Sunday Morning Coming Down (Be Llŷrious edition)

Of course, there was one person who I would give anything to have been celebrating my birthday with me this weekend: my recently passed best friend, Llŷr.

And today he is especially prominent in my thoughts because it was exactly one year ago today that I last saw him.

Discharged from hospital for the final time, he was back at his parents’ home, under their care, with a district nurse or two popping in to help where they could. Palliative care, they call it.

Me and three of the chaps that I spent my birthday weekend with drove down to Wales to visit him. All laddish jokes and cameraderie on the way down, I’m not sure any one of us said a single word for a good hour in the car on the way home.

As we left, I hugged him, told him I’d be back soon. I don’t think any of us thought that would be the last time we would see him, least of all me: but finding myself hospitalised a few weeks later with my own health issues, that was the end of the line for me.

A few years earlier, after he’d been discharged from hospital for the second or third time, he told me he had bought me a present, as a thank you for ensuring he’d got to hospital at all. Of course, I told him he shouldn’t have. Of course, he told me to take it. Of course, I didn’t argue.

That present was the Johnny Cash boxset Unearthed, a collection of out-takes and highlights from the recording sessions which led to his phenomenal American Recordings series.

It’s one of my most cherished possessions. More so now than when he gave it to me.

Llŷr was a massive fan of Neil Young (Llŷr was a massive fan of a lot of things), so it seems appropriate that I post this track today.

In memory.

Johnny Cash – Heart of Gold

More soon.

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Friday Freedom Song

It’s Friday.

It’s pay day.

I’ve got the day off work and am heading off to spend my 50th Birthday weekend with (many of) my bestest friends.

Time for something utterly predictable:

The Cure – Friday I’m in Love

More soon.

50 Not Out

You can insert your own joke about that being a better score than most of the England Cricket Team managed over the summer here, if you like, but I’m not going there.

No.

For when I was a young man at college, so monumental was my nicotine and Snakebite consumption, a fellow student bet me that I would be dead by the age of 30.

Well, open up your wallet Paul, wherever you are, and cough up some dosh, for I’ve only gone and smashed that. For today I reach the grand old age of 50.

And what am I doing to mark this momentous occasion? Well, celebrations began last Saturday when my old mate Richie and I went to a gig together – more of this later.

Tomorrow, I’ll be heading off to Destination Unknown to a holiday home booked by some of my chums for a long weekend of…well, drinking, probably. I know nothing about what lies in store for me – I only had the town revealed to me last weekend – but I have received some texts making subtle enquiries such as “What’s your favourite type of crisp?”, and “If you could only drink one kind of cider, what would it be?” and, perhaps most worryingly, “In your opinion, what are the best Status Quo/Chas’n’Dave songs to sing-a-long to?”

I know I’ve made that sound like I’m not looking forward to it, but I really am. I don’t get to see my bunch of buddies anywhere near as often as I like, and I know they’ll be pulling out all the stops to make sure the weekend goes with a bang.

As for the big day itself, well, I’ll be going to work and trying to cover up as many of the corners I’ve cut recently and hope that nobody notices or complains before I’m back in work next week.

I’m writing this on Thursday night, but I’m pretty sure that my transition from late-40s to early-50s will go pretty much like this:

Heck, that’s how I feel most Monday mornings.

I’m sure you don’t need telling that clip is from 1981’s still-brilliant-after-all-these-years An American Werewolf in London. I mean, even if you’ve never seen the film you could probably work it out because it’s written right there for you.

But don’t trust your eyes too much, because it also claims that the legendary first transformation scene is soundtracked by Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising, which it isn’t.

Regular readers will know that particular song has a special meaning for me, because that was the record that UK Pop Picers put at No 1 in the Hit Parade on the day I was born, 50 years ago today. And they will know this, because I’ve posted it pretty much every year on this day since I started writing this blog.

Still, managed to pad it out a bit this time, eh?

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising

By the way, I’ve never really decided whether I should consider it ironic or prophetic that was the best selling single in the UK on the day I made my first appearance. Perhaps it’s not for me to comment.

Anyway, as I’ll be away this weekend, there probably won’t be much in the way of activity on here until I get home, unless I manage to get my shizz together and write some things in advance. Don’t hold your breath though.

There will be more, soon, however.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Following on from last week’s Flying Burrito Brothers post, I fancied posting something by The Byrds this week.

One particular song, in fact.

But sadly, The Byrds original version isn’t a particularly Country version, and I know how it irks some folks if I dare to post a non-Country record here on a Sunday morning.

So instead, from his 1978 album Sleeper Wherever I Fall album, is a man with a name like a disgraced police officer:

Bobby Bare – I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better

It may not be as great as the original, but it is unquestionably a Country record. Look, he’s even wearing a cowboy hat on the sleeve.

Or, maybe Juice Newton (whose name sounds like an instruction to squeeze Isaac until his pips pop) who covered it on her 1985 album Old Flames tickles your fancy this morning:

Juice Newton – Feel a Whole Lot Better

Which means that I can also justifiably post this, for the sake of comparison:

The Byrds – I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better

I’ll save Dinosaur Jr.’s version for another day.

Right, now I can go back to bed, a slightly happier man.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

For my money, the bulk of great records the Manic Street Preachers have made come from the Richie Edwards years, and then for an album or three afterwards.

Like this one, the opening track from 1998’s This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours. OK, it’s not as great as Motorcycle Emptiness – very little is -but it’s not half bad:

Manic Street Preachers – The Everlasting

More soon.

I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays

Another album I picked up recently, was a compilation of tunes from which samples had been ripped to make…um..other tunes.

Entitled Sample This! The Foundation of Modern Classics it’s packed with great tracks, about half of which I’d never heard of before.

Including this morning’s tune, which put such a dumb smile on my face when I heard it, I figured it was just right for this series.

Apparently, so the sleeve notes tell me, this features in M/A/R/R/S’ ground-breaking sample-a-thon Pump Up The Volume, but I can’t say I’ve ever noticed it before. I’ll have to dig out my copy and give my memory a refresh.

George Kranz – Din Daa Daa

Sing a long everybody – and just in case you don’t know the words, here they are, in all their glory:

Bah! Bah! Bah! Bah!
Bah! zoom zoom
Bah! zoom zoom
Bah! zoom zoom
Bah! zoom zoom
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Doe Doe Doe
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Doe Doe
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Doe Doe Doe
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Doe Doe
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Doe Doe Doe
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Doe Doe
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Doe Doe Doe
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Bo Dum Dum Day Doe
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Doe Doe Doe
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Doe Doe
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Doe Doe Doe
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Bo Dum Dum Day Doe
On Stoe, On Stoe
On On On On On, Stoe

Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe
Bah! Bump Bump Bump Bump Bay Doe

Din Daa Daa, Doe Doe Doe
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Doe Doe
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Doe Doe Doe
(Bah!) Din Daa Daa, Doe Doe

Din Daa Daa, D’Doom Da Doom
Doom Doom Doom Doom Doom Blah!

Doom Da Doom, Doom Da Doom
D’Doom D’Doom, Doom Doom

Rrratatatatatatata
Rrratatatatdadadadoom

Doom Doom Doom Doom Doom Doom Blah!
Doom Doo Doo Blash!

Pee Da Puppa, Pee Da Puppa
Pee Da Puppa, Pee Da Puppa
Pee Da Puppa, Pee Da Puppa
Pee Da Puppa, Pee Da Puppa
Pee Da Puppa, Pee Da Puppa
Pee Da Puppa, Pee Da Puppa

Din Doan Doan
Din Doan Doan

Bot Da Down, D’ Doom
Do Doom, Do Doom
Di Doom, Do Doom
Do Doom, Do Doom

Doom Da Doom Da Doom Doom Da Da Doom

Ratatatatatatata tah!

Doom Doom Doom Blah!
Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!

Butta! Butta! Butta! Butta!
Butta! Butta! Butta! Butta!

Bound Da Bound Bound
Da Doom Doom Blah!
Blah Blah Blah Blah
Dat Down Do Do Blah

Posh! Posh! Posh! Posh! Posh! Posh!
Posh! Posh! Posh! Posh! Posh! Posh!
Sh Ah!
Bah!

They really don’t write ’em like that anymore, do they?

More soon.

N.E.W. R.E.M.

Okay, not technically new, but definitely previously unreleased.

With all proceeds going to directly to the Mercy Corps’ emergency response efforts in the Bahamas following the battering that the north-west islands endured at the hands of Hurricane Dorian, which caused widespread destruction and left 76,000 people homeless, Fascinating is available to stream for free on the band’s Bandcamp page, or you can purchase it for a minimum of $2.00 (at the time of writing that’s £1.60).

The song first appeared on the original master of 2001’s Reveal but was cut at the last minute (amazingly Chorus & The Ring kept its place), and was re-recorded for 2004’s Around The Sun album, but it was deemed not to fit there either. Many will know that Around The Sun is generally considered to be their worst record, so you can maybe find some hope in that.

And Fascinating is really lovely, and would have provided a much-needed boost to either of those albums.

You should give it a listen (and preferably buy it too):

R.E.M. – Fascinating

More soon.