' I've lost the power I had to distinguish between what to ignite and what to extinguish' – Rowland S. Howard

Month: April, 2013

IMF & Bruce Cockburn

Here is the best song I know about the IMF, by the great Bruce Cockburn. This song, like the best of Phil Ochs’ work has become more rather than less relevant over time. It also proves the continued potency of a good topical song:

George Jones

A belated tribute to the late great George Jones, who was the greatest singer that country music has produced…

He was also among the greatest singers of the century in any art form.

Will start with a few acknowledged classics & then list a few of my personal favouriters.

Here is George singing ‘She thinks I still care’:

In any other hands, ‘He stopped Loving Her Today’ might have appeared maudlin – George sang it straight and gave it enormous emotional power. this is singing of the very highest order:

With ‘The Window Up Above’ George proved that simplicity and emotional profundity can go hand in hand. Even Hank rarely wrote a song as perfect as this:

A few personal favourites – ‘Choices’ was, I think, a very brave song for George to record and he did so at a very difficult time in his life:

Again, with ‘Don’t Touch Me’ George proved that a direct simple statement can carry a huge emotional weight:

http://www.myspace.com/george-jones/music/songs/don-t-touch-me-album-version-201866 -[Sample}.

For some reason, this is my favourite George Jones song – don’t ask me why:

Odds & Ends

Rather than neglected nuggets, this time I thought I would throw in ten of my favourite tracks from across the genres. This came off the top of my head, so to speak.

Andeas Scholl. Ombra Mai Fu: Heard Scholl sing this in concert once and it made grown men weep:

Woody Guthrie. Hobo’s Lullaby: Perhaps my favourite Guthrie performance:

Jimmie Rogers, Dear Old Sunny South by the Sea, I know its corny, but its still a great song:

Hank Williams, Cool Water: This is probably the song that he would have done with Dylan, if he had lived:

Phillippe Jaroussky, ‘A Chloris’: Sublime singing from one of the rising stars of classical music:

Joe Ely, If You were a Bluebird: Definitive performance of a classic Butch Hancock Song…

Johnny Taylor, Rome wasn’t built a day: Underrated but great singer does classic version of Sam Cooke song:

Otis Redding, These Arms of Mine’ Stunning singing…

Claudio Arrau, ‘Das Abends’, Schumann: Classic playing by a master:

Robert Tear, ‘Tom Bowling’ [Britten], One of my favourite Britten arrangements:

Dave Van Ronk, Twelve Gates to the City: A great song by a great singer:

Alternative Ten Neglected Nuggets List

Here is an alternative list of ten equally good and neglected nuggets:

Merle Haggard, Kern River:This song is, simply, a masterpiece, by one of the great American songwriters:

Martin Carthy, Prince Heathen: Masterly version by, perhaps, the greatest English folk singer

Al Green: Belle: Among the greatest songs ever recorded:

Dion, Abraham, Martin & John: Magnificent singing from one of the greats (ignore the appalling chorus)…

Marvin Gaye, Some Kind of Wonderful. This is as good as it gets..

Nic Jones, Clyde Water: Great English Folk Singer whose career was cut tragically short:

Paul Clayton, The Twa Sisters: The definitive version:

Lal Waterson, Red Wine Promises: A great English songwriter:

Dick Gaughan, Jamie Foyers: Great song & a great singer

Gene Vincent, Git it. One of the originals…

Ten Neglected Nuggets

Here is a list of ten neglected nuggets which I originally posted on Michael Gray’s ‘outakes’ site:

Paul Clayton: Spanish Ladies. Beautifully understated version from his classic album of sea shanties.

Barry Moore: Lonesome Robin. Nothing Barry Moore has done subsequently is as magical as this cover of a Bob Coltman song.

Freddie White: Parting Glass. Great Irish singer makes a classic song his own.

Bob Dylan: Rank Strangers to me. The dross surrounding it means this cover has never got the credit that it deserves.
http://www.ultratop.be/en/showitem.asp?interpret=Bob+Dylan&titel=Rank+Strangers+To+Me&cat=s [Sample]

Eric Andersen; Dance of Love and Death. A fine song from an excellent songwriter, whose voice has gained an added grit and resonance with age.

Lou Reed; Think it Over. Proposed to my wife with this one…

Robert Wyatt, Shipbuilding: Maggie Thatcher’s death brought me back to this great, great version…

Kevin Coyne, House on the Hill: One of the best…

The Replacements, Sadly Beautiful: Great song by one of Jakob Dylan’s favourite songwriters..

Phil Ochs: The Scorpion Departs but Never Returns. great song from a greatly neglected songwriter.