Saturday, May 28, 2005

Up on a hill, as the day dissolves!

My girlfriend and I went and saw Woody Allen's Melinda & Melinda last night, which wasn't the film that the critics in Cannes were surprised by, some of them actually enjoying it. I enjoyed it, but truthfully, I have enjoyed every single Woody Allen film on some level, and I find it very difficult to seperate the immersive experience of seeing a film at a theatre from the merits of the film. It's big! It's loud! It's dark! It usually takes a couple of days before I realize whether the film was actually bad or not. Sure, I'm some sort of noble savage - raised without television or movies until I reached the double digits, I'm still expecting the train to come out of the screen and run me over.

If it seems like I've turned into a fourty-five year old British punter in my absence (Keith West, Faust and what not), the blame is to be placed at the foot of my new roommate. He's got an extensive collection of old Mojo magazines that I've been thumbing through in my spare time. Thankfully that hasn't led to any unreasonable lusting after books chronicling the very minute details of The Beatles early days in Hamburg, or Lennon's holiday in Spain with his rumoured homosexual lover.

Sandie Shaw - the British square-jawed pop chanteuse, rose to prominence with 1964's There's Always Something There To Remind Me, won Eurovision in 1967 with Puppet On A String, and was an unqualified success in the rather tame world of bubblegum pop.

In 1969, EMI released Shaw's Reviewing The Situation album, comprised of remarkably prescient material for a pop singer at the time - it's hip, in other words. Nary a jazz crooner's ill-advised rendition of Eleanor Rigby to be found (Love Me Do stands in for that), and the ultimate cut-bin find. Dylan, The Lovin' Spoonful, The Beatles, and, as wel'll see below, a song from Oliver! and Led Zeppelin!


That's one Tull-like introduction, for Christ's sake! The title-track of the album - shimmies and shakes, staggering attitude, easily the best. Composed by Lionel Bart for the musical Oliver!, which my grandmother made me watch as a child, this is a swinging and rocking rendition, and her voice betrays none of the "slightness" and "wispyness" attributed to her by that intolerable arbitrator of music history's crimes and successes, The All Music Guide.

Sandie Shaw - Reviewing The Situation.mp3


The very first Led Zeppelin cover to appear on an album! A straight-ahead arrangement of the original, another dimension added by the song being done with a female voice. The production is remarkably tasteful, too. A true story: A couple of weeks ago, preparing to DJ at a local bar called the Green Room, I started cueing this song up, but couldn't get to it in time. The next song on the CD that was left in the other tray began, and it was the original Led Zeppelin version. Woah.

Sandie Shaw - Your Time Is Gonna Come.mp3

Smiths fans will probably be aware of her owing to Morrissey's championing of her and appearance on the second version of Hand In Glove, after which she returned to recording, graduated as a therapist from Oxford (!), works in television production, amongst many, many other accomplishments. (A regular Louise Brooks!) She recorded a song penned by Morrissey, too: Please Help The Cause Against Loneliness, and in 1986, released a song for the pompadoured Mancunian, Steven (You Don't Eat Meat), in which her voice adopts more of a Debbie Harry meets Siouxsie tone with some interesting
octave jumps. The chorus is, as one would expect, somewhat embarassing. You Don't Eat Meat, But You Eat Your Heart Out, Steven.


Rare CAN, and Eno rediscovers Pop with a friend's help!

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