If music be the food of love, play on

There’s lots of shite going on at the moment, both on a personal level and a political level. So, I feel a need for some music… the majority of posts on this blog are about politics but there’s also an awful lot of posts about music, which can be found in the ‘Arts’ section. In these music posts I give a brief history of the artist(s) concerned and usually I feature at least five of their numbers. The following is a sort of random selection of what’s called ‘pop music’ (at a later date I might do a random selection of what’s called ‘classical music’). I’ve taken one track from each post, with a link to the original post so that, if interested, the reader can listen to further tracks and find out a bit more about the artist(s) concerned. In light of what’s going on at the moment there seems to be some sub-conscious psychology occurring with regard to my first pick and my final pick.

My father died at the weekend. He’d been suffering from ill health for many years and sheer determination got him to the grand old age of 78. The world into which my father Michael was born in 1940 was one of fire and fury. His parents Nathaniel and Mary lived in the Borough, an area on the south side of London Bridge which includes the site where Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre used to be. With the outbreak of war Mary and her two children, Kathy and Terry, were evacuated to Oxford. Nathaniel had been called-up by the RAF, assigned to the squads that used to recover shot down planes to either be repaired or used for parts. My father was born in Oxford in September 1940 whilst the Blitz raged in London and the Battle of Britain was being fought in the skies.

‘Public Service Broadcasting’ are a London-based ‘alternative’ rock band. They are almost entirely instrumental and mix their music with samples from public information films and other copyright free material. This track is called Spitfire, from their debut album, ‘Inform-Educate-Entertain’, which was released in 2013 and got to number 21 in the UK album charts (I find strong echoes here of Spectral mornings by ‘Cornershop’)…

From Public Service Broadcasting – If War Should Come posted in April 2018.

In 2006, Neko Case released an album called ‘Fox Confessor Brings the Flood’. This track from ‘Fox Confessor’ is called Star Witness, and it always reminds me of the times I lived and travelled in America…

From Neko Case – Fox Confessor posted in October 2013.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born on a cotton plantation in Arkansas in 1915. Both of Tharpe’s parents were musicians and her mother was also an evangelist and preacher for the Church of God in Christ. Sister Rosetta Tharpe was the first great recording star of gospel music and among the first gospel musicians to appeal to rhythm-and-blues and rock-and-roll audiences, later being referred to as “the original soul sister” and “the godmother of rock and roll”. This track is from a performance given by Rosetta Tharpe at a disused railway station in Manchester, in the north of England, in 1964. It’s called Didn’t It Rain – which might be appropriate for the city of Manchester…

From Sister Rosetta Tharpe posted in September 2017.

The following performance shows what you can do with just six strings (or in Tal Wilkenfeld’s case, four strings) but let’s not get into an arguement about who’s the best guitarist of all time. I think many people will agree that Jeff Beck is up there amongst them. In 2007, Beck had a week long residency at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London. Joining him were Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Tal Wilkenfeld on bass and Jason Rebello on keyboard. All very talented musicians and one of the best line-ups that Jeff Beck has ever had (you can find a post about Tal Wilkenfeld here). The boy from down Croydon way done good, and this track is called Nadia

From Jeff Beck live at Ronnie Scott’s Club posted in January 2012.

When he was seven years old, Ian Dury contracted polio during the 1949 epidemic. Dury was so ill that the doctors did not expect him to survive. He spent two months in an isolation hospital and lived to tell the tale. There then followed two years of painful physiotherapy. The polio left Dury paralysed down the left hand side. This next song is called Inbetweenies, from Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ second album, ‘Do It Yourself’, released in June 1979…

From There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards posted in February 2012.

On a rather boozy Bastille Day in 2017 I thought I might as well post some French music on this blog, because French pop music is widely perceived to be crap (you’ll have to make up your own mind). My last romantic involvement before I left London in the early 2000s was with a young woman who was crazy about all things French, including Charles Trenet, and in particular a song called Menilmontant, which was recorded way back in 1939. Not much more than a year later the Nazis had invaded France and installed themselves in Paris…

From C’est la fête de la Bastille!

Arcade Fire are an indie/art house rock band based in Montreal. They released their first full-length album in 2004. It’s called ‘Funeral’, so named because a lot of the band member’s family and friends died during the making of the album (nice, ay). The ‘Funeral’ album was released four years before the 2008 worldwide financial crash, yet it could almost be an anthem for the Occupy Wall Street movement. This track from ‘Funeral’ is called Rebellion (Lies)

From Arcade Fire – Funeral posted in October 2012.

I’ll try to do a similar post about classical music sometime soon.

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7 Responses to If music be the food of love, play on

  1. JOML says:

    Very sorry to hear your news, Rob. Always hard, regardless of age, as our lives continually change through loss – while we strive to get back to some sort of normality. You’ve mentioned your mother in previous blogs or comments and I hope she is okay. All the best – and thanks for the music!

  2. Sarah Godfrey says:

    Nice music posts Rob x

    • Rob Godfrey Rob Godfrey says:

      Sarah, I put this post together on Saturday, the day before dad died. I thought I might as well post it, because by coincidence the first track is ‘Spitfire’ and dad was born during the Battle of Britain.

  3. I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your father. It’s such a strange feeling. It’s interesting that you wrote about music (and I will be listening to this over the next few days). “Spitfire” is a perfect segue from the Blitzkreig birth.

    When my mom passed, the next morning I went to breakfast at the pier in our favorite outdoor spot and it was so strange that she wasn’t there. In 20 years, I may have had 5 breakfasts there without her. As soon as I saw the empty table by the rail, “Dust in the Wind” started to play and, of course, I cried. Toward the end of the song, I asked her what it was like where she now “lives” and “Strange Magic” by ELO came on the speaker. She came to me as a heron, too.

    Many blessings to you.

    • Rob Godfrey Rob Godfrey says:

      Kelly Ann, thanks for your kind words.

      Unfortunately my father and I were estranged for many years (more than a decade). Two years ago, at my father’s insistence, we made amends by letter. I went back to the UK for Christmas 2017. It was the first time I’d been back in my homeland for more than ten years. I had Christmas dinner with my father and the rest of my family. Surreal is not the word for it.

      I went back to the UK again this Christmas. I shouldn’t have done this because my own health is very bad at the moment, but I knew my father was on the way out.

      I headed back to France the day after Boxing Day. Before leaving I said goodbye to my father. He’d had a small operation on Christmas Eve that left him with an infection. We had to call in the doctor on Boxing Day and my father was now on anti-biotics.

      The day after Boxing Day my father and I shook hands. Father held on to my hand for five minutes while we chatted. We both knew we’d never see each other again.

      As is the want in my family, my father’s funeral next Thursday will be a very traditional affair. The coffin will be at the house the day before the funeral, and all the rest of it. It won’t be an easy occasion for me, but at least father and I made amends before he kicked the bucket.

  4. P.S. I just saw “Fox Confessors Brings the Flood” as an album. I am taking care of 5 baby foxes, domesticated since week one. (Dog killed the mama.) I have had them for twelve days. They are about 7 weeks. The cover on the album could be/is me.


    I am going to call the littlest one Hendrix or Huxley. 🙂

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