Sunday, December 30, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 260 SONG # 291

Day 260: Tings and Times

Tings an' Times is an album by Linton Kwesi Johnson, a poet in his own language. I own a vinyl  copy of it - it has been a constant feature on my turntables for many years. It is a kind of dub style  album incorporating many elements from other endeavours in the human quest for music . LKJ  is rather a rapper than a singer on this one, and one with a very consistent flow. There is some eastern.european gypsie music smell to all of that and we simply should like it. Here are two tunes from that album, Story & Sense Outta Nonsense. Story tells a tale about being a rough guy that everyone should take to his hawt - oonu evah si mi trial si mi crawsiz?

wance upon a time
jus like inna nursery rime
before piggy tun to swine
mi did wear
mi fear pan mi face
like a shiel like a mawsk

an evrybody tink mi cool an deadly

nottn yu coulda seh
woulda mek mi tek it awf
an if yu get mi nervos
ah woulda jus lawf it awf

an evrybody tink mi cool an deadly

but not soh long ago
jus  like inna pitcha show
whey di hero get a blow
mi spirit get vex
an mi get soh ressless
dat mi get careless
an goh bare mi mawgah chess

mi newah indah tink
seh dat it mek outa glaas
dat di whole wide worl coulda si
rite dung to di vien inna mi hawt
ow dem twis-up ow dem tie-up ow dem tite-up
o mi hawt

ow it cut-up ow it craw-up ow it scar-up

it is a haad awt fi mawstah yu noe
dis smilin an skinin yu teet
wen yu hawt sweel-up
soh till yu feel it a goh bus
wen yu cyaan fine di rime fi fit di beat
wen yu cyan fine di ansah fi di puzzle complete

soh no mi tek awf mi mawsk
an staat fi wear daak glaas
but eyry so awftin
mi haffi tek it awf
an evry nowanden
mi fine mi laas

oonu evah si mi trial si mi crawsiz ?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 259 SONG # 290

DAY 259: Introducing John Wozniak

John Wozniak is the guy behind Marcy Playground, a group named after Marcy Open School that Wozniak attended. According to Wozniak, the time when he did not join his comrades on Marcy Playground during breaks for fear of being ill-treated has been crucial to forming his outlook at the world. Maybe this is a good part of the stuff rock'n'roll is taken from? The two stable members of the trio, Wozniak and bassist Dylan Keefe both stem from Minneapolis. Nevertheless, Marcy Playground is a New Yorker, a typical 90ies alternative rock band, more successful in the USA than in Europe, although there is one song that "everybody knows". This is also the first song of the band I came to know, since it was contained on a sampler by the Austrian radio station FM4. It is, like the others featured here, a fine example of Wozniak's skills as a song-writer. This one song is called "Sex and Candy". At the end of this here blog-entry you will find a live version and the studio recording of it (it is a great song, indeed!). The video from Vevo will give you a taste of the strangeness of MP's official videos.  I start with "[Cocaine,] Gin and Money" (a song you could call a bit radio-headish) and continue with "It's Saturday". The latter, a song about falling ill at the start of the week-end, should have become a hymn of late teenagership or early twendom (maybe I made one of these words up, but I don't give a damn). As the official video is rather strange, I have chosen an upload with a still for that one. This one goes out to Marie-Therese who fell ill on Christmas Eve 2012 -  this sad incident has brought the song to my mind yesterday.

Sad eyes
I can tell you're thinkin', honey
I see it in the back of your mind
Yeah, it's a cold night
I got cocaine, gin and money
Let's take it to the back of my ride, yeah

Yes and  you wanna call me daddy?
Girl, you can call me anything you like
You're so fine

You're gonna push me baby
Right to the edge of right and wrong, alright
You're gonna push me baby
Right to the edge and go beyond, alright

I'm a bad guy
I can tell you're thinkin', honey
I can see it in the back of your mind, yeah
It's a cold night
I've got cocaine, gin and money
Let's take it to the end of the line, yeah

You're gonna push me baby
Right to the edge of right and wrong, alright
You're gonna ride it baby
Right to the edge and go beyond, that's right

Love give me
Sin with me
Blood pumping
Lust in your eyes

Monday, December 24, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 258 SONG # 289

Day 258: Maybe my favourite country song of all times

Pancho and Lefty is kind of the trademark song of Townes van Zandt (1944-1997), a guy with a load of problems like alcoholism, drug addiction and the like. He wrote some outstanding beautiful songs (f.e., If I needed You), but me, I still do like Pancho and Lefty the most among them songs by Townes. It has been made popular by the version done by Emmylou Harris in 1977 and later on by recordings of  country-stars Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. Still, I do like his rendering of the song the most. Second best (may even be the best) version in my humble opinion is the one done by Emmylou (girl with the beautiful silver hair) in 2003. Last version featured is one by the young Emmylou (did you realize, I have something for her, maybe this here post is more about Emmylou than Townes...), for comparison.

Living on the road my friend
Was gonna keep you free and clean
Now you wear your skin like iron
Your breath's as hard as kerosene
You weren't your mama's only boy
But her favorite one it seems
She began to cry when you said goodbye
And sank into your dreams

Pancho was a bandit boys
His horse was fast as polished steel
Wore his gun outside his pants
For all the honest world to feel
Pancho met his match you know
On the deserts down in Mexico
Nobody heard his dying words
That's the way it goes

All the federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him hang around
Out of kindness I suppose

Lefty he can't sing the blues
All night long like he used to
The dust that Pancho bit down south
Ended up in Lefty's mouth
The day they laid poor Pancho low
Lefty split for Ohio
Where he got the bread to go
There ain't nobody knows

All the federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him slip away
Out of kindness I suppose

The poets tell how Pancho fell
Lefty's livin' in a cheap hotel
The desert's quiet and Cleveland's cold
So the story ends we're told
Pancho needs your prayers it's true,
But save a few for Lefty too
He just did what he had to do
Now he's growing old

A few gray federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him go so wrong
Out of kindness I suppose

Thursday, December 6, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 257 SONG #288

Day 257: A truly great cover version of a truly great song

The Man in Me is a song from Bob Dylan's 1970 album New Morning, and it has always been one of my favourite songs from that LP - together with "If Not for You", "Time Passes Slowly", "Sign on the Window", "Three Angels" and "Father of Night", amongst others...). It has been featured in the soundtrack of The Big Lebowski (one of my favourite Coen Brothers movies, amongst others) and it has been covered brilliantly by Cracker, the best band in the whole wide world (amongst others). I first heard the Cracker Version on their last gig in Vienna (Chelsea Club) and it was simply great. Here is the best audio version I could find on UTUBE, although the video is rather an amateur's work. Be that as it may, we want the music, and Johnny Hickman RULEZ!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 256 SONG # 287

Day 256: Ethiopian Jazz from a Jarmusch movie by ሙላቱ አስታጥቄ 

Yekermo Sew, the track featured here is part of the soundtrack of the Jim Jarmusch movie "Broken Flowers", partly consisting of compositions by ሙላቱ አስታጥቄ (Mulatu Astatke), an Ethiopian vibraphonist, drummer and composer. I find it simply beautiful; it reminds me of The Lounge Lizrads to some extent, maybe this explains why Jarmusch chose it. I do not have any more to say, but: enjoy the marvellous music from a live rendering in London:

Friday, November 30, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 255 SONG #286

Day 255: The Price You Got to Pay to Be Free

The song in question was written by Nat Adderley Jun. and first recorded by the group of his uncle, Julian "Cannonball" Adderley on the live-album of the same name - The Price You Got to Pay to Be Free -  in 1970. I first came to know the tune via the version of Les McCann on his Live from Montreux album (1973), which was to be heard very frequently in the cafés and the bars  I went to in the late 70ies in Vienna. Here it is, followed by the version of the Cannonball Adderöley Quintet:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 254 SONG # 285

DAY 254 - A Tribute to DJ Premier

DJ Premier, a guy from Texas, has been a person of seminal influence on NY's late 80ies and early 90ies Hip-Hop-Scene, along with The Guru, the MC that died too young in 2010, son of the first African-American judge or so, from Boston. As GangStarr, they have contributed enormously to intelligent, poitically aware, musically and lyrics-wise sophisticated hip-hop, being the spear-head of the cool hip-hop movement, later on lead by the Guru and Jazzmatazz. Not long after that,  the genre began to decline aesthetically, we have to admit. When those guys introduced these cool samples from the swing-era on the basis of funky beats, this was the golden era of hip-hop, word! DJ Premier is known for putting together cool beats, moody loops, stunning samples and excellent as well as exact scratches. As a first example of that art of collage, we bring in "Just to Get a Rep", considered to be the masterpiece of Gang Starr by some; it is a fine example of street lyrics, telling a somewhat "authentic" story from the streets of NY in those days, not just posing and boasting  about being a gangsta or something ridiculous and dangerous like that:

The video was shot by Fab 5 Freddy, here is an interview with him about how the story goes: click on that!

As you can learn from that interview, GangStarr were very successful in building and pushing their NY-Posse, among them guys you can see in the video to "Just to Get a Rep", like Jeru the Damaja and Lil' Dap. Jeru the Damaja's first album is normally rated among the top Hip-Hop albums of all times, and it is definitely right to do that and DJ Premier, who did most of the producing work (which means, he made the loops, the beats, the scratches  and all of that)  has to be credited on that one; here is Jungle Music from "The Sun Rises in the East":

Lil' Dap was to be one of the guys in Group Home later on; here is "Suspended in Time" from their debut album. This is also to be credited to DJ Premier, who has produced the track. It is  followed by the "instrumental" version, to give you some sort of feeling for the work of DJ Premier:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 253 SONG # 284

Day 253: Neu! Introducing the Motorik-Beat

40 years ago, influential Krautrocker pioneers NEU! have released their first album Neu! Among groups and people related to NEU! we find, f.e., Krafwerk, Roedelius, Moebius and Eno. The band was formed by Michael Rother and  Klaus Dinger after they had left Kraftwerk. Nevertheless, the invention of the so called "Motorik-Beat" - made famous by Kraftwerk's "Autobahn" - is credited to Dinger. He preferred to call it the "Apache-Beat". The basic structure of that straight-forward, driving beat goes like this (top: hihat, middle: snare drum, bottom: bassdrum):

Here we have Hallogallo from the said debut album by NEU!, dancetrance before the invention of the word; a load of musicians quotes this album as having had a great impact on their music, among them David Bowie, Brian Eno and Thom Yorke:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 252 SONG #283

DAY 252: The coolest cover version ever

There are so many cool cover versions of so many great songs. This one is a cover version of a song from my childhood, a very excited song, a jump-around and scream song (I did own the single, I always liked the B-Side more, as I have already written on this here blog). I do not have to say anything about the song, everybody knows it. Most readers of that blog will also know Howe Gelb (not personally, though), the man who has been Giant Sand. He has done an extremely cool version of that song - simply great. Here it is (btw, it is NOT "Paint it Black"):

Saturday, November 10, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 251 SONG # 282

Day 251: Hillbilly Music

I have to do it now, after having posted a song from the Kinks' Musswell Hillbillies' album. One could choose Hank Williams for the Hillbilly theme. As everybody knows, my mother in law and poor me have at least two things in common, love for the most wonderful person in our little world, and,  respect for the man in black and his songs. As this one man's life has been more or less linked to June Carter, who was a daughter of Maybelle Carter, the Carter Family is the best choice for me to render some real hillbilly music (later to be called country). Here are two recordings, Gold Watch and Chain & Church in the Wildwood. I really love their accent, the way they pronounce "poor",    "bosom", "hair", "fair" "clear", "dear" and so on.

Darling, how can I stay here without you
I have nothing to cheer my poor heart
This old world would seem sad, love, without you
Tell me now that we're never to part

Oh I'll pawn you my gold watch and chain, love
And I'll pawn you my gold diamond ring
I will pawn you this heart in my bosom
Only say that you'll love me again

Take back all the gifts you have given
But a ring and a lock of your hair
And a card with your picture upon it
It's a face that is false, but is fair

Tell me why that you do not love me
Tell me why that your smile is not bright
Tell me why you have grown so cold-hearted
Is there no kiss for me, love, tonight

There's a church in the valley by the wildwood
No lovelier place in the dale
No spot is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the dell

Oh, come to the church in the wildwood
Oh, come to the church in the dale
No spot is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the dell

How sweet on a clear Sabbath morning
To listen to the clear ringing bell
It's tones so sweetly are calling
Oh, come to the church in the dell

There, close by the side of that loved one
Neath the tree where the wild flowers bloom
She sleeps, sweetly sleeps, neath the willow
Disturb not her rest in the tomb

Friday, November 9, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 250 SONG # 281

Day 250: Another great song written by Ray Davies

Everybody knows that I am a fan of Ray Davies as a songwriter and the Kinks as a band from childhood days on. Although it is Song # 281, and, according to my statistics, there have been posted nearly twice as much songs (without alternative versions) on this here "1000 Songs Challenge", I count Day 250, and this is some kind of jubilee, it is a Jubeljahr, a jubilee year. Listen to Oklahoma USA, this very beautiful song from the Kinks' 9th album, Muswell Hillbillies. About daydreams and movies and poor girls living for/with both. And enjoy the cover version by Yo la Tengo, from their Fakebook album (at least, I got it...):

All life we work but work is a bore
If life's for livin' what's livin' for
She lives in a house that's near decay
Built b'for the industrial revolution
But in her dreams she is far away
In Oklahoma U.S.A.
 With Shirley Jones and Gordon McRea

As she buys her paper at the corner shop
She's walkin' on the surrey with the fringe on top
Cause in her dreams she is far away
In Oklahoma U.S.A.

