Songs You May Have Missed #693

B.J. Thomas: “Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love” (1983)

By 1983, having bounced around from label to label and ventured into contemporary Christian music for a bit, B.J Thomas was six years removed from his last top 40 pop hit.

British New Wave dominated the pop charts and shoved many a 70’s pop star to the fringes, to oldies act status, or to the country charts. For Billy Joe Thomas, the country scene made a comfy fit. “Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love”, his final pop chart entry at #93, was a number one country hit.

Had it been the immediate follow-up to pop #1 hit (and longest-titled song ever to top the pop charts) “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” in 1975 it may have found a wider pop audience.

Even if you were familiar with classics like “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”, “Hooked On a Feeling”, “I Just Can’t Help Believing” and “Rock and Roll Lullaby” this is a song you may have missed.

Songs You May Have Missed #692

Atria: “Jazz Cigarette” (2021)

Total coincidence that we post Atria’s smoothed-out slice of electronic R&B “Jazz Cigarette” on 4/20.

Let the essence of that brass solo waft across the room as you breathe in a mellow message of social responsibility.

Songs You May Have Missed #691

ONR (feat, Sarah Barthel of Phantogram): “Must Stop (Falling in Love)” (2020)

ONR (pronounced like “honor”) is Scottish Singer Robert David Shields.

This radio friendly edit of his 2020 single replaces only one word from the explicit version, although that one different word significantly modifies the song’s meaning.

Either version is valid, though, and I actually prefer the one without the shock value of the more “adult” version.

Bit of an earworm, no?

Songs You May Have Missed #690

The Pogues: “Fiesta” (1988)

Sounding more diverse and more polished than on their previous outing, the Elvis Costello-produced Rum, Sodomy & the Lash, seminal Irish punk rockers the Pogues produced their finest album with1988’s If I Should Fall From Grace With God.

As Shane MacGowan’s wonderfully descriptive Anglo-Irish songwriting developed, he incorporated more elements into the mix. Middle Eastern and faux-Spanish flavors found their way into the stew, and the album contained one of the UK’s most beloved holiday tunes, the equally gritty and sublime Kirsty MacColl duet “Fairytale of New York”.

As for the origins of “Fiesta”, we quote the website Songfacts:

This song is based on a traditional Spanish fair ground melody. The Pogues guitarist Phillip Chevron on the Shane Macgowan website describes the genesis of this song: “Fiesta actually came out from our time in Spain. This song is about the time we were in Almeria filming Straight To Hell. We had peculiar hours. We would get up at 6 in the morning and drive to the set, which was about 25 miles from the hotel. This meant that we had to get to bed relatively early, which was difficult enough for The Pogues. The actual hotel in the film is the one we stayed in. Typically we would get back at 8 O’clock, have a bite to eat and a few drinks to unwind and then go to bed. We were filming at Fiesta time, and the Spanish take their Fiestas very seriously. The problem with the Fiesta is that they start at sun down and continue to sun up. That wouldn’t be too bad except the noise of the fiesta is something else. All through the time we were in Almeria there was two tunes that kept playing, they came like Chinese water torture. It would stop for five minutes and then start again. The first tune was what we made the main tune in ‘Fiesta’ and the other one was the coming from the doll-selling stall. You know the line ‘will you kindly kill a doll for me!'”

The song (and video) are, true the title, a veritable party. Whistles and gunshots puntuate the proceedings in Spike Jones fashion. The horn refrain nicks the “Liechtensteiner Polka”. The lyrics manage to humorously send up the band’s former bassist Cait O’Riordan leaving the band and marrying Elvis Costello. And in the always-raucous live performances, whistle player Spider Stacy provides added percussion by banging a beer tray against his head.

Songs You May Have Missed #689

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians: “Horse’s Mouth” (2021)

A simple, crisply-put message on the topic of gossip.

Well, it’s been going on long as I can remember
Somebody talking ’bout ol’ so and so and
Next thing you know, it gets repeated like it’s gospel
When it got started by someone who does not know

If you don’t hear it from the horse’s mouth
You’re hearing it from a horse’s ass
Alright

If you don’t hear it from the horse’s mouth
You’re hearing it from a horse’s ass

It’s a temptation when I hear a story like that
I have to meditate to keep my mouth shut
And it’s like wrestling a bear to keep it quiet
I want to run and jump and tell somebody but

If you don’t hear it from the horse’s mouth
You’re hearing it from a horse’s ass
Alright

There’s a dog on the bed
Getting caught in the act
Spider weaving a web
For a snake in the grass

If you don’t hear it from the horse’s mouth
You’re hearing it from a horse’s ass
Alright

If you don’t hear it from the horse’s mouth
You’re hearing it from a horse’s ass
If you don’t hear it from the horse’s mouth
You’re hearing it from a horse’s ass
You’re hearing it
From a horse’s ass

Songs You May Have Missed #688

The Sallyangie: “A Midsummer Night’s Happening” (1969)

The Sallyangie were a British folk duo comprised of a 16-year-old Mike Oldfield and his 21-year-old sister Sally. Their single LP, the gently ethereal Children of the Sun, will be either musical balm or emetic depending on your affinity for fey Lord of the Rings-inspired Renaissance Faire soundtrack music.

Some critics have panned the sound quality, the singing, Mike’s musicianship and the dated, naive fairytale-cum-hippy essence of the music, but its inclusion here tells you what I think of their appraisals. Of course, I’ve read Tolkien’s trilogy five times and attend the Ren Fest yearly…

Of undeniable quality are the arrangements contributed by one David (now Dee) Palmer, whose brilliance graces some of Jethro Tull’s greatest and most complex work.

Mike Oldfield is best known for a tune about as far removed from Children of the Sun as it could possibly be: “Tubular Bells” a.k.a. the theme from The Exorcist.

Songs You May Have Missed #687

Sweet: “New York Groove” (2020)

First a UK top tenner for glam rockers Hello in 1975, then covered by Ace Frehley in ’78, this chestnut is given a bit of a mashup treatment from Ballroom Blitzers Sweet.

The familiar chorus dovetails with Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” with surprisingly successful results.

From their pandemic-referential Isolation Boulevard, which also plays on the title of their 1974 hit LP Desolation Boulevard.

Songs You May Have Missed #686

Kris Delmhorst: “Short Work” (2003)

The Boston singer-songwriter explores betrayal and payback on this smart country shuffle.

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #504 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

Songs You May Have Missed #685

Graham Parker: “Long Stem Rose” (1992)

From his atypically ballad-heavy Burning Questions album, “Long Stem Rose” finds the erstwhile British pub rocker chanelling McCartney–or perhaps more accurately, George Martin.

Backed by a string quartet recorded “dry” to give it the intimacy of Macca’s “Yesterday” Parker successfully wrings every ounce of pathos from this pretty tune.

See also: Recommended Albums #37 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

Songs You May Have Missed #684

Pomplamoose: “Something About Us” (2019)

Formed in 2008 by (now married) Stanford students Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn, Pomplamoose are…uh…I think I’ll let them explain for themselves:

With over 1.2 million YouTube subscribers, Pomplamoose have carved a non-traditional niche as a band. They don’t rely on record companies, extensive touring or physical album sales, instead creating a new “videosong” every week for their YouTube channel, streaming their songs, and providing music for TV ads for companies such as Toyota and Hyundai.

They mix originals and an eclectic variety of covers and inspired mashups, placing them in fresh and often jazz-tinged settings.

Remarkably, the performance you see in a Pomplamoose video is the same that you hear–it is never a lip-synched re-enactment but an actual recording session.

Watch the session for the above “single”, a cover of Daft Punk’s “Something About Us”.

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