Sunday, 25 May 2008

Another Lost Album, Another Spectacular TOTP Performance

Leo Sayer's debut album 'Silverbird' was full of good tracks and showed off his distinctive voice and unusual vocal range to excellent effect. His TOTP debut was even more striking (and happily some helpful person has put it on YouTube - not the original, I think, but very close in spirit). This was, of course, in the days when there were only two or three channels and everyone was talking about this guy in the clown suit and his mesmerizing performance. Since then he's had a well-documented decline, with occasional rediscoveries, but he has written and performed some memorable songs and I wouldn't bet against another comeback at some point.

Leo Sayer - Silverbird (Amazon)

my all-time favourite Eurovision entry

Mocedades - Eres Tú (iTunes)

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Jimmy Cliff just performed one of my favourite songs of all time on Later

Joe writes: If you are not down with the Jools noodly piano version, fear not - here is the classic original.

It's one of those songs that many people have covered, and it should be easy to cover, on paper, but in reality nothing comes close to matching Jimmy's version.

Jimmy Cliff - Many Rivers To Cross (iTunes)

Monday, 19 May 2008

Does Martha Wainwright sound like Kate Bush to you????

Phil writes: She does to me, at least on a couple of the tracks on her new album. That's not necessarily a bad thing I suppose - as long as she doesn't make a habit of it. Although KB is one of those artists who deserves some credit for originality, I think her voice would get intensely irritating if you listened to more than a track at a time. See what you think by comparing the Martha track with Kate's stunning second single, which she performed on TOTP while doing the weirdest swinging round dance. Martha's voice is actually much more versatile - listen to her singing two great standards (as part of Rufus's Judy Garland tribute) on YouTube.

Martha Wainwright - Tower Of Song (iTunes for the album)

Martha Wainwright - Stormy Weather

Martha Wainwright - Someone To Watch Over Me

Kate Bush - Wow (iTunes)

The Ting Tings are no. 1 in the UK so here's a track from their previous outfit Dear Eskiimo

Dear Eskiimo - Jo (posted by Joe)

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Neil Diamond

So Rick Rubin continues to "do a Johnny Cash" on Neil Diamond. I'm not totally convinced this is playing to Neil's strengths but I'm in favour of anything that gets him the credit he deserves as one of the great pop songwriters and performers.

Here's an Neil classic that's ripe for revival (it's practically a dance record already thanks to that kick drum).

Neil Diamond - Forever In Blue Jeans (iTunes)

Monday, 12 May 2008

Scooter have the no. 1 album in the UK today

Edith Bowman played a track on Radio 1 then slagged it off even though it sounded rather good. As I haven't worked out what that track is, here's my favourite Scooter track Friends, available with the new album along with 19 of their best tracks on a bonus disc.

Scooter - Friends (iTunes)

Saturday, 3 May 2008

It's just like discovering a lost Beatles album

For me, as for most people, I guess, 'She's Not There' was the only really solid reference point when the Zombies were mentioned. It is a very memorable song. A few years ago I heard Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent talking on the radio and this prompted me to seek out a Colin Blunstone album. It quickly became a favourite and this track showcases his very distinctive voice.

I knew nothing about 'Odessey and Oracle' until my son mentioned that they were reforming the original line-up to play the whole album live for the first time ever (the band broke up even before it was originally released). He sent me the album and got us tickets for the show. Both were great. You can see why it is often described as a classic album - there's not a duff track on it and some of the songs are indeed up there with the best of the Beatles' stuff. You really do need to listen to the whole album but the striking opener, with its unusual story-angle, makes a reasonable taster.

Colin Blunstone - Say You Don't Mind (iTunes)
The Zombies - Care of Cell 44 (iTunes for the album)