Book of Brilliant Things - Five things we’ve loved this week - 8th August
1. Chas & Dave - Last Orders
I mean, who DOESN'T love Chas & Dave - as Chas says in this documentary, there is something wrong with you if you don't...I love Chas and Dave. Rabbit, Gercha, The Sideboard Song - all brilliant. And of course, Ain't No Pleasing You is a stone cold classic. I saw them in 2008 at the Amersham Arms in New Cross, as remembered in this Independent review. The gig was jubilant beyond description. And I SWEAR I saw them playing outside a pub in Bexleyheath in 1989....
The documentary is fabulous, reminding you they were not a novelty act, but incredibly skilled musicians who played with The Beatles, supported Led Zeppelin (they didn't rate them) and were sampled by Eminem (they played guitar and bass on Labi Siffre's I Got The..., which was sampled on My Name Is.
Watch this and be reminded that they walked away from successful careers singing in American accents, to be true to themselves and sing in London accents, and write about life around them. They were folk music in its truest sense. RIP Chas Hodges who sadly passed away a couple of years ago.
2. McCartney III Imagined
During last year's lockdown, workaholic McCartney recorded III, playing all instruments, except for guitar and drums on one track, Slidin'. Pretty impressive, though to be honest, I wasn't;'t that bothered about the album. But this reimagined version, with tracks reworked by Beck, St Vincent, Blood Orange, Phoebe Bridgers, Damon Albarn and more, is much more interesting - some are covers, some are mixes. Lavatory Lil, reworked by John Homme sounds just like a Queen Of The Stone Age song (that's no bad thing).
But Anderson.Paak's rework of When Winter Comes is beautiful, lo-fi soul; Bridgers' Seize The Day is cool, warped, vibrant. The whole experience is great. Macca should do a whole album like this, collaborators bring out the best in him and we all need a little help from our friends...(groan...sorry...).
3. The Queens Of Pop - Viva La Diva
Ana Matronic from Scissor Sisters presents this review of five classic divas - Cher, Grace Jones, Madonna, Mariah Carey and Beyonce. It's a great overview, reclaiming the term "diva" as a positive thing, highlighting the many hurdles that each artist had to overcome, each building on the last's work to break down the barriers. When you hear how Sonny Bono dominated Cher's finances, you'll be shocked. That she made it to the superstardom she has achieved is amazing. They have all been on similar journeys - they are entitled to be as Diva-ish as they wish! It's available to watch on BBC iPlayer here,
4. Public Service Broadcasting - Blue Heaven (ft Andreya Casablanca)
PSB are back, trailing their new album with this brilliant single. Bandleader J. Willgoose, Esq has relocated to Berlin and he's on a Bowie / Achtung Baby period U2 kick . Recorded at Hansa Studios, this single features Andreya Casablanca from German band Gurr. It's a dreamy, swelling banger - can't wait for the new album later this year.
Comedians George Lewis and Paul McCaffrey chat with many of the key players in the music scene of my mid-twenties - it's great stuff, funny and considers the really important questions like what aftershave did Liam Gallagher wear? How did Supergrass grow such impressive sideburns at such a young age? Prompted me to write my own look back at Britpop (see England's (Day)Dreaming - 16 of the best Britpop songs).
See you next week, stay safe, x