Friday, 16 February 2018

Maybe the next one is yours

Maybe...
Standing on a freezing cold platform the other night waiting for my train home, I found myself singing Pete Morton's beautiful song to myself; I'd had a drink, so can't vouch for whether I sang it in my head, or I really sang it. It could explain why nobody sat next to me in coach. I stayed awake anyway, that's the main thing. One of these nights/mornings I suspect I'll wake up in sidings in Sheffield. Or Leeds.

I know I've written about this song before, but, hey, my bat, my ball, my wicket. I've met Pete on a couple of occasions and he's one of the nicest fellas around. His songs move me (and I'd be surprised if I hadn't told him that on at least one occasion), none more so than this:

Pete Morton - Another Train


As a footnote, and after recently finding this bit of film, I may have to start a mini-series of singers who wear shirts to match their backdrop. What possessed Pete to wear a brown stripey shirt in the first place is one thing, but then to stand in front of a brown curtain for two hours...

This is for anyone who doesn't know where they're going at the moment - get on the next train. You know you want to.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Girlfriends


Anna and Marie. Marie and Anna. Best friends. For Life. They met when they were both nine. That's gotta be 25 years in anyone's language.

They looked out for each other then, and they look out for each other now. I love them both.





They told me on Friday they're going to Ibiza. Fueled by gin, and both in charge of heels higher than your average skyscraper, it could get messy. I think they may need a chaperone - my rates are very competitive.




Dave Edmunds - Girls Talk

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Cry for Help

Lush
Karen Carpenter died 35 years ago this month. Her unique vocal stylings made the Carpenters one of the biggest selling acts of the 70s. There just aren't enough zeros on your calculator to comprehend how many kajillion records they shifted when they were at their peak. But Karen couldn't understand what all the fuss was about when their fans, and critics alike, would go into raptures about her phrasing, her timing and that sense of warmth and assurance you got every time she opened her mouth. "I'm just a drummer who sings" she once famously said. Yeah, right.

But the Carpenters were never hip; never a bedroom poster band. Your mum and dad liked them, for God's sake; that's how uncool they were. But, so what? It may have taken some of us a little longer than others to realise just how bloody good they were, but I think we're all on the same page now.

It's doubtful that they ever trashed any hotel rooms whilst on tour, even more doubtful that they will ever be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But their body of work has stood the test of time, nonetheless. Massive hits like Close to You, We've Only Just Begun and Yesterday Once More are revered; as is their interpretation of the Lennon and McCartney song book: Nowhere Man, Ticket to Ride and Help never sounded so lush.

Karen Carpenter's premature demise - she was only 32 when she lost her battle with Bulimia - has only magnified just what a unique gift she had. Hers is a tragic story interspersed with blinding moments of joy.

The Carpenters - Help!


I still can't get my head around singing drummers. It just looks so...wrong.

Karen Carpenter (1950-1983)

Thursday, 8 February 2018

What's Shakin' on the Hill

I went out for dinner last night with a friend of mine. At about half past eight a group of middle aged men (all sporting plaid shirts) walked in carrying flight cases: the house band, seemingly.
Man alive, they were good; how many bands do you see the fiddle player doubling up as the trombonist? Not even Bellowhead, can I just tell you.

And I've not seen many people tackle Nick Lowe's 'What's Shakin' on the Hill and live to tell the tale.

This is for James. It's his birthday today - he'd have enjoyed it last night.

Nick Lowe - What's Shakin' on the Hill



Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Piece of cake

Amsterdam - Meet the New* Flag (1975)
Amsterdam. Everyone's got an Amsterdam story; I'm no exception. However, this is, in all honesty, probably neither the time or the place to share it. Suffice it to say I lost two days of my life the last time I was in the Dutch capital. It was Scary Mary! In my defence, I was just a boy. Giving it all away.
But that was then. This is, well, now. And I'm currently booking a return visit. 'Is that sensible?' I hear you cry. "Can you be trusted?" Good questions both. To which I'd come back at you with "Of course it is" and "Hell, yeah." Well I would say that, wouldn't I? Let's hope my travelling companion thinks so too. More details to follow, I'm sure.

David Bowie - Amsterdam (1973 B-Side)


* Same as the old flag? Not quite - this is what it looked like pre-1975

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Animals

Pigeons. In holes*
Hands up if you know what Big Room House is. Mmm, thought so. That's the thing with pigeonholing music. So, let's suppose you own a physical copy of Animals by Dutch DJ Michael Garrix - where are you gonna file it? Answers on a postcard.

To these (ahem, mature) ears, it sounds like Popcorn's great grandson. Hot Butter, anyone? I was at school in 1972 when kids would try and do the sound effects to this early piece of electronica using nothing more than 'finger drums' to the side of their face. Forty years on and I suspect it's a similar story. However, drugs may be involved these days; allegedly.

Martin Garrix - Animals


* Note to self - I really must stop using Urban Dictionary

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Remember

A really good friend of mine has just put me on to the Sunset Sons. They were on the support bill recently and blew the main band (Imagine Dragons, I think) away. I love it when that happens. I can't believe how good they are. And unbelievably cool.

In 2016 (remember 2016?), they put out an album entitled Very Rarely Say Die.

This track is from said record. It's glorious.

It really is.



Sunset Sons - Remember