On the same day that the penultimate voyagers to the Moon lifted off from Florida in Apollo 16, the Grateful Dead played a concert to 700 people in the very crowded cafeteria of Aarhus University. They opened the first set with Bob Weir’s speeding rocker, Greatest Story Ever Told, the first line of which is Moses come riding up on a quasar, setting up this post for me 40 years later, in which I connect their blazing start to that of Apollo 16 (and Moses).
Except they didn’t really blaze. Bobby stumbles over the lyrics, Garcia doesn’t hit it right and even Phil fails to nail it (although Keith makes a good fist of the piano part). Donna, whose vocals add to the mayhem of the song when it’s played right, went completely AWOL for the night. Typical! Continue reading →
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the (lack of intellectual) depth, and (making me out of) breath, and (sexually-charged) fight”
. . . Oh, I can’t keep that up! This is just a simple joyous blast that I really shouldn’t play sat at my desk, ’cause I can never keep working when it’s on. DarceysDad
Joe Pug – In The Meantime
You could make a career out of a song this good. Not Joe Pug, though. He is writing so many iconic songs that it’s almost a throwaway. I’ve been calling Pug the first actual ‘next Dylan’. In hindsight, if anything I’ve undersold him. He really is that special. Tincanman
The Civil Wars – Billie Jean (Live)
Astonishing how two voices and a guitar can still be so compelling. Their own songs are gorgeous but one does love a quirky cover version.
Sinead O’Connor – [Live] You Made Me The Thief Of Your Heart
Unsurprisingly given that voice, Sinead has been invited to contribute to numerous film soundtracks over the years, most recently Glenn Close’s “Albert Nobbs”. This is my favourite of her soundtrack work, from “In the Name of the Father”. No-one can touch Sinead in avenging angel mode. One of the best things Bono’s had a hand in writing too. bishbosh
Brian Kennedy – Hollow
Late 80s. Me at University, sister still at school – we both picked up on this new Irish singer, he of the long locks and achingly beautiful voice. This track is about yearning for honesty in his acquaintances. Kennedy went on to collaborate with Mark E. Nevin (formerly of Fairground Attraction) and to appear on stage with Van Morrison. Zalamanda
Please send your bestest and most fabulous earworms to email@example.com. I’ll even take second best… Thank you! (But don’t forget a nice short blurb to go with it – something about why it’s a ‘worm!)
This Canadian combo has been brought to my attention via the Gilles Peterson show as they do jazz covers of hip-hop tunes and have just released their 2nd LP which is available for free download here :
The source I’ve been using for the ‘40 years ago’ events says of April 14th, 1972: The Grateful Dead played their first paying concert in front of a foreign language crowd, in Copenhagen, Denmark at the Tivolis Koncertsa. (They played a free concert in the grounds of the ‘Honky Château’ in Hérouville, France in 1971, meaning good old Wikipedia is technically correct). So, as I don’t need to construct a tenuous link today, I’ll just play a song from what was the first of two nights at the Tivoli.
This is one of several from Ace, the ‘solo’ album they’d been helping Bob Weir to record just before coming over the Atlantic: Looks Like Rain. Continue reading →
Mr P ! ! ! We coming here to make a report for He Said - She Said - Not for a dating event ! ! !
In this post we want to share some of the great things that Japanese women are doing in the music industry. This time we are concentrating on solo artists and we hope to show you some of the variety and creativity of Japanese women in what is still a male dominated industry.
I suppose it’s no surprise, really, that I’m fond of the ladies. Musically speaking, of course. I first really became interested in Japanese music via Shonen Knife and their Myspace links were very helpful in finding new bands. From there, of course, I have become aware of a whole host of wonderful Asian ladies and here are some of our favourite tracks by some of our favourite gals. Hope you enjoy. Continue reading →
On April 11th, 1972, the United States Conference of Roman Catholic bishops was opened to the press for the first time and 75 reporters turned up to the meeting in Atlanta to hear Cardinal John Krol deliver his speech. In Latin.
The Cardinal told reporters, “We told you we’d let you in. We didn’t tell you what language we’d talk.” Pranksters can be found in the most unlikely of places, it seems.
There were also language issues when the Grateful Dead buses headed up to play the Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Hall on the same day, expecting that it wouldn’t be until they sailed across the North Sea that they’d have difficulty understanding the locals….
A rare visit from me, with apologies to anyone planning on posting A Challenge this evening. Little’Un’s class at school is doing a project on all their different nationalities, and GHE and SV80 were a great help to me in getting a mix of Balkan/Afghan/ex Soviet pop together. Now Teacher has told me they’re going to be doing a whole week on each country. Obviously I could fill hours and hours with nursery rhyme mixes, lo-o-ong trad folk songs with 56 choruses,and most of the pop music you’ve ever heard – if it didn’t originate in Swinging England, there’s a good chance English be the language used. But it got me to wondering – what music makes you think of England? Answers on a postcard, please…. (or if you’ve no stamps to hand, feel free to use the comments below).
I never really listen to the radio. Dunno why – I just don’t tend to. But the other morning, I happened to put 6Music on as I was doing the washing up and Shaun Keaveney played this chirpy little indie-pop song from Morecambe’s The Heartbreaks. My ears pricked up. I think it may be my favourite record of 2012 so far. I realise this is because it sounds like it could have been recorded in pretty much any year since 1986 (and therefore I probably only love it out of some misplaced sense of nostalgia), but with a killer hook like wot it’s got, who cares? Like The Smiths meets The Railway Children meets The La’s meets Glasvegas. Plus, I can’t think of another song that rhymes ‘hot beverage’ with ‘privilege’, which makes it instantly brilliant.
The sort of song the British summer was made for. All we need now is to have one this year…
Doing a Tinnie here. I got two tickets for Andrew Bird for 7.30pm at the Trinity Centre in Bristol on June 6th. Then I discovered he is on in Brighton four days later which is much more convenient for me. So the upshot is, the 2 Bristol tickets are going begging. They were £19.50 each, but no reasonable offer refused. If you want them, say so in the comments, and we’ll work out a way to sort things out thereafter. Should be good – he’s doing the new album.
Los Lonely Boys – La Contestacion
Los Lonely Boys may not be the most famous band outside of Texas, or even the best from Texas, but I’m including this because it is a sweet song and I like it. Hope you like it too. SpottedRichard
Pete Morton – Another Train
A weird time-slip has happened in my brain, because I got this on a folk compilation album and when I listened to it I said ‘oh yes, Another Train, used to hear that at the folk club’; but when I looked Pete Morton up it turns out he’s much too young to have played at the folk club I used to go to, and the song came out in 1991. So, where did I hear it? And when? Dunno, but it’s forceful, stirring stuff. Treefrogdemon
Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble – Bop
Enthralling, hypnotic classical-jazz-techno hybrid, that sounds to me like a mutant cousin of the soundtrack to Goodbye Lenin. This is of course a good thing. Abahachi
Love Psychedelico – Freedom
I love this track as it is just such a positive energy track, with a great rock beat and some great guitar riffs in it. I really like Kumi’s voice when she sings these rock numbers. Like nearly all their tracks it is in part English and part Japanese so The Spillers will be able to understand it! ! ! Hoshino Sakura
Westworld – Dance On
One-hit wonders (ish) with “Sonic Boom Boy”, this was Westworld’s (failed) attempt at a comeback. I love the boingy bass (?) line and – I know Mitch will probably hate me for using the word – but the cheerful rockabilly vibe. Bishbosh
Electric Guest – This Head I Hold
A falsetto and a brother who knew Danger Mouse gives us a totally wormy, singalong, dancealong retro soul summer sizzler from an unsigned (not for long!) LA band. Warning: Play this once & you’ll play it a dozen times. Tincanman
Please send earworm contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
The output of the early 80s wave of punk bands is often sneered at now as naive and dated. This is easy to do, but you have to remember what life for young people in the early 80s was like: high unemployment, a right wing government determined to cut public services, riots, royal weddings, tension between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands – hard to imagine now isn’t it?!. This was the backdrop for bands like The Samples who released one of the classic singles of the period, Dead Hero.
Almost everyone has used Elmore James’ version as a template for their cover – it’s more of a standard 12-bar blues song than Tampa Red’s earlier composition – and the Grateful Dead were no exception. But they played it slower than most and, as ever, their interpretation is not just the singer and lead guitar over a formulaic blues backing.
Despite Pigpen’s deteriorating health (he died a year later), he makes a valiant attempt to emulate his bluesmen heroes and plays some decent harmonica on this performance from Wembley on April 8th, 1972. Garcia set a much slower pace for most of the later versions on the tour, causing poor Ron to hold those harmonica notes even longer, but this is just about right, I reckon. The overall performance is subtly understated, delicate even, and what Ron’s voice lacks in power is made up for by the excellent tone and dynamics of the instrumentation.
…that Mormon Sunday School teacher and would-be FBI agent Richard McCoy Jr. boarded United Airlines Flight 855 under the alias ‘James Johnson’. By threatening to blow the plane up mid-flight, he struck a deal with the airline to have half a million dollars and a parachute ready for him at San Francisco airport. After landing there, collecting his loot and releasing the passengers, the plane returned to the skies and he jumped from it at 16,000 feet over Utah, landed safely and hitch-hiked home. He and most of the money were found two days later and he received a 45-year prison sentence. He escaped from jail two years later but when the FBI caught up with him again, they shot him dead.
At the same time as McCoy’s hijacking exploits, the Grateful Dead’s road crew were suspending parachutes from the ceiling of the Empire Pool in Wembley, in an attempt to improve its dire acoustics prior to the band taking the stage for the first concert of their first European tour…. Continue reading →
Stranglers, Todd Snider, Jim White, Sweet Sweet Lies, Wedding Present, Men, Ting Tings, John Foxx & The Maths, Julia Holter, Magnetic Fields, Mark Stewart/Factory Floor/Keith Levine, Carter Tutti Void, La Sera, Vijay Iyer Trio
Mr P ! ! ! It is Cherry Blossom Time at last ! ! ! Yes Sakura - It's Sakura Time ! ! !
Just about now the Cherry blossoms are blooming over most of Japan ! ! ! Sakura as Cherry Blossoms are called in Japanese, are really important in Japanese culture. They represent new beginnings, re-birth, the arrival of spring, optimism and from a Buddhist point of view the short but beautiful life they have, represent the temporary nature of all things in this world. Of course they are also super romantic ! ! ! So of course Japanese musicians of all genres have been inspired by cherry blossoms. So to celebrate Spring we would like to share a variety of tracks with the Sakura theme!!!
Cherry blossom clearly has deep significance in Japan, I think it’s impossible for us Westerners to really grasp all the subtlety of feeling here. You have to be born into it. The trees are beautiful and..yes…romantic ( though it pains me , as an Englishman, to write that girlie word) but there are also elements of birth/death and remembrance in the traditions here. And fun. Lots of fun. Here are our songs in celebration of “sakura” and , indeed, for Sakura our own “little blossom”. Continue reading →
Hello all! I’ve finally worked out how to log in to WordPress.
I did a piece on Trinidad & Tobago for the Guardian today. I’ve been meaning to write this one for a while because, even though it’s not somewhere that’s going to attract a lot of comments (or possibly any comments), it’s a country that’s very important to me. Anyway, i hope it’s of interest.
The Roches – My Winter Coat
The best song about a coat this side of Leonard Cohen. There’s something peculiarly touching about the obsessive attention to detail, and the evident love for the garment in question, despite its imperfections. I love my winter coat too, but not sure I could sing its praises for a whole 8 minutes. Barbryn
Panda Su – Bee Song
Languid slo-mo melodic Fife pop that I play over and over. There aren’t many better songs about being stung by a bee. Blimpy
Luka Bloom – Throw Your Arms Around Me
Not being Antipodean, the first version of this song I heard was Crowded House’s cover, not the Hunters & Collectors original. Having sought out other versions since, it’s always struck me as an amazing song in search of the perfect rendition. This version, by Christy Moore’s brother Luka, is by no means that, but I love the leisurely tempo and the warmth of his delivery. bishbosh
Mildred Bailey – What’ll I Do
I think I dropped this on to RR one day for Lonniej. It’s my absolute favourite version of this old classic. SpottedRichard
Mayte Martin – Usted
From my absolute favourite album of last year, courtesy of Friday Night Flamenco: jazz piano trio meets flamenco singer to create something magical and heart-breaking – even if I have only the faintest idea what the lyrics mean. There must be something significant about the fact that ‘Usted’ is the polite form of the second person… Abahachi