Sunday Morning Coming Down

Back in January when I first posted something by this morning’s artist, I wrote this: “I could have picked any of the 24 tracks on this gold-mine to post here, and it’s taken me a very pleasantly spent hour or so listening to the whole thing again trying to decide which song to post, so doubtless I’ll return to it soon enough.”

So, it’s about time I did just that:

Loney Hutchins – One More Habit

Two down, twenty-two to go.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

There’s no real need for me tell you anything about tonight’s featured artist, as they have featured on these pages many times before.

The song, though? Well, it’s lifted from their 7th album Howdy! which was released way back in 2000, and was released as a single in June 2001. Much like so many of their singles, it failed to chart, which is no reflection on how good it is and they are.

What I love about this – or rather, one of the things I love about this – is the mix, where the main guitar sequences alternate between speakers, in a way which reminds you just what stereo was invented for. Listen to via headphones to get the full effect.

In short, another near-perfect entry in a near-perfect back catalogue:

Teenage Fanclub – Dumb Dumb Dumb

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

It’s Friday night (at least it is here in the UK), and not just any old Friday night. Nosireebob. This Friday night is the best type of Friday night: the type that kicks off a Bank Holiday weekend. Hoorah! No! Work! Til! Tuesday!

So here’s your weekly 60 minutes or so of tunes curated and mixed by yours truly into some semblance of a coherent playlist. As is often the case, it’s a slow burner at the start, before we get into some tunes that should make you want to dance and/or sing, before we have a little break so you can have a nice sit down for a bit before we’re up and at ’em again for the last few choices.

So, with the usual apologies for a couple of skips and jumps which happened either during the recording or uploading process, let’s get your weekend started:

Friday Night Music Club Vol 17

Look out, here comes your tracklisting (complete with sleeve notes):

I’ve been on a bit of a Paul Fab-Macca-Wacky-Thumbs-Aloft McCartney trip since his headlining slot at Glastonbury this year, so I thought this, from “the band The Beatles could have been”, would be quite a nice way to kick things off this week:

  1. Wings – Let ‘Em In

This is one I’ve been meaning to have as an opening track on one of these for a while, simply because the title fits the mood of things. And also because of Simon’s unintentionally hilarious, trying to sound hip, description of him popping “outside to smoke myself a J”. Oh, you are outrageous, Paul!

2. Paul Simon – Late in the Evening

There’s no Bowie this week, so I figured a bit of T. Rex would be the next best thing. I try to avoid posting the obvious, famous ones when I’m doing these playlists, but sometimes it the obvious, famous ones which are just screaming out to be included. I couldn’t resist:

3. T. Rex – Get It On

There’s no Bowie this week, so I figured a bit of Suede would be the next best thing.

4. Suede – The Drowners

There’s no Bowie this week, so…oh wait, that doesn’t work with this one. Bring on the lovely Ms Wener and her Sleeperblokes!

5. Sleeper – Nice Guy Eddie

I wanted to pick the tempo up a bit more here, and the Kaisers doing their standard “Woah! Woooah! Woooooaaaaaaah! Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooah!” routine seemed as good a way as any:

6. Kaiser Chiefs – I Predict a Riot

Contrary to popular belief, Kula Shaker didn’t just release ropey singles. When they weren’t referencing Hinduism or dropping covers of Deep Purple singles, they managed to release at least one decent one:

7. Kula Shaker – Hey Dude

There’s no effin’ & jeffin’ warning on this week’s playlist, but let’s be honest, genius that he was, can we ever be sure exactly what Mark E. Smith was singing all the time? Sacrilege, I know, I know. Chances are we’re on safe ground here, though, with this blistering cover of an old Tommy Blake number:

8. The Fall – F-‘oldin’ Money

If I ever had to name a band that had single-handedly introduced me to the most other bands, then it would be The Wedding Present, via their dazzling array of cover versions. This one cropped up on as an extra track on their 1994 single Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah, and it’s easy to see – and hear – what drew Mr Gedge to it:

9. Paul Revere & The Raiders – Him Or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?

This next one is included purely because the intro to it reminded me of the Paul Revere tune, although now I listen to them both, I’m really not sure why:

10. The Monkees – Last Train to Clarksville

I had the pleasure of catching this next lot at Glastonbury back in 2010, playing in the Acoustic Tent (I think); there was only about 15 people there to see what was a blistering set, which was fine for us as there was more room to wig out in; it was probably a little disheartening for the band to have to play to such depleted numbers though.

In the context of this mix, this is a bridging song, by which I mean one which links nicely with what follows, as I slow things down for a bit. The fact that it has the word “Train” in the title is entirely coincidental, a theme is not about to emerge:

11. The Woodentops – Love Train

There’s no effin’ & jeffin’ warning on this week’s playlist, but you should ensure any minors’ eyes are averted from the saucy old name of this band. Time to put your feet up and have a breather for a bit:

12. Starfucker – Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second

I’m genuinely surprised when I hear that this R.E.M. track isn’t universally loved. Sure, it’s from the first post-Bill Berry album Up, which is patchy at best, but I think this is a rare moment of beauty from the band’s late period of ever decreasing circles and diminishing rewards:

13. R.E.M. – Suspicion

Ok, I’ll admit it. There’s another reason I picked that R.E.M. tune: for some reason which I can’t quite fathom, it pleased me greatly to have that song title next to this one. Maybe it’s because it then echoes Supernatural Superserious, the lead single from their Accelerate album. I dunno. Maybe. Does it matter?

Anyway, should you ever you get chance, check out some of the footage of Stevie playing this one when it was released back in 1972; he looks as cool as cool can be:

14. Stevie Wonder – Superstition

We’re on to the home straight now, and Stevie acts as the first part of a pair of Seventies classics used to book-end a couple of belters from the Eighties. No further notes required, I think:

15. New Order – True Faith

16. Pet Shop Boys – Heart

17. The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back

That’s yer lot til next Friday, although all of the previous mixes should be available to download should you need a long varied soundtrack for your Bank Holiday weekend BBQs. Fill your boots.

Oh, and: More soon.

A Lament for Lamont

It’s not quite got to 2016 proportions just yet, but there seems to be never-ending cortege of celebrity deaths at the moment.

I try to write about those which I’m genuinely sad to learn have passed, but I have to accept that as I get older, so do many of my idols; and since much of the music I post and write about here is not exactly what one would call “current”, chances are I’ll be writing a whole load more going forwards.

I do remain troubled about some that I greatly admire and miss who I didn’t write about at the time of their passing. I still rue that in 2016 I found time to write about the death of Paul Daniels, whose shows I adored as a kid, but somehow managed not to write anything when comedy geniuses Caroline Aherne and Victoria Wood died. And more recently, since you probably are all aware of how great I think Girls Aloud were as a pop group (not sure why I felt the need to clarify what Girls Aloud were, there), how did I not shed an inky tear on these pages when Sarah Harding so sadly died last year?

The answer, I think, is that I simply wanted to make sure I got the tone of the piece correct, and by the time I’d mulled it over, too much time had passed and, inevitably, there was someone else to write about.

Which brings me to today’s subject: someone who can legitimately be called a legend within the music business. Someone whose name is attached to many of the finest pop and soul records ever. Someone who died earlier this month, at the grand old age of 81, having been involved in this business we call show since the 1950s. Someone who, although he died on August 8th, I couldn’t let their passing slip by unmarked*.

And yet someone that I had never heard of – and indeed, had to go and look up so I could understand the reference – until I first clapped ears on this beauty from The Bard of Barking:

Billy Bragg – Levi Stubbs’ Tears

Here’s the rhyming couplet that so piqued my interest:

Holland and Holland and Lamont Dozier too/Are here to make it all okay with you.

Who the heck are those guys? teenage me thought.

