Monday, December 30, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 304 SONG # 335

DAY 335: Music fom Zimbabwe - Tuku

Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi is probably the most widely known musician from Zimbabwe. I have loved his music since the first contact (sometimes in the 80ies). The sister of a dear friend of mine brought some records from Zimbabwe and I taped them and heard them over and over again. TUKU live! Later on, I bought some CDs by Mtukudzi in the local Weltladen ("3rd" world store run by some more or less idealistic people). Here is one beautiful song done by him, Ndakuvara (as I have no knowledge of Shona, I do not know the meaning of the word). Later on, for those who want to get more acquainted to Tuku, there is a video of his rendering of some of his songs on a KEXP session. It is great to listen to his explanations; my favourite one around 19:20: "In my culture the purpose of song is to give life and hope to the people, to heal the broken hearts, and you don’t get to sing a song when you have nothing to say” - an answer to the question whether he never makes up some "silly pop songs".

Thursday, December 26, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 303 SONG #334

Day 334: A Cats' Concert

Back in the 80ies, there was this little record-store in Vienna called "Katzenmusik" (caterwauling / cats' concert) that  had in stock all the records by those more or less weird "avant-garde" jazz/rock/noise/alternative or no category bands & musicians nobody else had in their shops (for good economical reasons...). The lady who ran it was slightly arrogant, as it seemed to me, more interested in keeping away customers out of the range of "normal people" than attracting new customers at all. I bought a bunch of records there, and one day, when I was going through the selection of "nobody wants to hear that"-records in her store, I found that one album by a New York group called "Details at Eleven", featuring Lin Culbertson's voice and composing skills. I was all like : "I am so excited that you also have 'Details at Eleven'  in your shop - one doesn't find that in any other record store in Vienna". All the store-owner gave me in return was a condescending look and "boy, normally one doesn't have interest in this kind of music at all". Struck me, as she obviously had. As far as I know, there has only been this one record done by Details at Eleven (I still have my vinyl copy at home). By clicking on the name, you can read Eugene Chadbourne's review of it. Seems that he is quite d'accord with the record selling lady from Vienna about the merits of that musical undertaking. Nevertheless, here is Marketplace from said album (write me if you like it...):

Details At Eleven: Marketplace from Lin Culbertson on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 302 SONG #333

Day 302: Another Song by 16 Horsepower

In one of the  earlier postings of this series (Day 25 SONG #45), I have featured two songs by 16 Horsepower, a band from Denver, Colorado, powered by the voice and lyrics of David Eugene Edwards, making use of (often: dark) religious imagery.  The band broke up in 2005, amongst other reasons, "spiritual differences" were named by the ex-members. Although I had promised to feature some songs by Woven Hand, one of the follow-ups of 16 Horsepower, in this here blog then, now, after completing the first third of the 1000 Songs (although, in reality, this first third contains ~666 songs, cover-versions and alternate versions included), I chose another one by 16 Horsepower, a song that directly speaks to all the dark ghosts bound in my soul:

High fiddle high fiddle low fiddle low
There's a ghost bound in my soul
High fiddle high fiddle low fiddle low
There's a cold blade on my crow*
A crooked in my walk a stumble in my talk
Is what I'm after little girl
Metal on the red overcast in head
I'm goin' down an feelin' ill

High fiddle high fiddle low fiddle low
There's a cold blade on my crow
High fiddle high fiddle low fiddle low
There's a girl that I know
You ain't never had one I don't believe you will
This is your season for standin' still
Metal on the red overcast in head
I'm goin' down an feelin' ill

See boys I've known her from way back
Back when she was dead
Tongues on fire spoke the word
Darkness left her head
Holy my other hand
That's a fuckin' joke
Like a steel cold knife on the bridge of strife
Were the words I spoke

*all the pages containing lyrics of the song I looked up have this as fourth line; but definitely, he sings something else (like: "there's a stone you fixed his crow" - but i do not really understand the words)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 301 SONG # 332

DAY 301: One of my Favourite Albums

Lou Reed died recently; from a relatively young age on I have been listening to "Berlin", a kind of concept-album, telling a story about love & hate & addiction & loss & despair (the dark sides of life). In a way, a rather sinister story. The album features fine musicians (like the Brecker Bros., for example) playing great songs like "Men of Good Fortune", "How Do You Think It Feels", "Sad Song" a.s.o. Although there is much of what I do like out of the musical legacy of Lou Reed, many fine songs etc. on other albums he did that probably beat any track featured on "Berlin", this is THE album by Lou I think to be a masterpiece in its entirety, representing more than a collection of songs. I sometimes think that it has not got the appreciation it deserved for simply telling a sad, gloomy story. 
Here we go for  A GLOOMY ALBUM:

Monday, December 2, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 300 SONG #331

