Monday 28 June 2010

Thirty two songs

So the idea is to pick thirty-two songs that describe you, according to this rubric

  • day 01 – your favourite song
  • day 02 – your least favourite song
  • day 03 – a song that makes you happy
  • day 04 – a song that makes you sad
  • day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone
  • day 06 – a song that reminds of you of somewhere
  • day 07 – a song that reminds you of a certain event
  • day 08 – a song that you know all the words to
  • day 09 – a song that you can dance to
  • day 10 – a song that makes you fall asleep 
  • day 11 – a song from your favourite band
  • day 12 – a song from a band you hate
  • day 13 – a song that is a guilty pleasure
  • day 14 – a song that no one would expect you to love
  • day 15 – a song that describes you
  • day 16 – a song that you used to love but now hate
  • day 17 – a song that you hear often on the radio
  • day 18 – a song that you wish you heard on the radio
  • day 19 – a song from your favourite album
  • day 20 – a song that you listen to when you’re angry
  • day 21 – a song that you listen to when you’re happy
  • day 22 – a song that you listen to when you’re sad
  • day 23 – a song that you want to play at your wedding
  • day 24 – a song that you want to play at your funeral
  • day 25 – a song that makes you laugh
  • day 26 – a song that you can play on an instrument
  • day 27 – a song that you wish you could play
  • day 28 – a song that makes you feel guilty
  • day 29 – a song from your childhood
  • day 30 – your favourite song at this time last year
  • day 31 – a song you inherited from your parents
  • day 32 – a song you'd like to pass on to your children

This being a blog, they have ended up in reverse order, so if you want to follow you'll need to Start Here and choose the NEWER POST link at the end of each one.  Or follow the list on the sidebar

Thursday 24 June 2010

Day 32 – A song you'd like to pass on to your children ~ Phil Collins - Lorenzo ~

- Not because Phil is one of my all -time favourites (although he is)
- Not because it reminds me of my time in Africa (although it does)
- Not becasue it is a great song (although it is)
- Not because it is optimistic and spiritually uplifting (although it is)

But because of the fun that the Botogol family have all drumming along together to the solo that comes at 2'50" - a dinner table performance always especially enjoyed, we find, by boyfriends of Botogol daughters.

Here's Phil hamming it up in Paris...

And that, my friends is it. Botogol's Thirty-Two songs.
My work here is done. I thank you.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Day 31 ~ A song you inherited from your parents ~ Ella & Louis - They Can't Take That Away From Me ~

Fifty-four years ago Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong sat in a recording studio in Hollywood with Ray Brown (double bass) Herb Ellis (guitar) Oscar Peterson (piano) and Louie Bellson (drums) and together recorded two dozen of the finest pieces of music ever laid to vinyl, including Autumn in New York, Stompin at the Savoy, They All Laughed and Love is Here to Stay.

Louis was 56 and Ella just 39.

Frighteningly, I have been listening to those two albums for over thirty years, so when I first heard the recordings they weren't really very old. The equivalent to my children listening now to music from 1987.

But not really, for Ella & Louis have no equivalent: she of the purest voice and he of the purest trumpet, individually they were stunning and together for those four golden days in 1956 and 1957 they were untouchable, unmatchable, ineffable.

Louis died in 1971 and Ella, poor diabetic Ella, died in 1996.

The tracks they recorded in 1956 and 1957 were a constant sound track to my childhood, and ever since.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Day 30 ~ Your favourite song at this time last year ~ Taylor Swift - You belong to me ~ tells me that twelve months ago I was listening to quite a lot of Taylor Swift. Here's my favourite Taylor Swift (apart from Hey Stephen, of course)

And a great video.

(Are American High Schools really like this?)

Monday 21 June 2010

Day 29 – A song from your childhood - Frankie Laine - Cool Water ~

Finding this video on YouTube I feel about nine years old.
Keep a'movin Dan, Don't you listen to him Dan, he's a Devil not a man!

It never occured to me that Frankie Laine was country music.

Friday 18 June 2010

Day 28 ~ A song that makes you feel guilty ~ The Carpenters - Rainy Days and Mondays ~

Hard to imagine now: but when I was at university we had a record library.

It was a large and dusty cupboard in the corner of the Senior Common Room and LPs were free to borrow, with harsh fines threatened for anyone who scratched a disc. When I put my head around the door one lunchtime in my first term I found that the chief librarian was none other than the outside centre in the College 2nd XV; I knew him, he recognised me, and before a week had gone by I found myself third assistant junior librarian, charged once a week with recording loans in a battered notebook and extracting harsh fines from disc scratchers.

The record collection was a sorry affair and at the same time a treasure trove.  The society had always had  limited budget and the collection had been built up over twenty years (since LPs had been invented I suppose) and anything remotely cool had been stolen long ago, but I was happy enough foraging through the shelves finding country and folk music, and also jazz, trad and modern and psychadelic seventies pop. I found and taped an obscure Genesis album and every Wednesday I did my forty minute slot as per the rota and never once forgot to record a loan, and never once collected a fine.

At the end of my first year I was surprised to presented with a fifty pound record voucher and invited to buy some records for the collection, on behalf of the Society. we had been granted more funds and the power of selection was the assistant librarians' reward for service rendered.

I must have been a complete idiot in 1983.  The record library was a collection of old, obscure and unfashionable music, but I never imagined that it wasn't supposed to be like that. It never occurred to me that the annual record buying budget was intended for purchasing new and fashionable music.

I used my £50 to buy more of the same.  Including - on a whim - The Carpenters' Greatest Hits, because my parents had it, and I liked their version of Desperado.  It was only when I saw the expression on the senior librarian's face when I catalogued my prizes that I began to suspect I had done something wrong. It was a Monday.

When the following term started I found I had been accidentally left off the rota.

Thursday 17 June 2010

Day 27 ~ A song that you wish you could play on an instrument ~ The Shout Out Louds - Very Loud ~

Q - What do you call a person who hangs around with musicians?
A - A drummer.

I saw this curious group playing this song on the David Letterman show one late night in New York and was instantly hooked (Letterman didn't know what had hit him).

The instrument on this track that I would like to play is: the drums.

So I practice by playing the song, loud, in the car and trying to beat out the subtly changing rhythms with both hands on the steering wheel, and my left foot on the floor. 

Occasionally I inadvertently bring the right foot into the pattern, with alarming consequences for both myself and passengers.

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Day 26 ~ A song that you can play on an instrument ~ Dire Straits - Tunnel Of Love ~

I can't play any song on a musical instrument!  Well, the first few phrases of God Save the Queen.

But when I was fifteen and struggling to play the guitar, this is how I would have liked to have sounded - fast forward to 4'58 to the legendary guitar solo that starts half a minute later.
Girl, it looks so pretty to me (like it always did) - just like to the Spanish city to me, when we were kids.

At this point I should admit that no one who ever heard me play the guitar ever harboured even the slightedt suspicion that I would turn out to be the next Mark Knopfler.

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Day 25 ~ A song that makes you laugh ~ Toby Keith - How Do You Like Me Now? ~

The most seldom appreciated virtue of country music is that it's funny.

You cannot watch this video without smiling :-)

The glasses at the end crack me up every time.

Monday 14 June 2010

Day 24 ~ A song that you want to play at your funeral ~ Sonata for two piano K448 2nd Movement - Mozart ~

OK, it's not really a song but I consider that I am allowed to break the rules at my own funeral; and anyway: I can't choose a song for a funeral. That really would make it seem as if a single song could sum up a person.

I could ask people sit through thirty-two songs. Followed by selections from Green Ideas perhaps?

Or rather than that, the people at my funeral - if there is a funeral - if there are any people there -  could listen to this piece and rather than think about me could contemplate the simple and strange perfection and precision that is Mozart. Is there any music more beautiful than his?

I have self-indulgently chosen a sad piece.

Part 1

Part 2

A confession: many years ago I used to have this Sonata on tape and listened to it often, and it never occurred to me that there were two pianos (blush). The whole piece made a lot more sense when, eventually, I found out.

Thursday 10 June 2010

Day 23 ~ A song that you want to play at your wedding ~ La Vie En Rose - Edith Piaff ~

(sigh) I am too old to be making this list - my wedding was so many years ago.

I should have chosen a song we did play at our wedding, but I don't think we had any dancing at our wedding (I didn't dance much in those days) and I remember no specific songs.

So instead I am choosing a song we might have had at our wedding, had we thought about it, and a song from Mrs Botogol's canon rather than my own, would seem appropriate.

This one perhaps? Mrs B has always liked Edith Piaff, but it took me a long time to appreciate her. This is one of my favourites and would be a good song, I think, for a wedding.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Day 21 ~ A song you listen to when you are happy ~ Wild West End - Dire Straits ~

This is one of a pair of Dire Straits songs (the other is Portobello Belle) that capture the very essence of a hot summer evening in London: one of those evenings when the sun shines and office workers, the men jacketless and tieless, the women in the shortest of short office skirts stream out of work to lounge outside pubs and flirt with their pints and glasses of coolest white wine and all is well with the word, just as Mark Knopfler passes by.
Stepping out to Angellucci's for my coffee beans
Checking out the movies and the magazines
Waitress she watches me crossing from the Barocco Bar
I get a pickup for my steel guitar
I saw you walking out Shaftesbury Avenue
Excuse me talking I wanna marry you
This is the seventh heaven street to me
Don't you seem so proud
You're just another angel in the crowd
A painfully young Mark Knopfler in this video:

Listening to it now it reminds me of these two blogposts about London.

Here's the pair of that song - Portobello Bell.

I love the lyric
Belladonna lingers / Her gloves they got no fingers. 

Monday 7 June 2010

Day 20 ~ A song you listen to when you are angry ~ Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) - Green Day ~

No prizes for originality. This must be a song that everyone listens to when they are angry.

Or wistful.

It's something unpredictable - but in the end is right.
..I hope you had the time of your life.


Friday 4 June 2010

Day 19 – A song from your favourite album / Tricks of the Trade - Paolo Nutini

These last twelve months I have mostly been listening to Sunny Side Up by Paolo Nutini, who I think I think is pulling off that that rare double act of being both popular, and also extremely good.

Sunny Side Up is an extraordinary album, I think, on the one hand jokey, light-hearted eclectic mixture of genres, each song in a different style, but on the other hand also an album of raw talent, emotion and individuality.

The best songs on the album are 10/10 and Pencil Full of Lead, but this is the song that haunts me: Tricks of the Trade


Thursday 3 June 2010

Day 18 ~ A song that you wish you heard on the radio ~ The Ransom - Madison Violet

Madison Violet were my find of 2009.  I came across them on Bob Harris Country, and rather coincidentally they came on tour to Twickenham shortly afterwards. I think they are great and I can't understand why they aren't more well known. I would like to hear them more on the radio!

This track is from their most recent album, No Fool For Trying, and is one of those rare songs that is about not love but that more elusive beast: friendship.

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Day 17 ~ A song that you hear often on the radio ~ Baby - Justin Bieber

Now this one is really testing me. A song you hear often on the radio?  The problem is : there is only one music show that I listen to on the radio - Bob Harris Country, and he's not really known for playing the same song more than twice.

My only other music radio listening is in the gym while getting changed - Capital Radio, and I am searching my mind (and their playlist) for a clue.... and I do recall hearing this a few times.

But I dissemble. Perhaps you will be surprised, dear reader, to know that I have seen Justin Bieber in concert (!). He was the support act when we went to see Taylor Swift. I have to admit - he was very good. Even if he is only eleven.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Day 16 ~ A song that you used to love but now hate ~ Mustang Sally

Well, hate is a bit strong, but certainly this is a song  I used to love but now am a bit bored of.
It's a song that you think you want to dance to... but really you don't.

Anyway - here it is  Ride, Sally ride

Friday 28 May 2010

Day 15 ~ A song that describes you ~ Simple Soul - Eddi Reader

This song is the title track from what I think is Eddi's finest album: Simple Soul.

Caveat: Of course no song can really describe someone, but I think this song describes a side of me.

I'm not going to quote any lyrics this time.

Thursday 27 May 2010

Day 14 ~ A song that no one would expect you to love ~ Pie Jesu - Sarah Brightman ~

I don't know why no one would expect me to love this - but some many people do imagine that a person has to believe in God to like a piece of religious music.

Not so, I like this; and occupying, as it does,  #3 on my family-famous Yearning playlist, it gets many many plays on the Squeezebox.

Here's a live version

Friday 21 May 2010

ULLA! ~ Day 13 ~ A song that is a guilty pleasure ~ The War of Worlds - Jeff Wayne ~

It's cheesy, and repetitive, and self-important and I know I shouldn't like it .....but I do... and even after all these years Richard Burton's voice still raises the hairs on the back of my neck. .
No one would have believed, in the last years of the 19th Century,
that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space, no one even considered the possibility of life on other planets..

Thursday 20 May 2010

Day 12 ~ A song from a band you hate ~ Twist and Shout - The Beatles ~

In general, I can't stand the Beatles.

But there is no denying it: this song - and this performance - is absolutely cast iron, copper-bottomed, top notch, bee's knee's, first class genius.

I say no more.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Day 11 ~ A song from your favourite band ~ Eddi Reader - The Right Place ~

I am not sure I really have a favourite band, but  Eddi and her band in its various combinations is certainly up there in the top few.

I have seen Eddi play live many times, most recently just this year in Canary Wharf.

This song, The Right Place, is from her second solo album Eddi Reader released some time after leaving Fairground Attraction. The song was written by fellow FA band member, Mark E Nevin, whose falling out with Eddi had precipitated the break up of the band. It must have been a pleasure for the two of them to get back together again.

Right Place is one of my favourite Eddi songs: her voice soars and the lyrics are wonderful. I particularly like:
Five or ten lifetimes ago
There lived a girl that you don't know -
She walked about and answered to my name
But let's not talk of strangers now
Of where and when or why and how
I've turned around and I'm looking at a new day
I've been in the wrong place
Long enough to know
I'm in the
right place now

Many years after Eddi recorded Right Place, Boo Hewerdine wrote a song for her that started, and ended:
I'm in a new place now
I've always assumed it a reference to this song, and always enjoyed the thought of the two songwriters interacting with each other. I asked Eddi Reader once whether this was the case, but she replied ambiguously.  On Sunday I am going to see Boo Hewerdine play at Twickenham Folk Club, perhaps I'll ask him. Meanwhile what do you think?

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Day 10 ~ A song that makes you fall asleep ~ Little Sister Leaving Town - Tanita Tikaram ~

I listen to an inordinate amount of Tanita Tikarem. Considering she wasn't really very good. Not really.
And she puts you to sleep. Oh yes, she puts you to sleep.

And as if Little Sister Leaving Town wasn't soporific enough, here's the extended video version (directed, extraordinarily, by Colin Welland.. she was quite big in her day, wasn't she, the Bard of Basingstoke)

Listening to now, crouched over my laptop, Mrs Botogol asleep beside me (she lasted to 3:12, not bad) I like it.

Monday 17 May 2010

Day 09 ~ A song that you can dance to ~ The Mavericks - Dance the Night Away

Finally, finally (and I know you've all been waiting for it) some country music muscles its way into my list.

Q- What do you get if you play country music backwards?
A- You get your wife back, your job back, your house back, your kids back

Which is actually unfair: the great unappreciated tradition about country music is that while it's frequently sad  it's very often also funny, and this song is a good example

A confession: this isn't, in fact a song I can dance to. It's a song I have been known to dance to. Rugby Club parties, 40th birthday parties, 50th birthday parties, in my own kitchen. Sigh, I do recall one particular birthday party many years ago.

Friday 14 May 2010

Day 08 ~ A song you know all the words to ~ Hand in My Pocket - Alanis Morissette ~

Something in me refuses to see this as anything other than a challenge: name the most complicated song you have ever learned*

When I was seventeen I knew the words to many many songs. Not any more. Nowadays I know the words only when I am listening to the song itself. About a half-second after I hear the words. I think that counts.

For this project my first thought was the track most often quoted on the blog. But there's a limit to how much Paul Simon I can inflict on my faithful readers (cough) in thirty-two songs.

Instead another singer known for the wordiness of her songs - Alanis Morissette - and a classic: One Hand in My Pocket

* That would be Supper's Ready I once even competed in a Supper's Ready lyrics competition.

Thursday 13 May 2010

Day 07 ~ A song that reminds you of a certain event ~ Place Your Hands - Reef ~

I am a season ticket holder at Harlequins and whenever Quins lose they play the same song - "Have a Nice Day", by Stereophonics.

"What do they play when they win?", you ask.
I don't know, I've only been going ten seasons.  Boom Boom.

In fact they play 'Place Your hands", by Reef.  So while for everyone else in the world the song conjures up... well, whatever it conjures up ... for me it is the precise three minutes after the full time whistle goes at Quins, after a win, when everyone stands up and stretches their legs, and cheers, and Mad Max  interrupts as this plays

On youtube it seems to be branded Heavy Rock. Hmm.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Day 06 ~ A song that reminds you of somewhere ~ Too Much Love - Queen ~

A song that reminds me of a place has to be a holiday song, and here I am spoiled for choice for insistent sound tracks accompany so many summer holidays - from the Boomtown Rats playing on the radio in a Dover car-park in 1979, waiting for a ferry, to Van Morrison as we drove around tiny country lanes in rainy Cornwall in 1996, and Katy Perry 18 months ago in San Maxim.

But the song I am going for is Queen singing Too Much Love (Will Kill You in the End),

which reminds me of driving through in a hired 4x4 through Arizona in the summer of 2006.  We hired that car at Gunnison Airport, CO, and drove it to our Dude Ranch in the Powderhorn Valley (foolishly eschewing the the opportuinity to stock up in the Liquor Store in Gunnison, thus condemning ourselves to four dry days in the alcohol-free barn) and from there to the Grand Canyon and finally to LA.

Along the way we listened to local music radio, and in Arizona this song was high on the playlist and we must have heard it a dozen times, the family all singing along.

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Day 05 ~ A song that reminds you of someone ~ Bridge over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel

Hmm it's only Day 5 and Paul Simon and - more suprisingly - my sister feature for the second time already.

I know the song from this album.

It was a favourite of my parents and I remember playig it on my dad's radiogram, stacking it on the multiplay spindle (a clever device that balanced several LPs on a cunning spike and then dropped them, one by one, alarmingly on to the spinning turntable beneath).

Bridge over Troubled Water wasn't my favourite song from the album (that would have been The Boxer, or I am a Rock), but it does remind me of someone: it reminds me of my sister, who was born the same year the album was released.

When my sister was born she was not well.

I don't remember ever discussing the possibilty that she wouldn't get better (thirty years on I go hot when I consider my blithe confidence in the power of doctors), except there was one conversation I do remember: "If she can't walk", I my father said, "then I'll carry her everywhere". That, of course, that made an impression and my father's desperate promise somehow became tied up in my mind with that song, and when I hear it it always reminds me of her. And him.

I'm on your side / when times get rough / and friends just can't be found
I'll take your part / when darkness comes / and pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water / I will lay me down

Monday 10 May 2010

Day 04 ~ A song that makes you sad ~ Murder in the Dark - Boo Hewerdine ~

All the best music is sad music.

Boo Hewerdine deserves to be better known. I first came across him as the writer and musical partner of Eddi Reader: he wrote most of her finest album Simple Soul (more of both later this month). Since then I have seen him live several times both with Eddi, and on his own.

Most of Boo's songs make you sad and Murder in the Dark one of  his typical wrist slashers. Like many of his best songs it built around a deceptively simple idea and turn of phrase. Deceptively simple? That's right, you try writing a song like this.

A song that makes you sad...

Last year Boo was unexpectedly summoned by Andrew Marr to sing - somewhat incongruously - on his Sunday politics show. Here he is with Muddy Waters

Friday 7 May 2010

Day 03 ~ A song that makes you happy ~ Woodpecker - African Jazz Pioneers

In 1994 we lived in Johannesburg. One of our favourite haunts was the RoseBank market (it didn't have a web-page then) and one Sunday performing there was the African Jazz Pioneers, loads of them dancing, singing and playing their exuberant music. This is Woodpecker..

But to really get a feel for the AJP you need to see them. Hailing from a pre-YouTube age there isn't much of them on the web, but  I found this one, which captures them perfectly.

Songs that make you happy :-) What's not to like

Thursday 6 May 2010

Day 02 ~ Your least favourite song ~ Imagine - John Lennon

What a great idea, I thought, showcasing 32 of my favourite songs on the web.

So, how painful is to have to put, second, a song I don't like.
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
How can anyone take that seriously?
Anyway, here it is, and as you listen reflect that all three of my children have studied John Lennon at school...  In History lessons... WITWCT?

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Day 01 ~ Your favourite song ~ Graceland - Paul Simon

Is Graceland the best album ever made? Is the title track one of the best songs ever sung? They must be contenders...

The song reminds me of so many things, but above all my sister, travelling through the US and emailing home to my father and I :
The Mississippi delta...  is shining like a national guitar. I am following the river, down the highway, through the cradle of the Civil War -  I'm going to Graceland. Graceland! Memphis, Tennessee.
and she was. Mind you she always writes home lyrically.

I once saw a documentary where Paul Simon played the album and talked about how he had come to write it, and the meaning of the songs. His favourite lyric in this song? "My travelling companion is nine years old. He's the child of my first marriage".  "I like that", he said, "a lot of people have a child from their first marriage"

The song ends
Maybe I've a reason to believe
We all will be received 

In Graceland
"Not Memphis, Tennessee, now", Simon remarked as he played it. "Oh no we're not in Memphis anymore".

For me: it's a song that lifts the soul, raises the spirits and taps the toes. An all-time favourite.