Thursday, 13 December 2007

Going To California

A lovely, simple, plaintive track from Led Zeppelin IV that didn't make it on to Mothership

Led Zeppelin - Going To California (iTunes)

Thursday, 6 December 2007

more Chasing

This time for Gemma Hayes who was Mercury Music Prize-nominated a few years back.

Chasing Dragons is from her forthcoming third album The Hollow of Morning which is short and dark (my kind of album).

It's an "end of relationship" song (as are many of my favourite songs), and for me it's the best thing she's done.

Gemma Hayes - Chasing Dragons (Amazon)

Lisa Hannigan (and Damien Rice)

Joe writes: There is new solo material coming soon from Lisa Hannigan who sang vocals on both the Damien Rice albums but is no longer working with him. I'm really excited about this new material. Damien is possibly my favourite artist of the millennium so far and Lisa could be great on her own.

So here's a seasonal a capella cover from Lisa, and her own version of Cannonball. I've also posted the Billie Holiday version of Don't Explain which Lisa covers, as does Cat Power on her forthcoming covers album.

I really think the second Damien Rice album should have sold better. The record company blame the artist for refusing to allow them to do radio mixes until it was too late. I think they picked the wrong second single in Rootless Tree. Anyway, I suspect in time the album will be recognised as a classic. The first half of the album is one awesome, brutal song after another. My favourite is probably The Animals Were Gone - such a great opening line and title. All the lyrics are great in fact. And it's kind of seasonal.

Lisa Hannigan - Silent Night (iTunes)

Lisa Hannigan - Cannonball (Damien's original version on iTunes)

Billie Holiday - Don't Explain (iTunes)

Damien Rice - The Animals Were Gone (iTunes)

Chasing Pavements and Rainbows

Joe writes: The new Adele single, written with Eg White, is properly great. A cool artist, doing a song that is basically Gabrielle. It's going to be huge.

I keep wanting to call it Chasing Rainbows which is of course Shed Seven's finest moment.

Adele - Chasing Pavements (it's not on iTunes yet and a company called Web Sheriff on behalf of Adele and XL Recordings have asked me not to link to the mp3 - see comments below where there are a couple of links)

Shed Seven - Chasing Rainbows (iTunes)

Friday, 30 November 2007

Whole Wide World by Wreckless Eric

Joe writes: The Proclaimers have just covered this song. I suppose it suits them but it's a straight cover and rather uninspired.

Andy Davies, sidekick to Jonathan Ross on his Radio 2 show, was putting together a tribute album where a number of artists covered this song, but I don't think it will ever see the light of day.

There's only one version you need to be honest.

Wreckless Eric - Whole Wide World (iTunes)

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Plastic Little and The Cure

Joe writes: I didn't actually hear Plastic Little on the radio today but I heard both Jo Whiley (Radio 1) and George Lamb (6music) talking about the fact that were going to play Plastic Little.

I wonder what track they played? Certainly not the piece of filth that is Get Close. Janet Street-Porter could read out the phone book and it would still sound good, as long as Close To Me by The Cure was the backing track.

My other favourite Cure track is In Between Days (of course). Here's the demo with almost no lyrics - it sounded great even in that form.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Cat Power's latest covers album

The first track from Cat Power's forthcoming Jukebox album has just gone up on iTunes. It's an new original song called Song To Bobby apparently about meeting Bob Dylan, and very nice it is too (here's the iTunes UK link).

The rest of the album is covers plus one new version of an old Cat Power song. All the originals are worth owning, especially Lost Someone by James Brown Live at the Apollo (the other amazing live recording in the world apart from The Dance by Garth Brooks), the Theme From ‘New York, New York’, Dark End of the Street, and Don't Explain by Billie Holliday. I've restrained myself to posting just one of the originals, my new favourite Janis Joplin track, Woman Left Lonely, written by Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn (the latter of whom also co-wrote Dark End of the Street).

iTunes should do an album of "Buy the originals". I think I'll suggest it to them.

Janis Joplin - Woman Left Lonely (iTunes)

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Radiohead's In Rainbows album sleeve

as I've just been sent Radiohead's album sleeve, here it is:

and here's my favourite track from the album, which is their best since OK Computer

Radiohead - House Of Cards (buy from iTunes - yes, Radiohead are on iTunes with In Rainbows)

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

I hate live recordings except for this one

I mean, what's the point? It's like taking a photo of a painting through the window of an art gallery at night, when the lights are off.

I see there's a Garth Brooks compilation out in the UK this week. This gives me an excuse to post one of my favourite songs of all time, The Dance. It's such a great lyric and, I think, the right philosophy to have about relationships (better to have loved and lost...). The original studio version of The Dance is almost perfect but if you want that, buy the album. I've posted a live recording - one of the few I like - where Garth manages to preserve the basics of the original version, while the crowd of what sounds like millions sing along to every word. It's incredibly exciting.

Garth Brooks - The Dance (Live) (there is basically no Garth Brooks music on iTunes at present)

The Dance was written by Tony Arata. You can hear his version of the song and buy his CD at CD Baby.

almost a month on, I can officially announce that the best track from In The City 2007

is Mielato by Patrizia Laquidara

(not on iTunes UK so here's a link to iTunes Italy)

Friday, 9 November 2007

Put A Penny In The Slot by Fionn Regan

I first heard Fionn Regan when Jonathan Ross played this track on Radio 2, and it's still my favourite track of his. Now it's his new single.

Fionn Regan - Put A Penny In The Slot (iTunes)

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Anna Ternheim

Anna Ternheim is playing some UK dates soon. More details on her MySpace.

I love her track Shoreline. I first heard it in a weirdly sped up version which I downloaded from somewhere or other. It's a cover of a song by Broder Daniel who were described to me as a Swedish equivalent of The Stone Roses - i.e. very influential on Swedish guitar music without achieving massive sales.

Anna Ternheim - Shoreline (Radio Version) (not on iTunes UK yet)

Anna Ternheim - Shoreline (sped up version) (definitely not on iTunes)

Broder Daniel - Shoreline (iTunes)

Saturday, 3 November 2007

two great but very different records for fireworks night on Monday

The Force & Styles record is probably my favourite happy hardcore record. I heard it first on John Peel.

I've never been sure about Embrace but the closest I came to being sure about them was this song.

Force & Styles - Fireworks (not on iTunes sadly)
Embrace - Fireworks (iTunes)

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Leona Lewis

I had written Leona Lewis off but Bleeding Love is one of the singles of the year.

This could also be a no. 1 for her if released - a cover of Run by Snow Patrol recorded for Radio 1's Live Lounge yesterday.

Leona Lewis - Run (click here to hear the whole Live Lounge session on Radio 1 Listen Again for a limited time only)

click here to buy Bleeding Love on iTunes

David Ford

I'm a big fan of David Ford. I like the passion and the vitriol. Here's the best track from his new album, a real anthem called I'm Alright Now which I think is his new single in the UK. And the best track from his debut album, which was one of my favourites of that year, I Don't Care What You Call Me, in its full glory (over six minutes long).

David Ford - I'm Alright Now (the label asked me to delete the mp3 link so here's a link to the video on YouTube (iTunes)
David Ford - I Don't Care What You Call Me (iTunes)

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Paul Simon dance bootlegs

I really love both of these but I'm posting the links now mostly so that any recent visitors to the blog know it's not just about country music.

Paul Simon - Diamonds Dub by Tangoterje (iTunes link for the original, and a link to buy the vinyl)

Georgie Glamour feat. Simon & Garfunkel - Silence (iTunes link for the original)

Alison Krauss

is a wonderful pure-sounding vocalist who is about to have a no. 2 album chart entry in the US and the UK with Robert Plant.

Other blogs have featured tracks from that album so here are some classics from her catalogue.

Her early compilation Now That I've Found You was successful in the UK, and paved the way somewhat for the later success of Eva Cassidy, then Norah Jones, and then Katie Melua. A great cover of Baby Now That I've Found You was the single which I think I'm right in saying was playlisted by Radio 1. Her cover of Keith Whitley's song When You Say Nothing At All was also great, and inspired Ronan Keating's later hit version. I bet that's the first mp3 blog post to mention both Ronan Keating and Katie Melua.

Her cover of The Three Bells was on an album called Tribute To Tradition that only seems to be available second hand at present. It's a straight cover so I've posted the Browns original as well, but they're both magical. When you're as good as Alison, you can afford to keep it simple.

Finally, Down To The River To Pray (which should be called Down In The River To Pray) was on the phenomenally successful Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack.

Alison Krauss - When You Say Nothing At All (there's only a live version on iTunes but it sounds OK)

Alison Krauss - The Three Bells (not on iTunes)

Jim Ed Brown & The Browns - The Three Bells (iTunes)

Alison Krauss - Down To The River To Pray (iTunes)

country music death no. 2: Frank Callari

Frank Callari has also died. Frank managed Ryan Adams and Lucinda Williams so here are two of their best tracks.

Ryan Adams - New York, New York (iTunes)

Lucinda Williams - Greenville (iTunes)

country music death no. 1: Porter Wagoner

Porter Wagoner has died. I don't know Porter's own material that well but he helped bring Dolly Parton to America's attention and inspired her song I Will Always Love You - two amazing claims to fame as far as I'm concerned.

Dolly claims that Elvis Presley wanted to record I Will Always Love You but this fell through when Dolly refused to give up a share of the writing credit on the song. Maybe it was karma when, many years later, Whitney Houston made it one of the biggest hits of all time. Whitney or whoever did the vocal arrangement could have asked for a share of the writing in the new version because they add some wonderful melodies.

Porter Wagoner - I've Enjoyed As Much Of This As I Can Stand (iTunes)

Dolly Parton - I Will Always Love You (iTunes)

Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You (iTunes)

Friday, 26 October 2007

Cham - Ghetto Story

I've had this track on my computer for 18 months but I've only just round to listening to it properly. What an incredible vocal.

Cham - Ghetto Story


Republic Of Loose

I was pleased to see that Republic Of Loose have finally found a champion in the British press in Lisa Verrico.

They are a truly amazing live band on their day, and Girl I'm Gonna Fuck You Up from their debut album is a solid gold classic as far as I'm concerned.

Republic Of Loose - Girl I'm Gonna Fuck You Up (not on iTunes so here's a link to buy the album from Amazon)

Thursday, 25 October 2007

(If You Want It) Do It Yourself

(If You Want It) Do It Yourself is a really good Gloria Gaynor track that should be much better known. There's a dance version soon to be released so perhaps the original will be better known before long. Wonderful verse, awesome chorus, a lyric that says a lot, and I'm not normally particularly interested in videos or YouTube clips but skip forward to 2.05 in the below and you'll see why I've posted this one:

Gloria Gaynor - If You Want It (Do It Yourself) (iTunes - and there's at least one awful re-record on iTunes as well so make sure you buy the right version which clocks in just under six minutes)

Friday, 19 October 2007

Midlake (updated)

I didn't like Midlake until I heard playing in a second hand clothes shop the other day (thanks to Shazam for identifying it for me).

Despite having grown up an indie kid, I don't really get that whole North American indie intelligentsia Arcade Fire/Interpol/Shins/Bright Eyes thing apart from a couple of tracks here and there. This is one of those tracks - it's kind of beautiful.

It also reminds me a little of The Last Time I Saw Richard by Joni Mitchell, possibly my favourite track from possibly my favourite album of all time, Blue

Midlake - Bandits (iTunes)

Joni Mitchell - The Last Time I Saw Richard (iTunes)

Friday, 12 October 2007

Warren Beatty vs Carly Simon vs Helen Reddy

Carly Simon had had breast cancer when she recorded The Bedroom Tapes album, so called because a studio had to be built in her daughter's old bedroom to enable her to make the album. She thought it might be the last album she was able to make, and used it to settle some old scores. There are some wonderful and vitriolic tracks on there, my favourite of which is Scar. You're So Vain is famously rumoured to be about Warren Beatty and I have it on good authority that Warren may also be the old flame who makes an unsavoury appearance in Scar.

Carly Simon - Scar (not on iTunes US - which surprises me as the album gave her a commercial comeback there - or UK which doesn't surprise me as the album was barely released here)

Carly Simon - You're So Vain (iTunes)

I discovered Helen Reddy recently and mistook her voice for Carly Simon's at first.

Helen Reddy - Angie Baby (iTunes)

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Love Becomes A Savage

Stephen Duffy's group The Lilac Time have a new album so here's my favourite Lilac Time track, Love Becomes A Savage.

buy from iTunes

Blueberry Pancakes

I heard Blueberry Pancakes by Fink on Colin Murray's Radio 1 show last night. A singer songwriter track with pleasant echoes of the grunge era.

buy from iTunes

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Rogue Wave

I downloaded Publish My Love by Rogue Wave weeks ago and finally got round to listening to it tonight. I've forgotten why I downloaded it but I'm glad I did - it's good, but not as good as another track I found by them tonight, California.

buy California on iTunes

Friday, 28 September 2007

Good Girls by Wale

Joe writes: It seems I'm about eight months late on this but I've just discovered it as I was checking out Cousin Cole remixes after someone recommended him. I love it. I think I marginally prefer the remix to the original but both versions are great. "Good girls never give it up on the first night" is such a great hook.

(updated April 14th 2015)

Bed by J Holiday

This is no. 5 and climbing on the Hot 100 in the US and I'm sure it will be a huge hit in the UK too. It's good enough to be an R Kelly single! I've stolen the link from the excellent Mixtape Maestro blog. I hope he or she doesn't mind. Nice to see a blogger writing about R&B (there aren't too many doing that, unless you count MIA as R&B).

J Holiday - Bed (iTunes)

Mixtape Maestro are also pretty early on the new Natasha Bedingfield track which features Sean Kingston. This will be the first single from her second album in the US and I think could save her ailing career in the UK.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

The Beast In Me

This is on a BBC trailer at the moment for some drama with the annoying Irish guy out of Cold Feet.

What a track though! Covered by Johnny Cash and featured on the Sopranos soundtrack which I guess is where the BBC picked up on it.

Nick Lowe - The Beast In Me (iTunes)

Thursday, 13 September 2007

updates on Natalie Merchant and Tinseltown

Natalie Merchant's song is on the Shazam chart because it was featured on Hollyoaks

and Tinseltown have now posted four songs on their MySpace - all impressive but the best one is still Skeletons

Tinseltown - Skeletons

Monday, 10 September 2007

My Skin by Natalie Merchant is no. 5 in Shazam's pre-release tag chart

I suspect this is a mistake as it's from the Ophelia album which is nine years old, but this gives me an excuse to post two wonderful tracks from the same album:

Natalie Merchant - Break Your Heart - iTunes
Natalie Merchant - Life Is Sweet - iTunes

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Vampire Weekend

This band have been written about rather a lot on the blogs already and rightly so. They sound to me like they are obviously destined success in the way that The Killers were destined for success. They have anthems that should walk on to the radio. Some people don't agree at all and see them as rather a niche band at best. I can only think this is because of the unusual lyrical themes. In their songwriting and sense of melody, they remind me of The Kinks. And I love the traditional South African element to their sound (think Paul Simon Graceland). They're also bright, nice, ambitious and good looking.

Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma (iTunes)

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Katie Melua

Katie Melua was the biggest selling female Brit in the world last year. Her new single If You Were A Sailboat is really rather good but I'm still not sure what to make of a career based around being Eva Cassidy but young and not dead.

If You Were A Sailboat has something in common with Foundations by Kate Nash in that it mostly comprises a rather tricksy lyric about a relationship but then floors you with something genuine and touching. Kate: "My finger tips are holding onto the cracks in our foundations/and I know that I should let go/but I can't". Katie: "You took a chance on loving me/I took a chance on loving you".

While Katie is a decent singer, Eva was one of the great singers of all time. But Katie does seem like a nice person and I'm pleasantly surprised by her positive attitude to Mike Batt, who writes many of her songs, owns her label, and broke her by spending loads of money on TV advertising. Most artists would have turned against him and belittled his contribution by now, mistakenly believing their own talent to be the primary reason for their success. Not Katie (or not so far, anyway).

My favourite Eva track that's not a cover is Anniversary Song, but her two masterpieces are her versions of Somewhere Over The Rainbow and Fields Of Gold. If you haven't got those then you must buy the classic Songbird compilation.

buy Anniversary Song from iTunes

new Nine Black Alps and another Princess Diana tribute of sorts and Jackson Browne

The second single from the second Nine Black Alps album is Bitter End and it's a good one.

But their best and poppiest track to date is the third single, Future Wife. It reminds me of when I was first listening to Radio 1 and Mark Goodier was presenting the Evening Session. Which specific band I'm not sure - maybe The Candyskins.

Future Wife - Nine Black Alps (album is released on October 22 so not on iTunes yet)

There are excerpts from five new Alps album tracks here

There are four Candyskins tracks here including Wembley (the one I first heard on the Evening Session) and Car Crash, the track that I believe should have broken them after Monday Morning scraped into the top 40. But the label procrastinated and then Princess Diana died in a car crash, making it rather difficult for UK radio to play a song called Car Crash.

Wembley - The Candyskins (iTunes)
Car Crash - The Candyskins (iTunes)

I think Car Crash was probably inspired by Song For Adam from the first Jackson Browne album. Song For Adam is one of those singer songwriter songs which make you really want to know the background to it, like Famous Blue Raincoat or The Last Time I Saw Richard.

Song For Adam - Jackson Browne (iTunes)
Famous Blue Raincoat - Leonard Cohen (iTunes)
The Last Time I Saw Richard - Joni Mitchell (iTunes)

the return of James Blunt

The first time I heard James Blunt, it was because SXSW made this track available from their website. I listened and thought "Not bad and I will try and see him at SXSW", which I didn't manage to do.

By the time UK radio started playing You're Beautiful as a finished record, I'd forgotten all about the SXSW connection but had convinced myself that James Blunt was a no-hope artist (his singles prior to You're Beautiful got almost no media support). Then I realised that You're Beautiful is one of the five pop songs of the millennium so far. It was also massively exciting for the record industry that James Blunt sold millions of albums around the world thanks to one song (not that the follow-ups were bad but it was this song that drove the sales). If someone made an album containing three songs this good, imagine what it would sell.

You're Beautiful was improved as a song between this demo and the final version. For a start, the demo is too close to Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. But when I first heard You're Beautiful, I was deaf to its potential as a song. And when I heard it again as a finished UK single, for a while there I let my prejudices about the artist and campaign deafen me to its brilliance.

James has a real shot at an enduring A list career.

You're Beautiful (demo version) - James Blunt (final version on iTunes)

damn it, I missed the Diana anniversary

I can't wait another five years to post this kinda lovely, kinda weird track from Prefab Sprout who were once my favourite group.

"She tastes of apple strudel, you can tell she does".

The lyric then goes on to be rather prophetic as Chris Winn's comment on the bottom of this Telegraph article highlights.

It's from Prefab Sprout's "lost" album Protest Songs. Dublin from the same album is also lovely.

Prefab Sprout - Diana (iTunes)

Prefab Sprout - Dublin (iTunes)

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Eddie Cochran just asked to me by friend on MySpace

No offence to Jennifer Grayson or Destroy Cowboy, but Eddie is the kind of friend request you really want.

The first music I owned was three cassettes that my parents bought me for my birthday, called Rock 'n' Roll Greats Volume 1 and 2, and something like The Best of 1964. They were an important part of my musical education and Eddie was on there several times.

Georgie Fame wasn't on any of these compilations, but Steve Wright played Yeh Yeh today on Radio 2. What a great track. It really reminds me of something - perhaps In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry, or perhaps something more recent.

Eddie Cochran - She's Something Else (iTunes)

Georgie Fame - Yeh Yeh (iTunes)

Longpigs in the top ten at last

Crispin Hunt and Richard Hawley both used to be in the Longpigs.

Crispin co-wrote Dream Catch Me, the hit from the UK no. 1 Newton Faulkner album.

Richard's latest solo album is also in the UK top 10

So here are the three classic Longpigs singles, all from their first album The Sun Is Often Out.

Longpigs - She Said (iTunes)

Longpigs - On And On (iTunes)

Longpigs - Lost Myself (iTunes)

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Richard & Linda Thompson

I read on another blog Music Slut that M Ward has covered When I Get To The Border, by Richard and Linda Thompson. An excellent excuse to post my favourite Richard Thompson tracks:

Richard & Linda Thompson - When I Get To The Border (iTunes)

Richard & Linda Thompson - I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight (iTunes)

Richard Thompson - Dry My Tears And Move On (iTunes)

Richard & Linda Thompson - Dimming Of The Day (iTunes)

Richard Thompson - Tear Stained Letter (Amazon), and read the wonderful lyrics where it also lists nine albums it appears on

Here's a live version from the Old Grey Whistle test:

I really don't have an exhaustive knowledge of Richard's catalogue so if anyone else can suggest any other great ones, please do (yes I am really excited that I've already had three comments on my blog without telling anyone about it, and would like more).

(post updated 19/12/2011)


Interscope are trying to break Rooney again. I always thought Stay Away was the track to break them. Great lyric, great record.

Stay Away - Rooney - iTunes US (it's not on the UK store)

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

this song is great

I thought I'd written about it before but it seems not.

Total smash. Almost perfect.

Better by Tom Baxter - iTunes

I liked some stuff on his first album too - Almost There particularly (iTunes) - but Better is a cut above.

Tony Wilson

Joe writes: Some people are only fully appreciated after their death. Everyone realised how great Tony Wilson was while he was still alive, and this is some consolation to me.

Here are tracks from three of the different incarnations of Factory.

Decades by Joy Division (iTunes)

Hymn From A Village by James (Amazon)

Wasted by Hopper (not on iTunes although another album by them is there)

Having A Party (Live in London) by The Young Offenders Institute (not on itunes although another single by them is)

Tony was a visionary not only about music but also about technology - eight years ago, he set up a company called music33 to sell mp3s at 33p each which was probably about the right price. But his approach to business was erratic to say the least, which might explain why only one of my four Factory choices was actually available on iTunes at the time of writing.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke mix of Mr Brightside by The Killers

I heard this at someone's house the other day on an iPod. It's not new. In fact it's everything current club music isn't - melodic, accessible, musical.

mp3 and iTunes

His mix of Four To The Floor by Starsailor was very good too.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

new single by The Feeling

It's called Loneliness and it's great

"loneliness - what is the point of it?"


but it really works, being very like the best of the first album with an excellent tune and a hint of emotion


postscript from March 4th 2009:

This featured on The Feeling's underperforming second album but it never was a single. It should have been!

The Feeling - Loneliness (Amazon)

Wednesday, 18 July 2007


I saw an amazing band tonight. They are called Tinseltown. They are going to be huge - I guarantee it. I first heard about them when my girlfriend showed me a YouTube video of the singer sitting on her kitchen table, wearing the kind of hot pants/t shirt combo a teenage girl might wear in bed, playing a song on acoustic guitar. The song and vocal were both hopeless but the singer was incredibly cute and an obvious star. The video now seems to have disappeared from YouTube (let me know if you find it). Anyway, I ignored them because the music was hopeless, but then they put a track up on their MySpace site that's really good. It's called Skeletons and it's cool but incredibly commercial (that rare but precious combination). It's basically a re-write of "the hip bone's connected to the thigh bone".

Anyway, Tinseltown's frontwoman is called Romily Alice. She walked on stage tonight in what must be one of her first gigs (she is very young), and stared at the audience throughout, totally fearless and totally at home onstage. Her act is unbelievably affected, like a younger female Razorlight, but also unbelievably good. The music industry turnout was massive.

All this is causing me to have a rethink of some of the ways I approach the music industry. I'm going to have to stop ignoring obvious stars just because their music is hopeless. My rationale was that a star is no good without a hit song, but recently a large number of obvious stars with hopeless music have somehow managed to pluck some good music from somewhere. I suppose it's no coincidence.

By the way, I also saw Razorlight play live when they were unsigned. I'd previously seen Johnny Borrell do his wannabe Bob Dylan thing about a year earlier. Razorlight was many of the same songs with some Scandinavian Strokes lookalikes hired as his backing band. I really didn't like them at all. The next day I saw several people at Mercury who were about to sign them. One of them said "He's a star and his best songs are yet to come" and I thought they were (A) mad and (B) jumping on bandwagon in a really uncool way. Then, some months later, when the campaign was really struggling, I saw Johnny pull out all the stops to save it. He did Golden Touch on Parkinson, accompanied by a gospel choir. That turned the album around. But I still wasn't a total convert until I heard America (iTunes). What a song (Johnny Borrell apparently fought against it being released as a single as it was a co-write with the drummer rather than 100% his).

Having said all that, I don't think America did anything outside the UK and I don't suppose Tinseltown will either.

I then went to see unsigned band Mesh 29 who had a no. 35 hit last week with Over The Barricade (iTunes). There were absolutely no music industry people there which shows how little a top 40 "success" means to the music industry. Mesh 29 have good songs and a decent singer. In fact they probably have more of the core musical ingredients necessary for bona fide international success than Tinseltown or Razorlight. But they are inescapably naff.

Friday, 13 July 2007

heard this great track on Mike Harding's Radio 2 folk show this week - Galway Girl

Joe writes: Love Steve Earle, love Sharon Shannon, love Galway Girl (iTunes)

My favourite Steve Earle track is Valentine's Day but I'm saving that.

My favourite Sharon Shannon track is The Diamond Mountain:

(update of post originally from 13/7/07)

Saturday, 30 June 2007

vocals out of tune

C U When U Get There by Coolio is one of my favourite records but were the chorus vocals always out of tune? I never noticed it at the time but they sound badly out of tune on Sendspace and iTunes

Thursday, 28 June 2007


It looks like Robyn will break the UK. I didn't pay that much attention at first because I remember her from ten years ago when she was doing generic Cheiron-type pop.

Anyway, her new record is like Peaches meets Madonna with really good vocals. She worked on it with the guy out of Teddybears and has covered their best track Cobrastyle. Here's the Robyn version on iTunes. And the Teddybears version (iTunes).

Also, she has covered List Of Demands by Saul Williams. It's a rubbish version but I applaud the idea. iTunes link for Robyn's version. iTunes link for Saul's best track Black Stacey.

My favourite Robyn track so far is the one Radio 1 have just added - her guest vocalling on Kleerup's emotive electronic project (about time we had one of those), with a song called With Every Heartbeat (iTunes)

more on The Roches and The Wainwrights

Thanks to Clararama for pointing out that The Roches' song should actually be called If You Go Down To Hammond, not Heaven. That explains why there was only one reference to "If you go down to heaven" on Google (from someone else who mis-heard the lyric). A shame as "If you go down to heaven, you'll never come back/In my opinion you're on the wrong track" would have been a great lyric, like a more interesting take on Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton.

It could be argued that by starting my blog with a mis-heard lyric, I've already failed in my bid to create the best music blog in the world. I disagree. This will be the best music blog in the world because of the music linked to, not the quality of the research.

It also turns out that there's a link between the Roches and the Wainwrights - Lucy Wainwright Roche is the daughter of Suzzy Roche and Loudon Wainwright III. This is a good excuse to post my favourite recordings by Wainwright/McGarrigle family.

Rufus Wainwright - Go Or Go Ahead - iTunes or Amazon

Martha Wainwright - Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole (iTunes). If there's one thing even better than a really sad song, it's a really vitriolic song. Awesome vocal too. Written about her father Loudon so something of an answer record to I'd Rather Be Lonely.

Loudon Wainwright III - Primrose Hill (iTunes). If you end up destitute in London, I recommend living on the side of Primrose Hill, at least in summer. It's nice.

Kate & Anna McGarrigle - Matapedia (Amazon)

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

about The World's Greatest Music

I have been thinking about this and I've come to the conclusion that my mp3 blog could well become the greatest in the world.

All my life, I have spent an inordinate amount of time seeking out music. I like to think I have a good ear for it and I'm certainly an obsessive, but I'm sure those things are true of most mp3 bloggers. What will give my blog the edge is a two-pronged approach. On one hand, the best music of all-time, from the obvious to the obscure. On the other hand, an unusual degree of access to the best new music from unsigned bands to superstar artists.

Then there is my taste - extremely broad. If you are a music snob then there are plenty of blogs for you, but this isn't one of them. After all, it's named after an R Kelly song. But had it existed earlier, this would have been the first place to tell you about Eminem, Belle & Sebastian, Eva Cassidy, Nirvana, Radiohead, Coldplay, Keane, Damien Rice, The Beatles, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Garth Brooks, Hall & Oates, Chris Barber, Chopin, and Crazy Frog.

When writing about a track, I will where possible provide links to an mp3 for listening purposes (preferably at less than CD quality so there's an extra reason to buy the CD or download if you like it), and a download store (usually iTunes).

I never want to do anything to harm the music industry (which I love), or any artist's career, so if you want a link removed, get in touch and I'll do it as soon as possible.