Tag Archives: Paul Wallfisch

Little Annie unveils new video for “Billy Martin Requiem”

With World Aids Day around the corner, Little Annie aptly releases a video for one of the most powerful, sentimental and alluring album tracks on Genderful, Billy Martin Requiem.

December 1 marks the 22nd annual World AIDS Day, and while there is still no “cure” for or viable vaccine against HIV, the positive strides made battling the virus over the last few years are undeniable. New drugs are making what was a death sentence now a manageable – if serious and chronic – condition. Generic versions of these medications, along with ambitious public health policies are helping make real inroads against the disease in the developing world.  There is space for much optimism this year.  But what’s lost sometimes with the good news is a space to contemplate what has been lost to us – irrevocably. The talent unrealized, the creativity and vitality extinguished, the knowledge and experience that won’t be passed on to new generations – this was and continues to be the fall out from the AIDS epidemic.

Which brings us to Little Annie and her song/video “Billy Martin Requiem”.  This astonishing track – from Genderful, her collaboration with Paul Wallfisch (Southern Records) – is perhaps the most New York centered selection on this most NYCentric collection.  It is a song that Annie says she has been trying to write for years. For how does one address the catastrophe of AIDS without falling prey to either to platitudes and cheap sentiment or to the black void of grief?  If you’re Annie you do so with humor, compassion and most knowing sadness. She did, after all, see it all back in the day. She cut her teeth on the downtown music/art scene – back in the bad, old days of the late 1970’s when the Big Apple was a bankrupt, crime-ridden, graffiti-tagged Hell. (Unless of course you were an artist, a free spirit, a thinker and/or a gay man – in which case that Hell was Heaven.) And she was in the trenches of what she calls “the war”, and watched as – to paraphrase Allen Ginsberg – the best minds of a generation disappeared.

Over a sexy, loping groove Annie sets herself adrift on her own stream of consciousness – her mind flowing back to the day. Back to her youth in Yonkers – just north of The Bronx, back to Yankee Stadium – which her train would pass as she headed south and then back to Billy Martin, the Yankees’ ill-starred manager who would die in a drunk driving accident. “No they don’t make ‘em like Billy anymore”, sings Annie. From there she neatly segues to the male disco diva Sylvester, whose “high pitched call to glamour” was the soundtrack to her youth, to gay men God lead her to and so many of whom would be lost to AIDS. “And though it hurts like hell to say it, he was only one of millions. They don’t make them like Sylvester anymore” says Annie before launching in a role call of great artists lost to HIV. The song is elegant and simple and gently devastating

Danny McKernan’s video for “Billy Martin Requiem” is likewise elegant, simple and powerful – hearkening back to the days when promo clips where about the happy collision of a great song, a charismatic performer and film maker with a vision, as opposed to the bloated/vacant visual intravaganzas our eyes/ears are more often than not subjected to these days.

Both the song and the video gently ask the audience to never forget what is missing from this world due to HIV, and to remember the brilliance that has passed from our midst.

Little Annie & Paul Wallfisch European mini-tour

The Batman and Robin of chanson noir, aka Little Annie and Paul Wallfisch, make short but sweet visit to Europe starting this week, with a few shows to promote their recent album Genderful.

Friday 11th June at The Satisfactory, Basel Switzerland
http://www.thesatisfactory.ch

Saturday 12th June at Kampnagel, Hamburg Germany
http://www.kampnagel.de/

Monday 14th June at Roter Salon, Volksbühne, Berlin Germany
http://www.volksbuehne-berlin.de/

These shows are a rare opportunity to see Annie & Paul performing this material together.  If you can get there, don’t miss it!

Thanks.

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Little Annie tour diary part 1: Lonesome Traveller

I think it was me and Paul’s first European tour together during which he gave me a mantra, pearl, a code to live by. We were in Barcelona Airport at our second luggage carousel of the day. We had already waited lamely and vainly at one conveyor belt to no avail in Madrid, where we had spent five extra hours after missing an impossible connection. Watching the gray belt going round and round I reverted to magical thinking.

“If I walk in three circles and sing my special song, the bags, like the first snow of winter, will appear.”

If  I give up the thinking about the bags they will appear.”

“If a person in a green coat walks past me next, the bags will……”

“If I tap my cane….”

Paul clearly was becoming  annoyed at my impotent alchemy, and I irritated at his lack of faith in the power of transatlantic hoodoo.  So we did what everybody does with family in airports, and got snippy with each other as only one can with a much loved family member.

So now here we were in yet another city, still inhaling pre-packaged air and I resolved myself to never seeing our suitcases in this lifetime at least. Thing was I didn’t care about
the bags, I just wanted a cigarette and a shower. I was so raw with jet lag that I wanted to cry (will revisit that later, jet lag I mean, not crying).  But the bags did come and this is why I’m repeating a not very interesting story.  We were now elated and I related to Paul how amazing just something as simple as piece of luggage turning up can turn everything around. At it was at that moment he said one of the most significant things I ever heard:

°A victory a day keeps suicide away.”

I was astounded. I wanted it tattooed across my palms so as not to ever forget it. I was in awe. So simple, yet so richly meaningful and succinct. Screw Sartre, Socrates, Plato, Nietzsche, Spengler. Wallfisch is the man.

He’s an atheist. I’m a Believer.
He’s tall. I’m short.
He has curly hair. Mine isn’t that curly.

But regarding this basic truth I couldn’t agree with him more. Find today’s victory. All I remember about the rest of the day was a childlike glee. Did we skip down Las Ramblas singing and laughing? Maybe so. I know i was smoking.

Yesterday’s victory of the day was getting Bue’s washing machine to stop.  That this miracle should take place in Torino/Turin Italy, the home of the Shroud, may or may not be coincidental: I had a shaky day. Jet lag is not cute for an insomniac. We learn to wind our days around our many sleepless nights but something like jet lag throws the whole delicate ecosystem of our pharmacology into a right mess. I loose my depth perception first, which means bumping into every table leg, chair, shelve etc, and taking endless prat-falls, usually in the presence of suspicious-eyed provincials. Then freezing in middle of the pedestrian crossing cause you don’t trust your memory enough to know for sure which way the traffic is coming. Next is the inability to make a simple decision, like whether to turn on the tap for a glass of water, waiting three weeks as ‘not worth the trouble as we’ll be home in three weeks’, but of all these things are The Existential Loneliness of the Busted Up Traveller. But more about that and the Miracle of Bue’s Washing Machine will have to wait till tomorrow as I have an early train to Basel where I am to meet Paul for the gig at The Satisfactory on Friday and it’s already 2am and I’m already all tangled up. To be continued.

What’s on the turntable today? Marvin Gaye.
What’s on the turntable of my mind? How does one MUJI-fy one’s life into neat brown cylinders and travel scissors?

Love from Torino, where we wash the shroud weekly. xo
Little Annie

Genderful

Us folks here at Southern are very proud to have reached the triumphant milestone of 160.  Yes, that’s right – one hundred and sixty releases on the Southern imprint.  Not bad for a label in its 18th year.  And we couldn’t be happier than for that milestone to be marked by the release of an album by someone we first collaborated with well before the label was started. It was way back in 1981 that we first worked with the girl from New York who had followed Crass back to their house in Epping, for the release of her Barbed Wire Halo single on Crass Records.  None other than Miss Annie Anxiety, aka Annie Bandez, aka Little Annie.

Little Annie and Paul Wallfisch Genderful

Annie’s latest work is Genderful, her second album with her piano muse, and co-conspirator, composer Paul Wallfisch.  The duo somehow manage to perfectly mix soul songs and chansons, bluesy saloon singing and European cabaret styling into a gorgeous, new amalgam.

In Mojo magazine’s review of the album they call Annie “the female counterpart to the Lou Reed of 1982’s Blue Mask – a voice full of pickled New York wisdom”.  And we’re not going to argue!  Genderful is a true New York blues album – even if Annie and Paul play around with the musical form (a bit of camp show-tune here, a dash of Bowery chanson there) – certainly in spirit.  From the opening lines “Give me your tired, give me your poor” (a nod to the sonnet by Emma Lazarus engraved on the inside of the Statue of Liberty), through “Billy Martin Requiem” (a paean to the late, great, Yankees manager), the barbed salute to cookie-cutter urbanites in “Cutesy Bootsies”, and the tender tributes to the lost street characters of “Carried Away” and Adrianna”… it’s an album that has the salty sewers and half-empty bottles of champagne of New York running through its veins.

Listen to: Little Annie & Paul Wallfisch “Carried Away”

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Genderful is released in the UK in April and throughout Europe in May.  The CD is available for pre-order from our web shop now.

Annie has just been announced as special support for Marc Almond’s forthcoming 30 Year Celebration – My Hits And A Sides tour.  Annie will be performing a special set with Baby Dee.  The first dates are as follows – more will be announced in the coming weeks.

November

  • 12 The Anvil, Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK
  • 13 De La Warr Pavilion, Marina, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex, UK
  • 15 St Davids Hall, Cardiff, UK
  • 19 Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, UK
  • 20 The Lowry, Salford, UK
  • 23 The Picturehouse, Edinburgh, UK
  • 24 The ABC, Glasgow, UK
  • 25 The Stage, Newcastle, UK
  • 28 Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, UK
  • 29 Town Hall, Huddersfield, UK
  • 30 Villa Marina, Isle of Man, UK

December

  • 02 Shepherds Bush Empire, London, UK

And we’ll leave you with the gorgeous first video from Genderful  – see you on the other side of heartache!

Thanks!