Sunday Morning Coming Down

More from that “Rich Hall’s Countrier Than You” documentary that I mentioned last week now, and an artist who features there, performing and being interviewed, and who has featured here before:

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Robbie Fulks – Every Kind of Music But Country

She’s not right for you, Robbie.

With thanks to the regular reader who kindly sent me a copy of that entire album recently. I’ll name no names but you know who you are. Cheers!

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

More cover version fun now, and a song which is currently featuring in an advert for…actually, I’m not sure what it’s for, and even if I did know I wouldn’t give it a free advert here.

See, the thing with music used in adverts, it usually falls into one of three categories for me:

  1. Song that I love which immediately makes me feel annoyed it’s being used in an advert;
  2. Cover version of a reasonably well-known song, but performed by a (usually) female artiste playing either a piano or, more likely, a ukulele;
  3. The much rarer song or cover version which I’ve never heard before and instantly want to own.

Tonight’s song falls in to the third category. I’m not even particularly fond of the original, but I could listen to this singer recite my internet browsing history and adore it (although I’d rather he didn’t, and if he did, hope he wouldn’t record and release it to the likes of you.)

This version first appeared on the soundtrack to “I Am Sam”, and also featured as a bonus track on the US version of his 2001 album “Poses”, which explains why it had never crossed my radar before:

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Gorgeous.

More soon.

Footnote: I’ve just seen the advert again. It’s for an electronics company, trying to sell us stuff which will change our world, for the better. Note to the marketing guys: given the chorus of this song, this may not have been the wisest of choices to soundtrack your advert. Unless you were being ironic, which I doubt.

How Not To Do a Cover Version

There was much love for the Muppets after they featured briefly at the end of a post I did earlier in the week, so I thought I’d feature dig some more out.

Back in 2011, one of those tribute albums was released, where various bands record covers of one particular artiste’s songs. The subject here was The Muppets.

As with many of these kind of albums, it’s a pretty mixed bag: twelve songs in total, and I’d say there’s only two or three worth listening to.

One of those that isn’t, is by OK Go. Or OK, Go Away Now Please, as they’re hilariously known round my way.

You know OK Go. They’re that band who make whacky videos (with the band performing a choreographed dance routine on four exercise treadmills for example) but utterly forgettable records. Disagree? Go on then, name one of their songs (that isn’t called “The one where they perform a choreographed dance routine on four exercise treadmills in the video”). See?

Some songs really should not be covered, and this is one of them:

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OK Go – The Muppet Show Theme

It’s not that it’s a particularly bad version, and at least they try to do something a bit different with it, but it’s impossible to hear it without thinking of the glorious original, and all of the nostalgia and child-like excitement that inevitably invokes.

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The Muppets – The Muppet Show Theme

As The Robster said by way of the Comments section: “Nothing beats The Muppets. Nothing.”

OK. Go on then:

More soon.

Replenishing the Vinyl

When I was a kid, Saturday night was music night in our house. The four of us would gather round the dining room table, eat a hearty meal, Mum and Dad would hit the wine (and if we’d been good, maybe let us try a tiny sip) , and after we’d eaten, the stereo, warmed up by an album being played throughout the meal, would be opened up to the floor for requests.

There was one caveat: we could only request records owned by parents, none of this modern stuff my brother and I listened to. That had to stay up in our bedrooms, thank you very much.

It was on these nights that I first encountered jazz. Now, I would be no means claim to be an aficionado of the genre, I know very little indeed, but it was here that I was exposed to the likes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck and today’s featured artist.

We used to have a couple of those reclining chairs, and when I was very young, whenever a particularly piano-heavy jazz tune came on, I would move one of them into the recline position and then sit on the floor in front of it, miming playing the piano, the foot-rest acting as my keyboard.

I know, adorable, right?

I recently picked up a compilation album by today’s artist, which contains precisely none of the famous songs of his that I knew (which is pretty much why I bought it). Instead, there are 16 tracks, some of which are just terrific examples of what a genius Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller was.

Born in 1904, and shuffling off this mortal coil in 1943, Fats wrote over 400 musical compositions in his short life, including what are now considered to be old standards like “Ain’t Misbehavin'” and “Honeysuckle Rose”.

Credited to “Fats” Waller and His Rhythm, today’s album is “Handful of Keys”, and on some of these, as with most Fats’ records, you really get the feel of how it must have been in those smoky gin joints he used to perform in, not just singing but delivering his funny asides to an adoring crowd of jivers.

Here are a few choice cuts from it:

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Fats Waller and His Rhythm – I’ll Dance at Your Wedding

Fats Waller and His Rhythm – I Just Made Up With That Old Girl of Mine

Fats Waller and His Rhythm – What’s The Reason (I’m Not Pleasin’ You)

Fats Waller and His Rhythm – Christopher Columbus

Fats Waller and His Rhythm – I Used To Love You But It’s All Over Now

Fats Waller and His Rhythm – There’ll Be Some Changes Made

Fats Waller and His Rhythm – You’re Laughing At Me

Not laughing at, Fats, laughing with, as I still do, whenever I hear this, which doesn’t feature on this album, but which I simply can’t resist posting:

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Fats Waller and His Rhythm – Your Feet’s Too Big

And, to wrap things up, since there’s a couple of other songs mentioned on that sleeve that you might recognise, here they are:

Fats Waller and His Rhythm – I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter

Fats Waller and His Rhythm – The Joint Is Jumpin’

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More soon.