A History of Dubious Taste: The Formative Years

Disclaimer: This post contains four fucking terrible records. But stick with it. There’s four really great ones after that.

It’s funny how the most mundane of events can trigger long buried memories.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all gloomy and confess to years of abuse at the hands of a 1970s celebrity. Well, not unless you can count owning records by a certain band from the 60s & 70s as abuse.

And no, I don’t mean Status Quo.

Let me explain.

This week, for the first time in years, I went to the dentist.

I should stress at this point that I hadn’t avoided going through any lack of care for my oral hygiene – I’m no Shane Magowan, is what I’m saying. When I was a kid, my parents took me to the dentist regularly, and I had learned how to take care of my teeth to the extent that I’ve never had a filling, a crown or a tooth removed. I know you’re supposed to go to the dentist for regular check-ups, but I don’t go to my doctor for them for the rest of my body, and going to the doctor is free, whilst you have to pay to see a dentist. Why waste money just to have a bloke give my teeth a bit of a scrape every couple of months? Trips to the dentist firmly resided in the “If it ain’t broke, don’t mend it” category.

Well, this week, something broke, namely one of my teeth. I wish I could say it was punched out of me in a fight where I was defending someone’s honour, but what actually happened was I was eating a chocolate which suddenly developed a crunchy texture it hadn’t had when I first popped it in my mouth. At first I wondered if I was the latest victim of one of those “look at this disgusting thing that I found in my food” stories you read about every now and then, but it quickly transpired that the crunchiness was in fact a large chunk of tooth which had decided it no longer wanted to be in my mouth, and preferred my stomach instead. My stomach is considerably larger than my mouth, so I can’t really say I blame it for wanting to upgrade to somewhere roomier.

As it goes, the trip to the dentist was considerably less painful than I had expected: all he did was saw off part of the remaining tooth, prescribe me some antibiotics, and tell me I need to come back to have the rest either removed or a crown put in.

In fact, the most painful thing about the whole thing, is that as a result I’ve had this song, by a group whose schtick was performing “funny” parodies of popular hits of the time (on this occasion, “Rivers of Babylon“, “Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs” and “The Smurf Song“) lodged in my brain all week:

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The Barron Knights – A Taste Of Aggro

Unbelievable as it may seem, that got to Number 3 in the UK singles chart in 1978.

I, of course, did not contribute to its sales. Oh no, of course not. Instead, the nine-year old me belligerently badgered my parents until they finally gave in and bought me their “Night Gallery” album from which “…Aggro” came instead.

At the time, I thought this record was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. I would listen to it over and over again, learning the words, laughing out loud long after the “jokes” had actually ceased to be funny.

Not content with annoying my family by playing this album endlessly, I decided I wanted to share it with my peers at school, and to that end I asked my Junior School teacher at the time if I could bring it in for a “Show and Tell” lesson.

What I should stress at this point is that we had never had a “Show and Tell” lesson before, and as far as I can recall, we never had another one either. I think the second of those two facts can be directly attributed to me.

These are the three parodies from “Night Gallery” that I subjected my classmates and teacher to: one of Heatwave’s “Boogie Nights”, one of Althea and Donna’s “Uptown Top Ranking”, (both fairly recent hits at the time, being from 1976 and 1978 respectively), and Tommy Steele’s “Little White Bull” (from 1959, so slightly less current).

Oh no, you don’t get off so lightly as to just be told what the chosen songs were parodies of: here’s the actual songs, placed in ascending order of awfulness.

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The Barron Knights – Boozy Nights

The Barron Knights – Boy Scouts Out Camping

(I seem to have an horrific image of “comedians” Little & Large performing that on one of their shows, both dressed as Scouts. I’m not sure which is worse: that actually having happened, or my imagining it…)

The Barron Knights – Little White Bum

Yes, that last one really is about a young boy who liked, and was encouraged by his parents, to show off his bottom to the extent that he is entered into a Best Baby’s Arse Competition. Was that ever a thing??

When people say the 1970s were a different time, they really aren’t joking.

The only good thing I can say about these is that they introduced me to the original records, two of which I love (the Tommy Steele one, not so much). So, in the interest of balance, and moreover palate cleansing, here they are:

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Heatwave – Boogie Nights

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Althea & Donna – Uptown Top Ranking

Words cannot express how much I love Althea’s (or is it Donna? I have no clue which is which. Does that make them the 1970s Ant & Dec??) massive glasses and even more massive ‘fro combo.

If I lie back on the psychologist’s couch for a while, I guess this forced “Show and Tell” lesson was the first example of something which has characterised my life ever since – through all the mix-tapes I used to churn out at Sixth Form, the DJ’ing at college, the playlists I still happily compose at the drop of a hat, hell, even this place: a desire to share records with people. The notion that I owe all of those years of pleasure to The Barron sodding Knights is quite a startling one.

But I’m not done with embarrassing confessions from my Junior School days just yet.

Surprising as it may seem now, when I was at Junior School age I was considered to be a pretty bright kid, and was moved up a year as a result. This must have happened when I was about six or seven years old, and I, along with my year older than I classmates, had completely forgotten about it until it came to the time for them all to go to Secondary School and I was left behind.

That meant that I essentially had to repeat my final year of Junior School, a trend which continued when I went to college, but more of that some other time.

Anyway, that meant that I spent two years in Mr Land’s class. He was a nice enough chap, as I recall. He used to be in charge of putting on the annual school play and – and I only remembered this when the above came to mind – he encouraged his class in creative writing. One project he gave us was to write a children’s story for someone in the Infant School, placing them within the story, which now I think about is a quite brilliant way to engage kids in books and writing. He also used to hold a short-story writing competition for his class at the end of each term.

Now, all through my educational years, and when at Junior School in particular, it was considered that I had a great talent for writing. I was given blank exercise books and encouraged to just fill them with stories; I, of course attempted to write one long story. Ultimately, these just consisted of elaborate car chases, but the intention was there.

Ever since, I’ve wanted to write a novel. Many of my friends will vouch for the fact that every now and then throughout my life  I have announced I’ve come up with a brilliant idea for a book which I would start on right away.

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Father John Misty – I’m Writing a Novel

Inevitably, I would write the first chapter, if that, before being struck with either writer’s block or a crippling realisation that I just can’t write well enough to produce such a thing.

Which is pretty much why I do this. A few years ago, I decided I was going to write about all of the dumb things me and my friends had got up to, or had happened to us, on nights out, which I would then try to string together into some kind of narrative structure and build a plot around. Needless to say, I didn’t get far when I realised – again – that writing a book is bloody difficult, that I didn’t really have the patience, stamina, self-discipline, determination or drive required for the task in hand. Instead, I decided to write them in bite-size chunks and post them here. I still get distracted and find myself writing about cover versions, or preparing a playlist for you every Friday night, or any of the other threads I’ve started here and got bored with after a while. But be warned: I’m currently working on pieces about all of the records I bought in 1986, so the main thrust of this blog should be returning more regularly soon.

Speaking of getting distracted, I have digressed again. Mr Land’s short story competition is where I was heading.

Because of my perceived talents in the field, I had just assumed, as did many others, that I would walk away with first prize every time the competition came around. But I was reckoning without my nemesis, a lad called Richard Crisp.

Every term, Richard would write essentially the same story, and every term he would win. Every term, without fail, he would write a story about a football match between two semi-fictional teams, say for example “Mods versus Rockers” (the names had absolutely no bearing on the story, he didn’t recount a football match as if it were a pitched battle on Brighton beach), but he would make classmates and teachers members of the teams, giving him scope to make a few jokes at their expense, and refer to incidents which had happened during the previous term.

So when my classmates all went off to Secondary School, leaving me behind with a new class who had never been invited to enter the short story competition before and thus had never heard any of Richard’s prize-winning stories, I saw my opportunity to claim the crown I so desperately craved. I would do exactly the same as he did: write a story about a football match between two random groups, and, just as Richard had done so successfully, would incorporate teachers and classmates alike into the game, with much hilarity undoubtedly ensuing.

But which two random groups would I choose as the names for the teams? I pondered long and hard over this, before finally settling on two which I thought were entirely appropriate and suitable.

Before I go any further, may I just remind you at this point that this was 1980. Granted, no longer the 1970s, but pejorative terms did not die the moment the 70s ended. And the two names I chose were still in common usage at the time, often bandied about in newspapers, or in sit-coms, and so I didn’t really consider what they actually meant. They were just words, as far as I was concerned.

May I also make it very clear that, other than in the context of this post, these are not words I would ever consider using nowadays.

I think that’s enough disclaimers. Allegations that “The lady doth protest too much” would surely follow if I carried on digging any further.

