Sunday, 3 October 2010

Sunday Morning Coffee with Spectacle


It’s not a who it’s a what.

“Spectacle” was a TV show hosted by Elvis Costello in which many of the biggest and best in popular music talked and played their trade.

Now that is cleared up, welcome to another “Sunday Morning Coffee”.  You know the routine: I play music I love regardless of how recent the affair, you get a (big) coffee, comfy seat, sit down and relax.

Now that you’re ready I’ll start the music which you will enjoy (I hope).


Now this is a very strange choice for me: I have never listened to U2’s music, I’ve always considered Bono as a pompous arse but I listened and I loved.  Enjoy.

Stay (Faraway, So Close)              Bono with Steve Nieve

Have I missed something all these years of ignoring?


I had never heard of “Spectacle” although it was shown on the UK’s Channel 4 and, as happens so often, I stumbled across something wonderful.   Thus it was with Spectacle.  I played a few tracks and I loved them all.  The show was framed for an immediate place in my weekly music post.

The show was also on CTV in Canada and Sundance in the US and it is from Sundance that nine of the ten videos were taken.  Many thanks are due to deerfried who uploaded nine of today’s videos.


We continue with part of the McGarrigle family – Rufus Wainwright and his Mum who sadly died early this year – singing a traditional song.

Willie Moore  
          Rufus Wainwright, Kate McGarrigle, Elvis Costello


What a brilliant voice has son, Rufus!

If you want to see more of the late Kate and her sister, Anna, then visit my feature in this series here.


Let’s run on into the third piece of music.  I had heard of Nick Lowe but had never knowingly heard his music …. until now.

The Beast in Me                                                      Nick Lowe

I’ll be looking up more of Nick’s music because this song is so moving.


The show moves on with Diana Krall who married Mr Costello in 2003 and so his Spectacle role is taken by Elton John.  Again only recently did I come across Ms Krall – see Thursday’s  “Music in the Morning”.

Diana is accompanied on bass by Christian McBride who, only a couple of weeks ago, featured in a fabulous rendition of Bye Bye Blackbird with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen.

Sit back and love this.

Night Train                
Diana Krall with Christian McBride and Karriem Riggins

This is phenomenal.  Thank you, Diana, Chris and Karriem.


We reach the halfway point with a great motley crew singing as The Band.

The Weight
Ray LaMontagne, Levon Helm, Nick Lowe, Richard Thompson, Larry Campbell, Allen Toussaint and Elvis Costello

Were you out of your seat?  Were you singing?  I was …. every time.

You weren’t?  Call an ambulance!


It’s half-time already and I need another coffee.  Last one was spilt!  I’ll give you a few minutes to get yourselves ready again.


Richard Thompson who featured on the last song has the stage to himself for this oldie from 1982. 

Shoot Out the Lights                             Richard Thompson 

Thompson is one of the greats but without ever being really famous.


Just listen to more beauty.

Every Day I Write the Book 
                                          Ron Sexsmith and Elvis Costello


So many lessons for me in putting this show together.  Artists I wouldn’t listen to, didn’t know, great music just sitting and waiting for me to pick it up and be gripped.  And gripped I’ve been. 

I keep returning to listen to the selection even when I know the tracks and the sequence.


Only three to go now and we have a silly, simple but beautiful song.

If I Only Had a Brain            Elvis Costello with Bill Frisell

Ah!  magic.


Unfortunately there were only two series of “Spectacle” but there are many wonderful performances beyond the ten chosen today.  We move close to the end with an all-star ensemble doing justice to a Townes Van Zandt song.

John Prine, Elvis Costello, Ray LaMontagne, Lyle Lovett

I’d never heard this before.  Where have I been? 


When I had reduced the video choice to twenty-five I knew the song which would end the show. 

Here we are at that point and I’m so disappointed that I’ve run out of time but, at least, we are going out with music which has touched my soul.

Perfect Day                               Lou Reed and Elvis Costello



Thank you. 

Without you I wouldn’t find all this music: I wouldn’t have the discipline.

Without the real stars there would be no life for what is life without music?

I hope you can tune in again next week for another “Sunday Morning Coffee


  1. Nick Lowe has quite a name. Elvis Costello - not sure, even now. The meaningless lyrics of say, Oliver's Army were a deliberate ploy on his part and I'm not sure if everyone bought it.

    Alison as a song designed to play on emotional strains and heartfelt singing but again - meant nothing when it as boiled down.

    He was making a point, of course and was upfront in admitting that but all the same - I'm still not sure.

  2. I hadn't heard of Spectacle either but it seems to have been a showcase for Costello.

    Always a pleasure to hear the blessed Kate McGarrigle and Rufus.

    Never been a fan of Krall so here is the perfect antidote-

    and if you want the original by Jimmy Forrest-


  3. James ? Sorry, don't understand.

    JD Thanks will listen to vids later today.

  4. The last song is one of my favourites too.

  5. And also so good to go back to Kate and Anna. Thank you!