The Election Section #2

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Don’t get used to the idea of me posting every day. It won’t last.

Today’s tune would have featured soon enough anyway. It’s a song that reminds me of my political awakening. It also reminds me that political songs don’t have to sound like political songs at all, if they’re done cleverly enough.

Let’s be straight about this: Hue and Cry are not an act that I have much fondness for. Putting aside their political leanings for a moment, lead singer Pat Kane is one of those singers who has a habit of over singing. Sometimes it’s like he thinks he’s Cleo Laine¬†(actually, that starts off¬†bloody brilliantly…but get to 1:05 and you’ll see what I mean. Tedious.)

I mean things like this. (See also Annie Lennox. God I hate that record more than almost anything else on Earth.) Frankly, there’s some songs which you really shouldn’t touch and that, Mr and Mr Kane, is one of them.

Maybe it’s a Scottish thing. Or maybe not. (There’s a beardy bloke in the front row there who really doesn’t look very happy about the besmirching of William Wallace. Mostly)

Ah, Scotland. Apparently you hold the keys to power. And you are also responsible for one of the greatest records ever made by brothers with equally bad teeth and glasses: A Letter From America.

Anyway, I digress. It is 1987. A general election was looming but I was just a couple of months under¬†the age when one becomes eligible to vote. And in any event, I lived in John Major’s constituency, so I may as well have voted for Lord Bucket Head, who stood against him in 1992.

Frustrated, this song, more than any other, gave me a form of release.

Labour of Love is one of those records that ticks all of the boxes. Firstly, despite what you might think from it’s title, it’s not by UB40. Always a bonus in my book, that. Secondly, much like yesterday’s post, it’s a political record masquerading as a pop song. Thirdly, it’s catchy as hell. Like a proper pop song should be. I defy anyone to listen to it once and not be singing it for the rest of the day.

This, I think, is one of the greatest singles ever made. You’re welcome to argue. But you’d be wrong. It’s a work of genius. Ask me to name my Top 10 favourite singles, and this is right in there, no question. So there.

Enjoy!

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The Election Section #1

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Ok, grump over.

It can’t have escaped the attention of any of my fellow UK residents that there’s a General Election looming on the horizon. May 7th, to be precise. You have until Monday 20th April to register to vote and I would urge any of you not yet registered to get that sorted right away. In fact, do it now, here: I Want a¬†Say!¬†(PS if you happen to be a UK resident who just¬†happens to be living overseas temporarily in say, oh I don’t know, India, I hope you sorted your postal vote out before you left. You know who you are.)

Sorted? Good. Because this election is shaping up to be one of the closest in years, and every vote counts. I’ll spare you the rest of the usual bleatings, but suffice to say¬†I’ll take rather a dim view of you moaning about the government later on if you didn’t bother to make your opinion heard on the one day it actually matters.

I’m also not going to bore you with a lecture on politics, or try to persuade you to vote the way I’m going to, because, frankly, that’s not what I’m here for.

No, I’m here to play you some tunes, and so I figured, in the run up to the big day to add to the ever-growing number of themed posts that I do a couple of and get bored with, I’d do some¬†which involve politics in some way or another .

Like the BBC, (or like the BBC claims to be but isn’t, if you believe the red tops) I’ll try to be fair and balanced and find songs which refer to a¬†broad spread of political ideologies.¬† Unfortunately the number of songs which talk about how happy everyone is with the way things are going generally are rather thin on the ground. As are songs about boggle-eyed fag-smoking real-ale swigging reactionary¬†lunatics, so I’m afraid UKIP aren’t going to get much of a look in either.

So, let’s get started with a song which perhaps belies where my own political allegiances lie, but, when viewed in the context of the upcoming election, leaves an air of ambiguity. Let’s just say, you’ll know who I won’t be voting for after this.

This is a song which is generally received with an open mouth and a raised eyebrow and a “You seriously like this?” when I’ve played it to friends. Well, yes, as it happens, I do. Mostly because¬†it’s one of the few rap songs which I can almost (but not quite) do the whole rap thing along to, although I inevitably sound like a middle-aged middle class white bloke when I do, which is fair enough since that’s what I am. Here’s one I can do, the rap performed by someone who is now, probably, a middle-aged, middle class white bloke, more renowned for another much more unsubtle subversive record.

I realise this claim is not impressive. Not long after I moved to London, my flatmates and I went to a barbeque hosted by a buddy of mine, and we got chatting to this Nigerian guy, who decided I was his¬†“Brutha from¬†Anutha Mutha”¬†(I’m sooooo street). I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but this guy, ended up coming back to our flat with us, where¬†he promptly recited the whole of this, (all 14 and a half minutes of it) and then¬†left, just as promptly. Possibly the most impressive thing I ever saw (the rap,¬†not the promptness).

Anyway, I’d class this as a kind of call to arms record. It’s not really predicting a riot¬†nor suggesting a military coup¬†(the first of that double-whammy always gets me thinking of a dance that¬†a friend of mine and I made up¬†(which I always get wrong, apparently),¬†after sitting watching¬†MTV or the like¬†at stupid o’clock in the morning, smashed off our faces, and thinking the little woman in the corner of the screen was teaching us a routine, rather than signing for the hard of hearing). No, it’s the kind of song which could be construed as being about a malfunctioning relationship, but isn’t. Here’s: Break From the Old Routine

And mixtape/playlist fans, here’s a song that I always think goes rather well played straight afterwards: Fusion!

The Man Does Give a Fuck After All

Just a short post this week. I’ve got a grump on.

The keener eyed amongst you may have spotted that I have received by first DMCA notice, leading to one of the links on an earlier post being removed.

I shan’t name the artiste in question, but if you care to flick back a few posts, you’ll see which¬†has had the main link removed.

So how to respond? Well, at first I considered posting a link to download this, accompanying it with an oh-so-witty comment about how the title should have the word “It” in between the words “Stick” and “To”. On reflection though, I decided¬†winding¬†up the estate¬†of¬†the (allegedly) cryogenically frozen (allegedly) anti-*%$!¬£”¬†as well perhaps wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do.¬†Which is why I’ve just self-censored one of the words in that sentence. I need less corporate attention, not more.

So, something more constructive, then.

I could take this opportunity to apologise for posting the link. Errrrrrm……nope.

Or, I could use this space to bang the drum for bloggers who promote music they love, who try to put into words what they love about certain records, and who provide links to the songs so you can try before you buy, with a link to enable you to purchase the song or the album it’s from.

I¬†could, but you’ve doubtless heard all of these arguments hundreds of times before and would skip past it anyway, looking for the download link (clue: there isn’t one this week).

And besides, I’d much rather be immature about the whole thing.

Which leads me on to this, which pretty much sums it up.

To end on a more positive note,¬†here’s the song alluded to in the title of this post, all 22 minutes 30 seconds of a live version of it. And, ironically, it’s¬†recorded at the same venue I’m going to see our ban-happy friends at in a couple of weeks giving this¬†brief post a rather nice air of circularity, like I planned it in advance or something. Which is nice.

And to end on an even more positive note, take it from another Man: the Man in…er…White, apparently:

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Name That Tune #2

There really isn’t much to say about today’s themed¬†choice, the title says it all.

Ok, I’ll try. Mojo Nixon looks like a younger less world-weary and fucked¬†up¬†Tom Waits and writes rockabilly songs with a shock-jock slant. Skid Roper has a ridiculous name and helps him. Will that do?

No? Bugger.

Ok, so I have no idea where I first heard this (I suspect either John Peel or Annie Nightingale are to blame) but I ended up spending many hours trying to hunt down a copy of this, all to no avail.

Years later, thanks to Monsieur T’Internet, I managed to get¬†a copy,¬†checked out the rest of the album, and concluded: it’s awful. If you paid money for this, as I did, put it to some practical use. Use it to prop up a wonky book case. Wedge a door open with it. Or just file under “Never Play Again”

Except for today’s song, which is outrageous, offensive, and downright brilliant:

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Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper – Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two Headed Love Child

I seem to remember reading somewhere that Miss Gibson had seen the funny side and appeared in the video. Judge for yourself: That’s not her, surely?¬†It sure looks like her……

More to follow.