Tuesday Short Song

On Friday night, I received a Whatsapp message from my brother which read: “FYI this just came up in conversation, and I thought you might be interested in how long it is?”

Wash your minds out: we may be competitive, but not in that way, thank you very much.

Within the message was a link to this record:

If you ever find yourself in a conversation about who the most influential artists have been in the world of popular music, and the person you’re talking to offers the names The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, walk away, or enjoy belittling them, for they know nothing.

The Stones regularly cite old blues artists as influential, whilst The Beatles – and countless others around the same time – would name skiffle bands and artists, such as Lonnie Donegan.

Lonnie’s influence simply cannot be underestimated, if not in the musical style of those who adored him, but in the simple fact that he inspired so many to learn to play instruments. Skiffle in the 1950s was the same as Punk in the 1970s, it had its own DIY ethic, impacting on so many, guiding them to pick up, or even construct, their own rudimentary instruments. The (double) bass was a wooden box with a mop handle and a string attached, for Gawd’s sake. And Lonnie was at the forefront of this revolution.

In 1992, to mark 40 years of their publication, the NME released a triple CD where current (at the time) indie acts were asked to record a cover version of a #1 that meant something to them. It’s a bit of disappointment overall, to be honest, but one band stepped up to the plate to pay homage to Lonnie, and thankfully that band was The Wedding Present and when you hear this, everything I’ve just said will make sense. And in true Weddoes style, they rattle through it even faster than Lonnie did:

If that doesn’t persuade my Dad to listen to The Wedding Present, then nothing will.

More soon.

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8 thoughts on “Tuesday Short Song”

  1. Donegan was indeed a very influential figure in the pre-Beatles UK charts, amassing 30 hit singles between 1955 and 1962, several of them interpretations of traditional American Folk and Blues songs. ‘My Old Man’s a Dustman’ (No.1 the day I was born) was one of his occasional Music Hall inspired novelty hits, which perhaps diluted his true legacy a little for later generations, though even on this single, the b-side featured a strong version of the Child Ballad ‘The Golden Vanity’.

    1. Will check that out, think I have it somewhere. But yes, it’s a shame such an influential performer is now often viewed as a novelty act

  2. Some of my favourite covers of all time are on Ruby Trax. The Weddoes goes without saying, but Blue Aeroplanes’ take on Bad Moon Rising is incredible. Talk about making a song your own. Inspiral Carpets version of Tainted Love is also right up there on my best cover of all time list for much the same reason.

    Senseless Things, Carter USM, Teenage Fanclub, Curve and the Manics all doe excellent jobs, and Cud’s version of Down Down is good fun too. Though you may have a different take on that…?

  3. He often pops up on lists as being the top selling Scottish artist ever, but he didn’t sound very Scottish to me. Only lived in Glasgow until the age of two apparently before moving to East Ham in That London.

    Cumberland Gap a stonking good tune.

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