Saturday 21 December 2019

Bless The Day #3: Come On Come Out

‘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

Bless The Day #2: African Sun

‘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

Bless The Day #1: People That's Why

‘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.