Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Ghosts of Oxford Street – Various Artists [#522]

Unknown-5 The soundtrack to Malcolm Maclaren’s Christmas film for Channel 4.

Like with the Kinks’ Return to Waterloo, I have an off-air recording of the film on VHS that I treasure. I’d even go as far to say it is one of the primary reasons that I still have a VHS tape recorder tucked away in the loft. Sure there are probably versions of this on Youtube or Vimeo, but they’ll only last as long as the copyright nazis allow them to stay up.

Home video taping is killing music.

That said, I did buy this (and still have it) on CD.

The film has Maclaren poncing around London’s Oxford Street at Christmas telling tales about the dark history of the world famous street of consumerism with each of the “ghosts” played (sung) by different artists. Tom Jones pulls off a great Gordon Selfridge while the Happy Mondays manage an excellent cover of the Bee Gees’ Staying Alive. While Sinead O’Connor, Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues remind us of the festive season with their  songs with a slightly Christmassy feel.

Because of the Christmas bias, it feels odd listening to the soundtrack out of season but it’s not impossible to do so. Skipping the four Christmas centric songs still allows the listener a good twenty minutes of interesting music. Even Ponchielli’s  Dance of the Hours (performed on the CD by the Academy of St Martin’s in the Field) isn’t too festive in feeling and is a really piece of driving Classical music.

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Ghost Riders in the Sky – Various Artists [#517]

Ghost Riders in the Sky - Various ArtistsOne of the more quirky “albums” in my collection is this compilation, a collection of recordings of the same song by a variety of artists.

Ghost Riders in the Sky has been credited as one of the top 100 Western songs of all time and has been recorded by a whole host of performers since its first recording in 1948. Artists such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and even death metal bands have recorded their own interpretation of the song.

This unofficial “not-available-in-the-shops” compilation was uploaded to Usenet newsgroups in the late noughties and contains versions by:

Boston Pops
Elvis Presley
Ennio Morricone
Frankie Laine
Lawrence Welk
Patrick Normand
Peggy Lee
Roy Clark
Roy Clark & Chet Atkins
Roy Rogers & Sons of the Pioneers
Slim Whitman
Spike Jones
The Spotnicks
Tom Jones
Wingy Manone and his Go-Group

Seventeen versions of the same song. My wife deserves a medal for helping me listen to them all.

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#168 – The Best of James Bond 30th Anniversary Collection – Various Artists

The Best of James Bond
The Best of James Bond 30th Anniversary Collection Various Artists

Bit of a cop out this one. Not a single song is by James Bond. It’s all Shirley Bassey, Rita Coolidge and some bloke called John Barry.

Seriously though, this is a nice little pre-Brosnan snapshot of the best theme songs and tunes from the James Bond franchise. A popular quiz I used to run at school and in Birch House was a “Name the Artist” quiz based on the performers of these James Bond themes. Of course, since those days we’ve had a couple of new Bonds. Fortunately the horrid Madonna theme arrived too late for this celebratory compilation. But never the less, the songs on this album do still stir up memories of Bank Holiday Mondays, Christmases and Easters from my childhood. Mostly because there was nothing else on during those times.


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