Earworms 11 November 2013

I was on top of Mam Tor in a hailstorm yesterday, and I’m still feeling slightly pebble-dashed – it was “cold, cold, cold”.  Hope you find something to rock out to in the following selection, and keep those worms shivering along to earworm@tincanland.com.

Dean Friedman – Company – Toffeboy: I went to see Dean Friedman when he played in London in October this year and this was the song (now 35 years old) that he opened the show with.  It was a great evening, particularly as I was there with the entire Toffee family – we used to play Dean Friedman in the car when the girls were little and now, aged 21 and 19, they’re both big fans.  Sometimes, as a parent, you do something right…

Wazimbo & Orchestra Marrabenta Star De Mocambique – Nwahulwana [electric version] – goneforeign: One of the most famous works of this artist is the ballad Nwahulwana (‘night bird’), released in 1988. Wazimbo expresses some sadness about the lifestyle of a wonderful young lady who he refers to as “his sister – Maria” wasting her life having a different man every night. Some years ago we played the acoustic version here on the Spill.

Nunco Band – Sami Gone to England – Pairubu: “From Korea, a very early 70s feel to this one, I think, don’t be fooled by the pause in the middle. I think “Sami” is a person rather than the people from Finland !

Wilson Pickett covering “Hey Jude”- CaroleBristol: OK, so the main reason I like this is the brilliant guitar work on the outro. The whole thing, however, is a fantastic soulful cover version of, in my opinion, one of The Beatles’ lesser songs. The horns are great, the rhythm section pushes along in a nice funky style and The Wicked Pickett is in fine vocal form but, when that guitar kicks in, it goes to a whole different level. The guitarist? It’s Duane Allman, back in his session-playing days.

Motel Motel – Coffee – DarceysDad: From the RRSA Coffee week, a DsD nomination that has driven me insane ever since. Just who does the singer remind me of? (The Waterboys’) Mike Scott? (Secret Machines’) Brandon Curtis? (Remy Zero’s) Cinjun Tate? (Band Of Horses’) Ben Bridwell? Grant Lee Philips, even? I’m alternately convinced it is, then isn’t, any and all of the above. WHO THE F……. IS IT? Help me out here, folks.

Little Feat – Cold, Cold, Cold – Chris7572: A band still inexplicably missing from The Marconium, this 1972 track is gloriously ramshackle funk, with Lowell George on top form (before he drowned in the snowstorm). This should heat up any woman with red blood in her veins, shouldn’t it?

36 thoughts on “Earworms 11 November 2013

  1. Ali,
    Recognised the photo before I even read the blurb. Got a mini-tale about Mam Tor I can share later: bringing me out in a cold sweat at the mere memory!

  2. …still inexplicably missing from The Marconium
    Agreed. I hope people haven’t relegated Little Feat into Hippyism – Misc. gloriously ramshackle funk is perfect.

    On blind listen, the opening chords reminded be of Los Lobos.

  3. Looking forward to these – esp Nwahulwana as the acoustic version was one of my favourite tracks introduced to me when I was collating the worms.

  4. Like DsD and Ali I recognised the picture instantly even though it’s about 70 years since I was last there, used to spend a lot of time thereabouts, I even walked from Sheffield to Castleton once. I’ll listen later.

  5. Ali: Pebble dash is a word I haven’t heard in a while but one that sticks in my memory. Again when I was a little lad my Grandmother took me to visit one of her friends in Bamford, while the adults sat inside talking I was in the back garden. The house was a pebble-dashed bungalow, I spied a crack running straight up and down. My +fingers fitted perfectly into the crack and when I pulled a huge slab of pebble-dash crashed to the ground! Bloody kids!

    • Our house was covered in pebble-dash when i was a kid; I used to play ball against the wall and all the little stones would fall off – I only did it when my dad was out!

  6. Ach! I’m still taking worm pills in an attempt to cure last week’s Zaz infection. But another good clutch. Dean Friedman is bit of liquid gold, love the baseline in Nwahulwana, Little Feat always conjure some swamp magic, and Motel Motel is, as someone noted, a Mumfords-style beer hall romp. I know what DsD means about the voice. If not Marcus, mebbe Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig?

