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Wednesday 31 August 2022

Cambodia Comes Back

After the Phnom-Penh-omenal (did you see what I did there?) response to the Ros Sereysothea track in my previous post I thought you lovely people deserved another one. You are also getting a song from her male equivalent, the King of Khmer Music himself - Mr Sinn Sisamouth. 

Sadly both of them "disappeared" during the Khmer Rouge genocide of the mid 1970s, along with nearly two million others.

On a happier note, doing this follow up post means I can play the other 1980s hit with Cambodia in the title. Dead Kennedys vs Kim Wilde, that's a heavyweight battle to rival Nirvana I vs Nirvana 2.

"ទៅ Surprise ម្តង (Tow Surprise Mtong)" - Ros Sereysothea

"Dance a Go Go" - Sinn Sisamouth

Monday 29 August 2022

A Mild Fever

On paper, Dengue Fever and what the blurb on their website calls their "trademark blend of sixties Cambodian pop and psychedelic rock" should be right up my street. However, when I listened to them back in the mid 2000s when the critical acclaim started they didn't really do much for me.

I found their 2008 album "Venus on Earth" going for 50p in a local charity shop recently and decided it was time for a reappraisal. Having listened to the album a couple of times I am still not convinced. It isn't a bad record, but compared to the original Sixties Cambodian pop it is just a bit timid and restrained.

Here is perhaps the wildest track on the album, alongside one by the Queen of the Cambodian scene Ros Sereysothea so you can compare them for yourselves.

"Laugh Track" - Dengue Fever

"Old Pot Still Cooks Good Rice" - Ros Sereysothea

Friday 26 August 2022

Apologies All Round

According to Elton John, sorry seems to be the hardest word. I think that tells you a lot more about Mr. John than it does about the act of apologizing. Plenty of other musicians from all over the world seem to manage it, even those arrogant enough to refer to themselves in the third person.

"I'm Sorry" - Esther Phillips

"I'm Sorry" - The Steelers

"I'm So Sorry" - Carroll Thompson

"I Am Very Sorry" - Kamai Ahmed (featuring Noor Jehan)

"Very Sorry" - Elijah Madzikatire & Ocean City Band

"Keith Sykes Is Sorry" - Keith Sykes

Apologies are due from me as well. The service has been a bit irregular round here recently and is likely to continue that way for at least the couple of weeks - there's lots going on in the real world, both work and pleasure.

NEWS FLASH. Stung by the discovery that even raging egomaniacs like Keith Sykes and Ernie Goggins can say sorry, Elton John has decided to give it a go himself. Over to you Elton... 

Still some way to go. Watch and learn, Elton, watch and learn.

Tuesday 23 August 2022

Back To The Belfry

Bonny Light Horseman's self-titled debut album was quite possibly my favourite album of 2020 - there or thereabouts anyway. Their follow-up, "Rolling Golden Holy", is due out in just over six weeks, which is causing great excitement here in the Goggins household. 

To tide us over until then we have a couple of tracks for you from Eric D. Johnson, one-third of BLH, in his Fruit Bats guise. There is one apiece from "Tripper" (2011) and "Gold Past Life" (2019). Both can be found on his/their Bandcamp site along with many other fine things.

In other news, starting later this week Mr Johnson as Fruit Bats is in the UK playing in Glasgow, Bristol, Leeds and London as well as a couple of festivals. Unfortunately I'm double booked the night he's in London so won't make it, but get along if you can.

"You're Too Weird" - Fruit Bats

"Mandy from Mohawk (Wherever You May Be)" - Fruit Bats

And here's a 20 minute set from 2016 for you.

Sunday 21 August 2022

Single Song Sunday

It is Single Song Sunday again, and this time round we're featuring the soul standard "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right". It is a title that sometimes appears without the brackets, sometimes without the "I Don't Want To Be Right" and, on at least one occasion, in Swedish.

We kick things off with the original by Luther Ingram, which made it all the way to No. 3 in the Billboard charts and topped the R&B charts 50 years ago last month. 

We follow Luther with a couple more soul versions, from Bobby "Blue" Bland in 1973 and Millie Jackson in 1974. Millie has an 11 minute version of the song on her album "Caught Up" but on the CD and digital versions of the album they split it into three separate tracks, which is why you're getting the single edit. There is a live version in the videos though that closely resembles the full-length original.

Next up are a couple of countrified covers. Barbara Mandrell's version went to No. 1 in the country charts in 1979 but O'B. McClinton's is the twangier of the two. Some of you may be familiar with it from the "Dirty Laundry" compilation series.

We rattle through a Christian rap remake by The Artist Partially Known As Gammage and a Swedish version by a former Eurovision runner up before finishing things off with an excellent Mandatory Reggae Version by George Faith, possibly the premier reggae interpreter of 1970s soul standards.

"(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right" - Luther Ingram

"If Loving You Is Wrong I Don't Want To Be Right" - Bobby "Blue" Bland

"(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right" - Millie Jackson

"(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right" - Barbara Mandrell

"If Loving You Is Wrong" - O.B. McClinton

"If Loving You Is Wrong" - Gammage aka Mr.Wut Can I Do For Ya?

"Om Det Ar Fel Att Alska Dej" - Svante Thuresson

"If Loving You Is Wrong" - George Faith

Of the recorded versions I know I would put Luther, Millie and George at the top of the pile in no particular order - but the live version by David Ruffin in the last video is right up there with them.     

Friday 19 August 2022

Swedes Ahoy!

Today's post features some music from Sweden - more specifically, from a 4CD box set titled "The Essence of Swedish Progressive Music 1967-79". 

It is dedicated jointly to everybody's favourite non-Swedish Swede and to George, possibly the only reader whose eyes might light up on seeing the words "progressive music". To the rest of you, don't be afraid. These are among the least proggy tracks on the compilation.

"Illusionen Av En Färdigskolad Akademikar" - Midsommar

"Slavsång" - Pugh & Nature

Although the box set is billed as including music from 1967 to 1979 the earliest track actually dates from 1966. In the same year this lovely couple represented Sweden at Eurovision and finished as runners up. You will be encountering the gentleman again on Sunday.

Wednesday 17 August 2022

Unloved Virgin

Personally I have nothing but admiration for Richard Branson and the Virgin Group. Their products and services are always reliable, excellent quality and reasonably priced while Sir Richard himself is a shy, retiring entrepreneur who seeks only to make the world a better place. And his decision to sue the NHS in a fit of pique because Virgin Care didn't win a contract a few years ago is one that I am sure all right-minded people would support. 

Unfortunately there appear to be a few Moaning Minnies out there with what I have no doubt are ill-founded gripes against his record company. Shame on them. 

"Virgin" - Prince Far I

"Ain't Gonna Suck Itself" - Cracker

Monday 15 August 2022

Hooray For Lollywood

Something rather splendid for you today - a couple of tracks from "The Sound Of Wonder!", a compilation of songs from 1970s Pakistani films that was released on Finders Keepers in 2008. I recently found it in a second-hand record shop and kept it, as subliminally instructed. It is as wacky as it is wonderful.

Both of today's selections feature the delightful vocals of Nahid Akhtar, also known as the Nightingale of Pakistan. She was the leading playback singer in Lollywood (Lahore + Hollywood) from the mid-70s to mid-80s and her singing can be heard in over 400 films from that era.   

"Life Hai Kuch Dinon Ki" - M.Ashraf (featuring Nahid Akhtar)

"Society Girl" - Nazir Ali (featuring Nahid Akhtar)

To go with the sound of wonder we provide you with a sense of wonder, and then the Wonder himself.

Friday 12 August 2022

Cliff On Edge

A bit of modern honky-tonk for you today. Some nice person out there in Promoland sent me a copy of Cliff Westfall's "Baby You Win" album when it came out back in 2018. I remember listening to and liking it at the time but for some reason I never gave it a plug. Having rediscovered it at the weekend I am putting that right now.

Cliff is Kentucky born but New York based and as far as I can establish "Baby You Win" is his only release. You can pick up a copy on Bandcamp for $10 and I think you should. Unlike the protagonists of many of his songs, you won't have anything to feel sorry about if you do.

"Till The Right One Comes Along" - Cliff Westfall

"The Man I Used To Be" - Cliff Westfall

In the interests of balance other Cliffs are also available.

Wednesday 10 August 2022

Lamont Dozier RIP

The writer and producer of some of the greatest pop records the world has ever known left us yesterday. I could drone on about how great the songs that Lamont Dozier wrote by himself or with the Holland brothers were, but far better to let them speak for themselves.

RIP Mr Dozier. Thank you for the dreams.

"Thank You For The Dream" - Lamont Dozier

"Can't Get Off Till The Feeling Stops" - Lamont Dozier

Monday 8 August 2022

Rise And Shine With Roscoe

We'll start the week with some snap, crackle and soul courtesy of the late Roscoe Shelton, who left us twenty years ago last month.

Roscoe started his career with the Fairfield Four in the mid to late 1950s before releasing his first solo record in 1960. He packed it in at the end of that decade before making a bit of a comeback in the mid 1990s, one that was sadly cut short by his death from cancer at the age of 70.  

"Mastermind" - Roscoe Shelton

"I Want To Keep You (If You Want To Stay)" - Roscoe Shelton

Here is Roscoe in a 1966 edition of The !!!! Beat singing "Money" and his minor hit "Easy Going Fellow". He arrives 13 minutes in but if you show a bit of patience you can enjoy the likes of Esther Phillips, Etta James and Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown while you wait.  

Saturday 6 August 2022

Some Vulgar Bulgars

I'm back from my hols in Bulgaria. Originally we were going to spend a few days in Plovdiv then head to the Black Sea coast, but then WizzAir cancelled the flights from Burgas back to London so we went on to Sofia instead.

I had a good time and can recommend the Old Town in Plovdiv, the Rila Monastery and the Museum of Socialist Art in Sofia as worth a visit if you are in the area. In the highly unlikely event that you are interested in my holiday snaps you can find them here.

It was a less successful trip when it came to finding local music. There are a few record shops but they don't seem to stock much local stuff, and those CDs that they do have are fairly pricy for what is basically a complete stab in the dark. I picked up three though.

The pick of the bunch by some distance is a compilation of previously unavailable recordings made between 1979 and 1995 by Novi Tsvetya (New Flowers), one of the first Bulgarian punk bands. The sound quality is pretty ropey at times but there is plenty to enjoy.

To quote the sleeve notes "The band was made of a bunch of kids that heard some punk stuff on the Yugoslavian radio and decided to become punks... back in 1979. They made their own instruments and recorded demos in their summer kitchen using a simple reel to reel recorder". And it shows on the earlier recordings on the album.

Next up is Monolith. Formed in 1991 they have been described as "one of the few Bulgarian bands that successfully combine blues music, rock and roll, and art-rock". In their pomp that may have been true, but by the time they released the self-titled 2019 album that I acquired they were a bog-standard blues rock band. Not unpleasant but nothing special.

Finally there is Nina Nikolina & Kalin Velov, whose 2018 album "Absinthe" was misleadingly described to me as "ethno" by the woman in the record shop. It is actually dreadful Latin lounge and this is the only half-decent track.

I will try to do better on my work trips to Bucharest and Macedonia next month.

"Патриот (Patriot)" - Novi Tsvetya

"Ostni Spira" - Monolith

"Всичко е игра (It's All A Game)" - Nina Nikolina & Kalin Velov

Now this is more like it...