Friday, October 30, 2009

Spotify's dark secrets

More of these, in other words. Firstly, though, a complaint. In an update last week Van Morrison's The Complete Bang Sessions was uploaded. What value to this feature is mentioning a selection of Van's work between Them and Astral Weeks? Because, in a bold and magnificent move, the second half is what is commonly referred to as The Contractual Obligation Album. Morrison hated the Bang Records label but still owed them a album session, so, with much fortification, he went into the studio one afternoon and cut 31 improvised songs on a rapidly detuning guitar, including such classics as You Say France and I Whistle, Want A Danish and The Big Royalty Check, plus the smash hit:

But it's not available in the UK. Fools.

What we can recommend is, as described by Broken TV, Bruce Forsyth Presents..., an odd Not Live At The Palladium variety show with full I'm-in-charge Bruce aforefront. Also, these:

Roger Whittaker - Now And Then: 1964-2004
Our early childhood seemed blighted by Roger Whittaker, the sort of post-Val Doonican easy listening singer that you don't get any more now that even opera singers and lively jazz musicians are marketed in the same vein as Timberlake or Spears. Although born in 1936, by the mid-80s he seemed wizened enough to have seen it all and played it traditional folk songs throughout. It seems this collection has partly been re-recorded, as is the wont of veteran acts on budget labels - the production values are the giveaway - but here you'll find his surprise 1986 top ten re-entry with Des O'Connor and three of his other four top 20 singles, all made for Sunday afternoons with a mug of cocoa and the Sunday papers hidden away just in case. Oh, and then there's the whistling. Whittaker's proper skill, if one not often exhibited on his biggest hits, was his virtuoso whistling ability. The Mexican Whistler is highly recommended for the way it heads right around the scale without pausing for proper singing. And yes, there's still an audience - this reached number 21 in 2004 and back in January he came one away from cracking the top ten with a fifty year retrospective.

John Arlott Talks Cricket
An Evening With Johnners
Cricket commentators more than most like a good Evening With or after dinner speaking role, especially as when they can get into the terminology. Recorded in 1982 Arlott, voice rich as gravy browning, gloriously weaving the natural rhythms of speech, seems to have just stuck a C90 in and talked into a mike in his house until it ran out about his memories from earliest exposure to his favourite personalities, reserving understandable pride for CB Fry. He probably should have hidden the clock before about the two minute mark, though. While Arlott's reminiscences are very much on-field, Brian Johnston, 80 when he recorded this in front of a studio audience in 1993, very much utilises his love of music hall jokes and the sort of public school injokery that led to sundry cakes and nicknaming. At 109 minutes he's got plenty of his life experiences to go round, even if you suspect some might be citation required. He doesn't play the 'leg over' incident. No, that's here. (That's from British & American Comedy Legends, which is well worth your time)

Dating And Seduction Secrets: Seduction Guide For Bachelors
Track one is called You Just Had Great Sex - What to Do the Next Morning. Given it's advertising itself as a guide to initial pulling, that's forward. Maybe you should take the cover's advice and buy her some big shoes.

Russ Abbot's Madhouse
Bear in mind how long the Mighty Boosh have been promising an album for. Abbot had been in a signed variety band but only became famous upon stepping up once Freddie Starr had walked out on his ITV series. Such was the way of comedy sketch shows then that every show had its own song based on a style (early rock'n'roll and rockabilly, usually) or existing song - hello to such triumphs of the imagination as Julio Doubleglazias, The Bleach Boys' Upper Norwood Girls and Daftness, for which Abbot seems to invent Billy Bragg's vocal style. There's a lot of musical care and attention been put in. Lyrically, less so.

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