Thursday, 26 July 2018

NEW MUSIC PROFILE - PUNK POP ROCK BAND "THE SOAPGIRLS"

The SoapGirls are Camille and Noemie Debray, known as Mille and Mie and are a fun, sexy and quirky Alternative Pop/Rock/Punk duo.  With Mille on bass and Mie on guitar they provide a blistering flashback to the Punk bands of the late 70s and early 80s.


On a journey to find their true musical identity the girls have travelled from their birth nation of France via USA and now based in South Africa, they started out at a very early age street performing.  At 15 years old they released a Pop Dance album called "Xperience" which gave them a few hits on International labels such as UMG Africa.  As The SoapGirls they released their debut abum, "Calls For Rebellion" in 2015.  I had just done a mini review on the girls at the same time.


The album contained "Hater" which reminded me of the old Punk of the early 80s, a little Grunge and Goth Rock combined with the attitude and devil-may-care attitude of girl bands Elastica and Fuzzbox.  The song had a cool Gothic video which got me looking for more on these ladies.  The album also had another favourite of mine, "Bloody" sums the girls up, The Bangles harmonies suddenly cut into a heavy thrash metal vocal!


The girls dress provocatively and sing with attitude, missing from today's "play safe" Pop stars.  Sometimes because of this, they have had some bad times and abuse but are strong, independent women doing what they love and doing it how they want.  With an army of fans called "The SoapSuds" they have just released their second album, "Society's Rejects" with the brilliant "Johnny Rotten" (pure Punk Pop) and nods to Blondie ("Bad Bitch") and The Bangles ("Rather B Dead").






CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW - TRANSVISION VAMP - "VELVETEEN"

THESE ALBUM REVIEWS ARE FAVOURITES FROM MY OWN VAST AND VARIED ECLECTIC COLLECTION! I AM A FAN OF THESE ARTISTS SO MY OPINIONS MAY NOT BE ON A PAR WITH YOUR OWN BUT PLEASE ENJOY AND MAYBE THERE ARE SOME ALBUMS YOU MAY LIKE TO SAMPLE FOR YOURSELF OUT OF CURIOSITY :)

TRANSVISION VAMP


"VELVETEEN"


Transvision Vamp burst onto the scene in 1988 with their debut album, "Pop Art"With the "sexy wild child" Wendy James as the frontwoman and some exhilarating Pop Punk tracks they stormed the charts.  Like I have said numerous times in these blogs the late 80s leading into the 90s was a scarce time for music in my opinion.  The "Vamp" were one of those bands that lifted the mood, like a New Wave/Punk band I loved their music and was very disappointed they split up after their next album.  I remember seeing this band in '89 at Birmingham's NEC and it was a brilliant show.  On top form Wendy, looking fantastic proved she was not to be trifled with as some idiot shouted, "Wendy take your top off!".  I won't say what Wendy said as younger children may read this but let's just say this silly boy won't ever do that again!

This album, the band's second, released in 1989 hot on the heels of their debut was a more "adult" version.  I mean it was a more sophisticated, more polished sound and reached the top spot in the UK chart, beating their debut that peaked at number 4.  Four single were released from this set, the first being the biggest, the big, anthemic beast that is "Baby I Don't Care".  The song reached their highest poisiton of number 3 in the chart while the next three singles also hit top 30.  It was bold, brash, guitar riffs a plenty and Wendy giving her best angry vocal and a massively catchy sing along chorus!
"The Only One" was the second single, reaching number 15 and had elements of Motown and Soul disguised in the throbbing, driving drums and guitars and memorable chorus.  "Landslide Of Love", the next single reached 14 on the chart and was a slower song than the previous two.  Again, the Motown and Soul elements were there but more at the forefront.  A really nice song.  The final single to be plucked from the album was "Born To Be Sold", reaching number 22.  Namechecking various celebrites such as Marilyn Monroe, JFK, John Wayne, Elvis Presley, Johnny Rotten and Madonna it was a minimal musical trakc with some twangy guitars in the style of Country.


"Falling For A Goldmine" is a slow paced soft Blues/Country hybrid with hints of Punk.  Great chilled track.

"Down On You" is pure Punk Rock with Wendy snarling her way through the lyrics with pumping drums and guitars and electronics backing her with gusto.

