Significant Songs (204/205)

Good Luck, Good Luck.

I know I can come across like a grumpy old man, most of the time. I moan about the weather, complain about getting old, and generally like nothing better than to be grumbling about something or other.

But I have another side, and that’s my musical one. I have loved all kinds of music for as long as I can remember, and even now I am that age that I complain about, music brings out the youth still lurking in my soul.

In 2004, I was 52 years old. But I didn’t let that number affect my taste for funky music. Give me a good beat, some powerful vocals, add a catchy chorus, and I was on board.

Basement Jaxx was a British duo, and their forte was electronic music, sampling, and creating a very British version of Dance Music. Not the sort of band your average fifty-plus man was listening to at the time, I grant you. They wisely chose not to sing themselves, instead recruiting some of the most talented vocalists around at the time, and using many of them to front their lively record releases. One of those was Lisa Kekaula, an American singer with a retro sound, and huge voice.

They came together on this standout track, ‘Good Luck, Good Luck’, and I was on it as soon as I heard it played on the radio.

Fifteen years later, it still makes my feet go, and my body move.
Though perhaps a little more slowly…

And writing this reminded me of another one of their songs.
Great Bollywood/Dance Music fusion! And classy video too. 🙂
Romeo.

Significant Songs (203)

C’est La Vie

In 1987, I heard a really funky song on the car radio. It had a catchy chorus, great vocals, and was incredibly well produced. In a few short minutes, it delivered that ‘wall of sound’ feeling that got right inside me. The radio DJ announced that it was a single released from the new album by Robbie Nevil, an American I had never heard of. I went into my local record shop, and asked about it. I was told that it was only available as a single at the time, and was already in the Top 40. I bought a copy immediately.

Once home, I played it over and over, as it seemed to get better every time I heard it. This was very much my kind of music, and I was looking forward to see it climbing the charts, and appearing on TV music shows. When it got into the Top 20, (eventually reaching number two in the UK) I saw Robbie performing it on television. I was suitably surprised. Instead of a smooth, sharp-looking young black man, here was a skinny white guy, with long hair like a rock performer, and a totally different image to the one I had stereotyped.

I was very impressed.

Robbie continued to record for a while, and had a couple of lesser hits. But he never repeated the success of this great pop song.

And I never did get around to buying his album.

Significant Songs (202)

Many Rivers To Cross

I was 17 in 1969, and I heard a new song by the Jamaican Reggae artist, Jimmy Cliff. He wasn’t much older than me at the time, yet it seemed to me to not only contain a timeless message, but also have its roots in Gospel, and early Soul music. Over the decades since, it has been covered by so many other singers, I started to lose track. But I do recall excellent versions from the likes of Joe Cocker, Cher, and Percy Sledge. As with most cases of covers though, nothing quite hit that feeling of hearing the original, by the person who had written it.

These days, the song is still popular, and often showcased by aspiring young singers on TV talent shows. It has also been featured on film soundtracks, including the 1972 film ‘The Harder They Come’, a film that Jimmy starred in. He is still working and performing today, and still singing this wonderful song.

The Somerville Effect

Two and a half years ago,, I wrote a post about the Scottish singer, Jimmy Somerville. It was one of the ‘Whatever happened to?’ posts, and attracted some views, as well as a few comments remembering Jimmy, and the groups he sung with, including The Communards.
https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/whatever-happened-to-jimmy-somerville/

That was that, and the post went into the archives, occasionally showing up as being viewed, but never receiving any further likes or comments.

Then for some reason, in the space of a few days, it began to be viewed again, a lot of times. By last Sunday, it had overtaken everything else, becoming the most-viewed post on my blog in one week, with close to 200 views, and still going. I have no idea why this interest in Jimmy suddenly resurfaced, and could not find anything in the news to suggest a comeback, or new recording.

But I would like to thank all of those searching about him. You have boosted my blog figures nicely, and revitalised a dormant post.
Please feel free to keep it up.

Great Albums: It’s All About The Stragglers

This choice may surprise most of you. Despite being in a musical genre known as ‘2-Step Garage’, (no, I don’t know what that means either) this is one of my most played albums over the last eighteen years, and one of the favourites I return to time and time again. I apologise in advance to readers from outside the UK, who will probably never have heard of the performers, the genre, or anything involved with that very British sound back then.

When I heard a track played on the radio, I went into a branch of a big record shop chain in London, and asked about the CD. I was 48 at the time, in the year 2000. I am sure that the young man serving me must have thought I was buying it for a teenage child, but he was suitably respectful when I told him it was for me. Artful Dodger was not a group or band, in the usual sense. It was a duo made up of two white guys, DJ/Producers who developed a sound, then recruited session singers, backing vocalists, or unknown artists to sing the songs they wrote. This led to some of those singers, like the smooth and handsome Craig David, becoming household names in the UK.

The CD had fifteen tracks, but as is usual with modern albums, quite a few of those were extended remixes of the same songs. I preferred the ‘radio edits’ in most cases, and I was caught up in the CD from track one, playing the whole thing again immediately.
Think About Me.

The second track was the Craig David vocal that I had heard on the radio.
Re-Rewind.

This really captured the mood of the club scene back then. Something I knew nothing about aged 48 of course. 🙂

By track three, my feet were tapping uncontrollably.
Outrageous.

Track four was an irresistible smooth groove. I love this one!
Please Don’t Turn Me On.

By track five, I was introduced to Nicole singing this nice funky pop song.
24/7.

Romina Johnson took the vocals for track seven. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, this came along.
Movin’ Too Fast.

By track ten, I was already looking forward to hearing it all again, and Craig David was joined by Robbie Craig for this one. I was on my feet by now!
This was so infectious, I replayed it straight after.
Woman Trouble.

OK, you get the idea. A timeless album that still gets me in the groove at the age of 66. One of the first things I would take to a desert island, or rescue from a house fire. Eighteen years later, it keeps getting better for me, and though I appreciate that this sound is not for everyone, please give some of the tracks a chance.

And if you feel your feet moving, I told you so.

Significant Songs (201)

Roxanne

In the late 1970s, I lived in Wimbledon, in south-west London. (The place where they have the Tennis tournament every year.)
I used to frequent a record shop locally, and buy new singles and albums. The owner got to know me well, and would always suggest a new release that he thought I might like. One day, he played me a new single from a band called The Police. I didn’t know much about them, and neither did he. But I agreed that it was my type of song. Something different, with powerful lead vocals, and a great beat. So I told him to include it in the bag of records I had already bought.

The following week, I bought a best-selling music newspaper, the New Musical Express. There was no Internet then of course, and other than radio and TV chart shows, such journals were the only way to read the background to what was happening in the music business. I was surprised to discover that The Police was fronted by an Englishman, Gordon Sumner, who liked to go by the irritatingly pretentious name of Sting. I had thought they must be American, from their sound. The drummer was an American, but the lead guitarist was English too.

The single didn’t appear in the charts until the following year, 1979, when it was released in America, then re-released in the UK. It made it into the top twenty, and the band were frequently seen on TV, and played on the radio. I was suitably smug, having owned the record long before it became popular.
As for The Police, the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

It’s still a great record though.

Jamiroquai: My ‘Five A Day’

Back in 2016, I wrote a post about the British band, Jamiroquai. This was it.
https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/2016/09/04/whatever-happened-to-jamiroquai/

Regular readers will remember that it became something of a beetleypete blogging phenomenon, attracting the most views ever on my blog, and continuing to do so for months on end. I continued the theme with no less than eleven more posts about the effect it had on my blog, and how it continued to attract so many views even after the band reformed, and released a new album.

After writing so much about it, and becoming aware that it was boring the pants off many of my most loyal followers, I called a halt to those posts, and gave the band a well-deserved rest from this blog. But a recent skim through my stats revealed that the original post remains a stalwart on my blog. Ever since I posted it, it has been viewed continuously, for over two years now.

This past month, it has been viewed at least five times every day, seven days a week. Even on the rare days when I post nothing at all, you can bet it will still get those five views, or more.

Sometimes, the experience of blogging can throw up something surprising. And this is one of those.