Wilson Wednesday (or maybe Thursday) – Jackie Wilson

Da, da, da, da, da, Da, da, da, da, da,

Yes, Wilson Wednesday is back, and this week its time to turn our attention to the wonderful Jackie Wilson. And it would be remiss not to begin with Van Morrison’s great tribute song.

 

A two time Grammy Hall of Fame member, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member, and included on Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 greatest artists of all-time list, Jackie is an American soul singer-songwriter and performer. He was known for this high energy performances and was a master-showman.

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Welcome to Wilson Wednesday

Welcome to Wilson Wednesday

No, no, don’t worry, the Spill hasn’t just been sponsored by an international sporting goods manufacturer, nor have we been “cast-away”. (see what I did there???)

Rather, this crazy (and regularly absent) Spill contributor from down under was browsing through his music collection the other day and got to thinking about a large number of musical “Wilsons”. The Marconium already has six solo Wilson artists, probably countless more if we include band members, and that may be the tip of the iceberg.

So, as a semi-regular series, I thought each Wednesday that I get around to it, I will showcase a “Wilson” and open up comment/debate on that Wilson. There are of course obvious Wilsons to explore, and we will, but there will also be some more obscure ones as well. Hey, I will even take requests for Wilsons, and better still, happy for anyone else to provide a write up for Wilson Wednesday – you are all so much more musically knowledgeable than I am.

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My twelve months with RR

Hello everyone

If you don’t mind, this is a slightly self indulgent post, so feel free to stop reading at this point if you are not interested.

This week marks a year since I started playing Readers Recommend. Its been a lot of fun, and I wanted to share a few thoughts about it, including revisiting the six A listers that I have had since I began playing.

Several years ago I had stumbled across the RR blog, when I was google searching something about a song, I can’t really remember, but I didn’t really pay much attention. I got whatever I was searching for and moved on without giving it much more thought. In more recent times though, the Guardian had launched their Australian news website, which is largely the UK version with a little bit extra Australian content. So in June 2014, I was on the main page of the website looking at the news of the day, when I saw a link to Readers Recommend, songs about taxis, and decided to follow it and add some thoughts of my own.

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Introduce me to…a Bragging Queen

As pretty much all of the readers on here have far superior music knowledge to me, I thought I would seek your advice about where to next, regarding a couple of artists.

Lets start with the Queen part first. Of course I am relatively familiar with Queen and the sorts of songs you would find on a Greatest Hits compilation, but the only album of theirs I have is A Night at the Opera. It is a brilliant album, and when I compiled my list of my top 25 favourite albums, I rated it at number two. For some time now, I have been meaning to add more Queen to my collection, but my budget doesn’t quite allow an entire back catalogue purchase.  So I am seeking your advice – which Queen album should I turn to next?

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100 years since the start of World War One

So its been 100 years since the start of World War 1 – we don’t learn do we, when you look at all the conflicts that went on before then, and all the conflicts that have occurred since.

 

I see that RR has already tackled the topic of war before I was a regular, so I shouldn’t be running the risk of spoiling anything over there, but wanted to put together a playlist of war, or really, anti war songs. So please indulge me for my first post on the Spill!

 

Although my list is dominated by Aussie artists, don’t get too hung up on whose side the songs come from, the key thing is recognising the messages, which to put it simply really highlight the futility of war.

 

I hope you appreciate it.

 

I Was Only 19 (A Walk in the Light Green) – Redgum

Wow, what a song. Of course involvement in the Vietnam War was controversial for a number of different nations, including Australia. At the time, there was a national conscription done by a birth date lottery – that was one lottery you didn’t want to win.

 

In this song, Redgum sum up the so many of the themes so well – the pride of going off to war (“Townsville lined the footpath as we marched down to the quay, this clipping from the paper shows us young and strong and clean”),  the horrors of war (“A four week operation, when each step could mean your last one on two legs: it was a war within yourself”), and the lasting impacts of the war long after active service was complete ( “And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can’t get to sleep? And why the Channel Seven chopper chills me to my feet? , And what’s this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?”)

 

What’s a Few Men? – Hunters and Collectors

I am not much of a reader, but A B Facey’s “A Fortunate Life” is probably my favourite book and one I would highly recommend. It’s Facey’s memoirs and he certainly did lead an amazing life – his WWI experience being just one part of it. In the book, Facey recalls a high ranking officer  quipping “what’s a few men?” when told that a certain course of action would result in casualties.  This song is pretty much based on Facey’s recollection of his war experiences, and its such a powerful insight into the war. Mark Seymour, lead singer of the Hunters and Collectors delivers the lyrics so well. I actually prefer the solo version that Seymour recorded for his “Daytime and the Dark” album but I couldn’t find that on you tube.

 

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda – The Pogues

Written by Eric Bogle, but I think the Pogues version is as good as any others going around.

 

The Battle of Brisbane – The Pogues

If you want another example of how stupid war is, look no further than the Battle of Brisbane. During World War II, American soldiers were based in the Australian city of Brisbane, for a variety of reasons –mainly either awaiting deployment to various hot spots in the Pacific, or for rest and recuperation.  Australia and the US were allies in the war, but as the stories go, the Aussie troops were resentful of the Americans, as their soldiers were paid more, they had better looking uniforms and they seemed to have a tendency to be more successful with the local women. Fuelled by alcohol, these tensions eventually boiled over and resulted in two days of rioting in the streets, and brawling between the Aussies and the Americans. Yes, you read right, during the middle of a world war, Allied forces were fighting each other on the streets of Brisbane. One person was killed, many others injured, and countless amounts of damage was caused by two parties ON THE SAME SIDE fighting.  The Pogues bring us a jaunty instrumental which you can just imagine being set to drunk people brawling in almost a Benny Hill kind of way.

 

Singing in Vietnam Talking Blues – Johnny Cash

This is such a simple song, but it’s a got a simple poignancy to it that I really like. Its basically Cash telling the story of him and wife June heading to Vietnam to entertain the troops – performing some concerts, spending time in a military hospital chatting to the injured, and trying to sleep with all the shells going off.

 

 

Khe Sanh – Cold Chisel

This song has become a bit of an anthem in Australia, and sadly, in my opinion, has become associated with drunken yobbos and karaoke. But to anyone that has badly belted out a rendition of this, I would encourage you to study the lyrics carefully, it really is a wonderful piece of songwriting, telling the story of someone returning from the Vietnam war and being totally lost with what to do with themselves. The shoddy treatment of Vietnam Vets when they returned was not unique to Australia (indeed for  a music look at this topic, also refer to “Born in the USA”- Springsteen, and “Four Walls of Raiford” – Lynard Skynard) and that topic is also touched upon in this brilliant track.

 

War – Edwin Starr

So if you haven’t worked out the message of this post yet, refer to Edwin Starr – what a chorus!

 

Give Peace a Chance – John Lennon

I have to end on an optimistic note, via a bed in at a Montreal hotel. “All we are saying, is give peace a chance”.

 

I have put all of these tracks into a Youtube playlist for those interested.