Sunday Morning Coming Down

There are plenty of novelty Country records and cover versions knocking around which I wouldn’t dream of wasting your time with.

But this one is rather fine, so I will.

Back in 1992, Heavenly Records released an EP, all proceeds from which went to the Terence Higgins Trust, and which featured three bands from the label’s roster performing a cover version each of three singles by British pop act Right Said Fred.

Ask people what Right Said Fred’s only #1 single in the UK was, and chances are they’ll say that it was I’m Too Sexy. It wasn’t, of course, for that single had the misfortune of being out at the same time as Bryan Adams’ power ballad bohemoth Everything I Do (I Do It For You), which spent sixteen consecutive weeks at #1, six of which were spent keeping I’m Too Sexy at #2 (which in itself is a record they jointly share with Father Abraham and the Smurfs’ The Smurf Song which was kept off the UK #1 spot – mercifully – by John Travolta and Olivia Newton John’s You’re The One That I Want in 1977).

As you would expect, I’m Too Sexy features on The Fred EP, performed by Saint Etienne, a band I adore, but whose cover versions I approach with an air of caution. Have you ever heard their version of Bowie’s Absolute Beginners? It’s probably my favourite Bowie song, and so when I saw the Etienne boys and girl had covered it I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to hear it in all it’s undoubtedly glorious kitschness, only to be massively disappointed when I finally tracked it down.

The same is true here; s’alright. Not great. Bit of a let down, if I’m honest.

The second track which features is not-very-fondly-remembered Fred hit Don’t Talk, Just Kiss performed by the rarely-remembered-at-all Flowered Up. When I say “not very fondly remembered”, everything’s relative. It’s not as cringeworthy as You’re My Mate, which is possibly one of the worst records ever released by the polished domes of RSF, but ever.

And when I describe Flowered Up as “rarely remembered” I say that with a huge amount of sadness, for I have an enormous amount of affection for them.

But if you happened to listen to Steve Lamacq’s show on 6Music on Thursday this week, when he dropped their ruddy fantastic It’s On, in all it’s pan pipe and what-it-would-sound-like-if-Shaun-Ryder-was-a-Cockney glory, and heard the largely dismissive response it got from his listeners, you may question my judgement.

Anyway, their cover here is absolutely stonkingly great, but it’s not Country so it’s not in.

Which leaves me with, you’ll be pleased to hear, today’s tune.

Give it a couple of goes, and you’ll realise that The Rockingbirds have really taken Right Said Fred’s only #1 single and made it their own:

The Rockingbirds – Deeply Dippy

See? Bloody magnificent.

More soon.

Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba

Today, I’ll be straying into the land of La La La, rather than the usual Ba Ba Ba’s you find in this occasional series. And with good reason.

For yesterday, the terribly sad news came that Tim Brooke-Taylor had died due to Covid-19.

Growing up in the 1970s, Tim was, along with Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, an absolute hero of mine, for he was one of The Goodies.

You will often hear people say that ground-breaking, anarchic, anti-establishment comedy started with the likes of Not The 9 O’Clock News, or Spitting Image, or The Young Ones. But they’d be wrong, for the irreverance and disregard for form came a few years earlier with the hirsute threesome.

And just like The Young Ones did a few years later, The Goodies exploited their popularity by releasing a few singles, one of which I had bought for me, and which got played a lot, probably long before I was aware of the original:

The Goodies – Wild Thing

Althugh this was probably their best known contribution to the charts, a send-up of dance crazes like The Funky Chicken:

The Goodies – The Funky Gibbon

And I haven’t even mentioned this:

I was switched on to The Goodies because I used to listen to repeats of I’m Sorry, I’ll Say That Again when I was a kid; a radio sketch show predominantly featuring Tim with John Cleese and fellow Goodie Grame Garden, amongst others.

More recently, I had reconnected with Tim via his regular appearances on I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue, the anti-panel panel show, now hosted by Jack Dee and which I cannot recommend you listen to enough, next time it crops up on the BBC Sounds app (which, given yesterday’s sad news, cannot happen quickly enough).

One of the many absolute highlights of the show – apart from the deeply unfathomable (and deliberately so) Mornington Crescent round – is the round where contestants are asked to sing the lyrics of one song to the tune of a completely different one.

Here’s an example, Tim singing The Smiths’ Girlfriend in a Coma to the tune of Tiny Tim’s Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips:

He’ll be sadly missed round these parts: rest in peas, Tim.

More soon.

Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba

Okay, so there’s been a couple of weeks of not very much happening round these parts, whilst I got all old and decrepit and…erm…oh yes! forgetful and stuff, time to get the show back on the road.

Did you ever instinctively do something, and then, when you’d had a moment to pause, reflect and analyse, realised it didn’t exactly show you in a good light?

It happened to me a couple of weeks ago, when me and my old mate Richie went to a gig at The 100 Club. (I will get round to writing something about the gig itself at some point, I promise. Like you care.)

Anyway, knowing there were four acts on that night, at least three of which we wanted to see, we arrived at the venue at 7pm, the advertised doors time, only to be met by a shaven headed doorman, fag in gob, who told us in no uncertain terms that the doors would not be opening until 7:30 and we should form an orderly queue on the pavement if we knew what was good for us.

There was one other bloke waiting, so we insisted he stood at the front of the line, Richie and I behind him. Shortly afterwards we were joined by another couple: he was clearly a bit of a muso and wanted everyone to know it. His wife (I assume) asked who it was they were going to see, and he replied “The Chesterfields. They released an album called Kettle in the 1980s which I have the original pressing of on vinyl”.

I leaned into Richie and whispered “Yeh, like it ever got a second pressing…” Richie giggled.

As we waited it became clear that she was much more interested in popping into the Boots store next door and reporting back on where they keep the tissues than in going to a gig.

7:30 came and went, and eventually we were allowed in. If you’ve never been to The 100 Club, it’s a wonderfully grubby venue, steeped in counter culture and musical history. There’s a reason why on I, Ludicrous‘ magnificent Preposterous Tales Ken refers to seeing the Sex Pistols play there. Put it this way: Richie slipped off to the Gents and came back, marvelling that they were “a work of art”. He even took a photo (thankfully nobody else was in there, or there may have been trouble):

There’s so many questions here: why does one toilet have a lid but the other doesn’t? Is it okay to leave the seat up in the Gents? And most importantly, does that partially obscured bit of graffiti at the top say Borrowed Time or Borrowed Tim? I really hope it’s the latter.

Inside the main venue, there is a bar at each end of the room, with the stage in between. It’s one of those glorious stages which are only about knee-high, so you can get really close to the act. On this occasion, to the right is a set of DJ decks, and then a few tables and chairs have been set out, either side of the stage.

Richie heads to the bar, I grab a table over to the left of the stage. Shortly after Richie arrives with the beers, the couple from the queue, predictably, come and sit on the table to our left, which is slightly in front of us.

Between acts, there is a DJ (hence the decks) who plays a dazzling array of much loved and much forgotten jangly indie classics from the era from whence the bands had come to see had founded there reputation. We get some Orange Juice, some early Wedding Present, and this:

The June Brides – Every Conversation

Ok, so technically it’s Na Na Na’s rather than Ba Ba Ba’s: I’m expanding the catchment area, that ok with you?

And then it happens.

A song comes on, and I see the bloke from the couple on the next table get his phone out and try to Shazam it.

For those unfamiliar with the app, imagine that you’re out and about, hear a tune you like but don’t know what it is and don’t want to betray your ignorance by asking somebody. Shazam is an app where you can play it a short snippet of a song and it will (usually) tell you who/what it is. Old school readers may remember, before smart phones and apps became a thing, you could type 2580 into your phone, hold it up, and get a text telling you what you were listening to.

But, as The 100 Club is subterranean, the guy’s phone couldn’t connect.

I know what this song is, I thought. I can help.

And so I leant – no, more accurately, lunged – across Richie, and tapped the bloke on his arm.

“Are you trying to work out what this is?” I asked, pointing upwards in what is the universally accepted hand signal for “this thing what we can hear”.

“Yes,” he replied, “but I can’t Shazam it.”

“Shazam won’t help you with this, my friend” I said, “but I can.” You know, like how people in adverts for stain removers talk.

For a moment, I imagined myself in a tight spandex suit and cape, swooping in to assist a befuddled musical inquisitor with their fruitless quest. “I am Obscure Tune Man and only I can assist you in your quest to identify jingly jangly guitar tunes from the late 1980s which nobody bought at the time!”

“It’s…”

The Brilliant Corners – Brian Rix

“Ah yes,” said the gent, “The Brilliant Corners! Of course! Thank you, I saw them back in 1988 or 89….”

