Wednesday, 19 March 2014

She Shall Have Music........

If you have a sweet tooth, you might think of music as one of those things that forms the icing on the cake of life. If not, go ahead and feel free to choose your own more savoury metaphor - the cheese on top of the pizza or the Marmite on the buttered toast perhaps?

For today's post I'm going to be sharing some of the tunes that have been my accompaniment  as I whizz around the Devon countryside lately.   It amazes me that, as driving is a big part of my working day, I actually get paid to hold my own mini festival in the car.  My nineteen year old self, who'd favoured indie bands would probably be horrified with my current penchant for blues, country and folk but hey ho!  I'm less image conscious these days, like what I like without giving a damn about what other people think. I reckon that I'm a far happier bunny as a consequence.

First up, is Greg Brown, an  artist that Spotify suggested that  I might get on with, maybe because of my penchant for gravelly voiced male vocalists whose musical content can be slightly suggestive.  And what do you know? They were right! 'Just by Myself' is a favourite from 'Dream Cafe but the entire collection is all good stuff. After all what is there not to like about someone whose lyrics are spattered with references to good old outdoor activities like camping and fishing, a  pastime I'd like to try myself.  A sport where you can read at the same time as catching your tea sounds mightily attractive.  It seems that Greg Brown is a seasoned artist with plenty of other albums under his belt. Happily there's plenty more to discover in the weeks ahead.

Although he's been around for yonks and I've always admired his outspoken brand of activism, I didn't 'discover' Billy Bragg properly until last year  when I heard a Radio 4 programme where he talked about covering Woody Guthrie's work in collaboration with Wilco. I wish I could have been able to provide a link as it was fascinating stuff but alas, I am a crap researcher.  The album 'Mermaid Avenue' has been a firm favourite ever since.   To ring the changes I've tried his most recent collection 'Tooth and Nail'. Think what might happen if Essex man ended up in the Deep South and you'd be getting there.  It's rather blooming excellent and my current drivetime favourite.   This sad but liltingly beautiful track which brings back memories of  Chagstock 2013 sometimes gets played on a repeat cycle.

Okay it's time to get away from those roughie toughie men. I am a sixties child and as such '80s music is the soundtrack of my youth.  Revisiting the anarchic pop of the  B52s is such fun.  'Rock Lobster' brings back memories of dancing at naff student parties but 'Wig' was the one that made me giggle the most as I drove across Dartmoor last week.

It's nice when the musical preferences of me and my son converge.  Sometimes Louis can surprise me with his good taste but his favourites include a fair bit of boy band nonsense.  Here's one where we enjoy singing along together.  My grubby little son particularly likes the notion of never having to change his socks!

And finally,  do you remember that bloke, Keith James, that I talked about the other day after seeing him play in Plymouth.  Here's one of  the poems by the Spanish poet Lorca that  he's set to music on his collaboration with Rick Foot.  A friend of mine recently urged me to stretch myself a bit more musically.  I think that I might have now achieved a little more elasticity!

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