Going For A Song: ‘By The Sea’

Wendy & Bonnie – By The Sea

I was in Brighton this weekend.

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Brighton is of course by the sea. And this obviously influenced my decision to choose ‘By The Sea’ for this week’s song.  But what I find curious about this song is that when I listen to it, it doesn’t match to my experience of the sea or the seaside. That’s not to say the song fails, on the contrary, it’s why I like it; something of its sound makes me think /rethink of my recent music experience of the seaside and sea.

 

 

Going For A Song: ‘Four Winds’

 

Bright Eyes – Four Winds

The band Bright Eyes were pretty much a constant throughout my twenties. I’ve a lot of memories connected to the band, and a lot of these involve my friend Eddie, who was a fan of the band too.

Last week I had an overwhelming urge, which grew stronger as the week progressed, to revisit Cassadaga, Bright Eyes’ 2007 album. I eventually gave into it and I’m glad I did. My initial resistance was maybe from the fear that even though it was only released 11 years ago, listening to it would merely be an exercise in nostalgia*; but this wasn’t the case. The album still stands up. And though I haven’t listened to other Bright Eyes’ albums like Lifted (2002) or I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning (2005) for quite a while, I’m going to claim Cassadaga the better album.

I could have chosen any track off the album as there’s not really a weak song on it, but I’m choosing ‘Four Winds’ as I think it was the first release off the album and so it would have been the first song from it I heard.

 

* Who said that nostalgia and convenience are the drugs of this decade? I can’t remember, but I tend to agree with them.

Going For A Song: ‘Rain’

Merlyn Driver – Rain

I’ve been listening to Merlyn Driver’s debut EP – This is the Corner of a Larger Field – pretty much constantly since I heard ‘Rain’ on the radio a week ago. ‘Rain’ has a chorus that sticks in your head, but in a way you welcome rather than rue. I’ve chosen this live version over the recorded version for its communality – the audience ruffling leaves and singing on the chorus.

Going For A Song: ‘I Love The Sound of Breaking Glass’

Nick Lowe – I Love The Sound of Breaking Glass

There’s a period of UK music that is asking for a book to be written about it.* A period in the 70s that produced musicians and bands like Dr. Feelgood, Graham Parker, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band and, of course, Nick Lowe.

It’s a style music that preceded punk, but continued alongside it, intertwining with it at times. And no one represents that cross pollination as much as Nick Lowe does. As a musician and a producer (he produced The Damned’s first single ‘New Rose’) he was integral to both scenes.

* If you’re reading this and you’re thinking: there already is a book. Do let me know what it is.

Going For A Song: ‘Every Grain of Sand’

Bob Dylan – Every Grain of Sand

I watched Trouble No More over the Easter bank holiday. I’m no authority to say so for sure, but the documentary seems to be part of a recent ongoing reassessment of Dylan’s Christian “phase”. And I use scare quotes there because after watching the film I’m inclined to agree with the conclusion of this writer:

In retrospect […] it’s hard to see the singer’s turn to faith as anything other than an authentic change of heart

In the footage of the gig, which is of the tour around the time of his conversion, Dylan’s anything but insincere.

The documentary is a good one. There are sermons interspersed between the live footage, and these are delivered by the actor Michael Shannon and written (I think I noticed his name in the credits) by the writer Luc Santé.

The song ‘Every Grain of Sand’ is one of the stand out songs of that late 70s and early 80s period, even though it ended up on Shot of Love and not on one of the two albums – Slow Train Coming and Saved – directly linked to Dylan’s conversion.*

This version of ‘Every Grain of Sand’ is the one included on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (Rare and Unreleased) 1961-1991 compilation and it is, to my mind, the superior version to the album version.

 

* Saved and Shot of Love began the competition for worst Dylan album cover. A competition that continued unfettered throughout the 1980s.