Sunday Morning Coming Down

After a lot of umming and ahhing about what to post this morning, I’ve settled for this slice of loveliness:

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Dennis Wilson & Rumbo – Lady

Whilst this may have been written by Dennis with the intention of it being recorded by The Beach Boys, it was passed over for both the “Surf’s Up” and “Sunflower” albums. So Dennis hooked up with the fantastically-named Daryl Dragon (who went on to become better known as The Captain from 1970s MOR duo Captain and Tennille) to record and sneak it out in the UK as a B-Side to “Sound of Free” in 1970.

Enjoy.

More Soon.

The One and Only

As a companion piece to my “Same Title, Different Song” thread, I thought it might be fun to look at some songs which, as far as I’m aware, have no such duplication and what’s more, are really unlikely to. So if you’re reading this expecting to see a homage to Chesney Hawkes, well I’m sorry to disappoint. Actually, I’m not sorry at all.

Sheela na gigs are architectural grotesques found on churches and castles in Ireland and Great Britain. Specifically, they are figurative carvings of naked women displaying an exaggerated vulva, said to ward off death and evil.

Makes you proud to be British, doesn’t it?

Sheela-Na-Gig is also an early single by the one and only Polly Jean Harvey. You will know her better as PJ Harvey and she is the Kate Bush of our generation: constantly innovative, always fascinating, permanently brilliant.

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PJ Harvey – Sheela-Na-Gig

PJ is the only person to win two Mercury Music Prizes (for 2001’s “Stories From The City, Stories From the Sea” and 2011’s “Let England Shake” – truly she is the Tottenham Hotspur of music, only winning things when the year ends in a 1. Roll on 2021.), an annual music prize awarded for the best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland. She is also – and I had no idea about this until I was researching this piece – an MBE. Having chuffed on for ages a couple of posts ago about how reliable Wikipedia is these days, I did wonder if I was being pranked with that info – surely I’d know that?? – but no. Here’s the evidence:

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PJ and Lizzy. What a collaboration that would be!

New PJ tuneage is afoot, and if you have Spotify you can listen to new track “The Wheel” here. I would strongly recommend that you do. It is, excuse my language, fucking immense.

In a year which has started off pretty shittily, the return of PJ is a much needed boost.

More soon.

Same Title, Different Song

I mentioned over the Christmas period that I’m a big fan of eels. The band that is, not the slippery fishy things.

That was slightly disingenuous of me, as they are very much a band that I’m still discovering. Like most people here in the UK I first discovered them via their hits:

and the gloriously weird and unsettling

but it’s only recently that I’ve started dipping a little further into their canon of work and I have to say, they appear to be that very rare beast: a band who don’t seem to have made a bad record.

Here, from their “Daisies of the Galaxies” album, is a tune which, if I didn’t own a song with the same name, would probably have featured in either the Late Night Stargazing or the Sunday Morning thread here at some point or other.

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eels – I Like Birds

eels, in essence, is Mark Oliver Everett, or “E”, the son of Hugh Everett III, who devised the many worlds interpretation of quantum theory, and of the use of Lagrange multipliers for general engineering optimizers. But you don’t need me to tell you about all that, right? (Phew!)

Terry Scott, on the other hand, was an English comic actor, best known for starring in the long-running and terminally unfunny “Terry and June”, along with several of the films in the “Carry On” series, the latter of which gives you some idea of the standard of this very very different song with the same title. Let’s just say it is “of it’s time” and move on, shall we?:

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Terry Scott- I Like Birds

Phwooarrr!!

You’re welcome!

More soon.

How To Do a Cover Version

Today’s selection is, in cricket terms, a three-for.

Ask any Brit to name things which are truly American, they will recite a list to include one or more of the following:

a) obesity (like, we can talk…)

b) a tendency to elect idiots to positions of power (like, we can talk…)

c) an unhealthy attachment to firearms (phew!)

d) an inability to understand irony

e) joining World Wars really quite late indeed

(American readers – I mean no offence by this. I’m sure you have a similarly inaccurate check-list for us Limeys, he says as he cocks his bowler hat to one side and tucks his newspaper under one arm, umbrella under the other)

Eventually, though, they will say Route 66.

Route 66 originally ran from Chicago, Illinois through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain), Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that it is a road of folklore, and which many male Brits embark on a pilgrimage to drive along at some point in their lives.

It has, of course, spawned a rather famous song about it:

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Nat King Cole Trio – Route 66

Over here in the UK, there is a slightly more famous version:

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The Rolling Stones – (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66

But for those of us in the know, there is a much better version. An anglicised one. One which extols the virtues of one of our greatest roads. I speak of none other than the hallowed turf that is the A13:

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Billy Bragg – A13, Trunk Road To The Sea

I know which wins in my book.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

I don’t see why Saturday into Sunday should have the monopoly on these, so here’s one a night earlier than usual.

Frankly, I could have picked any song from this album for inclusion here, but I figured I’d be obvious and take the title track:

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Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space

I strongly recommend that you play this either before or after the Public Service Broadcasting tune I posted back here.

More soon.

 

Name That Tune

Posting “Victoria” by The Kinks yesterday reminded me that a very long time ago I started a thread here where I posted songs which had famous people’s names in the title.

I didn’t exactly get very far before the thread spluttered to a halt: precisely two posts, in fact, featuring “Buddy Holly” by Weezer, and “Debbie Gibson is Pregnant with my Two-Headed Love Child” by Mojo Nixon.

So, here we go, another thread resurrected.

Last night (actually, as I write this, they’re probably still there) my best mate and old flatmate Llyr and another old buddy Jon went to Time Flies’ Birthday All-Nighter in the Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff. (They did ask me if I wanted to go, but I think my clubbing days are behind me now, being so fat and old and everything, so I declined. Had I realised it was in Clwb Ifor I may have reconsidered, mind. A marvellous venue, at which I only ever saw bands (I think), but I can imagine it being ‘king mental for a club night)

For the uninitiated, you can read the history of Time Flies here. In a nutshell though, it’s one of the longest running club nights not just in Cardiff but the UK, having been going in some form or another since 1992. Back in the day, indeed.

Anyway, here’s the flyer for tonight’s gurn-fest:

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One name sticks out from that line-up: Jeremy Healy.

Healy had a previous life as one half of pop duo Haysi Fantayzee back in the early 1980s. and it’s to them that we turn for the reboot of this thread:

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Haysi Fantayzee – John Wayne Is Big Leggy

This song caused quite the stir back in the day. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it.

Not sure I have anything to add to that, apart from that back in 1982 I had no idea what the song was about either.

Anyway, more soon.

Oh and Jon, Llyr, if you’re reading this: hope you had a blinder.

 

Friday Night Music Club

The other thing about having a day off on a Friday is that I have more time to put together a few songs for your Friday night delectation. Which you would think means an improvement in quality, in the tunes if not the writing. I’ll leave it to you to decide if that’s the case or not.

At the very least, it’ll be delivered earlier than usual.

After last week’s poptastic disco post, we’re heading back into slightly louder indie territory for this week’s selection. Oh, and a theme towards the end. Of course.

So, first up, the second song I ever heard by one of my favourite ever bands, and still sounding fresh as a daisy:

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87. Super Furry Animals – God! Show Me Magic

Now to a band that I managed to catch twice last year, and have written about on these pages before. When I last waxed lyrical about them, I mentioned I have a semi-amusing story to tell, which I would save for the actual “A History of Dubious Taste” thread. That still holds, you’re getting nowt out of me now. (I realise I may be building this up a bit too much, of course. Calm down. Note the words “semi-amusing”. They have been chosen for a reason.)

Anyway, from their “Play” EP, for me, this is one of their finest moments:

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88. Ride – Like A Day Dream

(Happy Birthday Neil)

Something a little more recent now, and when I say recent, this is my definition, so I mean released two years ago. From Worthing, in Sussex, here’s some:

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89. Royal Blood – Little Monster

And whilst I’m attempting to at least appear vaguely hip and current, here’s another one from way back in the midst of time (i.e. 2014):

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90. The Black Keys – Fever

Okay, time to take you back, and to a psychobilly group that had one hit, this one, back in 1983.

King Kurt came to my attention via the Personal File of lead singer Gary “The Smeg” Clayton in Smash Hits, where I’m sure they referred to him as Smeggy, but I can find nothing to corroborate this, so maybe I’m wrong. It’s been known to happen.

The Personal File in Smash Hits was usually a half-page feature and was a telephone interview, which gave the interviewer (usually, if memory serves, the late, great and much missed Tom Hibbert) the advantage of not having to be too concerned about any awkwardness his questions might cause. Hibbert was the master of this format; he would start by asking a few standards (Name, Date of Birth), move into obviously teen-pop magazine territory (First Crush?) then ask something so off-the-wall as to make the interviewee think the article was going to be just fluff at best.

As an example, having done the above, he asked Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys “Does your mother play golf?”, quickly followed by “What kind of underwear are you wearing?” (Note – this is not a question to be asked in any other context. I’ve got in a lot of trouble that way.) With the interviewee now suitably relaxed, Hibbert would go in for the kill. Again, from his Neil Tennant interview: “What does Chris do in Pet Shop Boys?” and “Why does he always look so moody?” – to be fair, the questions everyone had always wanted to ask – and so deliciously skewered is Tennant, so caught off guard, he provided the following answers, respectively: “He tends to write the songs’ ‘hooks'” and “Because he is moody…’sulky’ is a better word…When he found out we were Number One all he could do was complain that we had to do Top of the Pops again.”

Anyway, dragging myself back from the tangent, there was one of these about Gary “The Smeg” Clayton/Smeggy, about which I can remember nothing other than that I thought his name was funny, but then I was a 14 year old boy at the time.

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91. King Kurt – Destination Zululand (Humdiddlededumhoowahayha)

Onwards now to 1994, and a blast of Inspiral Carpets, who were derided by many when they were at their peak, and even more so when they attempted a come-back. Unfairly so, I think: in my book they were a great and consistent singles band. In December last year, my little group of friends met up, as we do every year, in the Dublin Castle in Camden for our annual drink-and-plough-pound-coins-into-the-juke-box-a-thon. There will always be a bit of a drunken sing-a-long, always, as I think I may have mentioned before, to “Fairytale of New York”, but last year also to the Inspiral’s “This Is How It Feels”. Y’know, cos it’s such a cheery Christmas song. One of my happiest moments of 2015, as it goes.

Anyway, here, from their “Devil Hopping” album, is this:

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92. Inspiral Carpets – I Want You (featuring Mark E. Smith)

Back in the early 1990s, Top of the Pops had a policy that, were you lucky enough to appear on the show, you had to perform the vocals live. This led, most infamously, to Kurt Cobain performing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as if he were a 45rpm being played at 33rpm (and yes, I appreciate that some of my younger readers will have no idea what rpm means. Google it.)

It also gave rise to, as far as I’m aware, the only ever appearance on Top of the Pops by The Fall’s Mark E. Smith. It’s worth a watch, if only to see him getting the words wrong and forgetting where he is supposed to come in, cackling into the mic when he gets it wrong, despite frequently (and obviously) checking the words on a crumpled piece of paper, whilst Inspirals singer Tom Hingley gamely ploughs on with his bits.

If for nothing else, we should all be eternally grateful to Inspiral Carpets for giving us this.

All of which has got me in a Fall kinda mood, so here’s my favourite record by the ramshackle Mancunian growlers:

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93. The Fall – Dead Beat Descendant

As with many bands I figured I needed to know more about, I bought their “45 84 89” singles compilation when I was younger. I have to confess, there was much that I didn’t get at the time. But there were also several tracks I loved, some of which I knew were cover versions, one of which I only found out very recently was one. So let’s start there:

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94. The Other Half – Mr. Pharmacist

Next, this:

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95. R Dean Taylor -There a Ghost in My House

Somewhere in the back of my head is the factoid that R Dean Taylor was the only white singer to release a single on the Tamla Motown label, but I’ve found nothing online to support this. What I have found is that he was signed as both a writer and performer for the label, and even played on Motown classics “Standing In the Shadows of Love,” and “Reach Out” (even it was only the tambourine he played).

Finally this week, a band that, I’m relieved to say, needs no introduction or further comment:

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96. The Kinks – Victoria

That’ll do for now.

More soon.