Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Ah yes, Samhain (pronounced sow-inn) - the ancient Celtic festival of the taking in of the harvest and the preparation for the dark time; the last marker of summer's end and the onset of winter; the time when we pay our respects to those who have come before us, for although we are living and they are dead, the line that divides us is fine and the fabric of the world is weak.
Another perfectly decent pagan festival relating to our position as people on the Earth and in Time, co-opted first by those pesky Christians and then by those who build the great cathedrals to the god of shopping; and ye shall know him as the Lord Walmart and ye shall bow at his cash-till and weep...
Nick Drake - 'Harvest Breed' (1972)
Neil Young - 'Harvest Moon' (MTV Unplugged version) (1993)
OK, relax. We'll do some ghosty posts tomorrow.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
But I certainly can't let the birthday of Bettye Swann go by unannounced; she's been one of my all-time fave soul singers ever since I heard her cover of Aaron Neville's 'Tell It Like It Is' on an old Stateside compilation and tracked down more of her stuff in the dear old lost and much lamented record stores of Camden Town.
This anthology came out a couple of years back and is an absolute corker if you like your soul Southern and your singing effortlessly warm and pure. I heartily commend it to you - and wish the former Ms Betty Jean Champion many happy returns of the day. She's special.
Now, about those tickets for 'Ratatouille'...
Bettye Swann- 'Tell It Like It Is' (1968)
Bettye Swann - 'Cover Me' (1969)
Bettye Swann - 'Don't You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me)' (1969)
[Whatever became of Bettye Swann? Read Tim Tooher's CD sleeve notes here]
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
The lines are closed and the votes have been counted. You plumped by a clear margin for the 'Tarty 80s Classic' - and I was so hoping you would...
The Human League - 'Hard Times' (1982)
Originally the B side to the 'Love Action' single, this is the Martin Rushent remix from the League Unlimited Orchestra's 'Love And Dancing' mini LP and it is quite glorious - as fine a slice of electronic pop as you're ever likely to hear.
Back in the day, our school ran an innovative Friday night club for 2nd and 3rd formers called, radically enough, '2-3 Club'. It was very much a club of two halves: the first part of the evening occupied with plenary activities run by volunteer 6th formers - photography club, Scalextric club, war games club, football club; the second part of the evening a disco. When we were little kids we attended, and when we were big kids we got to help run things - and me and another guy did the disco every week (there had to be two of us because there was only one turntable and someone had to change the records while someone else talked in the gaps. Classy.)
My co-DJ had the 12" single of 'Hard Times/Love Action' which segues both tracks into an inspired electroboogie whole, and it used to go down a storm. Usefully, it was also long enough to allow the DJs a toilet break....
Tragically, that 12" mix is unavailable on the League's recently issued compilation of remixes and 'rarities'. Aren't record companies rubbish?
Anyhoo, why not turn down the lights in the front room tonight and dance like Joanne and Susanne? You'll feel better about everything, I promise.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Your Monday heartstarter for this week - the Beasties' unexpectedly affecting and, best of all, pointedly inclusive celebration of their home city, from the album 'To The 5 Boroughs'.
It's a long way from the frat brat schtick of 'No Sleep Till Brooklyn' - and all the better for it.
Failed to chart as a single in the US though, oddly...
The Beastie Boys - 'An Open Letter To NYC' (2004)
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Mais oui - it's the lovely Vicky Leandros.
Someone for whom I know a few of you still carry une petite torche...
This was her first Eurovision entry for Luxembourg, in 1967 - the year Sandie Shaw won for the UK with 'Puppet On A String'.
Vicky came 4th; but as I'm sure even Sandie would agree, this was the better song - and it went on to be a huge international hit, and one of the most covered Eurovision songs of all time. So there.
Do you like Vicky in that dress? I do. But I may have to have a little lie down now, for a while....
Vicky Leandros - 'L'Amour Est Bleu' (1967)
Friday, October 12, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
You will recall that this classic from Invicta Plastics, Oadby, Leics (Game Of The Year 1973!) involved attemping to deduce via structured logical thought (or guessing) your opponent's combination of coloured pegs in as few tries as possible whilst he 'marked' you with little white and black pegs.
Me and my friend Brian were both quite good at it, having passed many a rainy afternoon playing it. And there are a lot of rainy afternoons in the winter in Devon, I can tell you.
Completist that I am, I also had the 'pocket' and 'word' variants: no doubt these are going for a fortune on ebay right now. Or not.
Anyway, in what I considered a marvellous generation-spanning moment last week I introduced the game to my eldest daughter, who is 8, and set her a devilishly tricky code to crack. She got it in four moves. Harrumph.
Furniture - 'Brilliant Mind' (1986)
[Read about the 30 years-on reunion of 'Mastermind' 'cover stars' Bill Woodward and Cecilia Fung here. No, really]
Monday, October 08, 2007
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Later, my Mum & Dad bought 'The Very Best Of The Seekers' too.
When I hear this music now I am instantly three again – and nothing else does that, except maybe the smell of real (pre-'smokeless') coal fires coming out of chimneys on a cold winter night.
I think I am still in love with Judith Durham, by the way.
The Seekers - 'I'll Never Find Another You' (1965)
Thanks for all the kind comments to 'Blub' x
Friday, October 05, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
There is no justice in the world. Obviously.
I LOVE Roy Harper.
This is the man who gave us, to name but a few...'Another Day' (think the This Mortal Coil cover is superb? And it is! Well hear his original, The Most Played Song On My iPod 2005-2007: FACT!), 'One Of Those Days In England', 'The Same Old Rock' and 'Cherishing The Lonesome', sang lead on The Floyd's 'Have A Cigar', had a whole Led Zep song dedicated to him, made Johnny Marr's favourite lost album of all time, sired a genius-in-his-own-right songwriter and guitarist AND recorded these - two of the loveliest songs for the ending of summer and the onset of autumn that you will ever hear.
That's the Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band on 'Cricketer' - and they never fail to bring tears to my bloodshot eyes.
If you are hearing these songs for the first time ever, I genuinely, genuinely envy you...
Roy Harper - 'When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease' (1975)
Roy Harper - 'The Flycatcher' (1980)
[Originally from this and this; but both now available on this]
[Footnote - 'Cricketer': 'Legendary British DJ John Peel made an agreement with his producer John Walters that in the event of Peel's death, Walters would play the song. Unfortunately, Walters died in 2001, making the agreement redundant. Nevertheless, the song was still played in tribute to Peel on several radio stations after his death in 2004' - Wikipedia]
[And! Nick Harper's lovely 'Riversong' is playing over at Barefoot In The Head. Ain't I good to yooz?]