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Archive for the ‘1980s’ Category

Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft – Der Mussolini (1981)

June 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Just combing through this month’s Mojo magazine and one of their recommended tracks to check out was a new Giorgio Moroder remix of Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft’s classic track Der Mussolini.

I had a listen but, frankly, it’s a bit insipid compared to the relentless brutality and tunelessness of the original!

Formed in Dusseldorf in 1978, D.A.F. were staples on the John Peel Show in the latest 70s and early 80s. A different take on synth-pop compared to Kraftwerk but another great German record.

Altogether now:

Geh’ in die Knie
Und klatsch’ in die Hände
Beweg’ deine Hüften
Und tanz’ den Mussolini
Tanz’ den Mussolini
Tanz’ den Mussolini

Reese – Just Want Another Chance (1988)

June 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Timeless Detroit techno from one of the founding fathers, Kevin Saunderson; this time operating under his Reese moniker. Although he has also released great stuff as E-Dancer, he is probably most famous for his work with classic Detroit house/techno titans Inner City who he co-founded in 1988.

I stumbled upon this when walking 3 miles back to the pub where I left my car after a great meal last night. Had the iPod (oh, yes!) on random rotation and this came on and mesmerised me.

The bass is relentless, the percussion hardly exists, the synths drop in and out fitfully and Kevin mutters sweet nothings over the top. What’s not to like? A perfect record!

Here are the three versions from the 12″ single. All good, but the first is the killer!

 

 

 

 

This Mortal Coil – Meniscus (1986)

Beautiful, short, guitar and synth instrumental from the band that brought you the defining cover version of Tim Buckley’s extraordinary “Song to the Siren”.

This is taken from their second LP Filigree & Shadow which was released in 1986 on 4AD records.

As Discogs tell us:

This Mortal Coil was a 4AD “supergroup” of sorts that recorded three albums and a few other tracks between 1983 and 1991.

The only official members of the project were 4AD label head Ivo Watts-Russell and well-known producer John Fryer, but many other vocalists and musicians from 4AD (and non-4AD) groups such as Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, Dif Juz, Colourbox, The Wolfgang Press, Cindytalk, Breathless and more were involved at various points in the project’s lifespan.

Two and a half minutes of perfection. If only it were longer!

 

Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited – Shumba (1981)

September 2, 2016 Leave a comment

This is a staggering record – relentless cyclical guitar and bass, beautiful intertwining melodies and Mapfumo on top form with his socially conscious lyrics.

Thomas Mapfumo is widely regarded as Zimbabwe’s greatest and best known artist. He invented and popularized Chimurenga music – literally “struggle” in Shona – which was often overtly political. In addition to his modern incarnation of traditional music, his lyrics were sung in Shona. In the late 1970s singing in Shona instead of English was a political statement in and of itself. In Mapfumo’s case, it was specifically critical of the white ruling class of Rhodesia. The government, underestimating his popularity, eventually banned his records and imprisoned Mapfumo without charges in 1979. After a series of large protests demanding his release, he was set free three months later.

Though he initially celebrated the independence of Zimbabwe in 1980, he became increasingly disillusioned with the regime of Robert Mugabe.

Shumba (or Lion) was a particularly popular song during the fight for liberation and is a cautionary tale warning of spies in the midst …

Do not talk of secret issues or give information in public

Informers are everywhere.

A perfect record

Jimmy Riley – Poor Immigrant (1982)

June 14, 2016 Leave a comment

Another song that just leapt out of the iPod as I took my daily “constitutional” this morning; this time around the nature reserve in Godmanchester.

Not, as some might anticipate, some carefully chosen social critique shedding some welcome light on the interminable Brexit debate currently limping to its much awaited conclusion next week. Instead, a classic slice of roots reggae originally released in 1982 and then re-released on the stupendous “Live It To Know It” compilation on the still essential Pressure Sounds record label.

Jimmy Riley died in March at the age of 62 – with this record, he leaves the world in a much better place than he found. If only it were longer!

Feargal Sharkey – More Love (1988)

June 12, 2016 Leave a comment

With Northern Ireland about to kick off their Euro 2016 fixtures this afternoon, what better way to get ready than to hear this classic piece of 1980’s pop from Ulster’s finest?

Definitely the best thing Feargal Sharkey recorded in his solo career and, in my view, right up there with the classics from his Undertones days.

Written for Sharkey by Benmont Tench (a founder member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), the song also features the unmistakeable sound of Keith Richards on guitar. Tricky to track down on iTunes or Spotify, Youtube comes up trumps!

John Cale – Dying On The Vine (1985)

June 11, 2016 Leave a comment

With Euro 2016 underway (a “soccer” tournament for both of my non-European followers!), I’m hoping to post a song or two that relate in some way to some of the countries playing each day (I suspect this good intention might fizzle out quite quickly ..)

So what better way to kick-off this project than with one of the greatest songs by one of the greatest songwriters from Wales (who are playing Slovakia later). I first heard this song on the compilation “10% File Under Burroughs” ( a series of songs with some relation to William Burroughs). The version on there is a live recording featuring Cale playing alone at the piano. It is completely different to the original that appeared on Cale’s “Artificial Intelligence” LP released in 1985. It turns out that it was taken from the “Fragments of the Rainy Season” live LP that Cale released in 1992 …

Deeply reflective and moving, this might be the best song John Cale has ever written …

I’ve been chasing ghosts and I don’t like it
I wish someone would show me where to draw the line
I’d lay down my sword if you would take it
And tell everyone back home I’m doing fine

Five versions(!) – a superb live solo version from the BBC; the live LP version; the original from the LP and then two live cuts: one from the Old Grey Whistle Test and one from Later With Jools Holland!

 

 

 

 

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