Last Of May

As May is now over and we are in what the meteorologists tell us is ‘summer’ – yeah, right – that can only mean one thing: time for another monthly review of the cornucopia of delights I inflicted on you last month. And, as always, after the review I will give you the song whose title I have appropriated for this piece.

May saw a slightly busier month for me with ten posts in total. As usual, things began with my review, which was entitled April Eyes, after a song by the English folk musician Seth Lakeman. The review, of course, is spectacular, and the song is rather nice too.

Part of the reason for the slight increase is that there were five Tuesdays last month, which meant there were five Tuesday Tunes posts. In chronological sequence these began with Tuesday Tunes 102: Three Of Hearts which, as its name suggests, was the third in my miniseries of posts with heart as their theme. I redressed the balance you may have been expecting in previous posts by including some big names in this one: the music came from Blondie, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, The Albion Band (new for most of you), Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Dionne Warwick.

That was followed by Tuesday Tunes 103: Change, which reflected what we didn’t get from our local election results, much though I had hoped for it. The music was provided by Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie, John Hiatt, Frank Turner, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, The Byrds, and Steely Dan. A pretty fair selection, in my view – but then I am a bit biased!

Tuesday Tunes 104: Lonely was prompted by a piece I wrote a few days earlier, and which I’ll come back to shortly. The tunes were by Andrew Gold, The Police, Roy Orbison, Trampled By Turtles, Phil Lynott/Thin Lizzy, The Wallflowers, Sarah Darling, and Neil Diamond. A mix of well- and lesser-known names there.

I took my next theme from a news story here in the UK, about the possibility of strike action on our railway network. This became Tuesday Tunes 105: Train, and I gave you songs by AC/DC, The Doobie Brothers, Bruce Springsteen (again), Tom Waits, John Hiatt (also again), Marc Cohn, Matraca Berg, and Soul Asylum.

The final Tuesday of the month saw me borrowing my theme from the big event here this week, not that it is really of much interest to me. But it is impossible to avoid it, as the media are stuffed full of it. This was Tuesday Tunes 106: Platinum Jubilee, which despite its name didn’t have much to do with our “dear old queen” (the Rev Spooner would have had a field day with that). In case this had escaped you, we in the UK are celebrating (I think that’s the word) seventy years since QE2 first sat on the throne. There were a selection of tunes which had either platinum or jubilee in their title, apart from the final one, and these came from Blondie (another again), Elton John, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Gretchen Peters, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Miranda Lambert, 10,000 Maniacs, and a closing piece from Georg Friedrich Händel – my nod to the jubilee.

I mentioned that one of the Tuesday Tunes posts related to another offering. This was Mental Health Awareness Week 2022. For their theme this year the Mental Health Foundation concentrated on loneliness and its impact on our mental health, and it seemed right to follow this up for a second bite of the cherry, just to reinforce the message. This is an important theme for me, and it is pleasing that this was one of my most viewed posts last month.

Last month also saw a couple of my more random weekend posts. The first of these was New Music, which did exactly what it said on the tin. As the title suggests, this was a selection of recently released music from some of my favourite artists, and featured Kate Rusby, Xander and the Peace Pirates, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Faun, Bonnie Raitt, and Sheryl Crow.

The other of these posts definitely fitted the description of ‘random.’ It was the aptly named Odds And Sods, which gathered together a few clips that had been published on YouTube in the previous fortnight. They were a bit of a mixture: a heartwarming story about a young fan of my football team, the latest piece from the Politics Joe people, which provided an updated version of an old Boney M song, a couple of clips from BBC comedy shows, a news story from Channel 5 (never knowingly dumbed down, or maybe not), and a piece of music to close with. This was from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, making their third appearance of the month.

The other piece from last month was one that I felt I had to post, though it was a heartbreaking subject. It was Sadly Still Valid: Never Grow Up, which was a reissue of a piece I wrote five years to the day before the mass shooting of nineteen children and two teachers in a school in Uvalde, Texas by an eighteen year old. I originally wrote about the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert which killed twenty two (mostly young) people. That was a terrorist act, and thankfully those are still relatively rare here. But the Uvalde murders were just the latest in a string of mass shootings in the US, made possible by their ridiculously lax gun laws – i.e. they don’t seem to have any. And they think of themselves as a civilised country? Not in my book.

Sorry, that mini rant kind of crept up on me! But it is an important subject, and shows no sign of getting any better. It does, however, conclude this review of my previous month’s posts. As always, I’m closing with the tune whose title I used, adapted in this case, for today:

That was the Bee Gees in their early incarnation, before they went disco and, in my view, downhill. They had a string of hits in the Sixties, with some beautiful songs like this one among them. It was released as a single in January 1969, reaching #6 in the UK and #37 in the US, and also featured on the band’s double album, Odessa, which came out in March 1969, and got to #10 in the UK Albums chart and #20 in the US. I was fifteen when this came out and was still in my single buying days: this one was in my collection.

So, that was May. I hope you enjoyed them, and have used this catch up to acquaint yourself with any you may have missed. More is on the way, so do stick around. For those of you in the UK, enjoy your additional Bank Holiday. For everyone else, enjoy your Friday. See you again soon 😊