Monday, December 28, 2015

In the bone colored dawn, me and Gypsy Scotty are singin' (John Mellencamp) #498

John Mellencamp Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First) (Edit)/ Like A Rolling Stone (Mercury, 1996)

Coincidentally I was listening to this and the parent album (Mr Happy Go Lucky) on a road trip recently and it's perfect music for that.

The clip clop rhythm, the great lyrics and the propulsive delivery reeks of road trip!

And there's the witty reference to a Cuban band 'crucifying John Lennon' (a cunningly ambiguous allusion to The Ballad Of John And Yoko, 'member?) 

Hidden gem: His version of Dylan's signature tune is spirited and faithful, as are most versions. 

Everyone who does this song, like The Stones, John Mayer and even Hendrix keep the same essential arrangement. I'm not sure why and I have no idea how else the song could be done - but you'd think someone would have had a different look by now.

Of them all, I think I prefer Dylan's original.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It doesn't make sense but I wanna be you (Paul McCartney) #496 - 497

Paul McCartney Young Boy/ Looking For You/ Oobu Joobu Part 1 (Parlophone, 1997)
Paul McCartney Jenny Wren/ I Want You To Fly (Parlophone, 2005)

Macca can write these types of A side songs, seemingly, at will. I suspect he got slightly bored with this type of writing and so that explains the Fireman, Liverpool Sound Collage projects and the classical pieces. These other forms are probably far more challenging for him (they are certainly much more challenging to listen to).

But Young Boy is a nifty pop song (I'm stopping short of calling it great) because it sounds so effortless.

Jenny Wren is an attempt to do a Blackbird and because he links them (see the video below) it tends to suffer by comparison. I don't think he's returned to this kind of finger picked style since - I could be wrong - so he must have got it out of his system. 

Hidden gems: Looking For You features Ringo on drums and Jeff Lynne. It wasn't included on Flaming Pie but has appeared as a bonus track since then. I can see why it didn't make the cut - it's a really featureless jam and these things rarely work themselves into gems.

Oobu etc is part of a radio show he did and it's of completist interest only (trust me).

I Want You To Fly wasn't included on the parent album either (the rather under-rated Chaos And Creation In The Backyard). I give him points for trying new things here. This doesn't sound like much else in his catalogue, so points for inventiveness and bravery. It's quite a cool, sinewy song with some great harmony vocals.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Everyone loves you, why should they not? (Aimee Mann) #495

Aimee Mann Red Vines/ Save Me/ Build That Wall/ Momentum (V2 Records, 2001)

Red Vines is my favourite all time Aimee Mann song.

Often the first album you hear of an artist sticks out as a special one in your memory. 

Weirdly, Neil Young's Tonight's The Night album was the first of his that I ever bought, and I love it to bits and pieces. The Beatles Hey Jude compilation was my first purchase of theirs back in 1970 and it's a glorious hodge podge that has a special place in my heart.

Red Vines is like that.

Even though the song has the word 'cigarettes' in the chorus. Now I have a thing about using that word in a lyric. It happens A LOT (especially when you notice it like I do). 

I just don't like it. Smoking is a disgusting habit and it's poison. I love the Star Wars death sticks section when a boy selling them is told via a Jedi mind trick to give them up. Of course, Jedi mind tricks only work on the weak minded. Bless you George Lucas!!

But I digress - Red Vines is a super fine catchy song. It shows off Aimee's considerable vocal and song writing talents superbly.

I also have no idea what she's on about. Sometimes I read it as a piece of nostalgia (those holes in the jar could be literal), it could be about an ex (a lot of her stuff could be), it's also about her (a lot of her stuff is) - there are a lot of first and second person pronouns here.

I do know something though - I never get sick of hearing this song!

Hidden gems: Save Me is great (like Red Vines, it's off parent album Bachelor #2) . Build That Wall has a light touch and Momentum is a rare rocker, both good'uns as well.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Who says you can't be happy all the time? (Lighthouse Family) #492 - 494

Lighthouse Family Lost In Space/ High (Live)/ Raincloud/ High (Remix) (Polydor, 1998)
Lighthouse Family (I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be) Free/ You're A Star/ (I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be) Free (Remix) (Polydor, 2001)
Lighthouse Family Happy/ High/ Whatever Gets You Through The Day/ She Moves In Her Own Way (video) (Polydor, 2002)

I love Lighthouse Family. I don't care if that's not trendy or hip or whatever. 

The soul vocal/techno beat combo is generally a winning one for me. Certainly the chemistry between Paul Tucker and Tunde is exceptional.

Lost In Space is from the second album (Postcards From Heaven). A nice song but not a single I wouldn't have thought.

Free is an incredible song. An all time favourite!

Happy is a cool idea, a cool song! Tunde's effortless vocal style is a perfect match for Paul Tucker's sounds on this track. 

This is the perfect song for me right now, being in London an all!

Hidden gems: High (on the Happy single) has an infectious beat. Makes me high!! I love the lyrics too - a great song! This ten minute plus version is taken at a faster pace with those beats accentuated. It works!

Same with the 7 plus minute version of Free. Beats, isolates the vocal track and then goes free form. Love it!

You're A Star, like Whatever gets You Through The Day, is from the parent albums: great songs - worthy of A sidehood in their own right.

The acoustic version of High is as snugly as a warm blanket.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Imagine all the people sharing all the world... (John Lennon) #490 - 491

John Lennon Imagine/ Happy Xmas (War Is Over)/ Give Peace A Chance/ Imagine (video) (Parlophone, 1999)

Is there anyone on the planet who hasn't heard Imagine at some point?

You haven't?? Inconceivable...but you're in luck! Check out what genius sounds like below.

BTW - this is the sixth entry for Imagine on Goo Goo. Check out this for the other five! 

Hidden gems: A weird combination of tracks on the B side - versions of two other hits from the Lennon Legend compilation.

John Lennon/ Dog Soldier Incantation/ Let's Spend The Night Together/ Answer Me My Love (CG Publishing Inc, 1975)

The Dog Soldier tracks were from sessions in 1975. 

John wrote Incantation with Roy Cicala and produced and arranged the three tracks with Roy - his engineer.

Yoko let a writer (Kristofer Engelhardt) have the tracks to augment his book (Beatles Undercover).

FYI: Dog Soldier were actually the backup band John used on the Lew Grade TV special (the ones with the two faced masks (hahaha).

Incantation itself has some similarities to his gift to Johnny Winter of Rock And Roll People and Dog Soldier nicely fits the Elephant Memory band brand of New York rock.

Hidden Gems: Let's Spend The Night Together is, yes, the Rolling Stones song and it's a pretty terrific version - soulful and worthy! Go figure. 

Answer Me My Love is an okay Labelle style disco/Motown hybrid.

You'll have to take my word for all this - as there is nothing available on the video channels.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Now you're in a wonderama (Alison Krauss) #489

Alison Krauss + Union Station Let Me Touch You For Awhile (radio edit)/ Let Me Touch You For A While (album version) (Rounder, 2001)

This song gets under your!

There are so many plus points: her voice, the simplicity, the way it builds, the innocence (she doesn't mean that kind of touch), the Union Station acoustic guitars and bluegrass hints from the dobro.

And, I love songs that sort of stop start and keep coming back to a central motif. 

Hidden gem: This is a radio promo so not for sale and therefore you get 10 more seconds of the song, but that's cool. I have no problem listening to the song twice.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

You don't pull my strings (The Kooks) #488

The Kooks She Moves In Her Own Way/ In My Opinion/ Give In/ She Moves In Her Own Way (video) (Virgin, 2006)

The youngsters in The Kooks are clearly Beatle fans. 

Generally they're a McCartney band, rather than a Lennon band or a Harrison band. Do you know what I mean?

If you like Macca's pop smarts, forget like... love Macca's pop smarts, like I do, then you'll find something to love in The Kooks' best work.

She a great little unpretentious pop song!

Hidden gems: A cool reggae vibe pops into In My Opinion, and Give In has a great acoustic bed in which to develop a simple love song.