musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

Posts tagged ‘Paul Heaton’

Lost in the 1970s: Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose

While they had a handful of very popular Top 40 Hits (“Treat Her Like A Lady”, “Too Late To Turn Back Now”, “Don’t Ever Be Lonely”), Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose don’t rank among the better known, or critically acclaimed, soul acts of the 1970s. And that’s a shame, because their songs were consistently very good, ranking as some of the most memorable soul gems of the decade.


I recently bought Classic Masters, a 12-song CD compilation by Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose. The CD includes all of their singles plus a few choice album tracks. Except for one song on the compilation, a cover of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” all the songs are originals written by the group’s lead singer Edward Cornelius. I love the description of “Treat Her Lady” in the liner notes, calling it a “bulls-eye blend of rock and soul elements … a driving biker beat that Steppenwolf would have crawled across steaming desert asphalt for, with raunchy rhythm guitar chords WAY up front in the mix.”


Indeed, there were few other songs as distinctive as “Treat Her Lady” blasting from the AM radio in 1971. In addition to that song and the other hits there are songs that should have been big hits, such as the gorgeous “Big Time Lover”, “Good Loving Don’t Come Easy”, and “Got To Testify (Love).” But after only three albums, Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose disappeared from both the charts and record stores. This 12-track compilation offers a good overview of this underrated soul group. The booklet that comes with the CD includes some cool old photos (love those matching suits!) and liner notes about the group written by A. Scott Galloway. A worthwhile purchase for fans of 1970s soul music.

Meanwhile, here are the other CDs, new stuff and older treats, that are keeping me company during this rainy season in Bangkok.


Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott – What Have We Become

John Dunbar – Adventures in Trevorland

James Govan – Wanted

Manic Street Preachers – Futurology

Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music


Mind & Matter – 1514 Oliver Avenue

Daryl Hall & John Oates – Daryl Hall & John Oates

Neil Finn – One Nil

Wes Montgomery & Wynton Kelly Trio – Smokin’ At the Half Note

Various Artists – Best of Perception & Today Records


Gladys Knight & the Pips – Claudine/Pipe Dreams

Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork

Guided By Voices – Motivational Jumpsuit

Various Artists – Getting’ It Off: Westbound Funk

NRBQ – Brass Tacks


Chrissie Hynde – Stockholm

Patty Griffin – American Kid

Broken Bells – After the Disco

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Days of Abandon

Sam Dees – The Show Must Go On



Various Artists – New Orleans Funk Experience

Lee Fields – Emma Jean

The BB&Q Band – Greatest Hits & Essential Tracks

The Millennium – Begin

William Onyeabor – World Psychedelic Classics: Who is William Onyeabor?


John Hiatt – Terms of My Surrender

Elbow – The Take Off and Landing of Everything

Commodores – Machine Gun

Kenny Dorham – Una Mas

Ronnie Laws – Pressure Sensitive


Lucinda Williams – Lucinda Williams

The Turtles – Save the Turtles: Greatest Hits

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – Give the People What They Want

Aloe Blacc – Lift Your Spirit

Albert Lee – Speechless/Bound But Not Gagged


Chumbawamba – A Singsong and a Scrap

Ned Doheny – Hard Candy/Prone

The Dirtbombs – If You Don’t Already Have a Look

Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow

Temples – Sun Structures


Tours & Transport

Paul Heaton, the singer best known for being “the voice” of two great bands, the Housemartins and the Beautiful South, is planning a new tour of the UK this spring — by bicycle. Dubbed the “Pedals and Pumps” tour, Heaton will include 15 pub gigs, and he plans to cycle to all of them. “I’m looking forward to pedaling around the country to promote cycling and the British pub,” Heaton was quoted in NME about the tour. “Both are very close to my heart. I’ve been cycling all my life, and the British pub has provided most of my favorite stop-off points. It saddens me to hear about so many British pubs closing on a weekly basis, so I want to do all I can to get people back to their local.”

Last year Heaton put his money where his mouth is, buying a pub in the town of Salford. Heaton said that he decided to snap up the Kings’ Arms pub after growing concerned about the “fractured” local community. Convenience appeared to be a factor in his decision; he already was using the upstairs room in the pub as a rehearsal space. Although he admitted to not having a complete business plan yet, Heaton said that he was already pondering which types of snacks he wants to sell behind the bar, as well as a more important matter: the songs that will be played on the pub’s jukebox. For a hint of what may be on that jukebox, look no further than Under the Influence, an album of “favorite” songs that Heaton compiled in 2004. Included on the CD are songs from Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, Al Green, Lee Dorsey, Manu Chao, Bobbi Gentry, Tower of Power, Hues Corporation, Lavern Baker, Randy Travis, and more. Diverse to say the least!

Heaton’s bike tour caused me to think about the possibilities of a Thai musician doing a similar series of shows. But lacking in “traditional” British style pubs, perhaps a tour of Pleng Puea Cheewit (“Songs for Life”, a genre of Thai folk music) venues might be more appropriate. As for cycling here in the wild environs of Bangkok, I don’t think I’m brave enough for that challenge yet. When I am travelling around Myanmar, I cycle constantly in places like Mandalay, Bagan, and Nyaunghswe. But attempting a similar cycling routine in Bangkok would be another story altogether. The biggest obstacle to cycling in Bangkok — besides the steamy temperatures and poor air quality — is the perpetually thick traffic. The main streets and side sois are almost always congested; bumper-to-bumper traffic jams at all hours of the day that can test the patience of even the most experienced motorists. Motorcycles dart and weave around the immobilized four-wheelers, making the idea of cycling amongst this disorganized throng a formidable task. I’m convinced that if I rode a bike around the city that I would take a spill the first hour.


I was a car owner and driver for many years when I lived in Florida, but since I moved to Bangkok 16 years ago I have yet to get behind the wheel again. And you know what? I don’t miss it a bit. I don’t miss the driving, I don’t miss owning a car, I don’t miss the parking hassles, and I don’t miss the insurance payments. Frankly, it feels liberating not having to worry about any of that crap. And I feel better that I’m not contributing to the polluted air. If I need to go somewhere, I let my feet do the walking more often than not. And when I have longer distances to traverse, I can take a water taxi, a motorcycle taxi, a regular taxi, the Skytrain, the Subway, or even a bus.

With so many transport options, it amazes me — no, it completely baffles me — why so many locals feel the need to own and drive their own vehicle around Bangkok. Even some foreign residents succumb to vehicle addition and drive in the city. I suppose if you have a big family and need to shuttle the kids to school — or pole dancing lessons — then owning a vehicle makes some degree of sense. But otherwise, why bother? Why would a single resident have the slightest need to own and operate a car in this traffic plagued metropolis? I truly think that many people ARE addicted to having their very own vehicle, considering it a convenience if not a necessity, and wouldn’t think of giving it up. But when I see these people sitting behind the wheel of their SUV or Mercedes Benz, stuck in traffic again — sometimes not moving more than a few feet in the span of twenty minutes — all I can do is laugh.


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