That Summer Feeling #30

For fear of overkill, apart from marking their passing, I’ve shied away from posting much Bowie or Prince since their sad, sudden demises earlier this year. For example, the other week, when writing the post about my brother’s birthday and his musical inclinations as we grew up, I completely omitted, deliberately, to mention he was the only person I knew (at the time) who bought the “Purple Rain” soundtrack. It was too soon, I thought.

Time to redress that. Here from his genre-busting “Sign O’ The Times” album is an absolute doozy:

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Prince – Play in the Sunshine

As I was listening to that, it occurred to me there’s a whole instrumental break in it that sounds like it’s lifted from a soundtrack. Now, Prince loved making movies to go with his albums, but I wasn’t aware of him doing one for “Sign O’ The Times” so I did a little research, and boy oh boy I’m glad I did, for I stumbled across possibly the best review of an album I’ve ever read.

This, from “The Village Voice”:

‘Sign O’ The Times…[is the sound of]…the most gifted pop musician of his generation proving what a motherfucker he is for two discs start to finish.’ The author, Robert Christgau, goes on to praise Prince’s ‘one-man band tricks…[which] make Stevie Wonder sound like a struggling ventriloquist’ along with his ability to express real emotions: ‘The objects of his desire are also objects of interest, affection, and respect. Some of them he may not even fuck.’

Sheena Easton was not available for comment.

Moe soon.

That Summer Feeling #29

Of course, if I’m going to describe a song as sounding like The Stranglers (and now I think about it, I’m not sure how much water that comparison holds), it would be remiss of me not to post their own stab at a summer record.

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The Stranglers – Peaches

I think, in fact no, I’m sure, that’s the only record to be a hit in the UK that had the word “clitoris” in it.

In case any male readers are struggling to find it, it’s towards the end of the song.

More soon.

How To (and How Not To) Do A Cover Version (That Summer Feeling #28)

Pretty straight-forward, today’s lesson:

  1. Dispense with the whole “boy-part/girl-part” structure of the original vocal;
  2. Make it sound like a trippy, nice’n’sleazy Stranglers cover

Lifted from the 1990 Anti-Poll Tax compilation album “Alvin Lives (in Leeds)”, here’s 14 Iced Bears:

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14 Iced Bears – Summer Nights

Of course, the original, lifted from the smash hit movie “Grease”, was a huge beast back in 1978, when it spent 7 weeks at Number 1 in the UK.

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John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – Summer Nights

As an indication as to just how massive “Grease”-mania was, “Summer Nights” was the second single to be released from the soundtrack, and the second to hit the top spot in the singles chart. The first single was “You’re The One That I Want”, and if you were to combine the two, Travolta & Newton-John spent 16 weeks at Number One in 1978.

So, since the film essentially describes a holiday romance that continues unexpectedly, it’d be wrong of me not to include that song here too, right?

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John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – You’re the One That I Want

Sadly, I don’t have any cover versions of that by 1970s comedy actors to play now.

Oh  wait. Sorry. What I meant to say was: Sadly, I do have a cover version of that by 1970s comedy actors to play now.

Brace yourself:

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Hylda Baker & Arthur Mullard – You’re The One That I Want

And if that wasn’t bad enough, here they are, “singing” live, on what has to be the most excruciating appearance on Top of the Pops this side of All About Eve’s backing track malfunction:

Learnt most of my best dance moves off old Arthur, as it goes.

Bet you wish I wasn’t having phone issues now, eh?

More soon.

That Summer Feeling #27

Second appearance from Belle and Sebastian here, and it was a toss up whether to post this or the equally lovely “Ease Your Feet In The Sea”, but this one wins because it compliments the recent post about “Unemployed in Summertime” rather neatly:

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Belle & Sebastian – A Summer Wasting

Without wishing to tread over old ground (and by the way, thank you for the lovely comments, texts, emails and calls that my post about “Unemployed in Summertime” prompted; more than any others that I’ve ever received they meant a great deal to me), it seems to me the title of this song could be taken in one of two ways: a mournful, reflection on wasted time, or a bright and breezy recollection of a summer from our youth where the summer holidays seemed to stretch out to infinity in front of us, where time wasn’t an issue and where you could just ride your Chopper around the new build estates or simply laze around on playing fields, doing nothing, to your heart’s content.

It’s Saturday. Let’s plump for the latter, shall we?

More soon.

The Premier’s In

Meanwhile, in that there football world, it’s the opening day of the Premiership today. And as if by magic, as I queued up to buy my lunch yesterday, my iPod gave me this to listen to, a song which to these ears is synonymous with football highlights (that, and a truly awful performance at Glastonbury 2010, when Ian Broudie seemed determined to prove every song he had ever written he had done so in the wrong key for his singing voice):

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The Lightning Seeds – The Life of Riley

Since I have a “never knowingly give any money to Murdoch” philosophy, I have no idea what tune Sky have chosen to accompany their Football coverage this year. I imagine it’s something by Kasabian. Which is another reason not to watch Sky, of course.

But I was mightily heartened today to note that BBC’s Saturday lunchtime football show, “Football Focus” was continuing to use this masterpiece as the theme tune:

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Ride – OX4

No matter how many times I post that, it gets no less majestic.

There you go: that’s your ball entertainment covered, which is about as much as can be said for Gary Lineker when he hosts tonight’s Match of the Day, it seems.

More soon.

That Summer Feeling #26

If ever you wanted a snapshot of summer in America in the early 1960s, then surely this is it:

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Nat ‘King’ Cole – Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Also: props for a) including the word “wieners”, and b) managing to get it to rhyme with the word “bikinis”.

Never let it be said that my musical taste is not diverse.

More soon.

Which Reminds Me…

… this is the other record I was referring to in the last post.

10:43 of undeservedly forgotten inspirational early 80s rap, a history lesson if you will, produced by -and featuring – one Stevie Wonder.

Aware that I’d never encountered anyone who remembered this record, a few years ago I played it to someone who I thought might – I think it was Hel via a Friday Night playlist, but maybe not, apologies if I have besmirched your good name there – only to be met with blank looks as they had absolutely no recollection of it whatsoever.

“The Crown” went Top 10 in the UK in 1983, peaked at No. 6, and, had I thought of it at the time (i.e. just over a week ago), would have featured in last week’s Olympic Friday Night Music Club, for then I would have looked really cool and knowledgeable, even if I still can’t get my new phone to work properly.

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Gary Byrd & The G.B. Experience – The Crown

More soon.

Same Title, Different Song (That Summer Feeling #25)

Morning all.

Apologies for the absence of a Friday Night Music Club last night. I took ownership of a new phone on Thursday, and have spent the last couple of evenings doing all the things you do when you get a new phone: downloading all the apps you had on the old one, swearing when you can’t remember all the bloody passwords, and more importantly with this phone, trying to work out why it refuses to connect the network I use, without which it isn’t really a phone.

Anyway, time kinda overtook me last night; it’s set to be another scorcher of a weekend here, as the tabloids will inevitably call it, and so I’d planned to chuck another 10 summer songs your way, but I guess I can drip-feed you them over the weekend instead.

So, here’s two summery-sounding ditties, the second definitely more of a summer song than the first:

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Rocker’s Revenge – Walking on Sunshine

More of a summery vibe than an out and out summery record, that, and no worse for it.

And a forgotten 9 and an half minutes classic, in my book (Hel: next time we DJ, we can play that before the 12 minute version of Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” I have, and then maybe we can both make it to the loo and back).

Whenever I hear that record I’m reminded of another from the same, early-80s period, another forgotten classic (but non-summery) which may just pop up pretty soon. (By which I mean: coming soon)

Of course, it’s namesake is way more famous:

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Katrina & The Waves – Walking on Sunshine

I’ve posted this before, of course, in the thread on which this blog is based, where I try to catalogue every record I ever bought, in the order that I bought them.

And, just as I did then, I’m going to post a clip from the film that inspired me to start writing this (well, it was the book actually, but y’know…), and also features that song, a themed mix-tape, John Cusack and Jack Black:

More soon.