My "deferred listening" posts are about songs that I heard long ago, and liked, but didn't get to hear again for a long time, owing to the rarity of the recording, my misidentification of the song, or a total lack of identification. It was a total lack of identification of the song that makes tonight's revelation so powerful: I didn't even know it was a real song! Richard Metzger wrote a post about Marsha Hunt on the excellent Dangerous Minds blog today. I did not know who she was, but in a nutshell she was an iconic Vogue cover model, mother of Mick Jagger's oldest child and the subject of "Brown Sugar", Hair cast member, and recording artist. She had a hit single in 1973 with "(Oh No! Not) The Beast Day"; the blog post includes a recording of it as an embedded YouTube video. I listened to it and had my mind blown, because it is the song the girls in my elementary school sang when jumping rope! I never had any idea what they were singing, I just remembered the tune and the apparent nonsense words! Holy mackerel, it took me 37 years to find out it was a real song, and what a fantastic, funky footstomper it is! I am going to listen to it over and over! It is moments like this that make me believe that all the mysteries of the universe will eventually be revealed to me! Hallelujah! Can you tell I'm excited? Feast your ears!
I wish I had discovered the DC Recordings label when it started in 1995 instead of just this year, because I really like label head Jonathan Saul Kane's (and label manager James Dyer's) funky spin on electronic dance music. My favorite DC Recordings album that I've heard so far is Out of Phase by The Oscillation (a.k.a. Demian Castellanos); the track "Comatone (Part One)" is a dead ringer for vintage ACR:
Yesterday, out of the blue (more specifically, on WVUD), I heard a new(ish) song that instantly earned a spot on my mental list of lushly-arranged 70s-influenced pop-soul confections (previously listed here): "She Needs Me" by Fyfe Dangerfield. Hooky melodies, a beat reminiscent of Edison Lighthouse's "Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes", peppy orchestral backup a la First Class' "Beach Baby", ELO-like chord changes: it's in there!
Unfortunately this song seems to be an anomaly on Dangerfield's debut solo album, the remainder being more sparsely-arranged, slower tracks that are probably meant to be "deep" but that I don't find very engaging. His current claim to fame is a cover of Billy Joel's "She's Always A Woman" which was used in a UK TV commercial for John Lewis department stores, so it looks like his path is set for Balladeer instead of Confectioneer. More's the pity.
After an interstate move and several weeks without my own PC or internet connection, I am once again wired and set up to continue my explorations of recorded music. (When the rest of my family moves in it will finally start feeling normal.) One album I've been dying to check out is the new one from Orgone, Cali Fever, and it does not disappoint! "Sandstorm" could be a lost Mandrill track (and the break at 2:30 sounds right out of "Get It All"):
Looking back through the blog I see I've compared Orgone to Mandrill once before, but hey, the shoe still fits. Whatever Mandrill widget I embedded on that post is gone, so here's a 1973 video performance of "Get It All". I love the bass player--he makes great faces, and he looks just like Disco Stu:
I love Zero 7's tracks that feature the soothing voice of Swedish folk singer José González. Neither Zero 7's newer material without González nor González' solo recordings without Zero 7's languid electronics satisfy me as much as their collaborative efforts. So it's good news to me that González has formed a new band, Junip, with a drummer (Elias Araya) and a keyboardist (Tobias Winterkorn); together they light up the same pleasure centers in my brain as Zero 7/Gonzalez:
I learn something new every day, if I'm not careful. Yesterday I dipped back into Jonathan Rigby's incredibly detailed biography of Roxy Music, Both Ends Burning, and learned that the band recorded a newer, shortened version (or "Remake" in Roxy parlance) of "Manifesto" that was used as the B-side for the "Over You" single from Flesh + Blood. Most of the shortening was achieved by cutting out two minutes of the instrumental introduction; the song is given a more "danceable" treatment with staccato guitars, bubbling synths, and extra percussion. The remake was released on CD in 1995 on disc 4 (the rarities) of The Thrill Of It All box set:
Do you ever have a melody from long ago pop into your head, and you can't quite remember the song it came from, but it sticks in your mind for days or weeks and drives you crazy, and eventually you figure out what it is and listen to it again and it's such a relief to have solved the mystery that it's like finally scratching the worst itch ever? No? Well, it happens to me, and the most recent one was a tuneful little ditty sung by a weak voice with a British accent, but I could not remember any of the words to the song. I first thought the voice might belong to Edward Ka-Spel, but browsing through the Legendary Pink Dots' discography did not turn up any likely candidates. After pondering for about ten days, though, I got a flash of insight and determined it was a song from the only Psychic TV album I owned in college, Dreams Less Sweet; pulling that out it was easy enough to find that the track I had been hearing in my mind's ear was "The Orchids":
I have no idea what Gen is singing about (though a commenter on a lyrics page writes, "Genesis said in a radio interview that the song is about him and his
girl piercing their genitals"), but it all sounds nice enough. Mrs. Veneer pointed out that it sounds like a lot of "post-rock" music being made today, despite having been recorded over 25 years ago. The tuned percussion soundbed reminds me of an even older song, "Lead a Normal Life" from Peter Gabriel's glorious third album:
Which reminds me, I had a bit of a tuned percussion thread going a while back. Maybe I'll think of some more songs to add to it.