Archive for the 'Music' Category

“Diamonds on the soles of her shoes”; the Mississippi Delta “shining like a national guitar”: where do those Paul Simon lines come from? The songwriter offered a few pointers in a conversation with the poet Paul Muldoon at the New Yorker Festival, says Maggie Fergusson on More Intelligent Life.

Here’s an electrifying collaboration between the Californian songsmith Ben Harper, who only started his career in the Nineties, and the white bluesman Charlie Musselwhite, who’s been around a bit longer.

If you like blues and soul, you’ll love the Alabama Shakes. Their debut EP is due out shortly. For the moment, you can stream a few of their songs on their website.

R & B(arcelona)


R & B and soul have been revived by some unlikely people in unlikely places, from a Jewish girl in north London (Amy Winehouse) to a white boy from Brookline, Boston (Eli “Paperboy” Reed). But The Excitements are the strangest champions I’ve come across by far.  I found them yesterday on Fernando Navarro’s excellent music […]

Music to lift the tone of an election campaign? Laura Barton, in her Hail, Hail, Rock’n’Roll column in The Guardian yesterday, suggested Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin’ and Robert Wyatt’s Shipbuilding (with music by Clive Langer and lyrics by Elvis Costello). I’d add Sam Cooke’s contribution to the Civil Rights struggle, which itself […]

When I was a boy, my father, a plasterer who in his spare time played fiddle, banjo and accordion, would regularly invite his fellow musicians back to our house — often after the pubs had shut. Having had a drink and a bite to eat, they would sing for their supper. Daryl Hall has a […]

The Today programme on Radio 4 this morning, with the footballer Tony Adams as guest editor, had an item on football songs. They were all even more tuneless and witless than they seemed when first released. The only football song worth listening to, of course, was written by a woman: England 2, Colombia 0, by […]

What Jools Holland calls “the marvellous harmonious sound of The Duke & The King”. And it is. I’d never heard of these guys — “a glam-soul-folk quartet from New York” — until I found them mentioned in a column by Laura Barton. See ‘Great music for great railway journeys’, below.

Desert Island Discs is a programme that encourages introspection and self-indulgence. The illustrator Jan Pienkowksi turned it on its head this morning. His first disc was the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby, chosen not for what it meant to him but for “all the lonely people on all the other desert islands”.

Once a fortnight — shame it’s not more often — Laura Barton writes the Hail, Hail, Rock’n’Roll column on the back page of The Guardian’s Film & Music section. Last Friday she was reflecting on what the river, the road and the railway have given to rock music. That set me thinking about what I’d […]

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