Monday, 30 April 2018

Mid-Life Crisis Songs #24: Hello In There


My dad was 42 when I was born. I was 42 when Sam was born. The downside to being an older parent is that if Sam waits as long as I did to have kids, I won't be able to run around in the park with my grandkids that much (if I'm even still here). On the other hand, I do believe that kids keep older people young. I understand there was even a TV show where they sent little kids into an old folk's home and saw positive benefits all round. I can see the same thing with my own parents: I'm pretty sure being surrounded by grandkids and great-grandkids has kept them going longer than most.

24. John Prine - Hello In There

This is one of the most heartbreaking songs I've ever heard about growing old. Makes me glad I wasn't a young parent, glad I waited. Who wants to be old and alone?

Hello In There comes from John Prine's 1971 debut album. I just picked up his most recent record On Friday. If this is how he saw old age back when he was 25, I wonder how it looks 47 years later? I'll let you know.




Sunday, 29 April 2018

Saturday Snapshots #30 - The Answers



"We're going out tonight - out and about tonight..."

Yes, I actually went out on a Saturday night... whatever makes her happy, as Brett sang. So all I expected to provide you with this Sunday morning were the pre-prepared answers, no scores. Then you only went and hoovered up all the points in a three horse race that took under an hour - a record! Congrats to Rigid Digit, Martin and Lynchie... who just pipped the other two to the trophy by one point. Thanks also to Chris for mopping up the stray half point a bit later.

Commiserations to Brian, who stayed out late with the hope of sweeping in to get an early victory. Hope you had a nice night out before that, Brian!

Answers then...


10. In the days before mobile phones, these neanderthals ruled the airwaves.


Pretty self-explanatory, this one... if you remember it.

Primitive Radio Gods - Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand

(There's a metaphor for life!)

9. Where Iraqi animals go when they want to get away from astronauts.


Remember this guy? Kinda wish you didn't?

Babylon Zoo - Spaceman

8. Morrissey winds up in Orange County, screaming from a walnut tree at hobos.


My favourite clue of the week... I'm sure you can piece it together now.

O.C. Smith - Son of Hickory Holler's Tramp

7. Late in Thailand, Bill's face gets lost in translation.


Bill Murray was in Lost In Translation. His face is on his head.

Murray Head - One Night In Bankok

I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine...

6. Affleck puts this on his drive... he adores being in the line of fire.


(Once seen: never unseen.)

Ben Affleck puts Ben-A-Tar on his drive.

Pat Benatar - Love Is A Battlefield

5. Sly John gets a staple through his navel.


Sly John would be full of guile.

J. Geils Band - Centrefold

4. Scared of trouble? Leg it with a stooge.


You would leg it on your pins... with Iggy.

PINS featuring Iggy Pop - Aggrophobe

3. A lock of white hair fills your passport.


I really thought CC would get this one - but he wasn't even close!

Hank Snow - I've Been Everywhere

2. Smoking weed leads to high esteem.


A reefer? Too easy.

Aretha Franklin - Respect

1. Are you aware that's going to burn your mouth?


Do you realise this is the Flaming Lips?

I'd like this played at my funeral, please. Video too. On a huge screen. Provide hymn sheets so everyone can sing along.



More next week...


Saturday, 28 April 2018

Saturday Snapshots #30



This is the end, beautiful friend...

Well, it's not really. Just another edition of Saturday Snapshots here to light your fire.

Can you identify ten artists and ten tunes from the clues below. Beware, some of these people are strange...



10. In the days before mobile phones, these neanderthals ruled the airwaves.


9. Where Iraqi animals go when they want to get away from astronauts.


8. Morrissey winds up in Orange County, screaming from a walnut tree at hobos.


7. Late in Thailand, Bill's face gets lost in translation.


6. Affleck puts this on his drive... he adores being in the line of fire.


5. Sly John gets a staple through his navel.


4. Scared of trouble? Leg it with a stooge.


3. A lock of white hair fills your passport.


2. Smoking weed leads to high esteem.


1. Are you aware that's going to burn your mouth?


Break on through to the answers tomorrow morning.


Friday, 27 April 2018

Grumpy Old Men Songs #3: No, Thank You



Here's a proper grumpy old man for you. Famously grumpy in his youth with his fellow bandmates. Reckoned hell would freeze over before he'd get back together with those guys... then did a tour called Hell Freezes Over. Spent many years fighting David Geffen to get out of his contract. Puts out a new record about once a decade, if we're lucky. And in his last one, he went proper country - the true sign of a grumpy old man in the music industry.

But... we lost his old songwriting partner a year or so back though, so we should be grateful to have this grumpy old 70 year old still kicking around.

Here's the grumpiest song from his most recent record, Cass County...

3. Don Henley - No, Thank You

These are hard times we're living in
Nobody cuts you any slack
We got Space Age machinery, Stone Age emotions
Today a man had better watch his back
Everybody's selling somethin', the baron and the bumpkin
A man has got to fight for what is his
If what they're offering to you looks too good to be true
You can bet your bottom dollar that it is!

No, thank you
I don't think so
I think I'm smellin' a rat
Don't tell me what you're gonna do for me
'Cause I've been there done that

B.S. blaring from the radio, the TV
Hot wind blowin' off the hill
It's a mystery to me we can't agree to disagree
It's lookin' like we never, ever will
Like a drunkard in the night, swingin' left and swingin' right
Republican or Democrat
Well, I ain't got no love for none of the above
'Cause I've been there, done that

Oh, and he's too grumpy to let his music appear on youtube too. So here's a link...






Thursday, 26 April 2018

My Top Ten Famous Astronaut Songs


Ground control to Major Tom... can you spot any other famous astronauts up there in your tin can, Dave?



10. Clutch - Spacegrass

Verging on metal, but there's a great bassline here that goes right through you...

Dodge Swinger 1973, Top Down, Chassis Free,
Buzz Aldrin, Armstrong, Or Maybe Just Me.
Don't Worry, It's Coming.
Don't Worry, It's Coming.
Jesus On The Dashboard.

9. SR-71 - Last Man On The Moon

Better than that other band named after a top secret spyplane...

I could never be Neil Armstrong
I'd be the last man on the moon...

8. Robyn Hitchcock - NASA Clapping

As is often the case with Robyn's songs, I don't really have a clue what this is all about, but there will be golf courses on the moon one day if we keep dreaming...

Buzz Aldrin took me by the arm
And said one day that I'd be rich
I think he meant that I was gonna be your lover in his lifetime

And I thought I heard, I thought I heard NASA clapping

7. PJ Harvey - Yuri-G

Polly Jean wishes she was Yuri-G. She's certainly a space case.

6. Lightnin' Hopkins - Happy Blues For John Glenn

Even astronauts get the blues...

People, I was sittin' this mornin' with this on my mind
Said there ain't no livin' man who gone around the world three times
John Glenn done it, yes he did
He did it, I'm talkin' about him only did it for fun

5. Fun Lovin' Criminals - Fun Lovin' Criminal

Huey! Take us into space, my man!

I got so much flavour. . .I always leave you chewin'
I got so many styles you think I'm from the U.N
I broke into the White House and never got caught
And I'd be Neil Armstrong if I was an astronaut

4. Janelle Monae - Sally Ride

Janelle pays tribute to the third woman in space (after Valentina Tereshkova and Svetlana Savitskaya... who hasn't, to my knowledge, had a song written about her).

I'm packing my space suit
And I'm taking my shit and moving to the moon
Where there's no rules

See also Ride, Sally Ride by Lou Reed... which I'm guess wasn't about this particular Sally Ride as she didn't even join NASA till 4 years after it was released. Probably has more to do with Mustang Sally.

3. Public Service Broadcasting - Gagarin

From PSB's The Race For Space, which features a number of other astronauts... but none more famous than "the world's first cosmonaut".

See also The Last Flight of Yuri Garagrin by A Flock Of Seagulls which sadly wouldn't quite fit in the landing capsule...

2. Frank Turner - Silent Key

Christa McAuliffe died in 1986 on the Challenger space shuttle, a disaster that had a tremendous effect on a young Frank Turner. Here, Frank imagines her death as showing her the opening to another world... and the message she sends back to earth can only be heard by a young boy over his ham radio...

It came as some surprise to realise that as she lost everything
The world was revealing a transmission so real that she understood everything
You're still alive, you're still alive...

1. The Divine Comedy - Absent Friends

Leave it to Neil Hannon to pay tribute to the first dog in space... and break our hearts in the progress.

Laika flew through inky blue
'Til Laika neared the atmosphere and Laika knew
Laika's life was through...

Absent friends, here's to them,
And happy days, we thought that they would never end,
But they always end.



Any astronauts floating around in your record collection?


Wednesday, 25 April 2018

2018 Contenders: Old Girl Becomes New Sheriff



Amy Rigby has a new album out and already it's shaping up to be one of my favourites this year. I only discovered Rigby a couple of years ago, but I've been making up for lost time ever since as she's one of the best lyricists out there at the moment... and a pretty damned good blogger too.

As evidence of this, I could offer the opening track from The Old Guys, From philiproth@gmail to rzimmerman@aol.com (no, that really is its title) in which the novelist comes to terms with the songwriter who stole his Nobel prize.

Or I could offer Are We Still There Yet? with its longing-for-simpler-times nostalgia ("turn the radio off / So we can choose between CD and cassette") - but I'll probably save that for a Mid-Life Crisis tune.         

Or what about Bob, a eulogy to the old friend that introduced Amy to Lou Reed, who she remembers every time she drinks an egg crème? You won't hear a better "happy / sad" song this year...  

Truth is, I could happily share any of the songs on this album as there's not a duff one among them, but my current favourite is this, a menacing revenge song with a chorus that will go down very well with fans of Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos or Breaking Bad...

In my mind, I'm Nucky Thompson
In my mind, I'm Tony Soprano
In my mind... I'M WALTER WHITE...



 
 

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Hot 100 Countdown #87





Not many takers for Number 87 on my countdown... in fact only Rigid Digit dared make any suggestions...

David Bowie - '87 and Cry

Is Never Let Me Down Bowie's worst album? It certainly hasn't aged very well. Still, this was in consideration for a little while.

Bouncing Souls - 87

Never heard this one before, but I wouldn't turn it off if it came on the wireless.

Hank Williams III - 87 Southbound

This was also briefly in contention as it does live in the deepest southern reaches of my record collection.

Other possibilities...

Hayes Carll - Highway 87

Hayes passes Hank going in the opposite direction.

Fred Thomas - Expo '87

I get so hung up high on expectations
I get so sick at restaurants and on family vacations
And I leave every situation invariably feeling dumb
But you’ve got to be a little bit dumb
Otherwise you never get anything done
And you’ve gotta be kinda hit
Otherwise you spend your time smiling entirely too much
Wincing while you’re waiting
For that next soft punch

Ah, Fred... you can't half put your finger on it.


But after listening to every 87 song in my collection, I had to crown this one the winner. From Canadian indie-folksters, The Rural Alberta Challenge, the song creates a love story amidst an infamous 1987 tornado that tore through Edmonton in Alberta.

Be warned: the video is seriously creepy!


Next... 86? Could offer some interesting contenders...



Monday, 23 April 2018

Neverending Top Ten #3.1: MOR Monday


The DJ on the radio is talking about 1972.

"1972," says Sam, taking a break from his Blaze & The Monster Machines comic. "That's a long time ago."

"Daddy was born in 1972," I remind him.

"I was born in 2013," he reminds me. "You must have seen a lot more olden day things than me, daddy."

True enough, son. Here's an olden day thing you keep asking me to play again though, from the year before daddy was born...

3.1: Middle of the Road - Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep

Written and originally recorded by Lancashire born Larry Stott (who had a hit with it in Europe and Australia), this was also released by Mac & Katie Kissoon (who took it into the US Top 40) and this Scottish folk-pop band led by Sally Carr... who took it to the top in the UK and sold over 10 million copies in the process. It's an irresistible pop song with a nursery rhyme call-and-response hook... and I loved it when I was 4 years old too.

Still do.

"If you don't like this, you don't like music..."




Sunday, 22 April 2018

Saturday Snapshots #29 - The Answers




If yesterday's clues were all a blur to you... allow me to clear them up.



10. Oy! Rossiter! This is what James Bond might drink on the dark side of the moon.


Martin Rossiter is the lead singer of Gene. Bond would have his martini shaken, not stirred, with Pink Floyd.

Pink Martini - Hey Eugene

Charity Chic got the artist, Chris solved the song.

9. Bounce! Mrs. McCartney loses a: rare grown-up caterpillar.


If something is bouncing, it's bobbing up and down. Linda - a = Lind.

Bob Lind - Elusive Butterfly

Alyson broke out of her chrysalis to solve this one.

8. Women can be just like Van Halen. Crying Clitheroe or Weeping Watford?


A Girl Called Eddy - Tears All Over Town

And another one for Alyson!

7. Split up with your lad? Don't turn a drama into a Cold War crisis.


Fall Out Boy - This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race

And another one for... oh. Nobody. Guess that's a point for me then. (Unless it was answered after 9pm Saturday.)

6. Not Chubby Checker. Not New Order.


Fats Domino - Blue Monday

It never occurred to me before that Chubby Checker was just a rip off of Fats Domino. Perhaps it had occurred to Rigid Digit.

5. I'm overjoyed that you put everything you had into this.


Blood, Sweat & Tears - You've Made Me So Very Happy

Lynchie got this. Alyson kicked herself.

4. Make a big fuss while searching for Wonder Woman.


Hue & Cry - Looking For Linda

CC was this week's early bird... despite the fact that these guys had a lot more hair when they had their hits.

3. The next best thing to your daily song about Slash.


The next best thing to sliced bread?

Bread - Guitar Man

A point for C!

2. Swimsuits murder a song about Princess Leia.


Bikini Kill - Rebel Girl

Charity Chic solved this one eventually... though C and Chris were typing the title at the same time.

1. Jazz label gets mixed up with Bill Hicks musical.


The jazz label would be Bluenote. Mix it up and you get Bluetone. This song is named after a Bill Hicks record. Slight Return also owed a debt to Hicks, which was C's guess, but I prefer the track Rigid Digit eventually identified...

(This has a truly awful video - what were they thinking? - so I've posted the audio only.)


By my reckoning, this week's joint winners with 2 1/2 points each are C and CC. Well done, guys. Excellent teamwork as always.

More next week, double-decker buses permitting...


Saturday, 21 April 2018

Saturday Snapshots #29


Leave your toys in the attic this Saturday morning - come play snapshots instead!

Identify 10 artists and 10 songs from the clues below...


10. Oy! Rossiter! This is what James Bond might drink on the dark side of the moon.


9. Bounce! Mrs. McCartney loses a: rare grown-up caterpillar.


8. Women can be just like Van Halen. Crying Clitheroe or Weeping Watford?


7. Split up with your lad? Don't turn a drama into a Cold War crisis.


6. Not Chubby Checker. Not New Order.


5. I'm overjoyed that you put everything you had into this.


4. Make a big fuss while searching for Wonder Woman.


3. The next best thing to your daily song about Slash.


2. Swimsuits murder a song about Princess Leia.


1. Jazz label gets mixed up with Bill Hicks musical.



So... did any of those dudes look like a lady?

Answers in an elevator... going down tomorrow morning.


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