The Chain #45

And so, the return of the series which more than any other, when a song I don’t recognise has popped up on my iPod when on shuffle has made me go “What the feck is this…?” (sometimes in a nice way, often not).

Yes, it’s the very long awaited (be modest, it says here – Ed) return of the greatest thing on the internet (oh, don’t bother then – Ed): The Chain. And hopefully The Chain Gang are all assembled, like slightly nerdy versions of The Avengers, except all hot, bothered, and ready to rock and maybe even ‘n’ roll a bit too.

For the unitiated, this is the series where I blatantly nick an idea off Radcliffe & Maconie on BBC 6Music, and ask for suggestions for songs linked to the next in a series of songs. But here’s the rub: free from the constraints of time and the length of a radio programme, instead of picking just one, I’ll post all of them, then ask for suggestions linked to the next in the official series. This way, we (ok, probably just me) gets a hell of a diverse playlist to while away our days, and a whole lot more fun than usual compiling it.

And did I mention there are points to be earned?

Well, yes there are. Totally meaningless points; you won’t be winning a prize or anything, but points nonetheless. And here’s how your suggestion can win them:

Correct Guess: 3 points (fairly self-explanatory, this one – guess the song which is the next in the official 6Music sequence and these could be yours)

Double Linker: 2 points (for a suggestion which works on two levels, and definitely not a sex toy)

Showboater of the Week: 2 points (for the most convaluted link between the source record and your choice)

Worst/Cheesiest Suggestion of the Week: 1 point (again, I would hope this category needs no further expansion).

Up until this reboot, points have been awarded and then discarded, but whilst the series has been laid off, I’ve gone through all the old posts and where I have specifically said that points were being awarded, I have totted them all up and will continue to do so. And if you don’t believe my accuracy, go ahead, check for yourself, my stats could do with a boost.

So we’ll start off by having a look at the league table as it stands

1:  George             17
2:  Swiss Adam         13
3:  Alyson             9
4=: Charity Chic       8
    The Robster        8
6=: The Swede          7
    SWC/Badger         7
8=: Dirk               6
    Rigid Digit        6
10= Alex G             5
    Martin             5
    The Great Gog      5
13= GM Free            3
    Jules              3
    Kay                3
    Rol                3
17  The Beard          2

And so George would appear to be the Liverpool FC of the group, romping into a twenty-two four point lead as he has, although it should be noted that at least one of the point-winning categories was invented as a result of a particularly breath-taking bit of bullshit linkage by him way back in the day.

So where were we? Oh yes – asking for your links to this record:

Pulp – Sorted For E’s & Wizz

Now I figured this was a really easy way to restart the series: just send me any song which has some sort of drug reference involved. Pop music, and music in general, is quite literally littered with them.

Look, here’s one, and it seems a particularly appropriate place to start:

E-Zee Possee – Everything Starts With an E

Or there’s this little beauty:

Soulwax – E Talking


And here’s another one (sort of):

Junior Jack – E Samba

Or even this:

The Fall – Whizz Bang

See? Easy this, innit?

I only mention this because I was somewhat underwhelmed by the amount of suggestions I received this time. I’m putting this down to two things: firstly, the amount of time it’s been since the last post in this series, and secondly, me moving the suggestions to email rather than via the Comments Section.

I think the latter is the biggie here, so screw it, we’ll go back to suggestions via the Comments at the end of the post again.

I had a bit of a moan about this to Kay at work the other day, as she hadn’t suggested anything – not behaviour fitting of someone equal 13th in the league table of dreams, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Her response was that she couldn’t think of anything other than the theme tune to Wizbit.

In case you’re confused, or one of those annoying young people, or both, Wizbit was a 1980s children’s TV show about a magic alien, shaped apparently like a wizard’s hat, but to these eyes as a fully unpeeled Dairylea triangle:

Wizbit Theme Tune

Yes, that is Paul Daniels you can hear in that, and that’s why Kay immediately earns herself a point for sort of suggesting by far and away the worst song of the week.

