Audrey Hall – One Dance Won’t Do

Music Monday

This was one of may favourite Lovers’ Rock Reggae hits of the 80s. Honey-voiced Audrey Hall first came to my attention when she performed with legendary Jimmy Cliff on “Give the People What They Want”.

She went it alone with “One Dance Won’t Do” which she recorded in reply to Bere Hammond’s “What One Dance Can Do”

Following another song “Smile” that didn’t get very far, she dropped out of our lives. Never knew what happened to her – that voice was golden treasure.

Listening back now I can hear the popular whip-lashes that were also popular in New Romantic records of the time – giving it that real 80s feel. Here is she is in 1985 on Top Of The Pops.

The Pogues – Fairytale of New York

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Promotional photo used in 1987 – Guns? How times change!

My Music Monday this week is a song that many might be sick of hearing by now. I cannot believe that it was 30 years ago that I first watched the Pogues perform The Fairytale of New York  on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops. It featured a duet with Shane Macgowan and Kirsty Maccoll and was unlike any other Christmas song I had heard. The song, in the style of an Irish ballad, became so much part of every Christmas that followed –  I remember how shocked everyone was when Kirsty died in a boating accident in December 2000 – it turned from a happy dancing song to a very sad song (which it is really if you take in what they are singing about.)

 

Mozart’s Requiem

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Mozart’s birth house stands over a shopping mall © Southampton Old Lady

I love Mozart to the point that I went with my husband to Salzburg last year to visit his birth house and family house. Everything in Salzburg evolves around Mozart.

Last night, we went to listen to over 150 people performing Mozart’s Requiem at Southampton’s Guildhall – by the Southampton Philharmonic Choir. It is wonderful to listen to such events like this in my city and to be able to support live music.

My husband tells me he would like part of Mozart’s Requiem played at his  funeral – Dies Irae. Most people like the Lacrimosa but my favourite parts are Rex, but mainly Confutatis

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Everything in Salzburg revolves around Mozart

Unfortunately I have no video or images of the Southampton Philharmonic Choir but you can click on this excellent YouTube link.

There is so much written about Mozart and his Requiem that if you are interested you can do an online search. I wish to commend the 1984 American period drama film Amadeus directed by Miloš Forman, adapted by Peter Shaefer from his stage play of the same name, for reviving peoples interest in Mozart.

Mack the Knife – Lotte Lenya & Louis Armstrong

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Lotte Lenya & Louis Armstrong

Further to my previous Kurt Weil,  Music Monday post. I must mention the Beggars’ Opera. Composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950) and playwright Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) transformed the sweet old-fashioned operetta forms of their time into sharp political perspectives with sounds of 1920s Berlin dance bands and cabaret.

The show’s opening number, Macky Messer (Mack the Knife) became one of the top popular songs of the 20th Century. Legendary and popular artists such as Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin, Ella Fitzgerald, Liberace, Michael Bublé, Robbie Williams have all done their own rendition of this tune, though only Lotte Lenya, the wife of Weil who it was written for, had the menacing voice that could be appropriate to a song about such a horrible serial killer!

It was known in English as The Threepenny Opera. The British/Hollywood film version does not have Mack the Knife as a song and includes Kenneth Williams in a remarkable straight-acting role. The original was first staged at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin in 1928. It eventually became a great success, playing 400 times in the next two years.

Click HERE to listen to a rare recording of Luis Armstrong and Lotte Lenya singing Mack the Knife in english:

Punk Wedding: The Rocker Covers

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One of the wedding cakes – I daren’t publish the photo of the other…

My husband’s Nephew/Godson got married and we went to his wedding reception at the weekend. Johnny, in his early 50s, has been a punk-rocker since I could remember and we wondered what sort of entertainment could be provided for his extended family of roman catholics of Irish extraction. With it looking more like a Halloween party – complete with skull decorations, black and red themed balloons and two wedding cakes – one black, the other white with iced with expletives – we held our breath.

Their friends The Rocker Covers provided the answer. A talented trio who perform rock-a-billy-style covers of popular songs from the 50s to the present day. They are a serious band with albums and a contract with Greystone Records.

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The Rocker Covers are a great band to dance to

So for my Music Monday this week: click on The Rocker Covers’ track ‘American Idiot’ (revved-up) to hear some cool sounds.

My husband who is 80, outdid all the youngsters with The Twist – his era was rock’n’roll. I was brought up on music from the 60s to the 80s, where you shuffled next to someone and did your thing rather than hold on to your partner. So we have invented our own way of dancing with each other – a sort of rock’n’roll / reggae, with a bit of lambada and salsa thrown in from having mixed with Brazilians and Spanish when we lived abroad. He circles me around while I pogo and wiggle my back-side. People think we are professional dancers – but when I am asked to dance by anyone else – they realise that I don’t know any of the formal dance steps.

So we had a great time – and I noticed that the over 50s tended to dance while the younger ones headed towards the room with the bar.

Music Monday: Volare!

For my Music Monday click on the links for two versions of the popular song Volare!

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Simon and Ted (the Song-a-minute-man)

Domenico Modugno should have won the Eurovision song contest for Italy in 1958 with the first ever rendition of this song that has become a cult classic. That year it was won by France with the unmemorable “Dors, mon amour”. Italy stopped taking part in the Eurovision song contest.

Volare! chorus i Italian and English:

Volare, oh oh…                        Flying, oh oh…

Cantare, ohohoho…               Singing, ohohoho…

Nel blu degli occhi tuoi blu   In the blue of your blue eyes

Felice di stare quaggiù            Happy to be down here

There have been too many cover versions of Volare! to mention, but my favourite has to be by Dean Martin. A more recent cover is by the Song-a-Minute-Man Ted McDermott with his carpool karaoke version with his son Simon. 80 year-old Ted, who used to be a Butlins red-coat in England, suffers with dementia. He remembers all the words to so many songs which keeps him in company with others, and their carpool posts on YouTube have gone viral. Now Ted has a contract with Abby Road to record his voice. This is not his song of his playlist – but I love it – it really makes me happy.

Click Here

Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division

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photo © Southampton Old Lady

For Music Monday this week I present a track that moved us from Punk to New Wave (originally labelled post-punk).

Love Will Tear Us Apart (click on title for YouTube video) is a song by English band Joy Division. It was written in August 1979, and first performed in November 1979 when the band were backing the Buzzcocks. Fans, like myself, could relate to sensitive lyrics by Ian Curtis, which reflected the problems in his marriage, as well as his general frame of mind in the time leading up to his tragic suicide in May 1980.

We were shocked. Following new wave sounds remained very dark – everyone seemed to wear black in the early 80s. Ian’s wife Deborah Curtis had the phrase: “Love Will Tear Us Apart” inscribed on Ian’s memorial stone. His stone was stolen and had to be replaced later.

When routine bites hard
And ambitions are low
And resentment rides high
But emotions won’t grow
And we’re changing our ways, taking different roads

Then love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

Why is the bedroom so cold?
You’ve turned away on your side
Is my timing that flawed?
Our respect runs so dry
Yet there’s still this appeal
That we’ve kept through our lives

But love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

You cry out in your sleep
All my failings exposed
And there’s a taste in my mouth
As desperation takes hold
Just that something so good just can’t function no more

But love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

Happy Birthday Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown

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The grounds of Highclere Castle (known in the USA as Downton Abbey) landscaped by Capability Brown

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2016 marks the 300th birthday of England’s most famous landscape gardener, Lancelot “Capability” Brown.  His precise birthday is unknown but he was baptised on the 30th of August. Brown was the Master Gardener at Hampton Court for King George III (Farmer George) and was a must-have to design landscapes for any estate house of the landed gentry.

I took these photos at Highclere Castle, near Newbury on the Hampshire/Berkshire border.

 

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Jackdaw folly at Highclere
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lines of trees with large spacious fields for sheep was essential
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Those Cedar trees were always in his landscapes
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Secret garden, walled off so that one or two types of flower could not detour from the main colour: Green

Copses of trees shading crocuses contrast with wide open space. Several shades of ‘green and pleasant land’. Any flowers would not detour and would often be hidden behind secret walled gardens.

 

For a more in depth post about Capability Brown gardens in Hampshire, England, this post by the Southampton University archive is worth reading – click here

Music Monday: Girls Want

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For my Music Monday this week click: here

— for a Nº1 performance on The Jonathon Ross Show (ITV, Great Britain), of “Girls Like” by English rapper Tinie Tempah featuring the amazing Zara Larsson.

I think the young Swedish singer has a unique voice which she can belt out with little effort, while Tinie’s really complements hers on his track (and visa versa). This has to be my favourite dance song this year.

(Published on YouTube on April 2nd 2016).