Week 50 - Fri 10 Dec
Welcome to the RPM Record Club Seven Day Soundtrack, week ending Friday 10th December 2021...and heading pretty quickly, now, for the end of the year...which must mean time to start thinking about those "Top 5 Best of..." lists. In the mean time, here's some topical political satire with a few tunes thrown in; over to...
"This week I've picked 3 songs from the King Label which was based in Cincinnati and founded by Syd Nathan in 1943 although these were recorded in the 50's and early 60's. Still loving the eclectic mix that you RPMers continue to post. Now, where's that old mask? Can't stop - off to a knees up at No.10."
K.C . Loving performed by Little Willie Littlefield - "Here's the original recording of Kansas City, written by Lieber and Stoller who were dumbfounded when the record was issued under this title in 1952. They were equally (pleasantly) dumbfounded in 1959 when Wilbert Harrison had a big hit with it as they had originally called it. Federal was a subsidiary label of King."
Fever performed by Little Willie John - "I love Little Willie John's version of this song as much as I love the versions by Peggy Lee and Elvis. This was recorded in 1956. - two years before Peggy did it."
Gangster of Love by Johnny (Guitar) Watson - "Recorded in 1963 this song borrows quite a bit from Muddy Waters' Hoochie Coochie Man but it's a good 'un just the same."
"Well, after recent shenanigans I feel I should point out that for several years now political commentators have been using the expression "post-truth politics," most often in relation to the activities of Mr. Trump and his acolytes over the pond, especially in respect of their re-branding of "lies" as "alternative facts," as if there is no such thing as objective truth and what does it matter any way.
Is anyone of sound mind still inclined to think or say out loud "It couldn't happen here"?
Still, I suppose it could be worse- at least it's not Fuhrer Farage and his old mucker the superficially charming but really disturbingly nasty Mr. Tice in charge.
And if that's not enough ranting for you, here are two musical rants. Best wishes as always."
"I’ve a new double CD called Still Rising by Gregory Porter. There’s a wide range of music styles by him and I’ve chosen the following tracks for your enjoyment. Keep safe and well, everybody."
"The other day I watched Midnight Cowboy on the big screen (first time since I first saw it 40 years ago (gulp)) and was mightily impressed all over again. So as a result, I’ve selected three pieces from the soundtrack for my choices this week. I sincerely hope that all RPM friends are keeping well."
Theme From Midnight Cowboy performed by Toots Thielemans (composed by John Barry) -
"Last week's mention of Jeff Beck had me digging out his 'Truth' album for a fix of not only JB's guitar but also some of Roderick the (ex) moderick's best vocals. Here's Jeff and some more nifty fretboard work from the collection."
I Ain't Superstitious by Jeff Beck - (From 'Truth' album released 29th July 1968. Colombia label) "Between leaving the Yardbirds in late '66 and the release of this album, Beck had released three 'commercial' singles, the 'party' favourite 'Hi Ho Silver Lining', 'Tallyman' (both with vocals by Beck) and the instrumental 'Love is blue', all at the behest of producer Mickey Most who had steered the latter, Page era Yardbirds into similar territories. The b-sides, however, all pointed towards the direction that Beck would follow when it came to recording his first album, perhaps pointedly credited solely to Jeff Beck. Sure there were the single b-sides (including a remix of 'Beck's Bolero'), an excursion into traditional English folk, a re-recording of the Yardbirds 'Shapes of things', three (ahem!) originals by Jeff 'n Rod plus a plethora of blues covers. It's the excellent cover of the Willie Dixon/Howlin' Wolf song 'I Ain't Superstitious' which I've selected which features brilliant use of 'cry baby' FX pedal, driving bass from Ronnie Wood and great vocals from Rod. One wonders if the 'Truth' sessions involving John Paul Jones between early 1967's 'Hi Ho....' and 1968's 'You Shook me' (also covered on 'Led Zep 1') had any bearing on the direction to be taken by his new band six months later?"
