Like a Version – a brief history of the contentious cover song.

The cover version is a contentious issue. Nowadays, a cover version immediately puts itself in the firing line of music lovers, and especially the musical press, all keen to judge and critique every note and nuance. Some offerings make it through the battlefield of personal scrutiny to be heralded as genius, while most are dissed across the various media platforms and consigned to the ‘don’t bother’ list. But this wasn’t always the case as we will find out in this fascinating look at the history of the cover version.

Mini-Feature: Covers for my Brother.

As it is my brother, Rob’s, birthday I thought I would share a few covers that have meant a lot to us both over the years (and in honour of him being such a wonderful person and such a special brother). I know it’s a bit indulgent on my part but I think this selection makes for some good listening, and apart from that, Rob is such a nice person I think he deserves to be honoured!

Mini-Feature: Allysen Callery – Quiet Music for a Loud World

I came across Allysen Callery thanks to the Folk-Rock Facebook group and something told me to follow the link. I’m glad I did. Her style has been referred to as Ghost Folk and that is also the name of her 6th studio album that we’ll look at later. Today I am featuring few tracks spanning her career and a bit of background to this mesmerising singer/songwriter.

Mini-Feature: The Day South Africa United in Music

Next week marks the 36th anniversary of a landmark event in South African musical history, the concert held to benefit Operation Hunger at Ellis Park (Johannesburg) in 1985. What made it so important is that it was the first time that the stringent apartheid laws were ignored and 125,000 multi-racial fans took the chance to celebrate our country’s diverse musical talent in a 12-hour festival that went off without a hitch, no violence (except for the vocalist of USA band Feather Contol being hit on the head by a bottle – a statement against non-local music methinks), and a wake-up call that the youth had had quite enough of being told what to think, what to believe and what music to listen to.

Mini Feature – Grimes

Grimes is an artist I wasn’t aware of until her name started to be linked to Elon Musk. The fact that she is now married to one of my heroes will have no bearing on today’s mini-feature, but I am certainly happy that something happened to bring her to my attention. This is one very talented artist who achieved her own success long before becoming Mrs Musk.

Mini-Feature – Petit Cheval

Having grown up in the hippy influenced kaftan and bead-clad years of the 60s, the first thing that attracted me to the New Romantics were the fashions. The theatricality of the movement struck a chord in me and heralded yet another colourful era. Then there was the emerging synth-pop sound that was so refreshing at a time when most of the offerings from the old-guard were starting to become ‘more of the same’.

Mini-Feature – EELS

With a discography spanning 25 years, Mark Oliver Everett’s (aka E) band EELS have explored styles and sounds, building up fans and haters alike. Some find E’s melancholy writings a bit too morbid, but in among the 13 studio albums they have released lay sparks of sheer brilliance, and some of the albums have bucked his normal moody trend and can be regarded as almost uplifting.

Mini-Feature – The Cat Empire – Stolen Diamonds

I thought I would share a recent album from one of my top Aussie bands to emerge over the last 20 years, The Cat Empire. I have featured tracks from them in the past, but want to focus on the last album, Stolen Diamonds, today. It was released at the beginning of last year, and although dedicated Cat Empire fans are likely to know (and enjoy listening to) the three tracks I’m featuring today, this is a heads-up about a fantastic album from a brilliant band for those who may have missed out

Mini-Feature – New Album Round-Up

Three very different new albums crossed my path recently and today I am featuring a track from each. The first is from a band we looked at earlier on this year after the release of their album, the aptly named The Unravelling. I’m talking about Drive-By Truckers.The topics covered were a hard-hitting social commentary about American life at the time.

Mini-Feature – Roxy Music

Amongst the musical confusion that began the 1970s there were a few shining lights that clearly showed where the future of popular music was headed. Roxy Music was one of the brightest. It is said that Bryan Ferry, the enigmatic vocalist, had the highly stylized look of the band, as well as the artwork for their initial album, planned and ready before they had even been offered a recording contract.

Mini-Feature – Local Hits

I don’t often do a feature on Top 40 songs, but it seems that the lockdown has been inspirational to many of our South African musicians, which has resulted in some really good songs receiving well-deserved airplay at the moment. I know that many of our local followers will have heard these tracks, but today is for all the ex-Pats out there who are craving some sounds from home.

Mini-Feature – AC/DC’s Power Up Album

When I that heard that AC/DC had released their first new album in 6 years I was sceptical as to whether they could possibly ever capture the sound and energy that they had always been known for. Also, was the question of who would be in the line-up? After all, founder member Malcolm Young had passed away from dementia in 2017, Brian Johnson’s hearing had deteriorated to a point where struggled to hear, let alone tour, and Phil Rudd was facing major legal issues in New Zealand. The future of AC/DC hadn’t looked very bright for quite a few years.

Mini-Feature – Founders Sing

I am taking a bit of a chance today with this mini-feature, but I want to express up front that this is a post about the art of good parody and NOT a political statement. Having said that, I wish I had come across these clips a few months ago.
Parody and satire differ in that parody uses a known song, whereas satire is normally an original work. My recent mini-feature on Tim Minchin is a perfect example of satire. Last night, after a long day of concentrating at the computer, I checked my YouTube notifications and this popped up in the sidebar.

Loving the Music – the Sound of December: 1st – 31st Dec 2019

We’re into the final rundown to 2020 and have some fun and unusual artists lined up for your listening pleasure. Who remembers the avant-garde artists of the ’80s like Klaus Nomi and Lena Lovich? We do! This and so much more for you in this edition…

Loving the Music – the Sound of January: 15th – 31st Jan 2020

There were just a couple of posts in the second half of what’s turning into a busy month. Along with founding mothers of rock and roll, we met a remarkable bass player and spent time honouring the ‘yold’ members of Yes. A worthwhile, if skimpy, couple of weeks