Earworms 10 December 2018

Good morning, sit up at the back there! Pay attention! Here are your songs about places of education – not always the sort of education one might expect. Predictably, and slightly early, next week’s theme will be Christmas. So If you have an earworm you’d like to share, please send it along to earworm@tincanland.com, together with a few words. Many thanks to all contributors.

Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – Dr. Bones – Ravi Raman: Well Ali did cast the net wide with the ‘massage parlour’ inclusion. This is from an okay-ish movie, with a great soundtrack, which is set in a dance school (that is the only reference to education to be honest).

The Hold Steady – One For The Cutters – tincanman: She went away to college (university) and came home a new person. I don’t think she attended class much.

Razorcuts – Mary Day – vanwolf: He met her at the high school though it’s not really so much about that place. But as the band are named from a Buzzcocks lyric I thought fitting in this sad week.

Nat King Cole – You Don’t Learn That In School – severin: “Put away your lessons, throw away your books”. Nat’s going to tell you what you don’t learn at school. I’m not convinced he’s right about all of this but with his voice, his piano and the other two musicians, he can sing anything he wants to.

Steely Dan – My Old School – AliM: Dredged up from the great grey-green, greasy nether regions of my psyche, all set about with fever-trees, this is from their 1973 album, Countdown to Ecstasy.

Speedy Ortiz – The Graduates – vanwolf: French club dropouts – good enough for me.

Josh Ritter – Getting Ready To Get Down – tincanman: Rebellious teen is shipped off to Bible college to get preached into respectability. I don’t think it had the intended effect.

Dizzy Gillespie – Schooldays – Ravi Raman: The topic gave me a chance to revisit this extended live version from his Live At Newport album. Great set of tracks on that.

Mr Night & Mr Day – We Are On Earth to Learn – severin: This world as a place of education. Not a new concept by any means. This is from a 1996 compilation I have called “Dubnology vol 2 – Lost In Bass”, which is a very good listen. I know nothing about the two misters.

Johnny Marr with Pet Shop Boys – This Must Be The Place I Waited Years To Leave – MaggieB: A version with Johnny Marr. I read somewhere that this song is about a dream that Neil Tennant had in which he was back at school waiting to do an exam. A dream? More like a nightmare…

Image copyright https://www.123rf.com Kittisak Taramas

Earworms 3 December 2018

Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage … here are your songs about barriers. Doors, walls, fences, dams and the odd rubber-tree plant. If you have an earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3 or a link to earworm@tincanland.com, together with a few lines about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be places of education – schools, colleges, massage parlours, etc.etc. Many thanks to all contributors.

Stop Press: 

Interpol – Obstacle 1 – vanwolf: They’ve never really captured the magic of the first album on any release since.

Fenster – In the walls – vanwolf: I liked this enough to get an album, which was pretty good.

Gus Elen – If it Wasn’t for the Houses In Between – severin: I’m sometimes inclined to cite this as my favourite ever song. It certainly has the best title. With a ladder and some glasses, you could see to Hackney Marshes if… Barriers, eh?

Glen Hansard – McCormack’s Wall – tincanman: From 2015’s Didn’t He Ramble, Glen has had a drunken night out and decides the perfect nightcap is a road trip to see celebrated Irish tenor John McCormack’s old cottage near Kildare. As you do.

Unthanks – Close the Coalhouse Door – severin: Create a barrier for yourself. Close the coal house door and stay outside so you won’t see the cost of coal in blood and toil. A bleak song with beautiful voices and piano.

Scott Henderson – Fence Climbin’ Blues – Ravi Raman: Extremely stylish guitarist turns to Blues for an atypical album, called Dog Party. All songs are ‘dog themed’.

Mandrill – Fencewalk – Ravi Raman: First to pop up in my library when I keyed in ‘fence.’ Complete shoehorn as it’s definitely not about a fence. Still, it’s super funky.

Swarathma – Pyaasi – Ravi Raman: This is a folk rock band from Bangalore. Song’s about the water sharing problem between our two states. The river Cauvery begins in Karnataka and ends here in Tamil Nadu and there’s an almighty row about blocking/damming it. I’m tired of stopping at corners / at least let my tears flow / I’m water, let me flow.

Efterklang – Between the Walls – AliM: From the 2012 album Piramida, I think this came to me via glasshalfempty.

Frank Sinatra – High Hopes – MaggieB: When troubles call and your back’s to the wall, there’s a lot to be learned, that wall could fall. The barriers are a rubber tree plant and a billion-kilowatt dam…

Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters – Don’t Fence Me In – AliM: I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences / And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses / And I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences / Don’t fence me in… Classic.

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Ten Tracks – by Ravi Raman

Trying something different with Ten Tracks, As you can see they start at One and end at Ten. Feel free to critique (as you can also see I have had some free time).

