Going For A Song: ‘John Taylor’s Month Away’

King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – John Taylor’s Month Away

I’m in Broadstairs this weekend for the town’s folk festival. Among other activities, I’ve been listening to the band Hot Rats stood outside an extremely busy The 39 Steps Alehouse, and listening to sea shanties on the pier. All of which has me think about (not all the time but at certain moments) playing music for the joy of it and the very act of singing.

Has any of the above anything to do with this song by King Creosote & Jon Hopkins? Well, it was the song (and album) I was listening to before setting out for here, so it feels like it does. But my friend is meeting me in 5 minutes in the above mentioned pub so I haven’t time to figure it out. So this week you’ll just have to take it on trust.

Going For A Song – ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)

Beastie Boys (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)

I mentioned in last week’s blog post Doug Cowie writing about Twisted Sister. It got me thinking of the moment when I first became aware of a different sound, of having, as Doug nicely put it, “my mind blown open by something new”. For me it was seeing the Beastie Boys’ video for ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)’ on Top Of The Pops.

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Going For A Song: ‘We Got To Have Peace’

Curtis Mayfield – We Got To Have Peace

On Friday night, having watched the ITV News at Ten for as long as I could before I felt it repeating itself, I switched over to BBC4. I wasn’t too surprised to find on the usual trawl through the Old Grey Whistle Test archive.

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Going For A Song: ‘Time Moves Slow’

BadBadNotGood – Time Moves Slow

I’ve just begun listening (having heard nothing at all before) to BadBadNotGood. Their new album IV was out Friday. I haven’t had enough time, or listened to the album more than once, to write a half decent considered post about it. So below are my initial notes, maybe or maybe not to be written up into something more substantive:

  • Jazz, as in Ill Communication by Beastie Boys – sound of recording rather than anything else
  • Jazz?
  • Tortoise – even Oxes
  • ‘Time Moves Slowly’ – “Soul”- warm recording?? – an entry point
    (because of singer?)to rest of album if I choose to take it – to circumnavigate second point
  • Vocalists dictate genre – hip hop, soul etc.? – therefore just arbitrary labels (“a minimum security prison”)

Going For A Song: ‘Mystery Train’

Elvis Presley – Mystery Train

Scotty Moore died this week. I’m choosing ‘Mystery Train’ to mark it because I feel those early Sun recording he made with Elvis Presley, Bill Black and Sam Phillips in the summer of 1954 are beginnings (and some endings too I guess) for Elvis, for Scotty, for music, for popular culture in general. It is Greil Marcus who summons this up and articulates it so well in his book Mystery Train, in the chapter Elvis: Presliad (which if you haven’t read already I really recommend you do).

Marcus writes specifically of the recording of ‘Mystery Train’. How Scotty ‘as he always did, lives up to Elvis’s passion […] gives us one hard solo, which seems to hang the song between what it has always been and what Elvis is making of it”. I love this description as it recognises that – if ever it was in doubt – these songs needed Scotty Moore; that the history that came after was dependent not just on Elvis, but an introduction, and then three young men, strangers really, getting into a room and struggling, and then succeeding, to create some music; music, which for them, the very creation of was success enough, never mind what we all know came next.

Going For A Song: ‘Gabbro Bowl / Peninsula Prayer’

Jim Causley – Gabbro Bowl / Peninsula Prayer

I think I first heard this song on Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone. And I’ve been listening to it quite a bit this week. Haven’t got round to listening to the album, Forgotten Kingdom, it’s off as yet. I will. I’m already impressed by the album cover. If a throne worked for the late great Solomon Burke it can work again.