Friday, 24 February 2023

Silent Sigh

Trust Me #49
Silent Sigh by Badly Drawn Boy


Badly Drawn Boy is playing Saint Lukes in Glasgow next month (Wednesday 29th March) as part of a tour to celebrate 25-years of releasing music.

I've really enjoyed revisiting his back catalogue ahead of the show and I'll aim to blog on his brilliantly eclectic debut Bewilderbeast, a real lofi masterpiece, and the lush melodic follow up About A Boy in the future. They are two albums I adore.

But in the meantime I thought I'd write about Silent Sigh, the lead single lifted from About A Boy

Silent Sigh was a big song for me and my girlfriend (now wife) back in 2002 when it came out. We both bought Damon's first two albums, so regardless of who's flat we were in, his music really soundtracked the first year or so of our relationship. I've still got a compilation CD I made for Lynn around this time with Silent Sigh on it.

Melodies pour effortlessly out of Silent Sigh; in the instrumentation and in Damon Gough's gorgeous voice. I find it such a soothing song to listen to.

I've often half joked that you could give Damon Gough an elastic band and he'd get a tune out of it. Actually no joke, I'd love to hear what he could do!

Badly Drawn Boy didn't only have melodies pouring out of him, he was super prolific, releasing a trilogy of EP's through 1997-1998 and then some singles that led towards the release of Bewilderbeast on XL/Twisted Nerve in 2000.

I vaguely remember an NME/Melody Maker feature from around this time where people turned up to see a live performance and Gough had an old TV with videos of him playing. He was always different, staying clear of the hype. 

Gough then released two albums in 2002. The About A Boy soundtrack and Have You Fed The Fish?  There have been a further 6 since then.

Live, Badly Drawn Boy was utterly brilliant. The first time I caught him was at the QMU where he came on stage swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniels, proceeding to get wrecked, climbing on top of amps one moment, playing beautifully tender acoustic or piano ballads the next. On one song he played the top part of the piano while a band member played the bottom. I couldn't take my eyes off him.

Second time, at the Barrowland, he was even more wrecked and had to be taken offstage for some strong coffee to try and get him to  sober up. A photo of his kid was projected on to a big screen to help. I think he was really struggling being on tour and away from his family. 

However he was brilliant. My sister Carla was at this show with me and caught his sweaty towel when he threw it in the crowd at the end. She left it in the bathroom when we got home and our Mum used it the next morning. She was pretty disgusted when she found it it was Badly Drawn Boy's used towel from the Barrowland! Carla and I still laugh at this story. ;-)

But back to Silent Sigh. A warm melodic piano riff leads to beats, Damon singing ooohh aaahh and then a tumbling vocal melody comes in.

Come see what we all talk about

People moving to the moon

Silent Sigh never feels rushed, although the aforementioned tumbling vocal melody does have a sense of urgency to it, as it if it just spilling out of Gough. The pace is perfect, the piano riff, beats, bass and vocal melody are beautifully layered. The first verse is repeated with the introduction of backing vocals to harmonise with Damon, who then just keeps it going, sounding like he is utterly in the zone, lost in the melody, groove and music. 

I can listen to Silent Sigh on repeat, lost in the melodies and its beauty. I could listen to the piano melody for hours on end, it's so warm and gorgeous. And Damon's voice is heartwarming. Genius. 

Silent Sigh video

Silent Sigh live on Later with Jools

Silent Sigh live at T in the Park

A list of all previous songs I've blogged about in my Trust Me feature are listed below, along with links to each blog. Silent Sigh join them.

I've also collated them all into a playlist on Spotify that you can find by searching for Everything Flows - Trust Me , or you can CLICK HERE

Previous Trust Me blogs

1. Something On Your Mind by Karen Dalton
1A. Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells
2. I Am, I Said  by Neil Diamond
3. Where's The Playground Susie?   by Glen Campbell
4. If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lighfoot
5. Gimme Some Truth by John Lennon
6. Gone With The Wind Is My Love by Rita and the Tiaras
7. In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evans
8. The Music Box by Ruth Copeland
9. The Ship Song by Nick Cave
10. Sometimes by James
11. I Walk The Earth by King Biscuit Time
12. Didn't Know What I Was In For by Better Oblivion Community Centre
13. When My Boy Walks Down The Street by The Magnetic Fields
14. The Man Don't Give A F**k by Super Furry Animals
15. All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun by Jeff Buckley and Liz Fraser
16. Are You Lookin' by The Tymes
17. A Real Hero by College & Electric Youth
18. Feelings Gone by Callum Easter
19. Sunday Morning by The Velvet Underground
20. Did I Say by Teenage Fanclub
21. Don't Look Back by Teenage Fanclub
23. Belfast by Orbital
24. Clouds by The Jayhawks
25. Dreaming Of You by The Coral
26. Everlasting Love by Love Affair
27. Walk Away Renee by The Left Banke
28. Teenage Kicks by The Undertones
29. Shaky Ground by Sneeze
29. Rill Rill by Sleigh Bells
30. I Can Feel Your Love by Felice Taylor
31. The State We're In by The Chemical Brothers w/ Beth Orton
32. Sunshine After The Rain by Ellie Greenwich
33. Losing My Edge by LCD Soundsystem
34. Mondo 77 by Looper
35. Les Fleurs by Minnie Riperton
36. Rat Trap by The Boomtown Rats
37. How High by The Charlatans
38. I Can't Let Go by Evie Sands
39. Pop Song 89 by R.E.M.
40. Summertime Clothes by Animal Collective
41. There She Goes by The Las
42. We're Going To Be Friends by White Stripes
43. Autumn Sweater by Yo La Tengo
44. Sister Rena by Lomond Campbell
45. Revolution by The Beatles
46. Lazarus by The Boo Radleys
47. Wrote For Luck by Happy Mondays
48. American Trilogy by The Delgados
49. Loser by Beck 




Saturday, 18 February 2023

Anything Goes & Everything Flows DJ Mix 21


Welcome to my latest 60 (ish) minute mix, my 21st in the series!

I love this mix and I'm writing as I groove away in my kitchen. It eases in, there is almost a false start after the first song builds, only to go back to scratch for Fun In The Church.

The grooves in this mix are sensational. The musicianship is off the scale, the arrangements are awesome, the energy is electric - leaping out from the music and the soul is strong and true.

We have a double dose of David Axelrod, gospel, funk, soul, a number of cover versions and at the centre of the mix are 4 songs by Chairmen Of The Board from their incredible Skin I'm In album from 1974. I have Andrew Divine (a real DJ in Glasgow!) to thank for turning me on to this sensational album. What a run of songs!!! When that if it feels good it's alright vocal kicks in ..... WOW!

Hoping to get to Andrew's night at the CCA on Feb 25th.

Ending with the soul shaking, spine tingling, rip roaring I Can Feel Your Love by Felice Taylor. I hope you enjoy this 'mix'.

Search for Everything Flows DJ Mix 21 on Spotify or CLICK HERE


Heaven Bound - Sharon Jones, E.L. Fields Gospel Wonders

Fun In The Church - Cannonball Academy, Nat Adelrey Sextet & Fleming Williams

Funky Thithee - Shuggie Otis

Give Me Your Love - Sisters Love

She's A Bad Girl - Lee Moses

Get Up Off Your Knees - David Axelrod

You're So Vain - David Axelrod

Morning Glory - Chairmen Of The Board

Life and Death in G & A (Part 1)

White Rose (Freedom Flower)

Life and Death in G & A (Part 2)

Higher Ground - Ellen McIlwaine

You Don't Love Me - Barbara and the Browns

I'm Just A Prisoner (Of Your Good Lovin') - Candi Staton

Kissing My Love - Spanky Wilson

Gimme Shelter - Maxayn

I Can't Move No Mountains - Margie Joseph

California Soul - Brenda and the Tabulations

I Can Feel Your Love - Felice Taylor







Saturday, 11 February 2023

Loser


Trust me #48 Loser by Beck

I remember adverts in the NME and Melody Maker with the line I'm a loser baby so why don't you kill me and a release date. The lyric intrigued me. This was a time where singles were promoted for a good couple of months before their release. 

And then I heard it. Loser by Beck was like nothing I had ever heard before. And the video was like nothing I had ever seen before.

Opening with a dirty slide guitar riff over funky hip hop beats, we're then introduced to Beck through the opening line.

In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey

Beck doesn't let up, letting loose with an incredible flow of stream of conciousness/oddball lyrics.

The chorus begins with soy un perdedor which literally translates (in Spanish and Portuguese if my googling skills are up  to scratch) to I'm a loser. The chorus is repeated twice with Beck throwing in ad libs in between -  double barrel buckshot / get crazy with the cheese whiz

Soy un perdedor

I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?

I was very fortuantate to see Beck play King Tuts in Glasgow in November 1994 (I have ticket number 4) and I have vague (but fond) memories of being right down the front. Tuts was absolutely rammed. Health and safety wasn't a common phrase back in 1994! People seemed to be literally hanging from the ceiling.

Subsequent trips to Tuts would lead me to discover the bench along the far side that people would use to stand on for a better view. But the 18-year old me was right down in the mix.

Beck danced, breakdanced and generally just looked super cool. I'm not sure if I have experienced anything quite like it since. 

I went with my old friend Grant Mitchell who was deeply into American independent music. From memory he had some of Beck's pre Mellow Gold releases. I distinctly remember a mixtape he made me with a great song It's All In Your Mind which came out on his One Foot In The Grave album. It was completely acoustic and raw. Really beautiful. Beck had been around for a while on the anti-folk scene before breaking through. I'm not sure if this was before or after Tuts.

Loser was a complete breakthrough single for Beck. It was everywhere. He just didn't seem to give a flying f**k about things which made him even cooler. One of the b-sides was a song called MTV Makes Me Want To Smoke Crack, but he was on MTV all the time.

It's 30-years since the small label Bong Load had 500 copies of Loser pressed as a 12-inch single for released in Mach 1993. It blew up an major labels were soon chasing Beck's signature. 

Re-released in January 94 in the USA and February 94 in the UK and Europe, Loser blew up and things were never the same for Beck again. 

Loser official video

Loser on Top of the Pops 

Loser live at Reading Festival 1995

MTV Makes Me Want To Smoke Crack

A list of all previous songs I've blogged about in my Trust Me feature are listed below, along with links to each blog. Loser join them.

I've also collated them all into a playlist on Spotify that you can find by searching for Everything Flows - Trust Me , or you can CLICK HERE

Previous Trust Me blogs

1. Something On Your Mind by Karen Dalton
1A. Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells
2. I Am, I Said  by Neil Diamond
3. Where's The Playground Susie?   by Glen Campbell
4. If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lighfoot
5. Gimme Some Truth by John Lennon
6. Gone With The Wind Is My Love by Rita and the Tiaras
7. In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evans
8. The Music Box by Ruth Copeland
9. The Ship Song by Nick Cave
10. Sometimes by James
11. I Walk The Earth by King Biscuit Time
12. Didn't Know What I Was In For by Better Oblivion Community Centre
13. When My Boy Walks Down The Street by The Magnetic Fields
14. The Man Don't Give A F**k by Super Furry Animals
15. All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun by Jeff Buckley and Liz Fraser
16. Are You Lookin' by The Tymes
17. A Real Hero by College & Electric Youth
18. Feelings Gone by Callum Easter
19. Sunday Morning by The Velvet Underground
20. Did I Say by Teenage Fanclub
21. Don't Look Back by Teenage Fanclub
23. Belfast by Orbital
24. Clouds by The Jayhawks
25. Dreaming Of You by The Coral
26. Everlasting Love by Love Affair
27. Walk Away Renee by The Left Banke
28. Teenage Kicks by The Undertones
29. Shaky Ground by Sneeze
29. Rill Rill by Sleigh Bells
30. I Can Feel Your Love by Felice Taylor
31. The State We're In by The Chemical Brothers w/ Beth Orton
32. Sunshine After The Rain by Ellie Greenwich
33. Losing My Edge by LCD Soundsystem
34. Mondo 77 by Looper
35. Les Fleurs by Minnie Riperton
36. Rat Trap by The Boomtown Rats
37. How High by The Charlatans
38. I Can't Let Go by Evie Sands
39. Pop Song 89 by R.E.M.
40. Summertime Clothes by Animal Collective
41. There She Goes by The Las
42. We're Going To Be Friends by White Stripes
43. Autumn Sweater by Yo La Tengo
44. Sister Rena by Lomond Campbell
45. Revolution by The Beatles
46. Lazarus by The Boo Radleys
47. Wrote For Luck by Happy Mondays
48. American Trilogy by The Delgados



Monday, 6 February 2023

(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay

Cover version of the month # 83

Peggy Lee covers Otis Redding

Otis Redding started writing (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay in the summer of 1967, finally hitting the studio in November to begin recording, returning on 7th December to finish it.

On 10th December Otis was tragically killed in a plane crash. The single was then released on 8th January 1968 and became the first posthumous number 1 single.

It's an incredible example of the art of songwriting; the picture the lyrics paints, the emotion in the vocals, the arrangement, the musicianship, the space in the song ...

However, I'm not going to write about the original. Plenty has been written about this sensational song and performance by Otis and his band over the years. Instead I'm going to focus on a  cover version by Peggy Lee.

Lee wasn't the first to cover Dock Of The Bay, that may well have been King Curtis who released an instrumental version the same year as the original. Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 released super chilled version in 1969, while over the years Michael Bolton, Glen Campbell and also The Reddings (a band containing two of Otis' sons) have been inspired to record the song.

But the cover version that blew me away when I heard it was one by Peggy Lee that my great friend Phil introduced me to.

Opening with a funky breakbeat and a stab of horns, the bass is outrageously funky in the background (and this continues throughout). Lee's vocals are crystal clear, and feel calm in comparison to the funky jazz instrumental behind her. 

Things lift at 1-minute 29 seconds, listen to the drum rolls! The horns sound euphoric and Lee's voice soars effortlessly.

Looks like nothings gonna change

Everything still remains the same

I can't do what ten people tell me to do

So I guess I'll remain the same

There is a delicious looseness to this performance, although if you listen closely the band are working their socks off. The backing vocals are perfect, while Peggy lee's voice is utterly sublime.

Otis' original and Peggy Lee's version are added to my Cool Cover Versions playlist on Spotify.

Check Otis Redding's first take (demo) below on YouTube. Co-writer Steve Cropper makes seagull noises and whistles. At the end Otis says to Steve "you're not gonna make it as a whistler" and I think he was right!

Otis Redding official video

Otis Redding - take 1 of Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay

Peggy Lee 1969

All previous cover version of the month blogs are listed below. To listen, search for Everything Flows Cool Cover Versions playlist, featuring all of the songs below, on Spotify or CLICK HERE

Previous covers of the month

13. Hurt
39. ABBA-esque
40. Jumpin' Jack Flash
64. Lola
82. Drop

Saturday, 4 February 2023

Heavy Heavy

Here is my track-by-track take on the new Young Fathers album after a couple of listens.


Young Fathers Heavy Heavy explodes into action with the opening track Rice. The bass is heavy ... heavy, the beats are tribal, the melodies flow and there is a gospel choir.

I Saw has a powerful urgency, the bass is reminiscent of Massive Attack, the groove allowing so much to go on over the top of it. There is a lot going on and it's f**king magical. The layers, the production, the hooks and harmonies. 

An Ethiopian choir (I think) is introduced on Drum as the song builds beautifully and Young Fathers introduce a mantra that becomes hypnotic.  

Hear the beat of the drums and go numb, have fun, go on
We don't need all the ones to have won, so have one, someone
And then some

Tell Somebody has a falsetto vocal over a dreamy organ and synth sound. Young Fathers work it up  again, the drums CRASH and again they layer things up with so much tender care. Sublime. When things drop back to the organ you realise what a trip you've been on. Lost in the music. This is beautiful.


Young Fathers are really in the zone on this album. The dreamy vibe continues with Geronimo, the band create another beautiful groove. This just feels so good. And then over the groove they just run with it over a get on, get off mantra.

I'm on the verge of somethin' divine that's gonna keep me in line
Most of my life I've been thinkin', got the feelin'  I'm caught in a bind
Being a son, brother, uncle, father figure, I  gotta survive and provide
My momma said you'll never please your woman, but you'll have a good time trying

Shoot Me Down kicks in to bring you out of a trance like state after the trilogy of Drum, Tell Somebody and Geronimo. The band are soon back into a groove, there is another stunning falsetto. And then the band take flight for the outro. It's cut short,  I'd have likes to hear it go on, but Young Fathers have ways of grabbing your attention. 

Ululation is sheer joy, the music and the euphoric tribal woops. It's pretty cinematic, widescreen, in technicolour, this is euphoric.

Oh baby won't you let me in
My mind is saying sink or swim

Sink Or Swim has more instantly memorable vocal melodies, layered up to into a dreamy mantra, the beats are so infectious. 

Holy Moly is darker, but gospel style piano chords are introduced halfway though and then things explode into a joyful chorus

Don't feel ready, ready to erect
My back's still broken from all life's effect
I still think about the words that you said
Oh, you said,oh, you said, you said,  you said

Closing with Be Your Lady, beginning all tender and then going all gloriously glitchy electro, Young Fathers Heavy Heavy is 10 songs in under 33-minutes. It delivers so much but leaves you wanting more.

Those lucky enough to see them on their forthcoming tour are in for a real treat.







Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Hi Ren

In my initial draft for this blog the Who is Ren? section was last. I then watched a very personal soul baring video by this young man and flipped it.

Please read all of this blog.


Who is Ren?

Ren Gill is an incredibly talented young man who has been living with and battling various chronic health problems for a decade. 

He lost his 20's. 

But there is hope. There is music. There is determination. And there is a growing movement of support.

Ren, when he has been well enough, has played on the streets of Brighton, released demos (and proper recordings) online, created a YouTube channel and is building a huge following through word of mouth.

He's doing it all his way, in his own time, with friends and with true heart and soul.

Check his YouTube channel. It's incredible. 

 A  GoFundMe page page has been set up. It contains a recent update and a detailed account of what Ren has been through. It's heartbreaking. Ren's determination is very inspiring.

Ren updates his social media pages to let his fans know how they are helping and how he is getting on. 

His latest update this week indicates that he will be in Canada for treatment for the next 6-months.

Watch this video to see what it means to him. It's the most emotional thing I have watched in a long time.

If you enjoy this song (video below) and appreciate his talent, maybe, like I have, you could donate the cost of a CD - £10. As Ren says on his GoFundMe update - if everyone who appreciates his talent could make a donation, he has a fighting chance. He is very transparent about his illness and the cost of treatment.


My initial blog -  Hi Ren

Over the course of a week or so a few people I follow online posted a video that I never checked out. And then a few more people posted it ... and I checked it out.

I'm very glad I did. It was an extraordinary performance video by the artist Ren for his song Hi Ren.

In the video ren is wheeled in on a wheelchair/hospital chair into a run down room. Wearing a hospital gown and with his acoustic guitar strapped round him, hair shaved to the bone at the sides and ragged and jagged on top, Ren then delivers a performance that I couldn't take my eyes off.

Ren Gill has been battling chronic health problems for over a decade, and in this song he plays two characters representing the voices in his head (good/bad, angel/devil, light/dark) Ren shows his intelligence, soul, humility, humour and talent, but also allows his anger, frustration and doubt to surface. It's genuinely outstanding. 

The video is recorded live, cleverly edited as Ren switches from each character, turning left to right. His facial expressions are incredible as he really gets into the 'Bad Ren' as he takes over the song.

But then the song flips as Ren himself comes through, the song slows, a beautiful guitar riff is introduced

Hi Ren, I've been taking some time to be distant

I've been taking some time to be still

I've been taking some time to be by myself

And I've spent half my life ill

But as sure as the tide starts turning

Just as sure as the night has dawn

Just as sure as rain fall soon runs dry

When you stand in the eye of the storm

Ren rises to his feet, bares his soul and keeps on singing. He then takes off his guitar and speaks directly into the camera about his illness, auto-immunity and psychosis. It's beautiful.

It was never a battle for me to win, it was an eternal dance

And like a dance, the more rigid I became the harder it got

The more I cursed my clumsy footsteps the more I suffered

And so I got older and I learned to relax

And I learned to soften and that dance got easier


It is this eternal waltz that separates human beings

From angels, from demons, from gods


And I must not forget, we must not forget, that we are human beings




Never Ending Mixtape part 79


Hello

Welcome to the first update of my Never Ending Mixtape series in 2023. I missed January and as a result there are far too many songs that have been added since the last update, so it's a bit of a round up!

But by now, you know the drill. I add songs to my Never Ending Mixtape all the time and do a catch up blog every month. 

THANK YOU SO MUCH if you are one of the 310 people that follow my Never Ending Mixtape playlist on Spotify where (at the time of writing) there are 3,173 songs for you to explore and enjoy, up to the stunning I Think I Need A New Heart by The Magnetic Fields.

It's a real melting pot. I enjoy playing on shuffle. 

Search for Everything Flows Never Ending Mixtape on Spotify or CLICK HERE

Additions include;

NEW ARTISTS - Goliath and Swim School from Scotland who I blogged on HERE

NEW/LATE DISCOVERIES - I only checked the Panda Bear and Sonic Boom album after my albums of 2022 blog. It is SUBLIME.

SUPER SOUL - I'm listening to A LOT of soul music these days. There are some gems from Marvin Gaye that I had never heard before. The amount of demos and previously unreleased songs available online by Marvin are incredible. Prolific!

OLD FAVES - James, Badly Drawn Boy, Oasis, Beck, The Juliana Hatfield 3, Nirvana

BLAKE BABIES - I have been going through a Blake Babies (Juliana Hatfield's old band) phase. Expect a blog on them in the near future. I LOVE THEM!

And the United Calypso song is on there after the tremendous 2-1 victory over city recently. It is a gem of a football song, harking back to the days of the Busby Babes, it really captures the excitement of going to see the magnificent young team that Sir Matt created. So if your'e a football fan you might appreciate it anyway. If not, just skip.