A couple of years ago I had the thrilling opportunity to visit the Stax Museum while in Memphis, Tennessee. It is located on the site that was home to Stax records which was known as Soulsville USA (referencing Motown’s hit factory).
So many amazing tunes came out of those studios, with this being just one in a long line.
Tom Robinson – War Baby
This reminds me of being young and taking family holidays that involved a lot a driving. My father would make some mix cassettes to listen to and most years this would feature somewhere. It’s funny how now and again I will hear a song and be 11 years old again.
I still like this a lot, even though I am no longer 11 anymore, with it’s elegant and poetic lyrics. The opening line “Only the very young and very beautiful can be so aloof” is one of my very favourites. The version of this song I like best is a stripped-down acoustic one which captures the sense of longing better. However I couldn’t find it on youtube.
Peter and Kerry – Knees
2011 has seen something of a renaissance in my interest in radio. WFMU as I have previously mentioned, but also 6music. Both are amazing. There is so much interesting stuff out there, it is just a pity I don’t have the time to listen to it all.
I like this track even though it is a little sombre which doesn’t really match my current mood. It is simple and poignant.
I heard it on Tom Ravenscroft’s show on Friday, which is well worth a listen. Fact I learned from Wikipedia today – He is John Peel’s son. He also played an amazing song ( Ngunni Lovers Lover — Beth Kathini) by a Kenyan band which I couldn’t find on youtube but if I do I will be sure to post it in the future. It was joyous.
The first time I heard this song was a startling experience. It is one of the most powerful songs I have ever encountered. It has a slow, quiet urgency. It is said that this song inspired Bob Dylan to write The Times They Are a-Changing.
Sam Cooke’s life was tragically short but he managed to released so much great music. From his early gospel days with The Soul Stirrers to when he threw off the shackels of less enlightened times and began to release tracks like this he blazed a trail for all that great soul music that was to follow.
A little trivia that may only interest an anorak such as myself but apparently Sam Cooke was the inspiration for Marvin Gaye to add the “e” to the end of his surname.
I have been listening to this over and over for the past couple of days. It is languid and funky and has been a welcome mellowing influence on me.
I also think Cool Calm Pete is a pretty good name. It made me think for a minute that maybe I should start going by Really Relaxed Rob but it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it does it?
Cloud Control – There’s nothing in the water we can’t fight
I had a musical obsessive moment recently. This song was playing in a store and I thought it was pretty good so I went and asked one of the chaps behind the counter what it was. He just looked at me blankly and shrugged so I wrote down some of the lyrics and thankfully my trusty friend Google knew what it was. I have found it to be stuck in my head for the past few days.
Prince – I wanna be you lover
I am an unashamedly big Prince fan. A lot of my friends don’t really seem to understand why. I know he is a little eccentric (to put it mildly) but at the end of the day he made great music and a remarkable amount of it.
This is one of his earlier numbers, taken from the Prince album. It is classic Prince – funky and imaginative, it makes me want to move every time I hear it.
Another 80’s favourite The Blue Nile were one of a number of Scottish bands to come to prominence around the same time and make lots of good music. They are somewhat mercurial, leaving long periods between releasing records but I have loved everything they have (sporadically) released. They really are an little known gem of a band.
I think this song is achingly beautiful and while it was tough to choose one of their songs in particular this is probably my favourite.