Music Labyrinth Episode 020
Sunshine On Leith / The Proclaimers
Hello Listener, and welcome aboard episode 20 of The Music Labyrinth. If you have sailed with us before, please take your seats and make yourselves comfortable for the continuation of our journey. If this is your first time aboard The Music Labyrinth, I offer you a special welcome. There is no pre-voyage safety briefing, other than to advise you that our only rule here - well, its more of a convention, really - is that each song we play should have some link, however insubstantial, to the previous. We started with the wistful and wonderful Sunshine on Leith by The Proclaimers, from their 1988 album of the same name. The Proclaimers are a band centred around twin brothers Craig and Charlie Reid. Now, another set of twin brothers, Aaron and Bryce Dessner, were part of a band which captured the musical world’s attention more recently - and they were only one of two sets of brothers in The National. Here they are, from 2010, with Bloodbuzz Ohio.
Bloodbuzz Ohio / The National
From the 2010 album, High Violet, that was The National with Bloodbuzz Ohio. Now, in so far as our route from here is concerned, I’ve kept it quite simple at this point. You may recall me expressing recently a hope that we might find our way back to the music of Gillian Welch. Well, as it happens, Gillian Welch has quite a lovely song in her repertoire which also references the State of Ohio in the title. This is Look At Miss Ohio.
Look At Miss Ohio / Gillian Welch
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth where, just a few moments ago, we enjoyed hearing Look At Miss Ohio from Gillian Welch’s 2003 album Soul Journey. Gillian Welch is building an impressive CV in the music industry, which includes successful collaborations with other artists. Three years prior to the recording of the track we just heard, Gillian Welch contributed to the first solo album by Ryan Adams after his departure from the band Whiskeytown. From that album, Heartbreaker, this is Ryan Adams with Oh My Sweet Carolina.
Oh My Sweet Carolina / Ryan Adams
From the very beginning of this century, that was Ryan Adams and Oh My Sweet Carolina. That particular track was the third in a row this week on The Music Labyrinth with the name of a US state in the title, and I see no need to change course immediately. Here are the B-52s.
Private Idaho / The B-52s
From their 1980 album Wild Planet, that was the distinctive sound of the B-52s with Private Idaho. Despite the title of that song, the B-52s actually hail from Athens, Georgia where they first formed together as a performing group in 1976. Prior to the year 2000, the contribution to the international music scene made by the city of Athens was carried primarily by the B-52s and REM. However, since the early part of this century, another native of that city, Brian Burton (better known by his professional non-de-plume of Danger Mouse), has emerged as a major international talent. We have previously encountered him in his collaboration with James Mercer that led to the group Broken Bells, but dont phone yet, there is more. In 2003, Danger Mouse teamed up with the soul singer CeeLo Green to from an act called Gnarls Barkley, and in 2006 they had a phenomenal hit with this song.
Crazy / Gnarls Barkley
You are back with The Music Labyrinth where we last listened to Crazy by Gnarls Barkley who is not a person, as it turns out, but two people: Danger Mouse and CeeLo Green. As I mentioned, that song was a massive hit and, as is the way with massive hits, managed to get covered by a whole bunch of artists since its release 14 years ago. One band who covered Crazy was this one.
She Moves In Her Own Way / The Kooks
Bear with me Listener, while I get my tapping toe under control after it was completely taken over by She Moves In Her Own Way by The Kooks. That delightful track is from the hugely successful debut album by The Kooks, Inside In / Inside Out, which was released on 23 January 2006. That date is significant because it is the same day that the Arctic Monkeys released their highly anticipated album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. Luke Pritchard from the Kooks has publicly stated the release of their debut album was shielded by the media hype associated with the Arctic Monkeys release, and that worked to the advantage of Inside In / Inside Out. Anyway, both albums were highly successful releases for both bands. So, lets take a step in the obvious direction at this point, and look to Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. I’ve picked one of my favourites from that album, but I’m not sure my accent does justice to the title of the track. This is Mardy Bum.
Mardy Bum / Arctic Monkeys
That was Arctic Monkeys with Mardy Bum, from the Mercury Prize winning 2006 album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. The Mercury Prize is a prestigious award, granted to the band adjudged to have produced the best album in the United Kingdom for the year in question. In 2012, the Mercury Prize was awarded to alt-J for their album An Awesome Wave. From that album, here is Breezeblocks.
Breezeblocks / alt-J
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth where, moments ago, we heard Breezeblocks by alt-J. It’s fair to assert that alt-J are into triangles. Wikipedia advises that the band name derives from the Mac keyboard shortcut to produce the Greek alphabet symbol delta, which is a triangle (in the interests of science, I’ve tried this. It works.). Now I’m confused about whether I should speak the name of the band as “alt-J” or “delta”! In further evidence in support of the assertion, the cover of the Mercury Prize winning album An Awesome Wave is a stylised photograph of the point where the Ganges River meets the Bay of Bengal - one of Earth’s biggest river deltas. Anyway, all that conjecture and confusion has upside when it comes to moving on through the Labyrinth. Here is Helen Reddy.
Delta Dawn / Helen Reddy
From 1973 that was the Helen Reddy version of the song written by Larry Collins and Alex Harvey. Harvey hailed from a town quite close to Brownsville, Tennesee, and - being the sharp-eared listener that you are - you will have noticed that the subject of the song, 41 year old Delta Dawn, walked around the streets of that same city. I know very little about Brownsville, but I do recall from my teenage years collecting K-tel compilation albums, that a band called Brownsville Station had a hit with this song.
Smoking In The Boys Room / Brownsville Station
From 1973 that was Brownsville Station with Smoking In The Boys Room. As I indicated earlier, my introduction to the track came via a 1973 K-tel compilation album called Sound Explosion: 22 Original Hits Original Stars. And - you know where this is going, don’t you? - also contained on that compilation album was this track.
Everyday People / Sly and The Family Stone
That was Sly and The Family Stone, from 1973, with Everyday People. I expect that you are familiar with that song, as it has been covered plenty of times by artists including Joan Jet, Aretha Franklin, The Staple Singers and Jeff Buckley. But perhaps the best known version is the 1992 one by the band Arrested Development, and released as People Everyday. Let’s stay with Arrested Development to conclude this episode of The Music Labyrinth. From the same album that contained People Everyday, here is a favourite of mine. As always, thanks for joining me on this leg of our journey through the labyrinth. This is Mr Wendal.
Mr Wendal / Arrested Development