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.

The Chain #15

Blimey, loads of suggestions to get through this week. More first-time contributors, some returning friends, and above all, some bloody great tunes, 80% of which I’d never even heard before, let alone owned copies of. So it’s been a fun old week, trying to track down the bloody things, with varying degrees of success.

First up this week is George. George would like us to know two things. Firstly, he was first, and second his record is the best thing that will be suggested this week:

“It’s a bit unfair to be the first to post because I have a link to one of the 5 best songs ever made. Sorry to the others, your choices can’t touch this. Dirty Old Town was written by Ewan MacColl, whose father was called William (MacColl), and William just happens to be the first name of the bloke who wrote Jungle Rock. William M. Mizell is better known as Hank Mizell.”

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Hank Mizell – Jungle Rock

Next up, and straight to the point, here’s Charity Chic:

“Ewan’s father may have been William but his daughter was Kirsty. So In These Shoes? please” (See that? “Please”. I mean, there was always going to be a tune by Kirsty in this post, but a little manners go a long way.”)

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15. Kirsty MacColl – In These Shoes?

It’s a big Chain “Welcome Back!” to What’s It All About, Alfie? who writes:

“Dirty Old Town was by The Pogues fronted by Shane MacGowan and Shane has just got himself a brand new set of fine gnashers – The DJ/Actor Goldie also has a fine set of golden gnashers and appeared in the Bond movie The World Is Not Enough which was also the name of the title track by Garbage (fronted by another Scottish “lady” Shirley Manson) – one of my favourite Bond themes ever.”

You’re definitely getting the hang of this.

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Garbage – The World Is Not Enough

And now, it’s a big Chain “Welcome!” to S-WC, who co-writes the fecking wondrous When You Can’t Remember Anything and who was also partly responsible for one of the most entertaining series of posts I’ve read this year over at JC’s the Vinyl Villain: The £20 Challenge. Anyway, here are his suggestions. Yes, that’s right. Suggestions. As in plural.

“I’m currently in the Medway Towns, one of which is Chatham, which is a (very) dirty old town. Chatham is the birthplace, home and stomping ground of one Wild Billy Childish. So how about ‘Troubled Mind’ from his band The Buff Medways.”

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 The Buff Medways – Troubled Mind

“Or Chatham is a dirty old town, that is part of Medway, The Buff Medways are also a type of chicken, Chickens lay eggs which leads us to Tom Waits’ ‘Eggs and a Sausage’…”

The phrase “like a duck to water” springs to mind.

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Tom Waits – Eggs And Sausage (In A Cadillac With Susan Michelson)

Next, another big Chain “Welcome!” to Dirk who writes the also wonderful sexyloser blog, who contributes this (pay attention now – Dirk has kindly presented his suggestion in bullet-point format):

“This, of course, is an easy task and the answer should be clear to anyone:

– as we all know the dirtiest town in the world is Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku. Have a look at an according Forbes list if you don’t believe me

– as we all know as well Baku’s probably most famous son is Garry Kasparov. Have a look at Wikipedia if you still disbelieve me

– again, as we all know, ole’ Garry was rather a fine chessplayer, so fine in fact that he was World Champion back in 1986. Again, Wikipedia will be able to confirm this to you

– almost finally, you’d be relieved to hear – 1986 is the very same year that Eton Crop released their groundbreaking ‘Yes Please, Bob’ mini album on Megadisc in the Netherlands

– and track # 5 was, and still is, I would think, called “Chessplayers Are Good Blokes”

So, there can only be one conclusion for the correct tune to follow The Pogues’ Dirty Old Town’: Eton Crop’s ‘Chessplayers Are Good Blokes’, I’m sure you’ll agree, don’t you?”

Well, no actually. There’s no “one” correct tune, Dirk, as these are all perfectly great suggestions (and still more to come). I think we can all agree that your inaugural suggestion wins this weeks “Comment Showboating” Award though:

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 Eton Crop – Chessplayers Are Good Blokes

But, brace yourself folks, we’re about to get all cultured on yo’asses.

