Music Labyrinth Episode 058
Rivers Of Babylon / The Melodians
Hello Listener, and welcome to episode 58 of the internationally acclaimed Music Labyrinth! Now, you might be thinking: gee, this bloke is getting ahead of himself - get a grip, Danny! But, let me assure you, I speak nothing but the truth. Last week I received a very nice email from New Friend Of The Music Labyrinth, Jürgen Binder, from Paderborn in Germany. Paderborn is a city of about 150000 people in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany, and its name indicates that it is close to the source of the River Pader. Jürgen found us via Spotify and an experiment we tried a while back with a “podcast” version of the show, and he got in touch looking for more, which I was sadly unable to offer. However, between us we calculated that, at the very moment of this broadcast, it is 10am on Thursday in Paderborn and there is a chance that Jürgen is listening in live via the stream. So G’day Jürgen, and thanks so much for getting in touch. If you are there, you now have eclipsed our Salmon Thursday listeners in Buderim in Queensland as the most distant listener to this program - and that’s a badge of honour if ever there was one. If any of our listeners happen to find themselves in Germany and in need of booking a covers band (and I know how often that problem presents itself to all of us), Jürgen could be your man. His band, The Sky Raiders, are available for bookings and, by the look of their playlists, there is a fair bit of overlap between the music they play and some of what we serve up here. You can see more about The Sky Raiders at www.skyraiders.de. Thanks again Jürgen. Now, especially because we have international obligations, we should be getting on with episode 58. We commenced this episode with the original 1970 version of Rivers Of Babylon from The Melodians. I am aware of pressure to step in the direction of Boney M at this point, and I apologise to the advocates of that position. We’re not going that way. Instead, it occurred to me that the rivers of Babylon are the Tigris and the Euphrates, and they are referenced by name in this track from Roger Waters. This is Its A Miracle.
Its A Miracle / Roger Waters
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth where we last listened to Roger Waters from his 1992 album Amused To Death, with Its A Miracle. You will have noticed (I hope) a rather unkind reference to Andrew Lloyd-Webber and his music in the final verse of that song - when Roger Waters sings about Lloyd-Webbers awful music and imagines the miracle of the piano lid crashing down on the composer’s fingers. Its possible that the obvious enmity between Waters and Lloyd-Webber goes back as far as 1986 when Lloyd-Webber premiered his musical The Phantom Of The Opera. The opening riff of the song The Phantom Of The Opera has a undeniable similarity to part of a 1971 Pink Floyd track called Echoes. Lets have a listen to a snippet of each: This is from Phantom Of The Opera [mp3 snippet]; and this is from Echoes [mp3 snippet]. Roger Waters called the similarities “probably actionable”, but stated that he did not intend to pursue it in court. Nevertheless Roger, apparently, has a long memory! Now, in the interests of fairness and balance, I’m probably obliged at this point to nod in Sir Andrew’s direction. However, we here at The Music Labyrinth do have some filters! I spent a considerable period of time investigating the music of Sir Andrew, but apart from a return to some of the songs from Jesus Christ Superstar, I really couldn’t find anything that filled me with the urge to share with you. However, I did satisfy myself that it was legitimate to sidestep from Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s musical School Of Rock, to the soundtrack of the 2003 film of the same name, where I found this.
Roadrunner / The Modern Lovers
That was Roadrunner by The Modern Lovers, from their 1972 self-titled album. The Stephen King novel, Christine - about a haunted 1958 Plymouth Fury - quotes a song lyric at the commencement of each chapter, and the song we just heard is quoted at the beginning of chapter 12 and chapter 22 of that novel. Flick over to chapter 44 and you will find a quote from our next song. But just before I play it, I have to tell you that I was so pleased with myself about identifying this pathway that I rushed over to a major internet retailer and bought the e-book version of Christine. Then, thinking I had a secure key for my cipher, I was quick to tell some associates how clever I was. Friend Of The Music Labyrinth, and Internet Ninja, Rob, took about 7 minutes to locate a public list called “Songs From Christine”, complete with relevant chapter numbers, and immediately unlock the code. So, in a surprise reveal for pretty much all of you except Rob and I, this is the Bob Dylan song From A Buick 6, covered here by the Australian band Died Pretty.
From A Buick 6 / Died Pretty
Released as the ‘B’ side to their 1988 single Towers Of Strength, that was Died Pretty, with Bob Dylan’s From A Buick 6. Now, if you will permit me, I’m just going off on a little tangent for a moment. Including the track we’ve just listened to, I’ve heard a couple of terrific covers of songs from Bob Dylan’s epic 1965 album, Highway 61 Revisited, one of which we played in episode 44. This led me to see whether I could create a playlist of quality cover versions of all the songs on that album, in album order. I did! And I’ve been really enjoying it. So, as an extra treat to the valued listener of this program, when you find your way to the web page for this episode of The Music Labyrinth (which should be available in the next day or so) - in addition to the usual links to Spotify and Apple Music playlists of the songs in this episode, there will also be links to my playlist called Highway 61 Revisited Revisited. Enjoy! Now - back to business. Three years after the song we just heard, Died Pretty released one of - in my very humble opinion - the most under-rated albums in Australian music history, Doughboy Hollow. As you know, I’m not one to leave you with an opinion and no evidence in support of it (well, not always, anyway), so here is a track from Doughboy Hollow. This is the lovely D.C.
D.C / Died Pretty
You are back with The Music Labyrinth. Thanks. From their 1991 album Doughboy Hollow, we just listened to Died Pretty with D.C. The is a lot about that track, and the album it comes from, that reminds me of The Go-Betweens, which is interesting because violin on Doughboy Hollow was played by Amanda Brown, who was a member of The Go-Betweens, and who you will hear playing violin, oboe and guitars on the opening track from The Go-Betweens’ great album, 16 Lovers Lane. This is Love Goes On!
Love Goes On! / The Go-Betweens
The Go-Betweens were built largely around the capabilities of the songwriting duo Grant McLennan and Robert Forster. Grant McLennan died too young in 2006; and, after the Go-Betweens folded, Robert Forster continued to make music and also forged a career as a music journalist. Robert Forster’s writing is thoughtful and provocative, and between 2005 and 2014 he wrote a series of album reviews for The Monthly Magazine. One of those columns focussed on The Monkees, and Forster wrote that, “The Monkees are too hip for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They have skipped free, the same way they jumped off that bridge back in ‘68, and are outside rock history. But still, the next time you’re thinking of adding a record or two to a collection of classic rock albums, get Headquarters or Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. and put them up beside The Byrds’ Younger Than Yesterday or The Velvet Underground’s first album, because it is where they belong.” So, we’re going to take Robert Forster’s advice. Here is the opening track from Headquarters. This is You Told Me.
You Told Me / The Monkees
You Told Me is the opening track from The Monkees’ 1967 album Headquarters, which many agree was the album that made people begin to sit up and take The Monkees seriously as musicians. One of the keys to that evolution, and the writer of that last song, was band member Michael Nesmith, who we all remember for this solo hit of 1977.
Rio / Mike Nesmith
Here we are in The Music Labyrinth were we last listened to Rio, by Michael Nesmith. That song comes from his wonderfully named 1977 album From A Radio Engine To The Photon Wing. By the way, did you know that liquid paper was invented in 1956 by Bette Nesmith Graham - Michael Nesmith’s mother? That fact has nothing to do with our next song. Its just another freebie we like to toss to you every now and then. Michael Nesmith applied his songwriting talent (and perhaps Mum’s liquid paper? Who knows?) to a few other songs which we all know, but probably dont associate with him - none more than this one.
Different Drum / Stone Poneys
From 1967 that was the Stone Poneys with Different Drum. The Stone Poneys were a folk rock trio made up of Bobby Kimmel, Kenny Edwards and - the one we all remember - the young Linda Ronstadt. One of the things I did not know about Linda Ronstadt and her long career in popular music is that she is the recipient of an honorary doctorate of music from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Someone else who was a fair-dinkum student at Berklee was Annie Clark, who is better known to us as the musician St Vincent. Here she is from her fourth album, with Birth In Reverse.
Birth In Reverse / St Vincent
From her 2013 self-titled album, that is St Vincent with Birth In Reverse. The year before that album was released, St Vincent collaborated with David Byrne and they released an album called Love This Giant. From it, this is Who.
Who / David Byrne & St Vincent
From their 2012 album Love This Giant, that was David Byrne and St Vincent with Who. I’ve been enjoying a recent focus on David Byrne’s music, primarily because I am quite taken with the recent concert movie David Byrne’s American Utopia. The movie is directed by Spike Lee and is, according to no particular authority other than my personal aesthetic, one of the great concert movies - up there with The Last Waltz and Stop Making Sense. I highly recommend it. However, because I’ve been so immersed in particular parts of David Byrne’s career, I thought that here we would shine a light in a corner less well known. David Byrne’s fourth solo album, released in 1992, was the eponymous David Byrne, and from it, this is Back In The Box.
Back In the Box / David Byrne
We are still here, in the box in The Music Labyrinth which David Byrne popped us into with that last track. And we are well and truly staying there for the moment, because Back In The Box is also the name of this track from Johnny Marr’s 2014 album, Playland.
Back In The Box / Johnny Marr
That was Johnny Marr from his 2014 album Playland with Back In The Box. Nile Marr, Johnny’s son, is credited with backing vocals on that album. Nile and Johnny had been making music together for some time, having both participated in Neil Finn’s 7 Worlds Collide project in the summer of 2008/2009. Out of those sessions came an album, featuring the Marrs and others, called The Sun Came Out. And this is one of my two favourite tracks from that album. This is Glenn Richards with Duxton Blues.
Duxton Blues / Glenn Richards
OK. I suspect we are at one of those points in The Music Labyrinth where the next track just selects itself. Having heard Glenn Richards as our last track, we can turn in no other direction than to the band he was and is such an integral part of. From the 2006 album Moo You Bloody Choir, this is Angie March with the wonderful One Crowded Hour.
One Crowded Hour / Angie March
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth which still echoes with the anthemic refrain of One Crowded Hour by Angie March. The title of that song comes from an 18th Century poem called The Call, written by Thomas Osbert Mordaunt, which goes, in part: Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife; Throughout the sensual world proclaim; One crowded hour of glorious life; Is worth an age without a name [end quotation]. In 2008 Regina Spektor contributed a song called The Call to the soundtrack of the movie Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and, interestingly, Regina Spektor’s song seems to echo some of the themes of Mordaunt’s poem from 3 centuries earlier.
The Call / Regina Spektor
That was Regina Spektor with The Call. In the same year as that song was released, Regina Spektor collaborated with Ben Folds on his album Way To Normal. Here they are together with You Don’t Know Me.
You Don’t Know Me / Ben Folds (feat. Regina Spektor)
Thats quite delightful, isn’t it? Thats Ben Folds and Regina Spektor with You Don’t Know Me. I’ve convinced myself that that song has a touch of the Gilbert & Sullivans about it, but - as the lyrics say - I’m very easily led astray. Two years before that song was released, Ben Folds had contributed a cover version of a Clash song to the soundtrack of the movie Over The Hedge. The lyrics of the song refer to having a hedge over which the singer could not see. The original version by The Clash sounded like this.
Lost In The Supermarket / The Clash
Unlike The Clash, we are not lost in the supermarket. We are strolling through The Music Labyrinth and we are assessing the ways ahead from that last song. In 1999 a tribute album to the music of The Clash was released, and it included this cover of The Clash song Clampdown. This is The Indigo Girls.
Clampdown / Indigo Girls
That was The Indigo Girls with their cover of The Clash song, Clampdown. In 2005 The Indigo Girls contributed to the fourth album by Pink, called I’m Not Dead. Here they all are with Dear Mr President.
Dear Mr President / Pink (feat. Indigo Girls)
That song was recorded in 2005 and released in 2006. George W Bush was President of the United States between 2001 and 2009 and, given that the song references several of the policies of the Bush administration, its probably fair to assume that the song was directed at the 43rd president. This next song was released in 2004 and, unlike Pink’s song, this one makes no direct reference to any candidate, even though it mentions names on a ballot. I offer it completely without comment. This is The Hives with Walk Idiot Walk.
Walk Idiot Walk / The Hives
From their 2004 album Tyrannasaurus Hives, that was The Hives with Walk Idiot Walk. The Hives are, of course, a popular music phenomenon from Sweden, however - dont even ask, Elves - we are not going there. One interesting piece of work which The Hives produced was a 2010 EP which included a cover of this 1985 song by Flash & The Pan. This is Early Morning Wake Up Call.
Early Morning Wake Up Call / Flash and The Pan
Well Listener, Flash & The Pan have delivered us to the end of episode 58 of The Music Labyrinth - highly likely to go down in history as the the first confirmed international broadcast of the program. Thanks again Jürgen. And thanks also to everyone who listens in, or jumps onto the web page to read the links as they make their way through the playlists. I appreciate your company, and your feedback. Dont be shy about that by the way - just jump onto www.themusiclabyrinth.com and have your say. And, please, join us again in a fortnight when we will continue on from this next track further into The Music Labyrinth. We last listened to Flash & The Pan with Early Morning Wake Up Call, and we all know that Flash & The Pan was an outlet for the songwriting, musicianship and production of the former Easybeats Harry Vanda and George Young. In 2009 Albert Music and APRA established the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition which has annually awarded first, second and third prize for great songwriting. So, what better way to end this global episode of The Music Labyrinth than with the inaugural winner of a global songwriting competition? This is Washington with How To Tame Lions.
How To Tame Lions / Washington