Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Poignant duet by Johnny Cash and Rosanne Cash

Phil writes: Not surprisingly, duets by members of the same family often work well and September When It Comes, recorded shortly before Johnny Cash's death, is exceptional.

Buy mp3 from Amazon

Monday, 30 November 2009

Friday, 27 November 2009

And while I'm recalling Live Aid

Phil writes: How about this? No-one who saw this can ever disassociate this strangely haunting though not totally appropriate song Drive from these deeply shocking images. I think it was said at the time that Bowie gave up some of his own onstage time so that this video could be shown. It had more impact than any of the live performances.

Children are still dying from hunger and you can still donate. If the links don't work, click here.

A dynamic duet by David Bowie and Mick Jagger

Phil writes: Some people (can't remember who) did Dancing In The Street on BBC Children in Need night and I was reminded of this. A great surprise at Live Aid, this specially recorded video brought the house down and, no doubt, lots of money in. They obviously enjoyed it too.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

A classic duet

Phil writes: This didn't start as a duet. First Diamond and then Streisand recorded it before they got together when it made a convincing duet - unlike some you hear. The original recording can also be found on YouTube and musically it's probably better but as a performance this one is pure class:

Buy the mp3 from Amazon

Friday, 30 October 2009

great YouTube clip by Lulu and the Lampshades

You're Gonna Miss Me features a chorus from an old folk song and verses written by Lulu. Lulu is the one on the left. She's good.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

skip forward 2 mins 30 seconds to see Shirley Bassey making Tom Baxter her own

Joe writes: Then she sings his wonderful song Almost There. It wasn't written for her but it might as well have been. And it's better than the new songs that were written for her (or the few I've heard anyway).

Friday, 23 October 2009

A truly great road song: America by Paul Simon

Phil writes: Probably one that everyone knows but it's always nice to think that someone out there may hear it for the first time and personally I never tire of it. Meant to post this when they started running Greyhound buses in the UK. Wouldn't really work for me - surely they're all about the vast distances and the scenery from the moon rising over an open field to the New Jersey Turnpike. No, British Greyhounds make me think of 'Do you know the way to Sandringham?' or 'By the time I get to Tulse Hill'. Favourite lines: Kathy I'm lost I said though I knew she was sleeping/I'm empty and aching and I don't know why."

Buy the mp3 from Amazon

Friday, 9 October 2009

A Worthwhile Cover - Raining In My Heart by Raw Holly

Phil writes: Sometimes you can't understand why someone bothers with a cover but this one grabbed me on its first release, some voice this guy's got - I even bought the record! Like most of my 45s it disappeared somewhere along the way but I'm really pleased it's been re-released on a whole album of Holly covers:

Buy the mp3 from Amazon

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Chas & Dave

Joe writes: Sad news that Chas & Dave have split, but at least they had their career renaissance while they were still together - I tried to see them at Glastonbury a couple of years back but couldn't get near the tent for the crowds of people.

Given the tragic circumstances, the most appropriate song to post would be In Sickness And In Health, but their classic hit was of course Ain't No Pleasing You (I say that as if I have a comprehensive knowledge of their catalogue - I don't, sadly).

buy the mp3 from Amazon

Joe writes: What A Wonderful Surprise

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Many Rivers To Cross

Joe writes: A while back, I happened to record Jimmy Cliff performing Many Rivers To Cross on TV. It's a great rendition of one of my all-time favourites so I posted it to YouTube.

When I was a teenager, some people came round to my mum's house one Saturday night and I played them Many Rivers To Cross on the gramophone, with that very quiet organ intro then Jimmy's piercing vocal at top volume. My guests back then were not an appreciative audience, but YouTube users are. They seem to find the performance inspirational and I'm inspired by their comments. One day I hope to be involved in a piece of music as good as Many Rivers To Cross.

Buy the mp3 from Amazon

Saturday, 22 August 2009

a folk music funeral

Joe writes: I went to a funeral recently where four wonderful pieces of folk music were played.

Ride On by Christy Moore is a tearjerker in any context, let alone at a funeral.

Safe In The Harbour was written about the folk singer Stan Rogers. It's part of the canon of beautiful songs about people who died too young, my favourite of which is Boulder To Birmingham by Emmylou Harris.

The Last Trip Home is another folk song that lends itself perfectly to a funeral, and like many folk songs, it doubles up as a history lesson.

Finally, Ewan MacColl's song Manchester Rambler was written for the mass trespass on Kinder Scout which helped win the right to ramble. What a great chorus , although the best bit of it ("I may be a wage slave come Monday, but I am a free man on Sunday") isn't included in the Amazon excerpt. Ewan's other classic songs included Dirty Old Town and The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.

