Music Labyrinth Episode 043
Life In A Northern Town / Dream Academy
Hello Listener, and welcome to Episode 43 of The Music Labyrinth. The year 43AD saw the Roman city of Londinium established on the Thames, where it has remained, and largely prospered, in the 1978 years since. This fact sets a daunting precedent, but we like a challenge here at The Music Labyrinth, and look forward to matching London’s example by continuing at least to episode 2021 of this program. Of course, at our current rate of production, that would require me to live to an age just short of triple figures, which seems just fine to me. Speaking of population centres in the Northern Hemisphere, we started this episode with the beautifully evocative Life In A Northern Town by The Dream Academy. That song was written and recorded in 1985 as a tribute to the musician and songwriter Nick Drake, who died at the age of 26 from an overdose of anti-depressant medication. The Dream Academy consisted of three members, one of whom was the multi-instrumentalist Kate St John. In 2011, Kate St John performed on the Waterboys album An Appointment With Mr Yeats, on which Mike Scott of the Waterboys set selected poems of WB Yeats to music. From that album, this is Mad As The Mist And Snow.
Mad As The Mist And Snow / The Waterboys
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth, where we just heard The Waterboys with Mad As The Mist And Snow, from the 2011 album An Appointment With Mr Yeats. Mike Scott had a long held fascination with the poetry of WB Yeats and he arranged 20 of those poems to music for a series of concerts at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 2010. Scott described the arrangements as: psychedelic, intense, kaleidescopic, a mix of rock, folk and faery music. Those shows were so successful that the project became an album which was released the following year, from which came the track we just heard. Someone else who’s fascination with works of a particular poet became a major international record success is a performer very dear to this program. The works of the American poet Anne Sexton led directly to the writing and recording of this wonderful song by Peter Gabriel. This is Mercy Street.
Mercy Street / Peter Gabriel
From what many would describe as Peter Gabriel’s commercial breakout album So, that was the beautiful Mercy Street. Bass on that track was not played by Peter Gabriel’s usual bassist, Tony Levin, but by the highly credentialed jazz bassist, Larry Klein. In 1987, a year after the release of So, Peter Gabriel AND Larry Klein both guested on the first solo album by Robbie Robertson, and Larry Klein’s bass is prominent in this wonderful track from that album. This is Showdown At Big Sky.
Showdown At Big Sky / Robbie Roberston
People, people, can you hear the sound? That song, Showdown At Big Sky by Robbie Robertson, has been favourite of mine since I first found my way to the album in 1987, and I still think there is something special about it. The distinctive backing vocals on that track (and on other tracks on the same album) were performed primarily by Sam Llanas and Kurt Neumann of The BoDeans. So, here are The BoDeans with their song Lucille.
Lucille / The BoDeans
This is The Music Labyrinth and we most recently listened to Lucille by The BoDeans from their 2008 album Still. The BoDeans hail from Waukesha, Wisconsin. Waukesha is a place previously unknown to my radar, so I had a bit of a dig around. Interestingly, the list of notable people from Waukesha is long enough to warrant its own Wikipedia page. Amongst them is the musician, songwriter, luthier and inventor Lester William Polsfuss - better known to rock music as Les Paul, the inventor of the Gibson Les Paul guitar, favoured by so many of the great guitarists of modern music. In 2004, Les Paul’s contribution to music was celebrated by way of an album on which he collaborated with various artists. From that album, here is Les Paul with Joss Stone and Sting, with Love Sneakin’ Up On You.
Love Sneakin’ Up On You / Les Paul (with Joss Stone and Sting)
Joss Stone made a splash on the music scene with her first album, The Soul Sessions, in 2003. That debut album was shortlisted for the 2004 Mercury Prize. Here she is, 9 years later, from The Soul Sessions Vol.2 with her cover of I Don’t Want To Be With Nobody But You.
I Don’t Want to Be With Nobody But You / Joss Stone
From 2012, that was Joss Stone with I Don’t Want To Be With Nobody But You. The listener might recognise the song from the Wendy Matthews/Absent Friends version which was a hit in Australia in 1990. The song was written by Eddie Floyd in 1976. Eddie Floyd is a songwriter famous for his work at Stax Records, and he is probably best known for writing this song.
Knock On Wood / Seal
Here in The Music Labyrinth we’ve just settled down again after grooving in our seats to Seal’s 2008 cover of the Eddie Floyd song Knock On Wood. Now, we are moving a good deal away from my comfort zone here, but I am informed that Seal was a coach on several seasons of the Australian television show, The Voice. And someone else who also bobbed up in that capacity was the singer of this 1983 hit.
Church Of The Poison Mind / Culture Club
From 1983, that was Culture Club, featuring the vocals of Boy George, with Church Of The Poison Mind. In 1988 Boy George duetted with Nona Hendryx on a project produced by the controversial American producer and musician, Afrika Bambaataa. From that album, The Light, this is Something He Can Feel.
Something He Can Feel / Afrika Bambaataa (feat. Nona Hendryx and Boy George)
That was Something He Can Feel, by Afrika Bambaataa and featuring Boy George and Nona Hendryx. We’ve encountered Nona Hendryx previously in The Music Labyrinth, as a member of LaBelle, but she has other strings to her bow. So to end this episode of the program, lets remain with that singer. Thanks for your company this week. Please come back again next week when we will start our show with this next track. Here is Nona Hendryx singing backing vocals on this track from Talking Heads. This is Slippery People.
Slippery People / Talking Heads