They Can Do Magic


I’ve been playing this song a lot lately. I’ve known it since it was a hit in 1973 so it’s far from being a new record to me but I heard it again recently and was suddenly struck by what an utterly great pop-soul record it was, with a sunny and breezy charm that’s quite, well, magic. Music is funny like that sometimes, one minute a record is like wallpaper — always there but not really noticed — the next you see it’s beauty with new eyes (or ears in this case).

And what a great name for a band Limmie & The Family Cookin’ is. They were formed in Ohio by Limmie Snell and his sisters Martha and Jimmie — the latter of whom is the sweet voice on this — who never had any hits at home but scored three in the UK of which “Magic” was the first and biggest.

Not sure if a song that got to #3 in the charts can qualify as a “lost” classic but I think this is one of those records that only people of a certain age know, and for some of us perfectly captures Radio One in the 1970s.

Download: You Can Do Magic – Limmie & The Family Cookin’ (mp3)

Something for the Weekend



The usual divide in my school between the soul boys, the reggae kids, the pop fans, and the punks mostly dissolved when it came to Lover’s Rock. Everyone seemed to like it because it was melodic and soulful but also had the street cred of reggae. And girls loved it too, which was another reason for boys to like it.

All of which made the magnificent “Silly Games” about the most popular and loved record ever in my school and estate because it’s probably the best Lover’s Rock record ever made.

New-ish Monday



I’m a little late catching up to Courtney Barnett but considering how old I am it’s a minor miracle I even know her name.

Courtney is a young Australian lass who came to the world’s attention last year with two EPs of Lou Reed/Bob Dylan-esque guitar pop full of lazy melodies and off-kilter, quirky lyrics (“Avant Gardener” is about having an asthma attack.) A few months ago the two EPS were collected together and released as The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas and it’s all rather wonderful so you should get it.

Something for the Weekend



I know Bruce isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but there might be something wrong with you if this record doesn’t make you want to tear your clothes off and sing along at the top of your lungs — preferably while standing under a corner street light at night in the rain.

Posted in honour of the USA qualifying from the Group of Death to make the next round of the World Cup. There’s something wrong with the natural order of the universe when America is better at football than England.

Early Doors


Well, that didn’t last long did it? England were barely in the World Cup long enough for you to read your special issue of the Radio Times.

Despite the early exit I’m not as depressed as I was during the last World Cup where we got past the group stage but were so dismal it was almost a relief when we got knocked out. This time we actually showed glimmers of playing decent, attacking football. Not much to cling to, granted, but I’ll take it.

I’ll still be keenly watching the rest of the tournament of course and there are a few other teams I’d be happy to see to do well, but if it’s a Brazil v Germany final I may find myself overwhelmed by indifference.

But while we might be rubbish at football not many other countries can make records as great as this. No small consolation, that.

Download: Say Hello, Wave Goodbye (12″ version)- Soft Cell (mp3)

Something for the Weekend



I dressed a lot like Edwyn Collins back then. I had the vintage shirts, the bootlace tie, the Chelsea boots, the haircut. But somehow I never looked as cool as him.

World Cup Fever


If you think I’m going to be writing blog posts when I could be watching the World Cup you’re out of your tiny mind, especially when the tournament has gotten off to such a great start. Despite England’s loss Saturday it was the best World Cup performance from them in years so I’m optimistic about their chances too. So for the next few weeks don’t be surprised or upset if I only communicate via photos and videos.

If you look at any footage or photos of the 1966 World Cup (like the above) you’ll see that nearly all the England fans are waving Union Jacks instead of the Cross of St. George, but now the situation is reversed with the latter being flown almost exclusively. Euro ’96 was the first time I really noticed the change and I’m wondering if someone took England fans aside and informed them than the Union Jack was the wrong flag or are there cultural and political reasons for it. There’s probably a very good blog post to be written about that and I’d have a go at it myself if, you know, I wasn’t too busy watching football.

Something Brazilian is probably appropriate right now, a sweet swinging number by the great Elis Regina that should have you doing more stepovers than Ronaldo.

Download: Bicho Do Mato – Elis Regina (mp3)

Something for the Weekend



A little Tracie bonus for you, singing a song written for her by Elvis Costello. One mark of a great songwriter is the quality of the songs they give to other people and this is top class.

Any British men of a certain age watching this will be letting out a wisftul sigh.

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The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com

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