 of our two part series on the 1960s Angolan music scene. All tracks come from the excellent "Angola Saudade 60-70" box set.

"Nadia M'Gongo Ge" - Nito Nunes

"Nizambi" - Teta Lando

"Lata D'Agua" - Mamukueno

José Adelino Barceló de Carvalho (better known simply as Bonga) is considered one of the all time greats of Angolan music. His career started in the early 1970s in Portugal, where he had originally moved to pursue an athletics career. He's still going strong at 77.

Sunday 10 May 2020

Betty Wright RIP

This year is just going from bad to worse. Yesterday Little Richard went, today we've lost the great Betty Wright.

Betty has been a big personal favourite ever since the mid-1980s when I first heard "Pain" and was blown away. I was lucky enough to see her live about eight years ago in a small venue (the Jazz Café in Camden) and she was every bit as wonderful as I had hoped.

She was still making great records as well - 2011's "The Movie" album was up there with the best. As is she now. RIP Ms Wright.

"Thank You For The Many Things You've Done" - Betty Wright

"Pain" - Betty Wright

"Tribute To My Girls" - Betty Wright

Saturday 9 May 2020

Little Richard RIP

Just heard the sad news that we've lost Little Richard. This is turning into a sod of a year. RIP Mr Penniman.

"Keep A Knockin'" - Little Richard

"Directly From My Heart" - Little Richard

Friday 8 May 2020

Lost Sounds of Luanda 1

A major milestone was reached in the Goggins household yesterday. I finally got to the end of the backlog of CDs that I had acquired over the last couple of years but never had time to listen to. My next job is to start digitising random bits of vinyl. You can look forward to some real tat when that gets going.

Right at the bottom of the pile of CDs was something I picked up in Aveiro in Portugal the best part of two years ago. it is a 4 CD set of Angolan music of the 1960s called "Angola Saudade 60-70". I really should have put it on the top of the pile because there is some weird and wonderful stuff on there

Here's the first selection. There will be another one along in a few days.

"Ritmo Da Ilha" - Africa Show

"Sheike Adeus Azevedo" - Noombe Jazz

"Zeca Camarão" -  Mario Rui Silva & Ana Paula

And here are some more modern Angolan sounds. I would have to say that if anyone here today kicks ass it's Noombe Jazz not the Don, but he's pleasant enough.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Music For Grown-Ups

My last trip before the lockdown was to Athens in early March. I was there for work but managed to sneak in a visit to my favourite record shop. I don't know the name, the sign outside is in Greek only, but I always find something interesting there.

This time round I picked up two Garland Jeffreys' albums from the early 1980s. "Guts for Love" (1982) has its moments but you wouldn't call it a career highlight. The 1981 live album "Rock & Roll Adult", on the other hand, is splendid from start to finish. Here's the evidence.

"35 Millimeter Dreams" - Garland Jeffreys

"Cool Down Boy" - Garland Jeffreys

Monday 4 May 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 10

For the tenth leg of our European tour we are hopping over la mer to visit our friends in France. I have acquired quite a lot of French music over the years, so for the first time in a while I was spoilt for choice. I couldn't find room for the likes of Hallyday, Piaf, Gainsbourg, Guetta, Jarre or Jacques, let alone Daft Punk and Ottowan; but even without them today's selections are truly encroyable.

I'm dedicating this to my old friend Jeni and her family in Paris. Jeni is from West Bromwich originally so obviously found Paris a bit parochial by comparison when they first moved there, but she seems to have adjusted. She also has a nephew called Coolio, but that's for another day.

"On Nous Cache Tout, On Nous Dit Rien" - Jacques Dutronc

"L'Anamour" - Françoise Hardy

"H.S.B" - Electric Callas

"Velomoteur" - Les Calamites

"La Fille Du Selecta" - Massilia Sound System

Saturday 2 May 2020

From Bear To Bare

Earlier in the week we brought you an assortment of bears. Here's one of a different variety - the great Bobby Bare, with a couple of tracks from his magnificent 1980 album "Drunk & Crazy".

Drunk and crazy he may have been, but that didn't prevent him from handing out some sensible dietary advice.

"Food Blues" - Bobby Bare

"Willie Jones" - Bobby Bare (with Charlie Daniels)