This is another one of the earliest songs I can remember hearing. I loved it before I had any real idea of music as a wider concept, before I began to intellectualise it, idolise it, before I became pretentious.
I am not sure why but it came into my head this week for the first time in years. So I have been listening to it over and over and feeling like I am 11 years old again. I really enjoy feeling a connection with my younger, more naive self. Sometimes it feels as though he never existed.
The lyrics are still an inscrutable mystery to me, but I like to think they are profound and there are some subtle but excellent guitar riffs and vocal harmonies to listen out for.
There’s a small boat made of china going nowhere on the mantelpiece. Do I lie like a lounge room lizard or do I sing like a bird released?
Sorry about the gash video, it was the best I could find.
Marc Cohn – Walking in Memphis
This is one of the earliest songs I can remember hearing, again it must have been on a summer holiday mix tape made by my father.
I really like it’s vivid imagery, and a few years ago I was lucky enough to be able to walk in Memphis and follow in the footsteps of the song. I saw the ghost of Elvis in Graceland, wandered with my feet ten feet off Beale Street and saw the statue of W.C. Handy. Memphis was a great trip, full of history perfect for a music nerd like me. I would really recommend a visit.
Put on my blue suede shoes and I boarded the plane. Touched down in the land of the delta blues in the middle of the pouring rain…
This duo have some amazing musical lineage, with the two Womacks in question being Linda, the daughter of Sam Cooke and Cecil, the brother of Bobby Womack. Not a bad duo of relatives that! An added bonus is the classic 80’s style on display in the video.
But I decided on this for it’s energy and for nostalgia’s sake. The only slight knock is the slightly self-indulgent instrumental interlude, but otherwise it is a triumph. It is a classic cover version in that it takes a song, gives it a completely different slant and breathes new life into it. I can’t imagine there would have been too many Stranglers fans digging Burt Bacharach prior to this!
Al Stewart – The year of the cat
This track is another track I was introduced to on long summer drives via mix tapes made by my father. It is classic 70’s: colourful lyrics and a style that suggests a tongue firmly placed in the singer’s cheek.
The reason it came to mind is that I went to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy recently and I can just imagine Smiley putting this on his record player as he unwinds after a long day on the job.
OK – My name is David. I’ve known Rob-James as a neighbour, friend, taxi driver, quiz partner since he was 3 and have proudly watched him develop into the overweight, badly dressed young man he is today…
Feel I have to go with Rob-James’ initial theme for LiM and choose something old and bluesy even though The Doors are more associated with rock. They were one of the last big groups to emerge from a period of musical change that began with the Beatles and their distinctive sound suited the late 60’s – early 70’s.
Riders on the Storm, from the album LA Woman, still makes me imagine wistfully what it would be like to hear them playing it at a big festival even though it was not one of the iconic Jim Morrison’s favourites – he described it as cocktail jazz.
Unfortunately, they didn’t get the chance to make a video for this before JM’s demise but the above is not a bad effort after the fact.
Air – Alone in Kyoto (CJK Guest Post)
Colin Kenny, Rob’s Dad and originator of the cassettes-in-the car-to-play-on-long-holiday-road-trips that Rob refers to. Electronica/chill-out/instrumentals are sadly lacking in the blog thus far, so this track from Air’s album Talkie Walkie goes some way to righting that wrong.
The music by the hip French duo is used in a short scene from the film Lost in translation. Like a lot of contemporary films we are expected to suspend disbelieve – that if you were married to Scarlett Johansson you would abandon her in an hotel in a foreign city for a week. She and Bill Murray share an edgy friendship as both battle jet lag and culture shock. The extract from the film where the track is used captures the feeling of alienation perfectly, with the music acting as an ideal compliment.
I can’t decide whether this is awesome or interminably, mortifyingly naff. I heard it a few weeks ago and it has been periodically but unshakably been playing on repeat in my mind. It does have a smooth charm which is somewhat irresistible, and Sade can really sing.
This is classic soul, another one pilfered from my Father’s record collection. Terry Callier had an interesting career, enduring a couple of decades in the doldrums before making a comeback in the 90’s, notably collaborating with Beth Orton and Massive Attack.
I have been itching to post some hip hop for a while. This was an early favourite, it resonated with me before I even knew who 2pac was. This was because it uses a sample of a song that my father would put on his yearly holiday mixes – Bruce Hornsby and The Range – The way it is.
Beneath all the posturing, bravado and aggression hip hop can sometimes provide some truth and wisdom and I think this is a pretty good example of this. A strong sample and some witty lyrics. That is always enough for me.