  7. I had a life/attitude-changing experience at Mam Tor in the mid-80s. During my final year at Uni, I obviously starting looking for something I could laughingly call a career move, rather than just a job. It was a really weird year – my parents were divorcing, and I was being recalled to the family home every second or third weekend to help keep the peace; I’d got engaged to a girl I’d met on my placement year (who thus lived 150 miles away in the opposite direction) whose parents didn’t much like the idea at all; I had post-op problems with my foot that meant I wasn’t always that mobile; I was doing sod-all work and having to resist the Uni trying to chuck me off my course before I took my finals (didn’t want their graduate results record besmirching); and I’d maxed out every form of legitimate credit I could use, but was still feeding my £30-40 fruit machine habit and my beer belly before any thoughts of putting food in my proper stomach. All in all, I was in about as nihilistic a state as I could be, and one of the ways in which that used to manifest itself was – unfortunately – in my driving style, which could best be described as “get out the way, ’cause I’m coming and I don’t care!”
    I’d got an interview for a job on the stock management side of SKF in Sheffield, but my only suit was at my parents’ house in Chester. By the time I got on the road from there, I was both late and skint, so to try to save both time and fuel, planned the shortest possible route between the two places. In the days pre-computer, this was basically copying road numbers out of my Dad’s AA Road Atlas. And so it was I found myself thrashing the arse off my mother’s crappy, skinny-tyred, old, 850cc Renault 5, on roads I didn’t know, through the High Peak in gale-force driving rain.
    When I got to the turn near the top of Mam Tor, I missed it. Or rather I didn’t, but I didn’t notice that by going straight on to the top of Winnats Pass, I was actually making a right turn; the main road made a sharp left turn. By the time I spotted the white lines through the rain and hit the brakes, I aquaplaned straight over the junction at about 40mph. It’s a bloody good job there was nothing coming up out of Edale, or I’d have flattened my mam’s French tin can (and myself) instantly.
    Anyway, I’d got away with it, but now I was on the Winnats Pass descent. That’s the one you can see in Ali’s picture. On that pic, and on a road map, it looks OK, but as Ali or goneforeign will tell those who don’t know it, it’s a serious, SERIOUS hill. When I realised that I wasn’t looking at a moving road, but was driving on water up to an inch deep belting down the pass about as fast as I was on a 1in4 decline, I figured I needed to slow right down. I pressed the brake pedal to the car floor and got . . . nothing! The following couple of minutes were the scariest I’d ever had behind the wheel. No brakes (or no grip – I never did establish which), speed inching ever upwards, rain, spray and surface water combining to totally disorientate me, and no way of warning the cars coming up the pass that I couldn’t get out of their way.
    Fortunately, whatever driving gods there are had decided I should be advanced some forgiveness – Lord knows I hadn’t EARNED any to that point – and I made it to the flat road into Castleton in one piece. I pulled into the car park, went and found myself a café, and sat staring at a coffee for a while until my heartrate came back down to a manageable level. I remember I rang SKF from a payphone to explain that I was going to be late due to the driving conditions over from Cheshire, and that they were perfectly kind in letting me do my interview when I arrived. I didn’t get the job, but I did get a lot out of that day. When I rang my fiancée that evening I finally twigged just how stupid I had been (generally, not just that day), what I had to lose etc., etc., I can promise you my on-road behaviour was a LOT better for the following sixteen* years. As I said upthread, just the memory of that day can give me the shakes, particularly as I now know that area’s roads so much better. BBRRRR! Need some music to take the thoughts away, so let’s listen to these worms. Back later …

    * ”Sixteen”?
    That’s very specific, I can hear you wonder. Yeah, it IS, but the explanation for that is for another thread, coming your way at the end of the year.

