A blog about my favourite movies, music, and TV.

30 May 2009

Ruby Turner (Live)

I saw the amazing Ruby Turner last night at a local theatre. As well as singing her more recent blues and gospel inspired material, Ruby found time to perform some of her old singles including an emotional and somewhat 'extended' take on I'd Rather Go Blind and If You're Ready (Come Go With Me), perhaps her most popular single from 1986, provided a much demanded encore. The whole evening was superb, and even though she stuck to mostly mid-tempo material - there wasn't one boring song all night. Ruby's voice was on top form and she gave it her all, in spite of the somewhat archaic sound equipment that she was provided with. Her gospel stuff from her new album I'm Travelling On was just brilliant, she also said she hoped to release a single soon! I'd thoroughly recommend her live show to anyone.

26 May 2009

A-Z OF TAT (2)

C is for Cher

There is not much to say about the incomparable Cher that hasn’t been said a zillion times. You don’t have to be into pop trash to like Cher, but of course it does add an extra dimension to her brilliance, those 70's costumes, Hell On Wheels? She’s just so enjoyable on so many levels and I think that’s the key to her longevity, her low points are even the stuff of envy for most of the wannabe pop queens on this blog. Apart from my personal favourite singles such as Save Up All Your Tears and One By One, Heart of Stone I think is probably my favourite of the albums I own. Cher also has some great dance mixes, check out the mid-90’s ones, especially the ones for One By One and even Walking In Memphis. She’s currently in residence at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, be sure to catch her show, if you haven’t seen her before!

iPod essentials: all the hits!
CD: Very Best of Cher (2001)

D is for Dayne, Taylor Dayne

Taylor is an amazing vocalist and I have already sung the praises of her album Can’t Fight Fate this year. Her tough as old boots vocals rip their way through even the hardest house beats and leave the vast majority of her contemporaries looking bland and soulless by comparison. Tell It To My Heart is still to this day one of the most popular 80’s dance tracks, but sadly Taylor’s star has faded and she’s been relegated to the US dance charts and playing carnivals and casinos. But no matter! Taylor’s recent material such as her collaboration with Manny Lehman, I’m Not Featuring You, as well as 1998’s dance floor shredding anthem Naked Without You, are a testament to her greatness.

I think this video is great, obviously someone thought that Taylor's fabulous Original Sin deserved a better movie than the crappy Shadow to provide a theme to, so now it's got something to do with Star Wars! This Jim Steinmen produced epic should've been Taylor's Total Eclipse Of The Heart, it goes without saying that the Nicki French version would've been amazing. Great editing on this clip too...

iPod essentials: Tell It To My Heart, Every Beat Of My Heart, I’ll Be Your Shelter, Up All Night, I’ll Wait (Hot Mix), Original Sin, Naked Without You (Thunderpuss Mix), I’m Not Featuring You.

CD: I guess the best compilation is still 1995’s Greatest Hits (Arista), but Can’t Fight Fate is also a must.

Teena Marie returns!

Teena Marie is perhaps best known for her early 80's Motown hits Don't Look Back and Behind The Groove, as well as Ooh La La La, which was sampled by the Fugees. But, throughout the 80's Teena recorded a stunning collection of funk and soul gems which really do stand out from the crowd. She took a break but returned with a contemporary R&B sound for Gold selling album La Dona, followed up a few years later with Sapphire, which wasn't quite as good. Now she's back again! The lead single from her new album Congo Square is a duet with Faith Evans. It took a few spins but I really like it, Teena is going for a more jazz influenced sound and although wholly unnecessary, Faith Evans is a good singer, so she can't really go wrong. The album is out June 9. Teena also has some tour dates coming up - I'm hoping to see her in Philadelphia at the West Oak Lane Festival.

25 May 2009

Brand new interview with Jaki Graham

Interview with Jaki Graham at Colourful Radio.

Jaki's first three EMI albums are no on iTunes and the like with bonus remixes and b-sides!

Mica Paris has a new single out

Quite good!

Help Christina Applegate save Samantha Who!

