‘Righteous Life’ by Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 is one of those special songs, one which is guaranteed to generate a warming inner glow, with its rolling waves of thermal bass, shimmering piano, and the drums propelling things along, while the singers seem to share deep insights, and if the words are pleasantly elusive in terms of meaning they have just the right feel of poetry, politics and spirituality to suit the most reflective of moods.
Saturday, 15 February 2020
A casually caustic Mose Allison singing ‘Stop This World’ is something which seems very much of the moment, what with the way he suggests someone stopping this world, and letting him off, because there’s too many pigs in the same trough, too many buzzards sitting on the fence, and none of it is making any sense. Well, it’s easy to see where he’s coming from, and how it might be applied to the world today.
The song itself is a perfect example of Mose’s lightness of touch, the way he uses his wit as a weapon, with raised eyebrows and a studied nonchalance of manner. Mose and his piano are accompanied here by bluesy horns, which add to the drama. He may be down but he’s still the master of ironic inflections and acute observations delivered in a deadpan and detached wry way, the singer of songs which sting just as much as someone ranting and raving, yelling and hollering.
Saturday, 18 January 2020
‘It’s A Lazy Afternoon’ as sung by Lucy Reed is quite something. Discreetly accompanied by Dick Marx on piano and Johnny Frigo on bass doing the bare minimum beautifully, her precise articulation, the exquisite enunciation, the unforced projection, everything, it’s all so subtly sensual and seductive, the mood is incredibly dreamy, so intimate, so tempting, so indolent. When Lucy suggests spending a lazy afternoon with her, only a fool would hesitate.
She really works wonders with John Latouche’s carefully chosen words, his very vivid imagery, with those beetle bugs zooming, and the tulip trees blooming, the farmer leaving his reaping, the speckled trout no longer leaping, the daisies running riot amid the quiet. You really feel as though you are there, with Lucy offering her hand, and with that look in her eye. There’s absolutely no need to answer is there?
Saturday, 21 December 2019
‘Come On Come Out’ is a song by the band Laugh, and it features a passage that is one of the most gripping in pop music. For, about halfway through, the singer seems at the end of his tether, and snarls in a dangerously low voice, through clenched teeth no doubt, that we know he has no money, that it seems he has too much time, but that doesn’t mean he has time for everybody, and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to live his life. It is compelling, startling stuff.
Then it’s time to lose it altogether, and he barks savagely that there’s too much time, with echoes of the good Captain’s Clear Spot, coincidentally or not, and that there’s too much space, and how everything he does is just one big disgrace, and that everywhere he goes he just gets in a state and then, when he goes to sleep, he has dreams that he hates. It’s a riveting performance, a graphic depiction of how carefree dole dreams may mutate into doldrums and the darkest of days.
Saturday, 23 November 2019
‘African Sun’ is a composition by Abdullah Ibrahim which comes as close as anything in music to defining something spiritual, whether in a jazz context or in a wider one. It is a work which seems to have within it the very warmth of the sun, but also a wonderful mix of pride, defiance, celebration, protest. At just over six minutes in length it seems absurdly short, and leaves the listener wanting to hear it over and over again.
The track opens with a minute-or-so of rippling, rolling wave-like piano playing, with a suggestion of shimmering percussion in the background, then boom, the bass comes in, soon followed by Kippie Moeketsi on the saxophone, soaring like some exotic bird, and all the while Abdullah Ibrahim, or Dollar Brand as he was when he first recorded it, is playing a series of rhythmic piano patterns, often deep and bass heavy. The ripples return at the four-minute mark before a final flourish of rhythmic perfection for the final minute or so, with Kippie on saxophone singing sweetly, and the listener likely to be found dancing on air, dancing wherever they are.
Saturday, 26 October 2019
‘People That’s Why’ by the Idle Few is a perennial Northern Soul favourite, ideal for filling dancefloors and for home listening. It is a song all about universal fellowship, helping those less well-off, materially or spiritually. It remains gloriously uplifting, spirit revivifying. It is a burst of blue-eyed soul, thrilling and arresting right from the opening attack of drums, the heraldic fanfare of brass, and is at times a veritable cavalry charge of a track and at others a beautiful piece of sincere testimony.
Friday, 15 June 2018
YOUR HEART OUT PRESENTS:
DOING THE ROUNDS
and other essays
by Kevin Pearce
with a cover designed by Per-Christian Hille
NEW BOOK OUT NOW IN AN EXCLUSIVE ELECTRONIC EDITION
This is a celebratory collection of writing. The core of the book is a series of linked essays, which are appreciations of the authors Ali Smith, Shena Mackay, Jonathan Coe, and John Murray. These are at times fiercely forensic and at others wildly divergent. And there is a lot of music, politics, and laughter within these pieces.
In addition, there is a loving look at some of Penny Reel’s writings, with particular attention paid to his very personal myths about the origins of modernism among the youth of North and East London. And there is an essay in praise of the photography of George Plemper, with specific reference to some striking shots he took of a young mod couple in Woolwich Dockyard back in 1981.
This collection of essays is the work of Kevin Pearce, who is perhaps best known as the author of Something Beginning With O, which was published by Heavenly in 1993 and has been described by Michael Bracewell as an “excellent survey of art-pop outsiders”. His work also includes film scripts for the London films of Paul Kelly and Saint Etienne, as well as the recent pop culture trilogy which takes in the titles A Moment Worth Waiting For, You Know My Name: The Lovers, The Dreamers and Bobby Scott, and A Cracked Jewel Case.
AVAILABLE NOW WORLDWIDE THROUGH AMAZON for around £2.00 or an equivalent amount where you live.
Free Kindle reading apps for computers, smartphones and tablets are available through Amazon.