Back on the Chain Gang

Regina Spektor
The seventh edition of the current season of Later…With Jools Holland is also, surprisingly and disappointingly, its final one. Over forty acts have performed live over the course of this short season. This Tuesday’s show features the usual mix of established and up-and-coming musicians from all over the world

This week’s blast from the past is The Prenders. The one constant member of the group over the years has been the group’s lead singer, rhythm guitarist and songwriter, Chrissie Hynde. She hails from Akron, Ohio, and was a student at Kent State University when the Kent State shootings happened in 1970. She moved to England a few years later and started writing for the NME. The Pretenders formed at the end of the decade and had their first hit with Stop Your Sobbing, an early song by The Kinks. They then had hits with two of their better songs, Kid and Brass in Pocket, the latter also being successful in the USA. In the course of twelve months in the early 80s, the band’s guitarist and bassist both died as a result of overdosing on drugs, although the band continued and had more success during that decade. They haven’t really troubled the singles charts since then, however, although they’ve continued to record and perform in concert. Here’s a live acoustic version of Kid

Kid (Live Acoustic) – The Pretenders

Regina Spektor (pictured) was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1980, but emigrated with her family to New York (via Austria and Italy) in 1989. She continued the classical piano studies that she had begun in Russia and started writing her own songs after she heard singer-songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Ani DiFranco. Following two self-released albums that were originally only available in the States, she achieved some international success with her fourth album, Begin to Hope (2006). Her new album is called Far, an my favourite performance by her is this live version of John Lennon’s Real Love

Real Love (John Lennon cover) – Regina Spektor

No disrespect to Leicester, but I can’t think of any well-known musical acts that hail from the city that I associate more with sport and Walkers crisps. It is the place where Kasabian come from, however, and their music is a blend of indie and electronic rock, even though it doesn’t do anything for me. Here they are singing a song by a band from Coventry that appeared on the first episode of Later all those weeks ago. Their version of Too Much Too Young is not too different to the original, but, in my opinion, it’s far superior to anything they’ve done themselves

Too Much Too Young (Specials cover) – Kasabian

Baaba Maal was born in Senegal in 1953 and would later choose music rather than become a fisherman like his father. He studied music at the university in Dakar and received a scholarship to study in Paris. He combines different musical styles from around the world in his songs and music. Here’s one called African Woman

African Woman – Baaba Maal

The newcomers on this week’s show are a three-piece from London called Golden Silvers who formed two years ago. Their debut album has just been released and it’s called True Romance. I hadn’t heard of them until a few days ago, but I came across some of their songs and played them a few times to see which one I liked the most. Well, after a few listens I must admit that they’re starting to grow on me. Their sound is quite accomplished and they have some nice tunes. The one I like most at the moment is called Please Venus

Please Venus – Golden Silvers

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are a Chicago-based jazz band who are two members shy of a football team. A jazz musician named Phil Cohran has a special relationship to eight of them: he is their father. Later this year, the troupe will provide support for the Hyde park reunion gig of Blur. They’re the kind of group that you could easily see doing the round of the summer festivals where their perfect slot would be just after lunchtime on Sundays with everyone chilling out on the grass listening to them. This one’s called Paradise

Paradise – Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

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3 thoughts on “Back on the Chain Gang

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      I have heard of The Beatles because I was once in Liverpool and many people told me about their music. However, I have to disagree with your comment that “(E)veryone loves the Beatles.” I’m afraid that my boss, Paul, does not love them and, in fact, he does not even like them. I have another friend who does not like Bob Dylan, if you can imagine such a thing.

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      “You say hello, and I say goodbye”

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