Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Ireland, Music

Rainy days and songdays – Belfast and Jamaican Wailers

Belfast is one of the last places you might expect to find a reggae footprint but The Wailers are alive and well on the banks of the River Foyle.

Nathaniel Ian Wynter was a regular visitor to Island House, Bob Marley’s home in Jamaica where he would jam.

There was jamming’ to be done too when Natty spoiled us all in the unlikely setting of my old homestead, Greystones, Co. Wickllow.

Natty look

Natty, you see, had been lured to Ireland by a caílin, and stayed.

He came to Greystones to play Bob’s hits before an intimate gathering a few years ago.

Two greats: Bob and Natty

And we had the pleasure too to listen to Bob’s music, and the best Soca, at the One Love festival in Crop Over in Barbados.

They are few now of those who played with the Great Man Marley and we lost the last regular member of the band only this year.

Bunny on the money

Bunny Wailer left us last month, drawn away by the invitation to play the best reggae gig anywhere… in Heaven with Bob and Peter Tosh.

Gosh, it’s Tosh: Peter Tosh

Nothin’ will stop a Jamaican jammin’ and our island friends have been putting on shows for us the past year.

And they are movin’ Heaven and Earth to get us back out there to jam with them.

Flying high

We already had the good news of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic announcing new services to Montego Bay from Heathrow and Gatwick.

Where at the top end of luxury resorts we were attracted by the Geejam Hotel‘s opening of their Marumba Studios, any musico’s dreams.

Chill: Geejam www.booking.com

There are the 12 rooms and all the fineries but with a recording studio, events area, live stage and DJ booth.

If you want more old school then a Bob Marley tour is a must.

Tour de force

Get on a seven-hour trip to Marley’s Nine Mile from Montego Bay Hotels from £93.41.

Take in Bob’s home and hood and the Mt Zion of many a song where the Great Man visited.

Our room down there: Holiday Inn Resort, Montego Bay www.tui.co.uk

So which holiday provider to get on? Well, we’re nothing if not loyal, and always return to our first, TUI

Hey mon Damian

TUI is offering a week in the Holiday Inn Resort from €898pp.

Biggy Ziggy

And with us celebrating all things reggae today the world is indeed lucky to still have Damian and Ziggy Marley banging out their tunes.

Irie!

Countries, Culture, Food & Wine, Ireland, Music

The world is open again

And, yes, we know that England has a habit of pronouncing that the world means them.

But on the day when England begins to emerge from lockdown our friends at Meet The Media over in Ireland brought the world of Travel together again.

Highlight of the year

The annual meet is a highlight of every Travel professional’s year.

Go Westbury

And this year, while different being run remotely, was even more important in championing our industry.

In praise of Dublin

I’ll keep you going with all the latest as the day evolves but to kick off as the world can’t come to Dublin yet let’s bring Dublin to the world.

The Westbury Hotel, off Grafton Street, is where old friends get together to exchange the past year’s tales and experiences and look forward to the coming year.

We’ll have that filled soon

And good wine flows before we all retire at the end of the day to the hotel bar Balfe’s.

Grafton Street, between Merrion Square and St Stephen’s Green, is where Dubliners mill (and milliner with Brown Thomas boutique where the glam set go to shop).

A slice of life

Between the buskers and mime and statue entertainment.

High tea in the Westbury or people spot from the balcony of Bewley’s Oriental Cafe with your hot chocolate and cinnamon swirl (guilty!).

They’ve been coming ti Bewley’s for years

The spirit of rock guitar great Phil Lynott still hovers above the eponymous statue outside Bruxelles, a favourite meeting place.

And a must-do selfie. And if you have a plectrum leave it there in tribute to the Great Man and Proud Dubliner.

Our Meet the Media would traditionally end in one of my favourite Dublin bars, Mary’s on Wicklow Street.

Where surrounded by good Guinness and great craic and a reconstructed traditional Irish bar and hardware store we’d listen to great music.

And plan with our international friends where we’d go next.

Both that night and the rest of the year.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

America, Countries, Ireland, Music

Shay Healy 1943-2021

We shared a fondness for Eurovision and Country music although he typically was a legend of both, rather than just an observer like me.

Shay was the star columnist in the award-winning Weekend lifestyle section of the Irish Daily Mail which I edited for five years.

His life was, of course, one well lived and any time in his presence was time well spent as Shay, like all Dubliners, was a natural storyteller.

