Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday tea tunes: Tea at Pitchfork

Just spent the weekend at the Pitchfork Music Festival, one of many three-day concert fests here in Chicago — and the most enjoyable.

Pitchfork has a wonderful community spirit to it, and is populated by more people who really listen to the music, as opposed to chatty scenesters. It's still three days in the summer heat, but I survived if for no other reason than Intelligentsia was serving coffee to the artists backstage ... and they also had a splendid lightly roasted oolong. I can't tell you how fabulous it was to write my dispatches late in the afternoon with a good cup of tea.

So today's Tuesday tune is not only tea related but, by degrees, Pitchfork related. Stick with me ...

One of the Pitchfork performers I most enjoyed (to my surprise ... his music has had to grow on me) was James Blake, a piano player and singer who crafts some otherworldly, quite spacious keys-and-beats music usually tagged to a genre called dubstep. I managed to have a lovely chat with him before his show.

Blake is the son of an obscure British guitarist and prog-rocker named James Litherland, who in 1972 was one of several guitarists on a Long John Baldry record called "Everything Stops for Tea" (which also features Elton John on piano and Rod Stewart on banjo, and they each produced a side).

Of course, I can't find Baldry's bloody take on the song anywhere online for you to listen to here. There's this video from Baldry's final U.S. performance, in which he answers a request by running through it spontaneously, but it's not very good. Baldry's album, and its individual songs, is available via iTunes.

Here, though, is Jack Buchanan from the song's original recording made during World War II — it hails from a 1935 musical, "Come Out of the Pantry" — and it may have become my favorite Tuesday tea tune of all time:

p.s. I hear no resemblance to the original, but here's a totally rocking song also called "Everything Stops for Tea" by a current band, the Nervous Wreckords, with more tea imagery in the video.

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