Tuesday, May 31, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 53 - SONG # 81

Day 53 - A Song you listen to when you are happy

A song that makes me feel good certainly is Sweet Jane by the Velvet Underground. Must be something like 40 years that I love the song, in all its magnificent simplicity. There are some very strange renderings of it by Lou Reed on the internet (if somebody took care of listing those versions in chronological order, one could get a glimpse of the ups and downs in Lou's career). Be that as it may, I think that the Cowboy Junkies' version is a good one:

The original version by VU (at least the one that allows embedding, with "alternative outro"):

Sunday, May 29, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 52 - SONG # 80

Day 52: The Pure Doctrine

Whatever anybody might say (like comparing the guitar work to Neil Young), these old men rock as hell, and I wish I had been on that gig. Although being a big huge fan of Green on Red, I never saw them live, not even Chuck Prophet or Chris Cacavas with one of their other projects. The category of today's entry should be "a song you listen to when your angry". In whatsoever way this one here may fit into that, it has clearly a cathartic function, and I did play it a lot back in the Eighties and Nineties when there still were some parties at our home. So here is a live version of Green on Red's "The Drifter", a song that has originally been part of "Gas, Food and Lodging" (1985).

Friday, May 27, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 51 - SONG # 79

DAY 51 - A song from one of your favourite albums

The second album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds has been the first album featuring Nick that I have bought. Afterwards I added some Bad Seeds records, almost all of the Birthday Party recordings, The Boys Next Door and work by soe other artists that featured Nioick as a guest-singer to my collection, but I have stopped to collect systematically everything connected to Nick. I once had the idea. to build a collection of (then:) vinyls featuring all the musicians that have either played in band with Nick or with somebody who had played with Nick. On the occassion of a gig of Jowe Head's Palookas (who fell under that category, as Jowe Head has played with drummer Epic Soundtracks (brother of Nikki Sudden) in the Swell Maps, and Epic has also been one of the drummers of Crime & The City Solution, when Rowland S. Howard, - former BND and BP member -, played the guitar in that band) I came to mplay one song with them, because this was the song the drummer sang and he wanted to be in front of the stage for that. So I myself had played with somebody that had played with somebody that had played with somebody that was a member of a band featuring Nick Cave. I had the feeling of having reached a goal in life, and, with respect to my financial situation I stopped the project.
Tupelo (lyrics by Cave, music credited to Barry Adamson & Mick Harvey), the opening track of The Firstborn is Dead relates to a song by John Lee Hooker about the flood that town had been drowned in and connects this theme to the birth of Elvis Presley, who stems from Tupelo and to the story about Elvis' twin who died at birth, this way setting up the main theme of the dead of the firstborn, which bears rich biblical connoations of sacrifice and substituting offerings, and of heritage (from Abraham to Pesach).

By establishing a link to John Lee Hooker, Cave also opens the main artistic effort of this recording, that seems to be (at least to me) an exploration of the blues genre. For example, songs like "Blind Lemon Jefferson" or "Say Goodbye to the Little Girl Tree" (music by Mick Harvey) are adaptations of classic blues schemes and themes. Here is another one, the wonderfully archaic "Black Crow King" (credited to Cave and Blixa Bargeld):

1000 SONGS - DAY 50 - SONG/S # 78

Day 50: 5 Songs I would like to hear on the radio

This post is a kind of tribute to Karl Blake, an English musician. He plays a lot of different instruments and he has done pretty many recordings in pretty diverse musical styles. The common category of all of those seems to be "avantgarde", "experimental" or something like that. He is a founding member of Lemon Kittens and Shock Headed Peters, and has worked together with many musicians and performers, among them Danielle Dax and Lydia Lunch. I came to know his artwork first when I bought the 12" EP "Life Extinguisher" back in the 80ies - I do not have any clue of why I have bought it. Here is the song "Scorch" ('My friend's adrift - she's a dorsal morsel') from that record. The picture featured in the video is the cover painting by Danielle Dax:

From the same EP, the song Life Extinguisher:

The Lemon Kittens: What the Cat brought in:

Suicide Ocean w/t Lydia Lunch:

Finally, I add a cover of a famous and influential song, the version of Heartbreak Hotel done by the Shock Headed Peters. I find it at as remarkable as the better known, equally "ironic" rendering of the classic tune by John Cale featured on June 1, 1974:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 49 - SONG # 77

DAY 49: Songs from the Radio

I first came to know Tuxedo Moon via Austrian public radio (Musicbox!), and I still find them one of the very very fine (although somewhat doomingly existentialist) bands in the world. Stemming from San Franciso, they are a kind of counteropart to the "wear a flower in your hair"-attitude, have ever been more attractive in a European than in an American context, and so on. One can read something about that marvellous band on Wikipedia here, but it is a shame, that, for instance, the entry on Blaine L. Reininger, one of the founding members and a great artist to me, has been deleted due to Blaine being "a musician [...] that didn't assert the importance or significance of the subject"; be that as it may, here are 3 songs by Tuxedo Moon, first one, their trademark "Family Man" from the 12" Scream with a view, 1979, in a live version from 1983:

Second one, The Waltz, opening track from 1985 album Holy wars

And a piece called Music #2 from 1991 Ghost Sonata:

All the original recordings featuring Blaine; I am not sure about the 1983 live version, so here is the 1979 studio version:

and what seems to be a cover version (I was the first one to select that clip, uploaded on 20.05.2011...):


Monday, May 23, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 48 - SONG # 76


Not much to write about it, as it speaks for itself: "I'm drunk and suffering and alive": Kiss on your scars by Spasmodique, an explosice expressive intensive song from a dutch band that would have deserved to be as big as Pearl Jam:


1000 SONGS - DAY 47: SONG # 75

Day 47: Songs about Drinking

In the broader category of " A song that describes you" here are some songs about drinking. Yes, I drink... The classic song about drinking habits is Mary Gauthier's "I drink", featuring the wonderful chorus: "Fish swim, birds fly, daddies yell, mamas cry, old men sit and think - I drink"

To me, "Whiskey in the Jar" seems to be a song about drinking, too, as it goes like "some take delight in fishing and bowling / others take delight in the carriage a-rolling / I take delight in the juice of the barley / courting pretty women in thge morning so early"; my favourite version of that ol' Irish tune is by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman. The two have been members of "Old and in the Way" for a long time, and shortly before the passing away of Jerry they have done very fine bluegrass renderings of classic folk-tunes together, one among them "Whiskey in the Jar":

Seems, that songs about drinking are an American enterprise, mostly to be found in the country/bluegrass genre; Robert Earl Keen has contributed a song to sing along the chorus: Corpus Christi Bay: "If I could my life all over, it wouldn't matter anyway, 'cause I never could stay sober on the Corpus Christi Bay" (from: A Bigger Piece of Sky)

Finally (but I will come back to drinking songs) a clearly no-way-country-song about drinking (although I am sure that somebody could do a fine bluegrass version of that one). Jack Daniels (Bourbon, isn't it, no man in his sober senses would drink Bourbon, as long as there is one sip of Scotch left on the face of God's wide earth) mixed with Pepsi (this is what one can use Bourbon for...) results in Jack Pepsi.: TAD, with a clearly Seattle-grunge-style of song:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 46: SONG # 74

Day 46: A Song I Would Expect Me to Love

Clearly, I like funk, I like hip-hop, I like -to a certain extent - renegades, and I think that the album filled with cover versions by RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE is a fine one (I cannot listen to Bob Dylan's own version of Maggie's Farm no more, after having listened to the RATM version. Nevertheless, first place for the inventor, the Africa Bambaata and the Soul Sonic Force original goes like this:

And here is the even more danceable version by RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 45: SONG # 73

