Sunday, 30 October 2011

Friday 28th October

Not sure where this one came from, apart from being a much-loved song from my teenage years. However, one of the final lines in the song realy seemed quite appropriate.

Again, I'm not entirely sure why. There's no reports in the news of mass racial unrest, even if it does appear to be simmering under at the moment.

The lines in question read "So go ahead and label me/An asshole cause I can/Accept responsibility, for what I've done/But not for who I am". I think it sums up how to solve a lot of potential problems in this day and age. Too many times we hear the phrases 'bloody Americans' or 'bloody Poles, stealing our jobs' and things such as those. But these generalisations are often as wrong as they are idiotic.

For instance, was it every American's decision to go to war in Iraq? No. Sure, some may have wanted to, but it was only the nation's leaders who had the ultimate decision. As the many protests in London revealed, it wasn't the UK's desire to enter the conflict either, yet we still did.

Likewise, why are Polish workers wrong for upping sticks and searching for work to earn a living and support their family? First of all, the generalisation of Eastern Europeans such as Latvians, Lithuanians, Romanians etc as "Poles" really grinds my gears.

Essentially what those lines are saying is, let's judge everyone by their own, personal actions, rather than the actions of people of the same race who have no other relation to each other.

Wise words from the 'clown princes of political punk'. I often wonder if the band's clowning around detracts from their otherwise spot-on messages. Then again, I'm thankful that musicians can be both serious and fun-loving.

The song, as you shall see below, is NOFX's Don't Call Me White.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Friday 21 October

A "bumper" two-week edition of That Was the Song of the Week That Was this week.

I had something all set for last week, but news came to me that changed that, exciting news. News that I'd often heard before but never believed. Somehow, last week's news seemed more believable.

All I could do was wait.

It was definitely worth the wait. Tuesday's announcement was greeted with sheer delight on my behalf. However, this morning was fraught to say the least. I was right to be worried. Two gigs and 150,000 tickets sold in 14 minutes and I wasn't one of them. Fortunately, a friend was on the ball while I was at work and quickly snapped up some tickets for a third date - this one also selling out frighteningly quickly.

So who am I talking about? If you haven't already guessed, I'll give you a subtle clue...

What was that? The Stone Roses? Well done, you guessed it. Manchester here I come.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Friday 7th October

James were always a bit of an enigma to me. They were part of the "Madchester" scene, but never struck me as one for some unknown reason.

In 1990, at the age of about 10, I remember first hearing my dad's eponymous Stone Roses album and Kinky Afro plus Step On by the Happy Mondays. I instantly loved them and was a firm fan of Madchester music

But James didn't seem to fit in with these. Shaun Ryder and Ian Brown had a swagger about them (that may be quite an understatement), but Tim Booth seemed to engage more with the listener. Born of Frustration and Sit Down were frequently listened to by me, yet they seemed at odds with the likes of Kinky Afro and I Wanna Be Adored.

Over the next few years I got into the Inspiral Carpets and the Charlatans. These immediately became lumped in with the other great Madchester bands. Tim Burgess had the swagger, while the Carpets had the lollopy music

The other big difference between James and the others was the tender songs. On 1993's Laid album, James took this to a new level. Sometimes is quite upbeat but still loving. Say Something is even more tender.

But the one that eclipses all others is the opening track, Out to Get You. It's a truly beautiful track: heartbreaking and blissful at the same time. It also contains a melodica - something not very common in traditional Madchester songs.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Friday 30th September

This week has been quite odd musically. There have been many songs popping into my head, but only two that stayed in for any length of time. One of those - Too Much Pressure - has been pipped by a beautiful folk song.

The first version of Raggle Taggle Gypsies I heard was by Jim Moray when he played at my town's venue. It's a song that I instantly liked, but Moray's version isn't the one I've chosen this week.

I've gone for Mad Dog Mcrea's Raggle Taggle Gypsy after hearing it at Glastonbury this year. Despite playing to about ten people (including seven dancing stewards), the performance was such that it became my festival highlight.

It was made more special by the fact I'd stumbled on them by error. I left the Chemical Brothers' set with the intention to watch the Lancashire Hotpots. As is often the case at Glastonbury, time had become a foreign issue to me, so much so that days had also become foreign. It turns out I was a day late for the Hotpots, but did witness Mad Dog Mcrea's set - just me and a young couple waiting for the Beat.

The reason Raggle Taggle Gypsy has taken on an extra significance is because of last night's events. For the past few years, I've joined a group of mates who go away to a different European city on a *ahem* "cultural trip". Since last year, the decision on which city has been made by way of a vote. The 2012 trip's vote was last night. It appears we're going to Bucharest, Romania.

Now, I'm not suggesting all Romanians are gypsies etc, but I do enjoy Roma music and am excited about searching some out which in Bucharest.

While Raggle Taggle Gypsy is definitely not of the Roma genre, it does contain the word gypsy and had been in my head most of the week!

So, please enjoy Mad Dog Mcrea doing Raggle Taggle Gypsy.