"Song To The Stars" is just under two minutes long and is a little lullaby-esque track.  Wendy is your storyteller singing softly.  Not your usual "Vamp" style indeed!

"Kiss Their Sons" is a very Heavy Rock/Grunge type track, thudding backing with Wendy growling in a low vocal tone.  Atmospheric electrics, screeching guitars and a mish mash of sounds, reminds me of early Blondie when they did a Punk experimental jam.

"Pay The Ghosts" is Pop Punk at its best, with hints of 80s Rock and 90s Grunge.

"Bad Valentine" has a seductive Wendy vocal, almost Marilyn Monroe like.  It is a minimal Country Blues track, love this track.  

"Velveteen" the epic almost 10 minute ending to the album.  In my opinion their best ever track.  It has everything that Transvision Vamp are about.  The various angry, seductive vocals, the Punk styles, Rock guitar riffs and added to electronic ambuience.  This is the band's "Bohemian Rhapsody".  


CHECK NEW MUSIC EAR FOR MORE COLLECTION FAVOURITES!

Saturday, 21 July 2018

CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW - NIK KERSHAW - "THE RIDDLE"

THESE ALBUM REVIEWS ARE FAVOURITES FROM MY OWN VAST AND VARIED ECLECTIC COLLECTION! I AM A FAN OF THESE ARTISTS SO MY OPINIONS MAY NOT BE ON A PAR WITH YOUR OWN BUT PLEASE ENJOY AND MAYBE THERE ARE SOME ALBUMS YOU MAY LIKE TO SAMPLE FOR YOURSELF OUT OF CURIOSITY :)

NIK KERSHAW


"THE RIDDLE"


Nik Kershaw was years ahead of his time, a brilliant songwriter and had an ability to write stories within his songs with great hooks and memorable melodies and choruses.  His debuit album, "Human Racing" was like nothing I had heard before.  Was it Electropop, Synth Pop or just superb creative music.  Nik among others inspired me to write songs and poems during my teen years.  When I heard the "Human Racing" demos were written, composed and recorded at his home on a Portastudio I soon began writing my own music but not recording until many years later.  I loved that all Nik's music seems to have lots going on in the background that you don't hear on first listen.  They sound simple compositions but everything behind it makes the song that way.  A multi-instrumentalist, producer and engineer he is a very talented man indeed.  So much underrated and lost in all the "pretty boy" artists of the 80s, and in some cases, miles ahead of them in creativity and talent.

This album was Nik's second release and was a much more polished and mature sound.  It reached number 8 on the UK chart.  3 singles were plucked from this set, the first, the title track, reached number 3 in the UK chart.  In a medium paced tune a little like "I Won't Let The Sun Go Down" on me with its Electronica sound and catchy chorus with military style marching band towards the end.  The lyrics caused much puzzlement and had everybody wondering what the "riddle" was, trying desperately to figure it all out to no avail.  Nik let this go on for a while before saying they were just a "guide vocal" and a bit of nonsense, random lyric.  A very memorable song right from the intro.  The second single, "Wide Boy" was more a Pop Rock song with a mix of guitars and synths, very New Wave sounding.  Reaching number 9 it was Nik's 6th successive top 20 single in the UK.  An almost funky track and one of my favourites.  The final single from the album also was the last of his consecutive top 20 hits, "Don Quixote" reached number 10.  Like a Pop/Funk/Disco crossover, the song again had a very catchy chorus and brass-like accompaniment.  This is for me the finest of Nik's albums.


"Know How" is a Synth based track, similar to those on "Human Racing", ik has this ability to sing a slow lyric with a faster backbeat.  Lots of electric sounds on this, very experimental but a great song.

"You Might" is a Pop Rock song, great Rock guitar riffs with a driving beat and synths throughout and of course the obligatory catchy sing along chorus!

"Wild Horses" is a really nice song, slow Synth Pop ballad type.  A beautiful melody and chorus make this a superb song.  Proving that Nik could cut a ballad as well as the catchy Pop he is known for.  

"Easy" sounds a bit like Level 42, which is not unusual as it has the brilliant "slap bass" master Mark King helping out .  A Funk Pop foot tapper and again if you listen to this in headhones, try to pick out all the things going on if you can!

"City Of Angels" is a lovely, atmospheric typical 80s Pop Rock track with great chorus, electronic effects and harmonised vocals.

