Sunday 28 February 2021

Saturday Snapshots #178: A Top Ten Guitar Songs

That wasn't too difficult, was it?


(If you wonder why I call these lists A Top Ten... rather than THE Top Ten..., it's because there are some songs I have to leave out to avoid too much artist repetition. Like...

Bruce Springsteen - House Of A Thousand Guitars


Magnetic Fields - Acoustic Guitar

 ...for just two examples.)

Anyway, these are the guitar songs I ended up with following an exhaustive selection process...

10. The best ale will really scramble your brain.

"The best ale" unscrambled is...

The Beatles - While My Guitar Gently Weeps 

9. Room for treating dried up grass in mason's house.

A room for treating dried grass would be a Hay-ward. Masons live in a Lodge.

Justin Hayward & John Lodge - Blue Guitar

8. Boston girl meets fortune teller who can't read.

Boston sang about Amanda.

A palm reader without the read would be A Palm-er.

Amanda Palmer - Guitar Hero

7. Godard, Hitchcock, Scorsese... Tarantino?

They're all directors who may or may not be considered auteurs.

The Auteurs - American Guitars 

6. A nobleman, like a Scottish monarch.

A nobleman would be an Earl.

A Scottish Monarch might be a Mc-Queen... just like Steve McQueen.

Steve Earle - Guitar Town

5. I get mixed up in a casual windmill.

"Casual windmill" with an extra I mixed into it leaves you with an anagram for...

Lucinda Williams - Real Live Bleeding Fingers And Broken Guitar Strings

Or you could have had this John Denver cover...

Lucinda Williams - This Old Guitar

4. Dead cockneys.

"Brown bread" is Cockney rhyming slang for dead.

Bread - Guitar Man 

3. German clarinet?

A Gerry reed instrument?

Jerry Reed - Guitar Man

2. Bill or Hal? (The latter, not so much these days.)

William and Harry are both Princes... although Harry is in question at the moment.

Prince - Guitar

(If you need a reminder of what a great guitarist Prince was, click that link.)

1. Boastful goat.

Still as blisteringly exciting as when I first heard it...

"The time that it takes to make a baby
Could be the time it takes to make a cup of tea..."

You old romantic, Bill...

More next week!

Saturday 27 February 2021

Saturday Snapshots #178

If you feel like you're Bissett on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men... then here's Saturday Snapshots to cheer you up. 

Identify the 10 artists below, then think of the theme that connects their songs, then identify the tunes.

Hopefully you won't have to think too Deep...

10. The best ale will really scramble your brain.

9. Room for treating dried up grass in mason's house.

8. Boston girl meets fortune teller who can't read.

7. Godard, Hitchcock, Scorsese... Tarantino?

6. A nobleman, like a Scottish monarch.

5. I get mixed up in a casual windmill.

4. Dead cockneys.

3. German clarinet?

2. Bill or Hal? (The latter, not so much these days.)

1. Boastful goat.

Class dismissed... until tomorrow morning.

Friday 26 February 2021

Positive Songs For Negative Times #42: Worry B Gone

It's all right.

Everything's going to be ALL RIGHT.

Because now we have a roadmap out of lockdown.

Steps 4 and 5, where we go back into Lockdown #3, not pictured.

Well, everywhere I look, trouble is all I see
Can't listen to the radio and I hate TV
There's trouble with the air, trouble with the water
People ain't treatin' one another like they oughta
So gimme just one more puff of that Worry B Gone...

Thursday 25 February 2021

MId-Life Crisis Songs #60: Where There's A Will...


There's nothing more guaranteed to make you feel the mid-life dread than when your other half convinces you it's time to get a will.

What do I need a will for? If I die, it all goes to you.

Yes, but what if we both die?

Then it all goes to Sam.

But who's going to look after him till he's an adult?


And what if all three of us die?

If all three of us die, what do we care where - what little we have - goes after that? It's no use to us.

We have to decide.

Thank god there's a practical one in this house, I guess, who can think about such things. Me, I just go along...

But if this blog suddenly goes quiet next week... can I just ask you all to call a snoopy-nosed detective?

The final stinger?

How much you have to pay a bloody solicitor to write your wills!

After that, we won't have anything left to leave anyway.

Here's a song from that Bahamas album that made it into my Top 20 Albums of 2020. It's about money, and how we spend it, and where that leads us. It's a simple morality tale in 4 minutes ten, and it's very funky.

Yes, we had the house
And we have the car
And paid for it all
On some credit card
Now that ain't right

My second home
Your student loan
And every year I got myself a brand new phone
Can't do without
Don't have the nerve
I tell myself that these are things that I deserve

Wednesday 24 February 2021

Mid-Life Crisis Songs #59: Letting You Go

Last week, I posted a song by Ingrid Andress, written from the perspective of a daughter who knew that if her new man left her after he'd met her parents, he'd be "breaking more hearts than mine". Alyson commented that the song hit the spot for her, both as a daughter and the mother of a 20-something.

Well, here's another one I think you'll appreciate, Alyson. And maybe a few more of you might too. This one is written from the perspective of a girl's father... but mothers, fathers, sons, daughters... I think it says something to all of us. From the latest Jason Isbell album, which is still ticking over in my car (not that I get to drive much at the moment).

The nurse helped us buckle your seat in the car
And they sent us on our way, I drove home so slow
We had no instructions, the first days were hard
But there's things about babies a woman just knows

Three in the morning
I lay my hand over your heart
Just to know you were safe in your sleep
When you started walking
I fight back the urge to stay right there beside you
And keep you on your feet

Being your daddy comes natural
The roses just know how to grow
It's easy to see that you'll get where you're going
The hard part is letting you go
The hard part is letting you go

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Conversations With Ben #5: King Canute Vs. The 80s

Hard as it may be to believe, I edit theses conversations before posting them here. You may well be wishing I'd edit them even more, but as with everything else that goes on this blog, the reader I have in mind is always myself. That anyone else bothers to read it, or better yet comment on it, is a constant source of wonder for me.

Anyway, Ben was recommending I watched the Night Stalker documentary on Netflix and I was explaining to him that Louise won't watch stuff inspired by true murderers since she saw the movie Zodiac and it really freaked her out. Although she did watch David Tennant playing Dennis Nilsen...

Ben: Des was good.

Rol: Des was good because it wasn't about catching him, but about his general attitude towards being caught. A different angle. I quite liked White House Farm too, but then I'm happy with anything set in the golden days of the 80s before technology ruined the earth.

Oh, the 80s where electricity still hadn't been invented. And those people who needed two different prescriptions for their eyes can get stuffed because bifocals hadn't been invented yet.

We had VHS and Betamax. And National Health glasses. That was enough.

You guys were still super hyped about the wheel back then, huh?

And let's be clear. It's not technology that's ruined the earth. It's the way capitalism has utilised technology that has ruined the earth.

Blaming capitalism for everything is an excuse. Human beings invented capitalism. It's us who are to blame.

No. You, I and most of the population have fuck all in common with those that profited during the mercantile switch period, from feudalism in to capitalism.

You, I and most of the population had no choice but to engage with this system.

It is not to blame as though nothing is solvable, it is to show that as an economic, social and cultural system, it does nothing but destroys in the favour of an absolute minimum group.

You're like King Canute telling the sea not to come in... 

It abuses the very essence of human nature. And I'm not talking about the neoliberal idea of human nature that was propagated since the 1970s of humans as solo creatures and Individualism. The human nature of fulfillment through labouring for your own need.

Pissing in the wind...

I know you're winding me up and this is the one way I bite every time.

And I hate it.

Because I'm pretty sure you're further left leaning than you admit in here.

I admire your principles. I just don't have any fight left.

Well, a big part of my job is arguing about these things.

"Stop bringing your work home..."

Took me ages to find this, but it seemed appropriate...

(You have to listen past the singing to the talky bit that starts mid-way through... I'm not sure Ben did, so he probably missed the point of my directing him to this song... but such is the nature of our communication.)

Monday 22 February 2021

Uncover Me Monday #1: Just Don't Want To Be Lonely

Last week's post about Midnight Train To Georgia ended up with me going both backwards and forwards from the most famous version of the song to track down both the original and more recent covers. This led me to thinking about songs I didn't know were cover versions when I first heard them, which brings us to "Uncover Me Monday", a feature that may or may not rotate with "Cover Me Monday", but at least gives me more options to write about.

Case in point, Freddie McGregor's 80s reggae hit, Just Don't Want To Be Lonely, a top ten hit in the UK when I was 15. It wasn't particularly a favourite at the time, but like most songs from that year, I now feel a great nostalgic warmth towards it. But I had no idea, until very recently, that it was a cover.

The song was originally recorded by Ronnie Dyson, who looks about 12, but was apparently 23 when he scraped the US charts with this trumpet-tastic version...

However, the most famous version (to American ears, if not to mine), was recorded by The Main Ingredient, led by Cuba Gooding Jr.'s dad (guess what he was called?). A top ten US hit in 1974, and definitely the best version I've heard. If only because it opens with the question "Hey, where you going with that suitcase?", which immediately sets it ahead of the pack.

Sunday 21 February 2021

Saturday Snapshots #177: A Top Ten Bus Songs

Yes, it's the answers to this week's quiz... What A Feeling!

Those of you who turn up for more than just Saturday Snapshots might have had a clue towards this week's theme earlier in the week...


10. Surely a millionaire by now?

Well, he started out as a rich man...

Jonathan Richman - You're Crazy For Taking The Bus

Or you could have had...

Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers - The Wheels On The Bus

9. Old Buddies.

The Hollies - Bus Stop

8. Chubby rear.

Fatback Band - (Are You Ready) Do the Bus Stop

7. Bursting presence.

Another anagram. The picture, for one so young, is surprisingly obvious.

Bruce Springsteen - Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?

6. Sounds like two modern taxis... 

A pair of Ubers, in the Latin, must surely be...

Pere Ubu - A Bus Called Happiness

Or you could have had...

Pere Ubu - Bus Station 

5. A Kinky Winehouse?

Ray was the Kink, Amy was the Winehouse.

Amy Ray - Bus Bus

4. AKA Yacht Jerk.


Jake Thackray - Country Bus

3. Heavenly laughter.

The Divine Comedy - National Express

2. Great kitchen, but some of it is a little faded.


Gretchen Peters - On A Bus To St. Cloud

1. Call the Doctor.

The Doctor?

Doctor Who?

Don't miss the bus to happiness next Saturday morning!

Saturday 20 February 2021

Saturday Snapshots #177

Viva la revolution! The Saturday Snapshots Revolution!

Identify ten artists from the clues below, then work out the theme that connects their songs, then identify the songs...

(One of the songs this week doesn't have the theme word in its title... yet it's probably the most directly relates to the theme.)

10. Surely a millionaire by now?

9. Old Buddies.

8. Chubby rear.

7. Bursting presence.

6. Sounds like two modern taxis... 

5. A Kinky Winehouse?

4. AKA Yacht Jerk.

3. Heavenly laughter.

2. Great kitchen, but some of it is a little faded.

1. Call the Doctor.

Answers tomorrow, revolution permitting.

Friday 19 February 2021

2020 Latecomers: Ingrid Andress

Seeing as I got away with Taylor Swift the other week, here's something in similar vein. A Nashville singer-songwriter with one foot in the contemporary pop field (she's already written songs for Alicia Keys and Charlie XCX). Great storytelling lyrics too. 

I mean, it's very schmaltzy small town Americana, and probably won't be your cup of tea... but it's undeniably a great pop song. And being a grumpy old man, I rarely say that these days...  

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