Amazon links:
Christy Moore - Ride On
Eric Bogle - Safe In The Harbour
The Battlefield Band - The Last Trip Home
Ewan MacColl - The Manchester Rambler

Friday, 17 July 2009

Fade Into You by Mazzy Star

Joe writes: Another Mazzy Star track was featured on a TV advert recently but this is their classic track.

Mazzy Star - Fade Into You (Amazon)

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Blue Eyes by Mika

Joe writes: When I heard this on Radio 2, I rushed over to the (digital) radio to find out what it was. I was convinced it must be an oldie - they don't make pop records as good as this anymore. But no - it's from Mika's new acoustic EP.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Another song I'd forgotten

worldsgreatestmusicdad writes:

Buffy Saint Marie wrote and recorded this song. There are several well-known covers, Elvis and Neil Diamond for example, but she does a good job with it. She's touring here very soon. She may be best known for 'Universal Soldier' which I always thought a bit earnest and unsubtle but this is a gem.

Buffy Sainte-Marie - Until It's Time For You To Go (Amazon)

Friday, 26 June 2009

Michael Jackson

The World's Greatest Music writes...

I Want You Back is a contender for the greatest pop record of all time.

Billie Jean is the greatest dance record of all time.

This is the greatest dance move of all time:

Off The Wall and Thriller are the albums it's OK to like but Bad was brilliant too, as was Black And White.

He was still making great music in the mid '90s - Earth Song may be schmaltzy but it's also a fantastic song.

I wonder if there will ever again be multi-talented, mass appeal, worldwide music megastars like Michael?

Almost There

World's Greatest Music writes...

I'm hearing rumours that Shirley Bassey has covered my favourite song from Tom Baxter's debut album, Almost There. Hopefully Shirley's version will be more inspired than Boyzone's cover of Better.

Tom Baxter - Almost There (Amazon)

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Torn Between Two Lovers

Joe writes: I'm a big fan of obituaries - I find them very inspiring. When I read in Barry Beckett's obituary that his first no. 1 as a producer was a record called Torn Between Two Lovers, I knew it was going to be good. Why don't they make records like this anymore?

I must admit I hadn't heard of Barry Beckett or Mary MacGregor until a week ago, then Barry passed away and his career was extensively discussed by Bob Lefsetz and his readers.

It's rather difficult to buy Mary's hit version of this song, but of course it's easy to find on YouTube and Rapidshare. The YouTube comments are fabulous, particularly this one that says it all: "Perfect voice and delivery... This song has one of the most beautiful melodies with a wonderful chord progression. Too bad the concept is from the pits of Hell. The opposite of Love is not Hate; the opposite of love is Selfishness."

Mary MacGregor - Torn Between Two Lovers (link to buy an mp3 album on Amazon including this track)

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Joe writes: When Clap Your Hands Say Yeah first came to prominence, I wasn't interested. I think it was the name and the buzz that put me off, or maybe I just listened to the wrong tracks.

Then a few months back I heard a track I loved playing in a vintage clothes store, Shazamed it, and discovered it was their The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth.

And last week my wife opened a blog about fashion and its music player started playing another great track. This time Shazam didn't recognise it but Download Helper revealed it to be Telling The Truth (And Going Away), written for the film The Great Buck Howard.

So I'm now officially a fan of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. What do you mean they've split up?

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Telling The Truth (And Going Away)

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth (seemingly not available to buy digitally but here's a link to the album on Amazon)

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Father and son

worldsgreatestmusicdad writes...

It's good to hear that Yusuf Islam is returning to music. I always thought that this was a truly excellent song. His original version was so much better than the cover by some boy band who I can't even be bothered to look up. Apart from the total blandness, they failed to notice the 'two voices', a simple enough device that turns this good song into a great one, an archetypal 'generation gap' song. And what about this: 'You will still be here tomorrow/But your dreams may not.' The father gets a fair crack of the whip.

Cat Stevens - Father and Son (Amazon)

Saturday, 23 May 2009


worldsgreatestmusicdad writes...

