Tuesday 29 September 2020

Name That Tune: Our Top Ten Barbara Songs

No surprises who introduces us to this week's post. Here she is with Neil, showing us how showbiz should be done...

Barbra Streisand & Neil Diamond - You Don't Bring Me Flowers

As you might expect, this Babs gets name-checked all over the place (in a surprising number of rap tunes, for one thing). 

Alyson says...

A DJ duo called Duck Sauce recorded something called Barbra Streisand in 2010 sampling a Boney M song. Truly terrible but it was big hit.

Duck Sauce - Barbara Streisand

Ms. Streisand also pops up here...

T-Rex - Observations 

Livin' in the car, make it to the bar
We'll meet up with the guys who
Make love to Barbara Streisand
Then we'll all split the scene
Make it like a dream
West Side Brighton, or we're just ridin'
Turn on the chicks and then we'll blow our kicks
And we'll fly high

And, best of all, here...

American Music Club - All Your Jeans Were Too Tight 

You and I brawl
To give me all your clothes
But all your jeans were too tight
And why did you paint your bathroom black
I can understand liking Barbara Streisand
But I'm not sure about the soundtrack from Diva

But back to Alyson...

Other than the obvious Barbra (whom I adore, especially when she sang Guilty with Barry Gibb - there is an excellent clip when she introduces him and he appears from the darkness, a vision in his tight white trousers - 'It oughta be illegal'), there is Barbara Dickson.

This Barbara worked for my friend's dad as a junior civil servant in Rosyth before becoming famous. Quite liked her early stuff and Answer Me is one of the few songs I can sing quite well, as no high notes.

Is there any end to your famous connections, Alyson?

I hope you won't mind that I picked this one as it stuck in my mind from a very young age... I suspect I have Mr. Wogan to thank for that.

Barbara Dickson - January, February

Still, as Charity Chic points out, there are many other famous singing Barbaras...

I've a plethora of Barbara soul singers...

Barbara Acklin - Am I The Same Girl?

Barbara Pennington - 24 Hours A Day

Barbara Lynn - You'll Lose A Good Thing

Barbara McNair - It Happens Every Time

Barbara Randolph - I Got A Feeling

Barbara Jean English - I'm Living A Lie

And let's not forget...

Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin - It's My Party

Barbara Mandrell & George Jones - I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool 

Barbara Jones - Just When I Needed You Most

Barbara Keith - Detroit Or Buffalo

And they were just the ones I found on my hard-drive.

But what of the Barbara songs?

Let's start with this week's elephant in the room, shall we?

Heaven help us, says Martin...

Aqua - Barbie Girl

I listened to one second of that and it was enough to bring back nightmares. And Rigid Digit agrees...

I'll happily never hear that song again having spent a weeks holiday with 4 daughters under 10 singing it constantly.

I still get shivers.

I should probably have not suggested Barbie... I'm not even sure it is derived from Barbara. Still, while we're here, can we find a decent Barbie song?

Jim in Dubai thinks not...

Big In Japan - Cindy & The Barbi Dolls 

(Almost as bad as Aqua.)

Still, Jim does also offer this, which is a hell of a lot better...

Shonen Knife - Twist Barbie

And I also found these, each one better than the last...

Pink! - Barbies

Little Jackie - Black Barbie

Dolly Parton - Backwoods Barbie

Rialto - Broken Barbie Doll

However, Rigid Digit wins the prize for best song to mention a Barbie... although it's a bit of a stretch.

Carter USM - Sherriff Fatman

Moving up on second base
Behind Nicholas van what's-his-face
At six foot six and a hundred tons
The undisputed king of the slums
With more aliases than Klaus Barbie
The master butcher of Leigh-on-Sea
Just about to take the stage
The one and only - hold the front page

Stay with Rigid Digit, but moving on to actual Barbaras...

Pere Ubu - Nonalignment Pact

Carrie Ann
And Betty Jean
And Sue
Barbara Ann
It's all because of you
It's all because of you girl

Although I do have to disqualify that under the Song For Whoever Rule. Sorry, RD.

What else did you have for me this week? 

Let's ask C...

Herman's Hermits - Lady Barbara 

A sweet song, and Peter Noone was so sweet-faced too (my big sister had such a crush on him she used to cry whenever he came on the telly).

Reminds me of listening to Brian Matthews, Radio 2, Saturday mornings. As for Peter and his Hermits... well, they don't make album covers like this anymore, do they?

For a different kind of loveliness, says The Swede (from whom, more in a moment) try...

John Fahey - Barbara Namkin Blues

Meanwhile Martin also offers...