Day 45: Apocalyptic Songs

Back in the 60ies, during the Cold War (and some very "hot" wars, too, remember Vietnam) fear of a nuclear power strike led to the emergence of strange religious believes - have there ever been religious believes that do not seem to be a bit strange at least? - like the pre- (or proto)-New-Age UFO-movement. And it has led to a special genre of protest-songs, which imagine a post-war, post-apocalyptic scenaraio where naturalezza has been utterly destroyed and the surviving remnants of the human race lead a life barely reminiscent of what human life on planet earth has once been like in those better days before the bomb.
Tim Rose's classic self-titled recording from 1967 features two songs belonging to that category, "Come Away Melinda" and "Morning Dew". Morning Dew, written by Bonnie Dobson - although Tim Rose has been credtited as co-author on the record - has been interpreted by many artitsts, but Tim Rose's Version was the one to make the song popular (this a similar story as the one pertaining to Kris kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee", which most people credit to Janis Joplin, due to her success in making it a part of popular culture's hymn book). So here is the "original" version by Tim Rose:

Compare it to the very conservatively arranged true original version by the writer of the song:

As one would expect, the lenghtiest versions to be found on u:tube are live renderings of the song by Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. There is even one video showing Billy Corgan performing that song, pretending the smashing pumpkin does a cover of a Grateful Dead song. Here is the 1968 version of the song by the Dead:

Later on, Nazareth have done a version that some fans of them hold to be the original one (as they might also think that Joni Mitchell's "This Flight Tonight" was composed by the 70ies Rockers). No one would think that DEVO had written the song, with respect to their electronic rendering of it (some people hold it to be a "deconstruction" of the dirge):

Last, not least, the German alternative teeniepoppers Einstuerzende Neubauten have done a version that I hold to be one of the more appropriate efforts to take the song out of the framework of the 60ies' country & protest scene. Blixa at his best:

1000 SONGS - DAY 44: SONG # 72

Song # 72: A song I do not easily admit to like

It is a sort of coming out - I do like "Stumblin In", co-written by Mike Chapman, one of the most successful producers in the music business during the 70ies and 80ies. The song has originally been recorded by Suzie Quatro and Chris Norman of Smokie fame (and I did/do like Smokie, too, I have to confess). Whenever I listen to the song, it is 3 am in a discotheque in the tiny little village where I come from. It is the perfect "Landdisco" (countryside disco) song, and if it hadn't been written already, one would have to invent it. In a way, it conjures up the same void in me as the average Landdisco-song, but it does not leave me dry... So here, a tribute to Suzie Quatro, a central figure to the puberty rites of my generation
Concerning the first version, I apologise 4 the video, but it was the only one that seems to feature the original recording in an acceptable sound quality:

The next one is from the mid 90ies (there are some others, but they have horrible synthesizer-arrangements), sound quality rather poor - as the looks of the chief male performer - and what does the drummer need that monstrous set up for? Nevertheless, Suzie proves to be a first class entertainer:

Finally, a playback version from a 2010 "Oldies Night". Michael Chapman forgets the words he has written and does not remember where he has placed the guitar solo back in the 70 ies, but Suzie (I guess, there is some botox in her face) shows, that she is a very professional performer

Sunday, May 15, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY #43: SONG #71

Song # 71: A Song From Your Favourite Band

There is no such thing as a "favourite band" of mine. This can best be shown by the status of DUB SYNDICATE as one of my "favourtite bands". Dub was invented by Lee "Scratch" Perry (among others) as a style of adding "special effects" to Roots Reggae. Adrian Sherwood, a genius among the producers, the mastermind of ON U SOUND (already featured in that blog), has done what Nietzsche suggests that all disciples should do: he has gone far beyond the limits set by and to LSP; within the varying set-ups of musicians being a member of the ON-U-SOUND SYSTEM, DS has always been a special set of musicians, featuring artists also part of other "bands" within the ON-U-SOUND-world as well as supplying basic tracks to various records released by the label, by the likes as Bim Sherman or Gary Clail. DS has also done recordings together with Lee "Scratch" Perry and, they are a fine live-act, although the set-up of musicians may change. Each one of the following tracks is a "favourite song" of mine



An hommage to a famous Indian sitar player, called RAVI SHANKAR, featured on TUNES FROM THE MISSING CHANNEL

And a live version of CUSS CUSS, my favourite track from the album STRIKE THE BALANCÉ

not the best sound quality, but a great live performance of WADADA:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 42: SONG #70

Song #70: Songs to chill out

Instead of "a song that makes you fall asleep" here are two songs that I can chill out to, or relax, or whatsoever. As this state of mind is normally thought of to be characterised by a low level of activity, no further comments will be added.

