The Sample Life (Revisited)

To round off the weekend, there was an interesting, if disappointingly brief, article in The Grauniad the other day, featuring interviews with Mark Moore and Pascal Gabriel entitled “How we made Theme from S-Express” which reminded me quite a lot of a post I wrote over a year ago, featuring all of the songs which were sampled on that song.

And since I’m a firm believer in recycling, as obviously were Moore and Gabriel, I figured I may as well revive it.

So here you go, slightly edited and with all links updated.

“The other day my iPod decided to play me a tune that’s the main sample on a record that I love, and which always gets these old bones moving. Hearing it made me seek out the rest of the oh-so-many samples on said record.

There’s quite a few:

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Alfredo De La Fe – Hot to Trot

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Crystal Grass – Crystal World

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Debbie Harry – Feel the Spin

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Gene Roddenberry – The Star Trek Dream

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Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson – The Bottle

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(Warning: Do not listen to this next one unless you really like a lot of effing and jeffing)

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Karen Finley – Tales Of Taboo

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Laura Olsher – The Martian Monsters

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Peech Boys – Don’t Make Me Wait

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Rose Royce – Is It Love You’re After

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Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs – Oh That’s Good, No That’s Bad

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Stacey Q – Two Of Hearts

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TZ – I Got The Hots For You (Vocal Version)

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Yazoo – Situation

Put ’em altogether, and what have you got?

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S’Express – Overture – Theme From S’Express

You’re welcome. Still sounds as great today as it did back in the day, in my book.

(Disclaimer: blame Wikipedia if any of those are wrong)

More soon.

“In the End, It Took Me a Dictionary to Find Out the Meaning of Unrequited” #3

Boy, am I regretting giving this series such a long name.

Anyway, I had been planning on holding this one back for a couple of weeks to mark my brother’s 50th birthday at the end of July, but it seems about right to post it now.

The reason I associate this record with my brother has been documented on these pages before, but to summarise: in the 1980s, he went to stay with my Barb and Bill (hello, in the unlikely event that you still read this!), my aunt and uncle, who live over in the US of A.

Barb and Bill met when Bill, a USAAF man, was stationed in the UK, and when his tour was over, he went back to the states, and took Barb with him where they ran a blueberry farm. Chances are that if you’ve ever eaten blueberries (and if you haven’t, you should, they’re yummy), it was them what grew ’em.

My brother went over there one summer and worked on the farm, returning with a) longer hair than he’d ever had before, b) a denim jacket, a pair of cowboy boots and, if I remember correctly, a pair of red jeans, and c) a whole clutch of vinyl.

This must have been how those working in the docks in the 50s and 60s felt when visiting Americans brought over records you simply couldn’t buy in the UK, except instead of rare Soul and Motown records which would go on to be rare, vakuable Northern Soul tunes, my brother brought with him albums by The Go-Go’s, The Fixx, and today’s musical choice, amongst others.

This series is about unrequited love, and can there be any worse kind than that which you know can never happen, not because the other party isn’t interested, but because they’re already going out with your best friend?

Here’s a man in a vest to explain:

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Rick Springfield – Jessie’s Girl

Fans of Breaking Bad will know (spoiler alert!) there’s not much point in getting too attached to Jessie’s Girl, of course…

More soon.

Acoustic Afternoons

One of the other reasons there were even less posts than usual from me last week, was that I decided I wanted to rejig which day each series appeared on, and this one seemed to be more of a Sunday afternoon kind of post than a Wednesday afternoon one.

So here we are, and to move things forward a track by The Wonder Stuff, a band whose early stuff I love, but who I have kinda lost touch with since they reformed.

But in their heyday, they produced four albums, three of which I love, although the one I’m not fond of, “Never Loved Elvis” is the one that gave them the most commercial success, containing as it did chart smasheroos “The Size of a Cow” and “Welcome to the Cheap Seats”, the latter of which’s one redeeming feature is that it features the lovely and much missed Kirsty MacColl.

But it’s to second album “Hup!” that I want to lead you today, and specifically to an album track called “Can’t Shape Up”, an acoustic version of which resurfaced as a bonus track on the CD2 release of the aforementioned “Welcome to…” and which is, simply, quite beautiful.

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The Wonder Stuff – Can’t Shape Up Again

See? Just lovely.

I’ll leave you all to go and source/listen to the original version so you can see how superior this one is.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

One of the TV shows that I had recorded and finally got round to watching last week was “Rich Hall’s Countrier Than You”, where the American comedian takes us through a brief history of Country music, and illustrates the different styles by asking his interviewees to help him out with a song he’s written, ‘Working Dog’.

It’s a comprehensive overview, introducing me to many artists who I’d never heard of, letting me know what some (Robbie Fulks, predominantly) look like, and making me realise that there’s some artists who I really should have featured on these pages by now.

For example: how the hell have I been writing this series every week for almost two years (although it didn’t become a Country music only slot until some time later) and not posted anything by Hank Williams?

Let me rectify that immediately. Here’s his first ever single, released on Sterling Records back in 1947:

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Hank Williams and The Country Boys – Never Again (Will I Knock on Your Door)

This didn’t sell well, however after signing to MGM records, the song was re-issued in 1948 as the B-Side to a song which became Williams’ first big smash:

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Hank Williams with His Drifting Cowboys – Lovesick Blues

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

As I was saying, I’m a firm believer in making the workplace as tolerable place as possible, and this is often achieved simply by being pleasant and/or funny.

I am aware, of course, that it’s a fine line between being amusing and being the tedious, office joker, who thinks he’s hilarious but who everyone else finds an irritant. Like this chap:

Or worse still, Colin Hunt:

The thing about both of those characters is that they have no filter, they’re unable to stop themselves making jokes no matter how unfunny or inappropriate they may be.

I would hope I have a little more finesse than that.

An example, which leads me on to tonight’s song: this week I went to a sales pitch for a new software program we’re considering purchasing at work. The presentation involved screen shots and demonstrations of the program, and of course some had been filled in with names of fictional insurance claimants, one of which was a Mr James Taylor.

I managed to stop myself from piping up that he couldn’t claim as he only had Third Party, Fire & Rain cover when I assessed that a) this wasn’t really the time or place; b) that nobody else in the room was likely to get it anyway, and c) it really wasn’t that funny in the first place.

Which doesn’t seem to have prevented me from telling it here. Hmmmph.

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James Taylor – Fire and Rain

More soon.