    • Well, I think my hailstones have paled into insignificance (though quite impressive at the time). The geology is such that the old road from Mam Tor to Castleton has collapsed; we walked down it, and there are 2 foot drops in the surface of the road where the land has slipped away. Quite eerie – like a dreamscape.

  8. Dean Friedman – Sorry, Toffee, but there’s always been something about Friedman’s voice that I find hard to like. Love the mini-tale sentiments, though.

    Orchestra Marrabenta etc – Actually, this IS the version on my Walkman: love it. So which was the acoustic version then?

    Nunco Band – New to me, liked it (the guitars mostly, natch), and can’t help but think of this with that title: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lL3Z_gixN4E

    • Wilson Pickett – WOW! That’s a keeper!! Fair explodes into life, doesn’t it. PHEW!

      Motel Motel – I hear what you mean about Mumford & Sons, but that’s only true of the song style, not the vocal soundalikee. I still haven’t made my mind up, but have to say Grant Lee Philips is making a good case for it being him I’m thinking of. Try the C&C trick with this:

      Little Feat – Forgotten how much I love this. Why is that? Oh yeah, because I only have the Sailin’ Shoes album on cassette. Must do something about that . . . Christmas is coming ….. Cheers, Chris

      • Grant Lee Philips is what I hear, but the song that Coffee brings to mind is The Shining Hour. Would it be unfair to say that the Motel Motel man has generic rock voice syndrome. BTW another voice I hear is er… Grand Drive but the singer in that band is more restrained.

      • Thanks, Fuel. Nah, whichever Wilson brother is singing there is too nasal to be whoever I had in mind, but thank you, because you’ve identified another CD I’d yet to copy to PC. Will fix that later. Gotta go, or I’ll be late.

      • Two singers in the band! Goes to check his only Grand Drive cd (The lights in this town…) … and indeed there are two singers. Maybe I should give it another spin.

    • I have to say that I sometimes find it hard to get beyond Dean Friedman’s voice – but I’ve learned that the journey’s worth it so I persevere. He is a supreme story-teller and seeing him performing live – just him on the piano and occasionally guitar or banjo and his son on harmonica – it was impossible not to be moved by his honesty, warmth and humour. Experiencing the whole thing with the family made it a beautiful experience for me.

  9. Richard: Mam Tor, we used to call it ‘the Shivering Mountain’; and you mean to say they have cafes with pay phone’s in Castelton these days? All we had were bus stops. My problems weren’t life changing, they were how to beg the penny for the bus fare back to Sheffield, plus my problems were in the mid 40’s. My post-0p problems with my foot didn’t begin for another 60 years, a ladder was to blame and it was a long way from Winnat’s. .
    You mention that: you were driving “my mother’s crappy, skinny-tyred, old, 850cc Renault 5 on roads I didn’t know, through the High Peak in gale-force driving rain”, Surely you mean, 3,850 cc Renault 5?’. 850cc is for lawn mowers and chainsaws. Right? [US perspective]
    OK, I will concede it’s a decent hill, but if you want to talk about failing brakes and mountain passes I’ve got one about the ‘Grapevine” that could curl some hair. Actually I’ve got two about the Grapevine. And in both cases there were benevolent driving gods involved, I’m still here.
    And music, music, you must be jesting, even if we had the hardware which we didn’t it would be limited to Victor Sylvester or Geraldo.
    Sad that you didn’t get the job but my very first true love in mid 50’s was the secretary of the managing director of SKF, you might even have met her, her name was Susan.
    After the fact I knew someone would catch that about the Orch. Marabenta, I knew I had two versions in my iPod and I thought the last one was acoustic, so now I’m going to have to look for the other, damn!

    • @GF –

      Re Renault: No, I do mean 850cc. It was the car you had in the US as Le Car in the late 70s, and was truly awful.

      Re payphones: not in the cafe, but from a good old-fashioned red callbox.

      Re driving: since my major accident in 2003, I get scared easily by road stories. It’s now belatedly apparent I have some unresolved psychological issues going back to our crash. I’ve just had a terrible night’s sleep, tossing and turning all night thinking about that drive.

