Monday 27 December 2021

How are you spelling that?

When I heard this rather sexy version of Southern Freeez playing in a bar the other night I made a mental note to hunt it down as soon as possible and add it to my current playlist. Its infectious Brazilian/Bossa rhythms make it impossible to not tap your foot to it; those of a younger persuasion may well be inclined to throw a few shapes to it. I, however, have my back to think about.

And to discover when I got home that it's been put together by Gilles Peterson surprised me not a jot; it's got his fingerprints all over it. The only thing that does surprises me about it is that I'd not heard it sooner. That and the track's faintly ridiculous spelling.

Sonzeira - Southern Freeez (2014)

Sunday 26 December 2021


Christmas Day was always going to be a quiet affair this year; dad was away at my brother's and James & Janni were at home in Manchester road-testing their swanky new kitchen. But Sam said he was opening up for a few of his regulars, so what better way to celebrate the birth of Christ than with a meat vindaloo washed down with a pint of Cobra. SFSG. After a splendid meal it was just a short cab ride home where I opened the Quality Street and, this is when I knew all was not right, I didn't reach for a beer but instead played safe and put the kettle on. I then proceeded to fall asleep during Let it Be and, when raised from my slumber, could barely play more than a couple of hands of Rummikub before disappearing to the bathroom. Several times. Not 'the rona' - I tested negative with a lateral flow - just a stomach bug that went thru me like the proverbial dose of salts.
Deciding that bed was probably the safest place, I was tucked up a little after 9pm (too exhausted even to read the next chapter of Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being) feeling more than a little sorry for myself but remembering to text my friend David and taking a rain check on Boxing Day's planned walk.

But that was then and this is now; after a good night's kip (and no more visits to the bathroom) I think I'm cured! I've woken up with an insatiable thirst (I'm already on my third brew of the day) and can't wait to tackle a few pigs in blankets later.
Anyway, I hope you all had a slightly better day than me yesterday and if you want to know what I'm currently listening to than this is Liverpool legend Ian Prowse. It's not really a Christmas record, but it kind of is - evoking as it does all the sentiments associated with this time of year. Right, I just need to call David and tell him our walk is still on...

Amsterdam - Home (2007)

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Cry for help

"It upsets me every time I hear it, isn't that ridiculous? Why do I get like this? Perhaps I need psychiatric help."

So said John Peel on his radio show on 24 December 2003. He was talking about the song Ian Prowse and his band Amsterdam released as a single 18 years ago. For the avoidance of doubt, Peel didn't need help; this blog is littered with songs that make me choke up. Does This Train Stop on Merseyside joins a long list of songs that catch me unawares; every time. 

Ian Prowse - Does This Train Stop on Merseyside?

Sunday 19 December 2021

Please, please, please

Even the most diehard Smiths fans must wince at some of the stories they read about former frontman Morrissey; his recent overt right wing leanings alone are enough, you would have thought, to consign Steven Patrick Morrissey to Room 101. (No wonder The Simpsons were very rude about him.) And yet, and yet...

Anyone who can write a song so achingly beautiful as this can't be all bad. Can they? And when he changes the line 'Let me get what I want' to 'Let me have who I want', as he does here, then I for one have totally melted.

Morrissey - Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want

I recently got confirmation of my first gig of 2022. I'm playing Brady's Bar in Nottingham on 6 March and so thought 'Id do an arrangement of Please, Please, Please on the night. 

Monday 6 December 2021

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

I've always held a firm belief that my records talk to each other when I'm out of the room. "Why does he play you all the time? He hasn't played me for ages; do you think he's fallen out with me?"

Far fetched? Only as far fetched as the idea I had as a kid that if all my 33s & 45s came fitted with a meter that told me how often I'd played them then I would have the raw data to go up to certain platters that were perhaps feeling a bit unloved, put my arm around them and give 'em a spin. Which is precisely what Spotify does. I know some of you probably look down on your noses at such streaming platforms in the same way I recoil whenever anyone mentions Wetherspoons, but every year I've subscribed to their service the personalised end of year roundup has been not only an antidote to my piss poor memory but also validation that good tunes will always rise to the top.

I shan't bore you with everything I've been listening to this year (the complete playlist is 100 songs long and, anyway, you'll find tons of 'em in posts passim), instead I'll just give you my Top 5. However, if your appetite is whetted, then I'm sure I can shoehorn some (or indeed all!) of the remaining 95 into a follow up post (or two) sometime in the New Year.

So what's at the top of the shop? Anyone not familiar with the work of Joy Orbison might want to use this track as a jumping of point. All I can tell you is that it will probably be playing at some point on my American rail holiday next year; you'll see why when you hit play... 

Joy Orbison - Transition 2 (2018)

Wednesday 1 December 2021

Think I'm Alright Now

Felix Bechtolsheimer is Curse of Lono. He writes and sings the kind of songs I like. I only know this because the last remaining music magazine I subscribe to dropped on the doormat over the weekend and, within its covers, was a full page ad for an album called People in Cars by the aforementioned Curse of Lono. I had absolutely no idea what he/they/it sounded like; but I knew from the album cover alone that I would love it (who said you can't judge a book by its cover?). And so it came to pass; after listening to it twice on the bounce initially and a further couple of times it is now, as I write this late on Tuesday night, lodged squarely in my brain. (Don't you just love it when that happens?) This is the new single.

Curse of Lono - Think I'm Alright Now (2021)