A History of Dubious Taste – 1986

Slowly but surely, we edge through a review of my record collection in chronological order…

…and here we are in April 1986, where, as far as I can glean, this was the only single I purchased.

One of only two records I own by Big Country – the other being their debut album “The Crossing” – this turned out to be their biggest hit in the UK, reaching the giddy heights of #7.

Whoever was the band’s stylist at the time was clearly at loggerheads with the person responsible for the photo-shoot for the single sleeve:

Photographer: Let’s put them in a bleak, wind-swept, wintry scene. It captures their innate Scottishness, plus it’ll look like Big Country are part of the big countryside!

Stylist: But I’ve told the lads to turn up dressed as if they’re appearing on Miami Vice….

Photographer: Ah, it’ll be fine, people love a good juxtaposition.


Big Country – Look Away

It was also around this time that I picked up an album originally released in 1981 and which, by July 2016, had gone platinum twenty times, sold 6,120,000 copies in the UK alone, and had become the biggest selling album in the UK. Ever. So before any of you decide to take the piss, chances are you’ve owned a copy of it at some time or other too.

But, in my book, it shouldn’t count as the Biggest Selling Album Ever, because it’s a Greatest Hits album. Compilation albums were excluded from the normal UK Album Charts in January 1989, and what is a Greatest Hits album if not a compilation of the biggest selling singles released by one artist?

Anyway, whichever way you look at it, it’s definitely an album, and one that I bought in April 1986, and I know that I bought it then because I was swotting up ready to go to my first ever gig later that year, a gig which featured both acts on the line-up. But more about that another time.

Until then, here’s a song which, in the wee small hours of Friday night/Saturday morning, when we’d both had a few too many, Hel and I would belt out together in our old flat:


Queen – Somebody to Love

Now, if you don’t want to read something a bit soppy, I suggest that you…er…”look away” now: Hel and her long-term partner Neil recently announced they’re getting married next year. So it seems to me that if you sing a song often enough, it can come true. Congratulations, both.

More soon.

Claps, Clicks & Whistles #12

Following on from my post on Saturday morning, here’s another jazz number which also just happens to feature in the movie “Baby Driver” that I was banging on about last week, and which is finger-clickingly cool:


The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Unsquare Dance

I post this merely to point out the film’s soundtrack is diverse, if nothing else.

More soon.

NB – I seem to be having issues connecting to my usual file sharing service, so I’ve resorted back to Zippyshare, so my apologies for any pop-ups which may appear if you try to listen to that.

I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays

I’ll make no bones about it. I find Monday mornings difficult.

I don’t really have a lie in on Saturday or Sunday anymore; there’s some weird clock that kicks in when you hit forty that prevents lie ins, so I’m generally up and about at the same time as I would be on a weekday.

Yet there’s something about having to drag my bloated carcass out of bed when it comes to starting a new week that I find difficult, to say the least.

And I can’t be the only one, surely?

So, for as long as I can manage to remember to write one of these of a Sunday evening, I thought I’d take a leaf out of the weekday breakfast show DJ’s book: play something upbeat to get the audience going.

And so here’s what I came up with first: a song about wanting to pack it all in rather than go to work.

Zambezi front

Piranhas – Zambezi

More soon.

“In the End, It Took Me a Dictionary to Find Out the Meaning of Unrequited” #4

Let’s be honest, if I’m going to post songs about unrequited love, then there’s a fairly healthy stash of tunes to choose from in The Smiths’ back catalogue.

This one has always been a favourite of mine, a tale of a boy and a girl, one consumed by the fear of rejection, frozen in the teenage terror of revealing to the other that they, y’know…erm…kinda…erm…y’know…think they’re pretty sweet, and the other confused about why he doesn’t just come right out and say it.

When I was a teenager, this was definitely a situation I experienced. Confession time.

I was set up on a date by a mutual friend once. Thing is, I didn’t know it was a date. What had been arranged was a few drinks with a friend, and then I’d crash on her sofa, but it turned into what I now know is one of those “OK, we’re all here, great! Oh no! I just remembered I have to be somewhere else, you two will be okay won’t you? Bye!!” kind of things.

But stupid teenage me, despite raging levels of testosterone, was too dumb to read the signs.

I was supposed to be crashing over at the mutual friend’s place that night, and so when my “date” said it was fine and I could stay at theirs instead, that’s all I assumed it was: me sleeping on a sofa or in the spare room.

See, at this young age, I didn’t know that women colluded like this. As far as I was concerned, it was all just terribly bad luck that our mutual friend couldn’t stay, and jolly good of her friend to step in to keep me company and let me crash over. 

And whilst I really did like the young lady in question (quite a lot), I had no idea that the feeling was reciprocated.

As we left the pub at chucking out time, to a chorus of “*****’s going to have sex tonight!” (her name removed, just in case) from a loitering group of lads, I remember thinking “Ha! Idiots! Course she’s not, this is nothing more than a convenient arrangement to save me getting a taxi home! I’m just sleeping on her sofa! Fools!!!”

And so it was that as we cosied up on the sofa, watching television as her parents slept soundly upstairs, that I utterly failed to recognise or act upon every advance she made, of which, she subsequently told me, there were many.

Whenever I hear this song, I think of that night, and shiver:


The Smiths – Girl Afraid

More embarrassing revelations soon enough.

Acoustic Afternoons

And now to a band who I never think get enough credit. I’ve seen them compared to R.E.M. before, which I don’t think is either fair or accurate. Any band is going to wilt in comparison to the boys from Athens, Georgia (up to a point, obviously).

Anyway, here’s Idlewild, and something which I think has never seen a commercial release.

I was lucky enough to see them play an acoustic set at Bristol’s Colston Hall ten years or so ago, a wonderful venue which is just perfect for an acoustic set such as they did that night, and I’m surprised that, having done a tour playing acoustic versions of their own songs, nothing became of it: no live album followed in the tour’s wake, as far as I know. I’d be delighted if someone told me I was wrong about that.


Idlewild – When I Argue, I See Shapes

What’s especially wonderful about that is, if you know the original, you could not possibly conceive that it might work as an acoustic track.

Does, though, doesn’t it?

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

More from that “Rich Hall’s Countrier Than You” documentary that I mentioned last week now, and an artist who features there, performing and being interviewed, and who has featured here before:


Robbie Fulks – Every Kind of Music But Country

She’s not right for you, Robbie.

With thanks to the regular reader who kindly sent me a copy of that entire album recently. I’ll name no names but you know who you are. Cheers!

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

More cover version fun now, and a song which is currently featuring in an advert for…actually, I’m not sure what it’s for, and even if I did know I wouldn’t give it a free advert here.

See, the thing with music used in adverts, it usually falls into one of three categories for me:

  1. Song that I love which immediately makes me feel annoyed it’s being used in an advert;
  2. Cover version of a reasonably well-known song, but performed by a (usually) female artiste playing either a piano or, more likely, a ukulele;
  3. The much rarer song or cover version which I’ve never heard before and instantly want to own.

Tonight’s song falls in to the third category. I’m not even particularly fond of the original, but I could listen to this singer recite my internet browsing history and adore it (although I’d rather he didn’t, and if he did, hope he wouldn’t record and release it to the likes of you.)

This version first appeared on the soundtrack to “I Am Sam”, and also featured as a bonus track on the US version of his 2001 album “Poses”, which explains why it had never crossed my radar before:

dbdb2285cf1bc5cc15de35e54bd502b5_953x953x1Rufus Wainwright – Across the Universe


More soon.

Footnote: I’ve just seen the advert again. It’s for an electronics company, trying to sell us stuff which will change our world, for the better. Note to the marketing guys: given the chorus of this song, this may not have been the wisest of choices to soundtrack your advert. Unless you were being ironic, which I doubt.