Options for Great Party Entertainment

I am hoping to host a great party in the near future, but I need to put together a plan to make sure that the party is truly epic. In my opinion, it is not worth going through all of this trouble, if everyone is not in agreement afterwards, that the party was spectacular. The first thing on my list is to look into party entertainment and see what I can to about that. It is very important to get top quality entertainment for the party, because I want to make a good impression with everyone at the party, and I also want to make sure that nobody gets bored at the party. (more…)

The Voice More Blind Auditions

The judges continue to build their teams on The Voice with more blind auditions. Tonight we saw:-

Sam Ludeman – Who sounded a little like James Blunt. He sang a song called I’m not Over You. He went pretty well, but I thought he lacked power and wow factor. Seal was the first to turn his chair and then Delta GoodremDelta‘s carrot for him to join her team was that she had a lot of hot girlfriends. Sam said he already had one of his own and went with Seal

Viktoria Bolonina – Is a Russian girl who moved to Australia when she was 10. In a kind of cliche she sang the Kate Bush song Babooshka. With her heavy accent Viktoriasounded little like a night club singer from a James Bond film. Only Delta turned her chair, but they were both happy to be working together as Viktoria said she was a huge fan of Deltas and had learned English listening to her songs. Maybe we can expect to hear Ra Ra Rasputin from Viktoria in the next round.

Glenn Whitehall sang the Sam Cooke classic A Change is Gonna Come, an unusual choice for a white man. But he has a nice soulful voice and it was a very good interpretation. Keith Urban turned first then Delta immediately after him. Glenn decided to go with Keith. Delta doesn’t win many when there is any competition.

Diana Rouvas – Sang Beyonce‘s Work it Out. It was a very funky song, but I felt she fell just short of being really good. Keith didn’t and she was on his team

 

Mitchell Thompson – was dressed in trousers rolled up well above his ankles, maybe there was flood in the studios or this is a fashion statement I am not up with. Mitchell is just 18. He sang a song entitled A Team which I was not familiar with. He has a classically trained quality about his voice and I think he has a lot of potential. I would have picked him and Seal did

Esther Welch – came on dressed in such a wide variety of colours it looked like she had been in an explosion in a paint factory. She sang Fell in Love With a Boy, it was a good fun tune and she had quite a range. I liked the low bits. No one turned their chairs but I would have.

Jaz Flowers – Had starred in the stage musical Hairspray, but her career has been in a lull since then. She sang Big White Room a Jessie J song. I was not sure about her voice. I liked it in parts, in other parts I thought she over did it. All the judges but Joelturned their chairs and they had nothing but praise for her. She went with Keith Urban.

Kieran Fraser – is 38 and a karaoke king, having won numerous big competitions. He appeared on stage in trackie daks and a T shirt, an outfit surely more suited to watching the show from your armchair at home. He sang a James Blunt song Same Mistake and sounded more like James Blunt than James Blunt does. But he has a good voice and good control. Delta turned first then Seal at the last second. Joel Madden said exactly what I thought in reference to James Blunt. Kieran joined Seal, another miss for Delta.

Cory Hargreaves – Sang the Queen classic We Are The Champions. The first few lines sounded kind of autobiographical, as he is 36 and has been around the traps, musically speaking. He has a good strong voice, but was just short of great. No one turned and he was very disappointed, as I think he saw this as a last chance.

Jerson Trinidad – is originally from the Philippines. He sang Ordinary People a John Legend song, who I think is a great artist. Jerson has a very good soul voice and impressed me, but Delta was the only one of the judges to turn around. They looked kind of funny when she hugged him and they left the stage together, as he is about half her height, which had not been apparent to me until then.

Michelle Serret-Cursio – Sang the Rihanna song Only Girl in the World. I didn’t like it at all I’m afraid but the judges did, all of them but Delta turned. She went with Joel.

Tomorrow night sees the last of the blind auditions. Joel Madden still needs three more voices to complete his team, Seal and Delta Goodrem both need two and Keith Urbanonly one.

We’ll be back with the final reviews of the first round tomorrow.

Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Ray Davies

I made the mistake of tuning in a little late for Later this week, damn the ABC for moving it to Thursday nights. I must set up my PVR to record it automatically, so I don’t miss any of the show again. I think I probably missed the first two, or three songs. But something very interesting was going on when I got there. Cyndi Lauper was singing a blues song with Jools Holland’s band. I’ve never particularly been a fan of Cyndi Lauper, I mean, boys wanna have fun too. But this was really good. The first tune I saw was called Shattered Dreams and was excellent. The second was Just Your Fool, it featured some great harmonica, which I believe is played by Charlie Musselwhite on the album Memphis Blues. I don’t think it was him playing on Later, if it was I didn’t hear Jools mention his name. Gilson Lavis the drummer from Jools’s band was particularly getting into the tunes.

Based on these couple of tracks the album will be well worth checking out, it features other guest spots, apart from Mr Musselwhite, such as Allen Toussaint and Anne Peebles and includes the Muddy Waters standard Rolling and Tumbling and Robert Johnson’s Crossroads

Ray Davies was up next, he has released an album of his old songs in a new format. He duets with a number of artists on new versions of his hits. He played Days mixed with a lesser known song This Time Tomorrow backed up by Mumford and Sons. He was later interviewed by Jools Holland and he talked about recording with Bruce Springsteen for the album See My Friends, which also features such luminaries as Jackson Browne, Metallica, John Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora

Anthony from Anthony and the Johnsons did a song at the piano, solo, without his Johnsons. This guy always reminds me of Boy George after a bad night, having neglected his make up and thrown on whatever clothes were around. The song Thank You For Your Love was meant to be heartfelt, I guess, but just sounded repetitive to me.

Imelda May was up next with a song called Mayhem. A friend of mine in London put me onto her some time ago and I like her. The band has the Rockabilly look and feel and Mayhem is a really good song. I think it was one of her songs that I missed at the beginning of the show, damn and blast.

John Legend was interviewed by Jools at the piano and came across as very articulate. He talked about Gospel music and sang a little of I Wish I Knew How It Felt To Be Free. Very nice stuff. Britishreaders will recognise the tune from the long running movie review show Film whatever year it was at the time.

Next up the Ting Tings. If anyone in Australia thinks that they don’t know them, just think about the Hyundai ad that has bombarded us for some time and the tune behind it Shut Up and Let Me Go. They played a song called Day to Day which was much more mellow and featured some nice strings.

John Legend performed Love the Way it Should Be, a lovers rock reggae tune. Nice band, nice song, nice voice. What more can I say.

Next up was a band called Chapel Club performing a song called Eastern Girls. The singer looked a lot like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory and has probably as much chance of becoming a rock star. The song was a bit dark and gloomy and not to my taste at all.

Thankfully Imelda May was back to close out the show with Tainted Love. The song made famous by Soft Cell, but was originally sung by Gloria Jones, the woman that drove the car into the tree that killed Marc Bolan of T. Rex. All that aside this version featured some very nice trumpet.

Tune in early for next weeks Later, I know I will. I only make the same mistake twice.

Duane Eddy, Cee Lo Green, Steve Miller Band

A great Episode of Later with Jools Holland was shown on Thursday night on ABC2. I am pretty sure these episodes are new to Australia, but were recorded in 2010 in the U.K. I’m sorry to see the show moved to this late spot (10:45) on a Thursday night, as I used to really enjoy my Friday night fix of this, my favourite, show. Not too worry though, it just means I’ll record it and watch it when I feel like it.

Cee Lo Green kicked off the show. Cee Lo is a short, stocky man, almost square in shape. He was dressed in a striking pink suit and has a soul voice to die for. Most people would have probably first come across Cee Lo as the voice on the Gnarls Barkley hit Crazy. He kicked off the show with his number one hit F*#% You, which he cleaned up for the show and sang Forget You. Great pop/soul tune.

I just discovered a strange version of this song, sung(?) by William Shatner (Capt. Kirk, himself), if you are ready for that level of weirdness you can check it out here:- Fook You Jean-Luc Picard

The Steve Miller Band was up next. They had just released their first studio album in 17 years. Bingo is a blues album and Steve Miller looked and played a little like the recently departed Gary Moore. His line up included a single male backing vocalist, which was an unusual look, but it worked musically. Their first track was called Hey Yeah and had some nice guitar and amusing lyrics. Their second song was called Don’t cha Know, not very imaginitive lyrics, but a good sound and feel.

Janelle Monae sang the song Tightrope, which I have reported here before as one of the best music segments I have ever seen on The Letterman Show. This performance was not quite as good as that one. Jools said that she had been ill and had throat problems. I never noticed any voice issues, but there was a little less energy than the earlier performance. That said, it was still an excellent rendition and the studio audience and other musicians were suitably impressed.

Next Jools interviewed the legendary guitarist Duane Eddy. He was accompanied by Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley from Blur, who are planning a project with him.

Duane Eddy was one of the early innovators of the electrc guitar, with instrumental hits in the late 50′s and early 60′s like “Rebel Rouser”, “Peter Gunn”, “Cannonball”, “Shazam” and “Forty Miles of Bad Road“. He was also immortalised in the Heinz song Just like EddyDuane played some of his signature riffs and some mention was made of his upcoming project.

The Jim Jones Revue was not what I was expecting from the name and my initial look at them. They were pretty much a Rockabilly band with some of their stuff played at breakneck punk speed and attitude. I really liked them.

C.W. Stoneking is an Australian artist I had not come across before. He dressed like a 1920′s trad jazz man, played the banjo and his band featured a Tuba and a drummer wearing a Bass Drum on his chest, marching band style. He sang a little like Tom Waitsand his style reminded me of Waits too.

Janelle Monae‘s second song was called Faster and again featured a lot of dancing and movement from both Janelle and her band. It would be interesting to see if they kept that up for a whole gig, it would be like running a marathon.

Cee Lo Green was interviewed by Jools at the Piano and he said his earliest influence was Jackie Wilson. They did a few lines of Lonely Teardrops and Cee Lo basically did a note perfect impersonation of Jackie Wilson.

Later would not be Later without a bit of World Music and next up was Cheikh Lo, who sang a nice slow tempo song in his native Senegalese (I assume, I did not recognise the language)

Cee Lo Green followed up with Old Fashioned which was an old fashioned, but very nice soul tune. It reminded me a little of Al Green, but was really all his own. Jools said afterwards “that man could sing anything” and he was right.

Jools then inerviewed Steve Miller, who said the reason he had not made an album for 17 years was because his greatest hits had sold well enough to keep him going. He talked about playing with Lightning Hopkins and T Bone Walker teaching him to play the guitar behind his head and do the splits when he was 9.

For C.W. Stoneking‘s second song Jungle Lullaby the tuba had been replaced by an upright bass and he played a Dobro. It reminded me even more of Tom Waits, but was also true to a blues song of the 20′s or 30′s and had some very nice horns.

Steve Miller closed out a great show with his 1970′s hit Abracadabra. How this show can be tucked away in the schedules I’ll never know, but as long as they keep airing it I’ll be happy.

Tom Jones, Vampire Weekend, Corrine Bailey Rae

Vampire Weekend were first cab off the rank, with quite a cheery pop tune. It was not what I expected, maybe Vampires aren’t as dark and moody as they used to be. It was an OK tune, but may be better with a few more listens. Their second tune White Sky, was a weird poppy song. The guitarist wore a body warmer, must have been cold in the studio. They finished the show with a song called Cousins. They definitely saved the best for last. It was a very rhythmic rocker, much more fun than the first two.

Corrine Bailey Rae was up next, also with a cheery pop tune called Paris Nights / New York Mornings it had a slow section. She was playing a white Danelectric guitar. Quite a striking look. Later she sang Closer more of a soulful ballad, the stuff she does so well. A very good late night kind of tune.

Metric were next with Gimme Sympathy, a slow, dark tune with a bit of substance, but they lined up like a pop band on a chat show. I quite liked it though. Their second song was Sick Muse. It had a big rock intro. It could have done without the keyboard parts. It was a bit of a reserved rocker, that never really cut loose. But it has potential to be a good live tune. The crowd liked it.

Tom Jones had a short interview with Jools. Nothing much was really said, something about the naming of his album Praise and BlameJools presented Tom with a Birthday cake for his 70th. He said he could blow out the candles if he wanted to, but they employed someone to do that. He sang with Jools at the piano Strange Things Happen Every Day. It was a great gospel boogie song, Tom was in great voice. What Good Am Iwas a slow dark blues, The drummer played with timpani beaters. The backing band was minimal, but Tom sings better than anyone else on the show, although he can give them at least 40 years. His last song was Burning Hell with just him, the slide guitar and drums. It was maybe not quite as good as the version on Letterman that I included here, but still great.

MGMT played Flash Delirium it was a good tune with strange vocals and it was hard to categorise. It was slightly spacey in a`David Bowie sort of style. Their second tune was also interesting, with a nice conga break. Some of the vocals reminded me of Steve Howeand Yes.

