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Sunday 30 October 2022

Single Song Sunday

I am being harassed by a Portuguese goat and its owner. 

The goat has been bleating about wanting a new edition of Single Song Sunday, while its owner has been badgering me to feature a song that conveys the sentiment - and I quote - "F*** off back to the Dominican Republic disgraced former PM Johnson". This is my attempt to satisfy both requests.

I used to think that Teresa Brewer's 1952 version of "Gonna Get Along Without You Now" was the original but in researching today's feature I discovered that is not the case. It was first recorded a year earlier by little remembered country singer Roy Hogsed. 

Roy's original had different lyrics to those we know and love. It was not a hit, so he recruited songwriter Milton Kellem to help make them more palatable for Middle America. It was that version that Teresa took into the charts.

The most successful version of the song in the US was by Pinky & Perky Patience & Prudence in 1956. In the UK, by contrast, it was Viola Wills' disco version in 1979. Sandwiched between them on our playlist today is the mighty Skeeter Davis. Dig that funky organ.

We round things off with The Lemonheads, a Spanish language version by Gervasio from Uruguay, and of course the Mandatory Reggae Version. Chevelle and Papa San get equal billing on that but Chevelle does about 80% of the work. Papa San is clearly the Johnson of the partnership.

"Gonna Get Along Without You Now" - Roy Hogsed 

"Gonna Get Along Without You Now" - Teresa Brewer

"Gonna Get Along Without You Now" - Patience & Prudence 

"Gonna Get Along Without You Now" - Skeeter Davis

"Gonna Get Along Without You Now" - Viola Wills 

"Gonna Get Along Without You Now" - The Lemonheads

"Sera Damasiado Tarde" - Gervasio

"Gonna Get Along Without You Now" - Chevelle & Papa San 

Friday 28 October 2022

The Killer Is Gone

Very sorry to hear the sad news that the great Jerry Lee Lewis has left us at the tender age of 87. RIP Killer.

"Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes" - Jerry Lee Lewis

"Breathless" - Jerry Lee Lewis

If you only watch one video this weekend, watch the first one. 


Some of our regular readers may recall that we went on a musical tour of Europe in 2020 to mark the UK's impending departure from the EU.

One of the bands featured on the Polish leg of the tour was Skaldowie, with a track from their 1970 album "Od Wschodu Do Zachodu Słońca". This was their fourth album and according to a review I read the first to show progressive tendencies. Don't get over-excited, prog fans. There are a few but it is mostly good old-fashioned psychedelic pop.

Anyway, I was listening to the album for the first time since then earlier in the week and it is really rather good. So I decided to share a couple more tracks with you lucky people.

"Nadejdziesz Od Strony Mórz" - Skaldowie

"Cisza Krzyczy" - Skaldowie

"Od Wschodu Do Zachodu Słońca" translates as "From Sunrise To Sunset". And when Skaldowie finish for the day, that's when the Commodores clock in.

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Ebo Meets Grebo

Like the heading says.

We start with the Ebo - specifically, veteran Ghanaian funkateer Ebo Taylor who is still going strong at 86. Both tracks come from his 2014 album "Abenkwan Puchaa", recorded when he was a mere 78.

"Abenkwan Puchaa" - Ebo Taylor & Bonze Konkoma

"Papa Kwame" - Ebo Taylor & Bonze Konkoma

Now here's the grebo.

Monday 24 October 2022

The Sounds Of Sherwood

Another new album to tell you about today.

I know there are a fair few Adrian Sherwood fans among our regular readers so they may already be familiar with "Adrian Sherwood Presents Dub No Frontiers", on which he teams up with female vocalists from various parts of Africa, Asia and Europe. It has been a long time in the making - I have found references online to its impending release dating back as far as 2011.

If you haven't heard it already head over to Mr Sherwood's Bandcamp page. My favourite tracks include those by Saba Tewelde, from Eritrea but now resident in Germany, and Maria Wenda from West Papua. But they are all good.

Today's selections come from an On-U compilation of an earlier vintage - 25 years ago to be precise. "15 Years In An Open Boat" came out in 1997 and as the name suggests features tracks going way back to 1982. I have handpicked a pair of Little gems for you.

"I Think Of You" - Little Annie

"New Song" - Little Roy

Here is the video for the first single off the new album.

Friday 21 October 2022

Wounded Women

I was listening to the title track of Sandra Wright's "Wounded Woman" album when the news broke yesterday lunchtime that Liz Truss was resigning as Prime Minister. 

I think it was a coincidence, but just in case I had somehow acquired predictive powers I turned the album off before it reached "I Come Running Back" so that her equally execrable predecessor wouldn't hear it.

If you feel the need for some Seventies soul to help soothe the stresses of the poo parade that passes for Westminster politics at the moment, then I would heartily recommend "Wounded Woman". The whole album is a joy from start to finish. 

"Wounded Woman" - Sandra Wright

"I Come Running Back" - Sandra Wright

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Do The Fussell

Last Friday evening I went to our local church, not for the reasons you are meant to go but to see the mighty Jake Xerxes Fussell in concert. Here he is with the band.

I have been a fan of Jake's ever since I first saw him in 2017 when he was touring his second album "What In The Natural World". There was a much bigger crowd this time round, which was good to see. Not a pew was left unfilled.

Among the many pew-fillers were a surprisingly large number of idiots whooping between tunes. I have no idea why. I love him dearly, but Jake isn't a man you whoop for. Even his best mates wouldn't describe him as a showman - not that it matters in the slightest when he starts picking and singing. It was a very good gig.

Jake's fourth album "Good And Green Again" came out earlier this year. You can find it over at his Bandcamp page, along with his entire back catalogue. 

To whet your appetite here is a track apiece from the first three albums - the selt-titled debut from 2015, "What In The Natural World" and then 2019's "Out Of Sight" (which is possibly the pick of the bunch but it is a close run thing). Each tune generated multiple whoops when he played them on Friday.

"Push Boat" - Jake Xerxes Fussell

"Have You Ever Seen Peaches Growing On A Sweet Potato Vine?" - Jake Xerxes Fussell

"The River St Johns" - Jake Xerxes Fussell

We'll pause briefly now so gentlemen of a certain age can wipe the mist from their eyes off their glasses in order to see the video clearly. 

Ready? All together now, Do The Fussell!

Monday 17 October 2022

Another Macedonian Monday

Before we get to the business of the day, a brief cultural update for you. The Polymath Gina Birch (The Raincoats, artist, filmmaker etc etc) has a new exhibition on at Gallery 46 in London. I popped along for the opening afternoon on Saturday and was privileged to get a guided tour from Gina herself. As a fanboy of longstanding, I swooned.

Now I don't know much about art but I know what I like, and I like this a lot. Some works relate to Gina's early days in The Raincoats, including a room recreating their old squat and this painting called "Knitting Before Soundcheck". The exhibition runs until 3 November, and I recommend a visit if you are in the area, or even if you're not. 

Now on to the main business of the day. In the last of our short series on Macedonian music we feature a couple of albums I spent some scouring Skopje for unsuccessfully only to discover I could get them for next to nothing at home. As can you.

When preparing for these work trips to exotic locations I try to do a bit of research into local acts that sound like they might be worth checking out and then take a list with me when visiting the record shops. 

While doing this for Macedonia I came across a number of references to the two "Makedonski Dokument" compilation albums from 1994 and 1995 which brigaded together the best of the Macedonian underground from the early 1980s onwards.

I searched high and low for them there with no luck. It was only when I returned home that I discovered they were reissued in 2015 and are now available on the Bandcamp site of the Skopje-based Trot label on a very generous "name your own price" offer. 

You can click here for links to Volume 1 and Volume 2, and below for a track from each. The rumour is that the Xavier Acid track recounts the tale of a visit to the Balkans by our very own Walter (no doubt enjoying one of the good times in his life). 

"Istata Sostojba" - Padot na Vizantija

"Walter Go Brani Sarajevo" - Xavier Acid

For the video we are going back to Gina and her old pals (although you don't get to see a great deal of Gina herself). 

Friday 14 October 2022

A Bonny Bunch Of Folk

Take one word from each these song titles...

"The Bonny Earl of Moray" - The Ian Campbell Folk Group

"Hallucinating Light" - Roy Harper

"Fine Horseman" - Lal & Mike Waterson

And what do you get? Why, "Earl Hallucinating Fine" of course. Or this...

"The Bonny Light Horseman" - Planxty

All of which is a convoluted way of saying that I have my copy of "Rolling Golden Holy", the second album by Bonny Light Horseman. It came out last week and is available from Bandcamp and many other places.

I have also booked my tickets to see them in London when they are over in February next year. It is part of a UK mini-tour - the other gigs are in Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. 

I have listened to "Rolling Golden Holy" a couple of times now. I liked it the first time, I liked the more the second time, and I daresay I will like it even more when I next listen to it. It is a worthy successor to their self-titled debut album (which if you haven't heard by now you really should).

Favourite tracks so far include "Exile", "Summer Dream" and this one... 

Wednesday 12 October 2022

Bobby Dazzler

We've not had any soul music on here for a while. It's time to put that right, and how better to do so than with the great Bobby Womack.

I recently picked up a copy of a compilation called "It's Party Time". It consists of two of his albums from the mid/late 1970s, "Home Is Where The Heart Is" (1976) and "Pieces" (1978), minus one track from "Home". I've already got both albums in download form, but decided it was worth paying the princely sum of £1 to have a physical copy.

"Home Is Where The Heart Is" is a great record. "Pieces" is a little patchy but it is still Bobby and he could weave gold from straw. Here is a track from each album.

"Home Is Where The Heart Is" - Bobby Womack

"When Love Begins Friendship Ends" - Bobby Womack

Ten years ago next month I was lucky enough to see Bobby play live in London. The first set was a run through his recently released "Bravest Man In The Universe" album with the likes of that Damon from Blur. 

That was pretty good, but for the second set he brought out his own band and they did the proper show. We were completely blown away - as you will be when you watch this 15 minute extract from that gig. Apologies for the slightly ropey quality. 

You would never have known that night that Bobby was in remission from cancer and showing early signs of Alzheimers. Sadly he was taken from us just 18 months later. 

Continue to RIP Mr Womack. And RIP Angela Lansbury too.

Monday 10 October 2022

Macedonian Monday

It's just a Macedonian Monday. Dum de dum Sunday. Something about a fun day. Another Macedonian Monday. And so on.

Yes, that's right. Today we are featuring another one of the CDs I picked up on my recent visit to Skopje. It is something a bit different from our normal fare, let's see what you make of it. 

When I asked my local contacts which traditional musicians to check out a number of them mentioned Esma Redžepova, also known as the Queen of the Gypsies. Once voted one of the 50 great voices of the world, she was quite a woman - as you will gather if you read her Wikipedia entry. 

Esma made a fair few records over the course of her 55 year recording career which ended only with her death in 2016. I chose this one mainly because of this striking cover but also because it contained two albums for the equivalent of about £3, Under the photo you'll find one track from each.

"Odzačar, Odzačar" - Esma Redžepova

"Bojate Bane Buski" - Esma Redžepova

I was surprised to discover that Esma was involved in a minor Eurovision controversy later in her career. In 2013 the Macedonians recruited her to the cause and teamed her up with a slip of a lad called Lozano. The song they were originally going to perform had to be replaced as it was blatantly pushing the agenda of the very nationalist government of the time and the Skopje 2014 project I mentioned in an earlier post.

We will never know how the original would have fared, but with the replacement tune they battled their way to a plucky 16th out of 17 in the second semi-final. See if you can work out from the videos which song is which.

Friday 7 October 2022

The Sounds Of Sekondi

Some fine funky tunes from Ghana for you to see out the week, courtesy of a proud son of the twin cities of Sekondi-Takoradi - the great Gyedu-Blay Ambolley.

Both of today's selections come from an album on the Essiebons label titled "The Simigwahene", which is a reissue of his 1975 album "Simigwa" with some bonus tracks. Slightly confusingly, one of the bonus tracks is "The Simigwa" which wasn't on the original album of the same name. I don't know why.

Mr Ambolley is still going strong and has a brand new album coming out today. It is called "Gyedu​-​Blay Ambolley and Hi​-​Life Jazz" and you can pick it up from his Bandcamp site. 

"The Simigwa" - Gyedu-Blay Ambolley

"The Hustling World" - Gyedu-Blay Ambolley

Here's the Great Man live back in 2019, sounding as gravelly and groovy as ever.   

Wednesday 5 October 2022

From Dundee To The Great Beyond

This post comes in two parts, one happy and one sad.

The first, happy part commemorates George's recent triumphant return to Dundee after an absence of ten years. To mark the event here are a couple of tunes from his fellow Dundonians Spare Snare. I doubt he would have seen them while he was visiting as I don't think they have left their bedrooms since 1995.

Both today's tracks come from their 1998 album "Animals And Me", which is currently available to download for a bargain £3 on Bandcamp (as are many of their other albums).

"We Are The Snare" - Spare Snare

"I Feel The Sun, And It's Mine" - Spare Snare 

On to the sad part. Loretta Lynn left us yesterday at the tender age of 90 and will be sorely missed. She really was a force of nature. RIP Ms Lynn.

There is a connection of sorts between the two events, in that when I first saw the title of Loretta Lynn's "Fist City" I assumed it told the tale of her own visit to Dundee. Turned out I was wrong.

Monday 3 October 2022

Bread And Salt

Today I come bearing the first fruits of my visit to the Jugoton record shop in Skopje. If you are in town I would recommend a visit. You can find it on the third level of the GTC Shopping Centre which is a couple of minutes walk from Macedonia Square. Just look for something like this:

While I was in Macedonia many of the locals I spoke to told me that Leb i Sol (Bread and Salt) were the best band they ever had, so when I found a copy of their "Greatest Hits Collection 1978-89" I had to snap it up.

This compilation is tilted more towards their late 1980s period which is a shame because their music became progressively less interesting over time - and progressively less prog as well. 

Their first three albums from 1978-79 are described by the ProgArchives reviewer as "largely instrumental Macedonian ethno-jazz-fusion". By the late 1980s they were a bog-standard AOR outfit, at least judging by the tracks on this compilation.

Here is one track from their self-titled debut album and one from 1984's "Tangenta", which was produced by that notorious Macedonian maverick, the Skopje Svengali himself, Kevin Ayers.

"Devetka" - Leb i Sol

"Tako Blizu" - Leb i Sol