Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – It’s Time For Tea

CamIt has been fun the last couple of weeks to come up with a word and find song titles using that word. This week we are at the letter T and the lyrics from Paul & Linda McCartney’s 1971 hit “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” popped in to my head. “Admiral Halsey notified me, he had to have a berth or he couldn’t get to sea. I had another look and I had a cup of tea and butter pie. (Butter pie?) (The butter wouldn’t melt so I put it in the pie)”. Tea! Not very rock’n’roll but a quick of the iPod revealed eight songs with the word “tea” in the title. Grab a cuppa & read on.

“Tea For The Tillerman” – Cat Stevens

This song is thankfully not on my iPod but it was the first one to come to mind. As a teenager I hated Cat Stevens and his whiny voice and earnest lyrics. Along with James Taylor and Carole King I was constantly assaulted by their albums from my older sister’s room. I came to despise them all. It was perfect background music to read Khali’ Gibran’s “The Prophet” or Jonathan Livingston Seagull. To this day I have not read either. The saving grace to this song is it clocks in at just over one minute.

“I Tea Bagged Myself” – The Wet Secrets Editor’s note: No video exists for “I Tea Bagged Myself…so here’s their latest single.

This is more like it. One of my favourite Canadian bands. Love their sense of humour, their sense of rock and sense of fashion. This is from their 2008 album “Rock Fantasy”. For something a little more recent you should check out their great new single “Sunshine” from their just released third album “Free Candy”.

“Lulu Selling Tea” – The Proclaimers

Not one of their better known songs this appeared on the 1990 EP “King Of The Road”. To keep up the momentum of their massive “Sunshine on Leith” album the brothers recorded this four- song  EP to pay homage to a couple of great songs, “King Of The Road” and “Long Black Veil”,  as well as two new originals “Lulu Selling Tea” and “Not Ever”. “Lulu’s” theme is growing up in the sixties and is a smile-inducing walk down memory lane for those of us of a certain vintage.

“Tea For Two” – Pink Martini

This is a stunning rendition of the 1924 classic from the musical “No, No Nanette” and features a duet between Pink Martini’s China Forbes and jazz legend “Little” Jimmy Scott. It is from the 2007 album “Hey Eugene!” If you don’t know Jimmy Scott I highly recommend taking a look at the documentary “Rising Above The Blues” which we debuted at the 2012 NXNE Film Festival.  Pink Martini are also well worth checking out.

“Pennyroyal Tea” – Nirvana

This was to be the third single from Nirvana’s last studio album “In Utero”. The first single was “Heart-Shaped Box” and it was followed by the double A-side “All Apologies”/”Rape Me”. It was set for release in April of 1994 but was quickly scrapped after the death of Kurt Cobain. The B-side was “I Hate Myself And Want To Die” and there was just no way DGC Records release a single with that song at that time. As it stands “Pennyroyal Tea” is a pretty lyrically depressing little ditty and mirrored the depression, and stomach pain, that so affected Cobain.

“Diamonds For Your Tea” – The Little Stevies

This is the title track from the latest album by Melbourne’s The Little Stevies. In 2011 the then three-piece band toured across Canada in support of their “Attention Shoppers” release and quickly won new fans from coast to coast. Now just comprised of sisters Sibylla and Bethany Stephens the duo’s latest record can be found on their bandcamp page. Great vocalists and hopefully they will return to Canada one day.

“Tea For One” – Led Zeppelin

Although in terms of sales it was their least successful studio album “Presence” has stood the test of time and Zeppelin’s seventh studio album is now fondly praised by once harsh critics. It was recorded in just 18 days and singer Robert Plant recorded most of the lyrics while still wheelchair bound from his recent car accident. “Tea For One”, a nine minute monster, closes the album and has all the requisite Zep trademarks from Bonham’s magic foot, John Paul Jones rolling bass, Page’s blues shredding and Plant’s howl.

“I’ll Be Late For Tea” – Blossom Toes Editor’s Note: Again, no video…so here is another track from the Blossom Toes, “Wait a Minute”. 

This track ended up on my iPod via a “Mod” sampler disc from Mojo Magazine. It is a classic example of the late sixties English psychedelic sound and today would sound like a Spinal Tap outtake to most. It marks one of the early recordings by guitarist Jim Cregan who would go on to great success with Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel and would act as Rod Stewart’s guitarist, band leader and co-writer for Rod’s run up the charts in the eighties.

“Whisky & Green Tea” – Supergrass

This is from the band’s sixth, and final, album “Diamond Hoo Ha”, which was released in 2008 and about a decade after their rise to the top of the Britpop heap. This one is a little off the wall sounding like a mash-up of Roxy Music and the flying monkey guards from “The Wizard Of Oz”. Although the band never had mainstream acceptance in North America they were huge in the U.K. and singer Gaz Coombes was a favourite target of the tabloid press.

“Tea In The Sahara” – The Police

This is the final song on the band’s final studio album “Synchronicity”. At the time they were pretty well the biggest band in the world and this album spawned the hits “Every Breath You Take”, “King Of Pain”, “Wrapped Around Your Finger” and the title track. I was never a fan of the band and the only Police recording that I own is the original picture sleeve 7” of Roxanne which I picked up in the punk section of a Montreal record store. Although I love Stewart Copeland’s drumming there was always something about Sting’s voice that just rubbed me the wrong way.


Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59

Cam’s column appears every Thursday

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The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll are proud to be presented by The Bovine Tiki Bar and The Bovine. There are heaters on the Bovine patio and great bands downstairs at the legendary rock bar. Fill up next store at The Rock Lobster and then get your rocks off at The Bovine. 

DBAWIS ButtonCameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener, The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

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