Here’s The Swede:

“The song ‘Dirty Old Town’ was originally written by Ewan MacColl for use in his 1951 play ‘Landscape With Chimneys’. MacColl wrote (or co-wrote) a total of 18 dramatic works for the stage, including, in the early 1940’s, an adaptation of Molière’s ‘Flying Doctor’. In 1978 Hawkwind, working under the guise of Hawklords, released ’25 Years On’, a very good punk/new wave influenced LP, which included a track called ‘Flying Doctor’.

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 Hawklords – Flying Doctor

Next it’s another big Chain “Welcome Back!” to Marie, who has a new, interesting approach to submitting a link, which is to pick up on something one of you has suggested, and take it a step in a different direction:

“The Swede’s entry immediately brought to mind Judy Collins’ version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Time Passes Slowly’. It had been written for “Scratch”, a play by Archibald MacLeish, loosely based on a short story called “The Devil and Daniel Webster” by Stephen Vincent Benét.”

Cultured, see.

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Judy Collins – Time Passes Slowly

And yet another big Chain “Welcome Back!”to Kay, who has picked up on the fact that a couple of weeks ago Swiss Adam sneaked a second choice through by picking a song by a band I love (Half Man Half Biscuit, on that occasion), and has guaranteed my posting her suggestion by selecting one by a band I love even more:

“I must admit I hadn’t heard dirty old town before, so listened to it and then found out it was written about Salford. So my link is The Smiths – “Bigmouth Strikes Again”, due to the photo of The Smiths outside Salford Lads Club on The Queen is Dead album (inside sleeve I think) [inner gatefold of the original vinyl – Pedantic Ed] and Salford is a bit of a dirty old town (well it was when I lived there).”

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The Smiths – Bigmouth Strikes Again

And finally, here’s The Great Gog:

“As a Mancunian, I was aware of the Salford connection and immediately thought of the highly irritating Salford Jets and Who You Looking At?”

I was intrigued. It’s not often you get someone suggest I post a song by a band they describe as “highly irritating”.

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Salford Jets – Who You Looking At?

I take your point, GG.

Also that one was a right bugger to find a decent copy of.

My turn! And a link which I’m surprised none of you came up with.

“Dirty Old Town” was on The Pogues second album, “Rum Sodomy & The Lash”, which was produced by one Declan MacManus, who is better known as Elvis Costello. In 2008, Costello appeared on Fall Out Boy’s album “Folie à Deux”, providing vocals on the track “What a Catch, Donnie”.

Here’s the one song by Fall Out Boy that I own and quite like:

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Fall Out Boy – Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down

But, what was the official song that linked to “Dirty Old Town”? Well, we’ve already had it. Yup, look up there, at the Kirsty MacColl track that Charity Chic suggested and you’ll see a little “15” in the link. So – bonus points to CC!

So, you know what to do now. Have a wee think. Or a wee and a think. Then, when you’ve finished (and washed your hands) send your suggestions via the Comments section at the bottom, for songs which link to Kirsty MacColl’s “In These Shoes?”

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

The other day (Friday, to be precise), over at his constantly wonderful place, Charity Chic posted a couple of tunes by George Jones, and made reference to today’s song, how he’d posted it before, and how he’d refrain from doing so again for fear of repetition.

Well, I haven’t posted it before, but I’m gonna.

However, I’m plumping for the version I’m more familiar with, the one by The Statler Brothers. My father had a copy of their “Innerview” album on vinyl when I was a kid, probably now gone to the great car boot sale in the sky, and for me this was the stand out track. I didn’t find out it’s a George Jones cover until many years later:

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The Statler Brothers – She Thinks I Still Care

For me, “She Thinks….” is your archetypal country record: mournful, stubborn, regretful, spurned. When people say country music is the white man’s blues, it’s this kind of record they’re talking about.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Tonight, one of my favourite songs ever.

About 10 years ago, this song suddenly kept popping up in unexpected places.

In those days, I was a great fan of Mary Anne Hobbs’ late night Radio 1 show, “Breezeblock” and this had cropped up in DJ Downfall’s incredible mix (which if anyone owns a copy of, I’d be eternally grateful…)

On top of that, my friends Mark and Llyr got a gig DJ’ing in a pub in Cardiff, and on their opening night one of them dropped this, to my unexpected joy, as I could now ask them what the hell it was.

It was this:

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The Postal Service – Such Great Heights

Enjoy!

More soon.

