You Can Count On Me

It occurred to me the other day, after gloating about having a Bank Holiday Monday off work, that that’s public holidays in England done until Christmas.

Our friends north of the border, of course, have one more to go on November 30th, and so I fully expect, and deserve, any ribbing they may wish to give me in return.

Which means the shops are doubtless already counting down the days until they can start putting the Christmas stock out; in fact I’ve seen a few people posting on Twitter that some have already started. In sodding September.

So, whilst I’m not counting down the days until Christmas as such, I am counting down the days until I can have a day off without it eating into my precious annual leave allowance.

Which gave me an idea for a new series: songs which involve counting, or numbers.

And where better to start than this, which could easily crop up on my Monday morning pick-me-up series:

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Sammy Davis, Jr. – You Can Count On Me

More soon.

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Sunday Morning Coming Down

It’s been a while since George Jones featured around these parts, so we’ll put that right this morning.

As the title of the album this is lifted from suggests, this is a Country standard which has been covered many times over the years. The best known version was cut by Guy Mitchell back in 1959, but was not the original, which was recorded by Ray Price slightly earlier than Mitchell’s version.

Since then, it’s been covered by the likes of Kitty Wells, Connie Francis, Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dwight Yoakam, Rosanna Cash, Cyndi Lauper and Martina McBride to name just a few.

You can’t beat a bit of George Jones on a Sunday morning though, can you?

R-5154520-1455379905-9288_jpegGeorge Jones – Heartaches by the Numbers

More soon.

I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays

I’ll make no bones about it. I find Monday mornings difficult.

I don’t really have a lie in on Saturday or Sunday anymore; there’s some weird clock that kicks in when you hit forty that prevents lie ins, so I’m generally up and about at the same time as I would be on a weekday.

Yet there’s something about having to drag my bloated carcass out of bed when it comes to starting a new week that I find difficult, to say the least.

And I can’t be the only one, surely?

So, for as long as I can manage to remember to write one of these of a Sunday evening, I thought I’d take a leaf out of the weekday breakfast show DJ’s book: play something upbeat to get the audience going.

And so here’s what I came up with first: a song about wanting to pack it all in rather than go to work.

Zambezi front

Piranhas – Zambezi

More soon.

“In the End, It Took Me a Dictionary to Find Out the Meaning of Unrequited” #3

Boy, am I regretting giving this series such a long name.

Anyway, I had been planning on holding this one back for a couple of weeks to mark my brother’s 50th birthday at the end of July, but it seems about right to post it now.

The reason I associate this record with my brother has been documented on these pages before, but to summarise: in the 1980s, he went to stay with my Barb and Bill (hello, in the unlikely event that you still read this!), my aunt and uncle, who live over in the US of A.

Barb and Bill met when Bill, a USAAF man, was stationed in the UK, and when his tour was over, he went back to the states, and took Barb with him where they ran a blueberry farm. Chances are that if you’ve ever eaten blueberries (and if you haven’t, you should, they’re yummy), it was them what grew ’em.

My brother went over there one summer and worked on the farm, returning with a) longer hair than he’d ever had before, b) a denim jacket, a pair of cowboy boots and, if I remember correctly, a pair of red jeans, and c) a whole clutch of vinyl.

This must have been how those working in the docks in the 50s and 60s felt when visiting Americans brought over records you simply couldn’t buy in the UK, except instead of rare Soul and Motown records which would go on to be rare, vakuable Northern Soul tunes, my brother brought with him albums by The Go-Go’s, The Fixx, and today’s musical choice, amongst others.

This series is about unrequited love, and can there be any worse kind than that which you know can never happen, not because the other party isn’t interested, but because they’re already going out with your best friend?

Here’s a man in a vest to explain:

jessies-girl

Rick Springfield – Jessie’s Girl

Fans of Breaking Bad will know (spoiler alert!) there’s not much point in getting too attached to Jessie’s Girl, of course…

More soon.

Replenishing the Vinyl

Apologies it’s been a bit quiet round here this week; work has been busy and I’ve found myself of an evening ploughing through a load of TV shows that I’d recorded and never got round to watching (more about this later)…and then before I knew it, here we are at the weekend.

What I’m trying to say is: brace yourselves, there’s loads on the way over the next couple of days.

To kick things off, more musings on recently purchased vinyl, and another record which I had not previously owned but which when I saw it I had to own, since it was by a band who remind me so much of being a kid.

