Friday, 25 January 2019

After last week, while digging out those HMV singles, I unearthed this gem from 1974.
Little known in the UK, the Raspberries were more successful in their native America, but not an overnight sensation.
Written by band leader Eric Carmen here's a review of this single:
In a word... epic! 'Overnight Sensation' is probably the Raspberries' most adventurous record. Taking a somewhat Phil Spector, kitchen sink approach, it's a mini-symphony packed into a five minute song. Overflowing with vocals, percussion, guitars, drums, saxophones, pianos, you name it, the song is an majestic slice of pop music.

'Overnight Sensation 'Hit Record' ⏩ hit play

Friday, 18 January 2019

Storyville: A True Detective Tale
A few weeks back I heard this instrumental track that sounded very familiar, but after identifying it, via my 'what's that music' phone app, as The Krew Kats playing 'Samovar' I was a bit lost.
The Krew Kats didn't ring any bells? Google revealed a mere handful of recordings from 1961, and a UK group featuring 'Big' Jim Sullivan - guitar, Tony Belcher - rhythm guitar, Brian 'Licorice' Locking - bass and Brian Bennett on drums. 'Big' Jim Sullivan I knew and Brian Locking and Brian Bennett both went on the play with The Shadows
Next I discovered the tune 'Samovar' was actually based on a 1933 Russian folk song called "Polyushko Polye".
And finally that this song had been recorded by various artists, notably the Swedish guitar-group The Spotnicks as 'The Rocket Man' in 1962. That was the tune I was familiar with. Mystery solved.
It definitely evokes that early 60s sound, so for lovers of The Ventures, The Safaris, Duane Eddy, The Tornadoes, Bert Weedon and naturally The Shads here's The Krew Kats >

And The Spotnicks  version >

The eagle eyed among you will have spotted the original 45 single released on the 'His Master's Voice' label. I have a few HMV singles (pictured left), by Bert Weedon, The Swinging Blue Jeans and Manfred Mann.
The record label having long gone and now the retail chain HMV has gone into administration for the second time in 7 years, following poor December sales at the 97-year-old company. > Latest News Update

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

An alternative (and occasional) music posting highlighting something out of the ordinary. Perhaps of limited appeal, unconventional, experimental or just far-out ! Call it what you like (or switch it off, if you don't like). 

Half way through the long cold month of January, that for me last year in Cape Town was warm and flew by - here's something to maybe warm you up.
Have you heard of 'Kwela' music ?
(Kwela: (Zulu: “get up” or “climb”) is an upbeat penny whistle based street music from South Africa, with jazzy underpinnings and a distinctive skiffle-like beat). So now you know.
Here's a track dedicated to penny whistle player - 'Spokes' Mashiyane (1933-1972) the king of Kwela music, called 'Special Star' performed by Mango Groove,
 who hail from Johannesburg. 
Prepare to tap your feet or stomp around to the beat (in rhythm or rhyme) - eases in nice and slow

Friday, 11 January 2019

I noticed in the run up to Christmas a veritable plethora of 50th anniversary record releases. The marketing Johnny's having a ball re-packaging the Beatles, Kinks and Led Zeppelin (to name just three) to tempt and test the resilience of fan's credit limits. 
Which brings me to, 50 years ago tomorrow, the debut album by Led Zeppelin hit the record stores of America. Recorded the previous October, a few gigs in Scandinavia and small venues in the UK (only 13 to be precise) followed. Concerts in the US were underway by the time of the LP release, having been signed by Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun who apparently hadn't even seen them play. This American record deal may explain why the album curiously wasn't released in the UK until March 28th. <link>
No doubt copies of the record were played on British radio during those 2 months, but it's likely the first notes heard (first song, Side One) of Led Zeppelin 1, were these: 
Jimmy Page's guitar riff with John Bonham's drums on 'Good Times, Bad Times' >

Wanna a video from 1969? Here's the track that followed this on the LP - recording from German TV Beat Club show: 'Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You' - still bloody excellent !

Friday, 4 January 2019

Hands up all those of you who bought a CD last year ?
One... two... thr... is that a hand up at the back ? No ! Seems we don't buy (or listen to) music this way anymore.
"Digital music revenue overtook sales of physical formats like CDs and records for the first time in 2012. Since then, online shopping and downloads and streaming provided by platforms such as Amazon, Spotify and Netflix, have continued to eat into sales of physical music" - added to this computers don't included a CD drive anymore!
I actually bought six CD's last year, but the majority of the music I listened to or discovered came courtesy of YouTube

Not that the above has anything to do with this (just making conversation here).....
After the fireworks of New Year there were more pyrotechnics on New Year's Day on Sky TV in a very colourful concert 'Coldplay: Live in Sao Paulo'.* A great example of today's live experience as the show fills the arena and the audience becomes part of the show.
This video of 'A Head Full of Dreams' begins with a voice-over of Charlie Chaplin's speech from the 1940 film 'The Great Dictator' - call it a New Year message of sorts.
Don't know why but the sound is a bit low on this track, so while you're switching to Full Screen [  ] you might want to up the volume too. Coldplay > STAR SHOW

* If you have the Sky Arts channel the programme repeats on January 5th at 9pm.