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Philip Glass – Song #8 From Cabin in the Rockies (1993)

October 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Re-stumbled upon this, this evening, and only took seconds to realise it needed elevating to the pantheon of the bestmusicofalltime. Pronto!

Hydrogen Jukebox is a (ahem) “chamber opera” featuring music by Philip Glass and words/libretto by iconic beat poet Allen Ginsberg. The title is taken from the latter’s poem Howl.

Apparently Phil and Al bumped into each other in a bookshop in New York and agreed that they just had to work together – the rest is history.

This is simply gorgeous. Glass’s understated minimalist arrangement is wonderfully complemented by Elizabeth Futral’s soaring soprano which essays a few haikus of Mr Ginsberg’s to stunning effect.

A perfect piece.

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Wah! – The Story of the Blues (1982)

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Can’t believe I hadn’t posted this before!

Pete Wylie was a “member” of the “crucial three” in Liverpool in the late 1970s. Also present were Julian Cope (Teardrop Explodes) and Duke McCool AKA Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen.

Pete Wylie recorded under a variety of names: Wah! Heat; Wah!; The Mighty Wah! Shambeko! Say Wah!, etc. There’s a theme there I feel.

The early Wah! singles will definitely need inclusion on this blog – “Better Scream”, “Seven Minutes To Midnight”, “Don’t Step On The Cracks”, etc.

However, this was their one moment in the commercial spotlight – and what a moment. The seven inch version, “Part 1” was the Top Of The Pops pleaser; Part 2 “Talking Blues” is a 3 minute polemic that explains the philosophy underpinning Wah! and much of early 80s anti-Thatcherite indie music – it”s stirring stuff!

The 7 inch single and then the 8+ minute magnum opus

The Afghan Whigs – Algiers (2014)

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

From Morocco to Algeria …

The Afghan Whigs are one of my favourite bands of all time making great records for 25 years or so (they are still responsible for the definitive reading of Prince’s “When Doves Cry”!)

Taken from their 2014 LP Do To The Beast, “Algiers” is right up there with the best records they’ve ever made. A “Be My Baby” intro, a wall of guitar noise, a pummelling bass, pounding drums and Greg Dulli’s punk/soulman vocals soaring over the top. What’s not to like?

Dream your sins away

Sin your dreams away

The official video and then a stunning live version in the studio at KCRW.

The Chameleons – Intrigue In Tangiers (1985)

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

From Ethiopia to Morocco (no, really …)

I loved The Chameleons while living in Manchester in 1984-1985. My other half and I saw them live at their home town gig at the Ritz in Manchester around this time and they stood out from most bands of the period with their rare combination of aggression and contemplation.

I’ve previously posted their debut single “In Shreds” here (what a stupendous song that is!)

“Intrigue in Tangiers” is taken from The Chameleons second LP What Does Anything Mean? Basically.

The LP version, the Peel Session and then a spine-tingling live performance from 1984! The somewhat muted reaction of the audience probably a consequence of the track not having been released yet!

 

Tesfa-Maryam Kidane – Heywete (late 1960s/early 1970s)

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

From Senegal to Ethiopia.

Difficult to find out too much about this record. It appears on Volume 10 of the peerless Ethiopiques series of CDs (I’m almost a completist, though we are now up to 30 volumes!)

A wonderfully laid-back and evocative instrumental with Kidane’s saxophone holding the whole thing together – understated bass and percussion underpin the melody.  a piano fills in the spaces until a stunning guitar solo prompts the bass to move into Afro-funk perfection! Beautiful.

Mansour Seck – Quinze Ans (1994)

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

I’m kicking off a series of posts tonight that are going to have an increasingly tendentious African theme …. I can already imagine the breaths that will be bated as my not exactly legion band of followers (you know who you are sir, and thank you!) await the melodic twists and turns that will be served up.

However, let’s start with a stone cold classic. I stumbled upon this on Mansour Seck’s N’der Foota Tooro Volume 1 CD released in 1994. Blind and hailing from Senegal, Mansour was a regular collaborator with his fellow countryman Baaba Maal.

Precise, metronomic guitar, impassioned vocals and a great call and response chorus. A perfect record.

The Stooges – T.V. Eye (1970)

October 10, 2017 Leave a comment

How has it taken me this long to elevate this to the pantheon of the bestmusicofalltime?

Iggy Pop and The Stooges make most of what became before or after irrelevant. Relentless, focused, stripped down to the minimum input required to achieve maximum effect.

It gets no better than this and the Sex Pistols et al were still at school!

Sometimes I wonder why I bother listening to anything else …..

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