Jools interviewed Andy Serkis, most famous for playing Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films. He was promoting a film called Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll that he played Ian Dury in . He was very enthusiastic. They showed a clip, he sang with the real Blockheads. He said Ian Dury‘s family were involved in the making of the film and he had become friends with Chaz Jankel from the Blockheads and played Jazz saxophone with him. I hope it gets released here in Australia.

Crystal Castles played Celestica another spacey type tune. It had a sort of European/German feel. It didn’t really appeal to me, although the singer was cute in a heavy make up, weird sort of way.

Jools interviewed Bob Harris, he was the presenter of The Old Grey Whistle Test. A 1970′s music show that was very big to people of my and Jools’s age. It was an album rock show, that just about everyone appeared on. They showed a clip of Little Featplaying Rock n Roll Doctor with Lowell GeorgeBob is probably a better presenter than Jools (but I doubt that he plays piano as well) so he took over the interview.

This was the last of the current series of Later, next week it’s replaced by a concert from Blur Live at Hyde Park

Alicia Keys, Macy Gray, White Rabbits, Jeff Beck

Alicia Keys kicked off the show with Empire State of Mind Part 2, a familiar radio tune from her 2009 album The Element of Freedom. She sung well, part of the time standing at the mike and part sitting at the piano. She looked good too in a little black, shiny, dress.

Yeasayer followed with a song called Ambling Alp. It featured a lot of keyboards and percussion, and the presentation reminded me of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. It was very like an 80′s pop tune, I didn’t like it myself.

Macy Gray began with Lately from her Sellout album. This song had a nice bass line with her familiar croaky vocals. It’s a nice mid-tempo soul, dance tune and has a good vocal break at the end.

Jeff Beck was interviewed by Jools. He revealed that he made a guitar for himself at 7 and he tried violin, cello and piano before he took up guitar. Jools asked about his recent gigs with Eric Clapton and Jeff said he walked in on part of one of Clapton‘s interviews where he said he hated him. I’m sure that would have been just a joke, or an envy statement. I recently saw some film of Beck playing at one of Clapton‘s Crossroadsshows in Chicago and he was awesome.

White Rabbits were next with a song called Percussion Gun a good tune featuring drums and bass. I liked it.

Jeff Beck played the standard Over the Rainbow backed with some strings and did lots of tremolo and volume fiddling. It was OK, but not really what I was hoping for. He does look in incredibly good nick for 66.

Macy Gray sang Kissed It also from her new album. This was a little more up tempo and another good fun tune. The girls of the Creole Choir of Cuba could be seen clapping along in the background and one of the Yeasayers drumming along, very good tune.

Alicia Keys was back with Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart. It had a synthesizer start. It wasn’t a bad soul song, but a bit over the top. She is prone to over dramatise.

Jools interviewed Macy Gray. She explained the title of her album Sellout was due to the fact she started out to make a commercial album, but ended up doing her own thing. Jools then asked what she would feed him if he showed up for dinner. I don’t know why, maybe he was hungry.

Next up was Desandann Creole Choir of Cuba with Chen Nan Ren. This was a very much more African sound than I expected and their dress was too. They featured a male lead, all the others were women and they all threw everyting into the performance, both vocally and in their dancing. It was very good, if you want to read more about them checkout a very good article on Repeating Islands. or World Music Central.

White Rabbits followed with They Done Wrong / We Done Wrong. This was  another percussive track with a good vocal, but not as good as their first song.

Alicia Keys was interviewed by Jools Holland and discussed her very diverse musical influences and he asked the dinner question again. He should have ate before the show.

Macy Gray‘s last song was  Beauty in the World. It was another good swing along tune.  I think the Sellout album will be well worth checking out.

Alicia Keys finished the show with the hit No One another familiar radio tune. She started singing solo at the piano and built the song. She was slightly in danger of building it too far.

All in all a pretty good show. Next Friday Vampire Weekend, Crystal Castles, MGMT, Metric, Tom Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae, Andy Serkis, Bob Harris. I’ll be watching, specifically for Corinne Bailey Rae and Tom Jones.

Kelis, The National, Crowded House

My love affair with the show is fading a little over the last couple of weeks. I still love the format and the fact that it is the only real live music show on TV, but the music itself has not been so inspiring in this show and the last.

Kelis started the show with a song called Acapella, but it was not an acapella (song without musical instrument backing). It was a kind of electronic funk, but not really very funky either, something like a slowed down Donna SummersKelis dressed weird too, she looked like she was wearing half of a bulls head. She was interviewed by Jools and had taken off her horns and replaced them with a statue of liberty type crown. Joolsshowed a 10 year old clip of her on the show singing with two other women, this was much better than her first song. She then sang the Eurythmics Sweet Dreamsaccompanied by Jools on the piano. He jazzed it up a bit and it was pretty good, but brief. She came back later to sing a song called The 4th of July (fireworks) which started with that all too familiar doof doof beat. It was not a bad vocal, she retained her crown, but to me it is just disposable music with repetitive lyrics.

Second up was Crowded House with a song called Saturday Sun. It started with Neil Finn‘s voice going through some treatment, via a keyboard he was playing. But after that reverted to a regular type Crowded House song and not a bad one. The drummer was very busy, doing far more than keeping time.

The National followed playing Bloodbuzz Ohio. The vocals were very Leonard Cohenlike, but very quiet, in fact the whole sound seemed busy but restrained.

Jools then interviewed Sam Taylor Wood and Aaron Johnson the director and star of a film called Nowhere Boy, the story of John Lennon’s youth. They showed a clip of Johnbuying a guitar and exchanging sarcasms with his Auntie Mimi. In the clip John says “Look it’s Rock and Roll, it’s only 3 chords, it’s easy”. Jools corrected them after the clip, saying The Beatles initially only knew 2 chords E and A and they went to see a bloke in Bootle who taught them B7. Yoko Ono has apparently enthused about the film and it looks worth seeing to me.

LCD Sound System were up next singing Drunk Girls. It’s a good title and was good driving rocker, it reminded me a little of Roxy Music.

Tracey Thorne from Everything But the Girl played piano and sang a slow and mournful song called Oh, the Divorces. This had two lines in it that really amused me “He was a charmer, I wish him bad karma”. Apart from that, it was all a bit depressing really.

As she finished the familiar intro to Don’t Dream It’s Over from Crowded House came in. This is a classic song in it’s own right, but it also reminds me of The Beatles song Shes Leaving Home. This performance felt a bit restrained to me, but the studio audience loved it.

The Nationals were back with Anyones Ghost. The lead singer sang quite different to their first tune. It was a little louder, but just an OK song, that’s all

Next up was Pete Molinari who played guitar and sang Streetcar Named Desire this was a bit of a Rock and Roll, 50′s style boogie. Jools sat in with the band and I think it was Gilson Lavis from Squeeze and Jools Holland’s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra on drums. Pete Molinari sang a bit flat, but I liked it.

LCD Sound System returned with I Can Change. This featured some falsetto vocals it was kind of keyboard bound, but I liked it. This song featured the second amusing lyric of the night “Love is a curse, shoved in a hearse”. What the? Everybody in the band had a drumstick, or two and 2 or 3 of them looked like they had no idea what to do with it. It went on a bit, at least a minute longer that it should have been.

Crowded House‘s final song was called Amsterdam. It was a nice slower story tune. Neilplayed a nice lead break. Another good typical Crowded House tune.

The Nationals wound up the show with Terrible Love. The vocals were back to being too quiet. The song had a slow start then a big build, with lots of nautical references.

So all in all it wasn’t a bad show, but just lacked anything really outstanding. Let’s hope for more next week when they feature Alicia Keys, Jeff Beck, Macy Gray, The Creole Choir Of Cuba, Yeasayer, White Rabbits. At least four of them sound promising to me.

 

Gorillaz, Diane Birch, Bobby McFerrin

The show started with Gorillaz playing a tune called StyloDamon Albarn sang lead from the piano facing away from the audience. The band was fronted by two black guys that I never recognized, until their vocals came in, it was none other than Bobby Womackwho is still in good voice. Mos Def rapped over a good funk beat. On their second song, On Melancholy HillDamon Albarn sang from upfront of his all star band, featuring Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of the Clash on Guitar and Bass. Jools interviewed Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, the animator for the Gorillaz. Strangely the animation, that was apparently appearing on screens above the band, was not being shown on television, until after the interview. It then featured heavily, maybe the director needed a reminder. Their third song was a duet between Albarn and Little Dragon called To Binge and featured numerous Japanese beer bottles in the graphics.

The Drive by Truckers played a rock song with some nice slide guitar. It featured some country type vocals that reminded me of Tom Petty when he sings in that style. Their second song was a heavier/grungy rock number featuring a different singer, that this time made me think of Neil Young.

Laura Marlin sang Devils Spoke a folky rock tune with a bluesy feel. Her Bass player used a violin bow on an electric bass for an interesting effect. Her second song, Good Bye Old England Covered in Snow, she played solo on acoustic guitar, finger style. It was a nice Joni Mitchell type contemplative tune. Her last song Rambling Man was more serious young woman music.

Jools interviewed Bobby WomackBobby was kind of evasive and gave some vague answers about spirituality, then rushed into If You Don’t Want My Love on acoustic guitar with Jools playing some nice piano fills. Bobby said this song was not a hit, but it has been covered by numerous people, from the Four Tops to Ron WoodBobby still has the most soulful voice and I am sure if you looked up Soul in the dictionary there would be a picture of him there. .

Diane Birch played Valentino on piano, an up beat funky tune that also had country feel. There was a nice trumpet break. She has a good vocal range and huge saucer like eyes. Her second song was called Fools and was very Carol King like, but I think Diane is a better singer than the legendary songwriter.

Bobby McFerrin played the old song Smile, that I believe was written by the silent film star Charlie Chaplin and was Michael Jackson‘s favorite song. This was kind of an instrumental on voice. He never actually sang the lyrics and had 2 or 3 things happening at once. It must require an amazing amount of practice and training to achieve these skills. He keeps time by beating his chest, which also changes the tones. He got a big reaction from the crowd. This really took me back, because in the 80’s Bobby Womack and Bobby McFerrin were two of my favorite artists. In fact I remember one Bobby McFerringig as one of the best I have ever been to and it featured no instruments all night. The support act was a local all girl acapella group called the Mint Juleps. Then Bobby came on with no supporting musicians, or instruments. But he called up people from the audience to rap and break dance with him. At the end he called back the Mint Juleps to join him and two of the singers from the Flying Pickets, who had a huge acapella hit in the UK with Yazzoo’s Only You, were in the audience and they joined him too. What a night!

Mos Def did a solo spot with a tune called Quiet dog bite hard. It sounded a lot like a Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five track. Mos Def played drums and rapped at the same time, with only a bass and some decks spinning for backing.

Gorillaz closed out the show with a song called Superfast Jellyfish, with De la Soul and Gruff Rhys from the Super Furry Animals rapping.

The next edition of Later will be on the 12th November on ABC2 at 10:20PM featuring Hole, Joanna Newsom, Mumford and Sons, Angelique Kidjo, Lissie, Ian Hunter andThe Rant Band

Kate Nash, Band of Horses, Plan B, Spacial AKA

This weeks Later started with Kate Nash singing a song called Do-Wah-Do. She played piano and sang in a strong cockney accent very reminiscent of Lilly Allen. The Lyrics to her songs were very similar to Lilly Allen’s too, domestic issues, kitchen sink dramas etc. Kate’s songs are far more musically sophisticated and I am sure she is a more competent musician, she played guitar too, but I don’t feel the world needs another Lilly Allen. Don’t get me wrong I’ve got nothing against a cockney accent, I’ve got one of my own, but it just does not seem appropriate for music in most cases. I am reminded of the story of the Small Faces hit Lazy Sunday AfternoonSteve Marriot the lead singer, who was from the heart of London’s East End and spoke with a strong cockney accent, was asked by Alan Clarke of The Hollies why he never sang in his own accent. So they wrote and recorded Lazy Sunday Afternoon. It was meant to be a novelty album track, but the record company chose to release it as a single. Although it was a big success, the band were never happy about it, as they wanted to be taken more seriously and Marriot chose never to emphasise his own dialect in music again, as far as I am aware.

Band of Horses played three songs ComplimentsFactory and North West Apartment. These were all good songs and well played. Quite diverse, there was an up tempo pop tune, a slower more elaborate song with strings and horns and a good rocking tune, in that order. Apparently the band was stranded in London unable to get back to their native Seattle because of the Icelandic volcano that caused the cancellation of all flights in Europe earlier this year. But this meant they booked their spot on the show and we got to see them. I would have liked to have included a clip of NW Apartment, the rocker, but I couldn’t find one I was happy with, so here’s the orchestrated Factory

Jerry Dammers Spacial AKA Orchestra followed. Now musically they were very interesting, if a little weird. The band were all dressed in costumes from around the world, Egyptian, Chinese, Indian African etc. many of them wearing masks. Jerry Dammers was however dressed like he lived on the streets, with scruffy hair, shaggy beard, no front teeth and many, many dinners heavier than his Rude Boy days with the Specials. Their first tune was kind of big band modern Jazz, their second was sung by a girl in a mask and the whole look reminded me of the party scenes from Eyes Wide Shut, except with more clothes. They finished up with a version of the Specials Ghost Town which they called Ghost PlanetDammers did not sing this either, but a genuine reggae man did and was pretty good, although the tune was even more of a dirge than the original. Jools Holland interviewed Dammers and asked about the recent Specials reunion, to which he was not invited, I think I understand why. He said just because they couldn’t do what he did it didn’t mean he couldn’t do what they do. Not a good look airing your grievances in public.

Benjamin Paul Ballance-Drew is Plan B and sometimes known as Ben Drew. He appeared immediately after the Jerry Dammers band and funnily enough looked more like Jerry Dammers in his Specials days than Jerry Dammers did. He sang a nice soul/funk tune, but rapped in a Jamaican accent. He was later interviewed by Jools and explained how he learned song writing from Smokey Robinson’s Tracks of My Tears. When he sang his second song Writings on the Wall, a break up song, you could hear the Smokey influence.

There was a brief interview with Jack Bruce at the piano. He was there to promote his new book and talked about Blues in London in the early 60’s, mentioning pioneers he played with such as Cyril Davies, Alexis Korner, Charlie Watts and Ginger Baker. He also talked about how he wrote Sunshine of your Love, the opening line “it’s getting near dawn” being something his lyricist Pete Brown said after they had been up all night. Interestingly, Bruce said he would consider another Cream reunion, where as Ginger Baker said never again, when he was asked on an earlier show. Jack does seem to be in better nick health wise, so maybe that’s why.

Melody Gardot is a Jazz singer, who has been through life’s wringer. The victim of a serious road accident at 19 she suffered multiple head injuries and pelvic fractures. Her music served as a therapy for her and brought her to where she is today. Having recorded two albums she still finds touring difficult. She appeared sitting on a stool with a guitar, showing an acre of thigh (very nice legs). Her hair is blond, she wore huge dark glasses and looked like a 60’s Italian film star. Her first song Baby I’m a Fool was less Jazzy than her normal fare. The second song, Who Will Comfort Me? was more like a Jazz Gospeland featured scat singing, a nice Jazz cello solo, an Acappella break and a sing along. I enjoyed both her performances, legs and all. See what you think.

Next weeks Later, 10:20 on ABC2, features Gorillaz, Drive-By Truckers, Laura Marlingand more (the ABC site somehow dropped off the others)

Paul Rodgers, Paul Weller, Marina & The Diamonds

Later with Jools Holland returned to ABC2 on Friday 22nd October. It was a good show with some interesting music, but not one of the very best. The show kicked off with Paul Weller. He did three new songs which were all good, although I thought that in some parts they could have done with a better singer than him. His second song Aim High had a big orchestrated sound, with strings etc. and reminded me in parts of the Theme from Shaftby Issac Hayes. His last song Find the Torch Burn the Plans also had a very familiar feel to it, but I can’t identify what it reminds me of . Paul and one of his keyboard players were sporting some interesting 60’s/70’s influenced haircuts, that looked like they were cut with a knife and fork.

Next up were Hot Chip, who also played three songs. Which was a pity, as they didn’t really appeal to me. The guy that did most of the singing reminded me of Jimmy Sommerville from Bronski Beat and The Communards, but without any of the disco fun.

Gogol Bordello followed. Now this was a really fun band to watch. Their performance was kind of ramshackle and hectic and some of the singing left a little to be desired, but I really enjoyed them. They called it rock and roll and apparently have members from various countries, but it sounded like Russian Gypsy music to me. They went full pelt at both of their songs. I would imagine a whole gig would probably kill you, or them.

Marina of Marina and the Diamonds, reminded me a little of Kate Bush. It just seemed to be one of those shows where everything reminded me of something else. She had very good vocal control and the songs were interesting. I think I might need to have a few more listens to really appreciate her.

I was looking forward to Paul Rogers most of all. He is one of my old heroes and I loved Free and saw Bad Company live at least twice. But there just was not enough of him. He had a short interview with Jools and performed the Ray Charles song Crying Time with Jools at the piano. It was good but not earth shattering.

The Villagers was a one man band, Connor O’Brien, who performed heartfelt songs on an acoustic guitar, that seemed to be held together with gaffa tape. Once again he made me think of someone else. His vibrato on his first song put me in mind of Fergal Sharkey, although nowhere near as annoying.

