Earworms – 30th January

Alela Diane – Elijah
Anna Calvi seems to have been this year’s fave songstress for many, but I’m sticking with Alela Diane, who also had a new album in 2011 (AD & the Wild Divine). There are many hooky songs, but this song, Elijah, is real earworm territory. Get bitten…

Prefab Sprout – Pearly Gates
The Sprouts are a band who are never too far from the top of my iPod listening list (not that I have such a thing) and this track is one that I can never tire of listening to.  I heard it earlier tonight and now can’t get it out of my head (not that that’s a bad thing) particularly because of the lines; “See the smile on her young face, watch life casually erase it”, which, as the father of two girls who are now aged 17 and very nearly 20, struck a rather big chord.  Please, girls, never let go of those smiles…

Curtis Mayfield – Keep On Keeping On
From Curtis’s 2nd solo LP,’ Roots’, 1971, this song speaks to everyone who has ever tried to transcend the trials and tribulations that life sets before them. It’s my own mantra, I suppose, and it’s beautiful music …

Michel’le – No More Lies
Bish’s gutsy Shannon earworm inspired me to send this blast from the early 90’s past – somewhere between disco, funk, hip-hop and R&B.  Whatever you call it, I still love it.

Feargal Sharkey – Listen To Your Father
Feargal’s post-Undertones career started out brilliantly, didn’t it? The Assembly’s majestic “Never Never” (possibly Vince Clarke’s finest hour) and this, which is to all intents and purposes Feargal fronting Madness. A marriage made in heaven. Shame he subsequently maxed out on the worst 80-isms. (I’m sure Chris will back me up here!)

Beau Jocque – Don’t Tell Your Mama, Don’t Tell Your Papa
Beau Joque aka Beau Jacques – which is swamp talk for “Big Guy”, was a powerful 6’6” 270lb zydeco artist who made big music, and who died of a heart attack at the young age of 42. If you can stand zydeco and love the accordion this is a great song to stomp around the kitchen to when you’re frying catfish and making hushpuppies. If this doesn’t float your canoe, it’s mercifully short.

Please send your lovely earworm tunes and blurbs to earworm@tincanland.com. Keep ’em coming!

50 thoughts on “Earworms – 30th January

  1. I liked some of these!
    Alela Diane – Can’t fault her voice, which is excellent, but it did sound like hundreds of others.
    Prefab Sprout – Being a hater of sprouts (vegetables of the devil) and indeed all things brassica,, their name has always put me off. Silly, that, because this is rather good.
    Curtis Mayfield – Superb!
    Michel’le – Sorry, Amy. This sounded like hundreds of others that either pass me by or cause me to switch stations on the radio.
    Feargal Sharkey – Very nice track, indeed. Pity he later “joined” the Establishment.
    Beau Jacque – I really like cajun/zydeco. I have a track by him on a compilation CD, the track being “A Little Love Will Make It Bettah” and several albums by Clifton Chenier. This was my track of the week, although you won’t catch me frying anything which once had a face!
    Good set. Well done Zala.

    • Trust me Mitch, i feel your pain. I’m stuck being forced against my will to listen to a satellite station chock full of screeching females for a few hours at work every week. You know it’s bad when Leona Lewis comes on and it’s a relief. On the rare occasions Corrine Bailey Rae comes on, it’s bliss. I keep thinking whenever Adaele’s “Someone Like You” comes on that this is the time i’m finally going to snap and commit homocide.

      Which brings me to the worms that i’m getting ready to give a listen to. Was planning on a quiet music-free day of working, but the dear guys upstairs are musicians of some sort and are attempting an excruciating Roadhouse Blues.

  2. Alela Diane’s To Be Still is one of my favourite albums of the last few years. For some reason, I’ve only listened to this one once on Spotify – I liked it, though thought it drifted to far towards the mainstream at times. But that track great, and I must give the album more attention.

    That was the obvious standout for me, though the rest were pleasant enough. “Keep on keepin’ on” is a bit of a mantra for me too, except that for me it comes from “Tangled Up In Blue” (which, I realise, came after this). I caught the arse-end of Feargal Sharkey’s solo career when I was first getting into music, and before I’d heard of The Undertones – found it hard to connect the two. This was better though.

  3. Alela Diane & Curtis Mayfield are on my imaginary list of under-appreciated artists, which seems a heck of a thing to say because they are well know – especially Mayfield, natch.

    As bish said, or implied really, To Be Still is one of those albums which will just grow and grow in stature through time. I don’t know if her Native American values are spotted or understood over here, but they inform her work in important and unique ways. I thought last year’s Divine album was rather tepid though.

    And Mayfield, as famous and heralded as he is/was, is still not one of the first names people come up with when talking about music from that era.

    I had to comment on Mitch‘s ‘joined the establishment’ comment about Feargal Sharkey. I don’t know what he’s been up to beyond speaking out against piracy but if he was speaking up for artists – and I don’t want to open any wounds or big debates here – then more power to him, whether I agree with his proposed solutions or not. Musically he’s ASDA house brand sparkly water to me, but to each his own.

