Friday, 22 April 2011

The Saints are Coming

I am not a great fan of the pod shuffle. I usually have an idea of what might suit me on the 30 minutes to work. Hangover, cold, heat, stress, hunger, whatever it is, it is not taken into consideration by the pod. The pod offering up some 13 minute drone rock on a bright summer morning is not what I'm after. Despite this, the pod came up absolute trumps the other morning by offering up the original The Saints are Coming by The Skids. It's a remarkably accomplished song.

Stuart Adamson, who went on to form Big Country, would have been only 20 when they released it. Singer Richard Jobson went on to form the rubbish Armoury Show and released all sorts of spoken and written words, went on the telly then made films. It's hard to see how Jobson plus members of Magazine could have failed, but it wasn't great. Magazine, in parts, were.

The Skids got back together again in 2007 to commemorate their 30th anniversary and as a tribute to Stuart Adamson who took his own life in 2001, aged only 43. Here's another tribute from an admirer.

For the T in the Park 2007 gig the reformed Skids were joined by Bruce Watson of Big Country. The Scotsman had this to say of the performance
"This is a sad day - it's closure - but a great day, too," he said, flashing his big letterbox grin for the last time. Jobson often says the band in their heyday never got the credit they deserved. Well, let the records show that yesterday The Skids were brilliant. Betrothed and divine, in fact"

I tend to agree. Judge for yourself.

Song Challenge - A Song that Reminds me of Playing 78's in my Grandparents Front Room

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Song Challenge - A Song that Reminds me of a CD I Lost

Don't let the haircut put you off (his, not mine). An odd video for a majestic song. I fear that Wikipedia might be doing harm to their legacy as when I put 'Walker Brothers' into the search to check the year the song was released it told me "Walker Brothers is a series of pancake houses in the Chicago area". 1966 by the way. My CD resides with an ex girlfriend, although I guess it may not have survived.

Song Challenge - A Song that Reminds me of Birmingham Powerhouse sometime in the Mid 80's

As part of an irregular series based on the Facebook Song Challenge here is A Song that Reminds me of Birmingham Powerhouse sometime in the Mid 80's. The Powerhouse was just off one of the inner ringroads as I remember. Plastic glasses and sticky carpets, and a balcony. We seemed to go every week and it was always full of goths. It was the time of goths. The Mission ruled the world, or seemed to. Looking back it seems like we saw The Pogues every other week.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Song Challenge - A Song from my Childhood and Black Lace's Worst

Peter, my once prolific now sporadic co-blogging cohort is undertaking some kind of 30 day song challenge in Facebook. This entails him posting links to songs that meet a certain daily criteria, as detailed below. Today was day 12 and he treated us to 'a song from a band you hate', which happened to be Angel of Harlem by U2. He went on to point out that he considered this to be their best song, but still considered "their best compares closely to Black Lace's worst"

As a lover of lists, pointless blogging that nobody reads and music, this 30 Day Challenge strikes me as genius. However, I'm changing the rules to suit myself and will be introducing categories such as 'A Song that makes me think of the venue Birmingham Powerhouse sometime in the mid 80's' and others such as 'A Song that sounds great when you are a bit pissed but doesn't when you are sober" etc

In the meantime, and while we wait for Day 15 of Peter's challenge (Staffordian Jangle Punk Boy by The Tenatious No Eff Pip Collective), I shall provide my own answer to Day 29; a song from my childhood.

Peter's Challenge
day 01 - your favorite song
day 02 - your least favorite song
day 03 - a song that makes you happy
day 04 - a song that makes you sad
day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere
day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 - a song that you know all the words to
day 09 - a song that you can dance to
day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep
day 11 - a song from your favorite band
day 12 - a song from a band you hate
day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
day 15 - a song that describes you
day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate
day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 - a song from your favorite album
day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry
day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 - a song that makes you laugh
day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 - a song that you wish you could play
day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 - a song from your childhood
day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year

Grammys 2011 - Go Gospel

Did you know there is a category at The Grammy's for Hawaiian Music Album? Or Comedy Album? Did you know that the word 'Gospel' appears in 7 different categories? Just in case you missed out on the gong for Contemporary R&B Gospel Album you could have a pop at Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album.

Here are a couple of the winners from the 2011 Grammys, ignoring the Lady Gagas and Iron Maidens of this world. If you would like to read more about the winners and losers click here

Gospel Song Winner 'It's What I Do' Kirk Whalum

Winner Rock or Rap Gospel Album, Hello Hurricane by Switchfoot

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Dead Men Walking

Dead Men Walking have been dragging their broken and battered selves throughout the UK on and off since the early 00's. With a rotating line up they somehow manage to re-invent a couple of classics from each of their various heydays without looking sad in any way. The songs stand the test of time, and even though they might be a bit puffy around the jaw and mid-riff the delivery is classy. These are people who have been there and done that and the experience shines through. A supergroup is Kirk Brandon, Mike Peters and Pete Wylie, not Blind Faith or ELP. Throw in Captain Sensible and Slim Jim Phantom from the Stray Cats and you have a Christ that is a Supergroup supergroup. I haven't even mentioned Billy Duffy ......

and one of the finest songs ever written about Thatcherism.....or possibly just ever written.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Sister Rosetta

All roads lead to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, or at least they seem to at the moment. Just before Christmas a friend sent me a link to a baizarre video of a woman playing a guitar on Chorlton railway station in Manchester, in 1963. Then, lo and begold, BBC4 decide to show a documentary entitled The Godmother of Rock n' Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe. According to the BBC "In 2008 the state governor of Pennsylvania declared that henceforth January 11th will be Sister Rosetta Tharpe Day in recognition of her remarkable musical legacy". Her career spanned several decades and saw her performing with Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman, rock and roll stars in the 50' and blues artists in the 60's. Living Blues say "she was the first major gospel singer to tour Europe" and although she suffered a stroke while on tour in 1970 her speech was impaired but her singing wasn't. Apparently she was Johnny Cash's favourite singer, and it's easy to see why.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

CW Stoneking

C.W. Stoneking does not sound like a white Australian. Not when he sings, anyway. Brought up in the Aboriginal community of Pupanya this, according to a comment beneath one of his videos on YouTube, explains how he talks. It doesn't really explain how someone in his late 30's can sing like someone from the late 30's. Somehow he manages to stay out of the cheap retro feel and conjure up something of 'genuine conviction rather than cheap parody' (Uncut).

In an interview with Australian independent music website Soulshine he declared his influences to be "old work songs, old gospel music, jazz, early Caribbean Calypso music out of the 20s and 30s" but went on to say that the inspiration for Jungle Blues actually came from a 50 Cent tune.