Marquee Moon by Television - (From 'Marquee Moon' album released 8th February 1977. Elektra label) "The critical re-establishment of Elektra in the late 1970's was assured thanks to this superb debut from NYC's finest 'new wave' band but, sadly, the promise of major recognition for Television was never totally fulfilled. The band had started out in the early seventies, playing all NYC's Lower East Side/Manhattan clubs before establishing a residency at boho hang-out CBGB's as support to the emerging Patti Smith. In 1974 the band caught the eye of Island Records and Brian Eno who recorded four demoes with the band. Dissatisfied with Eno's 'brittle' sounding results, head honcho Tom Verlaine accepted an offer from Patti's label, Arista, but was again unhappy with the final recordings. Elektra eventually got the nod, primarily by agreeing to let Verlaine produce the band himself (alongside the experienced Andy Johns) in 1976 and the band commenced a mammoth series of rehearsals which is reflected in the almost telepathic dual lead guitar work on show on the album as a whole and particularly on the title track, which was recorded in one single take! Other than multi-tracking the guitars of Verlaine and Richard Lloyd onto separate channels there are no studio adornments whatsoever on the track. Unable to pigeon hole the band, US critics were lukewarm in their praise but, in the UK, the NME were fulsome in their praise and featured the band on their front cover which was spotted by a holidaymaking Verlaine. Alerting Elektra, a UK tour was quickly arranged with fellow CBGB club mates Blondie as support which was a resounding success and saw the band enter both the UK singles and album charts. But by the time the band returned to the US the label had pulled the album, judging it a 'commercial failure' having only briefly entered the Top 200 album charts and selling just 80.000 copies. However, the US critics had, by now, recognised the album's beauty and it was ranked at number three in the 1977 year end annual critics awards. Since that time, in common with the Velvet Underground's debut, it has regularly been highly placed in many critics and magazines 'Best Albums ever' listings. By mid 1978 the band had folded and, despite reforming on a couple of occasions and recording new material, the band maintains a low profile playing infrequently at selected concerts and festivals."
Losing Touch With My Mind* by Spacemen 3 - (Initially released on 'Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to' unofficial LP. Father Yod label, released 1990) "Running parallel with the eighties 'shoegaze' scene, but wearing the influence of sixties psychedelia much more openly was Rugby's most out there band, Spacemen 3. Forming initially in late 1982 the band went through several changes over the next 18 months before solidifying around Jason Pierce and Pete Kember. A 'demo tape' (remember them??) was recorded in 1984 for selling to their burgeoning Rugby area fans at the Reverberation Club in the Blitz public house. Several hundred were run off, complete with the band's own artwork and a booklet, and were sold for just £1 per copy, and this was followed by sessions which became known as the 'Northampton Tapes' in January 1986. New equipment was purchased, including HH amps which had distortion and tremolo effects built in and it was these two sounds which became the 'signature' sound of the band. The band headed into Bob Lamb's studio in Birmingham where they recorded their debut album, 'Sound of confusion' but Lamb was deemed totally unsympathetic to the band's sound. Even so, the band themselves had, by the time of the session, moved on from a Stooges style of psychedelia to a more relaxed gentle psychedelic harmonic drone with echoes of gospel(!) in their new compositions . Released in July 1986, there were favourable reviews in the Record Collector and the NME but the band went on record saying they much preferred the, at that time, unreleased 'Northampton Tapes' and it's from that session that 'Losing touch...' is selected. There were just four albums released before, in 1991, the band acrimoniously split with Kember forming Spectrum and, later, E.A.R.before retiring to Portugal. Pierce formed the superb (and VERY loud) Spiritualized who continue to record and tour to date.
* This from 'Losing touch with your mind', re-issue of above LP. Monster label Spain released 1991.
"Tonight's news has (ex BBC hack) Allegra Stratton laughing about the 'non party' on the 18th December last year. That same day over 400 people died of Covid in the UK!!! Just why would these staffers 'select' this party as the subject for their first ever rehearsal for a press conference? Apparently Ms Stratton asked the others to ask her the most difficult questions they could think of and the 'party' immediately sprang to mind. Surely this proves they were aware even then that this was a subject that would resonate with those who had either lost loved ones or, like many of RPM'ers I suspect, were facing Christmas without seeing family and friends. I also hear hairs being split tonight as to whether the party was against the 'guidance' or the 'law' and even that the law/regulations did not cover 'crown property'. Oh, and what about the 'gatherings of colleagues' by other ministers?
Can't wait for PMQ's tomorrow!!! Raw steak on the menu tonight for Keir I hope!!!!"
"Hi RPMers, here are my three for this week..... Keep safe."
"Hi RPMers, thanks for your tunes last week. Here’s my 3 of the week."
"Ahh, how much do I luv the wondrous RPM collective? Loads! Last week's selection was hugely enjoyable, as ever, & sparked a lot of points, queries etc.. But I'm out & about, don't have the notes to hand atm.. so that'll be a "treat" for all at some point.
