Monday, 8 September 2014

Liverpool Express

Liverpool Express were an excellent band in the 1970's, but with musical origins in the 1960's, along with The Beatles.  Lead member Billy Kinsley and his band The Merseybeats even playing on the same bill as The Beatles at various clubs in the early days.  Some of the music of Liverpool Express is highly Beatlesque, with a leaning toward the Paul McCartney side; here and there making one think of what the Beatles may possibly have sounded like just a little bit, if the band had continued into the seventies (listen to 'Julian The Hooligan' and the beautiful and moving Beatles tribute song 'John, George, Ringo and Paul').
 The music is lovely and very melodic, varying from romantic ballads to rockier tunes, and is very good indeed.  This best of cd is one I strongly recommend to those who like really well-crafted pop music, of the kind that is rarely made today.
Billy Kinsley-Bass, Lead Vocals
Roger Scott Craig-Keyboards, vocals
Tony Coates-Guitars, vocals
Derek Cashin-Drums, vocals
'You Are My Love'
'All Time Loser'
'Every Man Must Have A Dream'
'It's Only My Imagination'
'It's A Beautiful Day'

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Ougenweide: German Folk Rock with Medieval Tones

I happened to discover the German folk rock band Ougenwiede several years ago, after seeing a video, and the search went on from there and I ended up having to get most of their albums (though  I've not managed to get any of them on record yet), they were a very good band.

I'm not keen on making comparisons, but in some ways they were a bit like a sort of German Steeleye Span, but with more of a medieval tinge to some of their work, with some Ian Anderson style of flute playing here and there.  There's a lot of good music on these albums.  With the songs being sung in German, and the lyrics in the CD booklets being in German with no translation (though the notes and band history etc... are in English),  unless you know the language you will be lost, lyrically speaking. 


Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Teatime in English Pop Music


There are a few songs about tea, and, loving music and tea, thought it would be interesting to put some of these together for a little vintage-toned (as these songs all have a retro-feel to them, apart from the Stackridge song, which was rather progressive) English musical teatime.

To start off, the charmingly old-fashioned 'English Tea' by Paul McCartney:

How about a 'Jolly Cup Of Tea' with Roy Wood and Wizzard?

'Teatime' by Stackridge:

The Kinks extol the benefits of tea drinking and encourage us to 'Have A Cuppa Tea'

'Afternoon Tea'

Here's a jaunty and ripping version of this little ditty, 'Everything Stops For Tea', by Professor Elemental:
There's nothing like a good cup of hot, comforting tea, and some of us must start the day with it.   Besides keeping a good stock of tea (and music), over time one can easily acquire masses of teapots, teacups, mugs and attractive tins...along with the records and CDs.  
'Toast and Marmalade For Tea' by Tin Tin
Freely take tea every day, like the Rutles, and even biscuits.


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Sparks and Kimono My House


 The rivetting song 'This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us', from the album 'Kimono My House', is the song that initially drew me into the music of Sparks, and is probably their most famous song.  First impressions were that the music was highly original, interesting, complex and definitely ahead of it's time. 
 This wonderful, unique album was made in 1974 in England, it's rather a pop music masterpiece. 
 This line-up of Sparks consisted of brothers Ron Mael (a brilliant songwriter and keyboardist who has a habit of giving unnerving, intense stares) and Russell Mael (who possesses a beautiful, melodic voice and boundlessly energetic stage presence);  Martin Gordon's incredibly superb bass playing and arrangements; Dinky Diamond's great drumming, and Adrian Fisher's distinctive electric guitar work. The musicians in this fantastic band must be praised for their great skill, all did an admirable job and made this album extra special.
 'Kimono My House' has one of the most striking album covers, with the two Japanese girls in those beautiful kimonos, which makes it desirous to have on LP for those who appreciate good record sleeve design, but I also recommend the cd reissue, which has a lovely little inner booklet and two smashing B-sides: 'Barbecutie' and 'Lost and Found'.  
It's difficult to comment on each and every song, as it's excessive repetition to keep giving descriptions such as excellent music, singing, playing; great melodies, rhythms, incredible lyrics, and so on.  But, the album is excitement from start to finish.  "You hear the thunder of stampeding rhinos, elephants and tacky tigers..." This is an exceptional and eternally fresh and vibrant album, with much style.
  Clever, idiosyncratic and unique, with a sense of humour, there's no other band like Sparks.  For those who don't connect with their music, they are missing out on something rare and often precious.  They have changed sounds and styles so many times, always advancing forth, yet even if a style here and there may not immediately be to one's personal taste (perhaps something very modern that takes a bit longer to grow on one), they are usually songs of a high standard and always sung to perfection; and will expand your musical horizons.  So you can move on from those earlier renowned albums and find a deep well of highly commendable ones.  I still have more of their musical treasures to delve into deeper and explore, but am finding treats from everywhere and can't wait to hear what further new delights they are going to keep coming up with.
Sparks music is proper music for those who take music seriously and appreciate true artistry and craftsmanship; music that is created with great care and attention to detail, often with a sense of fun lurking under the surface or prominently on the surface, which makes the music impart an uplifting feeling.  It can also be dramatic and very moving. It is intelligent music, with varying degrees of complexity, sophistication (sometimes overtly unsophisticated) and with an admirable disregard for following the crowd-for Sparks experiment and set trends, not follow them.  This music cannot be labelled or put into a tidy little category, it is beyond that and deserves much respect; especially with the current state of rock/pop based music, most of which is incredibly dull, uncreative, depressing, unlistenable, and unbearable.
So now further into Sparks and 'Kimono My House':
The stylish promotional video for This Town...


The next version of the band performing 'Amateur Hour' on German television 
'Lost and Found'
Kimono My House:
This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us
Amateur Hour
Falling In Love With Myself Again
Here In Heaven
Thank God It's Not Christmas
Hasta Manana, Monsieur
Talent Is An Asset
In My Family