Saturday, July 15, 2006


Something For The Week End

For the last week the temperature has been on the rise here, we are looking at 37°/38° daytime with the night temperature staying above the 20° mark. Add to this the fact that I can't remember the last time I saw any real rain, so I guess you could say summer has arrived. 2003 saw the French government caught with their trousers down. The country suffered an extended heatwave through the summer holiday period and it has been estimated that 15,000 elderly people died of heat related causes. The French health minister was disposed of as he had the bad luck of being on holiday at the time and so was absent when decisions had to be taken. The Government were the target of public disrest over the subject, though arguably we could put the blame on the families that went on holiday leaving their elders to fend for themselves. The result was that the working population were punished when a day of national solidarity was introduced, the way it works is that a public holiday was suppressed and we work for free that day while our employer, who arguably benefits from the situation, pays the government the social security charges for the days work from his workforce. This is typically French in the way that it is complicated and does not achieve it's objective. The money raised does not appear to have changed awful lot. The Government also introduced a warning system for heatwaves, where I live we have been on level 3 out 4 for the last five days. What I think people tend to forget is that here in the south of France the summers are hot and this is normal, as is it normal that older people die in larger numbers when the temperature soars or dip, regrettable as it may be this is just mother nature regulating things, and it's always been like this.
As someone who grew up in the UK in the sixties I have a long and deep love of Motown, a music that during its golden era was full of life and festive, summer music I guess you could call it, there was of course the darker more politically aware side that rose its head as the decade drew to a close which also gave us some excellent tunes as in Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' which sadly is as relevant today as it was 35 years ago. So I though why not a little bit of tamla today First up two tunes from Martha & the Vandellas their 1963 Holland Dozier Holland penned hit '(Love Is Like A) Heatwave', and from the following year a song that Mick Jagger and David Bowie managed massacrecre in the name of famine relief 'Dancing In The Streets' for which Marvin Gaye shared a writers credit. Another pair of songs from the Temptations this time, their 43 top ten hits spread over 25 years makes them one of the most successful groups of all time. Staying with a weather theme I have chosen 'I Wish It Would Rain' from 1967 and the following years Grammy winner 'Cloud Nine'. The four songs here today were remastered from the original single masters and as such are the versions that climbed the US and UK charts, and not the stereo remixed versions that appeared on many compilations.
A footnote to this post: I recently picked up a copy of the documentary 'Standing In The Shadows Of Motown' which is well worth you time it being the history and a tribute the musicians that formed Motown's multi-racial house band.

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