Course you did mate. (That’s preposterous.)

And as I sat back in my chair, I realised just how needy I had just made myself look, so keen to show off, so desperate to bestow my knowledge on others.

How rather pathetic I looked.

Anyway, welcome to my blog.

More soon.

Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba

I’ve posted this before, way back in 2016, so I’m pretty sure you’ve all forgotten about it by now.

The first time I heard this was on Now That’s What I Call Summer, a double album I picked up purely so I would have some summer songs to put on the mix-tapes I used to compile for play in the sixth form common room.

Little did I know that over thirty years later, this would still be one of my favourite summer tunes ever:

Barracudas – Summer Fun!

Just gloriously dumb and care-free.

More soon.

Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba

A conversation at work on Friday:

Me: I’ve got this claim by a bloke called Lloyd…(surname redacted for obvious reasons)

Kay: I know that name.

Me: I doubt it…

Kay: Yes, I do. Wasn’t he a singer? In the 80s…?

Me: (after a pause) Do you mean Lloyd Cole?

Kay: Yes!

Me: No. Not him. Because his surname’s Cole. Unlike the person I’m talking about.

Kay: Oh.

A pause.

Kay: You’re going to write about this, aren’t you?

Yes. Yes I am.

Jennifer

Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Jennifer She Said

More soon.

Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba

Every now and then I stumble across/am reminded of records which would nestle neatly into a series that I can occasionally be bothered to write.

Here’s how my Friday nights usually go: eat, watch a bit of telly, open a bottle of red, pop some tunes on, start writing some stuff that I hope is good enough to post, praying that inspiration will strike at some point.

Last night, my iPod played me this little belter that I’ve not heard for ages.

In the mid-to-late 80s, I bloody loved The Flatmates, but then I had a bit of an infatuation with girl-fronted indie bands at the time.

The Flatmates have been supporting The Wedding Present on some of their current UK dates; never having seen them back in the day I’m hoping they’ll still be on board when I go to see Gedge & co in December (health permitting!). Ten years ago, I caught The Wedding Present on their tour to mark the 20th anniversary of their Bizarro album, and The Primitives – another female-fronted band I loved but had never seen – were supporting them, and I had an absolute blast when they played.

I always thought that, had their records been slightly more polished, then The Flatmates could have been pretty big. See what you think – here’s some classic late 80s indie ba ba ba ba ba’ing:

the-flatmates-i-could-be-in-heaven-the-subway-organization

The Flatmates – I Could Be In Heaven

More soon.

Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba

Previously thought dead series reactivation alert!

I have nothing much to say about this very over-looked single, with it’s references to gin and an oh-so-bonkers skewiff tune, sounding like We Are Scientists on a night out with Art Brut, gloriously featuring some Ba Ba Ba’s for you all to enjoy, other than it is utterly brilliant.

Listen and love:

lets-wrestle

Let’s Wrestle – We Are the Men You’ll Grow To Love Soon

You’re welcome.

More soon.

Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba

This song very nearly made an appearance last week in the brief Back to School series I did, but I couldn’t decide which version to post, so I figured I’d leave it til another day.

Today’s the day.

But which version to post?

Don’t make me choose which version I like more. Let’s have both.

the-kinks-david-watts-pye-3

The Kinks – David Watts

And okay, apparently it’s Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa rather than Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba, but it’s close enough and I’m pretty sure that both Davies and Weller slip a couple of Ba Ba Ba’s in.

R-389922-1258539871_jpeg

The Jam – David Watts

I think every school year has a David Watts. The one in my year was called Robbie. He was the captain of the team, and I was lucky if I made the becnh. All of the girls in the neighbourhood did indeed want to go out with him, whilst refusing to touch me with a barge-pole, no matter how much money I offered them.

I definitely wanted to be him.

And then he joined the army, and suddenly I didn’t want to be him so much anymore.

More soon.

Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba

The thing is, when you start writing a series with a very definite criteria, there comes a point where you run out of obvious songs to post.

And then your iPod reminds you of something you can’t believe you’d missed out, an absolute “How did I manage to forget this one?” moment.

I was about to (and still will in the very near future) extend this series to include La La La’s and Do-Be-Do-Be-Do’s when this popped up on shuffle, a song I’ve not posted since 2016, but a song which is as important to me as anything Quo, R.E.M., The Wedding Present or The Smiths ever did:

268x0w

The Colorblind James Experience – Considering a Move to Memphis

More soon.