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Archive for the ‘Pop’ Category

Prince – Baltimore (2015)

April 6, 2018 Leave a comment

This is a worthy companion piece to the beautiful track “Alabama” by John Coltrane posted earlier tonight,

Taken from Prince’s last LP, Hit n Run Phase Two, “Baltimore” might be the best thing he ever wrote. Over a relentlessly catchy pop song, Prince queries the legality and proportionality of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 and the death of Freddie Gary in police custody in Baltimore in 2015.

Just a great video and a wonderful record.

 

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Mary Margaret O’Hara – When You Know Why You’re Happy (1988)

April 2, 2018 Leave a comment

Canadian singer songwriter Mary Margaret O’Hara only released one LP: 1988’s wonderful Miss America.

The gestation of this album was troubled to say the least with Virgin Records never being happy with the recording process or the finished result. Remarkably, in a world where every album ever made seems to have been re-issued many times over, Miss America was only once re-issued after its 1988 release and that in the mid 1990s.

This is my favourite track on the LP which sees the occasionally erratic MMO stripping the music back to its very basics – the bass provides a metronomic and understated pulse, the percussion shuffles quietly, and, over the top, the vocals duel with stripped back electric guitar to achieve pop perfection!

The original from the LP then a great live version from the telly.

Brigitte Bardot Et Serge Gainsbourg – Bonnie and Clyde (1968)

March 24, 2018 Leave a comment

Wonderful duet from 1968 sees Brigitte Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg telling the tale of the ill fated gangsters (and, indeed, murderers) Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow who were shot in a police ambush in 1934. Apparently, the lyrics are based on an English language poem written by Bonnie Parker herself a few weeks before her death.

It’s classic stuff, a churning instrumental is supplemented by a regular Morricone-esque yelp while Serge and Brigitte do their thing.

Perfect.

The Zombies – Care of Cell 44 (1967)

January 7, 2018 Leave a comment

One of Rod Argent’s finest hours 4 minutes; managing to “out Beach Boy”, Brian Wilson!

Taken from The Zombies masterpiece Odyssey and Oracle, ‘”Care of Cell 44″ tells the story of a person writing to their partner in prison and has been described as “the sunniest song ever written about the impending release of a prison inmate” – I haven’t heard the other contenders so am not qualified to support and deny this judgement …,

For reasons that aren’t completely clear, the 4 minute single was not a commercial success back in 1967 but, fortunately, Pitchfork have put things straight by including it in their “200 Greatest Songs of the 60’s”

Pop perfection!

Fleetwood Mac – Beautiful Child (1979)

April 29, 2017 Leave a comment

Stevie Nicks at the height of her powers – an album track taken from the fourth side of the commercially suicidal Tusk double LP.

Rumours was on constant rotation at our flat in Hong Kong in the late 1970s and Tusk only got the occasional outing; I’m not sure we ever managed to listen to the whole thing uninterrupted from beginning to end.

Fast forward to today. I was walking into town with a completely random playlist on the iPod (I still have one!) and this came on and just brought me to a halt. Just beautiful.

Apparently it might be about Stevie’s brief affair with Derek Taylor, the late road manager and press officer for the Beatles ….. That sordid business is not what I think about when I listen to it though!

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!

Bram Tchaikovsky – Girl Of My Dreams (1979)

June 11, 2016 Leave a comment

Couldn’t resist the segue from Pyotr to Bram ….

A powerpop classic and one of my favourite songs when I was 15. Peter Bramall was originally a member of The Motors and then left to forge a new career by forming Bram Tchaikovsky to a largely indifferent world.

Released as a single, “Girl of my Dreams” was taken from the Strange Man, Changed Man which appeared on the wonderful Radar Records label (home of Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe around that time).

Perfect pop music!

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