The Songs That People Sing

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

Month: October, 2008

1990s

An album from the past couple of years that I keep finding myself listening to, usually very loudly is the debut album ‘Cookies’ by 1990s. I’m a sucker for glam punk pop with loud shiny sharp guitars. And this is loud, shiny and sharp and wasted around the edges, albeit with a tongue firmly in cheek. If you like your Clash and Pistols, Ziggy Stardust and New York Dolls then you’ll probably like this.

Enjoying Myself
You’re Supposed To Be My Friend
Pollokshields

Simply thrilling. Honey.

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Big Audio Dynamite

I was listening to the last Clash album the other day, Cut The Crap. My God, never again. Luckily there was another Clash album. Of sorts. The second album by Mick Jones’ Big Audio Dynamite, produced by and partly written with Joe Strummer. One of my favourite albums. Beyond The Pale is quite possibly the best song by Strummer/Jones and one I identified with, being about immigration bringing people to London and the troubles they face.

My dad and his family came to the UK from Mauritius in the early 60s, and a lot of my mates growing up were Jamaican or Turkish, the two main immigrant communities in our area. Beyond The Pale was something of an anthem for me and my best mate.

Big Audio Dynamite – V.Thirteen
Big Audio Dynamite – Limbo The Law
Big Audio Dynamite – Beyond The Pale

“If you don`t know where I come from
You better stear clear of my trail
From the dark side of London
And that`s way beyond the pale
My grandpa came from Russia
Stowed away hidden in some bales
And he took my grandma dancing
To the air raid sirens hail

Saint George used his sword
On the immigrant poor
`Cos he can`t kill no dragon
If I was in those shoes
I`d say Soweto`s gonna happen here too
I gotta get a message through
Tell everybody the news

And with the winter coming…

Crossing all the borders
Through the smoke of war and rain
Papers out of order
On a military train
A coat a bag a baby
Status: refugee
These are the people of my family

Don`t anybody know that
This city was made
Of immigrant blood and money
If I was in those shoes
A blackshirt with the playboy blues
I gotta get a message through
Tell everybody the news

And with the winter coming…

Now there`s a rocker in Vladivostok
Got every side by Jerry Lee
But for accidents of disorder
That guy could well be me
I want everybody to know this
I want everyone to hear
Immigration built the nation
You got a bloodclaat standing here

Saint George used his sword
On the immigrant poor
`Cos he can`t kill no dragon
If I was in those shoes
I`d say Soweto`s gonna happen here too
I gotta get a message through
Tell everybody the news

And with the winter coming…

Don`t anybody know that
The city was made
Of immigrant blood and money
If I was in those shoes
A blackshirt with the playboy blues
I gotta get a message through
Tell everybody the news

And with the winter coming..”

Bongo Jams A Speciality


(otherwise known as Sounds For Sunday..)

I’ve been on something of a Clash tip this week. Makes for poor blogging though, because as I said the other day, they mean so much to me that I find it difficult to put anything into words.

Here’s a little something Clash connected today: the original version of Revolution Rock, which The Clash covered on their best album London Calling.

Revolution Rock – Danny Ray

What did you want to be when you grew up dad?

Well, for my part I wanted to be Joe Strummer. My first electric guitar was a Telecaster because of him, and when pushed I will say The Clash are my all time favourite band. It’s difficult to write about them for me. There’s just too many things to speak about, the bass lines, the guitars, the drums, Mick’s vocals, Joe chewing a mouthful of angry wasps over the top.

And the way they looked too. I can honestly say that for me no other band looked as good as The Clash. They were just the perfect band.

Strummer and Jones weren’t necessarily the best singers ever – they wouldn’t get past the first audition for something like X Factor thank God, but they were amongst the best vocalists ever.

One of my favourite performances by the band is The Magnificent Seven (although I found out recently that bass line was a loop played by the Blockheads’ bass player who was standing in for Paul temporarily). It’s the energy of the thing, the excitement you can feel from the speakers at this band from London playing the first white rap tune. It’s brilliantly ridiculous, Joe sounding like he was singing what he saw as somebody flicked through the TV channels.

What have we got? Magnificence!

The Magnificent Seven – The Clash

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It…

…And I feel fine…

Armagideon Times – Willie Williams

*this is still a ‘sounds for sunday’ and, no, I’m not going anywhere……

Tell It Like It Is

This version of the soul classic is a live version by The Neville Brothers with Aaron. I first heard it on the soundtrack to 80s movie The Big Easy; I’m not sure where it actually came from before that. If anybody knows leave me a comment!

I’ve been thinking about my favourite performances a lot lately and this definitely fits in with that. I’ve heard a lot of different versions of this song but none are quite as…slinky as this one. In The Big Easy it’s playing in the background when Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin’s characters get it together. It’s definitely a good tune for those kind of moments….

A classic performance of a classic tune. It doesn’t get much better than this…

Aaron Neville & The Neville Brothers – Tell It Like It Is

Pop Quiz answers….

On Sunday I asked the following:

“Ok, Dancing In The Street inspired which classic rock tune/riff?
In My Lonely Street was ripped off by which Mod icon for one of his excellent b-sides? And name the song…
And finally the Rolling Stones cover of Marvin Gaye’s version of Hitch-Hike inspired which 80s Indie anthem?”

And the answers….drum roll please…or at least a bacon roll…

Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

Apparently the famous guitar line is a magpie moment of Dancing In The Streets, even though Keef thought it was an unconcious rip . So much so that he wanted to bin it at one point…sometimes I listen to this song after not having heard it for a while. And do you know what? It’s great!

Headstart For Happiness – The Style Council

Not really a surprise that Weller would nick a riff from somewhere, especially a Motown tune that was covered by 60s Mods The Action.

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths

I remember an interview with Johnny Marr back in the 80s where the interviewer suggested the intro to this had been ‘inspired’ by The Velvets “There She Goes Again”. Which would have been a very mid 80s indie influence. He put them right by saying he’d got it from the song Hitch Hike, but not the Marvin Gaye version, the Rolling Stones version. Around that same time Julian Cope was waxing lyrical about the Stones too. For some reason – their dinosaur status most likely – the Stones were not supposed to be an acceptable indie influence around the mid 80s. It wasn’t until the Stone Roses came along that changed as I recall.

And finally: Does anybody have Seven Ways To Love by Cola Boy? I would be most grateful: I can’t find my copy of it anywhere!!

***Thanks to the long time lurker I now have a copy again. Which is very nice! Thank you so much*******

Sounds For Sunday Part Two


A little pop quiz for part two:

Three tracks by Martha Reeves And The Vandellas.

Dancing In The Street
In My Lonely Room
Hitch- Hike

Ok, Dancing In The Street inspired which classic rock tune/riff?
In My Lonely Street was ripped off by which Mod icon for one of his excellent b-sides? And name the song…
And finally the Rolling Stones cover of Marvin Gaye’s version of Hitch-Hike inspired which 80s Indie anthem?

Sounds For Sunday

A handful of cover versions today of a song that has always irritated me in it’s original form. Yesterday by The Beatles. I don’t know why it irritates me so, it always has. Even as a child I found it to be cheesy. The fact that we sometimes sang it in school assembly probably didn’t help.

That’s a little strange looking back: but there were a few teachers that were definite hippies. One of my teachers had a boyfriend who would sometimes come to the school in his Afghan coat and play songs on his guitar. They drove a VW minibus covered in flower transfers. This was when I was about six or seven. We thought they were great.

Anyway here’s three versions that make me listen to this song with new ears.

Marvin Gaye – Yesterday
The Bar-Kays – Yesterday
Roosevelt ‘Rosey’ Grier – Yesterday

The last one is probably my favourite here. And Rosey Grier’s story is pretty amazing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roosevelt_Grier

I have Funky16Corners blog to thank for introducing me to this one! Lovely stuff!

Love And Money – Dear John

Back in the mid 80s I was walking around imagining myself some rock n roll poet, like Joe Strummer if he’d written love songs with the conviction he wrote about everything else. My flag was unrequited love, and I carried it high. Strangely though the one song that seemed to make sense of how I felt was Love And Money’s Dear John. James Grant had been a member of the should have been huge Friends Again. And with Love And Money it looked for five minutes like that success was in reach. Almost but not quite. Which lends this track a sense of failure which is bittersweet.

It’s funny, all the Wellers, Strummers, Ray Davies, Costellos don’t get me quite like this one..a contender for my favourite lyric of all time….hey, I was 17….!

“Up it rose like the morning sun
Letting me know the day had begun
My cigarettes my naivety
Never meant so much to me
Out of the blue out of the air
Like the silken fingers through my hair
the night was young the truth was fey
You took my hand and led me astray

Well I never felt like I belonged
For I know this world is the world of the strong
But like the wind it came with gifts of pain
Putting words on the tip of my tongue
When you lose that thread you lose yourself
You know you’re always ready to fall
Well I used to wonder but now I know
That the broken hearted are beautiful

In another time in another place
With the will to defy and the power to take
I walk like a man dance like a fool
And I carry a photograph of you
Well remember those days when dreams were dreams
When the music played everybody screamed
Well I used to wonder but now I know
That the broken hearted are beautiful

Dear John I’m in heaven
For so long I could not live with myself
Now only time will tell
but I don’t want to be forgiven”

Love And Money – Dear John