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Thursday, 19 May 2022

Hear Comes a Riddle, Here Coms a Clue

I played 77 the dubut album by Talking Heads for the first time in ages the other day and what a fantasic album it is too. 11 tracks ,just under 20 minutes per side and not a duff note  let alone track anywhere.

45 years old for goodness sake  and still as fresh as a daisy - just like the picture of Martina Weymouth (as she was billed then),Jerry Harrison, David Byrne and Chris Frantz on the back cover

It set a very high bar which the next three albums More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music and Remain in Light and not forgetting the live albums The Name of This Band is Talking Heads and  the brilliant Stop Making Sense just about managed to  live up to.

After that it was a case of diminishing returns for the final 5 albums although Speaking in Tongues and Little Creatures still have their moments.

Here are the first tracks from both sides. I could have chosen any of the 11 and they would have been equally as good.

Talking Heads - Uh - Oh, Love Comes to Town

Talking Heads - The Book I Read

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

The Household Clearance cds. Part 3


George writes

This is, I think, the 4th time I have been given someone’s record collection. The first time was when a friend went to live in Germany, and gave me his entire collection of albums and singles. I did take some to him at his request, on a visit (to Bremen). Of the  remaining albums I kept a few for myself, and sold the rest. But I still have his collection of 7-inch singles.

On to the next two blind selections, which are a pair that I could never imagine myself buying First up, it’s “Sucessos de 1998” on the “nova gente” label. I think it’s fair to say that this is not the kind of thing that finds its way onto these pages. But, dear reader(s), I have listened to it all, and was surprised that I recognised a couple of tunes, the one immediately below, that theme tune from Titanic, and one of the two Spice Girls songs. I don’t see the need for an mp3 of any of these, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to snaffle a copy for a collection, but they are perfectly decent pop songs:

The album has songs by some artistes I had never heard of: Aqua, The Rhapsody, Sweetfox, whose contributions, frankly, were bloody awful.

I like my pop songs up-beat, so those heartfelt songs by Ms Dion and Boyzone do nothing for me (Oh Vienna). Apart from irritate. Although not as much as something totally bland like the Lighthouse Family track, remarkably forgettable whilst actually being listened to.  The Sweetfox track has borrowed from Whiter Shade of Pale or J S Bach, and although the former was joint best pop song of all time (1952-1977) this effort will never be afforded any accolade. They were also very insistent that “everything was going to be alright” and indeed it was, when the song finished. The final  track is by Ricky Martin and sounds like a remarkably poor rehash of his famous song whose name  I really cannot be bothered finding out. Here’s the other acceptable track:

If anyone wants a copy, you will either have to ask me to send it to you, or work very very hard to source it. Well, it’s not on discogs.

Next out is an album that suggests it is the best music from Brasil. I’ve played it. I hope the title is not accurate. I would describe most of the first 9 tracks as belonging to the genre of bossa nova, so a new wave album! But not the new wave of last week, of course.  For the most part those songs are nearly listenable (and track 7 has really grown on me),  but, alas, things go from bad to worse with the onset of track 10, which is an annoyingly bad samba-style song. 

Here’s the aforementioned quite good, almost, track 7:

Fagner - Borbulhas de amor (eu tenho um coração)

I think the title means Love Bubbles (or Bubbles of Love), and not Love Pimples (or Love Plukes to the scottish contingent). But if it’s a song about sexual incontinence  it could be the latter. And here’s a track with Flaco-type accordion flourishes:

Fafá de Belém - Nuvem de lágrimas

Track 11 is not great; it is possible the compiler(s) ran out of steam. Or maybe it was a case of CBA. Track 12 sounds as if the singer is more unfamiliar with the Portuguese language than me, given her pronunciation, and that is taking into account that she could be Brazilian. Anyway, I’ve decided to play the first 9 again to pick out something. This seems to have inspired our dog to go into a shed and eat something from the cat litter tray. Is this his  way of commenting on the quality of the music he has listened to? 

The majority of songs have left me in a cloud of tears, nevermind Fafá

This too is a hard-to-find album. Unless you’re in my music room, and let me tell you this, that would  cause me no end of stress, I don’t even like my partner being in that room, nevermind some internet stalker type.

There’s a series of these “O melhor da música internacional”, and maybe this Household Clearance collection contains more. Part of me would really like to see what the Country and the Soul collections contain. We shall see.

CC writes

I'm sure the readers are greatful to George for introducing The Spice Girls and Natalie Imbruglia to these pages

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Combat Rock Turns Forty


2022 Charity Shop Purchases 25 - The Clash - Combat Rock

Combat Rock the fifth and the last worth having album by the Clash turned 40 on Saturday.
As is the way of these things a 40th anniversary issue called Combat Rock/The People's Hall is scheduled for release on Friday 
It contains an additional 12 tracks with the two collaborations with the late Ranking Roger the most interesting.

Again as is the way of these things a vinyl copy of the album will cost you in the region of £45 to £50 quid. That is a bit too steep for me. I did, however, somewhat coincidentally last Friday fork out a quid in a charity shop for a CD copy of the album to accompany the vinyl copy which I got when it was released.
You will all be aware of the three big singles  from the album but the other nine tracks are also pretty damn good. Here are a couple of them.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Keeping Up With the Joneses - Tom


The second last individual Jones before we continue with multiple Jones and who better to feature than a knight of the realm. Steady ladies - it is the one and only Sir Tom Jones

From 1999 on the Gut label the album Reload has somehow found its way onto the shelves. It is the one where he does duets with various artists . Just be grateful that I haven't decided to include Simply Red, Robbie Williams or the Stereophonics. There are some depths to which even I will not stoop.Remarkably it was the highest selling album of his long and illustrious career.

