teh mexicanos

1:26 am : Thursday, 18 July 2013  |  , , ,

My father was a songwriter back in the 60s and 70s, and occasionally one of his songs would be successfully published by Francis, Day & Hunter.

Back in 1963 his song Sea Winds was published. On the 1963 Atco 7" it is credited to Leon Young and his String Chorale, while the 1964 FDH Mood Music 78RPM 10" release credits the New Century Orchestra. Both pressings, however, feature the same recording.

Leon Young and His String Chorale/New Century Orchestra - Sea Winds

Following the death of my father in 1990, It was decided that I would continue to receive any royalties due as a result of performances of his music. The payments themselves were usually miniscule, and were invariably due to one song - The Mexican - being played on non-UK radio, usually Radio Tirana or Polskie Radio Olsztyn!

A couple of days ago, I was searching for info on some of his published work, and was ultimately directed to Old Faithful Youtube. I was surprised to find three uploads of The Mexican, as performed by an early 60s faux-Shadows outfit called The Fentones. This provided my first ever hearing of the song. Co-written with one Morgan Jones, it was published and released in 1962 on Parlophone, and even scraped its way to a UK number 41 position.

The Fentones - The Mexican

Listening to it, I am reminded of that rather annoying tendency I had years ago as a struggling songwriter, to include so many peculiar chord changes! Maybe it was my father's love of jazz, but it was something I ended up taking with me. I thought I was being musically clever, but it only made for tiring listening! Only Glenn Tilbrook himself can write songs with a gazillion chord changes and successfully pull it off! Need examples? The Squeeze song House of Love demonstrates this very well, along with the Difford & Tilbrook "solo" song On My Mind Tonight.

I don't need this pressure on...

7:16 pm : Wednesday, 10 July 2013  |  , ,

The weather has been somewhat fine of late, with temperatures hitting a sweltering 28°C (82°F). All thanks to that high pressure that is sitting right over the UK. Of course, high pressure doesn't just bring hot weather. It also has the capacity to f*ck up our TV reception. I can remember back in 1983 when, in north London, I was somehow able to receive European radio on the FM band. It was quite an ear-opener for an 11 year old me! That and BBC Radio Sussex...

Last night however, our Freeview reception decided to start dropping out (that's the British digital terrestrial TV, for my non-UK readers). Forty or so channels dropped down to a very sorry eight channels. I wasn't best pleased. Not a big TV watcher, but I was still dissatisfied. After half an hour of scouring the net for any current transmitter issues, I decided to retune the TV. And what an experience that was! The TV registered just one of the six multiplexes from the Sandy Heath transmitter. Then it registered three HD channels from France! Next it started pulling in channels from Crystal Palace in London and from Bluebell Hill in Kent!

So, the ability to get a local service was minimal, while the TV was perfectly happy to receive transmissions from afar. Interesting! Come this afternoon, things seem to have settled a bit more - though the BBC multiplex is still evading reception.

Fortunately one page on the web managed to be of help: