Saturday, 31 December 2011
Friday, 30 December 2011
The version used on the film is by Luke Kelly of The Dubliners who first set the Patrick Kavanagh poem to the tune of the traditional song The Dawning Of The Day. I prefer Van Morrison & The Chieftains' take, from the album Irish Heartbeat which my dad has written about before. I love the bit where Van whispers. In fact, the entire vocal performance is incredible.
Here they are performing it on the BBC:
Sunday, 25 December 2011
Joe writes: Obviously the best Christmas record ever is Fairytale of New York and the best Christmas album ever is the Phil Spector one.
Here are three less obvious choices
3) Christmas Song - Dave Matthews Band. From the Platinum Christmas album which also contains two other really good Christmas originals by Dido and R Kelly. Maybe I'll post those next year.
2) O Tannenbaum - The Vince Guaraldi Trio. An essential purchase at this time of year is the A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. This is the opening track - a jazz piano trio version of the tune also known as The Red Flag isn't obviously Christmas-y, but the whole album really is.
1) A Kind Of Christmas Card - Morten Harket. Great uplifting track from former A-Ha frontman that should have been a massive hit. Shades of All The Young Dudes.
(update of post originally from 3/12/2007)
Thursday, 22 December 2011
Joe writes: Amarillo by Tony Christie was a modest hit in its day, but a huge UK no. 1 in recent years. Dominick The Italian Christmas Donkey wasn't a hit in its day, but it will be the Christmas no. 2 in the UK this year. Sadly the lesson in both cases is that no-one makes music with these qualities anymore, so these tracks stand out from everything else around them.
Incidentally, Lou Monte did have two novelty hits in America but neither of them were as good as this.
Sunday, 18 December 2011
Saturday, 17 December 2011
Friday, 16 December 2011
Thursday, 15 December 2011
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Monday, 12 December 2011
4.Keep On Movin' - 5ive
5ive's greatest hit, written by producers Richard "Biff" Stannard and Julian Gallagher, and 5ive members Sean Conlon, Abs Breen and J Brown. Musically, 5ive were a bit more interesting than your average boy band (no Wrong Direction here).
3.Flying Without Wings - Westlife
Written by Wayne Hector and Steve Mac, and it sounds from Wikipedia like it might be another of those songs that came together very quickly. Although Shane Filan out of Westlife is a really good singer, I'd be interested to hear this sung without unnecessary embellishment by a proper soul singer. I'd also love to hear the demo which I assume Wayne Hector sang.
2. Leave Right Now - Will Young
Before it was released, I heard a demo of Will singing this Eg White song. Despite a half-hearted vocal from Will, it sounded wonderful. Will didn't like the song but was eventually persuaded to put his heart into it, and it repaid him, and Eg White, with long careers. I'm not sure Simon Cowell was particularly involved with this process, but still.
1. Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
The single of 2007 and, for me, Simon Cowell's greatest hit (also his biggest I suspect, having gone worldwide). It was written by Jesse McCartney and Ryan Tedder. Ryan Tedder's production is simple but brilliant. Pain + pop = perfection.
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
Friday, 2 December 2011
My favourite Cam'ron track and one of my favourite hip hop tracks is The Wrong Ones:
The Wrong Ones is based around a sample from As We Lay by Shirley Murdock:
While we're on the subject of classic songs about cheating, how about Angel Of The Morning? It was written by Chip Taylor (who also wrote Wild Thing), adapted by Shaggy for his hit Angel, but the original UK hit version was by Merrilee Rush & The Turnabouts:
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Could Radiohead have ended up in the same boat as The Candyskins? They were on the verge of being dropped by Parlophone when Creep became a surprise hit in Israel, then San Francisco, then across the USA, until finally it was re-released in the UK, becoming their first top ten hit. But still they were seen as grunge copyist hacks in some quarters (not mine - my brother bought Creep on cassette single first time around, and we went to see them supporting James; I still have the Pop Is Dead t-shirt I bought on that tour). They weren't truly established until their outstanding second album The Bends.
Incidentally, the track that opens the film is one of the best pieces of music in it, the 1977 hit Romeo by Mr Big, which pre-dates the era when Oxford had a "scene":
Monday, 14 November 2011
Sunday, 13 November 2011
The Platters - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes:
The Lettermen - The Way You Look Tonight:
It's produced by Arif Mardin. The musicianship is incredible and the songwriting even more so. The first five songs are flawless, including the only one that's really well known, She's Gone. The album came out in 1973 and it took three years for She's Gone to become a US hit (it reached no. 7 in 1976). It was their first UK hit the same year, although it only reached no. 42 here. Opening track When The Morning Comes is my favourite, so simple and concise, with a lyric full of yearning and intrigue.
When I first wrote about this album, it was only available in the UK on import and there was one track missing from iTunes. Fortunately that has now been remedied.
Hall & Oates - When The Morning Comes:
Hall & Oates - Had I Known You Better Then:
(update of post original from 10/06/08)
Thursday, 10 November 2011
1. 1901 by Phoenix
3.People Help The People by Cherry Ghost
5. TheDistrict Sleeps Alone Tonight by The Postal Service
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Monday, 7 November 2011
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Friday, 28 October 2011
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Joe writes: I've written about the Awesome Tapes From Africa blog before. Now they've launched a record label and their first release is by Malian singer Nâ Hawa Doumbia. Danaya might not keep your attention for the full seven and a half minutes but the first minute is pure magic. Buy the album here.
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
Fattie Bum Bum is one of the great one hit wonders. It's already in my wedding DJ sets - now with Greg's support it will hopefully be even better received. It's probably my favourite single released by the unique UK Records label (for more on them, including Carl's flop follow-up Miss Wire Waist, see So Many Records, So Little Time).
Monday, 17 October 2011
Thursday, 13 October 2011
Saturday, 8 October 2011
Tuesday, 4 October 2011
Friday, 30 September 2011
"I'm giving you a night call to tell you how I feel" - Nightcall by Kavinsky from the Drive soundtrack
Thursday, 29 September 2011
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Sunday, 25 September 2011
Thursday, 22 September 2011
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Sunday, 18 September 2011
The other classic from that first Damien Rice album is The Blower's Daughter. Incidentally, I wonder how Damien Rice feels about his music being prefaced by McDonald's ads on YouTube?
The second Damien Rice album 9 didn't sell as well as O but it's brilliant. Here's The Animals Were Gone:
Country Line reminds me of the mini Gram Parsons revivalist that was around in the nineties. Here are The Rockingbirds with Restless:
Here are my two favourite Gram Parsons tracks, A Song For You and The Return Of The Grievous Angel, both featuring Emmylou Harris. I once put one or both of these tracks on a CD for a girl at my sixth form college, along with Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell etc. She couldn't handle the country twang.
Emerald Sword by Rhapsody was on a CD that came with the charmingly amateur-looking Hard Roxx magazine. I wrote about this recently, and I recently bought a Rhapsody pin badge in an independent record shop in Arezzo in their native Italy.
One of the first covermounts I acquired after my family got a CD player was also one of the best. It was a Sony Music compilation Now That's What I Call Free which came with Q Magazine at a time when Sony must have been having identity problems. Highlights were Appetite by Prefab Sprout, Restless by The Rockingbirds, and two lovely, understated songs by artists who were little heard of subsequently, Sometimes I'm Wild by Jerry Burns and I Will Be Waiting by Martyn Joseph, who is still around and touring.
(update of post originally from 20/08/08)
Sunday, 11 September 2011
Thursday, 8 September 2011
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
Sunday, 4 September 2011
Monday, 29 August 2011
Sunday, 28 August 2011
Friday, 26 August 2011
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Monday, 22 August 2011
"Come sail your ships around me, and burn your bridges down. We'll make a little history baby, every time you come around."
I posted a great version of The Ship Song here. Now the Sydney Opera House have done a "BBC Lou Reed Perfect Day" on it.
Friday, 19 August 2011
Holy Spirits - Bokang Modimo from South Africa
Black Rose - Raude from Fiji
Thursday, 18 August 2011
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Saturday, 13 August 2011
[The above is an update of a post from 14/01/08. The track in question is now available on iTunes and seems to be called Love Enough To Care featuring Levi Stubbs.]
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
Friday, 5 August 2011
Tuesday, 2 August 2011
Saturday, 30 July 2011
Friday, 29 July 2011
Thursday, 28 July 2011
Monday, 25 July 2011
Thursday, 21 July 2011
Friday, 15 July 2011
Yuck - Shook Down:
Teenage Fanclub - Mellow Doubt:
Teenage Fanclub - Sparky's Dream:
Teenage Fanclub - Neil Jung:
While I'm on a Teenage Fanclub trip, here's my other favourite TFC track The Concept:
Monday, 11 July 2011
Later in her teens she began to look and act her age and achieved her wish to make pop music with the likes of How Do I Live and Can't Fight The Moonlight, but those are the kind of songs anyone can do. LeAnn is probably the only artist in the last 30 years who could have recorded Blue.
Saturday, 9 July 2011
Thursday, 7 July 2011
For anyone who wants to be reminded of the appalling facts see the Wikipedia article here.
Monday, 4 July 2011
How sad that only a couple of hundred people have viewed this.
Sunday, 3 July 2011
Wand'rin' Star was a UK no. 1 in 1970, keeping Let It Be by The Beatles at no. 2, but weirdly it was never a hit in the US.
Friday, 1 July 2011
Thursday, 30 June 2011
MUMMY SHORT ARMS - Cigarette Smuggling by Flowers In The Dustbin
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Thursday, 23 June 2011
Sunday, 19 June 2011
The first two Springsteen albums - "I've broken all your windows and I've rammed through all your doors"
You don't hear many covers of songs from Bruce's second album, The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle, which saw him move away from conventional songwriting, presumably influenced by Astral Weeks. Normally I'm a "conventional songwriting" kind of person, but this is probably my favourite Bruce album (just as Astral Weeks is my favourite Van Morrison album). The magic comes when the jams eventually coalesce into hooks, as on the chorus of 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy). Or on Incident On 57th Street, when he sings "Goodnight, it's alright Jane". This song could be a companion piece to the Scorcese film Mean Streets and like Scorcese, Bruce was just warming up for what was to come. Amazing live version here (Bruce is one of the few artists for whom the recordings of the live versions are worth a listen alongside the studio recordings):
Friday, 17 June 2011
Thursday, 16 June 2011
His life outside music has been inspiring too.
Jason Derulo uses a line from Banana Boat Song in his horrible new single but don't let that put you off.
Harry Belafonte - Banana Boat Song (Day-O)
Harry Belafonte - Matilda
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
(There's also a very fine live acoustic version on YouTube which can't be embedded.)
This video gives a glimpse of them on the road and also includes their wonderful version of 'Love Hurts':
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Sunday, 12 June 2011
Skip forward to 38 minutes to hear an anecdote about Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, the South African national anthem. I was moved to tears. This song played a big part in my youth.
Then right after that on the Radio 4 show is some interesting background on Beethoven's Ninth, and how it was received when Beethoven conducted its first performance.
Joni Mitchell was listeners' no. 1 female artist and A Case Of You the no. 1 female song which is also true on my desert island.
There's a discussion of why this song is so great, plus some footage of Joni Mitchell performing live at 7.30 in this video:
The Desert Island Discs website now features details of every track chosen by guests on the show.
(Would have posted this before but I've been on holiday!)
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
My first girlfriend could play this on the piano.
Note added September 9th 2012: Scooter have borrowed a couple of lines from Promise Me for their new single 4am, along with a big nod to Million Voices by Otto Knows.
Monday, 6 June 2011
The album's thank-you list is the best I've ever seen, and makes me think Tanya's searing anger could somehow have been turned into an angle:
Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Thursday, 26 May 2011
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Tuesday, 10 May 2011
John Walker from The Walker Brothers has died.
The Electrician by The Walker Brothers used to be my favourite track of all time. Like many of my favourites, I taped it from Mark Radcliffe's brilliant Out On Blue Six show on Radio 1 in the early '90s. At the time, I don't think it was available on CD except as a bootleg. When I did eventually get it on CD and so heard it without tape hiss and FM compression, it lost a little of its mystery, but it's still an incredible, unique and hugely ambitious piece of music. You can hear the link to Scott's recent material but it is much more accessible.
Sean O'Hagan writes about it in this interview with Scott Walker (as it happens, Mark Radcliffe also used to play Sean's band The High Llamas). Brian Eno might have a point. Most of the classic albums of all time were released in the ten years prior to 1978 (the year The Electrician was released on the Nite Flights album). I was a big fan and early adopter of Eno's two recent collaborators Coldplay and Dido, but I'm not sure either is really doing anything that wasn't done in the '70s. How many great albums have been released in the past 30 years that genuinely couldn't have been made in an earlier era? (dubnobasswithmyheadman by Underworld springs to mind, and the whole of hip hop, but not too much else.) What's more, it's hard to imagine any of today's artists having the ambition or resources to make a track like The Electrician.
Not that everything was better in the past. In the early '90s, I had no idea what The Electrician was about, and had no way of finding out. Now, in the internet era which has transformed music discovery for the better, Sean's article plus a quick Google search suggest three themes - drug taking, S&M sex, and torture techniques employed by the CIA. Chris Martin eat your heart out.
I've also posted a Brian Eno track that I discovered via Out On Blue Six. One day I'll do a more comprehensive Out On Blue Six post.
(update of post originally from 11/11/08)
Tuesday, 3 May 2011
It features Charles and an array of experts explaining not only how pop songs work but why they are so great. Too many goosebump moments to mention but I particularly loved the footage of Joni Mitchell performing A Case Of You live (oh to see that in the flesh), Dire Straits doing Romeo & Juliet, plus the deconstructions of Back To Black (Amy not AC/DC) and Salvador by Jamie T.
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
Friday, 22 April 2011
Here's System Of A Down's greatest hit Chop Suey which was almost unique amongst rock records of the time in managing to be hard, cool, melodic and modern all at the same time. Wonderfully clean sound as well:
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Saturday, 16 April 2011
So Many Records, So Little Time is probably my favourite mp3 blog. It's written by Kevin Patrick, once A&R for Wheatus and now manager of Matt & Kim.
SMR,SLT posts I've enjoyed today include one on Don Fardon and another on Terry Reid, featuring a gripping version of Stay With Me Baby produced by Mickie Most.
There's also an early Appearing press release for The Orb. I consider myself a music geek but frankly I have nothing on Kevin.
Kevin, if you do want to listen to a second Boo Radleys song then I recommend Find The Answer Within: