Of late I’ve been listening to a new album, called Don’t Ya Love Life, I’ll venture that you’ll not have heard of the band, the Tommy Blaize Band, although like me you’ll probably find the name a little familiar.
Of course the reason you’ll not have heard of them, is because you know them as something else, something that becomes clearer when you realise that the keyboards on Don’t Ya Love Life are being played by a certain Dave Arch, a name familiar to many millions of people as being in charge of the house band on Strictly Come Dancing. Then when you take a look at the Strictly Come Dancing album and find that Tommy Blaize is one of the regular singers on the show, suddenly all the pieces start to fit together.
At it’s core the Tommy Blaize Band is the same group of singers and musicians that we see every Saturday night on BBC1 during the autumn, but this is them playing mainly their own music and under their own name. Whilst on the show they turn their hands to pretty much any style the dancers throw at them, on their own there is a definite motown, old school feel to the music on the album, with brass sections and an orchestra in evidence on certain tracks. Across the whole album it is easily up to the quality of the cover versions they produce week by week on our televisions.
The album justifiably deserves to do well, and give an excellent bunch of musicians a bit of recognition in their own right, rather than just as the Strictly Come Dancing house band.
You can find the album in a number of places, including from Amazon – buying from the link below gives us a little help funding the site here.
This is a little tribute to any Youth Leader, who having been asked to contribute to some Church event, has found themselves on stage with a number of semi-unwilling members of their youth group, feeling like they’re doing a solo, and yet somehow managed to pull it together in the end.
As a background to this clip, this was filmed at our village concert, and the Youth Group decided to sing a song which they had done as part of a Christmas production they had put on in aid of the Congo appeal a few days before. Prior to this they’ve been having real problems with the backing track, and as our clip commences, the backstage guys have just about got it sorted.
So are you fed up with X-Factor winners getting the Christmas number one spot? How about this as an alternative?
This is the latest album from Voces8, who we went to see in concert on Tuesday night, and who were fantastic! The group is run by two brothers, Barney and Paul, who are also the sons of a couple of friends at Church, the concert on Tuesday being a fundraiser for the St James’ conservation appeal. Paul has said that he’s been offered odds of 25 to 1 on actually getting a Christmas number one, but he’s hopeful to do well in the classical chart. To buy or download from Amazon click the picture above, for which we get a small referal fee. Alternatively you can also pick up a copy of the album or the single from iTunes.
Okay, another bit of a gap in blogging, and another catch up!
Pregnancy wise, Beth has been back and forth to the hospital several times over the past couple of weeks with stuff related to the gestational diabetes. The dietary stuff didn’t overly work – indeed her blood sugar seems to go all over the place whatever she has actually been eating, as a result the hospital have given her insulin which she uses to bring her blood sugar back to acceptable levels. However as a diabetic, albeit a temporary one, we have had to notify both the DVLA, and the insurance companies for the cars. For the moment it is just a note on the policies – whether there is any change in premium is dependant on whether Beth’s blood sugar settles down again after the birth.
One thing I didn’t comment on last week was the final of Last Choir Standing. Unlike some of the shows of this ilk that we’ve watched, we actually had some idea what was happening being members of the choir. Pretty well from the start of the final stages, I’d been pretty sure the final two choirs would be ACM Gospel Choir, based our of the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, and Only Men Aloud, a modern twist on the traditional male voice choir from Cardiff. However things were thrown somewhat into disarray by the shock exit of ACM in the semi-final. Now I don’t know quite whether the guys from ACM got over confident and were caught out by the other choirs improving more, or whether they just had a bad night, but it did seem to thrown the competition open a bit. However by the end, despite some stunning performances – the improvement in Ysgol Glanaethwy, the youth choir from Bangor was amazing, and I’m still very impressed that a youth choir would attempt and produce such a fantastic performance of O Fortuna – but the ultimate winners were a well deserved Only Men Aloud. If you want to hear what some of the music was like, ACM Gospel Choir have an album newly released – although listening to it I can certainly hear the voices of some of the judges as a couple of things they spotted are present on the album.
Reality TV wise we’ve also had the finale of this years Big Brother. What perhaps is most interesting about this is that it was a bit of a bad night for the bookies as there was no clear winner. If you compare the final percentages for the 2008 finale with the results in 2007 you can see that each evictee on the final night was within a few percentage points of staying it – and the final winner was decided on only about three percent of the vote compared to a lead of over twenty percent last year – really it could have gone to almost any of the final five. Quite what will happen next year I don’t know – the programme got lower ratings than ever this year, and the show isn’t the guarantee of even Z-list status it once was. As this Times article from today quotes Craig Phillips winner of the first series:
“I speak to a lot of Big Brother contestants from the past few years and theyâ€™re all struggling. They canâ€™t get work in the media but they canâ€™t get a â€˜normalâ€™ job in a supermarket. Itâ€™s not going to be all red carpets for this yearâ€™s winner.”
I doubt they’ll drop the show before it’s tenth anniversary next year, but quite what it’s longevity will be after that I don’t know.
Along with our annual trip to see the Tappers, this weekend was also pretty busy as it was our patronal festival weekend at St James. As part of this on Saturday we had an evening from The Madding Crowd, a group of performers from Winchester, and then today we had the annual opening of the Church Tower, and a mini fete up at the Church.
The Madding Crowd primarily perform a selection of music originally written for the parish bands who in days gone by would have provided the musical accompaniment for church services in the days before the pipe organ. They augment the performance with readings and dances from the same period, drawing heavily on the work of Thomas Hardy, indeed drawing their name from his fourth novel. It was a great evening, and showed up some music that perhaps we could use in the Church choir – and some of the dramatic interludes showed up that very little has changed in the Church over the past hundred years – people still moan about the Rector, and choir practice hasn’t changed much at all, even if the instruments and the clothes have!
The main village fete alternates between being hosted by the Church and the school, so in years like this when it is the turn of the school, the Tower Opening and Mini-Fete are one of our major fund raising efforts for the year, especially important in a year like this when we have a big campaign in progress. Thanks to the vagaries of the British weather, even in July it can involve a lot of prayer for a nice day – and since all the way through this week there has been rain forecast for this afternoon, it was great to have such fantastic weather. As a result we got a lot of people through the doors and climbing the tower, and fingers crossed a goodly amount of money for the conservation appeal.
Needless to say I was around with my camera, so I’ve included a set of pictures below. As you might have noticed if you follow my Flickr stream, I’ve started to take a picture or two with the much maligned camera on the iPhone. Although some aren’t going to win any awards, especially in poor light, I have to say that some, in particular this one and this one are a lot better than I perhaps would expect based purely on the specs for the camera on paper.