A song chain is a game. It’s a variation on word association. We all played that as kids, where you call out a word, and the next person calls out the first word they think of. So think of a song, and then the next song you think of, and so on. Let me show you how it works.
Richard Thompson: Crawl Back (Under My Stone)
My wife and I were talking earlier today about trying to find a concert or something special to do, just for the two of us, for a treat as the holidays approach. We did this a few years ago, and our treat was a Richard Thompson concert. He doesn’t get to area again until March, so we’ll have to do something else this year.
Usually, my posts of Thompson’s songs, both here and on Star Maker Machine, tend to focus on his softer side. Songs like Beeswing and Vincent Black Lightning show off Richard Thompson the storyteller. But the man can also flat out rock. Crawl Back is a fine example. Take the words literally, and the song seems to be an apology by a man who feels that he has let his lover down. But Thompson’s delivery makes it clear that this is actually a brush-off song. He’s telling her that her standards don’t suit him, and he’s gone. It’s powerful stuff, and one side of Thompson at his best.
Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy: King of Bohemia
Thinking of Richard Thompson reminded me of one of my favorite covers of his songs, King of Bohemia as performed by Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy. I’m partly posting this as a kind of apology to readers of Star Maker Machine. Quite some time ago, I posted this song there. At the time, I was having problems with my file host, and in the end, I actually had to change hosts. The result was that this song was only up for an eye blink, and many people may have missed it. So here it is again. This time, my hosting situation is solid, so everyone should have a chance to hear it. You can read my original thoughts on the song Here.
Ann Savoy is a well known Cajun musician, and that naturally made me think of…
Beausoleil: Zydeco Gris Gris
…Beausoliel. It isn’t usually hard to match an artist to the best venue for their performance. There should be good acoustics, and some acts may need a piano. Usually, the hardest thing is deciding how large an audience you need room for. But I once saw Beausoleil, and there was another consideration. Symphony Space in New York City is a nice mid-sized hall where I have had the great pleasure of seeing some of the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan. The problem for a Beausoleil show there was the fact that the seats are bolted to the floor. This is not a band to sit and listen to. Seats or no seats, everybody got up and danced in the limited space in the aisles. We were most likely in violation of the fire codes that night. It was a great show though.
The song Zydeco Gris Gris is a fine example of Beausoleil’s artistry. The term Gris Gris refers to magical practices in New Orleans, and that reminded of me our recent Magic theme on Star Maker Machine. A strange thing happened that week: no one posted a song with the word magic in the title. I really though someone would post…
Peter Green: Black Magic Woman
…this one. Black Magic Woman is the song that was a hit for Santana back when. But it was written by Peter Green, for the blues band he was in at the time. Perhaps you’ve heard of Fleetwood Mac? Green was one of the founders of the band, but he didn’t stay long, and he was long gone by the time they reached the height of their popularity. Green had some serious problems that kept him out of the music business for many years. But by 2003, Green had a band, and he revisited some of his old material. I like his vocal on this remake better than the Fleetwood Mac original. The song as done here is also twice as long as the original version. Although this is a studio recording, it has the feel of a live jam, and a fine one.
Call for Help:
Mary Bragg: Sweet Skin
The picture above may look familiar. I reviewed Mary Bragg’s last album Sugar here, and I included the song Sweet Skin. Listening to it again, I am struck by the way Bragg combines the funky bass line with the bluesy harp and vocal. It really works.
I don’t have any songs to share from Bragg’s next album at the moment. She is raising money to record it, by way of a Kickstarter campaign. I described how that works last week, but the key point is that Bragg needs to hit her goal by her deadline, or she gets nothing. So I ask anyone who can to please help. Thank you.