DAY 300: A Song by the Gourds 

I do not play squash and, although I do like Linus, I do not venerate the Great Pumpkin. In the field of my study of West African Religions, calabashes play some role in old cosmological ideas, in my garden, I grow my own cucumbers and courgettes, as well as red kuris, but musically, I prefer The Gourds, so called Alternative Country Band from Austin, Texas. 
Here is Gangsta Lean (and if you don't like it, f* ya!):

Friday, November 29, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 299 SONG #330

DAY 299 - A Song about an African Deity

This is as song by the Invertebrates, a San Francisco based band from the early 1980ies which has been labelled very differently (from blues to post-punk to new wave). It is about one special lwa (as the Vodun - Deities in the religion also called Vodun -  are called in Haiti), Danbalah, a Vodun from Ouidah, Benin, where he is venerated in the "Temple des Pythons". The video is taken from Maya Deren's movie "Divine Horsemen". Actually, the movie was put together after Maya Deren's death from the material she shot in Haiti. She went there because she was interested in the dances of Haitian Vodoun, but ended up being initiated into the religion. You can read about that in her famous book "Divine Horsemen". Dan, or Edan, is a deity of the rainbow, associated with the python, in the religion called Vodu in Southern Benin and Togo. He became Danbalah in Haitian Vodoun, often depicted as a twin pair of snakes together with Ayido Wèdo), sometimes referred to as Danballah Wédo. The veve (symbolic respresentations of the lwa) made of chalk, wheat flour or gunpowder of Danballah Wédo looks like that:

Danbalah and Aida Hwedo (Danbala and Ayida Wèdo) are the divine serpent and the rainbow, whose powers reside in the domain of knowledge. Sometimes referred to as Danbala Wedo, the water spirit, with the symbol of the snake that can survive in hot and dry regions and therefore is looked at as a symbol of life-energy. Associated with St. Patrick, who is sometimes depicted with snakes, because it is said that he relieved Ireland from the snakes. Danbalah is the eldest of the lwa, therefore special attention and care is paid to him. He is also thought of as connecting the earth with the water underground (Ginen, Guinea, the homeland), therefore the poteau mitan is also called “poto-Danbalah”. In Ouidah, Benin, I took the following photograph of a depiction of Edan at a house, whose inhabitants are adherents of the cult of the vodun Dan (the shrine on the right hand side houses Legba, the guardian deity):

And here is the song by The Invertebrates:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

1000 SONGS - Day 298 SONG # 329

DAY 298: A song from one of my favourite albums

I used to think. that "Prophet" was the stage name of some guy born as Miller or Tanner or the like (Baker?). Obviously, Chuck Prophet was born as Prophet, Charles Williams. He was/is (?) a member of Green on Red, one of my fav bands, featured, amongst others on two of my fav albums (there are thousands...), Gas Food Lodging and No Free Lunch. He did a lot of fine solo work, too, and one album he recorded I really appreciate is "The Hurting Business". From that one, I post this one, called "Rise":

Saturday, November 16, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 297 SONG # 328

DAY 297: A Song About Going Home

There are many songs in the world that deal with the topic of "Going Home", f.e., one rather lengthy (11:13) song by the Stones on their album "Aftermath" from 1966, and the rather short version that Ten Years After did of their song of that name on the Woodstock album (9:20). There is also a song called "I Feel Like Going Home" by Charlie Rich, covered by the likes as Mark Knopfler or the great Walkabouts on their seminal album "Satisfied Mind". I will come back to that later. Here is the Muddy Waters song from 1948

Well, now it gettin' late on into the evenin'
And I feel like, like blowin' my home
When I woke up this mornin' all I, I had was gone
Now it gettin', late on into the evenin', man now
I feel like, like blowin' my home
Well now, woke up this mornin', all I had was gone

Well, brooks run into the ocean, the ocean run in, into the sea
But don't find my baby, somebody gonna sure bury me
Brooks run into the ocean, man, that ole ocean ran into the sea
Well now, if I don't find my baby
Somebody sure gonna bury me

Well, minutes seemed like hours, an hour don't it seem like days?
Seems like my baby would stop her old evil way
Minutes seemed like hours, an hour seemed like days
Well now, seems like my baby child, whoo-hoo well, child
Would stop her low down ways

Saturday, November 9, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 296 SONG # 327

DAY 296: 4 Songs by one of my Favourite Mancunian Bands

James' first album has always been one of my favs. Produced by Lenny Kaye, "Stutter" added a new kind of a hard to describe musical style somwhere between folk, indie-rock, alternative music and I do not know what to my musical universe in 1986. Later on, with Manchester changing into Madchester, James released some electrifying dance-tracks, some of which are featured in my vinyl collection as 12" singles and ep-s.
Here are 3 songs from "Stutter", "So many ways", "Why so close" and "Black Hole", and as a kind of bonus-track, the rousing "Come Home" (which I first heard on the late night radio show John Peel did in the late 80ies and early 90ies in Austria), in the original 1989 recording. The track was later re-released in a remix by Flood, after James had changed their record company.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 295 SONG # 326

