Album Of The Whatever: Sandie Shaw’s “Hello Angel”

I’m much prone to claiming that such-and-such an album was my favourite when I was such-and-such an age, but I think Sandie Shaw’s “Hello Angel” may genuinely have been my favourite album when I was 16. Always a bit too pop-obsessed (and slightly too young) to really love The Smiths at the time, this was perfect for me: a glamorous 60s diva disinterred by Moz and given the chance to prove her relevance in the late 80s (the album was released – on Rough Trade, natch – in 1988).

The only actual Smiths song on the album is “Hand In Glove”, which she’d released several years earlier, but Morrissey and Stephen Street also contributed the two minutes of throwaway fun that is “Please Help The Cause Against Loneliness”.

Elsewhere, the album includes Sandie’s versions of The Waterboys’ “A Girl Called Johnny” and the Mary Chain’s “Cool About You”, the latter of which is particularly splendid. But surprisingly, it’s her own songwriting that wins out, in my opinion. “Nothing Less Than Brilliant” is aptly titled: joyous, ebullient, life-affirming. Expressing sentiments like these, it’s no surprise she went on to become a psychotherapist. (But then, I would say that.) The title track is gorgeously languorous. Or languorously gorgeous. Or something. “Take Him” is a slinky little “Jolene-esque” cha-cha-cha. And “I Will Remain” is just breathtaking – even down to the comedy punchline (Morrissey’s influence pretty obvious there, I would say!).

I guess what I love(d) about this album is how surprisingly cohesive it is. It should feel like a ragbag of “will this do?” covers, but it hangs together really well as a whole, I think. And Sandie has probably never sounded in better voice.

Ladies and gentlemen, here she is, Miss Sandie Shaw…


Elliott Brood – Write It All Down For You
Mountain Goats – Sax Rohmer #1
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – There She Goes My Beautiful World
Senser – Book Of Flies
Cursive – Dorothy At Forty
Posies – Plastic Paperbacks
Magazine – The Book
Barry Adamson – 007 (A Fantasy Bond Theme)
Robert Foster – Uncle Sigmund’s Clockwork Storybook

Lambchop – Paperback Bible
Grand Archives – Oslo Novelist
Scritti Politti – Jacques Derrida
Bill Nelson – Empire Of The Senses
Quarion – I Found You On Facebook
Laurie Anderson – Blue Lagoon
Lali Puna – Faking The Books[Dntel Rmx]
Thee More Shallows – Freshman Thesis

It’s a Dog’s Life

Right. Lake Tahoe, one of the key songs on Kate Bush’s recent 50 Words for Snow album. Starts as a ghost story, warning people not to swim in the lake but only to look; they might see a woman in Victorian clothes, who clearly drowned when she was out looking for her dog Snowflake. Then we switch to the point of view of the dog, who’s old now and can’t move very well, but dreams of running along beaches and through fields and woods looking for her, and then dreams that he comes home and she’s waiting for him with a bone and a biscuit and lots of love.

This story has been bothering me to a ridiculous degree. Initially it seemed terribly sad; she’s dead, and the dog was left alone, missing her. Then I thought, yes, but what’s the alternative? She died searching for her pet, and actually Snowflake wasn’t that bothered and just got on with his life? That would be really sad. But then it occurred to me what an anthropocentric attitude that was: I would prefer that the dog lived out his life in sadness, rather than finding a new life with a new family that might love him just as much, just so that the death of an imaginary person wouldn’t be too pointless?

I don’t think Kate Bush hates dogs, but I suspect she may love them only insofar as they are sufficiently loyal and human-dependent. Of course, my view may be affected by the fact that I live with four cats who love me insofar as I am sufficiently loyal and cat-dependent, and produce ample supplies of chicken on demand.

It also occurs to me that it may all be a metaphor – for ‘dog’ read ‘husband’ – but that’s for another day.

What Would Be On Buddy Holly’s iPod?

Can you indulge me, Spillers, by taking a detour from our very satisfying literary wanderings in iPod land for a moment?

The anniversary of the day the music died was earlier in the month (3rd February), but as Fuel noted on RR today, the music Buddy Holly made had a timeless quality. It would be interesting to  imagine where Buddy Holly’s musical interests might have developed, had he lived, and possibly to speculate whether he would have continued to make music, to produce it,  or whether he would have retired and opened a barbeque and beer joint.

What would he have on his iPod?

Your thoughts?

(PS This is especially for you TFD to cheer you up while you have your rotten cold)

Hawaiian Traditional Pop, Reggae and Rap – He Said – She Said

I know it is interesting Mr P - But what does it mean ? ? ?

He Says:

Yes, it’s Hawaii time ! As you may have gathered I am a bit of a fan, having , in the mid 90s, spent more than is entirely sensible or sane on several trips to these lovely tropical islands. Today, children, we are going to concentrate on the music of this blessed ( and cursed a bit too) land. My thesis is that Hawaiians have played a bigger role in the development of our music than most people realise. Several elements that we regard as traditional American things acutally developed way out in the Pacific in the days when Hawaii was still an ( sort of ) independent state. Not least guitar based music, slide guitar, “Slack key” tuning and, by extension, electric guitars ( the first electrics were slide guitars).

So onwards we go , plunging forth like an experienced surfer into the (musical) waves ( doest that work as a metaphor ? I’m not sure it does…)

She Says:

I really do not know very much about Hawaiian Music but I had a lot of fun discovering things I wanted to share with everyone.  The variety of things going on in Hawaii was really surprising, and it I think the mix of US and Pacific and Asian influences with traditional influences also make this a very interesting place to visit on our travels.  It is going be a lot of fun ! ! ! Continue reading