With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Jimmy Cliff – O2 Academy, Leeds – Monday 18th August 2014 August 19, 2014


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I bought a couple of tickets for this gig on a whim a few weeks ago. I have always liked Jimmy Cliff and I still have a ‘best of’ and the soundtrack for ‘The Harder They Come’ in my collection. Back in the olden days I owned maybe half a dozen Jimmy Cliff 7 inch vinyl 45 rpm records. My lovely wife Catherine (a.k.a. Catwoman) came with me. But I had warned her that the Academy was not a seated venue.

Anyway the lack of seats was not a problem at all as this quickly became one of the best gigs either of us had ever been to. Jimmy is a true entertainer; magnificent stage presence, fabulous rapport with his audience, an amazing band and, even after all these years a wonderful voice. It’s so hard to believe that he has been recording and playing live for more than 50 years! He opened with the sparse but supreme “Bongo Man A Come” which he seamlessly blended into a cover of the classic Ethiopians song “Rivers Of Babylon”. The proper one that includes the Far-I references, not the bland and sanitised rubbish that Boney M had a hit with in the late 70s. from the off Mr Cliff had the whole audience eating out of his hands. When he said sing, we did. When he said shout, we did. When he said wave your hands, we did. When he said jump, we did. When he said clap, yes you guessed it, we did!

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All the hits were there “You Can Get It If You Really Want”, “Miss Jamaica”, “Wonderful World, Beautiful People”, “Many Rivers To Cross”, “The Harder They Come”, “Sitting In Limbo”, “The World Is Upside Down”, “Hard Road To Travel” and an excellent “Vietnam” which he used as a chance to plead for world peace by replacing the chorus with references to other world conflicts and trouble spots; Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and more.

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The cover versions that Jimmy has done over the years always seemed carefully selected and he performed them magnificently tonight. These included Cat Stevens’ “Wild World”, Johnny Nash’s “I Can see Clearly Now” and a rather excellent song from the Lion King, “Hakuna Matata”. Catwoman and I had sore feet by the end of the evening from all the fancy footwork we attempted. We danced the Ska, rocksteady, reggae and others like nobody was watching. There was some really mental dancing going on around us too. In fact the audience may have been more worn out than Jimmy Cliff at the end. He still looked fresh after remaining on stage for nearly two hours including three encores. When he comes back to dear old Blighty I will definitely be in the queue for tickets and I urge you to do the same. You will not be disappointed! And finally, please note that none of the pictures or the videos on this post were filmed by me. I was too busy enjoying the show! None f them are actually from this show either.

 

“None of them received a heroes welcome” – Advent day 19 December 19, 2013


slide_19_2087154aDefinitely on the home straight now, we’re on the 19th December. So day 19 of the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Advent posts brings two songs with the number 19 in their title. Can you guess what the f-f-f-f-first one is going to be?

Paul+HardcastleI’ll put you out of your misery the first tune is Paul Hardcastle‘s “19” which was his fifth solo single. It went to number one in the UK in 1985 and made the top spot in Ireland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria and Italy. It was also number one on the US Dance charts. Hardcastle was inspired to compose “19” after watching a documentary about the Vietnam war called ‘Vietnam Requiem‘. he was shocked that the average age of the US combat soldier killed in Vietnam was 19. That was his age when he saw the documentary. The song may have performed better in the US had it received more airplay. It stalled at number 15 in the Billboard charts after many US radio stations refused to play it as they considered the song to be anti-American. Hardcastle has always denied this and I believe he is right. He is quoting statistics. Although the average age of 19 statistic has been challenged and various sources have suggested that between 20 and 23 are more realistic. That is still bloody young though! Paul Hardcastle’s 1986 single “The Wizard” became the theme tune to Top Of The Pops from April 1986 to September 1991. He also produced Rory Bremner‘s parody recording of “19”; “N-N-Nineteen Not Out” which was released under the name the Commentators and reached number 13 in the UK charts in 1985.

1349963354063_1483409The second song on day 19 comes from those ancient geezers the Strolling Bones, well that’s what they look like these days right? I am talking of course about the Rolling Stones with their 1965 UK and US Billboard number two hit “19th Nervous Breakdown” It broke a run of five consecutive UK number ones for the band that stretched from April 1964 to September 1965. Those five songs were; “It’s All Over Now”, “Little Red Rooster”, “The Last Time”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Get Off Of My Cloud”. The number 19 is an important number in Stephen King’s ‘Dark Tower Series‘ and this song is referenced a few times within those tales. The song has been covered by the Standells and the Wedding Present. On the US TV show Saturday Night Live in 2012 Mick Jagger performed the song with the Foo Fighters.

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