The Songs That People Sing

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

Month: December, 2008

Sounds For Sunday

The Festive edition.

I have to be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas. We had a couple of bad ones when I was a kid, where we lost some relatives, so I associate it with sadness and loneliness. I try to get into the spirit but it doesn’t always happen. What I’d really love one day is to just have a really simple Christmas, not to go mad, not to overdo it on food and alcohol, not to feel the pressure to make a big spend. An old fashioned simple day.

It would be nice to feel like I wasn’t drowning in a sea of cheese where music is concerned too. There is some room for it, but not all the time. I just get fed up of the jingling of bells over every track.

Anyway here’s a few tunes that I hope sidestep the cheese somewhat. These will be playing on Christmas Day as I..sip…my first drink.

Happy Christmas!!!

Alton Ellis And The Lipsticks – Merry Merry Christmas
Smokey Robinson And The Miracles – Jingle Bells
The Aggrovators – Santa Claus Dub
Diana Ross And The Supremes – My Favourite Things
The Kingstonians – Merry Christmas
The Jackson 5 – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
The Maytals – Happy Christmas



Well this year is the last I’ll spend as a 30 something; I lost a parent and found out I’m to become a parent myself. Quite big events all.

And impacting on life in strange little ways. Musically I’ve always been fairly much the same since I was a teenager. Paul Weller, The Clash, The Who, 2 Tone, punk and old soul and reggae, with a detour into dance music during the late 80s early 90s.

But I’ve found that, during the ‘shock’ period after my loss and discovery of impending parenthood that my old records didn’t feel the same. So away mostly for the rare Northern soul sides and onto the iPod with my Sigur Ros albums which I’d quite liked before. Now they sound like masterpieces.

What else suddenly sounded good was Paul Simon; something about that weary resignation just feels like home. And now I find myself really loving Rumours. Yes. Fleetwood Mac. I started the year with an iPod full of rare soul and reggae sides and find myself finishing it with soft rock from the 70s.

There’s just something about it’s warmth and semi acoustics, the harmonies and the underlying tension that just makes it crackle like a real fire. And the fact that there’s no trace of irony involved, no tongue in cheek: they mean it. Man. And there’s a feeling that this is the blueprint for a whole generations music. No, it’s not The Clash. But there is a sense of cool about it that I didn’t think it would contain. Maybe I’m just getting old….

Sounds For Sunday

Fred Parris was (and still is) the lead voice in the classic doo wop group The Five Satins, who had a huge hit with In the Still of the Nite.

Dark At The Top Of My Heart is a little later, late 60s, early 70s. But over a pulsating bass and funky backbeat the doo wop roots stand proud. Listen to the harmonies over the ‘top of my heart’ line.

Beautiful stuff.

Fred Parris – Dark At The Top Of My Heart

Leaves That Are Green

Well, the opening line to this song was a bit of a surprise I must say….

Takedowns Galore

I managed to be under the radar for the first group of takedowns that were hitting seemingly everybody else. I had a visit from the ‘web sheriff’ asking politely to take something down but that was all.

This week I’ve had FOUR removals. To be honest it doesn’t bother me that much, the thought of some big corporation scanning the web looking for these things. Copyright law is copyright law, like it or not. And that’s a whole blog worth of thought and argument right there.

What does bother me is the fact that two of the tracks removed are pretty rare. You can’t buy them, so nobody’s sales are being affected. Which leads me to believe, (because anybody can make a complaint and get your post removed, it doesn’t have to be a big corporation bullying us little folk)that it was actually some collector worrying about the value of his/her collection being affected by the availability of a tune.

Yup that’s right. I think it was somebody just like me. One of the little folk.

And that’s really sad.

(Any more removals may just lead to the blog disappearing. Blogger do that from time to time. If that happens don’t panic. Take note of my blog list to the right and keep an eye open on their comments. I’ll be back if my pages do a disappearing act…..)

Sounds For Sunday

Here’s a little Otis for today. It was 41 years ago on the 10th of this month that we lost the man, who was only 26 when he went.

Party Chambers

Adam over here is talking about The Style Council and their first album Introducing today. It made me think about their first b-side, Party Chambers, which to me is one of those Weller B-sides that stay with you long after you’re sick of the A-side. It’s also pretty typical of a Weller strand that sort of got lost. It’s jazzy, but it’s not really jazz; it kind of sounds like 60s film soundtrack music, but modernised and Weller-fied. I’d sit it alongside The Jam tracks like The Great Depression and Shopping, both for quality B-side status and for their musical similarities.

I love the Moogy solo over the finish, it ends too abruptly for me: I could listen to that for hours.

I was 14 when I heard this first and in the midst of a huge teenage crush/unrequited love thing. It reminds me of wet pavements and Benson & Hedges; of really good chip shop chips and Coke of the cola variety. It sounds like the ups when she chose to smile at me and the downs when she ignored me completely.

“Let me sink in sadness, cause I can’t forget her;
She was on my mind and
Try as I might I spend all my time thinking about her”

The Style Council – Party Chambers

Carnaby Street

A lesser known tune by Booker T & The MGs here today.

Carnaby Street was a tribute to and inspired by the British groups as they moved from beat pop to psychedelia. It appeared on their Hip Hug-Her album in 1967. It’s quite unusual for Booker and the boys; it’s less of dance track and more jangly 6ts pop, that autumnal sound that I associate with 1966-67: it’s very very Small Faces in it’s style, with some lovely riffs and changes and an absolutely soaring Hammond chorus. Enjoy!

(Some research made today found an interview here with Ian McLagan of the Small Faces that suggests they were ‘inspired’ by this instrumental in their creation of their own classic Tin Soldier.)

Booker T & The MGs – Carnaby Street