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!
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!
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!
Over the festive period, I try and catch up on all the music I might have missed over the previous 12 months. This involves forensic scrutiny of all the “best of” lists from magazines, websites, newspapers, etc. Spotify is then used to sort out the wheat from the chaff before I engage on a major CD purchasing spree – I still have to own a physical object to get full satisfaction; just knowing I could always stream a song from the cloud is never enough ….
Amongst this year’s uncovered gems is the superb “My Name is Doug Hream Blunt” CD released in 2015 on the ever wonderful Luaka Bop Records. The CD reproduces Blunt’s “Gentle Persuasion” LP/EP that was released sometime in the mid 1980s – I’ve struggled to pin down the exact date!
I could have chosen almost any of the tracks but “Ride The Tiger” is my favourite today and, therefore, is elevated immediately to the pantheon of the bestmusicofalltime. The full LP version doesn’t seem to be around on Youtube but this live version does nicely!
This is a stupendous record.
For some reason, I’ve always regarded Elbow as a bit of a “guilty pleasure” – a band that I couldn’t help liking despite an overriding feeling that I really shouldn’t do so for reasons of fashion or doctrine.
Or maybe it was because the singer looked a little bit too much like Ricky Tomlinson playing Jim Royle in the Royle Family?
I started to really warm to them when I heard singer Guy Garvey in engaging form on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs (which you can hear, here). I think the moment I was won over was when he selected “New Grass” by Talk Talk as the first of his 8 records. This is a peerless choice that I have previously posted on this blog here.
Around the same time, I saw them play this on Later with Jools Holland and was entranced.
Suffice to say that “My Sad Captains” even surpasses the genius of Talk Talk.
The relentless rhythm, the bass, the brass, the soaring vocals and a connection with the live audiences that just makes you wish you had been there.
Another sunrise with my sad captains
With who I choose to lose my mind
And if it’s all we only pass this way but once
What a perfect waste of time
The version from Jools Holland, a Radio 2 In Concert version and then the record.
This song is simply mesmeric.
Strumming some chords on the guitar the other day, His Guiding Hand suddenly leapt from my memory and became a record I just needed to hear again immediately.
Formed by a couple of grammar school boys, Medicine Head started to play together around 1968.
They were seen at the Lafayette club by John Peel who then played a tape of their songs to John Lennon, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend and, at Lennon’s insistence, Peel signed them to his Dandelion record label.
The demo recording of “His Guiding Hand” was released as a single, Peel describing it as “the cheapest single ever made and one of the classic records of all time” and keeping the single in his box of most treasured records. The duo’s first album, New Bottles Old Medicine, was recorded in a single two-hour session, and they toured with Peel at many of his gigs, Peel paying them out of his own fee!
A perfect record.