20 EVERYTHING SONGS

These are my #20EverythingSongs , in chronological order more-or-less. It was quite an emotional trip down memory lane compiling this list.

Not sure if you’ll like ’em all – there’s some here that I hardly ever play nowadays – but they’re all important songs in terms of introducing me to new kinds of music

1. DARK CITY SISTERS “Langa More”

My parents used to play this first track after church and dinner on a Sunday as it reminded them of home.

South African vocal girl group. Listen to the harmonies!

And if that sounds like I grew up in the Deep South, I did. The Deep South of London.

Herne Hill, specifically.

2. HARRY BELAFONTE “Jamaica Farewell”

Dad used to love the next song – the sentiments were familiar as he emigrated to England (from South Africa not Jamaica (although unlike the chap in the song, Dad didn’t leave his little girl in Kingston Town (or Durban, more accurately), he brought Mum with him!

3. JULIE ANDREWS “Feed The Birds”

We played the “Mary Poppins” soundtrack to death years before ever seeing the movie.
The song where one character talks about having dreams of walking with giants, heard out of context, used to give me nightmares, but this one is beautiful. Check out the bit where the church bells come in.

4. THE IRISH ROVERS “Black Velvet Band”

I was brought up as a mixed-race (mainly Indian but part Scottish!) Catholic in South London, went to a Catholic school, social life was based round the Catholic church.

So – and I swear I am not making this up – until the age of about 11 I thought every “full white” person in Britain had some kind of Irish blood in them.

The music rubbed off too. My parents had a few LPs of Irish rebel songs. I THINK it was because they just liked the tunes …

5. DAVE AND ANSELL COLLINS “Double Barrel”

The years from 1968 to 1972 was reggae’s best sales period in the UK with this one of the best-sellers, and one of the best.

I AM THE MAGNIFICENT!

6. DON McLEAN “Vincent”

The best teacher I ever had was Mr Stevenson in top juniors (that’s Year Six in new money). Innovative, interesting, fun and approachable.

Mr Stevenson introduced us to the idea you could treat song lyrics like they were poetry, using this as an example, which kicked off my interest in Listening To The Words.

Thank you Sir!

7. CHICORY TIP “Son Of My Father”

I bought this with the money I got for my 10th birthday – my first electronica record (did I but know it at the time). It sounded like nothing on earth.

Written and produced (again, did I but know it at the time) by Giorgio Moroder.

Loved the weird Dr Who-ness of it

8. SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND “The Tale Of The Giant Stone Eater”

Music and Marvel Comics were my joint passions around this time. So obviously I loved this.

Alex Harvey was a huge comics fan. Even named a song after Sgt Fury.

(other “out” comics fans of the 70s included Marc Bolan and Joan Armatrading)

9. JOHNNY CASH “Sunday Morning Coming Down”

1976. Heatwave. We went on holiday to Cornwall from London by car (pre-M5). It took ten hours. We had 4 cassettes.

Pink Floyd’s “Relics”,Beach Boys,Carpenters “Singles 69-73” and some old country singer who Dad liked so we indulged him .

“Well I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad, so I had one more for dessert”

10. DONNA SUMMER “I Feel Love”

Ooh,its so good,its so good,its so good,its so good,its so good …

A great leap forward for dance music (or “disco” as it was contemptuously called by rock fans back then).

And Giorgio Moroder’s second appearance here. Bet he’s impressed.

11.THE STRANGLERS “Down In The Sewer”

An eight minute mini punk opera from the Stranglers’ “Rattus Norvegicus” album

“Gonna tell you what I’m gonna do. Gonna make love to a water-rat or two. FOR GOD’S SAKE HUGH USE A JOHNNY ”

They get compared to the Doors a lot, but Dave Greenfield’s keyboard lines are on a different planet from Ray Manzarek’s unresolved noodlings

The bit at the end from about 5:44 is magnificent, and so bloody therapeutic .

See how it resolves, Mr Doors keyboard player? THAT’S how to play organ in a rock and roll band .

12. THE B-52s “Rock Lobster”

Moving on to the other end of competence for keyboard players in bands, but it still sounds bloody great

I think it was the bright yellow cover that first attracted me to this record, that or the cartoony looking band.

13. FUNKADELIC “One Nation Under A Groove”

Around the mid to late seventies the mates I used to hang out with were all soul boys. It rubbed off.

Feets don’t fail me now!

14. T CONNECTION “On Fire”

You never hear T Connection mentioned at all these days, not ever, anywhere but they really rocked, for what was essentially a disco band.

Duran Duran owe them a massive debt.

15. THE HUMAN LEAGUE “Empire State Human”

“Tall tall tall, I wanna be tall, tall, tall, as big as a wall, wall, wall”

Moved to Sheffield in 1979 so it was compulsory to love this band.

I like the early funny stuff better.

