Songs You May Have Missed #664

Clannad: “Theme from Harry’s Game” (1982)

“Everything that is and was will cease to be” is the message of a song that the Irish family band was commissioned to write for an English TV miniseries that touched on the futility of political violence.

It became the first Irish-language song to chart in the UK (#5) won an Igor Novello award and featured in several Hollywood movies, including Patriot Games.

At the peak of the global success the song brought them, singer Moya Brennan related, they were asked what it was like to write a hit song. Their answer: “Oh come on, be serious, if you were trying to write a hit song would you have written it in Gaelic?”

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2016/04/27/songs-you-may-have-missed-585/

Songs You May Have Missed #663

Pet Puma: “Spaceship” (2020)

A bouncy, infectious bit of funk pop from a five-piece out of London. As they work on a debut album, it’s tough times to try to book gigs to promote themselves.

But here’s hoping their happy sound finds a place on American radio.

Songs You May Have Missed #662

Pepe & The Bottle Blondes: “Rumba de 5 Kilos” (2000)

Whatever your expectations here, Portland’s Pepe Raphael and company will probably confound them.

Mixing Latin dance, opera, cabaret and comedic delivery, they may come across as a campy, over-the-top version of Pink Martini.

Hopefully, they’ll put a smile on your face and shake your booty!

Songs You May Have Missed #661

Havelock: “China Doll” (2020)

London-based, still-unsigned Havelock is a guy worth keeping an eye on in the near future.

Single “China Doll” from his four-track EP TRY B4U BUY,  channels the trippy electronic flourishes typical of his previous release into a subdued, soulful vibe.

Songs You May Have Missed #660

the sensual world 

Kate Bush: “This Woman’s Work” (1988)

Written for the 1988 John Hughes film She’s Having a Baby, “This Woman’s Work” accompanies the film’s climactic scene, in which Jake (played by Kevin Bacon) learns that his wife Kristy (Elizabeth McGovern) is having life-threatening complications during childbirth.

The melancholy song’s lyrics match the subsequent montage in beautiful, heartrending fashion, and are sung from the point of view of a helpless Jake as he recalls their happy times together during what seems an interminable wait for news of his wife and baby.

Kate Bush wrote the song specifically for the film, and matched her words to visuals which had already been filmed.

A slightly edited version appeared on her album The Sensual World the next year, and when the song was released as a single it was tweaked yet again. A fourth version of the song appeared on Bush’s 2011 album Director’s Cut.

This is the original 1988 version from the She’s Having a Baby soundtrack. The film itself comes highly recommended too.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2015/11/04/songs-you-may-have-missed-566-2/

Songs You May Have Missed #659

Pete Gardiner: “Bourbon and the Truth” (2020)

And right before I wrote a song that mattered

The industry turned into glass and shattered

Songs You May Have Missed #658

The Marshall Tucker Band: “This Ol’ Cowboy” (1974)

Though Marshall Tucker Band were usually categorized as southern rock, at their best–and they’re at their best here–they weren’t easily pigeonholed.

Tasty Toy Caldwell guitar licks, jazzy chords and a breezy vibe complement a philosophical, carefree lyric on a song that deftly straddles genres. A radio edit of “This O’ Cowboy” charted at #78 in early 1975.

Where We All Belong was a double album, with one record of new material and another featuring smoking live performance cuts.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2012/04/21/songs-you-may-have-missed-87/

Songs You May Have Missed #657

Sports Team: “Here’s the Thing” (2020)

First: This song literally took twenty seconds to become my latest infatuation.

Second: I sent it to my Gen Z son, who responded thusly, and I quote: “The lyrics are basically the panicked cry of my generation tbh”

sports

Third: Realizing what I thought was just a fun song may actually be a generational anthem, I searched for band bio info to discover:

Sports Team have been playing huge headlining tours in England, selling out venues such as Electric Ballroom and Kentish Town Forum, were named Elle Magazine’s ‘Band to Watch’ in their March issue, had front man Alex Rice featured in British Vogue’s Top Boys, and had Annie Mac feature this particular tune on BBC Radio 1 as her Hottest Record in the World.

Folks, this is all prior to releasing their debut album, which is due next month.

And here I’ll repeat my rant/lament that so much great music receives airplay in Europe but finds no place on American pop radio, dominated as it is by mumble rap, bro country and EDM. Occasionally something fresh breaks through the gridlock of the sound-alikes, but not often enough if we’re missing out on stuff like this.

Songs You May Have Missed #656

Donnie Iris: “Sweet Merilee” (1981)

Donnie Iris had four Top 40 singles in his career, including one as front man of one-hit wonders the Jaggerz (1970 chestnut “The Rapper”).

Although “Sweet Merilee” was not one of those Top 40 singles (stalling at #80) in this writer’s opinion there weren’t many tunes of its era that top it.

This song has everything. Bumpin’ bassline, great harmonies, a top notch guitar solo, and fiery vocals by one of pop’s underrated belters.

In Pittsburgh Donnie Iris is a god. And while I’m not typically taken by the hype when it comes to local acts, he’s the exception. Iris’ first two solo albums, 1980’s Back On the Streets and King Cool, its follow-up in ’81, deserve wider recognition. Both albums are crammed with earworm pop rock co-written by Iris and keyboardist Mark Avsec.

Iris unfortunately failed to hang on to a major label deal, perhaps due to his breaking into the youth-dominated New Wave era as a guy of relatively advanced age. And the Iris-Avsec writing partnership cooled off too. But for a span of two years and two albums, few produced better pop rock.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2012/11/09/cellarful-of-noise-samantha/

Songs You May Have Missed #655

Saint Motel: “Van Horn” (2019)

Ahead of an expected release of a third LP in 2020, Saint Motel released the first of three EP’s, The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, from which comes “Van Horn” and a chorus that makes for a pretty enjoyable sing-along:

Well, tell me do you hate me
Or do you wanna date me?
It’s kinda hard to tell
‘Cause your eyes are looking crazy
So why you coming over,
Anything but sober?
Looking like it’s time tonight
For fight or flight
In Van Horn

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