Sunday Morning Coming Down

And so from Bob Dylan to The Band. I don’t just throw this together, you know.

This morning’s tune surely needs no introduction (read: I can’t think of anything to write about this that you probably don’t already know).

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The Band – The Weight

More soon.

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Sunday Morning Coming Down

After last week’s glorious  hillbilly stomp from a slightly surprising location (the North East of England), more of the same this week, but with the sat nav controls set to the Midlands, and to Stourbridge, to be precise.

After the success of the indie power pop of their first album, the direction that The Wonder Stuff went in with their second album was a bit of a surprise, with the introduction of violinist and banjoist (is that what banjo players are called..?) Martin “Fiddly” Bell. He pops up quite a lot on Hup, their second album; this was the second single (a different version to the one on the album):

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The Wonder Stuff – Golden Green

If you’re idea of The Wonder Stuff is Size of a Cow/Vic and Bob-era singles, you might want to give that a listen. It’ll change your opinion, I reckon.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I’ve mentioned many times on these pages how, somewhere along the line as I moved flats over the years, a great big chunk of my vinyl went missing. The problem is that since I didn’t have a turntable that worked until recently, I’ve never been able to pinpoint exactly when it all went.

The other problem is that often I won’t realise that something has gone until I go to play it, and such is the case with today’s tune.

It features on an album which I bought back when I was at Sixth Form, which I know I would never have sold or given away, but still, when the other day I decided to listen to my vinyl copy of Martin Stephenson & The Daintees’ Boat to Bolivia album, there it was: gone.

It’s been added to the seemingly ever-growing list which now includes: all of the albums I had on vinyl by The Wedding Present, R.E.M., Blondie, Billy Bragg, The Housemartins and – and these are the ones that hurt the most – my entire collection of The Smiths’ albums, all original Rough Trade pressings.

Luckily, I also bought this one on 7″ single back in the day, and it remains in my little black box of singles to this day. And it’s a corker, a cautionary – and true, apparently  – tale of a man who tries to rob a garage with a toy gun.

This is not so much a Country record, it’s more of a glorious North East of England hillbilly stomp. It’s bloody great:

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Martin Stephenson & The Daintees – Running Water

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

A double-header for you all this morning. But first, an apology. I’m writing this very late on Saturday night/early on Sunday morning and having just finished it, I realise I’ve posted both of the songs featured today on the blog before, but not in the Sunday Morning section. Frankly, it’s too late/early for me to be bothered with thinking of something else to post. So, y’know: sorry ’bout that.

Anyhow: I’ve always loved it when someone releases a song in response to someone else’s song. They follow three basic rules:

  1. The “Response” song should use very similar music and tune as in the original – just changed enough to avoid litigation – with the lyrics changed to form the “Response”;
  2. The “Response” song will be nowhere near as good as the original, and will genuinely be viewed by most as a brazenly opportunistic attempt to cash-in on the original’s success;
  3. The “Response” song will be performed by someone you’ve never heard of before, and will never hear of again.

In case you’re not quite sure what I’m banging on about, then perhaps the most famous example is when Michael Jackson released Billie Jean back in 1982. Billie Jean is, of course, about a woman who claims that the narrator is the father of her newborn son, conceived during a one night stand. The narrator insists that “the kid is not my son”. (I’m not going to post it here partly because it’s not a Country record, but mostly because it’s Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, one of the most famous records ever made, and frankly I can’t believe I just took the time to explain what the song’s about to you.)

Anyway, shortly after Billie Jean was released to worldwide acclaim and staggering record sales which saw it top the charts in pretty much every country that had one, a record called Superstar followed in its slipstream.

Released by Lydia Murdock, it was written and performed from Billie Jean’s point of view, the lyrics challenging Jackson as to the validity of his non-paternal status assertions. And just in case any casual listener to Superstar didn’t understand, it contains lyrics like “I’m Billie Jean, I’m mad as hell. I’m the woman with a story to tell.” (I’m not going to post it here partly because it’s not a Country record, but mostly because it’s bloody awful. And those of you who just thought “That doesn’t normally stop you” can go and stand on the naughty step.)

Pop history is littered with other examples, but these two are my favourite. The first tells of how a young woman leaves the singer – on this occasion, Hank Thompson – to have fun joining in the nightlife and all that entails:

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Hank Thompson – The Wild Side of Life

…which inspired this, written from the woman’s point of view, shifting the blame for her infidelity back to the man, and also pointing out that for every unfaithful woman, there is a man who has led her astray:

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Kitty Wells – It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels

Hank 0 – Kitty 1, I think.

And before anyone says it, Kitty definitely disproves Rule 3.

More soon, maybe even something I haven’t posted before, you never know.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Regular readers of this series will have noticed that generally, with a few noticeable exceptions, my taste in Country music leans towards the older, more tradtiional style.

I’m mostly not all that fussed by the New Country acts, but it wasn’t until I heard this song that I realised why.

Evan Dando covered it when I saw him play an acoustic gig in Islington’s Union Chapel – possibly my favourite music venue in London for small, intimate, gigs – a few years ago, and as soon as I got home I had to find out what it was and who did the original.

Turns out, it was one of them there YouTube sensations we read all about, usually pranking pricks intent on cementing their heads into microwave ovens.

But on this occasion, it was a fifteen year old girl, who sounds not dissimilar to Alison Krauss or Emmylou Harris:

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Melody Williamson – There’s No Country Here

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Like I said yesterday, I’m keeping things short and sweet this weekend.

Anyone who knows where I am and why this weekend will know why this an appropriate record.

And if you don’t know where I am and why this weekend, it’s because I haven’t told you. So don’t ask.

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Don Williams – I Believe In You

More soon.