The Songs That People Sing

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

Month: May, 2008

New Stuff….

I’ve a tune for you by Black Kids, new(ish) American alternative band of the moment. This is their last single I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You, which comes off their forthcoming album Partie Traumatic, with producer Bernard Butler. Fans of The Cure might find a lot to like about this. Vocally and melodically it’s very Robert Smith, when he was going through his ‘pop’ phase in the mid 80s; it has the same sense of melancholy yearning from songs like Just Like Heaven and Caterpillar Girl, which is my absolutely favourite era of The Cure.

Also included today is a version of the same song by Kate Nash, who they’ve toured with, from a radio session. I’m unapologetic about my admiration for Ms Nash, and I think her version is pretty damn good.

Anyway listen and enjoy…

Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
Kate Nash – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You


Rude Boy!!!

It’s all gone a bit Two Tone around here tonight! So get on your shades and your pork pie hat and join me in a skank around the front room!

The Specials – Stupid Marriage
The Beat – Too Nice To Talk To
Madness – My Girl

Sounds For Sunday

Otherwise known as Sounds For Getting Past The Middle Of The Week After A Dreary Bank Holiday…

I don’t know about anybody else but I tend to get obsessed with a single tune at a time, especially lately. I’ve kind of reverted back to my teens, when I would play the same song over and over again until the rest of the family knew it as well as I did. And were sick to death of the sound of it!

This week I’ve been listening to a tune by Ken Boothe. (It’s The Way) Nature Planned It pts 1 & 2. It’s a version of a song originally cut by The Four Tops in the early 70s. Ken first recorded it on his album Let’s Get It On in 1974.

Ken is one of the great reggae vocalists. History hasn’t been as kind to him as some other singers however. Mostly because for a while he was known as the ‘ladies’ favourite’. Being too smooth for the boys meant that a lot of people viewed him at the time as being less authentic, less ‘real’. It’s bollocks really, because he is simply an amazing vocalist; it wouldn’t be ridiculous to describe him vocally as the reggae Marvin Gaye. And he was a sharp looking guy. Check out the picture above….

The version of the tune I’m obsessing over isn’t the original recording from 1974 however. In the late 80s, following Boy George’s version of Everything I Own (which Ken recorded in the early 70s), a compilation of re-recorded versions came out. This version comes from that. It is a bit 80s around the edges, especially in the brass, which would appear to be 80s synth brass in places, although that might just be the production..But the vocals are amazing, absolutely amazing. I did toy with posting the original, complete with turntable hum and slightly at the wrong speed, but thought better of it, because I do think this is better, brass be damned!


Ken Boothe – (It’s The Way) Nature Planned It pts 1 &2

Sounds For Sunday

Weller’s 50 today. Happy Birthday!

Here’s some tunes you might know….

(The connection, for those of you who don’t know, is that Weller has performed versions of these in the past. Meeting Over Yonder was a regular in The Style Council’s set around 1984. Move On Up was released with Beat Surrender, The Jam’s last single back in 1982, and was, again, a regular Style Council live number. Heatwave was on The Jam’s Setting Sons album in 1979; Big Bird was on the Dig The New Breed live album in 1982 and Back In My Arms Again was on the b-side to The Modern World single all the way back in 1977…..
Here’s also three versions of War: Edwin Starr’s classic, a version by The Temptations and a reggae version by A Darker Shade Of Black, which achieved the impossible for me by making this song seem new. It takes it’s cues from the Temps version, especially the ‘hup 2,3,4 backing vocals. But I think I like it better!)

Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – (Love Is Like A) Heatwave
The Impressions – Meeting Over Yonder
Eddie Floyd – Big Bird
Diana Ross & The Supremes – Back In My Arms Again
Edwin Starr – War
The Temptations – War
A Darker Shade Of Black – War


Weller’s FIFTY on Sunday…..Sounds For Sunday may just have a Weller connection. In the meantime here’s the title track from his latest album 22 Dreams. I’m loving this track!


Listen to these or the cats get it!

Dave Edmunds – Girls Talk
David Bowie – I’m Not Losing Sleep
David Essex – Me And My Girl (Nightclubbing)
David And The Giants – Ten Miles High

Sounds For Sunday

I’m doing some joining of the dots this week. Years ago I had a tape of songs I’d recorded from the radio. I’d been listening to some chart show playing hits from a particular year. This year had been 1965. So there was some Rolling Stones, some Who, some Small Faces. And Manfred Mann doing ‘Oh No Not My Baby’ the Goffin/King classic. I was about 13 at this point and still in the dark about music from before 1980. But I was learning. I loved that song. The Manfred Mann version is a pretty good poppy blue eyed soul performance.

But then a few years later I heard the original on Pete Young’s soul show on Capital Radio. Maxine Brown. A fantastic vocalist, with plenty of classics currently sitting under the term ‘Northern Soul’. But this one is my favourite. It’s got an innocence to it, an almost 50s sort of lyric. But, drawing the dots…I hadn’t heard anything yet. A few years later Aretha Franklin performed it. I didn’t hear that version until about ten years ago…..Wow. A big summery funky groove, with great brass. And typically Aretha performs the ass out of the song. It’s back in my life and currently firmly fixed into every playlist I’m making right now. I can’t get enough of it.

And while listening to Aretha this week, her version of Nina Simone’s Young Gifted And Black came up. So I followed the song to Bob And Marcia’s classic pop reggae version. You almost can’t tell that they’re the same song. Aretha’s version is a slow builder, all gospel moves that takes it’s time over the melody until it hits the groove it fades out on. Bob And Marcia’s version is tighter on the melody and seems to take it’s cues from Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s Onion Song. It’s a much better song than that one though. (I hate The Onion Song. It’s one of those songs that just…irritates….)

The final joining of the dots took me from that to Bob Andy on his own and his song You Don’t Know. What a fantastic tune. A fantastic lyric, almost Dylanesque, especially in it’s rhythm and wordplay. In fact the whole tune sounds like an imaginary collaboration between Dylan and Smokey Robinson on holiday in Jamaica. It’s simply gorgeous, and along with Aretha’s ‘Oh No Not My Baby’ taking up my time on the iTunes.

Listen and enjoy.

Maxine Brown – Oh No Not My Baby
Aretha Franklin – Oh No Not My Baby
Aretha Franklin – Young Gifted And Black
Bob And Marcia – Young Gifted And Black
Bob Andy – You Don’t Know

Easy Like Saturday Morning

Ok, it’s all gone a bit Jason King around here this morning. So bear with me while I give you some funky grooves and big organs. I’m Aquarius, what’s your sign baby?

The Mohawks – The Champ
Brigitte Bardot – Contact
R Castiglione & H Tical – SOS
A Hawkshaw/B Bennett – Daytripper
Ethel Smith – Downtown


Gets me every time….

Recommended listening……

OK, I’m a bit behind on posting this week. Normal service will be resumed soon! But in the meantime get yourself over to Fire Escape Talking blog and give the tune you’ll find there a listen. What a tune! Lovely stuff…

Click your way through here to see what I mean.....