Friday, January 30, 2015

cod reggae

What a great idea for a piece - at the Quietus, Bill Brewster plumbs the history of white attempts at reggae.

The goal, though, seems to be to find examples of genuine merit - tasty cod. Thus ruling out many examples of compelling naffness.

But even sticking with pulled-off-well, bit surprised that "Walking in the Moon" doesn't figure.

Or "Hotel California" for that matter...

Or how about the odd skanking breakdowns in the last phase of Rush's "Spirit of the Radio"? First one at 3.49....

And isn't Joe Walsh's "Life Been Good" partially reggae? Check the first verse, from 1.12:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Used to love this single by Coati Mundi and really rooted for it to go UK Top 30 - despite Radio One's heavy support it inched agonisingly slowly in the right direction, then ran out of puff just outside the thirty.

Bought the first two Kid Creole & The Coconuts albums - Off the Coast of Me, Fresh Fruit From Foreign Places, and totally bought into the NME / Face-world buzz about all things Darnellian and ZE-related ....  Then a year or so after the event, decided that the Nuts stuff was fairly wack and got rid of the LPs. But this is the one tune on Fresh Fruit that still strikes me as pretty nifty.  Its dark svelte urgency is superior in the recorded version, though.

Oh yeah, I did buy this single too - the combo of joyous rhythm and cynical lyric stands up well.

Dennis Bovell told me that the rhythm on "Annie" is actually spouge -  from Barbados.

Never had the album (Tropical Gangsters?) with "Stool Pigeon" and "Wonderful  Thing" etc on though....

All in all, a strange episode in the history of pop. And pop criticism.

Now August D's first group Dr Buzzard's Original Savannah Band was retro-disco, wasn't it?

Meaning, not retrodisco as in flashing back / reenacting the golden days of disco (like all that inspid now-deservedly forgotten house-not-house of the late 90s/early 2000s). But retrodisco as in real-time 1970s disco with a retro element, harking back to Broadway and Hollywood musicals, the 1940s, the Cotton Club etc etc.

Check the old-fashioned bulky microphones etc.

Retro-ism and homage-to-golden-age-of-showbiz was in fact a strain running through disco.... as with this fellow

Or the nostalgia thematics of I Remember Yesterday by Giorgio and Donna, songs dedicated to different decades, the 40s, 50s, 60s, ... and the future ("I Feel Love")

And the image of the Pointer Sisters

And the sound of the Pointer Sisters too

Chic went in for it a bit too, image-wise - and lyrical nods like "stomping at the Savoy"

Or indeed the allusion to They Shoot Horses Don't They with "yowsah yowsah yowsah"

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Now, tell me - is it pronounced Vinnee? Or Viny? Or even Vine-I?

Never heard this before (shame on you,  postpunk historian!) and it struck me that it's sort of Vini trying to do PiL

But with proper reggae-band backing...

This is something else altogether, and not much like the later Durutti

Skipping ahead almost a decade and half a discography...

With the drum machine, this next actually sounds like a Durutti Column tune.

Why oh why did Mozz not carry on with Vini? Why take up with Boz?

I really thought VR was both a worthy and an apt successor to Marr...  that there was a musical logic of continuity

Not just the obvious spidery delicacy of both's playing, but because the Moz/Reilly chemistry worked according to the same principle as the Marr/Mozz synergy...

As with "Reel Around the Fountain" or "Suffer Little Children" or "I Know It's Over", so with "Late Night Maudlin"....  the the more melodically-harmonically interesting is the guitar backdrop, the more exquisite and subtle and emotionally plangent the vocal melody / performance Mozz is capable of coming up with...

I mean compare "Maudlin" with the perky, bouncy nothingness of  "International Playboy" or "Certain People I Know" or "Fatty" - or, more recently, the awfully pedestrian, yet inexplicably loved and well-regarded "First of the Gang To Die"....

It's whole different ball game.

The only thing that the post-Polecats Moz generated that comes anywhere near in terms of simple melodic interest and poignancy to the Smiths or Viva Hate tunes is this, I think:

But back to the person this started with.... and whose guitar playing I once described in terms of
"almost vulgar exquisiteness" 

He really should have been --  more to the point, could have been, and who else of his generation can you say that about? - on ECM.

Where he'd gave given John Abercrombie and Ralph Towner a run for their money.

Friday, January 9, 2015

songs i liked from before my sense of what was cool and uncool was established

quirkstep from theatrical prog-glam-artrock troupe  who quickly restyled themselves New Wave

Ken Lockie, former associate of K. Levene

Old Waver adapts swiftly to the New Wave

sounds very like early Simple Minds, that does - and they were Bebop Deluxe fans, am I right? Or was that in fact Stuart Adamson / The Skids?

Why the French accent?

Both these tunes got a lot of Peel play

this next one made the charts

unfortunate placement of J. Saville's voice there at the front of a song about someone who's "not yet a woman"

never noticed that "17" is a bit like an unfeminist Delta 5

J. Burchill wrote a brutal take-down of M & Muffins LP saying how small the topics and targets of the New Wave were c.f. punk  - but I like that thing of writing about buildings, food, roads (XTC) .... mundane stuff... anything but love and loneliness....