This is the last Tuesday Tunes post for a few weeks – the series will return on 28 December after I’ve had a bit of fun with my Advent Calendar, which begins tomorrow. I wanted to choose an appropriate theme for this one, and thought of ‘au revoir,’ but that would have been an almost impossible prompt for song titles, so I chickened out and went for the much easier goodbye instead. Artistic licence or cowardice? The decision is yours! But it’s a pretty good selection, even if I do say so myself!
A couple of these have been included in this series before, but they are so good that I just had to play them for you again. This is one of them:
That one was first played in Tuesday Tunes 2 – a lot of songs have been here since then! In those days I only gave you a couple of songs, but the selections have gradually expanded: I now think of six as the weekly norm, but rarely manage to keep to it – just the eight this week! This was on Del Amitri’s second album, Waking Hours, which was released in July 1989 and was the one that gave them their breakthrough, peaking at #6 in the UK and at #95 in the US. This song was the first of five tracks from the album to become a single, reaching #59 in the UK and #28 in Australia. It was re-released in 1990, and this time around got to #43 in the UK and made the US chart too, at #35. It is an album to which I often return – so many good songs on it. After a long hiatus it was great to see the band reform and issue a new album earlier this year, too.
This next one is the other which has been in this series before, back in Tuesday Tunes 56. Again, no apologies for the repeat, as I think it is well worth hearing again:
Mary Hopkin was one of the first to be signed to the Beatles’ Apple Records label and was very much a protege of Paul McCartney, as you can see from the video. Her debut single, Those Were The Days, was a #1 here and #2 in the US. As well as that single, McCartney produced her debut album, Postcard, which was released in 1969: I bought the album, which was lovely. This was the 1969 follow up single, which he also produced (and wrote). It was a #2 hit here and reached #13 in the US.
Following on from that one is another piece of folk music, though no doubt those who like applying labels will call this ‘bluegrass’ – labelling can be so unhelpful at times! Whatever pigeon hole you squeeze it into, this is superb:
Uncle Earl formed in 2000, and released three albums and a couple of EPs between then and 2007. This is a track from the last of those albums, Waterloo, Tennessee, which was produced by John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. The line up for that album broke up in 2010, with the departure of Abigail Washburn, who sings the lead vocal on this song. They have had several reformations and still occasionally perform, but without Abigail, and they haven’t released anything since then. I think that is a shame, as they did make beautiful records. As far as I can tell they haven’t had any major chart success, though this album did reach #2 on Billboard’s Bluegrass chart. The band took their music to wide audiences – if you spotted the channel logo on the video you will have seen that it said ‘BBC Alba,’ which is the BBC’s Scottish channel, showing they had an appeal beyond their homeland. If you know your banjo players you may have heard of Abigail’s husband, Béla Fleck, with whom she has made several albums – he appears in lots of other collaborations too.
The link from that song to this next one may give you a clue as to how my butterfly mind sometimes works:
As I have been a fan of The Chicks since their early days, I was a little surprised to find that I had only ever featured them once before in a post, and not with this song. Long overdue! This is still one of my favourite music videos: it is beautifully acted by a well-known cast, and The Chicks simply exude sass. And anything which includes Lauren Holly is just fine by me: I still haven’t forgiven NCIS for killing off Jenny Shepard! I saw them in concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 2003, and when they played this one the whole audience was on its feet dancing and singing along, as far as the confines of the seating would allow. This was a track on the band’s album Fly, released in August 1999. It was a US #1 and got to #38 here in the UK. Eight of the album’s thirteen tracks were released as singles, including this one: this achieved the highest placing in the mainstream chart, at #19, though a couple of the others were #1s in the Country chart. Only one of them reached the singles chart here, though: Ready To Run.
I was sure that I had featured Paul Brady in a previous post, but can’t find him anywhere, despite the fact that there is a saved link to him in my post tags! He is the writer of many classy songs, and this one is no exception:
This was actually co-written with Ronan Keating. Paul’s version was released in 2000 on his album Oh What A World, but wasn’t a single, as far as I can tell. Groanin’ Ronan’s take on it is, by his standards, fairly passable – he did release it as a single, in 2003, and it got to #3 in the UK. As you can probably guess, I much prefer this version. If you have heard the cover by Brooks And Dunn, which got to #39 in the US, you can probably also guess why I haven’t included that rendition (or rending, if you prefer): ‘execrable’ is being kind to it.
That song is one of the saddest I know, and it is dawning on me that choosing goodbye as the theme for this week was running the risk that I would be sharing some sad songs. Oh well… here’s another:
I mentioned when I shared a couple of songs recently by The Shires that they were at the forefront of the UK country music scene, and surprised some American readers that there even is such a thing. There are many bands in this field, but Ward Thomas are the other leading light of it, in terms of chart performance. This was a track on their third album, Restless Minds, released in February 2019, which reached #8 on the main UK albums chart and #1 on the country listing. Needless to say, none of their records has been a hit in the US. Catherine and Lizzie Ward Thomas are sisters, and their harmonies have that sibling feel to them, I think.
I thought I’d round this piece off with a couple of more upbeat tunes. As regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of Steve Earle, so I couldn’t resist this one:
This was a track on Steve’s debut album, Guitar Town, which was released in March 1986. It reached #89 on the mainstream US albums chart, but topped the Country chart there. It wasn’t a hit here, though: he had to wait until 1988 and his third album, Copperhead Road, before the British record buyers gave him some recognition. I’ve always enjoyed that first album, though, and this is a typically jaunty little tune. But what strikes me most is how young he looks! He was 32 when this performance aired, and could easily have passed for mid-twenties, I think. He hasn’t aged well, if you’ve seen more recent videos. But he would probably say the same about me, seeing as he is just two years my junior.
This final one for today hasn’t been a Tuesday Tune before, but I did include it when I featured the band in my occasional Listen to The Band series (which will be returning in the New Year):
This is still one of my favourite Beatles singles. It was released in November 1967, and was #1 in the US, the UK, and loads of other countries. It was #1 here over the Christmas/New Year period – quite an appropriate title for that time of year, I think. It was the reason that the Magical Mystery Tour EP didn’t get to #1 here, too. I’ve always loved it, and even George seemed to perk up when the hula dancers appeared! It wasn’t on one of the band’s original albums here, though the US release of Magical Mystery Tour was in album format (as compared with the double EP UK release), and it appeared on that. We first got it on an album in 1973, with the release of the 1967-1970 compilation, aka The Blue Album. A sad footnote to this is that ‘it was twenty years ago today’ – actually, the anniversary was yesterday – that we lost George at just 58. His musical legacy lives on.
So, that is my selection of tunes to wish you au revoir, adieu, adios, arrivederci, auf wiedersehen, or whatever. As I said at the outset, Tuesday Tunes will return in four weeks’ time but don’t go away: there is going to be much music here before then. This is the point at which I usually wish you a good week, but this time I think my salutation should be: I’ll see you tomorrow (I hope). Take care, and wear a mask when required do so!