Day 295: Two Songs for Hermann

My dear friend Hermann keeps on sending me 3 or more CDs per month, which he has done for decades (he started with compact cassettes back in the 80ies). From time to time, more often than not, these CDs feature wonderful songs or wonderful versions of songs. I use to listen to Hermann's compilations (he actually has two or three series running) when cleaning the house or painting the walls or the windows and the like. Mostly, they are great for that purpose. Sometimes I have to stop what I am doing and just listen and do a replay or something like that. This has been the case right now (cth) with Giant Sand's rendering of El Paso and Out on the Weekend. No need to introduce Howe Gelb or the songs. Simply beautiful: 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 294 SONG # 325

Day 325: The First Song by Kevin Coyne I Came to Know

Kevin Coyne (1944-2004) was a great artist and a strange guy. He made some great records, he was very sensitive and he had some trouble with the booze. Just like me, minus the artistry, the records and the sensitivity. At least, I am strange, too. The very first song written and performed by him I came to know was "Marlene". It is so wonderful a song that I do not want to say anything about it for fear of destroying the marvellous mood it creates. And I do not feature some of the later versions to be found on UTUBE because I can't stand to look at old Kevin, marked and scarred by life and simply raddled. I once owned the single version of the song (flip side: Sea of love, there were two singles w/h different flip sides), and the first album I did own by Kevin was "Matching Head and Feet", featuring a guy called Andy Summers (of whom you might have heard) on the guitar. There is the nice story that my friend Samir Köck gave my copy of that album (which I had left with him) to Kevin, who did not have one any more, or so. Nevertheless, later on, I bought another copy of that fine album. Furthermore, Nikki Sudden (1956-2006), another one of my Brit-Non-Pop heroes, and another one who has already passed away, is featured with a version of that song about a girl called Marlene on a tribute album to Kevin, released after Sudden's death, at least you can get a glimpse of it here

Cheers for Kevin!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 293 SONG # 324

DAY 293: The Very Best of Classic Pre-Hard Rock

Led Zeppelin are sometimes labelled as Hard Rock and sometimes as forerunners of the genre. Be that as it may, they are rightly listed on the blues-influenced side of the bands with an impact on later hard-rock bands. John Bonham, influential rock-drummer, died on Sept. 25, 1980, 32 years of age, because of drinking too much vodka (40 shots or so), as has been reported. Within only a few days this will be 33 years ago. "Stairway to Heaven", from Led Zeppelin IV, has been eagerly discussed for its alleged reverse-masking: it is said to  contain satanic messages if heard backwards. I do not understand who the fucking hell should have any interest to listen to this song rendered backwards - the forward version really is beautiful - starting with a kind of english folk tune and gradually growing into a rock tune that makes you jump like wild... Anyway, here is a link on a discussion of that reverse masking-thing (interestingly, the passage under suspicion is the one where the drums come in). Jimmy Page may be an adept of good (or bad) old Aleister Crowley, self-declared Anti-Christ, but as Christianity is still a major religion in this here world and Crowley is dead, wtf? Nietzsche, another self-declared Anti-Christ, surely had the better arguments against Christianity, and no reverse masking needed (try to read Nietzsche's Antichrist backwards...). There is also a version of Stairway to Heaven by the Maestro himself, as rendered on his 1988 tour, the great FZ, featured after the LZ version. I think that this is one of the greatest rock songs ever (until now) recorded. And, although I think that Zappa was one of the best musicians that ever lived (in a line with Mozart and Strawinsky), I like the Zeppelin version more (that does not mean that I would not be aware of all the great musicianship in Zappa's arrangement and the way his band realises it).

1000 LIEDER - TAG 292 Lied # 323

Tag 292: Ein Lied von einem Poeten

Sven Regener ist ein Poet; er kann in so einfachen Sätzen soviel sagen. Mehr muss man dazu auch nicht sagen. Passend zur Jahreszeit: Über Nacht von Element of Crime.

Monday, September 16, 2013

1000 LIEDER - TAG 291 LIED # 322

Tag 291: ein Lied von einem Deutschen

Tobias Gruben hat als Kleiner mit Christoph Schlingensief in der Band "Die 4 Kaiserlein" gespielt, danach in einer sog. Gruft-Rock Band gesungen. Später hat er die Band "Die Erde" gegründet. Da lernte ich ihn kennen und ich kaufte mir die 12" Single Version von "Leben den Lebenden" (passables Wortspiel, übrigens. Das Lied gefällt mir immer noch, jetzt wo Tobias Gruben, in Athen geboren, in Starnberg aufgewachsen und auch mal in Hamburg wohnhaft, schon lange tot ist. Er starb am 02.12.1996 an einer Überdosis Heroin. Auch Christoph Schlingensief lebt nicht mehr, ihn raffte der Krebs dahin. Es gibt kein geregeltes Leben.

