Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Abide with me - duncan23

When unable to get out of bed, my grandfather would loudly demand that the television be carried into his bedroom whenever Cassius Clay was fighting. Other than that I never saw him get very upset and am thankful that a man who had his sole annual teary sniff during Abide With Me didn't live to hear years of wooden caterwauling by Cup Final teams on Top Of the Pops. Those of us who did may have acquired an aversion that has caused us to overlook some magnificent records with a sporting theme. There are three, at least.

The Real Sounds of Africa arrived in Harare in the 1970s. Their joyous narrative of a match between rivals "Tornados v Dynamos (3-3)" is no standard brag, nor much of a cliffhanger, given the title. Yet the exciting blending of rhumba and soukous from their native Congo with Zimbabwean mbira-influenced guitar just can't be denied. The thirteen minute version is the one, as I don't recommend missing the introduction of the teams to "His Excellency, President Kanaan Banana". This record sparked Zimbabwe Football Fever in our house. Santa was asked for Black Rhinos shirts, despite them not actually being in the song, and Moses Chunga remains a family codeword for unstoppable wizard. Players nicknamed "The Computer" or "Kojak" instantly reveal their characteristics. Marvelously, although no team ever falls more than a goal behind, whenever they equalize the Real Sounds sing something along the lines of "2-2, 2-2, they've pulled one back!" The game doesn't actually end it just fades into the ether with eight minutes to go. Utter bliss.

Former Flamengo trainee, Jorge Ben, now known as Jorge Ben Jor, to avoid royalties being mistakenly sent to George Benson, recorded many football songs. "Camisa 10 da Gavea" about Zico, is okay, but "Ponta de Lanca Africano (Umbabarauma)" is Brazilian music at its irrepressible best. Knowledge of the centre-forward in question matters not, we just want The Goal Man to Go! This is taut afro-samba-funk call-and-response ecstasy; as if Fela Kuti, Tom Ze and James Brown signed for your team, with contracts stipulating that the crowd must always be attractive, delirious, and virtually naked. The best argument yet for the winter break.

In the midst of the noble sporting struggle that is cricket, though no sound can match that of bat on ball, some have tried. Sadly, conditions were never ideal for the very English genius Vivian Stanshall to contribute much in this area. The Bonzo Dog Band's "Sport" jibed weakly and the hint of some cricket action buried in the glorious verbal kaleidoscope of "Sir Henry at Rawlinson End" never emerged from the crumbling pavilion of Viv's dreams. Roy Harper's hazy "When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease" (left) was a great doomed knock, especially if we believe it only took fifteen minutes to write. Which brings us to The Cavaliers' creation of "It's A Beautiful Game", just possibly the finest recording dedicated to a sporting theme. Here is an ethereal litany of English cricket legends including Geoffrey Boycott, James Laker, Trevor Bailey, Thomas Graveney, John Augustine Snow, and "Sir" Frederick Trueman, balanced with faux wafts of calypso and didgeridoo. It's as if angels were serenading the dusty heroes on a faraway beach or cloud. Was that a wave or a ripple of applause? This fabulous ode proved as unrepeatable as any of those summers long since passed. I'd especially caution against hearing The Cavaliers unnervingly repeat the word "Tavare" on their album "A Perfect Action", unless you feel you absolutely must.


DoctorShoot said...

genius piece duncan23
evocative, so cool, and tavare tavare...
and i thought the yobs in gabba's bay13 singing shane warne shane warne shane waaaaaarne, was as good as it got....
seems it just gets better and better...
i shall have to rewrite my piece again....drat....

bluedaddy said...

That was just dandy Duncan. Liquid and lyrical.
That's enough alliteration from me.
Thanks D23.

file said...

groovy piece D,

soo this is the zoundstrack to your sporting heritage, tres cool. Love the Bonzo's but haven't heard much of the rest, tho it's clear that you really dig it. Might it be possible to link to some of these?

what is it with 'Abide with me' and the older generation? It's like the roots of Celine Dion

So much, much better than the GU blog jukebox which only carries 'Sweet Potato Blues', 'Red, Red Rooster' and ditties by The Damned but not The Banned, thanks

Ebren said...

thought I'd mention that d23 sent me sound files to go with this - but I haven't worked out how to attach them.

If I do I'll let you all listen along.

pipita said...

Lovely stuff Duncan, really enjoyed this. I still remember seeing Bruce Forsyth singing "abide with me" at wembley, and who can forget Elton John actually crying at the sound of that tune when Watford made it to the FA cup final against Everton (snif,snif, what a team we had then!!!!!!)Im quite ignorant about Bob Dylan, but didnt he have a song about some exploited american boxer as well?? Must say that Roy Harper looks really cool...Lastly, about that Jorge Ben song, and I know this is anecdotal, wasnt it dedicated to a Flamengo legend called Fio Maravilla?? Just curious. Thanks a million

bluedaddy said...

Ebren, have you tried double-sided tape for speed, val singleton style?

marcela said...

duncan fast becoming the music journalist i read the most :)

loved this. would be great to have sound files to boot. is there a way?

mimi said...

superb, dunc. Thanks. If we can't get sound files, could we not just have the links like we've had on jukebox strands in the Taproom? Roy Harper: that takes me back! Best musical sporting thing ever tho is to be at the Arms Park (now Millenium Stadium) for an England Wales match and be part of X-thousand voices singing Bread of Heaven. Chills down the spine don't get much more thrilling than that.

greengrass said...

Dunc -
great writing!

The songs almost jump from the page, but I can't wait for those sound files!

file -
"older generation" - the cheek! If you don't crumble at "Abide With Me" - preferably without Bruce Fucksyth - you've never lived a Wembley cup final, footy or Rugby League.

mimi -
I too love hearing the Welsh singing "Bread of Heaven". It puts the fear of Dog into us English - mind, we usually lose the singing, then win the game.

byebyebadman said...

Pipita - Bob Dylan wrote a song called Hurricane about the controversial imprisonment of Ruben 'Hurricane' Carter in the mid 60's for murder.

Recent sports-related output by musicians - Kraftwerks soundtracks to the Tour de France a couple of years ago, I think meant to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the race but they botched the release.

And I can't hear this because I don't have sound at work, so apologies if it's not any good but this is Stephen Patrick Morrissey singing 'Munich Air Disaster 1958', one of his b-sides.


Agree about the old Arms Park Mimi, it was the anthem that always got me. Jaw-dropping.

file said...

pipeta, gg,

I didn't see it but now you mention it Bruce Forsyth was probably born to sing Abide With Me, non?

once did a bit of work for the Burundi Drummers, imagine 90,000 of them buggers in Wembley, now that would be effective supporter skills

greengrass said...

file, you stirrer -
Bruce F was born NOT to sing.

duncan said...

Very kind words from people I respect, thanks. But I can't believe BD isn't pitching for "Blue Is The Colour" or that no one feels as I do about "Back Home" (Love it!).

I expected to be flayed alive for using the words "Cassius Clay", Hannibal must be busy (can't imagine what with...)! So I'll get the old retaliation in first. I'm uncomfortable using that name but since that's what he was called when my grandad was alive its accurate: "Come on! Get a bloody move on! Useless twats! If I miss the Clay fight...threat, curse, threat, etc..."

I sent Ebren short soundfiles about a minute long, and also the full tracks. Hopefully he'll get the soundfiles up. I can also offer to email full mp3s to anyone who's interested to hear them. No problem at all.

pipita -
Roy Harper was cool enough to contract some terrible disease from giving a sheep the kiss of life, mighta been hepatitis!

I decided against "Hurricane" because it's less about boxing than on his false murder rap. Great though.
That said, I recommend Warren Zevon's "Boom Boom Mancini" if it's odes to boxer's ye be wantin'.
I've struggled to find out who the Jorge Ben song is about, thanks for the tip!

bybebyebadman - I really like that Mozzer song, cheers. the taproom jukebox needs a shakeup but there'll always be a place for "Neat Neat Neat" by The Damned, don't you think?

I got a version of Coltrane and Monk playing "Abide With Me". I'm with GG on this, any version gets me weeping, wailing and gnashing me teeth...Imagine if someone at the FA had thought (yeah, right...)to invite Aretha Franklin to sing it for the first Cup Final at "New Wembley" ....? Talk about flippin' goosepimples!

doctorshoot - let's have your piece mate. Soon.

mimi said...

dunc: forgot to say that anyone who references Sir Henry is a fine upstanding citizen in my book. Sir Viv of Stanshall is horribly neglected these days.

marcela said...

mp3 e-mails? yes please!

funny what you say about cassius, because i read it and didn't bat an eyelid and now that i've read your comment i think it's because your piece is properly evocative of a time. i remember my elders talking about cassius clay so perhaps what would have read stangely is if your grandfather had demanded the tv for an ali fight.

'hurricane' is an old favourite of course but what i want is to listen to some stuff i've never heard before.

or monk and coltrane doing anything... :)

we have a pretty impressive national archive of sports based classics in argentina - i'm sure pipita will back me up on this.

chelseaexile said...

My mum still calls him Cassius Clay. She thought he was 'nice' when he was Clay...

A bit like the Beatles they were 'nice' too, before they grew their hair.. Big Sinatra fan me mum... She's 103.

duncan said...

mimi -
thanks, you old music fart!
'ginger geezer' the book by chris welch on viv is required reading, i think.

marcela -
just tried to send you the real sounds mp3 but my computer says its too big. weird cos it let me bundle and send all 3 to ebren. i'll keep trying, or maybe ebren could send you that one?

what are those argentine songs?
Not, "You're Gonna Get Your Ticker Tape Picked Up", or "Come On You Blues n Blacks n Whites", surely?

byebyebadman said...

This might jog a few memories, but probably not...got to love oddball lyrics about subbuteo though. Ladies and gentlemen, seminal scousers Half Man Half Biscuit and their charming ditty, 'All I Want For Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit'.


Hunted for the mp3 but to no avail.

bluedaddy said...

Wot. No snooker loopy?

Something tells me this isnt the version of the Johnny Cash classic that got Freddie and his boys going:


duncan said...

Oh Jaysus! bluedaddy...
Is it significant that the backing band have Y,Y,Y...on their shirts?

duncan said...

bbbadman -here's another for your collection by the excellent HMHB, The Referees Alphabet:


.."get back in your technical area..."

pipita said...

Ta, thats the dylan song I meant. I used to run a subbuteo league here inbaires some decades ago...
If you insist on calling me "pipeta" I'll start referring to you as "filo" and, if you persist, something even worse...btw enjoyed, and very much related, to your piece on the cup final
Bloody hell, is that right about harper?? btw Ferry CD of Dylan covers just came out. Liked the two I heard up to now
Your spoiling my english childhood memories. How dare you make reference to dear ol Brucie like that...
When it comes to argie rock, Im no expert...Paulita should be a better source for this. I just have in mind those pretty awful Maradona songs by Rodrigo and Ratones
My dad claims he's never heard of John Lennon, and he's only 72....

marcela said...

pipita - your dad cannot make such a claim... i refuse to believe it. really.

was looking on youtube for spinetta's "la bengala perdida" which is a song about a kid who died hit by a bengal at a stadium.

but was also thinking about bands like, for example, caballeros de la quema, and a song i was into at one time was "todos atras y dios de 9" (everyone at the back, God's the 9).

but there are tangos and murgas too. " Ever since the first time I went to a match holding my old man's hands.... I stayed forever" and so on (that's Mozzi y el murgon, FYI)

meant to say before: File, you worked with the Burundi drummers! How cool is that?

drumming en masse has such an amazingly powerful effect - i guess it's no coincidence that a lot of the cheering done by organized supporters at argentinian stadia was referred to as 'bombo' (drum) and now much of the actions during marches and demonstrations are also often described as 'bombo' - which means loud and disruptive to some, i guess.

Ebren said...

Thouroughly defeated - that's what I am.

I have no clue how to post music files.

If someone else knows how to host them I can link to them easily enough.

Failing that - email me and I will share.

Sorry guys.


marcela said...

thank you for trying, ebren :)

DoctorShoot said...

ok ok I tried to resist honestly but this posting is as inevitable as was ebren's advice on calumny and traduction..


now that was worth it no??

duncan said...


Aw man, why would you want to resist posting that? Beautiful.

DoctorShoot said...

and if you'll bear with me, in honour of duncan's delicious piece above which I have enjoyed several times now, (and whilst not a football song, an inspirational anthem for a whole generation):

offside said...

Hey hey, the gang's all here
We're gonna swing as one

Is Moorea with me?


pipita said...

El flaco Spinetta!!!!!! Off course, bless his soul River fanatic as he is, he dedicated a song to Riverplei legend Beto Alonso, whilst at Almendra or was it Pesacado Rabioso??, entitled "El capitán beto"...Im singing out loud "Ahí va el capitán betoooo por el espaacioo.."How could I forget that

DoctorShoot said...

Ah va el Capitn Beto por el espacio,
la foto de Carlitos sobre el comando
y un bandern de River Plate
y la triste estampita de un santo... etc

oh how much we are deprived here in the backwateres of the pacific.... shane waaaaaarne...

pipita said...

Blimey Doctorshoot!! Where the hell did you come from?? Pardon me, but Im intrigued after your recitation of Capitan Beto. Im afraid I dont recall you from either GU or here. Apologies

marcela said...

doctor shoots and scores:
that cassius and sam clip is so nice that in gratitude i offer you this;


and for you too pipita... :)

DoctorShoot said...

my wife was a resident spanish student in antigua city guatemala for six months and I spent four of those months with her lazing around and having the time of my life travelling, playing, learning to dance, shopping and meeting.
a couple of our friends were river plate fanatics and I have one of their links with the words to that song.
sorry to come out of left field there.

pipita said...

On the contrary Doctorshoot, many thanks. I hear la Antigua is amazing...

Wonder what you found in youtube. I'll click that link later. Dont tell me you managed to get hold of a spinetta clip..

zeph said...

Shall I post Paul Kelly's Shane Warne song one more time? Bearing in mind that it's an adaptation of a great classic calypso? Ok, then.


And doc, in the same spirit as the Sam Cooke, here's the Jimmy Cliff you posted at the end of the taproom thread, just in case anyone missed it, because it should not be missed...


Duncan, great piece, and thanks for the links everyone, Ali/Clay singing is just wonderful.

DoctorShoot said...

ah yes marcela thank you.
(my spanish is hopeless of course but for a moment I felt as though I was back in honduras in the bay islands where they played football songs on friday nights in one of the rickety bopping pier restaurants...)
I would love to post the shane warne tribute song by paul kelly but don't have the link.

DoctorShoot said...

zeph you are indeed the legendary whip of pseuds thank you.
duncan23 you should feel rewarded by your inspirational piece.

zeph said...

doc, your wish is my command!

offside said...

It seems that some of us are not familiar with DoctorShoot, so, by way of introduction, let me point you to an early (and lovely) contribution of his to Pseuds' Corner :


Well worth the trip and I bet it will have you all clamouring for more from the Doc.

And if that makes you thirsty, you can stop by the taproom on your way back, it's open

mimi said...

I might have known that if I hung around here long enough someone would bring up HalfManHalfBiscuit, so thanks chaps!
The obscure music bar is being raised, I'll have to trawl the vinyl. It'll come as no surprise to some of our antipodean (sp - can't be arsed to find the dikker, again) readers that I have a wealth of Oz stuff in my collection. Just not sure any of it is football related, but I have a sneaking suspicion that on one of my Beyond the Southern Cross compilations is a ditty penned in praise of the God that was Gary Ablett.

byebyebadman said...

Under marble Millichip the FA broods, on how flair can be punished.


Kicker Conspiracy by The Fall. Gots to love it.

Thanks for the HMHB tune Duncan.

MotM said...

Duncan - Loved the piece.

Pipita - Watched the '85 Cup Final last week on ESPN. Elton did cry and Everton were a helluva team.

Can't match the musical knowledge here, but this is fun http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=297zDxqzUJo

offside said...

Allright, I've just trawled through every single one of the music links posted on this thread, which confirmed my initial suspicion that you're all crazy.

And therefore, you deserve this:


Some people say this is what watching Chelsea play Liverpool feels like. Sometimes.

Tweet it, digg it