She walks to work but she's still in a daze
She's Rita Hayworth or Doris Day
And Errol Flynn's gonna take her away
To Oklahoma U.S.A.

All life we work but work is a bore
If life's for livin' then what's livin' for

Sunday, November 4, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 249 SONG # 280

Day 249 - Another song by a widely unknown 80ies band

On the internet, they call The Lucy Show a post-punk band or a New Wave band. Named after Lucille Ball's 6oies Sitcom (the follow-up of "I Love Lucy"), the band  consisted of two Canadian guys who had gone to London and were responsible for the songwriting, and two English musicians. Although their first album was not unsuccessful (#1 on CMJ album charts), A&M Records cancelled the contract, and their next record label, Big Time  Records, went bankrupt. Bad luck, as one might say. At least Mark Bandola still has a band, called Typewriter. After listening to some of their songs, I decided to like The Lucy Show more. I own their first album (vinyl version) which I have bought when it was released (1985) and still like. After listening again to some of the tracks from Undone, I am convinced that the best song on that album is "Resistance". Straight forward rock tune, expressive, the slightly dark mood of England's middle of the 80ies New Wave bands,  a riff you will remember and a very interesting way in which it is followed up and/or backed by the synth-sounds. So everybody who is bashing 80ies music -  listen to bands like The Lucy Show and you will learn to think twice. Great track, one of those the replay button has been invented for. To be played at maximum volume. The picture on the upper left shows a Roland Jet Phaser AP 7, one of Mark Bandola's favourite effect  units for electric guitar.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 248 SONG # 279

DAY 248: Beautiful Music from Seattle

There is more than Grunge and SubPop to Seattle. F.e., Transmissionary Six, a band with ties to the Walkabouts, The Willard Grant Conspiracy and the like (sounds like alternative folk rock). In principle, singer/songwriters Terri Moeller and Paul Austin form Transmissionary Six, both of them having also been members of the Walkabouts. They have recorded 7 albums from 2002 to 2008 before giving up the project. Now they have started again, as one can read on their homepage. German Wikipedia is more detailed about them than the English one (so, I guess, they are more successful in Europe than in North America). Therefore, I've linked to the description of the band on the homepage of  FILMguerrero, (one of) their record label(s). Ever since I have first heard "Infrared" (thx to Hermann Dörfler), this tune stuck to my mind. I had a hard time searching for it, since there is a Placebo song called Infrared, that will always pop up before the TM6 tune in search machines. It has a kind of Velvet Underground or Lou Reed feeling to me (or a bit of Galaxy 500), but this is not all about the tune, there is an extra, that only TM6 seem to be able to add to that kind of music. The other tune is Zero Gravity (also featured on TM6's homepage). Go and buy their records!:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 247 SONG # 278

Day 247: A beautiful song by a singer from Algiers

Souad Massi was born to a  Kabylian family in Algiers, Algeria, 40 years ago. After having started a career as a musician, she was more or less forced by her circumstances to work as an engineer for an architect. She joined the hard rock  group Atakor at the end of 1997 (or begining of 1998), but went to Paris in 1999, where she started her career as a solo artist in 2001 with her first album Raoui.  She is decribed by critcis as a singer/songwriter that incorporates different musical styles (from Fado and Flamenco to Country and Rock) into her musical style. A song from her first album that I particularly like, is "Pas de temps". Hopefully you have some time to listen to it.

On m'avais dit que la vie est belle
Mais moi je la trouve des fois cruelle
La fumé noir a pris la place du ciel
Les grandes tours ont caché des étoiles

J'ai plus de rêves, j'ai pas de maisons
J'ai pas de cheminée pour le feu
J'ai plus d'époque, j'ai pas de saisons
J'ai pas de temps pour ce jeu
J'ai pas de temps pour ce jeu là
J'ai pas de temps pour ce jeu
J'ai pas de temps pour ce jeu là
J'ai pas de temps pour ce jeu

Attendre la nuit pour pleurer
Cacher ses larmes jusqu'au soir
Ecouter le vide nous murmurer
Jusqu'au matin notre histoire

Seule dans la rue déserte
Seule traversant l'hiver
Je marche sans tourner le tête
Je suis mon chemin de solitaire

Friday, October 19, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 246 SONG #277

DAY 246: A Song from Ghana

Captain Yaba from Northern Ghana has already been featured on this blog, with the dance track Yaba Funk on Day 20, Song # 39 . I recommend to click on the link, read about the Captain's life  and listen to that track. But before you do that, listen to Nerinbalankina; 6 minutes of driving, liight funky African dance music. I came to know it as part of a sample CD with music from West Africa and it struck me immediately as an outstanding track on that compilation of fine songs. I am happy about having finally found it on You Tube.

1000 SONGS - DAY 245 SONG # 276

DAY 245: A song that reminds of someone

This song reminds me of two persons, both of them dead. The one is the man who plays the trumpet, Chet Baker. The other one is the singer, Lizzy Mercier Descloux, a musician, writer, poet and painter born in Lyon in 1956. French singer using the English tongue. Only recently I have learned that she died of cancer in 2004. She stayed in New York  as a young woman (middle of the seventies), where she made friends with Patti Smith and Richard Hell; there is a very starnge video showing her dancing and singing in a black and white kind of sweat suit to a disco version of Arthur Browns "Fire" (Serge Gainsbourg has something to do with that), she is considered to have been a pioneer of "Worldbeat", and, most importantly, I own three of the albums she made. My favourite one is the one for the soul, and it features this here track that came to my mind when thinking about another song to add to my 1000 favourite songs. Its mood is some kind of relaxed melancholy, I would say. Here it is, the Fog Horn Blues, from 1985:

I've burnt my mouth eating
The last of you
I'm leaving me
I'm through drinking
The least of you
Oh I'm leaving me
With nothing left
But the fog horn blues
Nothing left, but the fog horn blues...

The ocean turned full moon
And just for you
Oh I'm leaving me
I'm lip-reading
The best of you
Oh I'm leaving me
Rings under my eyes
With the fog horn blues

I've burnt my hair smoking
The lust of you
Oh I'm leaving me
I'm breast-feeding
The lack of you
Oh I'm leaving me
Out on a limb
With the fog horn blues

I stole a boat kissing
The waves of you
Oh I'm leaving me
I'm diving in
The deepest you
Oh I'm leaving me
Red rag to a bull
With the fog horn blues
Red rag to a bull
With the fog horn blues...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 244 SONG # 275

DAY 244: A song from my childhood and from one of my favourite movies

This here song has been featured prominently in Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise. The first version I came to know was the one featured on Creedence Clearwater Revival's debut album, on which one can also find one of the best versions of Suzie Q ever recorded. The song was written and first recorded by Screamin Jay Hawkins who did more than one recording of the song. One of his versions is featured in the Jarmusch movie, and the song is one among the 500 songs that are listed in the  Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for having shaped Rock and Roll. Here is the originbal recording, followed by two performances done by SJH, one from his early years, one from later on. Aesthetically, he uses - in an ironic way -  the stereotypes about the black man's religion - voodoo - as constructed in the white man's imagination. Then there is a live version by CCR and one done by Nina Simone, one of my favourite musicians of all times (and this is a wonsderful version, as sure as hell):