  4. What a great set, Zalamanda! And I’m loving the illustrations.

    I recently got given To Be Still so am familiarising myself with Ms Diane. Her voice really reminds me of someone else’s – or perhaps it’s bits of different people’s? – but I’m enjoying her immensely. And this one is lovely.

    The Prefab Sprout was less polished-sounding than I was expecting – and all the better for it. Also lovely.

    I think the Curtis Mayfield is my favourite this week. To my shame, I really only know “Move On Up” (and the Bran Van 3000 ‘rewrite’ “Astounded”). This was just gorgeous. I feel… inspired. And soothed.

    I don’t remember the Michel’le track at all, but I can see why Shannon reminded you of it, Amy. Lovin’ the funk.

    The Feargal was mine – one of those curios that have burrowed their way into my brain over the decades…

    And the Beau Jocques just makes me grin (and bounce up and down) – fantastic energy.

    Thanks all!

      • Thanks, Bish. Some of these themes just leapt out at me. Some of the others… well. Let’s just say that some of the illustrations are going to have to work pretty hard.

    • I only have a vague memory of Feargal’s solo career, bish, possibly because he ‘maxed out on the worst 80-isms’, but I really can’t remember. The Undertones and the PRS (or whatever it is) are the only things the name brings to mind. I’m with tinny about the latter aspect of his career.

      (Will listen to tracks later.)

    • You all have been saved so far from a “not all disco sucked” playlist i’m sort of compiling. Hopefully i’ll continue to restrain myself from putting it together and posting it.

      I never did write a better blurb for this worm.

      • I would love to hear that playlist, Amy. Donna Summer, most things touched by Chic, the Jacksons… disco totally didn’t, er, totally suck!

      • Bish –

        I’m actually compiling some of the less obvious stuff.

        Chris –

        I’m usually the first to say that disco, (along with hair metal), totally sucked. But you need some exceptions to prove the rule.

      • Oooh, I want to hear your not all disco sucked playlist. I absolutely agree and some of the sucky stuff is great too! I am compiling my own virsion of a dirty dancing playlist which I might post at some point too!

      • SpottedRich –

        Awesome! Our lists may overlap heavily then. I’m inspired by Bish’s encouragement to try to put it together now. So if it’s only me, you, and Bish dancing away the winter blues, then everyone else can piss off and be miserable then. (Although if May and Magicman stopped by, i might get at least one dance off of them.) But Bish has also nudged me into including a few obvious faves too.

        DsD – you may be the only person who hates I Will Survive more than i do. Rest easy.

      • Urgh, I hate “I Will Survive” too. That may be against the law among my people, but so be it. They can take my membership card away.

      • I seem to remember that even the super-cool ejaydee (at least, I’ve always thought of Ed as cool, music taste-wise!) likes the odd bit of disco. Didn’t he submit Patsy Gallant’s magnificent “From New York To LA” as an earworm back in the day? Now THAT is a choon!

      • Oh no! Our playlists won’t overlap. Mine is 60s stuff – ooh just had an idea….

        Does ANYONE like I Will Survive? (You all thought I would, now, didn’t you? 🙂 )

      • Er, I do. Like “I Will Survive”, that is. I didn’t have an opinion on whether or not you liked it. I wasn’t even aware that it was so reviled.

      • Zala – it’s not widely reviled – I went to a big thrash with K C and the Sunshine Band, Tavares, Sister Sledge, Gloria Gaynor etc a few years back – had me a blast actually – but half the audience left after GG had sung that song – that was all they came for.

      • May I make my excuses and leave the disco RIGHT NOW?

        *sound of running DM-clad feet fades into distance*

    • Bish –

      You know more Curtis Mayfield than that. People Get Ready, Pusherman and Superfly at least, you just may not have made the connection.

  5. I liked the Beau Joque track and can admire the Sprouts’ craft and Curtis’s voice. Not greatly enamoured of the rest. As usual. What a grump!

  6. Sadly I’m having a ridiculously busy time workwise, so not able to ‘play’ much at present (I’m up to my ears in helping get the new cable car across the Thames open in time for t’Olympics, since you ask).

    But just dropped in to belatedly thank Zala for taking on the mantle, and getting off to a flying start.

    Hope to get to hear this batch before too long…

  7. Ok. Lovely list, and Curtis can’t do anything wrong. But two of them head and shoulders above the rest for me. First was the Alela Diane. Never heard of her before but that was drop dead gorgeous. Second was the Beau Jocque. Upgraded me from a reasonable mood to a genuinely cheery one!

    Thanks to all, and to Zala!

    • amylee – Alela figured prominently in the Festive ‘Spill ’09, which I guess was just before you joined us. This song has some of the most beautiful opening lines you’ll ever hear (the rest of it is also lovely):

  8. I loved this selection again Zalamanda, and the pic, again. They were all great. I’m rooting for Curtis as my ultimate. However, I particularly enjoyed the way you racked up the momentum on the playlist, so that by the third track we had a great 60s soul number, four a 70s inspired disco cracker, five an 80s belter and the crazy 90s Beau Jocque stomper.

    Loved it all. Thanks.

  9. Hmmm. I’m going to come over all curmudgeonly again. I like the Alela Diane and the zydeco’s not bad – I like the occasional stomp – but skipped most of the middle, sorry.

  10. I thought all of the songs had their high points and were very enjoyable to various degrees. Jocque, Sprout, Diane, Michel’le, Sharkey was the order for me, but I enjoyed ’em all.

  11. I really thought this week was a really nice week ! ! ! I like all the tracks and I loved the way the playlist developed as it went along. (I like the pictures also Zala)

    Alela Diane – Elijah

    I like singer songwriter style very much and I lived this track, she has a great voice and I loved the arrangement with the little mandolin in the background which I thought gave it a slightly eccentric feel . She has a wonderful voice and I loved the country feel to it.

    Prefab Sprout – Pearly Gates

    I did not really know this band before. I like the piano parts in this piece very much. I think it is a really relaxing track and I admire the song writing. The track has a great shape to it. I am not sure I liked the military style snare drum at the start fo the track it seemed not to fit with the rest fo the track for me , but I did really enjoy this track. I think it almost how I imagine a “typical British” track. Which as (Pairubu says) is “no bad thing” ! ! !

    Curtis Mayfield – Keep On Keeping On
    I love this track ! ! ! I know this track as my dad is a big fan of Curtis Mayfield and I remember when he was home sometimes dancing with him to this as he sang the words with the record ! ! ! In fact it is possible my first words in English were “Keep on Keeping on” ! ! ! I think his voice is just fantastic and this album “Roots” for me is his best. It is a great track from a master soul singer at his absolute best ! ! ! Totally unique and unrepeatable! ! !

    Michel’le – No More Lies
    This is a really cheerful track ! ! ! I love the little fake telephone calls and the guys voice coming in with “Ok No more Lies” in that deep super cool voice ! ! ! It has a US disco feel with the funky bass line but there is a modern feel with the R n B style female vocals. It was a lot of fun and a definite earworm ! ! !

    Feargal Sharkey – Listen To Your Father

    I liked the brass section and the interaction with the piano very much in this. I think would be a great track for going on a drive in the car. It seems to make me want to go somewhere, it has such a marching beat ! ! ! I do not know him at all actually, but I do know the undertones and once I realized that he was in them I recognized his voice. His voice is pretty unique actually I should have guessed sooner ! ! ! I liked the track very much.

    Beau Jocque – Don’t Tell Your Mama, Don’t Tell Your Papa

    I really loved this!!! It is really party music!!! I love the real feeling of fun that is comes through in this track. Listening to this makes me realize that Zydeco music is something I must really examine more! ! ! A wonderful track!

    A really great selection of tracks and a great play list Zala ! ! ! Well done everyone ! ! !

  12. Only the Curtis Mayfield floated my boat this week, but I loved the theme and the way the playlist flowed beautifully….stellar work Zalamanda !

  13. Thank you all for your kind comments. It’s only possible to put together a good playlist if people send in fantastic ‘worms!

    For what it’s worth, here is my short take on these tunes. I’ve had a bit longer to think about them than the rest of you, but I doubt I’ll be able to add much to what’s already been said.

    I hadn’t heard of Alela Diane before (not sure how that happened), but I loved this track. Actually, I didn’t love it so very much the first time I heard it – it kind of wormed it’s way in after a few listens. It’s parent CD is now in my collection, and after reading what you’ve been saying about Ms. Diane, I’ve invested in To Be Still as well. Which makes this my stand-out track.

    But, of course, I liked them all. Prefab are my absolute favourite type of Sprouts; Curtis was exemplary, naturally, Michel’le was great fun; and Beau Jocques was splendidly spectacular. I am rather fond of Cajun and Zydeco, even if I don’t know enough to tell them apart.

  14. I am a fan of Alela’s album To Be Still too, but this is too country for me to love it, her voice is interesting though. Michelle is fun, alway hated Feargal’s voice, Spottedrichard i love a bit of accordian, i like it.

    • Funny, a few people mentioned the country feel of that one. I listened to it twice and never noticed it at all. I’m generally not a huge fan of country either.

  15. I thought the Alela Diane had a definite country feel – it’s even got a bit of a yodel to it. And I do like country music. But it and the Beau Jocque were the only ones I liked – did like them very much though!

  16. Busy this week building a walled flower bed in the garden and have only had one listen. Stand outs for me were the Sprouts, Sharkey and Michel’le (always liked Shannon). And everybody’s got to love a bit of Zydeco haven’t they ?

  17. Well, Mitch, you better send the other Beau Jocque in as a future earworm, and I have a great one by Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band which isn’t on youtube which I think I will submit for future examination by the jury.

    Zala, the last two lots I sent, I gave bish access to my dropbox and emailed him my blurb and he downloaded them from the box. Does that work for you?

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