Monday, 30 April 2012


I've been listening to lots of voices this week. Here are some links and what-not.

One of my favourite musical duos guested on one of my favourite radio shows yesterday. Hear O'Hooley & Tidow on the Cerys Matthews show here. One of the songs they did live was this one ("Calling Me"):

Another show I've been enjoying on BBC 6 Music of late is the short series presented by Underworld's Karl Hyde. He has played a lovely mix of music and sounds like a genuinely nice guy too. The last show was yesterday but you can catch it for a week or so (here).

Also we have been watching the newish BBC show "The Voice". We don't watch a lot of these competition shows but for various reasons we have ended up watching this one (no Cowell for a start - can't bear him - plus no ads). It is certainly not all good (last week's "battle rounds" were especially awful) but my goodness it was almost worth it all to hear this girl at the mike on Saturday. She is Ruth Brown and she is all of 20 years old. The song was written by Brenda Russell.

I also finished reading Gil Scott Heron's "The Last Holiday" recently (now there was a voice - one of the best - book's cover image at the top of this post). I've written about GSH a lot here and there and posted plenty of his songs too. This book is a real treat for fans as, for me at least, there was a lot about his early life and experiences that I didn't know much about already. Plus it is a memoir (if an slightly patched-together one) so you do hear his voice loud and clear, through the pages. And what a voice it was... here is a little dash of it (from his last album "I'm new here"):

I guess you might call that 'spoken word' (though that's not a phrase I use much). In chapter 19 he talks about how this part of his style developed (and particularly in relation to the Last Poets - themselves often quoted as early influences on hip hop):

I managed at least one trip per month to New York City... I got to know the The Last Poets, too, because Abiodun Oyewole's cousin went to Lincoln with me. I thought that they were bringing a new sound to poetry and to the community, and I enjoyed it. I was a piano player and played with different groups still, and the songs and poems that I had written had a musical tilt to them because they were compositions as opposed to just poems over rhythms. Their things were a cappella without music. I always had a band, so it was a different sort of thing. But we were trying to go in the same direction.

Whatever GSH did with that voice it sounded pretty good... though one thing that was interesting in the book was to learn how much he started off really wanting to be a writer, first and foremost. He was that too of course.


Titus said...

Good grief yes re Ruth Brown.

Need a brain to think about the rest, and sadly it's a little absent at the moment, so I shall return!

Rachel Fox said...

She was amazing - did you watch it on TV? Others were good too (Tyler, Jaz, Joelle...) but she was kind of out of this world. Shame the coach number was so awful though... made them all look a bit pants (and I don't think they are, on the whole). We'd never heard of the Script guy... not even the band name... and he is kind of getting on my nerves now and again.

Edinburgh Flats said...
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The Bug said...

Oh wow I LOVE O'Hooley & Tidow – I need to see how I can find more of their music.
And wow to Ruth Brown too - hope we get to hear more from her. I don’t watch TV (well, except for baseball & Mike’s history stuff), so you’ll have to keep me posted on her.
The GSH was really powerful. I like how he makes you think about what IS a broken home, really.
Here you are making me think (& potentially spend money) on a Saturday morning. Thanks!

Rachel Fox said...

I have both O'H & T albums, Bug. Both very good, lots of different styles of music on each one.

GSH is one of my all time favourites. The voice, the lyrics... there's quite a lot of history (20th C US) in the book too.