Going For A Song: ‘Cyprus Avenue’ (live)

Van Morrison – Cyprus Avenue (live)

On Friday night I was thinking about how much I like the album Astral Weeks. (My introduction to this album was through an excellent Lester Bangs article in his book Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung; a book I wholly recommend to you.) Browsing the web for songs off the album to listen to I stumbled upon this live version of ‘Cyprus Avenue’ recorded at the Fillmore East in 1970 – Van and his band channelling the spirit of Otis Redding.

 

Going For A Song: ‘The Gambler’

Kenny Rogers – The Gambler

‘The Gambler’ packs so much into its 3 minutes and 31 seconds. It’s a great example of vivid but economical songwriting and storytelling; each line revealing something (the Gambler – always on the make – drinks not just a bit but the “last swallow” of the narrator’s whiskey); it’s what country songs especially can do so very well. And come on, what a chorus…

There will be time enough for counting when the dealings done

Going For A Song: ‘John Wayne Gacy Jr.’

Sufjan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy Jr.

Another someone who fell off my radar. Perhaps this was due to Stevens not releasing a follow-up proper to his 2005 album Illinois¬†until 5 years after; in the interim releasing a record of outtakes (The Avalanche) and a mixed medium artistic exploration of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (The BQE). You never think you’re one of those fans who the musician / band intends to shed after a critically lauded album, but perhaps in this instance I was. Anyway, I’ve been revisiting the albums Seven Swans and Illinois. This is the devastating ‘John Wayne Gacy Jr.’ from the latter.

Going For A Song: ‘Blackbird’

The Beatles – Blackbird

I heard the last side of Abbey Road yesterday after a long time thanks to Guy Garvey playing it on his show. Listening to Paul McCartney sing ‘Golden Slumbers’ I decided to this week tip my hat to the man.

Due to (or in spite of) the amount that has been written about him and The Beatles it’s easy to forget to sometimes acknowledge how many great songs he’s written and what he’s achieved. We tend to leave these things generally until after the person we’re praising is not around to hear it. Not this time.

So Paul, if you’re reading, ‘Blackbird’ is one of my favourite songs of yours. And you were always my Nan’s favourite Beatle.

 

Reading: I Hate The Internet, Jarett Kobek