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.