Music Labyrinth Episode 042
The Booley House / The Gloaming
Hello Listener, and welcome to episode 42 of The Music Labyrinth. Now, I hardly need tell you of the significance of number 42, do I? But I will. 42, of course, was the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything and it took the supercomputer Deep Thought seven and a half million years to compute it. By then, no-one could remember the Ultimate Question, and so Deep Thought set about creating an even greater supercomputer with living beings in the computational matrix in order to identify the Ultimate Question. If you accept that existential theory, then you and I and this program form part of that matrix. And the fact that this introduction has gone on so long that no-one can remember where it started is further proof of our part in the Greater Scheme. This IS The Music Labyrinth and we started our show with the wonderful The Booley House by the Irish supergroup, The Gloaming. What we will try and do now is to find some link from that song to another, to take us further into the labyrinth. The Gloaming constituted five musicians who all had established credentials in the music industry before coming together to record as The Gloaming. Vocalist Iarla O’Lionaird had been a key member of the Afro Celt Sound System. In the lead up to the recording of their second album, tragedy struck the group when keyboardist, Jo Bruce (the 27 year old son of Cream bassist Jack Bruce) died suddenly and unexpectedly of an asthma attack. When recording resumed, Sinead O’Connor, was invited to participate. The band had written an unfinished piece of music to which O’Connor contributed lyrics which referenced the untimely death of Jo Bruce. The results was this song: Release.
Release / Afro Celt Sound System
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth where we last listened to Release by the Afro Celt Sound System. The track featured the vocals of Sinead O’Connor. Sinead O’Connor has had a long and often controversial music career. She made a splash in the industry with her first album, and delivered one of the great radio hits from her second, with her cover of the Prince song, Nothing Compares 2 U. That second album also contained this song, which we all forget about until someone accidentally plays it. This is The Emperor’s New Clothes.
The Emperor’s New Clothes / Sinead O’Connor
From her 1990 album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, that was Sinead O’Connor with The Emperor’s New Clothes. Guitars on that track were played by the English guitarist, songwriter and record producer Marco Pironni. In addition to his work with Sinead O’Connor, Pironni has worked with Siouxsie & The Banshees and co-wrote and played on this track, the second hit for Adam & The Ants.
Stand and Deliver / Adam and The Ants
That was Adam and The Ants from 1981 with their first ever UK number one single, Stand and Deliver. (The previous single, Antmusic, peaked at number 2 in early 1981, and was held out of number 1 by the posthumous re-release of Imagine after the murder of John Lennon). Adam and The Ants featured two drummers in their lineup. In 2007 the magazine Modern Drummer ran an article entitled 25 Great Double Drumming Tracks. Stand and Deliver came in at number 24 on Modern Drummers list. Fortuitously, one of my favourite ever recordings came in at number 5 on that list. From their live album Seconds Out, and featuring the drumming of Phil Collins and Chester Thompson, this is Genesis with Afterglow.
Afterglow (live) / Genesis
Here in The Music Labyrinth we just basked in the wonderful live version of Afterglow, from Genesis’ 1977 live album, Seconds Out. The studio version of that song was released a year earlier on the Genesis album Wind and Wuthering. Part of the reason for the name of that album was the inclusion of two songs (Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers; and ...In That Quiet Earth) the titles of which both come directly from the final sentence in Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights, which reads: I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth. Now, you know where this is taking us, don’t you? Here.
Wuthering Heights / Kate Bush
Of course that was Kate Bush, and of course that was the song Wuthering Heights, the debut single from her 1978 debut album, The Kick Inside. I think its fair to say that Kate set the bar very high very early in her career. Percussion on Wuthering Heights was played by Morris Pert. A year later, Paul McCartney and Wings were recording one of their lesser-known albums, Back To The Egg. The album included this next track featuring Wings and an all star ensemble consisting in part of: Morris Pert, Ray Cooper, Kenney Jones and John Bonham on drums and percussion; David Gilmour, Hank Marvin and Pete Townsend on guitars; John Paul Jones and Ronnie Lane on basses; and Gary Brooker and Tony Ashton on keyboards. This is Rockestra Theme.
Rockestra Theme / Paul McCartney & Wings
That was Paul McCartney, Wings and the all star ensemble known as the Rockestra Orchestra, with the Rockestra Theme. The track was recorded in 1978 and appeared on the Wings album, Back To The Egg. What we now know is that, at the time that album was being made, Paul McCartney and Kurt Waldheim (the former Secretary-General of the United Nations) were planning a series of charity concerts called Concerts For The People of Kampuchea. Those concerts occurred in December 1979, and the Rockestra Orchestra was central to the performance, so it seems that the tune we just heard was a giant dress rehearsal for those concerts. Also part of the lineup for those concerts was the band Rockpile - which was primarily a performance platform for Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe - and they performed this song.
Crawling From The Wreckage / Rockpile
In The Music Labyrinth we have just (figuratively) crawled from the wreckage of Rockpile, and into a brand new car. And that brand new car comes to us courtesy of Graham Parker (of Graham Parker and The Rumours) who wrote that song. The song I most recall Graham Parker and the Rumours for is this next one. However, I can’t remember if the version that made an impression on me in my youth was the up-tempo, disco arrangement, or this next version (which the significantly older me definitely prefers).
Hey Lord, Don’t Ask Me Questions / Graham Parker and The Rumour
From the 1976 album Howlin’ Wind, that was Graham Parker and The Rumour with Hey Lord, Dont Ask Me Questions. The drummer with The Rumour when that track was recorded was Steve Goulding. Several years later, Steve Goulding was drafted in when the Cure founding themselves pared down to only two members, Robert Smith and Lol Tolhurst, and in need of a drummer for what became this hit single.
Lets Go To Bed / The Cure
From their 1983 album Japanese Whispers, that was The Cure with Lets Go To Bed (which was actually released as a stand-alone single the year before). The video clip for that release was produced by the filmmaker Tip Pope, who has produced clips of many songs for a variety of artists, including this next one with which we will end this week’s show. As you may have learned to expect, it just happens - completely by an accident of fate - to also be one of those tunes that pushes my nostalgia buttons and is therefore a personal favourite. Thanks for wandering with us in The Music Labyrinth this week. Please come back for more next time. To take us to next week, this is the wonderfully evocative Life In A Northern Town.
Life In A Northern Town / Dream Academy