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Monday 29 June 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 16

Stage 16 of the Grand Tour, and the first of two consecutive stops in the beautiful Baltics. But before we land, a public service announcement.

Stages 18 and 19 will take us to Luxembourg and Malta, and I am really struggling to find decent music to feature. I have no doubt it exists, but it isn't easy to track down. If any of you lovely readers are able to help that would be greatly appreciated.  

No such problems in Latvia, fortunately, which is awash with wonder by comparison. I was lucky enough to visit Riga a few years ago. It's a top town, and I only wish I had been able to stay longer to see a bit more of the country.  Anyway, on with the show.

"Trīsi, Trīsi, Sikspārnīt" - Ingus Baušķenieks

"Sesas Pedas" - Oranžās Brīvdienas

"Lidmasina" -  Jumprava

"Saules Deja" - Vējam Kabatā

"Mana Kafejnica Ir Salauzta" - Dzeltenie Pastnieki

If you listened to all of those you may have drawn the conclusion that the Latvians are an earnest bunch. Let's correct that misapprehension immediately with this first video, featuring what I believe is the only Eurovision entry ever covered by one of the leading lights of Scotland's thriving pirate metal scene (Alestorm - but you knew that). 

Friday 26 June 2020

Long Ago In Lima...

I recently acquired a great compilation of 1970s Peruvian psychedelia and Latin Soul called  "Cumbias Psicodelicas: Volume 1 Ayahuasca". You can find it on the Bandcamp site of the thoroughly excellent Repsychled label, and at a mere €7 it's an absolute bargain. Here are a couple of cracking tunes from the album to get you in the mood for the weekend.

"El Arbol" - El Comienza

"Kashanga" - El Opio

Among the other delights on "Ayahuasca" is a decidedly groovy version of this old favourite.

Wednesday 24 June 2020

More Sounds Of Now!

The lovely people in Promoland have been back in touch, sending me goodies to share with you. And this week's goodies are extra good.

"The Joy of Forgetting" is the new album by Allegra Krieger, a Florida-born Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter, and its a cracking good listen. I'm not very good at describing why I like a record, as regular readers know, so let's just say she has a distinctive voice, strong songs and interesting arrangements that sound slightly off-kilter - making the album ideal listening for the off-kilter world we're living in at the moment.

"The Joy of Forgetting" itself isn't out until 7 August but the latest single "Welcome" came out last week, and here it is. Have a listen then head straight over to Allegra's Bandcamp page to pre-order the album. If you do that you'll get "Welcome" and the two earlier singles from the album for free straight away. Her earlier stuff is well worth a listen as well. 

According to the promo materials, Allegra is RIYL ("Recommended if you like" for those of you not up with tastemaker jargon) Sharon van Etten and Liz Phair. That's probably true, but for some reason the singer she reminds me of most is Devon Sproule. So here's a little bit of Devon as a bonus.

"The Warning Bell" - Devon Sproule

Monday 22 June 2020

The Real McCrae

What better way 
to start the day
than with a bit of Gwen McCrae

I'm a poet and I didn't know it

"Rockin' Chair" - Gwen McCrae

"For Your Love" - Gwen McCrae 

You may have heard of her ex-husband.

Friday 19 June 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 15

We've reached the 15th stage of our 27 stop tour, and we're in Italy. I've been lucky enough to visit many times over the last 30+ years and have never had a bad experience, not even when I got attacked by a Mother Superior after I asked one of her nuns if she wanted to sit on my shoulders to get a better view of the Pope. It was a fair cop.

As well as being one of my favourite countries, Italy may be the home of my great lost love. Five or six years ago I was staying in a cheap hotel in the Trastevere district of Rome and indulged in a bit of light flirtation with the delightful receptionist. When time came to check out, she suddenly clasped me by the hand, looked me deep in the eyes and said "You..." - dramatic pause, even deeper look - "are a beautiful chicken!".  

If it had been a film I would have got half way to the airport before realising I was making a mistake, jumped off the bus, flagged down a Piaggio Ape and headed back to the hotel to propose to her. Now, if lockdown has taught me anything it is that I must seize the day, so that's exactly what I'm going to do when we're allowed out again. Let's hope I'm not too late. And let's hope I can remember the name of the hotel.

Enough of me, on with the music. We start with some sexo and end with some deatho. All human life is here.    

"Sexo!" - Ivan Cattaneo

"Noia" - CCCP Fedeli Alla Linea

"Ell" - Rita Pavone

"R.I.P. (Requiescant in Pace)" - Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Direct From The Workshop

McCully Workshop sounds too dull to be the name for a psychedelic band, who were normally called things like The 14th Eye or Abigail's Mushroom. But that's what they were, and one of South Africa's finest. Here are a couple of tracks from their 1971 album "Genesis", which is considered by most aficionados to be their masterpiece.