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Earworms 26 November 2018

“Bless air’s gift of sweetness, honey / from the bees, inspired by clover, / marigold, eucalyptus, thyme, / the hundred perfumes of the wind. / Bless the beekeeper … bees / are the batteries of orchards, gardens, guard them.” (Extract from “Virgil’s Bees” by Carol Ann Duffy). I can’t follow that, so here are your songs about bees, in one form or another. If you have an Earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3 or a link, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it, to earworm@tincanland.com, before next Monday. Next week’s theme will be Barriers – fences, walls, that type of thing. Over to you.

Lena Horne – Honey In the Honeycombe – severin: “When I charm, the men all swarm, just like they was bees”. Other versions of this song exist but I do like a bit of Lena. 

Equals – Honey Bee – tincanman: Not an actual bee, but it’ll do. A British Invasion from Eddy ‘Electric Avenue’ Grant’s first band, this didn’t quite sell as many records as their next hit, Baby, Come Back. Almost as Earwormy though. (That’s Derv Gordon on vocals, I believe, not Eddy) 

Tom Petty – Honey Bee – tfd: my fellow TP fans, some of them a bit on the innocent side, seem to think this song is about a harmless romance. To me it’s about abuse – “Don’t tell your mom, don’t tell your sister, don’t tell your boyfriend, little honey bee” sounds like grooming to me. Creepy. See what you think.

Lau – Save the Bees – AliM: From their excellent album: “Race the Loser” (2012), this is a band I would love to see live (but stupidly missed them when they played in Hebden Bridge back in July).

Laura Cantrell – Bees – Glasshalfempty: Laura sings: “I miss the bees, I miss the honey, I miss them humming by the flowered vine”, in a delicate and bittersweet lament. But it also reminds me of the ecological disaster that is the widespread collapse of bee populations in the Western world through pesticides and climate change.

Taj Mahal & Toumani Diabate – Queen Bee – tincanman: Lovely, evocative mixing of West African and American roots music from their 1999 album, Kulanjan. I think Mahal wrote it. (It is not the Queen Bee Rupert Holmes wrote for Barbra Streisand, which is too bad because while writing songs that won Tony Awards Holmes is also The Piña Colada Song guy. Neither is it the Slim Harpo blues standard King/Queen Bee).

Afro Celt Sound System – Honeybee – AliM: This one is for my friend Carraval, if she’s looking in. We went to see ACSS last week and they didn’t disappoint; this is from their excellent album: The Source.

Anthony Newley – Bee-Bom – severin: Well, “bee-bom” probably belongs in my onomatopoeia list but he does say he’ll be “buzzing around you” so I think it just fits here. Newley was a funny bloke. Novelty songs that inspired Bowie to have a go at imitation, anguished ballads from weird musicals, a bit of MOR pap now and then and the odd examples of swinging, groovy hep cat nonsense like this. Extremely enjoyable nonsense, he added hastily.

Gerry Mulligan – Blight of the Fumble Bee – Ravi Raman: originally appearing in the Two Of A Kind album with Paul Desmond. “Jokingly titled” … it is said of this nod to Rimsky-Korsakov.

The Great Kat – Flight of the Bumble Bee – Ravi Raman: Julliard trained classical violinist became a guitar shredder of note. From her Beethoven On Speed album.

Martin Simpson, Andy Cutting & Nancy Kerr – Dark Honey – Suzy: Welcome Suzy, to the fun-fest that is Earworms! Yay! (Ed).

Taj Mahal – Queen Bee – Bloody Sunday Sessions – Maggie B: This would have been OK for “Royalty” as well! (This is TM without Toumani Diabate in case anyone quibbles. Ed)

The Scientist – The Bee – severin: In the nineties, I bought the 12” single of this, with various remixes, most of which didn’t have the buzzing sound. This one does have the buzzing sound and it will drive you insane. No, it will. I’m warning you now. If you start dancing, pick up a swatter first. No, hang on, don’t. Save the bees.

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Earworms 19 November 2018

Exercising the royal prerogative I am rather late with this week’s Earworms, but no matter. Take a seat in the inner sanctum (or on the throne), and listen to this week’s songs about royalty. If you have an Earworm you would like to share, please send an .mp3 or a link to earworm@tincanland.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be Bees. Many thanks to all contributors.

Stop Press: Late but welcome addition from Maggie B, who has been under the weather: Horrible Histories Kings and Queens Song.

Robert Johnson – Little Queen of Spades – Ravi Raman: “I am a king and you is a queen”. The very definition of royalty.