I love this show, please sign Christina's petition to save her show.

Birmingham Pride 2009

Let's get straight to the only reason I'd be seen dead in a grotty backstreet of England's second city. In between a derelict building and the back end of Nightingales club was the home of the Main Stage of 2009's annual gay pride event, only made classier by the council emptying the portaloos while Tina Cousins was on and the pools of vomit scattered around. Yes, this is the premier event locally and it has to be said that the lineup was well worth the effort!

Norma Lewis was the first act I saw. All of the performers did about three songs each - this was a blessing in many cases, and Norma was no exception. Her flat karaoke rendition of Donna Summer's On The Radio was too much to suffer though, although her new songs were okay. I really turned out to see Nicki French. I've been a big fan of hers since 1995, but hadn't seen her live in all that time. The lady did not disappoint! This year all the acts sang live and it made all the difference, Nicki gave it her all, sporting a purple dress and rainbow heels which perfectly complimented the stunning weather, if not the grotty surroundings. Total Eclipse of the Heart was first and Nicki nailed it, it was a nice long version with all the wailing and warbling that Nicki fans know and love, there were even a few dance moves - such as a spin to emphasise the 'Turn Around's', there was plenty of audience participation too. Next up was her Eurovision entry, Don't Play That Song Again, which was loved by all - the crowd was singing along and enjoying every minute of it, me especially.

Then Nicki performed her new single, No Smoke, a mid-tempo rock song, and a new direction for one of Britain's biggest exports. Remixes were promised, and although not what you'd expect from Nicki, it went down pretty well, and with that Nicki took her bow and it was time for the next act. I was lucky enough to meet Nicki after her set and get a picture with her - she was lovely, I only wish she'd have done a few more songs. She had quite a few groupies back stage, it was nice to see so many fans supporting her.

After this I took a little break out from the main stage and took in a few sights and a few cocktails before returning for Kelly Wilde! I was already a fan of Kelly's lively hinrg interpretations of pop classics like Laura Branigan's Gloria and Blondie's Maria. But a mere CD can't possibly convey the passion and energy that Kelly has for her music. Her manic rendition of Bonnie Tyler's Holding Out For A Hero was nothing short of jaw dropping. Kelly's flame and blonde hair-do was a perfect embellishment to compliment her on-stage persona and she can rock a mike-stand like no diva I have ever seen. She belted out every note and the crowd loved her, I was stunned! She did Gloria next an that went down very well too! I wish I'd got to meet her, she was fab! I hope she brings out some new stuff soon.

After suffering through a dreadful drag queen singing Can't Take My Eyes Off You, 90's chart toppers Baby D (well the vocalist at least) came to the stage and performed an extremely long version of their hit I Need Your Loving and of course Let Me Be Your Fantasy, which rocked. I was surprised at how edgy the song sounded compared to the other stuff that had been played that day.

Shena was up next, I think! She's the vocalist on that dreadful I Can't Wait For The Weekend To Begin song. Her other material wasn't much better, she did look quite striking in an aluminium leotard though. I remember having one her 90's singles - More Than Woman which is well worth tracking down.

Some more drinks....

As I emerged from somewhere or other I spotted someone on the stage, but I couldn't quite place them. It was none other than Tina Cousins performing her new single Sex On Fire (it was crap!), Pray was pretty amazing though.

Now for the headliners!!! Katarina from Katarina and the Waves rocked the stage with a faithful rendition of Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love, all dressed up in leather in full rock chick mode. Love Shine A Light, her 1997 chart topper and Eurovision winner, was absolutely perfect for a pride event, it was amazing. But it didn't stop there, Katarina was the first of any of the acts to come out into the crowd - she sang Walking On Sunshine on a little platform surrounded by hundreds of fans - it was simple but perfect! She was in great voice too. Booty Luv closed the show performing all their hits, and a new song - which was pretty bad! All in all it was a vast improvment on last years miserable festivities!


A is for Abdul, Paula Abdul!

