Documentary alert – A while back I did a series on Aretha Franklin, mentioning the fact that she had done a gospel documentary called Amazing Grace. That doc was released after her death and is now available On-Demand, iTunes, etc. Haven’t seen it yet but it is on my list and if you are a fan, should be on yours, too.
“Who doesn’t love Squeeze? Nobody I think. Infectious pop earworm stuff.” I wrote that as the opening line to my Squeeze post of a couple years ago. When I posted about them on Facebook after seeing them, a friend said, “I LOVE Squeeze! Ahhhh…so many college memories! Tempted by the fruit of another…la la la I think I wore out my cassette (yes, cassette…and an original sony walkman!).”
It had never at any point in time occurred to me to see Squeeze, not for a minute. For me they were always one of those bands you hear on the radio, dig their stuff then go buy their Greatest Hits album. But then I found out (initially too late) that they were coming to one of my favorite venues, the Tupelo (NH) Music Hall.
I say “too late” because by the time I heard they were coming they were sold out. And then I realized, damn, this could be a once-in-a-lifetime shot, especially given that it was by no means certain that Difford and Tillbrook would always both be part of any re-formed Squeeze.
So imagine my delight when I woke up one morning with an email newsletter blast. Apparently, the band was booked somewhere after their gig at the Tupelo and something went awry. So they went back to the management of this venue and advised them they had a hole in their schedule and could they come back again. The venue happily agreed and seeing this I quickly bought two tickets (in the second row, no less.) I bought two reckoning that my wife would go because she likes the band.
Now if you go back and look at my earlier posts, you’ll see I go to a fair amount of shows as there is no substitute for live music. But I have become very, very jaded lately, attending shows more, enjoying them less. But I am here to tell you that I had more fun at this show than I have had in quite some time.
It really did become a singalong but in the best way. Glenn Tillbrook – who does virtually all the lead vocals – at no point in time stopped singing and expected us to take over or made us “put our hands together” or wave them the fuck in the air back and forth or hold up your cell phone or any of that other stupid phony show biz horseshit.
He just sang – and played guitar quite well – and Difford did his “one octave lower” harmony signing and the 7-piece (drums, percussion, bass, two keyboards plus pedal steel, two guitars) just cooked and cooked. What am an amazingly tight band. And there were times where literally everybody in the band was singing.
I want to here single out Yolanda Charles, the bass player you see pictured. She is a well-known quantity in England (All English bands must be All-English apparently) having played with Paul Weller, Dave Stewart, Robbie Williams, and Mick Jagger. (As well as her own band). She, along with the percussionists, brought out the latent funk that’s been lurking in some of these songs.
Did I record some of these songs? Yes, I did. I sang quietly so as not to override Tillbrook’s singing. I sing quite a bit better than he does, of course. You understand.
Here’s the band doing one of your (and my) favorites, “Pulling Mussels from a Shell,” a song about being on holiday and having a bit of slap and tickle “behind the chalet.”
Next up, Difford sings “Cool for Cats” in a Cockney accent. Having spent some time in London back in the day, I am, of course, an expert. I know, for instance, that the “Sweeney” refers to England’s Flying Squad that investigates robberies. I think it may go back to Sweeney Todd, the (infamous) Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
This song goes through all sorts of bizarre situations (“The Indians send signals from the rocks above the pass”) and winds up with, er – a little slap and tickle!
Slowing it down a little bit, let’s go with my friend Barbara’s favorite song, “Tempted” which is about, well, you know. Or at least the temptation of that. “I said to my reflection let’s get out of this place.”
Next up – “Slap and Tickle!” (You might by now be rightfully accused of sensing a theme. I’m with you on that.)
I’ll just shut the hell up here and leave you with two more, the glorious “Goodbye Girl,” and of course, “Take Me I’m Yours” perhaps the greatest song of all time (except for all the other ones about which I said exactly the same thing.)
The band is on tour and, trust me, if you dig this band you will have a blast. Below is a Spofify list which reflects (mostly) that night’s set list. They inadvertently – some might say criminally – left off “Another Nail From My Heart” so I’ve rectified that situation without having to involve the Sweeney in any way, shape, or form.
The douchebags at Spotify made some change so that the list no longer shows up on my blog. So hopefully this link works ok. I await their next “improvement” in two weeks since they are an Agile shop.