See, easy this, innit?

Although I figure a spoiler alert is needed at this point: nobody guessed the correct next record in the Official Chain, so there will be no points awarded there.

But let’s see what the rest of you have suggested and I think this time around, I’ll just take them in the order I received them.

First out of the blocks was The Robster:

“One song sprang immediately to mind. It’s not obscure, it’s not clever, it’s bleedin’ obvious really but a great track nonetheless:”

Queens of the Stone Age – Feel Good Hit of the Summer

That, right there, is your actual I-Spy book for party drugs. Have you ticked them all off yet? Well don’t (I am contractually obliged to say) because drugs are bad.

Next up is Charity Chic‘s suggestion:

I’ll break you in gently by going for Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes) by Carla Thomas”

Carla Thomas – Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes)

Eyes like saucers, mate, he’s off his nut.

And now things get tricky, for the next email I received was from Jules and it contained a YouTube link. This one:

…which I assume is meant to be an allegory for the Phoenix from the flames that is The Chain, or example of the worst porn on earth. Hard to tell with Jules, to be honest.

So whilst we dwell on that, here’s George, who any moment now will have the word POINTS! ringing in his ears:

“The last song was by Pulp, whose front man was Jarvis Cocker, which leads to Joe Cocker, so I suggest Delta Lady. In another connection, both men are from Sheffield.”

Joe Cocker – Delta Lady

POINTS for a double linker!

And now I’ll hand the reins over to the newest member of The Chain Gang, Pat, who gives me several thoroughly decent suggestions, although I’ll need to explain this first one a little.

The E in the title of the Pulp song refers to Ecstacy, a party/clubbing drug also referred to colloquially as “pills”, for that is the form in which they are swallowed (as opposed to smoked, injected or sniffed). Who needs Susie Dent, amIright Countdown fans?

Anyway, over to Pat:

“Linking to E’s……”:

The Imposter AKA Elvis Costello – Pills and Soap

If I might interupt for a moment, this seems as good an opportunity as any to wheel out an old catchphrase.


Well, if you’re having that, then I’m having this:

Green Velvet – La La Land

Right. As you were. Back to Pat. Pat? Pat?? Paaaaaaaat?

Ahem. Anyway. Next up on Pat’s playlist is this, which he justifies thusly: “…linking to drugs in general….”

David Peel & The Lower East Side – Everybody’s Smoking Marijuana

I’m glad you made that distinction, because the drug referenced in that song is more likely to make you visit an all night garage to buy a Twix or a pastry product at 4:00 am than it is to lead to illicit dancing…

And, since I’ve mentioned all night garages:

Half Man Half Biscuit – Twenty Four Hour Garage People

(I plumped for that version just so we could all all hear Peel’s slightly befuddled voice at the end, which momentarily makes my day brighter whenever it happens.)

And that, inevitably, leads me here:

Happy Mondays – Twenty Four Hour Party People

But I digress. Back to Pat’s suggestions, and I promise not to stick my hoofing great oar in this time.

“”…“from a [Creation] compilation ‘Sorted, Snorted & Sported’ link to the word sorted and a great version of the New Order song”!:

And finally from the font of Pat, this, which he justifies as follows:

“…linked to a night out that doesn’t quite work out as planned….”

…which doesn’t sound like any night I ever had on E’s or Whizz, but you can’t choose your friends, can you? (Or is that what they say about family….I forget….)

Leyton Buzzards – Saturday Night Beneath The Plastic Palm Trees

Now, have you ever found yourself wondering whether your favourite bloggers prefer their orange juice smooth or with the bits, as I believe it’s technically referred to on most packaging, left in? Well, wonder no longer, for here’s Alyson from What’s It All About to answer that nagging doubt for you:

“There is Pulp in Orange Juice (and I usually prefer mine with it left in). Will therefore go for the band Orange Juice and the obvious song, Rip It Up.”

Orange Juice – Rip It Up

Over to Rol of My Top Ten fame next, who, seemingly under the misapprehension that I’d be writing this up quickly, wrote this:

“Up against the clock this weekend, so going with the first remotely decent song I could think of and not going to stretch the grey matter too much.”

Bran Van 3000 – Speed

I invited Rol, as I think I did to all who submitted suggestions, to feel free to send more, and sure as eggs is eggs, he came back with the following:

“…whizz is an example of onomatopoeia…”

Whoa, there tiger! A clarification is required here: although not in the context we are talking about whizz – I’ve never known a drug to make any kind of noise, onomatopoeiac or otherwise, although I’ve made a fair few odd ones when ingesting the same – think Billy Whizz from The Beano and you get where Rol is coming from.

“…so you could have the song with that name by either John Prine…”

John Prine – Onomatopeia

“…or Todd Rundgren”, he climaxed.

Todd Rundgren – Onomatopoeia

Over now to The Great Gog, who frankly had me flummoxed by the very matey tone of his email, which came from someone called Dave. A quick explanation later and needless to say we all saw the funny side, and he came up with not one but two suggestions.

Floor’s yours The Great Gog/Dave:

“I’ve always been intrigued by the line: ‘Mother, I can never come home again ‘cause I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere in a field in Hampshire’.

Basically, why Hampshire? I can’t think of any other song that mentions it by name, although two of its cities have been the subject of Top 5 hits.’

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why The Chain exists: not so you can propose songs you like by some contrived link you’ve struggled to come up with (although, that’s fine if you do, hence the Showboating award), but to suggest songs which link to the source material, regardless of whether they’re any good or not.

The New Vaudeville Band – Winchester Cathedral

Mike Oldfield – Portsmouth

I’m having awful flashbacks to “Country Dancing” lessons at Junior School because of that last one.

Oh hang on, it gets worse: post-school, voluntary, “Country Dancing” lessons.

My, how I’ve changed.

Quick, before anyone notices, I’ll hand the reins over to Rigid Digit of Stuff & Nonsense infamy:

“The obvious choice here is…”

It’s obvious, it’s not their finest moment, but it’s still great:

But … I don’t do obvious…”, Rigid contines, “so my suggestion is…:

Tony Christie – I Did What I Did For Maria

Why’s that, Mr Digit?

“Why? Pulp front-bloke Jarvis Cocker co-wrote Walk Like A Panther for All Seeing I. Jarvis has said that the song was written specifically for Tony Christie to sing, and he was instrumental in getting Christie on-board – even flying out to Spain to meet him and convince him.”

Oh go on, then. Don’t mind if I do. (I’m trying out new catchphrases):

The All Seeing I – Walk Like a Panther

Now, you’ll recall that we left Jules from Music From Magazines hanging with an odd Dallas clip. Shortly after receiving that, Jules sent me an actual suggestion, which…well, since it wasn’t by Lambchop, as Jules’ suggestions usually are, let’s just say it took some deciphering.

But we got there in the end, despite Jules’ insistance not to bother, and here we go:

The Clash – The Right Profile

…which is included because of the lyric: “Go out and get me another roll of pills.” I think.

Sorry George, we almost made it.

And finally, as they used to say on The Two Ronnies, one last contribution from The Great Gog, who is still wittering on about Hampshire:

“The rather marvellous British Sea Power popped up on random play and the song referenced a field in a county adjacent to Hampshire – I’m guessing it is potentially unique. Said county was Wiltshire and the track was….”

British Sea Power – It Ended On An Oily Stage

Which seems far too classy a way to bow out, so let’s end as we began, if for no other reason than it will look like I know what I’m doing, with a supplementary conversation with Kay.

“What about ‘Magic E’?” she said, which isn’t exactly the kind of proposition one expects from their boss.

Turns out she was talking about this, of which I have no memory whatsoever:

Magic E (Look & Read)

Wait a minute. I recognise that voice. That’s your actual 70s/80s TV kids presenter/legend Derek Griffiths, isn’t it?

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

A popular song was “Magic E”, originally written in the mid-70s for Words and Pictures to demonstrate the silent E and the change in pronunciation of preceding vowels — for example: “cap” becomes “cape” with me, “tap” becomes “tape” with me. The song’s simple lyrics about changing the words with “magic E” were memorable and simple to learn.

And then:

“…most of the songs were sung by Derek Griffiths.”

Which means I can end on a note much more befitting of the nonsense that goes on here:

Cole & Griffiths – Heads & Tails

And that’s yer lot.

Except, of course, to reveal the identity of the next record in the official Chain, chosen because Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker once caused a bit of a fuss at the Brit Awards. So did frontman Danbert Nobacon.

Who’s Danbert Nobacon, I hear you ask.

Well, he’s in this band, and this is the next song in The Chain:

Chumbawamba – Tubthumping

So, you’re suggestions please for songs which link to Tubthumping by Chumbawamba, along with a brief explanation of the link, either by email to or via the Comments section at the bottom, whichever you prefer.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I’ll be brief this morning (you’ll see why later): here’s a rather lovely cover of Kris Kristofferson’s Help Me Make It Through the Night, only with the lyrics changed ever so slightly so that it’s from the lucky lady’s perspective:

Sammi Smith – Help Me Make It Through The Night

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Two sudden, shocking deaths in the last week.

Firstly, Caroline Flack. I’ve never watched Love Island, which she hosted (so I’m told), but I was aware of her. I knew she was a TV presenter, I always thought she seemed like a good laugh when I saw her on the box, I was vaguely aware that the red tops thought it controversial that she was dating a man several year her junior a few years ago. Had the roles been reversed, doubtless the man would have been treated like a legend. The manner of her death was a shock, the scramble to point fingers in different directions to appoint the blame no surprise though.

And then the news of Andrew Weatherall’s sudden passing, brought into sharp focus to me because he died due to a pulmonary embolsim – the very thing I was admitted to hospital for, back in 2018. I survived, he didn’t and, without wishing to sound overly dramatic or morose, I can’t help but think that the world would be a lot less poorer off had it been the other way round.

I met him once. I say “met”, what I actually mean is ‘was in the proximity of’. I was at London’s Liverpool Street station, and suddenly there he was, walking towards me through the crowds.

I say “towards me”, what I actually mean is ‘coincidentally in the direction of where I was standing’. I stood there, mouth open, partly at being this close to a genuine music legend, but also in shock that absolutely nobody else seemed to have recognised him.

He noticed me though, stood there staring at him with my mouth wide open, and as he passed he gave me a nod, safe in the knowledge that I was too dumbstruck to be able to respond/bother him.

Anyway, where do you start when you want to summarise the body of work that Weatherall created? Well, in my case, you don’t even try – you simply doff your cap at the genius of the man, and then point you in the direction of someone who can articulate the loss better than anyone I know.

For as long as I’ve followed music blogs, and certainly for a lot longer than I’ve actually written one, my go-to place for all things Weatherall was Swiss Adam’s place Bagging Area. There’s no finer place to discover the mind-boggling breadth of Weatherall’s musical creativity. Go see.

And in the meantime, this slice of bass-heavy beauty, a mix which still, after all these years stops me in my tracks, awestruck, everytime I hear it:

Saint Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart (A Mix Of Two Halves By Andrew Weatherall)

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

I’ve mentioned before somewhere that I think Lawrence – he of Felt, Denim, and most recently, Go-Kart Mozart…er… ‘fame’ doesn’t quite seem to be the right word, but we’ll go with it – is one of the most over-looked British songwriters of the last 40 years.

I first stumbled across him in the 1980s, during his Felt years, via a Creation Compilation album called Purveyors of Taste; a few years later, there were Felt again popping up on the seminal Doing It For The Kids compilation album.

The problem was – and I suspect this may be one of the reasons Lawrence isn’t better known than he is – Felt’s records seemed almost impossible to track down, to me anyway. The only place I ever seemed to encounter them was on one of these Creation label compilation records.

Then one day I happened to be in Haverfordwest, west Wales, and found myself in a shop selling musical instruments. On the counter, though, a small selection of second-hand CDs, and there amongst them was another compilation album on the Creation label, but this time featuring nothing but Felt, entitled Bubblegum Perfume, which pretty much sums up their sound.

I snaffled it up, of course.

This brief bit of brilliance is the opening track:

Felt – I Will Die With My Head In Flames

Superb. That is all.

More soon.

I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays

Last time I posted something by today’s group in this series, I dove (dived? daved?) for cover, expecting a barrage of mockery to come my way for posting such a hoary old rock band.

I should have known better, for what I actually got was a fair few people telling me how much they love this band, and a couple of others pointing out that I should have posted the version from their 1972 live album Made in Japan.

I speak, of course, of Deep Purple.

So, I figured I’d take the advice, and go for the final track on the double vinyl album.

There’s another reason: my mate Ferg has mentioned posting some Deep Purple a couple of times to me, and I’m not entirely sure if he’s winding me up or not. (He’s more of a deep house than a Deep Purple kinda guy). So I figured a song which does more than just wander into prog rock territory, and which is so long (19:54) as to allow time for me to get up, showered, have breakfast and get to work should test his mettle somewhat.

Either way, this will certainly wake y’all up:

Deep Purple – Space Truckin’ (Live)

Rock Head Bang GIF - Rock HeadBang RockAndRoll GIFs

I love the audience reaction to this: firstly, when they start applauding at the false finish, and scondly, the utter silence when the song actually finishes, like they’re all sitting there with their arms crossed, thinking: “Oh, you’re done now are you?”

More soon.

Never Buy The Sun

Not content with merely propping up the most dangerously stupid Government in history, and having already hounded one woman out of the country this year, we learn today that a female celebrity has committed suicide following constant targeting from the red tops.

Billy knows what and what not to do:

Billy Bragg – Never Buy The Sun

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Often Country records are – wrongly, negatively, in my opinion – associated with sadness, failed relationships, mournful drinking, death, murder and acts of vengeance.

Don’t get me wrong, there is quite a lot of that kind of stuff within the genre, but the more upbeat toe-tappers often get over-looked.

So I was delighted to get me a copy of Strut My Stuff: Obscure Country & Hillbilly Boppers, a compilation record stuffed with…well, if you can’t work it out from that title, I think you may have some issues.

Here’s one of the tracks from said album; it also fits pretty well with my ongoing quest to feature Country songs with brilliant titles:

Chuck Ray – I May Not Be Able But I’m Willin’ to Try

Needless to say, we’ll be returning to this album sooner rather than later.

More soon.

50 Ways To Prove I’m Rubbish #26

Whilst usually in this series – which I hadn’t forgotten about, honest! – I feature songs which I didn’t like, ignored or was dismissive of when I first heard them, today’s entry is included for a slightly different reason.

For despite being exactly the sort of band I would love, somehow Rilo Kiley – for it is them that I speak of – completely flew under my radar for several years.

In fact, I even bought Rabbit Fur Coat, the band’s main woman Jenny Lewis’ 2006 album with The Watson Twins, long before I was in any way conscious of Rilo Kiley’s existence.

And then, three or four years ago, today’s tune came on BBC 6Music, and my ears pricked up, partly because I recognised the voice but couldn’t place it, mostly because it’s such a great record.

When the DJ gave the band name after the record finished, and mentioned Lewis too, I couldn’t understand how this record wasn’t already in my life.

Shortly afterwards, I’d picked up their 2004 album More Adventurous, where this little beauty lives:

Rilo Kiley – Portions for Foxes

More soon.