Music Labyrinth Episode 023
The Room Where It Happens / Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton
Hello, and welcome to episode 23 of The Music Labyrinth, where we will start with a correction to something I said last week. I mentioned, inaccurately, that Simple Minds were an Irish band. Almost immediately I received visits from wild looking, half naked men, dressed in kilts and swathed in blue body paint and practising very effective and direct communication skills. Simple Minds are, in fact, from Glasgow, and I am assured that Jim Kerr is as Scottish as thistles. Sorry about that. Right, now that my contractual obligations are complete, on to the music for this week. We commenced, as is our practice, where we ended last week, with The Room Where It Happens, from the hit musical, Hamilton. So successful has this musical been that even offshoots, such as the 2016 album of cover versions, The Hamilton Mixtape, debuted at number 1 on the Billboard charts. One artist who contributed to that compilation was the extraordinarily talented Regina Spektor. A regular listener to this program has been busy promoting Spektor generally, and this track specifically - and I have to concur with her high opinion of it. This is Dance Anthem of the 80s.
Dance Anthem of the 80s / Regina Spektor
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth where we recently listened to Dance Anthem of the 80s by Regina Spektor. That track was from her 2009 album, Far, which was co-produced by Geoff Lynne. Lynne has compared Regina Spektor’s songs to works of literature, and I think you can get a sense of that from the track we just heard. Geoff Lynne, of course, has a long music pedigree which goes back through The Travelling Wilburys to the Electric Light Orchestra. ELO were formed by Lynne and Roy Wood, who shared a post-Sgt. Pepper desire to merge popular music with classical overtones. Here is a very early example.
Roll Over Beethoven / Electric Light Orchestra
From the 1973 album ELO2, that was Roll Over Beethoven, which, you will have noticed, commenced with and included extracts of Beethoven’s Symphony Number 5. And here, Gentle Listener, I simply cannot resist my natural urges. Here is another contemporary track which includes, near its conclusion, elements of a Beethoven symphony.
Solsbury Hill (Live) / Peter Gabriel with the New Blood Orchestra
This is The Music Labyrinth, and we’re back after the insertion of a few messages to insulate me to a small extent from criticism for playing more Peter Gabriel on this program. But I think the link justified it - at least in my mind. That particular version of Solsbury Hill featured the New Blood Orchestra, and you will have picked up on the passages of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in the closing section of the song. The New Blood Orchestra were specially assembled for Peter Gabriel’s New Blood album, where he recorded some of his earlier tunes without drums and guitars and with full orchestration. That orchestration was arranged by John Metcalfe and conducted in the live performances, including the one we just heard, by Ben Foster. About a decade before picking up the baton for the New Blood Orchestra, Foster had collaborated with the English band, Toploader, who are probably best remembered for this hit from 2000.
Dancing In the Moonlight / Toploader
One of the feel good hits of 2000, that was Toploader with Dancing In The Moonlight, which was itself a cover of the 1970 song by the French-American group King Harvest. The single and the album on which the Toploader version was contained, Onka’s Big Moka, were released on a short-lived and now defunct record label subsidiary of Sony Music: S2 Records. Another of the handful of artists who released material via S2 Records was the English band, Reef, who I am sure the listener will remember for, amongst others, this song.
Place Your Hands / Reef
From 1997, that was Reef, with Place Your Hands. That song and album were produced by the American, George Drakoulias, who is best known as the producer of the Black Crowes. George Drakoulias also produced the next track we are about to hear, but before we go there, I want to mention the ghostly presence of a double-link to that next track. In 2007, two of the members of Reef, Gary Stringer and Jack Bessant, formed a band which they called Them Is Me. I can find no reference to the Australian band You Am I, and the similarity in names may just be a coincidence, but there IS a similarity, and in 1998 that same producer, George Drakoulias, had been at the helm when You Am I recorded Heavy Heart.
Heavy Heart / You Am I
Tim Rogers from You Am I has embarked on many musical side projects, one of which has been an ongoing collaboration with the Melbourne funk band, The Bamboos. Here are The Bamboos, from 2008, which is before their association with Tim Rogers. This is I Don’t Wanna Stop.
I Don’t Wanna Stop / The Bamboos
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth were we just listened to The Bamboos with I Don’t Wanna Stop, which comes from their 2007 album Rawville. The following year, The Bamboos were back in the studio recording their third album which featured vocal contributions from the multi-talented Megan Washington. Here is Washington, from her latest album which was released in May this year. This is Batflowers.
Batflowers / Washington
That was Megan Washington on The Music Labyrinth with Batflowers. I mentioned earlier that Megan Washington is multi-talented. In addition to being a successful musician, performer, and songwriter, she co-writes and performs in a radio mockumentary. She has also voiced the role of Calypso in the Australian children’s TV series, Bluey. Someone else who has guested in Bluey is Anthony Field, whom most of us know best as the Blue Wiggle. But, way back in the distant pre-Wiggle period of evolution, a young Anthony Field joined his brothers and Jeff Fatt (Purple Wiggle) in the pub band The Cockroaches, who had something of a commercial hit with this song.
She’s The One / Cockroaches
From 1987 that was The Cockroaches with She’s The One. Incidentally, during the height of their success, the roadie for The Cockroaches was Greg Page, who grew up to become the Yellow Wiggle. In 1989 The Cockroaches - who were renowned as a hard working band who played pubs, B&S balls, parties and town halls - embarked on a national tour with Mental As Anything, a band with whom they had worked closely during their brief period of commercial success. Here is one of my favourite Mental As Anything songs.
Berserk Warriors / Mental As Anything
From the 1981 album Cats & Dogs, that was Mental As Anything with Berserk Warriors. The battling Vikings in that song, Bjorn and Anna, are a lesson about the perils of mixing work and play. The song also has references to Waterloo and blonde hair and is clearly a bit of fun at the expense of ABBA. And here, Patient Listener, The Music Labyrinth has brought us to a place that I would have preferred to avoid. But, such matters are beyond the control of mere mortals. Having arrived at the ABBA part of the Labyrinth, I looked around for something that was not likely to invoke gagging, and the best I could find was this track. We started this show with an apology, so we may as well end with one as well. I’m sorry for playing ABBA. Thanks for listening.
Does Your Mother Know / ABBA