Music Labyrinth Episode 066
You and Steve McQueen / The Audreys (2006)
Hello Listener, and welcome to episode 66 of The Music Labyrinth. If you are a first time listener, let me explain that shortly we will play another song and I will maintain that there is a link between that song and our opening song; and on we will go trying to identify linkages between each song we play. The Music Labyrinth Vault indicates that we are well past 830 songs in the history of this show, and if you hold your head a certain way and squint up your eyes, you can almost see the common thread linking them all together into one long strand. And, if you are a returning listener, well - bless you for coming back again. I’m very grateful. Anyway - on we go with episode 66 of the show. 66 is, of course, a famous number in the annuls of modern music: who does not remember the contributions made by the great Sergio Mendes and Brazil ‘66? What, no-one!? Well, of course, there is also that urban transportation route that ran originally from Chicago to Santa Monica, via St Louis, Missouri; Oklahoma City; Flagstaff, Arizona; and don’t forget Winona. That song (we’re talking about Get Your Kicks On Route 66, if you have not yet caught on) has been around since first released in 1946, and covered by everyone, and is certain to live on for at least another generation thanks to its popularity from the animated movie Cars. It just goes to show what a significant contribution animated movies are making to the maintenance and observance of serious music history! And, speaking of movies, you will have noticed that our first song this evening was The Audreys with You and Steve McQueen. Steve McQueen is name-checked in a surprising number of songs, including this next one from R.E.M.’s massively popular album of 1996, New Adventures in Hi-Fi. Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, who cited R.E.M. as a major influence on him, said it was his favourite R.E.M. album and this next song (complete with its reference to the great actor) was the greatest song of R.E.M.’s career. This is Electrolite.
Electrolite / R.E.M. (1996)
On The Music Labyrinth, that was R.E.M with Electrolite. In addition to actors (Steve McQueen, Martin Sheen and James Dean), the location Mulholland Drive is also name-checked in the song we just heard. And so, here is The Gaslight Anthem with their song of the same name.
Mulholland Drive / The Gaslight Anthem (2012)
This is The Music Labyrinth and, from the 2012 album Handwritten, we last heard The Gaslight Anthem with Mulholland Drive. During 2012, just after the release of Handwritten, The Gaslight Anthem were touring and were joined on stage by Eddie Vedder to perform a version of this Pearl Jam song. This is State of Love and Trust.
State of Love and Trust / Pearl Jam (1992)
From the soundtrack of the 1992 film Singles, that was Pearl Jam with State Of Love And Trust. That movie starred Brigit Fonda and Matt Dillon, but it also included cameos by the members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, including Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder, who had become friends by way of a tragic introduction. Just a year or so prior to the making of Singles, Seattle musician Andrew Wood died of an overdose. Chris Cornell of the then established band Soundgarden, who had been the room-mate of Wood, approached Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament of the newly formed band Pearl Jam, who had previously played in a band with Andrew Wood. Cornell, Gossard and Ament formed the core of a new group, Temple Of The Dog, to record an album as a tribute to Andrew Wood. During recording, Eddie Vedder contributed a vocal part to one song on the album, which we are about to hear. Temple Of The Dog became something of a collectors’ item as Pearl Jam’s reputation grew, and people began to realise that the Temple Of The Dog album was effectively a joint project by two of the biggest bands in the world, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. From Temple Of The Dog, and featuring the shared vocals of Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder, this is Hunger Strike.
Hunger Strike / Temple Of The Dog (1991)
That was Temple Of The Dog with Hunger Strike, which has become something of a classic because of the epic nature of the collaboration between two of the biggest bands in the world who contributed to the recording: Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. I’m going to stay with the concept of epic rock collaborations to take us to our next song. When you think about it, there are plenty of examples. But this one captured my attention. By 1990, Iggy Pop had been at the top of the music pyramid for almost a quarter of a century, and he had enjoyed recent commercial success with Real Wild Child, and an old hit, Lust For Life, which had been given a big boost by the film Trainspotting. At the same time, the B52s were riding the crest of a wave, courtesy of the success of Love Shack. So when Kate Pierson of the B52s collaborated with Iggy Pop on this song, it was always going to be a hit.
Candy / Iggy Pop (feat. Kate Pierson) (1990)
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth where we listened together Candy by Iggy Pop, featuring the vocals of Kate Pierson. That song came from Iggy’s 1990 album Brick By Brick. Kate Pierson was not the only guest artist to appear on that album. John Hiatt also performed a duet with Iggy on Brick By Brick. John Hiatt had been around the music industry for a while, and had written some hit songs picked up by other artists, but in 1990 he was enjoying commercial success off the back of his own 1987 album Bring The Family, which included this hit.
Have A Little Faith In Me / John Hiatt (1987)
From his 1987 album Bring The Family, that was John Hiatt with Have A Little Faith In Me. Hiatt’ s “backing band” on Bring The Family was something of a supergroup - including Ry Cooder, Jim Keltner and Nick Lowe. Five years later, that quartet reunited, this time under the band name Little Village. The Little Village album found its way into my music collection in the mid 90s, and I’ve always enjoyed it, so - of course - I’m going to take this opportunity to pluck a favourite track from it. I like them all, but this one about the perils of global commerce always stuck with me. This is Do You Want My Job?
Do You Want My Job / Little Village (1992)
Here we remain in The Music Labyrinth where we listened to the calypso sounds of Little Village with Do You Want My Job. As I mentioned before the song, one of the members of Little Village was Ry Cooder. Five years after the Little Village project, Ry Cooder and his son Joachim were engaged by a music producer to go to Havana to participate in a musical collaboration with Cuban and African musicians. Visa problems meant that many of the African musicians did not arrive, however the project continued, and eventually became known as the Bueno Vista Social Club. From the album of that name, this is the slightly mesmeric Chan Chan.
Chan Chan / Bueno Vista Social Club (1997)
After the Bueno Vista Social Club collective was established, Ry Cooder engaged the film-maker Wim Venders to document how the ensemble was brought together to record and perform. In that fashion, the Bueno Vista Social Club was added to the list of rock documentaries which led to albums. We’ve touched on some of them before on The Music Labyrinth: Sound City: Reel To Reel, and The Rolling Stones’ Shine A Light, but an obvious one we have not touched on was the film which documented an Irish band’s pilgrimage to the USA. So, lets fix that. From 1988’s Rattle & Hum, here is U2 with Desire.
Desire / U2 (1988)
That was, of course, U2 from their 1988 album Rattle & Hum with Desire. Desire also is the name of a 1975 album by Bob Dylan, and from that album, this is Mozambique.
Mozambique / Bob Dylan (1976)
This is The Music Labyrinth where we last listened to Bob Dylan’s song Mozambique. That song was released in 1976, not much more than a year after the country of Mozambique gained independence from Portugal after a decade long war of independence. But Dylan’s song is anything but a song of celebration. His tongue is firmly in his cheek when he sings of magic in a magical land. Things were pretty bleak in the country, and ayear or so after the release of the song the country was plunged into a 15 year civil war. By the time 2012 rolled around, Mozambique was a democratic nation, but still not the idyllic place evoked by Dylan. In her 2012 album Sun, Cat Power referenced Mozambique in this song, Ruin.
Ruin / Cat Power (2012)
That was Ruin, by Cat Power. Drums on that track were played by Jim White, the legendary Australian drummer who is best known as a member of The Dirty Three, but who will be forever revered by me for his involvement in a band called People With Chairs Up Their Noses. Jim White also played drums on the collaboration between Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, called Lotta Sea Lice. From that album, this is Blue Cheese.
Blue Cheese / Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile (2017)
From their collaborative album Lotta Sea Lice, that was Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile with Blue Cheese. That album, also included a cover of a song by Courtney Barnett’s then partner, Jen Cloher, of Jen Cloher and the Endless Sea. I’m pleased about that, because its a song I love, and we’re going to play it now. This is Jen Cloher with Fear Is Like A Forest.
Fear Is Like A Forest / Jen Cloher 2009
This is The Music Labyrinth, and the last track we heard was Jen Cloher, from her 2009 album Hidden Hands, with Fear Is Like A Forest. Ten years later, Jen Cloher teamed up with Mia Dyson and Liz Stringer to release the album simply called Dyson, Stringer & Cloher. From that album, this is Falling Clouds.
Falling Clouds / Dyson, Stringer & Cloher (2019)
From the album Dyson, Stringer & Cloher that was Falling Clouds. Mia Dyson, Liz Stringer and Jen Cloher are three of the great musical talents of this country, and the blending of the three of them on that album is delightful. Liz Stringer has been on my radar for a little while now, since her 2016 album All The Bridges came happily to my attention. So, because I make the decisions, here is another favourite from that Liz Stringer album. This is Anyone.
Anyone / Liz Stringer (2016)
That was Liz Stringer with her 2016 song Anyone. In 2008 Liz Stringer appeared on an episode of the SBS program Rockwiz, and performed the final duet of the show with the American singer-songwriter Dan Wilson, who wrote and performed this song with his band Semisonic. This is Closing Time.
Closing Time / Semisonic (1998)
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth where we last heard Closing Time by Semisonic. That song was written by Dan Wilson and produced by Nick Launay, one of the most sought after record producers in the world. Nick Launay got into the music caper in 1978 when he was employed by K-Tel to edit hit songs down to two and a half minutes so 20 songs could be fitted on one album. Legend has it that he was working on an edit for this next song one night, for nothing but his own amusement, when another sound engineer, Denis Blackham, convinced Launay to take the edit to the performer, who promptly issued the edit as a 12 inch single. That performer was Robin Scott of the British synth-pop band, M, and the song was this one.
Pop Muzik / M (1979)
Someone who would not have us play and enjoy that last track, Pop Muzik by M, is the band Franz Ferdinand who, in this next track, urge us, “Dont play pop music, you know I hate pop music…”
Goodbye Lovers and Friends / Franz Ferdinand (2013)
On the Music Labyrinth that was Franz Ferdinand with Goodbye Lovers and Friends. That track was co-produced, co-written and part-performed by Joe Goddard and Alexis Taylor, from the band Hot Chip. Hot Chip’s 2006 album, The Warning, was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Here is the title track.
The Warning / Hot Chip (2006)
Welcome back to the final section of episode 66 of The Music Labyrinth. The last song we heard was The Warning by Hot Chip. As I mentioned a few moments ago, Hot Chip’s 2006 album of the same name was nominated for the 2006 Mercury Prize, but was unsuccessful. Another album nominated for the Mercury Prize that year, and also unsuccessful, was Through The Windowpane by The Guillemots. From that album, this is Annie, Lets Not Wait.
Annie, Lets Not Wait / The Guillemots (2006)
That was The Guillemots with Annie, Lets Not Wait. The Guillemots formed in England in 2004. One of the founding and key members of the band, and co-writer of the song we just heard, is Fyfe Dangerfield, a musician, singer and songwriter who is knows for composing a wide variety of music, including contemporary choral arrangements. Very early in his music career, before his involvement in The Guillemots, Dangerfield was a member of a band called Senseless Prayer who did not achieve any level of commercial success, but they did manage to attract the attention of the famed BBC announcer and record producer John Peel. From 1967 to 2004 Peel hosted The Peel Sessions, which usually consisted of up to four songs recorded by artists in the BBC studios, and often provided the first major national coverage to bands who would later achieve fame. In 1999 Fyfe Dangerfield, with Senseless Prayer featured in a Peel Session. Another artist to get his first break via the Peel Sessions is this next performer. He has subsequently appeared in 11 different Peel Sessions between 1983 and 2000, and he is understandably a highly recognised name in the world of music. This is Billy Bragg.
A13, Trunk Road To The Sea / Billy Bragg (1987)
From his 1987 album Life’s A Riot With Spy vs Spy, that was Billy Bragg with A13, Trunk Road To The Sea. Now, I know that The Music Labyrinth listener is a savvy beast, and not particularly easily fooled. And so I know that you are now fully aware of the degree to which I have manipulated the end of this episode to my own purposes. Just before I reveal the final song of episode 66 of The Music Labyrinth, which will be a surprise to NONE of you I am sure, let me thank you for your company tonight, and invite you back again in a fortnight when we will head further into the annuls of modern music. I hardly feel I need to take this song introduction any further, because we all now know that Billy Bragg’s song A13 Trunk Road To The Sea was based very heavily around this 1946 song by Nat King Cole. To end episode 66 of The Music Labyrinth, this is (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66.
(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66 / Nat King Cole (1946)