The Songs That People Sing

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

Month: September, 2010

Forgot To Be Your Lover

I love this song, both the original William Bell version and the Lee Perry produced George Faith version, which might just be my favourite slice of reggae ever.

(I even liked the Billy Idol version back in the 80s….)


And Here’s The Sequel

Sometimes I hear a song and think, wait a minute there’s something similar here. Here’s two songs that I swear are related, both in idea and to a degree in sound.

Part The First:

Part The Second:

Another Nail In My Heart

Squeeze.  Come on, I don’t need to post this one do I?  There was a time when Squeeze’s singles compilation 45s and Under would have counted as one of my favourite albums ever.  I think somewhere along the way I grew out of them.  But those singles still stand as fantastic songs, some of the greatest singles of an era when the 45 was at a peak.

There’s always a huge trace of heartache in those songs that for me is added to by me listening to this on a regular basis when I hit puberty and seemed to be constantly down about something.  I really was a miserable teenager….

Chilly Gonzales – Knight Moves

This is an absolutely gorgeous track, built around some lovely dreamy piano arpeggios. If you’re fond of Sebastien Tellier’s track La Ritournelle you’ll probably find something to love in this.

Hazy, floaty and beautiful.

KT Tunstall: Black Horse & The Cherry Tree

Just seen this on a Jools Holland Later compilation show. Forget sometimes how much I love this song. Saw KT Tunstall perform her first London gig years ago at the much missed Kashmir Club in Marylebone. She did a fantastic little acoustic jazz meets Patti Smith thing that segued into Sexy MF and I melted in my chair. Didn’t twig until years later that this was the same girl:

Spearhead Again

Here’s some lovely tracks from Michael Franti & Spearhead’s All Rebel Rockers album recorded in Jamaica with Sly & Robbie producing.

Rude Boys Back In Town is a cool skank, which like a lot of this album brings to mind The Clash circa Sandinista. Cool ‘riddims’ and a lovely growl of a vocal.

Meanwhile Remote Control even has a Clash title, and sounds like Strummer covering OutKast’s Hey Ya.

Spearhead – Rude Boys Back In Town
Spearhead – Remote Control

More Spearhead

There will be more as well this week; the newer stuff is pretty damn fine.

Meanwhile here’s a mellower side to Franti, which took me by surprise this morning. It’s an old song Waterpistol Man, one that dates back to Disposable Heroes and which turned up on an early b-side of Spearhead. It turned up again on the Chocolate Supa Highway album which I was listening to this morning.

The surprise isn’t the song itself, which is a lovely mellow little slice of groove, but the lyrics. Listen out for a reference to a certain Barking Bard. I forgot all about this, having not heard the song for years.

Spearhead – Waterpistol Man


There’s a post over at Uncle E’s Musical Nightmares (excellent blog – go check it out via the blogroll to the right) about the top 5 best albums of the 90s. Or rather his best albums of the 90s. Yours or mine will probably be different.

In that top five is the excellent lost classic Giant Steps by The Boo Radleys, surely one of the greatest albums of any era, never mind the 90s. But enough of that, I’ve posted about that before, and probably will again.

Meanwhile coincidentally I’ve been listening to one of my favourite albums of the 90s, after time away from it. Home by Spearhead.

Michael Franti had been in the ultra intelligent (and very in debt to Gil Scott-Heron) Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. They had been possibly more about the message than the music and were seen as super serious. Spearhead were more musical, more humourous, and super super funky. A fantastic live act, they managed to bring that to their first album Home. Funky as, and bringing Sly Stone and Bob Marley into the brew alongside Scott-Heron. Fantastic lyrics, great tunes and that funky band swinging into action.

I have to admit to not following them for a few years (I’m putting that right this week, so expect more), but there are some great follow up albums out there too.

Here’s one of the singles from Home, Of Course You Can. It’s probably the most commercial track on the album, but it’s by no means outstanding in comparison. An album filled with class funky tunes. Go search it out.

Spearhead – Of Course You Can

James Carr – To Love Somebody

Another James Carr tune and a version of this Bee Gees number by Nina Simone have turned up at The Ghost Of Electricity and Bagging Area blogs this week. Then this version of To Love Somebody by James Carr turned up on the old Ipod late last night. So I thought it only right I should share it with you.

Sleek and soulful and, as said elsewhere, slowly funky.

James Carr – To Love Somebody

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

I’m digging into the 60s at the moment, but not the usual Mod/Small Faces/Motown thing. No, I’m listening to things that I remember hearing on the radio growing up, those Jimmy Saville shows with the top twenty from some bygone age.

Of course 1965 was nearer to 1985 than we are to 1985….

Anyway, I’m listening to The Hollies (Carousel), and tracks like Bobby Vee’s The Night Has A 1000 Eyes (surely a prequel to The Who’s I Can See For Miles?), and Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

Frankie Valli’s voice reminds me of childhood. My mum and dad both loved their songs, and for years I thought they were twee. Until I got into Northern Soul, when several songs by them turned up on a regular basis.

Here’s a couple of odds and sods: A version of Dylan’s Queen Jane Approximately from the mid 60s and an absolute classic tune that was a Northern stormer in the 70s.