Introducing ‘Leaps n Bands’ – a new Jemtunes series for 2020

Starting this month, a new Jemtunes series gets underway – “Leaps n Bands” – a play on the phrase ‘leaps and bounds’. ‘Leaps’ because 2020 is a leap year; ‘bands’ because that’s what Jemtunes is about – the music.

Bit of a departure from previous years though – as I’ll only be posting every other day. But during the 15 or so posts you’ll get each month, I’ll be dipping into the bands and albums that have left their mark on me over the past six decades or so. Music that has been influential; music that has spoken loud or meaningfully or simply said something to me at different times.

Sometimes I’ll be dipping into whole albums – track by track. Other times I’ll be revisiting gigs I’ve been to or songs I’ve heard. Something of a mix and match – but always about the music.

Kickstarting the year, ‘Leaps n Bands’ #2-9 (3rd to 17th January) sees a track by track expose on Led Zeppelin IV – the first album I ever bought.

Leaping Ahead

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JemTunes has posted several mini-series’ over the last couple of years featuring different songs for a number of days on a theme – ‘A song a day challenge‘, ‘A song for every year‘, ‘25 songs, 25 days‘ and ‘7 songs in 7 days‘ to name but four.  This gave me an idea for 2016!

Rather ambitiously then and starting on 1st January, JemTunes will be posting a different song every day  in the 2016 leap year, hence the theme “Leaping Ahead”. 366 different themes; 366 different songs. I’ve already mapped out the themes – one for every day of next year – and have made a good start on the song selection. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find a clip for each to share these with you.

Free (A-Z #44)

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Although All Right Now is undoubtably the starting point into the Free story for those still discovering them some 44 years after their main split early in 1971, it was in fact the last track they recorded for the album it would eventually close – the ground-breaking ‘Fire and Water. The album itself was released in June 1970, just as the single was being kept from the Number 1 spot by Mungo Jerry’s ‘In the summertime’

Fire and Water was actually the band’s third album but they’d been together for just 18 months when they recorded it over two separate sessions at the beginning of 1970. However, it also marked the beginning of their demise thanks, in no small part, to the brilliance of ‘All Right Now’.

This was quite possibly the first truly post-modern song in rock, its memorable song-along lyrics and the stuff of myriad post-millenium karaoke sessions an admission of pragmatism to the ‘love is freedom’ mantra of the late 60s coupled with one of the greatest rock guitar riffs of all time. ‘All Right Now’ reached Number 1 in over 20 countries world-wide after which it would go on to receive upwards of three and a half million airplays over the succeeding forty-four years.

So it’s sadly ironic that the success of ‘All Right Now’ robbed Free of the musical freedom they had built up in the 18 months leading up to the release of ‘Fire and Water’. All Right Now became bigger than all of them; they couldn’t follow it with anything that came close and, despite a number of post-album landmark gigs in several countries, Free split early in 1971. There was a brief reformation a year later and two more albums – but the spark had gone and, as the glitter years took hold, Free disbanded for good.

Fire and Water lives on though. It’s a timeless classic and is as much about now (2015) as it was about then (1970). It’s got that timeless something that grabs you by the unmentionables and shouts into your soul. Just seven tracks from the opening magic of the title track through to the closing thunder of ‘All Right Now’, but seven tracks of heaven that assure Free of Classic Rock band status and the album as one of the best of our times.

to make way for the massive success

En Vogue #37

The opening line for En Vogue’s massive 1992 hit ‘Free your mind’ – ‘…Prejudice. Wrote a song about it. Like to hear it?’ was adapted from a line originally used by David Alan Grier’s character ‘Calhoun Tubbs’ from Fox’s “In Living Colour”.

En Vogue are currently being sued for $310 million by Rufftown Entertainment for a breach of contract in 2010.

A song for every year #5

Working on a challenge posed by a good friend to name a favourite song for every full year of my life to date, I’ve done just that over the last four instalments of this mini-series. Part 1 gave you 2014 back to 2005, Part 2 – 2004 back to 1995, Part 3 – 1994 back to 1985 and Part 4 (yesterday), 1984 back to 1975. So, to round things off, here’s the final 16 – 1974 back to the year it all started for me, 1959.

  1. 1974: Mountain – Last of the sunshine days (from Avalange)
  2. 1973: T-Rex – Born to Boogie (from Tanx)
  3. 1972: Stevie Wonder – Superstition (from Talking Book)
  4. 1971: David Bowie – Oh you pretty thing (from Hunky Dory)
  5. 1970: Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (from Black Sabbath)
  6. 1969: Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter (from Let it Bleed)
  7. 1968: Ten Years After – Woodchopper’s Ball (from Undead)
  8. 1967: Cream – Sunshine of your love (from Disraeli Gears)
  9. 1966: The Beatles – Taxman (from Revolver)
  10. 1965: The Who – My Generation (from My Generation)
  11. 1964: The Animals – the house of the rising sun
  12. 1963: Freddie & the Dreamers – You were made for me
  13. 1962: The Tornados – Telstar
  14. 1961: Dave Brubeck – Take Five
  15. 1960: Sam Cooke – Chain Gang, and
  16. 1959: Eddie Cochran – C’mon Everybody

And the vid – no brainer – from the year it all began – 1959…

A song for every year #4

A few days ago a good friend of mine set me a challenge. Could I name a favourite song for every full year of my life so far? That’s 55 for me. Tough but doable. So far you’ve had 2005 to 2014, 1995 to 2004 and 1985 to 1994. And today, for the penultimate part, here’s 1974 to 1984…

  1. 1975: Boston – More than a feeling (from Boston)
  2. 1976: Blue Oyster Cult – (Don’t fear) the Reaper (from Agents of Fortune)
  3. 1977: Electric Light Orchestra – Mr Blue Sky (from Out of the blue)
  4. 1978: The Patti Smith Group – Because the Night (from Easter)
  5. 1979: Bad Company – She brings me love (from Desolation Angels)
  6. 1980: Mahogany Rush – Mona (from What’s Next)
  7. 1981: Tom Browne – Fungi Mama (from Yours Truly)
  8. 1982: Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (from Thriller)
  9. 1983: David Bowie – China Girl (from Let’s Dance), and
  10. 1984: Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69 (from Reckless)

And the vid – this from 1977 as it was a song played to death (yet still loved) in my first year of Art College…

A song for every year #3

Jemtunes is currently taking a break from its 2015 A-Z of music with a mini-series which came about from a challenge posed by a good friend – can you name a song for every full year of your life to date? For me that means 55 tunes and as I like a challenge, Part #1 gave you 2005 to 2014, Part #2, 1995 to 2004 and Part #3 (today) 1985 to 1994.

  1. 1985: Yello – Oh Yeah (from Stella)
  2. 1986: Rolling Stones – Harlem Shuffle (from Dirty Work)
  3. 1987: ABC – When Smokey Sings (from Absolutely ABC)
  4. 1988: INXS – Devil Inside (from Kick)
  5. 1989: Tears for Fears – Woman in chains (from Tears roll down)
  6. 1990: Zucchero – Il Mare (from Zucchero)
  7. 1991: Seal – Killer (from Seal)
  8. 1992: Rage against the machine – A bullet in the head (from Rage against the machine)
  9. 1993: Paul Rodgers – Muddy Water Blues (from Muddy Water Blues) and
  10. 1994: ZZ Top – Fuzzbox Voodoo (from Antenna)

And for the Vid? The record that sold INXS to the world and gave them their best-selling tune of all. Still gives me a kick 27 years on…

A song for every year #2

Yesterday I started a new mini-series (in between the mammoth Jemtunes 2015 A-Z of music). This came about via a challenge from a good friend to name a favourite song from every full year of my life to date. For me that means 55 songs. Yesterday you got 2005 to 2014; today you have 1995 to 2004.

  1. 1995 – Simply Red: Fairground (from Life)
  2. 1996 – Underworld: Pearl’s Girl (from Second Toughest in the Infants)
  3. 1997 – Reef: Place your hands (from Glow)
  4. 1998 – ZZ Top: She’s just killing me (from Rhythmeen)
  5. 1999 – Muse: Sunburn (from Showbiz)
  6. 2000 – Nickelback: How you remind me (from Silver side up)
  7. 2001 – Eric Sardinas: Texola (from Devil’s Train)
  8. 2002 – Audioslave:  Gasoline (from Cochise)
  9. 2003 – Quantic Soul Orchestra: Hold it down (from Stampede), and
  10. 2004 – HIM – Buried alive by love (from And love said no)

And for the vid? No brainer really – particularly as I’m seeing them this weekend as a part of the 2015 leg of the Dubnobasswithmyheadman tour…

A song for every year #1

A good friend of mine has recently set me a challenge – name your favourite song for every full year of your life to date. Tricky! For me that means 55 songs but, as I like a challenge, I’ve risen to it. Here’s my starter for ten covering the years 2005 to 2014.

  1. 2005: Alabama 3 – Hello I’m Johnny Cash (from Outlaw)
  2. 2006: Arctic Monkeys – I bet you look good on the dance floor (from Whatever people say I am that’s what I’m not)
  3. 2007: Dizzy Rascal – Pussyole (from Scallywag)
  4. 2008: Camille – Money Note (from Music Hole)
  5. 2009: Dogbreath – Fit in (from Pale Face Baby)
  6. 2010: Cherry Ghost – We sleep on stones (from Beneath this Burning Shoreline)
  7. 2011: Laura Marling – Sophia (from A creature I don’t know)
  8. 2012: Band of Skulls – Lay my Head Down (from Sweet Sour)
  9. 2013: Stereophnics – Grafitti on the train (from Graffiti on the train), and
  10. 2014: Royal Blood – Figure it Out (from Royal Blood)

As far as the vid is concerned, well I’ve ummed and aaahed about this for quite a while, but will have to go for this one…

Arc Iris – Brighton – 16.11.14

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I am amongst the very privileged few to have been party last night to by far the most intimate and smallest gig (both in venue and audience size) I have ever been to; Arc Iris at Bom Banes in Brighton.

Bom Banes is a cafe-restaurant owned by musician proprietor Jane Bon-Bane. During the day and evening it serves a variety of Belgian and other European fayre, but is unique amongst its peers in that it also hosts live music in its intimate basement environs.

Twenty-five of us crammed ourselves in for a truly memorable acoustic set from Jocie Adams and the band (aka Arc Iris). Hailing from Providence, Rhode Island, the band is Jocie’s solo project having previously fronted for The Low Anthem. Joined by Zach Miller on keys, Ray Belli on percussion, Robin Ryczek on cello and Max Johnson on bass, Arc Iris’ genre is hard to define. So I won’t even try.

Suffice to say that the evening’s performance provided us with a wonderful mix of delicate folk, strident jazz and haunting melody selected both from their debut self-titled album released earlier this year and new material performed live for the first time tonight.

Being up close and personal to the band is one thing; this took that to a whole different level. At one point Jocie stood on a bench by my knee as the acoustics closer to the ceiling gave her voice more depth for certain songs. Beer breaks a plenty, the band chatted amiably between songs, bringing all of us easily in to their conversation. The warmth exuded in more ways than one giving rise to perhaps one of the most memorable gigs I have been in to quite a while.

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Find out more about Arc Iris.