A very distinctive song recorded by Kiki Dee in 1973. I was kind of reminded of it by a TV interview she did, though it's one of those songs you never really forget:

Dee - Amoureuse (Amazon)

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Leave Right Now

World's Greatest Music writes...

continuing a theme of songwriters singing classic songs made famous by others, here's Eg White singing Leave Right Now, which was a huge hit for Will Young. I heard a demo of this before Will's version was released and it sounded wonderful, even though Will himself didn't want to record the song and delivered a very half-hearted vocal at the first attempt. I wonder whether he likes it now.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

A haunting track by k.d. lang

worldsgreatestmusicdad writes:

This Jane Siberry song from k.d. lang's excellent album 'Songs of the 49th Parallel' is truly amazing - one of those songs you can't hear too often.

k.d. lang - Love is Everything (iTunes)

"Elvis Presley is underrated"

Joe writes: So said Pete Wylie said so on TV last night and watching this, I have to agree:

Pete Wylie is definitely underrated

Elvis Presley - An American Trilogy (live) (Amazon)

Pete Wylie - Heart As Big As Liverpool (iTunes)

Monday, 20 April 2009

Chet Baker again

worldsgreatestmusicdad writes:

BBC 4's screening of 'Lets Gets Lost' provides me with an excuse to post this exquisite Chet track:

Chet Baker - Time After Time (Amazon)

Sunday, 5 April 2009

More road songs

worldsgreatestmusicdad writes:

The first road is more of a spiritual one, though it does involve lots of travelling. I can see why some people might find Mike Scott a bit annoying - the details of his journey aren't as interesting to us as they clearly are to him - but this develops into epic song so stick with it.

The second Mike Scott track to make my little list will also irritate some listeners being a bit too Celtic. I like the humour of it myself, and the swirling instrumentation. A 'bang on the ear' is apparently the Irish equivalent of a peck on the cheek - wouldn't you just know?

Rod McKuen wrote one of the archetypal songs of this kind (all the women in all the places). His own version doesn't seem to be available anywhere. The song was covered by Sinatra (amongst others) but that's not on YouTube either. Fortunately Johnny Cash's is.

Dave Loggins' song is a variation on this theme. He travels, but his woman stays put and repeatedly punctures his romantic dreams. She just wants him to come back home. (I always assumed that this was by Kenny Loggins of Loggins and Messina theme but Dave is apprently his cousin).

The Waterboys -A Long Way to the Light (doesn't seem to be on YouTube but if you've got Spotify (and you should have) click for the link) (Amazon)

The Waterboys - And a Bang on the Ear (Amazon)

Johnny Cash - Love's Been Good To Me (Amazon)

Dave Loggins - Please Come to Boston (Amazon)

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Road Song #3

worldsgreatestmusicdad writes...

O.K., I'm aiming for ten. This Kris Kristofferson song is one that has probably inspired many others. Janis makes it her own and it seems to work just as well with Bobby being a man. Some deceptively simple yet very memorable lines: 'Freedom's just another word for nothin left to lose.' 'I'd trade all my tomorrows for a single yesterday/Holdin Bobby's body next to mine.'

If you don't have Kristofferson's own version:

Kris Kristofferson - Me and Bobby McGee (Amazon)

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Road Song #2

worldsgreatestmusicdad writes:

Every time I listen to this song, I notice some other subtlety. The story is a common one in this genre - a couple meet, they travel, she (usually she) leaves, he (usually he) mourns. I think the poignancy here comes from his clear approval of her philosophy even though it led her to move on. Musical and lyrical magic.

Richard Thompson - Beeswing (Amazon)

Friday, 20 March 2009

re-post of old thread about Dan Black

Joe writes: This got a takedown notice so I've reposted it without the offending link.

Dan Black used to be the singer in The Servant who were big in Italy and France. He also sang vocals for the dance project Planet Funk. Now he has covered Hypnotize by Notorious BIG and it's a lot of fun. Try the excellent Pinglewood blog for more.

Dan Black - HYPNTZ (not on iTunes yet)

Monday, 16 March 2009

Road Songs #1

Phil writes: The Guardian's '1000 songs everyone must hear' has already reminded me of a few I meant to post and hopefully will now get round to. Road songs is not one of their fairly arbitrarily chosen seven categories - understandably - but there are a good number of these songs and this is surely one of the most memorable, by a neglected artist who has written several outstanding songs.

Bob Seger - Roll Me Away (Amazon)

Friday, 13 March 2009

from Shelby to Dusty to American Music Club to The Carpenters

World's Greatest Music writes...

Your Lies and Leavin' should have been huge hits for Shelby Lynne when she was first signed to Mercury. She was kind of Norah Jones meets Duffy.

Shelby's last record was a covers album of songs immortalised by Dusty Springfield, plus one new composition. You can hear tracks on Shelby's rather neglected MySpace site.

One Dusty classic Shelby doesn't cover is No Easy Way Down, perhaps because Norah Jones also covered it recently. If you don't own any Dusty albums then get Dusty In Memphis - it's as good as everyone says.

American Music Club also covered There Is No Easy Way Down, which gives me an excuse to post my favourite AMC track Johnny Mathis' Feet. In some ways AMC were a pre-cursor to the emo and Americana-tinged sound that is so prevalent in North American alternative music today (Arcade Fire etc).

Come to think of it, American Music Club have great taste in covers - they also covered my favourite Carpenters song Goodbye To Love.

Shelby Lynne - Your Lies (Amazon)

Shelby Lynne - Leavin' (Amazon)

Dusty Springfield - No Easy Way Down (Amazon)

American Music Club - Johnny Mathis' Feet (Amazon)

The Carpenters - Goodbye To Love (Amazon)

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

epic indie prog

Joe writes: I rather like this band The Fine Arts Showcase from Malmö, and particularly their epic track Friday On My Knees. It reminds me of something Mark Radcliffe would have played in his Radio 1 days. In fact it reminds me of something specific he did play, Safesurfer, my favourite Julian Cope track. Read the Rolling Stone review of the album that contains Safesurfer.

The Fine Arts Showcase - Friday On My Knees (Amazon)

Julian Cope - Safesurfer (Amazon)

Friday, 6 March 2009

Kiss Kiss

World's Greatest Music writes...

Excellent American band who fill the gap between System Of A Down and Scouting For Girls, which is quite an achievement I'm sure you'll agree.

Kiss Kiss - Satellite (Amazon)

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley

Joe writes: I started on this thread because The Rockingbirds' eponymous 1992 debut album is being reissued on April 6th with a bonus disc. The Rockingbirds were a country rock band and so several years ahead of their time or twenty years behind it, depending which way you look at it. Restless is a great track and you can pre-order the album from Amazon.

The Rockingbirds were produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, arguably the great British production team of the eighties, which gives me an excuse to post a Langer Winstanley greatest hits of sorts. As well as being producers, they wrote the music to Shipbuilding, one of my all-time favourites (Elvis Costello wrote the brilliant lyric).

Elvis Costello - Shipbuilding (Amazon)

Robert Wyatt - Shipbuilding (iTunes)

They Might Be Giants - Birdhouse In Your Soul (Amazon)

Hothouse Flowers - Don't Go (Amazon)

The Rockingbirds - Restless (not on Amazon yet)

The King Blues - The Schemers, The Scroungers & The Rats (iTunes) (Clive Langer was involved in this one)

Dexy's Midnight Runners - Come On Eileen (Amazon)

Madness - My Girl (Amazon)

They also produced Bush. And I must get some music from Clive Langer's band Deaf School to post here.

Larkspur Falls

Joe writes: Larkspur Falls is a new artist being developed by producer David Kosten.

I think her song Final Round is a hit.

He voice reminds me somewhat of early Tracey Thorn (Everything But The Girl). I recommend their first album Eden.

Larkspur Falls - Final Round

Everything But The Girl - Each And Every One (Amazon)

Asher Roth - I Love College

Joe writes: Very big hit. I don't understand why people compare him to Eminem though. I can't quite think which rapper it is that he reminds me of the most, but he's closer to De La Soul or Skee-Lo than Eminem.

I Love College is or originally was based around a sample from Say It Ain't So, an excellent Weezer track that was new to me.

Asher Roth - I Love College (Amazon)

Skee-Lo - I Wish (Amazon)

Weezer - Say It Ain't So (Amazon)

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Dance Like A White Boy (remixed by a white man)

World's Greatest Music writes...

World's Greatest Music writes...

Master Shortie has the personality to be a big star. Musically and stylistically, there's no-else quite like him. His single Dance Like A White Boy has been remixed by Fast from the Fun Lovin' Criminals under the name Radio Riddler and I like this remix even more than the original.

Master Shortie - Dance Like A White Boy (Radio Riddler Remix)

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Revelry by Kings Of Leon

World's Greatest Music writes:

Isn't this what The Gaslight Anthem are trying to do, done properly?

Kings Of Leon - Revelry (Amazon)

Thursday, 12 February 2009

A songwriter who started young


I first heard 'Diana' over and over again on a seaside jukebox in 1957. I still think it is a great rock track and the fact that he was 16 when he wrote and recorded it is still surprising. Only recently, with all the Buddy Holly anniversary hype, did I learn that Anka penned Holly's posthumous hit, 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore' - apparently in a matter of minutes. He also provided the English lyrics to 'My Way' which may now have been done to death but is surely a major song by anyone's standards.

