Speaking of Eurovision…

May 31, 2010

The following song was The Netherlands entry in this year’s Eurovision held over the weekend. I was saddened when it didn’t make it past the second semi-final. (What were you thinking, Eurovision people?)

The song is called “Ik Ben Verliefd (Sha-La-Lie)”. It was written by Pierre Kartner, the chap who wrote the music for The Smurfs.

“Ik Ben Verliefd (Sha-La-Lie)” reminds me of ABBA at their cheesiest, and it reminds me of why Eurovision is a whole heap o’ fun:

The above helps to explain why I love ABBA. It also explains why I love The Smurfs.

Pierre Kartner as Father Abraham:

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Song of the day: The Master’s Apprentices – "Living In A Child’s Dream"

May 31, 2010

Here are the The Master’s Apprentices, one of Australia’s heaviest 60’s rock bands, going all hippy in the late 60’s (didn’t everyone?) with a trippin’-on-childhood song:

The Master’s Apprentices – “Living In A Child’s Dream” (1967)

Link

A lot of rock bands went hippy in the late 60’s and The Master’s Apprentices were no exception, no doubt influenced by their time spent in England recording their first album whilst soaking up the local atmosphere (“Look! There’s John and Paul! There’s Mick! There’s Keith! Wow!” etc) and listening to every single British band going hippy. Speaking of influences, “Living In A Child’s Dream” reminds me of The Kinks when they went hippy. “Living In A Child’s Dream” probably doesn’t sound like The Kinks (you may be able to discern other influences), but that’s who I think of whenever I listen to the Apprentices’ ode to trippin’ out on acid and imaging you’re a kiddy playing with imaginary psychedelic toys.

By the way, I have a grammatical admendment to make:

In my previous post about the band, I called them “Master’s Apprentices” (no “The”) because that’s how they were billed on their 1970 album, Masterpiece. However, their self-titled debut album from 1967 looks like this:

Despite the blinding clarity of that cover, on subsequent single and album releases the band (or their record company, or their management, or their publicists, or someone) called them “Master’s Apprentices” or “Masters Apprentices” (without the apostrophe) or “The Masters Apprentices” (still without the apostrophe). Boy, rock music history can be confusing.

Despite the frequent slight but annoying (to me) name changes, I’m going with “The Master’s Apprentices”. It makes the most sense to me, so I’m sticking with it. That’s the name I’ll be using from now on if I post another one of their songs. And anyone who wants to “correct” me about that spelling will find themselves corresponding with an argumentative Peter. Full stop. (Or, as Americans say: Period.)

Official website (where they call themselves “Masters Apprentices” – why?)


Song of the day: Charlotte Hatherley – "Kim Wilde"

May 30, 2010

Do you have an album that you treasure and think is the bee’s knees, but whenever you mention it to other people they give you a puzzled look and say “Who’s that? Never heard of ’em. Are they any good?” which leaves you crestfallen, as you wonder how on Earth it could be possible for other people not to know about such a fabulous album?

I’m sure you have plenty of them, all holding a special place in your heart (or, if you don’t have a heart, somewhere else). One of mine is English musician Charlotte Hatherley‘s debut album from 2004, Grey Will Fade. I love it, and if I was the kind of person who makes lists I’d probably put it in my Top 20 of all-time favourite power pop albums.

But back to Grey Will Fade. Here’s the opening track, “Kim Wilde”. For the most effective listening experience, may I suggest that before you press “play” please find your volume control and move it to the maximum position. Thank you. Now you can press “play”:

Charlotte Hatherley – “Kim Wilde” (2004)

Link

Here’s another track:

Charlotte Hatherley – “Summer” (2004)

Link

I love this album.

Official website
MySpace
Facebook


Song of the day: Flying Circus – "La La"

May 29, 2010

Australian band Flying Circus‘s first three singles were excellent pieces of bubblegum – sweet and chewy – until the band decided they wanted to be taken seriously by renaming themselves The Flying Circus and morphing into an earnest country-rock outfit that attempted to make worthy political and universal statements. (Why, Flying Circus? Why?)

I’ve already played you their first single (the splendid “Hayride”), so here’s their second:

Flying Circus – “La La” (1969)

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And here’s their third:

Flying Circus – “Run, Run, Run” (1969)

Link

And so concludes Flying Circus’s contribution to the world of bubblegum.

If you really want to hear what Flying Circus – sorry, The Flying Circus – ended up sounding like after abandoning bubblegum (take it from me: you don’t), just let me know (really: don’t) and I’ll play you some watered-down country-rock.

Incidentally, Milesago has a comprehensive history of the band if you want to know more about them.


Frank’s Faves on Fridays

May 28, 2010

Bubblegum Edition!

The Montanas – “You’ve Got To Be Loved” (1968)

Link

I didn’t think much of this, either – but I did like the wrong note from the bass player at 0:53. (Yay, another bass mistake!) But I preferred it to The Montanas’ “You Gotta Be Loved” which did nothing for me (see above). I like the touches of soul in “Ain’t Gonna Lie”. And I like how Wikipedia lists him as “Keith (singer)“.

Crazy Elephant – “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'” (1969)

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I’m pretty familiar with this (it’s on a bubblegum compilation I have). It’s Booker T. and The M.G.’s meets The Archies. I’ve always thought of this song as a not-too-distant cousin of ZZ Top‘s “Gimme All Your Lovin’“.

The Yellow Balloon – “Yellow Balloon (1967)

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Now you’re talkin’! I’ve never heard this before, but when it was playing my jaw dropped at how much The Beach Boys are all over the song. Mighty good.

The Cuff Links – “Tracy” (1969)

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Believe it or not, this song was also suggested by regular commenter Col. (Col also helped figure out the lyrics of a weird bubblegum song some time ago.) “Tracy” is a perfect example of bubblegum, as it has all the necessary ingredients:

  1. Ultra-catchy tunes (love those ba-ba-ba-ba’s);
  2. Wonderfully brainless lyrics (“Tracy, you’re gonna be / happy with me / I’ll build a world around you” – yeah!);
  3. It sounds like Tony Burrows singing (which, for me, automatically gives it a stamp of approval);
  4. And there’s not a bad vibe in sight (there’s nothing quite as cheerful as a bubblegum song).

This would be my pick of this week’s suggestions – with “Yellow Balloon” coming a close second.


Song of the day: Rick Springfield – "What’s Victoria’s Secret?"

May 28, 2010

Here’s everyone’s favourite singing-and-guitar-playing-ex-TV-doctor with “Jessie’s Girl Revisited” his 2008* single that may or may not be about a lady and her undergarments:

Rick Springfield – “What’s Victoria’s Secret?” (2008)

Link

As a bonus – and for reference – here’s an earlier song of Rick’s that was possibly the inspiration for the newer song:

Rick Springfield – “Jessie’s Girl” (1981)

Link

Great song.

(*As opposed to his 2,008th single.)

Official website
Rick Springfield on MySpace
Rick Springfield on Facebook


Song of the day: Stuart Smith – "Better Off In Front"

May 27, 2010

An Australian chap by the name of Stuart Smith emailed me a couple of days ago and asked if I could give his song a bit of a plug. Now, I’m happy to give anyone’s song a plug (the more the merrier’s my motto), so…

Here’s an Australian chap by the name of Stuart Smith (I think I’ve already said that) with “Better Off In Front”:

Stuart Smith – “Better Off In Front” (2010)

Link

Stuart has embarked on a project in which he says:

“I’m … 3 months in to a ‘single per month’ project which will eventually turn into a custom-built album.”

“Better Off In Front” is Stuart’s song for the month of May. As for the project itself, I was intrigued that Stuart used the word “eventually” – it makes me wonder if he’ll just keep going and going, year in year out, and end up making the longest album in the history of music. (For example, in five years Stuart releases his 60-track album.)

Although Stuart is the only Australian artist I know of to engage in this song-a-month caper, I think there’s a power pop artist in the US who’s doing something similar. I’ve forgotten who it is (or I could just be making it up, being the result of a faulty imagination), but I’m fairly sure that there’s some American dude who’s set himself the challenge of releasing a song a week – possibly until someone tells him to stop. Unless you’re Ryan Adams, I don’t quite know why you’d want to do that.

Anyway, Stuart’s much more realistic goal of one song per month is something I can cope with, although I guess it’s more important that Stuart can cope with it. (He’ll have to write and record the songs – all I have to do is listen to them.)

By the way, this is a message specifically for Stuart:

Hey, Stuart, have you thought about changing your name to something more exotic? I don’t know exactly how much the “Stuart Smith” moniker would get you noticed in the music biz. If you do think about changing your name, how about changing it to something like Lombardo De Terrapin III, or maybe Senegal Zimpopo, or how about Righteous E. Slinky? Alternatively, if you want to give off a blues vibe you might want to consider calling yourself Trainwreck Jenkins, or Whistlin’ Bob Stomper, or perhaps Misery McPherson and the Lowdowners. Feel free to email me for more potential rock star names.

And a suggestion for you, too:

Hey, Stuart, you mentioned in your email that you’re a powerpop/rock artist. In that case, you might want to get a photo of yourself holding an electric guitar, not an acoustic. An artist holding an acoustic guitar in a photo screams out “singer-songwriter” (or, worse, “country singer-songwriter”). If you want to appeal to the power pop crowd, make it an electric guitar. And if you really want to appeal to the power pop crowd, make sure it’s a 12-string electric guitar:

Now, that says power pop.

Stuart Smith’s Lombardo De Terrapin III’s blog