"(We All) Look For The Sun" - McCully Workshop

I can't find any clips of the Workshop in their prime on YouTube. There are, however, many hundreds of some outfit called Genesis. Hopefully this will temporarily sate George's craving for ludicrous videos.

Monday 15 June 2020

Warning: May Contain Nuts

Today: songs about peanuts, peanut-based products and purveyors of peanuts. Just because.

"Peanuts" - Little Joe & The Thrillers

"Peanut Butter" - The Marathons 

"Peanut Brittle" - The Actors

"The Peanut Vendor" is one of those tunes that pops up all over the place - here are just two examples.

Friday 12 June 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 14

It seems to have taken forever, but we are now halfway through the EU farewell tour. And where better to celebrate the achievement than in Ireland. 

The series has not been without its challenges. For some countries, the challenge has been to track down enough good stuff to make a full post. That is going be the issue next month when we do the three Ls and then Malta

With Ireland the problem is the exact opposite - what to leave out? I could have spent days agonising over my selection but decided against it. This is today's five; if I had done this tomorrow most if not all of them would have been different. 

It being Ireland we'll need some folk, some showbands and a bit of literary pretension (as opposed to the sort of pretension embodied by that gigantic arse B**o). We have ticked all those boxes, and taken the opportunity to pay tribute to Brendan Bowyer, one of the greats of the showband era who sadly left us a few weeks ago. Microdisney are in there because they are one of my favourite bands, while the "Munster Hop" must be one of the happiest sounds in the world.

"The Hucklebuck" - Brendan Bowyer & The Royal Showband

"Endless Art" - A House

"The Auld Triangle" - The Dubliners

"The Munster Hop" - Sharon Shannon

Wednesday 10 June 2020

From Mia to Maia

Last time out we featured Mia Doi Todd. Just add an A and that gives us Tim Maia. Well, strictly speaking, adding an A and a Tim and taking away Doi and Todd gives us Tim Maia, but you know what I mean.

The late, great Tim was and always will be the undisputed Brazilian King of Soul. He also released ten different albums called "Tim Maia", which really puts that weed Peter Gabriel in his place.

"Que Beleza" - Tim Maia

Monday 8 June 2020

The Mighty Mia

I have recently discovered the delights of Mia Doi Todd. She has been making records for the best part of 20 years but for whatever reason had completely escaped my attention until a few months ago. Then the lovely people at ORG Records sent me a copy of her 2008 album "GEA" which they have just reissued.

"GEA" is a cracking album and I would heartily recommend you give it a listen. It set me off on trying to track down her other records, and I have now acquired a handful of them. Apart from "GEA" my favourite is probably 2011's "Cosmic Ocean Ship". Here are a couple of tracks from that.

"Summer Lover" - Mia Doi Todd

"My Baby Lives In Paris" - Mia Doi Todd

Friday 5 June 2020

Top Of The Hill

We're now well into the 12th year of this blog, yet somehow we've never featured the mighty Z.Z. Hill. What an extraordinary omission. It's time to put things right.

"Let's Make A Deal" - Z.Z. Hill

"Cheatin' In The Next Room" - Z.Z. Hill

Wednesday 3 June 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 13

Part 13 of our EU Grand Tour brings us to Hungary, land of spas and goulash. Also the home of Zsa Zsa Gabor, Ferenc Puskas, Franz Lizst, Laszlo Biro and these formidable performers.

I went to Hungary once. I liked it very much and I would like to go again. I realise that reads like something a primary school child would produce if asked to write about their holidays, but the creative juices aren't really flowing at the moment. Maybe I need a couple of shots of palinka to stir them up.
"Fekete Beat" - Sarolta Zalatnay

"Részeg Hajnalok" - Bergendy

"Vetettem Violat" - Marta Sebestyen

"Sunhanni" - Kampec Dolores

"Tiz Ev Az Uton" - Kati Kovacs & Locomotiv GT

You may notice a common theme to the videos. It would appear that in 1976 some bright spark decided to ship a job lot of pop stars down to Lake Balaton and shoot all that year's promo videos in one go to save money.

The lake works nicely as the backdrop for some wholesome fun while Beata Karda is smiling sweetly, but it all becomes slightly seedy when Hairy Gyorgy turns up. And you have to feel sorry for Corvina who get fobbed off with a pedalo. Presumably the budget had nearly run out by then.

Monday 1 June 2020

Carol Goes Galactic

Nobody could accuse Sister Carol of being parochial or of lacking ambition. First she's going to conquer the world, then she's going to conquer the universe.

"International Style" - Sister Carol

"Lost In A Space" - Sister Carol