Opinion

FRIDAY SONG, Annette Hanshaw, I GET THE BLUES WHEN IT RAINS (Marcy Klauber and Harry Stoddart, 1928)

The light, seductive voice of Annette Hanshaw has led me to a song whose history confirms, as well as any song of the 20th century, that music knows no borders of genre, tradition or colour. ‘I Get the Blues When...

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FRIDAY SONG: The Easy Club, THE AULD TOON SHUFFLE (Rod Paterson, 1984)

Almost seven years ago, I stood outside the gates of Charlotte Square in Edinburgh. touting for business beside a Big Issue seller and a young bloke handing out flyers for a new McDonalds. I was touting for trade, too. The...

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MY FRIDAY SONGS – THE STORY SO FAR

There’s no Friday Song today – it will be back next week – but several people have asked me about songs I’ve written about in the past. Since I haven’t yet assembled them all in one place on the website....

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FRIDAY SONG, Jim Kweskin, BLUES MY NAUGHTY SWEETIE GIVES TO ME ( Arthur Swanstrom, Chas McCarron and Carey Morgan, 1919)

Let’s admit, first of all, that this week’s Friday Song has a slightly silly, borderline weird title. I like to think that, when it was written in 1919, Carey Morgan came up with a killer tune and the lyricists Swanstrom...

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FRIDAY SONG, George Harrison, BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA (Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler, 1931)

Some songs are so great that they survive and thrive down the years in a form that is pretty much unchanged. Who could think of messing around too much with the melody, shape and general vibe of, say, Hoagy Carmichael’s...

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FRIDAY SONG: Willie Nelson, RED HEADED STRANGER (Carl Stutz – Edith Calisch, 1954)

Just now and then, as you’re growing up, an album comes along that shakes and re-orders your musical landscape like an earthquake. For me, as for many others, Highway 61  had that effect, as did the Beatles’ White Album and The Paul Simon Songbook.  Less...

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FRIDAY SONG: Chuck Berry, YOU NEVER CAN TELL (1964)

For pity’s sake, let’s have a happy Friday Song – something sunny, celebratory, about being young, about getting out and having fun. Here’s an idea: what better than one of those great songs written between 1955 and 1964 by the...

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FRIDAY SONG: Fred Astaire, LET’S FACE THE MUSIC AND DANCE (Irving Berlin, 1936)

Here is  a song that has been part of our lives for so long that it has become easy to forget how odd and unusual it is. That problem has been compounded by the countless woeful interpretations down the years...

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The Anno Domini Rag – the story of a song

One of my favourite tracks on Playing For Time is ‘The Anno Domini Rag’. When I arrived in southern Italy last autumn to record some of the tracks for the new album, it was one of the songs that produced the most...

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FRIDAY SONG: CHAS & DAVE, AIN’T NO PLEASING YOU (CHAS HODGES, 1982)

When, a few days ago, the BBC showed a music documentary, there was a sniffy online reaction from a  resident of Twittertown. ‘What is it that bothers me about this? Am I a music snob, an art snob, a massive...

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