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: ...the theme 'Vegetables' was chosen. Unfortunately, and under significant duress, I was asked to include Fruit into the Music Club blender.



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


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.


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. 

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.



  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!

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 :-)



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....



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.


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. 



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