This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… AnDa Union October 22, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Started listening to these again recently.From Inner Mongolia AnDa Union play traditional Mongolian music in a variety of styles. Mongolian Throat singing , Horse head fiddles and other traditional instruments. They have played in the UK but as far as I know they have yet to play here.
If you’ve time the below link is to “Anda Union From The Steppes To The City” a documentary on the band.
Then some of their music
Last week I was mostly listening to… Martin Carthy… October 17, 2016Posted by Aonrud ⚘ in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to..., Uncategorized.
…I really was – I saw him play twice last week, after years of missing his gigs, and both were brilliant. If you’re not familiar wth him, Martin Carthy is a stalwart of the folk scene and one of the finer folk guitarists. He has a lot of solo work, but also often playing with the fiddler Dave Swarbrick, the Watersons (he is married to Norma Waterson), a brief stint in Steeleye Span, The Imagined Village, and various other folk groups. His arrangement of Scarborough Fair might be familiar from Paul Simon’s lifting of it (a man prone to appropriation, apprently). One distinctive aspect of Carthy’s playing is the tuning he favours, which gives a low C on the bottom string which is great for a bass-y root or drone, and widens the range as well.
He was part of a sort of memorial concert of songs of Ewan McColl in the NCH in Dublin – which included Peggy Seeger, her and McColl’s children, Martin and Eliza Carthy, and others. (Seeger, despite a somewhat weakened voice, still does an excellent performance of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”, 60 odd years after McColl wrote it for her). Then a couple of days later, Carthy was playing a solo gig in Belfast, which was another fantastic performance.
The NCH is an odd place for a folk gig, but I suppose it reflects an older and probably middle class audience that it was a pricey Tuesday night in the NCH and not a Friday in the pub. Maybe a certain irony in it for a communist repertoire. The Belfast gig was a more typical pub venue, though still an older crowd. (I saw Chris Wood a few months back, with a similar age profile in the room, and he said the folk scene is supported by the pensions of the same people who started it with their student grants.)
Anyway, Carthy is the master of the long narrative ballad, and played this fantastic version of Bill Norrie, recorded elsewhere below. Under that is a selection of his songs from over the years.
Another ballad for which he was well known earlier in his career, Famous Flower of Serving Men.
Here he is with Dave Swarbrick, playing his version of Byker Hill.
His version of Dominion of the Sword, which I think is a traditional tune to which he wrote modern lyrics.
Another fairly grim tale, Prince Heathen.
Something a bit livelier from Imagined Village, with Carthy on guitar, and Eliza Carthy singing, along with Chris Wood.
This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Status Quo October 8, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
There was an ad on the radio recently for yet another Status Quo farewell tour, this time their ‘Last Night Of The Electrics’ European and UK tour . I laughed saying that they have been having farewell tours for the last 20 years and then my 16 year old son came out with the bombshell …. “Who are Status Quo?”
I was shocked that The Quo would be unknown to anyone!
In a way they are the ultimate feel good band, songs that we grew up to and that are hard to dislike.
This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Doveman “Footloose” September 24, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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There’s been some brilliant strange covers , Mark Kozeleks album of AC/DC covers is one that springs to mind. Through no fault of my own I’m familiar with the Footloose Soundtrack ….This cover of the Footloose album from Doveman is excellent, an album reworked into something very different. Doveman is Thomas Bartlett that I really first came across as pianist with The Gloaming. He also plays guitar and is a renowned producer.
I love the version of “Lets hear it for the boy” and “Holding Out For a Hero”.
The songs don’t seem to be available in Ireland on Youtube , hence the Spotify playlist.
It’s the wrong day of the week, and it’s only one song, but when I saw the following in the Guardian, I had to get out this song
Exclusive: Perfectly preserved HMS Terror vessel sank during disastrous expedition led by British explorer Sir John Franklin
The long-lost ship of British polar explorer Sir John Franklin, HMS Terror, has been found in pristine condition at the bottom of an Arctic bay, researchers have said, in a discovery that challenges the accepted history behind one of polar exploration’s deepest mysteries.
This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Altan Urag September 10, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Altan Urag are a Mongolian folk rock band that have been around since 2002. They have feared on the soundtrack to the film ‘Mongol’ and the Netflix series Marco Polo. The sound includes Mongolian Throat Singing (known as khöömii) and they play a variety of traditional Mongolian instruments such as the morin khuur (horse head fiddle), ikh khuur (grand horse head fiddle) and yoochin (a type of hammered dulcimer).
I’ve been listening to them for a while and it’s excellent.
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There was a piece in The Guardian about bands that split in half SLF, Yes and UB40 are mentioned there but of course there are others. Boney M at one stage had more than 2 versions going. There were two versions of the Wolfetones touring, Queensryche are another band that had two versions going. Black Flag had two versions going for a period. There were numerous versions of Hawkwind, Faust, Barclay James Harvest, The Beach Boys. Naturally there were all sorts of court cases over which version of the various bands had the right to use the Original name….. and it cost many of them a fortune too.
Joanne Joanne is perhaps the most intriguing. The drummer is from Knifeworld, they focus on what they (and I) say is the most interesting part of Duran Duran’s career, that being the first year or two when they were unequivocally a new romantic/futurist group. They say ‘we don’t do Rio’. And good for them. Though if it were me I’d do New Moon on Monday and Ordinary World.
I could talk about Duran Duran’s first album, perhaps in this slot one day I will. I still think it is a great piece of work. I’m not immune to some of the later stuff, but it was glibber, less – well – interesting.
Iron Maidens are perhaps the most professional of the three. If you like Iron Maiden I suspect you’ll like them. If, like me, you’re not madly fond of ver Maiden then I think you might actually find them an improvement on the original.
The Ramonas are a bit more down to earth propelled by fizzing energy and… well…more fizzing energy.
Of course, as with all covers bands there are stray thoughts. All these groups are pretty good in their own right. They can play, they can sing, they can drum. Why aren’t they making their own music. And yet, and yet, given how covering songs is part of a cultural heritage stretching back, presumably, millennia I’m uneasy about demanding novelty – particularly when these groups by covering bands which are male are in and of themselves doing something fascinating in itself.
Some thought provoking stuff here too…
Cross-gender tribute acts are still a novelty, but until the advent of bands such as Joanne Joanne, they were a single-genre novelty. (Not to mention single-gender: there are dozens of all-girl acts, but almost no male bands covering female groups, more of which below.) Nearly all the early cross-gender groups were metal, which came with the inbuilt challenge of persuading sceptical metalheads they could rock out as vigorously as men. Some went a step further, apparently endorsing metal’s objectification of women (the website of a Metallica tribute exclaims, “MISSTALLICA was the response to the want and need for old school thrash metal and a pretty face to go with it!”). But the scene now has female pop, punk, grunge and even country tributes, who interpret their subject matter as they see fit.
Any other cover bands people have heard of like the above?
Joanne Joanne – Planet Earth
Joanne Joanne – Girls on Film
Iron Maidens – Run to the Hills
Iron Maidens – Aces High
The Ramonas – Sheena is a Punk Rocker
The Ramonas – Rockaway Beach
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If you’ve ever worked in a shop, often they have tapes on a loop, it’s bad but gets worse around Christmas! One place that seems to have the same song list for the last number of years is Croke Park. If like myself you are generally in there early (I steward there) the selection of songs can be played in rotation for the whole season, often twice in the day too.
The Special Olympics song is particularly annoying and the joke is that it’s played after matches to try and get the crowd to all leave and go home!
There’s that Dropkick Murphys track too which was played when teams entered the pitch, a completely unnecessary addition to the “Matchday Experience” as generally for big matches the place is hopping anyway.
I’ve thrown in some others that I have ingrained from Croke Park ( I left out Garth Brooks who made a fleeting appearance in the Croke Park playlist a few years back only to disappear as quick)….. There’s others such as The Script, Coldplay, U2 that are regulars and luckily I seem to have managed to blank a lot of the rest from my brain🙂
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A very welcome guest This Weekend from Lamneth.
To get the cliché out of the way, there really are two Hearts. The first incarnation of the band most famous for the two Wilson sisters – singer Anne and guitarist Nancy, existed from the early seventies until 1982’s Private Audition album. Their debut, Dreamboat Annie from 1975, plays like a concept album – even if not conceived as such. The theme is broadly nautical (songs such as Soul of the Sea and the title track – all three (!) versions of it on the album) and the sound shifts between an easygoing Sunday afternoon jaunt on the river (for the ballads) with the odd tidal shift (for the rockers). Nowhere is this contrast stronger then in Anne Wilson’s voice – Karen Carpenter one minute, Robert Plant the next and the music behind her also exists in a sweet spot somewhere between California singer-songwriter and the folk / blues rock of Zeppelin.
I say all that now, but when I bought the album in 1982 (reduced to £1.99 in Golden Discs on Grafton Street) I was disappointed. The one Heart song I’d heard by then was their epic rock opera of a track Mistral Wind from Dog & Butterfly, their fourth album. You’ve heard it too – even if you haven’t; seven minutes that starts softly with acoustic guitar and whispered vocals and becomes all hell broken loose by the end. Dreamboat Annie sounded sort of twee by comparison, and sixteen year old me was having issues singing along lyrics about women looking for men, but what the hell, it was cheap and the girls looked great on the cover.
I’ve heard most Heart albums since, and what I love about this one now, but misread as quaint then, is the musical naivety that is often only found on a debut album, where a band are still finding out what they actually are, so aren’t trapped by who they think they should be – if that makes any sense. (I feel the same way about Boy in the U2 catalogue, for what it’s worth)
Magic Man, Dreamboat Annie and Crazy On You are the tracks that make it onto the many Heart compilations, but there’s no real filler here – rocker Sing Child and ballad How Deep It Goes are also standouts.
Dreamboat Annie –
Crazy on You –
Magic Man –
How Deep It Goes –
Recorded for an independent label, the album went platinum and Heart soon morphed into a stadium-filling headline act. There’s good stuff throughout all of their albums after, but, for me, they never caught lightning in a bottle as consistently across one album as they do here.
At the start of the 1980’s the sales dwindled, and the band started losing founding members, other than the Wilsons and lead guitarist Howard Leese. A change of label led to collaborations with outside writers and the embrace of MTV. Incarnation two was born.
The results put them back in the charts with some of the best power ballads of the era. They begrudge it now as a sell-out, and there’s no doubt that other acts would have had hits with the same songs, but Anne’s voice did at least give the likes of Alone and What About Love their own stamp and a link to the earlier albums.
What About Love – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE5GGMhmo-M
Their unabashed love for all things Zeppelin has never abated and they performed a great rendition of Stairway to Heaven for an audience including Page, Plant and John Paul Jones (who also produced an unplugged live album for Heart in the nineties) in 2012.
Stairway to Heaven – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFxOaDeJmXk