Friday, 26 July 2019

Sadly last week the great Johnny Clegg died. He was just 66.

Born in 1953 in Bacup, a small town near Manchester, England - at the age of 6 he moved to South Africa with his Rhodesian mother.
The Grammy-nominated singer, sometimes called the “White Zulu”, will live long for many:
“Johnny leaves deep footprints in the hearts of every person that considers himself or herself to be an African” Clegg’s manager, Roddy Quin said.
South Africa’s government paid tribute to Clegg’s achievements on Twitter, saying his music could
“unite people across the races and bring them together as a community. Clegg has made an indelible mark in the music industry and the hearts of the people,”  they said.

The first I heard of him was the song "Scatterlings of Africa". A UK singles chart entry in 1983 with his band Juluka (an unusual musical partnership for the time in South Africa, with a white man (Clegg) and a black man (Sipho Mchunu) performing together. Just as unusually, the band's music combined Zulu, Celtic and rock elements, with both English and Zulu lyrics. Those lyrics often contained coded political messages and references to the battle against apartheid. "Scatterlings" was heard again in 1987 with a new band Savuka (containing dancer Dudu Zulu). This video is from that time. Thanks for the memory Johnny.

Further listening > (google: 'Utshani Obulele' - 'Devana' - 'Thamela' all from the 'One Life' album).

Wednesday, 24 July 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). 

Space Week - Track 3:
Timeline > Apollo 11 Lands Back on Earth, July 24, 1969

Successfully back to Earth, time to rejoice and celebration. 
A track simply called 'Joy' by Apollo 100. A short lived studio based instrumental group fronted by Tom Parker and some well known session musicians in 1972. This track is a nearly note-for-note version of J.S. Bach's 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' with a modern twist. Someone has put together a great video showing Apollo and the moon landings.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Space Week - Track 2:

Timeline July 19th > 
"On Saturday 19th 1969 they were in the moon's gravity and began orbiting in preparation for the landing of the lunar module"
This track isn't about space but does have a very trippy 'flying through space' video of our world. And a futuristic moog synthesizer solo ending. Full Screen recommended: [  ] for Emerson, Lake and Palmer - "From the Beginning" 

Timeline July 20th > "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

Tuesday, 16 July 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). 

Space Week - Track 1:
On this day 50 years ago Apollo 11 (Columbia) launched from Cape Kennedy carrying Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin into an initial Earth-orbit in preparation for going to and landing a man on the moon.
The timeline that followed was:
> First Lunar Orbit. July 19.
> Eagle (LEM) Undocks From Columbia. July 20.
> Lunar Landing. July 20.
> First Man on the Moon. July 20, 1969.
> Eagle and Columbia Reconnect. July 21
> Apollo 11 Lands Back on Earth, July 24, 1969

I have deliberately not put any times down as it is very confusing when quoting them due to the time differences between UK and USA. (for example Armstrong's first steps - 9.56 pm EST (was actually 0256 GMT Monday morning in UK - see this link). So history books say July 20th 'First Man on the moon', but July 21st in UK !

Right, enough confusion, here's some lift-off music. Fairly obvious choice I know but I do have a couple more to cover the 8 days of this Apollo mission. Check back in on Friday and next week (24th).
1st: Remember the 21st Century begins in 1968 >>>

The brilliance of Stanley Kubrick and composed by Johann Strauss in 1866, 'The Blue Danube'

Friday, 12 July 2019

50 years ago this was the start of an amazing few weeks. Beginning with the released on July 14th, 1969 of the movie 'Easy Rider'.

The soundtrack album would go on to spend 33 weeks in the top 10 of the LP chart in the UK during 1970. Songs and tracks by Steppenwolf, The Band, Jimi Hendrix, The Electric Prunes, Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn and this all time favourite of mine by The Byrds 'Wasn't Born To Follow'. Here's that sequence from the movie: 

Turn up the phasers to 11, on that middle section. Track's only 2 minutes of magic, but you can always play it twice. I usually do !

Friday, 5 July 2019

In a recent BBC4 (re-run) of Top of the Pops: 1979 Big Hits programme, it declared this was the year music went portable. Which refers to 1979 being the year the Sony Walkman came out. Actually transistor radios were portable, so maybe that should read personal stereo, music on the move, was invented. 
Another misnomer would be that the Walkman was launched in Japan in July 1979, but introduced in the U.S. as the "Sound-About" and in the UK as the "Stowaway" - but this wasn't until 1980. We all know of it's huge success through the 80s, as the word "Walkman" entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 1986.
From that same 1979 programme, along with a surprising number of Ska music hits that year, was this brilliant track from Squeeze. A story song by guitarist Chris Difford, based around the 1965 BBC play of the same name. Sung by Glenn Tilbrook the song lacks a chorus as it was felt it would upset the flow of the narrative lyrics. The title is not sung until the final line. 'Up The Junction' - a classic example of the 3-minute pop song.

Did you spot the keyboard player on the left ? A 21 year old Julian 'Jools' Holland.