Earworms 1 June 2020

1st June, the day when WordPress changes over to its new block editor system. The block editor does not support the playlists function; I have downloaded the “audio-player-with-playlist-ultimate” folder but unless I am missing something I cannot install it as a plug-in without upgrading to WordPress “Business”. At present there is still an option to switch to Classic Editor (i.e. the one we have been using up until now), which will still support a playlist. It should at least work for this week as it’s not June 1st for another hour.

If this is no longer possible after 1st June, our options are a bit limited (if Earworms is to continue). I could make YouTube playlists, if you send me a link, or Spotify, or something … but it’s all a bit of a faff. If anyone has any helpful suggestions I would be very glad to hear them.

This week we’re listening to songs about talking – something some of us will miss if we’re in lockdown on our own. I have always been accused of being taciturn, but that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy talking, I just need something to say. And someone to say it to.

Subject to whatever happens with WordPress … if you have an Earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to adempster73@gmail.com, together with a paragraph about why you’ve chosen it. Worms should reach me by close of play on Sunday June 6. In honour of abahachi, whose marvellous Desolate Island Discs have kept us occupied for the last couple of months, next week’s theme will be native mammals (including his favourite stripey ones). They don’t have to be British mammals, just native to whatever country you live in.

Cabaret Voltaire – Talking Time – shoegazer: Electronic funk from their 1983 album The Crackdown.

Cindy Walker – I Don’t Believe a Word You Say – tincanman: Cindy is one of America’s great songwriters of yore, but kept a relatively low profile (or was kept to one) because women writing songs for the radio wasn’t a done thing back then. I’ve wanted to earworm her for ages but she recorded only once. Talk about patience.

Frances Black – Talk To Me While I’m Listening – glassarfemptee: From her excellent 1994 album “Talk to me”, here’s Frances Black, Mary’s sister.

KD Lang – The Mind of Love – Alfiehisself: For which it’s worth knowing the K of KD is short for Kathryn.

Joan Armatrading – Talking to the Wall – severin: A reversal of the usual meaning. Her wall is like “her rock”. Someone she can always depend on. And therefore someone well worth talking to. Released in 1985 so it only took me thirty-five years to realise this. The rather good bass playing here is by Pino Palladino.

Bert Jansch – Sweet Talking Lady – severin: Not much about actual talking here, The “sweet talking lady” is just a metaphor for his favourite guitar and how good it sounds. Or did before somebody nicked it.

J J Cale- Money Talks – Ravi Raman: Bit of a shoehorn and one that I find very apt for the times. “Money talks, It’ll tell you a story/ Money talks, very loudly.”

Eric Clapton – I Can’t Hold Out – tincanman: 461 Ocean Blvd didn’t have enough flash for his Clapton Is God flock and alarmed/confused others with it’s MOR vibe. Hidden in plain site is his masterfully languid adaptation of an Elmore James tune. In a couple of places you can hear him ahhh in contentment when his phrasing gets good enough even for him. Easily his best blues cover.

The Strokes – You Talk Way Too Much – AliM: Less is more.

George Thorogood – You Talk Too Much – Ravi Raman: I definitely know a few people like this. Exhausting just being around them. It’s a rocking good number though.

The Beatles – Within You Without You – glassarfemptee: George’s song on Sgt Pepper, very appropriate for today, talking about social distancing and the Prime Minister: “We were talking about the space between us all/And the people who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion/Never glimpse the truth, then it’s far too late when they pass away”. I had the pleasure of seeing magicman sing this in Brighton a few years ago…

Peter Gabriel – Come talk to Me Live (Back to Front Tour – London) – MaggieB: This is just beautiful.

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Desolate Isolation Discs – the Finale?

Week 9 of our stay on this desert island – and the first signs that we may not be lonesome and abandoned much longer. It would be too much to think that the sheer narrative determinism of the format has somehow compelled Johnson to start changing lockdown rules so that we don’t have to worry about what to do next – but at least he hasn’t leapt in too prematurely, leaving us this final session to tie everything up… Continue reading

Earworms 25 May 2020

Good morning, I hope everyone is well, and ready to listen to your selection of songs about Family. Many of us will be missing family right now, or spending more time looking after them and helping them out.

As a Bank Holiday bonus, I’ve added four extra playlists of songs from some of the ‘Spill family – carole, tfd and bethnoir and me, which we put together some five years ago. If you want ‘Spill points, or if you are so bored that you’ll do anything, you can guess whose is which (although it won’t be very difficult if you know our musical preferences).

If you have an Earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to adempster73@gmail.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be talking, and worms should reach me by close of play on Sunday 31 May.

Rolling Stones – Prodigal Son – Ravi Raman: Theme song to my life. The short version of the Rev. Wilkins gem.

Austin Lucas – Goat and Goose – tincanman: Neat concept: tell your family’s story as a Grimm (not grim) fable. That’s his Dad Goa, er Bob, on banjo and sister Chloe on harmonies. Austin is one of half a dozen punk rockers I know of who turned to americana and did Interesting Things with it.