Prize guy: With his IFTA Lifetime Achievement Award. www.ifta.ie

The hand that life deals us all had been unkind though to Shay in his latter years after he lost his beloved wife Dee Dee.

And he contracted MS which frustrated him as he could struggle to articulate himself.

Me doin’ my Nashville thang

All of which made his Irish Daily Mail column so much more precious.

As a vehicle to talk self-deprecatingly about his own condition and his life in music in general.

Our year: Shay wrote What’s Another Year for Johnny Logan

Music gave Shay the opportunity to travel and to sample life in another country when he went off to live in Nashville.

And it was while in Music City that he brushed shoulders with the Father of Rock’n’roll himself, Chuck Berry.

Shay regaled the tale in his own inimitable way recalling how he had found himself back stage at a Chuck concert.

Pals: Shay wrote for Billy Connolly

He had been given clearance to approach the great man and knocked on his dressing room door.

Beckoned in he found Chuck with a blonde sitting on his lap.

Chuck looked up with a big smile on his face and said; ‘You get two questions’.

Roll over Chuck Berry

To which a stunned Shay said: ‘Are you joking?’

And Chuck shot back: ‘One question left.’

There will be laughs aplenty and the best music tonight in Heaven.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Rainy days and Songdays – Holyday favourites

And because of the holyday season we’re in this week’s Rainy days and Songdays today celebrates Holyday favourites.

Happy clappy California

Whoopi

Oh Happy Day (Oakland/San Francisco)

Oh happy day, oh happy day, when Jesus washed, oh when He washed, When Jesus washed, He washed my sins away – The Edwin Hawkins Singers/Sister Act

They don’t need much invitation to unleash a Gospel Choir on you in California.

And Hallelujah there was one waiting for us on the first day in Anaheim for our American Travel Fair, IPW.

Elvis sings Gospel

Full of Graceland

How Great Thou Art (Memphis)

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation. And take me home what joy shall fill my heart. Then I shall bow in humble adoration. And then proclaim, my God how great thou art – Elvis Presley

And it is worth remembering that Elvis first learned to sing in church.

And during his residencies in Las Vegas he would invite his friends up to his room for impromptu Gospel singalongs

It’s better to imagine Elvis’s heart being joyful at the moment God came to take him home that day in Graceland.

All God’s Children

Whenever God Shines His Light (Belfast)

Whenever God shines his light on me. Opens up my eyes so I can see. When I look up in the darkest night. And I know that everything is going to be all right – Van Morrison/Cliff Richard

And aren’t we all God’s children anyway even Van the Man, the grumpiest man in rock?

Religion is all around you in Belfast where Van is known to put on occasional jazz cabaret shows at the Europa Hotel.

It’s always best though with a Celtic soul twist.

Welsh worship

Bread of Heaven (Cardiff)

Guide me, O thou great Redeemer, Pilgrim through this barren land. I am weak but thou art mighty. Hold me with thy powerful hand. Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven. Feed me till I want no more. – Bryn Terfel, Cardiff

And Cwm Rhondda (The Rhondda) is the unofficial anthem of Wales.

And is a favourite of Welsh rugby fans.

It scores too as it celebrates God rather than the popular policy of God celebrating said country.

Mississippi music

Grammy loves you

This Little Light of Mine (Mississippi)

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, all the time, let it shine – Sister Rosetta Tharpe

And you’ll find a lot more about Sister Rosetta and all the wonderful Gospel and early Rock singers at the Grammy Museum Mississippi in Cleveland.

And the significance of This Little Light in a room of reflection on your Civil Rights visit to the Two Museums in Jackson.

America, Countries, Culture, Ireland, Music

Rainy Days and Songdays – The Royal Canal and other Irish landmarks

Now the screw was peeping, as the lag lay sleeping. Dreaming about his girl Sal. And that auld triangle went jingle-jangle. All along the banks of the Royal Canal The Auld Triangle, The Dubliners

Luke Kelly drolled that ‘in the female prison there are 75 women and among them I wish I did dwell, and that auld triangle could go jingle-jangle all along the banks of the Royal Canal.’

And if you know this song, penned by Brendan Behan (and if you don’t then you’ve been missing out) you’ll walk along the Royal Canal in the north of Dublin singing it aloud.

Or if you’re cycling too as I have done, all the time hoping that the broken bottles wouldn’t puncture my tyres.

The Beardie Boys: The Dubliners

That was then, and this is now, and the announcement of the €12m scenic 130km Royal Canal Greenway is to be welcomed.

If you do the lot you’ll have chalked off 90 bridges, 30 locks, 17 harbours and four aqueducts.

And take in Co. Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford.

So as a preamble let’s get on with our Rainy Days and Songdays six of the best songs with Irish landmarks.

What a Corker!

Jim and Alan at the Phil Lynott statue in Dublin

As I was goin’ over the Cork and Kerry Mountains, I met with Captain Farrell and his money he was countin’. I first produced my pistol, and then produced my rapier. I said ‘stand and deliver, or the devil he may take ye Whiskey in the Jar, Thin Lizzy 

Musha rain, dum a doo, dum a da.

The Cork and Kerry Mountains have always held a special affection for me as the first travel assignment when a cub reporter in Reading.

Going over said mountains in our Citroen cars was not helped by a bout of seasickness going over on the Swansea-Cork ferry.

But nothing that the local tipple, Murphy’s Stout and the craic didn’t put right.

Low lie those fields

Those low-lying fields: Athenry

Low lie the Fields of Athenry, where once we watched the small birds fly. Our love was on the wing. We had dreams and songs to sing. It’s so lonely round the Fields of Athenry  – Fields of Athenry, The High Kings

Lowing, or maybe braying, around those Fields of Athenry were our four donkeys which came with the rented cottage.

I can’t remember what la famiglia called the three others but mine was Oaty as in Donkey Oaty!

I was maybe just tilting at windmills.

And as for stealing Trevelyan’s corn… we just bought some from the Centra for the donkeys.

The Band is back together

Neat little town they call Belfast

 In a neat little town they call Belfast, apprentice to tradeI was bound…, a sad misfortune came over me which caused me to stray from the land, far away from my friends and relations, betrayed by the Black Velvet Band Black Velvet Band, Peaky Blinders

It was more good fortune that came over me… to take me away from my friends and relations to the States after university.

And work, no not on the Black Velvet Band’s pitch, Broadway, but Boston where I inevitably served tables at an Irish pub.

Where every night among the most requested songs was Black Velvet Band.

And yes, of course, like our gullible hero of the song ‘many an hour’s sweet happiness I spent I spent in this neat little town Belfast.

As for a black velvet band, or any colour for that matter, try as I may I never persuaded one… i wonder if she’ll be there when I return.

Where the Dark Mourne sweeps…

London’s got nothing on this

Oh Mary this London’s a wonderful sight with people here working by day and by night, they don’t sow potatoes, nor barley, nor wheat. But there’s gangs of them dogging for gold in the street. At least when I asked them that’s what I was told so I just took a hand at this diggin’ for gold. But for all that I found there I might as well be in the place where the Dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea Mountains o’ Mourne, Don McLean

Mourne Mountains, Co. Down: It’s always a thrill to see the Mountains of Mourne, my Dear Old Mum’s home province, when driving either north or south.

Mountains of Mourne this sweeping range, has a special place in our hearts as the lullaby I would sing to Daddy’s Little Girl.

It was round by Brockagh’s corner

Harkin’s Bar, Donegal

 It was down by Brockagh Corner one morning I did stray, I met a fellow rebel and this to me did say, he had orders from our captain to assemble at Dunbar. But how were we to get there without a car The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem

Beockagh, Co. Donegal: And still on lullabies this gentle little ditty about the Irish War of Independence is an alternative to nursery rhymes.

If your mother is from Nationalistic north-west Donegal that is.

Well it got me through childhood… give three cheers to the Teasy and Johnson’s Motor Car.

Meeting of minds in Wicklow

Moore Wicklow please

Sweet vale of Avoca! How calm could I rest. In thy bosom of shade with the friends I love best. Where the storms that we feel in this cold world should cease. And thy hearts, like thy waters, be mingled on peace. The Meetings of the Waters, John McCormack

And my beloved old homestead of Co. Wicklow and its poet laureate, Thomas Moore.

The Meetings is a family favourite, going back to the days when my Donegal Granny and Grandpa honeymooned here.

We would often return there in our Thirteen Years in Ireland on family day trips.

And skim stones which can be more of a danger sport than you might imagine.

Particularly if you’re that young boy on the other side of the bank who ducks just as a stone is jumping up out of the water.

Still, I did get a 12!

 

 

America, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Rainy Days and Songdays – Watching the Detectives

Just like watching the detectives don’t get cute, just like watching the detectives, I get so angry when the teardrops start, But he can’t be wounded ’cause he got no heart. Elvis Costello, Watching the Detectives

And with apologies to the Poet Laureate of New Wave.

But it’s not the bespectacled one but the new run of Line of Duty, shot in Belfast, which has got me thinking.

About my favourite detectives in the cities they are associated with.

So here are seven deadly detective shows, their music and their cities.

Van’s the man

žCan I be trusted on a bike? In Amsterdam

Van der Valk, Amsterdam: So good they kept a sample of the Simon Park Orchestra’s original score ‘Eye Level’ for the reworking of the original series.

And even then purists lambasted the modern version and Marc Warren’s ‘Piet’ as opposed to Barry Foster’s.

And don’t you just love the cluttered narrow bars they all drink in.

Hutch more New York

My New York

Starsky & Hutch, New York: Starsky & Hutch was the breakthrough police show for young people more used to oldie cops.

Good, yes, like the lollipop-sucking Theo Kojak. And, yes, we loved you, baby, too!

But Starsk and Hutch and Huggy Bear brought a street vibe, slapstick and more New York life.

As did the Stiller and Wilson remake with Snoop Dogg as Huggy Bear captured the excitement and warmth and music of the original.

Glasgow is No Mean City

Glasgow wit

Taggart, Glasgow: And who would have thought they could have made grey post-industrial Glasgow cool in the Eighties?

But they did and you knew you were in for something different when the credits rolled.

And Maggie Bell gave us a smoky, bluesy No Mean City, a homage to a gangster novel about Twenties Gorbals Glasgow.

London, you’re nicked

Two English and a Scotsman

The Sweeney: Regan and Carter were the Line of Duty of their day, the water-cooler show before water coolers.

Again another they made a remake of, with only Ray Winstone able to reprise John Thaw, while Plan B took on Dennis Waterman.

The Winstone opening scene had a car chase around Trafalgar Square while Thaw’s played out more on wasteland.

But London sizzled from the moment the Thames TV with its iconic St Paul’s graphic came up… and who can forget the theme tune?

Monsieur Bean?

Maigret, Paris: And it was always going to require us to make a shift to see Mr Bean as Monsieur Maigret.

Mais oui, Rowan Atkinson pulled it off, with that brooding sense of contemptuous arrogance we so love about Parisians.

And who doesn’t love an accordion?

Naturellement, you would want to show off the City of Lights if you set your show here.

Which is why it was shot in Budapest with Szentendre doubling for the Montmartre.

Across the Channel

Sunny Jersey

Bergerac, Jersey: And a little bit of sun came into our lives in the Eighties.

In the only part of the UK where they get sun… in Jersey, on the doorstep of France.

As none of us can identify a Jersey site from a Jersey cow then their first image was a map of the island.

Before we get action clips of dunes and John Nettles running after high-end crooks.

Old at the time, Johnnie then retired to Midsomer.

Deadly Caribbean

Nylon Pool, Tobago

Death in Paradise, Guadeloupe: No mon, it’s not Saint Marie, but Guadeloupe.

It lies halfway down the eastern Caribbean chain between Dominica and Antigua.

And it has some of the features you’d expect in a West Indian island, a volcano, sandy beaches obvs and a rainforest.

And you’ll get some of this and more of the other in Tobago and Barbados

All good and varied locales for misdemeanour and murder.

And all set against an uplifting score and, if you know your stuff, homages to the film The Harder They Come.

So to cheer your day up here’s some Jimmy Cliff ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want‘.

America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Music

Give us this Day – Happy Iranian Millennium

Aidé shomā mobarakto Iranians everywhere, and this year is a very special one with it being the dawn of a new Millennium.

The Iranian New Year, celebrated at the Spring Equinox. is the type we all like, lasting for a good fortnight.

This year is marked in the Iranian calendar as the Year 1400 which is the number of years since Mohammed.

And it is celebrated by 300 million people around the world and has been designated International Nowruz Day by the UN.

Hamam bam: Istanbul

Of course everything stops in the motherland but also in Afghanistan, Albania, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, areas of India. And Turkey.

And among the Iranian diaspora around the world.

Who knew, of course, that one of the largest populations outside Iran is in Los Angeles.

Where we all know they love a party but where this year they will be celebrating online.

No, it’s not me

Like all festivities in the Middle East the festivities revolve around the table.

You’d expect candles and wouldn’t be disappointed and you’ll also see touches that are familiar in Eastern worship such as decorated eggs.

The Haft Sin table includes seven symbolic items starting with the Farsi letter ‘S’.

Typically Persian

‘Sir’ is the Persian word for garlic and gives protection from illness and evil and ‘Serkeh’, or vinegar, represents longevity and patience.

Of course these are mere flavours for the much bigger dishes of sumptuous Middle Eastern stews,

You’ll eat fish, meats, rice, noodles and beans with a cornucopia of spices.

Hot, hot, hot

There are a choice of dinners, my favourite sounding Fesenjan, a duck, or chicken, stew in walnut and pomegranate sauce.

There are few better-read people than the Iranians and poetry books and the Quran are centrepiece.

Persian rituals

Though why there is a goldfish…. well, does it matter.

Or why they spend these days throwing wheat grass into flowing waters… something about absorbing negative energy.

So how could us non- Iranians join in?

Don’t try this at home

Well we can send children into the streets to bang their pots and jump over fires… a typical weekend in Glasgow!

Just like Western civilisation there is a gift-giving figure, Amoo Nowruz (Uncle Nowruz).

Ancient stories

So here’s some Iranian New Year party music to get into the spirit.

Of course all of this I should have seen first hand, only for my much-anticipated trip to Iran being cancelled.

I prefer to think of it as only delayed.

Aidé shomā mobarak.

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Rainy Days and Signdays

You might not expect to be moved at a Cliff Richard concert unless Old Maura lifts your wife’s hand in Dublin so she can sway too.

Thank you to all my friends: Cliff Richard

But the sight of a section of deaf fans signing at one of Cliff’s Christian concerts at Wembley had me transfixed.

You’ve got to own it: Eminem

As an Eminem signer goes viral for her animated renditions at his concerts a celebration and selection of other captivating signing songs.

Toast of the Grammies

Hello Halo: Beyoncé

Beyonce: Of course her position as Queen Bey is unchallenged.

Although I do think that OneRepublic’s Halo which they thrilled us with in Red Rocks tops her (I know treason).

And here’s someone who also tried to steal some limelight from Grammys multi-award winner Beyoncé at one of her gigs.

And I know how hard it is to get into Grammy folklore.

Take a bow the signer at Atlanta Pride who rocked it.

Where is the Love?

There is the love: The Peaa

Black Eyed Peas: And we have a visual signpost straight off with the question mark cards we all remember.

But this from the LA formed Black Eyed Peas classic, the best-selling single in the UK in 2003, is filled with imagery.

Now full disclosure here.

I have no sign language here other than knowing flapping your arm against your side means Scottish, as in bagpipes.

And just randomly recalling the lyrics I imagine that KKK is either a very rude sign or pulling a hood over your head.

Thrashing around

Rock gods: Slayer

Slayer: We probably know more sign language than we think.

And we are certainly all capable of describing a musical instrument.

For many a spotty teenage boy, and greasy-haired men too, being able to play the air guitar is vital at a heavy metal concert.

And this signer certainly knows her Slayer although I’d like to see her slide along the floor too.

Marlee’s movements

Deaf and loud: Sean Forbes www.deafandloud.com

Marlee Matlin is probably the best-known deaf performer in the world, recognised for her craft.

She famously won an Oscar for Best Actress for Children of a Lesser God in 1986.

But Sean has not come across my radar. He is for all you who don’t know which is probably very few a Detroit hip-hop artist.

And this is the magic that happens when Sean and Marlee get together.

Sean Forbes Ft Marlee Matlin

Katy’s Fireworks

Perry good: Katy Perry

Her detractors will say that Katy Perry is on point but then why is that a bad thing.

The green-eyed monster of jealousy is of course rearing its ugly head here while our heroine is rearing her gorgeous head.

No less a figure than Joe Biden had her perform at his inauguration party.

And she brought the house down with her rendition of Fireworks in Washington DC.

All of which was signed and which cut the night air.

 

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Rainy Days and Songdays – International Women

Women I will try to express my inner feelings and thankfulness for showing me the meaning of success. Woman, John Lennon

And on this International Women’s Day a celebration of international women in the places they celebrated.

La Vie en Paris

La Vie en Rose: Edith Piaf

Edith Piaf, Paris: A solemn fan stands in contemplation at the grave of La Chanteuse in Pere Lachaise.

And gives out to the family trying to negotiate their way through the myriad streets of the huge graveyard in Paris.

Before Le Custode rang the bell on us, in our ears.

Moi? Je ne regrette rien.

La Vie en L’Ecosse

Take it as red: Eddi Reader

Eddi Reader, Scotland: My own wee country has produced many memorable Scottish singers and singers of Scottish songs.

But I’m picking out Eddi Reader, once of Fairground Attraction, for making Robert Burns and Old Scotland hip again.

With songs such as Jamie Come Try Me and Comin’ Through The Rye.

Scottish Warriors

Eddi learned her craft in Paris where she channeled her own Edith and then brought that vibe over to old Scots.

Old Scots translates too to our brethren and sistren in Ireland.

Where she owned the audience in my adopted town in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, and Dublin.

La Vie en New Jersey

Movie star: Debbie Harry in Union City www.imdb.con

Debbie Harry, New Jersey: Was there anyone racier for an adolescent schoolboy in the late 70s than Debbie Harry?

And when she sings in French on Sunday Girl… incrèdible!

On the New Jersey side

Debbie made even the starkest landscape sing and who can forget the video of her flirting with the camera in the Union City. boatyard?

La Vie en New Orleans et Orlando

Pretty Patti: Patti LaBelle

Voulez-vous coucher avec mou c’est soir?

Not an invitation, though it was to the thousand or so in Orlando’s Rising Star Karaoke Club in CityWalk, Universal Orlando.

En route to CityWalk: Universal Orlando

I channeled my own Lady Marmalade there and while you’d be forgiven for knowing it wasn’t French New Orleans.

The compere was gracious enough to tell the audience that that was the way to deliver a girls’ song.

ICI, AUX FEMMES

Countries, Culture, Music, UK

Rainy Days and Songdays – singing in the Welsh Valleys

The old land of my fathers is dear to me, A land of poets, singers, famous celebrities; Her brave warriors, ardent patriots, for freedom they lost their blood Welsh National Anthem Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of My Fathers)  

Dydd, Gwyl, Dewi, Hapus as you need to say in a North Wales pub today, St David’s Day…

Only they’re not open (probably) because of lockdown.

I know more about Wales’s lock-in rules than their lockdown regulations.

I spent much of my year in Cardiff as a post-graduate student in lock-ins in Kildare’s Bar.

Capital stuff: Cardiff

There was much singing there.

And as a Scots fan at the rugby, although we were drowned out by the Welsh chanting before our biennial drubbing.

So on this day of days for the Welsh, and with a rugby victory over England fresh in their memories from the weekend…

A celebration here of Welsh singers.

You can count on Bassey

Ultimate diva: Shirley Bassey

Shirley Bassey: And what better introduction to life for a new-born baby boy than Shirley Bassey belting out at you?

And Son and Heir you can thank me later for playing the Queen of Tiger Bay to you when you came out of hospital.

You were put on Earth to be, a part of this great world is thee, and thy life.

The Jones Boyo

Tom Jones: Take a Biblical story, give it a Mariachi feel and employ a Welsh heartthrob crooner.

And you’ve got Tom Jones’s Delilah.

The Jones Boyo is, of course, legendary in Las Vegas.

But, in truth, has a residency at any and every party around the world.

And on cruise ships wandering aimlessly around the English Channel.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Welsh Preachers and Phonics

Design for life: The Manic Street Preachers. http://www.manicstreetpreachers.com

Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics: Tread Caerphilly, the Manics are pure rat-a-tat-tat rock.

With a skill for a title which we love…

Motorcycle Emptiness, A Design for Life, If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next.

While the Rhondda Valleys’ finest, the Phonics make it on the list.

For raspy Kerry Jones and his rendition of the old classic Handbags and Gladrags.

Daddy’s Little Girl called it the Black Black Song… ‘four and twenty blackbirds in a cake and bake them all in a pie.’

Church music

Smile: Charlotte Church

Charlotte Church: Only the Voice of an 11-year-old Angel can sound good over the telephone on TV’s This Morning.

Charlotte went on to sing at Rupert Murdoch and Wendy Deng’s wedding and had a celebrity marriage herself to rugby star Gavin Henson.

The Llandaff, Cardiff lass’s signature tune… Pie Jesu.

Time to say

Give us a song: Katherine Jenkins

Kathrerine Jenkins: Beauty, grace and gravitas, that’s Neath‘s finest Kathryn and Pisa‘s Andrea Bocelli.

And their haunting Time To Say Goodbye.

Of course Time To Say Goodbye is inexorably ties up with Italy.

And it played out in the piazza in Bergamo the last time I was allowed out of the country.