Well……….. I’m about to head to the wilds of Vancouver Island with NO computer! Nope, not bringing either of the two laptops. No siree Bob. (no pun intended) Just my “not so smart” phone. Well, maybe the tablet…maybe. I’ll be attending a couple of music festivals on opposite ends of the Island. First in Courtney and then in Duncan. When I return I will regale you with all the goings on and oodles of pics. Yes, I am most definitely taking the camera.
So it’s Sunday night, I’ve just filed my July 8 column and starting this one. It’s been an absolutely gorgeous weekend here in The Big Smoke, even if half the city is shut down for this, that and the other. Suggestion….don’t drive. So with a limited amount of time to research my next blues subject before I leave, and with clothing decisions to make, packing and, yes, my “real” work, I’ve decided to thrill all you lovely readers with some of my favourite tunes. Now I’ve “TAFTed” once, and since my opportunities for “TAFTing” are extremely limited at best, I’m going to do the next best thing. I’m going to PFT! (Pat’s Favourite Tunes) — notice the plural. By the way, TAFT stands for Today’s Almost Forgotten Tune (singular) and is a daily FB feature on my friend Greg Simpson’s timeline. TAFT is entirely his baby and I give him full credit. It’s well read, always raises some very interesting and sometimes hilarious comments, and always encourages great discussion. It is also a fabulous walk down memory lane for at least a few minutes every day.
So without further ado, here’s a taste of what I like to listen to, in no particular order….and they are all on regular rotation on my “not so smart” phone. …and no, you won’t find a pattern, nor rhyme nor reason….my tastes run all over the map.
Queen. My favourite band….period. End of sentence. I attended every concert I could possibly go to, including the Freddie Mercury Tribute at Wembley Stadium in 1992. That was absolutely glorious! I took my then 17-year-old son with me. His godfather, Lyle Murphy, my best friend and the man who introduced me to Queen, flew over from Vancouver and met us in London. Belonging to the Queen Fan Club at the time had its perks (yes I was hardcore) since we got a chance to purchase tickets in advance which ultimately guaranteed us a spot at this historic event. Ever seen 77,000 people follow this song, raising their arms in the air in perfect sync, at precisely the right times. It was a sight to behold. How about Liza Minelli, Liz Taylor, Extreme, Elton John, Annie Lennox, Robert Plant, Guns ‘n Roses, David Bowie…the list goes on….all in one concert at a single venue. The whole day was indeed magic. Gawd I loved Roger….
Radio Ga Ga – Queen
This next tune gets me every time. I could listen to this one over and over and over…. you get the idea. There something about this piece that just lifts me right out of my chair, giving me a rush deep inside, especially the crescendo. Classical Gas was also done on the electric violin by Vanessa Mae. Her cover version gives me goose bumps. Absolutely brilliant!
Classical Gas – Mason Williams
Classical Gas – Vanessa Mae
Written by two Dutch musicians, Jan Visser and Hans Bouwens (George Baker), Little Green Bag was released May 21, 1970. The original title was “Little Greenback”, for the U.S. dollar, but the single was given an incorrect title and it stuck. The opening line is actually “lookin’ back on the track for a little green back.” I remember having a “guess who recorded this song” contest with co-workers many years ago — no Wikipedia and no Google. None of us could remember the name of the band so we all furiously searched the web, singing the song as we hunted for the name. One co-worker knew the answer but got a chuckle out of watching us search. I’ve never forgotten the name of the band since and find myself humming this tune frequently.
George Baker Selection – Little Green Bag
Wishing Well was done by two of my favourite artists, first by Free and then by Maggie Bell. I love them both for entirely different reasons. Maggie’s cover version is slower, bluesier and ballsier (probably no such words but there you are) with more raw emotion. The bass line is prominent in both, coming out through your toes and I do so love the bass. The original by Free is more upbeat with a slightly faster groove that gets your toes tapping and Paul Rodgers has the perfect rock/blues voice for this version. Introduced to me by Free, I fell in love with Maggie’s version.
Wishing Well – Free
Wishing Well – Maggie Bell
Uriah Heep. Another band introduced to me by Lyle, who also happens to be a wicked bass player himself ala Chris Squire (who was his favourite bassist). They both played “Rickies” — Rickenbacker bass guitars. This tune has a fantastic running bass line that I used to watch Lyle play when he was rehearsing. The entire album, Magicians Birthday, one of the Heep’s biggest albums and by far my fav. Uriah Heep is considered “one of the seminal hard rock bands of the 1970’s.” Easy Livin’ is also another one of my choices. These guys are still together and still touring, with hard core Heep fans all over Europe.
Blind Eye – Uriah Heep
Bodicea. Beginning her career with Clannad, an Irish Celtic band formed with some of her brothers and sisters, Enya wrote this piece (and a number of others) for a BBC series called The Celts. Bodicea was the song played at the end of each show. It was also sampled and used by the Fugees on their single Ready or Not without asking permission or given credit to Enya (which caused a bit of a kerfuffle). In 2004 Mario Winian’s song I Don’t Wanna Know (which featured a rap by P. Diddy) sampled the Fugees sample. However, credit is officially give to Winans, Diddy and Enya. The song became Enya’s highest charting US single in 2004. The mood is mysterious, dark and driven with only Enya’s humming to take you through. If I close my eyes, I can “see” Bodicea on her horse, leading her army. Who was Bodicea? Look her up. She whipped the Romans’ asses.
Bodicea – Enya
The Crying Game. A GREAT song and an even GREATER movie. It deeply affected many who watched it. Beautifully acted and heartbreaking. Directed by Neil Jordan and starring Stephen Rea, Forest Whitaker and Jaye Davidson, the film explores themes of race, gender, nationality, and sexuality but also love and honour all against the backdrop of the Irish troubles. The storyline seemingly leads you in one direction then reveals it’s really about something else entirely with a rather shocking twist. The song befits the movie completely. The growling twang of the guitar also reminds me of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Glen Campbell. Originally a 1960’s hit for British singer Dave Berry, The Crying Game is probably the best song Boy George ever sang.
The Crying Game – Boy George (soundtrack)
…and now for something completely different. A little dance music please. First up, Taiyo Cruz. The video has lots of pretty ladies in it so if you don’t like the music guys, you can watch the pretty ladies. Excellent visual affects/effects. It’s also a perfect dance tune and you know what I like to do….(do get your mind out of the gutter).
Dynamite – Taiyo Cruz
Dirty Loops. These guys just take me away. There’s not a dance floor out there big enough. Something in their music, I find it difficult to define, but it affects and touches something in me that just makes me want to lift off. All three band members are gifted musicians who merge with their instruments to become one entity. The jazz influence is strong in both the drumming and the bass playing combined with the classical influence of the keyboards. Their music is fun, smart, witty, unique… and did I mention fun. Jazzy Pop….hmmm….a new genre? I can hardly wait until they come back to Canada again. Move over, I’m hittin’ the dance floor.
Dirty Loops – Sexy Girls
Ahhhh….there is absolutely nothing like it in the world. The distinguishable, classic sound of the Hammond B-3 organ. You KNOW it when you hear it. This song plays to it beautifully. Reminds me of fun, carefree times and watching these guys at Wonderland Gardens in London, Ontario. Classic! Sugarloaf played on the same bill as Emerson, Lake and Palmer and that was the first time I’d seen anyone use a gong in their show.
Green Eyed Lady – Sugarloaf
Pentatonix. These guys are amazing. Entirely acappella, Kevin Olusola does all the beatboxing, the harmonies are glorious. Scott Hoying on baritone lead; Mitch Grassie on tenor, countertenor lead; Kirstie Maldonado on mezzo-soprano lead; Avi Kaplan on bass lead and baritone, and Kevin Olusola on tenor lead, vocal percussion and cello. They all sing backing vocals. Their music consists primarily of covers of existing songs, occasionally in the form of medleys. They also produce their own original material as well. “Their music is defined by their own arrangement style with a strong presence of low bass vocals and a diverse range of vocal percussion.” Their music is influenced by several genres include pop, dubstep, classical, electro, hip hop and reggae. DANCE!!!
I Need Your Love – Pentatonix (cover)
This one just hits you in the gut. I’m not sure what it is about string instruments, especially the cello and violin but I find them captivating, enchanting, eloquent and sometimes even magical. Yet they are also powerful, intense and compelling, able to evoke raw emotions swinging the listener from pure delight to utter agony. Lindsey Stirling knows her way around a violin and experiments with a variety of music styles mixing classical, pop, hip-hop and EDM. In this video, she teams up with Pentatonix to perform Radioactive, a piece originally done by Imagine Dragons. Check out her music video Crystallize, it is the eighth-most watched video of 2012.
Radioactive – Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix (Imagine Dragons Cover)
I leave you with Captain Beyond, an American/British rock back that couldn’t hold it together for very long….a revolving door of membership. However, when they could stick it out long enough to hit the studio, they produced some excellent music. Considered ahead of their time with many of their pieces, Captain Beyond was considered a hard rock/prog rock/psychedelic rock band…a lot of ground to cover. The original cast were singer Rod Evan (ex-Deep Purple), drummer Bobby Caldwell (ex-Johnny Winter), guitarist Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt (ex-Iron Butterfly) bassist Lee Dorman (ex-Iron Butterfly) and keyboardist Lewie Gold who seemed to be ex-nothing (and left before the first album was even recorded). I would guess from this there were a lot of disillusioned musicians out there, even back then. This line-up lasted one album and promptly fell apart. But oh what an album it is! Somebody pass that spliff!
Dancing Madly Backwards – Captain Beyond
*Note: You may get the full album since the video of the single cuts off about three minutes in. It’s from Japan….’nuff said.
Like I said, my taste in music generally runs amok. No rhyme or reason, I just know what I like (and what I don’t). Maybe it’s the drums and bass, or the sound of a particular guitar….or anything with a Hammond B-3. As an audience member what I listen to has to “speak” to me. There has to be a melody somewhere, something I can hum, something I can follow. I don’t like a mess of noises or long, wanking guitar solos. No, I was never a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix….a few songs maybe. Music is just simply my passion and I will continue to listen, and dance, until I can’t anymore.
This was fun. I’ll have to do this again sometime. See y’all in a couple of weeks. Enjoy!