Saturday, 31 December 2011

Fields of Gold - Eva Cassidy

Phil writes:  I caught a bit of an extended Radio 2 interview with Sting.  I was reminded of this version of possibly his best song, surely one of the greatest covers ever.

Friday, 30 December 2011

This Masquerade - The Carpenters

Phil writes:  I've been listening to a lot of Carpenters stuff recently  -  another favourite of my wife Sue's.  Karen Carpenter does have a unique, and wonderful, voice (Rumer sounds a bit like her, as everyone remarks).  This Leon Russell song is maybe not the greatest they ever recorded but it does show off her voice superbly and it contains the killer lines:  'We tried to talk it over but the words got in the way'.
 


On Raglan Road from the In Bruges soundtrack

Joe writes: I recent saw the film In Bruges which features the song On Raglan Road over a key scene.

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

Christmas Records


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)

Marvin Gaye - Sunny (Mercury Edit II)

Joe writes: The song is better known in its Boney M version. Marvin is better known for many other songs. But it's a great song and a great vocal performance which survives this re-edit.

Marvin Gaye - Sunny - Mercury Edit II by Mercury (Switzerland)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Lou Monte - Dominick The Italian Christmas Donkey


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.


I really like the new Band Of Skulls single Bruises

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Closing Time by Semisonic

Joe writes: Dan Wilson, formerly of Semisonic, co-wrote the song of 2011, Someone Like You by Adele. Here's Semisonic's finest moment Closing Time. When you watch the video and listen to the song, you will understand why Dan now writes songs for other people rather than being a rock star himself.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Richard and Linda Thompson

Joe writes: I wrote about my favourite Richard Thompson songs a while back, but that was before I knew Walking On A Wire by Richard and Linda Thompson



buy from Amazon

Here's a live version:



(update of post originally from 07/06/10)

Friday, 16 December 2011

Elizabeth and the Catapult - Thank You for Nothing

Phil writes: A link to this was tweeted by Mike Scott of the Waterboys when he was recently in New York. It's a very good song, and Elizabeth has a great voice, reminiscent of Martha Wainwright.

Is Your Love in Vain?

Phil writes: There's not a lot of Dylan on YouTube, not for want of trying but they usually get pulled. This is a live version of one of my favourite tracks from 'Street Legal' which to me represented a definite return to form when it first appeared.

Being Boring and To Face The Truth

Joe writes: Someone on Twitter pointed out that Being Boring is a very December-ish song. True, and it's also my favourite Pet Shop Boys song. The chord change going into the words "When you're young" is pure magic. The melody goes on forever. The lyric seems to encapsulate an era and a lifetime. Pain + pop again, and an element of "better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all".


Of course Behaviour is my favourite Pet Shop Boys album, with its themes of heartbreak, infidelity, and death. My other favourite Pet Shop Boys song is also on this album, the underrated To Face The Truth. This should have been a single but I guess wasn't because Being Boring was a relatively failure at the time. Songs containing lots of primary rhymes can be trite and grating but "You know it hurts me when you lie, sometimes it even makes me cry, cos I'm so in love with you" is a perfect lyric and melody.


Thursday, 15 December 2011

is Calvin Harris the world's best producer of hit backing tracks?

Joe writes: The backing track alone is good enough to make We Found Love a hit, something that could also be said of Dance Wiv Me by Dizzee Rascal, Calvin Harris and Chrome. Rihanna's video is rather better though.

the tracks of the year 2011

Joe writes: My tracks of the year are:

5. Price Tag - Jessie J (the album came out last year but the single was this year)
2. We Found Love - Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris
1. Someone Like You - Adele

My personal favourites are Video Games, Jar Of Hearts, and You Don't Know How Lucky You Are by Keaton Henson (when I first blogged about this, I wasn't involved with it and didn't imagine I could be, but I am now). I also love Foster The People's Pumped Up Kicks but I first blogged about that in May 2010 so it's not a 2011 track to me. Earthquakes by Labrinth feat. Tinie Tempah is the most exciting production of the year.

I had a conversation earlier this year about what a hit is nowadays, because some of the biggest UK artists don't really have anything you'd describe as a hit. Price Tag is a hit song in the old-fashioned sense.



We Found Love is the best Calvin Harris track and it's competing with Umbrella as the biggest and best Rihanna track. It seems Calvin wrote the topline as well as the backing track - he is a proper talent.



Previously I've only blogged a dance remix of Someone Like You so here's the original:

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

"It's wonderful, chips chips" from the Valentina advert (Via Con Me by Paolo Conte)

Joe writes: I first heard this when it was on an advert for investment trusts ("ITs wonderul" - geddit?). It also featured on the soundtrack to French Kiss. Now it's on an advert for Valentina perfume. It can only be a matter of time before it features on an advert for chips. Anyway, it really is a wonderful piece of music, chips chips.

Monday, 12 December 2011

The Vince Guaraldi Trio - O Tannenbaum (AKA The Red Flag) as featured in the Playstation TV advert

Joe writes: I once flew to San Francisco on Christmas Day with a friend so he could meet up with a girl for only the second time. On arrival she presented him with A Charlie Brown Christmas Album by The Vince Guaraldi Trio - an American institution that is little known in the UK. Skip forward some years: they are married with a kid and O Tannenbaum from the album is featured on a TV advert for Playstation.

The album features jazz-lite versions of well known Christmas songs. It doesn't sound that promising on paper, but somehow it perfectly captures the spirit of the season with its nostalgia, playfulness, and just a hint of melancholia. It's the second best Christmas album of all-time.

The Best of Simon Cowell

Joe writes: For me the litmus test of a TV-related hit single is "Would it have been a hit for an unknown artist who wasn't guaranteed TV exposure?". The answer is emphatically "yes" in the case of my top five Simon Cowell-related releases:

5. Earthquakes - Labrinth feat. Tinie Tempah

Surely the coolest track Simon Cowell has ever touched, despite his slightly cringeworthy namecheck. The moment where a choir of monks sings the chorus a cappella is truly inspired.

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

Rock 'n' Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life)

Joe writes: Both the posts below (about Dobie Gray and Slow Moving Millie) reminded me of this song.

When Kevin Johnson's UK label called him to tell him he should fly in from Australia because they'd got him on Top of the Pops, he declined because he'd arranged to take his son fishing. The single stalled at no. 23 in the UK but at least rock 'n' roll didn't have the exclusive monopoly on Kevin's life.

Dobie Gray has died

Joe writes: Drift Away is his classic recording. There's an interesting blog about it here.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Slow Moving Millie (from the John Lewis ad) covers Love In The First Degree by Bananarama

Joe writes: I haven't heard her version but I looked over her album tracklisting and I must say - Millie or someone she works with has excellent taste in songs.

This was Bananarama's finest moment and possibly Stock Aitken Waterman's best as well.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Cam'ron and songs about cheating

Just heard this topical Cam'ron track I Hate MY Job via The Guardian's Playlist:



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

Anyone Can Play Guitar and the best of the Oxford music scene

Joe writes: Anyone Can Play Guitar, a film by Jon Spira, is possibly the definitive document of a local music scene, with all its passion, small-mindedness, resentment, jealousy, good fortune, ill fortune, stupidity... and some truly great music.

Ed O'Brien and Colin Greenwood from Radiohead, one of the biggest and best bands in the world, appear alongside people who are unknown in the wider world, but were legends in a world of their own creation - the Oxford music scene. The film's thesis is that Radiohead and the rest might not have happened without the scene from which they came; Ed and Colin seem to agree with this thesis.

The film features a series of reverential anecdotes about Mac, one-time booker at key Oxford venue the Jericho Tavern, but he refused to be interviewed, which makes him the star of the piece by giving him an air of mystique and leaves the viewer with the lurking suspicion that he has died (the truth is here).

The minute bands become successful - as Ride, Radiohead and Supergrass all did - they disappear from the film's narrative and we return to the stories of those left behind, who provide several moments of wince-inducing pathos. The Unbelievable Truth were hamstrung by their singer Andy Yorke's fundamental dislike of being in a band, and were almost inevitably overshadowed by his brother Thom (on the other hand, they released an album on a major label; would they even have had their shot without the connection to Thom?). The iconic Zodiac venue eventually sold out, literally, and became a Carling Academy. The town's great white hopes Dustball came within a whisker of signing a big record deal but instead stayed with local label Shifty Disco and were never heard of outside Oxford (the same fate might have awaited them on a major label, but at least they'd have had an advance to show for it).

Then there were The Candyskins, who signed to Geffen Records at the start of the nineties. When they began their first US tour, British bands EMF and Jesus Jones were topping the US charts and the climate seemed great for them. By the time the tour finished, their Geffen labelmates Nirvana had released an album called Nevermind, and suddenly no-one was interested in British indie pop bands.

They then signed to UK label Ultimate Records, just before Ultimate's major label funding came to an end. Nonetheless, Ultimate released several Candyskins singles, one of which, Monday Morning, crept into the UK top 40 after a rare moment of good fortune - a record audience saw them on TFI Friday because its presenter Chris Evans had just been fired from Radio 1.

Geffen capitalised on this mini-hit by putting out their previously unreleased second album and marketing it as the new Candyskins album, the week before their actual new album came out (the film offers no hint that The Candyskins' manager and lawyer might have been complicit in this series of failures and ill fortune).