Flanagan – Father Father – AliM: I know very little about Mark Flanagan except that he played, or plays, in Jools Holland’s band. This is from the album “The Chosen Few” (2002), which he released with two other musicians under the name “Flanagan”.

Michael Bloomfield – Death In My Family – glassarfemptee: I hoped to find something uplifting for these sad times, but I’m afraid all I can think of is Mike Bloomfield’s lament …

Merle Haggard- Daddy Frank – Ravi Raman: Country and Western seem to have a lot of songs on the topic. As do movies from here. But The Hag tells a tale without getting mawkish.

Julia Jacklin – When the Family Flies In – glassarfemptee: I know we can’t fly at the moment, but here’s a song about knowing things are serious if the family gather round. Oh! We can’t gather round either …

Advance Base – My Sister’s Birthday – shoegazer: More Advance Base on earworms – with some sad vocals this time.

Moddi – Oh My Father, I am Joseph – severin: Another of his “unsongs”. This one got the original writer/singer Marcel Khalife into trouble with Lebanese clerics because at one point it quotes almost directly from the Quran. The story is the familiar one about the “dream-coat” boy and his jealous brothers.

Otis Taylor – Mama’s Got A Friend – tincanman: Families come in all sizes and shapes and nowadays kids mostly don’t have to go to school and tell lies for us, like young Otis pretending his mother’s lover is his older sister.

The Undertones – My Perfect Cousin – AliM: Thought Shergal Farkey might cheer us up.

Judith Durham with the Hottest Band in Town – Sister Kate (I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My) – severin: Originally released in 1974, this is the kind of music Judith performed live for quite a few years after she left The Seekers. In fact it is the kind of music she originally wanted to make before she joined The Seekers. It still takes a bit of getting used to though. That familiar voice and that familiar song.

Van Morrison and The Chieftains – Irish Heartbeat – MaggieB: Has to be this one, it reminds me of last summer when we held a housewarming /welcome back party for a cousin who moved back to the area after a long absence. She had just had her Ancestry DNA done and it turned out surprisingly Irish – so, much to our old aunt Mary’s delight we played and sang a few old sentimental tunes (as you do) Better still, the new place was only half a mile’s staggering distance from my gaff for when the party ended. 2019, those were the days eh?

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Desolate Isolation Discs Track 8

We assume that we’re going to be stuck on this desert island for a while, so we choose records that we can’t bear to be without – and generally that implies records that we will happily listen to over and over again without tiring of them. My final choice is… different. I can’t imagine wanting to listen to this more than once a month or so, even if I had only seven other records to choose from; it is the polar opposite of relaxing, and the pleasure it offers is a very specialised kind. But it is a record that I couldn’t live without for any substantial amount of time. There are occasions when nothing else will do. Continue reading

Earworms May 18 2020

If I had a hammer … well, it seems that many of you do, not to mention other varied and sometimes psychotic tools and household appliances. Microwave dinner, anyone? You can listen to this week’s pick of songs while you’re thinking about it.

If you have an Earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to adempster73@gmail.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme, as suggested by ghe, is Family. Very apt, as many of us are missing folk (and a few of us are seeing too much of each other). Suggestions for future themes are also welcome.

Many thanks to all contributors – stay safe.

Staple Singers – Hammer and Nails – Ravi Raman: A beautiful song full of soul and a dash of gospel. From a compilation called Faith and Grace. What a voice!!

Betty Hutton – The Sewing Machine – severin: I trust this counts as a household appliance. My mother had an ancient treadle Singer which she hated and the kids loved. At one stage she sang this song at my dad incessantly until he agreed that they needed to buy an electric one. Of course if they’d kept the ancient Singer too it would probably be worth a few bob. The song is from the 1947 film The Perils of Pauline since you ask.

YesBodyElse – Washboard Blues – tfd: Nepotism alert – this is my son’s band doing a Hoagy Carmichael song, which I must confess I’d never heard (the Hoagy one, I mean) until I nominated both of them for Songs About Spring-Cleaning and Household Chores on the Song Bar… and much to my surprise, they were quite different and I liked Matt’s version better. So go, YesBodyElse!

Dub Miller – 21st Century Cowboy – tincanman: This is for all of y’all been made redundant by tech change (as opposed to because of politics or greed or incompetence). Dub is a rancher/cowboy doing the same job he always did but with better tools. Kinda like Dub’s music career.

Tindersticks – The Hungry Saw – glassarfemptee: Tindersticks occasionally get together at Stuart’s studio in a French farmhouse and knock out an album. This is the title track from the one before last.

Albert Collins – Deep Freeze – glassarfemptee: My deep freeze is full of stuff to get me through lockdown. And tracks like this humdinger from Albert get me through, too…

Keith LeBlanc w/Andy Fairley – Taxcider – shoegazer: Murder by Microwave.

Taj Mahal & Toumani Diabate – Take This Hammer – AliM: From their wonderful 1999 album, Kulanjan.

Mystery Jets – Screwdriver – severin: From 2019. It’s not really about a screwdriver of course. More the politics of bigotry. But I found I had few songs that were actually about tools. Or appliances.

Budgie – Hammer & Tongs – Alfiehisself: Starts a bit slow and probably ends with a long drum solo, ‘cos those were the days. Good riff tho’ clears some cobwebs.