Hier: Die Erde, Leben den Lebenden

Und Hier: Die 4 Kaiserlein, Karat:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 290 SONG # 321

DAY 290: Two Songs by He Said

Graham Lewis was the bassman in British Avantgarde-New-Wave-Post-Punk-band Wire. He is 60 years old by now. Among his solo projects there was one called "He Said". Although this has been sometimes in the 1980ies, it still sounds interesting and anything but out of date. Here are two songs by He Said, "Could You" and "Pump". Great stuff, anyway.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 289 SONG #320

Day 289: Another Great Song by Lowell George

On Day 234, track # 520 in my statistics (cover versions and bonus tracks included), 2012-04-10, the 1000 Songs Challenge has featured "Dixie Chicken" by Little Feat, maybe my favourite Little Feat song. Probably the most widely known song by Little Feat (among those written by Lowell George) is "Willin", a "truck-driver-song", in the version included on their second album "Sailin Shoes". It has been covered by many artists, including Dwight Yoakam, Linda Ronstadt, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, but also recorded in more than one version by Little Feat. The first recording of the song is featured on the first, self-titled, album, with Ry Cooder on steel guitar. Then there is a rather lenghty live rendering of the song included in Little Feat's album "Waiting for Columbus", not featured here. A colleague from the Department of English and American Studies at Vienna University has also posted a comment on that one song, you find it here:

I been warped by the rain, driven by the snow
I'm drunk and dirty don't ya know, and I'm still... willin
And I was out on the road late at night
I seen my pretty Alice in every head light, Alice, Dallas Alice

And I've been from Tuscon to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that's ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn't get weighed
And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine
and you show me a sign
Then I'll be willin', to be movin'

Well I've been kicked by the wind, robbed by the sleet
Had my head stoved in but I'm still on my feet and I'm still....willin'
Now I smuggled some smokes and folks from Mexico
Baked by the sun, every time I go to Mexico, and I'm still

And I been from Tuscon to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that's ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn't get weighed
And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine
and then you show me a sign
Well I'll be willin', to be movin

Friday, August 9, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 288 SONG # 319

DAY 288: A Beautiful Song About Poor People

Brendan Croker from Leeds will turn 60 on August 15, 2013. You may know him as a part-time member of the Mekons, a member of Sally Timms' Drifting Cowgirls or of the Notting Hillbillies. He has also recorded some albums under his own name, together with The Five O' Clock Shadows. From the 1989 album Brendan Croker and The 5 O'Clock Shadows, here is "No Money at All" featuring Mark Knopfler on guitar (as anybody who has ever heard Knopfler play the guitar would have easily found out by listening to the tune). Enjoy!

When the morning rolls around
For you and me and the lonely town
Some people got no money at all

Everyday and every night
You can hear their cry
You can see their fright
Some people got no money at all

Everywhere you see their face
On the TV screen, in the market place
Some people got no money at all

There are times when we forget
There are times we all remember
But yet some people got no money at all

This song is almost done
And everything will carry on
Some people got no money at all

And when I am dead and gone
Someone else will be singing a song
And it goes
Some people got no money at all

Thursday, August 8, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 287 SONG # 318

Day 287: Four Versions of a Song I Can Dance to

Ah - David Byrne, great man, as everybody knows. On his 1997 album "Feelings" we find "I dance on Vaseline". Some of the production of the album has been done by Morcheeba, a so called trip-hop band from Ingerland. So there is also a version of the song done together with the Godfreys and Skye Edwards on a live show. And there is a very cooool remix by Thievery Corporation, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton. Her comes the album version, followed by the live version that I find to be the most danceable (the jumping-like-a-rubber-ball-version). After that, we have the cool version, and we end with David Byrne & Morcheeba live. Lyrics featured.

I'm taking back the knowledge
I'm taking back the gentleness
I'm taking back the ritual
I'm giving in to sweetness

Come preacherman, shoot me with your poisoned arrow
But I dance on vaseline
And I'm tripping out working on a revolution
You don't let the music in

I'm taking back the children
I'm taking back the ceremony
I'm taking back my offerings
And I'm taking back what you mean to me

You're dangerous, shoot me with your poisoned arrow
But I dance on vaseline
And I'm slipping out I'm working on a revolution
Don't let the music in

And war is all around us
Your gods are dead and buried underground
I was a silly putty
Your big ideas are useless to me now

My baby saw the future
She doesn't wanna live it anymore
Its lousy science-fiction
It's on your skin and seeps into your bones

Come preacherman, shoot me with your poisoned arrow
I dance on vaseline
And I'm tripping out working on a revolution
Don't let day begin

And you're dangerous, shoot me with your poisoned arrow
But I dance on vaseline
And I'm slipping out working on a revolution
Don't let the music in

It started in oklahoma
You always think it happens somewhere else
This madness is attractive
Until the day it happens to yourself

And power might seem sexy
But check her in the cool grey light of dawn
A legislative body
And all at once your lust for her is gone

And I'm tripping out working on a revolution
Don't let the day begin
We'll turn you down time to time for evolution
Don't let the music in

And I'm tripping out working on a revolution
Don't let the day begin
We'll turn you down, make a time for evolution
Don't let the day begin

Monday, August 5, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 286 SONG # 317

Day 286: A Song That Takes You To the Heart of Darkness

In these hot summer days, my mind goes back to rainy UK, Bristol and the nearby town of Portishead. The band named after the latter simply makes beautiful, albeit rather dark songs. From their first album "Dummy" I especially like "Wandering Star", containing parts of "Magic Mountain", in the version of Eric Burdon & WAR. Here is a live version of that song w/t lyrics:

Please could you stay awhile to share my grief
For its such a lovely day
To have to always feel this way
And the time that I will suffer less
Is when I never have to wake

Wandering stars, for whom it is reserved
The blackness of darkness forever
Wandering stars, for whom it is reserved
The blackness of darkness forever

... Those who have seen the needles eye, now tread
Like a husk, from which all that was, now has fled
And the masks, that the monsters wear
To feed, upon their prey

Wandering stars, for whom it is reserved
The blackness of darkness forever
Wandering stars, for whom it is reserved
The blackness of darkness forever

(always) doubled up inside
Take awhile to shed my grief
(always) doubled up inside
Taunted, cruel.... ...

Wandering stars, for whom it is reserved
The blackness of darkness forever
Wandering stars, for whom it is reserved
The blackness of darkness forever

And here is the album version:

Friday, August 2, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 285 SONG # 316

Day 285: The Quickness

Bad Brains are/were a black punk/metal/reggae/hardcore/crossover band fronted by a guy called Human Rights: HR. Regarding musical quality, I really like their album "Quickness" from 1989, irrespective of the talk about the possible homophobic content of the song "Don't Blow no Bubbles" on that record. Here is "With the Quickness" from that album, followed by "Voyage to Infinity" and "Gene Machine" - heavy!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 284 SONG #315

DAY 284: A Song in remembrance of  Vic Chestnutt

Vic Chesnutt was an Americana  singer/songwriter from Athens, Georgia, who, after a car-crash in 1983 was partly paralyzed having to use a wheel chair for the rest of his life until his death in 2009. Henriette Sennenvaldt is a Danish musician known as a member of the Aarhus located band "Under Byen". No need to introduce Howe Gelb of Giant Sand fame. Here is a wonderful version of a beautiful song written by Howe. Recorded and filmed in Aaarhus, only Danish city I have ever been to. Have to go there again.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 283 SONG # 314

Day 283: Express Yourself

This is what this blog is all about: to express myself by using good music. And no, this is not about the Madonna Song or Lady Gaga using it for Born This way. This here is a funk classic that has often been covered and has also been used as as sample in hiphop. What this guy called Labrinth did was something in between sampling and covering the song. I found a really great sounding rendering of the original recording by Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, This is pure early funk, enjoy it!

The classic use of the song as a sample is by Niggers With Attitude (I definitely like it more than Labrinths version):

Friday, July 5, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 282 SONG # 313

DAY 282: A Song by a Band that Nobody Knows

The Divine Horsemen were a band active in the 1980ies headed by a guy called Chris D. They took their name from a book by the Russian choreographer/dancer/filmmaker Maya Deren, about her experiences with Haitian Vodun (better known by its misspelled Hollywood name Voodoo). Maya Deren (Элеоно́ра Деренко́вская) went to Haiti in 1947 (and two times later) to shoot a film about the Vodun dancers there and she got initiated into the religion and wrote that book about the "Divine Horsemen", the media posessed by the lwa (the spirits), ridden like horses by them. The movie of the same name - which I sometimes show in my lectures on Afro-Caribbean religions - was put together after her death from her footage by Teji and Cherei Ito.
Back to the band: From their 1987 album "Snake Handler" - of which I own a vinyl copy - here it is: "Kiss Tomorrow Good-Bye", a song with a clear message about friendship. Besides that, it has an interesting structure, musically. It is, basically, a duet. And it has a kind of "leitmotif", masked as "the bridge". It starts (after the intro) with the verse sung by the male singer, followed by the bridge, that does not lead to the chorus as one would expect, but to the verse again, now interpreted by the female singer. After that, chorus in duet mode and - hail to the producer! - pumped up volume on the guitars and the bass, followed by verse, bridge, chorus a.s.o. It ends with a guitar solo, that turns out to be buildt mainly upon the leitmotif (the bridge) and finally fades into a rendering of that very leitmotif by the harmonica, backed up by accoustic guitar. I always wonder whether the drummer used a double bass-pedal or just is very quick with his right foot (as I am...).
What a great song by a so called punk/roots band:

Sunday, June 30, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 281 SONG #312

DAY 281: A Song by the Guy who invented the Moon Walk

Cab Calloway is credited to have been the first performer whose dancing style - or at least elements of it - could be described by use of the main characteristics of the moon dance: a dancer trying to go forward but in fact looking like being pulled back. He is also one of the earliest jazz singers to use and popularise the scat-style. In his most famous recording, "Minnie the Moocher" he used some kind of call and response scatting. The rendering of the song that most people might know is the one from the famous "Blues Brothers" movie from 1980, when Calloway was 73 years of age. Calloway has also been featured in three episodes of the Betty Boop animated movies (cartoons) from the 1930ies. First, version included here is from the late 1950ies, with a sympathetic competition at the end, then we go on with the Blues Brothers and after that with two Betty Boop episodes:

Betty Boop was a character created by Max Fleischer. Amongst the movies featuring Popeye the Sailorman and others, the Betty Boop cartoons have been among the bigger successes of the Fleischer Studios. In contradistinction to the Disney characters, Betty is - like most of the Fleischer's main cartoon figures - essentially human and not an animal, and her sexual/erotic characteristics are very openly displayed (see how she is attracting male persons in the "Old Man of the Mountain"). Fleischer, a son to Jewish immigrants born in Cracow, but raised in New York, is sometimes said to have been of "Austrian Jewish" descent, as Cracow was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire at that time. Here are two of the Betty Boop episodes featuring Cab Calloway. The first one is about Betty leaving home because of a conflict with her parents (who are clearly drawn as Jewish) but returning to home sweet home after some frightening experiences. If you want further detailed information on that one, click on this link:, to "The Heptune Guide to Betty Boop Cartoons"

The second one is "The Old Man of the Mountain", featuring Cab Calloway's music from beginning to the end. For further information, click on the following link that leads you to "The Heptune Guide to Betty Boop Cartoons":

Sunday, June 23, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 280 SONG # 311

Day 280: A Song about Sinning

Steve Wynn has already been featured on this blog, on day 123, which was, in absolute numbers, song number 268 in the 1000 songs challenge (including alternative versions), Song #268, Amphetamine, by Steve Wynn & Miracle 3, pure ecstasy. Before his solo-career, Wynn has been the man behind Dream Syndicate. I do like their album "Ghost Stories" - I really would have liked to include the version of Blind Lemon Jefferson's "See that My Grave is Kept Clean" featured on that album in the blog-entry dedicated to that song:  Day 54, Songs # 107 & 108. I did not find it on U Tube. Instead of that, another track from that album, written by Steve Wynn, will be featured here; one of the best straight-ahead rock tunes I know: Loving the Sinner, Hating the Sin:

Talking aloud in a motel room
but no one is listening
the bed is unmade and the curtains are drawn
and the wind is whistling
under cover the lover is waiting
but I can't turn away
I've been loving the sinner
and hating the sin
loving the sinner yeah

I know there's somewhere a man waits for her
in misery
and I can try all I want to
find the will
but there aint no sympathy, no
under cover the lover is crying
but I can't question why
I've been loving the sinner
and hating the sin
loving the sinner and hating the sin
hold me back until the trouble begins
loving the sinner and hating the sin

I know somewhere a man waits for her
wonder where she can be
and I tried so hard to find the will
but there ain't no sympathy, no
under cover the lover is laughing
just got me where she wants me now
I've been loving the sinner
and hating the sin
loving the sinner and hating the sin
hold me back until the trouble begins
I tried so hard and I don't want it to end
I tried so hard and I cant' let it go
I tried so hard and I cant' let it go
I can't let it go, I can't let it go
I tried so hard and I cant' let it go oh no

Saturday, June 22, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 279 SONG #310

Day 279: What everybody knows

A song about what everybody knows was the opener for the radio show that a young man (played by Christian Slater) did in the movie "Pump Up the Volume" from 1990. As everbody knows, this song is written by Leonard Cohen, we can find it on his album "I'm Your Man" (one of his best, in my opinion). On Amazon you can find customer reviews of the CD containing the soundtrack of the movie mentioned, containing complaints about the fact that Cohen's version has not been included, but instead the CD features the version by Concrete Blonde (as first published on a 7" single done together with Sonic Youth). I do like the version by Concrete Blonde (esp. because this is from the year, when the GREAT PAUL THOMPSON of Roxy Music fame was the drummer of the band). It definitely can be called a grower - the more often you hear it, the more it will convince you. But I also do understand that there are some people who prefer the version by the guy who wrote the track.
Many a folk have tried to outdo good ol' Leonard with their own version of this song, among them the boy who had no choice but to become a musician (with parents like that: Loudon and Kate), Rufus Wainwright. So here is the Concrete Blonde Version, followed by the original recording of LC, and then the RW version. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 278 SONG # 309

DAY 278: More Songs About Girls

The Great Crusades from Illinois are probably not to well known outside what one could call the Independent Scene. Some of their music has been distributed by Glitterhouse Records, and normally that means that we are confronted with a US band more popular in Europe than in their homeland. I do not know, I just want to share two beautiful songs about girls by this band that has not changed its line-up since 1998, if I am right.
Listen to Caroline and Elizabeth: taken from their album "Who's Afraid of Being Lonely?"

Sunday, June 9, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 277 SONG # 308

Lubricated Goat
The Australian band Lubricated Goat consisted principally of Stu Spasm, born Stuart Gray. I came upon them via their EP "Schadenfreude" that contained (amongst others) one of my fav songs, called "The Hunt is Better than the Kill".

Their next album had the illustrous title Psychedelicatessen and was a step away from typical Aussie "Noise Rock" to what I have no category for. Unfortunateley, my two fav tracks, the more classic noise-rock title "New Kind of Animal" and the step away called "Stu's" are currentyl not featured on UTUbe or somewhere else one coul embed it from. After disbanding his band, Stuart Grey went to the USA where he met and married Kat Bjelland of Babes in Toyland, the one who kicked out Courtney Love from her band for being a nuisance or something like that.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 276 SONG # 307

DAY 276: Songs from the Best Studio Albums of the Stones

I have been a big fan of the Rolling Stones in my childhood. During primary school, from "Let's spend the night together" (b-side: Ruby Tuesday) on - I really loved the song, although, 7 years old, I had no idea what it was about - I have bought almost all of their singles, later on starting with albums. In my opinion, their most creative and best time (maybe due to Nicky Hopkins and other non-mebers), at least with reseoct to studio work, was between "Beggars Banquet" and "Exile on Main Street", "Goat's Head Soup" being kind of disappointing. The next album I did like was "Some Girls" and after that I went New Wave and Alternative and did not care about the Stones any more. No need to introduce them, just a few comments on my choice. I could have chosen each and every track from Beggars Banquet, with the possible exception of "Sympathy for the Devil" (for being way too popular and known by everybody). Jig-Saw Puzzle is one of my favourite tunes from that one, but I chose "Factory Girl", because it is not a Rock'n Roller. On Let it Bleed it was easy, the haunting Gimme Shelter immediately gets me on my dancing feet. Sticky Fingers (I remember the vinyl I used to own, with the original zip you could open attached to the picture of the jeans on the cover; I was old enough then to understand its meaning) contains one of my all time fav Stones. tunes, Dead Flowers (featured in The Big Lebowski as rendered by the great Townes van Zandt). Finally, Exile on Main Street, maybe their best album ever. Hard to decide, but as I have always loved the tune,  I feature "Sweet Virgina" here. I once played this to a Blues purist, and she said to me: "see, this is where groups like the Stones have stolen their tunes from". "This is the Stones" I answered.

Factory Girl:

Gimme Shelter:

Dead Flowers:

Well when you're sitting there in your silk upholstered chair
Talkin' to some rich folk that you know
Well I hope you won't see me in my ragged company
Well, you know I could never be alone

Take me down little Susie, take me down
I know you think you're the queen of the underground
And you can send me dead flowers every morning
Send me dead flowers by the mail
Send me dead flowers to my wedding
And I won't forget to put roses on your grave

Well when you're sitting back in your rose pink Cadillac
Making bets on Kentucky Derby Day
Ah, I'll be in my basement room with a needle and a spoon
And another girl to take my pain away

Take me down little Susie, take me down
I know you think you're the queen of the underground
And you can send me dead flowers every morning
Send me dead flowers by the mail
Send me dead flowers to my wedding
And I won't forget to put roses on your grave

Take me down little Susie, take me down
I know you think you're the queen of the underground
And you can send me dead flowers every morning
Send me dead flowers by the U.S. Mail
Say it with dead flowers in my wedding
And I won't forget to put roses on your grave
No, I won't forget to put roses on your grave

Sweet Virginia:

Bonus Track: Townes van Zandt doing "Dead Flowers":

Sunday, May 12, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 275 SONG #306

DAY 275: A Song by the Man who Invented the Power Chord

Link Wray (1929-2005) is credited to have invented the 'Power Chord' as soon as 1958 and therefore looked at as a predecessor of Punk and Heavy Rock. Rolling Stone Magazine lists him among the 100 most influential guitarists of all time. His groundbreaking recording in that vein was the instrumental 'Rumble' from the year mentioned above, his use of the 'BIGSBY' on his early recordings is thought to be seminal. Here is a piece of music from his 1971 self-titled grass-roots-blues-album, without any use of the vibrato, a really fine tune from that time, called Black River Swamp:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 274 SONG # 305

