The Songs That People Sing

First let's hear somebody sing me a record that cries pure and true

Hey, My Mind

Little bit obsessed with this fella and the album this song comes from Villager. Matt Deighton, once of Mother Earth and player with Weller and Oasis at times. Mother Earth were on Acid Jazz and not a million miles from Weller’s soulful hippy folk of the Wild Wood period. This album is in a similar place, if less rocky. 

Not a 1000 miles away the ‘grown up’ version of Dodgy either. And now this song is making me wish for summer.

Autumn

Well I’ve almost given up on blogging, but it still nags at the back of my head. Its not just blogging, online life has sort of taken a back seat lately. My eldest started school this winter, the youngest is trying to speak, in amidst all of that there isn’t much time to take your foot off the pedal and relax.

I’ve been writing, old fashioned storytelling, the sort of things I did when I first started writing as a kid, heroes and villains, plots that go from A to B in a straight line. So musically I’ve been hiding in film soundtracks, anything that doesnt feature voices or lyrics. Keeps me in a creative place.

In between that I’ve been reading Bob Stanley’s Yeah Yeah Yeah. Its good, but I’m in the mid 60s now and there isn’t anything surprising or unknown so far. Ill see what the 70s show me. 

Most of my year has been soul and RnB, with a rediscovery of 80s soul/RnB sounds, and an obsession with Philly veering off into Electro. I didn’t body pop in the kitchen. Honestly.

Now moving into the autumn I’ve had Scott Walker, Bruce Springsteen and Van on the IPod. Going a bit classic.

And here’s the thing with blogging, when I started this I had an idea of what I was doing with it, what I wanted to do. It was part magazine, part biography, part radio station. There was an aim to put stuff out there that had no other place online. Now I’m not sure what I want to do with it. This may be the last breath of this blog. I may compile a list of things, albums, songs and the like and start a new one, something with a direction.

In the meantime have some Bruce. I’ve got kids to run after!

Something new(ish)

Hello autumn. I’ve been offline more often than not this summer, although not for too long. Been lurking a fair bit. I’ve been submerged in soul and rnb, old and modern. But now the suns gone I’m looking around for something a bit different.

A random comment from an old mate led me to King Krule, a 19 yr old South Londoner, maybe not a million miles from Jamie T. But different. Imagine Joe Strummer working with Burial, with some Roddy Frame, Johnny Marr and Billy Bragg thrown in, produced by Lee Perry. A sort of modern day Beat, that same sort of street tough poet thing that I was convinced was gone in the wind.

There is an album, 6 Feet Beneath The Moon which is brilliant.

The geese fly south for winter. I’m away into the shadows again.

Still alive

Its been three months since I wrote here. I have been contemplating stopping this. I’m not sure if I’ll carry on in a new form yet.  But in the meantime I’m on that there Twitter, regularly talking about music and girls from Lloyd Cole songs and train journeys.

Twitter name is @johnnywas25.

Enjoy the sun x

Miguel “Adorn”

I’m going RnB mad at the moment. I’ve quietly over the past couple of years been digging into the current RnB stuff.  People like Drake and Frank Ocean.  And I’ve always got Prince on the go, and a lot of the current stuff seems to nod towards him.  Dug out lots of my old Timbaland productions.  Even been listening to Justin Timberlake (the new album is superb, big widescreen production, great songs).  And this guy Miguel.  An album last year called Kaleidoscope Dream, which manages to be both current RnB and oldschool Prince/Marvin Gaye.  This track is the most obvious Marvin Gaye ‘tribute’ and is quite possibly my favourite vocal performance in years.  I love it when the vocal takes off in the second half of the song

 

Dust

So, drop the needle onto a record. That crackle that you hear, that familiar sound. I was thinking about that today. Well, actually I was being morbid. Thinking about recordings of people who aren’t with us any longer. 

I’ve listened to Otis Redding a million times. But there is so much life and energy in those recordings that I forget he died before I was born. And imagine if he was a relation of yours. Would it be scary or weird to hear him singing at you. Or a comfort?

Anyway, this led me to think about those recordings, dead people’s words, voices, old rooms and equipment caught on tape. Ghosts essentially. And I thought how amazing it is to have those in your house, to listen to, to be inspired and excited by.

Then I thought about putting an old record on and the dusty crackle. That 7″ you bought in 1983 from Beesley Brothers on the corner. Dusty. Dust.

Average dust in our house in the 70s and 80s was mostly human skin and cigarette ash. So that sound on the single could be bits of old family members, old friends and girlfriends or boyfriends. It could be the sneaky Benson and Hedges you puffed on after your mum went to bed. Or  your mum’s ever constant Consulate No2. Tiny particles of the past being drawn to the recordings of ghosts. Past to past.

I freaked myself out a little. Its no wonder I prefer MP3s.

Thinking Of You

A short post dedicated to friend of the blogs Dick Van Dyke.  DVD, thinking of you and yours at this difficult time.  A big blog hug matey.  And some music, some Weller who else?  

xx

 

Merry Christmas!!!

I shall be posting some musical selection boxes, taken from my favourite listening this year later in the week, but I thought I would take five minutes to post a Christmas wish to you all out there. Hope its a great one. Now, excuse me I hear sleighbells….

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Squeeze

The BBC documentary about Squeeze from a couple of weeks ago left me really weird. I was moved, I felt sad too and remembered how much I loved Squeeze.

Moved because of the obvious love between Difford and Tilbrook, moved because of the rags to riches and down again elements of their story, but also saddened by the glimpse into another world. The world and music scene they arrived in doesn’t exist anymore. I’m watching X Factor while I’m writing this and I can’t actually see Squeeze in the same world as it.

I also felt a little sad and nostalgic about my own times in bands. There was a time when the musicians I worked with were very much the same sort of people as Difford/Tilbrook, so I kind of felt like I was watching my own story alongside Squeeze’s. Felt like I wanted to be in a band again, and that hasn’t really been that strong a thing for a while.

Here’s a track from Squeeze and it’s from what is now ‘mid period’, 1990 or thereabouts. It was a b-side, but I can’t find the original version on Youtube, so here’s modern Squeeze (with the beard!!) performing Who’s That, which is a recent discovery of mine. Lovely lovely song.

Monday Mover

One of my favourite singles of the 90s, a funky little mover with a skyward chorus. Luscious Jackson were never as big as they could have been but in my house this track gets played on a regular basis. Love love love.

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