It’s been a great week – I’m relieved of a major medical pain-in-the-ass, or rather nose…I’ve had a polyp removed; the size of a fucking jam jar lid and then another the size of a meatball. The surgeon congratulated me on growing it so big. She was genuinely impressed. It’s held me up over the last year, breathing has been an issue – podcasting and reviewing music on radio has been a borderline-disaster, my only response (and option) to muddle through and wait on the waiting list. But it was instant and overnight I was fixed, in fact fixed in a day. That was last week actually – but this week it’s really kicked in, I feel reborn. Life has been good. I only got in one brief altercation with a Thomas Oliver fan this week. It’s been lovely. I even felt charitable enough to give the new Fly My Pretties a go. But, with that giant fucking polyp or two removed my hearing has returned to normal. So it wasn’t a long listen…
Anyway, this week – this time around for Songs For Friday – I wanna just share some cool favourites, old and new, that I’ve discovered or rediscovered throughout this week. So here goes…
1. The KLF (feat. Tammy Wynette), Justified and Ancient
I kinda hated this when I first heard it – just thought it weird, but also sorta compelling, that video, and then the news that it was Tammy Wynette, and placing her in this out-of-context context…well, I soon got on board with The KLF and this is an extraordinary book about them by the way. And I guess I got back into this and other KLF songs and albums this week because of the release of this bonkers new book. It’s nice knowing they’re back, doing things. Whatever they are…mad genius-types. Brilliant.
2. Robert Plant, The May Queen
Robert Plant has a new album out soon – always so good, especially the last decade’s work. So this was a nice surprise to just stumble on in the YouTube/Facebook feeds. And it’s as you’d expect from Percy at this time, at this stage. Just a great wee song from what I’m sure will be a terrific album. He’s been a great constant for me across recent years, that incredible show and really a class act in terms of what he’s done post-Zep and how he’s carried himself. So few can escape the trauma of being in one of the world’s greatest bands.
3. Nicole Atkins, Darkness Falls So Quiet
Another new find for me – well, I’ve loved each and every Nicole Atkins album to date; I just didn’t know there was a fairly new one. And shit it’s good – getting a bit of a Dusty in Memphis vibe from this and a return to what made her so spectacular (remember this killer performance?) I’ve liked all the albums but I think this is gonna be the one, the new favourite. She’s a special talent. A brilliant artist.
4. Midnight Oil, Maralinga
The good mood of the week started on Sunday morning. I got up early with Oscar the boy and Bowie the dog and we watched some telly, then had breakfast and then collapsed on the couch for a giant group-hug. We like that sort of thing at our place. And I played Midnight Oil’s 10, 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 album (a favourite) and Oscar just sat chatting with me about all the things in his world while the album played. We listened through to the whole thing – but my favourite song on it always, and some days my favourite song by anyone ever is Maralinga. (I also like the Paul Kelly song Maralinga and it got me interested in the place and the history, the story, the sadness – so much so I’ve read a book about Maralinga, I’ve listened to a podcast, just recently, about it…) But yeah I love Midnight Oil and had to write about that this week too. It was a good start to the week. And this song’s almost always in my head. It’s been ringing like a bell this week.
5. The Peddlers, On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)
It was a clear day on Tuesday, and I could see almost all the way to Otaki as I drove along – listening to the new Spines album. I was off to meet Roy Phillips, he of The Peddlers. He of so many stories. We recorded a podcast and he signed my records and gave me one of his records I didn’t have. And some CDs. And a DVD. I was only there for 90 minutes, and about 70 of those minutes were spent doing the recording. A quick hello and goodbye, and then the drive back to quickly edit and release the podcast a.s.a.f.p. It’s there now for you to hear and there are some cracking-good yarns on it from Roy. Later that same night I went and saw him play – and it was lovely. Good banter, great songs. That warm, rich voice. And a great player. I’ve been listening to Peddlers a lot lately and this song is a forever-favourite. But it’s been the theme song of the week in a way…it’s felt that way. Good vibes.