Monday, 14 January 2019

Get Carter

I think it’s a pretty safe bet that despite 2019 being barely two weeks old we already have a contender for tune of the year: 'Faraway Look' by Yola Carter is a song so utterly huge, so monumental, that it would take several gangs of labourers working round the clock with industrial tune moving equipment for the next eleven and a half months to dislodge it from my brain’s playlist generator.

Imagine Memphis era Dusty joining forces with, say, Glen Campbell, Scott Walker and Gene Pitney – and Phil Spector manning the controls - belting out a sixties clarion call to end all clarion calls in a ‘You’ve Lost That 24 Hours From The Son Of A Wichita Preacher Man’ kind of way. That’s how big this is.

And if you think I'm over egging this particular soulful pudding, then pull up a chair and see for yourself.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Dying to Die

Black Mirror
When your time's up, your time's up; most of us, luckily, don't have the slightest clue when that is. But some of us, apparently, know when last orders have been called. David Bowie knew. He'd been preparing for it. Just listen to his final album - Blackstar; the album he released on his last birthday as an earthling. And, only two days later, achieving almost perfect mortality salience, he floated off in his tin can for the rest of eternity. (He didn't have Five Years left to die in.)

January is a pretty miserable month at the best of times. If it's not the teetotal puritans blockading pubs or right wing loonies telling us how great it's gonna be when Europe cut us loose, we are reminded that David Bowie left us three years ago this week. He was just 69. I'm not sure what that is in human years, but I do know he left behind more than a handful of songs that will never be forgotten. This being my personal favourite:

David Bowie - Conversation Piece (1969, released in '70)

Bowie must have liked it too; enough to put it on a B side, anyway. Conversation Piece is Bowie at his most fragile. Quite how it never made the cut for his Space Oddity long-player is beyond me. But he did rectify matters early the following century when he re-recorded it, made it sadder(?) and put it out on his Heathen album. I love them both.

David Bowie - Conversation Piece (2002)

David Bowie (b. 8 January 1947, d. 10 January 2016)

Friday, 4 January 2019

Just Remember How We Shook Shook

Bass players often get a bad rap; contrary to popular belief they can change a light bulb1. And some of them, I'm assured, even have girlfriends. I know, who'd've thought it?

I mention this because a track appeared on my annual Best Of CD from Chiggins which, even though my age begins with a 5, made me think2: 'God, I'd love to play the bass.'  The Look by Metronomy contains a bass line so haunting, so dreamy, so f**king catchy, I wanted to go down to the music shop, grab the nearest bass3 off the wall and run out with it yelling 'Pay you Tuesday.' I believe members of the Who used to do this on a regular bassis; never did them any harm.

Anyway, here's that song:

Metronomy - The Look (2011)

And here's a (bassic) guide telling you how to play it

1 It actually only takes one bass player to change a light bulb. After the guitar player has shown him how to do it.

   2 Don't get me wrong, playing bass has been on my bucket list ever since I first heard Jean Jacques Burnel playing Walk On By

  3 And by 'nearest' bass, I mean Rickenbacker 4001. obvs, as played by everyone from Marin Gordon from Sparks and Radio Stars, to Wings' Paul McCartney - and a veritable Who's Who in between.

Martin Gordon plays a Rickenbacker

This fella plays one too
All the punk bands in the 70s seemed to favour the Rickenbacker. Everyone from Eddie and the Hot Rods to the Damned (actually that was the same fella - Paul Gray) and a whole lot more besides.  And don't get me started on Lemmy...

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Ready for Take Off?

2019. Starting a New Year. It’s a bit like air travel. Safe as houses; apart from take-off. And landing. Two points at which all bets are off and, if anything bad’s gonna happen, chances are that’s when it’ll all come crashing down. Quite literally. But, even if it looks like you’re running out runway and you swear the pilot has left it too late to lift the nose cone, 99.99% of take offs take off. They do. That’s what I keep telling myself.