Instrumental Abstraction


I usually paint figuratively (that means that I paint pictures. Of things. Generally, they are things that I can see). But this is an attempt at an abstract painting. It started as paint left over on the palette from another painting; the colours didn’t suggest anything in particular, so l just tried arranging then in a manner that pleased me. The results are reminiscent of an underwater scene, I think. Continue reading

It’s all for charidee, mate

"Cowboy Boots"; "Green Wellies"; "Trail Boots" - all acrylic on canvas, all (c) Amanda Bates

Never one to do things by halves (nor to ignore an opportunity to paint), I ended up doing three paintings of shoe-like objects for Parkinson’s Awareness Week and the “In My Shoes” theme. They are not, as it happens, all mine (I have Young Onset Parkinson’s, so the theme is apt). The wellies belong to my son, and were both easier to get hold off and muddier than mine, which I only wear if I really have to (not because I have Parkinson’s. I don’t like wellies because I have the wrong shape feet for wellies). Wellies really ought to be muddy. My cheapo lightweight walking boots, or trail boots, are also appropriately muddy.

And they are all on eBay in the hope that someone (hopefully lots of someones, so they bid the price up …) will buy one or more, and Parkinson’s UK will get a modest, painting-sized chunk of money.

And the ‘Spill gets more hits than my solo blogs, so I am shamelessly exploiting it because of the charity angle.

Charity singles are a bit of a hit and miss affair. They may hit the charts, but they frequently miss the spot. I’m having difficulty thinking of a truly great one, although I can’t help but recall that the first record I ever bought was Ferry Aid’s “Let It Be”, an ensemble affair in aid of the Zeebrugge Disaster of 1987.

(I had convinced myself that my first single purchase was the Pet Shop Boys’ “It’s A Sin”, but the dates defy this recollection by a couple of months.)

So we’re back to shoes.

With a suitably Smashie and Nicey sort of DJ intro. Is it time for Bachmann Turner Overdrive yet?

In My Shoes

While I was contemplating this post on one of my other blogs, I kept coming up with songs I wanted to soundtrack it with.

The post was an exercise in increasing awareness for Parkinson’s, as requested by the charity Parkinson’s UK. So I thought it might be appropriate to spread the word on other platforms, and the best place that I know of for playlists is the ‘Spill.


The painting is for sale, by auction, for charity. Click on the picture…

Now, how does this new-fangled play list thingumajig work?

Earworms – 4th June

Keith Frank & The Soileau Zydeco – Sometimes We Make You Move Your Feet
This is a great song title. Have your toes started twitching yet? Here you go.

Jackson 5 – Rockin’ Robin (Bobby Day cover)
Only a masterful vocal performance by young Michael, in one of his first breakout solos, could equal this floor-packing gumbo of rock, soul and funk. It still even sounds musically progressive.

Fiction Factory – (Feels Like) Heaven
Who were Fiction Factory? I have no idea. I presume this was their only hit? I remember it from one of the early “Now” compilation albums. I always loved the verses’ comforting blanket of melancholy. Of a piece with Furniture’s “Brilliant Mind” somehow. Shame the refrain is a bit of a damp squib! Thank God then for a strong middle eight…

Sweet Black ft Maki Goto and Bigga Raiji – Queen Bee
I just love Maki Goto – she was a classic J-pop Idol who managed to re-invent herself as a R and B singer; and Bigga Raiji is a really great, and very funny, rapper. So, when the two of them got together with producers Sweet Black …well, something good was of course going to happen ! ! ! It is a great dance track that is now a firm earworm of mine ! ! !
Hoshino Sakura

Electribe 101 – Talking with myself
One of those dance tracks that seems to retain its appeal outside of the club. Probably because it had lyrics worthy of the name – and that intriguingly laidback vocal to boot.

Gene Vincent – Dance To The Bop
The Bluecaps had undergone several personnel changes by 1958, when this was cut. However, they still provided superb backing for the King of Rock & Roll. Superb.

Get those fingers dancing on your keyboard and send your zippiest earworms to – don’t forget to add a short note explaining why they merit the worthy title of “‘Spill Earworm”. And it would help if you could identify yourself by your blog name, too.

And me? You might have heard that I’d get myself a full time job, which means I’m a bit short of time, and something(s) had to go. Alas, one of those things was the role of earworm charmer. I’m dancing right out of the wormery, leaving you in the capable hands of the lovely SpottedRichard! I’ve had a lovely time collating those ‘worms; I’m sure that SpottedRichard will enjoy it too.

So long, and thanks for all the ‘worms.
(Not that I’m not going to be hanging around any more – I just wanted to say that.)

Earworms – 28th May

Musician or gangster? You decide...

Suite For Ma Dukes – Untitled/Fantastic (GAM Remix)
For some reason, L.A. seems to be where it’s at for me in producing quality music over the past few years; take this one from the Suite For Ma Dukes orchestra, arranged & conducted by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, of a couple of the late great J Dilla hip-hop compositions that have been remixed by Georgia Anne Muldrow.

Moondog – Symphonique #6 (Good for Goodie)
I was vaguely reminded of this again when that Neil Cowley clip was posted a few weeks ago. This is such an extraordinarily eccentric funky classical/jazz piece by the Viking of 6th Avenue.

Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet – I Almost Had A Weakness
Every time that I listen to the Juliet Letters, this song leaps out at me. It does so just as much for the staccato strings as for the acerbic words – a marriage of sound and meaning that works so well, and which sounds so fresh.

Esperanza Spalding – Crowned & Kissed
Gorgeous Portlander Esperanza Spaulding is out with a new album & once again enchanting me with her great bass lines & elvish voice.  This hits all my buttons.

Lulu – After the Feeling Is Gone (with The Dixie Flyers)
I always thought of Lulu as a bit of a raspy old belter – who knew she had the capability to deliver a song with the subtlety she does here? I love the thoughtful maturity of the lyric too. It all makes me think that, had she had better quality control, she might now be spoken of in the same breath as Dusty.

Damnation of Adam Blessing – Fingers On A Windmill
This Cleveland, Ohio group spent numerous years on a major label (United Artists), with nary a hit to show for it.  And as a final insult, the label misspelled the title on the picture sleeve.  Ouch!  Some really cheesy hippie-dippy lyrics (“Someone killed a teardrop, made a child cry”), but an interesting example of very late period baroque psychedelia nonetheless.
SweetHomeAlabama ( … hover for extra blurb)

Please send all of your lovely earworms, with a few words to cover them (and keep them warm), to Earworm Central at  Thank you!

Earworms – 21st May

Ismael Lo – Jammu Africa
Some Spillers may remember Senegalese musician Ismael Lo for his song, “Tadio Bone,” which appeared here some time back. This one is a wonderful mix of drums, guitar, background singers and Ismael’s amazing voice. It was featured in the recent film about the Rwandan genocide, “Shake hands with the Devil”; the prior song Tadio Bone was featured in Almodovar’s film, “All about my Mother”.

Vincius Cantaria – Perritos
Cantuaria’s Horse and Fish album was an impulse buy in 2004 just because I liked the sound of it from the promotional write-up in Barnes and Noble.  I was not disappointed. While it is no doubt Latin/Brazilian Jazz/Pop in origin, the acoustic and electric guitar work is exceptional and the whole album contains some offbeat as well as interesting interpretations of classics of the genre. This is a sweet one.

Chris Isaak – Except the New Girl
I recently saw James Vincent McMorrow (in support of Sinead) attempt an unwise cover of “Wicked Game” and it made me wonder whatever happened to Chris Isaak. What a voice he had! This laidback, countryfied number was always a favourite of mine.

Billy Burnette And Jawbone – Just Another Love Song
The best Southern rocker that no one’s ever heard of.  The lyrics are pretty much rote driving music but that guitar work is amazing.

Glasvegas – It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry
How James Allan could write his band such a scorcher and … well, lets leave that. It’s a tender and thoughtful song for all it’s testosterone, a necessary element that leaves no doubt about the implosive destruction of guilt-fuelled paranoia.

Matthew Mayfield – Ghost
Several of us get freebies from Noisetrade these days. A recent album was Matthew Mayfield’s ‘Now You’re Free’. He hails from Birmingham, Alabama, and a track on the album, ‘Ghosts’ really grabbed me enough to want to share it with y’all. I love the beat, and the sandpaper voice. Waddaya think?

Please send earworm contributions to  Thank you!

Celestial Dinner with Donna

This might not have been her best known or most innovative track, but it was the first time that I remember hearing Donna Summer’s music – and it struck a chord with my teenage self.

It seems quite appropriate to me, as I can imagine her rejoicing in the opportunity to join that ghostly dinner party full of deceased icons at long last.

Rest in peace, Donna – and thank you for the music. Your voice will continue to thrill us, as will those incredible tunes.

Earworms – 14th May

La Oreja de Van Gogh – Mil Rosas
They could win an award for the daftest band name ever (Van Gogh’s Ear) but they have also put together some of the catchiest and well structured pop tunes of the last decade. This slow one is really just about being in love and how nice it is to get roses from your lover. I love Amaya Montero’s voice on this track. She has since left the group and it’s not the same.
Mrs Maki

Nish – Jwel
I’ve had this lovely slice of European electronica on 7 for about ten years, but it still manages to startle me every time I put it on.

Here’s a track that came out at the fag-end of last summer but makes me feel as though spring has finally sprung here in the North.
Oh, and don’t let a recommendation from The Guide put you off to what is a great album.

Jimmy McGriff – D.B. Blues (Part I)
Jimmy McGriff – D.B. Blues (Part II)
The standard bearer for blues-jazz on the Hammond organ in the 60’s and 70’s, McGriff takes us on a funky, 11-minute daydream through soul, jazz and blues that will transform how you think about genres and the Hammond.

The Rugbys – Wendenghal The Warlock
If it’s on a Shelby Singleton label, it’s always worth a look and a listen.  The Rugbys were a group out of Louisville, Kentucky who had a national hit with “You, I” in 1969 – a decent, if slightly dated garage psyche tune.  The followup was like nothing else, and actually got some airplay.  A bizarre stab at British “Dungeons & Dragons” prog rock (Sabbath, Zep, Heep) with a distinctive organ line.  If nothing else, it’s a Southern-fried Spinal Tap.

Only five selections this week, because that Jimmy McGriff is a bit long.

Please send your wonderful earworms, along with their blurbs, to – and remember that multiple submissions are both permitted and, indeed, very welcome.  Thank you!

Earworms – 7th May

Mónica Naranjo – Empiezo A Recordarte
Mónica grew up in Figueres, where she met Salvador Dalí when she was a child. Her singing style is perhaps more suited to Mexican ballads than anything from her native Catalonia and indeed she was successful there before returning to Spain. This song to a lost love, believe it or not, is one of her more restrained, less melodramatic numbers. Note perfect live, she is a wonderful performer.
Mrs. Maki

Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris – All The Roadrunning
Seemed like an odd partnership to me, but they’ve worked together quite a bit. This is a live version of the song, which Knopfler wrote – another one about the joys and perils of the itinerant musician, and it has a nice loping swing to it. Tingle-up-the-spine time.

Bobby Hutcherson – Goin’ Down South
A jazz tune that is so evocative of how I imagine the American South to be; with the rhythm of Joe Sample’s gospel blues piano and the ‘fatback’ drums of Mickey Roker underpinning Bobby’s vibes whilst Harold Land’s sax gives it a slow sultry feel as if you’re on a slow rolling train with the white of the clapboards blazing in the heat of the afternoon sun … or maybe an overcast south London suburban sprawl as you amble into Clapham Junction!

D L Menard – The Back Door
You’ve heard of a boy named Sue. This one was Doris, which is why he went by his initials. Happy song by “the cajun Hank Williams”.

Terry Linen – Call On a Friend
A voice so gorgeous he could make me a believer in Jah.

Emeline Michel – Bel Kongo
From her 2004 album, Rasin Kreyol (which translates as “Creole Roots”),  Emeline delivers a gem combining traditional music with Haitian and Brazilian rhythms with a wonderful marriage of voice and a perfect orchestration. Bel Kongo is ‘beautiful Congo’.

Please send earworm contributions to  Thank you!

Earworms – 30th April

“Well, that’s another guitarist gone.”

Patrick Duff – Refrigerator
This is not, in my opinion, Patrick Duff’s (formerly of Strangelove) finest moment, but it is quite catchy, I think you’ll agree. Come on RR, do white goods as a topic, it’s a shoo-in.

The Stranglers – Boom Boom
Still getting my head and ears round the new offering from what has to be my favourite group. This is the one I keep coming back to and I suppose that makes it an earworm. No relation to a far better known track of the same name but no-one owns copyright on onomatopoeia, I suppose. Besides, I love the idea of the Guildford Stranglers having a vocalist with a strong North Eastern accent.

The Moving Sidewalks – Joe Blues
This is probably the best thing that the Moving Sidewalks or ZZ Top ever did, and they did some pretty good stuff.  For me, it’s as way up there as blues-rock chill-out songs go.    

Retribution Gospel Choir – Maharisha
From the latest by the fabulously misnamed Low side project ( Alan Sparhawk, Steve Garrington and sometimes Mimi Parker). It isn’t gospel, there isn’t a choir (this time) and it’s not a full-time band. It’s poppy, it’s loud, and it rocks (a la Grand Funk, complete with cow bell!). Maybe this is retribution for Low’s subdued, moody pieces, but I like them too.

Mice – Pyjamadrama
In which the estimable Julianne Regan seems to be planning a sleepover with Roxy Music. Just as a friend. Hey, there’s chocolate cake involved – and who could resist that voice?

Mike Heron – Feast of Stephen
Wrong time of year, I know, but this came on the ‘Pod the other day and I just could not work out what it was. The intro is very Southern Accents, but I knew it wasn’t that, and then there were drums and all sorts. The structure’s kind of Roy Orbison, in that it doesn’t follow a conventional form, and it builds to a climax – but that’s followed by the chanting, which goes on and on till it gets all hypnotic. Turns out it’s got John Cale playing most of the instruments, and it’s from Mike Heron’s post-ISB solo album Smiling Men With Bad Reputations. Packs quite a wallop.

Please send those wormy songs and your wormy reasons to  Many thanks!

Earworms – 23rd April

Godrevy Lighthouse from Gwithian, Cornwall, New Year's Day 2012 (painted 02/02/12). Oil on canvas. With added mosaic effect around the edges.

Mercedes Peon – O Mar
Maki has been introducing you all in the intrincacies of all things Flamenco, but Spain is a very diverse country and its folklore has many other, very different things to offer. The song’s about a woman who’s lost her man, a percebeiro (a barnacle picker, a very, very dangerous job), taken by the high tides while he was working. Peon is usually more adventurous when it comes to stretching the limits of Galician, celtic-flavoured folk, but in a more traditional framework, as O Mar proves, she really shines.

Please The Trees – Lost Mind
Can’t quite put my finger on what i like so much about this reflection on unrequited love by these Czech indie / alt rockers, but it could be the guitar hook.  Spill points if you can pinpoint exactly who they remind me of… I can’t quite.

Micah P. Hinson and the Opera Circuit – You’re Only Lonely
Classic Rock bands find it easy (if too often cheesy) to slow down to [power] ballad pace: even Motorhead are at it these days. Over recent years, what’s fascinated me more is typically gentle artists choosing to wig-out. With the sound-tsunami climax to this song, Micah P. Hinson nailed it.

Maria del Mar Bonet – Vigila El Mar
María del Mar Bonet has tried her hand at more modern stuff but her real forte is traditional Balearic folk. This song, sung in Mallorquín, is a fine example. She has a beautiful voice and was one of the leading figures in La Nova Canço along with Joan Manuel Serrat and others.
Mrs. Maki

Madredeus-O Mar (The Sea)
The Portuguese have an illustrious seafaring past; here, Lisbon fado-folkers Madredeus allow themelves to become obsessed by the hypnotic prescence of the sea itself. The song has a certain melancholy beauty that recalls a mood I have often encountered at the shore.

Panda Bear – Last Night At The Jetty
I don’t always get Animal Collective or Panda Bear, their drummer’s solo project. But occasionally they coalesce into moments of pop perfection. This song is an example – summery, catchy, yet somehow achingly sad – not so much sounding like the Beach Boys as actually becoming the spirit of Brian Wilson.

Please send any earworms that you care to share, along with a (short) blurb for each one, to  Thank you!

Earworms – 16th April

Jason Morphew – Badass With A Heart Of Gold
Jason Morphew does a lot of standard singer/songwriter stuff – lovely witty, songs. Then he does something unexpected, like this one.

500 Miles to Memphis ft. Annalyse McCoy – Darlin’
* With HUGE apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“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.

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.

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.

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.

Please send your bestest and most fabulous earworms to  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!)

Earworms – 9th April

Image only relevant to one song this week, folks. There was only the one that seemed illustratable. 'Spill points on offer for the rather easy identification of the engine and the slightly more difficult (but equally irrelevant) reason for its fame.

Not just any old engine...

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.

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.

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.

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  Thank you!

Earworms – 2nd April

"Wandering over the hills unseen..." It's difficult to avoid THAT song at THIS location.

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.

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.

Pat Daisy – Everybody’s Reaching Out For Someone
Somewhere inbetween country, pop, and folk.  And that outta-nowhere jangly guitar intro is gorgeous.  A #20 Country/#112 Pop hit.

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.

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.

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…

Earworms – 26th March

'Spill points alert! 6 cars, 6 songs, 6 points - which car represents which song, and can you identify the vehicles? Thanks to DsD for the inspiration! ... Bonus point if anyone spots the slight anachronism.

Little Angels – Radical Your Lover
90s Scarborough rockers Little Angels come screeching into the Earworms Shopping Centre car park, in a low-slung, souped-up, tastelessly-resprayed Citroen AX. The sound system in their boy-racer (worth more than the rest of the car) blasts out one of my favourite uses ever of a brass section in Classic Rock.

Dragon Ash ft. Rappagariya – Deep Impact
I love this track! ! ! It is loud, noisy and has a fantastic beat and riff.  Dragon Ash are a really innovative group that have been around forever and I love they way they mix styles and all the different influences they show in their music.  I hope people like it – but I know not everyone will! ! !
Hoshino Sakura

Cornershop ft. Bubbley Kaur – United Provinces Of India
Although I’m a big fan of Cornershop, I was very unsure about a whole album with another vocalist but it’s an absolute delight.  She isn’t called Bubbley for nothing and has me dancing round the kitchen on a regular basis.

Thundermug – Africa
I’ve been digging deep into the Canadian charts of this era.  The general rule is that, even in the era of CanCon, the Canadian charts generally paralleled the American charts with Canucks (and to a lesser extent, Brits) charting higher.  That leaves quite a few interesting exceptions which failed to crossover to the US or UK.  Here’s an odd hybrid of T-Rex glam, bass-heavy Mountain funk, bloozy Led Zep hard rock, and kazoos (!).  Hit #38 in Canada.

Richard Berry and the Pharoahs – Louie Louie
This is the original 1956 cut by the song’s composer. Although I like the Kingsmen’s better known version, I actually prefer this. I’ve just discovered that the vinyl EP I own which this track comes from is now worth about £200.

Funkadelic – Smokey
I imagine that after a hard day funking on the mothership you might want to sit down, relax and kick back. if so, this would be just the tune to do it with whilst chanting the mantra: ‘looking back at you, I lost a lot, you’ve got a lot, miss you a lot’  – just try to resist.

Please send earworm contributions to  Thank you!

Stonehenge (mini) Social

In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history, an ancient race of people... the 'Spillers. No one knows who they were or what they were doing...

From left to right: Stonehenge, Zalamanda, Bethnoir, distant hordes of tourists.

On Saturday, a small social gathering was convened on the once-hallowed grounds of the ancient monument known as Stonehenge. On this momentous occasion, I was greatly pleased to make the acquaintance, in person, of Bethnoir.

The event was everything it should have been; the sun shone, the crowds weren’t too excessive, the picnics were happily (if not fully) consumed, the children frolicked happily together, and the grown-ups had a lovely time chatting. Oh, and nobody put Spinal Tap on their compilation CDs. Or any songs about standing stones.

Fortunately, we both have children capable of acting as photographers. Less fortunately, the subjects proved difficult; in the above image (devoid of smaller children and random tourists), we are looking at the wrong camera!

Edit: Apparently, music is required. The track I wanted isn’t on YouTube, but who needs the video?

Who cares where all the money went? Well… English Heritage snaffled a fair few pennies for admission. But I don’t really care. Right now I’m everso slightly regretting not having featured floral decorations as part of the outing (but the children were enjoying playing with the plentiful chalk).

Earworms – 19th March

Mark Knopfler/Gerry Rafferty – The Way It Always Starts
Rafferty had turned his back on his singing career and retreated to the country but was persuaded to record this Mark Knopfler penned song in 1983 for the soundtrack to the film “Local Hero”. After years of alcohol abuse Rafferty died in 2011. Wonderful voice, greatly missed.

Sammi Smith – This Room for Rent
This song is rather typical of the 70s song by the female country singer, Bobbie Gentry, Billie Jo Spears and others could have done rather well. Sammi Smith was just about the only female in the Outlaw Country sub-genre and there’s just a little less sentimentalism and little more bitterness here than you often get (or am I imagining it?).

One2Many – Downtown
No, not that “Downtown”. Petula Clark this isn’t. But this was another of those Woolworth’s bargain bin cassettes, bought on the basis of (a) it being only 50p and (b) a vague remembrance of liking a lone track. “Downtown” was, apparently, a big hit in ’89. Do we remember it? Should we? I still like it – happy Norwegian pop with a nice bit of piano.

Steeleye Span – Cam Ye o’er frae France
Apparently a Scottish song from the Jacobite era. I just love the all over the place tune and the strange pronunciation; until I just looked online, I had no idea what it was about, but even without the history the tune is remarkable.

Django Reinhardt-Swing De Paris
Mrs. Fintan & I have been hooked on Django Reinhardt since seeing Midnight In Paris. As usual, Woody has unimpeccable taste in 30’s jazz. This makes me glad to be alive, it does.

Fleetwood Mac – Seven Wonders
I’d never heard of the Mac before Tango In The Night came out. I blame my age. I was seduced into buying the album on the back of this exotic beauty – and subsequently deeply disappointed by all the insipid Christine McVie ballads therein. Favourite bit? Stevie’s faded-out singing over the outro: “I hope and I pray, well, maybe it might work out some day…”

Heard – or been reminded of – any stick-in-the-ear tunes lately? Why not share them with the ‘Spill? The address is Don’t forget to write a short blurb to accompany the music! Thank you!

Earworms – 12th March – *Earworms-100*

All of the songs in this week's list are represented in this rather garish picture. Spill points will be available for spotting them and bonus points for noting which one is represented via the artist's name rather than the song title.

This, fellow ‘Spillers, is the officially designated* Earworms-100. It is the 100th Earworms post to be categorised as “Earworms” (there were a few posts that were put into this category that were not yer actual, bona fide, official Earworm playlist posts). It is the 100th Earworms post since Earworms became known as Earworms (instead of “Earworms of the Week” or “S&M”, which stood for “Spill and Music”).

*Unilaterally, by me, if you must know.

On with the show…

Burl Ives – The Ugly Bug Ball
When it comes to music I can “do” serious and I can “do” fun, I prefer fun. Come on, crawl.

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings – 100 Days, 100 Nights
I was in need of ‘100’ titles for a playlist, so a-googlin’ I did go and my very favourite track of all those thrown at me turned out to be this one: I love the voice, I love the arrangement, I love the sentiment! I can’t believe I’d never heard of Sharon Jones before (I rather suspect I’ve not been paying enough attention on here), who just has to be a contender for the Aretha of her generation.

The Kamikaze Hearts – No One Called You a Failure
Fell in love at first listen with this harmony and mandolin drenched tune by these sadly now-defunct upstate NY porch rockers.

Bob Dylan – Blind Willie McTell
Desperate, haunting and unforgettable; for me, the greatest song he’s ever written.

Silly Sisters – The Grey Funnel Line
Well, I think it’s special. Silly Sisters (aka June Tabor and Maddy Prior) and “The Grey Funnel Line”. Probably a bit marmite but the old folkies will be happy!

Emeline Michel and Kali – Haiti cherie
Emeline is from Haiti and Kali is from Martinique, both are among my favorites from the non-Jamaican Caribbean. This is the first time I’ve heard them sing together. Kali plays the banjo and also leads his own group.

Finally, we have a late addition to this weeks’ earworms; I’m told that it’s something of a “scoop”.

Dan Coyle – Back Around (DEMO ONLY)
There’s so many singer-songwriters out there, it’s easy to dismiss the ones that don’t ”make it big”. This is a big-time song (a demo for an album) from a NYC journeyman, explained in his own words: “As a touring singer songwriter playing 100+ each year, I spend most of my time traveling; which is great for music, but can be very difficult on friends, families, and loved ones. It often feels like I’m constantly leaving someone behind. This song is about that. It’s about reassuring someone that you will be back, and giving them a few ways to remember you while you’re gone.” 

Here’s to the next 100 earworm posts…
Please send  your submissions to  Thank you!

Earworms – 5th March

Tom Klose – Born A Lion
Tom Klose is a young local singer-songwriter who came to my attention when he played a gig with TheBoyWonder last summer. This is actually the Tom Klose Band, with percussion and cello (I love the cello). I wish I could share the live version of this song with you, it starts with some great roaring!

The Felice Brothers – Frankie’s Gun!
This strikes me as just the archetypal ‘Spill tune: an alt-countryish delivery, a Dylanesque vocal, an intriguing narrative thread… I particularly love the singer’s petulance (“I think I know the bloody way by now, Frankie/Turn the goddam radio down, thank you…”). Oh and the yodelled ending. Shouldn’t every song end on a yodel?

Karine Polwart – Can’t Weld a Body
Almost orphaned as the only original, only modern-themed song on Karine’s collection of traditional ballads (Fairest Floo’er), this is worthy of more attention. It’s about shipbuilding on the banks of the Clyde; about the relative fragility of a human body in comparison with a ship.

Laura Cantrell – Sam Stone (John Prine cover)
Cantrell’s delivery of this heart-wrenching John Prine song shows why she is one of the best young(ish) country singers. It’s not the stereotypical country though; more country-tinged folk. Whatever the label, she’s poignant and emotionally probing.

The Inspirational Choir – Abide With Me
As I was a little unkind to tincanman’s selection in Zala’s first week at the helm of the good ship Earworm, I figured it was time to put-up-or-shut-up about my response. The transfer from vinyl has left the sheer presence of this version a little subdued & fuzzy, but hopefully you’ll find it as, um, inspirational as even the commitedly agnostic DsD does.

Aswad – Hey Jah Children
The Wisconsin dub pop couple that form Peaking Lights have masterminded a series of blinding mixtapes – check Gorilla vs Bear. Most is stuff you’ll never have heard of, but here is our very own Aswad, with a nice whiff of weed (and sampling Manuel Gottsching unless I’m mistaken!)

Please send your lovely earworms to; don’t forget to keep the blurb short!  Thank you!

Next week: Earworms 100 –  the 100th Earworms since Tinny’s official launch.

Fake Old Vocal Jazz: “Dreams All Faded Away”

I suspect that this was enormous fun to record, and it’s a shame that the project it was recorded for isn’t going to see the light of day.

“Julianne Regan and Jean-Marc Lederman in an old jazz tune (courtesy of public domain jazz band ‘Ambassadors” song) with Noel Coward inspired lyrics.

This was done as theme for a webserie that will, unfortunately, not see the light of day.”

Earworms – 27th February

The Witches of Elswick – Bring Us a Barrel
The ladies go a capella boozing. I love that you can hear their accents, and they certainly sound like they are having fun. This always reminds me – in spirit – of the scenes involving Falstaff and young Hal in the hostelry in Shakespeare’s Henry IV part 1.

Rykarda Parasol – Drinking Song
From my 2011 album of the year, ‘For Blood and Wine’, this has a touch of Siouxsie-Sioux-meets-Patti-Smith about it. Many more dark and mysterious lyrics on the album, but I know nothing about Ms. Parasol and am hoping someone (Fintan maybe?) can enlighten me…

Queen – Sheer Heart Attack
Proto-thrash metal? Freddie’s gauntlet-throwing response to the punk explosion?? A one-chord throwaway demo/jam promoted to full release to hide a dearth of new ideas??? No idea which of these theories (if any) is true, but by ‘eck I still love the rush this gives me!

Atari Teenage Riot – Sick To Death
The reformation of ATR this year has had me listening back to old 12″s. I bought this when it came out in 1997 and thought it was the most extreme and just plain best thing I had ever heard. It still sounds pretty full-on 15 years later! (Aficionados of underground 70s punk – that’s you Wyngatecarpenter! – may recognise the appropriation from the Users.)

YUI – Never say die
YUI is my all time favourite singer songwriter but she does do a lot of pop rock type tracks as well as the typical acoustic guitar singer song writer stuff.  This is such a positive track and as soon as I hear it I want to start to dance ! ! !  It was released in 2009 as a double A side with “It’s All Too Much” and was her 5th consecutive number 1 single.
Hoshino Sakura

Warren Zevon – Don’t Let Us Get Sick
Absent a lifelong phobia of doctors, Zevon’s cancer might have been caught before it was too late. He spent the year between diagnosis and death doing what a true artist would do – record a last album. It is a mightily poignant work from one often dismissed as lightweight because of his earlier wittier work.

Please send earworm contributions to  Thank you!

Earworms – 20th February

T-Bone Burnett – Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend (Monroe cover)
They say those who can’t, teach – which in music translates to those who can’t, produce. Not so the ubiquitous T-Bone Burnett, who has shone as a producer, writer and player. Perhaps this unlikely cover will show the scope of his creativity.

Everly Brothers – Baby What You Want Me To Do
Looking back (a long, long way) I’ve realised that, coming from a music-indifferent family as I did, this must have been the introduction of my junior self to the blues. It’s a Jimmy Reed song and it featured on the Everlys’ 1961 album A Date With The Everly Brothers. Bit different from the rest of the album, though.

The Cardigans – Iron Man
Swedish knitwear tackles Ted Hughes via Ozzy Osborne. It seems that the twee popsters had a penchant for Black Sabbath; on their first album they turned Sabbath Bloody Sabbath into a sugary confection. Here, they do a much better job, with just the right amount of chilled vocoderiness.

Dizzee Rascal – That’s Not My Name
The original by the Ting Tings was given an almost feminist aggressive slant in the way it was performed. Dizzee, known for his own somewhat “in your face” presentation, gives this track a more lighthearted (and ‘Laddish’) slant, as well as making a point about the use of the ‘N’ word. It was recorded in 2008 as part of the Radio 1 ‘Live Lounge’ sessions.

Franky Perez & Los Guardianes Del Bosque – Times They Are A’Changin’ (Espanol)
I first heard this in an episode of “Sons Of Anarchy” (my current fave TV show). I know nothing about Frankie Perez or Los Guardianes Del Bosque, except that they throw a whole new light on “Times They Are A Changing” by singing it in Spanish. Lovely.

Garcia & Grisman – So What
Even jazz haters know this Miles tune. After a 20-year gap, Garcia and Grisman started playing together again in 1990 and, as you can hear, they really enjoyed each other’s musical company. It may be noodling, but it’s damn fine noodling.

As ever, please send your lovely tunes and write-ups to  Thank you!

Earworms – 13th February

The Mekons – Heart of Stone
In which the one-time punks tackle an early ‘Stones single. Low romance quotient, but chillingly effective, with female vocals to twist things about a bit.

Agnes Obel – (I Keep a) Close Watch (John Cale cover)
It befuddles me why the usually adventurous John Cale performed (I Keep A) Close Watch like an Elton John ballad. Nothing wrong with Elton, but his ballads are all kind of the same. Now this, with the interplay of the Danish Obel’s piano and breathy voice fully realizes the majesty of what is, at heart, a beautiful composition.

Nelly Furtado – My Love Grows Deeper
From the Whoa Nelly! Album. Nice little song with some unexpected influences from a pop diva, which as we know, is not the sum of our Nelly’s musical vocal talents.

Roddy Frame – Reason For Living
One I turn to when I need reminding that things aren’t always so bad… I just find this euphoric – and love that it’s actually sung in a register I can (just about) holler along with!

Julieta Venegas – Eres Para Mí
Singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas brings long drawn out Mexican phrasing and vowel sounds to more modern genres with remarkable success. Her lyrics mix poetic imagery with a hint of mischievousness – here she tells us “The wind has told me – you’re the one for me.”
Mrs Maki

Linda Lyndell -What A Man
Salt-N-Pepa sampled this & polished it into an irresistible hit in the 90s. When it was first released  in 1968, Linda Lydell received so many death threats from the KKK that she soon retired from the scene.  Damn shame, ’cause she really could growl (maybe that’s what scared those crackers). 

If you have a suitably earwormy song you’d like to share, please send it, with a few lines describing it, to The earworm guru likes a full inbox…