Sunday, October 7, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 243 SONG # 274

DAY 243 - A Song about a guy driving a motorcycle

Here it is, as brought forth by Suicide in 1977, covered by angry man Henry Rollins (the version from Hot Animal Machine that I do like more than the one from Hard Volume as featured on the soundtrack of The Crow) and by the formidable Young Gods. More music, less words:

pure trance, longest and definitely best version:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 242 SONG #273

Day 242: One of my favourite waltzes

This waltz is said to be in 6/8 rather than in 3/4, and when clapping to it, I have the feeling that this might be right. Whatever the difference might be, this piece of music tends to be featured as the Waltz #2 of Shostakovitch's Jazz Suite #2 (even on the U-Tube links featured in this blog). This is wrong. The Waltz #2 is pièce 7 of the Suite for Variety Orchestra and nothing else. It has become famous for being used in the soundtrack of the Stanley Kubrick movie Eyes Wide Shut (one of the rare movies I like altough the man formerly married to Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes stars in it). There exist also some versions of the theme I would rather not recommend (by Andre Rieux and James Last, f.e.). Here is a version one could appreciate, another one (with scenes from the movie in the background) that I find rather wonderful and a full rendering of the suite in question, a fine version, in my humble opinion.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 241 SONG #272

Day 241: Songs by the Guy that the Lord loves

Olufemi is the name given to the artist (better known as Keziah Jones) by his parents in Lagos, Nigeria. The Yoruba name Olufemi means "The Lord loves you". At least, the lord has given remarkable musical skills to the inventor of Blufunk (it is a fact). Ever since I heard (and immediately bought) his first album - Blufunk is a Fact - I have been a fan of Olufemi Sanyaolu. It is hard to make a choice among his great recordings on the one hand, but it is easy on the other: his live performance at Montreux is simply striking; it features "The Wisdom Behind the Smile" and "Where's Life?" in gorgeous versions (the second one even better...). Then, we have to add (one of) his version(s) of "All along the Watchtower" - I dug a short one; finally (last not least) a fine video featuring "The Rhythm is Love", one of the best songs of all time, to be watched at full screen and heard at full volume, and a live version of the same tune. Funky!!

1000 SONGS - DAY 240 SONG # 271

Day 240: Easy Listening & Feeling Fine 

Matt Johnson has written this song, originally released as a single and also featured on The The's first album Soul Mining. As Matt Johnson sometimes seems to have tended to write & perform songs that are not too relaxed in their mood, this song featuring the nice melody line on the accordeon strikes me as somewhat different. There is also a version by the Welsh "alternative rock" Band Manic Street Preachers that sounds like mainstream to my ears. Anyway, people who do not appreciate a song's quality simply for being mainstream do not understand anything about music. Be that as it may, I prefer the version by The The (although MSP did a good job, especially on the guitar part that takes up the melody played by the accordeon on the original version, I am not fully satisfied with the way they render the bridge and the chorus). Great song for starting the day by creating a good mood in the morning (in both versions).

Saturday, September 29, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 239 SONG # 270

DAY 239: A Song Featuring John Lurie

I would have liked to post the Punch and Judy Tango, but there is no chance to find a version of it on the internet. Nervous, although great, as the free-jazz inspired music of the Lounge Lizards might be, the P&JT seems to be (to my ears, at least) the most relaxed recording they ever did. Nevertheless, they are a great band of fine jazz (& anything)  musicians, and, f.e., BIG HEART is an apt  proof of their musicianship, albeit from times long ago. Here it is, two times in (nearly) the same rendering of it, the one featuring the clip directed by John Lurie, but with rather low sound quality, the other without the video but fitting better to our ears.

Friday, September 28, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 238 SONG # 269

DAY 238: A Rock'n Roll Heart

Rock & Roll Heart is one of the albums by Lou Reed I once owned and do not have in stock anymore (in contradistiction to Sally Can't Dance or Transformer and some others). I do remember exactly two tunes from that one, a reason to have them listed among my 1000 songs of importance to me. First one is the track that gave its name to the album, the lyrics being slightly remininscent of Sam Cooke's Wonderful World:

I don't like opera and I don't like ballet
And new wave french movies, they just drive me away
I guess I'm just dumb, 'cause I knows I ain't smart
But deep down inside, I got a rock 'n' roll heart
Yeah-yeah-yeah, deep down inside I got a rock 'n' roll heart

Oh, rock 'n' roll heart
Lookin' for a good time
Just a rock 'n' roll heart, roll heart, roll heart
Lookin' for a good time

I don't like messages or something meant to say
And I wish people like that would just go away
I guess I'm just dumb, 'cause I know I'm not smart
But deep down inside, I got a rock 'n' roll heart
Yeah-yeah-yeah, deep down inside I got a rock 'n' roll heart

Yeah, rock 'n' roll heart
Searchin' for a good time

Just a rock 'n' roll heart, roll heart, roll heart
Lookin' for a good time

The other one is Vicious Circle:

And for the sake of completeness, let's add Sam's Wonderful World to that one:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 237 SONG # 268

A fine cover version of a Dylan Song

Queen Jane Approximately is one of my favourite Dylan songs. Here is a version that not too many people might know, by the Valentines from their 1994 live album recorded in Japan. The Valentines consisted of two former members of Grateful Dead, Bob Weir on guitar and Vince Welnick on keyboard, a part-time Dead, more widely known for having played the keyboards in the Tubes. They are accompanied by Prairie Prince on drums, Bobby Vega on bass and the great Henry Kaiser on guitar. Here it is, QJA, in a rather relaxed version. I especially do like the keyboards on that one:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 236 SONG #267

Day 236: (One of) the most beautiful song(s) ever

This is a song from the 1990 collaboration of John Cale and Brian Eno. It is hard to write something about these two guys. As I have been a fan of Roxy Music in their early years (first five albums) and also a fan of Eno from that time on, what should I say about him? That he has recorded some very beautiful albums, based on oblique strategies, as he called that, the old esotericist? That he has composed the sounds for Windows 95 on his Mac? That, as a collaborator and producer, he has done some excellent jobs for David Bowie, Talking Heads, U2 or Coldplay? The same holds for John Cale, who, f.e. has produced the first album by the Patti Smith Group. Maybe best known for his work as a member of the Velvet Underground, he has been active (as a multi-instrumentalist) in a lot of different musical styles and genres, from rock to classical music to experimental. There are many songs by Eno with melodies that will stay in your mind for days (e.g. On Some Far Away Beach from Here Come The Warm Jets or I'll Come Running from Another Green World?). Spinning Away is one among them, refined by the musicianship of John Cale. When I first heard it, I was convinced that this was the most beautiful song ever recorded. It is beautiful, for sure, but there is no ultimate beauty in this here world, as beauty lies in the ear of the beholder. Here it is, Spinning Away from Wrong Way Up:

Monday, August 20, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 235 SONG #266

Day 235: A Tribute to Cesária Évora

The last post being about Brazilian musician Jorge Ben, I decided to stay in the lusophone world for this entry, but make a trip to "little Brazil" as Kap Verdian singer Césaria Évora has called her home island of São Vicente in one of her many wonderful songs, Carnaval de São Vicente. It was the first song by her that I came to know, and later on I became a fan of her live record Cesária Évora à l'Olympia. I have not been to the Kap Verdian islands, but I would really like to be there at the Carnaval de São Vicente. My lack of proficiency in the Portuguese language might be an obstacle to the fulfillment of that dream. Be that as it may, here is a rendering of the original recording followed by the Jazzy Carnaval Mix by François K. & Joe Claussel, featured on the CD with remixes of Carnaval de São Vicente and Sangue de Beirona from 1999 (on the CD I own there are more tracks than listed on the site the link leads to; this track is my favourite re-mix, it is really worth listening to for all of the nearly ten minutes it takes). Back then when I was volunteering in a fair-trade shop I very frequently listened to the CD's of Cesária's music the shop had in stock. Enjoy the beautiful music!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

1000 SONGS- DAY 234 SONG #265

DAY 234: Some Songs from Brasil

Back in my teens, I owned an album by Jorge Ben, his 1970 recording Força Bruta. I do not own the album anymore and I have not listened to it for 30 years. But, as I do remember 3 songs from that album, I guess they are worth to be listed among my favourite 1000 Songs or so. Jorge Ben is a great musician, here are three tracks from that album and one extra dance track: Oba lá vem ela; Mulher Brasileira and Força Bruta (Samba!!!), the song the album was named after. As a bonus track I add Pais Tropical, for sure the most widely known song by Jorge Ben and maybe something like the secret anthem of Brasil. If you just want to be happy or dance or sing or all of them, start with that one!

Monday, August 13, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 233 SONG #264

Day 233 - The Pure Doctrine 

Reckless Kelly, Little Blossom, the pure doctrine of rock music. Nuff said. Isn't it great?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 232 SONG #263

Day 232: Another Radio Song

Songs from or about the radio are a constant feature on this blog. Lately I came to know one exceptionally beautiful radio song, thanks to a guy called Hermann who provides me with music throughout the years. It is by Upstate New York Folk Band "The Felice Brothers", from their fifth album "The Felice Brothers" (2008). It fits perfectly to a beautiful August Sunday like today. It moves me to tears, and if you don't like it you can kiss my ass....

Anna Bell, the dying leaves
Are dancing off of the trees.
They got an easy way.

Let's you and me
Go dancing, too,
Wreck our dancing shoes.
Hey, hey, hey.

Please don't you ever die,
You ever die,
You ever die.
You moved me all of my life,
All of my life,
All of my life.
Hum our radio songs,
Radio song,
Radio song.
After every radio's gone,
Radio's gone,
Radio's gone.

Anna Bell, the dying stars
Are falling down on us.
They got an easy way.

Let's you and me
Go falling, too,
Way out into the blue.
Hey, hey, hey.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 231 SONG #262

Day 231:  A song from one of my favourite albums

Curved Air is one of the British bands from the early seventies that has been labeled "progressive rock". They have chosen their name with respect to Terry Riley's composition "A Rainbow in Curved Air". Their third album "Phantasmagoria" is among my fav albums of all times. It is named after a poem by Lewis Carroll. This is art rock at its best, fine tunes, excellent musicianship, musicians that have control over their instruments and not the other way round, unpretentious, no compositions that try to emulate "classical forms" like symphonies. The members of the band came from a variety of musical backgrounds, classical music, avantgarde, folk and rock, and these elments blend harmoniously on that very album. The album features, among others Sonja Kristina, the only stable member in all the different line-ups of the band and Francis Monkman, who has written the title track. Monkman, a member of The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, was part of the Eno/Manzanera-project 801 (already featured on this here blog). Curved Air have been one of the first "Rock" bands to use the violin, played here by Darryl Way, one of the founding members of the group. The band split up after the release of Phantasmagoria and started with a new line-up in 1973 to record just one album and split up again. On that 1973 line-up, Eddie Jobson played the violin, who, in the same year, came to replace Brian Eno in Roxy Music. Jobson stayed with RM for three albums (Stranded, Country Life, Siren) and played with Frank Zappa in 1976/77 and Jethro Tull in the early 80ies (and every musician that has qualified to play in Zappa's band has my respect, for sure). Here are four songs: 1) Phantasmagoria - the video featured on the Austrian TV-Show "Spotlight" from 1972 - my Austrian friends for sure will know the tv-presenter! 2-3) Melinda (More or Less) from the same album plus live version, song written by lead-singer Sonja Kristina Linwood, and, finally, 4) A Rainbow in Curved Air, the composition by Terry Riley from which the band's name was derived.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 230 SONG #261

Day 230: A song by my favourite "classic rock" group

I have loved Procol Harum (at least in their prime - 1967 to 1977) from my childhood days on, and I especially did like their live album with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra from 1971. Along with Deep Purple's Royal Albet Hall Concert with the London Symphony Orchestra, in my memory, this was the first time that "Rock Music" was performed in a "classical music" setting. Not to be misunderstood, I do not like the renderings of classic rock tunes by symphony orchestras in a "classical" music arrangement. But, with Gary Brooker, this is something else. A Whiter Shade of Pale is said to be based on some works by Bach (although it is not true that its theme is simply taken from a composition by Bach), and I think it is the most widely known Porcol Harum song up till today. Me, I do like "A Salty Dog". Salty Dog is an expression for an experienced sailor, in slang it also bears a sexual meaning (like in the Zydeco-classic "My Woman is a Salty Dog"). The song by Brooker/Reid shows no ambiguities in that sense, it merely is about a sailor. I add it here in memory of B. J. Wilson, who was the drummer in most of the line-ups of Procol Harum in their first decade. He could have been the drummer of Led Zeppelin, but he refused the offer and chose Procol Harum, so Mr. Bonham got the job with Page & friends. It is said that Wilson called A Salty Dog  the most beautiful song he had ever heard after Brooker played it to him for the first time on the piano. It is indeed a beautiful song, it is grand opera, it is touching, it is simply great. Maybe too melancholic a tune to hit the charts. Gary Brooker sometimes dedicates it to B. J.  Wilson (who died in 1997) during live shows. The way the drums come in on that one has shaped my idea of how to play those slow tunes on the drums....

Three versions: the recordig with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, a live Version from 1977 and a bombastic Version with choir and orchestar and all from 2006, with a bonus track (it is by far not that good a tune as A Salty Dog, but it is not bad).

All hands on deck, we've run afloat!' I heard the captain cry
Explore the ship, replace the cook: let no one leave alive!'
Across the straits, around the horn: how far can sailors fly?
A twisted path, our tortured course, and no one left alive

We sailed for parts unknown to man, where ships come home to die
No lofty peak, nor fortress bold, could match our captain's eye
Upon the seventh seasick day we made our port of call
A sand so white, and sea so blue, no mortal place at all

We fired the gun, and burnt the mast, and rowed from ship to shore
The captain cried, we sailors wept: our tears were tears of joy
Now many moons and many junes have passed since we made land
A salty dog, this seaman's log: your witness my own hand

Sunday, July 22, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 229 SONG #260

Day 229: Songs by the Austrian guy that invented the Blues

In today's entry to my recently started sub-series to the 1000 Songs Challenge, entitled "who invented it?" we feature the one man from Vienna's third district that has ultimatively given an answer to the old question "can the white man play the blues?". Al Cook, born Alois Koch in Bad Ischl, Salzkammergut, but of Viennese origin and citizenship, may be the last performer of the true blues in the country style in the whole wide world. On one of his blog entries he even complained about a fellow musician who added some chicago-style-licks to his rendering of a southern-country-style-blues tune. He started out in the early 60ies as a fan of Elvis (up til today his haircut is a reminiscence of that, but he does not like the way in which Elvis' career developed later on), he is a self-taught guitarist and singer (learnt it from listening to records) and he is a blues purist, if there ever has been one. Like me, he is at least suspicious of Eric Clapton, unlike me, he can play the guitar. For those who can read German, here is his homepage, and here is a kind of blog he writes some notes for from time to time on Back in the early nineties, when I was still living in Vienna and, due to my life-style, the only sunday service I could attend regularly was the mass at St. Stephen's Cathedral on sunday evening, I often saw him there. I think he is simply a great guy. Enjoy Al Cook's rendering of Big Fat Mama, the Al Cook Trio doing Sweet Home Chicago and finally, the very best rendering of Silent Night ever recorded:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 228 SONG #259

Day 228: A song about hard work

There are some songs about hard work, most of those I know stem from the musical traditions of African-Americans. I wonder why? Maybe this is my music, rhythm & blues, soul and funk, with a bit of real jazz added. After listening to some versions of the songs I have chosen  for this blog-entry, I am quite sure. But who knows what tomorrow might bring (to quote Bryan Ferry). Certainly, it is not an easy fate to be working on the chain gang. The classic song about it has been written by Sam Cooke, and his interpretation of it is also THE classic one. Nevertheless, the rendering of the song by Otis Redding is also nice, interesting and fine (that is the way some of the early Rolling Stones recordings sounded, those that were truly rhythm & blues, minus horns). Nevertheless, the arrangement of the brass section on the version done by Jackie Wilson & Count Basie is the utmost musical achievement related to that song, in my humble opinion. But I DO like all of these versions, choose your favourite one!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 227 SONG # 258

Day 227: Two of my favourite Acid-Jazz Songs

Call it what you like: Jazz-Funk or Acid-Jazz or whatsoever. At least it is very british. It is very cool music made for and taken from the dancefloors of the 90ies, a kind of reconciliation between danceable music and jazz (the latter having become an academic discipline although it had initially been the music of pimps and gangstas), related to the invention of cool hip hop using jazz samples (Jazzmatazz, f.e.). Ronny Jordan is normally acknowledged as a pioneer of the acid jazz movement, and from his 1993 (double vinyl) album I feature "The Jackal" featuring Dana Bryant. Cool song. A British group that played a main role in the Acid-Jazz times was known as Galliano, one of the main acts signed to the Talkin' Loud label. After having listened to The Jackal you will be left with So Much Confusion

Sunday, July 15, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 226 SONG #257

Day 226: A Song by the African-American guy who invented Rock'n Roll

Before starting with writing another contribution to the question: "Who was the first to turn from Rhythm and Blues to Rock'nRoll?", I have to bring forth a disclaimer: "Rock'nRoll" is a constructed category like "Shamanism" or "Religion" - all these concepts have their roots in the human - some say, in the European - mind's need to organise the perception of the outside world into neatly adjusted categories. Be that as it may, Ellas Otha Bates, a.k.a. Ellas McDaniel, a.k.a. Bo Diddley is my choice for the one who played the main role in inventing Rock'nRoll, for the simple fact that he is credited with the introduction of the so-called "Bo Diddley Beat" to Northern American Popular Music. Later on, this beat has been used in many recordings in the history of Rock Music. Here is  the 1955 rendering of "Bo Diddley", allegedly tne first use of that rhythmic pattern in NAPM:

This rhythm is played on the toms or on the snare drum (with the snares turned off) and the toms by the drummer and normally transcribed like that:

On drummers' blogs you will find a lot of discussions about the sticking - whether you play it hand to hand or all the accents with one hand or use some triplet pattern attached to straight eights to achieve a kind of swing feel and the like. Be that as it may,  the "Bo Diddley Beat" is actually based upon the 3-2 son clave, and sometimes it is simply written down in the same way as the 3-2 son clave (and called a five-accent-pattern, accordingly):

This clave is the backbone of Afro-Cuban music, it is used in Brazilian music and in Haitian Vodun drumming. It stems from West Africa. This closes the discussion of who might have invented IT. Africa locuta, causa finita. I go on with a rendering of "Hey Bo Diddley" introduced by one of the inventors of Rock'nRoll in the 60ies and another version of "Bo Diddley" from Bo's later years (introduced by a man with no less importance for NAPM) - his stage presence explains why he has (more or less) died from the consequences of a stroke he got after performing. And here he uses his trademark self-built square-shaped electric guitar (solely for building that instrument he is to be called the godfather of Rock'nRoll) - Hey Bo Diddley!. 

And finally another famous use of the "Bo Diddley Beat" from the early days of Rock'nRoll, Johnny Otis' "Willie and the Hand Jive" (already featured on this blog before):

Sunday, July 8, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 225 SONG # 256

Day 225: Songs by the Lady who (allegedly) invented Rock'n Roll

Who has invented Rock'n Roll? Elvis? - nope; Bill Haley? - o please, stop kidding; Chuck Berry - maybe; Bo Diddley - not an unlikely answer; Howlin Wolf? - why not? Ever heard of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a gospel singer who had a big hit in 1939 with a version of "This Train" - a song covered by a multitude of singers and bands. Johnny Cash pretended that she was his favourite singer when he was a child, Little Richard, Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis named her as influential and Chuck Berry is said to have copied some of her guitar playing style. From the accoustic guitar we hear on her early  recordings she switched to the electric guitar later on. Some people think, that her 1944 version of "Strange Things Happening Every Day" is the first Rock'n'Roll tune ever recorded. On the English Wikipedia one can read, that this record features an electric guitar played by Rosetta Tharpe. I can hear no electric guitar on the record, and I am rather unsure, whether this can be called Rock'nRoll. Surely, this is Rhythm and Blues in an uptempo style, and so it is music at least representing the roots level of Rock and Roll; whether this is an accoustic or an electric guitar, without any doubts, she could play the guitar just like ringing a bell:

On this here rendering of "Didn't It Rain" from her European tour in 1964 (backed by Otis Spann on piano. Willie Big Eyes Smith on drums and Ranson - some call him Ransom - Knowling on the bass), she plays the electric guitar. This is clearly Rock'n'Roll. And a gospel bonus track is also featured

Finally, her version of "This Train" from that same tour; two remarkable things: first, the way she stops the audience from clapping to the tune and ruining it; second: the way she argues with Otis Spann about his conduct of life:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 224 SONG #255

Day 224: A wonderful song written by Woody Guthrie & Billy Bragg

The song featured today has been recorded ny Billy Bragg and Wilco, and you can also hear the voices of Natalie Merchant and Eliza Carthy when listening to Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key. The lyrics (and some hints on the musical style) have been written by Woody Guthrie, but he has never recorded the song, as he has not done with so many others he has written the lyrics to (so we do not know what the music in his mind was like for these songs). Some of them have been set to music and recorded by Wilco and Billy Bragg on an album called Mermaid Avenue, where this song is taken from. It is simply beautiful, and if the only thing Billy Bragg had ever done had been to do this song, he would be one of my fav guys solely for that. But there are many more things he deserves my respect for.

I lived in a place called Okfuskee
And I had a little girl in a holler tree
I said, little girl, it's plain to see
Ain't nobody that can sing like me
Ain't nobody that can sing like me

She said it's hard for me to see
How one little boy got so ugly
Yes my little girly that might be
But there ain't nobody that can sing like me
Ain't nobody that can sing like me

Way over yonder in the minor key
Way over yonder in the minor key
There ain't nobody that can sing like me

We walked down by the Buckeye Creek
To see the frog eat the goggle-eye bee
To hear the west wind whistle to the east
There ain't nobody that can sing like me
Ain't nobody that can sing like me

Oh my little girly will you let me see
Way over yonder where the wind blows free
Nobody can see in our holler tree

And there ain't nobody that can sing like me
Ain't nobody that can sing like me

Way over yonder in the minor key
Way over yonder in the minor key
Ain't nobody that can sing like me

Her mama cut a switch from a cherry tree
And laid it on the she and me
It stung lots worse than a hive of bees
But there ain't nobody that can sing like me
Ain't nobody that can sing like me

Now I have walked a long long ways
And I still look back to my Tanglewood days
I've led lots of girls since then to stray
Saying ain't nobody that can sing like me
Ain't nobody that can sing like me

Way over yonder in the minor key
Way over yonder in the minor key
Ain't nobody that can sing like me

Ain't nobody that can sing like me

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 223 SONG #254

Day 223: A song from my childhood, w/h Don Covay

The song from my childhood is "Mercy Mercy" by Don Covay, in the 1965 version of The Rolling Stones - my elder brother (the oldest) owned an album of famous Stones tracks issued by some German magazine (I think it was Bravo) I used to hear and shout to a lot (I remember shouting: HEYHEYYOUYOU GET OFF OF MY CLOUD!!). This album contained the Stones' version of Covay's Mercy Mercy. Here is Covay's own rendering of his song:

I do not know, whether he has written the next song's tune or lyrics, but in my humble opinion, one of the best choices one could make is to do everything in a funky way:

What I do know is that Covay has written this here song, one of the best soul songs ever written, Chain of Fools, a song about a woman who finds out that she is but a link in the chain of women a certain guy "had" - made famous by Aretha Franklin:

And for the sake of childhood memory, the Stones' version of "Mercy Mercy":

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 222 SONG #253

Day 222 - Total Electric Guitar Soundwall Frenzy

If there has ever been a band on the face of God's grey earth that has understood what the electric guitar and the Marshall amplifiers have been made for, it is the Band of Susans, some kind of disciples of Glenn Branca or so, to be named among other heroes of the NY alternative rock-noise scene of the late 80ies and early 90ies with Sonic Youth and Live Skull, both of whom have already been featured on this here blog. Here is Hope against Hope, play it as loud as you can, with your headphones on and let it take you away:

As bonus tracks I include two  Rolling Stones covers by the Band of Susans, an instrumental version of Paint it Black and their already mentioned cover of "Child of the Moon" (originally the b-side of "Jumping Jack Flash"), original version by the Stones and mentioning of BoS to be found here. What great renderings of these songs!

Monday, June 25, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 221 SONG #252

Day 221: A Song by a Singer of Igbo/German Origin

There is not much to say about that one. It is a song sung by Nneka. Nneka stems from Anambra state, located in the Igboland part of Nigeria, but was raised in the city of Warri in Delta State (whose main inhabitants are Urhobo) in the Niger delta. She has studied Anthropolgy at the University of Hamburg and I do like this here version of her song Suffri, with an interesting rhythmic structure based on a reggae beat and lots of soul and I like the kind of English she uses; it is the so-called band version, which has also different lyrics in the beginning, but the lyrics featured here refer to the "original version";

Una dey talk of ur elections, Nigerians, Nigerians,
We dey talk of the redemption, naija, naija
We dey talk of resolutions, oya
Tell me where the solution because nothing dey change
We just dey yan, we just dey spray, we just dey rake,
All these lies so

Suffri, suffri with my soul, jeh jeh jeh jeh
Suffri, suffri with my soul, Oga you dey hear me oh say
Suffri, suffri with my soul jeh jeh jeh jeh
Don't you tamper with my soul, eh eh

Na only d rich man still dey gain oh
All d moni where I dey go oh
Still u see, na only poor man dey suffer
Brother, your wish is my order, oh
But nothing dey change, we just dey yan
We just dey spray, we just dey rake, all these lies

Suffri, suffri with my soul, jeh jeh jeh jeh
Suffri, suffri with my soul, Oga you dey hear me oh say
Suffri, suffri with my soul jeh jeh jeh jeh
Don't you tamper with my soul, eh eh

Suffri, suffri with my soul oh
Suffri, suffri with my soul oh… jeh jeh jeh
Suffri, suffri with my soul, jeh jeh jeh jeh
Suffri, suffri with my soul, Oga you dey hear me oh say
Suffri, suffri with my soul jeh jeh jeh jeh
Don't you tamper with my soul, eh eh

Oga fulfill my wishes to travel to distant places
But allow my soul not to perish for me to be dressed in laces
As life goes on, I remember all the things I have achieved
Sunset, thunder and the storms show that we have truly, really been deceived
Na truth wen dem dey talk say na wetin you sow,
Na I you go reap, still na soso lie, na I we dey spread, spray, dey open eye to see deceit,
To see us rise we must rejuvenate
Na bottem we dey teh teh
Na bottom we dey teh teh
Na bottom we dey teh teh for too long, down for too long
Jeh o jeh jeh jeh o

