The Proclaimers – 500 Miles

The Proclaimers - 500 Miles

The Proclaimers – 500 Miles

The Proclaimers are a Scottish duo composed of identical twin brothers Charlie and Craig Reid. They are best known for the songs “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, “I’m On My Way” and “Letter from America”. The band tours extensively throughout Europe and other continents. They have released nine studio albums from 1987 until the present, as well as two compilation albums and a DVD.

When the Scottish duo of Craig and Charlie Reid emerged in 1987, they were immediately compared to the Everly Brothers. Considering their energetic, melodic folk-rock, the comparison made some sense, even though the Proclaimers didn’t really sound like the Everlys. Instead, the band was a post-punk pop band, aggressively displaying their thick accents on sweet, infectiously melodic songs about love, politics, and life in Scotland.

After two albums in the late ’80s (This Is the Story (1987), Sunshine on Leith (1988)), the band disappeared for several years, suffering from personal problems and severe writer’s block. When their 1988 song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” was used in the 1993 film Benny & Joon, the duo began to receive massive radio airplay in America, sending them into the Top Ten in the U.S., as well as the rest of the world; it was their first taste of real success. Luckily, the band was close to completing their third album at the time, Hit the Highway, leaving them in a position to capitalize on their success. The single “Let’s Get Married” received little attention, and the band pretty much disappeared.

They made various contributions to several movie soundtracks — Dumb & Dumber and Bottle Rocket — during the latter part of the decade, but family priorities took full scale. The new millennium exuded a much more fresh sounding Proclaimers. They inked a new U.S. deal with Nettwerk, and Persevere (2001) marked Craig and Charlie Reid’s fourth album. It was a return to form; singing about the grim and glory of their native Scotland, but also a sign of the prime of life. The band’s fifth effort, Born Innocent, appeared on their own imprint Persevere in 2003. It was followed by Restless Soul in 2005. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide



Roast Leg of Pork with Apple Sauce

Roast Leg of Pork with Apple Sauce

Roast Leg of Pork with Apple Sauce


Serves: 8
  • For the Pork:
  • 2.5–3 kg leg of pork
  • 2–3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, broken into small pieces
  • For the Potatoes:
  • 8 medium potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered, depending on size, scored deeply all over with a fork
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 175 g lard
  • For the Apple Sauce:
  • 3 small cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons soft brown sugar
  • 4 dessert apples
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 90 g butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • For the Gravy:
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock (recipes on this website)
  • 1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • Fresh sage sprigs, to garnish

Preparation method

Prep: 30 minutes | Cook: 3 hours

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Weigh the pork and calculate the cooking time, allowing 25 minutes per 500 g plus 25 minutes.
Wipe the meat with paper towels. Using a very sharp knife, make diagonal scores in the skin across or vertically down 5–10 mm apart and about 3 mm deep.
Put the meat in a roasting pan and, to encourage the skin to ‘crackle’, rub it all over with the olive oil, then rub in the salt and scatter with rosemary.
Roast the pork in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes to start the skin crisping, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C. Cook, basting every 30 minutes with the fat from the bottom of the pan, until the meat is well done.
About 1 hour before the pork is due to come out of the oven, put the potatoes into a large saucepan, cover with cold water, add the salt and bring to the boil.
Drain well, return to the pan and shake over high heat for 1–2 minutes until they are dry.
Heat the lard in a roasting pan on the shelf above the pork until it sizzles.
Add the potatoes, baste well and roast for 1 1/4 hours, until crisp and golden.
When the pork is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave it to rest in a warm place. Increase the oven temperature to 220°C and let the potatoes finish cooking.
About 30 minutes before the end of the pork’s calculated cooking time, put the cooking apples into a small saucepan with the water, allspice and sugar.
Cover and cook gently until soft and pulpy.
Remove from the heat and mash with a fork.
Peel and core the dessert apples, cut in half horizontally and brush each half all over with the lemon juice.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan, add the sage, then place the apple halves in the pan, cut sides up.
Top each half with the apple sauce and baste well with the sage butter. Cover the pan and cook gently, basting occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the apples are just softened. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
At the end of the calculated cooking time, pierce the pork with a skewer at the thickest part.
The juices should run clear with no trace of pink. (If necessary, continue roasting until done.)
Lift the cooked pork from the roasting pan onto a large, heated serving plate, cover loosely with foil and allow to stand while making the gravy.
Skim off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the roasting pan, then stir the flour into the fat and juices remaining in the pan.
Cook over medium heat until well browned but not burned.
Gradually add the chicken stock and bring to the boil, stirring continuously and scraping any browned residue off the bottom of the pan.
Strain the gravy through a fine sieve into a saucepan, then blend in the redcurrant jelly and dry sherry, simmer for 5 minutes and season to taste.
Arrange the apple halves around the pork, garnish with the sprigs of sage and serve with the roast potatoes and gravy.
Buttered cabbage or green peas make a good accompaniment for this dish.

Womack And Womack – Teardrops

Womack And Womack – Teardrops

Womack And Womack - Teardrops

Born and raised in Cleveland’s East 85th & Quincy area to Naomi Womack and Friendly Womack, Womack was the third of five brothers. Raised Baptist, their mother played organ in their church and their father was a minister and musician, often known to play guitar though he advised his sons to not touch the instrument while he was away. One night, eight-year-old Bobby, who was often playing it, broke a guitar string. After Friendly replaced the string with a shoelace, he let Bobby play the guitar for him. According to Bobby later, Friendly was shocked by his son’s talents as well as the talents of his other sons. Soon afterwards, he bought Bobby his own guitar and formed The Womack Brothers. The group toured the gospel circuit with their parents accompanying them on organ and guitar respectively. In 1954, the group under the moniker Curtis Womack and the Womack Brothers, the group issued the Pennant single, “Buffalo Bill”. Bobby was only ten years old at the time.
Even though Curtis Womack often sang lead, Bobby Womack was allowed to sing alongside him showcasing his gruff baritone vocals in contrast to his older brother’s smoother tenor. During performances, Bobby would sometimes imitate the role of a preacher. Sam Cooke discovered the group performing while he was still in the Soul Stirrers in 1956 and began mentoring the boys, promising them that he would help with their careers once he established himself. Within four years, Cooke had formed SAR Records and signed the quintet to the label. Bobby was sixteen. The group recorded two gospel sides before Cooke decided to have the boys switch over to pop music. Upon telling his father of the decision to go secular, an emotional Friendly Sr. told them that they had to leave the house. Cooke had the brother’s move to Los Angeles.

Changing their name to The Valentinos, Cooke produced and arranged the group’s first hit single, “Looking for a Love”, which was a pop version of a gospel song they had released titled “Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray”, written by Bobby. The song became a R&B hit and helped land the group a spot on James Brown’s Revue. The group’s next hit came in 1964 with the country-tinged “It’s All Over Now”, co-composed by Bobby. Their version was rising on the charts when The Rolling Stones covered it. Bobby was initially angry until he saw his first royalty check for the single after it had become a hit. The Valentinos’ career was left shaky after Sam Cooke was shot and killed in a Los Angeles motel. Devastated by the news, the brothers disbanded and SAR Records folded. Bobby forged on a solo career, releasing sides for the Him and Checker labels without much success no thanks in part due to the controversy of his marriage to Cooke’s widow, Barbara Campbell. By 1966, Womack had settled on session work.

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Hot Chocolate – Emma

Hot Chocolate – Emma

Hot Chocolate - Emma

Hot Chocolate formed in Brixton, London, England in 1968. Members of the group included Errol Brown, Tony Connor, Larry Ferguson, Harvey Hinsley, Patrick Olive and Tony Wilson.
In 1969 the band started working on a reggae version of the John Lennon song “Give Peace A Chance”. Errol Brown had changed the lyrics for their version but was informed that he could not do this without John Lennon’s permission, so a copy of the demo was sent to the Beatles Apple record label to see what they thought of it. Fortunately, John loved the version and it was released on the Apple label.
The group was given the named ‘The Hot Chocolate Band’ by a secretary at the company, Mavis Smith, the band later changed it to just ‘Hot Chocolate’.
Towards the end of 1969 Mickie Most signed Errol and the cofounder of the group Tony Wilson as writers and recorded their songs with Mary Hopkins, Julie Felix and Herman’s Hermits before encouraging them to come up with a song for themselves. In 1970 Hot Chocolate, with Errol Brown as lead singer, released their first record entitled “Love Is Life” which reached number 6 in the charts. This was the start of a fifteen year career for the group who amassed a total of over 30 hits and also became the only group in the UK to have a hit for fifteen consecutive years.
In 1981 Hot Chocolate had the honour of being invited by Prince Charles and Lady Diana at their pre-wedding reception at Buckingham Palace which was attended by heads of Government and many members of European Royalty.
In 1986 Errol left the band and took time out to spend more time with his wife and then young children. The rest of the members of Hot Chocolate also took some time off to consider their future and in 1992 Patrick Olive, Harvey Hinsley and Tony Connor joined up with agent Richard Martin and decided to start touring again.
The band found a new singer Greg Bannis and keyboard players Andy Smith & Steve Ansell. Since 1992, the band has enjoyed years of continued success touring all around the world performing to many thousands of fans who love the music of Hot Chocolate. In 1997 the classic single “You Sexy Thing” reached number one in the charts after it was featured in the movie ‘The Full Monty’ and a new Hot Chocolate ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation released in October 1997 reached number 10 in the album charts.
In 2010 singer Kennie Simon replaced Greg Bannis on vocals creating what many are saying is the best sound ever.

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