The Polar Bears are a band that I would like to see more of. Their drummer had a huge mop of, well mop like, hair. They performed a nice instrumental with a really good groove and nice saxophone breaks.

This clip is not from Later but it is the tune they performed and worth a look.

This Friday on Later, Kate Nash, Band of Horses, Jerry Dammers’ Spatial A.K.A. Orchestra, Plan B, Melody Gardot and Jack Bruce. Should be well worth tuning in for.

By Max Power

Sam Moore and David Sanborn Live on David Letterman

OK, I mentioned in my post on Janelle Monáe that it was one of the best performances I have ever seen on Letterman and I stand by that. But that made me think of this one. This is probably my all time favourite musical piece from the show. For anyone that does not know, Sam Moore is from the legendary soul duo Sam and Dave famous for the hits Hold on I’m comin’You don’t know like I know and Soul Man. To name but three. Despite his age Sam shows no sign of having lost it. David Sanborn is the legendary jazz saxophonist who, apart from his own albums, has played with everyone and I do mean everyone. If you don’t believe me check out his credits on www.allmusic.com

OK here it is, let me know what you think, as long as you agree with me.

Later… With Jools Holland,

A Journey Through American Music,

Planet Rock Profiles

A great nights music on ABC2 tonight. It started with one of my favourite shows Later with Jools Holland. Tonight’s show started with the fabulous, soulful and funky Joss Stone. Truly an old soul in a young body. Strangely that young body was dressed in a pair of curtains and she had another curtain on her mike stand, each to their own I suppose. Fashion sense apart, Joss could not be faulted. She did two superb songs of her own and a great rendition of Ray Charles “I believe to my soul” with Jools at the piano. Jools’piano playing was equally as impressive.

Joss was followed by Alice in Chains. So let’s get the negative bits out at once. I didn’t enjoy Alice in Chains, too heavy a sound for my tastes, which was unfortunate, as they played three songs to everyone else’s one or two. One of them, surprisingly was acoustic, but this still didn’t do much for me. The other act on tonight that I wasn’t too keen on was Delphin. Again capable and probably good in their genre, but electronic music also has little appeal to me.

OK that over with, everything else was well worth tuning in for. Ricky Lee Jonesperformed an acoustic song apparently written by her father, nice song and featured some nice upright bass. Martha Wainwright performed an animated version of an Edith Piafsong. There was some very carefully pronounced French lyrics, so much so that even I was able to understand some of them. The only thing that was a little distracting is that she was obviously reading the lyrics from a music stand, or autocue, you just don’t often see that in modern music.

An act that I had not heard of before was Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, these guys were really good, very funky. Their first song owed a lot to James Brown and made me feel like getting up off that thang. The second song was a bit too short, but as they say always leave them wanting more. This video can take a while to load and the song starts a bit slow, but play it loud, play it proud and get your funk on. Two things to notice here, first is Joss Stone getting on down with her bad self in the background and second, check out the trumpet player, he bears a remarkable resemblance to the trumpet player in Joss’s band. It’s not the same guy, but it could be him in disguise.

A big surprise of the night was Steve Martin and The Steepcanyon Rangers. I’ve seen Steve Martin play banjo before a few times and although I’ve been impressed with the talent and ability, the music itself was not really appealing, as I’m not a huge fan of country music. But I guess you would call what he did tonight Bluegrass and I enjoyed both tunes. The first was was an instrumental featuring two banjos, a violin, a mandolin, a guitar and a double bass. The second was like a 1940′s style country song with some comic lyrics. It reminded me a little of the The Soggy Bottom Boys from the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Which is a good thing

The night was rounded off with A Journey Through American Music – Blues Beginnings introduced by Morgan Freeman, followed by Planet Rock Profiles which featured the New York band The Bravery. More on those two programmes very soon.

OK the following has nothing to do with Later with Jools Holland or even anything that was on TV on Friday night. I just stumbled across them when I was looking for video clips and I liked them, I hope you do too.

Martha Wainwright and Charlotte Church, from a British TV special, I believe, performing the Carol King classic Will you still love me tomorrow?

Another sensational performance from Joss Stone and the sensational legs deserve a show of their very own. Here she sings the Dusty Springfield hit Son of a Preacher Manfrom the 60′s and gives it everything that Dusty did back then.

Deals of the day on recordings for Joss Stone, Martha Wainwright, Ricky Lee Jones and Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears