Loving the Music - the Sound of June: 8th - 14th June 2020
It was a week with some posts cut short for various reasons, but no lack of great music. From the gravel pit voice of Tom Waits to a Brubeck take on a Stranglers classic, it was a week of extremes.
This series of blog articles cover a week of mini-feature posts from the Loving the Music Facebook page and group. This makes it easier for our music-loving community to search through our ever-growing archive of songs, backstories and trivia.
8th - 14th June 2020 - Featured Musicians:
Tom Waits - The Waterboys - Dave Brubeck - Chip Taylor and the New Ukrainians -
Cam Cole - The Kinks - The Jimmy Castor Bunch
8th June: Tom Waits is one of those singer/songwriter geniuses that you either like, or you don’t. Of course, there are some who prefer the many covers of Tom’s songs that have been done by others, but for me, nothing compares the grittiness of the voice that brings his brand of poetry alive.
Tonight I am tipping my proverbial hat to the man who can make me feel like I could well have a hangover soon just by listening to his songs. It would be impossible to choose my top three Tom Waits songs, so I have chosen three tracks that, to me, represent his lyrical genius perfectly.
I’m starting with his 1985 Rain Dogs album and a song that paints a picture of the obscure way New York can box you in a world knowing everyone around, while at the same time leaving you feeling lonesome and alienated. ‘Here’s Tom Waits with Downtown Train
The second track honouring the lyrical genius of Tom Waits for this Monday comes from his 1999 Mule Variations album, the song What’s He Building in There?
In a 1999 Austin Chronicle interview, Waits said of this song: "It's kind of tipping my hat to [voiceover and recording artist] Ken Nordine, who was a big influence on me. And I've listened to him since I started recording. Ken lives in Chicago. He has a peculiar imagination and tells remarkable stories. This one started out as a song, and I wasn't able to get it to fly as a song, so I just took the words and started saying them. And it all just kind of came together." Let’s join Tom’s nosey neighbours and the question What’s He Building in There.
Closing tonight’s selection of Tom Waits songs is an early one from his 1976 Small Change album. It is way up there in my personal Top 20 and I think it shows the man at his lyrical finest. Again, you’ll either love it or hate Tom Traubert’s Blues (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen), but simply known by some as Waltzing Matilda.
In an NPR interview, Tom explained “the title character of the song was a friend of a friend who had died in prison, but the song's subtitle ("Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen") is a reference to the time I spent in Copenhagen while on tour in June 1976. I had met Danish singer and violinist Mathilde Bondo. She performed violin during a Waits' TV appearance and said that she "of course had to show him the city” It was a lovely night and we waltzed a lot” Whatever the true story, I‘m sure a memorable time was had by all.
I managed to find a live clip of a young Tom Waits circa 1977 performing live at Rockpalast with decent sound quality. It’s a much younger Tom, but that voice is unmistakable. Thanks for joining me on a Tom Waits binge tonight. Maybe a bit heady for a Monday, but hey, everything is a little odd recently. Have a super evening music fans. Catch you soon. 😎
9th June: It was in those heady few months before ‘the virus’ that I featured The Waterboys latest album, Where the Action Is. It was also the time I was getting excited about seeing them live in April. We all know what happened then.
I was going through Mike Scott’s webpage earlier to find out if anything new was out there regarding the November rescheduling of their SA shows when I saw an announcement for a new album, ‘Good Luck, Seeker’, being released in August. Being good marketers, they have already released a taste with the audio track My Wanderings in the Weary Land.
As Mike Scott, founder member, says about the song on his site, “ the seven-minute mash-up manifesto My Wanderings in a Weary Land comprises of dramatic spoken-word delivery over wild genre-busting music, ‘My Wanderings In The Weary Land’ might just be the greatest rock’n’roll record ever made – and one that is darkly appropriate for our weird, wired times. Is it psychedelic soul? Is it trance? Is it punk? Is it poetry?
Whatever it is, it’s the first taste of Good Luck, Seeker, which will be released on August 21 via Cooking Vinyl. This is the only track available at the moment but I will keep you updated when I hear more. I’ve given this track a couple of listens today and although it isn’t a relaxing listen, it is bloody brilliant! Happy Tuesday music fans.😎
10th June: When I saw the title of the clip I was confused. I'm sure Dave Brubeck didn't cover The Stranglers, but what was this? On viewing all became clear. This is a very clever mix, slice, cut, loop and over-track.
