Playlists: songs about parades and processions

“A monarchy is the most expensive of all forms of government, the regal state requiring a costly parade, and he who depends on his own power to rule, must strengthen that power by bribing the active and enterprising whom he cannot intimidate.” – James Fenimore Cooper

Mardi Gras in New Orleans has a Zulu tradition

“Style is when they’re running you out of town and you make it look like you’re leading the parade.”  – William Battie

It was only ever going to start this way. The first nomination this week by sonofwebcore set the tone for a marvellous week of music. The Love Parade continues a run of matchless singles from the Undertones, though sadly one of their last. Thank you George.

Zero 7 are a band I was vaguely aware of, Sia more so. Their work together on the gorgeous The Pageant of the Bizarre is just magical. Thanks to Olive Butler for this one.

“Catch a falling star you’ll go far
In the pageant of the bizarre.”

I avoided 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields when it first came out. Three hours? Kidding. A Christmas gift almost 20 years ago (!) it stayed in the cover for the next year or so. Then. Well, you get the drift. Still an astounding collection of songs. With thanks to Uncleben, Parades Go By is one of many standouts. 

“So many beautiful parades go by 
Leave me behind I’ll sit and stare”

So, inevitably, to Louisiana. So many fantastic choices this week from the peerless city of New Orleans. I had a ball listening to some fantastic music (special thanks to Nicko, magicman and 9hairs9knots). Big Chief Bo Dollis & The Wild Magnolias set the challenge in Meet De Boys on the Battlefront. This one thanks to Nicko.

“I’ll bring my gang all over town
and drink fire water till the sun go down
when we get back home we gonna kneel and pray
we had some fun on the holiday.”

Another New Orleans native, Mary Gauthier, gives us a history of the music of the city. Wheel Inside The Wheel is a glorious parade. Thanks to treefrogdemon.

“Souls ain’t born, souls don’t die
Soul ain’t made of earth, ain’t made of water, ain’t made of sky
So, ride the flaming circle, wind the golden reel
And roll on, brother, in the wheel inside the wheel.”

Stax Records vice-president Al Bell wrote this song after attending the funeral of his little brother. The Staple Singers gave an outstanding performance of I’ll Take You There and I listen in awe. Another nomination by sonofwebcore.  (Or George these days? Which do you prefer?)

“Let me lead the way (I’ll take you there)”

Mary Coughlan offers a lesson in who, and what, to avoid. A remarkable song, from her album Under the Influence, here is a Parade of Clowns. Thanks to severin.

“Make way for a parade of clowns
Dripping with the sweat of earthly pain.”

And back to New Orleans. The mighty Mac Rebennack jr departed the parish recently. Witness here a parade of choices made by Junko Partner, courtesy of 9hairs9knots:

“Give me tobacco-o-o
When I get a little sickly
But give me heroin
Before I die.”

Kimya Dawson may be best known as a member of Moldy Peaches. Since then she has released some great songs, this among them. With thanks to Shoegazer, here is her Parade:

“White man in white pants was dancing
Inside out and lost his ass
A little black girl on black rollerblades
Found his butt and picked it up
And gave it back and said “hey pops,
C’mon down we’re having a parade!”

Darren Hayman offers a little more hope in The March of the Workers. With thanks to megadom, from William Morris’ Chants for Socialists, here updated.

“Hark the rolling of the thunder!
Lo the sun! and lo thereunder
Riseth wrath, and hope, and wonder,
And the host comes marching on.”

Jackson C Frank is best known now for Blues Run The Game. One of those figures from the incredibly fertile period between 1964–1968, he made the one record, but what a record! Merci bien to our resident archaeologist, ShivSidecar, who has again turned up gold with My Name Is Carnival:

“King of all
Hear me call
Hear my name
Carnival.”

The Blue Nile occupy a singular place in Scottish music. From a different generation to Orange Juice, Fire Engines and Aztec Camera, they seemed to be so much more slick and (in hindsight) 80s sounding. Dig under the skin of the polished production, this is very much a record about Glasgow. Thanks to ToffeeBoy for suggesting a couple, this is my favourite: Headlights On The Parade.

And finally. Sketches of Spain was my introduction to Miles. As a pre-teen, in love with Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, I was given this album by an uncle with the advice “this’ll knock your socks off”.  Barefoot since, I didn’t look back. Thanks to Maki for the reminder, here is Saeta.  

“A revered form of Spanish religious song, whose form and style has evolved over many centuries. Saetas evoke strong emotion and are sung most often during public processions.”

So many terrific songs nominated this week. A really enjoyable stint in the chair. Thanks to all who took the time. It’s been a pleasure.

Special thanks to the Landlord for his introduction and to Marco for his invaluable curation of the Marconium.

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