So, on what I was confident would the first of many triumphant wins, I stood up in front of my class, and in front of Mr Land, and began my story:

“It was the annual football match between The Poofs and The Pansies….” I announced.

“Erm…can I have a look at that please?” interjected Mr Land. I handed him my exercise book. He thumbed through it, a concerned look on his brow, before handing it back. “Okay. Carry on.”

I can only surmise that he hadn’t spotted the next sentence.

“And leading The Poofs out onto the field is their Captain, Mr Land….”

“I think we’ve heard enough of that now, thank you. Please sit down. Immediately.”

I learned a valuable lesson that day: never use words that you don’t understand. Which is why you’ll never find me writing about Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis anytime soon.

As I hang my head in shame, this seems appropriate:

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Spandau Ballet – To Cut a Long Story Short

More cringers soon.

Friday Night Music Club (That Summer Feeling #31 – #40)

With the exception of our friends North of the Border, it’s a Bank Holiday Weekend here in the UK this weekend, and from what I can gather, the weather is set to be uncharacteristically fine. No more perfect time to post a few more summer(y) records then, right?

The first one could easily have featured in the How To Do A Cover Version thread here, being a cover of a Vic Godard tune as it is (who knows, I may post the original and the other cover I own of it at some point). For now though, here’s Orange Juice:

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377. Orange Juice – Holiday Hymn

Whatever happened to St Albans finest, Friendly Fires? Between 2008 and 2011, they seemed to be everywhere, every festival line-up had a mid-afternoon slot set aside for them and their brand of breathy alt-pop. Like this, for example:

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378. Friendly Fires – Jump in the Pool

A couple of stone-cold (or should that be red hot?) classics now. First a tune that effortlessly nails the…erm…California Soul summer vibe:

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379. Marlena Shaw  – California Soul

…and secondly, a laid-back chilled out soul tune, cut from the same cloth as Young Rascals’ “Groovin’” and The Isley Brothers’ “Summer Breeze

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380. Osibisa – Sunshine Day

All this talk of sunny days, hot weather, swimming pools and beaches should not, however, over-shadow the blight of summer for many. That’s right: hay fever.

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381. The Divine Comedy – The Pop Singer’s Fear of the Pollen Count

Now a song which for those of you who follow The Chain thread we do here (and if you don’t, why not??), and specifically this weeks’ comments, will know that I, like Charity Chic, am unable to resist dedicating this to George:

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382. Bruce Springsteen – Girls In Their Summer Clothes

Question: What should be better than one Webb?

Answer: Two Webbs.

And that’s why I never made it as a stand-up comedian.

The one Webb in question is Jimmy, the man responsible for such classics as “Galveston“, “Wichita Lineman” and “MacArthur Park“; the two Webbs are his sons, The Webb Brothers, and of course, bettering their father’s records is a tough ask. They’ve written a few decent songs, especially on their “Maroon” album. This one isn’t on that, and it’s okay I guess (and that’s why I never made it as a music critic either):

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383. The Webb Brothers – Summer People

Of course, if you want a classic British summer tune, recalling yer actual Cock-er-nee family trips down to the beach, you don’t have to look much further than this pair:

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384. Chas & Dave – Margate

I have vague memories from when I was a kid of going on coach trips to the seaside, although I can’t recall quite who organised them (the scouts, possibly…?) or where we went (I imagine Great Yarmouth, Hunstanton, Skegness…all names so impossibly exotic as to make the mention of Margate pale in comparison). This next one tells the story of one such trip, of a young lad getting what I believe is called a knee-trembler behind the chalets. But it’s the description of the everyday beach life that really hits home here, which is only to be expected when you consider who its’ by:

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385. Squeeze – Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)

To round things off for another week, here’s Super Furry Animals with some blissed out Welsh psych-rock loops and Beach Boys harmonies perfection lifted from their ninth studio album, “Dark Days/Light Years“:

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386. Super Furry Animals – Cardiff in the Sun

More soon.

The Chain #17

Hello!

Fewer suggestions than usual this week, which I’m putting down to either some of the regular contributors being on holiday at the moment, or perhaps to the record to link to being a little uninspiring.

Also, thankfully, you guys seem to have calmed down a little on the multiple suggestion front. Not that I mind, but after last week’s post, I was thinking about introducing a new rule: a maximum of two suggestions per person.

