17th November 2020
In the run down to the end of August we covered some wide and very talented ground. Finishing our birthday week celebration we had hot young talent and some of the best line-up of greats on video. We said hello to world-class Jazz, revisited the ’80s, and put some song origin arguments to rest. And that was just a part of it!
This series of blog articles cover a week of mini-feature posts from the Loving the Music Facebook page and group. This makes it easier for our music-loving community to search through our ever-growing archive of songs, backstories and trivia.
Aug 22nd – 31st: Musicians Featured
Jacob Collier – Taj Farrant – Grace Vanderwaal Potter/Satriani/Mitchell Bonamassa/Gibbons/Trucks/Hill – Lynn/Petty/Winwood/Harrison/Prince – Snarky Puppy – Wang Chung – Springsteen – Steppenwolf – Albert King / Stevie Ray Vaughn – Luka Bloom – Joni Mitchell – Nazareth – Jackson Browne – The Eagles – Santana – Fleetwood Mac – Deep Purple – Bran Van 3000 (BV3)
22nd Aug: It’s the penultimate day of our birthday week celebration and I’ve decided to choose tracks from a few young musical geniuses that have wowed us over the past year. Last October I had my mind well and truly blown when Dave Leadbetter shared a clip of Jacob Collier. I didn’t know what to expect, but I trust Dave’s choice in music implicitly, so clicked-through to what can only be called a masterpiece of arrangement, harmony, video editing and musical ability.
Amazingly Jacob Collier is self-taught save for a handful of weekend jazz piano lessons, and a mother who is a teacher and conductor at the Royal Academy of Music. Consider this, in 2012 (aged 18) he uploaded his take on Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely. The YouTube video crosses the path of Quincy Jones who raves about it. The next year he follows up with a more ambitious ‘Don’t You Worry About a Thing’, which had the major names like Pat Methany, Herbie Hancock, Steve Vai and K D Lang in raptures. It’s no wonder that his first album, ‘In My Room’ which he recorded in his home music room, garnered him two Grammy Awards in 2017.
Since that first encounter I have featured Jacob Collier numerous times, and it’s no wonder. Every track he drip-feeds us from his 4-part Djesse series of albums, plus his live clips and online masterclasses and interviews support his title of Jazz’s New Messiah.
He is now a huge name and is always in demand but he also comes across as one of the nicest guys you could wish to meet. I’m particularly happy about this as he will be approaching that ‘cursed’ age for musical geniuses soon and I would hate to see him disappear along with James, Jim, Janis, Kurt etc. To start today’s archive mix is Jacob Collier strutting his stuff with some friends and All Night Long.
Taj Farrant made his presence felt in our group earlier this year and caused quite a stir. It’s not often that a 9-year old blows the musical world away with his innate ability to play the rock guitar. Don’t get the wrong impression; this isn’t some kid who has been whipped into musical shape by a tiger mother. This is a kid who saw an AC/DC concert from his Dad’s shoulders as a 6-year-old and watching Angus Young, decided there and then that “I want to do that forever”. He stuck to his young guns and now plays with a passion and emotion that far outweighs his years.
Coming from a musical family helps. Taj’s first guitar came from his grandmother at 3-years-old. 6 years later he became the youngest guitarist ever to be endorsed by Gibson. He first appeared on the Voice when he was 8-years-old and immediately came to the attention of the public. Coupled with the exposure he got on the Ellen show, his YouTube clips have had millions of views. Now 11-years old, he is recording his first single for Dorsey Entertainment Worldwide.
I can see this diminutive Australian talent being at the forefront of the Blues/Rock world before too long. He has already played alongside Rob Thomas and Carlos Santana and he both looked and sounded completely at home and in his natural environment. As one of the YouTube comments says, If you don’t play the guitar this will make you want to start, if you do play the guitar, this will make you want to give up. Here’s Taj Farrant with Tennesee Whisky Blues.
