Hello once more.
I’m having such fun discovering the weird and wonderful world of Japanese pop that I thought I’d share a little more with you all.
It’s the girl’s turn this time, some of the gentler sounds that I’ve been listening to lately.
Without further ado let us plunge in. Once again I know very little about the bands so I’ll let the music speak for itself.
Stolen Earth are the band that emerged from the ashes of Breathing Space, they York-based progressive rock band who split at the beginning of the year. With four members of the final lineup of Breathing Space on board, including lead singer Heidi Widdop, it’s inevitable that the new band would have something of the spirit of Breathing Space, and this song, written by bassist Paul Teasdale, has a very strong echo of Breathing Space’s distinctive sound. Though there’s definitely a hint of latter-day Marillion in there somewhere as well.
Stolen Earth will make their live debut at the Cambridge Rock Festival on 6th of August, sharing a bill with Panic Room, Chantel McGregor, Larry Miller and headliners The Quireboys.
It’s gone 10pm on Tuesday evening, and I don’t think anyone volunteered to set a Spill challenge. If someone’s about to post, apologies – I’ll delete this, as I had my turn a couple of weeks ago. But if not, here’s one:
A song you’ve heard of, but never knowingly heard. I reckon you should post it first, then listen and give us your reactions.
Here’s mine. It’s embarrassing really. I know it’s a modern classic. It’s been A-listed twice, I think. I can even quote some of the lyrics. I reckon I’m going to love it. But I’ve never actually heard it:
“Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.”
Doug Sahm and the Sir Douglas Quintet – Lovin’ Man On Your Hands
Full of Oohs and Ows from Doug and his backing singers, plus a blast from those TexMex horns. Can’t fault the sentiment either – in fact, I’d ask him over right now if it wasn’t for the fact he’s been dead since 1999. tfd Lou Bega – Mambo No. 5
This came to me via my Mother-In-Law who gets a huge smile on her 78-year-old face every time she plays it. Sample a little Perez Prado & with a large dollop of jive/hip-hop & you get a nearly unshakable earworm. Fintan Mariachi El Bronx – Litigation
Heard this on 6Music a few weeks back. My ears pricked up and it wormed its way in. Apparently, they’re an LA hardcore punk band called The Bronx and this is their side-project. If you can get past the flat vocal, I think it’s a winner. bishbosh Bebe – Malo Eres
Bebe burst onto the scene with this indictment of domestic violence in 2004. Not exactly singalong stuff, but let’s have a go with the chorus. Malo, malo, malo eres
No se daña a quien se quiere, ¡no!
Tonto, tonto, tonto eres
No te pienses mejor que las mujeres maki Sergio y Estibaliz – Cantinero de Cuba
As a young girl, I used to hang out with the group that eventually became Mocedades, often singing with them in impromptu concerts. The youngest sister was called Estibaliz, and I remember her as a twelve year old, with pigtails down to her waist, watching from the wings, occasionally being invited to join in. She later went on to greater things and this is one of my favourites. A sad song of unrequited love despite its happy sounding beat. Mrs Maki Sinead Lohan – To Ramona
I never got into Dylan’s music when he performed it himself. There have been many cover versions of his songs – some that I didn’t know were his at first. This is one such song that I heard on the radio and missed it being announced. I tracked it down, found out who was singing it and was surprised at who wrote it. One of my favourite songs. bluepeter
Please send submissions to email@example.com. I hate to sound like a broken record (what sort of earworm would that be?!), but supplies really are running low… Your Earworms need you!*looks stern; does pointy finger thing*
A few weeks ago, as her Question 31B, amylee asked for an instrumental song we love. I was thrilled at the clutch of warm responses to my choice of Sonny Criss playing I’ll Catch The Sun. The idea fermented to follow this up with a post celebrating the alto saxophonist, principally to give you a few more examples of his playing. This is what I’m doing here but it occurred to me that I’ve been trying off and on for 23 years to tell the world about Sonny Criss and thus the influence his voice has had on mine is also something I want to consider. As a result, I’m supersizing my blogging by twinning this post with one on my own blog, contemplating the literary issues that unspool from my Sonny Criss fandom.
This is a brief and not at all comprehensive primer, courtesy of YouTube, of my favourite instrumental voice in jazz. That’s an accolade that requires some clarification and contextualisation. There are, if we are to give these terms any meaning, ‘greater’ jazz musicians than Sonny Criss. Quite apart from anything else, Criss was one of the legion alto saxophonists who were turned onto a style of playing by Charlie Parker. There’s a reason we call the likes of Criss, Sonny Stitt, Cannonball Adderley, Jackie McLean, Sahib Shibab and more post-Bird saxophonists – it’s not to their detriment that they stood in the conceptual shadow of someone who, to all intents and purposes, made the music new again. You don’t look to Sonny Criss for game-changing innovation. He wasn’t pulling the blues inside-out: he was playing them straight, sultry, smoky and spine-tingling, as here in Black Coffee:
I bow before Mingus, Monk, Ellington, Carla Bley, Sun Ra and plenty more jazz composers before I think of Sonny Criss. But just as I can hear most songs better when they’re sung by Ella, Sinatra or Sarah Vaughan, Sonny could play a song lyric to the same level of perfection of those vocalists. Here he is on Charlie Chaplin’s Smile and Jimmy Webb’s Up Up And Away (links via text to save screen space).
Nor did he move with the times in the manner of Miles Davis or, more recently, David Murray. Things funked up a little in the seventies but the sound that soared over the top of the groove was still that wondrously fluid, human heart-tugging voice, as here in Cool Struttin’.
Sonny Criss works for me as instantly as the voices of those I love most in the world. I’ll rave about and dance to and revere and be inspired by countless others but Sonny’s notes trigger a thousand awakenings in my brain and across my body. I feel encapsulated by the sense of mortality and intoxicated by the desire for joy that I hear throughout the dozens of his recordings I own. I want to line up loads more for you to enjoy but I’ll leave you with just this, and embed it so it doesn’t get overlooked and by way of a birthday gift to steenbeck, a captivating God Bless The Child:
For you, on your birthday, I think I may have unearthed the only bit of middle-class rap music in the whole wide world. “My white t-shirt fits right around my waist, not down to my knees, yo thug where I’m from we call that a dress…Tiger Woods; he’s my nigger!”
We’d better not overlook this one. Checked the “archives” & as far as can tell, Sunday is the day. We beat birthday songs to death, on RR, a few weeks back; so here’s an hour or so (with interval) of DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist performing Brainfreeze. When you get a chance, kick back with the adult beverage of your choice, grab a cupcake & enjoy. If you still like stuff like this, you can’t possibly feel all that much older really can you?
Some Owls, albeit neither squabbling nor in a bicycle factory
I can’t keep up with all these birthdays – I’ve no idea how Steen does it – so herewith a general Happy Birthday to everyone whose birthday is today +/- about a month, and apologies that the greeting isn’t more personal. To take your minds off this, here’s a literary-musical question… I seem to remember a discussion (perhaps on the Grauniad’s Culture pages) a few years ago about the problems of including music in novels – the consensus seemed to be that the written word was incapable of conveying the full experience of listening to music, and probably shouldn’t bother trying. I’m not sure I agree entirely with this; for example, there’s a line in one of the volumes of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time where a modern classical piece is described as sounding “like a lot of owls squabbling in a bicycle factory”, and I can imagine what that must have sounded like and at the same time would love to hear it for real. So, any favourite literary descriptions of music, whether music in general or a particular piece?
Lali Puna – Awaiting An Accident [Rmx]
Keith LeBlanc – Major Malfunction
Mark Stewart – These Things Happen
El-P – Accidents Don’t Happen
Patrick Wolf – Accident & Emergency
David Shrigley – Clumsy Father / You Don’t Love Me
John Vanderslice – Bill Gates Must Die
Mountain Goats – Your Belgian Things
Nina Nastasia – Roadkill
We Were Promised Jetpacks – An Almighty Thud
Fops – Yellow Jacket Corpse
Presidents Of The USA – More Bad Times
Los Campesinos! – The Sea Is A Good Place To Think About The Future
Benjamin made a card for Grandma with a drawing of Headingley cricket ground, one of Granddad John's favourite places.
We’ve discussed here before the songs we’d like played at our funerals, including quite recently on April 23rd during the 30-day song challenge. It’s a sad time in our family, with the recent death of MummyP’s dad – Granddad John to Benjamin and Emma. Of our children’s four grandparents, John was the youngest and fittest, and he succumbed to a rare cancer that came too quickly to detect or fight; though he battled for his independence to the end. In life he was unfailingly kind, generous and sociable; and quietly brave – we now realise – as the illness quickly took his strength and life away.
We’ve had lots of support and many good wishes from family and friends, but I thought I’d post the two pieces of music from the committal service. They seemed just right, and they’re quite different from our funeral song choices. Both pieces are from the community music-making traditions of the British working class, and they were exactly right to bring the mourners together in shared sentiment. The Grimethorpe Colliery Band playing “Crimond” was a peaceful and reflective piece as we came into the service, and The Dunvant Male Voice Choir (Cor Meibion Dyfnant) singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” – a song he loved from a long-standing interest in the USA and the Civil War - was a most rousing send-off.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Bob Dylan celebrated his 70th birthday. Well, today it’s the turn of Dylan’s co-writer on Together Through Life, Robert Hunter, seen here on the left of Jerry Garcia. Largely unknown outside the USA, Hunter is a singer/songwriter in his own right who also supplied lyrics to over 100 Grateful Dead songs (which is, of course, why I know of him). Almost all Jerry Garcia’s songs use Hunter’s lyrics.
Preferring allusion and metaphor to narrative, the precise meaning of Hunter’s lyrics generally remains elusive, but he is also fascinated by American history and has created some great three-dimensional characters, such as Jack Straw, Black Peter and August West (aka. Wharf Rat), rooted in harsh reality.
The playlist contains ten of my favourite Dead songs with words by Robert Hunter, played with little added jam.
I’m no scholar of lyrics and so won’t attempt any analysis. Should you wish to read what one scholar at the University of California at Santa Cruz thinks, there’s a link to the Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics from every song title.
I can’t actually watch that video, because I am proud of the fact that I’ve never knowingly listened to a Lady Gaga song. And I would never admit to watching a youTube pastiche of a television couple’s love affair.
But it’s because of you ‘Spillers (you know who you are!!) that I started watching Buffy, and I can’t talk about it with anyone in real life, because I don’t really know anybody that’s watched it. (Well, I probably do, but not that I know of…)
How can Spike love Buffy if he doesn’t have a soul?
Why didn’t a new slayer come into being when Buffy died?
Why doesn’t TFD like the Spike/BUffy romance? At least he has a sense of humor. I think he might be the most interesting love-interest yet. Although they aren’t actually together yet, so maybe it gets awful.
Well, I’m completely embarrassed by this post! Tooralooral!
I was very pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic reaction to my recent blues post here, during which there was some discussion of a follow up with female blues singers. This weekend I started scanning my female blues vinyl for suitable cuts and I came across this album, I haven’t played it years, I’d forgotten that I had it but you can tell from the surface noise that it once got lots of play, I’ve had it for over 50 years. At the 1960 Monterey Jazz Festival Jon Hendrix put on a Sunday afternoon performance that was a history of blues music and it was directed towards a young audience, it was performed onstage as shown in the album cover, with Jon addressing a group of children who sat around him. So before we proceed with the female blues I thought this might be of interest, I’m sure it’s no longer in print so possibly most of you have never heard of it. On the album cover Jon wrote about how the piece came about, here’s what he wrote:
“It was Jimmy Lyon’s idea that we do something extended for a Sunday afternoon at Monterey and that it be about the blues. Ever since composer George Russell had kindly invited me to write some words and speak them on his “New York, New York” album I have been waiting for the opportunity to do something within that format just talking and letting the music speak for itself, following the advice of my mentor, Professor Milton Marx, of the English department, of the University of Toledo, Ohio: “Write about what you know.”
So I wrote about my people, about my great-grandmother who came from Guinea, Gold Coast, West Africa, about my father, Alexander Brooks Hendricks who ran away from the master who sold his father, mother and sister separately, came into West Virginia, married my mother, Willie “Sweet Will” Carrington, and moved to Ohio by covered wagon, where he became a minister, known as a circuit rider.
“Write about what you know.” So I wrote about the music they sang all through their lives, the spirituals, which they gave freely to America and the world. I didn’t stop there, because the spirituals didn’t stop there, but went outside the church to become the blues, and through horns to become jazz.