BUSH: Letting the cables sleep (from: "The Science of Things")

MOBY: Why does my heart feel so bad?

Disclaimer: this is featured 4 the music only; as the original video is not available on utube, this is just randomly selected (other choices no better)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 41 : SONG # 69

SONG #69: A Song that You Can Dance to

One of the most danceable films ever made, one of the best concert movies ever, directed by Jonathan Demme, catching a great show done by fine musicians and David Byrne, one of the movies that I have watched more than 3 times in a real cinema (and I own the original vinyl of the soundtrack and the DVD) is STOP MAKING SENSE by TALKING HEADS. Which track should I choose? Maybe Crosseyed and Painless from "Remain in Light" (produced by Brian Eno) will be the best choice, for not being featured on the original record and for what it says about facts (every scholar should have that in mind) :
Facts are simple and facts are straight
Facts are lazy and facts are late
Facts all come with points of view
Facts don't do what I want them to
Facts just twist the truth around
Facts are living turned inside out
Facts are getting the best of them
Facts are nothing on the face of things
Facts don't stain the furniture
Facts go out and slam the door
Facts are written all over your face
Facts continue to change their shape

Plus a pretty good live version with nice pictures from another concert:

1000 SONGS - DAY 40: SONGS # 66-68

DAY 66: A Song that Reminds You of a Certain Event

The song featured here, by Joe Ray from TOGO, reminds me of somewhere - Lomé, Togo, 2007, and it reminds me of a certain event. Coming back from Benin we had to wait for hours to cross the border to Togo, because the two presidents of Togo and Benin had come together at this very border in order to inaugurate a new glass-fibre cable to make internet and the like faster in that region (or something like that). In August and September 2007, Manyame seems to have been a big hit in Togo, as you would hear it everywhere on the streets - also in Kpalime, where I bought the CD containing that song among many others by Togolese artists (I guess this one CD was fabricated by the man who owned the store). The ceremony at the border featured, among other ritual activities, a tam tam Zangbeto. And I heard that song for the first time since having left Togo for Benin and I had the feeling of coming home:

DAY 67: A Song that Reminds You of Somewhere

A couple of years ago, when - for some miraculous reasons - I seem to have had more time off than nowadays, I spent some of my free time volunteering in a so called "world shop", where products distributed by "fair trade" are sold among them CD's featuring so called "World Music". Very seldomly customers dropped in, most of the time I sat there reading a book and listening to the CD's the store had in store. Among them were also some albums by the late Ali Farka Touré from Mali, so whenever I hear any tune by Ali Farka Touré, it reminds me of that shop in Gloggnitz, Lower Austria, run by the (now retired) school-teacher of religion in that lovely village (at least the surroundings are lovely). Here is a fine piece of music by Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabate, from their Album "Ali & Toumani", recorded in 2005 and released in 2010 (when Ali has long been dead) called Sabu Yerko, and I think, it is really great:

DAY 68: A Song that You Know All the Words to

I am not sure about being able to recite the song's lyrics in the right order, but this one song by the GREAT GILLIAN WELCH is a song that I use to sing along to, whenever I hear it and that sticks to my mind and that is a nuisance to my environment, as far as I often sing it when walking the streets (and I have very restricted abilities as a singer).
Everything is free, from Time (The Revelator):


Since one of the last posts has featured "The Weight" as performed by The Band and the Staples Singers on "The Last Waltz", here is a very fine version of that song as a bonus track to this here post, featuring Gillian Welch, David Rawlings & the OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW: