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Saturday 31 December 2022

Sounds Of The Seventies

It's New Year's Eve, which for me and my friend Mr F means the annual themed party at our favourite local. This year's theme is the 1970s. I'm going as the three day week.

We have been trying to persuade the landlady to turn the back bar into a roller disco, but she is worried someone will bump into the fondue and cause boiling cheese injuries. 

To get me in the mood I've been listening to one of the classiest albums of 1976, "Silk Degrees". Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Boz Scaggs.

"Georgia" - Boz Scaggs

"It's Over" - Boz Scaggs

Have a good night whatever you're doing. May the year ahead be a good one and, especially for our Scottish readers, may your feet be first and your hogs be many. I think I've got that right.

Thursday 29 December 2022

They Also Served

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. 

"Ashiko" - Orlando Julius

"Amina" - Tshala Muana

"Awolo" - Ekambi Brillant

"Running Out" - Mable John

"Our Love Is In The Pocket" - J.J. Barnes

"Come On With It" - Lew Kirton

"A Gift For You" - Eric Mercury

"Then Came The Children" - Paul Siebel

Tuesday 27 December 2022

The Inevitable Best Of

It is that time of year when all music bloggers are contractually obliged to tell you about the music they have enjoyed in the last 12 months. So let's get it over and done with.

Gigs of the year: Elizabeth Cook and Bas Jan. Honorable mentions for Johnny Clarke, Tony Christie and the Ebony Steel Band play Kraftwerk (not all together, although that would have been even better).

Delayed gig of the year: For the third year in a row, the Abyssinians. Here's hoping it will be sixth time lucky in March 2023.

Art exhibition of the year (and contender for most eagerly anticipated album of 2023): Gina Birch.

Ten good albums from 2022 (in alphabetical order by artist):

Bas Jan - "Baby U Know"

Bonny Light Horseman - "Rolling Golden Holy"

Laure Briard - "Ne Pas Trop Rester Bleue"

Etran de L'Air - "Agadez"

King Jammy - "Destroys The Virus With Dub"

Noori & His Dorpa Band - "Beja Power!"

Erin Rae - "Lighten Up"

Pierce Turner - "Terrible Good"

Various Artists - "Adrian Sherwood Presents: Dub No Frontiers"

Derya Yildirim & Grup Şimşek - "DOST 2"

Here are just some of my favourite tracks from 2022 that aren't on any of the albums mentioned above:

"That's Okay" - Jeanines

"Saw You At The Record Shop Today" - The Red, Pinks & Purples

"Berkshires" - Ben Talmi

"Se Acabou" - João Selva

"Soul To Blessed Soul" - Swamp Dogg

"Vom Bosphorus Bis Zum Rhein" - Ozan Ata Canani & Karaba

"The Wrong Side Of History" - Regressive Left

"Golden Spoon Maroon" - Yasus Afari

And we'll round it all off with my favourite song of the year (well it is today anyway)

Friday 23 December 2022

Single Song Santa

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.

 "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - Jimmy Boyd

 "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - The Ronettes

 "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - Amy Winehouse

 "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - Bobby Sherman

 "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - The Four Seasons

 "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - Mighty Sparrow

 "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - John Prine

 "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - Twisted Sister

 "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - Bill Doggett

 "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - Johnny Clarke

Wednesday 21 December 2022

He Wears The Crown

Some Lonnie Holley for you tomorrow, for no better reason than his surname is vaguely seasonal. One track each from "Just Before Music" (2012) and "Keeping A Record Of it" (2013). 

I was lucky enough to see Mr Holley live at the church down the end of my road a few years ago. I'm not sure how to describe his performance. Let's settle for "distinctive". 

"Here I Stand Knocking At Your Door" - Lonnie Holley

"From The Other Side Of The Pulpit" - Lonnie Holley

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.

Monday 19 December 2022

Blues Monday

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Slim Harpo. And also Ms Phoebe Snow, with a song that isn't a tribute to Slim but which we are going to pretend is for the purposes of this post.

"Buzz Me Babe" - Slim Harpo

"That Ain't Your Business" - Slim Harpo

"Harpo's Blues" - Phoebe Snow

Friday 16 December 2022

Gathering Winter Newell

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.

"When Fire Burns Dreams" - Martin Newell

"Amateur Paranoiac" - Martin Newell

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Off Colour Remarks

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.

"Militurk" - Fehlfarben

"Paul Ist Tot" - Fehlfarben

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.

Monday 12 December 2022

Ankst In Your Pankst

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. 

"Sega Segur" - Ffa Coffi Pawb

"Bukowski" - Rheinhallt H. Rowlands

And here is some more chirpy Welsh music connected to Christmas and children.


Friday 9 December 2022

Get Together With Heather

Whatever the weather it's a good time for Heather. Heather Jones that is, the Grande Dame of the Welsh language music scene for many years now. 

Here are a couple of tracks from her greatest hits album "Goreuon". "Nos Du" also featured on the first of those Welsh Rare Beat compilations that Andy Votel's lot put out 15 years or so back.

"Nos Du" - Heather Jones

"Syrcas O Liw" - Heather Jones

Other Heather Joneses are also available. They aren't as good though.

Wednesday 7 December 2022

The One That Got Away

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".

Let's remember them in happier times.

"Te Jesienne Rozstania" - Framerowie

Friday 2 December 2022

Love And Haiti

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.

"Marassa Elu" - RAM

"Tout Nasyon" - RAM

Feed RAM some jam and this is what you get.