The Chain #31

Okay, okay, I’m a little later than usual. My apologies. I seem to have developed some kind of Chain Tourette’s Syndrome this week, incapable of resisting posting an additional link or splurging out another suggestion. You’ll see.

Last week we ended with “Live Forever” by Oasis, and it’s fair to say the Mancunian siblings caused quite the difference in opinions between you, with some voicing “By and large and on the whole, all things considered… Oasis can piss off” and others “Can I start by saying that I bloody love Oasis?”

As usual, suggestions came from one of several broad categories, but where to start?

At the beginning, seems as good a place as any. Here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area to kick things off:

“Johnny Marr springs to mind (shared manager, guitar given by Johnny to Noel on which he wrote that song I think). Johnny Marr’s solo song ‘Upstarts’ from a couple of years ago was splendid, a comeback. And even though I don’t much like ’em, Oasis were upstarts for a while.”

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Johnny Marr – Upstarts

You can add the fact that Noel Gallagher joined Johnny on stage when I saw him at the Brixton Academy last year to that list of connections too, if you like.

Let’s use collaborations as the starting point to kick on with, and a second suggestion from Swiss Adam:

“Oasis recorded a song with another Johnny. Johnny Depp. Who was attached to Vanessa Paradis who had a hit with the strangely alright ‘Joe Le Taxi’.”

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Vanessa Paradis – Joe Le Taxi

Those of you who read the Comments section will know that prompted a big fat “Did they??” from Yours Truly. In fact, it turns out everyone’s favourite begrudgingly apologetic dog smuggler recorded with them twice, on “Fade In-Out” from “Be Here Now”, and on “Fade Away (Warchild Version)” from the 1995 “Help!” compilation album. In fact, anything with the word “Fade” in the title, and Depp was all over it like a tramp on chips.

He also, of course, plays guitar on this:

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Shane MacGowan & the Popes – That Woman’s Got Me Drinking

But I digress; back to Swiss Adam for his hat-trick of collaboration suggestions (even though his first one wasn’t really one):

“John Squire played with the Burnage numpties at Knebworth. And John Squire was in the Stone Roses without whom Oasis would never have existed. They could also never have written anything as trippy and light as Elephant Stone.”

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The Stone Roses – Elephant Stone

Continuing the theme, let’s shift from people who have played with Oasis, to acts that have featured one of the band (okay, let’s face it, Liam or Noel). Over to Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“Live Forever is considered by many as Liam’s greatest vocal recording. Although that’s harsh on ‘Little James’. Anyway Liam also contributes vocals to Echo and the Bunnymen’s wonderful comeback single ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’. The irony of that was probably lost in him.”

Wonderful is damning this record with faint praise; I often dread a band I love reforming and releasing their new material, but Echo & The Bunnymen proved the exception to the rule with this:

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Echo & The Bunnymen – Nothing Lasts Forever

And of course, with “Forever” in the title, we have a double-linker! We’ll come back to more with a similar (okay, identical) link later on.

The mere mention of Liam gives me the opportunity to post this, from the “Live Forever” Britpop documentary, my favourite ever interview clip involving him, where he is asked if he feels he has an androgynous quality about him:

Anyway, another suggestion from me, this time featuring the other one-eyebrowed wonder. Noel Gallagher teamed up with The Lemonheads’ Evan Dando to record – but never officially release (hence the absence of a proper sleeve and the somewhat shonky sound quality) – this:

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Noel Gallagher & Evan Dando – Purple Parallelogram

What? There were people in Oasis other than Liam and Noel you say? Over to Rigid Digit from Stuff and Nonsense:

“Oasis’ bass player Paul McGuigan co-authored (with Paolo Hewitt) a book called ‘The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw’ about ex Reading and Cardiff City player Robin Friday.

A picture of Robin Friday “flicking the V” at the Luton Town goalkeeper was used on the cover of the Super Furry Animals ‘The Man Don’t Give A F**k'”

He certainly was:

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Super Furry Animals – The Man Don’t Give A Fuck

And, since I’m going to see them next Friday at The Roundhouse perform not only their brilliant debut album “Fuzzy Logic” but also their even better follow-up album “Radiator”, here’s a bonus, a tune I’ve posted before, their epic 22:30 minute long live version from the Hammersmith Apollo, complete with Cian Ciaran’s techno wig out section:

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Super Furry Animals – The Man Don’t Give a Fuck (Live Hammersmith Apollo)

Before I start posting nothing but Super Furry Animals records, it’s time for The Beard to perform an intervention:

“Oasis’ touring keyboardist was Jay Darlington from Britpop no-marks Kula Shaker [Don’t worry folks, he’s not going there]. Their lead singer Crispin Mills was the son of actress Hayley Mills. She starred in the film ‘Tiger Bay’ (alongside, I think, Sir John Mills?) [Correct!]. ‘Tiger Bay’ is also the name of Saint Etienne’s third album. ‘Like A Motorway’ from this album, please.”

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Saint Etienne – Like A Motorway

As usual, competition has been hot this week to come up with the Worst Record of the Week, and here’s The Great Gog with the first, which not only links to the Gallagher brothers, but also to the football team mentioned in The Official Chain link which led us here:

“…the brothers Gallagher support a certain team who are still in the Champions League (sorry, couldn’t resist!)…[*cough* 2-0, 2nd October 2016]…so, the ditty supposedly sung by the early ’70’s City squad, “The Boys In Blue” – although I can’t imagine that the likes of Franny Lee would have been that good at holding a tune.”

No need to imagine, GG, here they are, and let’s just say Franny was no Ossie Ardiles, either on the pitch or in the studio:

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Manchester City FC – Boys in Blue

I’ll be honest, I only posted that so I could bring your attention to the song-writing credits, which will probably seem familiar to many of you. Yes, Godley, Crème and Gouldman – three fifths of 10cc. The muso-nerds amongst you will know that 10cc get their name from the average male ejaculate. 10cc formed in 1972, the same year as “Boys in Blue” was released. There’s a joke in there somewhere, but you don’t need me to do it, you can fill in the wanks blanks.

Anyway, back to you GG:

“Also, there is of course, “Blue Moon” – of which there have been many versions, but as an early contender for Worst Song Of The Week, I’ll plump for Showaddywaddy’s version.”