"Roses" has a backing sound similar to Madness, various vocals, echoed and computerised harmonies, guitars, synths and funky drumbeat.  Kind of sums up the whole album in one track! Love it.

"Save The Whale" is a sombre end to the album.  Really lovely song, with whales "singing" and visions of the deep blue sea.  A great message behind the song and quite hard hitting if you listen to the lyrics.  Simply brilliant song.



CHECK NEW MUSIC EAR FOR MORE COLLECTION FAVOURITES!




Friday, 13 July 2018

CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW - TEXAS - "SOUTHSIDE"

THESE ALBUM REVIEWS ARE FAVOURITES FROM MY OWN VAST AND VARIED ECLECTIC COLLECTION! I AM A FAN OF THESE ARTISTS SO MY OPINIONS MAY NOT BE ON A PAR WITH YOUR OWN BUT PLEASE ENJOY AND MAYBE THERE ARE SOME ALBUMS YOU MAY LIKE TO SAMPLE FOR YOURSELF OUT OF CURIOSITY :)

TEXAS


"SOUTHSIDE"


When I first heard "I Don't Want A Lover" with its thudding marching band beat and Country tinged twang slide guitars with a distinct American Rock vibe I was taken aback.  Thinking this was an experienced band from USA calling themselves Texas.   The voice of Sharleen Spiteri is just pure, soulful and effortless.  She is still one of my favourite vocalists today, a fantastic voice.  Along with their other Scottish counterparts Del Amitri, Hue & Cry, Deacon Blue and The Proclaimers they brought a brand new sound to the late 80s when music was getting very stale indeed.  Although this album didn't lead to mega success until another 8 years later ("White On Blonde") it got them noticed.

This album was the debut from the band and reached a very creditable position of number 3 in the UK chart.  For a debut offering it was a fabulous start.  The lead single, the aforementioned "I Don't Want A Lover" reached top ten peaking at 8.  Texas had arrived.  The second single, "Thrill Has Gone" was supposed to carry on where the debut single left off, but it only reached number 60.  Slightly more Country Rock than "..Lover" and a more minimal backing, a great song but maybe the slower tempo didn't attract listeners to it.  "Everyday Now" was the third single reaching number 44 and remains one of my alltime favourite songs.  Sharleen's vocals get front and central and it is a beautiful lilting Blues/Soul ballad.  An absolute cracker of a song full of emotion.  The final single to be released from this album was "Prayer For You", a chugging guitar driven track, harmonised vocals, positive vibes and an anthemic Acoustic Rock ballad.  Great guitar sounds.  This one only reached 73, I guess Texas were a little too musically talented for some people's tastes in the late 80s!!


"Tell Me Why" would have been a great single.  Similar in vein to "I Don't Want A Lover", same tempo and a range of soft and powerful vocals from Sharleen.  More Pop Rock than the singles and radio friendly.  Still the driving guitars and beat remains.

"Southside" is a lazy, laid back Blues Rock instrumental lasting just less than 2 minutes but its a great interlude.  Would have loved this to be longer, very cool.

"Faith" is another classic piece of guitar driven Pop Rock, with some great guitar work akin to U2 and Simple Minds of the mid 80s. Sharleen once again steals the show.

"Fight The Feeling" has a sound of the early 80s Rock, similar to the likes of Laura Branigan with a little Fleetwood Mac, Berlin and Belinda Carlisle.

"Fool For Love" has the atmospheric Rock sound of U2 but the vocals of Sharleen really life this slow burner into life when she hits that huge chorus.  At almost the 2 minute mark it hits its peak and doesn't stop powering on until the end, fabulous song.

"One Choice" is probably my least favourite, more Electronic sounding than the rest of the album.  Not that this is a bad song, just that the others are top class.  It seems to just carry on the same all the way through with no real "oomph", even some nifty guitar work can't lift it up to new heights.  

"Future Is Promises" is a gorgeous song.  A sweet, soulful ballad with minimal backing and some soft vocals.  really nice end to a great album. 



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NEW MUSIC PROFILE - INDIE ROCK BAND "RADIO DRIVE"

Emerging from the capital of St.Paul in Minnesota, Kevin Gullickson launched a solo career after appearing in various bands and kept one of the names, that of Radio Drive.  He has travelled through Europe to fine tune the music style which is positive, uplifting and motivational.  Rock how it should be.  The band have been described as Pop and Indie, but I'm not sure a label can be put there as there is such a variety in the music.  Everyone can find something different that means something to them.


