Friday, 31 October 2008

In A Previous Life.

Once a upon a long time ago the Scottish band Simple Minds were actually quite good. There was a small window in time when they were definitely not an overblown stadium band striving (unsuccessfully) to become another U2.
In the early eighties they made some great records such as 'I-Travel' and 'The American' and live they were superb. I saw them in the much missed music venue The Lyceum in the Strand 'up that London'. Unfortunately they released 'New Gold Dream' and went a bit off the rails and once they started doing stadium gigs it was all over for me.
If you go back in time though, well before Simple Minds, there were a group of lands called Johnny and the Self Abusers. They were from Glasgow and released just the one single on Chiswick records called 'Saints and Sinners'. They went on to discover Stadium Rock and the rest is, as they say, history.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Damn Fine Record Monday #2

I Only Have Eyes For You ~ The Flamingos

I remember this song being sung by Art Garfunkel in the late 70's. His version was typically over produced and polished but couldn't hide what a damn fine song it was. This version by The Flamingos would warm the cockles of even the coldest heart.

The song was originally recorded by Dick Powell in 1934 (a version I have not heard). The Flamingos a doo-wop group who hailed from Chicago, put this track down in 1959. It's rather gorgeous I reckon.

Some 40 years later The Flamingos received $250 000 after the song was used in a Coke commercial withoiut the bands permission.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

For John.

It seems almost impossible to believe but John Peel died four years ago today. It hasn't and never will be the same without him. So for you John here's the mighty Melt Banana for Tokyo Japan.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Neal Hefti 1922-2008

I learnt yesterday of the death of trumpeter, composer and arranger Neal Hefti. Hefti is probably best know for composing one for composing the theme tune to the seminal 1960's TV show 'Batman'. You know the one:

It wasn't just theme tunes to camp American TV shows Hefti was known for. He was a fantastic arranger writing charts for such artists as Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich and Harry James. His greatest achievement though was writing and arranging Count Basie's 1957 album 'Atomic Basie'. Including this fabulous track:

My dad first played me this album about 30 years ago and it made a jazz fan of me. As a trumpeter Hefti's arrangements were brass heavy as as such are punchy and sassy in equal measure and his arrangements Basie's band in particular were very sympathetic to his sound. 'The Kid From Red Bank' for example allowed Basie's sparse piano style shine through and on my personal favourite 'Fantail' he lets Frank Wess let rip with a soaring alto sax solo. Here is an old recording of another classic Hefti arrangement 'Whirly Bird'


Hefti died at his home in California on 11 October aged 85. He had not been actively involved with music for some time but he left a marvellous legacy. As Miles Davis once famously said if it wasn't for Neal Hefti the Basie band wouldn't have its trademark sound. If ever there was an epitaph that is as good as it gets.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Damn Fine Old Record Monday # 1

Delilah Jones ~ The McGuire Sisters.

I must admit that I know nothing at all about this group. A quick trip over to Wikipedia, which to be fair isn't always the most accurate mine of information tells me that The McGuire Sisters were a trio of sisters, Christine, Dorothy and Phyllis, from Ohio who made records in the 1950's. In 2001 they were inducted into the National Broadcasting Hall of Fame in the USA.

Until recently I had never heard of them until I heard this great track.

I just love the orchestration on this record, the brass gives it such a sassy feel. Apparently this is a b-side (to a song called Picnic) and it was released in 1956. So now you know.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

A Bit Of Blues For A Sunday .

There is not a lot better than a bit of rocking Blues to brighten a Sunday evening. So here without further ado is Seasick Steve:

Not much else to say other than I'm so glad that the world now knows about this guy. He is somewhat of a throwback to the blues how it is supposed to be. His style is definitely down and dirty and you can hear that he really means it.

Seasick Steve's website

Saturday, 18 October 2008

The Truely Great Julia Nunes.

I find it a bit surprising that the first proper post I do on this site is to champion someone who I only discovered today. I am a regular on The Word magazine blog and someone posted a video of a young woman from New York State who posts her own take on her favourite songs using a ukelele or a guitar.

What she does in bring loads of emthusiasm and a whole heap of talent. She doesn't take herself at all seriously despite having almost 50 000 subcribers to her You Tube site and her videos being watched well over a million times. (She coukld be the most famous person you have never heard of.

Here is her bloody marvellous version of Build Me Up Buttercup.

And here is her take on Destiny's Child.

Julia Nunes Official Site

Nothing Ventured.

My other blog is getting a bit stale and I have been having trouble deciding on exactly what to write. Therefore I am starting a new music blog here. The name is taken from the seminal Sprirtualised album 'Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space'. The phrase is also etched into the back of my iPod so I thought it apt that it should be reflected here too.

I hope, once I get my act together to write stuff on gigs I have attended, albums I have listened to and anything else that tickles my fancy. I'm also hoping, if I can work out how to do it, to steam some music and post the odd video too.