Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Music your parents introduced you to..

  ... women and children gather round the gramophone in their living room

 

BARRY


Dick Dale, Let's Go Trippin'. (Studio, September 1961.) A pioneer of the classic Surf Guitar sound, who gets less attention than he deserves. Quite the sight to see live, too - he plays strings that are really more like power cables, and goes through one plectrum per minute. No exaggeration there. Also a pioneer of amplifiers and speakers - innovation driven by necessity, because he kept blowing them up. Still rocking in the California desert.


Aretha Franklin, Spirit in the Dark. (Live, March 1971.) She received quite a bit of attention, by contrast, all well deserved. She also wrote this song, which despite secular lyrics really hits me like church music. The version I heard as a kid was much shorter, I think; the vamping at the end was probably electric in person but not so much 43 years later.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvGmbsLxF0w


 

LIAM


My parents didn't do me any favours in musical taste upbringing. My mother was a fan of the showband scene, popular to dance halls and ballrooms throughout Ireland in the 50's and 60's. On trips between Kildare and Limerick I was 'treated' to my fair share of Joe Dolan, and the track I picked, possibly harshly but most memorably for an at-the-time 8-to-11 year-old, is The House With The White Wash Gable. As I say, it was probably a harsh nomination, so for a better impression of Joe, as his legacy really does deserve, check out Make Me An Island, You're Such A Good Looking Woman or It's You, It's You, It's You. As his tag line goes, There's No Show Like A Joe Show!


My dad has showed inclinations of a better taste in music, although I was never really immersed in any particular artist or style. The best of the small bunch, and the artist who most stayed with me since, was Chuck Berry. He needs no introduction, so the track I picked, which has that awkward theme of the time of the appeal of young girls, is Sweet Little Sixteen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLV4NGpoy_E


IVAN


 My parents are super fond of classical music, Mozart was rocked big time, opera was cranked out load. I remember being forced to watch full operas as well as the odd ballet - Russian of course, even as a small kid I could see the power and dynamism of the Bolshoi, none of that prissy British ballet.

Within this classical climate, low and behold my dad comes back from a trip to Europe with a tape for me, not a dusty, crusty number but fresh from the studio. I would have been 12 and relatively uneducated in modern music, so wham I put it on. I gotta admit it was too unusual, I remember only liking a few songs and being somewhat disappointed overall. Now I see it as powerful double album with a whole bunch of good songs - Sign 'O' The Times by Prince.


"awaiting footage"


This song is 'If I Was Your Girlfriend' I find it beautiful, slightly mushy and the song builds to a steamy, saucy climax, which always makes me grin. You can talk during the first 3mins but then you need to listen to the titillating lyrics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNTo2tl1qdM 

EMMA


Very apt theme given I'm back in Old Blighty visiting the parents.

First track courtesy of my mothers musical influence. Mum was born in a small village on the Isle of Wight in 1953, by chance of birth the 1970 Isle of Festival was on her doorstep and had a huge influence on her musical education and mine.  She was lucky enough to see these guys in their element.

Sly and the Family Stone: If you want me to stay. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdorgC9qUkI


This one's courtesy of my Dad's influence. One of Eddie Cochran's lesser known tracks. 
Eddie Cochran: Nervous Breakdown. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpFZ0ZbvMjQ

 

MALCOLM

  'Fragile' –  originally by Sting - is here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v4kUc3J0DI ) given new life by a constellation of the jazz greats: Nils Landgred (singer and trombonist), Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker, and Esbjörn Svensson (the last two of whom have since passed away, making the his outing all the more memorable). Performed at Germany’s Jazz Baltica sometime in the recent past, this ethereal rendition transforms an otherwise mainstream pop ballad into a haunting journey via Landgren’s almost childlike voice and  the unmistakable vocabulary of jazz. All of which powerfully transports me back to the Sundays of my own childhood, when our home became a true cathedral to jazz (which just so happened to be the devil's music in my grandad's books).

 Ollie (...yea Gods, strike me down in disbelief!! HE LIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!)


Tracks: Jacque Brel: Marieke; La Valse a Mille Temps

Two tracks from Belgian troubadour Jacques Brel – one sung in Flemish, the other in French. I loathed this music when my parents used to play it, always and without exception on holidays in France. The moment we drove off the ferry, on went the battered cassette and so the nausea started. A couple of years ago I critically reappraised old Jacque and grew to love his style, characterised by a combination of anger, incredulity and passion that builds towards a dramatic and complex crescendo, heightened by a band that quickens to a devastating speed. Another thing I love is that Flemish is so guttural, I imagine it’s difficult just to speak it, let alone sing it, and yet he somehow manages to sound effortless and triumphant. He was a funny looking dude too.

