The Best Songs: 1952 Vincent Black Lightning by Richard Thompson

A simple boy meets girl story, somewhat complicated by the presence of a motorcycle
– Richard Thompson

1952 Vincent Black Lightning is a song by guitarist Richard Thompson from his 1991 album Rumor and Sigh. It tells the story of a thief named James and the girl Red Molly whom he charms with a ride on his 1952 Vincent Black Lightning motorcycle. Despite not being issued as a single, became a fan favourite and is one of Thompson’s most highly acclaimed solo compositions.

Some months ago me and some friends had a “music night”. Music Nights are gatherings where we pick a theme and each of us bring a playlist with 5 songs (and a few back up choices), we play our songs in turn, say why we picked the song and what it means to us. I’ve discovered many great songs and artists on these nights. This particular night the theme was “Story Songs” and one of my songs was 1952 Vincent Black Lightning by the great Richard Thompson. This made me listen, and “go into” the song even harder than I’d done before. What a great story song it is, a masterpiece.

“’Vincent’ started with the frustration of coming from Britain and wanting to reflect British culture. It’s hard to find mythological elements from my lifetime to build a song around, because American culture has been so dominant. The mythical places are Laramie and Cheyenne. ‘Going Back to Lancaster’ doesn’t have the same ring to it. It’s important to make music that incorporates elements from where you come from, so you’re contributing something of yourself into the music. If you’re from England and you’re writing about the Mississippi Delta, there’s something missing. You can be a good imitator, but what are you bringing to the process?”
– Richard Thompson, 2001

“When I was a kid, that was always the exotic bike, that was always the one, the one that you went ‘ooh, wow’. I’d always been looking for English ideas that didn’t sound corny, that had some romance to them, and around which you could pin a song. And this song started with a motorcycle, it started with the Vincent. It was a good lodestone around which the song could revolve”
– Richard Thompson to BBC radio

Continue reading “The Best Songs: 1952 Vincent Black Lightning by Richard Thompson”

The Best Songs: Cold Cold Heart by Hank Williams

There was a time when I believed that you belonged to me
But now I know your heart is shackled to a memory
The more I learn to care for you, the more we drift apart
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

“Cold, Cold Heart” is a country music and pop song recorded by Hank Williams. This blues ballad is both a classic of honky-tonk and an entry in the Great American Songbook. The first draft of the song is dated November 23, 1950, and was recorded with an unknown band on May 5, 1951.

This is dark stuff, filled with jealousy, bitterness and hopeless love.

Country music historian Colin Escott states that Williams was moved to write the song after visiting his wife Audrey in the hospital, who was suffering from an infection brought on by an abortion she had carried out at their home unbeknownst to Hank. Escott also speculates that Audrey, who carried on extramarital affairs as Hank did on the road, may have suspected the baby was not her husband’s. Florida bandleader Pappy Neil McCormick claims to have witnessed the encounter:

“According to McCormick, Hank went to the hospital and bent down to kiss Audrey, but she wouldn’t let him. ‘You sorry son of a bitch,’ she is supposed to have said, ‘it was you that caused me to suffer like this.’ Hank went home and told the children’s governess, Miss Ragland, that Audrey had a ‘cold, cold heart,’ and then, as so often in the past, realized the bitterness in his heart held commercial promise.”

“Another love before my time made your heart sad and blue, and so my heart is paying now for things I didn’t do.”

Continue reading “The Best Songs: Cold Cold Heart by Hank Williams”

1970: 20 Songs Released in 1970 You Must Hear

My rules:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed
  • Restricted to only 20 songs

A lot of GREAT music was released in 1970, here are my 20 chosen songs.

  • Into the Mystic – Van Morrison

    “Into the Mystic” is one of Morrison’s warmest ballads, an Otis Redding-style reverie with acoustic guitar and horns. The lyrics are truly mysterious: “People say, ‘What does this mean?’ ” said Morrison. “A lot of times I have no idea what I mean. That’s what I like about rock & roll — the concept. Like Little Richard — what does he mean? You can’t take him apart; that’s rock & roll to me.”
    rollingstone.com

    Written by Van Morrison and featured on his 1970 album Moondance. It was also included on Morrison’s 1974 live album, It’s Too Late To Stop Now. It was recorded during the Moondance sessions at A&R Recording Studios in New York City in September to November 1969. Elliott Scheiner was the engineer.

    We were born before the wind
    Also younger than the sun
    Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
    Hark, now hear the sailors cry
    Smell the sea and feel the sky
    Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic




    Continue reading “1970: 20 Songs Released in 1970 You Must Hear”

The Clash’s Best Songs – 6 Different Lists (Uncut, paste, stereogum, The Guardian, CoS & UCR)

TOC

  1. The Clash’s 30 best songs – Uncut
  2. The 10 Best Clash Songs – Stereogum
  3. The 18 Best Clash Songs – Paste
  4. The Clash’s Top 20 Songs – CoS
  5. Top 10 Clash Songs – Ultimateclassicrock.com
  6. The Clash: 10 of the best – The Guardian

The Clash’s 30 best songs (Uncut Magazine)

An all-star panel – including Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Terry Chimes – vote for their greatest cuts (from Uncut’s December 2003 issue)

  1. (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais (Single A-side, June 1978)
  2. Complete Control (Single A-side, September 1977)
  3. London Calling (Single A-side and title track of third album, December 1979)
  4. Straight To Hell (Combat Rock album track, May 1982. Issued as a double-A-side single, September 1982)
  5. I Fought The Law (From the “Cost Of Living” EP, May 1979)
  6. Garageland (The Clash album track, April 1977)
  7. 1977 (B-side to “White Riot”, March 1977)
  8. Safe European Home (Give ‘Em Enough Rope album track, November 1978)
  9. Clash City Rockers (Single A-side, February 1978)
  10. White Riot (Single A-side, March 1977)
  11. Janie Jones (The Clash album track, April 1977)
  12. Police And Thieves (The Clash album track, April 1977)
  13. London’s Burning (The Clash album track, April 1977)
  14. Bankrobber (Single A-side, August 1980)
  15. Stay Free (Give ‘Em Enough Rope album track, November 1978)
  16. Rock The Casbah (Combat Rock album track, May 1982. Issued as single A-side, June 1982)
  17. Rudie Can’t Fail (London Calling album track, December 1979)
  18. Police On My Back (Sandinista! album track, December 1980)
  19. Lost In The Supermarket (London Calling album track, December 1979)
  20. Broadway (Sandinista! album track, December 1980)
  21. Armagideon Time (B-side of “London Calling”, December 1979)
  22. Somebody Got Murdered (Sandinista! album track, December 1980)
  23. Should I Stay Or Should I Go? (Combat Rock album track, May 1982. Later issued as a double-A-side single, September 1982)
  24. The Magnificent Seven (Sandinista! album track, December 1980)
  25. I’m So Bored With The USA (The Clash album track, April 1977)
  26. Tommy Gun (Single A-side from the album Give ’Em Enough Rope, both November 1978)
  27. Career Opportunities (The Clash album track, April 1977)
  28. The Guns Of Brixton (London Calling album track, December 1979)
  29. Spanish Bombs (London Calling album track, December 1979)
  30. This Is England (Single A-side, September 1985, from the album Cut The Crap, November 1985)

The 10 Best Clash Songs (Stereogum)

Timothy Bracy And Elizabeth Bracy | December 7, 2012

  1. Spanish Bombs
  2. Straight To Hell
  3. Clampdown (London Calling album track, December 1979)
  4. (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais
  5. London Calling
  6. Complete Control
  7. Lost In The Supermarket
  8. Up In Heaven (Not Only Here) (Sandinista! album track, December 1980)
  9. Train In Vain (London Calling album track, December 1979)
  10. Safe European Home

The 18 Best Clash Songs (Paste Magazine)

By Max Blau | January 31, 2011

  1. Train in Vain
  2. London Calling
  3. (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais
  4. I Fought the Law
  5. Spanish Bombs
  6. Complete Control
  7. Remote Control (The Clash album track, April 1977)
  8. Police On My Back
  9. Lost In The Supermarket
  10. Clampdown
  11. Career Opportunities
  12. Clash City Rockers
  13. Death or Glory (London Calling album track, December 1979)
  14. Should I Stay Or Should I Go
  15. Janie Jones
  16. White Riot
  17. Police & Thieves
  18. Straight To Hell

The Clash’s Top 20 Songs (CoS)

Nick Freedon – April 10, 2017

  1. London Calling
  2. Straight To Hell
  3. Rudie Can’t Fail
  4. I’m So Bored With The USA
  5. The Magnificent Seven
  6. White Riot
  7. Rock the Casbah
  8. The Guns Of Brixton
  9. I Fought the Law
  10. Train in Vain
  11. Know Your Rights (Combat Rock album track, May 1982)
  12. Clampdown
  13. London’s Burning
  14. Complete Control
  15. Spanish Bombs
  16. Ivan Meets G.I. Joe (Sandinista! album track, December 1980)
  17. Julie’s Been Working For The Drug Squad (Give ‘Em Enough Rope album track, November 1978)
  18. Pressure Drop (“English Civil War” B-Side (1979)
  19. Washington Bullets (Sandinista! album track, December 1980)
  20. English Civil War (Give ‘Em Enough Rope album track, November 1978)

Top 10 Clash Songs (ultimateclassicrock.com)

Bryan Wawzenek – March 9, 2014

  1. White Man (In Hammersmith Palais)
  2. Clampdown
  3. London Calling
  4. White Riot
  5. Straight to Hell
  6. The Magnificent Seven
  7. Lost in the Supermarket
  8. Should I Stay or Should I Go
  9. Career Opportunities
  10. Rock the Casbah

The Clash: 10 of the best (The Guardian)

Dave Simpson – Wed 23 Sep 2015

  1. Complete Control
  2. (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais
  3. Safe European Home
  4. Armagideon Time
  5. Spanish Bombs
  6. Train in Vain
  7. Bankrobber
  8. The Call Up (Sandinista! album track, December 1980)
  9. The Magnificent Seven
  10. Straight To Hell

-Egil

Van Morrison – 5 Wonderful Live Versions Of “In The Garden”

The streets are always wet with rain
After a summer shower when I saw you standin’
In the garden in the garden wet with rain

Released on his 1986 album “No Guru, No Method, No Teacher“, this is a major VM song – certainly  among his 10 best.

Van Morrison has played this beauty well over 400 times live, here are five of them.

Here are 5 Great live versions..
Special attention to Dublin 2012 – 5min & 16s and onwards – Van is obviously moved and it´s all MAGIC. In The Garden.

New University of Ulster
Coleraine, Ireland
April 20th 1988

Continue reading “Van Morrison – 5 Wonderful Live Versions Of “In The Garden””

Feb 7: The Who recorded Pinball Wizard in 1969

From the opening minor chords to the upward key change near the end, ‘Pinball’ is a rock tour-de-force, brimful of ideas, powerchords, great lyrics and tight ensemble playing.
~From “The Who – The Complete Guide To Their Music” (Charlesworth & Hanel)

Today we celebrate one of The Who’s best songs – Pinball Wizard.

Continue reading “Feb 7: The Who recorded Pinball Wizard in 1969”