Friday, October 31, 2008

Burn Baby Burn

OK, OK, I'll concede there are potentially devilish allusions at work here, so perhaps those of you throwing Hallowe'en parties tonight could 'drop' this into your 'set' whilst the rest of us use it to drown out the sound of those pesky trickster kids at the front door (I wish I had a swallow-'em-up front lawn like Mr Nevercracker's in Monster House).

The Trammps were one of the very first disco bands, and this track was of course put to fine use in the marvellous Saturday Night Fever, a film I could watch over and over again and er, actually have.

In keeping with what I hope you agree are the recent high standards we have set for posts at this time of the week, this is - ta da! - the full length (10:51) version. I'm sure I'd have been up to dancing that long to it once, but would most probably now do the Dad-at-wedding thing and nip out half way through for another sup of my pint and a rapidly curling-up at the edges egg and cress sandwich from what's left of the buffet 'spread'.

Still, burn that mother down!

The Trammps - 'Disco Inferno' (1977)

A Curmudgeon Writes

Ah, this was the sort of thing Hallowe'en celebrations involved when I were a lad - apple bobbing, perhaps a carved pumpkin with a candle in it (although I don't remember us ever having one at home) and a few ghost stories told at Cub Scouts (I had to run through a churchyard to get there too).

I cannot help but feel that this was a more authentic commemoration of an ancient pagan festival than all this orange plastic and legitimised intimidation of elderly neighbours, but I seem to be alone in this, so I'll just grump in a corner if that's alright with you and no, I will not be posting the bloody 'Monster Mash' (if you are so inclined may I say that others do this sort of thing much better than I ever could - and sometimes by taking the most beautiful pictures: I commend them to you).

I will welcome the excuse to (re) post this lovely, lovely song from this lovely, lovely album though.

Tanya Donelly - 'My Life As A Ghost' (2004)

Ye Friday night mallarkey later.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Crackly Old Soul

It is halfway through half term and the sun's been shining through the clocks going back; crackly old soul's what I'm after - so here some is.

This song and me have been friends for a long time.

It's the 'flip' (!) of 'Sweet Soul Music'. Great churchy organ on it.

Arthur Conley - 'Let's Go Steady' (1967)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Take A Walk With Me A While

We did a bit of a mad thing yesterday and drove with the girlies to the Aged Ps in Devon and back in one day which meant about 7 and a half hours in the car for a 6 hour visit, but it was my Dad's 85th birthday and - well, sometimes actually buying your Dad a beer on his birthday rather than just writing 'Cheers!' in the card from a distance is an important thing to do, isn't it?

We had a pub lunch, a quick run up and down the beach, introduced the girlies to carpet bowls (!) and then piled back into the car and onto the M5/M4, luckily into traffic the French call fluide, the flow on our side all the way back.

As we began the return journey with all those melancholy thoughts you have in your head when you leave ageing parents after a visit and remember the conversation about how to work the turntable (er, plug it in) and where the toaster was/wasn't ('Toaster. Toaster. Hmm...' said Dad) there was only one CD I really wanted to play.

Richard Hawley - 'Lady's Bridge' (2007)

(for his Dad, as a matter of fact).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Party Down

I'm almost ready for a Guinness and I could murder a prawn madras, so perhaps even a dance is in the offing, eh readers? This is one of my favourite disco records from a period when great ones seemed to fall from the sky in huge numbers like so many autumn leaves.

I don't think this gets played as much as some, which is maybe why it still sounds so fresh. Plus it's properly funky, not some lame old Europap, and what a sleeve!

By the way, it is a truth universally acknowledged that 1979 is the greatest year there has ever been in the history of pop music ever and if you disagree I will sue.

This is the 12" mix (6:47) with drums that go boo!boo! and everything, because I loves ya.

The Players Association - 'Turn The Music Up' (1979)

Davy H Is Unwell

My mate Carlos and I went to see Billy Franks at The Troubadour Club on the Old Brompton Road last night. If you've been lurking round here for a while you'll know all about my affection for the late, lamented Faith Brothers and it was terrific to see their prime mover (with right hand man and bassist Lee Hirons) on homeground. Terrific too to be at The Troubadour for the first time - it was one of the great music venues of the 1950s and 60s (Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Sandy Denny and Jimi Hendrix all played there) and is everything you'd imagine such a place to be - warm, friendly, intimate; checked tablecloths in the restaurant.

Unfortunately, the draught beer was off last night and Carlos and I resorted to the wine - er, quite a lot of it....and I am not, to put it mildly, in the best of form today. I think I'll be OK if I don't move my head for another six hours.

Billy was fabulous. He played two sets - an opener of Faith Brothers/originals, a closer of covers and requests. With only this rather splendid keyboardist filling the spaces that the Faith Brothers used to wash with horns, the spirit of early Springsteen was even more obviously evoked than usual, so I couldn't resist in that second set asking slightly cheekily for 'Born To Run' which the band performed quite, quite brilliantly.

Franks clutches his light blue Strat and works the crowd like he's headlining Wembley, but thankfully for us, if perhaps unfairly for him, he's just two feet away in a tiny basement bar.

Go see if you can; he's 'in residency' there every Thursday. Entry is a fiver!

The Faith Brothers - 'Fulham Court' (1984)

The story behind this song told far more eloquently than I can here (scroll down) - thought of you when he played this Lee.

Back with Friday night mallarkey later. If the drugs work.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Name's Cocker, Jarvis Cocker

Much debate (well, a few scribbles) au previous post concerning the (I think) rather excellent John Barry score for the otherwise risible 'Octopussy' and Ms Rita Coolidge's 'contribution' thereto.

Seems an excellent opportunity to share with you this quite marvellous interpretation from the excellent David Arnold James Bond project Shaken And Stirred featuring the man who (quite rightly) waved his arse at Michael Jackson, and band.

David Arnold featuring Pulp - 'All Time High' (1997)

Our Lord John Barry liked Arnold's re-imagining of his original material on this album so much that he recommended the younger composer to Barbara Broccoli; and Arnold has gone on to score every Bond movie from 'Tomorrow Never Dies' to date.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Stirred, Not Shaken

It's Bond mallarkey a go-go as Babs Broccoli's production PR machine kicks in again and here comes Daniel Craig in another 'exclusive' fashion spread/interview/watch ad/yoghurt promotion (I made that last one up. I think).

I'm much more intrigued by this theme from Kevin McLory's unofficial remake of his own Thunderball script, written by Michel 'Windmills Of Your Mind' Legrand and performed by Lani 'Brasil 66' (and Mrs Herb Alpert) Hall.

It starts out sounding like Francis Lai, but thankfully goes properly glam Bond pronto.

For me it was a shame when grungy guitars replaced Bassey-esque high camp as the default mode for 007 theme composers, but I do understand that the young people must be accommodated.

Lani Hall - 'Never Say Never Again' (1983)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Yeah Baby (1981-3)

I tried to find a moody picture of an Escort XR3 GTi or something parked outside an 80s nightclub with gelled-up big-haired boys and girls in synthetic fabrics spilling out, but you'll have to settle for the Del Boy cocktail instead.

You can blame my current penchant for the deeply unhip sub-genre of 80s lite jazz-funk/pop on my (re) acquaintance with that K-Tel comp I told you about (15 whole-album downloads from this blog!) - I seem to have become obsessed with tracking down full-length versions of the cruelly-cropped tunes that were on it. I find the glossy patina of glamour, low-fat cheesy vocals, tinkly keyboards and horny bass on this stuff strangely addictive and deeply evocative of top notch 'adult' nightclubs I never went to or that wouldn't let me in.

Most of the artists involved were proper jazzers who 'went pop' - although the purists'll tell you Bob 'Theme From Taxi' James was never 'cred' and I don't know many people who'll admit to liking Shakatak even now (they're big in Japan). BUT WHO BLOODY CARES! THIS MUSIC MAKES ME HAPPY AND IT MIGHT DO YOU TOO - ba-bada-bada singey bits and naffly 'aspirational' record sleeves and all.

Fill yer Friday boots, I won't tell.

Bob James - 'Sign Of The Times' (1981)
Harvey Mason - 'What's Going On?' (1977)
Shakatak - 'Dark Is The Night' (1983)

Campari and soda?

I Want Candy

A little Friday heartstarter you might consider a kind of B-side post to this. I've had this EP lying about for a while awaiting an upload and keep expecting someone else to beat me to it.

Track one is what the music papers used to call 'the flip' of 'Some Candy Talking'; track two is one of four acoustic versions of JAMC songs recorded for the Peel Show and included on a bonus 7" with the single - stripped of their percussion and feedback squall and booming bass and left as three/four chord strumalongs I find most of these a tad dull, to be honest, but I think 'Trip' is a good enough tune to come through regardless.

I saw the Mary Chain at about this time. Mad as a box of frogs.

The Jesus & Mary Chain - 'Psychocandy' (1986)
The Jesus & Mary Chain - 'You Trip Me Up' (acoustic) (1985)

Something completely different later, I shouldn't wonder.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Credit Crunch Bossa

They might not thank me for saying so, but Dubstar were a sort of Saint Etienne from Newcastle, who dented the Top Twenty a couple of times in the mid-late 90s with the singles 'Stars' and 'Not So Manic Now'.

Like Saint Etienne, they seemed as in love with 60s kitsch and kitchen-sink realism as they were with contemporary electronica, and had a founder band member (Steve Hillier) who worked for a while as a journeyman hack.

I really like this take on an old Astrud Gilberto song they shoved onto the 2nd of two CD-singles of 'Manic'.

It's very looking-out-of-high-rise-windows-on-a-rainy-October-afternoon; credit crunch bossa.

Is anyone putting the kettle on?

