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, 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:

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


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.