Name That Tune

At the moment, I’m sorting out songs I bought in 1986 for your delectation, and the album this comes from loomed large, so I figured I may as well post this one now.

Plus, it seems that whenever I post some Half Man Half Biscuit, I get a lot of love for having done so. Call me vain, if you like.

The song in question features one of my favourite HMHB lyrics ever: “They’ve been cooking on Blue Peter, now they’re sampling the dishes. ‘I don’t normally like tomatoes, John, but this is delicious'”.

HMHB afficionados will already know which song I mean:

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Half Man Half Biscuit – 99% of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd

And in case you’re wondering who Bob Todd is, there’s a reason I’m not posting a link to something he was in, and that reason is The Benny Hill Show. Go Google it yourself if you’re that curious.

Which makes it apt that I’m forced to post it using Zippyshare, so you all get to encounter those reputable ladies who apparently live very close to you. (By which I mean: please do not click anything other than Play or Download)

More soon.

That Summer Feeling #24

I’m writing this in advance of the weekend, so forgive me if it’s absolutely wazzing it down, it seems this hot spell is due to continue for a while longer at least (cue: snow), so here’s a song I mentioned in a previous post, and one that I first heard via that “Now That’s What I Call Summer” album I purchased back in the mid-80s.

This almost made into my recent Summer Friday Night post, just so I could do it half-way through and pretend it was an actual ad-break going on at the start. Cos I’m THAT funny:

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Barracudas – Summer Fun

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

Evening all.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it can’t have escaped your attention that the Olympics start officially later tonight (if you count the opening ceremony as it starting) or tomorrow (if you count it as starting when the competitions actually do).

Of course, whichever opinion you subscribe to, you’re wrong, for the Olympic football tournament started two days ago, but since this is generally being ignored here in the UK as Team GB didn’t qualify (did we even try…? Couldn’t have been a more humiliating experience than Euro 2016 was, I guess), you can be forgiven for that.

Anyway, pack me a lunchbox and call me Linford, I’ve only gone and done us a Friday Night Olympic playlist. Try to contain your joy.

So here goes, 12 songs which are (very) (tenuously) linked to the Olympics. And no sign of that bloody Spandau Ballet record anywhere.

First up, no surprise that I’ve managed to crowbar this lot in:

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355. Super Furry Animals – (Drawing) Rings Around The World

Of course, the opening ceremony climaxes and the Games truly commence when the Olympic flame arrives at the stadium, transported in one of these (the song title, not the band):

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356. Soft Cell – Torch

The majority of the games involve a race of sorts (I think. I dunno. I haven’t checked). So here’s this lot:

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357. The Flaming Lips – Race For The Prize

Next, a song which is actually about a motor race, which means it isn’t a race that appears in the Olympics (I think. I dunno. I haven’t checked), but the theme is roughly the same. Plus, I’ve not heard it for ages:

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358. Cake – The Distance

The objective of any of the sports hosted at the Olympics is to win a medal, preferably a gold one, which is given to the winner:

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359. Shed Seven – Going For Gold

…or failing that, make do with second place, which earns you…

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360. Echo & The Bunnymen – Silver

…which is another way of saying….

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361. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Almost Gold

…which is still one better than coming third, and getting:

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362. Queens of the Stone Age – The Bronze

Mention the name “Queen” and one other band springs to mind, a band who famously had a song which actually mentions an actual Olympic sport, albeit somewhat colloquially, in the title. But I’m not playing Queen tonight; instead this rowdy lot:

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363. Be Your Own Pet – Bicycle Race

Straight on to the next one, which surely needs no explanation:

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364. Sugababes – Push The Button

Okay, maybe a little explanation.

In 2012, on the night of the opening ceremony, I was at a works party. The party had nothing to do with the Olympics, and was held in the beer garden of a local pub, whilst TV screens in the bar showed the opening proceedings. I have to admit, in the run up to the games, I was firmly in the “We’re going to make a right pig’s ear of this” camp, and had little to no intention of watching any of the games. However, the appointment of Danny Boyle, he of Trainspotting, Shallow Grave and Slumdog Millionaire fame, to direct the opening ceremony piqued my interest, and every time I went to the bar – which was often – I found myself watching the television, bordering on the entranced.

I got home later that night, found it on the BBC iPlayer, and watched it right through.

Sort of.