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Showaddywaddy – Blue Moon

You have to feel a bit sorry for Showaddywaddy, surely the most unintentional casualty of the whole Operation Yew tree thing, for who amongst us didn’t used  to enjoy saying their name in the voice of a certain, dead, disgraced, BBC DJ, TV presenter and paedophile? And now even that simple joy has been taken away from us. I bet Eric Bristow does that impression still. (See, I’m nothing if not topical!)

Something a little more straight forward and less contentious next: here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:

“Until I come up with something obscure I’ll go for an obvious one: ‘Midnight at the Oasis by Maria Mulduar’.”

As it happens, CC wasn’t the only one to suggest this record; step forward Kuttowski from A few good times in my life:

“The first thing that came on my mind was a song by Maria Muldaur. Midnight At The Oasis is one of these songs that accompanied me during the last decades. I really can’t explain why I can’t get this little folk/jazz tune out of my mind. Probably because it is just a good song.”

And here it is:

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Maria Muldaur – Midnight At The Oasis

Now, the more astute among you will have noticed a couple of references to Liam and Noel Gallagher so far. Here’s George to explain the link between these two fine gentlemen with the same surname:

“Oasis had the Gallagher brothers in them. And there are a plethora of bands that have brothers , so I will suggest Creedence Clearwater Revival (who featured two Fogertys) and ‘Born On The Bayou’.”

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Creedence Clearwater Revival – Born on the Bayou

Oooh- bands with siblings in them, can I play? Please pwetty please?

It seems to me that Scotland has more than its’ fair share of bloody marvellous musical talent, and quite a few music bloggers too, many of whom visit these pages, so this one’s for you, a much overlooked (until that bloody awful musical came out a few years ago; other than featuring the music of The Proclaimers, it has little to recommend it) and rather lovely tune:

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The Proclaimers – Sunshine on Leith

And, well, if we’re going to have one Scottish band with a couple of brothers called Reid, we’d better have the other one too (PS. Neil Reid was not one of them):

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The Jesus & Mary Chain – Cherry Came Too

Okay. Brace yourself. Here’s George with the winner of this week’s Worst Record of the Week award.

“Going from the Gallagher Brother to two sisters, those two in the Cheeky Girls (one of them married Lembit Opik) and, having consulted with my partner, their most famous song is called Cheeky Song, which I’ve just played. It’s rubbish.”

I do love the way that George always pretends not to know anything about his suggestions for Worst Record of The Week and tries to shift the blame over to his other half. We all know the truth, George, you’re fooling nobody.

Thank god neither of you have heard of Jedward, s’all I can say.

Oh, and a slight correction; Lembit Opik didn’t marry one of the Cheeky Girls, they were engaged but split up in 2008 after a “difficult period” in the relationship, which I think we can interpret as meaning “when he slept with the wrong sister”.

So, here’s what I’m sure will be the least clicked link of the week. I, on the other hand have had to listen to that more times when writing this blog than I had ever had the misfortune to hear it before (Twice).

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The Cheeky Girls – Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)

Look! There’s a Christmas Remix!! If you’re all very good boys and girls, I’ll see if I can find that and post it nearer the 25th. I bet it has some sleigh bells and probably a joke about pulling a Christmas Cracker.

Let’s get out of here, and have some simple songs which link to the word “Live”, the word “Forever”, or some derivative of either.

Time, then, to give the customary very warm Chain Gang welcome to first time contributor Martin from New Amusements (is that a Gene reference I espy, Martin…?):

“I’m going with living forever… having tinkered with synonyms (eternal and immortal) and come to unsatisfactory dead ends (anything by, er, Eternal, and Immortals by Fall Out Boy), I have instead decided to opt for the words “Electric word, life. It means forever, and that’s a mighty long time.”

In other words, Let’s Go Crazy by Prince. Doubly fitting, as those Gallagher boys have been known to go crazy on the odd occasion…”

A classy suggestion, and just what the Doctor order after George let those pesky cheeky-ettes in:

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Prince & The Revolution – Let’s Go Crazy

Whilst we’re on lyrical references, here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“Oasis claim they’re gonna live forever. Irene Cara claimed likewise on “Fame”. To be fair to all involved, they’re not wrong *yet*.”

There’s still another month left of 2016, Alex. Plenty of time yet.

On the day or so before I write The Chain, I upload all of the songs onto a playlist on my iPod, and give them a listen as I commute to and from work, the idea being that a) I can check all of the mp3s sound okay, b) can get a rough idea of the running order, and c) hope I can think of something interesting or amusing to write about each tune. As I got to off the bus and walked to the office this morning, this tune came on:

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Irene Cara – Fame

I have to say, it put me in a really good mood for the start of the day. You should try it. The only disappointing thing about it was that when I got to the office, not one person was wearing a leotard or leggings, Doris wasn’t squawking “Hi Fidelity” by the water cooler, nor was Bruno attempting to play the photocopier like a piano. Still, can’t have everything.

Back, now, to The Great Gog, who before he started regaling us with Manchester City related awfulness, did actually suggest this:

“My first thought was to suggest another song with the words ‘live’ and ‘forever’ in the title: OMD – ‘(Forever) Live And Die’.”

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Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Forever Live and Die

Next, as Mark Morrison almost once said, it’s the Return of the Badger:

“But having gone down the forever route…other things can be forever as well. Like Polymers according to Future of the Left….”

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Future of the Left – Polymers Are Forever

“…and fucking if you listen to Babyshambles.” Which I don’t as a rule, but then I’ve listened to The Cheeky Girls twice, I may as well give Babyshambles a whirl:

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Babyshambles – Fuck Forever

Remember earlier we were talking about Oasis records that Johnny Depp had played on? Well here’s fun: that Warchild version of “Fade Away” also featured one time Pete Doherty muse Kate Moss giving it the full Linda McCartey on tambourine. What are the odds, eh?

Here’s George, who doesn’t seem even remotely apologetic for making me/us listen to The Cheeky Girls:

“…on the forever link, what about ‘Forever Came Today’ by Diana Ross and The Supremes?”

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Diana Ross & The Supremes – Forever Came Today

Time for some input from the fairer sex: here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?:

“Ok so The Cheeky Girls song may get the prize for the worst record of the week [there’s no “may” about it, it does] but here is another contender. “Forever and Ever” by that hirsute Greek, Demis Roussos. I always thought Neil Diamond (my choice from last week) was a very hirsute man back in the day with all that exposed chest hair, but nothing on Mr Roussos. Come to think of it the Gallagher Brothers are quite hirsute in the eyebrow department, them having only one an’ all. A double-link and a pattern forming here for me relating to hairy men!”

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Demis Roussos – Forever and Ever

Next to return for a second, and indeed a third, suggestion is kuttowski:

“‘Live Forever’ is the name of a live album by Bob Marley from back in 1980. So I suggest Burnin’ and Lootin’”

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Bob Marley & The Wailers – Burnin’ and Lootin’

More from Kuttowski:

“‘Live Forever’ is the name of a documentary about the rise and fall of Brit Pop from the mid 90’s to their end. Pulp’s Common People with it’s wonderful lyrics became a signature to Brit Pop.”

Indeed, to my mind the anthem of Britpop, and a song kept from reaching Number One by Robson and Jerome, who also kept Oasis’s “Wonderwall” from the top slot.

Here’s the full length version from “Different Class”:

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Pulp – Common People

Time to hand over to Rol from My Top Ten for his musings of the week:

“First thought: Queen – Who Wants To Live Forever?

Which, if the question referred to the Oasis song, would lead to a resounding “Not me!” I appreciate that some people might feel the same about Queen, but quite frankly they would be, at best, misguided.”

I told you Oasis divided opinions, didn’t I?

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Queen – Who Wants To Live Forever

I’m not sure if it’s distasteful, ironic or entirely appropriate that this is posted just as we pass the 25th anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death, but since I know Rol is a big fan of Queen (as opposed to a fan of big queens) I’ll go with the latter.

“‘Who Wants To Live Forever?’ comes from the soundtrack of the movie Highlander, which leads me naturally to a lovely early Billy Joel song called ‘Summer, Highland Falls.’ Hey, if we can show Neil Diamond love, Billy must get his too.”

A debate for another day, I think, but certainly one I’ll be backing you up on (up to a point):

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Billy Joel – Summer, Highland Falls

Now, amongst that, you mentioned Neil Diamond, didn’t you? Over to Charity Chic again:

“The by now obligatory Neil Diamond moment – ‘Forever in Blue Jeans'”:

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Neil Diamond – Forever in Blue Jeans

Phenomenal bit of work there, artist responsible for the design of the single sleeve.

“What’s next on the list?”

“Something called “Forever in Blue Jeans” by Neil Diamond. Any ideas?”

“How about we just stick his face on some denim?”

“Perfect. Fancy a pint?”

Now this song reminds me of someone, a former flatmate of mine and Hel’s. This was his favourite record by Diamond. I mean, it’s okay but it’s no “I Am…I Said”, is it? Hell, it’s not even “Cracklin’ Rosie” or “Beautiful Noise”. This is one of the perils of house-sharing these days; you can interview them as much as you like, but you never know what people are really like until they move in. This guy was priceless.

He survived on a diet of pizza and pasta on alternating days, then tried to take the piss out of me for eating liking foreign food because I was eating Mexican one evening. His idea of eating pasta was to boil some water, add pasta, drain then add nothing but tomato ketchup. Once, he realised he had put too much water in the saucepan, so decided to empty some out – into the kitchen bin, rather than into the sink. He would eat packets of crisps and just drop the empty packets on the floor. We once found a half devoured bag of Doritos next to the toilet. A toilet which he refused to lift the seat of when he peed, and which he refused to flush before he left to go to work (after we had) of a morning, leaving a gorgeous odour to greet the first person home. He made several unwelcome passes at Hel, and made up an entirely fictitious girlfriend who he claimed worked on a leading TV soap opera, even though we did know someone who worked on the same show who categorically told us the girl didn’t exist. Oh, and he did a runner from the house in the middle of the day when we were at work, leaving me and Hel to cover his share of the household bills, and I suspect, liberating a large chunk of my vinyl – including all of The Smiths original Rough Trade album releases – as he went.

All of which might just about be forgivable were it not for one thing: he liked Kasabian.

Every possible opportunity he had, he would bang on about how awesome they were, and when one of their albums, I forget which, the one where they try and sound like Oasis meets the Stones meets “Rocks”-era Primal Scream probably, like that narrows it down, was voted Album of the Year by Q magazine, he bought a copy (of the magazine), and kept leaving it around the house, open at the relevant page, like we were going to go “Oh, well if Q says it’s the Album of the Year….”

And if it wasn’t Kasabian, it was bloody Mumford & Sons. I rest my case.

I mention all of this now, because one day he burst into the house, breathless with excitement, gushing “Jez…Jez…have you heard of Longpigs? Best…Britpop band…ever!”

Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with Longpigs first album, “The Sun is Often Out”. And they gave us Richard Hawley, so for that we are of course grateful In fact, I can’t believe I’ve never posted anything by him – I’ll rectify that over the weekend.

But best Britpop band ever? C’mon…

Anyway, that leads me, in a very roundabout way indeed, to what I think is their finest moment. For if you do Live Forever, then surely it could be said that you go on and on…

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Longpigs – On and On

Ahem. Where were we?

Ah yes, back to Rol, I think:

“Final thought, on the subject of living forever (unless I have another thought)…

Ryan Adams (no B) – ‘Note To Self: Don’t Die’ …would be good advice for any budding immortals.”

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Ryan Adams – Note to Self Don’t Die

Another inadvertent double-linker there, as Mr B-less Adams also once covered Oasis’s “Wonderwall”, as did this lot:

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The Mike Flowers Pops – Wonderwall

Remember when Worst Record of the Week used to be about posting the Cheesiest Record of the Week? Well, that would win, even if it’s deliberately so.

And, just take a look at that Radio 1 sticker that proudly adorns the front. It reads: “As First Heard on the Kevin Greening Show”. Surely I’m not alone in furrowing my brow and saying, “Sorry, who??” Perhaps his career was cut short precisely because it was his show that first played that.

Hang on, Rol’s thought of something else. Having convinced himself not to suggest something by Gallagher and Lyle, he came back with this:

“Oh, I just had a thought about the Gallagher & Lyle route that would lead to a semi-respectable song.

Gallagher & Lyle reminds me of Tate & Lyle.

Tate & Lyle make sugar.

So… Sugar – ‘If I Can’t Change Your Mind'”

“Semi-respectable”?? That’s a fine record, and no mistake:

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Sugar – If I Can’t Change Your Mind

“Please post the video so everyone can laugh at Bob Mould’s cardigan,” Rol concludes.

Okay, but I’m rather a partial to a nice cardy, so no sniggering:

Now, who haven’t we heard from yet? Ah yes, SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

The B Side to ‘Live Forever’ was ‘Up in the Sky’ which is where according to Sugar you would find the City of Armenia.”

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Sugar – Armenia City in the Sky

…which is a cover of The Who track from “The Who Sell Out” of course. And Oasis covered The Who’s “My Generation” on their live album “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down”. This week, more than any, we seem to be going round in circles and finding additional links.

“Alternatively,” SWC continues, “the complete opposite of live forever would be dying young so we could have ‘All Die Young’ by much missed Smith Westerns.”

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Smith Westerns – All Die Young

Or, for that matter, this, from the second Blondie album I ever bought as a kid (after I got “Best of Blondie”, but before “Parallel Lines”):

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Blondie – Die Young Stay Pretty

And one more from SWC:

“Live Forever was apparently inspired by ‘Shine a Light’ by The Rolling Stones so we could have that.”

Sure could:

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The Rolling Stones – Shine a Light

Next up, its The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:

“I’ll make a simple jump from Oasis to fellow Creation recording artists Swervedriver – ‘Rave Down’ please!”

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Swervedriver – Rave Down

I had totally forgotten how good that is, like a cross between My Bloody Valentine and Doves.

Last suggestion of the week, and I’ve deliberately kept this one back til last. I’ll leave you in the capable hands of The Robster from Is This the Life? to wrap things up:

“Pre-Oasis, Noel Gallagher was a roadie for Inspiral Carpets. Post-Oasis, he formed the High Flying Birds. Therefore I offer ‘Flying Like A Bird’ from Inspiral Carpets’ self-titled comeback album from 2014. I’d also like to dedicate it to their drummer Craig Gill who passed away last week.”

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Inspiral Carpets – Flying Like a Bird

On which poignant note, all that is left for me to do is the admin bit. Here’s the link to the next record in The Official Chain, an underwhelming link as is so often the case, but a great record:

“Oasis used a leisure centre in Swindon as inspiration for their band name. Also from Swindon were…”

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31. XTC – The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead

You know the drill by now; your suggestions for records that link to “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” by XTC, along with a brief description as to how you got from one to the other, via the Comments section below.

See you next week, Chain Gang!

(More soon).

I Am The Mouth

A new thing for Mondays, for as long as I manage to keep it going.

About 10 years or so ago, when I was still living in Cardiff, I had an idea for a sort-of Indie night that I planned on starting up.

I say planned, for that’s as far as I got. I had the concept, the records, just no venue and, as it turned out, not enough zip, or get up and go to actually make it happen.

The concept was this: as well as playing long-lost, forgotten about tunes, I’d play records – mostly Indie ones – that you didn’t normally hear getting played out, by acts that you would normally hear, just not the songs that would usually get played. Not necessarily album tracks, but less played singles.

So, for example: instead of Happy Mondays “Step On” or “Kinky Afro” – which always get played – I’d play “Lazyitis” or “Loose Fit”; rather than play The Stone Roses’ “Fools Gold” or “I Am The Resurrection“- which always get played – I’d play “Made of Stone” or “Elephant Stone”: great records you could dance to, but which usually got overlooked in favour of the more established floor-fillers.

My logic was this: there’s very little that Indie hipsters like more than being able to show off that they know some of the more obscure records from an established acts’ back catalogue. People would dance because they wouldn’t want anyone to think they didn’t know the tune being played, I thought.

The night was to be called “I Am The Mouth”, and because of the slightly prophetic name, the idea was that the decks would be hidden away behind a lectern, as if when DJ’ing I was preaching from it.

I tried to set up a Myspace page for it (which dates this, obviously), only to find that someone already had a page by the same name, which rather deflated me. Had someone else had exactly the same idea, and called it exactly the same thing??

I also sounded out my friends about the idea, and mostly they (told me that they) thought it was a great idea. I even used the word “demographic” when explaining it.

But then one friend said: “So, let me get this straight: you want to start an Indie night where you play records that nobody wants to dance to?”, which was a way of looking at it that hadn’t occurred to me.

And so, wind properly knocked out of my sails, the idea remained as just that: an idea. Done properly, I still think it has legs.

I mentioned it to a good friend of mine recently (Alright, G!), a recent convert to reading these pages (I don’t go out of my way to tell my friends I do this, as I don’t want them to feel obliged to read it. If they ask, however, I will happily bang on for hours about how much I love doing this, as I’m sure they will all wearily attest) who thought it was a brilliant idea, but he was rather drunk, so I’ll ask him again when he’s sober and see what he says then.

Me posting this counts as a copyright, doesn’t it?

And the name? Well, if you know you’re early 80s pop singles that never get played out, you’ll get the reference.

“Marco, Merrick, Terry Lee, Gary Tibbs and Yours Truly

From the Naughty North and the Sexy South

We’re all singing

And I Am The Mouth.”

Or, to put it another way, this:

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Adam & The Ants – Ant Rap

More of this sort of nonsense soon.

PS -Prompted by a recent comment from Marie, I’ve been looking to find an alternative file sharing service to Zippyshare. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve never been very happy about being associated with a site where every time you click a link you’re swamped by pop-ups inviting you to converse with scantily clad ladies who just happen to be in your locality (apparently). And then lo and behold, The Robster over at Is This The Life? posted some links on a new service he has has been using for a few days. I’ve tested it from his blog, and got no pop ups etc., so hopefully it’ll work better for those of you who’ve had issues with Zippyshare. Feedback welcome. And cheers Robster!

Not Long Until 2016 is Over

I’m not usually one for ascribing one particular year as being good or bad, but, and excuse my language, fuck me 2016 has been horrid.

I don’t even mean the shifting of the political climate, where Donald Trump can be the US President-Elect (I still can’t believe I’m typing those words), or where the dunderheads voted for Brexit (and I can’t believe I’m still having to use that phrase); I mean the ridiculous amount of celebrities – and pop artists in particular – that we’ve lost this year, a list which just seems to keep on growing.

Sure, few will be as significant as the losses of Bowie and Prince, but still…there’s some old muso warhorses that have gone this year who should be properly mourned.

This last week, we have lost (and forgive me if I’ve missed anyone, it’s kinda hard to keep up): David Mancuso – pioneering House DJ, and Sharon Jones, of Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, a phenomenal talent. There are people far better placed than I to comment on both their passing, and if you have a sweep through some of the blogs in the list on the left you’ll find people who’ve done just that.

And then there was Craig “Gilly” Gill. As I mentioned, I went to see Teenage Fanclub on Tuesday, and practically the first thing my mate Gary said to me when we met up was “Did you hear about the drummer from Inspiral Carpets?”

I had, obviously. With some of the folks who have passed on this year, you kind of knew it was on the cards; they were a bit older than us, had been around for many years, were known to have been ill or had a reputation for abusing certain substances at some point in their career or other. But Gilly was someone our age (actually, younger than me) who was in a band that I considered to be of my era, “one of mine”.

To the average punter, Inspiral Carpets were known for having dodgy bowl haircuts, writing pop tunes that were led by Clint Boon’s swirling organ-esque keyboard sound, and for being part of the Madchester scene, even though they were sort of on the edge of it, Madchester without actually sounding Madchester. And that’s all true, but there was  more to them than that.

So you go back and listen to them, with the benefit of hindsight, and you realise what a great drummer Craig “Gilly” Gill was. Listen to this, for example:

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Inspiral Carpets feat. Mark E. Smith – I Want You

Exemplary rock drumming, I’m sure you’ll agree.

And then there’s this, a very different kettle of fish, the other end of the spectrum, one which we seem to end up singing when me and my buddies meet up for a Christmas drink at The Dublin Castle in Camden:

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Inspiral Carpets – This is How it Feels

RIP Gilly. Respect.

More soon, hopefully not more losses.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

For this morning’s dose of Country tuneage, we’re returning to the man who wrote the song this thread is named after: Kris Kristofferson.

A few years ago, when I was living in Cardiff, I saw that he was coming over to the UK to do a few dates, and the nearest one was over in Bristol. Now, Kristofferson is no spring chicken, so I figured I’d better go see him whilst I still could, so I bought me a ticket, planning to catch the last train back to Cardiff after the gig, which, having caught it before with my old mate Johnny Mac (and having a heated discussion about what the first rap record was while we waited for it), I knew to be around midnight, .

In the months in between me purchasing my ticket and the actual gig, however, I got offered a job in Cheltenham, and so I upped sticks and moved to the posh Georgian spa town. The day of the gig arrived, and off I travelled to Bristol, it never occurring to me that, since Cheltenham was nearer to Bristol than Cardiff, there wouldn’t be a late train back there as well.

Bad move. When I got to Bristol I found that the last train was at 10:00pm – an hour after Kristofferson was due to take the stage. I checked my bank balance to see if I had enough money to pay for a night in a Travelodge, but no dice: it was the day before payday, and I was broke.

There was nothing else for it, I’d have to do the unthinkable – leave a gig early.

To cap it all, he came on stage a little late, meaning I got to see about twenty minutes, maybe half an hour, of the great man. Luckily he played a couple of the songs I wanted to hear early: “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, “Me and Bobby McGee” and this one, a favourite of mine for it’s story-telling, a quality that I don’t think Kristofferson gets enough credit for:

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Kris Kristofferson – Best Of All Possible Worlds

By the way, that’s the album sleeve as my Dad owned it. The album subsequently got re-released under the name “Kristofferson”, originally rejected by the record company because nobody would know who he was.

As a little bonus, here’s a cover of that, performed by The Little Willies (stop smirking a the back there!). The Little Willies are essentially a country super-group, although the only member I’ve heard of is daughter of Indian sitar player, composer and friend of some chaps called The Beatles Ravi Shankar, Norah Jones. They mostly perform covers of classic country songs and I assume they’re named after their desire to be miniature versions of Mr Willie Nelson rather than as a reference to any shortcomings in the trouser department of the male, erm, members of the band, but you never know.

Anyway, this, from their debut eponymous album, is their version:

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The Little Willies – Best Of All Possible Worlds

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

On Friday night, I thought I’d make some popcorn, dim the lights and watch a movie. I have quite a collection of DVDs, gathering dust now with the event of Netflix, so I decided to watch one that I hadn’t seen for a couple of years, the second best comedy zombie movie ever: “Zombieland“.

Obviously, “Shaun of the Dead” is the best, but turn on ITV2 any night of the week and you’ve got a pretty good chance of seeing that, assuming they aren’t showing “About a Boy” again.

Anyway: “Zombieland” stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone – who would probably get loads more work if Mila Kunis didn’t already exist – and Abigail Breslin as four survivors of a zombie apocalypse in America, and their journey across country, each trying to reach a different destination, and of course the many undead-based scrapes they get into.

It also features one of the finest cameo appearances by…well, if you haven’t seen it I’m not going to spoil it.

The reason I mention this is because it has rather a fine soundtrack, including tracks by Willie Nelson, The Velvet Underground, Hank Williams, Mozart, The Black Keys…you know, the sort of wide range of stuff that gets suggested over at The Chain.

And there’s one other band on there, who I had completely forgotten featured from the couple of times I watched it. As the gang drive into a desolate Los Angeles, this song fades in:

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Doves – Kingdom of Rust

Doves: Mighty, majestic, much missed, more soon.

More Looney Tunes (How to Do a Cover Version edition)

Back on Halloween, I posted a song from a compilation album , called “Looney Tunes” that I got given as a kid, which sparked a bit of interest, so as requested, and as promised, I said I’d post a few more tunes from it.

A few of the acts feature twice: The Coasters, David Seville (although on one of the tunes he’s accompanied by The Chipmunks), Nervous Norvus, and the starting point for this post: The Rivingtons.

When I posted back on Halloween, regular Chain Gang contributor Alyson from “What’s It All About, Alfie” commented thus:

“I’ve been trying to work out what that song that goes Papa-Oom-Maw-Maw is called for years and it turns out it’s just that – Don’t know how it could fit into The Chain but I’m going to try as I want to hear it again! One of the tunes of my childhood listening to Junior Choice.”

(Me, my brother and two of our friends had a joint birthday party when we were kids; my Mum wrote into Junior Choice and the sadly missed Ed “Stewpot” Stewart – another victim of 2016 – read it out. But that, my first glimpse of fame, is a story for another time. Although I have pretty much just told you all of the key points.)

Now Alyson has just reached the milestone of her 100th post, so it seemed an apt moment for me to fulfil my promise to post said tune. Congratulations Alyson. And the rest of you, if you don’t already, you should pay her blog a visit.

Here you go. No, in fact, have both of their songs from that album:

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The Rivingtons – Papa Oom Mow Mow

The Rivingtons – Bird’s The Word

There’s a reason I posted both, of course. In 1963, The Trashmen amalgamated the two tunes into what is almost definitely the first example of a mash-up:

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The Trashmen – Surfin’ Bird

There are two – actually, there’s probably many more than two, but two will do for now – versions of that by more recent, much cooler bands. From 1979, this lot of utterly demented weirdos who I can’t believe I’ve only started to get into in the last five years or so – what on earth was I thinking?

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The Cramps – Surfin’ Bird

And from a couple of years earlier, 1977 to be precise, the coolest rock’n’roll band to ever grace this planet, and a again a band I was shamefully late to, a situation which my old mate Johnny Groves (hello, if you still read this!), who couldn’t believe I didn’t own anything by them, rectified by furnishing me with a cassette of “All the Stuff (And More) Volume One”:

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Ramones – Surfin’ Bird

More soon.

The Chain #30

This week seems to have flown by; Wednesday evening and I find myself woefully unprepared for this week’s edition of The Chain. I blame Teenage Fanclub for being so bloody good last night, and for taking up one of my evenings usually spent getting this ready.

Also, my efforts to track down one of your suggestions led me to download the entire album as a single mp4, then edit it down to the one song I needed, then convert it to an mp3. I’ll not say which one, I’ll wait and see whether my new found tech skills are detected!

In short, this may be a little briefer than usual. Sorry.

So, last week, after being inundated with suggestions which linked to The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek” which involved songs which mentioned creeks, various other bodies of water, and…erm…cripples, I rather thought that I might have it easy this week when the next track in The Official Chain turned out to be Neil Young’s “Cripple Creek Ferry”.

No such luck.

So let’s crack on, shall we? And where better to start that with babylotti:

“I don’t care how obvious it is, I’m getting Saint Etienne’s version of ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ in first!”

There are plenty of mixes of this to choose from; my own personal favourite is Andrew Weatherall’s “A Mix in Two Halves”, but tonight, Matthew, I’m plumping for the better known version from Saint Etienne’s classic “Foxbase Alpha”:

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Saint Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart

He’s not done there, though, nosireebob:

“Also, Elkie Brooks had a hit in 1978 with the aforementioned song, from the same album came the one single I remember her for:”

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Elkie Brooks – Pearl’s a Singer

And he’s still not done:

“And I now also have to link to ‘Pearl’s Girl’ from Underworld.”

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Underworld – Pearl’s Girl

“Elkie Brooks did a lot of good songs in the early 70’s,” chips in Kuttowski of A Few Good Times in my Life. “She was formerly the singer together with Robert Palmer in Vinegar Joe. I well remember them with their ‘Proud To Be A Honky Woman’.”

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Vinegar Joe – Proud To Be (A Honky Woman)

Well, having allowed “Pearl’s Girl” it’d be pretty churlish of me to refuse to post that, wouldn’t it?

That’s a pretty rollicking start to this week’s usual eclectic mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Time for a seamless link, I think.

Here’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“Cripple Creek was also the name of a Western made in 1952 directed by Ray Nazarro and if we are talking Westerns then there is only one place to go and that is with “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” or possibly from the soundtrack of the same name “The Ecstasy of Gold” which brings it back to the Gold thing”

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Ennio Morricone – The Ecstasy of Gold

“Gold thing? What gold thing?”, I hear you ask. That’s the problem with me jiggling the running order in a vain attempt to build some sort of narrative to appease you all; sometimes the links may be seamless but sometimes there’s a mention of a link that I haven’t covered yet. I’ll let Badger clarify:

“Cripple Creek is a town in Colorado and used to be very big in gold mining. This instantly allows a link to “Gold Mine Gutted” by Bright Eyes, that they are also signed to Saddle Creek, means you get a double link, all I need is a ferry and you have the whole shebang.”

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Bright Eyes – Gold Mine Gutted

Badger wasn’t the only person to mention the gold link. Step forward and take a bow Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“’Cripple Creek Ferry’ is from the album ‘After The Gold Rush’. One of the most (in)famous gold rushes was the California gold rush which started in 1848 but exploded in 1849, and whose prospectors were thus dubbed ’49ers’, which naturally leads to the Italo-house outfit 49ers and their classic hit “Touch Me”.

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49ers – Touch Me (12″ Sexual Mix)

NB – there is very little that is “sexual” about that mix.

Which leads me on to the first of my suggestions this week. 49ers are mentioned in the American folk song, so beloved of Huckleberry Hound, “Oh My Darling Clementine” which leads me on to this little lot:

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My Darling Clementine – She Is Still My Weakness

…which in turn very nearly led me on to “My Weakness is None of Your Business” by Embrace, but you’ll be pleased to learn I showed some self-constraint.

Anyway, back to Badger:

“Or if you want contenders for the worst suggestion ‘Going For Gold’ by Shed Seven.”

I have a bit of a soft spot for Shed Seven, as it goes. They always seemed to be trying quite hard to make records which exceeded their limited capabilities. That said, ‘Going for Gold’ is not one of their finer moments. It’s also not even close to being the worst suggestion of the week, I’m afraid.

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Shed Seven – Going For Gold

Now then. Awful records. I appear to have created a monster here. For this week you were all tripping over yourselves to suggest them.

“I’m going to win the prize for Worst Record On The Chain this week” says George.

Go on then. Do your worst.

“Neil Young was also the name of a Manchester City forward of the 1960s. And one of his team-mates was Colin Bell. And Colin Bell’s birthday is February 26th. As is Michael Bolton’s. And amongst Mr Bolton’s songs is a cover of ‘Yesterday’, which is so bad I’m not sure you should post it. Mr Bolton also covered ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ which is catastrophically poor as well. All of which is quite a shame because he seems like a genuinely nice and amusing bloke. By the way, for the sake of your well-being never play his cover of ‘So Tired Of Being Alone’. It’s really shit.”

What you seem to have done there is name three records which you don’t want me to play. You lot are lucky enough to be able to choose whether or not to click play, but me? I’ve had to listen to all of them to decide which one to post, so I’m tempted to post all three, but I’m not that cruel. So here’s the first one you mentioned:

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Michael Bolton – Yesterday

Think that’s the worst record of the week? Think again.

Getting my hopes up for something…well…a bit less shit, or failing that, somebody with a credible haircut at least, by starting his first suggestion with the word “Heh” before launching into a bit of Greek mythology, here’s Rol of My Top Ten:

“Heh.

Charon is the Ferryman in Greek mythology. He carries your soul on his boat down the river…

Yes…

Styx.

“It’s you, babe, whenever I get weary or I’ve had enough… feel like giving up, you know it’s YOUUU, babe…”

Etc.”

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Styx – Babe

Will you just take a look at some of those barnets? Yes, it was 1980, but that’s no excuse. Anyway, what are the odds of them having turned up here, as well as being the models in the display pictures that first caught the eye of Michael Bolton in the window of his local barber’s shop?

“Alternatively,” Rol continues, “if you want something a little bit cooler…

Half Man Half Biscuit – Styx Gig (Seen By My Mates Coming Out Of A)

There.

Cred restored.

Just.

(Not that I care about such things.)”

Shan’t post it, then.

Yeh, right. Like I’m ever going to pass up the opportunity to post something by Half Man Half Biscuit:

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Half Man Half Biscuit – Styx Gig (Seen By My Mates Coming Out of A)

Also intent on restoring his reputation after his earlier Michael Bolton aberration, is George, although when George has a theme, he sure as heck sticks with it:

“To make up for that, you can have some Fats Domino (The Fat Man I suggest) as Mr Domino shares his birthday with Colin Bell.”

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Fats Domino – The Fat Man

And why stop there, when you’re on a hat-trick?:

“And a Johnny Cash track, as he too shares the same birthday as Colin Bell, what about Personal Jesus?”

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Johnny Cash – Personal Jesus

Now Rol’s and George’s reputations are restored, let’s see if Charity Chic of Charity Chic Music fame fancies ruining his:

“Neil Young is from Canada and has never won Opportunity Knocks. Neil Reid from Glasgow has, with the truly awful ‘Mother of Mine'”

Brace yourselves, folks.

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Neil Reid – Mother of Mine

This, and a subsequent comment by Alyson, led me to do a little digging to see what nuggets I could find out about him. Here’s some factoids, one of which I might need to double-check:

  1. As Alyson quite rightly points out, he is now a financial advisor, in Blackpool
  2. Reid’s self-titled album went to number one in 1972, making him the youngest person to reach the pinnacle of the UK Album Charts, at the age of 12 years 9 months
  3. Said album is one of the very few Number 1 selling albums which has never had an official CD release. I think we all know why that is.
  4. In 2008, he was interviewed by Amanda Holden for ITV’s ‘When Britain First Had Talent’, which pretty much serves him right
  5. In between the end of his solo career and starting his life in the giddy world of finance, he was the third Reid brother in The Jesus & Mary Chain

Please, God, someone suggest something decent.

Rigid Digit, what have you got for us this week?

“Neil Young – intrinsically linked with Crazy Horse (although they’re only on a couple of tracks on After The Goldrush).

 Therefore – Crazy Horse => Crazy Horses (aka The Osmonds “go” Heavy Rock)”

Some of you may not think posting something by The Osmonds is necessarily an improvement, but I beg to differ: when you compare it to the majority of the rest of their turgid output you realise what a surprisingly bloody great record “Crazy Horses”:

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The Osmonds – Crazy Horses

“Crazy Horses” was, as Rigid Digit continues: “later covered by Tank (featuring Algy Ward, previously of The Saints and The Damned)”

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Tank – Crazy Horses

Oh Rigid: you already had me at The Osmonds.

Crazy Horse though – some of you must have some suggestions in that area, surely?

Well, yes, as it goes. Here’s The Great Gog:

“Going for a double link here. Neil Young has made a number of records with Crazy Horse. Ian McNabb has also made a record with members of Crazy Horse. Ian McNabb has also recorded a song that mentions a river that has a famous ferry. That song is of course, “Merseybeast”. Sadly this was the title track of the album after the one he did with Crazy Horse, but perhaps that would have been too perfect a link.

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Ian McNabb – Merseybeast

Nor have there been enough songs to link to Neil Young himself, so here’s a couple of mine. Firstly, a pre-fame daughter of a former Blue Peter presenter, fronting a band who never had much critical acclaim or commercial success, I think mostly down to the wanky way they insisted on spelling their name:

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Theaudience – If You Can’t Do It When You’re Young When Can You Do It?

Time for another seamless link. One of the things you can do when you’re (Neil) Young, is rock up on stage and make an already majestic song just that little bit more majestic:

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R.E.M. (feat. Neil Young) – Country Feedback

We’ll be popping back to some more live stuff in a moment, but first, over to Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie? with a suggestion and a question which has sparked some great posts by some of our fellow Chain Gangers (go on, treat yourself and click on a few of the links to their blogs if you don’t already visit them regularly):

“From one Neil to another Neil – Diamond to be precise.

Now I have become aware over the weeks that there are people who are just not “cool” to like around these parts and as for Mr Bolton and his very unusual cropped-top/long at the back mullet haircut, I totally agree. Have still to work out where Neil D sits on the scale but personally I have always liked him, (most of) his songs, and his recent stuff. He did also have quite odd hair back in the day but hey, didn’t they all – oh and some very tight trousers.

Anyway Cripple Creek sounds as if it would have been quite a rocky place so if Mr Diamond had been there with the girl of his dreams there would have been “Love On The Rocks”.”

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Neil Diamond – Love on the Rocks

More Neil based fun now – and who can honestly put their hand on their heart and say they haven’t at some time or another had fun whilst Neil-ing? – from The Beard:

“From Neil Young to Neil from The Young Ones. He scored a number two hit in 1984 with his cover of Hole In My Shoe by Traffic.”

I’m assuming from the rest of your suggestion that you want the Neil version, rather than the Traffic jam, right? Excellent!

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Neil – Hole In My Shoe

“It was kept off the top spot”, the Beard continues, “by Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Two Tribes. The spectre of nuclear war was the theme of that track. The same topic also formed the basis of The Young Ones episode Bomb. Dexy’s Midnight Runners were the musical guests in the episode, playing Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile) which is not, sadly, about a darts player.”

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Dexys Midnight Runners –  Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven when You Smile)

By the way, does anyone else remember that as being released as Kevin Rowland & Dexys Midnight Runners, as opposed to just Dexys Midnight Runners…? Nope, me neither.

As promised, another live track now, courtesy of kuttowski:

“On ‘After The Goldrush’, Nils Lofgren, a 19 year old guitar player appeared on the scene. In his later career he played with Crazy Horse, Grin and Bruce Springsteen and I suggest his No Mercy.”

This is the version from his pithily-titled “Acoustic Live” album:

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Nils Lofgren – No Mercy

That’s enough Neil-ing, time for some Ferry-ing. Time for two from The Robster from Is This the Life:

“First up [Hey! That’s MY line! – Ed]– taking Neil YOUNG and Cripple Creek FERRY, Young’s Ferry was a historical ferry crossing of the Merced River, located in present day Merced County, California. One of Merced’s famous sons was ‘The King of the Western Swing’ Bob Wills who, along with His Texas Playboys, became one of the top chart acts of the 1930s and 40s. In 1945, they had a #1 country hit with a cover of Zeke Clements’ Smoke On The Water (definitely NOT the same song that Deep Purple recorded two and a half decades later.) This also links water/creek.”

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Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys – Smoke on the Water

“Alternatively, continuing the water theme and linking with the artist name, how about ‘Current Of The River’ by the Young Knives from 2008’s ‘Superabundance’?”

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It’s only after I posted that, that I remembered it’s the closing track on Superabundance, and comes complete with one of those pesky hidden tracks, which is also included in that link. Suffice it to say, this isn’t the one I edited.

Some more restoration of reputations now, as we welcome Charity Chic back:

“I would suggest the gorgeous Ferryman from the lovely Rachel Sermanni”

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Rachel Sermanni – Ferryman

Here’s Dirk from Sexyloser:

“I think I’ll go down the ferry-route, too. Problem is that I can’t really decide between Holly Johnson’s version of ‘Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey’, Ferry Boat Bill’s ‘Sally Goes Downtown’ (I should add that I only have this one on tape, not on vinyl/mp3, does that also count?) and Toy Dolls’ ‘You Won’t Be Merry On A North Sea Ferry’: I think I’ll go for the latter because it’s ace … and I’d like to hear it again!”

Well, that’s pretty lucky because, other than appearing on that single to raise money for the Hillsborough disaster fund back in 1989, I’m not sure Holly Johnson ever recorded a solo version of it, although of course there’s the version on Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” album (I’m open to correction on that, as always), and  I’ve not been able to locate the Ferry Boat Bill track anywhere, so…well…here you go:

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Toy Dolls – You Wont Be Merry on a North Sea Ferry

Over to SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“The Edmund Fitzgerald was a ferry that sank in Lake Superior in 1975 and was then made subject of a song by one Gordon Lightfoot, a Canadian folk singer.”

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Gordon Lightfoot – The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

If I may just interrupt for a moment there, before you suggest something we’re all going to regret: if we’re going to start posting songs about boats which sank when carrying large amounts of cargo (Five million hogs, six million dogs, and so on), then surely this has to get an honourable mention:

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The Pogues & The Dubliners – The Irish Rover

Sorry ’bout that, SWC. Do carry on, old chap:

“‘Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’ was however kept off Number one in the US of A by a certain Rod Stewart and ‘Tonight’s the Night’.”

Insert your own joke about Americans making terrible decisions here, if you like.

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Rod Stewart – Tonight’s The Night

I’d never noticed the vaguely “Je T’Aime…”-esque French lady vocal at the end of that before. Possibly because I’ve never listened to the bloody thing all the way through before.

Time for a fairly straight-forward link from Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area:

“‘The Ferryman (Zeebrugge)’ by Billy Childish and the Singing Loins is my fairly straight-forward link”.

See? Told you it was straight-forward:

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Billy Childish and the Singing Loins – The Ferry Man (Zeebrugge)

Over the past few weeks, you’ll have noticed I’ve tried to include a few video clips into proceedings, but not this week, for I knew that The Swede from Unthought of, Though, Somehow had posted one as part of his suggestion:

“Bugger – kuttowski beat me to it! [with the Nils Lofgren tune] So instead I’ll give a shout out to our local ferry, which crosses the River Yare at Reedham:

By pure coincidence, it’s a chain ferry! So ‘Back on the Chain Gang’ by The Pretenders is my suggestion.”

It’s a record that’s come up before, of course, but since it’s our theme tune here (and since your video clip has brought back memories of many happy family holidays on the Norfolk Broads), it seems a pretty perfect way to round things off this week:

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The Pretenders – Back on the Chain Gang

Which just leaves me to reveal the next record in The Official Chain, and the link that gets us there. And one of you will be kicking yourselves at how close you were:

“Another Neil Young of Manchester City scored the winning goal in the 1969 FA Cup Final. Oasis are well-known Man City fans, hence…”:

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30. Oasis – Live Forever

Bad luck, George.

So, your suggestions for songs (let’s face it, it’ll be plural, won’t it?) which you can link to “Live Forever” by Oasis, via the Comments section below, along with your usual brief descriptions as to what links the two, three, four, however many, records together, in plenty of time for next week’s post.

More soon.