Clamavi De Profundis – When the Hammer Falls – MaggieB: I have been re – reading LOTR during lockdown also some Terry Pratchett, so… Well it’s better than Hi Ho Hi Ho ?

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Desolate Isolation Discs Track 7

Okay, this is where things get difficult: my Number 8 has been pretty well nailed down for years, as have most of the earlier ones, but this is the slot that changes constantly. There is any number of jazz records I would be heart-broken to abandon, but no easy way to decide between them; there isn’t anything with specific personal connotations (or, personal connections that I need to reference with a song – the nearest I get to evoking my day job, ancient history, is my firm belief that Dylan’s Blind Willie McTell is deliberately channelling Thucydides). No, the principle that I end up using is that this record will announce – to the parrots, giant crabs or whatever else is hanging around on the beach under the palm trees – that I Am Still Relevant!, or at least still listen to some contemporary stuff… Continue reading

Earworms 11 May 2020


Good morning, and welcome to your choice of music about extra-terrestrials. I thought it might be an uplifting subject to take our minds off worldly stuff … The way we look to a distant constellation / That’s dying in a corner of the sky / These are the days of miracle and wonder / And don’t cry, baby, don’t cry / Don’t cry … here’s hoping.

If you have an earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to adempster73@gmail.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be tools and household appliances. I leave it to your fertile imaginations.

Many thanks to all contributors.

Tedeschi Trucks Band – Space Captain – tincanman: It finally occurred to Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks it would be easier to balance marriage, parenthood, music and a some semblance social life if they weren’t each running their own touring bands. I was a fan of Tedeschi’s solo stuff so Trucks had to earn his way in, as accomplished as he was. I’m glad I finally let him in because these guys let it rip. (Dunno what the song is about. It has space in the title.)

Ry Cooder – Poor Man’s Shangri-La – Ravi Raman: Both my contributions this week are from his album about developing a baseball stadium, Chavez Ravine. I’ve just copied from the album liner notes. “A traveling Space Vato (which Google translates as cowboy) is trying to get oriented over LA, honing in on a local radio signal … He sets his little spacecraft down, and steps out to have a look around. What does he see?”

Kuricorder Quartet – Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme) – severin: He stomps around the Death Star lecturing children about the Green Cross Code. Eccentric Japanese blokes whistle his happy tune. The world turns. (Can’t stop laughing. Ed.)

Stranglers – Just Like Nothing On Earth – shoegazer: Dave Greenfield having fun with his new toys in 1980 [RIP].

Prosthetic C__t – Brain Smokin’ Bones – panthersan: Alien Porngrind (yes, it is a real genre!) anyone? Thought I would throw this in for a bit of fun!

Art Attacks – I Am A Dalek – severin: Almost forgotten punk band fronted by Sounds magazine’s then resident cartoonist Edwin Pouncey (aka “Savage Pencil”). Art Attacks didn’t record much but this single is something of an early punk classic. Not sure if the bloke in the song is literally one or just an odd sort of person.

Ry Cooder feat. Don Tosti/Juliette Commagere – El U F O Cayó – Ravi Raman: The Space Vato returns on a mission of prophecy. … he speaks to the folks in Calo, an L.A. slang variant. “Your time is up; the Gabachos will build a big stadium here. Come with me, you’ll be better off.” They reply, “You’re mistaken, sir, we have rights, it can’t happen here,” … They don’t want to go, why would they, life is good, que sera, sera.

The Imagined Village – Space Girl – glassarfemptee: We all eventually take delight in disobeying our mother. The space girl takes it to another level, by shacking up with a Martian. “My mama told me I should never venture into space. But I did, I did, I did. She said no terran girl could trust the martian race. But I did, I did, I did.” I had the pleasure of seeing Imagined Village perform this live. Eliza Carthy was 8 months pregnant at the time, and as she danced with her fiddle, I thought the band might be one person larger by the time the gig was over!

Yes – Arriving UFO – Alfiehisself: Anderson of Yes wasn’t a party animal, so after gigs on one tour him and another member would go back to a hotel room with acoustic guitars and write the next album. A couple of tours later the band were hardly on speaking terms, so to wind down after gigs he’d go to all-night cinemas. Perfectly timed for Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This track is pretty much Close Encounters in song form.

Grouper – Alien Observer – glassarfemptee: Grouper (Liz Harris) has an extraordinary talent, as displayed in this delicate and dreamy song about becoming an extra-terrestrial – “Going to take a spaceship/Fly back to the stars/Alien observer in a world that isn’t mine”.

Stackridge – Purple Spaceships Over Yatton – AliM: I was reminded of this track a while ago when someone remarked on my choice of ring tone for my phone’s alarm call. Now he’s an ex, and I’ve changed the ring tone. (I know there’s not much love for Stackridge around here, but it was the first thing I thought of).

CCR – It Came Out of the Sky – MaggieB: I love these lyrics, If you swap the line “Ronnie the popular said it was a communist plot” for “Donnie the popular said it was a Chinese plot” – it could have have been written yesterday rather than 1969?

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