Midnight Voices
THE PETE ATKIN WEB FORUM    RSS
Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register.
This page loaded: 03.09.14 at 05:33 UK
PA
HOME
Pete Atkin home page
MV Home | Short | Help | Search | Members | Login | Register | Shop | PA Home
Midnight Voices « The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here! »
   Midnight Voices
   Pete Atkin
   Music
(Moderator: Ian Chippett)
   The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!
« Previous thread | Next thread »
Pages: 1 2 3 ... 7  Start of Thread | Latest Post Notify of replies | Send Thread | Print
   Author  Thread: The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!  (Read 20967 times)
David Morgan
MV Feature
***




   

Posts: 53
The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!
« : 29.11.06 at 18:06 »

It’s poll time again. Discussion on other threads led to thinking that we should update the Top Ten Songs poll that Ian C ran in 1998, and also the MVs’ Musical Tastes survey that Nigel Long did in 2000. Why? Different times, new PA albums, and also some new and different MVs. These seemed good enough reasons to us, anyway!
 
So here’s your chance to vote. We’re looking for:
 
1. Your Top Ten Atkin Songs
 
In preference order, your ten favourite songs recorded by Pete. Any unrecorded Atkin/James gems are also eligible, of course.
 
2. Your Top Ten (non-Atkin) Musicians
 
You can take eleven musicians’ complete recorded works to a desert island. One musician will of course be Pete Atkin, but who are the other ten? Again in preference order, please. There are no genre limits: last time JS Bach and Miles Davis made strong showings alongside The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan.... For the classics ‘musician’ means composer, while with the newer stuff you're voting for the recording artist(s): this is not very precise, but seems to make most sense.
 
You don’t have to vote in both polls, but it’ll be most fun if you all do so. You can vote either by reply on this thread (and do tell us why Black Funk Rex is your favourite Atkin number) or by instant message to David Morgan (for both polls - click the Instant Message link over on the left).  
 
Via the mailing list, Pete will also invite email votes from infrequent Forum visitors.
 
The polls close on 31 December.
 
We will then do the magic and results will appear here in early New Year. Try to contain your excitement meanwhile.
 
Looking forward to as many votes as possible
 
Ian C
David M
IP logged
Andrew_Curry
MV Feature
***


a working man is more than flesh and bone

   

Posts: 35
Top Ten Songs Poll
« Reply #1: 29.11.06 at 22:13 »

Why? because it seemed easier than the musicians' poll, which I'm hoping will make sense to me if I don't think about it too hard. So here are the songs:
 
1. Faded Mansions on the Hill (because of electric piano, the wonderful rhyme structure, and the subtlety of the lyric and its narrative) [' The beach the poor men never reach
  / The shore the rich men never leave', the homing yachts from summer, I don't need to go on]. Would be number one any time I wrote a list like this.
2. Thief in the Night: a masterpiece of compression (a truck going south or a cab to the festival hall)
3. Perfect Moments: I just love the list of moments, which always makes me go back to listen to Charlie Parket, and the bitter sweet ending: perfect bitch it doesn't work that way.
4. Driving Through Mythical America. Any Atkin list has to have one of the Vietnam songs in it, and Troops of Love comes close, and I still enjoy the conceit of Sunlight Gate; but this is so rich. Saloon? Sedan? Detail.
5. Thirty Year Man: kind of the entire history of jazz in three minutes; an hour alone...
6. Road of Silk, for the imagery and the sax solo
7. Between Us There is Nothing. Those 'lost romantic' poems are a James speciality, and Flowers and the Wine runs it close - and good to see The Dancing Master in the same vein - but the imagery is so rich and dense on this. I've been listening to it for thirty years and still haven't unravelled it.  
8. Carnations On The Roof. Probably seems like an odd selection, and I wouldn't have chosen it twenty years ago, but now, from the perspective of 2006, it holds a whole political and economic history of the last quarter of a century, and the destruction of the skilled working class by Thatcher and her cronies. Car factories? Heavens! Didn't we used to have one of those around here somewhere?
9. Last Hill That Shows You All the Valley. Again, I love those 'sweeps of history' songs that Clive James writes so well, and this is the best. No Dice jostled along for a while, on the strength of its pay off (to link the ways men die with how they grow) but I can remember how awed I was by the lyric of this when I first heard it, and the breadth of the connections. It's still a fantastic song.
10. National Steel. There has to be a muso's song in the list, and I love Sessionman's Blues and Wristwatch for a Drummer, but the way in which the aching lyric and the aching guitar marry each other on this means it squeaks in.
 
Nothing from BOBS, which I've always regarded as a bit of a warm up album (Girl On A Train flickered across my consciousness while I was writing the list, but I've always thought it teetered across that this line between irony and smugness a few times too many). And nothing from any of the more recent recordings, perhaps because they're still too new to me.  
 
The first seven songs on the list wrote themselves in; any of five or ten or fifteen more could have squeezed in to the end of the list; aming them Secret Drinker, which was squeezed out at the last minute by CarnationsOTRoof, Shadow and the Widower (or one of the other 'Gerard Nerval' songs, like the Prince of Aquitaine); King At Nightfall (I always loved that period of English history, shame we cut off our king's head 150 years before anyone had worked out what to do next); and Tenderfoot, with that clever line about 'a clever way to be unkind' which spoke loudly to my 20-something self. I even thought for a little while about Sammy Speedball, probably the wittiest of the 'humorous' songs - but I'm not a huge fan of the humorous songs.  
 
Best wishes
 
Andrew
IP logged
Andrew_Curry
MV Feature
***


a working man is more than flesh and bone

   

Posts: 35
The Top Ten Non-Atkin Music
« Reply #2: 01.12.06 at 19:53 »

Having thought it was too difficult to do, the ten musicians sort of fell out while I was idling in a taxi in a traffic jam in Coventry... so here goes:
 
1. Elvis Costello. He's the soundtrack of my adult life, and he's done so much and such different stuff that you could almost choose an EC record to suit your mood. I like his lyrics almost as much as Clive James. One might even come to understand what The Juliet Letters was all about.  
 
2. Robert Wyatt. Again, a vast mix of material, from the quirky to the uplifting, especially if you could get to take all those myriad odd tracks he's done with other bands and the Soft Machine. I know his voice isn't to everyone's taste but I've always found it moving. Always useful to have a cover version of Shipbuilding in case you can't find it on the Elvis Costello CDs as wll.
 
3. Eliades Ochoa. Cuba's finest guitarist, with or without the Cuarteto Patria. Son music to swing to.
 
4. EST. the Swedish jazz trio. Clearly a European sound, with a huge range of moods, and one that's informed by listening to Jim Hendrix as well as Miles. You get a CD of covers of Monk as well, thrown in.
 
5. Velvet Underground. There would be days when you wanted some straight ahead rock and roll, and the Velvets are the best and the darkest.  
 
6. Matthew Herbert. The British DJ and bandleader, a wonderfully ecelctic mix of sounds, including dance and electro, and that quirky record (but tuneful) which he made completely from sampled sounds of food being eaten and prepared. You'd die of old age without something contemporary on your shelves.
 
7. Nick Drake. Not much output, a bit like the Velvets, but subtle enough and rich enough to keep listening to over and over. I only discovered that his music was indispensable recently.  
 
8. Neville Brothers. I needed some soul, but preferred the funk of New Orleans and its backline. And Aaron Neville's voice is one of the finest in all of music.
 
9. Martin Simpson. The English guitarist, with a wonderful folk repertoire and some magnificant blues playing. He also lets me take some Dylan, in fine cover versions. His segue of Highway 61 - the traditional American song - and Highway 61 Revisited is a masterpiece. (I thought about taking some of Bob's stuff, but realised that the songs I liked I already had in my head.)  
 
10. Aretha. Sometimes you need that soaring inspirational Atlantic sound. And although I'm not religious, her gospel songs are wonderful.
 
Andrew
IP logged
Ian Chippett
MV Moderator
*****


In the clear at over fifty-five

   

Posts: 325
Re: The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!
« Reply #3: 02.12.06 at 06:45 »

1. Faded Mansion On The Hill. The whole song is perfect but the chord change from G to Dm6 when Pete sings "Between the headlands..." is a real trouvaille that pnly a great songwriter would have thought of.
 
2. Canoe. I still think that if Pete had released this as a single back in the Seventies, it would have been a hit.  
 
3. A Hill Of Little Shoes. Hearing Clive perform this at Buxton brought a lump to my throat. "The one song that refuses to be born" is born.
 
4. My Egoist. I sing this to myself every time I have to rake up dead leaves or cut the hedge. The words are a brilliant translation of a poem by Appolinaire (sp?) and among Clive's finest.
 
5. A Man Who’s Been Around. Yet another clever modulation when Pete sings "the lees..." which had me playing this over and over when I first got hold of the CD.
 
6. Senior Citizens. I always thought this would be a better name for the Forum than Midnight Voices. Well, my ankles are beginning to fold over my shoes not to mention the hair on my scalp. Nobody else was writing songs with a verse and a chorus in the Seventies.
 
7. Black Funk Rex. I play this to anyone in whom I'm trying to interest Pete's music and it always works even though nobody who isn't a Senior Citizen has heard of T. Rex or Grand Funk Railroad these days.
 
8. Perfect Moments. A perfect moment in itself, simple and effective like all perfect moments.
 
9. Thirty Year Man. My introduction to Pete and Clive. Looking back, it must have been the voice that hit me first. Nobody else was singing like that in those days and certainly not songs like this.
 
10.Nothing Left To Say. Exactly. The words are not only incredibly evocative but show a technical skill that opened Clive to charges (unfounded) of being too clever by half by critics who themselves brilliantly avoided such accusations.
 
Ian C
IP logged
Ian Chippett
MV Moderator
*****


In the clear at over fifty-five

   

Posts: 325
Re: The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!
« Reply #4: 02.12.06 at 07:25 »

Top Ten Artists
 
Assuming the Beatles are like the Bible and Shakespeare, I have to start with:
 
1. The Beach Boys. They made more and more rubbish as Brian Wilson withdrew but nothing can beat "I Get Around:" a truly revolutionary pop song that completely breaks with anything you'd heard previously, just as long as you don't pay too much attention to the words.
 
2. Hatfield and the North. I bought their first album as I was intrigued by its cover artwork and after listening to it wondered what the hell was going on. Having now seen the score of the various tracks and attepted failing miserably to play them (in one song, the time signature changes every second bar while the guitar and keyboards are playing in two different keys with different rythmns) I'm still wondering. Their second album contains "Underdub", perhaps my all-time favourite tune. I buy everything each of these musicians do unhesitatingly and am never disappointed.
 
3. Randy Newman. He just gets better and better. A real craftsman like Pete and Clive.
 
4. Gilbert and Sullivan. They may be a bit old hat these days but who else has written so many great tunes?  
 
5. Henry Cow. I fully understand why they may not be to everybody's taste but they opened my ears to the world of improvised music.
 
6. Procol Harum. Don't listen to them these days very much but I practically wore out their albums in the Seventies. Gary Brooker is a much underrated singer and composer while their organist made two superb albums that got nowhere in early Seventies.
 
7. Eric Dolphy. He died after making his only studio album "Out To Lunch" but it hooked me from the first note. As with H. Cow, you can be forgiven for finding it a bit tough at first but it's another of those records that makes everything before it seem flat.
 
8. Vaughan Williams. Principally his Symphonies which are so English that on a desert island they'd help to keep you sane.
 
9. Chet Baker. Not just a great jazz trumpeter but a singer could make the most awful drivel sound like art.
 
10. Pip Pyle's Bash. They only made one album but were technically the most brilliant musicians I've ever heard. More to the point, if I should run into a Man Friday on the album, I'd be able to show him as if by accident that, yes, that's my name in the credits on the sleeve. I've loved Pip's music ever since I heard Hatfield but was lucky enough to get to know him in later years and become close friends. We even played together a few times and he wanted to make an album with me when he got his studio running but alas had the bad taste to die suddenly last August. A truly great bloke, something you feel listening to his music. Also, the only rock musician by whom I've ever been kidnapped.
 
Ian C
IP logged
Andrew_Curry
MV Feature
***


a working man is more than flesh and bone

   

Posts: 35
Faded Mansion on the Hill
« Reply #5: 02.12.06 at 18:37 »

I had heard the chord change that Ian mentions hundreds of times, obviously, but without the technical musical knowledge to understand what was going on, just that visceral sense of the shift from the closed world of the shore where time stalks, to the open expanse of the sea. Thanks for explaining it.
 
Trouvaille?
 
Andrew
IP logged
Ian Chippett
MV Moderator
*****


In the clear at over fifty-five

   

Posts: 325
Re: The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!
« Reply #6: 03.12.06 at 18:18 »

Andrew wrote:
 
<<I had heard the chord change that Ian mentions hundreds of times, obviously, but without the technical musical knowledge to understand what was going on, just that visceral sense of the shift from the closed world of the shore where time stalks, to the open expanse of the sea. Thanks for explaining it. >>
 
Don't thank me: thank Gerry Smith who transcribed this song for Smash Flops. I was like you in that I "felt" it but didn't know why.
 
