Back to 1988 tonight, and to a wonderful album named after the church in which it was recorded.
“The Trinity Sessions” by Cowboy Junkies is a thing of beauty; recorded with the band circled around a single microphone, it features a mix of original material, cover versions, and, in the case of tonight’s tune, a combination of the two.
Cowboy Junkies – Blue Moon Revisited (Song for Elvis)
Dedicated to my old mate A.R.H., a dyed-in-the-wool Man City fan, who turned forty last week, as he seems to do most years.
Sometimes when I’m trying to decide what to post on some of these long-running series, I rule one out on the grounds that I must have posted it before.
Such is the case with tonight’s choice.
I read recently that it’s the 25th anniversary of R.E.M.’s “Automatic For The People” album this year. When I read that, I stopped for a moment. That can’t be right, can it?
So I thought back to where I was when I first heard “Drive”, the opening track and lead single from the album, and sure enough they’re not wrong. 1992 it was.
So I figured I’d post something from that album, but immediately decided against tonight’s choice on the aforementioned grounds: I simply must have posted it here before.
But a quick sweep of previous posts revealed that not only has tonight’s song not featured in this series, it’s never featured on the blog at all.
Often, when I post a song by R.E.M. a conversation about what their finest record is. Consensus seems to be that it’s “Country Feedback”, and I’m certainly not going to argue with that, but I reckon this delicate song of passion and beauty must be a very close second:
R.E.M. – Nightswimming
There are some artists that I’m often baffled are not better known, and tonight’s selection falls firmly into that category.
The Shortwave Set made records which they described as “Victorian Funk”, and, to give you some idea of their sound and the type of admirers they had, supported the likes of Goldfrapp, Rilo Kiley, Spiritualized and Gnarls Barkely, whilst their second album was produced by Danger Mouse.
This, though, comes from their rather wonderful debut album “The Debt Collection” and it is, well, rather wonderful:
The Shortwave Set – Is It Any Wonder
Long ago, I started writing a series entitled “Sunday Morning” where the intention was to post songs that you could happily listen to as you enjoy the traditional day of rest, be that by relaxing, or recovering, or both.
Over the following months, as more and more of those songs turned out to be Country songs, the series changed into “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, which focuses exclusively on the genre. There’ll be another in that series along in a couple of hours.
But back when it was in its original incarnation, this was the first song to feature there, and so it seems only right that I restore it to its rightful place here instead.
This is a cover of an old Minnie Riperton classic, but given a glorious make-over and update. If you’ve never heard either version, give this a listen, you’re in for a treat:
4hero – Les Fleur
I don’t have anything to say about this record other than:
a) I’ve been meaning to post it for absolutely ages, and
b) it’s bloody gorgeous.
Iron & Wine – Tree By The River
If you only listen to one song I post that you don’t know, make it this one.
I’ve been greatly enjoying the re-runs of BAFTA winning BBC sit-com ‘Detectorists’ recently, and am very happy to learn that a third series is imminent.
If you’re not familiar with (it’s on Netflix if you fancy catching up), it follows Andy and Lance, members of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club, which, granted, doesn’t sound particularly amusing. But it’s a wonderful ensemble piece, perfectly acted by all concerned, written and directed by, and starring Mackenzie Crook (as Andy), who you’ll probably know better as Gareth Keenan, the ex-Territorial Army paper salesman and butt of many jokes in ‘The Office’.
And it’s the theme tune to ‘Detectorists’ that I’m featuring tonight; a lovely little folk song that every time I’ve watched the show I’ve promised myself I’d track down, and then forgotten all about until the next time it was on. But finally, I’ve got round to seeking it out.
If you like the songs by Nic Jones that have cropped up on The Chain (editions #8 and #29 in case you’re interested) than I reckon you’ll quite like this too.
Johnny Flynn – Detectorists
We’re back in glorious cacophony of noise territory again this week, with some trippy big beat psych courtesy of Temples, of whom I know nothing, other than that they – and tonight’s song, if I’m being specific – feature on a rather great album of remixes by The Time and Space Machine.
The Time and Space Machine is, in essence, Richard Norris, who many of you will know as a former NME journalist, co-member of electro dance outfit The Grid (along with Dave Ball of Soft Cell fame), and one half of the remix/DJ duo Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve with Erol Alkan.
And if that role call doesn’t persuade you to give this a listen, then you need to be slapped about the face with a large wet fish. Just for halibut.
Temples – Mesmerize (The Time and Space Machine Remix)