Category Archives: Rock

Silver – Wham Bam (Shang-A-Lang) (1976)

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I missed a post yesterday. Sorry. It’s the heat of the Easter break that’s been the distraction. The Samuel family are on a road trip to the coast with the rest of London. So today, I post a sound made for a sunny day on the tarmac. Silver were formed in late 1975 by John Batdorf. They were short-lived, but were able to release their eponymous album a year later and it featured the guilty pleasure ‘Wham Bam (Shang-A-Lang)’. Have a great weekend.

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Supertramp – Breakfast In America (1978)

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Now for a quick interlude in anything hip about having a music blog. Supertramp. An English band that can contest any list of the most uncool AOR bands that achieved major radio play. They’re a guilty pleasure of mine that compares to the output of Christopher Cross, ELO and Hall & Oates. They are the antithesis of the new wave we’ve heard this week. ‘Breakfast In America’ is the title track off their 1978 album. I spotted that it’s a feature on YouTube for the first time in ages. A completely valid excuse.

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Mark Mulcahy – Let The Fireflies Fly Away (2013)

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Former frontman for Miracle Legion, Mark Mulcahy released the album Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You to small applause. It was his first full album in almost a decade and people may have forgotten. But within the album there are some real treats. The song ‘Let The Fireflies Fly Away’ is one such example. “Waiter, there’s a frog in my…”

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Catfish and the Bottlemen – Longshot (2019)

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In January, Welsh rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen released their first pressing in over two and a half years. The single ‘Longshot’ is a refreshing dose of simple, anthemic rock. It will feature on their forthcoming, third album The Balance, which is due to be released in April.

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Van Morrison – Madame George (1968)

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The one and only Madame George playing dominoes in drag. Astral Weeks is generally considered one of the greatest albums in rock history, and despite not featuring on the LP’s fabled Side 1 (‘The Beginning’), ‘Madame George’ is at the album’s heart. This was Van Morrison at his most powerfully spiritual. Have a great weekend.

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The Motors – Dancing The Night Away (1977)

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Morning folks. I give you ‘Dancing The Night Away’ by The Motors. The track is the opener off their 1977 debut LP 1. I’ve always though that this is the music Status Quo should have made. It’s pub rock, but has those riffs. The London band was formed by former Ducks Deluxe members Nick Garvey and Andy McMaster together with guitarist Rob Hendry and drummer Ricky Slaughter. Have a great week.

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Harry Nilsson – Gotta Get Up (1971)

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“Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the morning comes”. When selecting a theme tune for her semi-autobiographical TV series Russian Doll, Natasha Lyonne was struck by the “buoyant doomsday quality” of Harry Nilsson’s famously troubled life – and more specifically the opening track off his 1971 album Nilsson Schmilsson. Have a great week.

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Johnny Thunder – I’m Alive (1968)

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Johnny wasn’t always Mr. Thunder. He was born Gil Hamilton in Florida, where he started singing in church at an early age. After working with the ever changing touring party of The Drifters and singing backing for Dionne Warwick, his break came in 1963 with a novelty version of the nursery song ‘Loop de Loop’. But it was in 1968 that he recorded the song that should have made him a household name. Thunder released ‘I’m Alive’. At the time, Bob Dylan referred to it as “one of the most powerful records I’ve ever heard”.

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Cass McCombs – The Great Pixley Train Robbery (2019)

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For those of you that like a spoonful of country with your rock, look no further than Cass McCombs’ latest recording Tip of the Sphere. The second track is the rollicking ‘The Great Pixley Train Robbery’ with its thick lick of southern rock and video that features one of the classic sequences from Once Upon A Time In The West. Tick. Tick.

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The Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice (1966)

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Pet Sounds is one of the earliest concept albums in pop. For an album that incorporates elements of pop, jazz, classical and the avant-garde, the implicit simplicity of its opening track makes me smile. ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ was written by Brian Wilson, Tony Asher and Mike Love.

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Sting – Fields Of Gold (1993)

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From the same year that RZA and crew broke onto the scene, but a very different proposition. In 1993, Sting released Ten Summoner’s Tales. It features the eminently hummable tales ‘Shape Of My Heart’, ‘Seven Days’ and ‘Fields Of Gold’. I choose the latter. The new wave had all but disappeared from Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner; it had been replaced by introspective rock with much softness.

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Paul McCartney – Maybe I’m Amazed (1970)

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An oldie but a goldie… ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ by Paul McCartney. McCartney recorded his eponymous album during a period of depression following John Lennon’s announcement in 1969 that he was leaving the Beatles. This song is dedicated the song to his wife Linda, who had helped him get through those dark days that led to the break-up.

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Graham Nash – Better Days (1971)

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Well I’ve started the year with some golden oldies and there’s no need to stop quite yet. Also released in 1971, this most personal song features on Songs for Beginners, Graham Nash’s debut solo album. The singer-songwriter was mulling over ‘Better Days’ he’d had in the past and better ones he expected of the future. With its double-tracked vocals, this transcending message was poignant in the aftermath of Nash’s break-up with Joni Mitchell. Neil Young plays piano on the track, performing under the name of Joe Yankee. Have a great weekend.

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The Who – Behind Blue Eyes (1971)

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From one pair of blue eyes to another. Pete Townshend wrote ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ in 1971 to help explain how lonely it can be in the limelight. The song is Roger Daltrey’s favourite track by the band; and in a large part, I think that’s because he does such a good job on lead vocals, perfectly complementing the acoustic guitar. Like their other tracks I’ve posted on this blog, this song also featured on The Who‘s 1971 classic album Who’s Next.

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The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil (1968)

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Happy New Year listeners! It’s been 50 years since The Rolling Stones released Beggars Banquet. I was reminded last night what a sensational album it is. Not only does the album feature the brilliant ‘No Expectations’, ‘Jigsaw Puzzle‘ (which is one of my Desert Island Discs), ‘Street Fighting Man’ and ‘Stray Cat Blues’, but it also opens with the balls-to-the-wall classic ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ and its “ooh ooh” chorus. That chorus features Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, Nicky Hopkins, Marianne Faithfull, Jimmy Miller and Anita Pallenberg. That is what I call a party.

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