Paul Anka - Diana (iTunes)

Paul Anka - It Doesn't Matter Anymore (iTunes)

Lady Of The Sunshine

Joe writes: I have this CD with no information on it. It's somewhere between a stripped down Kings Of Leon and Fleet Foxes, and it's really good, especially the first five tracks. I googled the title and artist (Smoking Gun by Lady Of The Sunshine) and it turned up nothing, which added to the intrigue.

It turns out it's a solo album by Angus Stone of Angus & Julia fame and it's due out in April. Here's one of those opening five tracks. There are even better ones awaiting you on the album.

Lady Of The Sunshine - White Rose Parade (not on Amazon yet)

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes

If you can't wait for the official release and you haven't discovered how easy it is to rip from YouTube to mp3 yet, go to www.vidtomp3.com

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Tommy Reilly

World's Greatest Music writes...

I think Tommy Reilly is going to be big and this is his best song.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Human by The Killers

World's Greatest Music writes:

Over the Christmas holidays I decided that this was my favourite track of 2008. Current single Spaceman is very good too.

The Killers - Human (Amazon)

Get Behind Me Satan And Push

Joe writes:  I heard this in a vintage clothes store in Brussels. Brilliant but rather hard to find track. It may be from 1968, or the 70s, but it sounds older than that.

Billie Jo Spears - Get Behind Me Satan And Push (not on iTunes or Amazon)

two great American pop records

World's Greatest Music writes...

T-Shirt by Shontelle which is my favourite R&B record (well, pop really) since Umbrella.

And Love Story by Taylor Swift, an awesome pop song that reminds me of Oh Romeo by Mindy McReady.

Shontelle - T-Shirt (Amazon)

Taylor Swift - Love Story (not on Amazon or iTunes UK yet although the video is on iTunes. Record companies eh?)

Mindy McReady - Oh Romeo (Amazon)

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

I was listening to Radio 2

worldsgreatestmusicdad writes:

Something I rarely do, but on Saturday mornings there's that incomprehensible programme on 5 Live where everyone talks rubbish very fast and a bell keeps ringing. I heard this track and was fascinated by the sound before I realised what it was. Many years since I last heard it but one of the many great Bowie tracks.

Apparently it was his first single after Space Oddity (it bombed). I actually bought Space Oddity as soon as I heard it but this passed me by until I caught it on 'Aladdin Sane'. Marc Bolan played guitar on the original.

David Bowie - The Prettiest Star (Amazon)

Monday, 12 January 2009

Insensitive by Jann Arden

Joe writes: Brilliant track that was a minor UK and bigger US hit in the post-Jagged Little Pill era. They don't make them like this anymore, sadly, although I see Jann is still making good music.

Jann Arden - Insensitive

Thursday, 8 January 2009

the songwriter BC Jean's original demo of If I Were A Boy

World's Greatest Music writes...

I much prefer this to Beyoncé's saccharine version, on which she oversings.

BC Jean - If I Were A Boy (demo)

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

More Louis

worldsgreatestmusicdad writes:

I keep thinking that there are people out there who might not have heard this incredible Hot Seven track, and everyone should hear it at least once. Here's Armstrong at the height of his power, laying down (over 80 years ago, for God's sake) a track which even today sounds breathtakingly inventive. Notice how the other musicians struggle to keep up - even the great clarinet virtuoso Johnny Dodds cannot match him, though if you heard him without Louis you'd think he was an incredible musician - which he was.

Louis Armstrong - Potato Head Blues (iTunes)


World's Greatest Music writes:

Gangsta's Paradise is returning to the UK charts as Coolio is on the TV. Gangsta's Paradise is one of the all-time great pop hip hop records, but so is C U When U Get There, my personal favourite Coolio track. Imagine how big Coolio would have been if C U When U Get There had followed soon after Gangsta's Paradise instead of there being an almost two year gap between the two. Now he's reportedly being paid a measly £30,000 to appear on Celebrity Big Brother. Sad.

Coolio - C U When U Get There

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Satchmo Night on BBC 4

worldsgreatestmusicdad writes:

This was an excellent series of programmes for anyone looking for great music. You don't have to be a 'jazz fan' to appreciate much of his output. One of his most memorable achievements was recorded in 1938 It contains some amazing trumpet playing and one of the first recorded scat vocals. Enjoy (ignoring the oddly uninspiring animation - this seems to be the best audio version on YouTube):

Louis Armstrong - West End Blues (iTunes)