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Live It Up 54: Garden Party

This piece of rather heavy-handed social commentary was, in 1983, the third choice of single for Mariilion.

As a result this version does not use the word that rhymes with rucking in the two words that follow it, presumably to avoid being banned and to safeguard airplay. Live versions of the track have no such inhibitions.

Marillion: Garden Party

Something Changed 21: Chocolate Cake

As I mentioned before Chocolate Cake was the first Crowded House song that I was aware was by the band.

This is a live performance from 1991.

Crowded House: Chocolate Cake

Not Friday on my Mind 56: There’s a Kind of Hush – RIP Les Reed

Songwriter (well, tune writer: he collaborated with lyricists to complete his songs) Les Reed died last week.

Writing for the likes of Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck, Reed was never the most credible with the rock crowd but he helped create a formidable catalogue of notable songs of the 1960s.

It’s Not Unusual, The Last Waltz, I’m Coming Home, Delilah and I Pretend all made No 1 or 2, not a bad achievement for anybody – even if these were mostly bought by Mums and Dads.

Then there’s this song from 1967 (lyric by Geoff Stephens,) and later recorded by The Carpenters.

Herman’s Hermits: There’s a Kind of Hush

Leslie David (Les) Reed: 24/7/1935 – 15/4/2019. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 159: Love Hurts

I’m spoiled for choice with this one. It was written in 1960 by Boudleaux Bryant and recorded by the Everly Brothers the next year but not as a single. It was an accidental hit for Roy Orbison in Australia when it became part of a double A-side but not a hit in the UK till Nazareth took it into the charts in 1975.

Dan McCafferty’s voice was perfect to bring out the song’s angst.

Nazareth: Love Hurts

Live It Up 53: Don’t Dream It’s Over

I must have heard this when it first came out but don’t consciously remember doing so. Well, it was released in 1986 and I was in the first throes of fatherhood that year. Still I suppose the song may only be familiar from repeated plays on the radio since.

(The first song I remember associating with Crowded House by name is actually Chocolate Cake from 1990.)

The talent in the band and Neil Finn’s songwriting ability is clear here though.

Crowded House: Don’t Dream It’s Over

Something Changed 20: The Day They Caught the Train

This is the first Ocean Colour Scene song I consciously remember hearing. Their earlier hits had passed me by. There always semed to be something 60s-ish about their sound, though.

Ocean Colour Scene: The Day They Caught the Train

Reelin’ In the Years 158: No Regrets

More Scott Walker (in case you missed him last week.) This time from the return of the Walker Brothers in 1975.

The magnificent No Regrets.

The Walker Brothers: No Regrets

The song’s writer was Tom Rush. Here’s his original.

Tom Rush: No Regrets

Friday on my Mind 178: Jackie

One of the most distinctive and influential songers of the 1960s and 70s (and beyond) left us this week. Scott Walker.

In the Guardian there were no less than three pieces about Walker and his legacy in the Monday issue (25/3/2019).

Had he only been a member of The Walker Brothers his memory would have been secure via that string of huge hits they had in the mid-60s. Then there was their monumental cover of Tom Rush’s No Regrets in their “comeback” in the 1970s to which his phrasing made such a difference.

The clarity of his voice can be heard in his solo recording of Joanna, a Jackie Trent and Tony Hatch song to which he contributed some of the lyric and which managed to reach no 7 in the UK charts.

His dissatisfaction with simple balladeering though led him to wider and wider experimentation and a uniqur place in pop history.

Among his many signature moments was his version of the Jacques Brel song Jacky in a translation by Mort Shuman.

Scott Walker: Jackie

Noel Scott Engel (Scott Walker): 9/1/1943 – 22/3/2019. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 55: These Boots Were Made for Walkin’

This is another record on which Hal Blaine (see last week’s post) played drums, the song one of the fruits of Sinatra’s working relationship with Lee Hazlewood.

This video is something else. OK, I get the fact that the performers’ boots were being emphasised, but the skirts didn’t need to be so short for that did they?

Nancy Sinatra: These Boots Were Made for Walkin’

Friday on my Mind 177: Be My Baby – RIP Hal Blaine

The list of hits on which Hal Blaine played drums is enormous. His obituary in the Guardian mentions only a few. A fuller (though possibly partial) list is here. Looking at that it could almost be said that he was the sound of the sixties.

He was certainly a major component of the “wall of sound” on those Phil Spector productions he played on. No more so than on Be My Baby.

The Ronettes: Be My Baby

Harold Simon Belsky (Hal Blaine): 5/2/1929 – 11/3/2019. So it goes.

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