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Thursday, 31 May 2018

A Few Favourite Albums: The Liberty of Norton Folgate - Madness (May 2009)

The Liberty of Noltom Folgate - Madness
Lucky Seven
Produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley
Released 18th May 2009
UK Chart #5
UK Independent Chart #1

CD Tracklist
1 Overture    
2 We Are London    
3 Sugar And Spice    
4 Forever Young    
5 Dust Devil    
6 Rainbows    
7 That Close    
8 MkII    
9 On The Town    
10 Bingo    
11 Idiot Child    
12 Africa    
13 NW5    
14 Clerkenwell Polka    
15 The Liberty Of Norton Folgate 

Silver Edition came with CD of the album and a DVD of the Julian Temple film The Liberty Of Norton Folgate.

Vinyl Edition
A1 We Are London    
A2 Forever Young    
A3 Dust Devil    
A4 Sugar And Spice    
A5 Norton Folgate
B1 Clerkenwell Polka    
B2 Bingo    
B3 Rainbows    
B4 That Close    
B5 MK2    
B6 Idiot Child    
B7 On The Town

 The Liberty Of Norton Folgate Special Edition Box Set
This edition was made available for pre-order in late 2008 and was released on 23 March 2009.

Click on the links for tracks that are exclusive to this Edition of the album.
Vinyl Edition
A1 We Are London    
A2 Forever Young    
A3 Dust Devil    
A4 Sugar And Spice    
A5 Norton Folgate
B1 Clerkenwell Polka    
B2 Bingo    
B3 Rainbows    
B4 That Close    
B5 MK2    
B6 Idiot Child    
B7 On The Town

CD Edition 

CD1-1     Overture    
CD1-2     We Are London    
CD1-3     Sugar And Spice    
CD1-4     Forever Young    
CD1-5     Dust Devil    
CD1-6     Rainbows    
CD1-7     That Close    
CD1-8     MK II    
CD1-9     On The Town    
CD1-10     Clerkenwell Polka    
CD1-11     The Liberty Of Norton Folgate    
CD2-1     Let's Go*    
CD2-2     Idiot Child    
CD2-3     Mission From Hell*    
CD2-4     Seven Dials*    
CD2-5     Hunchback Of Torriano*    
CD2-6     Fish & Chips*    
CD2-7     Bingo    
CD2-8     NW5    
CD2-9     One Fine Day*    
CD2-10     The Kiss*    
CD2-11     Africa

CD3 is rehearsal recordings, demos and live recordings.

    "Practice Makes Perfect"
CD3-1     Dust Devil I    
CD3-2     Let's Go    
CD3-3     Clerkenwell Polka    
CD3-4     Forever Young    
CD3-5     7 Dials    
CD3-6     On The Town    
CD3-7     Fish & Chips Parade    
CD3-8     Idiot Child    
CD3-9     We Are London - Chas Demo    
    "Hackney Live & Correct"
CD3-10     We Are London    
CD3-11     Idiot Child    
CD3-12     Bingo    
CD3-13     NW5    
CD3-14     On The Town    
CD3-15     MK II    
CD3-16     Sugar & Spice    
CD3-17     Dust Devil    
CD3-18     Clerkenwell Polka    
CD3-19     Forever Young    
CD3-20     The Liberty Of Norton Folgate

All of disc 3 contains material exclusive to this release. The seven tracks marked with a (*) on disc 2 are also exclusive to this release.

    Suggs (Graham McPherson) – vocals
    Chas Smash (Cathal Smyth) – vocals
    Mike Barson – piano
    Chris Foreman – guitar
    Mark Bedford – bass
    Lee Thompson – saxophone
    Daniel Woodgate – drums

Additional personnel
    Graham Bush – additional bass
    Rhoda Dakar – vocals on "On the Town"
    Jim Parmley – percussion
    Amber Jolene – backing vocals
    Sasha Paul – backing vocals
    Joe Auckland – trumpet
    Steve Turner – saxophone
    Michael Kearsey – trombone
    Mark Brown – clarinet
    Dave Powell – tuba
    Sirishkumar – tabla
    Andy Findon – Turkish clarinet, zorna, duduk
    Simon Hale – string arrangements, conductor, additional piano on "MKII"
    Julian Leaper – violin
    Emil Chakalov – violin
    Martin Burgess – violin
    Sue Briscoe – violin
    Chris Pitsilledes – viola
    Nick Holland – cello
    Millennia Strings – strings
    The London Session Orchestra led by Gavyn Wright – strings

Singles On The Liberty of Norton Folgate

CD Single
1 NW5 (Radio Edit)
2 NW5 (Full Length Version)
3 Bittersweet
4 NW5 (Man Like Me Remix)
 Released 21st January 2008
UK Chart #24


 CD Single
 Released 11th May 2009
UK Chart #64


CD Single
 1 Forever Young (Melt Music Radio Edit)
2 Forever Young (Future Cut Remix)    
3 Forever Young (J Star Mr Wallace Dub)    
4 Forever Young (Live From Later With Jools At BBC)
5 Love Really Hurts (Billy Ocean Cover)
Released 18th January 2010
UK Chart #199


Recorded over the space of two years (2006-2008), The Liberty of Norton Folgate would be the ninth studio album from Madness and their first of original material for a decade! Suggs would say, "I've realised that there's normal time and there's Madness time. What seems like seconds to us turns into decades for everyone else. There's a whole different time-space continuum!"
Suggs had spoken in 2005 of his hope to do an album of new material with Madness but it was a case of trying to get everyone on board to do it. "My idea is to do a concept album about London, the fabulous nature of the ever-changing city and our experiences there. Madness moves very slowly. There are seven of us all going around in circles and different directions. When we're working and playing music together, it just clicks. It's when we're not playing music that we start squabbling!"
Eventually they did all get on the same page (even Chris Foreman returned after departing during The Dangerman Sessions) and ended up releasing not only one of their highest charting albums since the 7 album back in 1981 but they even managed to replace The Rise and Fall as their Magnum Opus (well, I think they did!). The critics (yep them again!) amazingly got it right with many declaring it to be the best album of the band's career! The Word Magazine describes it as "Peter Ackroyd writing for The Kinks, it's Sherlock Holmes in Albert Square, it's a Mike Leigh movie of Parklife, it's Passport To Pimlico meets Brick Lane, and it is Madness's masterpiece."
All the music and lyrics were contributed by the band, with the exception of bassist Mark Bedford  (although not a major songwriter in Madness, Bedford co-wrote one of the band's more emotive songs "One Better Day" with Suggs. He was also responsible for co-writing "Not Home Today", "Disappear", "Return of the Los Palmas 7", "Deceives the Eye", "Stepping into Line" and "Maybe in Another Life". The only song he wrote entirely on his own was "Mummy's Boy", which appeared on the band's debut album One Step Beyond). Bedford would leave the band in 2009, only to return again in 2012 and then rejoined for good in 2013 (Suggs says, "It’s like the Eagles song 'Hotel California'. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave...There’s a lot of flexibility, allowing people to be what they want to be, and do what they want.")

The Special Edition Boxset had only been available from the band website and along with a pre-order a 12 track Download was made available to purchasers in December 2008 with the physical album (on LP and a 15 track CD) to be released in May 2009. From the opening track We Are London you just knew that this was Madness doing what they do best. 
"The way I describe our sound is to say we are continuing the folk music tradition of the real London. Tommy Cooper was a big factor. Benny Hill - those speeded up bits - used to tickle us. You knew it was naff but it was also deliberately anti-intellectual. Then in later life you get interested in Samuel Beckett and get this inante feeling that there's a parallel. Beckett was really interested in music hall and Tommy Cooper and Max Wall - that thin line between abstraction and just being an idiot. Pathos was a word I learnt from Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys) sums up what we were doing unconciously all those years, a mixture of happiness and sadness. Sometimes it's jolly music with sad words and other times it's sad words with jolly music but the most interesting is mixing the two." (Suggs quoted in House of Fun: The Story of Madness - John Reed).
Nine years on from it's release, with a further two studio albums under their belt - Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da (2012) and Can't Touch Us Now (2016) - The Liberty of Norton Folgate still stands tall as a monument to their greatness. 

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

A Few Favourite Albums: Different Light - Bangles (January 1986)

Different Light - Bangles
Produced by David Kahne
Released 2nd January 1986
US Chart #2
UK Chart #3

Released as LP, CD and Cassette

Listen to Different Light in Full Here:

Side 1

Side 2
    Susanna Hoffs – lead and backing vocals, guitars
    Vicki Peterson – lead and backing vocals, guitars
    Michael Steele – lead and backing vocals, guitars, bass
    Debbi Peterson – lead and backing vocals, drums, percussion

Additional musicians
    Prince - all other instruments on "Manic Monday" (uncredited)
    Brenda Bennett – backing vocals on "Manic Monday" (uncredited)
    Rusty Anderson – additional guitars
    Barbara Chapman – harp, additional guitars
    Mitchell Froom, David Kahne – keyboards
    Carlos Vega – additional drums

There are lots of links below to watch Promo Videos and listen to B-Sides etc

Singles Taken From Different Light
Released in USA 23rd December 1985
US Chart #2
Released in the UK 3rd February 1986
UK Chart #2

was also released on 12" in the UK and included Going Down To Liverpool and Dover Beach on Side 2.

US Single 
US Chart #29

Released in the UK April 1986
UK Chart #31

Was released as a Limited Edition Double Pack which included Hero Takes A Fall (Remix) and James on the second 7".

 It was also released as a Picture Disc.

Released September 1986
UK Chart #3

Was also released as a 12"


In the USA it was released as 7" with Angels Don't Fall In Love on the B-Side and also on 12" which inlcuded the same tracklist as the UK 12" except for the absence of Not Like You.

Released in US September 1986
US Chart #1

UK 7" 
Released December 1986
UK Chart #16

Also released on 12" that included an Extended Remix of Walking Down Your Street.

US 7" was released in February 1987 and peaked at #11 on the charts the B-Side was Let It Go (which was taken from the Different Light album).

UK 7"
Released April 1987
Uk Chart #55

Was also released as a 12" that included a Mix of Bangles hits on the B-Side:
B Bangles Hits Mix 14:30
B1.1 Manic Monday    
B1.2 If She Knew What She Wants    
B1.3 Walking Down Your Street    
B1.4 Going Down To Liverpool    
B1.5 Walk Like An Egyptian

Different Light is the second studio album from the Bangles. Whilst seen as a bit of a departure from their early sixties influenced sound one of the things I see and hear in the album is progression. 

All the girls in the band this time around get to sing and also contribute songs to the album, which is brilliant because we get to hear Michael Steele belting out an excellent cover of Big Star's September Gurls, a verse in Walk Like An Egyptian and her own song Following. Drummer Debbi Peterson takes lead on Standing In The Hallway and Not Like You; sister Vicki takes the lead on the title track Different Light, Return Post and Angels Don't Fall In Love; Susanna Hoffs has the lead vocal on the song Prince originally wrote for Apollonia 6 (but eventually left off that debut and only album) Manic Monday, Walking Down Your Street,  and the Jules Shear cover (that Shear had released in 1985 as a single and also on his album The Eternal Return) If She Knew What She Wants. Let It Go is a group vocal and Walk Like An Egyptian is a shared vocal between Susanna Hoffs, Vicki Peterson and as mentioned already Michael Steele.

I still love listening to this album and it's another quality record from women who were determined to show that they were not just pretty faces but could actually play, as this show in Pittsbugh in 1986 clearly testifies - Click Here.


Sunday, 20 May 2018

A Few Favourite Albums: Best Dressed Chicken In Town - Dr. Alimantado (1978)

Best Dressed Chicken In Town - Dr Alimantado
Produced by Winston Thompson (AKA Doctor Alimantado)
Released 1978

 Listen to the Best Dressed Chicken In Town that was issued in 2001 on CD with four bonus tracks:
11 Ital Galore 3:38
12 I Am The Greatest Says Muhammed Ali 2:58
13 Johnny Was A Baker 3:35
14 Tribute To The Duke 4.00

Original Tracklisting for the album:
Side 1

Side 2

Single released from the album
Best Dressed Chicken In Town
7" Yellow Vinyl 1978

 (The Good Doctor Himself)

There are lots of links below to more music by Dr. Almantado and music that's associated to this album. Click on them to enjoy the sounds.

The Debut Album from Dr. Alimantado was actually a collection of previous recordings dating back to 1973 with Just The Other Day , Ride On (which was released as a single in 1974 on Ital Records - which was owned and run by Alimantado himself ) and Plead I Cause - which was originally titled Plea I Cause and issued as a B-Side to the 1973 single Jah Have Mercy on Ital. On the CD Reissue Ital Galore dates back to 1972 (the other bonus tracks: I Am The Greatest Says Muhammed Ali was a single with the Soul Syndicate in 1974 on Ital; Johnny Was A Baker was recorded in 1975 at King Tubbys; and Tribute To The Duke was recorded in 1977 but there was a version released under the banner of Dennis Ferron and Doc. Alimantado in 1976 on Ital Sounds.

It was the first album released from UK based Reggae label Greensleeves which had been founded in 1977 by Chris Cracknell and Chris Sedgewick. They had actually begun as a small record shop in West Ealing in 1975 and like other shops like Small Wonder, Beggars Banquet and Raw would move into the process of releasing records once they had moved to Shepherd's Bush in 1977.

The title track (originally called Best Dress Chicken) had been released on the Sun and Stars label in the UK back in 1975 (and in Jamaica on the Capo label the same year though it had actually been recorded in 1974).

The album employed several major reggae hits as the basis for the tracks, including Horace Andy and John Holt's version of  A Quiet Place which was also a recut of The Paragons classic Man Next Door - Got To Get Away was its actual title and was released as a B-Side in 1968 on Duke Records in the UK (on Poison Flour and I Shall Fear No Evil), John Holt's Ali Baba (on I Killed the Barber), and Gregory Isaacs' Thief a Man (on Gimmie Mi Gun which had been released as a single originally in 1975 on Ital Sounds) and My Religion (on Unitone Skank).

Best Dressed Chicken In Town is among my Top Three Favourite Reggae Albums and although there were to be other albums from him this one, more than any of them, stands the test of time.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Cover Me - The Songs of Bruce Springsteen (S4L Edition 2018)

Having had a bit of a sleepness night I thought I would try and occupy myself with a little music therapy and turned to the songbook of Bruce Springsteen and the interpretations of his songs as performed by others.

And I've gathered together 30 tracks from all manner of artists, some which are well known and a few that were quite new to me. Enjoy.

Cover Me - The Songs of Bruce Springsteen
(S4L Edition 2018)

On The Playlist
Take 'em as They Come - Jimmy Eat World
Ghost of Tom Joad - Rage Against the Machine
Atlantic City - The Hold Steady
It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City - David Bowie
Fire - Robert Gordon & Link Wray
Because The Night - 10,000 Maniacs
Highway Patrolman - Johnny Cash
State Trooper - Cowboy Junkies
Born in the U.S.A. - Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires
No Surrender - Kevin Montgomery
The Fever - Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes
Tougher Than The Rest - Everything But The Girl
For You - Greg Kihn
Rendezvous - Gary U.S. Bonds
Reason To Believe - The Henry Girls
Dancing In The Dark - Amy MacDonald
From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come) - Dave Edmunds
Mansion On The Hill - Wilt
Born To Run - Roger Daltrey
Candy's Room - Maria McKee
Stolen Car - Patty Griffin
Used Cars - Strand of Oaks
Downbound Train - The Cardigans
Book of Dreams - Dion
Growin Up - The Bouncing Souls
Protection - Donna Summer
Don't Look Back - The Knack
Thunder Road - Melissa Etheridge
Light of Day - Michael J. Fox & Joan Jett
If I Should Fall Behind - Nils Lofgren

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

A Few Favorite Albums: Blind Man's Zoo - 10,000 Maniacs (1989)

Blind Man's Zoo - 10,000 Maniacs
Produced by Peter Asher
Released 16th May 1989
US Chart #13
UK Chart #18

Watch and Listen to
Blind Man's Zoo Here:

Track listing
The links here are for Live or TV Performances of songs from the album.

Side One
1 "Eat for Two" (Natalie Merchant) – 3:26
2 "Please Forgive Us" (Robert Buck, Merchant) – 3:22
3 "The Big Parade" (Jerome Augustyniak, Merchant) – 4:00
4 "Trouble Me" (Dennis Drew, Merchant) – 3:08
5 "You Happy Puppet" (Buck, Merchant) – 3:35
6 "Headstrong" (Natalie Merchant) – 4:13

Side Two
1"Poison in the Well" (Drew, Merchant) – 3:05
2 "Dust Bowl" (Buck, Merchant) – 4:11
3 "The Lion's Share" (Drew, Merchant) – 3:00
4 "Hateful Hate" (Natalie Merchant) – 4:28
5 "Jubilee" (Natalie Merchant) – 6:07

Singles from Blind Man's Zoo
UK 7"
Trouble Me 
The Lion's Share

UK 12"
1. Trouble Me
1. The Lion's Share
Released in USA April 1989 
US Hot 100 #44
Released in UK June 1989
UK Chart #77

 7" UK EP
1. Eat For Two


Limited Edition UK 10" EP
1. Eat For Two
2. What's The Matter Here (Acoustic)

1. Eat For Two (Acoustic)
2. From The Time You Said Goodbye

Limited Edition UK 12"
1. Eat For Two

1. Wildwood Flower

Released in UK November 1989
UK Chart #93
European and US 7"
Eat For Two
The Big Parade
 Released in USA July 1989
US Alternative Chart #12

US CD Release
1. You Happy Puppet
2. Gun Shy (Acoustic)
3. Wildwood Flower
4. Hello In There
Released in USA October 1989
Did Not Chart

10,000 Maniacs

    Jerome Augustyniak – drums
    Robert Buck – electric guitar, acoustic guitar
    Dennis Drew – organ, piano
    Steve Gustafson – bass guitar
    Natalie Merchant – vocals, piano, pipe organ

Additional musicians
    Jevetta Steele – backing vocals
    Jason Osborn – arrangement, orchestral direction
    Krista Bennion Feeney – first violin
    Mitsuru Tsubota – second violin
    Louise Schulman – viola
    Myron Lutzke – cello
    Dennis Godburn – bassoon
    Robert Wolinsky – harpsichord
    Scott Kuney – classical guitar
    Frank Luther – double bass

Two years after their breakthrough album In My Tribe, 10,000 Maniacs released their fourth LP which further cemented their place on the musical map.

Natalie Merchant said about most of the album:

    'The theme that I keep returning to with every song is betrayal. "Eat for Two" is self-betrayal. "The Big Parade" is a nation betraying its citizens. "Please Forgive Us" is a nation betraying another nation. "Hateful Hate" is a race betraying another race. "Jubilee" is, first, a man who's betrayed by nature or God..."Poison in the Well" is the question of corporate culpability when there's a toxic-waste dump that suddenly is seeping into the main water supply of a neighborhood. That corporation has betrayed those people.'

Some of those same themes are still around today in various guises and shows that all these years on it still speaks into the current situation in the USA and in other places also.

My personal view on the album is that it was a real step forward (though some of those dreaded critics saw differently) musically and lyrically. I thought it would be hard to top In My Tribe but I think they did with Blind Man's Zoo.

I saw them in Glasgow when they toured the album and thought they were outstanding. It's still an album that I have a lot of affection for 29 years on from its release. It's also a reminder to me that the particular show at The Pavillion was one of the first for me since moving to the City of Glasgow from London that same year.

This is the first of series that I hope to do at various times called A Few Favourite Albums. They will be my choices and maybe not necessarily huge hit albums, or ones loved by the critics. They will be albums that still hold some meaning for me years on after their initial release.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

S4L Radio Show Playlist #6 Shout To Silence

It's been a wee while since the last playlist so thought I'd put another one together spotlighting the theme of Noise and Silence. I know, it sounds an odd combination but it's actually something we constantly deal with in life. Noise is all around us and sometimes we have to fight for silence in order to grab a precious moment where we can connect with God or ourselves afresh.

So here it is twenty songs with Shouts, Loudness, Screams, Banging, Noise, and eventually Quiet and Silence!


The Playlist
Shout To Silence

On The Playlist:
Shout - Sham 69
Shake and Shout - Secret Affair
Shout To The Devil - The Alarm

Play It Loud - MxPx
Live Life Loud - Hawk Nelson

To The Tune of 5,000 Screaming Children - The Juliana Theory
Better Scream - Wah! Heat
Whisper To A Scream (Birds Fly) - The Icicle Works

Bang A Gong (Get It On) - T. Rex
Bang Bang - Squeeze
Don't Bang The Drum - The Waterboys

Shout Above The Noise - Penetration
Noise Noise Noise - The Damned
A Big Bad Beautiful Noise - The Godfathers
White Noise - The Interrupters

All Quiet On The Eastern Front - Ramones
Quietly Alone - Kirsty MacColl

Code of Silence (Live) - Bruce Springsteen and The East Street Band
The Silence Between Us - Bob Mould
Silence - Jars of Clay


Thursday, 10 May 2018

New Music 2018: Beds Are Burning - Comeback Kid (5th May)

 Beds Are Burning - Comeback Kid
Nuclear Blast
5th May 2018
Limited Edition 7" (500 Copies)
Digital Download

Beds Are Burning

Little Soldier

Just in time for the start of their Australian Tour on the 14th May, Hardcore Canadian Punks Comeback Kid have released a cover version of the classic Midnight Oil song Beds Are Burning.

It's backed with Little Soldier which was left off of their sixth album, Outsider, that was released in 2017.

The band will be playing in the UK at the end of May as part of the Slam Dunk Festival: Leeds (North 26th May), Hatfield (South 27th May) and Birmingham (Midlands 28th May). For more Tour dates check out the list here.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

New Music 2018: Hard Feelings - Blessthefall (March 2018)

Hard Feelings - Blessthefall
Rise Records
Produced by Blessthefall, Tyler Smyth, Matt Good, Howard Benson
Released 23rd March 2018
US Chart #54

Hard Feelings is the sixth studio album from Arizona Metalcore rockers Blessthefall and is their first for Rise Records.

I've been sitting on this one since it came out and finally got around to giving it a spin and man I'm impressed. There's a nice delicate balance of singing and that typical Metalcore Scream which actually makes the album a really listenable experience.


Give it a blast today, you might actually enjoy it!

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