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Thursday, 31 August 2017

S4L Radio: Show #7 Playlist

A couple of days after the last S4L Radio Playlist back in Mid-July I took a wee break from Social Media and from Blogging (it's a good thing to do from time to time) and so thought it was about time for a new S4L Radio Playlist today.

This Playlist includes a few things I've been listening to the past few weeks whilst I've been absent and is again a real mix of sounds and genres (because it's always good to be open minded rather than so narrow minded that you end up missing out on some quality music).  Stand by for some surprises!

Click on the various links below for more information or more music. Enjoy.

As the old song says, "I'm back to let you know I can really shake it down!" Enjoy.

The Playlist is at the bottom of the page as for some strange reason it didn't want to be saved any other place on this post!

On The Playlist
Radio Nowhere - Bruce Springsteen
The lead single from his 2007 album Magic and as is the custom with S4L Radio we begin we a song about the Radio!

Paranoiac Personality - Alice Cooper
Taken from his brand new album Paranormal. This track was issued as a 7" on Limited Edition White Vinyl (Ear Music) in Germany back in July. It features a live version of I'm Eighteen on the B-Side.

Marquee Sign - Sara Evans
Taken from her latest album Words (Born To Fly Records).
I love the opening words of the song:
"I wish you were a pack of cigarettes
Cause you would of come with a warning"
- and then it goes off to describe the dangers of getting involved in a bad relationship.

I Gotta Praise - Paul Heaton + Jacqui Abbott
From their third and latest hit album Crooked Calypso. I could listen to Jacqui Barnes all day, such a tremendous voice and it weds well with Paul Heaton's. Another track on the album that I really like as well is She Got The Garden. Heaton has a great ability to turn the worst situtaions into finely crafted pop songs as he has done so in the past with both The Housemartins and The Beautiful South.

 Higher Ground - The Isley Brothers and Santana
Wow! That's what I thought when I first listened to Power of Peace album. It was just something out of this world and unexpectedly a fantastic collaboration. Their rendition of Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground I think sounds just incredible!
"The theme is spiritual divine medicine to counter the fever-pitch fear that’s permeating this planet right now," Santana told Billboard of the project in June. Recorded in Las Vegas in 2016, Power of Peace also features renditions of songs by The Chambers Brothers ("Love, Peace, Happiness") and Burt Bacharach ("What the World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love"). "Every era has its song ... to help alleviate the condition of brutality and war."

Beautiful Day - Nichole Nordeman
Cover Version of U2's classic tune taken from her Capitol Records debut album (also released via Sparrow Records), her first proper studio album for 12 years! Hard to believe that! She has been writing books and recording various projects throughout the inbetween years as well as releasing The Unmaking EP in 2015. In the past she has also covered Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes and Bob Dylan's Gotta Serve Somebody.

Oh Lord - In This Moment
From their latest album Ritual (Atlantic/Roadrunner Records). The album also contains their take on In The Air Tonight (Phil Collins) - not the usual type of song that Metal bands would attempt!

Less Than - Nine Inch Nails
First track from the Add Violence EP that was released 19th July 2017.
Apparently this is the second in a Triology of EP's (the first being released back in December 2016 entitled Not The Actual Events). Kory Grow of Rolling Stone gave the EP a positive review, saying, "[it] contains all the aggression, abjection and self-loathing that solidified [Reznor's] position as alt-rock's Original Angster but with the measured restraint of a man his age."
 It's a little different to what I expected, a bit light-weight musically to what Reznor usually puts out but quite captivating nevertheless.

Love - Lana Del Rey
Taken from her lastest #1 album Lust For Life (no, not the Iggy Pop song!) that was released 21st July 2017. Love was the lead song for the album (and was released in February 2017 as a Digital Download).
My mate James (of Devil's Witches fame) has always pestered me about listening to her and I have done so for the past couple of albums. It's not in my normal wheelhouse of things I play but I do have to say that I was quite taken by her voice.

Big Picture - London Grammar
Talking of things not in my usual wheelhouse, London Grammar are another band that I kind of stumbled across and instantly took a shine to Hannah Reid's vocal abilities. Big Picture features on their #1 album Truth Is A Beautiful Thing that was released in June 2017.

Situations - The Nomads
Found this on a recently obtained album Psychedelic States: Texas In The 60s Vol. 1. This was the B-Side of their only single release Three O'Clock Merrian Webster Time from 1968. This band hailed from Houston.

Yeah I Wanna Know - The Pastels
Another from the same album as The Nomads track and another band from Houston. The Pastels (or Charlie Romain and the Pastels as they were locally known) only ever released one single on the Push label, Weird Sounds / I Can Tell  in 1968.

