It’s The Buzz, Cock! Pete Shelley (real name Peter McNeish) R.I.P. Have you ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t ‘ve? Have a great weekend.
Time for a classic. ‘Werewolves of London’ was composed and released by singer-songwriter Warren Zevon in 1978. The song was included on his third album Excitable Boy and featured Mick Fleetwood and John McVie on drums and bass respectively. The theme and title were inspired by the 1935 Stanley Bergerman film “Werewolf of London” and seemingly the music was inspired by Lynyrd Skynyrd. While it’s a common enough progression, featuring such a similar riff only five years after ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ was brave. Luckily, the likes of Zevon, Fleetwood and McVie could carry it off.
For me, country music recordings should come with warning labels. I often find it trite and dewy-eyed. Not so for much of the output of Townes Van Zandt. ‘Dollar Bill Blues’ featured on his 1978 collection Flyin’ Shoes. I like nostalgia and the storytelling as much as the next man… gambling, booze, self-destruction and late-night love.
On reflection, George Clinton’s ‘Atomic Dog’ may have provided us with the G-funk groove, but it was not without its precursors. ‘Aqua Boogie’ is bonafide mad. The extended Parliament/Funkadelic troop included George Clinton on vocals, Bootsy Collins on bass/guitar/drums/vocals and Bernie Worrell on keyboards, who between them were happy to draw upon jazz fusion, disco, funk and bird calls. Have a great weekend.
Jean Carn hit one of the heights of Philly soul with her single ‘Don’t Let It Go to Your Head’ and its Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff production. The song would be covered 12 years later by the The Brand New Heavies, quickly becoming a soul/acid jazz standard. Have a great weekend.
Two years after penning the dancefloor classic ‘Touch & Go’ for Ecstasy, Passion & Pain, Philly legend Bunny Sigler produced one of my all time favourite disco tracks. Like many of best disco moments (think ‘Jingo’, ‘Love Break’ and ‘Let’s Start A Dance’), Instant Funk’s ‘I Got My Mind Made Up’ is relentless in its groove. This sultry classic would be immortalised by Public Enemy’s Welcome To The Terrordome’ and De La Soul’s ‘A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays’ in 1990-91. Bunny Sigler died last month; some of the Sound of Philadelphia went with him. R.I.P.
This week, the mythic William Onyeabor died at home, in Enugu, southeast Nigeria, aged 70. Onyeabor was a pioneering electronic-funk musician who extraordinarily self-released 9 ground-breaking albums between 1977-1985. He composed, recorded, pressed and printed the work at Wilfilms Limited—his personal pressing plant in Enugu. As David Byrne said this week, wherever he’s gone, it’s sure to be a place with a lot of heart and some killer grooves. RIP William. Have a great weekend.
1978 was the year that Scott Walker began to sound like David Bowie covering Scott Walker. One of the four songs that Scott Walker contributed to The Walker Brothers’ album of the same name, ‘Nite Flights’ would feature as a cover on Bowie’s 1993 Black Tie White Noise.
Reggae is the sound of sun. Unexpectedly, the distinctive Dr. Alimantado found fame outside of Jamaica after Johnny Rotten recommended a listen. Hearing the fun-infused pressing Best Dressed Chicken in Town, you can understand how the appreciation crossed genres. ‘Poison Flour’ is a version of a Horace Andy vocal; I guess neither of them are fans of carbs.
A dash of disco to welcome in the weekend. ‘Runaway Love’ is full of breaks and sassy attitude. Linda Clifford found her greatest success with her ‘pack-your-bag’ message for an ex-husband. The anthem would feature on her 1978 album If My Friends Could See Me Now. And suddenly they did.
Nothing better that a bout of punk rock to break the shackles of house music. Despite a garage power chord worthy of The Damned, Boston’s La Peste were not to be for long. With one official 7″ single consisting of just two songs, the Boston-based band split up. It is the punk way. Shame – the raw sound of ‘Better Off Dead’ was palpable. Have a great week.