"I'm off to work in the morning. Back home late at night. The landlord gets his money. But the children hardly a bite ..." It's not just Van that's had a hard time of it down and out in W10. Roddy Frame sang about having the Notting Hill Blues, and 20 odd years earlier Ram John Holder had the Notting Hill Eviction Blues, echoing the era of Rachmanism., and the exploitation of West Indian immigrants in the Notting Hill area by unscrupulous landlords. Around the same time Ram John put in an appearance in John Boorman's Leo The Last, which told the story of a European aristocratic ornithologist who inherits a mansion in a deprived part of Notting Hill and watches his neighbours through a telescope. The great Marcello Mastroianni took the lead role in this experimental work which criminally doesn't seem to be generally available. A while later Ram John appeared in Horace Ove's Pressure, a pioneering work of Black British cinema, again set in the Notting Hill area. This is available on DVD, and a taster appears on YouTube ...
Monday, 30 November 2009
Notting Hill Eviction Blues
Posted by Yr Heartout at Monday, November 30, 2009 No comments:
Labels: London West
Sunday, 29 November 2009
"You're up in Park Lane now. And I'm somewhere around in Tottenham Court Road ..." It's fascinating what songs people came up with immediately when this project kicked off. Brian (Back To Zero) Kotz straight away suggested Them's You Just Can't Win, one of a few of Van's songs from that time that refer to London. Bring 'Em On In has Van walkin' down by Queensway, so that could be one. More certainly, Friday's Child has Van singing about watching the sun come up 'round Notting Hill Gate. This is perhaps my favourite Them track, and makes me think fondly of a cherished series of Rock Roots LPs Decca put out in the '70s featuring Them, Small Faces, Zombies. Changed my life those LPs. On into his solo career, and in the fantastic He Ain't Give You None Van's warning people not to go down on Curzon Street, and confessing how he got messed up somewhere called Notting Hill Gate ... "I lived up there for a while. But I moved out. And when I moved out I was in such a state. Ain't never goin' back there ...". Then on Astral Weeks' Slim Slow Slider he's seen her walking down by the Ladbroke Grove. I love it when places in London are awarded the definite article. Like Van's the man ... down by The Thames.
Posted by Yr Heartout at Sunday, November 29, 2009 1 comment:
Labels: London Water, London West
Saturday, 28 November 2009
London By Night
"Down by the Thames, lights that sparkle like gems seem to wink at each girl and her beau ..." Another suggestion with a Thames reference was Frank Sinatra singing London By Night. Somewhat appropriately it came from Rob Simmons of The Fallen Leaves and once of Subway Sect. I say appropriately as it was the Sect's frequent mentions of Frank that sent me rummaging through my mum's records, thus beginning a long love affair with the artistry of Sinatra. London By Night came from Frank's 1958 set, Come Fly With Me, his first work with Billy May, and much to our approval it's a themed LP. The song itself, London By Night, was written by Carroll Coates, about whom I know shamefully little. Frank recorded the song again on his 1962 LP, Sinatra sings Great Songs From Great Britain, which may be the only record he made outside the US. Among Carroll Coates' other credits is Sunday In New York, one for our American comrades to feature. Frank of course was passionate about his USA which is just one reason he applauds so madly at the end of this astonishing Patti Labelle rendition of The House I Live In. Frank himself made a public service film of the same name, and in case anyone still wonders why he is considered to be so cool ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Saturday, November 28, 2009 No comments:
Labels: London General, London Water
Friday, 27 November 2009
"Weekends we'd just wash away the dirt of busy, hazy London. The night grew cold, the Thames is old ..." Peter Ackroyd's fine book on the Thames: Sacred River is the sort of work you want to keep returning to. And yet, perhaps understandably, among all the literary references etc it's missing out on the songs. There have naturally been many songs that refer to the Thames in passing. One of the most beautiful examples would be Earlies by the Trash Can Sinatras, which Alistair Fitchett has suggested we feature. It is a song I'm ashamed to say I wasn't familiar with, but I have fallen in love with it. It makes me think of days long gone when I would be on earlies too, and you'd be heading out while the world seemed to be still sleeping, and one day as I set out before sun up I saw these two fox cubs playing in the snow while their mum looked on protectively. You wouldn't have seen that round our way in the daylight ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Friday, November 27, 2009 No comments:
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Boy meets girl so what
"The day you left me my world fell apart. The sun ceased to shine. That day you broke my heart. And London fell down into the Thames ..." Now Mr Eden those words I believe are taken from your song Boy Meets Girl So What, a what you might call ironic pop tone, I'm sorry I mean tune, from your days in McCarthy. We are here to discuss this obsession you have with the waters of the Thames. We have already made reference to The Drinking Song of the Merchant Bankers where you suggest: "I'm not about to throw myself in the Thames". And now one of our witnesses, a Mr Dan Dan The Pantry Man, draws our attention to the words you use about a poor couple in Unfortunately: "Oh let us both go to a better town where money's not scarce. 'Cause otherwise we'll go to the Thames or The Serpentine ..." Unfortunate is hardly the word Mr Eden. You seem to paint us a picture of the couple on the verge of throwing themselves in the water. And this seems a particularly unhealthy obsession in your work. What do you have to say for yourself? I am, I assure you, prepared to keep an open mind ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Thursday, November 26, 2009 3 comments:
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Grief came riding
"I started thinkin' about London and how nothing good ever came from this town, and if the Thames weren’t so filthy I would jump in the river and drown ..." sings Nick Cave in Grief Came Riding. Discuss! Actually this is a quite beautiful song, with Nick at his melancholy best. It also has some nice references to Battersea Bridge, and you are warmly encouraged to listen to this number in conjunction with Nick's homage to the Brompton Oratory. And being something of a ladies' man Nick's grief would have no doubt have been eased by the sight of Lulu delightfully dancing by on the Embankment ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Wednesday, November 25, 2009 No comments:
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Someone's pinched me winkles
"The Cockney tribes in Britain were meeting for the games held annually, once a year, along the River Thames ..." I have this recurring nightmare where on accepting a prestigious literary or cultural studies prize up pops a family member to point out that even at the age of five he was a smart boy and could perform a word perfect rendition of Two Little Boys. So it's a bit of a relief to reveal without fear of humiliation Rolf Harris in something of a more scholarly mode, performing a traditional folk ballad highlighting quaint Cockney customs ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Tuesday, November 24, 2009 4 comments:
Monday, 23 November 2009
"Yeah, down by the river. Down by the banks of the river Thames. That's where you'll find me ..." As their name implies The Inmates weren't adverse to a little appropriation, and they made The Standells' Dirty Water their own, adapting it to reflect London rather than the Boston Ed Cobb wrote about. Certainly when this version hit the charts many of us were hearing the song for the first time and weren't familiar with The Standells'. I have to confess I actually prefer The Inmates' interpretation. Sentimentality? Well, Wild Bill Hurley and his outfit benefited from the new mod generation's interest in '60s source sounds, and were perhaps the last of the future primitives in the tradition of Dr Feelgood, Hot Rods, Count Bishops etc ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Monday, November 23, 2009 2 comments:
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Thames at high water
"Everything you say you say to threaten. Anything you hold you hold like a weapon ..." sings Cath Carroll in Miaow's Thames At High Water, a fantastic dancefloor filler originally recorded for a Peel session and salvaged by LTM on an essential compilation. LTM also reissued Cath's wonderful England Made Me set. Factory has had some stick for its A&R policy, but I admire Wilson's loyalty to Manchester scenesters. Cath nevertheless cites several Miaow numbers as being very much London songs, and Thames At High Water is one she pinpoints as being Rotherhithe or Bermondsey related, dating from a time she was squatting in the area.
Posted by Yr Heartout at Sunday, November 22, 2009 No comments:
Saturday, 21 November 2009
"Thames Crokadiles will be fed well tonight ..." sings Earl Zinger ominously in his mean, moody and magnificent number about strange goings on in the night and Thames Crokadiles. Not for the first or for the last time does our hero Rob Gallagher set himself up in opposition to the madness of the modern world. Putting on his Luddite hat and coming on like a contemporary resurrection man he suggests switching off the TV, karaoke, laptop and so on, and refers to the ritual hanging of palm pilots. The track's taken from Zinger's Speaker Stack Commandments, which is an essential work of art. And as for crocs in the Thames? Don't bet against it.
Posted by Yr Heartout at Saturday, November 21, 2009 No comments:
Friday, 20 November 2009
Dear River Thames
"Dear River Thames, distress blurs my mind, through London's gray pastures, so bleak and unkind ..." sings Richard Digance on his 1974 recording of Dear River Thames. Looking on the internet you might be forgiven for thinking this is a Ralph McTell song, but that's a salutory lesson in the viral way the web works and how misinformation oft repeated becomes fact. While, as this lovely song shows, Richard has his roots in the folk scene those of us of a certain age will think of Richard on our TV screens performing topical and comical compositions. Sometimes he would simply sing sentimental and quite touching songs like this ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Friday, November 20, 2009 No comments:
Thursday, 19 November 2009
"Stand on a bridge overlooking the Thames. Stare at my reflection. It's here I learnt my lesson ..." The next time someone tries to tell you there ain't no soul left in the UK's old shoes just play them Kevin Mark Trail's D'Thames. It's quite lovely, and one of the best Thames songs full stop. If you recognise Kevin's name it may be from his work with The Streets. He did a great solo LP in 2005 called Just Living which EMI did their best to keep a secret and then dropped him for not selling millions. Life eh? Shop around and grab yourself a copy ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Thursday, November 19, 2009 No comments:
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
"Mother said when you're young like this things can seem pretty bad. Let's get out, walk by the river. And there are people who roam the Docklands, and there are ships passing in the night ..." When lists are drawn up of Trevor Horn's productions it's to be hoped the Mint Juleps' Docklands would be at the top. It was the sort of uneasy and unlikely alliance Horn relishes. East End street corner soul outfit given a smooth synthetic sheen in Stiff's dying days. But it works a treat. The world's changed a lot since it was recorded in the late '80s, and the Mint Juleps' homepatch Docklands has changed an awful lot too. The old ways of life on the east and south east sides of the river, the places such as Bermondsey, Beckton, Surrey Docks, Wapping and Limehouse, the Isle of Dogs, are all unrecognisable from the days when the Mint Juleps recorded this track. The once thriving docks were already long gone by the '80s, and deprivation and dereliction was rife. Then came the redevelopment, the gentrification, the building of a new financial centre, the light railway, pricey flats galore, all out of the reach of existing communities. The defiance of the old Docklands can be heard in the Mint Juleps' Round Our Way which has the theme of we may not have all you've got but we've got something you'll never be able to buy. This is a more natural setting for the Mint Juleps (who I believe still perform) and there are some wonderful clips on YouTube of the group taking part in a Spike Lee acapella special. As an aside the Mint Juleps were managed by Rita Ray who is herself a London legend ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Wednesday, November 18, 2009 No comments:
Labels: London East, London Water
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
"Marcel lives in Wapping. The dockside view is stopping. Marcel's got a houseboat on the Thames. There's grotesque decorations. Eccentric demonstrations. Oh let's go down to Marcel's on the Thames. Knock, knock, sesame, it's open. It's an East End wonderland ..." An invitation you can't refuse to visit Marcel's with Herman's Hermits. Surprised at this wander into Small Faces territory? Shame on you. The 'Ermits are cooler than you think. After all didn't Paul Morley describe Subway Sect's Ambition as the missing link between Peter Noone and Kafka? I'm a big fan of Herman and his gang and they did their bit to repopularise the traditions of vaudeville and music hall though I'd suggest Ian Whitcomb trumped them with his 'Enery. Second verse, same as the first ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Tuesday, November 17, 2009 No comments:
Labels: London East, London Water
Monday, 16 November 2009
Night time in Bermondsey
"It's night time in Bermondsey. The tide is turning now on barges in Bermondsey. The waters laps their bows. And on London Bridge young lovers shiver and gaze at the lamplight in the river ..." sings Nadia Cattouse in Bermondsey. Well, actually she's singing it at the Edinburgh Festival in 1969 for a recording that appeared on her Earth Mother LP. Maybe like me you first came across Nadia's name on The Numero Group's Belize City Boil Up compilation, where it mentions her moving to England and becoming part of the folk scene. Well, Earth Mother is a beautiful record that emerged from that milieu. Songwriting credits include Andy Roberts, Mike Evans, Donald Swann, Sydney Carter, Bob Dylan and Nadia herself. Mysteriously Bermondsey is credited to Unknown, which is fascinating as the local colour is an absolute joy (St Saviour's, Guy's, Southwark Cathedral, barrow boys etc.). Does anyone know any more?
Posted by Yr Heartout at Monday, November 16, 2009 12 comments:
Labels: London South East, London Water
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Sweet Thames Flow Softly
"I met my girl at Woolwich Pier beneath the big cranes standing. And oh, the love I felt for her. It passed all understanding ..." Ewan MacColl's mid-'60s composition Sweet Thames Flow Softly is all the more romantic in my view for being defiantly non-romantic from the off. There have been many renditions over the years, but my particular favourite is by The Johnstons, an Irish folk outfit, on their excellent 1968 Give A Damn LP on Transatlantic which is infused with the era's harmony pop influences. Am I right in saying the first recorded version was by The Critics Group in '67 when it was the title track of a LP of London related songs (aha!), mixing old broadside ballads with new compositions by Ewan and Peggy Seeger? Great record, and reissued by the good people at Vocalion. I understand that another poem set to music, The Ballad of London River by Mary Byron, was the 'official' school song for many Londoners up to the 1960s, but that is a very different thing. I would like to think that today's school children have the opportunity to hear Ewan's song. Ewan, despite his Manchester roots, lived for many, many years in London (south) and his life story should be studied by us all. "Her necklace made of London Bridge her beauty was enhancing ..." There's a lovely rendition by the great Christy Moore on YouTube which I particularly like for the relish with which he sings the words ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Sunday, November 15, 2009 No comments:
Saturday, 14 November 2009
"I dream of empire. I dream of sailing ships. A fortune beneath their decks. Heavy with cargo, copper and ivory ..." sings Charles Hayward on Cutty Sark by Camberwell Now. Over Blackheath, through Greenwich Park, down to the river, and the Cutty Sark. This is for anyone who has stood by that beautiful clipper and heard it sing of another way of life. Tragically the Cutty Sark was all but destroyed by fire in May 2007, apparently as a result of a malfunctioning vacuum cleaner left plugged in. Hopefully the restoration project will be a success, as it is such an important landmark. Charles Hayward is a Capital treasure too, and Camberwell Now is an impeccable south London name for a group. And the track Cutty Sark comes from an EP appropriately called Meridian, recorded at Cold Storage, Brixton, the now famous base for the group's predecessor This Heat. I love what the great Steve Walsh wrote about This Heat for Zigzag in January 1979: "A quaint, nauseous, halting tune emerges. These 'quiet' interludes often employ quite pretty melodies, but the kind of charm they exude is that sinister sense of foreboding that one associates with Victorian music boxes. I listen and watch transfixed with a morbid, unhealthy fascination ..."
Posted by Yr Heartout at Saturday, November 14, 2009 No comments:
Labels: London South East, London Water
Friday, 13 November 2009
"Blackheath saw us all today. Whitsun tide in the month of May ..." sings Peter London in his song about Blackheath Fair. Blackheath Fair has a long, long history, and indeed Spring Heeled Jack put in a pretty shameful appearance in 1837. These days it's not such a big deal, and the annual fireworks display is a far more popular draw. As the excellent Transpontine blog details this too has something of a history, and is mentioned in E.S. Nesbit's The Story of the Treasure Seekers. I fear I can add little about Peter London other than that he is still active on the folk circuit of south west London. Blackheath Fair also features in another brilliant modern twist on the traditional folk song by Paul Whiting. I don't ever remember seeing a man with a ukelele on Blackheath, but I do recall a chap taking a mongoose for a walk ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Friday, November 13, 2009 No comments:
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Georgie (Shooter's Hill)
"For what has Georgie done on Shooter's Hill? Was it stealing or murder of any? Oh he stole sixteen of the lord judge's deer. And we sold them down under the valley ..." Georgie, performed by Martin Carthy (one of Scritti Green's heroes) is an old folk song I first became aware of via a Transpontine post on south London folk songs. This version has a similar poaching/pleading theme as Geordie, which has already been featured. Shooter's Hill, south London's highest point, has quite a reputation. It's frequently associated with Dick Turpin and the dandy highwaymen who would work the Roman Road or late night on Watling Street if you like, and hangings used to be carried out there. Shooter's Hill also features in the nursery rhyme about John Cook and his grey mare. More recently Frankie Howerd went to school there, Boy George grew up there, and Mark Perry may still live there. And here Martin Carthy sings Georgie in his back garden ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Thursday, November 12, 2009 No comments:
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
"Canteen culture colouring the view. From Hendon to Eltham. Not following the clue ..." sings Asian Dub Foundation on its track Officer XX. It's a day for remembering those that have died too young, so let's reflect on the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence who was killed in a cowardly racist attack while waiting for a bus in Eltham on the night of 22 April 1993. No one has to date been convicted for the killing, despite even the Daily Mail running front pages naming those commonly believed to be the murderers. And, as the ADF song refers to, the subsequent Metropolitan Police investigation was marred by allegations of corruption and racism, which led to a public inquiry and the now famous MacPherson report which condemned the Met as 'institutionally racist' and proposed far reaching changes. The murder of Stephen Lawrence is also mentioned in the brilliant Fearless by south London rapper Blak Twang, and in a moving poem by Benjamin Zephaniah called What Stephen Lawrence Has Taught Us.
Posted by Yr Heartout at Wednesday, November 11, 2009 No comments:
Labels: London History, London South East
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
"Somewhere there is tenderness in this town ..." If I had to pick one song that captures a sense of London without specifically mentioning the Capital it would be the June Brides' This Town. Somehow it has always felt like it's caught the spirit of London. That's just the way it's seemed to me. I hate asking songwriters about their words in case precious illusions are shattered in the process. But thankfully the JBs' Phil Wilson has confirmed it is very much a London song. "Beneath the lights on summer nights, it's nothing short of paradise," is about when Phil was young and enraptured with wandering round Soho and the West End. "Only shadows know your name" - you often feel like that in London, adds Phil. At the height of their fame the JBs were based around the Lewisham area, and I saw them play on numerous occasions in the mid '80s at venues such as the Thames Poly in Woolwich and the Old Ambulance Station on the Old Kent Road. Certain lines from This Town would be on my mind as I headed homewards. "Walking home back streets alone, a distant shout chills the bone ..." But nothing can touch you when you're humming a tune this good!
Posted by Yr Heartout at Tuesday, November 10, 2009 2 comments:
Labels: London General, London South East
Monday, 9 November 2009
Hilly Fields (1892)
"Mr C.G. Fields lost his job with the Board of Trade. Walking through the fields he saw things that made others afraid – afraid. Yeah – 1892 – lines are still on you – Hilly Fields. Yeah – 18th of July – someone in the sky – Hilly Fields ..." Hilly Fields is a piece of unexpected greenery I passed I wouldn't like to think how many times as a kid, on the way to my grandparents', on the bus up from Lewisham to Brockley/Crofton Park. So nick nicely's Hilly Fields (1892) is a song that evokes specific memories. It's a wonderful work of art. While psychedelic is an overused epithet, for once it is an apt description of this beautifully strange song. The cello, the scratching, everything. And it's a particular favourite of Trevor Horn's I understand. nick nicely is still active and still creating south London songs ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Monday, November 09, 2009 2 comments:
Sunday, 8 November 2009
The Aspidistra House
"The faces in the flowers of the pattern on the paper all stare at me. And silently mouth: 'Get out of this house' ..." sings The Band of Holy Joy in The Aspidistra House, another wonderful moment on More Tales From The City. With reference to this song they are quoted as saying: "There was always a feeling of madness lurking behind the curtains on certain roads around Brockley, Sydenham, Forest Hill. A lingering malaise in Lewisham shopping centre, an air of unhingedness in Deptford Market ..." Ah yes. And I've read that the song The Biggest Aspidistra In The World has connections to a house in Evelina Road, Nunhead. In that same area. A short hop, skip and jump from where my parents were married in St Silas', which is no more. The song itself refers to the Crystal Palace, a bus ride away, where the dinosaurs roam. "When father's 'ad a skinful at his pub the Bunch of Grapes, he doesn't go all fighting mad and getting into scrapes. You'll find 'im in 'is bearskin, playing Tarzan of the Apes up the biggest aspidistra in the world," sings Our Gracie. Cha cha cha ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Sunday, November 08, 2009 No comments:
Saturday, 7 November 2009
Another Tulse Hill night
"What's happening? What's going on? Every day is just the same. You sit around. Or hang around. Your best friend's the telly ..." sings Nick Cash on 999's Tulse Hill Night, an everyday tale of suburban stasis south London style. I'm not sure why it's specifically Tulse Hill, but any excuse to play a bit of the under-appreciated 999 is a good thing. One of the great singles outfits of the punk era, this ironically is a track off their second LP, Separates, produced by the godlike Martin Rushent. The lead single off of Separates would be Homicide which always made me think of The Sweet for some reason ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Saturday, November 07, 2009 No comments:
Friday, 6 November 2009
"In the night we freeze and you want me to tell in London's lonesome park Brockwell..." Ah this feels like the right time of year for this beautiful song, Brockwell Park by the Red House Painters. Oddly it's never seemed that strange to me that a San Francisco group should sing about a public park just south of Brixton, next to Herne Hill station. After all they've got a great south London name. For the Red House in Bexleyheath was built for one of our heroes, the socialist poet, artist, dreamer William Morris, and for a short period it was the centre of much artistic and cultural activity. It's well worth a visit. Brockwell Park itself was somewhere I first visited in August 1984 for a free event to protest against Tory plans to abolish the popular Greater London Council (GLC). While Strawberry Switchblade and The Fall were magnificent on that day, there was some terrible stuff on (The Damned, Spear of Destiny, New Model Army), and the crowd's demeanour and behaviour was boorish at best. It was just horrible. 25 years on, and this performance by lovers rock legend Sylvia Tella seems a lot more fun ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Friday, November 06, 2009 No comments:
Thursday, 5 November 2009
“Life in Brixton, feel the heat. Too much trouble on the streets. But I'm not gonna leave. If I go anywhere else, I've got nothing to achieve. A Kentucky Fried Chicken and a few chip shops. There's quite a few punks and too many cops ...” The Straps’ Brixton puts the punks’ perspective on the area’s history. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s there was a significant punk presence, living in squats in the Brixton area. Among them would be the people who made up The Straps at various times. Historically well connected (associates include Liz Hurley, Lee Evans, Sadie Frost and Jim Walker) but very much part of the punk underground. There was something of a siege mentality to the punk community of that time. A bit of a ‘no one likes us and we don’t care’ outlook, as captured in a promo film, Punk Can Take It, Julian Temple made for the UK Subs in ’79 which parodied London Can Take It!, a 1940 blitz propaganda short film directed by the fascinating figure Humphrey Jennings, one of the founders of the Mass Observation movement.
Posted by Yr Heartout at Thursday, November 05, 2009 No comments:
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Five nights of bleeding
“Rituals of blood on the burning. Served by a cruel in-fighting. Five nights of horror an of bleeding broke glass ...” Dennis Bovell is one of our capital’s treasures. His contribution to the development of popular music has been invaluable. His own recordings are numerous and wondrous, and we would need little excuse to refer to titles like The Grunwick Affair and New Kent Road here. His lovers rock creations for Janet Kay, Marie Pierre and others are rightly worshipped in the right quarters. As are his productions for The Pop Group, Slits, Orange Juice and so on. Then there is his long running association with the poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, for whom Dennis has provided musical support since the two sevens clashed. Their first fusing of poetry and dub was Poet And The Roots’ Dread Beat And Blood, which featured Five Nights Of Bleeding on the ‘why must the youth fight among itself’ theme, set primarily in the Brixton area.
Posted by Yr Heartout at Wednesday, November 04, 2009 1 comment:
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
"I'm saying goodbye to London city. City life is not for me. Going where the stars shine brightly ..." sings Sandra Cross in Country Living, a Mad Professor produced lovers rock classic. Despite the lyrics Sandra is from south London, and the area can stake a claim as the spiritual home of lovers rock. Many of the early releases (Brown Sugar and so on) were recorded by Dennis Bovell and colleagues in a basement studio on Brockley Road in the late '70s. The sound has endured, through the '80s, the '90s, and beyond. And there are numerous classics out there, from the likes of Sandra Cross, Kofi (who was in Brown Sugar), Deborahe Glasgow, Jean Adebambo, Sylvia Tella, and so on. Many of the lovers rock classics from the '80s were created in the Mad Professor's Ariwa studio in Gautrey Road in Nunhead. While the genre is poorly documented in mainstream media, unofficial channels like YouTube are a treasure trove of old lovers rock postings, including this priceless footage of Kofi in the Mad Professor's studio. Watch for the wink ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Tuesday, November 03, 2009 No comments:
Monday, 2 November 2009
"Sometimes we oblige. Next time we abuse. Now there's good and there's bad in everyone ..." Lorna G's Brixton Rock is a wonderful attempt at accentuating the positive of a place so often given a bad name. Brilliantly mixing up early hip hop with the reggae tradition, referencing Gary Byrd's The Crown, it contains the immortal lines: "Don't need to boast. Don't need to brag. Don't gimme cocaine, I'll do with a fag ..." The versatile Lorna (Gayle) also did lovers rock and the exceptional Mi Giro (Three Weeks Gone) with the Mad Professor at the controls. She is also captured performing Brixton Rock in an amazing piece of TV footage which also features Tippa Irie & Daddy Colonel, then in a more militant style the great Ranking Ann with the Saxon Sound System speaking up for the striking miners..."We 'ave a right to fight!" And if perchance the embedded link is not working here's a slightly different take on proceedings sans Ranking Ann but featuring Tippa Irie complaining about his neighbours ...
Posted by Yr Heartout at Monday, November 02, 2009 1 comment:
Sunday, 1 November 2009
59 Lyndhurst Grove
"So you sometimes go out in the afternoon. Spend an hour with your lover in his bedroom. Hearing old women rolling trolleys down the road. Back to Lyndhurst Grove ..." Peckham has been the location for some great comedy moments. Situation comedy greats like Desmond's and Only Fools And Horses have been set there. Interestingly both series were aspirational in terms of their characters. And their creators gave us some memorable characters, such as Ram John Holder as Porkpie, and Rodney Trotter who memorably appeared in a UK Decay t-shirt. I have no idea if whoever cast Nicholas Lyndhurst as Rodney realised he had a name with such Peckham SE15 resonances. Look in your A-Z. Another passing Peckham aspirant sang about the goings-on at 59 Lyndhurst Grove, SE15, though to me such preciseness seems most un-London like.
Posted by Yr Heartout at Sunday, November 01, 2009 No comments:
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