Once again we have lost many musicians this year, and not all of their deaths got the attention they merited in the media. Here are some you may have missed. RIP to them and all the others.
We get things started with a trio of African greats, follow them with some super soul sounds and finish off with a folkie reflecting on when he first heard "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" by The Incredible String Band.
Incidentally Mike Heron of ISB - one of my musical heroes who I have been lucky enough to meet - turned 80 yesterday. Happy birthday Mr Heron.
In this special seasonal edition of our long-running series we bring you glad tidings and multiple versions of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus". Some are gold, some make frankly no sense, and some are just mehhh!
We kick things off with the 1952 original by Jimmy Boyd and finish up, as is traditional, with the Mandatory Reggae Version. Strangely Johnny Clarke didn't include it in his set when I saw him live earlier this year.
There are eight more interpretations in between from a host of well-known names (and also Bobby Sherman). Obviously The Ronettes are the best but John Prine isn't far behind.
That's it from me until the 27th. Best wishes to all of you and to all of yours. See you on the other side.
Very sorry to hear the sad news about Terry Hall, to whom others have already paid more eloquent tribute than I could.
For much of the 1970s we lived in South Africa and I relied on John Peel's weekly show on the BBC World Service to keep up with the UK music scene. I can still remember the thrill I felt the first time I heard "Too Much Too Young" come fizzing through the static. RIP Mr Hall.
Earlier this week that Rol of My Top Ten fame featured The Cleaners from Venus in one of his celebrity tributes - David Bailey as you ask. This got me reminiscing about the period in the early 1980s when I lived in Wivenhoe just round the corner from Mr Cleaner himself, Martin Newell.
Back in those days Martin was only releasing music via the medium of home-made cassettes - apparently the most time-consuming part of the production process was colouring in the black and white photocopies that served as the cover sleeve - and I would pop round and buy them whenever he had a new one.
I still have a handful of those cassettes and I dug out this one from the winter of 1983 as it is vaguely seasonal. By this time Martin had worked out that you could speed up the production process considerably by just printing the covers on coloured paper.
Here are both sides of the single. The sound quality isn't brilliant but as they are taken from a cassette that is nearly 40 years old its a miracle you can hear anything at all. If you listen right to the end of "When Fire Burns Dreams" you will understand the relevance of today's video.
The first album picked up on my recent weekend in Germany to feature here was recommended to me by the proprietor of Far Out Records in Duisburg. He knows his stuff.
"Monarchie Und Alltag" was the 1980 debut album by Fehlfarben, a band from Dusseldorf whose name means something along the lines of "off colour". It is widely considered by the local music critics to be one of the best ever German language albums. They know their stuff too. It's a cracking record.
The year after "Monarchie Und Alltag" was released the lead singer and main songwriter Peter Hein left the band to return to his full time job at Xerox. There is probably a metaphor in there somewhere.
Fehlfarben broke up in 1984. The original line-up first reunited in 2002 and have got together to tour and release an album every so often since then. The latest - "?O??" - came out a couple of months ago. Here's one of the tracks. They are still sonding pretty good.
After last Friday's post featuring Heather Jones we are sticking with the Welsh language music today, but for a very good reason.
Ankst Musik is a Welsh record label that has been running since 1988. In 1998 they released a 40 track compilation called "Radio Crymi Playlist" to mark their first ten years. There are some pretty well-known names on there - the Gorkis, the Super Furries, the Catatonias and best of all the mighty Datblygu.
As their Xmas charity fundraiser this year Ankst have made the album available again as a download for a limited period only. All proceeds go to the Osborne Trust, the only national charity dedicated to supporting the children of a parent with cancer. For just £8 you'll be supporting a very worthwhile cause and getting a lot of excellent music. Like this.
I'm back from my long weekend in Dusseldorf and surrounding areas. Very nice it was too, and a success on the music front. Thanks to the proprietors of Rainking Records in Dusseldorf and Far Out Records in Duisburg I managed to pick up this little lot for a mere €20 in total:
You will no doubt be hearing from some of them in the weeks to come, but today I don't want to talk about the records I bought but one that I didn't. Tucked away in the €2 vinyl box in the back room of Rainking I found this:
Being the fool that I am - and having been stung more than once before by records whose content doesn't match the great covers - I decided to pass on it. Suffice to say I am regretting that decision.
Extensive research (i.e. Google) reveals that Framerowie were married couple Zofia and Zbigniew Frankiewicz, they hailed from Łódź and had a successful career during the 1960s and 1970s. This album - and I am not going to try to spell it - came out in 1972.
Unfortunately their career came to a sad ending. According to one of the darker Discogs entries I have read:
"In 1980 Zofia decided she'd had enough of this life and decided to leave her husband and emigrate to her daughter, who lived in New York. She wanted to start a new life when she was 42 years old. Without luck and fell into poverty and depression. She begin sipping antidepressants and sleeping pills. The heart could not stand and died of a heart attack in 1983".
Very quick post this morning. In an hour or so I'm off to Dusseldorf for a long weekend. If I can't find some decent music to bring back for you all from there it is probably time for me to hang up my bargain bin boots.
To tide you over until I return, here are some super sounds from Haiti. Both from the album "RAM III: Kite Yo Pale", originally released in 2001 but reissued last year and available on Bandcamp for a mere $7.