The Temptations - Barbara

Lyrically, there's... 

Vampire Weekend - Hannah Hunt 

In Santa Barbara Hannah cried, amidst those frozen beaches

And didn't We Are Scientists have an album called Barbara?

Apparently so. I have no idea why.

We Are Scientists - I Don't Bite 

Jim in Dubai adds...

If you could stretch it a little, I could have also added 

Duran Duran - Electric Barbarella 

The Photos - Barbarellas

(That last one was on my longlist, Jim.)

Finally, you'll be be glad to know that my millennial hipster politico friend, Ben, found himself dragged back into making suggestions again this week... even though it wasn't all about him. I don't expect him to stay around since I'm sure he'll be distracted by some other bright shiny things very soon. Young people today. Etc. Still, while he's here, I'm happy to share his ideas... 

Regina Spektor - Chemo Limo

Oh my god, Barbara
She looks so much just like my mom

Because that was on my longlist too. Along with...

Johnny Cash - The Ballad of Barbara

Rufus Wainwright - Barbara

Aerosmith - Major Barbra

Dolly Parton - Barbara On Your Mind

Bobby Vee - Please Don't Ask About Barbara

Peter Frampton - Barbara's Vacation

That's pretty awful. I only include it to show there are worse Barbara records than Duck Sauce or even Barbie Girl. I mean, it's almost as bad as this...

Ringo Starr - English Garden

Barbara and me in our English garden.
Barbara, buster and me in our English garden
(and you too Monty) in our English garden.

Better lyrical offerings came from...

Boz Scaggs - You Got Some Imagination

Lean and mean, Barbara Jean
You got a mind like a tattle tale magazine
So stop your scheming you must be dreaming
To think I'd fall for you
You got some imagination

Adam Green - Crackhouse Blues

Now the captain ran for cover when the steamboats crashed
Driving off the bridges cause they got no class
Barbara's got my number, now I've got to run
Pizzas to deliver in the crackhouse slum, you know

Bobby Bare - A Million Miles To The City

Well, how far away is the city? 

You know that's a great big town

And Barbara said why it's a million miles 

And then the story got around

Brad Paisley - Celebrity

I'll get to cry to Barbara Walters when things don't go my way
And I'll get community service no matter which law I break
I'll make the supermarket tabloids, they'll write some awful stuff
But the more they run my name down the more my price goes up

Melissa Etheridge - You Can Sleep While I Drive

We'll go thorough Tucson up to Santa Fe
And Barbara in Nashville says we're welcome to stay
I'll buy you glasses in Texas a hat from New Orleans
And in the morning you can tell me your dreams

And finally this, which came very close just because it's The Hold Steady...

 The Hold Steady - Don't Let Me Explode

Saint Barbara I'm calling your name. 
Don't let me blow up.
We'll hook it all up. 
I guess there's fields of speed where there's fields of grain.
Saint Barbara don't let me explode. 
I can feel the whole scene starting to corrode when we're fooling around on the frontage roads.

But there could only be ten.

And here they are...

10. Father John Misty - Leaving LA

I'm starting the countdown with this one just to bait my millennial hipster politico friend, Ben, who texted earlier in the week to tell me:

New Fleet Foxes album is awful. There, I saved you some time.

I'll make up my own mind about that, thank you very much. 

The worst thing that could ever come from Foxes? I Love You, Honeybear.

Undaunted in the face of his youthful denunciation, I do like me some Father John Misty. As has been previously established here. I'm sorry, but lyrically, this is right up my cross-section...

My first memory of music's from
The time at JC Penney's with my mom
The watermelon candy I was choking on
Barbara screaming, "Someone help my son!"
I relive it most times the radio's on
That "tell me lies, sweet little white lies" song
That's when I first saw the comedy won't stop for
Even little boys dying in department stores

9. The Everly Brothers - Barbara Allen 

The Swede says...

Shirley Collins has recorded the ballad 'Barbara Allen' at least three times over the years, most recently for her latest LP 'Heart’s Ease', but I'd personally go for the 1968 version from 'The Power Of The True Love Knot', featuring her sister Dolly's ghostly flute-organ accompaniment. 

Shirley Collins - Barbara Allen

But, with a song as old as this, there were many different versions to choose from, and I found the Everly's harmonies a little easier on the ear. Sorry about that, Swede

I was even tempted to go with this version...

Frank Turner - Barbara Allen 

Charity Chic adds:

Emmylou Harris' Going Down to Harlan also references Barbara Allen...

Emmylou Harris - Going Down to Harlan

And if you were Willie Moore
And I was Barbara Allen
Or Fair Ellen all sad at the cabin door
A weepin' and a-pinin' for love
A weepin' and a-pinin' for love

8. Pavement - Rattled By The Rush 

Winning the Rhyme of The Week award, hands down...

Getting off, on the candelabra
We call her Barbara
Breeding like larva

7. The Boomtown Rats - Diamond Smiles 

Before saving the world and losing his cool in one go, Bob Geldof was a great pop star. This is one of my favourite Rats songs that wasn't a Number One. Plus it mentions Barbara Cartland, so any excuse...

Everybody tries,
It's Dale Carnegie gone wild,
But Barbara Cartland's child
Long ago perfected the motionless glide.

6. Grant Hart - Barbara

Grant Hart had a song called Barbara on his Hot Wax album, says Swiss Adam, who's still kicking himself for missing the first post in this series. Never mind, this is a cracking track that more than makes up for your absence there, SA.

Barbara, always avoids unpleasant situations
She rides right next to me, between the streetcar stations
Her knees are big and bony, she takes up all the cushions
Barbara, always avoids unpleasant situations

And I just added Grant Hart to my Requires Further Investigation list. Even before I realised he used to be in Hüsker Dü.

5. Shirley Brown - Woman To Woman

Shirley finds Barbara's name & number in her husband's pocket and makes a call that basically says: Back off, Bitch.

As a sweet soul ballad, of course.

4. John Prine - Come Back to Us Barbara Lewis, Hare Krishna Beauregard

It's John Prine. I'd happily give John Prine a honorary position in this chart every week.

I gotta shake myself and wonder
Why she even bothers me
For if heartaches were commercials
We'd all be on TV

3. Fountains of Wayne - Barbara H

Martin suggested Seatbacks and Traytables for another Santa Barbara reference... 

Is that Santa Barbara? 
I think I've been there

It's a fine song, but I felt there was a more obvious song from the FoW guys.

So did Jim in Dubai. 

I think the obvious FoW song is Barbara H.

2. Flight of the Conchords - We're Both In Love With A Sexy Lady

Came very close to topping the chart this time, especially as it's about both a Barbara and a... erm... Brabra.

This was also the first suggestion to come through from my millennial hipster politico friend Ben... so there's obviously a reason I keep him around.

1. The Beach Boys - Barbara Ann

As Martin said, this was the "obligatory, obvious" Number One.

Not a Brian Wilson original, it was originally recorded in 1961 by The Regents. There are similarities to the more famous version, but it also sounds very much of its time. The Beach Boys version (with Dean Torrance from Jan & Dean sharing an uncredited lead vocal with Brian) is timeless.

There's a purity to early Beach Boys recordings that is unmatched in the entire sphere of popular music.

A pretty hyperbolic statement, no?

Listen to this and tell me I'm wrong...


(We may need a bigger boat.)

Sunday 27 September 2020

Saturday Snapshots #156 - The Answers


It's Sunday morning. Do you know where your answers are?

10. Maternal advice from Larry... or Indiana. 

Larry Hagman played J.R. Ewing.

Indiana was Henry Jones Jr.

Junior - Mama Used To Say 

9. Laine too long on the beach? That's why your clock went missing. 

Denny Laine on a Sandy beach?

Sandy Denny - Who Knows Where The Time Goes?

8. Lindsay Anderson's conditional in sad notes.

Lindsay Anderson made the film If... which is a conditional.

The Bluetones - If...

7. Tune in with the end of your sleeve.

What's on the end of your sleeve? A cuff!

Roy Acuff - Turn Your Radio On

6. Caught in lessons.

Caught = Busted!

Busted - That's What I Go To School For

(That's the 21st Century version of this.)

5. A tiny one thousandth, suckers! 

A small milli?

Millie Small - My Boy Lollipop

4. Tyger cubs found in septic tank.

William Blake wrote Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright...

Blake Babies - Cesspool

(Juliana Hatfield there, folks.)

3. Royal pooches reluctantly join #6.

The Queen loves her corgis.

Reluctantly joining Busted in school, because...

The Korgis - Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime 

2. Looking for a different bloke? Choose a frisky one who's into ideologies.

You need a new man? Watch out if he's Randy!

Randy Newman - Political Science

1. Foxy chef can't tell you when the Battle of Hastings happened.

Sam Fox cooks?

Don't know much about history...

Saturday Snapshots returns next week... even if the world ain't that wonderful right now.

Saturday 26 September 2020

Saturday Snapshots #156


If your brain is M*A*S*H*ed on a Saturday morning after another week of living through the horizon-less half life of our current existence... here's something to take your mind of it for a few seconds.

Identify ten top tunes and them what sang them from the clues below. You may need to be Hawkeyes... 

10. Maternal advice from Larry... or Indiana. 

9. Laine too long on the beach? That's why your clock went missing. 

8. Lindsay Anderson's conditional in sad notes.

7. Tune in with the end of your sleeve.

6. Caught in lessons.

5. A tiny one thousandth, suckers! 

4. Tyger cubs found in septic tank.

3. Royal pooches reluctantly join #6.

2. Looking for a different bloke? Choose a frisky one who's into ideologies.

1. Foxy chef can't tell you when the Battle of Hastings happened.

Ignore what they say. Suicide isn't painless... so join me here again tomorrow morning for the answers.

Thursday 24 September 2020

Guest Post Thursday #12: A Tour of Scotland in Ten Songs

At last! I guilt-tripped Alyson into writing a guest post! And what a guest post it is too. One of my favourites. I almost feel like my work here is done...

As a frequent visitor to Rol’s blog, and as someone who had been pressing Lynchie to offer up a guest post for many years (which he did with aplomb and kick-started this series I think*), it was inevitable the pressure would be on to come up with something myself. Blind panic set in, as although I don’t mind sharing some dubious song choices over at my place, the thought of doing so here was more than a tad disconcerting**.

(*Actually, it was JC who kicked us off... although Lynchie's post arrived synchronously to that. - Rol.)

(** I don't see why. Rarely a post goes by in which I don't share a dubious song choice. - Rol.)

After a few false starts I decided to get back to the host himself and ask for an idea…, a prompt. If it all went horribly wrong, I could blame him (no not really). A few years back I started writing an American Odyssey in Song, a series which was great fun to put together but by the time I reached Delaware I was stumped, and so ended the journey. Rol reminded me of that series and suggested a Scottish Odyssey instead as a guest post idea. As our travelling habits have been seriously curtailed this year by the pesky pandemic, and staycations are now the order of the day, let’s get our kilts on and journey the length and breadth of this country I call home, in song. (The songs are listed in no particular order.)

1. Deacon Blue – Dignity

And I’ll sail her up the west coast
Through villages and towns…

Oh yes, Ricky, having seen many boats yesterday on the Caledonian Canal, it seems that’s just what many of us are doing at the moment and they may well be on their way to the west coast. On a technicality they won’t “pass through” many villages and towns but they may well stop off at places like Ullapool which is as far as I’ve travelled out of Inverness this year. Their Seafood Shack serves up award-winning street food and if you want to try Lobster Thermidor for less than 18 quid, that’s where you’d head. Their annual music festival called Loopallu (see what they did there) was cancelled this year but let’s hope it will return in 2021.

2. Gerry Cinnamon – Belter

I think I love her
She gets underneath my skin
But I’ve been stung a few times, so I don’t let no one in
No even belters!

DD returned from Glasgow recently after spending a year down there working/having her heart broken. She generally fits into any situation pretty well but during her first week she was seriously struggling. Why? The banter in her new workplace was in the local dialect, and it took her a while to tune in.

Gerry Cinnamon is a recent discovery for me but if you want to hear someone sing with a Glaswegian accent, this is your man. The girl in the song is a belter, different from the rest but he’s scared to let down his guard for fear of being hurt. Indeed Gerry, we’ve all been there.

3. Andy Stewart – Donald Where’s Your Troosers?

Anyone familiar with 1960s television schedules will remember we were inflicted with The White Heather Show on a weekly basis. All very stereotypically Scottish what with the tartan and the traditional songs. A bit before my time but the host was a favourite son of Scotland, Andy Stewart from Arbroath, famous for its “smokies”. These fishy delicacies are now geographically protected foodstuffs, with production limited to within 4 km of Arbroath.

By some strange quirk of fate, breakfast DJ Simon Mayo discovered Andy’s novelty song Donald Where’s Your Troosers in 1989 and helped it get to the top of the charts.This could be a difficult listen I grant you, but bear with it, as Andy was a great impressionist as well as a singer/comedian and his attempt at mimicking Elvis (at 1:45) is still really funny. For any true Scotsman, falling at a ball in a slippery hall could be quite dangerous.

A lassie took me to a ball
And it was slippery in the hall
And I was feared that I would fall
For I had nae on my troosers

4. Altered Images – I Could Be Happy

Most of us of a certain age will remember the film Gregory’s Girl. It was set in and around a state secondary school in Cumbernauld. The New Town (designated in 1955) featured heavily in the film and during my only visit to Cumbernauld, I spotted the big clock in the local shopping centre where Gregory was due to meet his date for the evening. In a roundabout way the date ends up being with Susan, played by pop pixie Claire Grogan from the band Altered Images. She was definitely on a roll that year and her character Susan even ended up with the boy of her dreams, the awkward and gangly Gregory, much to the envy of his socially inept friends. For them the die was cast, it was Caracas or bust.

I would like to climb high in a tree
I could be happy, I could be happy

5. Runrig – Loch Lomond

My first visit to Loch Lomond was last year when we went to visit DD in her new abode. It was a bit of a shock to the system as unlike our own Loch Ness, which is on my doorstep, it is serviced by giant carparks and shopping malls. Understandable I suppose it being so close to Glasgow, but just hadn’t expected it.

Celtic rock band Runrig hail from the Isle of Skye (also mentioned in Claire and Andy’s songs) but back in 1991 they performed a massive concert at Loch Lomond in front of a crowd of biblical proportions. They had a bit of a cult following back then and when they sang the traditional song Loch Lomond, interspersed with lines in their native Gaelic, it sent shivers down the spine.

Ho, ho mo leannan
Ho mo leannan bhoidheach

Lead singer of the time Donnie Munro taught my husband art at school in the 1970s and when he’d told the class he was involved with a band that played a kind of Gaelic/Celtic rock, they were highly sceptical. He certainly proved them all wrong.

6. Danny Wilson – Aberdeen

Should you go to Aberdeen
Tell me what you find
A girl I know in Aberdeen
Who left her heart behind

We’re off to Aberdeen now, a city I am really familiar with as I spent nearly half my life there or thereabouts. It probably still is the Oil Capital of Europe but with the black stuff being bad news nowadays, it will have to reinvent itself in the next decade or so I imagine. I still feel bad when people talk about the awfulness of the 1980s, what with high unemployment and social unrest – In Aberdeen we’d never had it so good and it did feel as if the streets were paved with gold. Our football team even won the European Cup Winners Cup (it’s painful on the ears but there was even a song about it.

As for Danny Wilson, they were short-lived but left us with some great songs (Mary's Prayer). Their lead singer Gary Clark often used to head up to Aberdeen from his home in Dundee which is how this song came about. It seems we had people we knew in common and I feel sure I must have been in his company at some point during my student years. Of course, back then he wasn’t Gary Clark from Danny Wilson but simply that guy from Dundee who was up for the weekend. How it goes.

7. The Waterboys – Whole Of The Moon

It’s not even a real place but back in 1985, son of Edinburgh Mike Scott wrote these fine lyrics. Brigadoon is a miraculously blessed village that rises out of the mists every hundred years, for only a day – An MGM, Gene Kelly/Cyd Charisse version of Scotland, but whenever I’m feeling a bit negative I try to remember Mike’s words. It sums up how we’d all like to be in life, but not always easy to get into that mindset, especially at the moment. Note to self: Must try harder.

I saw the rain dirty valley
You saw, “Brigadoon”
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon

8. Associates – Party Fears Two

I had really enjoyable wee holiday in Dundee a couple of years back and now think of it fondly as the city of Jam, Jute, Journalism and the Party Fears Two. We sampled the jam, visited an old jute mill, and took in a DC Thomson exhibition showcasing those great characters Dennis the Menace, Oor Wullie and Desperate Dan.

So what if this party fears two?
The alcohol loves you while turning you blue
View it from here from closer to near
Awake me

Another great character from Dundee was the sadly-taken-too-young Billy MacKenzie of the Associates. Once seen never forgotten and those soaring high tenor vocals were a joy to listen to. The lyrics apparently came about after watching two girls trying to get into a party – they were smashing windows and attempting to kick the door in with their stiletto heels, so were christened the Party Fears Two!

9. The Bay City Rollers – Shang-A-Lang

There is a large park in Edinburgh to the south of the city centre called The Meadows and last time we were there I noticed a hospital bordering it on one side. It’s called Simpsons and I remembered that all five Bay City Rollers had been born there (too much time spent reading teen mags in the 1970s). Was there ever a group of lads less well equipped to become tartan teen sensations? It is well documented that despite their global success they ended up with none of the spondulicks. The Beatles had a mania, and so did these five boys from Edinburgh – Who would have thought it possible?

Yeah, we sang shang-a-lang
And we ran with the gang
Doin’ doo-op-dooby-doo-i

You might think we all prance around in full highland dress up here, showcasing our very best versions of the Gay Gordons or the Dashing White Sergeant, but you’d be wrong. Last time I was at a wedding it was Shang-A-Lang that got everyone up on the dance floor, and why not.

10. Sunshine On Leith – The Proclaimers

The Proclaimers have written some great songs but this one is still my favourite, their love letter to Leith, a now very gentrified district in the north of Edinburgh, and the place of their birth. I’m certainly not a fan of Hibernian FC but seeing the crowd on the terraces sing this song is something that always brings a tear to my eye.

While I’m worth my room on this earth
I will be with you
While the Chief, puts sunshine on Leith
I’ll thank Him for His work
And your birth and my birth

Where’s that box of tissues?

Thanks again, Alyson. A lot of time and effort went into that. I just feel bad that it stopped you writing your own blog for a couple of weeks.

The doors are still open on this feature, folks. Let me know if you'd like to contribute.

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Positive Songs For Negative Times #29: Waiting For The Light To Turn Green

 This is my work mask...

This is my going out mask...

(Bonus points for anyone who recognises the design.)

Amazing how quickly we became used to this, isn't it?

And now THEY say there's another lockdown imminent. The Second Wave. "Winter is coming..."

We're all just waiting for the light to turn green, aren't we? But will it...?

 It's raining in my coffee cup
Comin' down since I got up today, cold and gray
And lookin' in my rear view mirror
I could be anywhere but here I am, traffic jam

All these people without names
Everyday we face the same routine
Waiting for the light to turn green

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Name That Tune: Our Top Ten Ben Songs


These are The Bens, a super-group comprising of Ben Folds, Ben Lee and Ben Kweller, artists who all did time in my record collection before joining together like the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers into a huge unstoppable indie robot of destruction. Or something.

Ben Folds - Rockin' The Suburbs

Ben Lee - 10 Feet Tall

Ben Kweller - Careless

The Bens - Just Pretend

Anyway, they seemed the perfect choice to illustrate our choice of Ben, Benjamin and Benny songs, although you guys were also kind enough to suggest...

Jim in Dubai...

Little Benny & The Masters - Who Comes to Boogie


Jorge Ben - Taj Mahal (Unconsciously Plagiarised by Rod Stewart on Do Ya Thing I'm Sexy)


Benny - Die Wieder Frei (German Ca Plane Pour Moi)

There's German version!? Brilliant!

Then came Brian with these doozies...

Benny Profane (known by a few for the C86-era "hit" Hang Fire)

Couldn't find Hang Fire on t'internet, Brian, but I did find this one...

Benny Profane - Rob A Bank

LaBrenda Ben (lost Motown artist from very early '60s, beautiful voice)

LaBrenda Ben & The Beljeans - The Chaperone

Lost Motown truly is the gift that keeps giving.

Benny Benjamin (drummer, legendary Motown studio band the Funk Brothers)

The internet seems mostly convinced that Benny played drums on one of the greatest records ever made... any excuse to squeeze that in.

The Isley Brothers - This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)

Bennie Benjamin (songwriter best known for Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood)

I doubt you'll object to me playing this version, Brian...

Elvis Costello - Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

Benny Goodman ('nuff said)

Benny Goodman - Stompin' At The Savoy


What about The Swede?

If we're talking performers I'd go for Benmont Tench, who has played with all manner of people, not least Tom Petty and Bob Dylan.

He's pretty good on his own too...

Benmont Tench - Veronica Said

What about George? Well, he's obviously on commission from these guys...

Before anyone else gets there...........Benjamin and Barnaby Green, one of Portugal's top pop acts!

Benjamim & Barnaby Keen - Madrugada

And then there's my millennial hipster politico friend, Ben, who is way too young and cool to participate in blog-reading. He's of the podcast generation. Which, if you ask me, are just blogs for people too lazy to read. Anyway, Ben suggests...

Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie 

Ben's choice of song is a b-side ("because, of course...") cover of a Freedy Johnston song... 

Death Cab For Cutie - Bad Reputation 

I should take this opportunity to point out I have a Ben Gibbard live solo track in my hard drive (plus all the obvious Death Cab stuff) and it too is a cover...

Ben Gibbard - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Anyway, more from my millennial hipster politico friend, Ben later.

At this point, I feel I should remind you all of the rules to this game. We're not after artists with the name Ben (although I'm happy to give them a mention if they're of the calibre of the Bens above)... but songs that feature them.

John Medd likes to have his cake and eat it...

Here's a twofer: 

Ben Webster - the best tenor sax player of his, or indeed any, generation - with Ben's Blues.

Ben Webster - Ben's Blues 

Here's another one from me... kind of.

André 3000 - A Life in the Day of Benjamin André

But what of the SONGS?

Here's some you suggested that didn't quite make the cut, starting with Martin...

I almost included that one in the Ten, just to annoy George.

The Swede?

Can't think of Focus without hearing...

“After the Identical Cocteau Twins, came the final act, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Focus.”

What have you got, Walter?

There are many Benny's around: 

Toy Dolls - Benny The Boxer

Madness - Benny Bullfrog

The Fall - Who Makes The Nazis?

Who makes the Nazis?
Benny's cob-web eyes!
Who makes the Nazis?
Bad-bias TV
Arena badges
BBC, George Orwell, Burmese Police!

That one did make me smile. Thanks, Walter.

Rigid Digit, meanwhile, has a contentious argument regarding good & bad...

The Good: 

Iron Maiden - The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg

The Bad: in We Didn't Start The Fire, Billy Joel (not Benny Joel) lists:

Buddy Holly, Ben-Hur
Space Monkey, Mafia
Hula Hoops, Castro
Edsel is a no-go

It runs to 4 verses before he realises that he's only got to 1963, so compresses the next 30 years into a single verse.

Now even if you didn't know (which you do) that Billy is one of my favourite artists, RD... well, I never understood the hate that's always thrown at this track. It's almost become cool to hate on it. But even though it's not Billy's finest hour, I will defend it to my dying day. It's a great pop song.

The bleedin' awful (although some may like it): that song by Wacko Jacko about a rat.

Yes, we'll get to that in a moment.

First though, here are the scrapings from my hard-drive...

I should stop right there, I know.

This week's runner up comes from Brian. It would have made the Top Ten on its title alone... had I been able to find a link to it anywhere online.

The Sugarplastic - Ben Takes a Walk to Lose Company and on the Way He Sees Some Ice Skaters

OK... onto The Top Ten...

10. Michael Jackson - Ben

Let's start with the elephant in the room, shall we?


As for Ben songs, I don't have much. Will there ever be a time when it's ok to enjoy MJ songs in a guilt-free manner? I always loved the rat song so hope it does end up in there but would understand why it might not.

What about my millennial hipster politico friend, Ben? If anyone can advise us on such a PC-minefield, surely it's him? Except... turns out it's a little more complicated than that.

I'm named after the Ben that Michael Jackson sang about in the 80s. 

Ouch. So you're named after a rat?

No, that sick kid who died in the hospital in the 80s.

Now I have to admit that I have no recollection of this myself, but my millennial hipster politico friend Ben claims that MJ sang the song as a tribute to a sick child back in the decade he was only born right at the end of. I did question what he knew of the 80s based on his tender years, to which he replied:

I use Boys From The Black Stuff and Robert Palmer as the two extremes, then just make assumptions about what goes in between.

(This is the kind of reply that makes me feel like Ben and I should do our own middle-aged loser vs. hipster politico podcast... however, the likelihood of me ever having the time to indulge in such fripperies seems zero.)

Anyway, the point is, I never really got an answer on whether it's OK to listen to Michael Jackson songs these days. So I'll play this instead...

Crispin Glover - Ben

I mean, you can't argue with George McFly, can you?

9. Lee Scratch Perry - Big Ben Rock

Thanks to The Swede. Didn't sound at all like I imagined it would. I like to be surprised.

On the subject of Big Big, Jim In Dubai gives us...

The Monochrome Set - Big Ben Bongo

Brian suggests...

Roddy Frame - Big Ben

While The Soul Of A Collector offers a favourite of mine from years gone by...

If we are allowed to include clocks in the figurin', then I am guessing there are a number of songs alluding to London's famous timepiece, the best of which I can come up with is:

The Beautiful South - From Under The Covers

It's 6.00am and even Big Ben
Is trying to get his head down for a kip
But no sooner is it down
And then it's on with dressing gown
For this city very rarely loses grip...

And how could we let Big Ben pass without mentioning this...?

Roger Miller - England Swings

(Be warned, if you click on the link you'll be whistling that all week.)

England swings like a pendulum do
Bobbies on bicycles, two by two
Westminster Abbey, the tower of Big Ben
The rosy-red cheeks of the little children

8. The Cryan' Shames - Ben Franklin's Almanac

Suggested by both Charity Chic and C, who adds...

Ah, Ben/Benjamin, my first love was called Ben, and I have fond memories of holding hands with him on a Summer afternoon. I was only six (and so was he, I hasten to add!)

As for songs - I brought Mr SDS (who is not called Ben) in on this one and he came up with a slice of '60s garage pop called 'Ben Franklin's Almanac' by the Cryan' Shames. None from me, I'm afraid.

7. Bobbie Gentry - Benjamin

Because Bobbie Gentry deserves a place in any Top Ten I can get her into.

6. Steve Earle - Ben McCulloch

Top suggestion from Charity Chic and Lynchie.

Goddamn you Ben McCulloch
I hate you more than any other man alive
And when you die you'll be a foot soldier just like me
In the Devil's infantry

5.  Veruca Salt - Benjamin 

This one was suggested by my millennial hipster politico friend Ben, who always insists he isn't a Benjamin himself.

I should point out that when I asked him to contribute to this post, I did tell him that the choice of name for this week was in no way down to him. Subconsciously, however, it probably was, since our ongoing text chats about music, film, comics and the occasional bit of politics (which I only pretend to understand) over the past few months have been one of the only things that have kept me sane. I should thank him for that. But I probably won't because neither of us do sincerity very well.

Ben's lyrical suggestion was this...

MF Doom - Is He Ill?

British born rapper who wears a Doctor Doom mask to perform and the song features the line:

Getting Benjamins like Nettenyahu

...speaking to the absolute corruption of Nettenyahu as the leader of the Israeli state whilst putting a spin on the traditional rap conceit of hustling, suggesting it's not always a good thing.

Don't worry, I didn't understand that either. But I do like that he wears a Dr. Doom mask. 

4. Ben Folds - Hiroshima (B-B-B-Benny Hits His Head)

Oh, look, it's that Ben Folds guy again. I don't feel too bad about featuring him twice (as I've long been a huge fan) because Alyson emphatically stated:

Ben Folds for the artist.

And Martin added:

Plus anything by the always-excellent Ben Folds Five.

This isn't actually by the Five, but it does owe more than a little debt to this...

(As does Ben's whole career, come to think of it.)

3. Elton John - Bennie & The Jets

I'll start with the obvious one, said Charity Chic, and indeed it was, so a few of you also suggested it. It's a great live performance, lyrically satirising the music industry of the 70s, with more than just a passing nod to Ziggy Stardust, I reckon, care of Bernie Taupin.

And if you don't like that, perhaps you'll prefer the Beastie Boys... ahem... "sloppy version"...

Beastie Boys - Benny & The Jets

(They changed the spelling, not me.)

2. Heavenly - Ben Sherman

Top of Brian's list and almost at the top of mine. Brilliant stuff.

He's saving up for a new Ben Sherman
He says he'd like to fuck Uma Thurman
I don't think that he'll get too far
With either those dreams
He's got his eyes on a pair of Pumas
He says I should cut my hair like Uma's
If he thinks I'd go along with
His sordid fancies

1. Shack - Streets Of Kenny

I've got to give this week's win to John Medd though. It's only a lyrical nod (in a song already featured in Kenny Wednesdays, way back when)... but what a song!

Looking for the boys again
Can't find Joe or Benny


Once again, there will be an obvious Number One. But what else can you find to fill out the 10...?

Sunday 20 September 2020

Saturday Snapshots #155 - The Answers


Well, we're still here. New blogger hasn't deleted the answers... yet.

Better read them quick though...

10. Margot & Joan relocate to Washington... visiting a beautiful symbol of freedom on the way.

Margot Fonteyn & Joan Fontaine move to Washington DC, visiting the Liberty Belle along the way (so I guess they went via Philly).

9. Marx writes about honey oaks... while the Queen gives thanks.

Their name was based on political writing by Italian Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci.

Honey oaks would contain wood bees.

Aretha was the Queen of Soul.

8. I'm a hearty rug... and I need a tipple.

"I'm a hearty rug" was an anagram.

7. Often found in a Hitchcock movie: a stout draught.

Hitchcock movies often contain a twist or two.

Draughts are Checkers, so a stout draught would be a...

6. Two tins. How rude!

5. Punctuated by nemeses of spiders or captains... ducts run dry.

A question mark is punctuation.

Spider-Man fought Mysterio, Captain Scarlet fought The Mysterons.

4. Top up twice, like an old court and Joan... the answer's obvious, darling.

Top up twice = two fills.

The Old Bailey.

Joan Collins.

The answer is... easy, lover.

3. Losing their religion... but still very compassionate.

2. A Big Spender or a Big Daddy... and their business. Triple pity.

Shirley Bassey was looking for a Big Spender.

Shirley Crabtree was Big Daddy.

1. Spotlight on part of a 6 pack, bleating.

Ab(s) are part of a 6 pack. Bleating is what sheep do... baa.

The spotlight has beams that are gonna blind me...

Rosario Dawson is too cool for silly puns. See you back here next week (new blogger permitting)...

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