Dear August

Now that August has left us, and taken the boys of summer with it, that must mean that it is time for my recap on last month’s posts. Due to the unplanned but unavoidable late start it was a light month, with just the seven posts, so I’m going to make this worth your while by giving you not one, but two songs of the month. My generosity knows no bounds!

My blogging August began on the 11th, when I caught up with my posts from the previous month in a piece I imaginatively called July. This gave you the usual set of links and reminders, and I ended it with a beautiful song from Miley Cyrus’ little sister, who kept her clothes on (but I did give you a clue to another of her songs where she suffered the same wardrobe malfunction as big sis, if that is your bag). More of Cyrus junior later, by the way.

All of the other six posts last month were music ones. Given the late start, I only managed to share three Tuesday Tunes posts, out of the five Tuesdays in the month, but I think I made up for the shortfall by giving you some musical memories – and history. The first one was Tuesday Tunes 68: Woodstock, which marked the anniversary of the famous festival. There was a bit of background information and a lot of music, from acts who played the festival and one who wrote a song about it. These included Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Who, The Band, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Country Joe And The Fish, Joni Mitchell, and Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young. Some were actual live performances from Woodstock, others weren’t, but I think they made for a good mix.

As that post only featured seven of the thirty two bands that played Woodstock I followed up with a companion piece the following week, in Tuesday Tunes 69: Woodstock Encore. This showcased some of those other acts, and included music from Richie Havens, Tim Hardin, Melanie, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Ten Years After, and Crosby, Stills And Nash. All of those apart from The Grateful Dead and Ten Years After were live performances from the festival.

For my final August Tuesday Tunes I returned for a follow up to number 67 in the series, by sharing some more of the hits from the Eighties charts that I liked in Tuesday Tunes 70: Eighties Encore. If you recall, I created a list of songs I liked from the top forty listing of each year in the decade, and managed to find a total of twenty three to share from those four hundred songs: I wasn’t a great fan of the pop charts by that stage! Having previously shared eight of them, I gave you a further set of eight, featuring The Eurythmics, Enya, UB40, The J Geils Band, Simple Minds, The Bangles, Richard Marx, and Queen with David Bowie.

Two of my other posts last month were sad ones, marking the passing of musicians who had meant a lot to me over the years. The first of these was R.I.P. Nanci Griffith, which introduced to many of you a singer-songwriter who has produced some beautiful music, and who the great majority of those who commented had not known before. At the risk of being self-indulgent, I’m sharing again the song I chose to close that piece, as its message is still as relevant today as it was in 1989 when it was first released:

In the original piece I shared a live concert performance of that but thought I’d also give you the official video Nanci made for it, much of which was shot in Belfast during a visit she made there during ‘The Troubles,’ which was her inspiration for the song. It is still to me a very powerful tune with lyrics that are full of meaning: it is a fitting legacy for her to leave, and is why it closed my little tribute to her.

The other person that we lost was much more widely known: after all, you don’t get to spend nearly sixty years in one of the biggest rock bands on the planet without people noticing you, no matter how hard you try to keep out of the spotlight. This was R.I.P. Charlie Watts, my tribute to the Rolling Stones’ drummer. In this I shared a little of his story, and a lot of the Stones’ hit songs. I had to leave out some, though, as I was in danger of overloading you – there were so many to choose from – so I thought I’d extend the tribute a bit further by adding in here one of those that missed out:

I think that shows how integral Charlie was to the band, and how his drumming drove their music. He will be missed.

My other post in August was the latest in one of my occasional series – it was, after all, two months since the previous one! This was Listen To The Band 5: Jackson Browne. I’m glad I chose to include him in this series, as from your comments I could see that he is popular with a lot of you, too, and is still making excellent music.

So, that was my blogging August. As always, I’m finishing this piece with the song that gave me my title, and I did say that you were going to see Noah Cyrus again, didn’t I:

That is the opening song on a six track EP called People Don’t Change, which was released in April by PJ Harding and Noah Cyrus. I think it’s lovely. PJ (Peter James) is an Australian singer-songwriter: they originally met at a songwriting camp in Bali, and teamed up in 2019 to write songs for Noah’s second EP The End of Everything. This is their first recording together, and hopefully there will be more from them in the future.

I promised you a second song of the month, didn’t I? I really didn’t want to leave this one out, as it is also rather lovely, and might come as a bit of a surprise to those of you who think of her as a pop brat:

Taylor Swift has always been something of a guilty pleasure for me. I loved her earlier albums, though I’ll admit to being a little disappointed by some of her more recent, pop-based stuff. Until last year, that was. During lockdowns Taylor wrote and recorded two albums of stripped down songs, which show how good a songwriter she is, and prove that she can sing too! This was from the first of those albums, folklore, which was released in July 2020 – the other album was evermore, released last December. The absence of capital letters is deliberate: she must have been reading a lot of e e cummings!

Somehow I’ve managed to sneak four songs into my monthly review post – hopefully they will have improved it for you! See you next time, and for everything that will have appeared here before then.