American Pie is undoubtedly Don McLean’s most recognized song. The epic 1970’s tale of the demise of an era that charts the ideals of the optimistic 1950s through into the darker 1960s resonated with the Baby Boomer audience and ensured the song reached #1 or #2 in nearly every country around the world. In Britain the American Pie album remained amongst the top charting albums for an astounding 54 weeks.
Last month I shared the first single release from Wairunga, the (as then) unreleased album from Fat Freddy’s Drop. The full album was released a few weeks ago and I have had it playing in the background for the last few days. Why in the background?, because I find it the perfect ambient music to work to (although I admit to having blasted the album at a healthy volume a good few times).
It is unsurprising that there have been so many covers of the Blind Faith classic ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’ over the years. It is such a good song. The SecondHandSongs.com site alone lists 70 versions and I am I ascertained that there are even more out there. Why today’s fascination for a 51-year-old song that I’ve already featured three versions of over the years? The answer is Rachel Price, that beautiful Aussie/USA Jazz Blues singer from Lake Street Dive (whom I featured recently)
Today I am featuring three South African musicians of varying styles and all of exceptional talent. Two of them are from the same era and have been a part of the local music scene for decades. The third is a much younger, lovely man who hails from the South Coast of Kwa Zulu Natal. The three songs all hit my suggested clips over the past week so I thought it a good time to go local.
I often wake up with a song on my mind and have no idea what sparked the memory. Today I woke up with a whole selection of songs, all from an album that I have not heard in years, Donovan’s debut LP ‘What’s Been Did and What’s Been Hid’. It was released in 1965 and featured his first huge hit (and song that any guitar newbie learned at the time) Catch the Wind, and became a pretty special record in my life.
I received the heads-up about St Vincent’s 7th studio album, Daddy’s Home, in May and have been meaning to take a listen for the last few weeks. Today I did, and I reached the same conclusion as I did with her albums St Vincent and Masseduction, so much cleverness needs more than a cursory play.
I don’t avidly follow the Got Talent franchise but when something interesting pops up on my YouTube suggestions I put reservations aside and take a listen. A group I never expected to see in the AGT line-up recently was Gangstagrass. I’ll tell you why…
While YouTubing a few nights ago I came across a clip of one of my musical heroes that I hadn’t seen before at a series of events that was immediately added to my bucket list. The Jamm Jam events are a part of the Jamcard network. Jamcard is a social network for music professionals to let the music fraternity know availability and the movements of virtually any full-time music professional. Their website is pretty interesting for those interested.
I did a mini-feature about Wendy Oldfield in August last year and have been inspired to write another by the release of her new album. Salt, her 7th album was released at the end of April and I spent a very happy evening last night immersed in it. Two singles were pre-released earlier this year and received airplay, but the whole album deserves a hearing.
I have always been a fan of Crowded House’s music and so many of their songs became a part of the soundtrack of my life, particularly the 1985 – 96 period when they produced hit after hit. Today I’ve decided to share a couple of my favourite tracks and a little backstory behind the band.
We received the sad news of the passing of Colin Shamley this week. Although Colin’s wasn’t a well known name to many, he was a leading voice during the apartheid years of South African music and well known, particularly on the folk music scene of the 70s.
Early last year I shared the smouldering, bluesy track ‘My Friend Kevin’ from Dax Butler. Unless you were involved in local music in the 70’s and 80’s, you may not remember his name, and that’s a shame. Today it is my aim to rectify that with a few tracks from his first album since the release ‘Drink in Everything’ in 2012. This is thanks to a heads-up from our friends at Cape Town’s Shoreline Music.
Last weekend we said farewell to one of our original Loving the Music members, Greg May, who was senselessly murdered in his Smithfield home. Today is Greg’s wake, and although I can’t be there, I will be joining the proceedings on Zoom later. I have dedicated today’s post to him. Greg introduced me to some rather special musicians since we linked up on Facebook some years ago, and what better way to honour his memory than to revisit some of them today.
My brother sent me a heads-up about an album a few days ago. The musicians recorded it under the name Equador, and I was happy to uncover that Equador is the brainchild of the uber-talented Henry Binns (of Zero 7 fame) and his lovely wife, the Lady Catherine Anna Brudenell-Bruce (daughter of the Earl of Cardigan), otherwise known as Bo Bruce.
Today, i’m featuring three songs from the 1970s that cover the same theme – gender bending. I was a young gay man when these songs hit the charts, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The gay community of the time lapped them up, which is understandable, but the popularity wasn’t restricted to the underground minority and went on to become international hits.
Hip-Hop can be a polarizing topic amongst older music-lovers. I always found that British Hip-Hop tends to be more melodic and easier on the ear than its American counterpart. Although pure Hip Hop and RAP are not be my favourite genre, their impact is undeniable. The genre outlived trend status and has been incorporated into numerous musical styles.
I’m staying local to finish off the week with a band that emerged in 1995. Broadly speaking, Egyptian Nursey could be regarded as South Africa’s original Trip-Hop outfit, and although they only released one album, went on to influence a number of acts to follow. Considering the nationalities of the members, there is often debate as to if they can be considered South African? Whichever side of the fence you sit on this topic, listeners and critics adopted them as ‘ours’ on the first hearing.
I was updating my World Music playlist recently and came across a name I haven’t listened to in any depth for a while, the Burundian beauty, Khadja Nin. I only got to know her music around 2004 after she had, unfortunately, dropped out of the mainstream music world following her 2006 marriage to racing driver Jackie Ickx, but we do have her four acclaimed albums that chart the career of this talented songbird.