More Strays

I just received the Strays Don’t Sleep self titled debut CD / DVD today in the mail, all the way from the UK. After one listen, I have one thing to say: Hey Strays! Release this baby in the U.S.!!

My site has been deluged with visitors searching for their single, “For Blue Skies”, due to it being played on One Tree Hill last week. “For Blue Skies” is available on iTunes, so go check that out.

See my previous Strays post to read more about them, or visit them at their Official Web Site or their My Space page.

Here’s one off the CD:

Strays Don’t Sleep: April’s Smiling at Me (mp3)

I found my copy of the CD off of eBay. But you can find some others here at Froogle.

Funky Music a la Wild Cherry

Once in a while it’s necessary to indulge my not-so-guilty pleasure appetite. This one took the charts by storm in ol’ 1976 – America’s Bicentennial, and the year I turned the big 6. Led by singer, guitarist and songwriter Rob Parissi, Wild Cherry rose out of Steubenville, Ohio in the early 70’s. They headed to Pittsburgh, PA and played around town for a couple of years before Rob broke up the band to manage a Bonanza steakhouse or two. But the music pulled him back in when he felt the industry going back toward the rootsy side of Rock n Roll. Well, it wasn’t long before the rock clubs began to be replaced by discos, and he got more and more requests to “play something funky.” Rob sat down and wrote this song.

From the One Hit Wonder catalog, I give you… Wild #&@ Cherry!! Sure, you’ve heard it at every wedding you’ve ever been to, but still a great tune almost 30 year later.

Those outside of the U.S., does this song make it into your local wedding play list?

Wild Cherry: Play That Funky Music (mp3) – buy on Amazon

Jack Bruce

I watched part of the Cream reunion at the Royal Albert Hall from this past May. It was a treat to sit and watch this legendary trio wail through some of their tunes. Ginger Baker on drums, Clapton on guitar of course, and Jack Bruce on the bass.

I haven’t followed Jack Bruce’s solo stuff or other work through the years, but there is one tune of his that I love. It was released on 1993’s ‘Something Els”. It goes a little something like this….

Jack Bruce: Waiting on a Word (mp3)

Waiting on a Word
Standing on the highway
Watchin’ all the cars go by
I’ve been searching the horizon
Wind is blowing dust in my eyes
You’ve been gone such a very long time
Seems like a hundred years have passed
I left my heart down at the pawnshop
Can’t afford it anymore, no more
Now I’m feeling such a space inside of me
Every time there’s someone at the door
I’m not living till I hear you on the line
and then you got to fly so very fast

Ooh, waiting on a word
Ooh, fires still burning
Ooh, baby turn around
Ooh, you gotta
Come on home

All those promises
That we drove

Together With nowhere to go
Well we started out so fine
Now the flame is all but dying

Ooh, waiting on a word . . .

Strays Don’t Sleep

UPDATE – 12/7/2005 “For Blue Skies” was on “One Tree Hill” tonight. Mp3 below…. For all you people who like that sound, that’s Matthew Ryan on vocals. Check out his stuff (some links below).

I’ve blogged about Matthew Ryan a couple times before. I just found out about his latest project, a band called Strays Don’t Sleep, which consists of Ryan (vox, guitars, keys), Neilson Hubbard (vox, guitars, synth), Brian Bequette (guitar, loops and keys), Billy Mercer (bass guitar) and Steve Latanation (drums).

I just eat up the atmosphere Ryan evokes in his music. Quiet, stark, and desparate with a tinge of hope. These songs from Strays Don’t Sleep fit that mold. The CD is apparently only available in the UK right now through Bjork’s label, One Little Indian. But looks like it should be released in the US soon. They have a cool My Space site you can check out, as does Matthew Ryan, both of which are streaming tunes. Also, if only for aesthetic quality, check out their official web site. You can get lost staring at some of those cool videos / images running throughout their site (I recommend clicking into the Pictures section and watching that beautiful specimen sit down on the bed over and over).

Strays Don’t Sleep: For Blue Skies (mp3) – – the song is also available on iTunes. Support the band, go buy this great song!

Big Night Music

I finally got my grubby hands once again on one of my favorite albums, Shriekback‘s ‘Big Night Music.’ Hailing from London, Shriekback was made up of Barry Andrews (vocals, keyboards), Dave Allen (bass), and Carl Marsh (vocals/guitar). Andrews was once in XTC, and Allen came from Gang of Four (who incidentally are reunited and on tour). ‘Big Night Music’ was their fourth album, and is pretty much defined by its title. Each song that weaves into the total package sounds and feels like night.

From the liner notes:

Big Night Music – songs to sing in your sleep. Shriekback celebrate the blessed dark – the place where they were always most at home… Big Night Music is the shape and rhythm of two different kinds of nights – nights of heat and weirdness in which we alone are awake, humming with forbidden energy; nights into which we would not send our dogs – wild sea and wet forest and eyes and teeth – or those other nights – fragrant with blossom, incandescent with moonlight and dreams, possessed by a cool beauty which evaporates with the dew…

It is, perhaps, worth mentioning that Big Night Music is entirely free of drum machines, sequencers, Fairlight Page R’s – digital heartbeats of every kind. Seductive though they are, Shriekback have opted to make a different kind of music – one which exalts human frailty and the harmonious mess of nature over the simplistic reductions of our crude computers.

A couple of samples for you: the opener of the album, “Black Light Trap”, and the most downright seductive song, “Exquisite”. This tune will make your most – um – intimate moments with that significant other even more so.

They’re Not Down in London Town

This one goes out to all our brothers and sisters across the pond in London town. Other than some visits as a young child, I visited England twice in my twenties when my folks lived in Surrey. I was enamored of the place. The charm, the scenery, the history, the class, not to mention – ah yes – THE PUBS. How many pints of bitter were downed? No idea. I got from place to place like so many others: riding the tube. God Bless the poor souls affected by last week’s terror. To those on the other side, enjoy Hell, won’t you?

From Willesden to Cricklewood
I tell you the town looked good
Walking lonely avenues,
Where rhinestone cowboys find the blues
There’s people in, doing their thing
Gettin’ all the mozzarella in
And the passing time and passing moons
Words flying in cloudy rooms
Plastic bags, milk and eggs
The poor old crone’s got aching legs
How I would love to speak
To everybody on the street
Just for once to break the rules
I know it would be so cool

From Willesden to Cricklewood
From Willesden to Cricklewood
From Willesden to Cricklewood
Come with me and be no good

Be a mad man on the street
Sing something out like reet petite
Let’s hip-hop at traffic lights
Ten thumbs up and smilin’ bright
Crossing all the great divides
Colour,age,and heavy vibes

From Willesden to Cricklewood…

Oh let’s go down to Al Rashid’s
All the Aussie lagers are on me
Now you’ve got the absinthe out
Your old mother-she wants a stout..

From Willesden to Cricklewood
As I went it all looked good
Thought about my babies grown
Thought abour going home
Thought about what’s done is done
We’re alive and that’s the one
From Willesden to Cricklewood

Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros: Willesden to Cricklewood (mp3) from Rock Art & the X Ray Style

In the Valley of the Midnight Oil

I’ve always admired Peter Garrett. Other than his great first name, he’s balanced an innovative and consistently strong music career with Midnight Oil, while staying heavily involved in the political and social issues of his native Australia. He ended up leaving Midnight Oil to focus on politics, and is currently a member of the Australian Parliament, serving the federal electorate of Kingsford Smith. At seven feet tall, Peter is a commanding presence on stage and I’m sure on the floor of Parliament. I had the good fortune to see Midnight Oil in 2001. My brother and I sat just a few rows back from the stage. An amazing experience…

So here’s two selections from Midnight Oil, one of my favorites from 1993’s ‘Earth and Sun and Moon’, and the other a more familiar track from 1987’s ‘Diesel and Dust’.

Midnight Oil: In the Valley (mp3) from Earth and Sun and Moon

Midnight Oil: The Dead Heart (mp3) from Diesel and Dust

Flashback – Wild Horses (no not that one)

I recently pulled out an old mix tape from my younger days, and heard this song. I was 16-17 when I heard it, and really enjoyed it, and still do after all these years. Now I’m no Gino Vanelli nut, in fact, I couldn’t name you another GV song, but this one is light and cool with those brush drum sticks laying it down. The song starts off, “As the sun goes down on the Arizona plain and the wind rustles by like a runaway train, a hey hey, it’s beautiful thing…” Must’ve been what led me to Arizona years later. Besides that, it’s another one of those teen angst/ love songs that I loved so much as a kid. If anyone else has heard this, say aye.

Gino Vanelli: Wild Horses (mp3)[Buy]

Fiona’s Extraordinary Apple Machine

The ‘leaked’ Fiona Apple album, ‘Extraordinary Machine’, has been all over the internet, but I thought I’d share one anyway. This is one talented hot young artist, and Sony / Epic has been holding off on releasing this album for more than two friggin years because they don’t think it’s commercial enough. Blecchh… What a bunch of idiots. I feel for her.

It will sound weird to some ears. But when dealing with Apple, a certain amount of confusion is a given. Brion’s ingenious orchestrations are dramatic and demented. The songs, all piano-based, focus less on conventional melodies and hooks than on creating and sustaining an overall mood suitable for a collection tantamount to hallucinogenic cabaret, pure musical absinthe ladled out by the gallon…Extraordinary Machine is nothing if not the musical manifestation of Apple’s infamously unstable psyche. – from this article

Fiona has always intrigued me by her wise-beyond- her- years voice and lyrics, her originality, and – yeah – her beauty. Hallucinogenic Cabaret….exactly.

Buy the Music of Fiona Apple

July Update: Not sure how long it will last, but the songs can be found here for now

Jesse’s Just Wanting You

Jesse Johnson left The Time in 1984, right after their success due to their part in ‘Purple Rain’, and their 2 hit singles, “The Bird” and “Jungle Love”. Jesse did alright for himself, releasing a few albums over the years, including a greatest hits compilation in 2000 that includes this song, “I’m Just Wanting You”. It’s a laid back tune, with Jesse’s guitar at center stage. I think this song was made for this compilation, but I could be wrong. Jesse’s not returning my phone calls. If you know for sure, leave a comment. Hope ya like it…

Jesse Johnson – I’m Just Wanting You
(mp3) – from Ultimate Collection, 2000, Hip-O – {Buy it on Amazon}