There are no second acts in American lives – this famous F.Scott Fitzgerald adage from The Great Gatsby hangs over the presidential hopefuls in the run up to next week’s US election.
In fact Terry Callier, who sadly died a couple of days ago, did have a second act. He retired from recording music in 1983 to become a computer engineer and his recording from the 60s were rediscovered in the mid 90s by DJs who encouraged him to record again. He then went on to produce some his finest work. His unique soulful voice gave great character to his often plaintive songs about people on the periphery of society. /CjK P.S. RjK – I would add that I owe TC’s music a debt of thanks. Listening to it was when I got one of my first inklings that there was something deeper, fuller, more substantial to soul music than the purely pop leanings of Motown (spectacular though they are) to which I previously been exposed.
Some nice, mellow Monday listening to ease you into your week.
Neil Young has been on my mind for a couple of reasons recently. He has a new album which is due to be released this week. Frankly, I have been too scared to check it out. Amazon keep emailing me about it regardless though! Secondly, The Guardian ran a list of the worst album sleeves of all time and (rather harshly in my opinion) Zuma (which features the amazing Cortez the killer) was in there.
Huey Lewis and The News* – The power of love (GPF)
This is just a classic 80’s track. I stumbled across this video on the internet a few weeks ago and it reminded me of this. Nike are so clever. I don’t think Kevin Durant should give up his day job yet though!
I was also struck by the cyclical nature of style. If I was to go out wearing a pair of Nike high tops and a red body warmer I would probably look pretty fly, Marty McFly in fact.
Don’t need money, don’t take fame, don’t need no credit card to ride this train…
Ombre are another band that my buddy Matt highlighted when I saw him last weekend. My trip to Coventry proved very fruitful musically! They are signed to Asthmatic Kitty Records, which I found to be a mildly amusing name, and this is taken off their recently released album Believe you me.
Is it just me or does the singer here sound a little like Kurt Wagner (of band Lambchop) singing in Spanish?
Both of the Marvin Gaye tracks I have previously posted (Come get to this and Mercy, mercy me) were from his later career. This is the period, highlighted by the classic albums What’s going on and Let’s get it on, where he had undergone an awakening following the tragic death of his long time collaborator Tammi Terrell.
This is taken from an earlier period (1963) where gospel-inspired music was crossing over into the mainstream with what was to be know as soul music. While it lacks the depth of later work, he really brings the funk here. It makes me want to move.
I am aware that this isn’t the type of thing that usually grabs my attention. It is a little too poppy for my pretentious sensibilities. I am probably also a bit late to the party.
What caught my eye was the video, which is quite kitschy but also sort of great at the same time. I was also struck by how it was like an very polished, stylised version of the Sorie Kondie video I posted last week, even down to the somewhat stiff dance they both perform. I must confess that the song has grown on me too.
Solange is Beyoncé’s kid sister and if genes are anything to go by I imagine she will be ubiquitious before too long (if this hasn’t happened already).
David McWilliams* – Days of Pearly Spencer (CjK Guest post)
Days of Pearly Spencer resonates deeply with me as the singer David McWilliams lived in the same town as me, Ballymena in Co Antrim, when he recorded this iconic song. I recall a classmate talking about meeting him, and bringing in a vinyl copy of the record. The song is about a homeless man McWilliams had encountered in Ballymena. It was way ahead of its time, and featured a sweeping orchestral arrangement and a chorus sung as if through a megaphone which makes it seems timeless. This is the best version, which was successful on the pirate radios of the time but not in mainstream. It has had a few (inferior) reincarnations. Sadly McWilliams is dead ten years this year. /CjK *Artist #541