After reviewing his single, Hot Electrolytes, I caught up with Love Ssega. Interview featured on Songwriting Magazine website.
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Chuck Berry. The name means so much: rock and roll, some of the finest guitar playing known, inventive and playful songs.
To think that everyone from Buddy Holly to The Beatles covered his songs is mind-blowing. Without Chuck Berry the world would be a different place.
I was lucky enough to see Chuck Berry live on one of his later trips to London. Even in old age, he played the guitar like no one else, attacking the strings, duck-walking and bouncing off of the audience reaction.
I was thrilled to write a review of his last album, Chuck, for Songwriting Magazine. Read it here.
The other day, I was speaking to someone about Michael Connelly, the fantastic crime writer who has a new book out called The Late Show.
‘Where should I start?’ they asked, after considering my suggestion.
This got me thinking.
Michael Connelly has created a parrel Los Angeles. Often, characters from different books appear in different places: a long forgotten detective can appear in a new book without warning. His most famous creation, Harry Bosch, is now featured in an Amazon Prime show called Bosch.
The first Michael Connelly book I read was The Poet, which doesn’t feature Harry Bosch. When it came to reading the Bosch books, I read these out of sequence.
Ultimately, my answer was ‘start at the beginning.’ (Which was advice I admittedly did not follow). In this case, start with the first of the Harry Bosch book series – The Black Echo. You will then see how the character – and writer – develops.
So what does this have to do with Bob Dylan?
I’ve been a lifelong Bob Dylan fan. Some of my earliest memories are of my Dad playing Dylan records for me. They formed a part of my childhood, like nursery rhymes, I suppose. However, I’d never listened to Bob Dylan’s albums in chronological order. Maybe this would enable me to see how Bob Dylan develops as a songwriter?
If you’re a Dylan fan, some of his albums you’ll have listened to reluctantly, or avoided completely. I want to give each of these albums the same amount of time, in the correct order. Maybe I’ll learn something.
I will be listening to studio albums only – which means no Bootleg Series – in order of the UK date of release.
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James Holt’s new song, Whatever Happened to John? is a Dylan-esque whirlwind. There is a clear nod to John Lennon too, with the bridge sounding reminiscent of Revolver era Beatles.
Holt is clearly an artist to watch out for. He provides the lead and backing vocals, as well as playing all of the instruments featured on the song.
Whatever Happened to John? takes us to a parallel universe. As Holt says: “The inspiration came from a Sky Arts TV programme set in an alternate reality in which John Lennon walked out of the Beatles before their fame in the mid-60s. It’s a fusion of thoughts and ideas and also bears references to George Orwell’s 1984.”
The song, starting out as a blues rocker, leads quickly to a psychedelic meltdown, before taking us back onto the initial riff.
Aside from the Dylan and Lennon comparisons, lines will also be drawn to Fionn Regan’s second album The Shadow of an Empire.
Take a listen to the track below, and be sure to keep a lookout for James Holt in the future.
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Love Ssega was paying attention as he rifled through his fathers record collections. Listening to his latest single, Hot Electrolytes, is like piecing together a who’s who of pop music. There are echoes and nods to various artists, past and present.
I included Hot Electrolytes in my recent playlist, which you can listen to here.
A lot of new music has come to my attention recently, since I’ve been writing here and at Songwriting Magazine.
I’ve been sent albums, EP’s and singles from musicians all across the musical spectrum, which is great. I’ve reviewed some of these albums and songs. Some of them I haven’t been able to write about yet. I thought it would be a good idea to create a Spotify playlist of my favourite songs from this month.
Here are some of my thoughts on some of these tracks:
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