The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

Archive for the 'Music' Category

25 August
Comments Off on Lucy Spraggan Rocks The X Factor By Being So Not X Factor…

Lucy Spraggan Rocks The X Factor By Being So Not X Factor…

20 year old Lucy Spraggan has just rocked the UK X Factor by being absolutely totally unarguably NOT X Factor with her own song “Last Night” (#beerfear)….quirky, humourous and idosyncratic, all about waking up the morning after a lively night out and just wondering what the hell you did….

“Last night I told you I loved you – woke up and blamed it on the vodka…”

X Factor – don’t do as you did to Janet Devlin last year and try to squash her individuality

Please please please do not make her sing Celine Dion/Madonna/Karaoke….in fact just get her off the whole charade and someone sign her up NOW……

UPDATE…less than 24 hours after she played it on the audition her song is number 5 in the UK download chat..

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02 July
Comments Off on Almost Fifty Years Ago – But These Songs Still Sound Good To This Old Man…..

Almost Fifty Years Ago – But These Songs Still Sound Good To This Old Man…..

The big hits of 1963….

Difficult to believe that all these came out almost half a century ago (when I had just started out as a teacher) but each of them still gives me a buzz today, not just as a stroll down memory lane but because they are also still damn good songs.

The Exciters were one hit wonders but what a hit! I defy anyone not to move on this one….

The Drifters, of course , were far from one hit wonders with a whole stream of great songs throughout the 60s. They cornered the market in slightly slower paced, almost wistful numbers…..songs to sing after you had come home from partying with the Exciters…

Roy Orbison was unique – a great songwriter and that soaring falsetto. He wrote about heartache and sad times, reflective numbers that mirrored the ups and downs of life..with always just a touch of angst…

But 1963 was also the year the Beach Boys burst onto the scene, making me wish I could leave my South London suburb and hit the beaches in California and impress those bikini clad golden tanned girls as I efforlessly rode the waves…in my imagination…

Then Ray Charles came out with this self mocking anthem celebrating the inevitable outcome of spending all that money on surfing gear and ending up broke…

But then just one look at the Ronettes with their big hair, heavy eyeliner and those swinging hips in tight dresses and you were ready to spend all the money you didn’t have just to catch their eye…even though you knew your mother wouldn’t approve…..

Happy days when great music helped to spin our dreams in those brief moments away from the real world of school, college or work…..and they still fire the imagination of this senior citizen…..

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03 June
Comments Off on After A Miscarriage…Ed Sheeran’s Wistful Song Of What Might Have Been..

After A Miscarriage…Ed Sheeran’s Wistful Song Of What Might Have Been..

When you manage to cut through the dross that is pumped out daily by the “music” industry you can sometimes catch the glint of a tiny diamond….

Just listen to Ed Sheeran making us realise that a miscarriage can also be a heartbreaking time for a prospective father..

Lyrics here

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07 May
Comments Off on I thought Rock & Roll was dead until I came across J D McPherson…

I thought Rock & Roll was dead until I came across J D McPherson…

OMG – this is the sound that, for me as a South London schoolboy in the mid 1950s, burst virtually out of nowhere and became my music. Raw, roughly hewn and totally ignored by the BBC, we could only hear it via the wobbling wavelengths of Radio Luxembourg or AFN Europe. There were no pretentious pseudo political lyrics, no “messages”, no pompous arty farty “rock journalists”……just a songs about girls, parties and having fun all played with a solid driving beat.

I thought it was all in the past – until, sixty years later, I came across J D McPherson…..unfortunately, because it’s 2012, you have to read about his band via a pompous arty farty “rock journalist”….

Great stuff…(the music, not the article)…

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28 February
Comments Off on The Unforgettable Nat “King” Cole…1919-1965…

The Unforgettable Nat “King” Cole…1919-1965…

You can’t mistake that soft, silky baritone voice….Nat King Cole was so big during the 40s/50s that the iconic Capitol Records building in Los Angeles was often described as “the house that Nat built”

Yet it is often forgotten that he was regarded as one of the top jazz pianists of his time, on a par with Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum and credited with being one of the first jazzmen to organise the piano/guitar/bass trio set up that became so familiar in the 40s…

Nat plays…

Nat sings….

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23 February
Comments Off on Adele – “Hometown Glory”…She’s Like Me, From Croydon To West Sussex…

Adele – “Hometown Glory”…She’s Like Me, From Croydon To West Sussex…

“Hometown Glory” was one of Adele’s earliest compositions, written when she was 16. It’s a song about West Norwood which is part of Croydon, a rather unfashionable suburb of South London. That is also the world I lived in for fifty years so I know it well – I’ll always remain a proud “Sarf” Londoner at heart. Another great singer/songwriter also came from Croydon – Kirsty MacColl, although she lived in a more affluent district (I actually taught her for a while)

MacColl was not always positive about the place but Adele’s song has a more affectionate feel to it.

Oddly enough, Adele has recently moved to a beautiful house in the West Sussex countryside, just a few miles down the road from where I live now….which shows the girl’s got taste…

As for the song, one of the comments hits the nail on the head..

no make-up, no proactiv, no fancy clothes. just an amazingly beautiful singer.

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24 January
Comments Off on Any Swing Fans Remember Charlie Barnet and Skyliner?

Any Swing Fans Remember Charlie Barnet and Skyliner?

Charlie Barnet was not the biggest name in Swing but he was well respected as a musician by many of his peers, including Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Syrupy smooth sounds were never part of the Barnet formula and “Skyliner” with that electric interplay between brass and saxes is as exciting as big band music could get.

It was the theme tune of a late night big band programme on AFN Munich in the late 40s and became a major influence on British jazz musicians because in those days listening to AFN was the only way we could get away from the constraints of the rather sniffy play it safe BBC.

So sit back and get ready to return to the 1940s when music was about men who could really blow….

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20 December
Comments Off on Cool Jazz Piano – Bill Evans & “Autumn Leaves”

Cool Jazz Piano – Bill Evans & “Autumn Leaves”

Recorded in Italy in 1969 the Bill Evans version of the pop classic “Autumn Leaves”….beautifully improvised melody lines make this an all time jazz piano classic. Eddie Gomez is brilliant on bass and Marty Morell’s taut drumming gives the whole set an extra flourish.

When I was at university in the early 60s the vast majority of students were still into New Orleans style “trad” jazz but I always preferred the cooler side of modern jazz and nobody epitomised the essence of cool better than Bill Evans….

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16 December
Comments Off on Louis Armstrong Does Romantic With Edith Piaf Classic

Louis Armstrong Does Romantic With Edith Piaf Classic

Louis Armstrong plays and sings Edith Piaf’s love song “La vie en rose”. Not only does he manage to convey the romantic message of the lyrics with his gruff and gravelly voice but he proceeds to offer a masterclass in jazz trumpet…..

Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me, Heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose….

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12 December
Comments Off on Beautiful Lyrics..Unforgettable Riff..Great Singer..And That Band…

Beautiful Lyrics..Unforgettable Riff..Great Singer..And That Band…

Heard this years ago listening to the radio while driving along the Trans Canada Highway, of all places. Didn’t catch the title or the artist which was so frustrating because the riff embedded itself in my brain – I knew it had “dreams” in the lyrics but that just narrowed it down to about a million songs.

Then there it was one evening on the BBC’s “Later… with Jools Holland” (brilliant show, no grandstanding, just a succession of artists from all genres, simply playing music)

Never tire of it…beautiful lyrics….unforgettable riff….great singer….and do I want to be in that band…..

“It’s still 2 hours ’til this plane gets down,
I can hardly bear to wait another minute,

Your sweet lovin’s all I need,
And darlin’ it’s been buildin’ up inside of me,

Tonight we’re gonna paint the town,
We’re gonna drink champagne until we both fall down,
And find some other crazy dream tomorrow,”

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