Spillyear 1990

It would be interesting to plot people’s favourite years for music against their ages.

I can see the merits of 1970 and 1980, and I enjoyed both playlists. But neither comes close to the explosion of amazingness that was 1990 – the year that I first began (in the last couple of months of) listening to pop music.

Sure, you can probably argue that, objectively, Led Zepellin III or Joy Division’s Closer are better records than EMF’s “Unbelievable”. But my 12-year-old self is playing Radio 1 loud in his bedroom and can’t hear you.

Listen to the TOTALLY AWESOME playlist here

Add your top 3 (what? only 3? No!) here

Earworms 23 November 2015


Monday again, and another unclassifiable selection of great music for you. I hope everyone is okay out there; best wishes to Ravi who is off on his travels shortly. Thanks to all for the earworms and please keep them coming to earworm@tincanland.com.

C S Jayaraman – Kaa Kaa Kaa – Ravi Raman: You know how a crow seems to call others when it spots food? This song is ostensibly about that but takes a hefty swipe at the inability of humans to share and help each other. Sung by C S Jayaraman, who went against the grain in so many ways. Unconventional voice, very humble beginnings and insistence on mentoring others with leftist leanings … He made it big as did many of his protégés. I’m off to Muscat till January, so am not sure if I’ll be contributing any more this year. I’ll sure be listening though. Earworms has been one of my best finds this year. Cheers all and thanks for all the lovely music.

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Rich Woman – glasshalfempty: A recent sampler CD from Rounder records, celebrating their 45th anniversary (download from Rounder.Com) had this gem from the acclaimed 2007 album ‘Raising Sand’ by the unlikely pairing of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

Paragons – On The Beach – tincanman: Listening to 60’s Jamaican vocal group The Paragons (The Tide Is High) is a lot like listening to Northern Soul; the songs sound familiar but you can’t decide if it’s a cover or an overlooked treasure.

M’Bilia Bel – Mmae Ta Vi – goneforeign: We’ve had M’Bilia Bel here before, this one’s a change for her, I don’t have any others where she sounds like this. She’s with Tabu Ley Rochereau here which was not uncommon. A very different Soukous sound.

Pablo Lubadika Porthos – Madeleina – CaroleBristol: While I was digging out the Gun Club earworm, I took the opportunity to revisit the rest of the NME mixtapes I’ve got. I know nothing at all about Pablo Lubadika Porthos but this track “Madeleina” is a nice jolly toe-tapper with some rather nice horns punctuating the soukous guitar riff.

Neil Young + Promise Of The Real – A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop – tincanman: Anger at big business inspires some catchy and crunchy guitar from Neil and Willie’s son Lukas Nelson (the band is his). The lyrics are either forthright or trite, depending on your world view, and the video https://goo.gl/cWwnu0 is Neil at his confounding best – having a laugh, firing darts. From his latest, “The Monsanto Years”.

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Let me tell you a tale about Maxwell the Whippet. Back in the early 70’s I had a girlfriend, Joni, She had a dog called Maxwell, he was a beautiful brindled whippet, a wonderful dog. I had a friend, David who had the use of his uncles sailboat- a 30ft Cal 30, one day he asked if we’d like to go sailing with him that weekend, I said ‘Yeah, we’d love to’.
So on the Saturday he and I and Joni and Maxwell left the Long Beach Marina and headed out to sea, when we were about 3-4 miles offshore a stiff breeze sprang up and the water became very choppy, lots of whitecaps. We were cruising along at a steady clip when suddenly Maxwell, in one splendid leap sailed over the side of the boat! He must have felt very insecure there and needed to escape, the trouble was he didn’t know about water, he’d never been in it before. We were moving at such a brisk rate that all I could see was his little head bobbing above the waves and receding very quickly. Continue reading

Earworms 16 November 2015


In a weekend of bad news and bad weather, here are six reasons to be cheerful. “It’s Monday / Slither down the greasy pipe / So far, so good no one saw you /Hobble over any freeway / You will be like your dreams tonight …” Thanks to all for the contributions, and please keep those worms coming to earworm@tincanland.com. BTW, we’ve used up 86% of our 13.0GB free upload limit; if there’s anyone out there who feels like deleting some of their elderly uploaded .mp3 files, that might make a bit of space (but don’t delete the pictures as it makes the blog look weird).

Albert Collins – Frosty – Ravi Raman: Albert Collins, one of the great electric blues guitarists, used to have a long lead cable to help him wander around and interact with his audience. One story goes he went playing to a store next door and bought candy, playing all the time! He’s even supposed to have ordered pizza midway through a song! I’ve included a YT link showcasing his outrageous skills. Even genius should have some limits right? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jr5-9UImcTE

Gun Club – Ghost on the Highway – CaroleBristol: I was listening to BBC 6Music a week or so ago and this popped up on one of the Sunday afternoon programmes. It is “Ghost On The Highway” by the Gun Club, the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s band. I knew that I had it somewhere, but it nagged around in my head until I realised where. It was on one of the NME’s compilation tapes from the early 1980s. Luckily I found a website a few years back from where you could “acquire” them. So, here it is.

David Bowie – Joe The Lion – Albahooky: Here’s another one that came after watching Lynn Barber’s Artsnight on BBC2 about risk, which had a sample of the intro of this tune as background music and had me listening to ‘Heroes’ for the following week.

Thunderbitch – Closer – glasshalfempty: Not content with an Alabama Shakes album released earlier this year, Brittany Howard has a solo side project, Thunderbitch, that has spawned an album with this dark pounding track ‘Closer’. One of the band members is ThunderMitch. Wonder if he’s the bassist?

Otis Williams – Unchain My Heart – tincanman: Bobby Sharp wrote this in a desperate plea for release from drug addiction, not about puppy love. It was sanitized by Otis in 1960 and even further by Ray Charles in 1961, but no one loves a woman as much as an addict loves his drug. Listening again knowing it’s origins, God bless the Mad Englishman Joe Cocker for binning the doo wop 26 years later.

Johnny Hartman – Dedicated to You – goneforeign: Here’s one from another era, remember Sinatra and all that jazz? This is a guy who very few listened to back then but those that did thought he put Sinatra in the shade; his name is Johnny Hartman. And if I quizzed you and asked ‘who do you think the pianist is?’ Would you ever guess McCoy Tyner? How many would guess Coltrane as the tenor player? ‘Tis true, Coltrane and his quartet held Johnny Hartman in such esteem as a fellow artist that they volunteered to perform with him as did many other jazz artists. This is from the 1963 Impulse album ‘John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman’.

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