Friday, 26 November 2010

Can we get much higher?

Joe writes: Haven't fully digested the Kanye album yet but the opening hook "Can we get much higher?" is brilliant. Is it sample? Does anyone know what from?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

If You Can't Give Me Love by Suzi Quatro

Phil writes: This is one of many excellent songs that passed me by during a decade when I had priorities and preoccupations - work and kids mostly - that made it difficult to keep up. Great song, great voice, great sound. I finally heard it on the excellent Vintage TV channel.

I particularly like that catch in her voice every so often - somehow reminds me of the amazing Martha Wainwright, as does the climax of the song.

Friday, 19 November 2010

The Devil Has All The Best Tunes

Joe writes: The first record I remember buying (as opposed to having bought for me) was Prefab Sprout's Nightingales/The Early Years EP on 7". It took me a while to get into it but they were possibly my favourite band for a long time.

The A side featured a harmonica solo from Stevie Wonder.

The B sides were two early singles, released in 1982, prior to their first album Swoon (which is my favourite Prefab Sprout album).

I was going to post The Devil Has All The Best Tunes and I even went to the trouble of ripping it from vinyl. But, although it's quite charming, I would mostly have been posting it because of the title and it doesn't qualify amongst the world's greatest music.

Maybe Lions In My Own Garden (Exit Someone) doesn't either but it did signal the arrival of an incredibly ambitious group who sometimes fulfilled that ambition.

buy from iTunes

(update of post from 19/09/07)

The devil doesn't have all the best tunes

Joe writes: Christian records are generally very melodic, uplifting, well produced, and occasionally funny.

And no, I'm not counting U2 et al. To qualify for my Christian list you have to be really brazen about your religious beliefs.

Here are six of my favourites:

Michael W Smith - Love Me Good (iTunes)

Reeve Carney - Think Of You (not on iTunes UK but there is a version on iTunes US)

DC Talk - Jesus Freak (iTunes)

Newsboys - Take Me To Your Leader (iTunes)

Margaret Becker - Clay And Water (iTunes)

Matthew West - Next Thing You Know (not on iTunes UK but it is on iTunes US)

(updated version of post from 19/09/07)

I Never Promised You A Rose Garden

Joe writes: Excellent Canadian rapper Shad samples the Lynn Anderson hit on his single but my favourite cover of the song is still this one by The Suicide Machines.

The song was written by Joe South who also wrote Hush as recorded by Deep Purple and Kula Shaker.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Prophet by CJ Bolland

Joe writes: A dated but nonetheless good and evocative dance record that I heard somewhere recently.

buy The Prophet from iTunes

(originally posted 18/09/07)

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

World's Greatest Music writes: Puressence

I'm pretty sure it was Puressence who graffittied their name all over Manchester city centre before they were signed. This didn't endear me to them and nor did their first album, although I would probably hear something good in it if I listened again now.

I thought their second album Only Forever was great and should have made them one of the line of massive British bands that ran Radiohead, The Verve, Manic Street Preachers, Travis, Stereophonics, Coldplay etc.
James Mudrickzi has a really excellent voice.

Here are three tracks from Only Forever:

(buy It Doesn't Matter Anymore from iTunes)

(buy Street Lights from iTunes)

and here's a TV performance of This Feeling:

(buy the original from iTunes)


Joe writes: I really liked this song when Cheryl Cole did it but I've only just found out, thanks to the 902012 blog, that it was written by Ingrid Michaelson whose version is here:

Thursday, 4 November 2010

more on The Roches and The Wainwrights

Joe writes: It 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)

(update of post original from 28/06/2007)

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Phil writes: I plan to do the same. In the meantime......

How about this great Sinéad O'Connor track? I came to it by way of an excellent Joss Stone cover. Its starkness and power (particularly in the original) place it in a long line of political songs inspired by real events which goes back at least as far as Woody Guthrie and probably a lot further.

Not of course the only great song to mention Margaret Thatcher (jump to the performance at 4.01 if you wish but the discussion is unusually informative).:

John Prine - Fish & Whistle

Joe writes: I've always thought I should get into John Prine but never quite got round to it

Love this song though - Fish & Whistle (Amazon)

and here's a YouTube version although the studio take is much better:

(update of post originally from 12/07/07)

Let's Dance

Joe writes: Always was a great David Bowie song. The line "and if you say run, I'll run with you" is so brilliant and unexpected, musically.

There are two cover versions around at the moment but I prefer this one by M Ward from a few years ago (it doesn't seem to be on iTunes, probably because the artist is precious about it).

Here's Hi-Fi, a really good M Ward original (iTunes).

And here's a little-known Bowie track, It's Gonna Be Me (Amazon).

I read somewhere that John Lennon came on board late for Bowie's cover of Across The Universe, so they had to lose something from the Young Americans album to make way for it, and this was the track they lost. You have to be a really great and prolific songwriter and artist to leave out tracks this good. See also Sad Eyes by Bruce Springsteen (iTunes).

(update of post originally from 15/08/07)


Joe writes: I love the idea of M.I.A. - the way she looks, the packaging, the lyrics, her and the fact that she is so cool - but I often find the tunes a bit disappointing.

But there's at least one track on the new album that is good fun and has crossover appeal - Paper Planes (iTunes)

(old post updated from 08/08/07)

Hammond Song by The Roches

Joe writes: Thanks to the group Beacons for introducing me to Hammond Song. It should be called If You Go Down To Heaven. It's really beautiful. The Roches are three sisters produced by Robert Fripp. Listening to it, I was convinced the group would be dead or reclusive but it seems they are back together and touring.

The Roches - Hammond Song (Amazon)

originally posted 26/06/07

This blog was nominated for an award

Joe writes: This is flattering but also embarrassing - not least because we (me and my dad) update this blog so rarely.

So I will take some old posts from the blog, featuring some of the world's greatest music, and repost them with YouTube links.