One thing I can tell ya, "shoe gazers" were some of the Manky indie kids, Piers, so called from the way they danced - looking down at their shoes.
I'm soaking up the many delights of Norfolk as one who will be leaving the county in the not-so-distant future. Visited Thursford & Sandringham light trails recently & thoroughly enjoyed the musical delights on offer at Blakeney Harbour Rooms on Sunday.
Take care, all...shanties from Cornwall & Norfolk this week..."
The Lifeboat Song, Solomon Browne Penlee Lifeboat by Russ Holland - "The Blakeney dudes performed this on Sunday, first time I'd heard it - hauntingly beautiful. I'll be living very close to where this took place & have been listening to it a lot this week; 100mph winds & 60 feet waves, unreal. Anniversary is 20th December, reckon I'll stare at the sea & have a think about all those who perished & their families that day."
"Way back in the 70s, my then girlfriend (Siobhan Noonan) was a huge fan of The Fureys, and as a result, I saw them a couple of times when they were playing the college circuit, before they had a (world wide) hit single with ‘Sweet Sixteen’. (Which I was never fond of) I quite liked things like ‘Dawning of The Day’, and although I thought that they were ‘OK’ they were just another band that wore tank tops, played banjos and had curly hair. At that time there were other Irish ‘trad’ bands who were much more experimental, or had much more ‘bite’, which I found far more interesting. I am sure that the first time that I heard ‘Red Rose Cafe’ it was them performing it. I wrote them off as just too hokey! I have rarely given them a thought since Toni Arthur stopped appearing with Brian Cant on Play Away.
The reminders are there though !
A few weeks ago I was rehearsing with my mate Fred, a fiddler. We have been going through some new material, mainly Canadian, Waltzes, Reels and Two Steps, Fred suggested that we should have a crack at ‘Tam Lin’.
I am sure that you will all understand, when I confess that I made the presumption that he meant Child Ballad 39A, as performed, and recorded, so gloriously, by ‘Fairport Convention’, on the 1969 album Liege and Lief. A bit unusual, but I know the opening riff! I played it on my mandolin, and Fred looked at me with surprise and said,
“That’s not right!”
There followed one of those ‘glove puppet’ conversations,
“Yes it is!” “No it’s not!” “Yes it is!” “No it’s not!”
Of course the solution was to play the Fairport version to him…
(Almost unbelievably) Fred claims never to have heard the Fairport tune. What he was referring to, is what he described as, a ‘traditional’ fiddle tune that is quite commonly played in sessions. Of course I knew nothing about it! When he played it through to me, it was vaguely familiar. I have heard it played in pubs and clubs, but have never known that it was called ‘Tamlinn’ or that it is also known as ‘The Glasgow Reel’.
Checking it out on line, I was surprised to find that it was written by Dave Arthur of the Fureys, and although I hadn’t recognised it, it was included on one of the albums that Siobhan had owned all those years ago.
Anto often sings the air ‘Fainne gear an Leas’ or ‘Raglan Road’, also known as ‘Dawning of the Day’, (His Dad’s favourite) and, last Sunday, I played up at the Blakeney Harbour Rooms. Higher up the bill were ‘The Old Wild Rovers’. Nina & I sang along, as they performed their rollicking version of ‘Red Rose Cafe’! (Which has become the shantymen’s equivalent of Delilah!)"
"RIP Mike Nesmith..."
Girl From The North Country by Bob Dylan with Johnny Cash-
"Because we just had the fair in town. Here's the view from our window."
"And just thought you'd like to see this weeks festive home baked shortbread guest biscuit...."
"This week's 3...
...short and sweet intro...just like these biscuits, in fact. 'Scuse me, I need another cuppa as well..."
White Rhino Tea by Ozric Tentacles - "Super gig from the slimmed-down version of Ozrics, performing at the Fulford Arms in York as Ozric Tentacles Electronic....in other words, Ed and Silas, minus bassist and drummer, with lots of backing / synth parts. Pulled it off pretty impressively, I reckon, considering that any slip up within this framework would be a total "train crash". Nice to hear some older numbers featuring like this one..."
Humours of Ballyloughlin / Knocknagow performed by Eileen Ivers - "Trying to relearn the first tune here on the ol' tenor banjo...and just particularly love the swagger of this version. It may get an airing at the Three Legged Mare tunes session in York one Friday night..."
The Boatman by The Levellers - "Off to see the Levs Saturday night in York....this is my favourite song from my favourite Levellers LP."
'Til Next Time....