 

Christian

Parental influence, where music was concerned, was more nature than nurture. I was mostly influenced by other family members, friends and people I was trying to emulate or curry favour with. There was a drawer that housed the family vinyl and some of the most loved platters were Puff the Magic Dragon, The Wombles and the Flash Gordon soundtrack.
None of these cultural highlights make the following list:

Otis Redding - Cigarettes and Coffee: This was chosen because my folks genre of choice used to be motown and the soul greats, where Otis featured very heavily. I'm not a massive fan of his most well known works but I do dig the melancholy, early hours vibe to this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyMg-EhZ1Es

Jimi Hendrix - Crosstown Traffic: The parents bought tickets to see the living legend in 1967
at the Saville Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue. The great and the good of rock music were also in the audience (they saw The Rolling Stones, including Brian Jones, Ringo Star and the other Beatles, Stevie Winwood and many others). I would have chewed my right arm off to be there but I'm happy to live vicariously through their tales. As such, I became a massive fan of Jimi's in formative years and this is still my favourite song - and the album art rocks too. It takes some gall to frown upon over zealous promiscuity, being a rock god in the swinging sixties - or maybe it was impatience rather than moral judgement? Whatever! I love the high energy, driving, jaunty nature of the song and the quirky yet extremely catchy vocal harmonies.

'We were absolutely mesmerised. At the finale Jimi smashed his guitar on the drums, sparks flying everywhere!'

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Soundtracks

 John Williams Composer John williams: vida y obra.

Ollie, lover of transatlantic televisual feasts and art house cinema, decided to choose the theme of Sountracks.

Barry

Turns out that work will take me out of town this coming Wednesday. This makes me especially sad because the preparation for this theme was so enjoyable. In the end I settled for my favourite atmospheric soundtrack by Tindersticks. I really like "Maid's Theme". But the title track is really evocative too...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q9MY-tQbpw

The second is what I'd describe as "best soundtrack to worst movie ever". The film being Porky's Revenge, I think it was really inspired to put on a new performance of "Blue Suede Shoes" by the guy who performed it originally.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pu1TpJ-ReM

Christian

Not quite your a-typical soundtracks for my selections, but you have to go for gut feel. The instantaneous firing of musical neurons that select something form the memory banks before your conscious self realises what is happening, yet magically agrees with a sage nod of the bonce.

One of the very first theme tunes to a television program to become a joyous ode to everyday life was the jaunty samba of the inimitable Mr Rossi. A marvelous series of early 70's animation that saw Mr Rossi and his side kick Harold, the dog, traverse life's and history's idiosyncrasies. Viva Happiness!! Especially in the native Italian.

Enzo Jannucci penned the ditty along with multiple solo albums, film scores, stage show scores, was an accompanying jazz pianist to the traveling greats, actor and cardiologist. Legend!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Z_XxNbCo44

The second offering is from Anne Dudley, who surprisingly turns out was a member of the Art of Noise, but went on to become prolific in the film industry. With scores for The Full Monty, Crying Game, Buster, Les Mis and Amercian History X. Quite a diverse bunch. However, none of them, and I say none with vigour, have anything near a patch on the mighty theme tune for Jeeves and Wooster.  Fry and Laurie did Wodehouse proud with their cathode ray rendition of his most popular comedy duo, and the tune (including all relating incidental music) sets the scene most mischievously.

Who's calling me at this hour!? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7ZrWOGIbIE

Carl

So much to choose from! One could make a case for songs from a movie I've never seen (Sound of Music :-)) or one I've seen more than most (Rocky Horror) but they are both musicals so they have a bit of an advantage in the soundtrack stakes... My eventual theme-within-a-theme was light(ish) songs that belie the context they are used in.
To kick off we have a tune that was originally written in 1939 by Ary Barroso, was rearranged in 1969 by Geoff Muldaur and then used as the title track for a 1985 movie by Terry Gilliam... I like the movie however haven't watched it very often coz I find it very depressing and I need to be in a very good mood to sit through it... and I'm not in a very good mood that often as my work life reflects the movie rather too closely on occasion... Actually I'm pretty sure that everyone's life reflects the movie so maybe I just need to get over it... The song, and movie, is Brazil -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGdnFoK9Uws

The second offering is again from an alternative and slightly dysfunctional future but evocative of a simpler time... The movie is Blade Runner and the soundtrack was written by Vangelis... which caused me a problem. Blade Runner was released in 1982, being a year after Chariots of Fire... and I was by that time well and truly over hearing Chariots of friggin Fire theme songs day and night. So, sitting in the theatre watching the opening credits and I see "Music by VANGELIS" splashed across the screen and thought well, that's that then, this is going to suck the kumara. Except that it doesn't. So, is it because Vangelis suddenly improved in a year, or was I so engrossed in the movie that they could have played anything and it wouldn't have mattered, or do I just to this very day dislike the Chariots of Fire theme tune with a passion others only dream about. The song is "One More Kiss, Dear", written for the movie but sounding like something from the thirties and it is the background to a scene where Deckard has just shot Zhora, is being told that he still has four to go, and then Leon finds him...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzcHJAONSSo

Emma

Step by Step -Jesse Winchester

Jesse Winchester had passed me by until I listened to The Wire soundtrack (the best TV series created to date, in my modest opinion).  This particular track was used to great effect at the end of Season 1 and set the standard for the famed series-end montage scenes.

His sound is an amalgam of folk, country and blues. This is one of his more bluesy tracks and works surprisingly well as a musical backdrop to Baltimore’s dysfunction. Sadly Jesse Winchester died last month, so a fitting opportunity to pay music club tribute to his talent.

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3SugB7SYaM

Long Time Woman – Pam Grier

This song was recorded for the 1971 B Movie ‘The Big Doll House’, Pam Grier, a future icon of Blaxploitation films made her one and only foray into the recording studio. It's a soulful and gritty track; the song's lyrics tell the first-hand story of a female inmate, serving a life-sentence.

The song was all but forgotten, until it was resurrected for the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino's film ‘Jackie Brown’, in which Grier starred.  A unique recording from the 70’s, which thanks to Tarantino found its way to a much wider audience. 

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlfoJC__6pE

Liam

 

For this theme I went straight back to my youth and one of the first soundtracks I was exposed to, Rocky. I regularly heard each of the first 5 Rocky soundtracks through my cousin who was a big Stallone fan. Bill Conti did, for the most-part, a fantastic job on these soundtracks crafting instantly recognisable contemporary orchestral pieces mixed with music of the time. Ok so it's a bit of a double-edged sword in that the your feelings towards the films will probably slant your feelings towards the music, and the images in the films (running up steps in a grey tracksuit, punching slabs of beef, chasing chickens or topless beach running to remind you) coupled with the time they were released (late 70's and through the 80's) may make for difficult listening now, but if you can step away from all that and give the soundtracks a go of themselves, the quality and depth is rewarding. Conti didn't do too much of note outside of the Rocky movies (The Karate Kid, For Your Eyes Only). I've chosen the main theme (just pipping Take You Back - well worth a listen also), Gonna Fly Now. There are multiple versions, but I dig the one from the first movie with it's 70's jive feel and funky bass line.


I came across my second composer while watching the movie, Mr. Brooks. Soundtracks shouldn't distract, take from or otherwise grossly affect the movie they accompany, but in the case of this combo, I couldn't help noticing every time the music was used to illicit feelings and emotions in the viewer, a pretty cool thing since the movie is about serial killing. When I researched more about the composer, Ramin Djawadi, I realised he was responsible for the soundtracks of other TV shows and movies I love, Game of Thrones, Pacific Rim, the Fright Night remake, so I had to choose him, and went with the best, most atmospheric track from my entry to his work. From Mr. Brooks - The Thumbprint Killer...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zJOX24j2Ks

Ollie

   

Tracks: Alex Turner: It’s Hard to Get Around the Wind (Submarine soundtrack)

              Eric B & Rakim – Juice (Know the Ledge) (Juice Soundtrack)

Two completely different kids of track united by their link to teenagehood. Alex Turner’s wistful number (and the film it soundtracks) evokes that teenage feeling of life being big and momentous even if the town you’re living in is neither. The Eric B & Rakim track appeared on one of a whole swathe of thug life, hip-hop sountracked films that came out in the 90s, which my friends and I were obsessed with as teenagers, despite being weedy white boys whose lives in suburban London had nothing at all to with guns and crack.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cities

 Wellington city at night

Yes indeed, it was a confusing time at Music Club HQ. We deigned that Emma should select the theme because this was her last physical appearance before swanning off to address noble causes among warmer shores with less clothes. Declining the responsibility, our erstwhile one hit wonder, Catherine, decided to take the mantle. She decided on the theme of Cities. Then bailed.

First out of the trap this month is...

Carl


Entry 1
The song is Hungry Town from an album called Bonk by an Australian band called Big Pig... and that's important because those of you unfortunate enough to not grasp the depth of Antipodean vernacular will be saying "What's that got to do with cities?" It's simple enough, the antipodes of something is the opposite... so town becomes city and vice versa... ok, so maybe the humour isn't that deep either... but that's not the point.

The point is an Australian band from the late 80's whose main claims to fame were a) a lineup that played drums, percussion, percussion, drums, harmonica, keyboards, drums and drums and b) wore black butchers aprons on stage... Discogs lists them as Genre: Electronic but given that only one eighth of the group actually played something you could plug in I struggle with that description a bit. They only produced two albums before disbanding but they sure had some fun.


Entry 2
FGFC820 formed in 2004 by a couple of New York based DJ's. Style is Electronic/Industrial/EBM but being DJ's you can in theory actually dance to it... assuming you can dance in the first place, but I'm guessing writhing about in some semblance of time to it would be acceptable as well. Three albums to their credit to date, all themed around America's "War on Terror"... so no forseeable shortage of material there then...

The song is taken from their second album, Law & Ordnance, and is called 'Hello, Baghdad'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iySE-ymD7UA

Christian

 Deciding on a literal association of the urban built environment, I selected Two Banks of Four for my first offering. The song Skyline Over Rooftops from the album City Watching is an evocative beast. It suggests, through acid jazz laden bass lines and broken, groovy beats; late summer afternoon, gazing out over a busy east end of London from the melancholy shelter of your neglected high rise block of flats - a muffled city sound scape and a birds eye view. The melody and vocals paint a hazy vista, the lure of excitement on the near horizon yet some strange inertia that means the sun will set, the street lights will automatically flicker on and a police siren will rise and fade into the distance.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4eky6_y9sE

Cities are also redolent with hopes and dreams; Grasping the nettle and throwing yourself headlong into the hustle and bustle; Hedonism, promise and limitless possibilities. Combine that ethos with some 60's flair, a big swinging jazz ensemble and the enthusiasm of Mr Georgie Fame and you have his excellent tune, City Life. It's easy to go dystopian when thinking about cities, but this tune makes me want to book a table at Ronnie Scott's, light up a cigar, tap the foot between big swigs of whiskey and paint the town red.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYpuIGwgTRQ

Liam

For the theme of Cities (a great theme by the way), I went with a theme within a theme, that of live Irish traditionally-influenced tracks

The first is The City of Chicago by Christy Moore, who happens to be a Kildare man like myself. What better reason! Christy's live performances are legendary in Ireland although due to health issues they have become less frequent in the last 10 years (I've never seen him live unfortunately). This track is about the Famine, probably the toughest time in Irish history (1845-1852, approx. 1 million died & another million emigrated). It's about the hope and anguish felt by those who emigrated to America and how, despite their new lives in the big city, they remember fondly and with hurt their remote homelands.

My second choice is Rainy Day in Soho by The Pogues. Whether Shane McGowan is singing at his drunkest or least drunkest, more teeth endowed or less teeth endowed, tracks and performances like this show why he's held in such high regard as a song writer and performer. The track, originally produced by Elvis Costello, is a beautiful ballad about love past, present, and possibly lost. However I have found interesting arguments about the likelihood of some or all of the song being about alcohol, demonstrated in the references to the gingerlady and the measure of my dreams. Whatever the case, it's a beautiful song set in Soho, London.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1m3q9mQN-s.

Emma 

Nantes – Beirut.

So the literal double-header; a band named after a city performing a song about a city; pretty easy pickings when apparently Beirut’s lead singer, Zach Condon has a self-professed fascination with city names.  Discovering Beirut was like discovering a whole new musical landscape filled with accordions, rich percussion and brass, creating a European/ Balkan/ Gypsy soundscape. Nantes has such a wistful sound and conjures up fantasies of roaming around Europe, consuming red wine while nursing a minor heart-break, from which one will recover after a slight period of reflective melancholy, before, hopefully, another   romance presents itself. 


No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn -The Beastie Boys.

A brilliant musical parody of the rock band touring lifestyle; partying hard from city to city (for some reason Motley Crue springs to mind). Although maybe not quite as anthemic as “Fight for your Right”, the guitar riffs and solo played by Slayer’s Kerry King make this one of the Beasties more legendary tracks. 



Ollie?

  Tracks: Joey Beltram – Energy Flash and Inner City – Good Life


 The dark-yet-soulful, pulsating industrial vibe of these tracks exemplifies what Detroit techno was and is all about. Unlike a lot of other urban genres in America, Detroit techno wasn’t from any kind of ghetto – it was produced by the kids of middle class African Americans who migrated to Detroit to work in (at the time) high tech industries. This may account for the futuristic quality of the music, as well as a discernable sense of displacement/alienation, though anyone reading this may take these sociological musings with a pinch of salt.



David?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Fruit and Veg

Indoor Fruit And Vegetable Stall, Watford Market, Charter Place Stock ...


Inspired by the creative comedy genius that is This is Jinsy, while watching the third episode with the following song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLHPGtsp-to ...the theme 'Vegetables' was chosen. Unfortunately, and under significant duress, I was asked to include Fruit into the Music Club blender.

Ivan

 

Vegetables, now that's a challenge. I did indeed find around 3 or 4 vegetable titled songs in my collection but all were bollocks, too weird, embarrassing and mostly instrumental - not appropriate for music club ears. There's a lesson in that, veggies maybe healthy for the body but toxin for the ears.

Fruity flavoured (named) tunes are plenty a piece but few actually sing about the item named in the title. So here is a classy jazz number with wonderful lyrics, enjoy.

Peel me a grape, Anita O'Day

Liam


Well I'm not going to state the obvious by saying how difficult I found this theme. Several times I've started my entry that way, but this one certainly took the (carrot?!?) cake. So I won't start my entry that way this time.

After liaising with my music-agnostic girlfriend who gave me some good ideas, I trudged through my collection for any reference to fruit or veg that wasn't completely obvious (Peaches, Blind Melon) and for which the link wasn't tenuous. I came up with a pair of intelligent dance music (IDB) / drum n' bass tracks from the pioneer of the genre Aphex Twin and follower  μ-Ziq (pronounced "music").

Aphex Twin's Children Talking doesn't reference fruit or veg in the title but you realise the reference quick when you hear the repeated sample of that particular child's least favourite food. The sample is apparently from the 1961 BBC Radio series titled "Children Talking" in which Harold Williamson travelled the United Kingdom asking children questions about aspects of their lives.


μ-Ziq's Mushroom Compost has mushroom in the title. That is all. I was informed mushrooms are actually not a vegetable when club started, so that was a bit of a shit, but how-and-ever it's a good electro track exemplifying great production and influence by Aphex Twin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Sv42imk5K0

Barry

 
The Bears, 'Complicated Potatoes' from 'Rise and Shine'
This four-piece hails from Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Legendary philosopher Nick Lowe coincidentally gave their sound a description... Power Pop For Now People. They started in obscurity and pretty much remained there in their various incarnations. Three of the members also released some great pop under the name psychodots. The fourth member, Adrian Belew, enjoys a varied career (solo artist, frequent though not current King Crimson member, producer, visual artist) and will even come to Auckland this winter with his power trio and the Crimson ProjeKCt. This track features a comprehensible vegetable metaphor, a catchy chorus, and occasional wacky stunt guitar.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sYaAmnFmdc 

Frank Zappa, 'Watermelon in Easter Hay' from 'Joe\'s Garage'
FZ needs no introduction. Given conceptual continuity, it's not surprising that he has gifted the world a number of fruit and vegetable songs. Let us not forget The Thing-Fish (Head like a potato/Lips like a duck) even though the record of that name can be forgotten quite easily. Anyway, when Frank was suffering from cancer, his son Dweezil asked him what he thought his signature pieces were. One of them was this song, which closes Joe's Garage as Joe surrenders to the imaginary guitar playing imaginary guitar notes. FZ threw down some crazy complicated guitar parts in his day, but this is not one of them. Simple, repetitive riffs but really expressive playing in a variety of styles. Entirely suitable for breaking out the lighters.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9DqykUsqRY

Carl

 

  Devo - Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA
The ultimate Spudboys in their perennial search for a real Tomato... nerdy angst that has echoed around the human condition for millennia... what am I doing here? what's it all about?? will I get laid tonight (or at all)??? Devo hail from that well known hotbed of discontent, Akron, Ohio and the
band formed in 1972 with the founding members forming their view of De-Evolution after being affected by the Kent State University shootings in 1970. They have been cited as influencing a number of musical genres primarily New Wave and Industrial. Magic stuff!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQvEu6G-i_0

Cranberries - Salvation.
Fruit but no Vege... Excellent band out of Ireland with the wide ranging vocals of the delightful Dolores O'Riordan. And the song? All the things you swear you'll never do to your kids and then life rears its ugly little head... Still a damn good song though :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KotlCEGNbh8

Christian

 

I was spoilt for choice and ended up with over 40 songs in a new playlist. That does mean that I have since expressed some remorse at leaving aubergines, peas, potatoes and other seasonal gems behind, but am still proud of the following picks:

There aren't many occasions where I get the opportunity to play a song by the mighty, yet mostly unknown, Beyond. These dudes from Blighty fused jazzy chords with ravey drums, some broody ambiance with hard rocking angular riffs, and a singer that could pass as a good Feargal Sharkey down at the karaoke. The song is called Onion, from their second album (Chasm) and is a complex, layered vegetable that might make you cry. There endeth the similie.

Onion starts at 24:48

The second song wears its fruity heart on it's low down, dirty, funky sleeve. When fruit is the theme and fruitiness is being called for, that makes The Fruit the only answer. Mr Kleinenberg, take it away....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Has8ZGPqQJc

Emma

 

First fruity offering: Kate Bush – Eat the Music. An uptempo, calypso-inspired, jubilant song about sexual discovery with fruit related metaphors aplenty. Kate provides a fruity smorgasbord of Papaya, Sultana, Mango, Pomegranate, Guava, Banana and Plum.


Staying on the calypso theme, and not straying into vegetable territory (it’s all about the limes this time), with Harry Nilsson’s “Coconut”, a pretty ridiculous song, but absurdly catchy.




Ollie

The Jolly Boys – Touch Me Tomato

Originally recorded for the opening credits of the popular BBC programme, Gardener’s World, this ska-inflected masterpiece marked a change in sexual politics for a band that previously advocated strict abstinence from the pleasures of the flesh, on such tracks as Get off Me Grapes and Mind Me Marrow



Strange Fruit – Billie Holiday

A stone cold classic. If ever you tire of the Jolly Boys and their frivolous songs about vegetables, this is the antidote: the history of an oppressed people distilled into song with the utmost melancholy. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4ZyuULy9zs 



David

 

Missing in action

Monday, January 27, 2014

Covers

 File:Cover Songs-melvins.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Emma asked us to think of our favourite cover versions; covers that take a song in an entirely different direction, place a totally different interpretation on the original, or those covers that you think are superior to the original.


Liam



For this theme, I suspect like all the other participants, I struggled with choosing two stand-out representatives. I wrestled with whether to choose humourous, slightly silly versions, or classy, arguably superior versions, and weather to have a commonality between the tracks or not. I was still juggling with my selection until I went to hit the play button. In the end I leant more towards the humourous, slightly silly end, but the tracks are of such high production and are performed by artists of such high quality that I was compelled to choose them.

First up is the world's best Belgian women's choir, Scala & Kolacny Brothers. They have made five studio albums covering well-known musicians and bands such as Oasis, Björk, Radiohead, U2, Nirvana, Depeche Mode, Muse and The Foo Fighters. They have arranged and performed so many great covers (of the two albums I have it's hard to find a bad track), it was very difficult to choose one, but I eventually settled on Everyday I Love You Less and Less by Kaiser Chiefs due to the contrast between the cheeky, haunting and quick lyrics and the angelic, innocent vocals.


Not the first time in Music Club I picked a Metallica track. This time it's possibly their most well known one, Enter Sandman, and is covered by the bluegrass group Iron Horse. I could have picked a hundred Metallica covers; I went with this one because of the joyful playing feel of bluegrass, my secret love of banjos (and more recently banjoleles), and how simply damn good the track is. The band are super talented and despite the disparity between metal and bluegrass, like my previous choice, the track is arranged beautifully. Yee harr, mother-truckers!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3c7bISLhVl8



Christian


It was also a struggle to whittle my list. Over excitement, followed by confusion, followed by desperation, followed by anxiety, followed by....

First up: Loved the original from the overlords of metal, and am continually amused with the tropical transmogrification.

The Iron Man was initially a mind bending book of formative years - a giant metal munching, yet misunderstood saviour of the human race. Sabbath's iron man (unrelated to Ted's) sounded like its most appropriate soundtrack and was my first step into the realms of steel. Who could resist the jaunty riff of doom, anthemic chorus  and wobbly hammer house of horror introduction? Ondatropica took this monster to the Caribbean, fed him rum and coke, red beans and rice, then played him full volume from a crap stereo in a torn leatherette, petrol fume filled taxi in a Bogota traffic jam. The tune is unmistakable, lyrics deemed excessive and the lope of fearful purpose replaced with some cumbia bump and grind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uaHWpEQ5Ww


Second up: Couldn't care less for the original but find the re-working a frustratingly catchy journey through passion, pathos and pity.

Billie Jean is a pop classic in it's own right and I'm never going to dispute that the king of pop didn't have a penchant for a nifty tune - although I refuse, on many principles, to have any of his original material on my ipod. However, the living legend that is Chris Cornell transformed the melancholy yet up-beat ode to more accurately reflect the embarrassing social situation Jacko found himself in (which he later trumped but couldn't write songs about). Not only did he take MJs verses and set them to a slow blues sonic brew, he also dug extra gravel from his already deep, sonorous quarry of a larynx and gave it both barrels.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epXN1eUkFGU




David



All Along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix
This is of course a cover of a Bob Dylan song and an example of one of those covers which (in my view) completely overshadows the original because it takes the song to entirely new and exciting places that are not even hinted at in Bob's original. What was folky and earnest is transformed into
a spaced out electrified sexual howl. Apart from being an entirely awesome song and a bone fide classic it is significant for me personally as Jimi was my first true (musical) love and he introduced me to the world of possibilities as I explored the music that inspired him i.e. Blues and Jazz.

Watch the (emphatically pre MTV) original music video here;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJV81mdj1ic


My Favorite Things - John Coltrane
A nice symmetry here as John Coltrane is for me the other giant in my personal musical history. Like Jimi he is that rarest of things, a true genius. I have lost count of how many different versions and formats of 'A Love Supreme' I have purchased over the years and I suspect there are further re-mixed and re-mastered high resolution versions in my future. This particular track is a cover of the 1959 show tune written by Rogers and Hammerstein and sung by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. It is a simple and clever little tune and it is precisely that which makes this cover so interesting to me because it is a really great example of how Jazz works.

It takes this simple song and turns it inside out and back to front without ever losing sight of the simple structures at the centre. The listener can always hear the original but it is presented from entirely new angles.

Here is the track in all its full 13:40 glory.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWG2dsXV5HI



Emma

Covers, they’re tricky [you did pick the fricken' theme! - Ed]. A friend of mine in a band refuses to play covers, as he thinks they signify a lack creative originality. I’d like to think these two covers might just make him reconsider that statement.....

The deft, skilled and totally original interpretation of (I can’t get no) Satisfaction by Cat Power takes a song that is now so entrenched in modern culture for it’s swaggering three note guitar riff, and Jagger’s hollering vocals and strips it all back to create a sense of beautiful futility. 


Woodie Guthrie’s This Land is your Land, recorded in 1944, has been described as one of the United States greatest folk songs. This cover takes the classic folk song and ramps it up to create a funky soulful anthem. The Dap Kings signature smooth brass sound, a great arrangement by Binky Griptite (what a name!) and Sharon Jones’ powerful vocal make me want to get up and dance, whilst simultaneously go on a protest march. I can honestly say no other song has had quite that effect on me.  Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings own this song, whilst staying true to its original political intent. I don’t think Woodie could, or would fault this cover. 



Ollie

 

Earthling – Because the Night

Originally a Patti Smith/Springsteen love song, 90s Bristolian outfit Earthling turned Because the Night  into a haunting dirge with help from Geoff Barrow of Portishead fame. With mogadon vocals and a metronomic trip hop beat this version sucked out all the energy and replaced it with menace. For all that, it’s oddly uplifting.



Sid Vicious – My Way

Sid Vicious sneers his way through his cover with such triumphant sarcasm, it’s as if he’s taking the piss out of the very act of singing. It’s fair to say that ol’ Blue Eyes would not have appreciated it, even if it is better than the original.