Thursday, October 31, 2019

Customized Or Ready Made?

I wanted to put a musical post together for Halloween but I didn't think I'd be able to find a window in my busy schedule of running dailies, fiddling about with builds and farming gear and mats for characters not yet high enough to use them. It's a hard life...

Then I got home from work and found this in my Feedly.  For anyone who hasn't clicked on the link, I will elucidate.

I have a number of non-gaming blogs in my Feedly RSS feed. As yet I haven't added any of them to my blog roll although now that I drizzle some music posts in amongst the endless witterring about MMORPGs maybe I should.

One of the music blogs I follow is How Not To Write About Music by Everett True. I first came across his writing when he was all over the fanzine scene of the early 80s. Back then he was calling himself The Legend!, which maybe tells you as much as you need to know. If not, he has a substantial Wikipedia entry should you feel you need it. Something of a jaw-dropping read in places.

His musical taste overlaps handily with mine in certain areas although not so much in others. I was never a big grunge fan for a start. I like his blog because a) it's entertaining b) it occasionally introduces me to new things I like and c) it sometimes reminds me of old things I'd forgotten I liked.

So why am I mentioning him now? It's because he's done all the work of putting together a musical "treat" for Halloween and saved me the bother: here's that link again, only bigger. And green.

 Season Of The Witch: 60 Songs About Witches

I am not going to pretend I've heard all of them. There are plenty I haven't even heard of. There are also quite a few that definitely wouldn't turn up on any list I'd be willing to put my name to. The Eagles "Witchy Woman" or Santana's "Black Magic Woman". for example. Not to mention Cliff Richard doing "Devil Woman".

Odd how all those titles end in "woman". And awkward. Let's move on.

Most of the sixty look pretty good to me. I've tried a few of the unfamiliar titles by people I really like (Yoko Ono's "Yes, I'm a Witch", Poly Styrene's "Trick of the Witch", The Sensational Alex Harvey Band's "Isobel Goudie") and they are all great so I have very high hopes for the rest.

I could have left it at that but rather than piggyback entirely off (on?) Everett's efforts it occured to me to search my own YouTube download file for songs about witches. I got eight hits, only two of which were also in the sixty.

One of the pair that was is the terrifying "Another Witch Is Dead" by The Eccentronic Research Council (feat. Maxine Peak). I remember finding this late one night and wishing I'd run into it in daylight instead. It's magnificent. "Cross my palm with silver and I promise not to slaughter your sheep". Can't say fairer than that.

The other is "The Sad Witch" by Hefner. Hefner were a band that John Peel played an awful lot at around the time I stopped listening to him. I didn't think much of them then but I think a lot more of them now. This is clearly taken from a dodgy VHS tape recorded off the television when Hefner played a live set for the Spanish TV station RTE. They love this kind of thing in Spain, I'm very pleased to say. Great chorus. Cuts off rather abruptly at the end, unfortunately.

Of the remaining six songs, three are by Ciggie Witch, whose existence (and my interest in it) I had wholly forgotten. They seem to be Australian (from Melbourne, according to their Facebook page)  and not particularly spooky. This track is called "Shadow", which is about as witchy as they get. There's a live version but it's also not particularly well recorded so I've stuck with the official video.

Quite possibly even more obscure than Ciggie Witch are Witch Jail from Kansas City, Missouri (why is Kansas City in Missouri? That's pretty spooky...). Fronted by someone who both looks and sounds like Jeffrey Lee Pierce's younger, camper brother, they sadly called it quits in 2018.

Next up, Esben and The Witch with a haunting tune by the name of "The Fall of Glorieta Mountain". This one really does match the season. Their Wikipedia entry describes them as "Radiohead without the mithering" which is a backhanded compliment if ever I heard one.

Just one left in the bag but I saved the best for last. It's Lana, doing the unreleased "Maha Maha". According to the invaluable Lanapedia, she co-wrote it with Princess Superstar, creator of the notorious "Bad Babysitter" (#11 in the UK charts in 2002, apparently, although I only found it on YouTube last year...and kinda wished I hadn't). Princess Superstar also produced. Mind-boggling collaboration...

Lana, of course, is a witch. That must be obvious to everyone by now. She has to have magical powers. The video for this is from the movie "The Love Witch" (certified 95% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), which is how it came up on my witch search. Other than that is has absolutely nothing to do with witches or Halloween as far as I can tell. It would have made far more sense to have Lana doing "Season of the Witch" only I did that already.

The video's also very much Not Safe For Work, just to let you know.

And that's it.

Oh, wait, no it's not!

Mrs Bhagpuss just came in and when she found out what I was doing she sent me the link for something she wanted to add. I take no responsibility whatsoever.

Don't have nightmares!

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