I have reviewed the band in an earlier article a few years ago and Kevin was very appreciative and humble at the mention.  I recently reviewed the latest fifth Radio Drive album in full, "She Colors My World".  Check out that review on this blog for more info on every track.  My favourite song being "Time To Rise", Electronic Rock including elements of all genres, it is a bit of everything and a superb "live" sound.


I first heard the band on the video "Never" which reminded me a little of Roy Orbison with the brilliant "twang" guitar backing, it had something that made me want to hear more. Five albums have been released as Radio Drive and a compilation entitled "Restored".  Every album has such an eclectic mix that you don't know what is coming next, an experimental adventure with every set.


On "Dream The Impossible" the debut album, there were hints of Crowded House, INXS and Folk Rock.  On "Life Goes On", snippets of Gary Numan, Human League, Merseybeat and Classic Rock.  On third album, "I Can See The World From Here", Psychedelia, Gothic Rock and Alternative Rock.  Album four "This Is Our Time" has elements of Foreigner and Supertramp!  Radio Drive are your "go to" band for pretty much everything! 





Monday, 9 July 2018

THEME ARTICLE - "WHAT HAPPENED TO THE KIDS FROM "FAME"?"

In the 80s there was, in my opinion, a better version of the popular TV show Glee.  The show was called Fame, based on the film of the same name.   It contained drama, some cutting edge storylines for the time and great songs and dance routines.  The show was began in 1982 and ran until 1987 although it's best years were probably the first three, as the original cast members left one after another.  The "kids" were all students at the New York High School of Performing Arts , and although they were the stars, the teachers were also much loved characters.   Similar to Glee you might say, but the one difference was, that the cast also made records and toured.   It also gave TV breaks to Cynthia Gibb and a certain Janet Jackson as well as a cameo appearance from Jimmy Osmond.


I thought it would be nice to have a look and see what the original "kids" and their "touring" dance tutor Lydia have been doing since the show ended...

Deborah Kaye Allen (Lydia Grant - Vocals/Dance Tutor) -

Debbie was in the original 1980 film in the same role and is a very successful choreographer, director, dancer and producer.  She played the tough but fair dance tutor during her time in the series.  She is the younger sister of Phylicia Rashad (Clair Huxtable in The Cosby Show).  She has since won 3 Emmy's for Choreography during Fame and the Motown 25th Anniversary Special.  She has directed TV series such as A Different World and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  Debbie has still time for acting as well as producing Amistad with  Steven Spielberg!  A true all-rounder, she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at The Carnival: Choregorapher's Ball 10th Anniversary Show in 2009.  For her contributions to television she has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.


Leonard Charles Curreri (Bruno Martelli - Vocals/Classical-Pop fusion Pianist) - 

Lee played the shy, laid back Bruno who played synths in his spare time but was battling his classically trained turor Mr Shorofsky contantly.  Lee was an accomplished pianist with various bands before joining the film version and the TV series.  Lee has since kept in the music business producing records for such diverse talenst as Natlaie Cole and Kid Creole and the Coconuts.  He has also produced music scores for various TV commercials for Nike and others and episodes of Chicago Hope among other shows.  He has also released his own album,  the rhythmic-soul project, "Aquabox".


Erica Fawn Gimpel (Coco Hernandez - Vocals/Dancer/Diva) -  

Erica played singer and dancer Coco for 3 seasons of Fame and was the definite diva of the group.  Feisty and always wanting the lead roles and questioning why.  Since Fame she has acted in other films and theatre productions such as States of Shock with John Malkovic.  She is an active member of the world peace organisation SGI-USA and released her first jazz inspired music album in 2010 entitled "Spread Your Wings and Fly".


Anthony Richard Imperato (Danny Amatullo - Vocals/Actor/Comedian) -

Anthony changed his name to Carlo when he pursued his acting career and is also his godfather's name.  Carlo played Danny, the acting student and wise cracking comedian who always looked on the bright side of life with humour and to cover up personal anguish.   Carlo has appeared in a few low profile films and made a few TV appearances which included an episode of Friends.