Paula is best known these days her for countless seasons on TV karaoke contest, American Idol. But back in the day she was a dance/pop icon with global hits like Opposites Attract, Straight Up and the sublime Rush Rush. But in the 90’s things went horribly wrong for Paula. Despite releasing probably her most sophisticated and sexy single to date, My Love Is For Real, her third studio album was D.O.A.. Since then there have been TV movies, a tween dance school, a couple of TV shows – including 2007’s loopy tour-de-force Just Paula, which saw the loveable TV talent show judge breakdown when she was forced out of Bratz: The Movie! Two hot singles followed that hot mess; Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow and I’m Just Here For The Music! A new album is due soon.

Every iPod needs: Straight Up, Forever Your Girl, Rush Rush, My Love Is For Real (& the Strike remix!), Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow.

CD: Straight Up - Greatest Hits (2008)

B is for Bananarama

From their early hits such as Really Saying Something to their SAW powerhouse gems like Venus and I Heard A Rumour, these girls paved the way for every girl group that came after. Things looked rosy for Bananarama at the end of the 80’s, despite losing Sibohan Fahey, they had a big Greatest Hits collection and a successful tour under their belts. However, the 90’s turned out not to be so kind to the trio. They ditched the Hit Factory in favour of a hipper sound for their album Pop Life, but despite some good reviews the album wasn’t a success. By 1993 thy were down to a duo and things only got worse, and tripe like 1995’s Ultra Violet and the dreadful French-only Exotica in 2001 did nothing to endear them to anyone who still retained their auditory senses. Things have got a lot better for the Nana’s in recent years, 2005 saw them enjoy two pop hits with Move In My Direction and Look On The Floor, two slick pop gems from their album Drama. The girls are working on an album of disco covers for a new label which they will showcase when they headline Manchester Pride in August.

Every iPod needs: Cruel Summer, Venus, I Heard A Rumour, I Can’t Help It, Preacher Man, More More More, Look On The Floor!

CD: The Very Best of Bananarama (2001), Drama (2005)

08 May 2009

May 2009

How the hell is it May already! I'm already in a summery mood and have my holiday all sorted, except for the all important holiday tunes to keep me entertained for my 10 hour flight to Texas (if swine flu doesn't set in before I get there). These two gems are likely to be on heavy rotation on my journey.

First up, Paula Abdul is back!!! Her new single I'm Just Here For The Music (the Kylie song), is hotter than any weather we'll be getting in the UK this year that's for sure. Paula knows what her true fans want, funky dance-pop and a set of moves to knock-off on the dancefloor. I'm Just Here For The Music truly delivers the goods. I cannot wait for the full album!

From the sublime to the ridiculous, while reading the Guardian today I read about this group of trash-bag ho's and I just couldn't resist checking them out. The Dolly Rocker's debut single Je Suis Une Dolly makes early 80's Bananarama seem like a slick stage-school pop act, this is pop at it's trashiest and most hilarious. They could be the next Vanilla!

Ladyhawke is releasing Back Of The Van as a single next week too, with new remixes to boot, which I can't wait for, apparently it's been getting some airplay, I heard Dusk Till Dawn down the pub last night too, right after Kirsty MacColl's stunning 90's gem Walking Down Madison, I think the owners must be reading this blog!

A quick movie mention too - I saw Star Trek last night! I'll put my hands up and admit that I have been known to frequent the odd convention (sans uniform and pointy ears, or Captain Janeway bun, before anyone asks), I expected this new movie to be crap, in all honesty I thought I would hate it. Much like The Wrath of Khan, The Voyage Home, and 1998's First Contact, this one goes for a more commercial action/comedy appoach, which as worked so well in the past. The faces may be new, but the fresh cast really make their mark on their first outing, despite the somewhat contrived story. The effects are just amazing too. Leave your brain and background knowledge at the door and you'll have a great time. Here's to many more.

Star Trek Top 10!

First Contact
The Voyage Home
Wrath of Khan
Star Trek (2009)
The Search For Spock
The Motion Picture
The Final Frontier


Remembering: Majel Roddenberry as Lwaxana Troi...