Music Labyrinth Episode 027
Hello. If you were listening live to this episode, you will have noticed that a technical error resulted in the first 4 songs being played somewhere other than on your stream. The error was beyond my control, and I apologise for it. I recommend a quick trip to the playlist links above because the missing songs were good’ns.
Jolene / Ray LaMontagne
Hello Listener, and welcome back to The Music Labyrinth for another week. Just for a change, let me single out any returning listener and offer my sincere appreciation for your ongoing support of this program. As you know, because you have been here before, we started this week with Ray LaMontagne’s Jolene because that is where we ended last week’s episode. And, further, you also know that I am now going to present to you an argument to suggest a link between that song and our next, and so we will continue our journey through this labyrinth. Well, for once, I feel like I am on sure footing. Because, of course, there is that other song of the same name - and, as you would imagine, there are a variety of cover versions available. I was quite taken with one by an ensemble of credentialed Australian musicians who occasionally band together under the name The Wilson Pickers. As their website says: Everyone knows the song, we’ve all heard it a million times, but who’s heard it sung by five men concurrently? The stripped back instrumentation helps the heartfelt lyrics jump [end quotation]. I can only concur. Here are the Wilson Pickers with their cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene.
Jolene / The Wilson Pickers
From their 2007 EP Jolene, that was the Wilson Pickers with the title song. That EP features cover versions of other songs by Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle, and also a very different cover of this Australian classic.
Dumb Things / Paul Kelly & The Messengers
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth where we just heard Paul Kelly, with The Messengers, list dumb things he has done. Fancy having a list like that! Some people, eh?! Dumb Things came from the 1987 album Under The Sun, and the single found its way onto the soundtrack of the Yahoo Serious film, Young Einstein. Also featuring in that film was this song from 1983.
I Hear Motion / The Models
From The Models’ third album released in 1983, Pleasure Of Your Company, that was I Hear Motion. Andrew Duffield from The Models has been quoted as saying that the synth riff upon which that song is build arose from his unsuccessful attempts to replicate this famous piece of popular music.
Superstition / Stevie Wonder
That was, of course, Superstition by Stevie Wonder. The song comes from his 1972 album Talking Book, which is considered to be the commencement of what is known as Stevie Wonder’s classic period. One of the key markers of this period of Stevie Wonder’s output is his utilisation of the Hohner Clavinet keyboard, which is the instrument responsible for the distinctive synthesised riff in the song we just heard. Another song, from the same period, also heavily featuring the Hohner Clavinet keyboard is this one from 1973.
Nutbush City Limits / Ike & Tina Turner
This is The Music Labyrinth where I hope you spent the short break putting all the furniture back in its usual places after you cleared a space to do the Nutbush. Nutbush City Limits was written by Tina Turner and produced by her then husband Ike Turner. Ike Turner played the distinctive guitar on that track, and spent his life being recognised as a guitarist, despite having commenced his music career as a boogie-woogie pianist. Ike Turner died in 2007, and two years before his death he was invited by Damon Albarn to play piano on this track from the Gorillaz album, Demon Days. This is Every Planet We Reach Is Dead.
Every Planet We Reach Is Dead / Gorillaz
From the wonderful 2005 album Demon Days, that was Gorillaz with Every Planet We Reach Is Dead. The list of contributing artists to Demon Days is something of a Who’s Who of millennial music, and it includes Neneh Cherry, who had collaborated with the Senegalese songwriter, singer and musician Youssou N’Dour nine years earlier to produce this hit song.
7 Seconds / Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth where the last track we listened to was 7 Seconds by Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry. In recent weeks I’ve referred to a couple of transcontinental music projects; 1 Giant Leap and Playing For Change. 1 Giant Leap was something of a precursor to Playing For Change, in that it involved two English musicians, Jamie Cato and Duncan Bridgeman, travelling the world recording local artists, and mixing those recordings with established commercial stars of the music business. I mention all of this because we now have a legitimate opportunity to play one of my favourite songs which happens to be from that project, and which also features Neneh Cherry on vocals. I hope you enjoy this tune almost as much as I do. This is Braided Hair by 1 Giant Leap.
Braided Hair / One Giant Leap
That’s a great tune, isn’t it? That was 1 Giant Leap with Braided Hair. One of the many vocal contributors to the 1 Giant Leap album was the Jamaican singer Horace Andy, who is probably best known for his work with Massive Attack, and also for his particular cover version of our next song. The original version of this next track was by the late Bill Withers, but I’ve located a strong, bluesy, soulful rendition by Buddy Guy and Tracey Chapman.
Ain’t No Sunshine / Buddy Guy, featuring Tracey Chapman*
That is a tremendous version of Ain’t No Sunshine by Buddy Guy and Tracey Chapman. I’m delighted to have discovered and shared it as a wonderful tune in its own right, but I have to admit that I am also delighted by the opportunity it gives me to share a favourite nugget of Buddy Guy music trivia which is completely unrelated to our progress, but just fun. I discovered recently that Buddy Guy, amongst his Hispanic speaking fans, is known as Amigo Hombre! How about that?! That song, Ain’t No Sunshine, was also covered in 1991 by the Australian group The Rockmelons. I recall The Rockmelons as I once possessed a slice of vinyl which was their 1987 album, Tales Of The City. Let’s end this episode of The Music Labyrinth with a big old taste of the 80s from The Rockmelons. As always, thanks for your company. This is Rhymes.
Rhymes / The Rockmelons
* The Spotify playlist does not contain this song as I cannot locate the version on Spotify. If/when I do, it will be included.