Valerie Landsburg (Doris Schwartz - Vocals/Comedienne)

Valerie played the lovable and cute Doris, who was always the comforting support and with Danny, the comedic element in the show.  Valerie is an accomplished director, screen writer and singer-songwriter.  Her father is renowned music producer Alan Landsburg.  Since Fane Valerie appeared in a couple of sitcoms, and later appeared in episodes of Murder, She Wrote, Empty Nest, Nip/Tuck amongst other shows.  In 2001 she released an album of her own compositions which included a re-recording of "Hi-Fidelity", the big hit from Fame that she sang lead vocals on


Lori Singer (Julie Miller - Vocals/Cellist)

Lori is a brilliant cellist as well as prolific actress.  She is also probably best known as Ariel in the 1984 film Footloose.  Coming from a Jewish family, her father is famous conductor, Jacques Singer and her brother is actor Marc.  Lori played Julie in Fame, a quiet, introspective girl who always seems to feel like an outsider even surrounded by friends she makes.  Since Fame she has continued to play cello music and appeared in numerous film roles such as The Falcon and the Snowman, Warlock and Short Cuts.  Lori also played at Carnegie Hall in 2008 as soloist in a memorial for Martin Luther King.


Gene Anthony Ray (Leroy Johnson - Vocals/Dancer/Street kid Diva) -

Perhaps the saddest story of this look back on the Kids From Fame is left to the last.  Gene was a professional dancer and choreographer and played the role of Leroy in the film version of Fame too.  Leroy was a troubled street kid who despite thinking of himself a tough guy he just wanted to dance.  Gene died in 2003 after complications arose from a stroke.  His career nosedived after problems with partying, drugs and drink.  He was fired from the show as a lead character due to these problems, although appearing sporadically in later episodes.  He appeared in only a few roles, mainly as a dancer, notably Austin Powers: Goldmember and Out of Sync in 1995 directed by Fame co-star Debbie Allen.  In 1996 he was diagnosed as being HIV positive although he denied any references to his sexuality, once lived with a porn star and never married.


So there you have it, some of the Kids have fared better than others, some have had varying success while others did not and one had a very sad ending.  I personally loved this show as an Eighties' teen and bought the albums to accompany it.  The songs were sad, bright, funny and the cast very talented.

I leave you with a couple of video clips.

 

 






Saturday, 7 July 2018

CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW - ZZ TOP - "ELIMINATOR"

THESE ALBUM REVIEWS ARE FAVOURITES FROM MY OWN VAST AND VARIED ECLECTIC COLLECTION! I AM A FAN OF THESE ARTISTS SO MY OPINIONS MAY NOT BE ON A PAR WITH YOUR OWN BUT PLEASE ENJOY AND MAYBE THERE ARE SOME ALBUMS YOU MAY LIKE TO SAMPLE FOR YOURSELF OUT OF CURIOSITY :)

ZZ TOP


"ELIMINATOR"


I didn't know much about Blues music apart from seeing "The Blues Brothers" film and seeing various artists playing this genre, including one of my idols Prince.  So when I got into the music of ZZ Top, having in their ranks one of the finest Blues guitarist's in Billy Gibbons I heard a lot more.  Their music is a kind of Blues Rock N' Roll mixed with Classic Rock elements.  It still tickles me today that they have a drummer called Frank Beard who actually doesn't have a beard! He and bass player Dusty Hill provide the fabulous rhythm section backing Billy's unique slant on the Blues and his music arrangement.  I love this band, they seem so down to earth and haven't forgotten their roots in Texas.  They are like Rock N' Roll cowboys on a mission to spread the Blues into all genres.  "Eliminator" made me buy every ZZ Top cd in their catalogue, it is real feel good music!

