Claps, Clicks & Whistles #16

Blimey, has it been over a month since I wrote one of these? Blame The Chain (which I think we can safely say is now a fortnightly occurrence, by the way).

So I’ll keep this brief.

I love The Go-Go’s. I’ve listened to this track several times, trying to work out if that noise – you’ll know it when you hear it – is a foot-stomp or a hand clap, or a combination of the two. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s probably several hand claps layered on to each other.

Have a listen for yourselves:


The Go-Go’s – Head Over Heels

That came out in 1984, shortly before the band split (for the first time), and comes from the Martin Rushent produced ‘Talk Show’ album. It’s by far the best thing on there.

But back in 1981, they released this, which definitely features some hand claps, and which is, without doubt, one of my favourite singles of all time (which you can tell, because I think this is probably the third time I’ve found an excuse to post it):


The Go-Go’s – Our Lips Are Sealed

Still sounds as great today as it did way back when.

More soon.


Claps, Clicks & Whistles #15

I’ve been umming and ahhing for a while about whether to post this tune here or in my even more infrequent series on how to do a cover version.

See, as I’ve mentioned before, I think if you’re going to do a cover version, you may as well try and do something interesting with it, and that certainly applies to this cover version, so maybe it belongs over there.

But then, it’s so hot dang finger clicking good, it belongs here too.

Aww, who cares? Here it is:


TV On The Radio – Mr Grieves

For the uninitiated, that’s a cover of a Pixies song. Not just any old song, mind. The song which contains the lyric which gave them the title of their simply massive album “Doolittle”:


Pixies – Mr Grieves

More soon.

Claps, Clicks & Whistles #14

A few months ago, I made a bad joke about featuring a record by whistler-in-chief Roger Whittaker on these pages, only to be rather taken aback by several requests to actually post something by him.

Well, there’s some more obvious songs by more obvious whistlers to post before I get to Our Rog.

Like this lot for example:


Whistling Jack Smith – I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman

That song managed to reach the giddy heights of #5 in the UK charts back in 1967. The true identity of the actual Whistling Jack Smith has remained something of a mystery; the whistler here is believed to be John O’Neill, a trumpeter and singer with the Mike Sammes Singers, who are known to have performed on the recording.

However, just like when Black Box hired Katrin Quinol, a French Caribbean model, to become the face of their 1989 smasheroo “Ride on Time” rather then just admit they had sampled Loleatta Holloway’s single “Love Sensation”, or like when that girl mimed at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, or every record that Milli Vanilli were ever involved in: when it came to performing on Top of the Pops, actor Coby Wells was used to mime the whistling, and later toured as the public face of Whistling Jack Smith.

Coby Wells’ real name was Billy Moeller, who was the brother of Tommy Moeller. You know Tommy Moeller, right? Lead vocalist, guitarist, and pianist with Unit 4 + 2..? Yes, that Tommy Moeller.

Here’s their most famous moment:


Unit 4 + 2 – Concrete and Clay

Many of you will know that Dexys Midnight Runners front man Kevin Rowland released an album of controversial cover versions which contained that song. Actually, it wasn’t so much the cover versions which were controversial, more the covers of the album, “My Beauty” and the singles which were released from it:


Kevin Rowland – Concrete and Clay

(“Pssst! Kevin!! Kevin!! You didn’t tuck yourself in properly when you came out of the Gents!”)

So controversial was his choice of clothing, that the audience pelted him with bottles of…erm…liquid when he appeared on stage at the Reading Festival to perform tracks from the album back in 1999. But they did the same to Meatloaf and Bonnie Tyler back in 1988, so he was really just carrying on a rock ‘n’ roll tradition.

And speaking of dubious cover versions, let it not be forgotten that “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” itself got worked over in 1977:


The Wurzels – Farmer Bill’s Cowman

And yes, the Quality Control desk is closed tonight.

More soon.

Claps, Clicks & Whistles #13

Staying in the world of soundtracks again this week, and a movie I watched a couple of months ago on Netflix called “I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore”. You can see right off what attracted me to it, can’t you?

Here’s the plot synopsis as it appears on IMDb:

“When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals.”

“Burglarized” isn’t really a word we use over here in the UK. We prefer to use “burgled”. “Burglarized” sounds like it’s a euphemism for something unpleasantly non-consensual, doesn’t it?

I should point out that “I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore” is a black comedy, and stars Melanie Lynsky (I spent the whole film trying to work out where I knew her from, and then found out afterwards she’s in Peter Jackson’s 1994 movie “Heavenly Creatures”, which I loved when it came out) and Elijah Woods, who has some kind of connection with Jackson too, apparently.

It’s a decent enough film – not great enough to have me rushing to my laptop to recommend it to you all, but good enough to while a couple of hours away watching.

Oh, and the soundtrack’s not bad too, and it did have me scurrying off to track down a song or two from it, including this fine slice of doo-woppery:


Judy & The Affections – Dum, Dum, De Dip

Finding out information about Judy & The Affections has proved somewhat difficult; Judy (or Judi as she appears on some records) is Judy Placido, and I stumbled across a rather charming forum where the band were being discussed.

One contributor proffers:

“According to Sal at the record show, Judi is from St Clair Shores and may still live there. She only sang on the two records that he knew of”

…only to be corrected a few posts later with this:

“Actually, 4 records. Judi and the other group members opted to pursue boyfriends instead of singing careers. Except me, the youngest at 13-4, and too young for boys!!!! For me, being a member of the singing group was a way to go to places that I would be too young to get into. It was a legitimate night out. We recorded in 1963-4.”

That from one Jo Placido. (And while we’re at it: put that in your pipe and smoke it, Sal from The Record Show! And your show has a rubbish, all too literal, name!)

Similarly, someone posted this song on YouTube back in 2009, one of those things where they wanted to share the record and made a video made up of lots of images of 1950s/1960s life and culture to accompany it. In 2014, this appears in the Comments section:

“I am flattered that you used my song in your Youtube video. Love the pictures too.”

– Judith Placido

Which is all rather lovely, that members of a band who had less than their fifteen minutes of fame back in the day can find out, years later, that their records have been discovered by a whole new wave of music fans. Such is the beauty of the internet.

So Bloggers of the world take note: one day, somebody that you write about may just Google the old band they used to be in and be led to your blog….

Can I just say what exceptionally nice chaps I’m sure the individual members of Blue are really….?

More soon.

Claps, Clicks & Whistles #12

Following on from my post on Saturday morning, here’s another jazz number which also just happens to feature in the movie “Baby Driver” that I was banging on about last week, and which is finger-clickingly cool:


The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Unsquare Dance

I post this merely to point out the film’s soundtrack is diverse, if nothing else.

More soon.

NB – I seem to be having issues connecting to my usual file sharing service, so I’ve resorted back to Zippyshare, so my apologies for any pop-ups which may appear if you try to listen to that.

Claps, Clicks & Whistles #11

Back in November, I wrote about my sadly passed friend Tony, and as I came to write this post, I found myself thinking of him again.

See, Tony was one of the most quietly encouraging blokes I ever met, and at some point I must have told him I played guitar. I know this to be true, because I have a much valued photo of him pretending to play my (now also sadly passed) acoustic guitar.

At some point, when there was just the two of us, I must have played it for him, and sung too. And I remember that, because one evening at his house, he sprung on me my first ever gig: gathering a couple of friends and his parents round and insisting that I perform for them the song that I had played for him.

It was the first time I had ever played and sung unaccompanied (by unaccompanied, I mean that I wasn’t just playing along to a record) in front of more than one person and, truth be told, it probably wasn’t the finest solo performance, but it did give me a degree of confidence that hadn’t been there previously.

A year or so later, I was at college, in a band, and DJ’ing. And if I look back now, the latter of those two things would probably never have happened had it not been for Tony’s gentle “Come on mate, I know you can do this” that night as he thrust my guitar into my shaking, clammy hands.

I’m pretty sure that my old mate Richie was one of the unlucky few to witness that performance, and next weekend, on his birthday, Richie and I are hooking up for the first time in a couple of years, to go and see the band responsible for the song I sang in Tony’s front room that night.

I say “band”, but in reality, there’s only one person left from those days back in the late 1980s, but it’s the important one, the main man, the one and only David Gedge.

Next Saturday, we’re off to see The Wedding Present at The Roundhouse perform the whole of their legendary “George Best” album as part of the 30th anniversary of the original release.

The first gig I went to after I left home was The Wedding Present at Cardiff University’s Great Hall. It was a night that confirmed all I had hoped about life was attainable: that I could have a blindingly great night watching one of my favourite bands in the world, and not have to worry about waking my parents up when I went home. Which is pretty much all I’ve ever wanted out of life.

Since then, they’re probably the band that I’ve seen most often (yes, even more than I’ve seen The Quo). I have, quite literally, lost count of how many times it is. Once at Uni I managed to blag, via the student rag, a press ticket to see them at the Newport Centre , promising to write a review of the gig which never materialised.

And they never fail to deliver live: about ten, maybe fifteen, years ago, my friends Hel and Llyr saw them at the Reading Festival (I think, without wishing to sound too modest, because they knew how much I bang on about them, although they will probably say it was because there was nobody else on that they’d wanted to watch instead). Both regularly tell me how awesome they were that day.

I first heard The Wedding Present because of Tony, but it was Richie who, after my brother had piqued my interest by incessantly playing The Jesus & Mary Chain (who I initially hated, but, man, he wore me down), properly got me into indie music. I’ll talk more about that another time, but needless to say, next Saturday is going to be an emotional night for me and Richie; our friendship was forged over a mutual admiration of certain records, and cemented by our shared worldview and political leanings.

And, yeh, I know this sounds a bit naff, but Tony will be with us too.

So anyway, here’s the song I played for Tony et al that night. The opening track from “George Best”, the template for so many Gedge songs since, a story of a failing relationship told in the way that only Gedge can do. With some added, nonchalant, “Me? No, I’m not bothered, honestly” whistling for good measure.

For my money, Gedge is one of the great unsung heroes of British lyricists. Listen to his storytelling skills and try telling me that the likes of, for example, Arctic Monkey’s Alex Turner, doesn’t owe him a huge debt:


The Wedding Present – Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft

I’ve been listening to the “George Best” album as I wrote this. The next seven days can’t go quick enough, and I suspect next Saturday won’t last long enough.

More soon.

Claps, Clicks & Whistles #10

This should in no way be seen as part of my ongoing election ranting.


Muse – Uprising

Unless of course you choose to see this as part of my ongoing election ranting, haven’t registered to vote yet, and decide that you might on the strength of this.

In which case, be my guest, and go here before May 22nd to do what you have to do.

More soon.