I really like Laura Nyro …

March 6, 2016

… a classic example of an artist who is loved by critics but doesn’t have a great deal of commercial success.

Although she never achieved a U.S. top 50 single, her highest position being No. 92, her songs were hits for other artists, particularly The 5th Dimension, Three Dog Night and Barbra Streisand. Despite releasing nine studio and three live albums in her lifetime she only had one Top 40 album, New York Tendaberry. A particular favourite album of mine is Gonna Take A Miracle, a collection of covers recorded with Labelle.

Laura died from ovarian cancer, aged 49, in 1997.

Here’s a Spotify playlist of some of Nyro’s song covered by other artists, finishing with her cover of It’s Gonna Take A Miracle, originally recorded by The Royalettes.

Let’s Try Again

March 1, 2016

Let's Try AgainWhen I started writing this blog it was intended to be about anything that interested me. Somehow it became about reviews of live music shows. What had happened to the other things I’m interested in?

Where was the sport? Just one piece about the 2009 RL 4 Nations.

And the other things – film, books politics, and TV? It never happened.

Then I stopped. This happened for two main reasons: firstly, I thought no one was reading it; secondly, it had felt like a chore.

Recently I’ve been asked when I’m going to start again so someone must have been reading. I’m going to give it another go, and this time I will write about those other things. Let me know what you think.

February 2014

March 31, 2014

Strypes 17 February – The Strypes have come on in leaps and bounds since I last saw them at The Cockpit in May 2013. The biggest difference is the confidence they now exude. Whilst sticking to the R’n’B template that has served then so well they are beginning to slowly widen their palette, tonight including covers of songs by the Ramones and The Specials. Next time they play Leeds it’ll be at the Academy and hopefully I’ll be there.

Set list: What a Shame, So They Say, Lucky 7, She’s So Fine, What the People Don’t See, I Don’t Wanna Know, I’m a Hog for You, I Can Tell, Angel Eyes, Ooh Poo Pah Doo, Concrete Jungle, Perfect Storm, Hard To Say No, Mystery Man, Hometown Girls, Got Love If You Want It, Blue Collar Jane, Heart of the City, Rollin’ and Tumblin’.

Encore: Still Gonna Drive You Home, Rockaway Beach, Louie Louie, You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover.

Laura21 February – In my opinion, which is not at all humble, Laura Cantrell is currently the finest female traditional country singer performing. Fortunately I’m seeing her for the third time tonight at The Wardrobe. This is a well judged set that covers her entire output but, as fine a songwriters as she is, prolific she is not. This means that she has to do a number of covers. She always chooses these well – tonight including Lucinda Williams’s Letters, Burt Bacharach’s Trains And Boats And Planes and a particularly fine version of New Order’s Love Vigilantes. A particularly amusing moment occurs when Laura was introducing Kitty Wells’s Dresses by explaining who Kitty Wells was. “You won’t have heard of her,” she says. The audience loudly disagrees and one wag shouts. “She didn’t come to Leeds either!”
An evening in the company of Laura Cantrell is time well spent.


December 2013

December 27, 2013

The Waterboys11 December – My last show of the year and it’s a cracker!

The last time I saw Mike Scott it was a bit of a disaster. I arrived at the venue to discover I’d left my ticket at home and had to go back for it. This meant that I missed the first couple of songs. Then, to be honest, the show was lacklustre at best. I wasn’t in a rush to see him again.

Recently The Waterboys released a staggering six CD set of The Complete Fisherman’s Blues Sessions 1986-88 and are touring  to promote it with a five piece band that includes Mike, Anthony Thistlethwaite, Steve Wickham and  Trevor Hutchinson who all appeared on the original sessions. As a fan of the Waterboys I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity of hearing them live.

As you would expect the show heavily features songs from the new box set but manages to fit in such Waterboy’s classics as Bang The Drum, A Girl Called Johnny and, of course, The Whole Of The Moon. The band is great and have the audience up on their feet well before the end. I respect and understand Mike Scott’s desire not to live in the past but the occasional exception like this is more than welcome.