Sunday Morning Coming Down

I worry sometimes that maybe I focus a little too much on the old guard, the classic Country artists in this series.

I also worry that I don’t post many female Country artists either.

So, today is a “two birds, one stone” scenario.

Here’s something by the really rather quite wonderful Molly Tuttle to even things out a little:

Molly Tuttle – Take the Journey

More soon.

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Late Night Stargazing

Having posted something by The Aliens last week, one of the acts which rose from the ashes of The Beta Band, I thought it only right I posted something by Steve Mason, former member of the same band.

This is from his fourth solo album and I think this song is the closest he has got to sounding like The Beta Band’s finest moments:

Steve Mason – About The Light

And here’s the song that reminds me of; if you only know one Beta Band tune this is the one to know. And if you’ve seen High Fidelity (and I imagine you all have) you will know it intimately:

The Beta Band – Dry The Rain

Two fairly dull anecdotes: firstly, one night when Hel and I still shared a flat, her feller, and now husband, Neil came round. I mention Neil every now and then, mostly in the context of us finding we both love certain Dire Straits and Kris Kristofferson records and aren’t ashamed to announce it to the world. So I think it only right to point out that he doesn’t only like those (he’s a massive Mogwai fan, for a start, a band I’ve never really got to grips with, which I’m told is because I’ve never seen them live); on this particular evening I threw a playlist on that I’d made, and it included this song. Neil looked at me in something approaching wonder and said: “Have you put The Beta Band on this playlist?”

Yes, yes I had.

More male bonding inevitably followed.

Second dull anecdote: when I finally graduated, I spent a year back home, living with the folks, working in a motorway restaurant, trying to work out what I would do next, waiting for something to happen. My Dad had opened an account with a certain online retailer named after a river, and I ordered two CDs from them: the first two CDs I ever bought online.

The first was The Beta Band’s majestic The 3 EPs; the second was Lank Haired Girl to Bearded Boy by It’s Jo and Danny. If ever there was a twee indie sounding album title and band name combo, that’s it (and that’s what first attracted me to it, truth be told).

Anyway, I think I’ve posted this before, but in any event this is the opening track from said album, and it’s bloody great:

It’s Jo and Danny – Solar Plexus

Listen to that. It’s bloody great.

More soon.

How To Do A Cover Version

I’ve made two points when writing these posts before.

Firstly, that the version you hear first is, generally, the one that you love the most, and

Secondly, and perhaps less contentiously, if you can do a cover version which so obliterates the original as to make people assume your recording is the first, then you’ve won.

So today’s post was prompted by BBC4 and it’s Top of the Pops repeats (essential viewing at Dubious Taste Mansions) moving into 1988.

Whenever a new year is moved into, it is usually book-ended by an hour long show which focuses on the happenings of the new year, and features songs which were massive back in the day.

Such was the case here, as the series eased even further ahead of me and my futile “records I bought in order” musings.

Unsurprisingly this record came up, which I didn’t buy at the time and have no regrets whatsoever in that regard:

Yazz and the Plastic Population – The Only Way Is Up

Unsurprising, because it was an absolute smash hit and simply could not be ignored when talking about the hits of the year.

But did you know that it’s a cover version?

Nope, thought not.

Here’s the original, from 1980:

Otis Clay – The Only Way Is Up

You’re welcome.

More soon.

Be Llyrious

Regular readers will recall that shortly after my best friend Llyr passed away earlier this year, I wrote a somewhat emotive post about him where I said this:

“See that “There’s No Such Thing As A Guilty Pleasure” tagline? It simply wouldn’t be there were it not for Llŷr.”

That’s still true, but I wanted to illustrate that point.

Shortly after he passed an old friend of ours, Claire, posted on Twitter that today’s song would always remind her of Llŷr.

I’m not going to hijack a prefectly good hashtag now, but Me Too.

For when Llŷr told me he liked this song, I felt an enormous sense of relief. At last, I can admit – without shame – to liking all of those songs that everyone else thinks are shit, but which I think are brilliant.

About a year or so ago, I bought the album on which this is the title song at a charity shop for £1.00. I immediately sent Llŷr a text to let him know of my purchase. I needed confirmation that my meagre sum of money had been well spent. I can’t find the text exchange now (it’s on an old inactive phone), but he happily confirmed the songs brilliance.

The other weekend, I listened to the whole album. It was, predictably, rubbish.

Or was it?

I so wanted to text Llyr to ask him if there was anything else on the album that he liked.

But I can’t. And that sucks.

And, although I have thought about him every day since he passed, for the first time in a good while, I cried. I cried because the realisation that we would never get to share those stupid moments again sank in just that little bit further.

Brace yourselves. Here’s the song in question:

Cliff Richard – Wired For Sound

More soon.

*****

Regular, long time readers will recall that when I first started writing these posts in memory of Llyr, they would be appended by a request to sponsor his younger sister Sian, who was running The London Marathon to raise funds for The Brain Tumour Charity.

I know that I posted something to confirm she had done it, but I’ve not really mentioned it since – an absolute, unforgiveable oversight on my part – so I figured I should rectify that right away.

So for a start, and in no small part because of the amazing generosity of some of you lovely people, Sian raised just over £18,000. So, a very big thank you to any of you who were kind enough to contribute – and I know that very many of you did – for that is so far and beyond her initial target as to make me blink and rub my eyes.

Thank you thank you thank you. I, we, love all of you for helping.

And it would also be remiss of me not to mention her time: a frankly quite incredible 5 hours 13 minutes. I can’t even get out of bed that fast, so I’m genuinely blown away by what Sian did.

Also: Sian is officially faster than Eastenders star Natalie Cassidy, who doens’t have her own show about to have its second series. If you saw the utterly brilliant Hidden on BBC4 last year (or, if you’re way cooler than me and caught it on S4C), this will be good news to you.

If you missed it, I’d imagine the first series will get an airing on the iPlayer nearer the time. Miss it, miss out.

An Updated List

Time to dive, for the first time, I think, into my collection of cassingles.

I first came into ownership of this song as the b-side to their wonderful Pretend We’re Dead single, which I picked up on a trip to London from some basement record store I stumbled across.

The song gained greater traction when it was used in Oliver Stone’s 1994 filming of Quentin Tarantino’s screenplay Natural Born Killers.

I’ve always thought it sad that the song doesn’t specifically name all those who would, back in the day, have made the list.

But I can safely say to all of the following people (in no particular order)…:

Donald Trump

Boris Johnson

Jeremy Hunt

Jeffrey Epstein

Nigel Farage

Aaron Banks

Richard Tice

Isabel Oakeshott

Anne Widdicombe

Michael Gove

Nadine Dorries

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Morrissey

Chris Martin

….Congratulations, you made my:

L7 – Shitlist

Apologies if I’ve missed any obvious candidates out.

And, since it’s a quite splendid call to arms/comment on political apathy, here’s the A-side too:

L7 – Pretend That We’re Dead

More soon.

If You Believe

There’s only one song to post today, and really, in all honesty, it shouldn’t be me that’s posting it.

I speak, of course, of the much missed The Robster and his wonderful Is This The Life? blog.

See, I like to think of myself as a bit of expert fan on the recordings of R.E.M. (I own a lot of their records, and other than The Wedding Present, Super Furry Animals and, ok yeh, Quo, they’re probably one of the bands I have seen the most), but I soon realised when reading some of the stuff The Robster used to post that my knowledge paled into insignificance compared to his.

So, since he seems to be on hiatus (and has been since December) allow me to try and fill those sizeable boots.

R.E.M.’s Man On the Moon is about…well, why don’t I let lead singer and lyricist explain? This, from the VH1 Storytellers show they did:

Michael Stipe – Man on the Moon Intro

So, Man on the Moon is not really about the heroic exploits of Armstrong and Aldrin (and let’s not forget poor old left-in-in-the-lunar-module Collins) fifty years ago today, it’s about conspiracy theories and people who refuse to accept facts even when they are laid out in front of them.

I could make a Brexit analogy here, but, in an unprecedented show of restraint, I’ll skip by leaving you to draw your own conclusions.

I had planne to post a really obscure live version of the song in question here, but having listened too all that I own, none are anywhere near as good as the original. So here you go:

R.E.M. – Man On The Moon

Oh, and although I know you won’t be reading this, happy birthday Flop.

More soon.

50 Ways To Prove I’m Rubbish #16

Generally, I can come up with a good excuse why I didn’t buy a particular record “back in the day”.

No such luck with today’s choice, I’m afraid.

For I thought this was a brilliant pop single back in 1984, and nothing has happened in the intervening 35 (ouch!) years to make me change my mind.

And yet, back then, my pocket money remained, inexplicably, just that: money in my pocket.

I don’t need to say any more, other than to shrug my shoulders and point to the title of this post:

Laura Branigan – Self Control

More soon.