Earworms 16 September 2013

Solar wind sculptures? Well, maybe. This week we travel from blues, through joy, to the downright whimsical. There are two tracks from goneforeign, for which I make no apology, as they are both excellent. If you would like to hear your choice, please send your worms to earworm@tincanland.com. Quick, before the postal strike.

Herbert Groenemeyer – Der Weg – Abahachi: Bit of a Rorschach blot, this; it’s been stuck in my head since our neighbours in Germany played it four or five times in a row one evening, but does it have the same effect if you can’t understand the lyrics and/or don’t know the back story?

Mavis Staples – Step into the Light – goneforeign: Wiki says: If ever there were a time for Mavis Staples to return to recording, 2004 is it. Have a Little Faith is a glorious return for Staples and is capable of inspiring those who are lucky enough to encounter it.

Tommy James & the Shondells – Draggin’ the Line – tincanman: A consummate pop rocker who always seemed half a decade behind. But like age gaps from youth, that no longer matters 50 years later. The bass line, those horns!…every piece of this song is perfect. Listen at volume please.

Art Blakey and the Afro Drum Ensemble – Ife l’Ayo (There Is Happiness in Love) – beltway: Some pieces of music just induce a huge grin on your face and make you feel that life is truly good – well this is one, and it’s so joyfully catchy and infectious that it can lodge in your ear all day and keep your spirits high. This is from Art Blakey’s fantastic “African Beat” album, on which he assembled some of the greatest drummers from across Africa and the Afro-Carribean world (Senegal, Nigeria, Jamaica and Sudan) and got them playing with some established American jazz greats. This song features the sweetest little penny whistle melody puncutated by some spectacularly explosive drumming. Absolutely cracking stuff.

Ejigayehu Shibabaw – Aba Alem Lemenea – goneforeign: Ethiopian artist Ejigayehu Shibabaw goes by the name Gigi. This album was co-produced by Gigi and Bill Laswell.  She sings in Amharic. The album is Abyssinia Infinite on the German Network label.

Roy Harper – Solar Wind Sculptures – AliM: Roy at his most approachable. This song makes me want to knit my own yurt, breed goats and grow my own (under a sky that goes all the way … all the way home). Group hug, everyone.

18 thoughts on “Earworms 16 September 2013

  1. Got the date right (check)
    Worms in the box (check)
    Delete last week’s from media library (check)
    Drink more coffee (check)
    ‘Spill points for any new deliberate mistakes I haven’t spotted yet.

  2. The Herbert Groenmeyer track reminds me of something by Van Morrison, maybe a song from Irish Heartbeat which I used to own and wish that I still did. Mavis is, as ever, wonderful and The Shondells track is a nice slice of 60s pop.

    The Art Blakey was Ok, but didn’t really go anywhere, I think but the Ejigayehu Shibabaw track was beautiful.

    Roy Harper was, as ever, Roy. He is one of those love it or leave it people. I happen to love his stuff, even when he’s being a twee hippy.

  3. I like them all too except

    *runs and hides*

    Roy Harper. I’ve never really ‘got’ him and I’m afraid this track won’t convert me. My favourite is Draggin’ The Line

    *goes off to look in box*

  4. Oops, I should cut back on my submissions, two at a time is driving ’em away in droves. I’ll try to limit the potential interest and the number. Must say that I enjoyed the first three but much as I like Art B. That wasn’t one of my favorites. The last three were good.

    • I shouldn’t take it personally! Anyway if people don’t send me anything I can’t post it, so I have to go with what I’ve got. Roy Harper’s a bit marmite but it might encourage people to send in some more worms!

  5. Herbert Grönemeyer (get me with my umlauts): Is this a cover/has it been covered in English? Very familiar-sounding tune. Maybe it’s just quite a standard chord progression (or something). A bit cheesy-sounding but it’s a comforting listen. And I quite like how he starts off just sounding like some random old codger throwing lines out over the top of the music.

    Mavis Staples: Great voice (obviously) but I don’t really like that bluesy guitar backing. And it doesn’t really pick up enough musically/tempo-wise to rouse me. I want huge gospel backing vocals! And a key change! And swaying! In robes! Basically, it’s not Sister Act enough for me. Oh dear.

    Tommy James: Yes, definitely an earworm. Like it. A mite plodding for me and I don’t like the backing vocalist who intones “dragging the line” (is he a bit flat or just a bit bored?), but these are minor quibbles. I like it.

    Art Blakey: Bit slow to begin… (Yes, I am an impatient so-and-so.) I might have to listen to this not on rubbish headphones at work. The production sounds terrible. Or perhaps that’s just a jazz thing that I don’t get. I like the whistle though.

    Ejigayehu Shibabaw: Oh I love this from the moment it starts. That voice… Just gorgeous. Even if I keep hearing “I bought em lemonade”.

    Roy Harper: Lovely guitar sound. Slightly less keen when he starts singing. “Februar-aye”, etc. But it’s a very pretty tune. And the mood is perfect to follow Ejigayehu.

    Thanks all!

  6. Ah, the wonders of Google. Herbert Groenemeyer reminded me of something too, I had a fragment stuck in my head so I googled “I know don’t include me lyric” and got Bob Seeger, “We’ve Got Tonight”, which is exactly what it reminds me of. In fact, I thought it was a cover at first.

    And I think Roy is singing “Feb you or I” or “Feb you and I” but I can’t deny it’s all a bit twee. Maddeningly earwormy, though.

    Thanks Bish!

  7. Re Herbert: the back story is that this was the last song he wrote for his wife while she was dying of cancer – hence a lot of the lyrics include phrases like “it was all too soon” and “life isn’t fair”, while also going on at length about the way she always filled a room with sunshine, lived life to the full, never despaired etc. Knowing this, and hearing the song at about midnight after four or five beers, it’s quite affecting, but I agree absolutely that it constantly reminds one of something else, and uses a pretty standard chord sequence and some very cheesy strings. Hence my curiosity as to how it would go down if one didn’t know the context.

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