Tuesday Short Song

Time for some class around these parts.

Yes, I know. Finally.

I don’t think this needs any further introduction, other than to say it is, of course, by a living (at time of writing) legend, and utterly wonderful:

Bernard Cribbins – The Hole in the Ground

Happy? Good.

More soon.

I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays

And so back we go again, attempting to put a spring in your step of a Monday morning, by playing either an utter classic, or something loud, or something dumb, or something uplifting, or all of the above, to get your week going.

I’m about to embark on my first full week of working from home, and I have to say that so far, I really like it. For a start, I can listen to the radio as I work, and of course my radio station of choice is BBC 6Music. I’m loving being able to listen to all the shows I usually miss during the week, hearing a lot of new tunes which I already love (more of these later), and managing to catch a lot more of Lauren Laverne’s Breakfast Show, which is just brilliant. She’s cruising effortlessly towards National Treasure status, which isn’t something I ever thought I’d say about a former member of Kenickie.

What’s particularly wonderful about her show – and others, but hers in particular – is the way she manages to make the listener feel part of a community, like they have been welcomed into the bosom of her family.

This is all a bit redundant, of course, for if you’re sensible, you’re listening to her show instead of reading this.

But I mention all of this because I can’t take the credit for thinking of today’s song; I’d previously shied away from posting it because of it’s “Why don’t you get back into bed?” motif, which seems a little at odds with the intention of this series, but she played it on Friday (I think) and it was quite the tonic. Also, without question, it’s my favourite song by the geezer(s) in question:

Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part 3)

Altogether now: Wee Willie Harris!

More soon. Stay safe.

Cancelled #2

Amongst the flurry of emails I’ve received this week, from different companies I have some sort of link to, assuring me that it would be as close to business as normal as they could manage while the current crisis continues (which just smelled a bit too much of when you get an email telling you that ‘tickets are selling well’ for an event you expressed an interest in, or that ‘There’s only a few tickets left- don’t miss out’) I received another one telling me that a gig I was due to go to was to be rescheduled.

Please don’t get me wrong: rescheduling gigs is absolutely the right thing to do.

But still: a bit annoying.

This time, the gig in question was Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and hot on the heels of The Jesus & Mary Chain last week, I began to wonder if I should maybe think about going to see acts who don’t dress predominantly in black.

Never mind. It gives me the opportunity to post this absolutely piece of beautiful bleak doom-adoration, which may be a new genre I’ve just created especially for Mr Cave:

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – The Ship Song

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

This morning, we’re going back to one of those titles which could only appear in a Country record, which means I don’t have to bother writing much about it.

See? That’s it. No really, that’s all I’m doing.

I mean, check out this guy’s suit and hat combo. I don’t need to say anymore:

David Frizzell – I’m Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

I don’t know how it managed to not cross my radar, but I had no idea about the Clap for the NHS thing that happened at 20:00 on Thursday.

Which makes me feel bad for not joining in, obviously, especially given my own, well-documented on these pages, previous health issues.

At said time on Thursday, I was doing some actual work, just for something to do more than anything (anything to avoid writing the next bit of The Chain), when I heard the folks in the flat downstairs suddenly become quite loud and clappy in the hallway below me.

Oblivious and cantankerous sod that I am, I muttered something under my breath about them being noisy feckers, and since it sounded like there was more than one person, something else about them not following the social distancing rules.

And then a mate mentioned it on the WhatsApp chat group I’m in with my London buddies, so I looked it up and immediately felt bad, partly for my cursing, mostly because I’d missed it.

So to Twitter I went, where people were posting clips of their locality, and I have to say I was quite moved.

See, London, grubby London, where everybody (apparently) avoids eye contact, where nobody speaks to their neighbour, is not a place renowned for this sort of thing, so to see the footage, the whooping, cheering and clapping in support of our friends in the NHS who are, frankly, risking their lives to help us, was quite amazing and inspiring.

And this song, from one of my favourite albums ever and which I can’t believe that I haven’t wanged on about already, came to mind:

World Party – It Can Be Beautiful (Sometimes)

One thing though, and I hate to politicise this, but: if you voted the present Goverment in, who for the past ten years have systematically attacked, belittled, dismantled and sold off the NHS, and you stood out there clapping on Thursday, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself.

More soon.

How To Do A Cover Version (Be Llŷrious Edition)

No apologies to those that are bored of me mentioning him, but we’re fast approaching what would have been Llŷr’s birthday, and so today a moment of synchronicity.

I’ve written before, here, just after he passed, that I wouldn’t be writing this blog were it not for my best buddy reigniting in me a love of music.

One day, I visited Fopp in Cardiff – unless it has reopened since I left, it’s no longer there – and had come away with a double CD compilation album called Guilty Pleasures Rides Again.

And when I got home, I found that Llŷr had visited the same shop and bought the same CD; we listened to both discs and by the end we had disagreed with about 90% of the songs being described as “guilty pleasures”.

