Earworms 17 February 2020

You can’t be a real spy and have everybody in the world know who you are and what your drink is. That’s just hysterically funny.” (Roger Moore). Lots of references to Bond this week, in your choice of songs about Spies. And I can’t help feeling that Roger Moore had a point.

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 Home, as suggested by glassarfemptee, and contributions should reach me by close of play on Sunday 23 February.

Many thanks to all contributors.

Luther Ingram & The G-Men – I Spy (For The FBI) – tincanman: Luther was Memphis, writing and recording for Stax [Respect Yourself; (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right]. Ike Turner started out in his band. His songs have sold in the millions. Yet most will remember I Spy from the gussied-up northern soul cover by Jamo Thomas, whose other claim to fame is the novelty song Bahama Mama. Sigh.

Alex Harvey – Agent 00Soul – Alfiehisself: At that time Bond did have a strong Scots accent, just can’t image Alex with a martini.

Radiohead – Spectre – AliM: Apparently written for the 2015 Bond film of the same name, but not selected. Shame.

David Bowie – Helden (Heroes) – Alfiehisself: All spy fillums have an exchange on a bridge in Berlin. A couple kissing by the wall is close. And the dolphins are likely trained to attach mines to enemy shipping. Enjoyed Jo-Jo Rabbit, but no spoilers as to the choice of tune.

Rory Gallagher – Philby – Ravi Raman and Maggie B: Ravi: From his gem of an album Top Priority, using an electric sitar no less. (Name somebody Kim and they more or less are bound to become a spy). Maggie: The late – and sorely missed – Rory Gallagher on the subject of the notorious Burgess, Philby and McLean spy scandal.

Barry Adamson – 007, A Fantasy Bond Theme [Monty Norman] – shoegazer: Bond is black.

Billie Eilish – No Time to Die – AliM: Billie wrote this song with her brother, Finneas, and at 18 is the youngest artist in history to write and record a James Bond theme song. Down with the kids, me.

Iggy Pop – James Bond – Ravi Raman: Title track of his last year’s album though why she wants to become a Bond only Mr Pop knows.

Coldplay – Spies – glassarfemptee: I know Coldplay are persona non grata in these parts, but I thought Parachutes was a cracking album, and here’s their take on spies, inspired by their love of Bond movies …

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Monitor – severin: Cameras placed outside buildings, ostensibly for preventing crime, become a source of prurient entertainment for those inside. Or “Reality TV” as we now call it.

Maurice John Vaughn – I Want to Be Your Spy – tincanman: Maurice John is one of the many competent Chicago bluesmen who mostly hit the mark but rarely scored. This seems more funky New Orleans dirty blues than Chicago.

Melissa Etheridge – Watching You – severin: “Why am I standing out here alone. I guess I don’t know enough to come in from the rain. I was watching your window from here below. I think I might just stay here all day.” Not healthy tbh.

The Decemberists – The Bagman’s Gambit – glassarfemptee: The Decemberists love to sing story telling songs, and here’s a tale of spying in Washington DC. Very Bond …

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Earworms 10 February 2020

Good morning, I hope Storm Ciara has treated you kindly and that you’re all ready for St. Valentine’s Day at the end of the week, starting off with your songs about couples. As Kirsty so succinctly put it: “Rosebud, oh rosebud / He turned to me and wept / A vaguely coded message / I could never intercept …” Ah, love’s sweet mystery.

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. Submissions should be sent by close of play on Sunday 16 February. Next week’s theme will be spies.

Many thanks to all contributors.

Roy Buchanan – Adventures Of Brer Rabbit And Tar Baby – Ravi Raman: Could not shoehorn it as the latter is a doll. (Yes you could. We cater for all tastes here. Ed.) 😉

Kirsty MacColl – You and Me Baby – AliM: “It’s journey’s end”. Nearly twenty years since we lost Kirsty.

Oscar McLollie and Jeanette Baker – Hey Girl Hey Boy – severin: Both halves of the couple have their say.

Ryan Teague – Games for Two – AliM: No words, so interpret this as you will.

John Prine – Speed of the Sound of Loneliness – Ravi Raman: Definitely not an in sync couple, rather one that has reached breaking point. But I couldn’t resist sending this one in.

Mountain Goats – Oceanographer’s Choice – Shoegazer: The Alpha Couple reunite before the bitter end.

Tina Turner – It Takes Two – glassarfemptee: “Two lovers walking hand in hand,” belts Tina, ‘cos it takes two.

Gabby Young and Other Animals – Male Version of Me – severin: The perfect couple in Gabby’s opinion.

Geetha Madhuri – Okapari Kokapari – Ravi Raman: An atypical praise song about Hindus’ foremost couple, Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi. Sung in Telugu, one of the most beautiful languages*, the song dwells on how beautifully they complement each other – his jewels adding lustre to her charisma etc.
*Telugu is known as Sundara Telugu or Beautiful Telugu, much loved by writers and poets.

Belle and Sebastian – Perfect Couples – glassarfemptee: Belle and Sebastian think nothing is as it seems, because those perfect couples are breaking up. And don’t they just lampoon those middle class ways “Sexual tension at the fridge/He makes for the organic figs/Belmondo lips, dangling a cig/And she, just back from her hike/And to the gallery she might glide by/With a basket on a bike.”

Miss Piggy and Kermit – In Spite of Ourselves – MaggieB: A famous celebrity couple …

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Earworms 3 February 2020

Ding Dong! As Alfiehisself said. You’ve done me proud this week, with lots of great music on the theme of bells.

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, to be published on Monday February 10, is couples, given that it will soon be Saint Valentine’s Day. Interpret it as widely as you like.

Many thanks to all contributors.

Count Basie, with Sarah Vaughan and Joe Williams – If I Were A Bell – Abahachi: So many great versions of this classic number from ‘Guys and Dolls’, but this is my favourite vocal one, if only for the way the Divine Sarah sings: “If I were a duck I’d quack…”

The Beatles – Michelle – Alfiehisself: Michelle by Paul since you said ‘Belle’.

Fairfield Four – The Bells Are Tolling – tincanman: Ask not for whom the bell tolls … The Nashville gospel vocal formed in 1921 in Nashville’s Fairfield Baptist Church and are going strong 90 years later; every time one of them answers heaven’s bell, someone in the congregation steps forward to take his place.

Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris – Belle Starr – Ravi Raman: Well Ali did open the door for belles too. So here’s one of my favourite duet combos. Both being individually favourites too.

Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (extract) – Alfiehisself: Excerpts from Tubular Bells ‘cos its long otherwise. (You could have it all for me, I love it. Ed.)

John Renbourn, Maggie Boyle, Steve Tilston & Tony Roberts – Bogey’s Bonnie Belle -AliM: “Old Bogey had a daughter / Her name was Isobel / She’s the lily of the valley / And the primrose of the dell …” I love this song, from the 1988 album,  John Renbourn’s Ship of Fools.

The Unthanks – Betsy Bell – severin: She’s not a real bell, you know. From their “Here’s the Tender Coming” album. Daft and fun and it’s got a bit of clog dancing in it.

AC-DC – Hells Bells – tincanman: … because someone had to. Nothing wrong with having a little fun, and besides, they made excellent house-cleaning music. [There’s never an excuse for bad grammar though: It’s Hell’s Bells].

Orbital – Chime – severin: Well, it’s called Chime so it’s about a bell, right? From their first album, released in 1991. That’s 29 years ago. And I still think of it as a bit modern.

S. Janaki & Unnikrishnan- Margazhi Thingal Allava (isn’t it the dawning of Margazhi) – Ravi Raman: A popification of a famous song by a Tamil poet-saint called Andal. Margazhi being the Tamil month that straddles the new year. Temple bells at the start and jangling anklets throughout should cover the bells aspect.

Underworld & Iggy Pop – Bells and Circles – shoegazer: Only “Bells” are those in the title, but so what.

Anita Ward – Ring My Bell – AliM: Bit of a curveball for me as I’m no Disco Diva … but hey, “The night is young and full of possibilities …”

Arvo Pärt – Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten – glassarfemptee: I’ve already blown one bell song a couple of weeks ago on another topic (Inkubus Succubus “Hail the holly king”). So here’s Arvo Pärt tolling the bell for the loss of Benjamin Britten, which I think carolebristol introduced us to on RR, and barbryn got it into ‘songs that make you cry’ in 2008.

New Vaudeville Band – Winchester Cathedral – MaggieB: I first thought of Leonard Cohen “Ring the bells that still can ring” but the remit was cheering us up, so here – just for fun – are one hit wonders New Vaudeville Band with their one hit. It’s about a bell that failed to ring though … a bit like the Big Ben Bong …☺ (Didn’t they sing “Finchley Central”, too? Ed.) And here is Frank Sinatra, with his cover version.

Brooklyn Synth Orchestra – Tubular Bells – Ravi Raman: Just for fun here’s a cover by a bunch of women on different organs and synths. Could be Tubular Belles according to one wiseguy in the conments. Continue reading

Earworms 27 January 2020

Worried about the environment? You will be, after listening to your pick of songs about climate emergency and ecological catastrophe. When will we ever learn?

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. I think we’re in need of reasons to be cheerful, so next week’s theme will be bells. Or belles, if you prefer. Feel free to go off on a tangent.

Many thanks to all contributors.

The Seekers – What Have They Done to the Rain? – severin: They were going to call themselves The Searchers but the name was already taken. Then both bands recorded this Malvina Reynolds song. The Seekers also recorded her kids’ song, Morning Town Ride, but The Searchers didn’t, sadly.

Keb’ Mo’ – Don’t Throw It Away – tincanman: From last year’s Oklahoma, his warning about treating the earth as if it were ours to do with as we please has a special focus on plastic.

Both – Hummingbird – AliM: I think this came from Shiv in the 2014 Festive ‘Spill picks. It’s a beautiful song, if bleak. “But I got a message from the hummingbird / He gave me a warning in disguise / He told me they’re marching on Monsanto / But the same monolithic structures rise …”

Neil Young – Who’s Gonna Stand Up? – glassarfemptee: Neil Young has long campaigned for ecological sanity, and famously converted his Lincoln Continental to electric power. Unusually, he has resorted to an orchestral treatment of his call to arms against big oil (though a rock version with Crazy Horse is also available).

Keith LeBlanc – Dream World – shoegazer: Keith Leblanc with Gary Clail & the rest of the Tackhead crew, from 1989.

J. J. Cale – Death In The Wilderness – Ravi Raman: Even though he’s famous for his Blues this is proper bleak. A laid back prediction of doom from his Guitar Man album.

Bryan Adams – Don’t Drop That Bomb On Me – Leaveitallbehind: Here’s one from the ‘Groover from Vancouver’ aka Bryan Adams – he’s been a long-time environmental activist. On his last tour in 2019, Adams teamed up with shipping company DHL for an environmental project to plant a tree for every ticket sold during the course of the tour. Mrs. L and I were ‘in to him’ throughout the nineties racking up 5 concerts on his various tours and recall this tune from his first one where he’d left cards on each of the seats about the plight of the world and attempting to create awareness of specifically animal rights issues – the opening verse of this song references that but covers the wider ecological issues of deforestation etc.

Anohni – 4 Degrees – severin: That’s all it takes. Temperature rises, extinctions start.

Neil Young – Peaceful Valley Boulevard – tincanman: You can call Senile Young many things, but subtle isn’t one of them. This is from 2010’s Le Noise, which as it turns out was a harbinger of all the anti-Monsanto nonsense to come. (I’m not pro-Monsanto; I’m just anti music that isn’t very good).

Henry Parker – Silent Spring – AliM: “Silent Spring”, Rachel Carson’s influential environmental science book (1962), documented the adverse environmental effects of the indiscriminate use of pesticides. This is the title track from Henry Parker’s 2019 album: “Silent Spring came this year without warning / The birds left for winter and never returned / With no sound of the calling to be heard / Or beating of wings in the morning … no sound on the wind …”

Lesley Duncan – Earth Mother – glassarfemptee: Of similar vintage to Marvin Gaye’s ‘Mercy, mercy, me’, the late Lesley Duncan’s powerful 1972 song was equally prescient about the fate of the planet in human hands. She sings of Mother Earth “But we’re taking the wrong track, and we’ve painted your face black, and it’s so hard to turn back from it now”. This in the same year that the Club of Rome’s ‘The Limits to Growth’, and the Ecologist’s ‘Blueprint for Survival’, were published. Nearly fifty years later, no-one can say we were not warned!

Pixies – Monkey Gone to Heaven – Maggie B: “And the ground’s not cold, and if the ground’s not cold everything’s gonna burn …”

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Earworms 20 January 2020

No one does wistful like a puppy … except you lot, who have provided wistfulness in spades this week. And my iTunes collection, which has a tendency to transcend into melancholy. (There must be a hundred words for wistful).

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 climate emergency and ecological catastrophe (just to cheer us up after a wistful week).

Many thanks to all contributors.

Sparklehorse – Sad and Beautiful World – glassarfemptee: Wistful is such a sad and beautiful word. I wonder if other languages have a similar word for a vague feeling of regretful longing? Anyhow, the late lamented Sparklehorse (Mark Linkous) seemed to bottle that sentiment in this song.

Lucinda Belle Orchestra – Northern Lights – severin: “One of these days I’ll be free”. She doesn’t sound like she really believes that, I feel.

Gretchen Peters – Matador – tincanman: Gretchen Peters has been dubbed ‘the mistress of melancholy’ in Nashville, and it’s here in both sound and words. This topic sure has opened my eyes to the number of words we have about feeling somehow incomplete.

Bonnie Raitt – Gave My Love A Candle – Ravi Raman: One of my favourite Bonnie Raitt albums. I used to have an equally beautiful acoustic version of this song but I can’t seem to locate it now. Shall check and add if possible.

Ralph McTell – Barges – AliM: I’ve liked this since I first heard it, nearly fifty years ago. A song about remembered childhood, with the guitar echoing the lapping of the water as time moves on. From his 1972 album, Not Till Tomorrow.

The Christians – Sad Songs – AliM: This has been going around in my head, although all I could remember was “the songs of Suzy Solidor”. I was very surprised to find it was by The Christians, who I’d forgotten about. Suzy Solidor was a French singer and actress, openly Lesbian, and known as “the most painted woman in the world” in the 1930s. She had an extraordinary life, although convicted as a collaborator there was also evidence to suggest she was a double agent. She seems to have led an exotic, but ultimately rather sad, life.

Grandaddy – Miner At The Dial-A-View – Ravi Raman: A look back with a digital touch. From their Sophtware Slump of which my favourite is Jed the Humanoid though that may tip the scales of melancholy.

Simone Felice – Charade – tincanman: There’s a tone of wistful longing in most of Simone Felice’s work, be it in himself or the characters he creates. I think of him as a writer who happened to choose music as his instrument.

Tindersticks – The Turns We Took To Get Here – shoegazer: Tindersticks do wisty.

King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Bubble – glassarfemptee: King Creosote has a wonderfully wistful crooning voice. Any number of his songs would suit, but here’s one about regret using his best wistful voice.

Graham Sowerby – A Long, Long Time Ago – severin: I heard on Wednesday that an old flame, somebody I hadn’t spoken to in quite a few years, had died back in December. I looked at her FB page on an impulse and saw a funeral announcement. There was also a link to a song written by another ex of hers from long before me. About a chance meeting after their ways had parted. Describing it as wistful is probably understating things somewhat but I wanted to share it somewhere so here it is.

Rolling Stones – Ruby Tuesday – Maggie B: Not sure if this is more nostalgic than wistful, but I remember it passing the old grey whistle test back in the day. 😀

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Earworms 13 January 2020

Here we are again, it’s a chilly January morning so what we need is a good batch of subversive songs to warm us up. The topic was harder than I thought, not least because songs that were subversive in their day often sound tame or blandly familiar in a modern context.

If you have an earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, m4a or a link to adempster73@gmail.com, along with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be wistfulness.

Many thanks to all contributors!

The Clash – White Riot – AliM: Short and to the point.

Bobbie McGee – The Death of Mother Jones – Ravi Raman: About labour organiser Mary Harris Jones, once dubbed the Most Dangerous Woman in America.

X-Ray Spex – Warrior in Woolworths – severin: Behind his servile innocence he plots and he schemes. That must be why the place closed down. Something shady going on behind the pick and mix.

Marvin Gaye – Mercy Mercy Me – AliM: Prescient single from his 1971 album What’s Going On. Probably not what people expected from Marvin Gaye at the time.

Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon – The Grid – Ravi Raman: Bit of a shoehorn really, about someone who wants to go off grid completely.  From their collaborative album Sixty Six Steps that has some gems including a rather interesting take on Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion.

Moddi – Little By Little – severin: “Change is in the air. if you want to play your part, it has to start somewhere. Little by little is all it takes”. From his recent “Like In 1968” album.

Mark Stewart Vs. Adam Sky – We Are All Prostitutes [Crookers Rmx]-shoegazer: Subversive song subverted for a new generation.

Chip Taylor & The New Ukrainians – Fuck All The Perfect People – MaggieB: Happy New Year everyone!Love this song … speaks for itself really doesn’t it?

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Earworms 6 January 2020

Well, here we are back at the coalface – Happy New Year to all you ‘Spillers, and here are your songs about Faith, Hope and Charity to get us back into the groove.

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 subversion.

Please note that the old earworms email address has been closed down, so if you’ve sent anything there, I won’t have seen it. But I can add your picks onto this week’s list if you contact adempster73@gmail.com. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Jo Stafford – Whispering Hope – severin: Hardly up to the minute but Jo “sends me”.

Minor Victories – Higher Hopes – AliM: British band with considerable musical pedigree. I don’t know where this song came from, but presumably one of you lot. It’s from their first, eponymous album (2016).

Damien Jurado – Percy Faith – shoegazer: An odd song from the rather odd Damien Jurado.

Hanne Hukkelberg – Faith – severin: I didn’t see it mentioned in any of the year’s “best of” lists, but I really liked the new HH album. She wrote about this song “I have a new respect for religion. It’s like it doesn’t matter what you believe in as long as you believe”. I’m hoping that lost something in the translation because it sounds like a very bad idea to me. Love the music whatever it means.

Albert Collins – When the Welfare Turns Its Back On You – AliM: Pertinent, I feel.

Phil Campbell – Hope, Faith and You – DsD: Faith, Hope & Charity? Here’s Phil Campbell’s 20-year-old Hope, Faith And You. A self-evident topic fit.

Courtney Barnett – Charity – severin: One of the highlights of her (fairly) recent Tell Me How You Really Feel album.

Peter Frampton – I Believe (When I Fall In Love With You It Will Be Forever) – AliM: Well if that ain’t faith, I don’t know what is. Great song, written by Stevie Wonder.

Kadri Gopalnath – Bhagyada Lakshmi – Ravi Raman: my favourite saxophonist giving his touch to this 15th century poem, one that invites fortune, wealth and abundance (filed under Hope).

Robert Finley – Age Don’t Mean A Thing – Ravi Raman: Title track of his debut album in 2016, at the age of 62! Imagine that! (My theme song, file under “hope” – Ed.)

Tony Joe White – Opening Of The Box – Ravi Raman: Putting your hand in a box with a snake is an act of faith, according to that sect of believers. Great song in any case.

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