<<Trouvaille?>>
 
Frog word meaning "finding." Not a spelling mistake for "Trouville" the Normandy holiday resort.
 
Ian C
IP logged
Gerry Smith
MV Fixture
****





   

Posts: 211
Re: The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!
« Reply #7: 03.12.06 at 23:45 »

Ahem, well, yes, thank you Ian, I did indeed make a transcription of TFMOTH, a tone higher than Pete plays it, it would seem, back in those heady days of 1997, when the renaissance was in full flight (or something...) and oD's were something to do with Ice Cream Men and... Get on with it, ed..
 
 Pete made a few changes to my offering, one of which was the G-Dm6-Em phrase (between the headlands to the sea).  I had suggested, and often still play, notwithstanding Pete's correction, G, Bm, Em, with a descending G, F#, E in the left hand.
« Last Edit: 04.12.06 at 00:17 by Gerry Smith » IP logged

Out playing the saxes
Jim Grozier
MV Feature
***


The leading young poetic hope of the whole planet

   

Posts: 37
Re: The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!
« Reply #8: 04.12.06 at 18:06 »

I can't give such an erudite commentary on my choices as previous posters - in fact with some I can give none at all -  and this list should also be read in the context of (i) not having got into "Winter Spring" at all yet - I first heard of it about a week ago, and just reveived my copy from that nice Mr Hillside; (ii) not having even got into a considerable number of the songs on “The Lakeside Sessions” yet; (iii) ditto The Road Of Silk (I got all the LPs as re-releases, and before they were available had only heard “Mythical America”, “A King At Nightfall” and the compilation “Master of the Revels” and whatever Pete sang in Eastbourne). These things are best done s-l-o-w-l-y. (I also believe it’s too early to say whether or not the French Revolution was a good thing  Smiley).
 
Right, that’s all the caveats sorted out. I should add that I may have given more than due prominence to “Lakeside” due to its having been released relatively recently and thus I have had a chance to digest it in reasonable-sized portions. Also that the order in which these songs appear is almost random – it’s often very difficult to say one is much better than another.
 
1. Tenderfoot. Wonderfully evocative – when I hear it I am in that canyon with the horseman (although I’ve never been there, and don’t know where it is).  
 
2. Trophies of My Lovers Gone. Hmmmm. Lovely.
 
3. Canoe. Beautiful, makes me shiver. (But does anyone know if it’s describing two contemporaneous events, or two different eras?)
 
4. Ice Cream Man. Mmmmm.
 
5. Tonight Your Love Is Over. Not Pete’s customary sound – it exudes sadness. A bit of a miniature perhaps, but lovely in a sad sort of way.
 
6. Beware of the Beautiful Stranger. Of course. (In spite of the phrase “a slight but considerable danger” which I’ve always assumed to be a slip of the tongue).
 
7. Sunlight Gate.
 
8. Thirty Year Man.
 
9. I See The Joker. A brilliant exposition of paranoia – even though the phrase “family cars” makes me think of Ford Escorts with 2 kids in the back, not perhaps the image Clive wanted to convey!
 
10. No Dice. Even though I don’t understand the last verse … who else writes or sings songs like this?
 
Ten is a very cruel number, David. On my list were 17 titles – the others being Sessionman’s Blues, Wristwatch, A King at Nightfall, Hypertension Kid, Thief in the Night, Girl on the Train and Sunrise. And even that list doesn’t include “Between Us …” which I’m listening to right now. And maybe Faded Mansion would be there too if I could understand it  … Ah! The agony of choice!  
 
Jim.
 
Top Ten Artists coming soon!
IP logged
Keith Busby
MV Fixture
****





   

Posts: 156
Re: The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!
« Reply #9: 04.12.06 at 20:24 »

OK. Here goes, with all the usual caveats, esp. regarding the precise order:
 
1) Hill of Little Shoes. Surely the most "significant" and moving of all the songs.
2) Faded Mansion. Contains for me the most extraordinary moment in the corpus, but not the G-Dm6. Rather, it's "The graveyard of tall ships is really here, / Where the grass breaks up the driveway more each year". The descending melody of "driveway ..." does it.
3) Between Us There Is Nothing. I recall this is one of Pete's faves. Gotta love those green seas and mangrove deltas.
4) Secret Drinker. Like Faded Mansion, I like the different "movements" of the song, and the way the slippery melody finally gets back to the major.
5) Hypertension Kid, -id, -id, -id.  
6) Wristwatch for a Drummer. Here and elsewhere, Pete has to extend the melody to fit Clive's irregular stanzas.
7) Payday Evening. I suppose this, like Shadow and the Widower, appeals to my scholarly bent, with the Versailles/fables lines on the maj7's
8) Shadow and the Widower. How can a prof. of Fr. Lit. not like this? Same goes for Prince of Aquitaine and You Alone Will Be My Last Adventure (see how I snuck two more in there). Like the way the E-G-A9-B-Cmaj7 is predicated on a B note all the way through.
9) History and Geography. How often have I flown half-awake and half-asleep into what I call my homeland?
10) Dancing Master. Does this appeal to the middle-aged? Nice key change and nice setting as a beguine (it was a beguine, n'est-ce pas?). Good instrumental backing on the album.
 
Mind you, if I did this again tomorrow, it might be quite different.
 
Keith
IP logged

Commit THAT to Your Fragrant Memory!
Keith Busby
MV Fixture
****





   

Posts: 156
Re: The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!
« Reply #10: 04.12.06 at 20:41 »

Non-Atkin:
 
1) The early Joni Mitchell. Oh, the guitar tunings!
2) Seatrain. Anyone else? Whatever happened to the violinist? Second album disappointing, though.
3) Incredible String Band. Non-conformist brilliance.
4) Jimmy Webb. Patchy, but with moments of unequalled brilliance.
5) Early Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, esp. Bert and John.
6) If I can do a collective one, then Rodgers and Hart/Hoagy Carmichael/Cole Porter/George Gershwin and the like. Just for the combination of smart lyrics with the music, in some ways like P&C.
7) The Band. Sounded rough and unrehearsed until you heard the live album, when it was all note for note the same as the studio versions. A shiver goes down my spine on the live album when the spotlight obviously comes up to reveal Dylan to sing "Like A Rolling Stone". The crowd,as they say, goes wild.
8) Colin Blunstone. One of the great voices of pop music. Absolutely ethereal in "As Far As My Eyes Can See" and "The Eagle Will Rise Again" (for the Alan Parsons Project).
9) Dusty Springfield. Another of the great voices.
10) Beach Boys. Agree totally with Ian, although my song would be "God Only Knows".
 
Keith
IP logged

Commit THAT to Your Fragrant Memory!
Ian Chippett
MV Moderator
*****


In the clear at over fifty-five

   

Posts: 325
Re: The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!
« Reply #11: 05.12.06 at 07:35 »

Keith wrote:
 
<<Between Us There Is Nothing. I recall this is one of Pete's faves>>
 
I don't suppose for a moment Pete would like to give us his Top Ten Songs?. He's done his Top Five (?) musicians already.
 
Amazingly, no-one has voted for "Girl On The Train yet."
 
Ian C
IP logged
Andrew_Curry
MV Feature
***


a working man is more than flesh and bone

   

Posts: 35
Canoe (and happy endings)
« Reply #12: 05.12.06 at 08:58 »

<<Canoe. Beautiful, makes me shiver. (But does anyone know if it’s describing two contemporaneous events, or two different eras?)>>
 
I'd always assumed that the canoe journey was set in Polynesian islands in the 19th century, at the time when anthropologists studied their culture of gifts, because of the line,  
 
"But we couldn't find the island/
Where you trade the shells for feathers".  
 
It also fits with the James' style of intermingling different histories in the same stories: there are helicopters on the walls of Troy.
 
But listening to it again made me realise that it is one of the few Atkin/James songs with a happy ending. At least one of the crews makes it back.
 
But where does that happen elsewhere in the canon? 'Everything went wrong' with The Lady of a Day; the Tenderfoot travels alone, as does the drinker on his Payday Evenings; there are three to dine but only two to stay; the Inuit has been left on the ice to die; the girl on a train can barely lift her eyes from her paperback; the youthful thrill of the ice cream van's jingle can never be re-captured (which is why Atkin's older version on the Lakeside Sessions works so much better than Julie Covington's). You even know that the paranoia of the gangster in The Joker is well-founded. And so on.
 
In short, the tower is almost always ruined by the time the Prince of Aquitaine gets there. If he hasn't actively set about knocking it down.      
IP logged
Andrew_Curry
MV Feature
***


a working man is more than flesh and bone

   

Posts: 35
Slight but considerable
« Reply #13: 05.12.06 at 10:22 »

<<(In spite of the phrase “a slight but considerable danger” which I’ve always assumed to be a slip of the tongue). >>
 
In my line of work we sometimes talk about events which are low probability but high impact (i.e. if they do happen they are very bad news, but they are not that likely to happen). My assumption that this was one of those - but given the nature of the fortune teller, the danger was in fact less slight than she was letting on.
 
Andrew
IP logged
Jim Grozier
MV Feature
***


The leading young poetic hope of the whole planet

   

Posts: 37
Re: Canoe (and happy endings)
« Reply #14: 05.12.06 at 16:15 »

on 05.12.06 at 08:58, Andrew_Curry wrote:

I'd always assumed that the canoe journey was set in Polynesian islands in the 19th century, at the time when anthropologists studied their culture of gifts, because of the line,  
 
"But we couldn't find the island/
Where you trade the shells for feathers".

 
That sounds reasonable (and I've exposed my complete ignorance of anthropology here - don't tell my daughter, who did a degree in it!) but my reason for thinking otherwise was that the Moon is mentioned in the first section, and the astronauts look down on the South Pacific in the second. (Sorry Steve, this is a bit off the topic of the top ten!)
 
Quote:
the youthful thrill of the ice cream van's jingle can never be re-captured (which is why Atkin's older version on the Lakeside Sessions works so much better than Julie Covington's).  

 
(Off topic again) I'd be interested to know the age of the Lakeside songs. When it came out I assumed they were all new, but then someone has mentioned on the forum that "The Eye of the Universe" was previously available in a very different format; also I think Pete mentioned at a concert that one of the songs had taken him years to write the music for, so I suppose that counts as new (but can't remember which one!)
IP logged
colin_boag
MV Feature
***




   

Posts: 40
Re: The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!
« Reply #15: 07.12.06 at 09:41 »

Top ten non-PA - very tough!  In the end I opted for what I play most over a sustained period.  Hard to leave out Randy Newman, The ISB and Nick Drake, but I did!
 
Michael Marra - I love intelligent and clever lyrics and there is no-one who does this better.  
 
Richard Thompson - June Tabor (see below) refers to him as the 'blessed' RT and she isn't too far wide of the mark.  Of course he's an astonishing guitarist but it's the lyrics that appeal to me - I like dark ones and he does dark better than most.  
 
June Tabor - much, much more than an interpreter of traditional song.  Chanteuse describes her pretty well.   Scholarly streak to her (but I can forgive that) which albums such as Rosa Mundi (I think the only one in her catalogue not to start with the letter 'A') show
 
The Handsome Family - dark lyrics again but with a humorous streak
 
John Martyn - all-time hero an innovator.  If you don't get it, listen to 'Small Hours' - if you still don't get it then give yourself up as a lost cause!
 
Lucinda Williams - amazing voice and does 'tortured soul' country better than anyone else in the genre
 
Jackie Leven - difficult to categorise and not everyone's cup of tea - my wife can't stand his albums and says that he's pretentious (I'm not sure whether that's a strength or a weakness in a rock musician?).  Amazing voice though
 
Miles Davis - still regularly play everything before Bitches Brew  
 
Orchestra Baobab - only two albums but I play them both (especially the first one) a lot. The very best of World Music
 
Bellowhead - only an EP and an album to their name (although Jon Boden and John Spiers have a number of albums to their credit) but they are the future of traditional folk in the way that Carthy and Swarbs were in the 60's and 70's.  Simply the best live band I've ever seen (and I've seen many over the years!)  and, IMO, the most exciting act around.
 
IP logged

Colin
Richard Bleksley
MV Fixture
****


My time has come to find a better way

   

Posts: 164
Non-Atkin top ten
« Reply #16: 07.12.06 at 14:06 »

As just about everybody else has said, this hasn't been easy!  I had to visualise myself marooned on that island before I could settle on what I found really indispensable, and even now the order is a bit dodgy.  But here goes.
 
1.  Ralph McTell.
Even though over-exposure doesn't stop a good song from remaining a good song, there's a lot more to this man than Streets of London.  Billy Connolly once described him as "a national treasure," and I agree.  A magical songwriter (my second favourite after you-know-who), an excellent guitarist, and a modest, down-to-earth personality.  Just about every album he's ever made has had at least two or three really memorable songs.  
 
2.  June Tabor.
I've said it all before on the "Off-topic" board.  Not only does she possess a stunning voice, but she uses it like the consummate artist that she is.  Every time I listen to something of hers I am awed anew at the virtuosity and eloquence of her singing.  At this level of artistry the fact that she writes no original material is irrelevant.
 
3.  Kirsty MacColl.
Another fine singer, and a considerable but underrated songwriter: strong tunes and wonderful lyrics, sardonic, witty, sharp and true.  A larger-than-life personality - too much of an individualist to get on well with the music establishment, which handicapped her career - and a unique talent, tragically cut short.
 
4.  The Beatles.
Hardly an original choice, but I couldn't leave them out.  Their career exactly bracketed my teenage years, and their music is an indelible part of my life.  It's tempting to take them for granted, but when you listen to the other stuff that was around at the time you realise how pioneering - and how good - they really were.  I know of no other act where the whole is so much more than the sum of its parts.
 
5.  Fairport Convention.
Not sure about their later output, but I couldn't live without the early stuff (with Sandy Denny and just after).  The second most influential act in shaping my taste in music - Unhalfbricking opened the ears of a devotee of blues and hard rock to quieter, subtler music, and Liege and Lief precipitated a lasting interest in folk.
 
6.  The Rolling Stones.
Although most of what they've done in the last thirty-five years is pretty disposable (even that arch-egotist Sir Michael Jagger almost admitted as much once), they belong here because their early stuff is still classic, and because they were the biggest influence on my taste in music - they woke me up (along with thousands of others) to the blues, my most enduring musical love.  
 
7.  Robert Johnson.
When I die, the blues is the music I'll be found with.  Like Amy, it only takes a little while to make me smile every time I hear it.  So I have to include one real blues singer in my list; and if it's only one, it has to be, not very originally, Robert Johnson, once described by Eric Clapton as: "the most passionate cry that I think you can find in the human voice."
 
8.  Fleetwood Mac.
No, not that Fleetwood Mac, but the original blues band with Peter Green.  Included here to remind me of what were probably the most memorable gigs I ever went to - I had the good fortune to catch them at exactly the right time, when they were really on fire just before they became well-known; and they were much better live than they sound on those early albums.  Peter Green seemed to have an instinctive feel for the blues unequalled among British musicians.  B. B. King once said: "He's the only [white blues musician] who ever made me sweat."
 
9.  John Mayall.
Included for historical reasons - I haven't even tried to hear anything he's done for many years.  But he completed the job the Stones started.  When I first heard the "Beano" album with Eric Clapton (whose playing here can still send shivers down my spine after all these years) I thought (don't laugh: I was only sixteen, and romantic): "This is the music I've been waiting to hear."  I became a born-again blues fanatic, and for the next few years I bought everything he did.
 
10. Jo Ann Kelly.
I had to push one really obscure artist!  For my money the best blues singer of either sex Britain has produced (the first time I saw her I was stunned by such a powerful voice emerging from such a small person), her premature death from a brain tumour in her early forties, together with her hostile and contemptuous attitude towards "the biz," between them ensured that she never got the recognition her talent might otherwise have gained her.
 
The Atkin top ten is proving even harder, so that'll be along a bit later.  
IP logged
naomi
MV Fixture
****


I love Midnight Voices!

   

Posts: 150
Re: The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!
« Reply #17: 07.12.06 at 16:51 »

Top Ten (non-Atkin) musicians
 
I see that the rules stipulate no genre limits for music on the island, so here goes !
 
1. Franz Schubert
He's been called the Shakespeare of Song, and I agree: like the Bard, he is always our contemporary. The greatest songwriter ever, I think.
 
2. W. A. Mozart
I couldn't live without The Marriage of Figaro ... and that's not just because I have so much fun playing Marcellina (the only Mozart role for which my voice is suitable!).
 
Superlatives are superfluous  
 
3. J.S. Bach
It's heavenly !
 
4. Robert Schumann
Another great songwriter  
 
5. Gustav Mahler
The last great Romantic, he set the scene for Modernism, treated the symphony as "the world", and was an intensely personal and human composer who somehow expressed the concerns of the 20th century despite living only until 1910 ...
and he wrote loads of wonderful stuff for low mezzos to sing!  
 
6. Richard Wagner
Phenomenal and phenomenally influential musical dramatist.
Hojotoho !  
 
7. Hugo Wolf
In this context, I'll particularly listen to this great songwriter's "Weyla's Song", which tells of an imaginary island ...
 
8. Georges Bizet
for Carmen - a masterpiece, fabulously vivid, and the title-role fits my voice like a glove.
 
I have a problem here ... I need both
 
9. Leos Janacek
A genius of opera at last receiving the recognition that he deserves. Such emotional intensity - with such economy of means  
 
and
10. Alban Berg
His Wozzeck is probably the 20th century's most influential opera
 
But this leaves me without Jacques Brel, not to mention several other glaring omissions !
 
Will get back to you if I can resolve this problem, Mr Morgan.
 
Many thanks for this opportunity to ramble on about my favourite non-Atkin music,
Naomi
 
[Correction applied 17:07 at Naomi's request -- SJB]
 
« Last Edit: 07.12.06 at 17:07 by S J Birkill » IP logged
Jim Grozier
MV Feature
***


The leading young poetic hope of the whole planet

   

Posts: 37
Re: The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!
« Reply #18: 08.12.06 at 08:57 »

Naomi’s post has shamed me into adding my own, overcoming fears that a list of mainly classical (though not “classical classical”) composers might be considered a bit OTT.
 
I’ve given up on making it a “hall of fame” of all the stuff that I used to listen to and which is still important to me though I never listen to it, so out go Cream, Traffic, Blind Faith, Pete Brown, Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator, King Crimson and all the rest – though there is one relic from that era and approximately that genre – can you spot it? As I mainly listen to Radio 3 these days, all I would actually need would be a radio to enable me to get my fix of “Late Junction”, but as that’s against the rules, here goes …
 
1. Maurice Ravel. Mainly for the piano music. I still don’t understand how he managed to compose some of that stuff, and how anyone manages to play it. But however it’s done, the end product is sublime. I can listen to his music over and over again without getting tired of it.
 
2. Claude Debussy. Just pipped to the post by his old sparring partner. Even though “Reverie” is one of my favourite miniatures, it isn’t exactly “Le Tombeau de Couperin”.
 
3. Bela Bartok. With him, of course, you get a big slice of Hungarian and Romanian folk music as well, so he’s good value for money.  
 
4. Leos Janacek (snap) – but again, mainly for the piano music, and the string quartets; and if I get fed up I can listen to “Sinfonietta”.
 
5. Philip Jeays. Let’s face it, you have to have pretty good French to really enjoy listening to Brel; Jeays’ songs are just as brilliant (and funny) and have the advantage of being in English. Tragically underrated.
 
6. Robb Johnson (the British singer-songwriter, not the blues man). His music is a good tonic when you get the feeling that the lunatics have finally taken over  – which is quite frequently these days.
 
7. Seize The Day – works when Robb Johnson is just not a strong enough antidote. I only have one CD of theirs but I really admire them. They live and sing their politics, and there are tragically few people doing that these days.
 
8. Camel. Yes, that’s the one, you spotted it. Again (as with Ravel) I can listen to it over and over again.
 
9. Judy Collins. Again, good value for money; you get a tantalising morsel of Brel, and a big slice of Leonard Cohen as well. (And as several of the early Cohen songs were written for Collins, rather than Cohen, to sing, I suppose there are parallels with Atkin and James, except that some people might say that James has a better singing voice than Cohen, although I wouldn’t agree).
 
10. Erik Satie. The less-serious works frustrate me somewhat, as does that fact that pianists habitually play his works too slow, or sometimes too fast, but rarely at the right speed. Included here because the “complete works” stipulation presumably means I would get to listen to the one recording in which the the beautiful and eerie “Pieces Froides” is played just right.
 
Jim.  
IP logged
naomi
MV Fixture
****


I love Midnight Voices!

   

Posts: 150
Re: The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!
« Reply #19: 08.12.06 at 12:35 »

Many thanks, Jim - you have made sure that two of the greats whom I wanted to include - Debussy, composer of the wonderful Pelleas, as well as superbly atmospheric songs, and Bartok, who composed an opera that I love and have seen many times, Bluebeard's Castle - make an appearance !
 
Naomi
IP logged
Pages: 1 2 3 ... 7   Start of Thread | Latest Post Notify of replies | Send Thread | Print
Return to Top « Previous thread | Next thread »
MV Home | Short | Help | Search | Members | Login | Register | Shop | PA Home
Midnight Voices is not responsible for comments made by its members. All opinions expressed are entirely those of their authors.
Midnight Voices » Powered by YaBB 1 Gold - SP 1.3.1!
YaBB © 2000-2003. All Rights Reserved.