“What’s wrong with this?” one or the other of us would say, cocking a thumb in the direction of the CD player.

This morning’s record falls squarely into our agreed category of “Why Would You Be Embarrased To Like This?”, because it’s ace, and I won’t have a word said against it, and neither would he (nor, it later transpired, would his older sister, Hel):

Clout – Substitute

It wasn’t until much later that I found out it’s a cover version, but it’s one that fits my theory which is this: that, irrespective of how great the original may be (and on this occasion, it’s plodding and dull by comparison), you like the one you heard first, the one you’re more familiar with.

The Righteous Brothers – Substitute

S’not a patch, is it?

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

A fleeting reference to Kurt Cobain on Saturday, and here we are on Tuesday, listening to a song by a band he loved, and covered.

I wish I could pretend I was cool and had loved them for years, but truth be told I bought The Way of the Vaselines: A Complete History after being nudged in their direction by Cobain, but that doesn’t stop me from giving you the original artwork to the single. (I’ve no idea where said CD is now, I guess I must have lent it to somebody and not got it back.)

Anyway, here you go:

The Vaselines – Molly’s Lips

Did I mention Kurt Cobain was a fan?

Nirvana covered this, of course. I wish I could pretend I was cool and had loved them for years before they got famous, but truth be told I bought Incesticide, the early singles, B-sides and off-curs after being nudged in their direction by the brilliance of Nevermind, but that doesn’t stop me from giving you the original artwork to the single. (Disclaimer: I have no idea if this is the original artwork or not, it probably isn’t, I just found it online.)

Nirvana – Molly’s Lips

It’s fair to say that the two versions are very different stylistically. Personally, I think the Nirvana version could be enriched by moving the clown’s car horn honk from The Vaselinest on to it, but what do I know?

More soon.

I'm Not Too Keen on Mondays

Truth be told, I was going to sack this series off.

But then it occured to me that working from home is an even harder discipline than actually getting up and going to work. It seems odd to say, but that journey from bed to sofa, or dining room table, or wherever presents more mental challenges than is the norm.

“Ahh..it’s only over there…I’ll stay in bed for a bit longer and then work later to make the hours up” is a definite mantra for those who hate getting out of bed, doubly so on Mondays.

So we’re back, and for the time being we’ll be shying away from the loud mentality which has crept into this series of late.

Instead, we’ll be turning back to some out and out classics, starting here, back in the days when Phil Spector preferred his hits to be in the charts rather than to the head of Lana Clarkson.

Ike & Tina Turner – River Deep, Mountain High

More soon.

Cancelled

Round about now, I was supposed to be going to see The Jesus & Mary Chain perform their Darklands album at The Roundhouse. As you can see from the above, that ain’t happening now.

I’ve written about JAMC before, mainly in the context of me getting the hang of them via my older brother and his mates. It wasn’t until many years later that I finally got round to buying my own copy of their debut album Psychocandy, and when the Reid brothers reformed a few years ago it seemed appropriate for me and my brother to do the same, so I bought us both tickets to go see them perform that album.

But truth be told, whilst I know Psychocandy is the record to love, it was Darklands that really got me into the band. It was one of the first non-Smiths indie albums I bought, and pretty much every track got snaffled up to make an appearance on the sixth form mix-tapes I would religiously compile every other night.

This post was going to be a lot longer, but then in the wee small hours I noticed that Swiss Adam of Bagging Area fame was supposed to see them last night and had posted a virtual concert on Twitter (You can follow him @swissadam1 and why wouldn’t you?) and that rather took the wind out of my sails. Which I’m actually quite pleased about, as he did a far better job of it than I would have.

So, here’s my favourite non-single track from the album, which, when we were younger, my brother took great delight in telling me was “rude”, like I hadn’t worked it out for myself:

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Cherry Came Too

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

There’s only one person that I can possibly feature today.

I don’t recall there being many records by this singer, who passed away yesterday, knocking around the house when I was growing up, but I do remember there being at least one, which my Dad owned on 7″ single.

Whilst there are so, so many other records I’ve come to know and love by him, it’s that record that I still think of as his finest moment: a song of jealousy, of hurt pride, of frustration at the singer’s inability to do as he did, to be as he was, before he sustained injuries fighting serving country. Other songs may have protested against the Vietnam war in more populist and simplistic terms, this record told a story of post-war marital break-down, but pulls no punched about where the blame should lay.

It’s heart-breaking, it’s angry, it’s desperate.

It’s magnificent. It’s Kenny Rogers. And the First Edition, of course. But mostly it’s Kenny.

Kenny Rogers & The First Edition – Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town

I never got to see Kenny perform live in person, but I did watch his set (on TV) at Glastonbury in 2013. Kenny’s wonderful show often gets eclipsed by Dolly Parton performing in the same Legends slot the following year – by the way, I suspect that Kenny had a lot to do with Dolly playing there, a reassuring confirmatory word in the right ear – so, since there is to be no Glastonbury festival in 2020, here’s his set in it’s entirety:

More soon.