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Monday 31 August 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 23

Part 23 of our tour of Europe brings us to Romania. I had a few days in Bucharest once - part work, part sightseeing - and liked it very much. At one point I had plans to visit Timisoara with a side trip over the border to Belgrade but it never came off. I may try again next year when it is the official European City of Culture.

The bizarre highlight of the Bucharest trip was a breakfast meeting at my hotel with a local MEP who bore a striking resemblance to Pitbull (the rapper not the dog). He turned up on a pair of crutches, and most of the meeting was spent with me getting him refills from the breakfast buffet or him explaining in great detail the plot of a film that was the Romanian equivalent of "Green Card". 

Enough of my rambling. Let's get on with the show.

"Sandala" - Fanfare Ciocarlia

"Andrii Popa" - Phoenix

"Canta Tu Padurea Mea" - Aura Urziceanu

"I Got The Chop" - Gil Dobrica

"Orbul" - Mondial

Thursday 27 August 2020

Shack Attack

To those of you who read the title of this post and are fearful of what might follow in the video section - You are right to be afraid. We are going there.

But first, some songs about shacks:

"Psychedelic Shack" - The Temptations

"Country Shack" - The Falcons

"Sugar Shack" - Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs

"Back at the Chicken Shack" - Jimmy Smith

Wednesday 26 August 2020

Busy On The Bongos

I have been stocking up on random purchases in charity shops since the Great Reopening. The sheer relief at being able to do so has resulted in me showing even less taste and discrimination than usual. If there is a 'Three for £1' offer on, I'm having three whether I like them or not.

One CD acquired in such circumstances that has definitely exceeded my expectations is "Outer Bongolia" (2007) by a gentleman known as The Bongolian (possibly not his real name). Lots of bongos, as you would have guessed, and lots of Hammond organ too. It is really rather good.

"Bongo Mambo" - The Bongolian

"The Gospel According To The Bongolian" - The Bongolian

Monday 24 August 2020

Three Men Walk Into A Bar

It has been a fair while since we had any country music on here. We are putting that right today and doing it in style. 

Nobody has caused more tears to be shed into beers than these three gents - listening to any one of them will dilute even the strongest ale until it is weaker than the weediest lager shandy - and they have shed a fair few themselves.

"Hand Me Another" - Gary Stewart

"Misery And Gin" - Merle Haggard

"Still Doin' Time" - George Jones

Saturday 22 August 2020

Portugal: The Band

Have you recovered from yesterday's George-induced extravaganza yet? Several of my senses are still shook up (in a good way), and at least one of them may be permanently discombobulated. 

Tucked away in the midst of that cavalcade of sounds was a note from me mentioning that I would be following up with a post on a particular Portuguese band. 

This is that post, and Quarteto 1111 is that band. Considered by many (possibly) to be the founding fathers of Portuguese psych, they made a couple of cracking singles in 1970. These are they. 

"Todo O Mundo E Ninguém" - Quarteto 1111

"Back To The Country" - Quarteto 1111

The lead singer Jose Cid went on to have successful solo career, the highlight of which was perhaps his 1978 rock opera "10,000 Anos Depois Entre Venus e Marte" (10,000 Years Later Between Venus and Mars).

Well it was either that or his appearance at Eurovision two years later.

Friday 21 August 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 22

Part 22 of the Grand Tour brings us to Portugal, and for the second time in the series we have recruited a local guide to show us the sights (and sounds). 

Way back in Denmark our guide was Asthmatic Harp, who incidentally has a excellent new single called "Limbo" that you should be buying a.s.a.p. On this occasion it is a mysterious gentleman known only as Jorge. As far as I am aware no Jorge recordings are currently available for purchase.

Over to Jorge...

Ernie suggested I write a piece for his epic “The Long Goodbye” series for the Portugal edition. Which was very nice of him. This is written with absolutely no knowledge of his own article about Portugal. [Spoiler alert: There will be no article from me on Portugal. How on earth could I top this? There will be a short feature on a particular Portuguese act, but that's all. Ernie]

The very first Portuguese album I bought was from a small cafe in Baixo Alentejo, it had a small display of CDs behind the counter, I had drunk a few beers, I had money to burn, so I pointed to the one I wanted. It’s an example of pimba music, which is I think Portuguese home-grown pop. It’s an acquired taste.

"Carro Electrico" - Miguel Agostinho

The first serious Portuguese album was a compilation of many bands and singers, an indie/blues/rockabilly CD, with some belting songs on it, like this surf track:

"Se Eu Enlonguecer" - Capitão Fantasma 

Thanks to this album I realised that there could be a lot more acts to discover, and thanks to Bandcamp it’s been easy. But before that, who wants to hear some Portuguese pre-revolution prog??


The group A Jigsaw are a Portuguese Americana band; this is from the excellent Like The Wolf album:

"Red Pony" - A Jigsaw

There’s a series of what is termed post-rock albums, this is from the 2016 compilation:

"Maasai" - Surma

Tiago Bettencourt is very famous here, his music is a kind of Bruce Springsteen-lite (but good). His first band was Toranja, and from their genuinely good album Esquissos is this track:

"Cenario" - Toranja

And Birds Are Indie are an indie group, whose first few records were too acoustic and sparse for my liking, but Local Affairs from 2019 is a belter:

"Pitch Black Infinity Sky" - Birds Are Indie

And now some Portuguese psychedelia from ca. 1968

One of the most famous bands in Portugal are Xutos e Pontapés. They’ve been making records since the late 1970s. Such is their fame here that when original band member Zé Pedro died (in 2017), Prime Minister António Costa wrote a tribute; and Metallica played a song in his honour when they played a concert in Lisbon in 2018. This is one of their best known songs:

Even more famous here is Quim Barreiros, who has been releasing “pimba” albums of double entendres/hidden meanings since the time of the Carnation Revolution.

