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

Going For A Song: ‘Carrion’

British Sea Power – Carrion

Reading of a new album released earlier this year by British Sea Power (it made the Quietus’s Best Albums of 2017 Thus Far) I was reminded how very excited about the band I was when they released their debut album, The Decline of British Sea Power, in 2003. At the time I thought it warranted inclusion on the list of great debut albums. It was one of the best I had heard. But the Quietus review also reminded me how somehow they fell off my radar just around the time of their third album, Do You Like Rock Music?.

So this week I’ve been re-listening to The Decline of British Sea Power. And I’m pleased to say it’s everything I remember. Would I still claim it as one of the great debut albums? Yes. That more people don’t think the same I can only attribute to the album inhabiting a space of its own when it was released; it never defined a moment like The Stone Roses, to pick one example, did. It deserves to be thought of as such though.

Their new album is their eighth I read. I’m going to catch up.