Sunday, June 24, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 220 SONG #251

My favourite song by one of my favourite white rappers

Back in my childhood, there was this notorious question - can white man play the blues? I think that Janis Joplin gave the ultimative answer to that question: white women can sing the blues. As KRS1 has once put it, black people have created every muscial style in the USA in the 20th century or so. Obviously, he is not right in every respect with that statement, but one can observe that from blues to jazz to rhythm and blues to soul to funk to hiphop a load of musical styles created by African Americans has been taken over by whities sooner or later. I am sorry for using stereotypical expressions like "black" and "white" here, I know what they are, but the discourse I am writing about has had these categories at its very center. Be that as it may, the guy who called himself "MC 900 Ft Jesus" during his short career as a rapper, has reportedly chosen this name because he saw televangelist Oral Roberts on TV pretending to have had a vison of a 900 feet high Jesus or so. I own one of the three albums recorded by MC 900 Ft Jesus, the second one, and I still remember how the track "The City Sleeps" struck me when I first heard it. It is about a serial arsonist, and tells its story from within that man's mind. 20 years later, I still think that it is among the best tracks in the history of rap music. A sample from the song has been used by U2 on their Zooropa album....The video on this u-tube post is taken from the 2002 remake or so (for television use) of the 1976 Brian de Palma movie "Carrie" (Brian de Palma had nothing to do with that remake).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 219 SONG #250

Day 219: My favourite piece of Art-Rock 

Art-Rock is a genre that stems from the 70ies, it is somewhat connected to "Progressive Rock" and its proponents are mostly Brits. Some persons use the terms "Art Rock" and "Progressive Rock" interchangeably. Among famous "Art-Rock"-bands we find Procol Harum, Yes, Genesis, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Jethro Tull and the likes. The English Wikipedia entry on Art Rock lists a lot of bands that are neither listed in the English nor in the German Wikipedia entry on "Art Rock Bands". There seems to be much confusion about what belongs to Art Rock or not (f.e. Roxy Music - are they really Art Rock in the same sense as Yes?). For me, the main criteria for belonging to the Art-Rock genre are, that the compositions are influenced by classical music (as it is the case with Procol Harum or Pink Floyd) to the degree that they use melodies and harmonies taken from compositions by composers like Bach, Wagner or Mussorgsky (Jethro Tull, Procol Harum a.o.) and that these compositions are rather suites (so that Colosseum's Valentyne Suite would be something like Proto-Art-Rock) than songs, arrangements using orchestral instruments and voices normally not the standard in a rock band (f.e. strings and woodwinds, real or emulated ones by the use of a synthesizer). The latter two criteria certainly hold for "Terrapin Station",  a "suite" to be found on the b-side of the album of the same name  by the Grateful Dead, an American band normally not regarded as belonging to Art Rock. Maybe it is my favourite piece of music written and performed by Garcia and friends. 

The parts of it are:

"Lady With a Fan" (Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter)
"Terrapin Station" (Garcia, Hunter)
"Terrapin" (Garcia, Hunter)
"Terrapin Transit" (Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann)
"At a Siding" (Hart, Hunter)
"Terrapin Flyer" (Hart, Kreutzmann)
"Refrain" (Garcia, Hunter)

Here is the full studio version, followed by a (sequence from a) later live version (from the time when Brent Mydland was in charge of  the keyboards) - I do appreciate it even more than the studio version and especially like the way that Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia communicate on that one:

Monday, June 18, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 218 SONG #249

Day 218: Some versions of a song that combines a political message w/h the dancefloor

Inner City Blues (Make me wanna holler) is a song (co-) written and first recorded by Marvin Gaye. As there is a link to the Wikipedia-entry on this song to be found here, I do not need to explain it. It is simply great. Here are three versions (there are so many others I could have chosen, I apologise). The original by Marvin Gaye, maybe unmatched by any other recording of the song;  the cover  by Working Week, a neo-club-jazz-dance-combo from the early 80ies or so, and the one without words by the KING OF FUNK himself, Maceo Parker. You can dance to it, at least to the instrumental version by Maceo (which is really great'n'funky).

Rockets, moon shots 
Spend it on the have nots 
Money, we make it 
Fore we see it you take it 
Oh, make you wanna holler 
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life 
This ain't livin', this ain't livin'

Inflation no chance
To increase finance
Bills pile up sky high
Send that boy off to die 
Make me wanna holler 
The way they do my life 
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life

Hang ups, let downs
Bad breaks, set backs
Natural fact is
I can't pay my taxes
Oh, make me wanna holler
And throw up both my hands
Yea, it make me wanna holler
And throw up both my hands

Crime is increasing
Trigger happy policing
Panic is spreading
God knows where we're heading
Oh, make me wanna holler

They don't understand Mother, mother
Everybody thinks we're wrong
Who are they to judge us Simply cause we wear our hair long

Saturday, June 16, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 217 Song #248

Day 217 - My favourite Kraftwerk Cover

No, it is not the cover of "Radioactivity", but the cover version done by a man called Snakefinger of maybe the most popular song written by Ralf and Florian, The Model. Philip Charles Lithman aka Snakefinger has been a member of the Residents (so there is a chance that I have seen him live one time, since I attended a gig by the Residents sometime in the 80ies in Sofiensäle, Vienna). He is strongly connected to Austria: he died in Linz on July 1, 1987. Unfortunately, Linz is not Varanasi, by no means. So maybe Mr. Snakefinger will return as a resident of this here earth, in whatsoever a disguise. Until then, we are happy to have his version of the Kraftwerk classic:

And here is the original. Enjoy (at least when taking a look at the audience):

Monday, May 28, 2012

1000 SONGS - DAY 216 Song #247

Day 216: Some songs by one of the best musicians ever

Nina Simone certainly has been a person equipped with musicianship of a very special kind. She has aspired (and certainly had the talent) to become a concert-pianist in the classical style, but due to the colour of her skin could not pursue this career. So she became a master in the jazz and soul genres, bringing in, aside to her magnificent voice and phrasing, tremendous technique on the piano. There is the story about her, that, as a young girl, when she was giving her first public concert, her parents were asked to leave the seats in the first row to have some people of white skin placed there. She refused to start to play until her parents were relocated in the first row. She is said to have stuck to that attitude during all of her life. There have been three songs in her versions on the 1000 Songs Challenge up to today. Here are five more pieces of music rendered in her incredibly musical style. The first one, a hit by the Animals and later on a disco-hit by Santa Esmeralda, has originally (in 1964) been recorded (although not written) by her. The second one is her version of "Feeling Good" from her 1965 album "I put a spell on you": the third one is "Wild is the Wind" (from her album of the same title), later recorded by David Bowie on his album "Station to Station". Mr. Jones is said to be an admirer of Miss Waymon's vocal style. Then, we have a cover-version of The Ballad of Hollis Brown, written by Rob Zimmerman, and finally, a stunning rendering of a gospel, Sinnerman, as used in the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair: