pledge a grievance

1 Stars And Stripes… Ballboy
2 President Clavioline Seventeen Evergreen
3 Mister President Meat Beat Manifesto
4 The Unelected President Crass (with sample of E.P. Thomson)
5 If A Song Could Be President Over The Rhine
6 Tugboat Galaxie 500
7 Kansas (Flood Mix) The Wolfgang Press

1 Reaganation Bongwater
2 Joe Metro Blue Scholars
3 If Reagan Played Disco Minutemen
4 Summer of ’79 Japanther
5 I Shot the Devil Suicidal Tendencies
6 Money (feat. David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge & Z-Trip) N.A.S.A.
7 Five Stop Mother Superior Rain The Flaming Lips

oh – I really wanted to stop – but I couldn’t help myself.
(especially as the last track sounds like ‘the Young Ones’ Rik fronting an anarcho crustie outfit)
1 Oh My God Michael Franti And Spearhead
2 President Kennedy Roland Alphonso
3 BAD Big Audio Dynamite
4 Mosh Eminem
5 Voices Of A Future Pok And The Spacegoats

West Country Social, 15th September

At the edge of the Vale of Camelot, with a fine view across to King Arthur’s original seat at Cadbury Castle, lies the little market town of Castle Cary, perhaps best known as the main railway station for the Glastonbury Festival. It is here, on Saturday 15th September, that stalwarts of Readers Recommend and the ‘Spill will be gathering for the first West Country Social, to partake of cider and other hospitality at the Abahachi homestead. The festivities will start some time around midday, and will continue until everyone goes home.

You are all heartily invited to come along. I don’t want to put all my details onto the web, and equally I would like to have a rough idea of who’s likely to turn up, so please write to me (abahachi[at] to let me know if and when you’ll be coming and to give some idea of preferred tipple and dietary preferences; I’ll send some directions in return, and adjust the menu accordingly.

It’s traditional, I believe, for people to put together a compilation cd for the occasion. In the light of comments below, I think we’ve got a couple of viable options, so here’s a poll…

Choosing the A-list, a Guest Guru writes…

Well the A-list is finally in, after many last-minute shenanigans, song switches but more desperately, cutting down of words from 900 to 600.  Adam warned me that if I delivered over 650 words that the sub-editors would be in there with a large pair of pruning shears, so to keep control, I had to shave myself, which I do almost every morning anyway.  

It was an outstanding topic.  You lovely Readers contributed in droves, and with a huge breadth of material.  I think there are 350 songs in the Spotify list alone.  But the topic was broad and threw up a huge variety of material. Perhaps I can quote :

“Bravery can take many forms – standing up for your beliefs, facing your greatest fear, putting your life on the line for a friend.  But in your case it’s definitely that haircut” 

Well no one suggested a haircut song, in fact most people took the subject pretty seriously.  I wanted to serve the topic and use as many examples of bravery as I could, I also wanted to spread the musical taste as broadly as I could too, but in the end readers, it was all about the song.  If I felt the song wasn’t COMPLETELY FANTASTIC then I’m afraid it didn’t make the cut, and some really amazing artists (and subjects sadly) dropped away.  But I needed to find the final list Outstanding musically in the first instance.  It kind of speaks for itself you’d think, but it’s amazing the circular journeys your mind goes on when you’re the guest guru.

For example, my first list was fairly intellectual in quality, songs that “should” be there because of the subject matter or the person being sung about being totally heroic for obvious reasons.  I also included songs from different genres, again in an intellectual attempt at “balance”.  Bit of metal, bit of country, bit of folk.  But a glance at the Giant Obelisk that is The Marconium will spin any balance attempts on their axis, and I got a little lost in what The Marconium was saying to us about The Guardian and it’s and our taste in music.  Were we really recommending Saint Etienne 5 times and Gilbert O’Sullivan none ?  Smokey Robinson 3 times and Smog five ??  I had to withdraw and go back to basics because there was little I could do but nominate some more songs to add to this huge collective undertaking.

In the end I went with my feelings.  I screwed my courage to the sticking place and elbowed the intellectual approach  (gave it the Spanish Archer) – and went with songs that made me feel brave. Songs that empowered the listener. And inevitably – artists that were totally unrepresented in the A-list.  This made it easier to whittle the final group of 25 great songs down into 12.  

I thank you all for making it such a great weekend, and I hope you enjoy the final list whatever your personal taste.

I would of course, encourage you all to be brave and put your name forward for guest guru.  It is a lot of fun.

Wir kamen alle nach Montreux…

The indisputable musical highlight of our recent holiday in Germany and Austria was an unforgettable performance of Lohengrin at Bayreuth – sublime performances, thought-provoking production – but since Wagner is somewhat outside the usual remit of the Spill, I’d like to share with you instead something we discovered on SWR1 radio (good traffic reports, and a reasonable selection of music…). Pop & Poesie is a covers band run by the station, that plays concerts every year; the covers are perfectly competent and entirely forgettable, but what’s brilliant is that each is preceded by a spoken rendition of the lyrics in German. Now, I’m a great lover of the German language and its literature, but there’s no denying that it is very, very funny to play “spot the song” on the basis of what sounds like portentous German poetry. Unfortunately for copyright reasons there are no records, and I can find only two songs on the whole internet, neither of which is nearly as good as their version of Smoke on the Water, but this is the best I can offer…

Hokey Cokey ‘Spill Game: Week 3

You vote one in
You vote one out
In, out, in, out
Shake it all about

You all know the rules by now. Or maybe you don’t. Actually, I’m not sure there are any rules, are there? Maybe. Who knows?

Here are 11 songs. Tell us which you’d save from a burning building and which you’d throw from a deflating hot air balloon. Or something.

It’s surprisingly difficult to choose a playlist with no parameters whatsoever. Tincanman began this game by trying to find the 10 most perfect songs of all time, so here are 11 perfect songs which particularly wanted you to hear them. I’m going to be terribly hurt whichever one you choose to vote off, so please be gentle.

Warning: may contain music of a melancholy and/or romantic nature.

Artists and titles after the break…

Continue reading

A Young Person Recommends

I’m a little bored and the weather is terrible ( all sunny ! What’s that all about. I’m not going out in that !) so I thought, for a change, I’d get a young person to recommend some songs. Let’s face it, most of us on RR are getting a little long in the tooth. Youngsters are as rare as Japanese river otters.

“Where might I find one ?” I thought to myself. Then I realised that I have a daughter ( I was kind of thinking it was some kind of weird dream but apparently I am someone’s father). So I asked her.

Here’s what she came up with. This, believe it or not, is the kind of music a 16 year old might listen to. Admittedly she’s not your standard 16 year old. She takes after me in being superly fantastically intelligent ( shall I boast….yes ! I shall ! 11 A* and 2 A grade GCSE’s just received). She’s also, like me, stunningly attractive ( to bees) and has impeccable taste in music.

Here, then, are the sounds that a young person might like. The tracks are
1. Best Coast- Crazy for you. A lively pop beat number suitable for young people
2. Direct Hit !- Werewolf shame. A lively pop beat number suitable for young people.
3. Surfer Blood – Voyager Reprise. A lively pop beat number suitable for youngish people
4. We are Augustines- A new drink for an old drunk. A lively pop beat number suitable for young alcoholics.

We hope you enjoy this insight into the foul, diseased mind of the average 16 year old.

Earworms 27 August 2012

1: Baby Dodds Trio – My Indian Red ~ AlBahooky

First heard this on the series 1 final episode of ‘Treme’, this tune celebrates the Indian ‘tribes’ of New Orleans of which I knew nothing about and now know a little bit more. After seeing it in this scene and this later visual which helped explain to me what a flag boy and a spy boy were. Recorded in the mid ’40’s, it has an infectious exuberance that you can’t ignore –

Here comes the big chief, the big chief …

2: The Ethiopians – Hong Kong Flu ~ Severin

Proof that health scares are nothing new. It’s terrible and dreadful – sniffle, cough. Excellent early Lee Perry production. It’s a killer.

3: Steve Riley And The Mamou Playboys ~ Traveler Playboys Special ~ Tincanman

There’s a very absolute precision to the timing of who comes in when and what notes they play in Riley’s band. The drums and bass know their place here (i.e don’t interfere). There’s some friction with the guitar player’s role but he does get his chances, and to be allowed to support that fiddle-accordian dialogue, STFU.

4: Larry Williams – Hocus Pocus ~ RockingMitch

Larry was dubbed “The Bad Boy of Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Originally taken on by Art Rupe’s Specialty label to replace Little Richard who had “turned to God”, he was dropped by the label for getting a drugs bust. He received 4 gold discs, but reckoned he made more money from his other business, running prostitutes in LA. He wound up dead, officially a suicide, but many believe otherwise.

5: Rudy Vallee – The Latin Quarter ~ Pairubu

A song I first encountered in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. I long assumed it was a spoof made especially for Bugs ! It wasn’t. Here it is in all it’s glory. It first appeared in the film “Gold Diggers in Paris” ( unsurprisingly, perhaps). It’s been stuck in my brain for years.

6: Tananas – Unamanucua 2 ~ bluepeter

Taken from the 1996 album Unamunacua, (it means ‘To cry when you’re dreaming’), this is free flowing South African jazz at it’s best. Sometimes it seems without form and almost lost, but that bass line just keeps on going. Like ‘Take 5’ on acid.

A big Thank You to everyone who contributed worms to this playlist or has sent them in to the wormbank. Please send your juiciest worms plus a line or two per song on how you got hooked to either or a wormhole near you. Thank you.