“Write about what you know.” So I wrote about the sun, the source of all light, heat and life in this universe, about all men on earth being the same man, all light the same light, all life the same life.
“Write about what you know.” So, buried deep in this story, yet never given word, is the heartfelt lament that some who play jazz have forgotten the spirituals that gave them their music, as they have forgotten the Lord who gave our ancestors the spirituals, have become corrupted by the surroundings to which jazz has been relegated, have become arch,, worldly, spiritualless, intellectual, demoralized, material, wealthy – and lost.
“Write about what you know.” I know that children are born into this earthly life with all knowledge, that the devil is an adult, that children are corrupted by adults too adult to realize that childhood is the kingdom of heaven, so I wrote my history for children, because they will understand. Above all, thank you children everywhere, and blessings on you all”
The album comprises both sides of a disc and runs about 44 mins. so I’ve added it in two parts.
I have three grandsons – couldn’t possibly choose one favourite. So currently I have a favourite big boy, a favourite little boy (that’s him in the photo) and a favourite baby, and that’s how I get round it. Here’s an EOTWQ that’s all about favourites.
So…what’s YOUR favourite
1 Pudding (dessert, sweet, afters – whatever you call it in your culture)?
Here is a postcard from my weekend away with tfd, who very kindly put me up, fed and alcohol-ed me, cooked a magnificent frittata based on a Maki recipe, and generally gave me a lovely weekend. Here we are on the beach outside tfd’s house – tfd is wearing her Springsteen/Clarence Clemons tee-shirt (see her post below).
We looked out on this fantastic estuary view from tfd’s sun room. When the tide is in, a variety of fishing and pleasure boats sail past, and if you look carefully along the shoreline you can find all sorts of different shells, including some very special ones which tfd calls “pelicans’ feet”. It’s fascinating to watch the changing tides and reflections, and there are some great “skimming” pebbles, worn flat and smooth by the waves. Oyster-catchers roam the beach – brilliant black and white birds with long red legs and long red bills. They aren’t having much luck with their eggs, though, as the crows keep eating them.
Here is tfd tending her roses – did I mention that tfd’s charming house is for sale? Perhaps if we all club together …
On Sunday we traveled a few miles inland to Threave Castle, a 14th century tower (former home of Archibald the Grim, and stronghold of the Black Douglases, no less), where we saw an osprey nesting site – complete with osprey – first time I’ve ever seen one. Threave Castle itself is on an island in the middle of the river Dee, and we were taken across by a very jolly ferryman who told us that some swallows had decided to nest in his spare boat. Here he is:
We followed this up with a visit to the local wildlife park where we saw otters (Steenbeck!) and a red panda, amongst other weird and wonderful creatures. My otter picture isn’t very good, because the little so-and-sos wouldn’t keep still, so here is a picture of the beautiful red panda, munching some bamboo:
We spent our evenings drinking (sensibly) (tfd introduced me to frozen margheritas) (there’s probably a contradiction there somewhere) – and listening to music. I think tfd may have converted me to Bruce Springsteen but I’m not sure if I’ve converted her to Radiohead … we both like Dick Gaughan and Tom Petty, so that was easy enough. Meanwhile Drusilla and Tara (big cat and little cat) kept us entertained by jumping on us unexpectedly, getting cactus prickles stuck in their noses or generally behaving badly (as only cats can). I think they deserve a picture too:
So all that remains for me to say is thank you very much tfd, you are very kind, and I had a great weekend. I hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday, particularly Wimbledon. Don’t forget, you are welcome to come to sunny (well, not exactly, school sports day was rained off today) West Yorkshire, any time! And I hope you enjoy this song from Eliza Carthy:
Well what with one thing and another, I very nearly forgot that I had made a commitment to do this bloggy thing.
Apologies if the spiel is a bit rushed but I’m sure we all know how it works by now so I’ll get straight to it.
What I want from all you good folk out there in ‘Spill Land is:
A Song By Someone You Know
I’ll get the ball rolling with this little ditty by an ex-football buddy of mine:
I’ll allow you to come up with your own ideas for what constitutes ‘knowing’ someone – be as creative as you like – but of course what we all really want to know is, how do you know the person in question? Did you go to school with them? Did you date them (is that what we call it nowadays?)? Do you still know them? Do they have a restraining order out on you? Dish the dirt and, of course, ‘Spill the beans …