The Tor Guides

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A truly good year!

In Classic pop, Classic rock, Don´t miss this, Okategoriserade on 9 April, 2013 at 19:20


Been listening to Eric Barao´s fantastic album all day long. Made me realise that this is gonna be one great, great year – starting today, if not earlier!

The soundtrack to another great year, is this fab Grays song Very Best Years, below in a rarely seen video.

So let´s all cheer for the summer of 2013!



Strawberries & chocolates – The Tor Guides are back!

In Okategoriserade on 5 March, 2012 at 13:24


In 2007 Tor Guides released their first album Honeybees & Tangerines. During the years that have passed since then, the TGs have been busy finding a new sound and making and recording new music.

Finally in the summer of 2011, a new album was eventually recorded and that new album, Strawberries & Chocolates is now to be relesed in March 2012.

Here´s a preview of the album – Hooray For Loving.


So it goes!

In Classic rock, Don´t miss this, Okategoriserade on 15 November, 2011 at 15:51

In the tall building
sit the head of our nations
Worthy men from Spain and Siam
All day discussions with the Russians
But they still went ahead
and vetoed the plan
Now up jumped the U.S. representative
He’s the one with the tired eyes

Basher or Nicholas Lowe is continuing his crusade across the globe for grown up´s music. After christmas 2011 he and his band will come to my town to show us all where it´s at! You should all be green of envy!

His old pal from Rockpile, Billy Bremner, has been a musical notoriety in Sweden for many a years. First he played guitar for the excellent Rockpile wannabees Refreshments, then he made two good solo albums over here, both well worth checking out.

Right now Bremner is busy promoting his new swedish band Trouble Boys – their new album Bad Trouble has just been released and will not disappoint anyone familiar with that old Bremner twang, with his crazy gypsy guitar licks.

While waiting for Basher or Trouble Boys to hit your very own town, check out this funny video clip from a 1978 Kenny Everett Video Show – a Rockpile studio version of So It Goes from Nick Lowe´s ever excellent Jesus Of Cool album, with that different guitar solo. And, by the way – I suppose Lowe´s lyrics are more relevant today than ever before, eh?



Disney girls with a rain wish

In Okategoriserade on 8 June, 2011 at 14:09

Patti Page and summer days
On old Cape Cod
Happy times making wine
In my garage
Country shade and lemonade

Bruce Arthur Johnston was born Benjamin Baldwin in 1942 and have served as a member in Beach Boys since 1965, when he replaced Glen Campbell (who was substituting on stage for mastermind and writer Brian Wilson). His first vocal recording with Beach Boys was the single California Girls from 1965.

However, my favourite moment of Johnston´s is the sweet and subtle Disney Girls (1957), first released on Beach Boys album Surf´s Up from 1971 and then re-recorded by Johnston in 1977 on his solo album Going Public. Surf´s Up is indeed an excellent album that is well worth a post of its own – but since this regards a specific song from the album, that post will have to wait.

Many years later, I came across ex Jellyfish  Roger Joseph Manning Jr´s equally beautiful song Wish It Would Rain, that somehow reminded me of Johnston´s magnum opus. And – there is a maybe lesser known link between Manning and Beach Boys, an interesting story in itself:

Before releasing Spilt Milk, in 1992 producer about town Don Was asked Manning and collaborator Andy Sturmer if they would meet up with him and Brian Wilson in Santa Monica. After some frosty introductions, Wilson, Manning and Sturmer joined together for some music making in a studio room. Manning began to play a simple melody on the piano that he and Sturmer had been working on the previous day. With no lyrics at that stage, he instead began to repeat a simple phrase, “Wish it would rain”, which somehow seemed to get Wilson into action, with him providing harmony vocals. Needing a bridge, and sensing that Wilson by then was all cooking, the two Jellyfishes asked him to help out. His reply was quite unexpected: “O.K., let’s insert Surfer Girl bridge here!”.

Sadly, the collaboration was never finished. Instead Manning later finalized the works on the song by himself and recorded it for his first solo album Solid State Warrior in 2006.

Much joy!


Wreckless Eric and the mystery girl from Tahiti

In Okategoriserade on 8 June, 2011 at 13:25

When I was a young boy
My mama said to me
There’s only one girl in the world for you
And she probably lives in Tahiti

There are ordinary heroes and others…then nothing…then there´s Wreckless Eric and a couple of others (including the ever witty Ian Dury, present behind the drums in the clip below).

The story of Eric Goulden, as he was named, is a strange one. He was one of the first in a series of odd signings to upstart indie label Stiff Records in the mid 70s. His first single, Whole Wide World, was recorded and produced in 1977 by Nick Lowe, the label´s inhouse producer, and the song could as well have been made or performed by Lowe. In any case, it´s one of the hidden classics of the 70s.

Many years later I actually wound up in Tahiti, though not with the objective to find Eric´s girl. However, even though I was there with my wife, I just couldn´t beat the temptation to look, every now and then, for that special girl who Eric´s mum told him about. She wasn´t to be seen, though – but since this was in 1994 she´d probably already moved on to new playing grounds, perchance elsewhere in the Pacific region…

With Eric on guitar, Ian Dury on drums, Davy Payne (of Blockheads fame) on saxophone and Denise Roudette (Dury´s then girlfriend) on bass and someone I can´t recognize on piano, this is a great rendition of a great, great song!


Bright summer nights approaching?

In Classic pop, Okategoriserade on 7 June, 2011 at 17:09

All those lonely films

And all those lonely parties
But now the feeling is off-screen
An’ the tears for real not acted, anymore

Even if a sunny winter´s day in Scandinavia is hard to beat, I sometime find my thoughts straying elsewhere to those distant places where the sun always shines and the ladies are…well. The soundtrack to those thoughts is almost always the same, namely Style Council´s formidable single Long Hot Summer from 1983.

After Paul Weller wrapped up Jam with the excellent single Beat Surrender from november 1982 and instead founded Style Council together with organ player Mick Talbot, previously in mod group Merton Parkas, nothing would ever be the same again.

The duo´s first single, also from 1983, Speak Like A Child, was a solid produce but Weller soon found his ways back to funk cramp city with the follow-up Money Go Round (Part 1). At that time I lost all hope. The band´s future would also be a rocky rollercoaster ride, with some extraordinary highs and many, many deep valleys.

Their finest minutes came early with the third single, the before-mentioned Long Hot Summer, the soundtrack to my every summer daydream ever after.

Once upon a time Weller was a close to God as anyone could be, at least to me. I still remember taking the sleeve of Jam´s In The City to my hairdresser, asking her to do my soft teenage hair just like Weller´s.

The first 3-4 Jam albums are still great but sometime thereafter we kinda lost each other. Mostly by habit I´ve bought some of his solo albums and some Style Council stuff but hardly ever listened to them. I also got the impression quiet early on that he´s not a very nice person, even though my position on that issue now may have changed a bit.

Still , he has provided us with some bone fide pop stuff, with Long Hot Summer being maybe the best of the lot. Listen – and feel the summertime getting closer by the minute!



Ps. Someday when I´m old and tired enough, I promise to dive into Weller´s collected works and give it all a fair chance, without presumptions. Perhaps I then will discover something I should have noticed before and feel a bit ashamed of my sometimes biased views? Even Weller has of lately made up with his old pals from Jam and that may of course be a sign…

That summer feeling

In Classic pop, Okategoriserade on 7 June, 2011 at 16:38

Catch a wave and you’re sittin’ on top of the world

The humidity is awful and the rain keeps falling, endlessly. Is this the summer we longed for during the hard months of winter?

Still, the very thought of Beach Boys brings back the good spirits in me. This one is an absolute favourite and a gem forever to be cherished – Catch A Wave from 1963, this time with some unlikely surfers onboard.The song, penned by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, was included in the boys album Surfer Girl but never released as a single – but still one of their most popular song.

Some interesting trivia: Jan and Dean recorded a cover of the song already in 1964. It was then reworked to a skateboard song and titled Sidewalk Surfin´ and made its way to the 25th spot of the Billboard Chart.

Much joy!


Three Degrees of paradise – not just a pop song

In Classic pop, Okategoriserade on 29 May, 2011 at 23:28

Are we in love or just friends?
Is this my beginning or is this the end?

In 1963 Fayette Pinkney, Shirley Porter and Linda Turner formed the sweet singing soul trio Three Degrees. They were soon discovered by producer and songwriter Richard Barrett who were to follow them through the years, even though their record labels would change several times.

Already in 1966 Scott left the trio and was then substituted by Sheila Ferguson who would then remain with them for 20 years, during which they epitomized the sweet and subtle soul music of their home town Philadelphia.

By 1970, they were signed to Roulette Records and released their first album Maybe. It wasn´t until 1973, when they were signed to Philadelphia International Records under Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, that their career really took off – at Gamble´s and Huff´s Philly label they would soon have their greatest success.

The first song they recorded for their new label was TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia), released in 1974, with the studio band MFSB. The song – much later covered by Dexy´s Midnight Runners – was elegantly written by Gamble and Huff and the first soul single to top the Billboard Hot 100.

Later in 1974 Three Degrees revisited the Billboard charts with their follow-up single, the very lovely When Will I see You Again, once again written by Gamble and Huff. However, the song was no immediate success when it was first presented by one of its writers.

Sheila Ferguson recalls the first time she heard it: “The song was played to me by Kenny Gamble at the piano in 1973 and I threw a tantrum. I screamed and yelled and said I would never sing it. I thought it was ridiculously insulting to be given such a simple song and that it took no talent to sing it. We did do it and several million copies later, I realized that he knew more than me.”

The song has then been covered by no others than UK ska band Bad Manners and Billy Bragg.

Since the start the trio has changed members several times; all in all twelve singers have been members of the trio. Although they were active way into the 90s, they never again reached the artistic nor the commercial heights of their 1974 single – When Will I See You Again.


Waiting for the first – Red Button returns!

In Classic pop, Okategoriserade on 29 May, 2011 at 13:22

1 june 2011 is a date to note for all poplovers out there. That very day Red Button releases its second album, As Far As Yesterday Goes.  It´s been a very long wait since the first album She´s About To Cross My Mind from 2007 but I am certain it´s a well worth wait!

The new album can be pre-ordered from and

Below there´s a clip of Seth and Mike performing Hopes Up, according to Mike the the “sleeper hit” from the first album, and not just a little something to prepare ourselves for the upcoming Big Wednesday!


Songwriting – where do the hits come from?

In Okategoriserade on 25 May, 2011 at 17:08

I May I spent a week in the lovely surroundings of southern Gotland, a Swedish  island in the midst of the Baltic Sea. The purpose of my stay was, as I had understood it, to retreat, i.e. get back in ordinary mental and physical shape, and to write some good music. All in all we were 18 participants from all over Europe and even the US. However, we never got around to do much retreating, I and my newly found friends from faraway places, as the great Wellingtons would have put it, instead got down to some serious songwriting – as it turned out, all of the highest quality.

I have always been suspicious when people talk of the creative process as a 9 to 5 job, where the writer or the musician just sits down and forces himself or herself to “let it all flow”. Still we used that method to a certain extent. We met up every morning and were then assigned different tasks – for instance a song with a given title, a song with a rhythmic hook, etc. – that would open our minds and inspire us to write great music and lyrics. Then, in the evening we all shared our newly written music and described our different creative processes to one another. You should try it out!

I suppose if you put creative people in an environment that manages to keep the world at a distance and open up your mind, anything can happen. In our case, we all travelled to this distant place for inspiration, some from places far away, but I believe I would´ve gotten the same results from a similar environment near by – maybe the odd walk in the forest would be enough? In any case, the songs just kept on coming and coming…

The photo above is from all the lovely participants and the three supervisors, with american Brett Perkins keeping it all together. So, if you´re into serious songwriting – don´t knock a good environment, with the cell phone turned off, and a fellow song writer nerd just around the corner to help you sort any kind of problem!