Songs You May Have Missed #550


Magna Carta: “The Fields of Eden” (2015)

Sit back in your most comfy chair with something seasonal in your mug (perhaps a pumpkin ale or an English tea?) and let piano, acoustic guitar and gentle strings take you on a journey back to the Yorkshire dales of songwriter Chris Simpson’s youth. If you’ve got some years on the clock this is the type of song that you’ll feel in your bones…

Times change with the tide, for such is the way of things

The old order can not stand forever, unmoving

All that goes around comes around, as indeed it must

…Look over your should, pilgrim, rest awhile

And consider on what ground you stand…


Simpson’s spoken reflections and the song they frame elicit at turns nostalgia, sadness, defiance, resignation and reassurance as he conjures an image of an idyllic place standing in the looming shadow of fast-changing times.

Guitarist Elliot Randall (Steely Dan/Doobie Brothers), who played on this album, notes its “wonderful tune-smithing” and “sonic loveliness” and compares it to a good book–“the kind you can’t put down.”

Other superlatives heaped on Simpson and his senescent progressive folk band are here duplicated from the liner notes:

“Chris Simpson — the English Paul Simon.”–Fred Dellar (Mojo)

“The boy still writes a fair toon.”–Doug Morter (guitarist)

“One of the greatest singer/songwriters in the world.”–Roy Teysee (Universal Records, Holland)

“A master songwriter and natural born storyteller”–Graham Chalmers (Ackrill’s Newspapers)

“They are the whole story of contemporary acoustic music”–Colin Irwin (Melody Maker, Mojo, BBC Radio 2)

“Magna who?”–Bob Dylan


Carole King’s Lost Album–and Band


Between her run as half of a prolific hit songwriting duo with her husband Gerry Goffin (“One Fine Day”, “The Loco-Motion”, “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, “Up On the Roof”, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”…) and the singer-songwriter genre-defining Tapestry album, Carole King’s short stint with folk-rock band The City is the long-lost missing link.

Carole+King_07As King’s marriage to Goffin was breaking up, she headed in a different direction–geographically, by moving west to California’s Laurel Canyon with her two daughters; and musically, by meshing her talents with guitarist/vocalist Danny Kortchmar and bassist (and King’s future husband) Charles Larkey, finding a more progressive sound and unbridling from her Brill Building pop standard style of writing.

The City released one mostly-forgotten album which is being re-released this week by Light in the Attic Records.

Now That Everything’s Been Said shows touches of the folk queen King would become, and it’s not without hit material of its own, although it would be via other artists that several of its songs would reach a wider public, since the album itself went, as lyricist David Palmer says, “number zero with a bullet”.

“Hi-De-Ho” became a top 20 single for Blood, Sweat & Tears in 1970:

The Byrds made “Wasn’t Born to Follow” their own with a version that appeared in the film Easy Rider:

And American Spring and the Monkees interpreted “Now That Everything’s Been Said” and “A Man Without a Dream” respectively.

Check out the City’s mellow “Snow Queen” with jazzy fills by drummer Jimmy Gordon of Derek & the Dominos and Pet Sounds fame:

With production by Lou Adler and lyric contributions by Gerry Goffin and David Palmer (later of Steely Day) and of course Carole King stepping up to the microphone to interpret her own material for the first time, Now That Everything’s Been Said deserved a better fate than to languish in obscurity. But with its re-release we’re given the second chance to hear the lost chapter in the career of one of pop’s most accomplished writers.

You can sample all of this album’s tracks here

15 Craziest Urban Legends of Rock and Roll


(via Purple Clover)

by John Birmingham

Paul Is Dead

Urban Legend: Paul McCartney was killed in a car crash in 1966, but the Beatles kept it secret, replacing him with the winner of a Paul look-alike contest.

Kernel of Truth: McCartney’s Mini Cooper was involved in a collision, but Paul wasn’t in it. Yet fans found many clues of his demise, from the “funeral procession” on “Abbey Road” to John Lennon saying “I buried Paul” in “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Lennon’s actual words: “Cranberry sauce.”

Read more:

Songs You May Have Missed #549


Ezra Furman: “Pot Holes” (2015)

It seems every time I begin to feel jaded about new music–thinking nothing will ever again be released but regurgitated tripe–someone like Ezra Furman steps in right on cue to show me there are still new ways to stir the old pot.

The unlikely combination of ingredients here include a punk sensibility and a doo wop arrangement featuring producer Tim Sandusky on sax. It’s like the Del Vikings’ “Whispering Bells” meets the Violent Femmes.

In fact, putting “Pot Holes” up against “Whispering Bells” illustrates just how much of a song you can borrow and still call what you created your own. Although Furman claims the only songwriting credit on “Pot Holes”, the elements of the Pittsburgh group’s 1957 hit–the rhythm, chord progression, sax stylings and even the guitar motif that becomes the “bow-dow-dow-dit-dit-dit” lyric line–all seem to be lifted. (Also tagged in this clip is a familiar 70’s tune with a strikingly similar hook).

Is there a “Blurred Lines”-type lawsuit in Furman’s future?

Nevertheless, this does nothing to diminish my enjoyment of “Pot Holes”. For the adventurous listener and/or anyone who identifies as societal outsider, Furman’s  Perpetual Motion People album is worth the exploration. His frantic energy, musical experimentation, and willingness to let his freak flag fly (that’s him on the cover in the dress and lipstick) blow some dust off pop convention.

Video of the Week: Cranberry Sauce–The Paul Is Dead “Hoax” [Part 1]

On This Date…


In 1969, the Northern Star newspaper of Northern Illinois University ran a story claiming that Paul McCartney had been killed in a car crash in 1966 and had been replaced by a look-alike. Russell Gibb of WKNR-FM in Detroit picked up on the claim and the story went worldwide. By late October 1969, the hoax was so well entrenched that McCartney came out of seclusion at his Scottish farm to deny the story. When McCartney was asked to comment by a reporter visiting Macca’s farm, he replied, “Do I look dead? I’m as fit as a fiddle.”

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A Great Compilation of “The Lick” Found in Music Everywhere: From Coltrane & Stravinsky, to Christina Aguilera

(via Open Culture)

by Josh Jones

“…there is one lick in particular, as you can see and hear in the supercut above, that…has managed to seed itself everywhere. “The Lick,” it seems, “pervades music history.” It shows up in Stravinsky’s “Firebird,” Player’s “Baby Come Back,” Christina Aguilera’s “Get Mine, Get Yours.” Writes Santa Maria, “Everyone from Coltrane to Kenny G has put this hot lick to the test.” It even has its own Facebook page, where users submit example after example of appearances of “The Lick.”…

…no one seems to know where exactly “The Lick” came from. At some point, its origin ceased to matter…“The Lick” seems to have worked itself so deeply into our musical unconscious that many players and composers likely have no idea they’re reproducing a musical quotation. For whatever reason, and your guess is as good as mine, “The Lick” has become a genuine musical meme, a “unit of imitation” that propagates musical culture wherever it lands.

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