A song written by Bryan Ferry and Andy MacKay

Love is the drug might be one of the most widely known Roxy Music songs, from Siren, the last of their brilliant albums, before their musical decline began with Avalon. The song was co-writtten by Ferry and Andy MacKay, the guy who also was responsible for the experimental stuff you find on the b-sides of the early Roxy-singles. His 1974 solo-debut 'In Search of Eddie Riff' includes a version of Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries'. During a break in his musical career, MacKay did a three years bachelor course in divinity at King's College, London. He also co-wrote some other Roxy Music hits. Love is the drug was covered by Grace Jones (to be found on Warm Leatherette, and Island Life). There is a 12" with remixes of this version, a rousing piece of a Disco-Dance-Floor prodcution from the eighties. Be that as it may, here is a 1920ies Jazz style version of the tune, done by The Byan Ferry Orchestra:

Friday, May 3, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 273 SONG # 304

Day 273 - The unbeatable french crooner

Pacal Danel is a person I do not know too much about; all I know, is that he has been the singer of the ultimate tear jerker (Schnulze), with, maybe, the exception of Christian Anders' recordings. It is a french song, it has been in my mind for forty years or so, and, to my knowledge, there is no recording of it in German. Tbe video (which seems to rather original, or so to say) shows, that they had some sense of irony back then, with all the painters painting the singer's 'blanc manteau'... Here is the song, there are the lyrics:

Il n'ira pas beaucoup plus loin
La nuit viendra bientôt
Il voit là-bas dans le lointain
Les neiges du Kilimandjaro

Elles te feront un blanc manteau
Où tu pourras dormir
Elles te feront un blanc manteau
Où tu pourras dormir, dormir, dormir

Dans son délire il lui revient
La fille qu'il aimait
Ils s'en allaient main dans la main
Il la revoit quand elle riait

Elles te feront un blanc manteau
Où tu pourras dormir
Elles te feront un blanc manteau
Où tu pourras dormir, dormir, dormir

Voilà sans doute à quoi il pense
Il va mourir bientôt
Elles n'ont jamais été si blanches
Les neiges du Kilimandjaro

Elles te feront un blanc manteau
Où tu pourras dormir
Elles te feront un blanc manteau
Où tu pourras dormir, dormir, dormir, bientôt

Thursday, March 28, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 272 SONG # 303

DAY 272 - A song dedicated to Karl Baier

My dear colleague Karl is almost certainly the greatest authority on Western Esotericism at our institute ouside of my office. With and without the exception of the latter, he is also almost certainly the person with the best scholarly expertise in that field of study in at least the German-speaking world (Kocku von Stuckrad and Wouter Hannegraaff actually being located in the Netherlands). Be that as it may, definitely nobody in the whole wide world is better acquainted with the topic referred to on the following track from "Spleen and Ideal", the second album by the Australian band Dead Can Dance, Mesmerism:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 271 SONG # 302

DAY 302: 4 ways of kicking Edgar Allen Poe

1. The classical way of kicking Edgar Allen Poe is done by the one who invented it: Write some really strange lyrics, engage a man to write a string arrangement, add some noises unheard of so far in a piece of popular music, do something between singing and the not yet invented art of rapping to a simple 4/4 rhythm sounding like 2/4, but do it all on the basis of the blues scheme. Lennon:

2. Take away all the strange things, just stick to the chords and the lyrics, return to the blues in it, and record a lengthy number of british latte 60s avantgarde heavy blues. Spooky Tooth did it on "The Last Puff":

3. Stay in the line of Spooky Tooth, but make a straight stadium-rock version of the british tradition out of chords and lyrics. Oasis did it. This is the version on which I would like to be the drumme ("des foat schu urndlich", wie der Wiener sagt):

4. Return to the weirdness in it. The Flaming Lips did it. My favourite cover version. I admire John Lennon for having caused so many singers to remember the lyrics of that song. As you might expect. my favourite lines are: "elementary penguin  singing hare krishna, man you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allen Poe". The Gallaghers are not really to the point with that, anyway (Liam comes in to soon with mentioning EAP, kind of  ejaculatio praecox).

Sunday, March 17, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 270 SONG # 301

Day 270: A one hit wonder from my childhood & a great cover version by the Butthole Surfers

When poor me  was a child and teenager, the world was full of one hit wonders; one among them is "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum:

It has been covered by Doctor & the Medics. No need to feature this rather lackadaisical version here... But when it comes to cover versions of songs from my childhood, we have to feature the Butthole Surfers and their GREAT version of Donavan's Hurdy Gurdy Man:

Friday, February 8, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 269 SONG # 300

Day 269: Some Songs from one of my Favourite Albums

I have already been writing about Tuxedo Moon, one of my fav bands, and especially about Mr. Blaine L. Reininger, one of the core members of this groundbreaking group, on this here blog. No need to introduce them any more to the few chosen ones that regularly read my enterings here. Half Mute from 1980 has been their first full album, after releasing two EPs, No Tears and Scream with a View. Back in 1980, this could and would have been considered Avant-Garde. It is hard to choose any one track from that album. In order of appearance on the original album, I start with "Nazca" (first track side one), followed by "59 to 1", "Loneliness", "Volo Vivace" and "Seven Years" to close this entry like the album closes with "KM / Seeding the Clouds". A strange kind of dark beauty.