My Only True Friend - Gregg Allman
Taken from his Posthumous album Southern Blood that is due out on 8th September 2017. The album is pretty much all cover versions with the exception of My Only True Friend which was penned by Allman and Scott Sharrard. As the album's opening song, My Only True Friend, carries themes of time running out. Allman repeats the lyric "I hope you're haunted by the music of my soul, when I'm gone" throughout the song. He co-wrote the song with his bandleader, Scott Sharrard, who secretly wrote the song in the voice of Gregg's late brother, Duane Allman, speaking to him.
Gregg passed away 27th May 2017.
Heroes - Motörhead
Another of the dearly departed, Lemmy,  also returns posthumously in the form of Under Cöver. The Motörhead album features a very interesting mix of Covers  from as early as 1992.
1. Breaking the Law (Judas Priest) 2008
2. God Save the Queen (The Sex Pistols) 2000
3. Heroes (David Bowie) 2015
4. Starstruck (Rainbow) 2014
5. Cat Scratch Fever (Ted Nugent) 1992
6. Jumpin’ Jack Flash (The Rolling Stones) 2001
7. Sympathy for the Devil (The Rolling Stones) 2015
8. Hellraiser (Ozzy Osbourne) 1992
9. Rockaway Beach (Ramones) 2002
10. Shoot ‘Em Down (Twisted Sister) 2001
11. Whiplash (Metallica) 2005
The album is due for release 1st September (tomorrow).

Goin' Down With The Ship - Michael Monroe
Taken from The Best (Spinefarm Records). I'm amazed that it's taken so long to put together a "Best of" by former Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroe when you consider just how many compilations have been released of his former band! Whilst most of the material is gleaned from his solo career there are four tracks included from his Demolition23. project (which I still think sounds amazing).

Couples Vs Jobless Mid 30s - The Fall
It's hard to believe that New Facts Emerge is the 32nd album by The Fall! Since 1978 their have also been around 40 Compilations, 32 Live Albums, 13 EPS, and 46 Singles. Mark E. Smith continues to baffle at times as it's hard to make out what on earth he is on about but that's The Fall all over. As a band they are sounding as tight as ever (which is amazing when you consider how many members they have gone through in all the years they have been playing!).

Where Do We Go When We Go - Neck Deep
From their August released third album The Peace and The Panic (Hopeless Records) that reached #4 on the UK Charts. The Welsh Pop Punk band clearly demonstrating on this particular album some maturity in songwriting and as a group.

Gethsemene - Richard Thompson
Just so you can see what a wide variety of music I listen to (as if you haven't witnessed that already!) next up is English Folk Singer Richard Thompson. Folk is something that I never really listened to much of before and I certainly would never have found in my collection albums by Fairport Convention (of whom Thompson was a part of in their early days). A few years back one of my friends sent me some Richard Thompson albums as I had become enamoured by his guitar playing but had never really sat down and listened to any albums of his. I was immediately bowled over and to this day am always keen to discover any new music he puts out. The Acoustic Classics II is another dip into his back catalogue and presenting the songs in a more stripped down form (read Folk Radio's Review Here).

Ninety Nine and a Half (Just Won't Do) - Dr. Feelgood
The past couple of weeks I've been listening to a lot of the Feelgoods as I've been reading the Lee Brilleaux book. This particular track was recorded for a John Peel Session in September 1977 and was included on the Compilation BBC Sessions 1973-1978 that was released by Grand Records in 2001.

 The Parting Shot
 Bye Bye Johnny - Chuck Berry
I was going to end with maybe Wilko Johnson's version of the classic Chuck Berry song but didn't see it on anything official (here's a live version from Glasgow in 2015) as that would have been a great link to Dr. Feelgood that went before but you honestly can't beat the original (even Status Quo's version can't beat it!).

The Playlist

Monday, 28 August 2017

Lee Brilleaux: Rock'n'Roll Gentleman - Zoë Howe (March 2017)

Lee Brilleaux: Rock'n'Roll Gentleman - Zoë Howe
Polygon Books
2017 Paperback Edition
(First Published in 2015)

Lee Brilleaux, lead vocalist of the mighty Dr. Feelgood left this life way too early, aged 41 in 1994 but has left us an amazing catalogue of music dating back to 1975 that includes 19 albums and a host of compilations.

Zoë Howe, the author, established herself as a solid music biographer with her Typical Girls? The Story of The Slits in 2009. Writing about Dr. Feelgood was not a new subject for her as she had already penned alongside Wilko Johnson the 2012 published Looking Back At Me.

Whilst maybe lacking in a lot of detail regarding his life (there is little mention of his early years after being born in South Africa in May 1952) there is actually sufficient material gleaned from friends, family, band members and interviews to establish a picture of who he was from his teenage life moving to Canvey Island and what was to follow as he delved into the world of music, specifically the Blues and R'n'B via Jug Bands etc.

The tension that surrounded the relationship between Brilleaux and Johnson is touched upon in various places but not really in any kind of depth and it's only reading Wilko's side of the story that you end up with a more balanced assessment of what was going on.

The book focuses on Lee Brilleaux in many different guises - husband, father, friend, and of course as frontman for one of the finest R'n'B bands to ever come out of the UK. Tales abound of shows and tours, the recording and songwriting process for each album (not though in the kind of depth that someone like me - a pure anarok! - would relish), and the book is peppered with Brilleaux's humour and his humanity.

The final chapter in the book - The Long Goodbye - is worth the price of the book alone as Howe describes touchingly Lee getting diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and the after effects of chemotherapy etc to finding the strength to play two final shows with the band that were recorded January 1994 and released a month after his passing in April 1994 (Down At The Doctors) on their own Grand Label (Listen here to a couple of tracks from the album).

After finishing reading the book last week I said to my wife that there is so many tales involving alcohol in the story that I felt like I had violated my years of sobriety! I'm not sure that should be a nod to the authenticity of the book but it stands out as a major theme!

Well worth reading if you want to delve a little deeper into one of the most important bands of the 1970's. I say that because Dr. Feelgood (and fellow Canvey Island band Eddie and The Hot Rods) were a huge influence on my own musical journey when I first heard their number one album Stupidity in 1976. They were never a Punk or a New Wave band and yet for me their sound led me to Punk Rock and also to The Blues.

Selected Albums 
Dr. Feelgood
Here's a few links to some albums by Canvey Island's greatest band that are worth a listen or three:
 Down By The Jetty - January 1975

Malpractice - October 1975

Sneakin Suspicion - May 1977

Be Seeing You - September 1977

Private Practice - September 1978

Let It Roll - September 1979

Primo - June 1991

The S4L 
Dr. Feelgood
Top Ten
10. You've Got My Number (from Brilleaux)
09. (I Wanna) Make Love To You (from Classic)
08. Paradise (from Sneakin' Suspicion)
07. She's A Wind Up (from Be Seeing You)
06. Down At The Doctors (from Private Practice)
05. As Long As The Price Is Right (from Be Seeing You)
04. Roxette (from Down By The Jetty)
03. Back In The Night (from Malpractice)
02. Sneakin' Suspicion - (from Sneakin' Suspicion)
01. All Through The City (from Down By The Jetty)

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Revisiting Wild Planet - The B-52's

First post in a month and it should be something fun and quirky!

Apologies if you have been checking in seeking new posts. Had a wee break from all social media for the past four weeks dealing with "life stuff" (you know that thing that actually is going on whilst you are trying to keep up with everything else! 😁) 

So on this day, way back in the dark ages before the internet, social media etc in 1980, the second album Wild Planet from Athens, Georgia band The B-52's hit the shops and what an absolute delight it was (and still is for that matter).

Wild Planet - The B-52's
Island Records (UK) / Warner Bros. (U.S.)
Produced by Rhett Davies and The B-52's
Released 27th August 1980
UK Chart #18
US Chart #18

Side 1
Side 2

The B-52's
    Fred Schneider – vocals, percussion
    Kate Pierson – vocals, keyboards
    Keith Strickland – drums, percussion
    Cindy Wilson – vocals, percussion
    Ricky Wilson – guitar

The album contained a number of singles that were released in various territories.

July 1980
UK Release
UK Chart #61

(German and Dutch Picture Sleeve)

August 1980
Netherlands, Spain, Poland and Germany Release
No Chart Details

(US Picture Sleeve)
 (Dutch Picture Sleeve)
September 1980
US Release
US Chart #74

(UK and French Picture Sleeve)

November 1980
UK Release
Did Not Chart 

Wild Planet spent 27 weeks on the Billboard album charts and reached its peak position of #18 in late September 1980.
The album was recorded in the Bahamas (as was their magnificent Debut Album) during April 1980 and some songs had been held back from their first record in order to deliver a strong second album (a very clever move indeed by the band) that was actually better produced and brimming with quality tunes that spotlighted not only their Quirky side  (Party Out of Bounds, and Quiche Lorraine) but also a Rocky edge (Runnin' Around, Private Idaho, Strobe Light and Devil In My Car) and also their Pop sensibilities (Dirty Back Road and Give Me Back My Man). 

Most of the songs on the album were co-writes between various band members with the only exception being Dirty Back Road which was a co-write between Ricky Wilson and art director Robert Waldrop (who would also co-write a number of other songs in The B-52's canon - Hero Worship, Deep Sleep, Mesopotamia, Roam, and Revolution Earth). 

Thirty Seven years on from its release I think it still sounds great.
In 1981 three tracks from the Wild Planet album were included on the Party Mix! release. My personal distaste for Remixes was furthered as I thought that the version of Give Me Back My Man on it was absolutely wretched and that they destroyed a perfectly brilliant Pop song! (I have included the links below for you to make up your own mind).


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