The UK didn't really know what to make of this trio, two men with long beards and one with a moustache.  The five singles released from this 1983 album  were received all very differently.  The first single remains their biggest hit, reaching number 10 (matched only by their Elvis inspired "Viva Las Vegas" in later years.  "Gimme All Your Lovin'" was superb, something like I had never heard before.  That pumping drumbeat and twangy Country guitar solos with a sound that seemed like there were definitely more than two guitarists on the record, it was so big and loud.  Add the catchy chorus and it was an immense introduction to ZZ Top.  The video was the first in the classic "keyring and car" videos.  The second single "Got Me Under Pressure" failed to chart here.  It was a classic fast Blues guitar driven track, searing guitar solosand the same pumping drumbeat that appeared on the first single.  Not sure why this wasn't accepted by the Brits, maybe the chorus wasn't as catchy or as frequent.  "Sharp Dressed Man" was the third single and got the Z's back in the chart peaking at number 22.  The cool video also probably helped it to chart, similar in vein to "Gimme All Your Lovin'", al the elements were re-invented for this track and again a superb catchy chorus.  "TV Dinners" had a really weird, scary video and this 4th single also failed to chart here.  It is a much slower track, with a lot more Blues elements, the slow drawl of the guitars and laid back drumbeat, not one of my alltime favourites but its a very quirky, eerie song!  The last track to be released as a single, "Legs" is definitely my favourite ZZ Top song, if not only for the video! Check it out, you will see why it is called "Legs"!  It reached number 16 in the UK chart and was another "keyring and car" video.  An ideal "driving" song, chug-a-chug drums and guitars, with a great Texas vibe, Blues and Country twang, memorable chorus, it is just a great song!


"I Need You Tonight" is Classic Rock mixed with 80s Rock, at just over 6 minutes it is a guitarist's dream, lots of solos and change in styles throughout.  A classic "air guitar" track.

"I Got The Six" is a real Heavy Rock track, almost like Motorhead, a real angry, pulsating drum and guitar extravaganza.  Top track!

"Thug" is a real experimental track, mixing a few styles together, moments of some great funky "slap bass" in here.  Mostly instrumental but creative musicianship at its best.

"Dirty Dog" is back to the popular ZZ Top riffs, with a little Thin Lizzy hidden in there at times.  Similar to the "Gimme/Sharp/Legs" trilogy but adding some Classic Rock of the 70s and 80s.

"If Only I Could Flag Her Down" reminds me of Status Quo a little, almost 12 bar blues.  A catchy chorus and great Blues solos and slide guitars.

 "Bad Girl" is classic 80s Rock, early ACDC, Def Leppard etc.  Another throbbing rhythm and more typical Rock gruff scream vocals.  Foot stomper for the rockers!





NEW MUSIC PROFILE - POP SOUL ARTIST "PHIL MIDDLETON"

Phil Middleton got his first guitar at 11 and has toured the UK and Europe for many years.  He has fronted bands, played in bands and also as a solo artist. He plays a number of original songs interspersed with some great covers of various genres.  A man for all seasons you might say!


Phil is an accomplished singer/songwriter and guitarist and plays a unique brand of Soul/R n' B/Pop. With over 40 years experience playing solo and working with other artists he has enjoyed success and has jokingly said he might have actually got the hang of it now!


Phil has already released his first solo album, entitled "SoFa So Good" and hopes to release another in the near future.  He plays electric guitar and bass as well as being a vocalist.  He comes from Manchester and has played with many different artists including 70s band Sad CafĂ© and punk poet John Cooper Clarke!


Already this year he has played a number of intimate gigs spreading the words of his motto, "Effort = Reward".  A great sentiment to everyone who expects everything to be handed to them without working hard for it.  Phil works hard and he is reaping rewards.  Music is in his soul.



Friday, 6 July 2018

NEW MUSIC PROFILE - R N' B ARTIST "PHE PHE"

Pheleba Akima Johnson aka Phe Phe is an accomplished dancer and singer/songwriter from Birmingham, England.  Sister of Kezia Soul , talent definitely runs in the family! Not only is Phe Phe a great singer, she competed and won gold at British Championship level in Rhythmic Gymnastics! 


She has already collaborated with several producers, DJ's and Hip Hop/Dubstep artists and has a great career ahead.  After her debut E.P. "LIMA (Lost In My Aura)" was released on iTunes was received very favourably among fans and industry professionals her light was sure to shine even more sooner than later.


The atmospheric Club style music backdrop colliding with Phe Phe's sweet vocals makes an interesting blend.  To me it's a Kelli Ali (Sneaker Pimps) sound but with a deeper mystery.  Such as her prominence on the album "Daydreaming" with French Dubstep producer Von D she has gone from strength to strength.  She recently featured as one to watch in 2015 on Sian Anderson's show on 1Xtra.


Following on from her "Lost In My Aura" E.P. released in 2014, she has just released "Lost In My Aura II" which contains "Soul", a very Destuny's Child/Beyonce type song.  This is the first project since the birth of her first child.  The set showcases Phe Phe's personal growth and empowerment.  She wanted to show others she can still pursue a music career and be a "good mother".  No stopping the Johnson girls as her and sister Kezia are lighting up Birmingham and beyond!



CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW - DEACON BLUE - "WHEN THE WORLD KNOWS YOUR NAME"

THESE ALBUM REVIEWS ARE FAVOURITES FROM MY OWN VAST AND VARIED ECLECTIC COLLECTION! I AM A FAN OF THESE ARTISTS SO MY OPINIONS MAY NOT BE ON A PAR WITH YOUR OWN BUT PLEASE ENJOY AND MAYBE THERE ARE SOME ALBUMS YOU MAY LIKE TO SAMPLE FOR YOURSELF OUT OF CURIOSITY :)

DEACON BLUE 


"WHEN THE WORLD KNOWS YOUR NAME"


Deacon Blue, along with fellow Scottish bands Texas, Del Amitri and The Proclaimers gave me hope for a better future in music after the dismal end of the 80s with Acid House, Stock Aitken & Waterman, boy bands and dreadful rappers.  They had a refreshingly soulful Blues/ Folk/Pop vibe and the band were awesome live.  Energetic performances on stage with the the lovely Lorraine McIntosh harmonising brilliantly with Ricky Ross with his gruff Rock/Soul voice.  I was introduced to the band by a friend of mine Stuart, after I introduced him to Prince, it was a fruitful friendship.  We saw the band a few times at Royal Court in Liverpool and the closeness to the stage and pure sound coming from the musicians was fantastic.  After the debut album, "Raintown" pricked up people's ears containing the superb single "Dignity" the band entered the chart elite during the 90s.

This album was released in 1989 and reached number 1 in the UK chart, it contained 5 singles, although by the time the latter two were released everybody had the album! It went double platinum and the more accomplished production and "live" sound encapsulates the band's gigs.  The first single, "Real Gone Kid" gave the band their first top 10 single peaking at 8.  The song has a real Soul feel, which dives into a pulsating chorus and hit the senses as something memorable.  In similar vein to the first single, "Wages Day" was released and reached number 18 and even reached number 12 on the New Zealand chart! This song had a more uptempo beat all the way through the song and and would get your foot tapping and head bobbing!  The third single was "Fergus Sings The Blues", as with the previous releases, ironically the title suggest Blues, but this a brilliant Motown Soul record mixed with some great Rock riffs, as with all Deacon Blue singles the melodies, the hooks are all here. The track was anaother top 20 hit reaching 18.  "Love And Regret", the next release was a much slower track than the previous three singles, the music reminding me a little of Heart, it is essentially a Rock ballad, soft vocals from Ricky and soft harmonies from Lorraine make this a really lovely song.  As aforementioned, by this time most people had the album so this only reached number 28.  The last single to be plucked from the album reached 21 on the chart, the fast tempo Celtic Folk sound, starting with the drums in marching band mode and just building and building to this massive crescendo of a chorus.  A real foot stomper!


"Circus Lights" has a great Rock twang and the chug-a-chug guitars are reminiscent of U2 and fellow Scottish rockers Simple Minds.  Great track.

"This Changing Light" is another change in style, reminds me a little of The Jam and is a real Pop Rock track.  Proving that the band were no one trick ponies.  

"Sad Loved Girl" is a short but beautiful piano led ballad with Ricky almost crooning his way through the track, really nice.

"The World Is Lit By Lightning" always reminds me of INXS "Need You Tonight" in style.  The Pop/Funk/Rock mix suits Ricky's voice perfectly.  Love this track.

"Silhouette" is a kind of mishmash of Country, Folk and Pop. Great little song that has a quirky, delightful feel with some "woo hoo" shouts in for good measure.  Mid tempo track but a feel good song.

"One Hundred Things" is a more experimental track with echoed and electronig counding effects.  Almost Synth Pop of the early 80s, something like Nik Kershaw would release  This is no bad thing as I am a big fan of Nik, that crossover of Electronica and Pop is brilliant.#

"Your Constant Heart" is another track similar in vein to U2 and Simple Minds.  A soft Pop Rock track that runs along nicely but still has a powerful feel.

"Orphans" is an eerie end to such a positive and powerful album, an almost mythical and medieval type song, minimal backing and echo effects like it was sung in a hollow cave or cathedral.  


CHECK NEW MUSIC EAR FOR MORE COLLECTION FAVOURITES!