Tuesday Short Song

If, like me, you still enjoy wallowing in the nostalgia that is the reruns of old episodes of Top of the Pops on BBC4 of a Friday night, doubtless your heart will have sunk when it got to 1990 a month or so ago.

1990 was, in my opinion, a rather fine year for great records. But what did the Great British record-buying public clutch to their bosom? A cover version of an old Brian Hyland record, performed by children’s TV presenter and all-round irritant Timmy Mallett, released under the name of Bombalurina, a character from the musical Cats, written by Andrew Lloyd-Webber, who also just happened to be the *checks notes* mastermind behind the single’s release.

The result, Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, inexplicably spent 3 weeks at #1 in the UK charts, despite it being so indescribably awful it was enough to make you want to slice your own ears off rather than ever hear it again. Rumour has it that it was the inspiration behind a particularly notorious scene from Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece Reservoir Dogs. (Are you sure about this? – Ed)

But don’t worry, I’m not going to make you listen to that – I mean, there’s only so far that I can stretch out the No Such Thing as a Guilty Pleasure theme of the blog.

Instead, a different version of the same song, which I picked up on 7″ single in the second-hand section in the basement of the now sadly defunct and much missed branch (since I moved back) of Andy’s Records in Peterborough back in the late 1980s.

Released under the not-terribly-different-from-their-real-name Die Roten Rosen (as opposed to Die Toten Hosen), it has the same track on both sides, one (the B-side) sung in English, the other (you guessed it: the A-side) in German.

You can guess which one I’m going to post, right?

Die Roten Rosen – Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Honolulu Strand Bikini

Put that in yer pipe and smoke it, Mallett.

More soon.

More soon.

New Mood on Monday

When writing and scheduling this post on Friday, I accidentally set it to be published at 7pm rather than 7am today. Doh! Still, better late than never. Maybe…

With the clock’s having gone forwards by an hour here in the UK at the weekend, I thought I’d post something relentlessly sunny and upbeat….although I suspect this may divide opinion somewhat…

Dario G – Sunchyme

Of course, playing that inevitably leads some spod somewhere to sidle up to you and say: “Of course, you know where that sample’s from, don’t you….?”

Well, yes. We all do. It’s from this, which is considerably less cheery (but still quite rousing in its own way), and which I’ll post just to save anyone from either trying to tell me, or moaning about me posting Dario “Bloody” G, as I’m sure he will become known:

The Dream Academy – Life In A Northern Town

More soon. (Possibly even at the right time….)

Sunday Morning Coming Down

If you live in the UK, there are two things you need to have remembered today:

  1. The clocks went forward an hour last night, and
  2. It’s Mother’s Day today.

I did toy with the idea of posting a Country song with Mama, or Mother. in the title today, but other than Merle Haggard’s excellent Mama Said, which I’ve posted before, they all seemed kinda depressing.

Anyway, my mother doesn’t need a tune posting for her today, because she’s already had the best Mother’s Day present she could wish for: a visit from her second favourite son.

So instead, one of my favourite songs, which I’ve been meaning to post for yonks but somehow have never gotten round to.

And it’s relevant, because the title describes how everyone should feel when they go home to visit their folks:

Indigo Girls – Closer To Fine

Enjoy your day, UK Mamas.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Cowboy Junkies are back! Back!! BACK!!!

Ok, they’re back with an album of cover versions, but given that their break-through album, The Trinity Session, wasn’t exactly short of covers, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Songs of the Recollection is a lot more polished than Trinity, and is chock full with songs by Bowie, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot to name a few, along with a fair few that made me think “Oh that’s what that’s called, is it?” along with this Gram Parsons tune, which admittedly has been knocking around for quite a few years already, having originally surfaced on 1999’s Parsons tribute album Return of the Grievous Angel.

I mean, it was already gorgeous, but this is….also gorgeous:

Cowboy Junkies – Ooh Las Vegas

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

And we’re back, with the latest part of the first of the way too long mixes I did at the start of the series, and which I’m in the process of splitting down into much more easy to swallow hour-long chunks.

This one was an absolute joy to revisit, although I jiggled around with the running order a little and ditched one track from the initial mix for another, it was enormous fun to put together this 58 1/2 minute long mix of 16 songs, ranging from spiky indie guitar tunes to some skater punk to the 1970s New York punk scene and then to some Emo and some Goth – all absolute bangers in my humble opinion:

Friday Night Music Club Vol 1.3


  • Gang Of Four – I Found That Essence Rare
  • The Fall – Dead Beat Descendant
  • Maxïmo Park – Our Velocity
  • Super Furry Animals – God! Show Me Magic
  • Sports Team – Here’s The Thing
  • Elastica – Stutter
  • Sum 41 – In Too Deep
  • Good Charlotte – Girls & Boys
  • My Chemical Romance – Teenagers
  • Ramones – Beat On The Brat
  • Iggy Pop – The Passenger
  • Blondie – (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear
  • Siouxsie & The Banshees – Hong Kong Garden
  • The Sisters Of Mercy – This Corrosion
  • The Rapture – House of Jealous Lovers
  • Interpol – Mammoth (Erol Alkan Rework)

A quick reminder: any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software; any mis-timed mixes are down to me; all record selections are mine.

Hope you enjoy, see you back here this time next week.

(More soon.)

Tuesday Short Song

Last time out in this series, I featured a couple of tracks from the Lemonheads’ still-wonderful-after-all-these-years It’s A Shame About Ray album, so this time I figured I’d pick something from head ‘Head Evan Dando’s first and only solo album to date, 2003’s Baby I’m Bored.

It’s a mostly acoustic album, and whilst there’s nothing on it which quite reaches the giddy heights of say Hannah & Gabi from the ….Ray album, it does have a fair few rather fine moments of its own to recommend it.

Like this sub-120 second-long beauty:

Evan Dando – Why Do You Do This To Yourself?

More soon

New Mood on Monday

This morning, a song which really needs no introduction, and is almost guaranteed to put you in a good mood to start the week.

Or to be immensely irritated, one of the two:

Mahna Mahna & The Two Snowths – Mahna Mahna

And just in case you’re now pining to watch that being performed on The Muppet Show, complete with Statler & Waldorf’s obligatory heckle at the end:

You’re welcome.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I mentioned Junior’s Choice last week, a BBC radio show for kids which I listened to when I was one, and which reminded me of two songs which often got played on the show.

First up, from 1961, a tale of a quiet hero:

Jimmy Dean – Big Bad John

The second was originally recorded by Dick Van Dyke, but I’ve plumped for the version I remember, from 1962, and which features Barry “Eve of Destruction” McGuire on lead vocals. It should probably reside in my folder entitled “You Couldn’t Get Away With This Nowadays”. You’ve been warned:

The New Christy Minstrels – Three Wheels on My Wagon

Looking at them, I think it’s fairly clear where the inspiration for The New Main Street Singers, from the wonderful A Mighty Wind movie came from:

The New Main Street Singers – Potato’s In The Paddy Wagon

A Mighty Wind does for the 60s & 70s US folk scene what Best In Show did for competitive dog showing and what This is Spinal Tap did for washed-up British rock bands, which is unsurprising given it’s the same bunch of funny people (principally, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean) behind all three movies.

And, like This is Spinal Tap, it’s filled with really great songs, like the title track, for example:

The Folksmen, Mitch & Mickey, The New Main Street Singers – Mighty Wind

Seriously, if you’ve never seen it, track it down and give it a watch. You won’t be disappointed.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

More from one of my favourite ever bands tonight, and a track which doesn’t sound anything like anything they ever did before they went on a long hiatus.

This is from their, in my opinion, much over-looked fourth album, Watusi. Where George Best and Bizarro had been displays of the fast-paced, rattling guitars and tales of failed relationships, and Seamonsters had been more of the same but louder and beefed-up by Steve Albini’s mighty production, Watusi was very much the band turning to their more experimental and poppier side, which main man David Gedge would shortly go off and play around with under the Cinerama moniker.

I properly love Watusi and am baffled by most people’s indifference to it; it’s filled with the same cracking hooks and lyrics we all had come to know by then, but with a glossier finish, and the odd breath-takingly beautiful and delicate tune like this, which proves, to those who need it proving, that this band is no one-trick pony:

The Wedding Present – Spangle

In case you’re interested as to what Watusi means, here’s what Wiki has to say about it:

“The Watusi is a solo dance that enjoyed brief popularity during the early 1960s. It was one of the most popular dance crazes of the 1960s in the United States. “Watusi” is a former name for the Tutsi people of Africa, whose traditions include spectacular dances. The naming of the American dance may have been inspired, in particular, by a scene in the 1950 film King Solomon’s Mines which featured Tutsi dancers, or by its sequel Watusi.”

And here’s some footage I found on YouTube:

There you go: entertaining and educational.

More soon.


Apologies for the lack of any posts all week. There is a reason, and I’m going to turn to comedian Frank Skinner to explain.

I’ve tried to find a clip of this, to no avail, but I remember him telling a story about how he was doing a stand-up gig for some charity or other – you know the sort of thing, where several comedians put on a night to raise funds for some worthy cause or other – and he was waiting in the wings with another, much younger comedian (the name of whom I don’t recall), when he (Frank) winced and rubbed his (own) back.

“What’s wrong?” asked the youthful, but anonymous, comic.

“I’ve hurt my back,” replied Frank.

“How did you do that?”

And, says Frank when relating this episode, he suddenly realised that he had no anecdote with which to explain his discomfort; no “Oh, I fell down the stairs”, or “You should see the other guy!”. Just: my back hurts, and it’s probably one of those things that just happens as you get older.

And so it was with me. On Tuesday, I stood up and was suddenly aware of pain in my lower back, which doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

Consequently, having spent every day this week hunched over my work laptop, the last thing I felt like doing afterwards was cranking up my own laptop to write something for this place. Damned selfish of me, I’m sure.

Still, despite the pain, I’m proud to report I’ve been Mummy’s Brave Little Soldier and I haven’t cried once. Or more than once, before you say it.

Here’s some sort of relevant songs to kick-start your weekend:

Inspiral Carpets – Monkey On My Back

The Wedding Present – Back For Good

More soon.