Categories
12" 1960s 33 rpm LP Pop

The Fifth Beatle

If, like me, you grew up listening to the Beatles you may have wondered about the strange-sounding “piano-or-is-it-a-harpsichord” solo on the song “In My Life,” on the Rubber Soul album. It goes like this: This was the work of the “Fifth Beatle,” George Martin, so called because of his work playing, producing and arranging many […]

Categories
1960s 45 rpm 7" Comedy Pop

Karen Cooper Fairgate MacKenzie

I am not a TV soap kinda guy. Nothing against the soapies – they give work to lots of actors and entertainment to millions of people, and are mostly harmless. Give me Neighbours over the latest vile reality-TV blood sport any day. Anyway, not being a watcher of soaps, I had not heard of Michele […]

Categories
1920s 78 rpm 8" Nineteenth Century Pop

There are even apples

Do you know the song, “Danny Boy”? ‘Course you do. The pipes, the pipes are calling. Do you know who wrote the words? Almost certainly not. Frederic Edward Weatherly was born in England in 1848. He was a successful barrister – the photograph shows him in 1895, in his legal robes – but he was […]

Categories
10" 1950s 78 rpm Pop

As cowboy as an Arancini ball

I had always thought of Frankie Laine as a country singer. This was partly because the song of his which I knew best was “High Noon,” the theme song from the film of the same name. If you have not seen High Noon, I seriously recommend it: a cinema masterpiece, moody, tense and strange. Unlike […]

Categories
12" 1980s 33 rpm Folk LP World music

Solitary bird in flight

There are times, here on Planet Vinyl, when inclusiveness is a challenge. Manuel’s syrupy strings. The testosterone-soaked roar of heavy metal. Not my thing, really – but all music is good music if it brings people joy, whether to millions of people or even only to the musician creating it. But yes, it is nice […]

Categories
12" 1990s 33 rpm Heavy metal LP Rock

Bong-smoking skeleton rides motorbike

The magic and mystery of heavy metal is somewhat of a closed book to me. That the musicians are skilled is not in question, and their fans are models of admirable loyalty. But the merch? Not for me, that whole “black tee-shirt with a picture of a bong-smoking skeleton riding a motorbike across a desert […]

Categories
1970s 45 rpm Country

When only bluegrass banjo will do

There are times when the news, both at home and abroad, is so bleak, stupid and depressing that you need an escape. At such times, in my personal opinion, only hot-fingered bluegrass banjo will do. Hit it! Whoops, wrong speed. (Notice how it sounds strangely like traditional Chinese music?) Arthur Smith, who we are about […]

Categories
12" 1940s Country LP

Up-tempo Dutch cowboy swing

Here on Plant Vinyl, we love weird. The strange and the unexpected, the bizarre find at the bottom of the crate of LPs. And De Chico’s – a Dutch trio formed in 1947 – well, they raise weird to new heights. The Dutch-language Wikipedia page describes De Chico’s “een hillbilly-trio uit Amsterdam”. Which sounds dreadful. […]

Categories
12" 33 rpm Choral Singing Folk LP World music

Something wonderful grew

Joseph Shabalala had a dream. He was to create a male voice choir which would sing with heavenly harmony and bring change to his land and to the world. All of which, for a black man in Apartheid South Africa in 1964, was preposterous. But Shabalala did form his choir, and though it took a […]

Categories
12" 1970s 33 rpm Exotica LP

A hint of Latin Lover

To most of the Anglophone world, the name Manuel evokes the harried Spanish waiter who had the misfortune to work at Fawlty Towers. But before John Cleese created Basil Fawlty, Manuel must have been a bit exotic, a name with a hint of the Latin Lover about it. How else to explain an act called […]