The Songs That People Sing

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

Sunday Soul Time

A little quickie from The Songs That People Sing Kitchen. Herman Griffin & The Boys In The Band “Are You For Me Or Against Me, a lovely soul stroller to soundtrack a big pot of soup for lunch.

Still alive

This has been a bit of a year.  My last post was talking about my wife and dad being in hospital for various reasons.  Well since then – August – they’ve both been back in again.  They’re both still going strong, but I think we’re all fed up of hospitals and ambulances and all a bit exhausted.  Lets just get the rest of the year go by without incident.

I may blog more often soon.  Providing I can work out the new(ish) wordpress behind the scenes.



Joe Strummer

It’s been a odd summer.  Actually it’s been pretty crap.  My poor wife ended up in hospital in July and then last week my dad had a heart attack and a pacemaker fitted.  When there has been sun I’ve either been inside a hospital or in a part of the country that is being rained on.  I’ve not really been in blogging mood.  Never really liked blogging the bad stuff.  Sad stuff and headfuck stuff is another matter.  

I managed to miss Joe Strummer’s birthday, which was yesterday.  I’m not the only one by the looks of it, none of the blogs I follow covered it.  Here’s the headfuckery.  Joe would have been 60.


60 years old.  Here’s the sad and another headfuck moment.  Joe has been gone a decade this December.

Here’s one of my absolute favourite Joe moments, Johnny Appleseed from the last album released in his lifetime.  He was 48 or 49 when he did this.  I really think he was at a second peak during this period, some of the best music he had made in twenty years.  Happy birthday Joe.  

The Proclaimers

I was quite a fan of The Proclaimers back in the late 80s. I loved the songs, the vocals, the lyrics. They had Dexys connections, and Then I Met You from their Sunshine On Leith album is one of my favourite songs by anybody. But I never followed them, never really heard anything else over the years. Their cover of King Of The Road put me off in a big way, so they went off my radar. They released an album this year called Like Comedy which bought last week and only listened to this morning.

I was in bits in the kitchen to this song this morning, a song that seems to be about being a parent. Now I’ve two kids of my own I felt it, probably more than I would have done before. Fans of Dexys should give this a listen, especially as this track really does soar. Song of the year for me without a doubt.


Weller & Foxton

Just browsing Youtube, and came across this, a live performance from about a year and a half ago of Paul Weller performing Eton Rifles.  But wait a minute, who is that on bass?  A scary shiver of whoah.  Great stuff.

Electric Slim And The Factory Hen


For years while I was in bands it influenced my listening a lot.  For instance if the band was soul influenced then you can bet that I would be listening to nothing but.  Also I would search out bands that were in a similar area to what I was playing.  I also would avoid a lot of music if it didn’t fit into a particular box.  I also for a long time stuck to a fairly rigid formula.  1968-1977 was out of bounds except for soul and reggae and Bowie, and a few people like Lou Reed and Iggy.  Certainly I wouldn’t have listened to music with beards or lengthy guitar solos.

Time passes and with the arrival of my boy and our move move to the West Country playing music went on the back burner. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do any music.  A two hour journey home in time to eat dinner and put the boy to bed don’t leave much time after for anything other than sitting in front of the tv with the wife drinking cups of tea.

I miss it, of course I do.  After all I was in and out of bands constantly for over twenty years.  But it’s had an interesting effect on my listening habits.  Certain things that I held dear because they were inspirational  musically and exciting suddenly didn’t seem quite as enjoyable.  And other things that didn’t fit my slightly blinkered view of music suddenly I found very enjoyable indeed.  Surprising things too, I mean The bloody Eagles?!  It’s also made me want to dig into the things that I’ve avoided because I didn’t like a voice or a sound.  I dug into Neil Young for instance, whose voice I’ve never liked.  Still don’t but some of the Crazy Horse stuff is brilliant I’ve discovered.  And T Rex.  

I should have always liked T Rex.  After all I love Bowie and Roxy.  And Marc Bolan had mod connections from his early days in Johns Children (Desdemona was covered live by The Jam) but I couldn’t connect with his voice.  Until recently.  I put a couple of albums on the Ipod, The Slider and Tanx.  And all of a sudden T Rex made sense.  And especially the song above.  Electric Slim And The Factory Hen sits alongside Bowie’s Young Americans album and Roxy doing something like Pyjamarama, it’s gorgeous, beautiful chords, lovely strings and Marc crooning, like Bob Dylan singing Smokey Robinson.  It also seems to be somewhere inside my head from my childhood, because I knew every inch of it.  

Interesting too to see how many people I love were influenced by Marc.  I know some people like Adam Ant and Gen X were definitely influenced but I can also now hear his influence in early Lloyd Cole and Edwyn Collins.  I kind of knew that, but its interesting how much of an influence he was through the 80s alongside Bowie and Ferry.

Meanwhile I’m about to dig into Mott The Hoople.  I’m expecting to hear a lot that’s familiar considering how much Mick Jones of The Clash loved them….

80s Soul Rebels

I went through a phase (still going) where I the music I listened to was all of a type.  Paul Weller in The Jam and The Style Council, Dexys, Elvis Costello, Roddy Frame, lesser known bands like The Redskins, Joboxers, The Faith Brothers and Weller’s Respond Label.  Then there were bands like 80s Mods The Truth and Makin’ Time.  It was all left leaning Motown influenced pop, a little bit earnest, a little bit serious and with a lot of intelligence too.

I’m currently back into it, what with Weller’s latest and a new Dexys album being two of my favourite albums of this year.  Some of it doesn’t sound as good as it did, but some of it still fires on all cylinders. Here’s a few choice cuts:

Big Sound Authority – briefly signed to Weller’s Respond label.  Had a hit in 1985 with This House.  Here’s Soul Man, one of their best songs, especially live.

The Faith Brothers, Country Of The Blind, fronted by Billy Franks, one of many great songwriters who never quite broke through.  Damn shame too, cos they were excellent.

The Blades, Downmarket.  Mod band from Dublin, did a few bits and pieces, some great singles that sat alongside Weller, Costello and Squeeze very nicely.

Joboxers with their version of Wilson Pickett’s Jealous Love.  I’ve just picked up their remaster Like Gangbusters album, which is one of Cherry Red’s excellent series of reissues of lost 80s albums.  Some glorious singles, and like the best bands some fantastic b-sides too.



Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn RIP

Ah we lose another one.  This time one of the best bass players ever.  Here’s Booker T & The MGs version of a dance classic The Horse, one of my favourite moments by one of the best bands ever.  Proper stuff.


I loved 1982. Dunno why, its not like there was anything going on especially interesting. Although Safeway at Barbican opened…and the Barbican centre itself actually. We used to just walk around the Barbican me and my best mate imagining we were in the film Logans Run. Geeks. I also saw Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back as a double bill at Holloway Odeon. Double geek. Comics were going through a good quite ‘cosmic’ period and I spent as much time in comic shops as record shops. Triple geek. Eating oven pizzas from the new Safeway fed me and almost every chart hit from 82 soundtracked me. The following year every mood changed. 82 was probably my last flush of innocence.

Paul Weller’s record collection


This has been high on the playlist this week, alongside a version of Marc Bolan’s Desdemona (from his Johns Childrens days) a song that The Jam used to play live.  This is a cracking tune, but that riff at the beginning should be familiar to Weller fans.