The creator, Laurence Mason, explains it as a little tribute to Dave Greenfield (keyboardist with The Stranglers who died from Covid-19 last week (May)) and Paul Desmond (saxophonist with the Dave Brubeck quartet - the anniversary of his death is at the end of this month). He goes on to give a description of how he achieved this remarkable feat on the YouTube page. This is a worthwhile watch.
After my earlier post today of the remarkable ‘Dave Brubeck’ Stranglers cover, I carried on down the YouTube rabbit hole and found a few more interesting clips. So, although not planned, tonight’s theme is ‘what I found on YouTube today’.
Again, it was the title of this clip that stopped me in my tracks. Fuck All The Perfect People by Chip Taylor and the New Ukrainians sounds like it could be a hard Metal/Punk song, but what I found was a plaintive ballad sung with a sensitivity that belies the surprising title.
And Chip Taylor? Apart from being actor John Voight’s brother and Angela Jolie’s uncle, this 72-year-old (when this song was recorded in 2012) penned such mega-songs as Wild Thing and Angel of the Morning and wrote hits for Janis Joplin (Try), Linda Ronstadt (I Can’t Let Go), Sweet Dream Woman (Waylon Jennings) and a host of other big names. He has also released 29 solo albums since 1971. A busy man indeed. Don’t be put off by the title. This is a sweet track.
We’re hitting the busker circuit for the closing track in today’s selection of ‘what caught my eye on YouTube’. I had seen some clips of Cam Cole busking around London in the past and thought he was pretty good. The trouble is that the sound quality of the clips was pretty shoddy.
I was happy to see that Cam has managed to get into a studio and the result is just what I was hoping. Set against a video of ‘a day in the life of...’ this guy oozes unabashed talent, personality and deserves to go places. Take a listen and let me know what you think.
There we are then. An unintentional threesome of songs that wasn’t planned and are all totally different. Sometimes things just work out the way they should. 🙂
Thanks for joining in today's bit of musical fun and to all you fellow S’Africans, batten down the hatches and stock up on firewood. This cold front looks set to hit us all. Keep warm, safe and sane. Catch you soon. 😎
11th - 12th June: I’m being a little lazy tonight and only featuring two songs. Why? The answer is simple. I couldn’t find a suitable third track. Sorry.
However, tonight’s duo of tunes tips a hat to our distant ancestors. The first song hit the world 50 years ago in November, and when you listen to the lyrics you realise that they were way ahead of their time. The analogies and the satire of the song are as pertinent today as it was then. Maybe more so.
The songs Lola, and tonight’s choice, Apeman, were huge hits for The Kinks and showed that they weren’t scared to tackle society head-on but in a tongue-in-cheek, well-respected manner. Here’s The Kinks and Apeman.
The second and last track for this Friday night also honours our ancestors, but in a very funky way. The Jimmy Castor Bunch was a Pop / Funk band. Their biggest hit was the 1972 surprise million-seller, Troglodyte (Caveman). It's distinctive narrated intro leads into a pure Funk driven tale of Troglodyte love. Many of the songs catchphrases have been sampled and often used in Hip Hop. Jimmy Castor passed away in 2012, but his legacy of troglodyte passion lives on. 😉
Have a good Friday evening my friends. I’m hooking up with a UK friend to watch The Wiz later. What better way to beat the combined onslaught of a vicious cold front and a lockdown than a bit of culture. As always, stay safe and sane – but especially, stay warm. Catch you soon. 😎
I hope that you find these weekly recaps of Loving the Music mini-features make your musical world a little easier. Happy exploring! Join our Facebook Community here for a music group who does more than just post a link to a song.
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The Design Train is a social media marketing company run by music-lover Andrew Knapp, who also hosts the Loving the Music Facebook pages. The Design Train specializes in content creation on a wide variety of topics designed to compliment the client's objectives.
Words © Andrew Knapp
The author does not own the copyright of any of the videos used in the article