To close off this selection from the archives of young geniuses that we have featured over the past year on Facebook I have an America’s Got Talent winner. I can immediately hear some eye’s rolling, but wait a second. This isn’t the normal AGT emotional fodder, this 12-year-old won the 17th AGT season by sticking to her own songs sung in her own style, unlike the wannabe diminutive Whitney’s and Celine’s that appear regularly. From the moment she walked onto the stage with a ukelele and launched into a quirky, but brilliant, original song, ‘I Don’t Know My Name’, I was hooked. She won Howie Mandel’s golden buzzer, and week after week Grace Vanderwaal delivered a brilliantly crafted original every time.
She’s now a well-known name and has recorded two EP’s and a full-length studio album so far. Along with her YouTube videos, guest performances for bands like Imagine Dragons and Florence and the Machine and her own touring schedule, it has kept her a very busy young lady. This year also saw her acting debut in the Disney musical drama, Stargirl.
All I hope is that she avoids the traps and temptations that have destroyed so many young careers. Here’s a song that she performed during the AGT season which shows her skills as a songwriter, and her ability to take on topics that to some may seem way beyond her years. This is ‘Clay’.Thanks for spending some Saturday time with me appreciating some of the new genius talents that we have seen growing and emerging over our first year. 😎
23rd Aug: Today is the final day of our birthday week celebration and the three songs I have chosen from our archives show some of the best collaborations of great musicians on YouTube. You have probably seen some of them before, but that’s what this week has been about, revisiting some great songs.
Those of you who know me will also know that my first choice for tonight is one of my favourites. It was filmed in 2006 at the Jammy Awards at Madison Square Gardens and features Grace Potter, Joe Satriani and Willy Waldman taking the lead on Neil Young’s classic, Cortez the Killer. This trio of greats is faultlessly supported by Steve Kimock (guitar), Reed Mathis (bass) and Stephen Perkins (drums).
What makes this video stand out for me is the interplay between the musicians. Grace Potter’s vocals and skilful handling of the Hammond B3 perfectly compliments Joe Satriani’s guitar wizardry, which plays counterpoint with Willy Waldman’s trumpet mastery. The whole performance is a work of musical art and a few hundred of the 32,000 views on this YouTube clip are possibly mine. If you haven’t seen this before, you are in for a treat. If you have seen it, welcome back to the magic.
For the second slot for today’s selection from our year-old archives, I have chosen a powerful performance from four legendary guitarists. What makes this track interesting is the completely different guitar styles that come together and work so well to honour a great song, ‘Going Down’.
Joe Bonamassa, with his technical mastery on the fretboard, Billy Gibbons, the man behind the sound of ZZ Top, and slide guitar guru, Derek Trucks, is solidly backed by Dusty Hill’s bass in this 2013 tribute performance of blues legend, Freddy King. This is the sort of relaxed magic that happens when four real-like friends join forces on stage.
To close both today’s selection, and as the final archive share to celebrate our birthday week, I have decided on a classic performance that possibly every true music lover has seen and holds dear. I can’t think of a better tribute line-up of musicians to celebrate George Harrison’s posthumous induction into the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Prince, Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynn and George’s son, Dhani Harrison joined forces to provide a brief moment of musical history.
Although each member plays their part to perfection, it is the blistering guitar solo from Prince that stands out as one of those important events in the musical universe. It is a masterpiece of guitar skill coupled with a performance that exemplifies Prince, the showman.
Sadly, with the loss of both Prince and Tom Petty, this magic can never be recreated in quite the same way, which is what makes this clip so special. I think a comment under the YouTube clip says it all: “Tom Petty’s guitar: gently weeps – Jeff Lynne’s guitar: gently weeps – Dhani Harrison’s guitar: gently weeps – Prince’s guitar: cries like a tragic mythological figure from atop mount Olympus, raining tears across the whole world”. I couldn’t have said it better myself!
I want to thank all of you for celebrating our group’s first birthday during this past week. It was a pleasure to delve into our archives of songs and choose a selection that represents the diversity of music that we explore in this group; I think we’re doing a pretty good job. Here’s to the next year! 😎
24th Aug: Loving the Music is now officially in its second year and I want to thank you for the likes, shares and comments over the last twelve months. What started as a Facebook page soon became a group and now includes a weekly blog of musical recaps of our mini-features. As you see, my pet hobby has taken on a life of its own and I’m enjoying bringing a daily threesome of music and info to your timelines.
Today is for lovers of big Jazz. When I say big, I mean a couple of keyboards, lots of guitars, an extensive brass section and a drummer who is so spot on that it is hard to believe he is human. Snarky Puppy are well known to Jazz fans and today I’ve chosen two tracks from the ‘We Like It Here’ CD/DVD and one from the ‘Family Dinner’ release featuring Jacob Collier.
This set was recorded live at the Kytopia Studios in Utrecht, Netherlands so there are no overdubs or sound-engineer trickery Before we get into some of Snarky Puppy’s backstory lets listen to the song ’Shofukan’. You’ll notice that the small studio audience are all wearing headphones. I would have loved to have been among them to witness this bit of jazz magic.
Snarky Puppy’s origins began in 2004 when the founder, Michael Leauge formed a 10-piece jazz band because he liked to play, but wasn’t good enough for any of the University of North Texas ensembles, where he was a student. From humble beginnings, they have gone on to become an international super-band.
There is a constant core of musicians, but the rest of the band is made up of part-time members who have played with Snarky Puppy over the years. It’s not a collective, but more of an assemblage of highly talented musicians who fit into the Snarky Puppy sound and can be called upon when musical obligations prevent some others from performing. Many of the ‘members’ of this 40-strong list are past students of UNT.
Between 2005 – 2013 Snarky Puppy released four albums and won the 2014 Grammy for Best R&B Performance with the vocalist Lahla Hathaway. By this time they had launched their own label, GroundUp Music. They have used the label to help lesser-known artists capitalize on their growing success. I’d say that’s pretty decent of them! Here’s the second track from the ‘We Like it Here’ live recording, Jambone. For those of you who appreciate a good drummer, listen to what Larnell Lewis is conjuring up on his kit.
The final choice from Snarky Puppy for today sees them along with the musical whizz-kid who is being called the new Jazz Messiah, Jacob Collier. He needs no introduction to our group and I’ve featured his brand of genius quite a few times over the last year. Also featured is an instrument you don’t necessarily think as solo material, the Sousaphone. Your opinion might be changed, as mine was when you see Big Ed Lee in action.
Just a little more background about Snarky Puppy for your trivia box – in 2017 they launched the annual GoundUP Music Festival in Miami. Under the artistic direction of Michael League, the festival sees nightly performances from Snarky Puppy and features a host of artists from the international music world. Yet another act of ‘giving back to music’ that has made this outfit so admired among their peers.
This closing song was written by Jacob Collier and arranged and produced by Jacob and Michael League. It was released on the 2016 album ‘Family Dinner – Vol Two’. Seeing the combined talents of these two huge talents is mesmerising. Here’s ‘Don’t You Know’. Thanks for joining the jazz groove today. 😎
25th Aug: I hadn’t thought about the band Wang Chung for ages and was transported back to the dancefloors of the ‘80s when I heard their hit ‘Everybody Have Fun Tonight’ on the radio this morning. I did a check to find out what happened to them and was pleasantly surprised to find that they (or part thereof) are still active and have recently finished an ambitious project with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra which saw the 2019 album release, Orchesography.
I’ve decided to feature three tracks from different stages of Wang Chung story today. It was only in 1980 after playing under various names with assorted line-ups for five years that ‘Huang Chung’ emerged. They came to the attention of the Arista label, but none of the three albums they released for them had the commercial success expected.
Arista didn’t want to lose the band and signed them to their American division, Geffen, who suggested changing the Huang Chung to Wang Chung to make the name a bit easier for fans. This seemed to hit the mark with the 1983 album ‘Points on the Curve’, and that’s where we start today’s musical adventure. Here’s that big hit, Dance Hall Days.
Wang Chung’s sound fitted perfectly into an era when electro-pop was expanding and becoming the dominant sound in the clubs. After the success of Points on the Curve they hit a bit of a creative wall. Expectations were high and the pressure was on for the next big hit.
As one of the founders, Nic Feldman, relates in a Pop Matters interview “Suddenly, we got offered the opposite of pop music: A long-form, dark, spontaneous, intense soundtrack. Director William Friedkin didn’t want songs for his movie To Live and Die in LA. He wanted instrumentals. We did the pieces, and it was the perfect outlet for us. We were honoured and excited to work with someone like him.
The brief he gave us was: Go into a studio and give me 40 minutes of music. He gave us the song “Wait” from Points on the Curve as a reference point. But the great thing was, he didn’t want us to score it to picture. He just wanted us to send him music, and then he would lay it into the film as he saw fit.
He not only laid it in but he cut the film to our music, so it was an incredible thing to be involved with. The fantastic thing for us was that it took all the pressure off us to write a follow-up hit. We cleansed our palette”. Here’s the song To Live and Die in LA from their 1985 album of the same name.
Wang Chung released a further two albums after To Live and Die in LA, Mosaic (1986) and The Warmer Side of Cool (1987) before taking a nine-year hiatus. They came back with the 2012 album ‘Tazer Up, which Feldman described as an album that kept true to the band’s sound but in a more contemporary setting, a modern antique if you will.
I’m leaving you with one of the hits from their heydey, Everybody Have Fun Tonight, from the 2019 compilation of re-imaginings of some of their songs that they worked on with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchesography.
The album is a mix of well-known songs, and some that never received the attention that they deserved. It is more than just a hits collection. There were two EP releases from the album complete with DVD’s, which is where today’s closing track comes from. Thanks for rediscovering Wang Chung with me today. Whether you were a fan or not, or even born at the time of their heyday, you have to admit that they knew how to write a pop song. 😎
26th Aug: Yesterday celebrated Bruce Springteen’s 3rd album, Born to Run. It was the album that gave him the break he had needed to reach the mainstream audience he well deserved. Although I am not the world’s biggest Springsteen fan (so shoot me!) the title track is one of my favourite songs and got me thinking about today’s theme; ‘Born’ songs. There are so many songs that start with the word Born in the title and I thought I’d spend some time exploring.
A Google hunt and the comparison of a couple of lists turned up over 75 titles before I gave up counting. I didn’t need any memory nudging to come up with the perfect choice. The songs that immediately sprung to mind to join Springsteen’s Born to Run was Steppenwolf’s Born to be Wild and Born Under a Bad Sign.
My personal love for today’s first song harks back to 1975 when I took my first steps to independence by moving into a boarding house. The ‘big’ change corresponded with the release of Bruce’s ‘big’ song and it wasn’t too long before I had it on cassette – and it wasn’t long before everybody in the boarding house knew the song word-perfect, whether they wanted to or not! Congratulations Bruce, the song that was the soundtrack to my first big step is still going strong 45 years later, as am I.
If there is a song that was destined to become the theme song of hundreds of motorcycle clubs it is Steppenwolf’s biggest hit, Born To Be Wild. Written in 1968 and cemented into history with its use in the cult movie Easy Rider a year later, the song has gone on to epitomise the philosophy of counter-cultures across the years.
Notable trivia is that the term ‘Heavy Metal’ was first introduced in this song and it is sometimes called the first Heavy Metal song in history. I think the song’s references are to motorbikes and not music, but who am I to rewrite music history. Also interesting is that the song was originally written as a ballad by Mars Bonfire, the stage name for band member Dennis Edmonton. I wonder if it would have had as much impact if the band had kept it as such.
Born to be Wild wasn’t only used in the movie Easy Rider, the song also featured in the Herbie Reloaded movie. The movie bombed, although it was good to hear that my favourite VW Beetle was in action again. It was also used in the movies Married with Children and Problem Child. Fortunately, this hasn’t detracted from the song’s appeal and it still kindles a spark of rebellion in many of us. Personally, the song always sweeps me back to being 14-years-old and everything that involves. That notwithstanding, It is still one of my favourites!
The third and final song for today’s Born theme is the classic Blues song made famous by Albert King, written by William Bell and Booker T Jones, and a huge hit for King, Born Under a Bad Sign.
It is the perfect crossover of Blues and Rock which is possibly why it has been covered by some of the industry’s biggest names over the years of which Cream, Hendrix, Clapton, Robin Ford, Joe Bonamassa and BB King are just a few. In 1988, Albert King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign” was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame.
The clip I have chosen is of the man himself, Albert King along with a sadly missed guitarist who passed away tomorrow, 30 years ago, Stevie Ray Vaughan. This is from a session that was recorded in 1983 and the play between the two greats makes for great viewing. Thanks for joining me for a ‘Re-Born’ moment. I hope I’ve converted you to some eternal Born songs. 😎
27th Aug: Luka Bloom is one of those singer/songwriters that I have been meaning to do some research on since hearing him doing backing vocals on the Indigo Girls song Closer to Fine. Being a harmony fan I was impressed with the depth that his contribution brought to an already brilliant song. His name popped up again when his song 1990 song ‘Delirious’ received some, but definitely not enough, airplay here in South Africa.
A few days ago his name came up again when my favourite streaming music station played a new track from Luka Bloom’s latest album, Bittersweet Crimson. I knew that this was a sign that it was time to delve a bit deeper into Luka Bloom’s backstory.
The first thing I discovered is that Luka is the brother of Christie Moore, the founder of an Irish folk band that I was crazy about in the ‘70s, Planxty. Born as Kevin Barry Moore in County Kildare in 1955, he formed his first band in high school and dropped out of college to pursue his musical career. After local tours with Planxty and as a member of a few bands and a few albums later, Kevin disappeared and Luka Bloom emerged in 1987. He chose the name Luka from Suzanne Vega’s song and Bloom from James Joyce’s main character from Ulysses.
Bloom’s early albums showcased his frenetic strumming style (once described as “stadium rock for the bedroom”), including “Delirious”, the debut track on the 1990 Riverside album, and our starting point for today.
We pick up Luka Bloom’s story with the 2005 album ‘Innocence’. Up to this point Luka had firmly developed his own style, as well as fulfilling his love of cover versions with his 2000 release of the obviously named ‘Cover Versions’. It was time for something a little different.
The album has elements and influences of traditional Eastern European Romany music, giving it more of a World Music feel. Although known for the steel-string sound that defined his style to this point, on this album we hear him playing with the deep resonance of the acoustic classical guitar. I’ve chosen the beautiful song ‘Gypsy Music’ as today’s second choice.
Under both the names Kevin Barry Moore and Luka Bloom, he has released a staggering 27 albums during his career, the latest Bittersweet Crimson, having been released earlier this year.
This album of 14 songs that Luka had written over the previous two years was initially recorded over two days at the Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin. According to Luka, magic happened and with no arrangements as such, the small band of musicians and two engineers just had fun for 48 hours.
When the COVID lockdowns hit Luka decided to carry on with the album as they had enough material from the initial sessions to work with. As became the norm, the band remotely added guitars, extra vocals, keyboards and fiddle. The missing element, according to Luka, was a woman’s voice – but it had to be the correct voice.
As he tells it, “I spent a few weeks seeking out the voice of a woman, to complete the story of Bittersweet Crimson. The moment I heard the voice of Niamh Farrell, I knew she must write the final chapter, and thank God she agreed to do it. At the time of the recording, she was (and is) working in a Dublin hospital. In the time of Corona, and we know what this means, I felt so honoured that Niamh agreed to record the songs for me with already so much pressure in her non-music work. Niamh and I have yet to meet in person, and yet she went to Brian’s home studio one day and just graced these songs with her pure voice and spirit.”
This album is far removed from the frantic strumming style that originally caught my attention, but it shows a paired back Luka playing what is essentially Folk music, and doing it very well. The closing song for tonight is from the Bittersweet Crimson album, ‘Can We Stay’, and its a beauty. 😎
28th Aug: I’ve had many conversations over the years about who the composer of a particular song is. Sometimes I’m thanked, sometimes there’s an argument and often the person I’m enlightening just regards me as a know-it-all. I thought this would make quite a good theme for today and have chosen three songs that most often ‘start the conversation’.
Beginning today is a song that once caused a friend to stop talking to me for a few weeks. Understand that this was in those pre-internet days of immediate info, and we were both teenagers. The song was ‘This Flight Tonight’, which was written by Joni Mitchell and NOT the Scottish band, Nazareth as many still believe.
This Flight Tonight was a track on Joni Mitchell’s seminal Blue album which was released in 1971. Nazareth’s rock version that became one of their best-known performance staples only made its appearance two years later on their ‘Loud and Proud’ album.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that Nazareth’s version is fantastic. The late Dan McCafferty’s vocals carry the song brilliantly and perfectly suit the rock arrangement, but I still have a soft spot for the original. Possibly because ‘Blue’ was one of the albums that had a huge impact on me and how I understand and appreciate music.
Joni Mitchell herself was impressed with Nazareth’s version and sometimes joked at concerts that she was about to sing a Nazareth song. They are very different in style but I think that music history is better for both versions.
Another song that has confusing roots is the Jackson Browne composition that the Eagles had a huge early hit with, Take it Easy. I suppose it is easy to see where the confusion comes into the story, as Glenn Frey did have a small part to play in the process.
Jackson Browne started writing the song for his first album but was stuck on how to finish it. Coincidently, his upstairs neighbour, Glenn Frey, was looking for a song for his new group, The Eagles. Frey heard Browne working on the song (he says that he learned a lot about songwriting by listening to his downstairs neighbour work), and told Jackson that he thought it was great. Browne said he was having trouble ending the song, and played what he had of it. When he got to the second verse, Frey came up with a key lyric: “It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowing down to take a look at me.”
Browne turned the song over to Frey, who finished writing it and recorded it with The Eagles, who used it as the first song on their first album, and also their first single. Frey says that Browne did most of the work on the song and was very generous in sharing the writing credit. He described the unfinished version of the song as a “package without the ribbon.” Jackson Browne released Take it Easy as the lead track on his second album, For Everyman, in 1973, but it failed to chart. So there we are! Now you know!
The origins of this next song are often confused with most believing that it is a Santana original. Indeed, Carlos gave the world the definitive version of Black Magic Woman in 1970, but the song was written and released a year prior to Santana’s version by Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac.
Another little known fact is that Santana started out as a blues band, just as Fleetwood Mac did. “I used to go to see the original Fleetwood Mac, and they used to kill me, just knock me out,” Carlos Santana said in the book The Guitar Greats. “To me, they were the best blues band.”
But even Peter Green’s original had roots in another song called ‘I Loved Another Woman’ that he wrote for Fleetwood Mac’s first album. According to Mick Fleetwood, it was “Three minutes of sustain/reverb guitar with two exquisite solos from Peter.”
Maybe it was a good thing that Santana had such a huge success with Black Magic Woman. The royalties generated by Santana’s cover of this song helped sustain Peter Green after he left Fleetwood Mac. Green gave most of his money away when he left the band and would have found himself destitute later in the ’70s without the royalty cheques. Here’s the original version of this iconic song, with Santana’s version in the comments section.
There are lots of songs that I could have chosen for today’s theme and we may explore the idea again in a feature at a later date. Thanks, as always, for joining me today in my bid to lay future arguments to rest! 😎
30th Aug: I heard the official single release from the new Deep Purple album during the week and, to be honest, I didn’t know what to think. Yes, it was Deep Purple but something was missing. After listening to the whole album I realised what it was; rawness. Don’t get me wrong, it is a really good album with some great songs, but then again, in the 48 years since Smoke on the Water, they should know what they’re doing. Woosh! was released earlier this month and is the 21st album from the band who have successfully traversed the often rocky terrain that is the history of Heavy Metal, and survived many changing, and somethings confusing, member line-ups.
Firstly I would like to say that the album is a fun and worthwhile listen. Although I personally find some of the tracks over-produced, the playlist is full of future gems. Ian Gillan’s vocals aren’t quite as powerful as they were, but that’s to be expected. What hasn’t been lost is the guitar (Steve Morse) and keyboard (Don Airey) brilliance that I enjoyed in earlier albums.
To start today’s selection is the pre-release single from Woosh! Throw my Bones. I love the song and the video; I just find that the orchestration makes it a bit ‘lush’ and takes away from the punch of the song. But that’s my view. What do you think?
The second song from the new Deep Purple album, Woosh! I’m featuring today is Man Alive which was supposed to be the first release until ‘you know what’ got in the way. The album was set for release in June, but due to the impact that the lockdown was having on distribution logistics, they decided to wait until things had eased a bit. By this time, the track Man Alive was out there but not promoted.
The song’s intro draws you in with a false sense of security before bursting through with some of the most exciting rock keyboards I’ve heard in a long time, coupled with some sublime guitar riffs. Deep Purple is still there but in a more mature guise. I still find the orchestration a bit jarring, but that could be my own expectations, and it hasn’t stopped me from wanting to take a re-listen or two, or three…
To close today’s quick preview of the new Deep Purple release I have chosen what I think maybe the biggest track from the album, Nothing at All. I can see that this song’s intro guitar riff will become an essential piece in any rock guitarist’s repertoire of set standards, just as Smoke on the Water is. But is it Deep Purple? Fans may be divided, but what can’t be denied is that it is an excellent album.
Now for the overthinking bit; when asked about the origins of the album name in a Rolling Stone interview, Ian Gillan came up with this bit of confusion “Whoosh is an onomatopoeic word that, when viewed through one end of a radio-telescope, describes the transient nature of humanity on Earth; and, through the other end from a closer perspective, illustrates the career of Deep Purple.” What can I say?
Something I have learned after yet another listen while writing the Captain’s log today is that comparisons are odious, so ignore any I may have made! This is an album that can just be listened to and enjoyed for its musicality, without having to overthink a damned thing! 😎
31st August: Today’s selection was instigated by a chance hearing of a song I hadn’t heard in years. The song is Living in LA by the Canadian Rock and Hip-Hop collective, Bran Van 3000, otherwise known as BV3.
Unless you are into alternative music or were living in Canada in the 20 years between 1996 and 2006 when they were amongst the top-selling artists, Living in LA may be the only song you know of theirs. But believe me, there is a lot more to discover.
I only became aware of the band five years after the release of their first album, Glee (1997), and have decided to feature three songs from this debut that I think you should all hear. If you like their quirky, laid-back vibe then you can catch up with their later work on your favourite platform. These folks know how to tell a story in a very unique way. Let’s start with the track that put them on the map, Living in LA
BV3 came about very quickly and seemed to get the right breaks to put them on the success track. One of the founders, James Di Silvo, who was a video director, suddenly had a bit of a windfall in the form of a royalty cheque for work he had done for the popular Quebec songwriter, Jean Leloup. He and co-founder E P Bergen spent wisely and stocked up on studio equipment – and so BV 3 was born. Their first song, Johnny Go, was a collaboration with Leloup. It was the first time Di Silvo had rapped, but the song went to #1 on the local charts.
James and EP worked on Leloup’s platinum-selling album, ‘Le Dome while laying down the bones of the album that would become Glee. It was released in 1997 and won the Juno Award for Best Alternative Album in 1998 much to the surprise of some of the bigger names who were in the running; quite an achievement for the first album from a new band who very few knew about. My second choice from the album is a gem. Here’s ‘Everywhere’
BV 3 has released 10 albums during their career including film soundtracks and a Greatest Hit’s compilation. Their quirky style of electronics, voices, laid-back rap and great storytelling has seen them perform globally to a dedicated fanbase. They have also opened for Massive Attack, Bjork, Pulp and Moby and performed with a surprising range of musicians, including Youssou N’Dour.
I have mentioned the band’s storytelling mastery a few times, and nowhere is it more evident than in the song ‘Supermodel’. It’s a lazy, rambling tale of caution with a chorus that always has me singing along. I’m leaving you today with the tale of the beautiful Amber, and a story that starts in the town of Thunder Bay at the ‘We’re All in This Together’ diner. It’s fun, it’s clever, it’s irreverent and it’s very BV3.
Thanks for spending time with Loving the Music today and for your support over the last month. The latest blog post covering 22nd – 31st Aug will be live a little later today for those of you who like to catch up on the week in one wonderful sitting. Catch you in September! 😎
This article was first published on the Design Train website for Loving the Music
Words © Andrew Knapp
The author does not own the copyright of any of the videos or images used in the article