The next morning, I woke up on the sofa, my television on stand-by, and watched it again/properly. I hadn’t been mistaken. It was bloody amazing.

Soon after the Games finished, I bought a copy of the DVD box-set. The first disc contains the opening ceremony, the other two the highlights of the games. The first is possibly the most watched DVD that I own. The other two haven’t even been out of the box.

Why is this relevant? Well, the other night I had a text from Hel, asking if I’d watched the BBC documentary about the making of the ceremony. I hadn’t, and sat down to watch it the following night.

For the next couple of hours, I was transfixed, in exactly the same way as when I first watched the actual opening ceremony. The documentary, part of Alan Yentob’s “Imagine” series, contains behind the scenes footage, including the teaching of all the thousands of volunteers, some of whom had to learn to dance, others to drum; it has interviews not just with all the main creative players (Boyle himself, Underworld’s Rick Smith who was the musical director, etc. etc.) but also with several of the volunteers, some of whom have moving stories to tell about why they were there, and what happened to them on the night and as they trained for it. For example, in the “Saturday Night/Music” sequence, which tells the story of a boy and a girl meeting on a night out: I had assumed that both of them were trained actors/dancers. But no: both just normal kids, who’d volunteered to take part, and had been picked from the masses to play a major role in the event.

But there was one scene which stuck in my mind, filmed in the tunnel where the volunteers involved in the aforementioned sequence were waiting to enter the stadium. Out there, the Sugababes’ “Push The Button” is playing; in the tunnel, they are going mental, all bouncing up and down with excitement, singing along and cheering…it’s wonderful to behold. If you have chance to watch it, I urge you to do so. You won’t be disappointed.

So, that’s why the Sugababes are here. They’ve probably changed line-up about seven times since I started writing that, mind (obligatory Sugababes revolving line-up joke, there).

Back to a song which I don’t really think can be criticised for being included in a playlist on an Olympics theme:

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365. Gene – Olympian (Single Version)

That is just majestic.

And so to round things off, a song from my favourite album by this band (a controversial choice, I believe), which I dedicate to every athlete from every nation taking part. May you hear yours many times over the next few weeks.

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366. Radiohead – The National Anthem

More soon.

The Chain #14

Ok, folks, here we go with your weekly dose of virtual interaction, a day later than I promised. So, I’m unreliable. Guess you’ll just have to put up with that.

To refresh your memories, last week I asked you for records you can link to The 101’ers “Keys To Your Heart”.

First out of the traps this week was CC, with this suggestion:

“Keys to my Heart to Heart of Glass by Blondie to (I love the Sound of Breaking Glass) by Nick Lowe off Jesus of Cool to She Left Me for Jesus by Hayes Carll”

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Hayes Carll – She Left Me For Jesus

Never heard that before. Not bad at all, cheers CC.

Next up, The Swede:

“Double link alert! The 101ers were so called because the band lived together in a squat at 101 Walterton Road in Maida Vale. Assuming Walterton Road ran odd numbers on one side of the street and evens across the road, one of their neighbouring houses would have been Number 99. So how about ‘Other 99’ by Big Audio Dynamite, fronted by (here’s that second link folks) Joe Strummer’s future partner in crime, Mick Jones.”

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Big Audio Dynamite – Other 99

Good stuff. I have to admit pretty much all of B.A.D.’s output passed me by, bar “E=MC2” so it’s good to have a pointer for where to start in the event that I ever muster up enough enthusiasm to investigate further.

Next up, is George, who writes:

“In binary code 101 is equivalent to the number 5 in the decimal system. There was a pop group from the 1980s called Five Star………I’m going to start again………..”

Ah. Okay. We’ll come back to you when you’ve had chance to ponder a while longer.

In the meantime, the mere mention of Five Star brings out a Pavlov’s Dog type reaction in me, but instead of salivating and looking hungry (which are pretty much my default settings anyway), I can’t resist posting this. Yes, again:

Whilst George is a-pondering, here’s The Swede, again:

“I got quite excited for a moment there, thinking that George might suggest ‘Mind Your Own Business’ by Delta 5. Then it all went horribly, horribly wrong.”

It seems The Swede, building upon Swiss Adam’s multiple suggestions last week,  has stumbled upon another way to get more than one record played here: suggest what you thought someone else might have suggested before they’ve actually suggested anything. You’ve got to admire his chops, haven’t you?

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Delta 5 – Mind Your Own Business

Nothing further from George at this point, so while we wait, here’s The Great Gog:

“If you didn’t want the key to someone’s heart, you could always Throw Away The Key (a slightly under-achieving hit for Linx in 1981). The lead singer of Linx was David Grant who enjoyed further solo hits, and a couple of duets with Jaki Graham. That then leads me to Graham Parker, and linking back to heart, The Beating Of Another Heart from 1980’s The Up Escalator.”

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Graham Parker – The Beating of Another Heart

And now George is ready:

“Here goes. 101 in binary is 5. And The Tympany 5 were Louis Jordan’s backing band, and the song Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” before clarifying: “That’s 101 in binary is 5 in the decimal system. 101 in base 4 is 17 in base 10.” But we all knew that, right?

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Louis Jordan – Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens

I trust you’ll all agree that was worth the wait.

And now, I’m delighted to be able to finish off this week’s suggestions with two first-timers to this mullarkey.

First, we have What’s It All About, Alfie? who writes from the North of Scotland – a country which seems to have more than its fair share of entertaining bloggers – but having had a darn good rummage around their blog I’m none the wiser as to their identity. I think – given a recent post was about Jackie magazines – that the blog is written by a lady. If so, I’m even more pleased because, bar Marie’s suggestion back on The Chain #10, we’re a little light on female contributors. (And if not, ermm…sorry!)

Anyway, here’s their suggestion:

“First thing that came to mind was 808 State – Pacific State, just because they also have a palindrome number (is it still called that if it’s not a word?) in their name.”

Doubtless you’ll all know that the song in question is know under several guises: “Pacific 707”, “Pacific State”, or just plain “Pacific”, (and for completists/pedants, one called “Pacific 808 98”, which is practically a drum and bass remix) but that matters not a jot here since it’s the band name we’re concerned with. So I’ve gone with the Pacific 707 version, partly because we then have two of those pesky numerical palindromes for the price of one, but mostly because it’s the best postable copy I have:

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808 State – Pacific 707

That’s bloody marvellous, isn’t it?

But we’re not done just yet, for finally another suggestion from another lady, who – get this – doesn’t even write, nor has she ever written, her own blog.

“So when my little pigeon brain heard the word keys in the title “Keys to your heart” I immediately thought of a song that features a key quite frequently and is a wonderful camp euro dance classic (if that’s even an official music genre). It just reminds me of dancing with my best friend, Simon in G-A-Y many years ago “The key, the secret” – Urban cookie collective.”

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Urban Cookie Collective – The Key, The Secret

“Quite frequently” is a bit of an understatement, isn’t it?

I have to admit to having a bit of a soft spot for that one too, as it goes.

So, welcome to you both, thanks for joining in, and please feel free to make suggestions in the future. And to any other non-bloggers out there who read this, think of a link then don’t post it for whatever reason, please do: I’d love to hear – and play – your suggestions (and I will, provided the link stands up to scrutiny and I can track down the song in question if I don’t already own it).

Ok, to my own suggestion, and if the 101’ers have got the Keys to Your Heart, then before they can use them, they first need to cross the river to your heart by using the bridge to your heart, which luckily one-hit-wonders WAX built back in 1987:

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WAX – Bridge to Your Heart

And by posting that, I hope I’m proving to any possible contributors that your choice doesn’t have to be good to get posted! (But I bet you’ll all have the chorus to that running round your brain for ages now).

So, to round things up for another week, here’s the official selection, which I love, but which none of us got anywhere near. I’m quite pleased about that, as I love the diversity of your suggestions, so keep them coming, more power to your elbow etc etc etc.

Lifted from their timeless “Rum Sodomy & the Lash” album, here’s The Pogues:

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14. The Pogues – Dirty Old Town

(Sorry George, more Zippyshare-ness for you to contend with)

And the offical reason for that song? “Joe Strummer stood in for Shaun MacGowan as The Pogues’ vocalist on several occasions…” Our reasons, whilst slightly more convoluted, are way better than that, no?

So, your suggestions please, along with your explanation as to how the hell you got there, via the Comments box below, for songs to link to “Dirty Old Town” by The Pogues.

More soon.