Music genres you hear in The La's

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Music genres you hear in The La's

Postby gaetano » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:59 pm

Ciao everyone.
One hears a lot of different types of music in The La's. Shall we list them?

For example, you can obviously hear flamenco music in When Will I See You Again and Way Out, especially on the record version as opposed to the video one.
Or, one can hear a definite Indian folk/raga influence on Endless.

Let's make a comprehensive list of every music genre one can hear in The La's output, shall we?
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Re: Music genres you hear in The La's

Postby jcalz216 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:01 pm

Well, using Lee's own track listing as a guide, here's some of what I hear:

"Son of a Gun": A "brisk, Latin-inflected acoustic strum-along" is a nice summary for one of the La's' most original songs. Apart from the lyrics lightly referencing Pink Floyd's "Breathe" via the line "Run, rabbit. run!", it's difficult to tease other genres out, but recently I did realize that the rhythm section of this one does share a lot in common with Captain Beefheart's "Low Yo Yo Stuff."

"Freedom Song": An almost straight nursery rhyme is what I sense in this short and monotone but still catchy ditty, as well as bits and pieces of the Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon." Both fit well with its slightly morbid theme.

"Clean Prophet": Is it fair to say that the shorter the song, the more material Lee finds a way to somehow pack in? I like to think so here. Plus, that excess of riches via less-is-more has been kind of co-opted by Oasis for "The Importance of Being Idle." My gut tells me that Noel took a lot of liberties with those La's songs that didn't make it into the lone album. But Lee understands that reinterpretation is part of every songwriter's toolkit. Hence, "Clean Prophet" mixes Roy Orbison's "Running Scared" with the solo from Herman's Hermits' live version of "Jezebel" to create something entirely new. Add in just a dash of various Kinks songs, and it's another true original.

"Come In Come Out": Honestly, I'm not sure about this one. It's always proved elusive, almost as much as another which we'll soon get to. I'd love to hear what you guys think.

"Doledrum": The first time I heard the Kinks' "Milk Cow Blues," I immediately heard certain similarities, and that led me to the blues as a whole. Together with the theme of life on "the dole" and not to let it become a mainstay, this falls well within the tradition of singing the blues so as to not feel the blues. I heard a lot of that in Edgar Jones' "Stubborn Mule Blues" as well.

"There She Goes": If you're reading this, you're enough of a La's fan that I'm not even going to try. :wink:

"Feelin'": Same as with "Come In Come Out."

"Timeless Melody": Ibid.

"IOU": Lots of Lonnie Donegan in this one, as well as skiffle in general. British AND American skiffle. For those who've never sought out the difference, it's fun finding out.

"Over": For the one "perfect" song the La's managed to record, I'm not going to risk putting my two cents out there. This one must be crowd-sourced.

"I Can't Sleep": The interview Lee gave to Daniel Rachel pretty cleanly summarizes most of what's going on in this one, so I'll defer to it. "Don't fix it if it ain't broke..."

"Knock Me Down": Another slightly peppier nursery rhyme. I mean, a jack-in-the-box? This one's wearing its heart on its sleeve, literally almost. Also, folk I would say, since nursery rhymes and ballads are most modern folk songs' common ancestors.

"Liberty Ship": Sea shanty! So much so that I introduced the La's to a friend of mine using this one, since she loves sea shanties.

"Callin' All": I didn't realize how fun this one is until just a few months ago, when I finally got it and quit beating my head against the wall trying to figure it out. More flamenco, adding to what gaetano wrote above, as well as some raga rock of its own via the Stones' "Paint It Black." I'm a novelist, so those Wordsworth-level lyrics acted as too much of a spectacle for me to notice. For a while, at least.

"Failure": The La's only foray into hard rock. Early hard rock, at that. The lovechild of the Stones and bands like Uriah Heep.

"Looking Glass": Another one I figured out relatively recently, with the help of another friend who's SERIOUSLY into the mod scene in 1960s London. Raga rock again, and--please don't shoot the messenger--Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." Mimes mic drop.

"Who Knows": Straight folk, more or less. A quiet, subdued ending that fits well with Lee's overall style, which has ever been one of going with the flow. Outside the studio, of course.

Please add your own, revise mine, etc. I'd love to see what you guys think, and what I've missed.
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Re: Music genres you hear in The La's

Postby IanIachimoe » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:39 pm

jcalz216 wrote:My gut tells me that Noel took a lot of liberties with those La's songs that didn't make it into the lone album.


Another one I noticed a while back that I don't think has been mentioned before, the chorus at 1:27. Sounds like 'Over' to me

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Re: Music genres you hear in The La's

Postby Tony » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:24 pm

jcalz216 wrote:"Freedom Song": An almost straight nursery rhyme is what I sense in this short and monotone but still catchy ditty, as well as bits and pieces of the Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon." Both fit well with its slightly morbid theme.


Seems like a march to me, great songwriting, he really can write in any genre withing hanging onto said genre too much. Did you mean Clean Prophet though? "Take me, take me, take me..."

"Come In Come Out": Honestly, I'm not sure about this one. It's always proved elusive, almost as much as another which we'll soon get to. I'd love to hear what you guys think.


"Sex n Drugs n Rock n Roll..." ;)

"Doledrum": The first time I heard the Kinks' "Milk Cow Blues," I immediately heard certain similarities, and that led me to the blues as a whole. Together with the theme of life on "the dole" and not to let it become a mainstay, this falls well within the tradition of singing the blues so as to not feel the blues. I heard a lot of that in Edgar Jones' "Stubborn Mule Blues" as well.


Musically it sounds like tracing paper over The Stones' "The Last Time", the same way "I Can't Sleep" is similar to "I Can't Explain"

"Feelin'": Same as with "Come In Come Out."


Carl Perkins' "Matchbox" has a similar rockabillyish guitar strum, but it seems like its own delightful animal

"Liberty Ship": Sea shanty! So much so that I introduced the La's to a friend of mine using this one, since she loves sea shanties.


I recall that this developed from the Bo Diddley beat!
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Re: Music genres you hear in The La's

Postby gaetano » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:09 pm

Excellent. Also, I hear quite a lot of reggae/Wailers in "Our Time", and an obvious Arabic/Northern African influence on the rehearsal version of Man I'm Only Human.

Keep this going, please :)
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Re: Music genres you hear in The La's

Postby jcalz216 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:38 am

gaetano wrote:Excellent. Also, I hear quite a lot of reggae/Wailers in "Our Time", and an obvious Arabic/Northern African influence on the rehearsal version of Man I'm Only Human.

Keep this going, please :)


Which version of "Man I'm Only Human"? The more mystic-sounding John Leckie version or the other one? Also, speaking of this one, while the music itself does have a slightly Tinariwen vibe, the lyrics seem to owe a bit to the Who's "Who Are You." I forget where Pete Townshend's quoted as saying this, but part of what he's punning on with the repetitive "who who, who who" is the Mesopotamian word for "god," which was pronounced "hu-." Hence, "Man I'm Only Human" becomes an epic musing on what makes one a man, a god, a demigod, etc. "Man, I'm only God, man!" "Man, I'm only a god-man!" So forth.

Also, I just remembered hearing Beefheart's "China Pig" for the first time and realizing that that's part of where Lee got the wonky beat for "Ride Yer Camel." Much more recently, someone posted a live version they did as an almost throwaway bridge between songs, and I marveled at how it sounded like something by Stevie Ray Vaughan. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_Zlh_gEWfk Well done, by the way, Ian!
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Re: Music genres you hear in The La's

Postby Garwood Pickjon » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:47 pm

Reading the initial post I was just about to mention the exact same references as Tony which to me seem most obvious re: “Come in Come out”, “I can’t sleep”, “Clean prophet” and I’d also add re: “Doledrum” that Edgar seem to have been reaching for the same source (The last time) in “Weed bus”, while “Feelin” always sounded to me as a nod towards The Beatles’ 65-ish riff laden output such as “I feel fine”, “Paperback writer”, “Day tripper”, “Ticket to ride” ... of course this could easily turn into an endless debate, but these few just might seem a bit more obvious to me at least
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Re: Music genres you hear in The La's

Postby westyorksla » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:21 am

I reckon Mavers couldn't have written 'Come In Come Out' if Ian Dury hadn't first written 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll' :D
"sounds as raw as a raw fish"
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Re: Music genres you hear in The La's

Postby gaetano » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:59 pm

jcalz216 wrote:
gaetano wrote:Excellent. Also, I hear quite a lot of reggae/Wailers in "Our Time", and an obvious Arabic/Northern African influence on the rehearsal version of Man I'm Only Human.

Keep this going, please :)


Which version of "Man I'm Only Human"? The more mystic-sounding John Leckie version or the other one? Also, speaking of this one, while the music itself does have a slightly Tinariwen vibe, the lyrics seem to owe a bit to the Who's "Who Are You." I forget where Pete Townshend's quoted as saying this, but part of what he's punning on with the repetitive "who who, who who" is the Mesopotamian word for "god," which was pronounced "hu-." Hence, "Man I'm Only Human" becomes an epic musing on what makes one a man, a god, a demigod, etc. "Man, I'm only God, man!" "Man, I'm only a god-man!" So forth.

Also, I just remembered hearing Beefheart's "China Pig" for the first time and realizing that that's part of where Lee got the wonky beat for "Ride Yer Camel." Much more recently, someone posted a live version they did as an almost throwaway bridge between songs, and I marveled at how it sounded like something by Stevie Ray Vaughan. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_Zlh_gEWfk Well done, by the way, Ian!


Hi,
I meant this one, which has a distinct Northern African/Arabian feel to it. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFUJRaLUZZg[/youtube]

Also, I hear a lot of flamenco strumming in Lee's right hand. Simple up/down, 4/4 flamenco strumming is a bit different from typical guitar rock strumming, as the thumb is more relaxed, the wrist rotates on its axis rather than moving up and down, and the sound between the up and down stroke is more even both in tempo and volume.
I hear that on There She Goes, Way Out (album version), Callin All.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXN7bOBykfo[/youtube]
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