Song of The Day: Jefferson Airplane – Today

R.I.P. Paul Kantner, the driving force behind Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship, bands who, to this day, have not really received their due as radical innovators of revolutionary Rock, well beyond their fame as hippie hitmakers; a transition in which Kantner (and Grace Slick) was the driving force (and Hugo Award nominee!).

Today is a Balin/Kantner composition, featuring Jerry Garcia on the plaintive guitar melody, that has only become more popular and recognized over the years. Saxophonist Tom Scott’s version was a beat digger staple before Pete Rock and CL Smooth sampled it for the basis of their 1992 single They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.), which has become an acknowledged classic of the Golden Age of Hip-Hop. Funny that one of my favorite sixties ballads, would also lead to one of my favorite Hip-Hop jams. More recently, Experimental collective, Ulver have paid tribute to the song with a beautiful cover, securing the song’s legacy with a new generation.



Song of The Day: Paul Giovanni – Willow’s Song and a cover of the same from Isobel Campbell

Happy birthday, Britt Ekland. This Wicker Man clip has been cropped to excise the NSFW ass smacking portions of Britt’s dance. Such a beautiful track.

From wiki: “Willow’s Song is a ballad by American composer Paul Giovanni for the 1973 film The Wicker Man

It is the best-known song from the film, and it is sometimes referred to as “The Wicker Man Song”,[citation needed] although the film contains many other songs. The film tells the story of an upright Christian police officer investigating the disappearance of a young girl, the search for whom leads him to a remote Scottish isle inhabited by pagans. While staying at the Green Man Pub, Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) is roused from prayer by the landlord’s daughter Willow, played by Britt Ekland, who sings the erotic ballad through the adjoining wall of their separate bedrooms while completely naked. The song is an attempt to seduce Howie by accentuating to Willow’s sensuality. The music is played by the band Magnet. According to the film’s associate musical director Gary Carpenter, the screen version was sung by Rachel Verney (although some have believed that it was sung by the Scottish jazz singer Annie Ross).[citation needed] There are two different album versions of The Wicker Man soundtrack. The 1998 version released by Trunk Records features the film version of the song. The 2002 version released by Silva Screen features an alternate recording in which Lesley Mackie (who played Daisy in the film) sang to the same backing tracks.

According to Paul Giovanni, “The idea for the song was completely original with me—there was no indication of what it was to be in the script except a couple of lines of absolute filth,” sourced by screenwriter Anthony Shaffer from various anthologies of lyrics that would be appropriate to spring pagan festivals. “The main thing is in the rhythm, and we used all of the old twangy instruments in there”. One couplet in the song is adapted from a poem by George Peele, part of his play The Old Wives’ Tale (printed 1595). Another may be taken[weasel words] from a verse of the Elizabethan-period drinking song “Martin Said To His Man” (or may[weasel words] since have been added to it).”

Happy birthday, John Renbourn

As one of two guitarists in Pentangle, John Renbourn’s contributions were often overshadowed by the talents of Bert Jansch, despite Renbourn’s own adroit guitar mastery. Watch some clips and see for yourself. Also, just watch all the early Pentangle footage. There’s a suprising amount online, and all of it is exceptional.

This clip of Hunting Song is a perfect example of the chemistry between Renbourn and Jansch and the subtle interplay between the two, each playing foil to the other.

I love this performance with Renbourn on sitar and Jansch on banjo

Song of The Day: The Byrds – John Riley

Happy birthday to Roger McGuinn! The Byrds take on this traditional English Folk Ballad, an Odyssean tale of a love long lost at sea, and the woman who awaits his return, is one of the high points of American Folk Rock. Lyrically this song crushes me, with it’s tale of unending romantic fidelity. Musically, the repeating eastern motif of a riff that, much like the lyrical content, wanders only to return, lays the foundation for a beautifully pining string arrangement by Allen Stanton and the heavenly, multi-tracked, harmonies. This song always gives me chills.

A fair young maid all in her garden,
A strange young man comes passing by
Saying fair maid, will you marry me
And this answer was her reply

No kind sir, I cannot marry thee
For I’ve a love who sails all on the sea
He’s been gone for seven years
But still no man will I marry

Well what if he’s in some battle slain
Or drowned in the deep salt sea
Or what if he’s found another love
And he and his love both married be?

If he’s in some battle slain
I will die, when the moon doth wane
And if he’s drowned in the deep salt sea
I’ll be true to his memory

And if he’s found another love
And he and his love both married be
Then I wish them health and happiness
Where they now dwell across the sea

He picked her up all in his arms
And kisses gave her one two and three
Saying weep no more my own true love
I am your long lost John Riley.

The Quietus interviews Vashti Bunyan and Animal Collective, as their Prospect Hummer EP gets re-released

After thirty five years away from the music scene, Acid Folk legend Vashti Bunyan was coaxed out of retirement to record 2005’s, Prospect Hummer EP, with Animal Collective. In those intervening years, Bashti’s two sixties singles and her sole, 1970, LP, Just Another Diamond Day (featuring Dave Swarbrick of Fairport Covention, Robin Williamson of The Incredible String Band, and produced by Joe Boyd) amassed a significant reputation and cult following. Add to that, her complete disappearance from the public eye and, well, you have the stuff of which musical legends are made.

The interview is specifically with Bunyan and Josh Dibb, aka Deakin, of Animal Collective

Happy birthday to Alexander Skip Spence

I refuse to choose from the tracks on Oar. It needs to be ingested whole. One of my favorite pills to swallow.

And some choice Spence cuts from his days with the fantastic, Moby Grape

Song Of The Day: Jane Weaver – Don’t Take My Soul

Produced by Andy Votel, adding his requisite trippiness, Don’t Take My Soul is a modern pop take on a psychedelic Kate Bush sound. Bewitching.

If you dig this, I suggest checking out her bandcamp page.
Her take on the state of independent music, in which she name checks Amon Düül II as a primary influence on her latest record.

Happy birthday, Richard Thompson

A few of Thompson’s classics, some vintage footage of Fairport Convention, a documentary and guitar lessons from the man, himself.

Whereas Fairport Convention’s albums tended to be have a strong British Folk influence, due in no small part to producer, Joe Boyd’s, influence, their early live sessions show an affinity for the San Francisco Ballroom psychedelic sound, most notably that of Jefferson Airplane. Check out the fantastic, Heyday: BBC Radio Sessions 1968-69, for the Fairport in full flight

Oh, and Thompson still puts on a great show, should you have a chance to see him