Wednesday, January 23, 2008

live in trouble

Growing up in England in the 1970s and 80s, you couldn't move for variety acts (like family-friendly singing artistes The Dooleys and funnyman Mike Yarwood) popping up on every page of your TV Times. To put this into some kind of context for the benefit of our overseas viewers, Mike Yarwood was a comedy impressionist who started all of his characters with, "Hello, I'm (insert name of person being impersonated, invariably Deputy Dawg, Frank Spencer or Bob Monkhouse)". Never a good sign.

If any younger readers want to complain about how they have it tough, I urge them to listen to these tracks by The Barron Knights. These guys were my Sex Pistols, the best that we could hope for in our Saturday afternoon TV schedule, with their stoopid versions of hit songs.

The Barron Knights - Live in Trouble Part 1
(please note this vinyl is very old, hence the jump in the middle - the missing line is "They flew right off the end / And landed in the Thames / Hand in hand")

To be fair , The BK's had chops, chucking out fairly faithful versions of such popular faves as Leo Sayer's You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, Brotherhood of Man's Angelo and Float On by The Floaters. This was a time when Irish people were thick and homosexuals were intrinsically hilarious ("What?! He doesn't like girls? The very idea!"). Also if you wanted to do an impression of (at the time, very dangerous, foul-mouthed comedian) Billy Connolly, all you had to do was put on a hyper-exaggerated Scottish accent. And shout.

The Barron Knights - Live In Trouble Part 2

This was one of the records I remember playing on repeat as a child alongside The Muppet Show Album and Regatta de Blanc by The Police. Sure, it's all very dated, but the last track (Kenny Rogers' Lucille), genuinely made me laugh out loud when I played it for the first time in years the other day. It's just what people do - re-write the words to popular songs to make your mates laugh.

The Barron Knights will be celebrating 50 years in showbiz next year.

Visit - The Barron Knights
Buy - Funny in the Head: The Best of the Barron Knights

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

there's more of us than them

Happy New Year - I hope you can understand me through all of the gunk in my head from this cold which is keeping me home from work today.

Remember that Domino Rally was originally started as a blog for the band Johnny Domino (currently residing in the 'where-are-they-now' file)? Well, back in the day when we first started the band, we had a connection with a tiny French indie label, Candy CheriƩ. This was the days before the internet and electric light so we communicated by letter and frequent tape compilations. Laurent and Virginie's tapes left both myself and brother Ox with a long-standing love of lyrics written and sung by artists whose first language is not necessarily English.

Now don't get me wrong - we weren't laughing at the funny foreigners with their quaint pronunciation (all the time). It was more that, in a way, it was easier for them to make connections with words that shouldn't strictly go together but that sound great when sung, which is similar to what Black Francis, Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, et al do.

This linguistic distance is why I love (amongst others) Phoenix, the recent Travelling - French Actors Crossing Borders album and this track, which arrived in the inbox of music bloggers the world over the other day.

Goodtimes Goodtimes - Sea Shanty

I love this track. Goodtimes Goodtimes is the solo project of one Franc Cinelli, an Italian raised in London, who has a really distinctive delivery which is what reminded me of those old French pop compilations.

Musically it makes me think of someone like Langhorne Slim (and what's he doing now?) especially the picked intro. Hope you like it.

Goodtimes Goodtimes play a couple of UK/London dates over the next week or so - check his MySpace for details.

Almost exactly a year ago I featured another submission to the Rally by The Swimmers - maybe it's something about the New Year that makes me more receptive to new music. Anyway, I'm pleased to report that The Swimmers' Fighting Trees will finally be released in March this year on Mad Dragon/Ryko. This album is one that's still in fairly regular rotation at Domino towers so I'm glad to see if get a wider release at last!

Visit - Goodtimes Goodtimes and buy Glue for a mere fiver!