Car Crash was their glorious ballad and live favourite; I was one of the people who had been lobbying for Ultimate to release it as a single. Then Princess Diana died in a car crash, and with her died all hope of getting media exposure for a song called Car Crash. What the film doesn't say is that the follow-up to Monday Morning was the not-quite-good-enough Hang Myself On You. This was released before Diana had died, and it charted at 65. So there was a window of opportunity in which to release Car Crash, and it was missed. This is a lesson that has always stuck with me - if you have one great, standout, breakthrough song, release it as quickly as possible, because you never know how circumstances may conspire to prevent it being successful later.

The Candyskins - Car Crash:




Next, The Candyskins signed to Walter Yetnikoff's new label, only for Walter to shut it down when he contracted cancer, at which point The Candyskins gave up.

Gaz Coombes from Supergrass appears in the film and displays the star quality that Mark and Nick Cope from The Candyskins sadly lack, but sometimes artists develop charisma as a by-product of experiencing success, and success never truly came for The Candyskins.

Supergrass - Alright:




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.

Radiohead - High and Dry on Later with Jools Holland:




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":



Finally, Dustball's best song was It's Not My Day, a sort of anthem for all those Oxford bands who didn't make it:


Monday, 14 November 2011

Azealia Banks feat. Lazy Jay - 212

Joe writes: I saw Azealia live recently and she was great - a natural born performer and she can really sing as well as rap. 212 is unquestionably her breakthrough track - and what a great video.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

all four members of Queen were amazing songwriters

Joe: I heard a bit of a Freddie Mercury documentary on Radio 2 yesterday and learnt that These Are The Days Of Our Lives (one of the best Queen songs) was written by Roger Taylor.

So all four members of Queen wrote amazing, massive hit songs. Is this true of any other group?

Freddie Mercury wrote Don't Stop Me Now, Bohemian Rhapsody, Somebody To Love, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and We Are The Champions.


John Deacon wrote Another One Bites The Dust, I Want To Break Free and You're My Best Friend.


Roger Taylor wrote Radio Ga Ga and A Kind Of Magic as well as These Are The Days Of Our Lives.


Brian May wrote Fat Bottomed Girls, We Will Rock You, and Who Wants To Live Forever? So I'd say he's the weakest link in terms of songwriting, but he'd still be the best writer in just about any other group.

What about Under Pressure? A genuine collaboration between all four members and David Bowie. See Wikipedia for more info.

Sandy Denny - Who Knows Where The Time Goes? as heard in the play Jerusalem

Joe writes: Last night I saw the Jez Butterworth play Jerusalem for the second time. It is brilliant, and Who Knows Where The Time Goes? plays throughout a crucial scene. The intro to this song is enough to set the pulse racing, then when Sandy Denny sings "all the birds are leaving", the magic is undeniable.

The Platters and the Lettermen

Phil writes: When I was a lot younger, I often heard great standards in what I later realised were versions very different from the originals. Here are two by artists who, in my view, had considerable influence on what came after them. I think these compare well with any of the more orthodox takes on the songs.

The Platters - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes:



The Lettermen - The Way You Look Tonight:

Any Trouble

Phil writes: If you've listened to Radio 2 recently, you'll probably have heard this song - not the only instant classic on Glen Campbell's new album. For those who don't know, he's recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's which makes the lyrics particularly poignant. As the song has been written for him by Paul Westerberg that must have been the intention.

Abandoned Luncheonette - Hall & Oates

Joe writes: I've never seen Hall & Oates' second album Abandoned Luncheonette in a "best albums of all time" list, and I used to study these things closely. But I really think it's one of the best albums of all time. I guess Hall & Oates are still primarily associated with the bombast and brazen commerciality of their eighties hits (which I also love). This album has none of that - it is impeccably cool and soulful.

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

the original versions of all the songs on the Birdy album

Joe writes: I wanted to try making a YouTube playlist so here is one of the original versions of all the songs on Birdy's eponymous debut album (apart from Farewell and Goodnight which is on Birdy's deluxe iTunes album, but the original version by the Smashing Pumpkins isn't on YouTube).



Tracklisting:

1. 1901 by Phoenix
2. Skinny Love by Bon Iver
3. People Help The People by Cherry Ghost
4. White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes
5. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight by The Postal Service
6. I'll Never Forget You by Francis & The Lights
7. Young Blood by The Naked & Famous
8. Shelter by The XX
9. Fire and Rain by James Taylor
10. Without A Word by Birdy
11. Terrible Love by The National
12. Comforting Sounds by Mew

Another one that passed me by

Phil writes: But I'm sure I'll be listening to 'The Last Resort' a lot in the future. There's a great live performance of this brilliant song on the 'Hell Freezes Over' DVD but sadly the publisher seems to have removed the live performances from YouTube.


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Rebecca Ferguson - Nothing's Real But Love

Joe writes: Good song written by Rebecca and Eg White, good lyric for the times, good direction, and a really good vocal from Rebecca.

Monday, 7 November 2011

a year in New York set to the music of James Vincent McMorrow (We Don't Eat)

Joe writes: I love New York and We Don't Eat is my favourite James Vincent McMorrow song so naturally I enjoyed this video made by Andrew Clancy

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Every Time We Say Goodbye

Phil writes: The first time I heard this wonderful song it was in this version. I still find it brings out the goose pimples (or, as we must apparently say now, the goose bumps).


Steve and Stacey Earle

Phil writes: 'When I Fall' is another of those great duets which is even more emotional when you know about the relationship of the singers. Steve Earle has clearly lived the song and Stacey, as his younger sister, must have as full an understanding of many of the words as anyone apart from Steve Earle himself. This gives both performances great poignancy.


Thursday, 27 October 2011

a moment of magic from Mali

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

when the live version is the definitive version (No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley & The Wailers)

Joe writes: I used to be militantly opposed to live recordings being released or broadcast because generally, they sound awful. But recently in "researching" my other blog jonimitchellblue.blogspot.com, I learnt that the live version of Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi was a bigger hit in the US than the studio version. The live version isn't a patch on the studio version to be honest (it's overlong and doesn't have that delicious laugh at the end), but this got me thinking about songs where the live version is the definitive version. So far the only one I can come up with is No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley & The Wailers.

Many lovers of the song haven't even heard the rather flimsy studio version from the Natty Dread album:


Whereas this live performance has had an incredible number of plays on YouTube:


And this is of course is the definitive version, recorded live at the Lyceum, two miles away from where I'm writing this:

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

I'm looking forward to seeing Roddy Frame playing tonight

Joe writes: Roddy's band Aztec Camera were my favourite act once upon a time, and my favourite Aztec Camera song is probably Stray. It's the title track from their highly ambitious fourth album. Half the songs are Clash-influenced protest rock (Mick Jones features on Good Morning Britain). The other half (my favourites) are Chet Baker-influenced pop jazz ballads about being lonely in London, of which Stray is one. I have no idea what I'd make of this album if I heard it for the first time today, but having heard it for the first time in my formative years, I still love it.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Fattie Bum Bum by Carl Malcolm as played by Greg James on Radio 1

Joe writes: Greg James has been playing Fattie Bum Bum recently on Radio 1, and today he pointed out some similarities with the new Rizzle Kicks single When I Was A Youngster.

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

Absolute class

Phil writes: Just watched the BBC Lulu biography programme. It's clear that her career took some wrong turns but what an amazing voice she had at 15 (and still has).


Also shown was this emotional duet with her ex, Maurice Gibb who died months later:


A performance only matched by the Streisand/Diamond duet: http://worldsgreatestmusic.blogspot.com/2009/11/classic-duet.html

Thursday, 13 October 2011

I Can't Break It To My Heart

Phil writes: Didn't know this song at all but heard Katherine Jenkins singing it whilst pugging her new album on telly. I don't really go for operatic sopranos singing pop so went looking for the original and wasn't disappointed:

Smokey Robinson - still a great voice

Phil writes: Singing a great song, Don't Know Why, written by Jesse Harris and made famous by Norah Jones:

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Imagine

Phil writes: A well-covered song - some might say done to death. But here's David Bowie on the 1983 Serious Moonlight Tour with a respectful approach that manages to breathe fresh life into a truly great song whilst reminding us that vintage Bowie is hard to beat.. (MickPuck - Mike Scott of the Waterboys - tweeted about it a couple of days ago.)


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson

Phil writes: Marv Tarplin, joint composer of this Motown classic died recently (read his Guardian obituary). He was also responsible for the wonderful guitar lead-in. It's one of those songs that never pall.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

"A real human being, and a real hero" - the song from Drive

Joe writes: I know it has only just been released but I'm pretty sure Drive is a classic film. Like lots of classic films, the music is really important - it conjures up a bygone era (the early '80s), yet it doesn't sound quite like anything you've heard before.

The key track is A Real Hero by College featuring Electric Youth. People who haven't seen the film seem to be underwhelmed by this track, which is another reason to go and see the film if you haven't already.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Can't Help Thinking About Me by David Bowie

Phil writes: Bowie is another star who started out as he clearly meant to go on. Unmistakeable.



(Previously posted mp3 version)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

A Star From The Start

Phil writes: Gladys Knight first recorded 'With Every Beat of my Heart' at the age of 17. She produced great music even then.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Into Dust by Mazzy Star/Gears Of War 3 advert

Joe writes: Into Dust by Mazzy Star has been used on another TV advert, this time for the Microsoft game Gears of War 3. At the time of writing it is no. 39 on iTunes so could be their biggest hit in the UK. But their best song is Fade Into You which I wrote about here.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Villagers - Cecelia & Her Selfhood

Joe writes: Excellent new recording by Villagers who can do no wrong for me at the moment. Get the mp3 for free from http://www.wearevillagers.com/

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Cannonball by Damien Rice as performed by John Adams on X Factor

Joe writes: Cannonball is in the top 3 on iTunes after a Welsh teacher named John Adams performed it on X Factor last night. It's a reminder that even when an album sells a million plus - as Damien Rice's O did, driven by this single - it might only have reached a fraction of its potential audience. Simon Cowell deserves a lot of credit for (amongst other things) bringing songs like Cannonball and Hallelujah to the attention of people who otherwise wouldn't have heard them. I'm pleased - Cannonball is one of the great songs of the past decade. Also, I had no idea this was the official video for Cannonball - interesting.



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:

County Line by Cass McCombs, and Gram Parsons revivalism

Joe writes: This is lovely.



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.



three very different songs I discovered on covermounts

Joe writes: Back when CDs seemed expensive, I used to buy pretty much any magazine with a free CD mounted on the cover. Most of the stuff on most of the CDs was rubbish. Even if I liked the artist in question, the track featured would generally be an outtake or inferior album track. But I did discover the occasional great track on a covermount.

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

You Can Close Your Eyes by James Taylor

Phil writes: What an inspired choice to have James Taylor singing this song at the 9/11 Ground Zero ceremony. I hear James Taylor a lot as he's one of my wife Sue's favourite artist. For a while, I wasn't convinced, but the more you listen, the more his songs get to you. And he has one of the most distinctive and subtly emotional voices in pop. You'll find several versions on YouTube, including duets with Carole King and Joni Mitchell.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Maybe my favourite Van Morrison Track

Phil writes: 'Irish Heartbeat', the album Van Morrison did with the Chieftians, is superb, with effortlessly great music on practically every track. 'Carrickfergus' is probably the best:

Ben Folds Five - Brick

Joe writes: I thought I would post Brick because it's brilliant and there's a Ben Folds Five compilation coming out, then I realised how apposite the lyric is given renewed debate about abortion in the UK.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

PJ Harvey

Joe writes: When I first started listening to Radio 1, Mark Goodier presented the Evening Session and of course John Peel was a fixture. Songs that stick in my head from what was a period of discovery for me include Here and Trigger Cut by Pavement, Jesus Built My Hotrod by Ministry, and Sheela Na Gig by PJ Harvey:


I've now learnt what Sheela Na Gig is thanks to the YouTube comments (knowledge was not so accessible in the era of Mark Goodier's Evening Session). What a way to announce yourself as an artist.

Just last week I saw this photo displayed in a venue, and it was so familiar despite the fact that I hadn't seen it for 15 years or so:


I think I may have torn some PJ Harvey photos out of Select magazine and Blu-Tacked them to my bedroom wall.


I was at the Mercury awards the first time PJ Harvey won, on September 11th 2001. Here's You Said Something from that album Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea:


I was pleased that PJ Harvey won the Mercury Music Prize again tonight. I hope this will encourage more artists to engage with politics in their music, as Polly has done on Let England Shake. And I'm going to spend more time with Let England Shake, which is the kind of reaction the Mercurys are supposed to inspire I guess.

I wish there were more artists like PJ Harvey. Well done to the Mercury judges for recognising her.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Downton Abbey trailer/Scala and Kolacny Brothers - With Or Without You

Joe writes: This U2 cover is the track that got me in to Scala and Kolacny Brothers. I believe Rob da Bank played it on Radio 1. Some time later their version of Creep was featured on the trailer to The Social Network. For me With Or Without You is even better than Creep so I was pleased to hear it featured on the trailer for the new series of Downton Abbey.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Sweet Dancer by The Waterboys

Phil writes: This great track by the Waterboys (from the album of songs based on poems by W.B Yeats) is due out as a single shortly.

SWEET DANCER by The Waterboys

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Skiffle

Phil writes: Joe's recent Leadbelly post reminded me of the British Skiffle movement of the 50's, very much influenced by Leadbelly, and itself an enormous influence on later developments. Lonnie Donegan was the leading proponent and his debut release broke records here and was also successful in the US. For anyone who wants to know more, the wiki article is informative.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Waterloo Sunset/pain plus pop

Joe writes: Here's an article by Nick Hasted that nails what makes The Kinks' Waterloo Sunset such a great song - loneliness and melody; pain plus pop. You could say something similar about a lot of great pop songs (Nothing Compares 2 U and Crazy by Gnarls Barkley spring to mind).

Where Or When - surely one of the most haunting love songs ever written

Phil writes: I like this version by Harry Connick Jnr:

Lieber and Stoller wrote more than one kind of song

Phil writes: Is That All There Is? was based on a Thomas Mann story! It's hard to believe that anyone could have performed it better than Peggy Lee.

Jerry Lieber

Joe writes: This article by Richard Williams in the Guardian explains what a brilliant lyricist Jerry Lieber was, and what an amazing life he led.

Ben E King - Stand By Me

Monday, 22 August 2011

This blog on the Now Playing show with Tom Robinson on 6 Music

Joe writes: Here's an article I wrote for their blog and here's the clip on YouTube:

"Come sail your ships around me, and burn your bridges down. We'll make a little history baby, every time you come around."

Joe writes: Some people think Nick Cave's The Ship Song is sad (apparently it's a favourite at funerals), but what could be more expansively romantic than that opening couplet?

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

music from Fiji and South Africa

Joe writes: I love both of these tracks for their amazing energy and vocals, and they're both from the Southern hemisphere. Is that reason enough to include them in the same blog?

Holy Spirits - Bokang Modimo from South Africa



Black Rose - Raude from Fiji

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Leadbelly - Pick A Bale Of Cotton

Joe writes: I can't remember where I heard this Leadbelly track but I think it's one I Shazamed. There's a middle ground between Moby and Rednex that needs filling with a remix of this.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

ghetto stories

Joe writes: Two of my favourite Jamaican tracks of recent decades both have "ghetto" in the title

Ghetto Revolution by Sizzla



and Ghetto Story by Cham



here's Village Ghetto Land by non-Jamaican Stevie Wonder

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Rhapsody - Emerald Sword

Joe writes: I first heard this some years ago on the cover CD with Hard Roxx magazine. The UK record label were incredulous when I told them I liked it - it was one of their worst sellers. But Rhapsody (AKA Rhapsody Of Fire) were genuinely big in their native Italy and other parts of Europe. I love everything about Emerald Sword - the melodies, the melodrama, the Dungeons & Dragons connotations in both the music and the artwork... It has an orchestral and choral intro that lasts over a minute but has sadly been cut off by whoever uploaded it to YouTube.

Joe Cocker - Feeling All Right (live)

Joe writes: Pure onstage charisma and a great singing voice too. I wouldn't be surprised if Paolo Nutini had seen this video.

Crystal Fighters - Plage

Joe writes: This is top 10 on iTunes in The Netherlands. You can see why.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

To Care by The Four Tops

There used to be a record shop in Manchester called Power Cuts that had a big annual sale, selling vinyl cut outs from the US for next to nothing - stuff like Bummed by The Happy Mondays, Mistrial by Lou Reed (probably not worth 50p), a Hank Williams Jr album, a pressing of the Sally Cinnamon single by The Stone Roses on Revolver Records (10p), and Testing Positive 4 The Funk, the fourth in George Clinton's Family Series of compilation albums. This album is hit and miss but it does contain To Care by The Four Tops from 1978 and not a fans' favourite but my favourite. The album also has a good front cover (see below), an amusing interview with George Clinton where he explains how cool The Four Tops are, and instructions for what to do if you want to sample any of the tracks on the album.





[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.]

Friday, 5 August 2011

Washed Out's Rough Trade mix

Joe writes: I just ordered Washed Out's album from Rough Trade. I am quite interested in Washed Out but really just wanted to get my hands on the mix that comes with it. Some classics, some lesser known songs by well known artists, but just about every track is a killer.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Wolf Gang's best song

Joe writes: for me the best Wolf Gang song yet is their album closer Planets. It's an odyssey in melody of the kind you don't hear too often nowadays. It reminds me of ELO and my favourite Procul Harum track Salty Dog.




Friday, 29 July 2011

Thursday, 28 July 2011

F.b-17 from Misrata, Libya

Joe writes: I finally got around to listening to F.b-17, the act from Libya that The Guardian wrote about. They have a really good song No More Lies which sounds like a possible European hit. Have a listen on MySpace.

Miriam Makeba

Joe writes: I wrote about Miriam Makeba here after she died. Now Milk & Sugar have done a version of Pata Pata which gives me an excuse to post these two wonderful tracks again.

Miriam Makeba - Nongqongqo (To Those We Love) from An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba


Miriam Makeba - Pata Pata

Classic Sinatra track

Phil writes: Sinatra introduces a live performance of this by describing 'It Was A Very Good Year' as a 'folk song'. It isn't of course but it follows the patterning of numerous folk songs and some of my favourite twentieth century songs also involve the same kind of sequence ('Please Come To Boston', 'A Bang On The Ear', 'Love's Been Good To Me'). Here the stunning arrangement, consummate performance and underlying pathos combine to great effect:

Shimbalaiê by Maria Gadú

Joe writes: lovely Brazilian track that is, rather surprisingly, a hit in Italy

Welcome Home by Radical Face - the song from the Nikon TV advert

Joe writes: Lovely and much-synched track that I just heard for the first time.

