Paul Simon came in for a lot of flak for working in South Africa during the dark days of the 80s and this is not the place to discuss the rights and wrongs of cultural boycotts and the breaking thereof. But in going there he introduced African musical styles and influences to many in the western world who would otherwise never have heard them.
Graceland is one of my favourite tracks from the album. The guitar work is understated but evocative, the bass line is wonderfully melodic and I would imagine a real bugger to play, even though I’ve never tried. But it’s Simon’s smooth as melted toffee ice cream vocal that makes it, and the storytelling lyrics. The whole middle section “she comes back to tell me she’s gone…” is stuffed full of lyrics that other writers would kill to write just half a line of. It’s genius. It’s just one of the reasons why this is a
It’s the last Friday of August. Summer is coming to an end, and here in England it’s a holiday weekend. But FriFric never takes a holiday, FriFic doesn’t change with the seasons. Every week, wherever we are in the calendar, Rochelle sends forty seven million writers around the world a prompt pic Read more…
Ah, Jools Holland, the greatest piano player of our times. Noone plays that boogie woogie style as well as he does. His left hand is the strongest of any ever placed on a keyboard, and this track is a fine example.
By the way, if you ever get the chance to see him live, do so. I’ve seen him I don’t know how many times over the years and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra never disappoints. One day I’ll tell you the story of how a bunch of us gatecrashed backstage and met him. But for now, enjoy this peach from what turns out to be a rare and valuable CD, a copy of which I just happen to own. Please excuse the poor quality of this upload – even with that, it’s pianising at its best, it’s a
There are lots of songs about Saturday – the night especially – and quite a few about Friday. But noone (as far as I know) has written one about 8.30AM on a Wednesday. Read more…
there was one moment that, if I was, would be all I needed to justify my faith.
17th August 1989. My Mum had been in hospital for the last 6 days, rapidly (or infinitely slowly as it seemed to us in that bizarre, surreal timeframe that hospitals exist in) succumbed to the cancers destroying her. We left for the evening, leaving my Dad to sit and sleep in the chair next to her.
I went to bed, exhausted, and was watching a bit of telly to unwind when at a couple of minutes past 11pm, I felt an enormous sense of relief and release. My self sighed, and my inner voice said “it’s alright now”. I knew that my Mum’s suffering was over. And a minute later, the phone rang. It was Dad, confirming what we had all been dreading and hoping for in equal measure, and what I knew had happened.
I’m not spiritual, I don’t believe in a soul. I’m not religious, I don’t believe in a God or that we go anywhere when life ends. But I believe that I felt the exact moment of my Mum’s passing.
Exactly 6 months from today I will be in Reykjavík’s famous Harpa concert hall for the first night of Sónar festival. To celebrate the fact, here is one of the lesser known tracks from Icelandic legend Björk, here backed by the tríó Guđmundar Ingólfssonar on the rare and very saught-after Gling-Gló album. Released back in 1990, it’s an album of jazz standards and Icelandic folk tunes that is full of gems like this. It’s a toe-tapper, it’s four accomplished musicians at their best. It’s a
oh, and in case you’re thinking, oh my oh my I know that tune from somewhere…
I feel sorry for our proto-humanoid ancestors. Not only did they have to live in caves with fairly rudimentary heating / lighting and have to avoid being eaten by sabre-toothed mammoths or wooly tigers, but they also has no concept of days of the week. Read more…