Soul singer Samuel David Moore, the Sam of Sam and Dave, is eighty this month. That’s the excuse for this song. To be honest, Old Soul Man is not about Sam at all (although for the very attentive listener, it features a bar or two from Sam and Dave’s Soul Man at the start) but a tribute to those amazing people who, rather than obsessing with the permanent present, seem to live in the past while always staying a step or two ahead. I reckon it must be the only song ever to namecheck Alan Sugar’s finest achievement. Not the Apprentice. (You’re fired if you said that.) But the Amstrad 8256 computer.
It’s the rentrée, the new school term this month. Did you love it or hate it? I have written a lot of songs (most of them probably) that disobey the basic rules of musical theory, usually out of ignorance because my theory is pretty rudimentary. This song about another form of ignorance is an example but try as I might I couldn’t find a chord I liked better. It was inspired by a trip to Barcelona with my polyglot partner. At one point I went into a shop to buy stamps (yes, it was that long ago) and managed only to ask if they had a shop counter. They did (have a shop counter; they didn’t have stamps).
This is actually another song featuring pouring rain but I’m posting it now because it’s also about driving across Europe – the idea of which reminds me of August summer holidays spent doing just that. This song was hanging around for a long time with a slightly different chorus and I didn’t like it much until I discovered that a chord sequence I did like also fitted. Perhaps because I liked it too much there’s no middle eight – a real rarity for me. Features my favourite guest vocalist again and some real live German radio.
Too Pretty (to stay in tonight) was my attempt to write a summer song. To capture one of those tummy-turning moments on one of those magical holidays when you feel that you and the universe truly are one. This once again features a wonderful special guest vocalist, a chorus of a hundred and one cicadas and, very rare for me, a key change. Are you too pretty to stay in tonight?
To mark Barcelona’s triumph in the Champions League for the fifth time, a song that namechecks the Catalan capital. As usual, it has absolutely nothing to do with Barcelona FC although it is about football – the burst bubbles side of the game as exemplified by West Ham and the England team at the 1982 World Cup. A favourite song but not one I’ve ever managed to record too well. However, it is without doubt the best tune ever written about Trevor Brooking. (Not too sure about the copyright in this image of Trev so if anyone is concerned let me know and I will remove it.)
April showers are the excuse to post this song which features a live storm on the intro and outro. It’s one of those accident songs that occur when you play something in the wrong key from that which you intended. Odd that I’ve not got more them in the locker really!
It was Superbowl in the USA last month, a victory for the side hailing from the region much loved by the great Jonathan Richman, New England and an excuse to post this. The pretext is even more spurious than usual since the song has nothing to do with American football except that the expression ‘running down the clock’ is taken from it. I spent ages working out a very sophisticated chord sequence for this song and then ended up using it only once. So listen carefully.
For Valentine’s Day, you have to post a love song. I have rather a lot to choose from. This one is a dodgy recording in places but the message is sound. Love is something that you can’t understand and cannot control but which will refresh, redeem you and give you the gift of life – if you let it. ‘Some say that love’s a curse, some praise its power in verse.’
We are all thinking of Paris after the Charlie Hebdo attack. This song takes the mick of a certain type of Parisian (the London equivalent of the Parisian bobo would be the Hackney Hipster) but is also a celebration of the city which embodies all the wonderful things about humanity – love, liberty and the independence of mind and spirit – that suicide cults hate. Features a special guest vocalist channelling, initially anyway, the spirit of Jane Birkin. Je suis Charlie.
I can’t help liking Barack Obama – proof surely that style can triumph over substance in modern politics. Anyway, something good, the resumption of normal relations with Cuba after a ridiculously long time, gives me an excuse to post this song. It’s about when the UK was America’s poodle which couldn’t happen now.