A mix of new and old this week —
First up, one of my favorite songs, that few people know. This singer was a member of Berlin, but quit before the first album was released. Then, she got a deal at Island Records, in return for working as a janitor at the offices, and toured but never released a record. In 1985, she signed a deal with A&M, performed backing vocals for David + David on “Boomtown”, and then, finally, in 1988, released her debut album Union — and I fell in love with this track, based on the strength of her voice. This is what I think of when I hear the word “belt” in relation to singing. Toni Childs – “Don’t Walk Away.”
I grabbed a copy of Kate Nash’s debut album, Made of Bricks, this week. Listeners of Friday Music should know that I’ve been completely obsessed with Nash recently, loving everything I’ve heard from her so far. The album is no disappointment. Here are two tracks to demonstrate the coolness: Kate Nash – “Mouthwash”, more of her bouncy piano-based pop….and then the quirky almost-blues of Kate Nash – “Dickhead”, which, as you might guess from the title, features some not-safe-for-work language.
Another old song, which I first heard when it was released and my friends and I were raiding the record collection of one of my friend’s college-age brother, back in the early 80s. Later on, I would perform this song in a band at a couple of high-school parties. Marshall Crenshaw – “Someday, Someway.”
Nashville ‘alternative’ singer Alison Krauss and Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant have teamed up and released an album, Raising Sand, which manages to be blues, country, rock, folk, bluegrass and more, all at the same time. Brilliant stuff. Check out this vaguely rockabillyish track: Alison Krauss and Robert Plant – “Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On).”
More neo-retro from Daptone Records: Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings – “Keep On Looking.” I have got to get this album.
Lastly, a slice of total cool from Robbie Robertson, who released his debut solo album in 1987, eleven years after The Band had called it quits. Featuring musicians like Peter Gabriel and U2’s Adam Clayton sitting in, the album was great, but nothing on it struck me as much as this track: Robbie Robertson – “Somewhere Down The Crazy River.”