So here we are, together once again in the tithe barn of tunes, another harvest safely gathered in. I haven’t really had to do much beyond stack a few stooks, move the ripest stuff to the front and try to stop the kids scrumping the apples. You’ve all been very generous with your donations, all the windfalls have gone to the cider press so nothing at all wasted.
Mary Anne Haynes has been hopping down in Kent, and unlike many others who’ve covered this song, you get the impression she really has been hopping down in Kent and knows the good and the bad of it. We still had some hops in The Vale of Evesham where I was born and brought up and over Malvern way. Plenty of travellers still followed the cycles of picking through the market gardens, orchards and hop fields back then.
I’m jumping straight into October with Amy Winehouse. This isn’t a carefully curated list, it’s a greedy, can’t-get-enough list that was really hard to whittle down. The delight of being out with the pickers is getting the stuff you never find in the shops and that’s certainly the case with Witch’s October Night.
I think I got a good selection of really tasty stuff that would probably be in the new wonky veg section at Asda, wonky is good, although I probably wouldn’t have wanted to be the one telling Captain Beefheart his stuff was wonky. Tricky on the other hand has brought along a truly massive pumpkin which seems perfectly formed to me. Not one to be carving a face into, this one. I’ll save that for some gently spiced ravioli fillings.
It may have just been the power of association, tithe barns have such magnificent and venerable eaves, or it may just be that Yves Montand does the precious melancholy of Autumn so well. He’s also good with a broom. The Pet Shop Boys’ October Symphony seemed to sit so sympathetically alongside him, to my ears, that I eventually let them stay there. Their happiness means a lot to me. Incognito complete a sweetly sad triptych and then, then, . . . . then!
I was astounded to find this still unzedded and available, it was on my mind when we were planning to revisit this as a seasonal topic, those XTC chaps, having a harvest festival of their own but living all year on ‘longing looks’ ; that’ll be right. They be West Country boys, taking some cider with that I’ll wager.
Anyway, we’ve passed the equinox but there’s still some warmth in the Sun Ra, enough to ripen Tommy McCook’s harvest in the east it seems.
I have resurrected the occasional tradition of finishing the A-list with a long form piece, I hummed and hawed about whether to do this but as I’ve nominated it myself in the past I’m always cheered to see it get some love. In the end it came down to if not now when? And if not me who? You can either park it or make a pot of tea and get a packet of your favourite biscuits and get with it!
Morrissey may think November spawned a monster but in fact Centipede got in there a few weeks before with the majestic 90 minutes of Septober Energy. I’ve had this on vinyl since year dot and although I’m not particularly a fan of the fad of remixing and surround sound versions I’d be intrigued to see someone like Steven Wilson give this a go.
Autumnal A-List Playlist:
Hopping Down in Kent/My Lovely Hops – Mary Ann Haynes
October Song – Amy Winehouse
October Night – Witch
Autumn’s Child – Captain Beefheart
Pumpkin – Tricky feat. Alison Goldfrapp
Les Feuilles Mortes – Yves Montand
My October Symphony – Pet Shop Boys
Autumn Song – Incognito
Harvest Festival – XTC
Early Autumn – Sun Ra and the Astro Infinity Arkestra
Harvest in The East – Tommy McCook
Septober Energy – Centipede
Bountiful Fruit B-List Playlist:
Otoño Porteño - Astor Piazzola
October (love song) – Chris & Cosey
October 26 – Pretty Things
September Song – Chet Baker
Summer Soft – Stevie Wonder
October Song – Bert Jansch
Autumn in New York – Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
October – Sun Ra
It Might as Well Rain Until September – Carole King
Beautiful September – Jackie O Motherfucker
Licks and Kicks – Israel Vibration
Skördetider (Harvest Times) – International Harvester
Guru’s Wildcard Pick:
Sidmouth Promenade – Robb Johnson
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: Heading for a fall: songs about September and October. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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