EVERYONE has heard of him: my friend Miguel met him once, and said that he’s a really nice bloke, he came over to Miguel’s table, had a beer and a chat.  Quim’s latest album is “Será porca ou parafuso”, which translates as “Will it be nut or bolt”. I suspect Sr. Barreiros is not really talking about items you can buy at B&Q (unless they have radically amended their range since we left the UK). There’s also an album that translates as “My bread fell out of the pot”, and I really have no idea what that alludes to. And here’s Quim not singing about little goats. This video has the lyrics, so you’ve got hours of fun working out what he’s really saying:

I’m a big fan of his cheery music.

The music of Portugal is not all fado or pimba  (or that young man who won Eurovison a couple of years ago), there really are some excellent bands here.

Muito obrigado, Ernie. [Tem sido um prazer, Jorge]

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Aruba, Jamaica...

If any of you thought the title of the post implied we were starting a musical tour of the Caribbean - apologies, we are not. We haven't even finished the trip round the EU yet and I'm going to need to rest after that (but while on the subject, make sure you tune in on Friday for a very special treat).

The more musically astute among you will have worked out that where we actually wanna take yer is Kokomo. Oh Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty Mama (and other readers).

"Big Rock Joe From Kokomo" - Piano Red

"Anytime" - Kokomo

"Mama's Boy" - The Kokomos

Saturday 15 August 2020

More Cause And Effect

 One leads inevitably to the other.

"I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water" - Johnny Rivers

"Get A Little Dirt On Your Hands" - The Delltones

While we're on the subject of muddy water(s)...

Friday 14 August 2020

Hail Augustus

It may seem hard to believe now, but there was a time when reggae melodica players were ten a penny. The undisputed king of them all was the late, great Augustus Pablo.

Here are a couple of tracks from an excellent 2-CD compilation called "Skanking Easy" which I picked up at our recently reopened local charity shop. 

"Cassava Piece" - Augustus Pablo

"Silent Satta/ Traditional Satta" - Augustus Pablo

Wednesday 12 August 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 21

We are now three-quarters of the way through our Grand Tour of all EU countries and we find ourselves in Poland, the country responsible for over 80% of the world's usage of the letter Z. 

I've been lucky enough to visit a number of times, taking in the delights of Sopot on the Baltic coast, Przemysl near the border with Ukraine and various places in between. All of them were thoroughly groovy, as are today's tunes.

"Jedziemy Autostopem" - Karin Stanek & Czerwono Czarni

"Czasem kochać chcesz" - Skaldowie

"Kto Wymyślił Naszą Miłość" - Anna Jantar

"(Żywiec) Mountain Melody" - SBB

"Maw Ja Raz Dziywczynońku" - Rusyczi

We'll kick the videos off with a band I was lucky enough to see live in 2011 in the splendour of the Palace of Culture in Warsaw - the mighty Red Guitars. 

Monday 10 August 2020

Hyland's Fling

Brian Hyland did some terrible things in his youth - "Itsy Witsy Tennie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" to name but one - and then spent the rest of his career trying to atone for them. 

In 1970 he took Curtis Mayfield's "Gypsy Woman" to Number 3 in the US charts with a bit of help from Del Shannon, and then in 1977 he teamed up with Allen Toussaint for an album called "In A State Of Bayou". Very nice it is too, with a sort of Johnny Rivers feel (which is always a good thing as far as I am concerned).  

"Hail To The Man" - Brian Hyland

"Killin' Me" - Brian Hyland

Saturday 8 August 2020

The Little People

Hello my dear friends, to quote Tiny Tim. Here he is with four other people called Tiny, and a video that is dedicated to my friend Jennifer for reasons she will understand.

"Livin' In The Sunlight, Lovin' In The Moonlight" - Tiny Tim

"Miss You So" - Tiny Topsy

"The Train Kept A-Rollin'" - Tiny Bradshaw & His Orchestra

"Help Me To Find A Love" - Tiny Timmy Tipp

"Bossy Woman" - Tiny Powell

Sunday 2 August 2020

The Long Goodbye: Part 20

Our Grand Tour brings us to The Netherlands, land of tulips, cheese, total football and flood controls, and many other delights too numerous to mention. I first visited more than 35 years ago and it is always a treat to go back. This post is dedicated to my friends Charlotte and Eveline and to the great Dennis Bergkamp.

I have a fair amount of Dutch music in my collection, including this little gem which I picked up on my first visit to Amsterdam.

In his day Rudi was the cocktail cabaret king of Old Amsterdam. The cover is better than the contents - the other side has a photo of the Great Man and a pencil drawing of the exceptionally ugly Apollo Hotel - but I've included a short extract as a treat for our Caledonian readers.

As for the rest of the selection, I could have spent days agonising over which artists to choose. But I'm off on holiday for a week tomorrow so instead I have picked five tracks more or less off the top of my head, all of them pretty groovy in their own way.

"The Wee Cooper O' Fife" - Rudi Feenstra

"Kicks And Chicks" - The Zipps

"Rock In The Sea" - Shocking Blue

"Tattoo Song" - Herman Brood & His Wild Romance

"Salama" - Kasba

Longstanding readers may recall that I always feature the same video when I go off on my summer holidays, and as it happens its by a Dutch duo (it is almost as if this planned). We'll follow the ring-rang-a-dong with some ding-a-dong and then slowly descend into gibberish.