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Archive for the ‘Rock’ Category

Booker T. and the M.G.’s – Time Is Tight (1969)

April 6, 2018 Leave a comment

Quite simply one of the best records ever made. The tension builds so slowly, the restraint is compelling, the command is complete!

I actually first heard this song as a cover version by The Clash on the superlative 10″ LP “Black Market Clash”,  almost 40 years ago (gulp!). In those days it was so difficult and expensive to find and hear the original versions of songs!

Featuring a staggering bassline; some of the most restrained percussion of all time; a classic, insistent, guitar riff from Steve Cropper, and; Booker T.’s perfectly timed keyboard strikes and washes, this is instrumental music of the highest precision!

Perfect popular music!

The single version then a great live cut!

 

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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.

 

The Faces – Debris (1971)

October 19, 2017 Leave a comment

I’ve already posted The Faces performing pretty much the best song of all time here.

But this is right up there. And it’s another gem from 1971 (the best year of all time?)

Ronnie Lane is one of the greatest singer/songwriters of the last half century and “Debris” finds him at his most reflective.

I left you on the Debris
At the Sunday morning market
You were sorting through the odds and ends
You was looking for a bargain

I heard your footsteps at the front door
And that old familiar love song
Cause you knew you’d find me waiting there
At the top of the stairs

I went there and back
Just to see how far it was
And you, you tried to tell me
But I had to learn for myself

Rod Stewart provides backing vocals but can only dream of matching Ronnie Lane …

The LP version and then a great live version where “Debris” slides into “Ooh La La”

 

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 …..

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!

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!

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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