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):