This weeks Later started with Kate Nash singing a song called Do-Wah-Do. She played piano and sang in a strong cockney accent very reminiscent of Lilly Allen. The Lyrics to her songs were very similar to Lilly Allen’s too, domestic issues, kitchen sink dramas etc. Kate’s songs are far more musically sophisticated and I am sure she is a more competent musician, she played guitar too, but I don’t feel the world needs another Lilly Allen. Don’t get me wrong I’ve got nothing against a cockney accent, I’ve got one of my own, but it just does not seem appropriate for music in most cases. I am reminded of the story of the Small Faces hit Lazy Sunday Afternoon. Steve Marriot the lead singer, who was from the heart of London’s East End and spoke with a strong cockney accent, was asked by Alan Clarke of The Hollies why he never sang in his own accent. So they wrote and recorded Lazy Sunday Afternoon. It was meant to be a novelty album track, but the record company chose to release it as a single. Although it was a big success, the band were never happy about it, as they wanted to be taken more seriously and Marriot chose never to emphasise his own dialect in music again, as far as I am aware.
Band of Horses played three songs Compliments, Factory and North West Apartment. These were all good songs and well played. Quite diverse, there was an up tempo pop tune, a slower more elaborate song with strings and horns and a good rocking tune, in that order. Apparently the band was stranded in London unable to get back to their native Seattle because of the Icelandic volcano that caused the cancellation of all flights in Europe earlier this year. But this meant they booked their spot on the show and we got to see them. I would have liked to have included a clip of NW Apartment, the rocker, but I couldn’t find one I was happy with, so here’s the orchestrated Factory
Jerry Dammers Spacial AKA Orchestra followed. Now musically they were very interesting, if a little weird. The band were all dressed in costumes from around the world, Egyptian, Chinese, Indian African etc. many of them wearing masks. Jerry Dammers was however dressed like he lived on the streets, with scruffy hair, shaggy beard, no front teeth and many, many dinners heavier than his Rude Boy days with the Specials. Their first tune was kind of big band modern Jazz, their second was sung by a girl in a mask and the whole look reminded me of the party scenes from Eyes Wide Shut, except with more clothes. They finished up with a version of the Specials Ghost Town which they called Ghost Planet. Dammers did not sing this either, but a genuine reggae man did and was pretty good, although the tune was even more of a dirge than the original. Jools Holland interviewed Dammers and asked about the recent Specials reunion, to which he was not invited, I think I understand why. He said just because they couldn’t do what he did it didn’t mean he couldn’t do what they do. Not a good look airing your grievances in public.
Benjamin Paul Ballance-Drew is Plan B and sometimes known as Ben Drew. He appeared immediately after the Jerry Dammers band and funnily enough looked more like Jerry Dammers in his Specials days than Jerry Dammers did. He sang a nice soul/funk tune, but rapped in a Jamaican accent. He was later interviewed by Jools and explained how he learned song writing from Smokey Robinson’s Tracks of My Tears. When he sang his second song Writings on the Wall, a break up song, you could hear the Smokey influence.
There was a brief interview with Jack Bruce at the piano. He was there to promote his new book and talked about Blues in London in the early 60’s, mentioning pioneers he played with such as Cyril Davies, Alexis Korner, Charlie Watts and Ginger Baker. He also talked about how he wrote Sunshine of your Love, the opening line “it’s getting near dawn” being something his lyricist Pete Brown said after they had been up all night. Interestingly, Bruce said he would consider another Cream reunion, where as Ginger Baker said never again, when he was asked on an earlier show. Jack does seem to be in better nick health wise, so maybe that’s why.
Melody Gardot is a Jazz singer, who has been through life’s wringer. The victim of a serious road accident at 19 she suffered multiple head injuries and pelvic fractures. Her music served as a therapy for her and brought her to where she is today. Having recorded two albums she still finds touring difficult. She appeared sitting on a stool with a guitar, showing an acre of thigh (very nice legs). Her hair is blond, she wore huge dark glasses and looked like a 60’s Italian film star. Her first song Baby I’m a Fool was less Jazzy than her normal fare. The second song, Who Will Comfort Me? was more like a Jazz Gospel and featured scat singing, a nice Jazz cello solo, an Acappella break and a sing along. I enjoyed both her performances, legs and all. See what you think.
Next weeks Later, 10:20 on ABC2, features Gorillaz, Drive-By Truckers, Laura Marling and more (the ABC site somehow dropped off the others)