You’ll no doubt know, as teenage me did not, that Holland/Dozier/Holland were a song-writing team, responsible for a whole host of classic songs released on the legendary Motown record label, songs like: The Four Tops’ Baby I Need Your Loving, Bernadette, It’s the Same Old Song, Reach Out I’ll Be There, Standing In The Shadows of Love; The Supremes’ Baby Love, Come See About Me, I Hear A Symphony, Stop In The Name Of Love, The Happening, Where Did Our Love Go, You Can’t Hurry Love, You Keep Me Hanging On; Marvin Gaye’s Can I Get A Witness and How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You); Junior Walker & The Allstars’ (I’m A) Roadrunner ; Martha And The Vandellas’ Nowhere To Run, Jimmy Mack and Heat Wave. To name just a few.

And not forgetting popular pop and pub quiz answer R. Dean Taylor’s There’s a Ghost In My House, which was (in)famously covered by The Fall:

The Fall – There’s a Ghost in My House

And that’s before I even get started on their production credentials, which not only includes many of those already listed, but a whole load more too. Here’s the link to their wiki page, where the whole dang lot are listed, should you be interested enough to go see.

Seriously, if you haven’t danced or sung-along to at least three of those, then say hello to Lamont for me, it seems you’re already dead and have been for ages.

For it is the Dozier of the Holland/Dozier/Holland hit-making trio that I come to mourn: Lamont Dozier, the only one of the three that Billy gives a full name-check to.

I could go on and post a load more of those songs, but instead I figured I’d post a couple of records he wrote and recorded himself, songs which are probably better known for having been covered by others, songs which I had no idea he had written until it came to write this piece.

Songs like this, who if (like me) you didn’t realise he wrote, you will know if not from the wonderful Richie Havens version, then from Odyssey’s 1981 UK Top 5 smasheroo (neither of which, it should be noted, were brave enough to record just-shy-of-ten-minutes-long versions like Dozier did):

Lamont Dozier – Going Back To My Roots

Then there’s this little beauty, from his appropriately titled Black Bach album:

Lamont Dozier – All Cried Out

There are two reasons I love that song: firstly, because it’s brilliant, and secondly because it shares it’s name with a song I love that Alison Moyet released as a single from her first post-Yazoo solo album Alf back in 1984.

I was going to post said song, in a Same Title, Different Song kinda-way, when my eyes were drawn to the name of the writer of the third single from the album, the follow-up to All Cried Out: none other than a certain Mr Lamont Dozier:

Alison Moyet – Invisible

The words ground-breaking, genius and legend are bandied about far too easily; but for once they are all true of Lamont Dozier. He will be sorely missed.

Thankfully, we still have his songs to make it all okay with you.

More soon.

*As usual, I find myself beaten to the punch by an all-encompassing post over at the ever-wonderful Any Major Dude With Half a Heart. If you’d like to read more (and maybe download a whole load of covers of Holland/Dozier/Holland compositions) then I’d recommend you pop over here sharpish.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

My mission to get everyone to love The Handsome Family as much as I do, rather than just thinking of them as them-what-done-the-True-Detective-theme continues, with this morning’s rather splendid track from their 2010 album Scattered: A Further Collection of Lost Demos, Orphaned Songs and Odd Covers.

If you’ve not yet fallen for their goth-country charms, I urge you to give this a listen, which is as close to a sing-a-long number that they get:

The Handsome Family – Drinking Beer on the Roof

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

I mentioned in a recent post how many up-and-coming bands seem to have chosen names which seem to been selected without thought for how easy they would be to search for online, and tonight’s artist falls into the same category.

Or so I thought, until I actually typed Ross from Friends into Google (other tax-avoiding search engines are available) and found that such was the success of the stage name of UK producer Felix Clary Weatherall (no relation, as far as I’m aware) that he had managed to knock all hits referring to the actual Ross from Friends down to 8th spot in the rankings.

Much as I love it, I tend not to post chilled-out bleepy electronica in this series, where it perhaps it would sit best of all amongst the stuff I write here, because I’m just not very good at describing it. I could try, but I fear I’d make a proper fool of myself.

So, anyway, here’s a bit of chilled-out bleepy electronica from Ross from Friends’ 2021 album Tread which, if you like this sort of thing (which I do), is well worth a listen:

Ross from Friends – Thresho_1.0

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

A little later than usual this week, not that I think anyone actually listens to these on a Friday Night.

My apologies for that, and for the lack of much preamble or sleeve-notes this week. I will explain why at some point over the weekend.

All I will say is that this week, it’s guitars all the way, with some 70s, 80s and 90s classics, a couple of jokes in the running order, and a few tunes you’ll either have never heard before or will have not heard for so long you’ve forgotten all about. With good reason, some might say.

And no need for my usual admin disclaimer about any mixing gaffes, since this week the cross-fader stayed resolutely here again:

(I’ll be honest, I’ve not had chance to listen to this one; if there’s loads of skips and jumps I’ll redo it, and remove this sentence).

So, we’ll dive straight in – here’s this week’s mix for you:

Friday Night Music Club Vol 16


  1. The Jam – Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
  2. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Pump It Up
  3. The Boomtown Rats – Rat Trap
  4. The Beat – Mirror In The Bathroom
  5. The Look – I Am The Beat
  6. Idlewild – When I Argue I See Shapes
  7. Symposium – Farewell To Twilight
  8. Shed 7 – She Left Me On Friday
  9. The Rezillos – Top Of The Pops
  10. Buzzcocks – I Don’t Mind
  11. The Undertones – My Perfect Cousin
  12. King Kurt – Destination Zululand
  13. Tenpole Tudor – Swords of a Thousand Men
  14. Salad – Drink The Elixir
  15. Shocking Blue – Send Me A Postcard Darling
  16. Orange Juice – Felicity
  17. My Life Story – Strumpet
  18. Super Furry Animals – Play It Cool
  19. Belly – Now They’ll Sleep

More soon.

No Such Thing As A Guilty Pleasure

You’ll be familiar, no doubt, with the fact that before becoming the absentee PM we all love to shout “Get Back To Work You Fat Ponce” at in Greek supermarkets, back in 2016 Boris Johnson wrote two opposing columns, one pro- and one anti-EU, for publication in the notoriously balanced Daily Telegraph, before – in a one-off, never to be repeated, shameless example of blatant careerism – ultimately pinning his colours to the Brexit mast, and blowing some dust of a load of lies, half-truths and absolute whoppers to feed us in the run up to the referendum.

I did something similar last night, but unlike Johnson, I’m going to post both drafts. And I’m going to go to work tomorrow and do the job I’m currently paid to do.


Draft 1

I was awoken last night not, for once, by the insufferable heat, but by the sound of heavy rain and thunder outside. Oh, sweet, sweet relief. I checked the time on my phone (00:50) and before I knew it, having discarded the notion of just going outside and standing in it, arms stretched out in welcome like Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption, I was scrolling through Twitter, and stumbling across the news of yet another celebrity death.

I have never watched a single episode of Britain’s Got Talent, but I’d be a liar if I claimed I had never watched The X Factor, or either of its’ short-lived predecessors, Pop Idol or Popstars: The Rivals.

I’ve always thought that fame and stardom should be earned, that one should learn one’s craft and cut one’s teeth, working your way up on the circuit, gathering (if you’re any good) a steadily growing number of fans and admirers, before, (if you’re lucky and catch a few breaks) you made it big.

These shows, with their seemingly never-ending stream of people with hair-gelled to within an inch of its life, who thought closing your eyes as you earnestly bash out yet another version of Angels was a short cut to celebrity, seemed to be the very opposite of how I thought things should be.

That said, I did watch the first few series, before cutting back to just the often-amusing audition rounds, before giving up entirely when they seemed to become exploitative of some poor souls with genuine mental health conditions rather than delusions of grandeur.

But I cannot deny that those first few series did bring us some pop stars that I genuinely like and own records by: I like much of what Will Young released once he broke free of the Cowell-shackles, and I will never be dissuaded from the view that Girls Aloud are one of the finest British pop groups ever.

And then there was Darius. Mocked for his jaw-droppingly awful rendition of Baby One More Time – which I’m not going to post here; it seems distasteful to do so, given the news – at the audition stage, I admired the chutzpah of a guy who, having been kicked off the show once, came back a couple of series later to have another go.

And thank goodness that he did, for had he not then we may never have been treated to the delight that is Colourblind, which I’m perfectly happy to say is a really fine pop song indeed:

Darius – Colourblind

Although the rest of his pop career didn’t exactly set the charts alight, I gather he has earned rather a successful crust for the past few years in stage musicals.

So I was very saddened as I scrolled through Twitter to learn that he had been found dead at the age of just 41.

Type his name into Twitter today and you’ll find endless examples of what a lovely bloke he was, and I have no reason to disbelieve any of them.

Genuinely: A sad loss.


Draft 2

Yesterday Darius was found dead, and last night, finally, it rained. It didn’t just rain, it really rained.

I’m sure these things are linked.

So my question is this: who from the world of TV talent shows has to die next so that the temperature stays at a reasonable level for the foreseeable future? Ideally, it should be someone we wouldn’t miss: I’d settle for One True Voice, but if I’m totally honest I’ve got my fingers crossed for Amanda Holden.

More soon.

New Mood on Monday

Had today’s uplifting tune actually contained the word ‘summer’ in its title as opposed to in the name of the super-group (and I use the term advisedly and correctly), then it would undoubtedly have made it on to the mix I recently prepared for JC’s place.

But it doesn’t, so it didn’t.

However, this record – where the mighty Ted Chippington, The Nightingales and We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It! (before they became just Fuzzbox and started having actual hits) unite, Avengers-style – remains a favourite which cannot help but leave me in a better mood than I was before it started playing:

The Vindaloo Summer Special – Rockin’ with Rita (Head to Toe)

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

It’s not been the greatest 7 days in the world of celebrities surviving until the end of the week.

I have a nasty feeling that I’ve forgotten someone, but we lost actor Anne Heche (I’m not overly familiar with her work, but she’s bloody great in Donnie Brasco); one third of the legendary Holland/Dozier/Holland song-writing and production team, Lamont Dozier, and at least one other person I’m going to kick myself for forgetting shortly after I posted this.

And Olivia Newton-John.

For many, she will always be Sandy in the 1978 smasheroo movie Grease, a film which I have to begrudgingly admit has some popular tunes. But when it comes to the plot of the film, I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with an ex-Arsenal player:

He’s (w)right, of course. Olivia’s role in Grease is not a great role model in these times. Can you imagine Grease being made today? It simply wouldn’t happen, not in the same way as it did back in 1978. Now, Danny would have to learn to appreciate Sandy for who she is, rather than how she dresses. And I say that’s good progress.

None of which is Olivia’s fault, of course.

Grease spawned a whole load of hit singles, and monopolised the top of the charts for a good chunk of the late 70s. I was going to post Arthur Mullard and Hylda Baker’s godawful version of You’re The One That I Want now, but it seems disrespectful.

But Olivia had a decent career either side of Grease, popping up in the early 80s collaborating with ELO on the theme tune to Xanadu, before cashing in on her sex-bomb, good-girl-turned-bad persona with Physical in 1981, the video for which probably had thousands of pubescent boys reaching for the tissues.

Pre-Grease, though, she was the sweet smiling innocent looking singer, and she carved a career out of releasing great pop singles and had seven Top Ten Billboard Hot Country singles, mostly cover versions, and such is this morning’s choice: a cover of a clean-living John Denver track by a clean-living Country gal, which she almost manages to infuse with a gospel sound at the start:

Olivia Newton-John – Take Me Home Country Roads

R.I.P. Lovely Livvy.

More soon.