By the way, it seems that Cutpi, my usual file server has completely died, or been closed down, so we’re back to Zippyshare. I have no plans to reupload all of the stuff I’ve previously posted, but if there’s a dead link anywhere back there you’d like me to repost, give me a shout via the Comments section and I’ll think about it.

Anyway no need for me to impose any such rule this week, so let’s get straight on to it. You’ll recall we left it last week with Peter Gabriel’s “I Don’t Remember” as the tune to suggest links to, and first up this week was The Great Gog, who wrote:

“In the process of packing for my hols, so just a simple and very obvious link this week. No Memory by Scarlet Fantastic.”

Have to admit I had completely forgotten all about this tune (no pun intended):

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Scarlet Fantastic – No Memory

Next up, it’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything…:

“Do you suffer from long term memory loss? The band asked the singer from Chumbawamba one balmy summer night. I don’t remember was her cheery answer. And thus the single ‘Amnesia’ was born. But of course you have to post the Jimmy Echo version.”

But of course:

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 Chumbawamba – Amnesia (Jimmy Echo Version)

That was going to be my suggestion. Harumph.

Here’s George, with one that I wasn’t going to suggest, because I’d never heard it before:

“If you don’t remember (from the Peter Gabriel song title) it could be said that you forget. Which leads to Forgetting You by James Carr.”

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James Carr – Forgetting You

Yup, I like that. A lot. And that James Carr certainly makes a more agreeable noise than the Jimmy Carr who pops up on my TV with alarming regularity.

Here’s Charity Chic:

“Peter Gabriel was in an awful band called Genesis. Genesis is the first book in the bible. Exodus is the second. So Exodus by Bob Marley and the Wailers please”

Certainly, although I was looking forward to you moving forward a few books and giving me a song with Deuteronomy or Leviticus in the title instead. Some either time, maybe:

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Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus

Next up, here’s S-WC, the other half of the creative team behind When You Can’t Remember Anything…:

“Peter Gabriel is mentioned in a Vampire Weekend song so we could have ‘A-Punk’ by them…”

(Just so you guys know, me not owning or dis-liking a record/band/artiste is no impediment to them getting posted here, and this is a perfect case in point. As anyone who knows me will attest, I have “a thing” about Vampire Weekend, which I can neither articulate nor reason. There’s just something about them that rubs me up the wrong way. I can’t explain what it is, or why. Anyway, they’ve been asked for, so I have obtained the track in question, and here it is. I’ll give it another listen and see if my mind has changed):

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Vampire Weekend – A-Punk

Nope. Sorry. Still leaves me cold. I’m the same with Julia Roberts and Keifer Sutherland, if that’s any consolation.

But wait: S-WC isn’t done yet:

“Or…Peter Gabriel once made a record with Kate Bush – let’s have some Bush!! – Kidding – that record was called ‘Don’t Give Up’. FKA Twigs had an alternative idea when she sang ‘Give Up’.”

Now, I know you haven’t technically suggested the Gabriel/Bush duet, you’ve merely referenced it to get to the FKA Twigs tune, but I love that song, so here’s both:

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Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush – Don’t Give Up

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FKA Twigs – Give Up

FKA Twigs are one of those acts I’ve heard bandied about, but not actually heard before. So, to balance out my earlier comments about Vampire Weekend, I really like that, and have gone and got me the album on the back of this suggestion. So, y’know, cheers.

Moving on, here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“Peter Gabriel has released four self-titled albums (to date), and “I Don’t Remember” is track four on the third of them.  Weezer have released four self-titled albums (to date) and “Heart Songs” is track four on the third of them.”

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Weezer – Heart Songs

I have a theory about Weezer, and it is this: all their best tunes are on their self-titled albums (or the ones sub-titled with a colour). Discuss.

Next we have What’s It All About, Alfie? who wrote “…my first ever live concert (as a kid) was The Bay City Rollers and one of their first hits was “Remember” but best not to go there probably or else you will lose most of your followers!”

With thanks to Charity Chic for stepping in and pointing out “If Chesney [Hawkes] featured [last week] there is surely a place for the Rollers!”

