Four (Two)

So, following on from last night’s post…

…it’s the weekend before payday, and I’m broke. So, a weekend, in the flat, watching TV and adding to the usual slew of posts that I generally write over these two days.

You may have noticed, despite my best efforts to disguise my ineptitude behind a veneer of seemingly planned series’, that often what I write here is pretty much made up of whatever I think of when the laptop grinds into life.

Even more often, usually just as I’ve clicked the button marked “Publish”, I think of something I wish I’d written instead.

Such was the case with last night’s post.

How can I let a fourth anniversary pass without mention of this:

fork

Which is of course, a reference to this timeless comedy sketch:

This seems appropriate:

(1969) Led Zeppelin I

Led Zeppelin – Communication Breakdown

As do these four versions of the same song, the first of which I picked up on 7″ single back in 1986 from a Record Fayre (I never understood why they insisted on spelling Fayre like that, as if they thought it would add some rustic credibility to the event) at The Wirrina in Peterborough (demolished back in 2010, it’s only as I come to write this that I find Northern Soul All Nighters were held there in the 1970s):

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood Front

Elvis Costello – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

Although perhaps the most famous version is this:

the-animals-dont-let-me-be-misunderstood

The Animals – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

Then there’s the obligatory Disco(ish) version:

61k82ALcsvL

Santa Esmeralda starring Leroy Gomez – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

And of course, the Queen of all versions:

MI0000580904

Nina Simone – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

And, on a similar subject, another 7″ single I bought, also in 1986 (I was, arguably, starting to get the hang of buying decent singles by this point….):

the_pretenders-dont_get_me_wrong_s

The Pretenders – Don’t Get Me Wrong

…as can be evidenced by the fact that I did not buy this one on 7″ single at all, but I am strangely filled with an overwhelming urge to hear it now:

little-miss-cant-be-wrong

Spin Doctors – Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong

But I digress. Where was I?

Ah yes. Candles.

Then to round things off, I can’t let the chance to post this go by:

81vYM6AnYKL__SL1416_

Ian McCulloch – Candleland

More soon.

Advertisements

A History of Dubious Taste – 1986

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about “Take the Subway to Your Suburb”, a compilation of tracks released on The Subway Organization label.

Here, from May 1986, is another release on the same label, a three track 12″ that both my brother and I both bought copies of. On the same day.

In a loft conversion in our parents house was a communal room (it was meant for my brother and I and our friends had a room to hang out in without getting in our parents’ way), in which was housed a TV, a sofa, a couple of guitars and a stereo.

The stereo was my brother’s, one of those affairs that are designed to look like a piece of furniture, housed in a wooden frame with a tinted glass door over the tape decks, volume control and record rack, with another tinted glass lid covering the turntable.

As I always did upon purchasing a new record, I bolted up the stairs two or three at a time, bounded into the room, only to find my brother already in there, listening to exactly the same record as I’d just bought, which confused me somewhat since my copy was still in the bag I was carrying.

This one, probably one of the shortest three track 12″ singles ever released, with a total running time of under six minutes, each track a perfect example of short but sweet Buzzcocks-inspired indie greatness:

R-1172410-1288130359_jpeg

The Soup Dragons – Whole Wide World

The Soup Dragons – I Know Everything

The Soup Dragons – Pleasantly Surprised

I’ve not listened to those three tracks in quick succession for a few years, and blimey did I just enjoy doing it then.

More soon.

A History of Dubious Taste – 1986

Slowly but surely, we edge through a review of my record collection in chronological order…

…and here we are in April 1986, where, as far as I can glean, this was the only single I purchased.

One of only two records I own by Big Country – the other being their debut album “The Crossing” – this turned out to be their biggest hit in the UK, reaching the giddy heights of #7.

Whoever was the band’s stylist at the time was clearly at loggerheads with the person responsible for the photo-shoot for the single sleeve:

Photographer: Let’s put them in a bleak, wind-swept, wintry scene. It captures their innate Scottishness, plus it’ll look like Big Country are part of the big countryside!

Stylist: But I’ve told the lads to turn up dressed as if they’re appearing on Miami Vice….

Photographer: Ah, it’ll be fine, people love a good juxtaposition.

big-country-look-away-mercury

Big Country – Look Away

It was also around this time that I picked up an album originally released in 1981 and which, by July 2016, had gone platinum twenty times, sold 6,120,000 copies in the UK alone, and had become the biggest selling album in the UK. Ever. So before any of you decide to take the piss, chances are you’ve owned a copy of it at some time or other too.

But, in my book, it shouldn’t count as the Biggest Selling Album Ever, because it’s a Greatest Hits album. Compilation albums were excluded from the normal UK Album Charts in January 1989, and what is a Greatest Hits album if not a compilation of the biggest selling singles released by one artist?

Anyway, whichever way you look at it, it’s definitely an album, and one that I bought in April 1986, and I know that I bought it then because I was swotting up ready to go to my first ever gig later that year, a gig which featured both acts on the line-up. But more about that another time.

Until then, here’s a song which, in the wee small hours of Friday night/Saturday morning, when we’d both had a few too many, Hel and I would belt out together in our old flat:

R-376152-1124751661_jpg

Queen – Somebody to Love

Now, if you don’t want to read something a bit soppy, I suggest that you…er…”look away” now: Hel and her long-term partner Neil recently announced they’re getting married next year. So it seems to me that if you sing a song often enough, it can come true. Congratulations, both.

More soon.

A History of Dubious Taste – 1986

On to a record which actually came out in 1985, but I didn’t buy until the following year.

I remembered hearing “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads on the radio when it was a hit back in 1981, and thinking it sounded like nothing else I’d ever heard. My interest wasn’t piqued enough to buy the thing of course – I was just entering my early years of obsession with the Quo at that point – and I don’t think I heard anything else by them again until “Road to Nowhere” came out in 1985. And I didn’t buy that (immediately) either.

Then two things happened. Firstly, “And She Was” came out. And secondly, I saw “Stop Making Sense”, unquestionably one of the greatest live film recordings of a band at the very peak of their powers.

Coincidentally, around about this time I was becoming more interested in buying albums rather than singles, but realising I would not be able to afford to buy every album that had a single on it I liked, I had developed a purchasing protocol: if I liked at least two singles from it, then it was probably worth investing in. Which meant that 1985’s “Little Creatures” had earned its’ place on my list of records I wanted to own.

At the time, though, money was a little short; I had yet to enter the job market on any meaningful level, although I did have a job delivering the local free newspaper once a week to the residents of the village I lived in, a job I had somehow inherited from my brother.

I say delivering, but it would be remiss of me not to admit that I got very bored of this job very quickly, and ended up stashing most of the copies anywhere I could (under my bed, in the garage), rather than spend three hours on a Wednesday night trudging round the locale. Who’s going to complain about not receiving their free newspaper, I reasoned.

Friends of my parents, that’s who.

Anyway, I digress. What I mean to say is that it took a little while to save up enough pennies to be able to afford the “Little Creatures” album, meaning I didn’t actually get hold of a copy until early 1986.

It’s possibly the most polished and commercial of their albums, probably not even my favourite album by them, but nevertheless here’s a couple of tracks from it:

Front Cover

Talking Heads – Stay Up Late

Talking Heads – And She Was

More soon.

A History of Dubious Taste – 1986

So much for me keeping on top of these; it seems to be three months since I posted one of these.

So, here’s the next record I (remember) buying back in 1986, and it’s one that stretches my very idea that there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure to its’ very limits.

I have no funny story or recollection to tell about this, I simply offer this up for your enjoyment or otherwise.

For this is not a record that I’m proud to announce to the world that I bought, but I did, so there you are.

diana-ross-chain-reaction-1986-3

Diana Ross – Chain Reaction

All I can say by way of a defence is that I was still a few months away from my musical epiphany and, at the time, I knew it was written by the Bee Gees (not that I’m particularly a fan of the brothers Gibb, but credit where credit’s due, they knew how to write a hit single), and they’d been responsible for a song which I still consider to be one of the finest singles ever released, and a “had a few drinks on a Friday night, sing-a-long” favourite of mine and Hel’s:

R-1247102-1256841375_jpeg

Dionne Warwick – Heartbreaker

So there.

More soon.

Bye, Bye, Bye, Bye

I’ve just heard the sad news that Chuck Berry has died.

As a teenager, when I was learning to play guitar, I figured I should look to some of the greats to pick up some tips from, so I bought a Berry best of, and this has always been one of my favourite tunes of his:

chuck-berry-no-particular-place-to-go-funckler

Chuck Berry – No Particular Place To Go

Pub-quizzers will know that an often-asked question is what his only UK Number One was. Answer: “My Ding-A-Ling”. It would be a shame if that’s how he’s remembered. Up until 1994, that was looking likely. Luckily, in that year, one of his songs was featured in an iconic scene from an iconic movie:

For me though, there was a cover version of one of his songs which I’ve loved ever since I bought the album it features on, and pretty much every time I saw them play live, they ended with this:

ArticleSharedImage-60218

Status Quo – Bye Bye Johnny

I could go on picking great rock’n’roll records that Chuck wrote or performed – the list is almost endless – but I’ll leave it at those three, in the hope that others out there will post more.

Suffice to say, we lost another legend today.

More soon.

 

A History of Dubious Taste – 1986

Recently I have posted the following two assertions:

  1. That it annoyed me that the reruns of Top of the Pops currently airing of BBC4 weren’t being shown in the concurrent week as they had been originally broadcast, and
  2. That I had made a New Year’s Resolution to get on top of the thread which this blog was originally created for: to go through every record I had bought, in sequence.

You can imagine, therefore, how irritated I am with myself that here we are, over halfway through February 2017, and I still haven’t written a single post about records I bought in 1986 and so I’m already out of sync with my younger self, 31 years ago.

I don’t really like just posting a song and saying: “And then I bought this….”, I like there to be a story to tell, a bon mots to drop about why I bought it, what was going on in my life – but sometimes that’s all there is to it. I just bought it because it’s ace.

For example, in January 1986, I bought this, a record I still adore today, and strictly speaking should have featured in my sporadic “How To Do A Cover Version” thread by now:

the-damned-eloise-mca-4

The Damned – Eloise

I mean, I could tell you (again, I’m sure I must have mentioned it before, it’s one of the first things I mention to practically anyone I meet for the first time…) about the time I sang karaoke with Captain Sensible (CLANG!!!!), but since I can’t actually remember what song we sang, the anecdote pretty much ends there.

Anyway, hopefully this should start me back on track.

By which I mean, of course: more soon.