The first two sons below are taken from this album  with the third song Evil, a Howling Wolf song, being a collaboration with Jack White from 2012 as part of a Blues Series on Third Man Records

I thought that I had a copy of his version of Delilah but no. The only versions I have are by Jon Langford & Sally Timms with the Pine Valley Cosmonauts and by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. That's a post for another day.

Tom Jones(ft the Cardigans - Burning Down the House)

Tom Jones (ft Cerys Matthews) - Baby It's Cold Outside

Tom Jones (ft Jack White) Evil

Sunday, 15 May 2022

No Depression #62 - Kris Kristofferson


No Depression - The Bi-monthly Journal of Alt- Country
#62 March -April 2006

Today sees the final instalment of this series. We started out on 15th August last year with #32 March -April 2001 featuring Billy Joe Shaver
30 additions later we reach March -April 2006 with the great Kris Kristofferson as cover star.
The date symmetry is nothing more than a fortunate coincidence. It just seemed like a good place to stop. It wasn't cheap importing this magazine from the States and I wasn't devouring it as thoroughly as I used to.
This series has resulted in me opening most of them for the first time in years. I must confess that I haven't gone through them in any depth and I am now faced with the quandary as to whether I keep them or either try to sell them or give them away.

The lead article notionally features This Old Time a 2006 album by Kris on New West Records. I don't have it but it seems that it takes a retrospective and reflective look at what he deems to be the most important elements of his life and the article goes down those roads.
Many of you will be familiar with the back story - Rhodes scholar to Oxford , helecopter pilot, disowned by his family for working as a janitor while trying to pursue a musical career, meeting Johnny Cash, marrying Rita Coolidge, becoming famous.

There are those who would say that his best song is Me and Bobby McGhee but that is a bit like saying Glen Campbell's best song is Rhinestone Cowboy when the dogs in the street know it is actually Wichita Lineman.
No, Kris' best by a country mile is Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down and I'm willing to fight anyone who thinks differently. The Pilgrim:Chapter 33 also gives a fairly good whistlestop tour of his lifestyle back in the day.
We had the privilege of seeing him very briefly on two occasions at Celtic Connections in 2016 when he did a cameo appearance with The Chieftains and a few songs as part of the Roaming Roots Review.He was quite frail as he had been suffering from Lyme disease but he still had a huge aura and presence.

For my final One from the Top I'm going for Calexico as a fine example of Alt Country.

I enjoyed doing this series (hope you did to) but am quite glad that its now over.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Seen at King Tuts - Chuck Prophet


Chuck Prophet

Saturday 21st June    2003                           £12 .00         Ticket No: GA2  29

Saturday 16th  April   2005                           £12.00         Ticket No:  GA2  21

My ticket tin tells me that I have seen Chuck Prophet twice at King Tuts, thrice if you include Green on Red. I think that I have seen him there more often as he regularly appeared in Glasgow and was one of those artists that you would always go and see.

On one occasion I witnessed him getting an electric shock as the guitar wires touched the mic. If he thought he was going to get any sympathy from a Glasgow audience he was in for a shock (do you see what I did there?) as they were too busy slagging off his shirt.

I've also seen him in Austin as guitarist to Alejandro Escovedo in a couple of blistering concerns at the Continental Club a venue held by many in the same regard as Tuts.

I saw him more recently at Cottiers. When I say recently I've just checked and it was actually September 2018. That still seems recent to me. He was pretty disappointing and was blown away be support act Jesse Malin.

No such problems at the shows listed above when him and his band were firing out great tracks from albums such as Feast of Hearts (1995) and Homemade Blood (1997) and  in the case of 2005 Age of Miracles (2004)  from which these songs below are taken

Chuck Prophet - Longshot Lullaby

Chuck Prophet - Til You Came Along

Chuck Prophet - Pin a Rose on Me

Friday, 13 May 2022

"Classic Rock" - Frank Zappa


2022 Charity Shop Purchases #24 - Frank Zappa - The Best of Frank Zappa

The next Best of from the Newton Stewart Sue Ryder haul is The Best of Frank Zappa a CD from 2004 on the Rykodisc label

I knew a guy who had over 40 Zappa albums. He had also worked as a dentist which therefore made him a sadist as well as a masochist.

Was Frank Zappa a genius or a chancer?I'm veering towards the latter . While there are a couple of  good songs on this album there is also a lot of nonsence much of which is pretty misogynistic in nature. Described by Robert Christgau pretty accurately  as sexist adolescent drivel  There could be an argument that it is of its time but I can't think of too many other acts who came away with as many (possibly intentional) offensive songs as him.

For this reason and the fact that most of the music does not impress me much this one will not be a keeper which is a pity as it would have taken the Zs on the shelves into double figures.( 5 Warren Zevon, 3 Zutons and 1 Andrea Zonn if you are interested)

Here are two of the non offensive and better songs

Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage

Frank Zappa -Valley Girl