Music Labyrinth Episode 101
The Great Curve / Anjelique Kidjo (2018)
Hello Listener, and welcome to episode 101 of The Music Labyrinth. Now I cant help but feel that I should start this show with a small apology, because our episode number - 101 - is an album by Depeche Mode; a song by Sheena Easton; and also a song by Alicia Keys, and we are not touching ANY of that this episode - well, except that I have partially unblotted my copybook in relation to Alicia Keys. In fact, speaking of Alicia Keyes, she was featured on our opening track tonight, and I think it is also safe to let you know that she will feature in our last section of this episode. But I get ahead of myself. Also, you may notice that this introduction sounds a little different this episode. That is because I am not in the studio at this moment. In the period leading up to this episode I have been on the road, and I decided to bring you all with me! No need for thanks. So, at this moment, The Music Labyrinth is coming to you from [location], but that is likely to change during the course of the show. Now, back to our opening track which, of course, was also the closing track of episode 99, and that was the Talking Heads song The Great Curve, performed by by Anjelique Kidjo featured Alicia Keyes and the American musician, singer, songwriter, drummer, music journalist and author Questlove. Questlove has had a finger in many musical pies. In 2019 he joined Chris Difford and Glenn Tillbrook, formally of the band Squeeze, as producer and contributing musician on a re-recording of Squeeze’s 1978 debut single. This is the 2019 version of Take Me I’m Yours.
Take Me I’m Yours / Difford & Tillbrook (2019)
Featuring Robert Glasper and Questlove, that was Difford & Tillbrook with Take Me I’m Yours. Chris Difford had a long career in music, primarily as one of the key members (with Glenn Tilbrook) of Squeeze - or UK Squeeze as they were known in this country. After Squeeze ceased to be an entity, Difford and Tilbrook continued to make music as, well, Difford & Tillbrook who we just heard. Chris Difford continues to be involved in the music industry as a songwriter, performer, manager and mentor. In 2013 he became both manager and mentor of the Irish band The Strypes during the recording of their first album, Snapshot. Here are The Stypes from that album with Blue Collar Jane, and my humble advice to you Dear Listener is that you turn the volume on your listening device up to 11, because this is fun.
Blue Collar Jane / The Strypes (2013)
You are with The Music Labyrinth on Coast FM, and we just listened to Blue Collar Jane by The Strypes. Sadly, The Strypes did not survive as a performing entity past 2018, but there is more to their story. In the 2019 biopic Rocketman, members of The Strypes played the roles of Elton’s backing band. Now you know my thoughts about Elton John and the merits of certain periods of his long career, but this song, included in the movie and the movie soundtrack, has always been something of a favourite of mine. This is the original, by Elton, and it comes from the Cool Elton period. From 1974, this is The Bitch Is Back.
The Bitch Is Back / Elton John (1974)
That was Elton John with The Bitch Is Back. The 2002 fantasy comedy film Hocus Pocus 2 starred Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker. The soundtrack of the movie featured an adaption of that last song called “The Witches Are Back”. Dont ask me what its like - I’m not in a position to offer an opinion. But I can tell you that also on that soundtrack was this song.
Planet Claire / The B-52s (1979)
That was the B-52s with Planet Claire, from their 1979 debut album. Henry Mancini is granted a songwriting credit on that song, because he is the composer of this next tune, upon which it leans heavily. The original of this next tune was recorded by Mancini in 1959, but it became a big hit for Duane Eddy and The Rebels in 1960. And it was revived again in 1988 by this version by The Art of Noise. This is the Theme From Peter Gunn.
Peter Gunn / The Art of Noise (feat. Duane Eddy) (1988)
This is The Music Labyrinth and we last heard the Theme From Peter Gunn, written by Henry Mancini and first recorded in 1959, although the version we just heard was from 1988 and was performed by The Art of Noise. We’ve spoken previously about that English avant-garde synth group which included Trevor Horn in its lineup. Trevor Horn came to Art of Noise directly after his departure from Yes, and as its producer he had a big influence on Yes’s 1983 album 90125. In fact, so evident is Horn’s influence that you will hear significant overlaps between the track we just heard by Art Of Noise and this one by Yes. This is Leave It.
Leave It / Yes (1983)
From their 1983 album 90125, that was Yes with Leave It. Yes also released an a capella version of Leave It, which caused me to think about a capella versions of hit songs. And that thought led me to this ripper for you to all to add to your Christmas playlists!
White Winter Hymnal (acapella) / Sonos (2009)
You probably recognised that song as a cover of a song originally written and recorded by Fleet Foxes. That particular version was performed by the US vocal group Sonos. Fleet Foxes have only recently drifted onto my radar, but I’m very pleased they did. From their 2020 album Shore, here they are with Sunbird.
Sunbird / Fleet Foxes (2020)
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth [location] where we just heard Fleet Foxes with their song, Sunbird. Backing vocals on that track were sung by Kevin Morby. Now, here is a gilt-edged opportunity for me, because some years ago I stumbled upon a Kevin Morby song which I instantly fell in love with and am delighted to find a reason to play it for you here. In 2016, Morby wrote Beautiful Strangers, a protest song in remembrance of Paris 2015 attacks, Orlando 2016 shooting, and death of Freddie Gray. It was released as a single in October 2016, with the proceeds benefitting the charity Everytown for Gun Safety. Here is Beautiful Strangers.
Beautiful Strangers / Kevin Morby (2016)
If you were paying attention (and I’m certain you were) you will have picked up the core message of that song which is a plea for the end of gun violence in the United States. Also protesting gun violence and also referencing the shooting of Freddy Gray is this song by Prince. This is Baltimore.
Baltimore / Prince (2015)
On The Music Labyrinth that was Baltimore by The Purple One - Prince - from his 39th (and, sadly, his last) studio album HitnRun Phase 2. A decade and a half earlier, Prince wrote, directed, starred in the film, and created the soundtrack album, Grafitti Bridge: a stand-alone sequel to the film Purple Rain. One of the great things to come out of Grafitti Bridge was this collaboration between Prince and Mavis Staples. This is Melody Cool.
Melody Cool / Prince (feat. Mavis Staples) (1990)
This is The Music Labyrinth and thank you for joining us on our musical pilgrimage. We last listened to Melody Cool by Prince and Mavis Staples, from the soundtrack of the 1990 film Grafitti Bridge. Much more recently Mavis Staples joined forces with the Irish musician, singer and songwriter Andrew John Hozier-Byrne, who is known professionally as plain Hozier. In 2019 he released this next song, featuring the vocal authority of Mavis Staples. This is called Nina Cried Power.
Nina Cried Power / Hozier (feat. Mavis Staples) (2019)
That was Hozier, featuring Mavis Staples with Nina Cried Power. You probably picked up on the references in that tune to several of the great rock and roll evangelists (James Brown, Billie Holiday, Joni Mitchell, Woodie Guthrie and Bob Dylan) and most significantly to Nina Simone. It is pretty widely recognised that the reference to Nina crying power is a direct reference to this 1965 Nina Simone song Sinnerman. Now, Ms Simone’s version of that tune is an epic ten minutes in length and I have taken the audacious liberty of performing a clumsy edit on a work of art in order to trim it to the needs of this format. However, do not fear! If you visit www.themusiclabyrinth.com in coming days you will find the show notes for this program and links to Apple Music and Spotify playlists of all the tunes in it, which will include Ms Simone’s work completely unmolested by your host. But for now, here is The Music Labyrinth edit of Sinnerman.
Sinnerman / Nina Simone (1965)
That was Nina Simone on The Music Labyrinth with Sinnerman. Now I was quite surprised to discover that that song appeared in the soundtrack of one of my favourite movies of all time, Hunt For The Wilderpeople. And so, lets stay with songs from that movie and listen to DD Smash from 1983 with Magic What She Do.
Magic (What She Do) / DD Smash (1983)
This is The Music Labyrinth, and in line with our ever-changing location schedule, I can reveal that the remaining portions of the show are coming to you from the Bunya Mountains Rainforest in Queensland. The track we last listened to was Magic What She Do by DD Smash, and the DD in the band name is recognition that the band was centred around Dave Dobbyn, whom you will of course remember for the Slice Of Heaven song. But, we’re not going down that path. Some years ago, former Split Enz founding member, Eddie Raynor, set up a project with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra to re-record a number of Split Enz tunes. That project was called Enzso, and in 2016 they enlisted Dave Dobbyn to sing the lead vocal on this tune.
Poor Boy / Enzso (2016)
That was an orchestral version of the Split Enz song Poor Boy, performed by Enzso. That song was written by Tim Finn and originally recorded by Split Enz in 1980. Now, I figure that the door has now been opened for me to pick any Split Enz song for you, and I have chosen this next one on the basis that I like it a lot and I cant imagine why I don’t play it more often. Here is Dirty Creature.
Dirty Creature / Split Enz (1982)
I think we - and by that I mean “I” - are guiltily of overlooking just how terrific Split Enz were. That song, Dirty Creature, comes from their 1982 album, Time and Tide - their 8th studio album by that stage of the band’s life. Dirty Creature was co-written by Tim Finn who, in 2000 embarked on a live tour with our old mate Dave Dobbyn and New Zealand singer-songwriter Bic Runga. So, lets shift our attention to Bic Runga who had a hit in 1997 with this song.
Sway / Bic Runga (1997)
Welcome back to the penultimate section of episode 101 of The Music Labyrinth which, right now, is coming to you from the lovely Bunya Mountains in Queensland. We last listened to Sway by Bic Runga, from her 1997 album Drive. I’ve kept it very basic in seeking out our next tune. Also called Sway, this song is by the Los Angeles new-soul band Fitz And The Tantrums.
Sway / Fitz And The Tantrums (2022)
That was Fitz And The Tantrums on The Music Labyrinth with their 2022 song, Sway. Now, IMHO, we played the best song by Fitz And The Tantrums in episode 35 of The Music Labyrinth when we found, as always, a perfectly tangible excuse to play Winds Of Change. So, lets have a listen now to their most commercially successful tune. This is 2016’s Handclap by Fitz And The Tantrums.
Handclap / Fitz And The Tantrums (2016)
That song, Handclap by Fitz And The Tantrums, was one of two songs featured in episode 9 of season six of the American TV Series 9-1-1. The episode was called Red Flag and it was first broadcast on 28 November 2022. The other song featured in that episode of 9-1-1 was this. This is Marcus Mumford and Brandi Carlile with How.
How / Marcus Mumford and Brandi Carlile (2022)
Hello Again, and thanks for sticking with us on our musical and geographical meanderings throughout this episode of The Music Labyrinth. We’ve arrived at this point courtesy of the song How, performed by Marcus Mumford and Brandi Carlile. Now, if yo think way back to the start of the show I made you a promise for some Alicia Keys content. Well, here we go. In 2022 one of the voices we just heard, Brandi Carlile, teamed up with Alicia Keys to record this next tune for a CBS television program encouraging US voters to exercise their democratic right that year. I only discovered this song a week or so ago, but the gorgeous combination of beautiful voices on it ensure that it is true to its name. This is called A Beautiful Noise.
A Beautiful Noise / Alicia Keys & Brandi Carlile (2020)
That lovely tune was called A Beautiful Noise and the two voices that made it so were those of Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile. Lets stay with Alicia Keys for now and stop back to her 2003 masterpiece, The Diary Of Alicia Keys. From that album, this is Karma.
Karma / Alicia Keys (2003)
Now strap on your whiplash collars folks, and get ready for the greatest change of gear in Music Labyrinth history. The song we just heard, Karma by Alicia Keys, samples the first movement of Johannes Brahms 1878 Violin Concerto in D Major. So I set my mind to other classical works sampled in modern music, and I found a wonderful surprise. Our last track tonight is a cover version of a song which you will all recognise. I’ve chosen the cover version because it highlights the use of Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D. This is The Pet Shop Boys. Thanks for listening.
Go West / Pet Shop Boys (1993)