      Re Nwahulwana – don’t drive yourself crazy on my account searching for it, but when you DO find it …..

      Cheers. School run time, then off to physio. Been referred back again about that leg after that crash!


      • Richard: When You drive north out of LA the first thing you hit is the San Gabriel mountains, the freeway goes through a pass and the downhill stretch on the other side is called ‘The Grapevine’, because it looks like one as it drops 4000 ft. I’ve had 3 really close calls in my life, all on that stretch, any one of them could have been curtains for me. I should write it all down

  10. Unfortunately this set was hampered a bit for me by my existing prejudices. I don’t “do” Dean Friedman, I loathe Hey Jude and I never really understood the appeal of Little Feat.
    Apart from that the Orchestra Marrabenta was definitely streets ahead for me. A lovely bit of Africana..

  11. Dean Friedman played at the cafe at the end of my road recently – I’m afraid I didn’t go. This was pleasant. Nwahulwana was great, and I liked Sami Gone To England too – the singer sounded to me a bit like the guy from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

    I’m not sure who Motel Motel reminded me of – there’s definitely something of Grant Lee Phillips – that dying fall in a single syllable – but it wasn’t completely him. Maybe it’s just a kind of DarceysDad-style Americana composite vocal? Good stuff, anyway.

    Wilson Pickett did good horns; Little Feat don’t do much for me – sorry.

    That’s a terrifying story DsD – would make a great moment in a novel.

  12. A pretty interesting and varied selection here. I have always loved Little Feat, so they are bound to be a favourite. The stand-out track for me was the Wazimbo one. Beautiful.

  13. My apologies re. Wazimbo, I knew that I had two versions of that and I thought that the one I’d played here a couple of years ago was the acoustic version. I happened on the ‘electric’ hiding in a folder on my desktop and I thought ‘Ah, that’d make a good earworm and a comparison to the other’, so I sent it off to Ali. And then I started to wonder if I had that right and only one version showed up in my iTunes, ‘Damn’ I thought, ‘Well they’ll never notice’ so I crossed my fingers and of course bloody richard did!
    So I just went through my entire African CD’s to no avail, it must be hiding on a compilation disc somewhere.
    But I just checked Spotty and they have just one tune by Wazimbo, and guess what, it’s a different version of Nwahulwana and I think it’s the acoustic.
    Try a search at Spotty for: Wazimbo & Orchestra Marrabenta Star De Mocambique
    I’ve got a lot of African CD’s and that search just now made me realize how much good stuff there is there and that I should compile a playlist and post it here. A couple of weeks ago I was invited to resume my show at the radio station where I used to play a lot of African music, I declined.

    • GF – try searching:

      WAZIMBO & GRUPO RM (Maninja album)


      Orchestra Marrabenta (a Dance Africa album compilation)

      I have found Nwahulwana in my folders under both those in the past – (I’m having a weird out with my search function as I updated it recently – and it’s playing up)… otherwise I’d see if the two were the same as what you posted here.

  14. Shane: I think I found it and it should soon show up in the box, neither of those worked for me but I’m currently listening to a lot of marrabenta on a selection of compilations, thanks.

  15. Dean Friedman: Lovely melancholic-nostalgic sound. But perhaps that’s just being a child of the 70s.

    Marrabentas: Yeah, this is the version I know – lovely. Slightly prefer the other track gf posted at/around the same time (A Va Safy Va Lomo), but this is still gorgeous.

    Nunco Band: A bit too ‘rocky’ for me. Soz.

    Wilson Pickett: I’m a bit of a Hey Jude hater, I’m afraid. Unimpeachable vocal of course, but it’s still Hey Jude… The horns are great though.

    Motel Motel: There’s a wee bit of that irritating Passenger bloke in the vocal, but thankfully this chap’s not nearly that fey-sounding. I hear Grant Lee Philips too. Nice tune anyway.

    Little Feat: Not my sort of thing at all, I’m afraid. Proficient-sounding of course, but kind of unrelatable to for me.

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