Once again, the adage about something being on your doorstep, that you don’t even know about.
Had a walk on the weekend around the West End of Glasgow, and after hearing some music coming from the park, had another walk on the Sunday, and came across the above concert series; and they even had a drinks van from West Brewery in Glasgow!
Once again, or at least for the first time since 2019, the Mela was on, that celebrates south Asian culture here in Scotland, and it was packed!
Fabric / Clothes shops at the Mela
We were only there for about 90 minutes, but as usual, there was a good vibe and multiple music tents – I believe there was even a ceilidh going on, as well as live music. I happened to see an experimental jazz, Asian fusion brigade. The leader, even said hello to his Ma and Da there!
There were even charities and self-help groups, complete in their stalls, handing out information and soliciting donations. One, the Vision Again Foundation, looked at the vital need for eye operations in the 3rd World, that can be done for as little as £20 in order to restore sight; I’ve already donated.
More shots of the Mela
Well worth a visit again, in the oncoming year.
As I left, there were more stalls, and even a “wall”, where one could write opinions on a variety of current affairs.
This seems to me, to be one of the go to albums, though will have to listen to again as it was with Spotify, and was a combination of several of FS’s CDs.
Some were from the 50s / 60s (he did make an album with Bing Crosby in 1963 with a Christmas theme), which is in my opinion when he did his best stuff ever; swing, collaborations with Nelson Riddle and Quincy Jones, but others seemed to me, to be from his early period, where the arrangements were a wee bit schlocky and had a post-war naivete to them. I believe it is his Christmas Album, from 1948, “Christmas Songs by Sinatra”.
Though it must be said, that something as good as his interpretation of Mel Torme’s, The Christmas Song, is irresistible.
Why not do this, listen to a different Christmas album each day of this Yuletide season?
And why not start with some of the more obscure ones, as the above certainly is. In addition, it is actually the last album (to date?) from the boys from Champagne, Illinois.
The album, including bonus tracks, has 18 tracks on it, and should really be listened to, to be believed! At times, I literally didn’t know that Kevin Cronin was still in the band and singing; his once bright voice is simply gone, but then again, they all must be pushing 180 years of age, so give then an A+ for effort.
The problem, and hopefully will not rear its ugly head in the coming weeks, is that there is nothing really “REO” about the album, and is distinctly regular at times. Though an original, the downbeat, adult contemporary, “I Believe in Santa Claus”, by Cronin and Hall, is a very passable new song.
C’mon lads, you are a very talented group of musicians, and some of the arrangements should have been more diverse and unique. Though at the end, God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen and Blue Christmas make the album very enjoyable at times.
Interesting, I literally didn’t know that REM were still having chart records, well into the 21st century (having given up on them mainly after the New Adventures in Hi-Fi album, though I still knew that they were going strong’ish).
Though they may have been bought primarily by their fanbase, a top 40 record (particularly back then), was STILL a hit record. I do remember them occasionally playing this on the radio, but almost as an afterthought, as in “Yes, we know you have fans and your big, but. . . “
Their first was back in 1987, with the seminal The One I Love, a #16 in 1987:
Whilst there last, number 32 in total!, was Wanderlust, which hit #27 in 2005.
Still remember these lads from Manchester at Reading Festival all those years ago, complete with a marching band (majorette led!), during their finale with Biggest Mountain, a delightful slow number, ending in a sweet rift to finish. Where initially I wasn’t sure if their sound was big enough – it was! They completely filled the farm with a huge, organ led blast.
They to me, combined the early rave / Madchester sound, with an early Britpop feel, largely due their Farfisa organ sound, played by the man, himself – Clint Boon. What a sound!
They always had both a hip, poppy beat, at the same time as having a downbeat or cynicism with the lyrics, though I still have no idea who wrote them, perhaps their always so serious / miserable lead singer, Tom Hingley.
I always felt that it was these two’s band, as in reality, they were much older (I thought) than the others, with them being in their 30s, when they suddenly packed it in – after something like 15 Top 50s in four or five years, with 4 albums being in the Top 20 (2 in the Top 5).
But for the few years, they were not ever out of the charts, and also ALWAYS had their very own keyboard / organ sound, and fashion sense; with them selling trillions of white, long sleeve t-shirts, with the “Cool as F*ck” logos.
Whilst annoyed they quit so soon, it’s my one hope that other bands would do this, as let’s be honest, who really gives a shit about a band after their first several albums.
Equally, they gave me one of my lasting “gig” memories, when after some drunk pelted Boon’s organs with a pint (at a university in Glasgow), Hingley stated; Who threw that? Who FOOKING threw that!, and with the help of their drummer (I believe) both went after the dick / culprit on the dance floor, to give him a doing. Classic!