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Weekly last.fm charts (featuring Mika)

25 Nov 2007 – 2 Dec 2007

11Suzanne Vega
36
 2Thomas Luis de Victoria
19
 3Mika
13
 4Muse
12
34Beppe Gambetta
12
 6Sergei Rachmaninoff
9
27Anne Dudley and Jaz Coleman
8
18Stephen Fry
5
 9Nine Inch Nails
4
 10Steve Gibson with Leo Laporte
2

This week’s artist is Mika. Lorraine heard a track of his on the radio whilst babysitting Hamish in the car while he slept as I and Freya were having fun in the park. She liked it well enough to buy the CD and it really is great. His vocal range is incredible and his music pop-tastic. Sort of a cross between Freddy Mercury and Robbie Williams.

I hope he’s not a flash in the pan!

Thomas Luis de Victoria is a CD that I have of choral music and it’s really good for aiding concentration or playing really loud to mediate to.

Enjoy.

Any Other World

Weekly last.fm charts (featuring Suzanne Vega)

Cutting it fine this week folks! Without further ado, here are last week’s charts:

Top Artists this Week (see more)

18 Nov 2007 – 25 Nov 2007
81Beppe Gambetta
34
 2Suzanne Vega
31
 3The Wonder Stuff
30
 4Pierre Bensusan
28
 5Roger Waters
20
336Talking Heads
14
 7Tony McManus
10
 7Stephen Fry
10
 9Anne Dudley and Jaz Coleman
9
 10Big Audio Dynamite II
8

Beppe‘s at the top. His new one (Slade Stomp) is really very good.

Things are beginning to look a bit more representative of my actual music tastes now. I won’t go into them all this week as I’m sure the ones who haven’t yet been my featured artist will be one day. Stephen Fry is the audio books of Harry Potter, and Anne Dudley and Jaz Coleman is a CD called Songs from the Victorious City which I was overjoyed to find (it wasn’t that hard actually). I used to listen to it a lot on cassette during my university days, playing cards with my mate and rolling Camberwell carrots. The Victorious City is a direct translation from the Arabic for Cairo. It was a real treat to hear those tunes again.

And so to this week’s artist. Many years ago, when I was still quite wee (must’ve been around 1987) I caught a documentary on Suzanne Vega. It was late at night, I was tired and only half watching. One tune really caught my attention and I started watching intently after that. The tune was Fancy Poultry (from her second album, Solitude Standing). I then bought that album and her first one and listened to them a heck of a lot. They were very much part of the soundtrack to my mid to late teenage years. I continued to follow her work and got a new CD whenever one was released. She evolved and changed styles and producers and got a bit more experimental and I just loved her stuff. I got to see her in Edinburgh back in 1993 and again here in a school gym hall in Luxembourg in about 2002 and then at a festival in Belgium the following year. She’s really great live. At the Belgium gig I was already part of the Towie Tree (the forum on her own web site) and so was able to go back stage and say hi to her. It was great to meet her.

I have learned to play a few of her tunes on the guitar, including my very favourite The Queen and the Soldier.

I knew that she had a new album due out and checked this week. Sure enough, there it was, Beauty & Crime and it was DRM free on Amazon! I’ve listened to it a couple of times and like it but I don’t know it well enough yet to comment. It’s with a new producer again (she divorced her previous producer, Mitchell Froom a few years ago) and features the vocals of her daughter Ruby and KT Tunstall!

I could write more and more coherently but I’m really tired and it’s time for bed.

Anyway, here are a few samplers for y’all.

Ironbound / Fancy Poultry

Caramel

Blood Sings

Weekly last.fm charts (featuring The The)

11 Nov 2007 – 18 Nov 2007

 1Beastie Boys
35
 2The The
28
 3Anna Massie
26
34Bert Jansch
25
 5Radiohead
23
 6Lou Reed
16
 7Tommy Emmanuel
14
 7Nine Inch Nails
14
 9Peter Gabriel
12
 9Beppe Gambetta
12

My last.fm profile is beginning to reflect my musical profile more accurately as time goes it. It was time this week to address some gaps. First up, the Beastie Boys. I was a fan of the Beasties since Licensed to Ill, and it’s still a cracking album. When I was doing my basic training in 1988 at AAC Harrogate, we all had to do a party piece. Mine was Billy Connolly sketch (the one about getting caught ‘having a wank’) and the full version of Paul Revere from Licensed to Ill. It went down pretty well as I recall (although I think the Billy sketch was better received!). Then came the classic Paul’s Boutique, the Beasties seminal album in my opinion. An incredible set of samples and hip-hop that was way ahead of its time and relatively unknown compared to Licensed to Ill. We even tried to find the real Paul’s Boutique from the address given in the album (in Brooklyn) when we travelled the US in 1993, but it was to no avail! (I could link to the post I made but for some REALLY annoying reason Vox displays only some of my tags – why is that Vox?) Then came Check Your Head, another ground-breaking album in the same vein as Paul’s Boutique. Brilliant. Ill Communication didn’t sit so well with me; I just never really bonded with it in the same way and I that was the last B-Boys album I bought. So, I spent some time this week spinning the old Beasties albums and filling a gap in my profile.

Next up, and this week’s featured band, is The The. Despite their really annoying name, I’ve loved this band right from the start (well, I never really dug Burning Blue Soul and still don’t, but that was originally released as a Matt Johnson solo album). I shan’t go on about them, just to say that Matt’s one of my favourite lyricists of all time and I’ve always really related to his words and the music. “The future is now, and it’s all going wrong; bodies queue for nothing for it’s to nothing they belong”, etc.

Annie Massie is a young Scots lass who plays a variety of instruments really, really well. I first saw her at the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow back in 2004 (I think) and was blown away. She plays mainly in the traditional Scots vein and can flatpick like no other gal I’ve ever seen. And she’s so wee! Her music is terrific and I highly recommend her CD Glad Company. I’ll certainly have her as a featured artist one day.

I’ve mentioned Bert a lot so browse previous last.fm entries. He was my featured artist last week.

Fellow Voxer Bevester inspired me to dig out some Radiohead again. I hadn’t listened to them in a while and it was good to hear them again. Kid A is my favourite with Amnesiac a close second (but they’re all good). Those two albums were a lot of work, and I mean a lot. This is not easy listening and needs repeated spins to get it. But once you get it, it really pays you back, big time!

Lou Reed’s New York was the first CD I ever bought. I enjoy his music and the Velvet Underground a lot. This week I had to share my story at an AA meeting and so played my playlist called Spiritual on the iPod on the way in to town. There’s a song on The Raven called Vanishing Act that is just wonderful. So I listened to that a few times over the last week, along with a lot of other Lou stuff.

Tommy Emmanuel. If you play guitar you should certainly know about Tommy. And if you don’t play, you should still go and see him. One of the best performers I have ever seen.

Nine Inch Nails. I used to listen to them a lot. Pretty Hate Machine got me through some hard times, particularly Something I Can Never Have. Downward Spiral was great. Fixed and Broken rewarded repeated listens but were tough going at times.

Peter Gabriel. Brilliant. Love his solo stuff and Genesis. As with Bowie, his most recent stuff is some of his best in my opinion. Up was terrific!

Beppe Gambetta is an Italian flatpicker. I saw him last night and will write about him there with some audio. I had lessons with him too back in 2005. He’s a really nice guy.

So that’s it for this week. Enjoy the The The tunes (see, told you their name was annoying!) I’ve included two from Shades of Blue since it’s not such a common one (it’s a 4-track EP).

Enjoy!

True Happiness This Way Lies

Jealous of Youth

Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)

Dolphins

Weekly last.fm charts (featuring Bert Jansch)

4 Nov 2007 – 11 Nov 2007

11Bert Jansch
93
 2Bill Sheffield
12
 3Katie Melua
4
 4Bucks Fizz
2
 4Cliff Richard
2
 4Culture Club
2
 4Blondie
2
 4Dexy’s Midnight Runners
2
 4Jive Bunny
2
 4David Bowie
2

As suspected, Bert is at the top by a country mile! I have a long history with Bert Jansch. I flicked on the TV back in 1991 and caught the beginning of a documentary called Acoustic Routes. It was all about Bert and featured many songs both of Bert on his tod and playing with others such as Wizz Jones, Duck Baker and Davey Graham. I was blown away by what I saw, particularly the track Angie/Anji and went out the very next weekend and bought my first guitar. I’ve been a fan of Bert ever since and have even learned a few of his songs.

I’ve recently been having a bit of a Bert revival, adding some missing CDs to my collection, including his latest release, The Black Swan (released last year).

I saw him play a couple of years ago at a little theatre in the Scottish borders [The Wynd Theatre]. I went with a friend and we arrived late. The promoter, knowing that I had travelled all the way from Luxembourg to see the gig, took pity on us and put us on seats right on the stage, in the wings. Well how about that ladies and gentlemen! To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed and the same goes for some of his more recent recordings prior to The Black Swan. So I was rather tickled at just how good The Black Swan is. It’s a belter to be sure. Really.

Bert played a big part in the folk revival that took place in London in the 1960s and is one of those people who never made millions or became famous or a household name but who influenced many people who did (including Bob Dylan to a degree, Jimmy Page, Neil Young and more recently Bernard Butler, Johnny Marr and Beth Orton (Beth plays on The Black Swan)).

So, here are three tracks for your enjoyment. The first is the first track from his first album, released in 1965 and entitled simply Bert Jansch. This is one that I can play.

The next is the opening track from The Black Swan, as I said released in 2006, 41 years after his first!

And finally an instrumental, this one from his third album, Jack Orion, released in 1966. This is a belter!

The rest are there because I’ve been having a bit of an 80s revival, so don’t expect Cliff Richard ever to appear on my charts again!

Weekly last.fm charts, featuring Sufjan Stevens

I’m having to create playlists of each day’s iPod tunes at the end of the day to play them when I go to bed so that they get scrobbled. So my iTunes playcount is needlessly increased so that they get scrobbled. When will they fix it? (and yes, iSproggler doesn’t work either).

So, with no further ado, here are this week’s charts before it’s too late.

Top Artists this Week (see more)

28 Oct 2007 – 4 Nov 2007
1Sufjan Stevens
28
2El McMeen
16
2Bert Jansch
16
4Kate Rusby
15
5The Beatles
13
6Pat Walsh
11
6The Rolling Stones
11
8Tony McManus
8
9Scissor Sisters
7
10Adam and the Ants
6

I discovered Sufjan Stevens on Vox. A few people have posted tunes from this album and I’ve liked them all so it was an obvious jump to get the album. It’s really very good.

El McMeen is a guitar hero of mine. I had a lesson from him once at his home in NJ. I can play a few of his arrangements. He makes it sound so easy.

Bert Jansch is the reason that I play guitar. I’m having a bit of a Bert festival these last few weeks. Expect him at the top next week.

Kate Rusby sings folk songs in an English accent. I was surprised to discover that the purists don’t rate her. What is it with the music police? I think she’s doing great things for British folk.

Can’t beat the Beatles.

Pat Walsh – see last week’s charts for a tune.

The Stones – along with the Beatles, played during lunch time to “teach” Freya what’s good. No doubt she’ll end up liking something that we won’t and we’ll say things like “that’s not music… call that music? … it’s just noise … turn it down… etc.” Isn’t that the way of things?

Scissor Sisters – I was desperately seeking something to help with my most hated weekly event: the weekly shop. This was the nearest thing I could get to hit the spot, but it still wasn’t quite right. Not sure where I stand on them actually.

Adam and the Ants – I have a long history with Adam and his Ants. The first album I bought was Prince Charming and I’ve always rated him. His albums were remastered quite recently with bonus tracks and they have dated very well actually.

So that’s it for this week. Enjoy a Sufjan track. Well, why not? This one made me think a little of Charlie Brown music.

The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders, Pt. 1.

Weekly last.fm charts and Pat Walsh

Better get this week’s charts posted before the new ones come out tomorrow. And sorry to the last.fm group for bombarding the group. I just discovered the group and so linked all my weekly chart postings to the group and they all appeared in my RSS feed so apologies for that. From now on it’s once a week only!

Top Artists this Week (see more)

21 Oct 2007 – 28 Oct 2007
 1Elvis Costello
71
 2Pat Walsh
22
33commandN
2
 4Anne Stephens
1
 4Clive Dunn
1
 4Henry Hall
1
 4Steve Gibson with Leo Laporte
1
 4Mandy Miller
1
 4Terry Scott
1
 4Alex Lindsay
1

So it was a big Costello week. Well, two days actually. That was because I discovered Pat Walsh at the Little Brother jam I went to near Atlanta and Elvis Costello is an influence of his. Pat’s performances were great and he’s a nice chap too. I’m glad I met him and I’m awaiting delivery of an EP from him with the chords to my favourite of his songs, Umbrella Birds. He has a British sound to his songs which I find very appealing.

All other tracks are either podcasts or from All Aboard, my daughter’s favourite tuneage for in the car listening. I’m rather glad to have found it actually as it was my first music as a kid too. This week’s favourites have been Two Little Boys and the Runaway Train so you can expect Rolf Harris to show up in next week’s charts!

Here’s a Pat Walsh tune for your enjoyment.

That’s Why He Sleeps At Night

Last.fm Charts, Featuring Bill Sheffield

Not long back from my travels and thankfully the iPod scrobbled okay when I got back.

Top Artists this Week (see more)

14 Oct 2007 – 21 Oct 2007
41Led Zeppelin
20
2Pink Floyd
9
 3Bill Sheffield
5
 4Dmitri Shostakovich
4
 5a-ha
2
 6Warren Zevon
1
 6Aimee Mann & Michael Penn
1
6Depeche Mode
1
16The Beatles
1
 6commandN
1

My Led Zep festival continued into Sunday last week, hence the top position. I got into Led Zep II and III and man they are good albums.

The Floyd would be Umma Gumma again. I’ve enjoyed listening to that again.

This week’s spotlight artist has to be Bill Sheffield. I first met Bill at the first Atlanta jam I went to back in 2004. He’s a big guy and can belt out his songs without really needing a mike. His songs are catchy and he has some great groove. I have his two CDs and just found out that he has released a new one so I’ll be ordering that forthwith. I saw him again at the following jam but one and hoped that he would be there again this year, but he couldn’t make it.

Enjoy!

New Tattoo

Weekly Last.fm charts, featuring Salif Keita

Nice and early this week as I’m off to the USA on Wednesday for a week to jam with my buds.

Top Artists this Week (see more)

7 Oct 2007 – 14 Oct 2007
101The Image Doctors
20
52Pink Floyd
14
 3Madonna
13
 3Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
13
15Led Zeppelin
12
 6Depeche Mode
9
 7The Beatles
5
 7Pixies
5
 9Salif Keita
4
 10Arthur Askey

The Image Doctors is a podcast on photography and a very good one at that. I went back to the beginning and caught up today.

Nice to see some Floyd in the charts — I bought Ummagumma this week and have really enjoyed listening to it again. It’s years since I last listened to it and it really took me back.

Madonna helped me out on my weekly shopping trip when I was getting burned out on the Image Doctors (they’re quite dense sometimes with information). I’ve always enjoyed Madonna and thought that Confessions on the Dance Floor was one of her best yet. It absolutely hit the spot on my shopping trip.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are a great band too. I first heard them on the radio and bought the CD the same day.

As you’ll have seen if you follow my Vox, I’ve been having a bit of a Led Zep festival this last week and am blown away once again by how good they were. I expect the festival to continue.

I also should have a wee Pixies festival too at some point. Man were they a good band.

Salif Keita is a musician from Mali and his album Moffou is tremendously addictive. I first heard his music through a tape tree, which is something I used to do a lot and got into a load of music through doing that.

The Beatles and Arthur Askey made their way into the charts because they’re on Freya’s playlist that we listen to in the car.

Unfortunatley, after a week of iPod scrobbling working, it’s gone on the fritz again so I guess that last.fm will never learn about the tunes that I listen to when I’m off on my travels next week. It really is a shame that they can’t get it fixed so that it works properly.

Anyway, enjoy the tuneage.

Weekly last.fm charts, featuring Howard Jones

Had a bit of a Howard Jones fest this week. I really enjoyed his music when I was younger, particularly the Humans Lib album. I used to listen to that one a lot on my personal stereo whilst out on my paper or milk round.

I also listened to some Beautiful South, something which I hadn’t done for a while. I haven’t been following them for a while now so there may well be more albums since Painting it Red. I should check as I really enjoy their bitter sweet lyrics and northern English style.

Paolo Nutini is a relative newcomer from my home turf (west of Scotland) and his debut album has a really nice raw quality to it. I hope he remains true to the muse.

And speaking of Muse, I just dig them. They really are a great band.

There’s also some Floyd in the mix this week. I used to be a bit obsessed with the Floyd and fancied a bit of Saucerful through the week. I also just bought the iTunes plus version of Ummagumma today so expect to see that in next week’s charts! Grantchester Meadows is a great song to be sure.

Led Zep is a rare musical area where my and Lorraine’s tastes overlap so we listened to Houses of the Holy on the way back from a horrendously bad Scottish/Irish celebration in Ettlebrueck. That was followed by some Housemartins, which is always good for some in-the-car listening. (and yes, my iPod scrobbling is working again – using the official last.fm client and the latest iTunes – yay!)

I listened to some Carter USM through the week whilst editing some photos — the 30 Something album. A great blast from the past.

And the Orb? Meh. I find it a bit boring now to be honest.

Top Artists this Week (see more)

30 Sep 2007 – 7 Oct 2007
 1Howard Jones
22
 2The Beautiful South
19
 3Muse
13
 4Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine
11
 4Paolo Nutini
11
 6Led Zeppelin
8
 7John Lennon
7
67Pink Floyd
7
 9The Housemartins
6
 10The Orb
4

Enjoy the Howard Jones tune. This was my favourite from Humans Lib.

Weekly last.fm charts, featuring Akvarium

Still having trouble scrobbling from the iPod but it’s not so critical now that I’m no longer working away from home.

Here are this week’s charts – a bit of Russian tuneage this week. I first heard Akvarium during my gap year in Odessa, Ukraine in 95/96 and have been a fan of them and Boris Grebinshchikov ever since.

Top Artists this Week (see more)

23 Sep 2007 – 30 Sep 2007
 1Аквариум
11
 1Pink Floyd
11
 1Борис Гребенщиков
11
 4Beastie Boys
9
 4Derrick Story
9
46U2
4
 7David Bowie
3
 8Depeche Mode
2
58Regina Spektor
2
1610zarbizarre
1