Sunday, November 29, 2020

November Songs

Good news! I've sourced a name-of-the-month song for every month from now until next August, bringing us full circle to where this all started with September Songs. I know everyone was worried I wouldn't be able to manage it but it's okay! I did it! It really wasn't so difficult, either! 

Of course, most of them are pretty obscure and some of them aren't even all that good but, hey, you can't have everything. At least we can all sleep easy in our beds now that's settled.

Nothing obscure or inferior about this month's lead selection. Or should I say last month's? Yes, I definitely should because I've kind of got this going on the offbeat, haven't I? Never mind. Let's crack on!

October Songs - October Song - Amy Winehouse - The much-missed Ms Winehouse. I kind of missed her entire career, even though I did once hear her unveil Rehab live on national radio when it was still not much more than a demo. She was semi-famous by then but I had no clue who she was. It was a sit up and take notice moment, for sure, but then I slumped back and forgot about her again. My loss. All our loss. In the extremely unlikely case anyone's not up for a bit of Amy, maybe I could sell you on a slice of Bif Naked instead. It's good.

I Found A Fox - Hounds of Love - Kate Bush - Takes something to follow Amy Winehouse but what it takes Kate's got. Title track from la Bush's best album. I'll fight anyone who says otherwise. There are a lot of covers of this. I was surprised. I guess it has that stadium strut that vocalists can't resist. Ezra Furman somehow manages to make it sound like Hothouse Flowers (no criticism - I love his passion - and his pearls) while the Futureheads twist it into a call-and-response football chant. Rah Rah Riot's version reminds me of My Life Story and Jackie Wilson at one and the same time, while Patrick Wolfe is... well, he's Patrick Wolfe, isn't he? I might do a whole post of Kate Bush covers.

Terms And Conditions Apply - Just A Girl - Parade - Sometimes you get lucky with these generic phrases, sometimes you don't. This time I didn't. I mean, it's a nice enough, old-fashioned pop song, I guess. I certainly didn't know they were still making them like that in the twenty-teens. They probably shouldn't have been. When the only other option is Jesus Jones, though... yeah, feel free to skip this one. In fact, I insist.

The Simple Secret Of The Plot - I Could Write A Book - A Rodgers and Hart number from the Great American Songbook (by way of Pal Joey), meaning everyone's covered it, from the sublime Sara Vaughan to the pants-splitting P.J.Proby, whose version I am not going to link. I have some standards left.

C.O.N.F.O.R.M. - DJ Shadow -  Tip-top trip-hop. 

I Am The Fox - Nancy Kerr and James Fagan - I'm not the greatest folk fan but this nips along nicely. I was originally planning on using either The Fox by Elton John, the chorus of which is indeed "I am the fox" or the bizarre After The Fox by The Hollies, which I fear I may have linked before. I'm not sure many people would want to watch that one twice. Or once, come to that.

In The Phone Booth - My Drug Buddy - The Lemonheads or Hanging On The Telephone - The Nerves. Oh boy. Sophie's choice or what? I can't split these. Don't make me. Two of my all-time favorite songs and performances.  There's no video for the Nerves original, sadly, although of course there is a great one for the Blondie cover, which is damn fine in its own right.

Feet On The Ground, Head In The Clouds - This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) - Talking Heads - Represented here by an off-the-wall (yes, literally) cover from MGMT. You wait ten paragraphs for a New York band and then four come along all at once. I love that MGMT clip. Where the hell are they even playing? Is this what rock and roll's come to? God, I hope so. Also, is it just me or do they not both look and sound like Papooz doing Ann Just Wants To Dance? I'm going to throw Shawn Colvin's cover in here, too, just because it's so different. Maybe she's from New York as well. Doesn't sound like it, though.

The Buckboard Bounce - Buttons and Bows - Gisele MacKenzie & Miyoshi Umeki - I never liked this song. It's so irritatingly cheery. I looked at a whole bunch of versions and they ran the gamut from bland to nauseating. Except for two. The one above and this one

Real Tough Cat - Tough Cat - The Ferros & Nick And His Jaguars - One of the bands I was in at college used to do a song that borrowed its chorus from that ad tag "Real Tough Toys for Real Tough Boys". I didn't write it. I didn't sing it, either, I'm pleased to say.  It was less embarrassing than Tough Top Cat by Marvin Rainwater, though, a parody of Big Bad John re-written for a cat called Big Tom. Go on, click on it. You know you want to.  

Out Of The ShadowsWork Not Play - Jim Carrol Band - I have the album this comes from. It's not great. To my ears the Jim Carrol Band always sounded like they were going through the motions a bit and Jim never entirely convinced as a lead vocalist, except on the much-covered People Who Died (posts passim). Watching this wonderful spoken-word version, though, it's easy to see why so many people who knew what they were talking about took him so seriously. 

Hawkwind used the phrase as the title of one of their lesser workouts and it also crops up in The Adverts minor hit No Time To Be 21, which opens with the not-so-punk rallying cry "Life's short, don't make a mess of it". Wise words from the great T.V. Smith

More Of The Same - Caroline Rose - I'm going to keep banging this drum. Picking random phrases for titles then running them through search engines to see what comes up is just a fantastic way to discover new artists. I mean, how was I ever going to notice someone with a name as nondescript as Caroline Rose doing a song with a title as generic as "More of the Same" otherwise? And what would I have missed? To quote an extremely well-judged comment on the YouTube thread that follows the clip "i mean cmon, how can you not love this? i mean, right??" Right!!

If you want more of the same (and I know I do) here she is doing it again and again.


No Service - Futuristic - If I was to list all the reasons I shouldn't be saying anything about hip-hop we'd be here 'til Christmas. I know what I like, though.

Do You Wanna (Jump Jump Jump?) - Jump - Lana del Rey -  I finally gave up trying to collect every Lana outtake. There are just too many. I still grab all the ones I happen across, though. This one I've had for many, many years. It's from 2010, around the time I discovered her, I think, a year or so before Video Games set her foot firmly on the ladder of fame. Speaking of Video Games, it was a top ten hit all over Europe including the U.K. but I only just now realize it barely scraped the top 100 in the U.S. Get with the program, you guys!

The Real Thing - Russell Morris - Six minutes of prime Aussie psychedelia. Worth watching to the end. So's this, for that matter. Probably a lesson somewhere in both of these about not making the video so compelling you forget who's singing the song.  

Truce - The Dresden Dolls - I'm not sure how Amanda Palmer and/or the Dresden Dolls keep finding their way onto these playlists. I've never owned anything by her or them. Never even downloaded anything from YouTube, as far as I can remember. I wouldn't even say I liked most of what I've heard. But then, I'm not sure liking it would be the point. I certainly admire it. 

Gimme The Loot - Big Baby Tape - Eastern European Beastie Boys on quaaludes. I didn't even know what language they were singing (singing?) in until I ran a sample through Google translate. (It's Ukrainian). Seventeen million views so I'm guessing they're big. Somewhere. Another corking video, too. We have some real winners this month. Only we seem to have used them all up now. It's mostly static images from here on in.

Spaced Out - Cockney Rebel - A cautionary tale. This is an outtake from an album that's been in my top-five all-time favorites since I first heard it in the early 1970s. I can see the extended re-release CD with all the tracks that never made it onto the original vinyl album on a shelf not five feet feet from where I'm sitting. And yet when I picked this title and searched and this came up it was completely new to me. Even when I listened to it I couldn't remember ever hearing it before.

I can recite the track listing of the original album verbatim. I know almost all the lyrics off by heart. This bonus track, though, which would have fitted perfectly with the ones that  made the cut? Must have bounced straight off me. Gone, even though I listened to that extended CD plenty of times when I got it a few years back. Just goes to show it's not always what you hear, it's how and when you hear it.

The title's been used a few times, perhaps most appropriately on this twelve-minute chillzone epic from the Bootleg Boy. I don't know if he created it or... well... I mean, he chose the name. It's bound to make you wonder.

Thank You For Your Patience - Stuart Clark - Then again, with so many all-but-anonymized uploads on YouTube with mysterious credits like "Provided to YouTube by DistroKid" and "Auto-generated by YouTube", attribution isn't always obvious. Sometimes it feels almost sinister.

Ready Or Not - Omaha Nebraska (Ready or Not) - Bowling for Soup - Yeah, there are better-known songs that actually use this in the title but I don't really like any of them all that much. Bowling for Soup, though, I love

On Repeat - LCDSoundsystem -Could this be any more eighties? Only it was recorded in 2005. Warning: it cuts off abruptly at the end. The full version is under the main title link. 

Fire On The Mountain - American Darkness - Chelsea Wolfe - I do play favorites, don't I? I mean, there're plenty of times I could go with a song that uses the full phrase as a title but instead I veer off and pick a pull-out lyric instead. If I didn't, though, I could end up featuring something like this Grateful Dead track, where they sound almost disturbingly like the Police. And someone might think I actually liked it.

Wishlist - Pearl Jam - Then again, I present the case for the defence: Pearl Jam. I have never liked them. I have never heard a single track by them that didn't sound like a college band playing in a rehearsal room two buildings away. But this came up on a search and I did my due diligence and listened to it and... it's alright, isn't it? Definitely evidence for my theory that a lot of people up their game for Letterman. They still sound like a college bar band but you can at least hear Eddie Vedder's lyrics for once and they're not at all bad. He's kinda cute, too, although not half as cute as the bass-player's hat.

Rainy Days In New York City - Rainy Day In New York City - Paris91 - That title hardly deserves to be in blue. All I did was pluralize it. I had a wealth of choice, too, so long as I didn't mind altering the word order slightly. Plenty of people have had the same idea or something close to it. Not least among them the Bay City Rollers. Oh, yes. The Rollers! Tremble, you very well may. If the live clip of them doing it somewhere in Japan wasn't so faint and fuzzy I'd have felt compelled to pop it out. Saved by lack of quality control!

I might do a whole post on rain songs. Weather could make a series. There's something to look forward to.

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