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.