16. DEXYS MIDNIGHT RUNNERS “I Couldn’t Help If I Tried”

I had never heard anything quite like this band before, and neither had anybody else.

“Searching For The Young Soul Rebels” is still my fave LP ever . If you’ve never heard it, stop reading this now and go and track it down. This blog isn’t going anywhere.

There – I told you it was good, didn’t I?

This is their best song, for me (although get ten Dexys fans in a room and you’ll probably get ten different suggestions, and none of them will be the Number One hits!)

This grabs you from the mournful, defiant first four-note rundown on the horns and never lets you go.

I’ll forever associate it with being in love for the first time – lending her this album with crucial lyrics underlined. I’ll leave you to work out which ones.

It didn’t last and … hang on, this is sounding like a Dexys song in itself now so I’ll stop.

17. TRICKY “Black Steel”

So, seventeen tunes from the first 19 years of my life, then nothing until middle-age comes knocking

There’s a reason for this, I think.

You have kids and raise them and that takes up most of your effort and all of your money – and in those pre-internet days, music took a back seat.

To be honest if I could pick ten years to go into a fallow period, music-wise, I don’t think 1984-1993 was a bad choice, although I stand to be corrected on this.

This is from Tricky’s masterpiece “Maxinquaye”, which I first heard of thanks to none other than the late great David Bowie mentioning it as the best thing he’d heard all year in 1995.

The man had the talent to identify what was crucial and important in each musical generation (see also his final album which is pretty much a Kendrick Lamar tribute record in places)

This is a cover of a Public Enemy tune. Who says the original is still the greatest?

18. THE BROKEN FAMILY BAND “Devil In The Details”

Who knew quiet music could be this nasty. And funny.

The only band to ever really rival Dexys in my affections, and the best lyricist around in Steven James Adams.

19. LADYTRON “Playgirl”

No synth band ever created a bigger or better wall of sound than Ladytron.

I was there when they blew the PA at the old Astoria in Charing Cross Road, around 2008.

This song is another one with memories. “Sleep you way out of your home town” indeed.

20. AL GREEN “To Sir With Love”

This list is mostly in chronological order but I thought I’d finish with a song and an artist I always go back to cos he always makes things better.

This is just incredible – he takes a song originally sung in a film by a schoolgirl (played by Lulu) to her teacher and takes it to a higher plane.

But when I listen to this I don’t really hear the words at all, its all about the feeling he invokes, and he could do this if he was singing the dictionary.

When I heard this I realised that soul is never about the words at all, not really

This has been my #20EverythingSongs. Check out the hashtag on Twitter.

Thanks to @girloon for inventing the hashtag.

I don’t mean she invented the concept of the hashtag. That would be an outrageous claim akin to this one.

I mean she thought up #20EverythingSongs.

Give her a follow in Twitter if you like music, she’s brilliant.

Podcast 40 – Even Moroder Best New Music

Well, forty podcasts in and this is the first time I’ve actually gotten my butt in gear and produced some notes to go with this week’s Beat City new music podcast.

Listen to Beat City 40 – Even Moroder Best New Music – here

This is the final all-new show of 2014 but there IS one more show coming up, which will be made up entirely of suggestions from YOU! If you want to contribute a track from 2014 you think should have a wider audience, the contact me via Twitter (@BeatCityTone)

Track 1 – Bob Mould – Kid With Crooked Face

Opening track on this week’s podcast is “Kid With Crooked Face” from Husker Du founder, workaholic and top geezer Bob Mould’s new album “Beauty And Ruin”, which, while it couldn’t be accused of carving out any new musical frontiers, does the job of reinforcing the old territory remarkably well.
Check out this link to the single ¬”I Don’t Know You Any More” and in particular the hilarious conversation at the beginning between Bob and the Decemberists’ Colin Meloy.

 

 

Track 3 – Run The Jewels – Angel Duster

From the best hip-hop album of the year “Run The Jewels 2”, intelligent lyrics, and a cornucopia of influences in the music ranging from dub to electronica to the human sound effects bloke off of the Police Academy films . In the words of El-P, haters “can all run backwards through a field of dicks”, a line I haven’t yet stopped chuckling about. For the final track “Angel Duster” check out the podcast but meantime this is the opening track “Jeopardy”

So many lush influences there musically. Guess the older you get (ages of ELP and Killer Mike?) ou absorb more styles of music, at least if you’re paying attention to what’s around you, you do. Passing over some of the ludicrous lyrics (check out the track Love Again for how NOT to rap about sex)

Track 4 – The Allah-Las – Had It All

Psych-pop rather than Psych-rock, this is the opening track from the album Worship The Sun “De Vida Voz”, and it owes more than a little to Love’s “Alone Again Or …”

Track 5 – Arctic Monkeys – Snap Out Of It

Sal’s Indietastic Classic for this week from the band who have gone from strength to strength since their first word-of-mouth-via-the-internet number one record I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor. I sometimes think I under-appreciate this band. It’s easy to take them for granted but take them and maybe Arcade Fire out of the stadium band equation and the landscape looks bleak indeed.

Track 6 – Fish Tank – Friends

And still the quality proggy math rock keeps coming. It’s a good time for bands who take influences from the early 70s prog scene – Trojan Horse, Knifeworld, Islet, and more – and Kent’s Fish Tank show huge promise on the basis of this single (available to download for FREE on bandcamp)

Here’s the video.

Track 7 – Juce – 6th Floor

This music is the true successor to the mighty Culture Club, you can stick yer clean cut Jungle nonsense. Proper old school funk, is this – and they can do it live, too, I seen ’em do it. Currently opening for Basement Jaxx on tour and hopefully set for great things in 2015.

Track 8 – Nadine Shah – Stealing Cars

Nadine Shah is warm, witty and engaging and her debut album Love Your Dum And Mad, apart from having the best title of 2014 was an assured debut.

This is the lead single from the new album which is coming early in the New Year.

Track 9 – Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Grown So Angry

Two piece from Llandudno. Old school. sure, taking their influences from the original, young and hungry R’n’B version of the ‘orrible Who.

Mixing it up era-wise this song has echoes of two separate Whos. The intro is pure “My Generation”, the backing is proper balls-to-the-wall Live At Leeds

Track 10 – Tiana – Fuck Like The World Ago End

I’ve loved everything I’ve heard from the “Dancehall Duchess” this year and its between this and Alkaline’s “Throat” for my favourite song about sex this year.

Run The Jewels can take note. THIS is how you make a record about shagging.

On a similar topic this is “Pum Pum Fat” from a couple of years ago. It’s quite rude.

Track 11 – Jennifer Lawrence – The Hanging Tree

Went to see the latest Hunger Games film last week and it was brilliant, apart from ending in the middle of the book to ensure the original trilogy of books becomes a cinema tetralogy and hence maximum geek-fleecing.

There’s a superb unexpected musical interlude where Caitness (Played by Jennifer Lawrence) starts singing this song which has become a symbol of resistance to the oppressor, and the song is taken up by all the freedom fighters, and theres not a dry eye in the house. Even Sal liked it, and she doesn’t normally Hold with This Sort Of Thing. Jen-La has a fair voice on her too, at least for this kind of song.

Track 12 – Sleaford Mods – 6 Horsemen (The Brixtons)

Tiswas is possibly their most popular track but this band is currently incapable of producing anything other than pure gold, and we should all cherish it, and them.
6 Horsemen is on the podcast. This is Sleaford Mods. Watch and Smile.

Listen to the EP and the LP. And their previous work

Sleaford Mods really ARE as good as everyone says they are. Angry, intelligent, funny, political, sweary, middle-aged, working class white hip hop.

Track 13 – Giorgio Moroder – 74 Is The New 24

In 1972 this was the second record I ever bought. It sounded like it would be something the Doctor and Jo Grant would listen to in the TARDIS.

In 1977 when all the young punks were supposed to loathe this sort of disco crap, nobody could really work up anything but deep love for this

The man responsible for both of these has a new album coming out in the New Year, and the podcast contains the lead track from it. I particularly love that he has the confidence to NOT chuck the kitchen sink at it production-wise in an effort to be modern and relevant. I guess once you’ve been an innovator ,you’re not going to be so keen to blindly follow trends.

And hey, if Dave Gilmour can get away with flogging the rotten corpse of the once-great Pink Floyd, who would begrudge Moroder doing the same AND MAKING A DECENT RECORD !

The veteran producer’s association with Daft Punk has made his latest album a going concern commercially (first in 30 years?) … for now this single is sparky, brilliant pop to stand alongside his finest 70s work, although of course his days of innovation are possibly behind him – this song definitely has echoes of I Feel Love. Check it out on the podcast.

Track 14 – Psyence – Phoenix

Next up Psyence. I heard about them completely randomly and accidentally via Twitter. They tweeted to say their 1300th follower would get a free single, I followed them immediately cos I do like free stuff, who doesn’t, and they replied to say I had JUST missed out. So, I am officially Psyence’s 1301th follower on Twitter and just to show there’s no hard feelings, the single Phoenix is on the podcast this week.

Meantime, this is one of their older tracks which sounds a BIT like the Donna Summer track linked to earlier, only with guitars and feedback and stuff as well.

Track 15 – GAPS – She Bears A Flower

This is so haunting and beautiful, it just gets into your head and won’t go away, like a disturbing but sexy dream.

Track 16 – Kate Rusby – Silly Old Man

Kate Rusby has a claim to possessing THE finest living voice of folk music. Her current album “Ghost” is brilliant – this is the title track, and check out the podcast for “Silly Old Man” which is equally great.

Listen to Beat City 40 – Even Moroder Best New Music – here

www.twitter.com/BeatCityTone