1. Scarborough fair/Canticle (Traditional/Paul Simon)
2. Stir it up (Bob Marley)
3. When a man loves a woman (Percy Sledge)
4. Calm after the storm (The Common Linnets)
5. Ballad of the crystal man (Donovan)
6. Bird on the wire (Leonard Cohen)
7. Poor little fool (Rick Nelson)
8. Don't think twice (Bob Dylan)
9. Llorando se fue (Las Kjarkas)
10. Le facteur (Georges Moustaki)
11. Tupelo honey (Van Morrison)
12. Fields of gold (Sting)
13. Natalia (Georges Moustaki)
14. Kilkelly, Ireland (Peter Jones)
15. Colours (Donovan)
16. Can't help falling in love (Elvis Presley)
17. All the tired horses (Bob Dylan)
18. Tavaszi szel (Traditional Hungarian)
about the songs
Sun, Sorrow, Flowers, Moon
Songs of Love and Chains volume three.
This is a collection of songs that I’ve loved, mostly growing up, but also from
more recently! There are great classics here that I’ve reinterpreted, like
Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Scarborough fair’, which I’ve sprinkled minstrel magic
on, Elvis’s ‘Can’t help falling in love’, where I croon, and Percy Sledge’s
‘When a man loves a woman’ with its’ emotional chord structure borrowed
from Pachelbel’s Canon, but also more obscure songs like Dylan’s sleepy
‘All the tired horses’ and ‘Kilkelly, Ireland’, by Peter Jones (not the
department store or Dragon’s Den entrepreneur!)... which I find impossible
to sing without crying. We’ve discreetly edited the tears out!
I sing in three different languages other than English, too... French, Spanish
and Hungarian! ‘Le facteur’ is by French/Greek singersongwriter Georges
Moustaki, who died this year. He wrote for Edith Piaf amongst others. I’ve
remained very faithful to the original arrangements, but nevertheless, it turns
out to be a subtly different icesculpture of a rendition. ‘Llorando se fue’ is a
Bolivian folksong that got morphed into the Lambada by Kaoma in the
1990’s, but I knew it in its original form as a kid, and was enchanted. It was
used at the 1978 world cup in Argentina as the opening ceremony song! I’ve
managed to combine the Andean, ethnic folk feel with the bootylicious vigour
of the Lambada somehow, in the alchemical cauldron of my musical kitchen!
‘Tavaszi szel’ is hewn from the Hungarian soul and nature... it’s their
‘Greensleeves’ equivalent; a children’s folksong that everybody knows, with
a profound message of love! I sing it first in Hungarian and then in English,
using the cimbalom, a traditional Hungarian instrument, in the arrangement.
Leonard Cohen, Bob Marley and Van Morrison are also represented on this
album, with a lullabylike ‘Bird on the wire,’ a sexy ‘Stir it up’ and a gospely
‘Tupelo honey’. They are three of my famous five, iconic troubadour
influences... the others being the aforementioned Bob Dylan, and also Bruce
Springsteen, two of who’s songs I covered on my original Songs of Love and
Chains double album. These are artists that I regard as messengers... as
Hermes or Mercury figures... as spiritual postmen! They bring messages
from the Gods and make them sexy. As a singer myself, I feel a great honour
in retelling these tales, these stories in song.
I’ve included two Donovan tracks, ‘Colours’ and ‘Ballad of the crystal man’,
and made them jangly and crystalline. Also pure and crystalline is my
rendition of Sting’s pastoral ‘Fields of gold’ and Dylan’s ‘Don’t think twice’,
which I’ve transformed from the gritty and folky original into an upbeat, skiffly
road song. From 2014, I’ve covered ‘Calm after the storm’, this year’s
Eurovision runnerup from the Netherlands! It’s a cracking song by the lovely
Ilse de Lange, a classic ‘road’ song.
If ‘Calm after the storm’ is the newest song I’ve included, ‘Poor little fool’ is
the oldest, from 1958 (except for the traditional ballads ‘Scarborough fair’
and ‘Tavaszi szel’). It was sung by Rick Nelson, who looked like my Dad! I
love singing ‘Poor little fool’ because mostly I’m inspired to sing sacred
themed or spiritually interpreted ballads, but Rick Nelson’s sweet, dowop
lament is pure boymeetsgirl, boylosesgirl philosophy.
The other track is instrumental, a melancholy French, sepia vignette...
‘Natalia’ by Georges Moustaki. His version was for his sweet guitar, but as
piano is my ‘home’ instrument, I’ve arranged it around that.
By counterpoint, I’m now
recording a version of Bob Marley’s ‘Stir it up’ that is as sexy as a Creole mango curry and will make you take all
of your clothes off and run down to the nearest beach to dance!
I have more than enough ideas for a Songs of Love and Chains volume four,
actually... more Dylan, Cohen, Springsteen and Van Morrison songs; Buddy
Holly tracks; Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a wonderful world,’ and ‘Lord of the
dance’... lots of songs that helped me to become the man I am today; the
rock and roll legend, sex icon and Rasputin of rock that both my fans know