Friday, November 28, 2008

Summer's Lease

I hope you have your cheesy pineapple chunks at the ready because this is the full 16 minute 45 second love-a-thon version (oh yes!) and you'll most probably need a sustaining nibble part way through.

The sound and look that launched a thousand drag queen careers eh?

Parental advisory. Obviously.

Drink Tone?

Donna Summer - 'Love To Love You Baby' (1975)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We Come On A Ship They Call The Mayflower

I've been to Nottingham today. It was OK. It rained.

I thought I'd walk back to the railway station instead of getting a cab it seemed like such a short distance, and then I ended up getting lost and walking past redbrick terraced houses and what the Americans call auto repair yards and I had to ask a lady where the station was and she was tremendously friendly and helpful in the way that only people that don't live in London are but they were - and I'm sorry nice lady - the worst, most over-complex make-sense-only-to-locals directions I have ever been given and by the time I did get to the station (I did get to the station) I was wetter than a wet thing that lives in wet places and, well, you know, phew.

By the way, my been-away-for-a-day observations on re-entering London were

1. That new St Pancras Station is dead posh
2. Crikey there's a lot of people here, and
3. Hmm. Most of them are wearing black.

Anyway the point of popping in here tonight when I didn't really expect to is to wish, sincerely, all of our lovely American friends a very, very happy Thanksgiving.

*sings* 'Enjoy your turkey!'

God I do go on.

Paul Simon - 'American Tune' (1973)

PS: The Mayflower actually sailed to The New World from my old hometown. Oh yes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brass Monkey Weather

Richard Hawley - 'The Nights Are Cold' (acoustic) (2007)

Original on this.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Legacy Continues

Since it is a traditionally dull and drizzly London Monday here I figured a dash of alternative (Canadian!) hip-hop with a Caribbean vibe might brighten things up a tad.

Dream Warriors were most famous for their 'My Definition Of A Boombastic Jazz Style' hit based on a (substantial) sample from Quincy Jones 'Soul Bossa Nova', but I always also liked this follow up that tipped the wink to their West Indian family and musical roots. So it was fun to find it for 50p a few weeks ago in a local charity shop.

For the uninitiated...

1. Those crackles are supposed to be there (how very arch)

2. Ludi is Ludo (of course) - a game I spent most of my childhood playing too*

Dream Warriors - 'Ludi (original mix)' (1991)

*actually if you played it with my Dad he would make you follow the rules of a variant called Uckers which he learned in the Navy. It is somewhat ruthless and used to make me cry.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Le Retour

A lie-in, buttered toast & coffee and cuddles from my girlies. *sigh*

Andy Williams - 'Home Lovin' Man' (1971)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Le Depart

The small tree outside our house earlier this week; the little London street I'm leaving for another full on working week and five nights in the 'functional' hotel room in the moonstruck outer limits of Zurich CH.

I'll have my eyes on the prize, which is a large and lovely gin and tonic with sliced lemon and crushed ice in the swish cocktail piano bar at Zurich Airport at about 6pm on Friday as I wait for my flight back home.

See you next weekend x

Coldcut - 'Autumn Leaves (Irresistible Force Full Chill Mix)' (1993)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Davy's Disco

It's been a heavy old week and next week'll be heavier and away from home (again) but frankly who cares about all that when it's Friday nite and there's wine in the fridge and love in your heart and Change on the record player? I've left three secs of slight crackle-to-silent run-in vinyl at the start of this because I know you like a touch of that.

'Holiday/Celebrate'....hmm, where've I heard that before?

Wicked bass, as I believe the young people say.

Change - 'A Lover's Holiday' (1980)


I feel compelled to address the anti-Agnetha bias I have detected in parts of blogworld.

I know Frida looked to be more of a good-time gal and I know Agnetha is a flaky, fragile, sensitive, Garbo-like recluse but THAT'S WHY I LIKE HER.

I believe this may be the campest song in my collection, especially the 'Make love to me now like never before!' bit, but by golly I loves it. Not so sure about the dress, but hey! it was the 80s!

Is that Lars Larsson and Anders Andersson on guitar?

Agnetha Faltskog - 'Wrap Your Arms Around Me' (1983)

PS: Song co-written by Mike 'I Worked With Blondie, Me' Chapman.

Out Of Place! Like King Kong!

I was 11-12 in 1977 and I wasn't listening to The Clash, Pistols, Stranglers, Damned or even (yet) The Jam, I was listening to this and in love with it very much.

Me and my mate Steven from next door-but-one had seen ABBA - The Movie in our (very) small town cinema and it had proved most, most exciting for us. After all those hours spent poring over the pictures in ABBA Magazine (an A5 glossy like Starsky & Hutch and the reissued Beatles Book, which we also devoured hungrily) to finally see them (well, sorry, yes, mostly the girls and specifically, sorry again Frida fans, Agnetha) 'backstage' - moving! talking! - to be intimate with them like the silly Australian reporter fantasises, well it was quite something I can tell you. The Eagle sequence in the elevator? The Name Of The Game stuff at the picnic in the park? Fabulosa.

To this day I consider The Album a magnificent pop record, even allowing for Bjorn's ridiculous talky bit on 'Move On' and also for 'Take A Chance On Me', a song I never much liked though it was number one for weeks and everyone else seemed to think it was terrific.

Anyway. My favourite bit then, as now, was the concluding sequence of songs described as Three Scenes From A Mini Musical: in which, plot fans, a blonde girl (the girls both wore wigs onstage) who 'began to sing long before she can talk' ('Thankyou For The Music') leaves her smalltown home ('I Wonder (Departure)' - Frida's finest hour) seeking stardom, only to find that 'fame' is to become a singing, dancing marionette on a endlessly spinning carousel she cannot escape (a song called 'Get On The Carousel' appeared in the mini-musical when the group performed it live, but only made the album as recycled fragments for 'Hole In Your Soul').

All three songs are wonderful, but 'I'm A Marionnette' with its dystopic vision of pop celebrity and its swirling, discordant chords and frantic guitarry bits is as musically and thematically adventurous a thing as they ever produced, and genuinely I think as corruscating a piece about 'fame' as anything by Bowie or Public Image You Got What You Wanted Lydon (another record I absolutely, absolutely ADORE). Mr Shuffle shoved it at us the other day and it stopped me in my tracks in a 'feck me that's a cracker' moment and I said so and Mrs H, who had been upstairs changing the beds, said 'That's funny, I was just thinking the same'.

So here it is.

ABBA - 'I'm A Marionette' (1977)

More of this sort of thing later, I shouldn't wonder.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dark Clouds Break Away

All tapped out and tuckered tonight I shoved some music on shuffle whilst stirring up a bit of tomato pasta and this popped up at us and lo, it was beautiful.

Do you know this album? You should know this album. Trust me on this.

The sun I see only shines for me
Because of you

Small mercies, rich blessings.

Gene Clark - 'Because Of You' (alternate) (1971)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Blue Monday

It's a filthy old drizzly old dark old wet leaves on sodden pavements kind of Monday morning here.

But this one never fails to warm the cockles of my heart.

Louis Armstrong - 'Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?' (live in Chicago) (1956)

(from another of my lovely old LPs from Ray's Jazz, RIP - the kind of place I'd seek shelter in on days like these).

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bohannon! Bohannon!

If I could play the electric guitar* I wouldn't half mind making a noise like the bloke on this with it.

Hamilton Bohannon - 'Foot Stompin' Music' (1975)

* I did once buy a nice red one from a shop in Tooting; I was thrilled skinny with it, but after six months had only managed five chords. I know, The Ramones only needed three. Maybe I just picked the wrong five.

TGOE Movie Review - 'Star Wars'

I wasn't so blinded with pride at this blog being listed in The Guardian Guide today (along with Ed's, Major's, JC's and others - thanks Drew for letting me know) that I didn't spot the link for this on the same page. Genius!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Shoo-Bop Shoo-Bop

Just the facts, ma'am.

Dayton were from Dayton (Ohio) and like these previously featured Friday nite artistes were a 'proper' funk band before they 'went (electro) disco'. I was reminded of how terrific this track was all of your eight earth years ago when it popped up in the middle of this mix album (which is quite marvellous in its own right, by the way).

This is, as you have surely come to expect from here by now dear hearts, the full length (8:12) 12" version, and not a nun or lonely goat-herd in sight.

Vocoders at the ready? Silver flecked black acrylic crew neck and 'generous' trousers on?

Splendid, then let us begin.

Dayton - 'The Sound Of Music' (1983)


Bogged town a tad in work this week I've been nevertheless tearing through David Ritz's biog of Marvin Gaye on those hushed early morning trains into town. It's a terrifically well-rounded portrait of a deeply complex, restless soul and like all good books about music I think should, leads you right back to the records with renewed perspective and desire.

I can't list many singers I love better than Marvin, but it's amazing to read that he always felt his voice was lacking in depth next to the great Motown 'shouters' like Levi Stubbs and David Ruffin, or next generation soul/funkers like Harold Melvin. According to Ritz, Gaye made a conscious effort to prove to himself and others that he too could do the gruff big churchy thing as well as the soaring lyricism, but you can already hear all that in this record, one of his earliest 'break through' tracks.

There are some pretty special backing singers on this - know who? (no Googling, You're Only Cheating Yourself)...

Marvin Gaye - 'Stubborn Kind Of Fellow' (1962)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

New World

Thank you America.

The Staple Singers - 'Long Walk To D.C' (1968)

[vinyl rip for Barack]

Monday, November 03, 2008

Back To The World

That's half term over then - for the most part a lazy week of lie-ins on mornings so dark not even the cat wanted to get up, some early Nov 5th fireworks last night. The girls learned to play Monopoly, but the eldest will never make a hard-hearted capitalist because when her sister was on the verge of bankruptcy she wanted to waive her debts and give her a hug. Bless.

Now it's back to the world, etc.

Speaking of which...

Curtis Mayfield - 'Back To Living Again' (1997)

I just read about the circumstances in which this album was made. Sheesh.