The Songs That People Sing

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

Month: September, 2008

Forest Fire


The opening moments a churchy organ underpinning a visual image of a girl crossing herself as she gets dressed, vague impressions of a wild living thing, a good girl gone bad; reinforced by the second verse which introduces our (anti-)hero. Both consumed by this ‘forest fire’, driving and living too fast.

“I believe in love, I’ll believe in anything
That’s gonna get me what I want and get me off my knees”

The rise in tension for the ‘doo doo’ middle section which only grows for the next section:

“Hey pick you up, put you down
Rip you up and spin you round
Just like we said we would
’cause we’re a forest fire
Believe you me, we’ll tear this place down”

The way Lloyd’s voice almost breaks on the falsetto across “spin you round” breaks my heart.

The drop down into the last verse failing to resolve the tension and Lloyd’s final aside to camera “It’s just a simple metaphor, It’s for a burning love; Don’t it make you smile like a forest fire” almost convinces you he’s being too clever clever, almost makes you believe he’s trying it on to get what he wants, but the tremelo guitar solo brimming over with melodic feedback tells a different story. This guitar gently weeps. The feedback almost sings and the track burns down to the end.

There was lots of talk about Lloyd and Co making a kind of garage soul, somewhere between Lou Reed and Al Green in the press at the time. This track was the closest they came to that. Simply beautiful.

Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Forest Fire

Sounds For Sunday: JJ Barnes

JJ Barnes was from Detroit, and released some cracking tunes. At one point he was signed to Motown, but because he sounded a lot like Marvin Gaye they didn’t know what to do with him. And yes there similarities to Marvin vocally. But there are, as I said, cracking tunes, including an incredible version of Daytripper that in my opinion outdoes Otis’ version by a mile. Listen and enjoy.

(Check out last week’s Sunday sounds for a couple more tracks by Mr Barnes too..)

JJ Barnes – Forgive Me
JJ Barnes – Our Love Is In The Pocket
JJ Barnes – Snowflake
JJ Barnes – Call On Me Baby
JJ Barnes – Welcome Back Now That I’ve Got You Back
JJ Barnes – I Need A Change
JJ Barnes – Sweet Sherry
JJ Barnes – Time Is Love
JJ Barnes – No Ifs, Ands Or Buts
JJ Barnes – Daytripper

Diana Ross: Love Hangover


Simply one of the sexiest grooves ever.

Diana Ross – Love Hangover

Random Play: Spandau Ballet

I came back from my exile in the Welsh Valleys to find lots of blogs about Spandau Ballet, and discarded freebies from the Daily Mail littering the streets. Well not so many.

I always liked Spandau. I grew up in the same part of town, a few of them were ex pupils at my secondary school. And there was something about their sound I liked right the way through until Through The Barricades – which I hated!

I liked the songs, the grooves on some of their earlier tunes, Gary Kemp’s guitar playing was pretty good, there were always good backing vocals and the Communication 12″ was the first I ever bought. Spandau also provided a soundtrack to teenage romances.

Lyrically there were a few nuggets that still stick in my head – the ‘pill on my tongue’ line in True, the mildly ridiculous but true line in I’ll Fly For You: “I’m just an average boy, You’re more than average girl, And when you sing to me the shoo be doos, You sing so well”….Yeah, I know, it’s not great but it sums up pretty much how I’ve felt with every girl since I was 14.

And then there was Instinction’s “steal a cake to eat the moon”…what the hell was that all about? Great single though!

Anyway here’s that Communication 12″ which I still love and listen to now. Have a great Friday!

Spandau Ballet – Communication 12″

The Funky Judge


I’ve got so much music on the computer that sometimes when I’m listening with all dials set to random a song will come on that I’ve never heard. And I’ll sit there wondering how I’d never listened to it before. This is one of those tunes:

The Funky Judge by Bull & The Matadors. This was a US hit in 1968 but I’d never heard it before. I’ve now listened to it about twenty times! Give it a listen. Knowing you lot you will enjoy it!

And now I’ve got to go, Stay In My Corner by The Dells just came on….

Bull & The Matadors – The Funky Judge

Random Play: Stoned Out Of My Mind

The Chi-Lites: I first heard this, like a lot of people around these parts, through The Jam covering it on the b-side to their version of Move On Up that came with Beat Surrender in a double pack. I really like Weller’s version, I think it’s one of the best covers he has done over the years, a really understated vocal, and the way he sounds on the fade ad-libs is great.

But it’s not as good as the original, which just turned up as I sit here in sunny North London. The Chi-Lites version is more bouncy and funky and full of that beautiful falsetto vocal.

……Actually, listening to the two back to back The Jam’s version does a pretty damn good job. So I think I’ll post both of them!

Enjoy!!

The Chi-Lites – Stoned Out Of My Mind
The Jam – Stoned Out Of My Mind

Random Play: The Jam (again)


Sometimes a song you think you know inside and out will come on and take you completely by surprise. It will sound fresh and new and like you’ve never heard it before.

I was on the bus today and Going Underground, followed by Strange Town and The Gift, came on. All three are tunes I could play in my head for the rest of my life without ever having to hear them again.

Going Underground and Strange Town were surprising in how much Weller fit into three minutes and how natural the flow of the tunes felt considering how many separate components were involved. And The Gift just made me want to jump up and down.

I guess what I’m trying to say is familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt!

Going Underground
Strange Town
The Gift

Sounds For Sunday


They don’t prepare you for this. I guess my mum’s mum was gone by the time she was two; so she didn’t know about this. The dark cloud that’s just there at the edge of your vision, that occasionally sweeps across and obscures everything. Then it passes and you feel…well normal again.

I was down in the Welsh Valleys for what felt like forever. Without my music. I was even starting to regain the Welsh accent that I’d had as a kid. I felt the need for music as a physical thing. Loud music that I could feel in my bones. The first thing I did after getting home was to turn it up full blast.

The Hideaways – Hideout
Dee & Joe – Who Is It Gonna Be?
JJ Barnes – Baby Please Come Back Home
JJ Barnes – Baby Please Come Back Home (Acappella)
Rose Batise – Come Back In A Hurry
Billy Preston – Billy’s Bag

Saturday Rest

I’m back at home finally, with the traffic and the dirt and the tower blocks. Thanks to everybody who has left comments the past couple of weeks. Was very much appreciated.

So just to get the old ball rolling again here’s something a little random: a track by Wendy James from her Costello penned album “Now Ain’t The Time For Your Tears”. The lovely little Clash inspired tune LONDON’S BRILLIANT!

Wendy James – London’s Brilliant

I Love You

In the midst of all this…sad surreality I find myself on the opposite side of the country to my wife on our 3rd wedding anniversary. My beautiful wife who has been my source of strength for the past few weeks. I couldn’t have gotten through these times without her. Every smile I’ve been able to muster has been because of her.

I love you babe, like nobody’s business… 😉

“I am a draper mad with love. I love you more than all the flannelette and calico, candlewick, dimity, crash and merino, tussore, cretonne, crepon, muslin, poplin, ticking and twill in the whole Cloth Hall of the world. I have come to take you away to my Emporium on the hill, where the change hums on wires. Throw away your little bedsocks and your Welsh wool knitted jacket, I will warm the sheets like an electric toaster, I will lie by your side like the Sunday roast.”

And now for some music: I was going to post Super Furry Animals’ Fire In My Heart, to which my wife walked up the aisle to me on our wedding day. But being away from home I don’ t have access to it. I do have something that reminds me of the time leading up to the wedding and, especially, our honeymoon. You might not think this is romantic, but honestly it is!