S03E16 – Warm and Soothing

For a song that was probably meant, like The Empty Bullring, as a quick runthrough as she acclimated herself to a new studio, Kate sure came up with something beautiful and criminally underrated. This week, we’re discussing a b-side featuring just Kate and her piano, the flip of December Will Be Magic Again, called Warm and Soothing, a song that is anything but when you dig into the lyrics. Keep in mind that a young woman in her early twenties wrote a song like this about a fading love. How could this be?

Only Kate!

To discuss one of Kate’s most underrated songs, we have a familiar voice on the show this week: Zoey P, who also agrees that this song should be better known and admired. Listen as we analyze Kate’s gorgeous vocal performance, the way she stretches out words, the gorgeous, plaintive melody, and the intriguing lyrics. Another one in only a couple of songs Kate has ever released officially that feature just her piano and voice.

Song clips used:

Warm and Soothing

S03E15 – December Will Be Magic Again

Almost 38 years ago, a mysterious holiday song was released to the record-buying public. Not just any holiday song. December Will Be Magic Again!

The history of this song is a curious one indeed. First premiered to the public on the Kate Bush Christmas special in late 1979, December Will Be Magic Again didn’t get an official record release until almost a year later. Though the song reached the UK top 30, this song never had a video, curiously enough! However, Kate did perform this song live on TV, in a different version with bongos and slide whistles (!!).

To discuss this song and what it means to us, we have our resident Boston Kate fan Keith DeWeese on the show. Back when we first started talking about Kate, Keith mentioned this was one of his favorite KB songs, so of course, we’re talking about it this week! Listen as we talk about the different versions of this song, how it was performed on that famous TV show with Kate in her pajamas, and our take on the lyrics and music. Also Cecilee’s inner music nerd comes out further when she gets to talk about the intriguing structure of this song (major to minor in one song!).

Song clips used:

December Will Be Magic Again (live on the 1979 Kate Bush Christmas special)

December Will Be Magic Again (live on the Christmas Snowtime special, December 22, 1979, [bongo version])

S03E14 – Passing Through Air

Time to take a trip back in time to a track that was recorded well before Never For Ever: the lovely little song Passing Through Air. Released as the b-side to Never For Ever‘s final single Army DreamersPassing Through Air was recorded in 1973 at the age of fifteen, when Kate was still a teenager writing songs by herself in the comfort of the family home. Recorded with David Gilmour and his side project Unicorn, Passing Through Air is an interesting two-minute trip into what Kate’s music was like as a teenager.

To talk about this obscure song this week, we have the wonderful Christopher Kelley, the host of Dream of Orgonon, a blog that is going to detail every Kate song in order of release. Christopher wrote an extensive analysis of this song, so we’ve invited him to talk about this song on the show. We’ll talk about the history of the song, the demo version, and another rarity that was probably recorded at about the same time (and which will finally be released with Kate’s box sets in November: Humming).

It’s all here in this episode!

Song clips used:

Passing Through Air

Need Your Loving (Passing Through Air piano demo)

Other links:

Christopher Kelley’s blog on Passing Through Air

S03E13 – Ran Tan Waltz

Welcome to another episode of the show! This week we’re digging into Ran Tan Waltz, a sprightly little number that was released as the b-side to Never For Ever‘s second single Babooshka. Rather fitting that Ran Tan Waltz, a song about a dysfunctional marriage, was the flip side of a song also about a dysfunctional marriage.

Cecilee is joined by Keith DeWeese in Boston to discuss this little number. They discuss the only time this song has ever been performed live (on the Kate Bush Christmas Special, featuring Kate dressed as a man from Fiddler on the Roof), the theme of the song, and what it means to be ran-tanning.

It’s all here in this episode!

Live performance:

Ran Tan Waltz on the Kate Bush Christmas Special, 1979

S03E12 – The Empty Bullring

After a short break, we’re back with a new song episode. So come disappear through a window and out of your mind into our discussion of The Empty Bullring, the first released non-album track of Kate’s career so far and the first b-side of this season.

The Empty Bullring was the b-side to Never For Ever‘s lead single Breathing. Compared with the proggy, densely produced atmosphere of the A-side, Bullring is rather simple in its production. Just Kate and her piano, spinning a tale of a man trying to prove himself when he doesn’t need to, all in less than two and a half minutes. Short and sweet indeed.

For this episode, we’re joined by a great friend of the show, Zoey, who puts this as one of her most underrated Kate Bush songs. Cecilee and Zoey discuss the theme of the song, the way Kate uses her voice and her always intriguing vocal stylings, and when this song may have been recorded.

Song clips used:

The Empty Bullring

S03E11 – Breathing

Can you believe we’re now at the end of a third album? Of course there are still the b-sides and collaborations to go, but all the album tracks from Kate’s third album Never For Ever have now been discussed and dug into!

Our guests for this last song will be familiar to listeners: Zoey P and Christopher Kelley. Not only are they young fans like our host, but also, Breathing is one of their top 3 favorite Kate Bush songs ever. Not just because it’s one of their favorites but also, there is a lot to discuss in general with this epic song!

In this episode, Christopher and Zoey talk extensively about Breathing. There’s the prog-rock song structure. There’s Kate’s voice, beginning to morph into the raw, emotional instrument that would come into full bloom on The Dreaming. The unusual subject matter (nuclear war from the point of view of a fetus). The music video (of course).

And this was a top 20 hit??

It’s all here in this episode!

Song clips used:

Breathing (album version)

Breathing (live in 1986)

S03E10 – Army Dreamers

After a short break, we’re back with another song episode!

And almost in time for the 38th anniversary of this single being released!

On September 22, 1980, the final single from Never For Ever was released: Army Dreamers. Compared to the previous two singles, Army Dreamers was quite a change of pace from Breathing (prog-rock, Kate’s “little symphony”) and Babooshka (upbeat piano rock). After the intensity of the previous two singles, what we have here is a quiet, folk sort of song in a waltz time (bum BUM BUM bum BUM BUM) with a sweet-sounding vocal delivery from Kate.

But as we all know with Kate, not everything that sounds sweet actually is!

Beneath the quiet atmosphere in this song, we have a tragic tale of a mother mourning the accidental death of her son. And to talk about the song this week, we have two fans: Christopher Kelley, who was featured on the Violin episode, and Gregory Chappell, a long-time fan from Virginia. With these two fans, we get into the history of the song, the folky instruments used in the song’s production, how well it did on the charts, our histories with this song, and, of course, the lyrics! What is a BFPO and, really, she’s saying “like a chicken with a fox”?

After the episode proper, keep listening for an outtake from our discussion with Gregory about what it was like to be a Kate fan in the pre-Internet era.

Song clips used:

Army Dreamers album version

S03E09 – Night-Scented Stock

You would think that an episode about a fifty-two second long interlude track would be about that long. Instead, we got an episode that was almost nine times as long as the song itself! Not bad, wouldn’t you say?

In the shortest episode so far of the show, Cecilee is on her own to talk about this interlude track, an ethereal a cappella piece in between the scary Infant Kiss and the folk-tinged Army Dreamers. In this episode, we’ll learn what is a night-scented stock is and we’ll hear a sample of this song used in a house track from the early 90s, Les enfants du paradis by Loopzone!

It’s all here in this episode!

Song clips used:

Les enfants du paradis

S03E08 – The Infant Kiss

All our barriers are going. Time to bring you another episode of Strange Phenomena!

Can you believe we’re almost done with Never For Ever album songs? We can’t either.

Our song for discussion this week is a rather controversial Kate Bush song inspired by a movie (of course!) that was inspired by a story (of course again!): The Infant Kiss, a song that takes its inspiration from the 60s film The Innocents, an adaptation of The Turn of the Screw. In this episode, we talk with a super fan of the show and song, Zoey P, about this song’s inspiration, why Zoey loves this song, and why this song is so controversial among fans.

We also discuss the French adaptation Un baiser d’enfant, which was specially recorded for the Canadian market in 1982, two years after this song first appeared on an album!

Relevant videos:

Fan-made video for The Infant Kiss

Un baiser d’enfant

S03E07 – Violin

Are you ready to climb with Paganini up to the chimney to jig along with the fiddle-dee-diddle-dee-dee? If you are, then get ready for a rocking discussion of the violin-infused, well, Violin, the seventh track from Never For Ever.

We are joined by two guests for this episode: Wayne Henderson, who you’ll remember from last season’s episode In Search of Peter Pan, and Christopher Kelly, a young Kate fan who’s come on the show to talk about why he loves this song so much. We get into the history of this song, starting from its inception as a Cathy demo, the live version from Kate’s Tour of Life and her Christmas special, all the way to its inclusion on Never For Ever. Along the way, we talk about the numerous references in this song, such as banshees, Paganini, and Nero. And who can forget the live performances, where Kate hits some of her highest recorded notes ever?

It’s all here in this episode!

Song clips used:

Violin live at the Hammersmith Odeon

Violin live on the Kate Bush Christmas special

Violin (demo)