Dubstar - 'A Certain Sadness' (1995)

PS: 'Currently working on a new album', and on Facebook and everything.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Taste Of Honey

The Smiths - 'Stretch Out And Wait' (1985)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Maturing Sun

In that unfeasibly warm, sunny weather yesterday, walking through the park with the girls and Mrs H and those lengthening October shadows, this popped suddenly into my mind and I started singing it, I don't know why. It just 'went'. It's a lovely song. One of Dad's.

Nat 'King' Cole (with George Shearing) - 'A Beautiful Friendship' (1962)

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Whole World Coming Alive

Friday evenings in the Westward TV region circa 1973 and my Dad and I are big fans of 'The Protectors'. He is an admirer of 'Miss' Nyree Dawn Porter and I am an admirer of the exotic locations, the swarve 'Harry Rule' (Robert Vaughan) and, above all, the theme tune, which is, of course, magnificent - whether in the instrumental version we get with the opening titles or the big powerful Tony Christie take at the end. Those opening five 'dar dar de dum dum' notes (not dissimilar to the ATV 'ident', come to think of it) practically define the excitement of Friday night for 7-8 year old me.

Now good old Tony may just have made a record with Richard Hawley on which he sounds like.....Richard Hawley - but I absolutely bloody well LOVE this.

[PS: I just tried to download the song from iTunes, but the site 'needed to close' mid-download. I bet the buggers keep my 79p! It's worse than those bloody tube station chocolate machines!]

[PPS: Oh, hang on. I gave it a thump and the choc dropped out...]

Tony Christie - 'Avenues & Alleyways' (1973)

London Girl

Kirsty MacColl (10th Oct 1959 - 18th Dec 2000)

But one day you'll be waiting there
Come summertime in Soho SquareAnd I'll be painting stars up in the skyBefore I get too old to cry
Before my birthday
I hope I see those pigeons fly
Before my birthday
In Soho Square on my birthday

Kirsty MacColl - 'Soho Square' (1993)

Justice For Kirsty

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Future Girl

This is great and I have my good friend Dr Al to thank for it because it's on a CD he pressed into my palms over a few pints of Pride in the pub last night.

I like the way it moves from a general observation about nothing being like it is in the brochures to the specific complaint that 'the future's not what they said it would be in the Sunday papers in the Seventies'

Where's my monorail?
Where's my hovercar? Where's my robot slave?
And my wife isn't Elizabeth Sladen*

Listen, any song that references 'our Liz' is certain of my full and robust support.

Some of you may know Darren from Hefner.

Darren Hayman - 'Future Song' (2005)

*actually, there's a passing resemblance, lucky me.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Chelsea Girl

It's been a while since we played any blog tennis and I know it's the second link to her in so many days and I hope it won't go to the poor love's head, but....

Teutonic model turned artband vocalist/vamp records song kindly given by unknown singer/songwriter boyfriend on Cale-produced debut LP she later disowns?

Please don't confront me with my failures
I had not forgotten them

Nico - 'These Days' (1967)


PS: For those of you for whom not entirely in-tune heavily accented Germanic vocal phrasing is a tad much, may I recommend the composer's rather lovely late 'acoustic' rendition?

Jackson Browne - 'These Days' (solo acoustic version) (2005)

We aim to please.

Monday, October 06, 2008

We Made It Through To Two

It is two years to the day since I opened my Blogger account with this little toe dip into the choppy wwwaters of the interweb. Two years! Sheesh! I'm not sure where that went exactly....except in a squall of fabulous shared music, camaraderie, brickbats, bon mots, quips, drinks, gibberish, gibes, brouhaha and the odd heartfelt moment, obviously.

As I've written here before, I do fear there is serious Disappearing Up Own Arse potential with these celebratory type posts, and to be honest with you, they're not really my thing - I'm much more of a not much happening of a Wednesday kinda guy - so if it's OK with you I'll just say a simple thank you at this point to you lovely regular commenters and inspiring fellow bloggers, silent stalkers and occasional visitors alike; you genuinely make this enterprise worthwhile - and in the inimitable words of the fat lady from the end of the Morecambe & Wise Show, "I love you all!"

What to play?

The brilliant, warm, passionate, funny and occasionally cracked persons who knock up the blogs listed on the right have helped me discover so many wonderful records in the last two years that it seems deeply unfair to single out just one - but I have, mostly because 1) it's the one I have played most 2) it's the one the whole house likes most 3) it's from Ally, who I think we all love very much and 4) it kind of fits.

Barbara Lewis - 'Hello Stranger' (1963)

Seems like a mighty long time x

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Hoverin' By My Suitcase

This one was, along with a lot of Tom Waits, a great comfort to me in lonely broken moments in that 'functional ' hotel room.

Since Sunday in London this morning is thick with rain, it still feels kind of right.

Brook Benton - 'A Rainy Night In Georgia' (1969)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Come Pick Me Up

I've landed.

Ben Folds - 'Landed' (2005)

Normal service will be, you know, resumed...