Blogs and Journalism

Friday Song: Carsie Blanton, BABY CAN DANCE (2009)

Blog

Soon after I became aware of the sparky brilliance of the New Orleans songwriter Carsie Blanton, I sent her one of my novels. She had announced on social media that she was, for reeasons I couldn't quite work out, prepared...

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Friday Song: Jesse Winchester, SHAM-A-LING-DONG-DING

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It's rare to come across a piece of film that captures the moment when one song transforms a show, but Jesse Winchester's performance of 'Sham-a-Ling-Dong-Ding' on Elvis Costello's TV show Spectacle in 2010 does just that. When I found it...

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Friday Song: Oliver Mtukudzi, HEAR ME, LORD

Blog

When the daily news is a grim daily carnival of human inadequacy and ugliness, that's when we need music most. A rhythm, a tune, feeling - perhaps even a thought or two  - put to a melody can remind us...

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Friday Song: Mary Gauthier, I DRINK

Blog

Everybody likes a drink. Everybody loves a drinker. There's nothing like booze to make life a little more colourful, fun and generally worth living. Right? Well, maybe not exactly. Most of us know that, like any other highs, alcohol has...

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Friday Song: Paolo Conte, VIA CON ME

Blog

Would Nigel Farage  enjoy this week's Friday Song? It would seem, on the face of it, unlikely. The great Italian songwriter Paolo Conte is sophisticated, arty, earthy and shamelessly foreign. He doesn't even speak English, for heaven's sake. He was...

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Friday Song: Janis Ian’s JESSE

Blog

A reliable indicator of songwriting talent is when a writer takes a hoary, overworked theme, one that has been mauled and murdered in countless second-rate songs, and makes it entirely new. Janis Ian, one of the great unsung heroes of...

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The Friday Song: Ry Cooder, SHINE (1910)

Blog

If there were ever a song that illustrates the muddle we are in about race, tolerance and offensiveness, it's my Friday Song this week, 'That's Why They Call Me "Shine"'.  The song has taken a peculiar journey over the past...

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