January, February

It feels like ages since I last did one of these monthly reviews – it was actually at the end of November, before my Advent Calendar took over and before life got in the way. I only posted four times in January so it didn’t really feel worth a review post, and I’ve decided to combine the past two months into one mega-reprise offering. Strap yourself in – it’s a long ride!

I’ll begin with those four January offerings, which I’ll take in calendar order. My blogging month began on the 1st of the month with Songs For New Year’s Day, which was actually the second part of a double header I had begun with the previous week’s Tuesday Tunes piece. It featured music from Fiddlers Green, ABBA, Van Morrison, Gretchen Peters, Bon Jovi, Mary Chapin Carpenter, U2 and Mindy Smith, with an encore of the Radetzky March from the Vienna New Year’s Day concert of 2019.

I mentioned in that post that my father had been placed in end of life care, and we went through an upsetting time during which keeping up with my blog seemed the least important thing in the world. He passed on 15th January, and I came back here on 24th January with my personal tribute to him in Tuesday Tunes 134: For Dad in which I shared some memories and photos of a lovely man, some tunes I like about fathers, and a couple of Dad’s favourites. I hope I did him justice. The music came from Marc Cohn, Cat Stevens, Eric Clapton, The Webb Sisters, Harry Chapin, Luther Vandross, Mike and the Mechanics, Barenboim playing Beethoven, and Mary Black with an appropriate tune from the wonderful Transatlantic Sessions tv series, which Dad loved as much as I do.

Following this I returned to my usual schedule by taking part for the first time in two months in SLS, with Song Lyric Sunday: Cheerful – the theme for the week was New Wave music and I chose one of my favourites by Ian Dury and the Blockheads, together with a bonus second song.

I rounded off the abbreviated month of posts with Tuesday Tunes 135: Return Of The Favourites. I hadn’t really felt like working up one of my themed posts, so I fell back on my list of favourite songs from across the years. This was the fourth episode of them: it’s a long list! The music was by John Hiatt, Jethro Tull, Great Lake Swimmers, Steve Earle, Poco, Oysterband, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, and Counting Crows.

Turning now to February, during which I posted on ten occasions. All were music posts, though one did take a song as a starting point for one of my occasional comment pieces. The first Tuesday of the month was the day of Dad’s funeral, and it didn’t seem to be even remotely appropriate that I would be playing music on that day, which I spent in quiet reflection, being unable to attend due to my own health issues. I did give you music on the other three Tuesdays, though, beginning with Tuesday Tunes 136: Valentines Day. A set of love songs? Not quite. If you missed it you’ll see the route I took if you follow that link. The music was by R.E.M, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, The Beatles, Pentangle, Rod Stewart, The Dead South, Steve Earle, and Warren Zevon. I had fun with that one!

Next up came Tuesday Tunes 137: Believe, which took its theme from a trailer I had seen for the upcoming third season of the wonderful Ted Lasso, on Apple TV+. If you don’t have that service, trust me – it’s worth getting for this show alone! After playing that trailer, my believe songs came from Frank Turner, The Monkees, Stevie Wonder, Tim Hardin, Thin Lizzy, The Lovin’ Spoonful, and The Darkness.

The final Tuesday Tunes piece of the month was a couple of days ago, when I gave you Tuesday Tunes 138: Doctors And Nurses. This wasn’t, as you might have expected, something prompted by thoughts of naughty childhood games, but was taken from the set of current news stories here. The tunes were kindly provided by Jackson Browne, Little Feat, Thompson Twins, Jethro Tull, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Steely Dan and Robert Palmer. Another set with which I had some fun!

I posted for all of the month’s Song Lyric Sunday themes, which I’ll take in chronological order. The first one was Song Lyric Sunday: Yachts? for the yacht rock theme. I had to look this one up, as it seems to be a particularly American thing, but fortunately Wikipedia told me that Steely Dan counted for this, which gave me the chance to play one of my all time favourite songs from one of my all time favourite albums.

The following week’s theme was sunshine pop, which again sent me off to Wikipedia. It seems that the Americans are fond of applying labels to what we just know as ‘pop music,’ and I’m not sure how meaningful the distinctions really are. But I played along by giving you Song Lyric Sunday: Bring Me Sunshine. British readers might have been expecting to see Morecambe and Wise after that title, but whilst they were great comedians I don’t think their theme tune really fitted the bill. The ‘genre’ seems to have comprised mostly wannabes copying better known bands, but some of those more popular bands were on the list. I always liked The Turtles, and played one of my favourites of theirs.

A trilogy of suggested themes was completed the next week with bubblegum pop. I was on firmer ground with this one and didn’t need to look it up (though I did, just to check!). I went with what I thought would have been an obvious choice but fortunately no one else took the same route: I played the song which is generally regarded as being the first of that type, by The Lemon Pipers, in my post Song Lyric Sunday: Chewy.

Last Sunday the theme was swamp rock. I’ve always taken that to mean Tony Joe White and his Polk Salad Annie, but again Wikipedia helped me out. It told me that Delaney and Bonnie qualified under that heading, which I duly noted and offered up Song Lyric Sunday: A Pair Of Bramletts in response. Two great songs from an act that were well regarded by their peers but weren’t as successful in commercial terms as I think they deserved. You may have recognised one of those two songs from the cover version by The Carpenters. Stick with the original though – it actually has some heart and soul in it!

I like to add in a post between the regular Tuesday and Sunday offerings, if I can. Last month the Timehop app reminded me twice of previous Tuesday Tunes posts that were enjoying an anniversary. Having re-read them I thought it might be fun to share again with you what I had played in previous years, and the first of these became A Tuesday Tunes Revisited. This was originally posted in February 2021 as #46 in the series, with the theme of Wheels, and included songs by Gretchen Peters, The Band, John Mellencamp, Linda Ronstadt, Foo Fighters, and Old Crow Medicine Show.

The second of these reprises became the imaginatively titled Another Revisited Tuesday Tunes. I worked hard on that, as you can no doubt tell! This one was also from 2021, and had originally been #44 in the series – don’t ask about the chronology, as I have no idea either. Its theme was Cold, in response to the weather we had been enduring at that time, and the music was by Foreigner, The Rolling Stones, The (Dixie) Chicks, Rod Stewart, Faun, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

I had wondered if replaying these older posts was a good idea, but they have actually turned out to be among my most viewed, liked and commented of the month – are you guys trying to tell me something? One thing did strike me, though: at that point I was playing six songs each week, but have since taken that up to eight. Any thoughts on which you prefer? Do you like more music, or were the shorter sets better for you? Answers on a postcard, please…

That just leaves one post. this one was Kindness, which took as its starting point a beautiful song by Frank Turner, in which he laments the lack of kindness in the world today. I illustrated my view on this by using some of his lyrics as prompts for thoughts, and the overwhelming response has been that, in the words of Frank’s song, we need to Be More Kind.

That’s all for this bumper roundup. Thank you for getting this far and, as ever, your reward for your efforts is the song which shares its title with this piece. To be honest it is the only song I know which has both months in its title, but as my ex-wife liked the singer we had the album this was on, so I heard it often back in the day:

Barbara Dickson is Scottish and actually began her career as a folk singer: her first album was a collection of Jacobite rebel songs, but she moved more towards the mainstream after that. She became involved with musical theatre, had hits with songs like Another Suitcase from the Evita show, and this was the opening track on her first overtly pop record, The Barbara Dickson Album, which was released in April 1980 and reached #7 here in the UK. The song had also been released as a single in January of that year, peaking at #11. It’s an inoffensive little number, and she does have a lovely voice.

Thank you for catching up with me. I’ll see you again on Sunday – if I can think of something to play for this week’s theme! Take care 😊


11 thoughts on “January, February

  1. Pingback: March March | Take It Easy

  2. Great summary and I will be heading to your Tuesday post soon. I have seen a lot of Doctors and Nurses in my time, seems like an appropriate theme. LOL! I enjoyed Barbara’s song. She has a lovely voice. I hope you are doing alright and finding things to make you smile, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A great roundup you had quite a busy time…The video wasn’t available here but I found a copy on utube that played …Dickenson has a lovely voice…I hope you are doing ok, Clive and have a good weekend 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Carol. I think February made up for January! Sorry about the video but I’m glad you found another. She does have a lovely voice but we were divided in our house: I recognised how good it was, but always felt her records had the life produced out of them, a bit like the Carpenters. I’m ok thanks, and hope you are too. Have a great weekend 😊 xx

      Liked by 1 person

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