With the school summer holidays beckoning, I often find myself reflecting on how my childhood holiday mornings would usually start: sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the television, watching old re-runs of Flash Gordon, Tarzan, Robinson Crusoe, The Banana Splits, and this lot:

The Monkees-The Monkees

Truth be told, until I bought this recently I only really knew the three most well-known tracks:

The Monkees – I Wanna Be Free

(which certain records by Teenage Fanclub always remind me of)

and

The Monkees – Last Train to Clarksville

and, of course, this, which heralded the start of their TV show and signalled a whole lot of uninterrupted zany fun (The Banana Splits were definitely zany, but the show was punctuated with what were, to my mind, too many dull cartoons):

The Monkees – (Theme from) The Monkees

The rest of the songs are all much of a muchness, if I’m honest. Not bad, not great, but clearly for the most part created from the same template.

Here’s a full episode of their show, just in case you fancy recreating the moment too:

There’s a further reason why I’ve a soft spot for The Monkees: Micky Dolenz was the first celebrity I ever encountered. He was the special guest at the summer fete in the village I lived in, a friend of a local resident who happened to be over visiting  and who presumably got strong-armed into making an appearance.

Truth be told, I remember as much about that encounter as Dolenz probably does.

But thinking about it, perhaps that wasn’t my first celebrity encounter. A little earlier, I think, and for reasons that I’ve never really understood, actress Katy Manning – who played Jo Grant for three years alongside Jon Pertwee’s third Dr Who – visited our school.

This is Katy in her pomp:

Jo-Grant-2

I was a little too young to remember her being in Dr Who (she left in 1973), but the show was most definitely something that was on my radar by the time she visited, already an object of my obsession throughout the Tom Baker years (I owned a Tom Baker doll action figure, a toy K-9, and a Tardis). So to meet with a real live companion of the Doctor’s blew my mind back then.

Anyway, when she met with the small group of kids I was with, I was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Dennis the Menace and Gnasher on it  (because I was super cool), and I remember her pointing at it and saying “Hey Dennis….Grrr!” (because she recognised me as being super cool).

What makes her visit all the more inexplicable is that this must have been in the late 1970s, and thus probably around the time that she somewhat notoriously posed nude with a Dalek for a photo-shoot for ‘Girl Illustrated’ magazine in 1978. I say nude, but actually she was wearing a pair of boots given to her by Derek Nimmo.

Oh wait. Katy definitely wasn’t the first celebrity I ever met. That honour does, in fact, go to a Mickey, just not Micky Dolenz:

Mickey & Me (1)

Before any of you comment on what a pretty dress I have on, that’s me on the right, and so happy am I to meet the massive Mouse, I appear to have filled my shorts to absolute maximum capacity. Always knew how to make a good first impression, me.

Yeh, go on, laugh it up. I’m not the only one to find myself in such a situation:

More soon.

Replenishing the Vinyl

I tried to stop myself, to wean myself away from scouring through pages upon pages of vinyl on ebay, but a couple of weeks ago, I had a moment of weakness. And I’m quite glad I did too, for I managed to pick up a signed copy of The Bluebells album “Sisters” for a few quid.

Best known for “Young at Heart” which hit No 1 in the UK when it was re-released in 1993 on the back of being used in a car advert, it’s a lovely little album that I think I only ever had a copy of on tape when I was a kid.

Here’s a couple of other singles from it, to get your Saturday off to a splendid start:

THE_BLUEBELLS_SISTERS-229825

The Bluebells – I’m Falling

The Bluebells – Cath

More soon.

“Jealousy is an Essential Part of Love”

A little over half way through The Wedding Present’s gig last night, the following exchange took place between me and my old mate Gary:

Gary: Hold my pint while I go to the loo will you?

Me: No.

Gary: No?

Me: Correct. No.

Gary: Why not?

Me: Because if you go to the loo now, you’ll miss “My Favourite Dress”, and I don’t want that on my conscience.

So, here’s the song in question. Their finest moment? I dunno. There are so many fine moments in The Wedding Present’s back catalogue, it’s hard to choose, but certainly this would be right up there.

And in response to Aphoristic’s comment on this week’s Late Night Stargazing post, there’s no finer place to start investigating non-“Seamonsters” Wedding Present than right here:

theweddingpresent

The Wedding Present – My Favourite Dress

It finishes, to rapturous applause, cheers, and doubtless the occasional tear.

Gary: Now will you hold my pint so I can go the loo?

Me: No.

Gary: No?

Me: Correct. No.

Gary: Why not?

Me: Because if you go to the loo now, you’ll miss “Shatner”, and I don’t want that on my conscience.

Repeat to fade.

More soon.