Young Tiger with Cyril Blake’s Calypso Serenaders – I Was There (At The Coronation) – Glasshalfempty: The Trinidadian equivalent of a black and white newsreel, the calypso gave a take on current events, such as this account of the coronation. Two years later Young Tiger performed at the Royal Albert Hall for the very first Caribbean carnival in London. He got a right royal rollicking, though, when on another occasion he made up a calypso about a member of the audience – Prince Phillip. The aristocracy turned up the following night to hear it, but the management had banned him from repeating it.

Katzenjammer – Play, My Darling, Play – severin: Messenger arrives. Warns the Queen of all the dangers outside. Advises her to quit the throne and just play instead. Could happen I suppose.

Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan – Yedu Thanthanadi – Ravi Raman: About the king who reorganised the Shaivate canon and built the Tanjore Big Temple (in 1010 AD), Raja Raja Cholan. I have chosen an instrumental version, performed here by a violin maestro who was born ahead of his time.

Concerto Caledonia (feat Olivia Chaney) – Musick’s Hand-Maid Part 2: Old Sir Simon The King – severin: From the rather wonderful album Purcell’s Revenge, featuring songs by (surprise!) Purcell. Reinterpreted by said Concerto persons plus guest vocalists and instrumentalists. I have chosen a singer at random from the three tracks which had a royal connection. Of course, I have.  She only sings for the final minute though. Plays harmonium all through, though. And there’s some bloke singing on it too. Hang on (looks it up) Jim Moray, that’s him.

Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta – tincanman: This Roots-themed piece also contains elements of the novel Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe) and seamlessly weaves in bits of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal, the JB’s’ Payback, Mausberg’s Get Nekkid, and Ahmad Lewi’s We Want The Funk. The man knows no bounds, literally.

Abigail Washburn – Bring Me My Queen – AliM: From her third album, City of Refuge (2011). I think this came from tincanman originally, it comes up on my “most played tracks”, probably because it’s exquisite.

Murder By Death – King of the Gutters, Prince of the Dogs – tincanman: If this sounds like a spaghetti western, that’s because it probably is. The Indiana outfit took their name from a movie and much of their music has gothic western themes.

Grateful Dead – Mountains Of The Moon – Chris7572: Here’s the royalty song for this week’s earworms … it contains dancing kings, their wives and one daughter. Only lacking the prince.

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Earworms 12 November 2018

Good morning, I hope you’ve all charged up your love batteries in preparation for another week and a crackling compilation of songs about electricity. If you have an earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3 or a link to earworm@tincanland.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be royalty. Many thanks to all contributors.

Buzzcocks – Love Battery – severin: “I’ve got this crazy current that slips through my underwear, and when it really connects, I come and go everywhere”. Not the best thing to say when the interviewer asks what skills you can bring to this organisation.

Rod Clements – Ragtown-. tincanman: The Lindisfarne co-founder was sitting at home one evening watching a documentary about the making of the Hoover (hydroelectric) Dam during the Depression, and decided to mute the telly and write this song about the harsh, remote workcamps.

Pavement – Trigger Cut – vanwolf: A cert to get me on the floor. Lies and betrayals, fruit covered nails, EEEEElectricity and lust.

They Might Be Giants – Bird House in Your Soul – AliM: There can’t be many songs written from the perspective of a nightlight: “There’s a picture opposite me / Of my primitive ancestry / Which stood on rocky shores and kept the beaches shipwreck free / Though I respect that a lot / I’d be fired if that were my job / After killing Jason off and countless screaming Argonauts / Bluebird of friendliness / Like guardian angels it’s always near”.

Rival Sons – Electric Man – Ravi Raman: I’m not sure who in the group passed this on but it’s a great, energetic number.

Nitzer Ebb – Lightning Man – vanwolf: You better be careful out there.

Rush – Manhattan Project – Ravi Raman: More Rush. More about energy than electricity as such. Still …

Honolulu Mountain Daffodils – Electronic Alcoholic – severin: Wonky parody of Kraftwerk produced in London by people who, themselves, did a lot more drinking than was good for them. The Robots but with all-too human problems.

Steve Hillage – Electrick Gypsies – AliM: Let’s re-discover the healing sound and ride the psychic surf. From his 1976 album, “L”. 

Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band – Electricity, and The Walker Brothers – The Electrician – Maggie B: Both these tracks were ahead of their time, first, Captain Beefheart with Electricity – complete with theramin and Ry Cooder on slide. Next the Walker Brothers: The Electrician. (Scott Walker was one of my first musical loves). This song had a big influence on David Bowie. Scott Walker’s beautiful voice singing a perfectly orchestrated song with wonderful guitar playing and about an ugly subject – torture and electrocution. Disturbing…

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Ten Tracks – Kadri Gopalnath – (by Ravi Raman)

I just love sax, in blues, rock or jazz. And this guy holds a special place for me. These are all more pop-ish than classical. I thought I would start with JJ Cale but like Ali rightly pointed out you Spillers are less likely to come across Kadri. Hope you all enjoy them.