Laura Marling - Sophia

Joe writes: Even if she had emerged in the early seventies when great folk rock was abundant, I think Laura Marling would have been considered a major artist. In the current decade, she is in a class of her own.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Kanye West and Jay-Z have sampled Otis Redding

Joe writes: I find their track a frustrating listen because they've sampled the Otis vocal that comes just before the climax of Try A Little Tenderness, so all the way through you're waiting for him to go "try a little, try a little, try a little, TENDERNESS", but he never does.

So here is Try A Little Tenderness with that wonderful trumpet intro:


and I've Been Loving You Too Long:



Remember Where You Were When Michael Jackson Died?

Joe writes: I must admit I hadn't heard of Spycatcher until they were added to the Radio 1 playlist but this is the best British rock track I've heard for a long time

Friday, 15 July 2011

Yuck vs Teenage Fanclub

Joe writes: I really like the new Yuck single but it is uncannily like a composite of Teenage Fanclub singles off Grand Prix, so much so that I wondered why Greg James was playing Teenage Fanclub when I heard Shook Down on his Radio 1 show today.

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

Blue by LeAnn Rimes

Joe writes: When she was 14 and looking about 34, LeAnn Rimes released this amazing song originally intended for Patsy Cline.

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

Friend Crush by Friends

Joe writes: Friend Crush could be this year's Young Folks. Such a good lyric and tune.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Jesus' blood never failed me yet

Phil writes: Joe's Lee Marvin post reminded me of this. You don't need a conventionally good voice to create great music. I guess we all knew that (Dylan being the most well-known example) but this is maybe an extreme case. The original recording just featuring the unnamed 'vagrant' is amazing enough but the arrangement here and the addition of Tom Waits takes it to a whole new level for me.

In Memoriam - Jean Charles de Menezes

Phil writes: Although he wasn't killed on 7 July, he wouldn't have been killed at all if 7/7/2005 had just been an ordinary day. I happened to stumble across this track yesterday, a quietly powerful and moving account of his death and a great song.



For anyone who wants to be reminded of the appalling facts see the Wikipedia article here.

Monday, 4 July 2011

The essence of swing

Phil writes: Johnnie Hodges is one of my favorite sax players. Nothing complicated about his playing, though he's clearly in total command of his instrument, but what a sound and what a great sense of swing on I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart:



How sad that only a couple of hundred people have viewed this.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

"I was born under a wandering star"

Joe writes: what an amazing piece of music. Despite or perhaps because Lee Marvin was not a singer, the vocal is extraordinary. Surely the best ever single by an actor and one of the best ever one hit wonders.

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

Sebadoh - Soul and Fire

Joe writes: the best of type of song is the break-up song and my favourite Sebadoh track is also one of my favourite break-up songs

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Lana Del Ray - Video Games

Joe writes: Been listening to this a lot and Fearne Cotton has just played it on Radio 1

Wise Blood - Loud Mouths

Joe writes: I love this. Wise Blood could be about to take what Wu Lyf do and blow it up by adding melody. Shades of Sleigh Bells and eels as well. I played it for some people earlier this week and one of them said "I've never heard music like that before" - big compliment right?


This remarkable blog features a recording of their live set.

Mummy Short Arms – Cigarette Smuggling

Joe writes: I have a soft spot for singers who sound like they're losing it. I really like the guitar and the harmonica. In fact I really like just about everything about this track. The band are from Glasgow.

MUMMY SHORT ARMS - Cigarette Smuggling by Flowers In The Dustbin

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Thursday, 23 June 2011

More Sammy Cahn

Phil writes: He was also apparently responsible for two great songs on Chet Baker's memorable album 'Chet Baker Sings'.



Sammy Cahn/Mario Lanza

Joe writes: This week I have been learning about Sammy Cahn, who co-wrote Come Fly With Me, Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow, and Love And Marriage. But best of all for me is Be My Love, especially when Mario Lanza sings it. Russell Watson must listen to this and weep.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Now and Forever

Phil writes: Carole King has written so many great songs but this is right up there with the best. On holiday, it kept coming up when I had the shuffle on and each time I thought how good it was:

The Cars - Drive

Phil writes: So many of us first heard this at 'Live Aid' when at David Bowie's insistence (he cut short his set to accommodate it) a brief film of haunting images of the starvation in Ethiopia, to which this was the only sound- track, was shown. Even now it's hard to disentangle it from the images, but its a great and haunting song in its own right. (I would have posted the Ethiopia footage but apparently its unavailable.)

The first two Springsteen albums - "I've broken all your windows and I've rammed through all your doors"

Joe writes: Bruce Springsteen released two albums before Born To Run broke him. Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ was recorded in a hurry but features some of his best songwriting. Blinded By The Light is his only US Hot 100 no. 1 as a songwriter, when covered by Manfred Mann's Earth Band. For You, which Manfred Mann also covered, is a prototype Thunder Road. But best of all is Growin' Up, once covered by Alvin Stardust. Here's some live footage of Bruce playing it on acoustic guitar, from 1972:



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):

Joe writes: Clarence Clemons has died

I'm not sure music gets any better than Thunder Road, and the saxophone plays a big part (as does the glockenspiel):




Wish I had been at this gig (wasn't alive then but still):

Friday, 17 June 2011

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Harry Belafonte

Joe writes: My friend Jamie Catto got to know Harry Belafonte recently which caused me to listen to him properly for the first time. I may be stating the obvious here but he is great. In particular I have been listening to the Calypso album which includes Banana Boat Song and Jamaica Farewell (AKA Kingston Town). The voice and the melodies are obviously both amazing, and the sparse arrangements sound eerily modern at times.

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

Another great duet

Phil writes: I posted a few of them a while back but i don't think I got round to this one:

Somewhere in my heart

Phil writes: My other son, Ben, wondered, slightly tongue in cheek, if he was a bit sad for booking a ticket to see Roddy Frame. But this is a classic pop song that stands the test of time and, incidentally, one of the first songs that my sons introduced me to:

Emmylou and Gram

Phil writes: When Gram Parsons died, a devastated Emmylou Harris wrote the extremely moving 'From Boulder to Birmingham', a magnificent song. Now on her new album she has produced a more measured and reflective song about their relationship and how it, and his death, have affected her life. Perhaps not as great a song, but still a great song:



(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

At Seventeen by Janis Ian

Phil writes: A great song which absolutely nails what adolescence felt like for many (most?) of us:

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Your Desert Island Discs

Joe writes: On Saturday morning, Radio 4 broadcast Your Desert Island Discs, featuring a rundown of the tracks that listeners would take to a desert island.

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.

Sorry Azerbaijan....

Phil writes: ...there's only one 'Running Scared' and this is it, the song you'd use to demonstrate pop music to a visiting Martian who would then return home convinced that we had a vastly superior civilisation:



(Would have posted this before but I've been on holiday!)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

"You light up another cigarette and I pour the wine"

Joe writes: listening to the new Birdy single on Radio 1 reminded me of Promise Me by Beverley Craven:



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

Bob Seger

Joe writes: Writing about Tonight by Tanya Stephens below reminded me of We Got Tonite by Bob Seger - one could almost be an answer record to the other.


Like John Mellencamp, Bob Seger is sometimes denigrated as being a poor man's Bruce Springsteen, which is a bit like denigrating The Kinks for not being as good as The Beatles.

Here's another Seger favourite, Still The Same. I must have heard my dad sing this a hundred times before I ever heard Bob Seger's version (I think my dad had lost his copy), but in the internet era Bob's version is of course at my fingertips. I love the internet.

Tanya Stephens' Sintoxicated album

Joe writes: Around the turn of the millennium, Jamaican dancehall star Tanya Stephens made a Macy Gray-style pop album with two Swedish producers, Emil Gotthard and Peter Cartiers, and released it on Warner Sweden. The songwriting on the album was brilliant but the campaign ended in tears. I raved about the music to a Warner US executive; he said the meeting he had with Tanya was one of the worst he'd ever had with an artist.

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:

















There are two songs on the album that are crying out to covered.

Lying Lips (Words I Should Have Said) is such a brilliant lyric and melody - imagine if Amy or Adele did it.


Tonight is great too:


I really recommend buying the Tanya Stephens album on iTunes. And if anyone is still in the CD era, I have a spare copy.

Finally, there's a kind of EPK here which might have set a few alarm bells ringing

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Kate Bush interviewed by Ken Bruce

Joe writes: another consummate lesson in how to be an artist (from Kate, not Ken, although he is pretty good too)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00gtnyf

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Electrician: has music progressed beyond this in the past 30 years?

Joe writes...

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

my favourite ever TV programme about music

Joe writes: How Pop Songs Work is presented by Charles Hazlewood, the classical conductor, Mercury Music Prize judge and Wyclef Jean fan.

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

Tom Waits - I'm Still Here

Phil writes: Awesome!

Donovan - don't switch off!

Phil writes: A bit of an acquired taste, particularly maybe if you didn't follow his career as it developed. Best if you don't listen too much to what he says as it's often very pretentious (Macca without the humour) especially when reviewing his career. He wrote some fine songs. This is one of my favourites, though sadly not in the version I first heard:

Friday, 22 April 2011

Surrounded By White Men

Joe writes: I really like Antlered Man, partly because they sound like System Of A Down but also for their lyrics.



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:

Saturday, 16 April 2011

So Many Records, So Little Time

World's Greatest Music writes:

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: