Friday Night Music Club

After the terribly sad, unexpected news on Monday, I’ve found it pretty difficult to get myself going this week, so I¬†had decided I wasn’t going to post anything today, so bereft of ideas and inspiration was I.

I spent my journeys to and from work listening exclusively to Bowie records on my trusty mp3 player, only this morning deciding to switch it back to the random shuffle setting it usually rests on.

When you lose someone close to you, you often find the slightest thing will remind you of them. Now, I’m not suggesting that I was close to Bowie, but his works were close to me. And all of today’s songs came on as I travelled home, in, I kid you not,¬†the¬†order that I present them to you now. Each one made me think of Bowie, some for more obvious reasons than others, which I will try to explain as we go. So I figured they could be this week’s addition to our Friday night. Hopefully, you won’t think I’m sullying the memory, that’s most definitely not the intention.

C’mon kids, we can get through this together.

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69. The Webb Brothers – I Cant Believe You’re Gone

Fairly self-explanatory one, that, right?

Next, a song which Bowie covered on his 1973 album “Pin Ups”:

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70. The Kinks – Where Have All The Good Times Gone

Next up, a song which seems to sum up the ethos of Bowie:

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71. Mama Cass – Make Your Own Kinda Music

…followed by one which also¬†has an apt title:

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72. The Supremes – I Hear A Symphony

I totally accept that the next song was written as a tribute to jazz legend Duke Ellington. But if the words “Thin” and “White” were added to the title….

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73. Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke

Next, this:

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74. Mansun – Wide Open Space

Okay, I’ll admit this one is a little tenuous. But since the news on Monday, all I’ve really wanted to do was get away from it all, escape, collect my thoughts.

So, moving on, a contribution from long term Bowie fan (although I gather they didn’t exactly hit it off when they met):

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75. Morrissey – I Will See You In Far Off Places

And finally:

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76. Roy Orbison – In Dreams

This one, to wrap things up, has everything, even a mention of Stardust.

I promise to post something a little more upbeat over the weekend.

More soon.

 

It’s Chriiiistmas!!!

Oh ok, I admit it then. I’m not Father Christmas. I’m a very naughty boy.

So back to the tuneage, and I figured that after yesterday’s feast of festive forlornness, I’d liven things up with a couple of songs by your actual crooners.

For me, Christmas is a perfect time to revisit¬†some of these easy-listening idols,¬†so here’s a couple to get us in the mood. First up is walking talking Grecian 2000 advert (on this album sleeve anyway), Andy Williams:

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Andy Williams – It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

And then there’s Dean “King of Cool” Martin, member of The Rat Pack and provider of the next song;¬†so iconic was he that you can just picture him, tuxedo on, bow tie undone, his trademark¬†glass of scotch in his hand:

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Dean Martin – Let it Snow

I think he must have drawn those baubles himself, using his tumbler holding hand with the tumbler still in place.

Next on my list of easy-listening, velvet on the ear crooners, is…er….Billy Idol.

What do you mean you never knew Billy Idol had recorded a Christmas song? Course he did. He only went and recorded a whole album of the ruddy things back in 2006. Don’t believe me? Well, with a sleeve straight out of¬†a family round robin card, here you go:

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Billy Idol – Here Comes Santa Claus

Actually, that leads me rather nicely on (slightly disingenuous of me that, I totally planned it) to a¬†couple of rock legends for some songs about that old fella who’ll be breaking into your house later, necking your sherry, scoffing your mince pies, and treading reindeer crap right the way through your house:

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Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

I have to admit that I had no idea until I was writing this that that hadn’t been a single in its own right, but rather was tucked away on the B-side of his My Hometown single. See, it’s an education for us all this, isn’t it?

And it seems that at some time or another, every grizzled old walnut faced warbling misery guts has got in on the Christmas record act:

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Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa

Bob Dylan in¬†bouncy Christmas record shocker? What next – Morrissey covering “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells”? Leonard Cohen¬†doing “While Shepherds Washed Their Socks By Night?” (Actually, I’d happily buy both of those.) Van Morrison teaming up with Cliff Richard? Oh wait…that one actually happened….:

How was that allowed to happen?

But it’s not just weird Christmas collaborations that¬†have me scratching my head though:

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Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa

Er…doesn’t Santa come down the chimney. He can’t mean…no…he doesn’t….can he??? Dirty boy.

Moving swiftly on, a song from a Christmas Peel Session¬†which, as far as I’m aware, never got commercially released, although as always I’m open to correction about that. For example, for some reason I had it in my head that this was recorded at Peel Acres, but a little digging on that there internet tells me that it was just done at the normal Maida Vale studios, and transmitted to an expectant nation¬†back on 18th December 2002. Two years later, Peel was dead. I’m not saying the two things are linked, but I don’t think we should rule it out just yet:

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Belle & Sebastian – Santa, Bring My Baby Back to Me

(I’ve no idea who photo-shopped that, but whoever you are, I salute you.)

By 1978, The Kinks were no longer the force they were back in the 60s, and that’s fairly evident from this single which, to be honest, could just have easily featured in yesterday’s post, telling as it does the story of a¬†department store Father Christmas¬†who is beaten up by a gang of poor kids demanding that he gives them¬†money instead of toys, which he should give to¬†“to the little rich boys” instead:

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The Kinks – Father Christmas

To round up things on this Christmas Eve, a song which I think has to go down as one of the weirdest Christmas records I own. Years ago, whilst trawling through the second hand section of Andy’s Records in Peterborough, I stumbled across a compilation album of alternative versions of Christmas songs. It includes a prototype version of “Step Into Christmas”¬†by The Wedding Present, “The First Noel” by Test Crash Dummies, “Silent Night” by The Primitives, a load of other (possibly Australian, since the album came out on Aussie label Dead Line Records) acts, but which culminated in the definitely not Australian but¬†definitely not to be fucked with Henry Rollins:

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Henry Rollins – ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Don’t have nightmares, now will you?

More soon.