Joe writes: Wayne was the guitarist in the MC5. Wild America is from the nineties, when he was signed to Epitaph Records. I'm not sure why I was reminded of it but it is a great tune with real bite. It's not on YouTube or iTunes but it is on MySpace which is something to be said for MySpace I suppose.
I've heard this a lot recently. Although he didn't write it, and recorded it late in his career, it's up there with his classics as far as I'm concerned.
A great country singer has died. I first heard this track covered by Elvis Costello - very well, I thought. But this sounds majestic and the two voices go well together. He did write a lot of the songs he recorded but this was written by Jerry Chesnut.
Joe writes: Just Like Tom Thumb's Blue isn't one of my favourite Bob Dylan songs, or wasn't until I heard Nina's restrained version of it. It's my new favourite Dylan cover and one of my two favourite Nina Simone tracks. Here's my other Nina favourite, Little Girl Blue, which borrows from Good King Wenceslas: and while I'm on the subject of classic tracks that borrow from Christmas carols, here's Joni Mitchell's River with its debt to Jingle Bells:
Joe writes: Nice performance of my favourite track of the moment
Joe writes: While looking through old possessions in my mum's house, I came across these Bran Van 3000 beer mats which reminded me about their awesome but odd debut single Drinking In LA. Odd because there's a DJ talking over the intro about giving away Bran Van 3000 tickets. Awesome because it's such a tune, with that fabulously loose groove, a singalong chorus to rival Tubthumping, and a lyric which captures the mindset of wasting time getting drunk when you could be getting famous. Bran Van 3000 are Canadian and they're still touring apparently but the rest of their career [...]
Joe writes: For years I've been racking my brains trying to remember which American indie record from the '90s inspired MGMT so much. Of course it was this.
Joe writes: This is one of my favourite Euro dance tracks. I love the build up to the vocal (which doesn't come in until 1.17). I love how simple the lyric is; they were right to resist the temptation to write any more. Basically it's perfect. I once experienced a big moment when Judge Jules played this at El Divino in Ibiza. Judge Jules is now an entertainment lawyer. I wonder what DJ Jurgen and the rest of Alice Deejay are doing now? Wikipedia suggests Jurgen might still be a [...]
Joe writes: NME declared Prince's Parade as the album of 1986 , back before they were obsessed with white indie rock. Years later I borrowed it from my local library, copied it on to cassette and remember being moved to tears by Sometimes It Snows In April as I walked home from school along Cemetery Road. It might have been April, it might have been snowing, probably not though. Prince has an army of lawyers keeping his music off YouTube so here it is on Spotify:
Joe writes: I didn't go to SXSW this year but I did download a couple of compilations of bands playing the event and felt I wasn't missing much until I heard Song For Zula. Then I saw it on Xfm's playlist, then in Spotify's "most viral" chart, then I discovered it was on Grey's Anatomy, all in the past 24 hours. What a beautiful piece of music, with echoes of Bette Midler's The Rose, Streets Of Philadelphia, and I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.
Joe writes: Love this new single from Fryars - better than anything Tame Impala have done.
Joe writes: When I hear Bruno Mars on the radio I'm impressed and annoyed in equal measure. Impressed because time after time he writes a hit song with a good old-fashioned melody and lyrical concept. Annoyed because I think why aren't more people doing this? I'm not sure Bruno would have been a world-beating artist any time before 1990, but in the current era, he's streets ahead of the rest.
Joe writes: I just spent a long flight listening to Bob Dylan and reading Rolling Stone's Special Collectors Edition of 40 years of Dylan interviews. They also asked a panel of Dylan experts to create a list of his 100 greatest songs. The top ten is here . Like A Rolling Stone is no. 1 - fair enough. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall is a rather surprising no. 2. As well as being one of my favourite albums of all-time, Blood On The Tracks is surely the best Dylan album from beginning to end, and nine [...]
Phil writes: With all the Beatles stuff there's been in the past year, I was wondering why they hardly feature on WGM. The reason must be that their music, which is clearly amongst the world's greatest, is so well known that we assume readers of the blog will already know almost anything we might post. However, a great many of their songs have been covered and there are some excellent versions which may not be that well-known. This is one:
Joe writes: My dad bought The Band's 1993 album Jericho at the time of release. This was its highlight and the first time I'd heard this gloriously simple song, recorded by Harry Belafonte but made famous by Don Williams. Country Boy was a posthumous inclusion on The Band's album - Richard Manuel who performs it had committed suicide in 1986. I learnt from Wikipedia that the song was co-written by Fred Hellerman of The Weavers who was credited under the alias Fred Brooks because he'd been blacklisted in the McCarthy era.
Joe writes: I have been planning a new series where I post lesser-known original versions or demos of classic songs. Then I heard Atomic Kitten singing Whole Again on TV last night in the reunion programme The Big Reunion. Also appearing are the likes of Honeyz and Liberty X. Records like End Of The Line and A Little Bit More really haven't stood the test of time, but Whole Again undoubtedly has. The song was originally written by Andy McCluskey of OMD, and Stu Kershaw. Bill Padley and Jem Godfrey then did "additional production and mix" which, on this occasion, [...]
Joe writes: Fresh pop production from Sweden
Phil writes: Pat, who died earlier in the month, was a fine trumpet player and an integral part of the great Chris Barber Band whose role in developing British blues and blues-related music is hard to exaggerate - so many great blues and gospel artists performed with them. He retired from the band few years back but he and Barber had by then set a record as the longest partnership in jazz history - 54 years. Here he is with a majestic performance of a wonderful song written by Hoagy Carmichael:
Phil writes: Pat, who died earlier in the month, was a fine trumpet player and an integral part of the great Chris Barber Band whose role in developing British blues and blues-related music is hard to exaggerate - so many great blues and gospel artists performed with them. He retired from the band few years back but he and Barber had by then set a record as the longest partnership in jazz history - 54 years. Here he is with a magestic performance of a wonderful song written by Hoagy Carmichael:
Phil writes: So, BBC Radio 2 has been celebrating the album and compiled a Top 100 list. They only included one track from each artist. Fair enough, I thought. You could vote for the No 1. I looked through and was astonished to see that Bowie was represented not by 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars' (which I would have voted for) but 'Let's Dance'!!!!! The first is a unique, ground-breaking and incredibly influential album by a great artist at the peak of his form. The [...]