Just as me not owning/disliking a record is no impediment to it getting posted here, neither is a suggestion being uber-cheesy. For much as we all enjoy hearing the cool or clever tracks that are often posted here, so I enjoy revisiting some of these old singles that might make us cringe and hide behind our fingers. If I could direct you all to the tag-line to this blog and repeat the mantra: “There’s no such thing as a Guilty Pleasure”

So yes, there is a place for them here (although my apologies, the mp3 is a little on the quiet side):

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Bay City Rollers – Remember (Sha La La La)

Guess who’s back? Yes, just like Eminem, it’s George:

“Can I have a second go, linking to a prog rock band that features a flute playing lead singer?”

Such manners! Asking before making a second suggestion! Of course you can!

“Thanks. Here you are. On that Peter Gabriel album Dave Gregory played guitar. Dave Gregory was in XTC. He is now a member of prog band Big Big Train (whose lead vocalist Dave Longdon is an all-round decent bloke, an ex-colleague of mine, and a multi-instrumentalist – he can, for example, play the flute!), one of whose songs is Make Some Noise (which has some fine flute-ing)”

Okay, okay. You got me. Totally tucked me up like a kipper there, George. Of course, I figured he was going for Jethro Tull, but no.

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Big Big Train – Make Some Noise

Okay, time for the last of your suggestions for this week, and I’ll hand you over to The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:

“That’s also Robert Fripp playing guitar on ‘I Don’t Remember’. A year earlier, in 1979, Fripp released a solo LP, ‘Exposure’. ‘Exposure’ features guest vocals from Peter Gabriel, Terre Roche (of The Roches), Peter Hammill and Daryl Hall. The latter co-wrote and sings on ‘You Burn Me Up I’m a Cigarette’.”

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Robert Fripp feat. Daryl Hall – You Burn Me Up (I’m A Cigarette)

Never heard that before, but I like it. It’s like Daryl Hall singing with Dr Feelgood as a backing band.

And so to my suggestions. Two from me this week: firstly, from his first solo album, Morrissey’s (imagined) response to Peter Gabriel saying “I Don’t Remember”:

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Morrissey – I Don’t Mind If You Forget Me

And secondly, and more magnificently, even if I do say so myself, and continuing Charity Chic’s biblical suggestion, Gabriel was of the name of the angel of the Lord in that fantasy thriller The Bible, so here’s a song about an angel:

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P.P. Arnold – Angel Of The Morning

Okay, so all that’s left to do is post the record which officially followed Peter Gabriel’s “I Don’t Remember”, which none of you got, although S-WC came mightily close to bagging the bonus points this week. Close but no cigar.

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17. Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love

Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great record…but the link is a bit of an anti-climax after all your wonderful suggestions, isn’t it?

Anyway, you know the drill by now. Send me your suggestions for records that link to Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love”, plus an explanation of how you got to it, via the Comments section below.

See you all next week!

(More soon)

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Excuse the brevity again. My head hurts.

This is a country record.

Don’t let the group, or the title of the song put you off.

This is definitely a country record.

Or as close as they’ve got to making one so far, anyway.

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Super Furry Animals – Sex, War And Robots

See? A country record.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

You’ll recall there was no Friday Night Music Club last week, on account of me being too preoccupied with my fruitless efforts to get my new phone to work.

You’ll all be delighted to learn that I’ve got it sorted now. Just one ultimately embarrassing contact with my tax-avoiding network provider later, where they pointed out my Sim card wasn’t working because I hadn’t requested that they activate it yet, and I was up and running.

You’ll all be slightly less delighted to hear that in the interim period, I started thinking about songs which involved telephones or telephone calls. It occurred to me that there weren’t very many happy songs involving telephones: they all seemed to involve hoping someone would call, or someone not answering/pretending not to be home, or leaving messages on answering machines (that’s voicemail to you youngsters).

Before I knew it, I’d compiled a little playlist involving such songs, which I’m going to foist upon you all tonight.

Before we go any further though, my normal file sharing service is apparently having “internal issues” which is preventing me from uploading any of today’s songs. Maybe it’s some kind of protest at my selection, I dunno. So for tonight, we’re off back to the service I first used when I started writing this, Box. Hopefully, none of you will have any issues with playing or downloading (for evaluation purposes only, of course), but if you do, let me know and I’ll try and sort out a different link.

** ALL LINKS NOW AMENDED (I hope) **

OK, so, admin out of the way, to kick things off, here’s that there ABBA lot, with what is as close to an upbeat sounding song about telephones as I came across, where Agnetha, or maybe Frida, or maybe both, are pondering why their other half has not called them. Quite why they don’t just ask them – one of them is playing the guitar, the other the keyboard on the song they’re singing, after all – is beyond me:

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367. ABBA – Ring, Ring

Similarly mystified as to why, having obtained their number, they would not immediately call it, here’s The Undertones:

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368. The Undertones – You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It?)

Feargal – perhaps the reason she hasn’t used it, is because judging by the sleeve of the single, you appear to have given her the record’s catalogue number, rather than your actual telephone number. A schoolboy error.

ABBA and The Undertones are not alone in bemoaning the lack of contact from a potential beau. Here’s Macy Gray (remember her??):

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369. Macy Gray – Why Didn`t You Call Me?

Macy – at the risk of this turning into one long Agony Aunt page, I suspect that the reason you didn’t get a second date here is because according to the above, you have also confessed to admitting murder. If I’m honest, I’d probably think twice about getting back in touch if I knew that.

Some people, rather than simply sitting around moping about the fact their phone hasn’t rung, take matters into their own hands, and start hassling those they consider accountable:

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370. Lapsley – Operator (He Doesn’t Call Me)

Although, frankly, if a simple call to the operator makes you wonder whether they might be a more suitable life partner, I’d say that suggested you weren’t all that committed to idea of remaining with the person you were trying to call in the first place.

Now, I don’t wish to appear unsympathetic or unkind, but is it just me that thinks most of these people should be taking a hint?

Take Rialto, for example, who seem to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown at the absence of a reply:

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371. Rialto – Monday Morning 5.19 (Widescreen)

Dear Mr. Rialto (or whatever the lead singer’s name is).

I don’t know how to break the news to you gently, so instead I’m just going to come right out and say it.

You appear to be going out with Lady Gaga. And she’s busy:

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372. Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce – Telephone

All of this missed call, calls not being answered mullarkey could easily be avoided, and the hint taken a lot earlier, if some of these people moved off Pay As You Go and invested in a phone with a voicemail. Like Little Mix (and Missy Elliott), for example:

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373. Little Mix ft. Missy Elliott – How Ya Doin’?

The chorus of “How Ya Doin’?” is, of course, directly lifted from this:

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374. De La Soul – Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)

The chorus of “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)” is, of course, directly lifted from…no, sorry. I can’t bring myself to post it.

Instead, consider this: sometimes there’s a perfectly good reason why someone might not answer the phone. Here’s Paul Evans with your obligatory “Blimey, I’d forgotten all about that” record of the week:

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375. Paul Evans – Hello, This Is Joannie (The Telephone Answering Machine Song)

Now, I love a good bracket as much as the next man. Unless that man is in a dress and called Hinge. But surely the (The Telephone Answering Machine Song) is the most superfluous addition to a song title ever. Firstly, I don’t think anyone has ever referred to them as Telephone Answering Machines. Secondly, it implies that listeners are too stupid to understand that’s what’s going on in the song and need to be reminded. Thirdly, while the answering machine theme is predominant throughout the song, surely if you’re going to treat your average record buying public as idiots, you may as well call it “Hello, This is Joannie (The One About The Girl Who Doesn’t Answer The Phone Because She’s Dead)”.

Look: when George “Shadow” Morton, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich wrote The Shangri-Las “Leader of the Pack”, they didn’t feel the need to pop the words (The One Where She’s Going Out With A Wrong ‘Un Who Gets Killed While Riding His Motorcycle) on the end of the title, with good reason.

Plus: if we are to believe Paul Evans, he got drunk with Joannie, had an argument, let her drive home, and in between attempts to call her the next morning, wrote a glib ditty about how he couldn’t get through, finds out she’s dead, finishes the song off, and bemoans the fact that never again would he be able to kiss her “funny face”. Joannie sounds well off out of it, if you ask me.

And he looks like a grumpy Peter Powell.

Now then, question time. What’s worse than the following: not being called, being called too much, getting through to an answerphone, or your partner being killed before they can answer the phone?

Answer: being David Gedge, that’s what. Poor old lovelorn David is trying to call his girlfriend, and he gets through…to her sister, who, much to his humiliation, pretends she’s not home when she clearly is:

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376. The Wedding Present – Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm

Still, at least he can take a sodding hint.

More soon.

The Chain #16

Evening Link Fans!

You know how I said I had a lot to get through last week? Well this week, even more so.

But before we get cracking, and to kill off any semblance of suspense, I’ll tell you that none of you – including me – picked the official record in The Chain. In fact none of you – including me – went down the same route as the person who picked the official one, which when you read it, will have you slapping yourself in the face and saying “Of course!!! Why didn’t I think of that!!”

First out of the traps, so to speak, this week was Charity Chic, proving once and for all why the name of this blog is very appropriate indeed, for I must admit, it was a song which I owned, albeit on a 90s compilation CD I’d picked up for something else entirely, but which also contained his suggestion:

“Dundee Unite fans despairingly sing “You’ve only got one shoe” to the socially deprived fans of Glaswegian clubs. When Gordon Strachan was manager of Celtic he was known as Chesney after a small red headed boy on the soap opera Coronation Street.  So The One and Only by Chesney Hawkes please Jez.  It’s bound to be the winner.”

Yes, folks. This is really happening:

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Chesney Hawkes – The One and Only

It’s okay. It’s safe to come out now. The be-moled one has gone.

But hot on his heels, here’s S-WC from When You Can’t Remember Anything, who not content with giving us two suggestions in his first week, goes two better by giving us four this week. So, deep breath, here we go:

Shoes were made for walking which immediately gives you ‘Fools Gold’….”

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The Stone Roses – Fools Gold

(and yes, the full 09:53 version. Of course, the full 09:53 version. Why would anyone want to listen to the short version..??)

“…But it also gives you Nancy Sinatra as well…”

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Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

“…As you walk in shoes you may well gaze down at them. Which is called Shoegaze. So perhaps ‘Sight of You’ by the Pale Saints.

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Pale Saints – Sight of You

“…Although ultimately if you have Kirsty singing about one pair of shoes you really need another point of view so you have to go with Fucked Up and ‘The Other Shoe’. Argument over.”

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Fucked Up – The Other Shoe

Moving swiftly on before I make really bad joke about that, here’s bagging area with more multiple suggestion mullarky, the third of which is my favourite link of the week:

“The Charlatans walked with no shoes on ‘Tellin’ Stories’…”

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The Charlatans – With No Shoes

“…Run DMC’s shoes were their Adidas…”

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Run DMC – My Adidas

“…Keith Richards once said ‘I don’t remember much about making Exile On Main Street but I do remember I had this really cool pair of snakeskin shoes’. “Happy” off that album is a blast.”

Yes. Yes, it is:

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The Rolling Stones – Happy

Here’s George:

“I was thinking of suggesting this: the Kirsty MacColl track comes from the album Tropical Brainstorm, and Typically Tropical did that single Barbados in 1975.”

This one..?

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Typically Tropical – Barbados

But before George has chance to flood me with multiple suggestions, can we give a warm Chain welcome to The Badger, who co-authors the When You Can’t Remember Anything blog with S-WC, who…erm…floods me with multiple suggestions:

Whilst my esteemed colleague S-WC is probably right about Fucked Up, he should consider this: Kirsty MacColl famously covered ‘A New England’ by Sir Billy Bragg. Billy Bragg also sang about Shoeburyness in the classic A13. So you could go there…”

And we will, for I once got Janice Long to play that for me on her late night Radio 2 show, kicking off – and I know you’ll find it hard to believe I could be behind such a thing – an hour of themed songs about roads:

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Billy Bragg – A13, Trunk Road To The Sea

“…Kirsty also sang on The Wonder Stuff’s ‘Welcome to the Cheap Seats’ from the ‘Never Loved Elvis’ album….”

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The Wonder Stuff – Welcome To The Cheap Seats

“…Elvis also featured in the title of a Cud album ‘Elvis Belt’. Which contained the classic ‘Only a Prawn in Whitby’.”

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Cud – Only (A Prawn in Whitby)

Moving on…no, wait…George hadn’t finished it seems…

“Then I thought of this: one of the other tracks from the Tropical Brainstorm album is “Não Esperando” which is Portuguese for No Waiting (and I didn’t have to look that up!), and the “waiting” bit leads to, yes, one of the 5 best songs ever recorded, Jesus Is Waiting by Al Green, the last track on the Call Me album, and 5-and-a-half-minutes of absolute genius.”

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Al Green – Jesus Is Waiting

Next up is Alex G, author of the rather fantastic We Will Have Salad who is kind enough to give my Copy and Paste skills a bit of a break by just suggesting the one song:

“What would you find “In These Shoes?”. If you were a shoemaker, probably a last. And Bob Last was the man behind the legendary late-70s indie label Fast Product, which in its brief existence gave us the debut singles by The Human League (the only reason I know the word “sericulture”), The Mekons, Dead Kennedys and Gang Of Four. Nice one, Bob. My pick: the original Fast Product version of “Damaged Goods” by Gang of Four, which Mr Last also produced. And which is great.”

Yes.Yes, it is:

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Gang of Four – Damaged Goods

And here’s Marie, who rather wonderfully adds an element of creative writing into her suggestion:

“I imagined the title of Kirsty’s “In These Shoes?” as a response to an invite to a Northern Soul All-Nighter. When asked, “What’s wrong with them?”, she might have answered, “Ain’t No Soul (In These Old Shoes) (by Major Lance.)”

One of the things I love about running this post (I can’t really claim to write it), is that often I’ll be introduced to a record I’ve never heard before, and which I instantly love. There’s a couple of tunes up there I was unfamiliar with, but my favourite of those this week goes to:

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Major Lance – Ain’t No Soul (In These Old Shoes)

Next, the return of another who I think we can now safely call a regular contributor round these parts. Here’s What’s It All About Alfie?

“This Chain could grow arms and legs, but it’s feet we’re interested in this week as feet live in shoes. A pair of shoes has two soles and following Marie’s thinking, how about Soul ll Soul with Keep On Movin’ (in these shoes) – a bit of a “lady” choice but gives The Chain balance perhaps?”

When this came out in 1989, my girlfriend at the time bloody loved it (in fact, we met because of it; she asked me to play it when I was DJ’ing one night, which I did, despite not being all that fond of it myself (No guitars, see..) The following week, I kept an eye out for her arrival, waited for her to get herself a drink and take up a spot kind of near the dancefloor, and then proceeded to play it for her again. Bingo! The oldest trick in the DJ’s Handbook.) but it wasn’t until a good few years later that the penny finally dropped with me about Soul II Soul and what an amazing record Club Classics Vol. One is:

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Soul II Soul (feat. Caron Wheeler) – Keep On Movin’

Three more to go, and here’s The Great Gog:

“I shall ignore all this talk of shoes and go with the fact that there is a chain of newsagents called McColl’s (yes, I know the spelling is ever so slightly different). Therefore I think that a song about a newsagent would be appropriate. I can think of no better such ditty (indeed I can think of no other, either) than In The Middle Of The Night from the debut album from Madness.” (Nope, me neither. The Jam’s “Man in a Corner Shop” is about the best I can come up with).

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Madness – In the Middle of the Night

Here’s The Swede, who picks up where George left off, linking to the title of the album from which “In These Shoes?” is taken:

“…‘Tropical Brainstorm’, which was co-produced by Dave Ruffy, drummer with The Ruts, one of the few groups of their time with the potential to rival The Clash in terms of passion and musical versatility. Certainly they were the only ‘punk’ band who got anywhere near The Clash when it came to reggae. ‘Give Youth a Chance’ is a good case in point.”

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The Ruts – Give Youth a Chance

Which brings us to the last of the suggestions from you guys and girls, and, since we started with a slice of cheese from Chesney, ending with another slice of cheese seems appropriate. I’ll let Kay explain:

“My suggestion is Footloose by Kenny Loggins. Just the thought of Kevin Bacon dancing angrily in a warehouse brings a smile to my face. Can’t remember if he’s dancing to footloose or some other gem in the warehouse – but what a scene!”

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Kenny Loggins – Footloose

Ok, cheese is a little unkind. I went to see that in the cinema when it came out in 1984, bloody loved it then, and bloody loved hearing it again now.

And, so to my choice. And mine is nowhere near as clever as all of yours (give yourselves a hearty pat on the back for another excellent week of suggestions, by the way). I’m giving you some breathy camp electro-clash-iness:

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Tiga – Shoes

All that’s left for me to do then is spark off a load of face-palms with the big reveal as to the identity of the official link:

“The late Kirsty MacColl’s former husband Steve Lillywhite produced Peter Gabriel’s third eponymous album…”

Grrr. How did none of us think of that??

Anyway, here’s the record they chose from said album:

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16. Peter Gabriel – I Don’t Remember

So, your suggestions please, via the Comments box below, for songs that link to Peter Gabriel’s “I Don’t Remember”, along with an explanation as to how you got there too please!

See y’all same time next week.

By which I mean: more soon.