Tuesday Short Song

Time for some class around these parts.

Yes, I know. Finally.

I don’t think this needs any further introduction, other than to say it is, of course, by a living (at time of writing) legend, and utterly wonderful:

Bernard Cribbins – The Hole in the Ground

Happy? Good.

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

A fleeting reference to Kurt Cobain on Saturday, and here we are on Tuesday, listening to a song by a band he loved, and covered.

I wish I could pretend I was cool and had loved them for years, but truth be told I bought The Way of the Vaselines: A Complete History after being nudged in their direction by Cobain, but that doesn’t stop me from giving you the original artwork to the single. (I’ve no idea where said CD is now, I guess I must have lent it to somebody and not got it back.)

Anyway, here you go:

The Vaselines – Molly’s Lips

Did I mention Kurt Cobain was a fan?

Nirvana covered this, of course. I wish I could pretend I was cool and had loved them for years before they got famous, but truth be told I bought Incesticide, the early singles, B-sides and off-curs after being nudged in their direction by the brilliance of Nevermind, but that doesn’t stop me from giving you the original artwork to the single. (Disclaimer: I have no idea if this is the original artwork or not, it probably isn’t, I just found it online.)

Nirvana – Molly’s Lips

It’s fair to say that the two versions are very different stylistically. Personally, I think the Nirvana version could be enriched by moving the clown’s car horn honk from The Vaselinest on to it, but what do I know?

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

Following on from last week’s post, a song from ex-Pixies bassist Kim Deal’s off-shoot band.

In between the Pixies first splitting up and then (briefly) reforming with the original line-up, Deal formed The Breeders, and they released a couple of ruddy marvellous albums.

I mentioned a while ago that I picked up Felt’s Bubblegum Perfume in a music shop in Haverfordwest, and I first bought this record in the same town, only this time in their branch of Woolworth’s; it cost me 99p and I can see now why the firm went bust – they had no idea of the value of some of their stock.

Not that The Breeders Pod album is particularly rare or valuable, but it is wonderful and worth more than I paid for it.

I mean, it has Kim Deal singing on it waaaaay more than she was ever allowed to on Pixies records. And that alone is utterly impossible to evaluate in financial terms.

Have a listen and tell me I’m wrong – she practically purrs through this little beauty:

The Breeders – Fortunately Gone

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

Back when I lived in Cardiff, not long before I moved to London, I got into a discussion with my flatmate about the Pixies.

“Which are your favourite Pixies albums?” he asked.

“Easy,” I replied. “Come on Pilgrim (yes, I know it’s an EP); Surfer Rosa and Dolittle.”

“I see,” he said. “You’re one of those people who just like the cool early stuff and ignore how great Bossanova and Trompe La Monde.”

I didn’t much care for his tone.

“It’s not that I’m ignoring them. You asked which were my favourite albums, so I can’t just name all of them. It’s just that the ones I chose are better than both of those.”

And they are. And if you disagree, then of course you’re entitled to your opinion, even if it is wrong.

Because there are some great tunes on both, and to prove a point, today’s selection comes from Bossanova:

Pixies – Allison

Despite my protestations last week about not posting multiple songs by the same artist in the same post, there was another tune I wanted to post which is not just by the same artist, but from the same album.

But alas, it clocked in at 2:06 and is thusly disqualified from this here series.

So instead, here’s them pesky Pixies tearing up the stage on The Word, playing a rather spirited (by which I mean: fast) medley of the two songs in question. And since the two songs combined rack up a little over 3:00 of your ear-time I think we can allow them both through the gates:

Pixies – Cecilia Ann + Allison

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

I’ve realised that by previously posting more than one song in the same post by the same artist in this series, I may have shot my bolt somewhat.

So today, just one song, by one band, from one album, which provides rich pickings for this series, and to which we will return.

Sliding it at 1:59 and thus just under the requisite 2:00 bar:

The Undertones – Male Model

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

I’ve mentioned before somewhere that I think Lawrence – he of Felt, Denim, and most recently, Go-Kart Mozart…er… ‘fame’ doesn’t quite seem to be the right word, but we’ll go with it – is one of the most over-looked British songwriters of the last 40 years.

I first stumbled across him in the 1980s, during his Felt years, via a Creation Compilation album called Purveyors of Taste; a few years later, there were Felt again popping up on the seminal Doing It For The Kids compilation album.

The problem was – and I suspect this may be one of the reasons Lawrence isn’t better known than he is – Felt’s records seemed almost impossible to track down, to me anyway. The only place I ever seemed to encounter them was on one of these Creation label compilation records.

Then one day I happened to be in Haverfordwest, west Wales, and found myself in a shop selling musical instruments. On the counter, though, a small selection of second-hand CDs, and there amongst them was another compilation album on the Creation label, but this time featuring nothing but Felt, entitled Bubblegum Perfume, which pretty much sums up their sound.

I snaffled it up, of course.

This brief bit of brilliance is the opening track:

Felt – I Will Die With My Head In Flames

Superb. That is all.

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

Yes, I forgot to post one of these last week. Sorry. I would hope interim posts might explain the reason.

In 1992, the Lemonheads released the title track from their forever wonderful It’s A Shame About Ray album as a single. It peaked at a less than impressive, and certainly undeserved, number 31 in the UK. Don’t blame me, I bought it.

One of the additional tracks on the CD single was this glorious bit of one-sided, enigmatic storytelling:

Lemonheads – Shaky Ground

Later on the same year, the Lemonheads released a single not lifted from their It’s a Shame About Ray album, although subsequent versions would include it as a bonus track.

It was a cover version of a song which main Lemonhead Evan Dando promptly announced that he hated and had only recorded it at the record label’s request.

The song in question is Simon & Garfunkel’s Mrs Robinson, and Dando was doubtless annoyed that it went on to become their biggest hit in the UK.

That was until a year later they released a proper studio version of a song which first appeared as an extra track on the CD single of Mrs R, which just managed to nix it.

Thankfully, it wasn’t the only song which appeared on the CD single in question, nor was it the only one which clocked in under the 2:00 minute mark and therefore earns a mention here:

Lemonheads – Being Around

Lemonheads – Divan

Lemonheads – Into Your Arms

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

The other day I fell down a YouTube wormhole after someone posted a clip of this duo on Twitter.

We’ve all done this, I suspect: watched one clip on YouTube, followed by whatever it decides to play next, and then the next one, and then the next one, and then you notice something in the sidebar and you watch that, and it reminds you of something else which you search for and Hallelujah! There it is! And so on and so on and etcetera and so on until you suddenly realise an hour or so has passed, and you were supposed to be writing The Chain supposed to be going to the shops, but you won’t make it there before they close and anyway it’s raining and wow I’d forgotten all about this and so on….

If you never saw Flight of the Conchords, you missed an absolute treat. As far as I know it has never appeared on any of them there streaming services, your Netflix, or that one who continue to give Clarkson money for a reason I’ll never quite get my head around, or that Apple one where everything is brilliant, apparently.

So, for the uninitiated, just as The Housemartins (who featured here last week) used to refer to themselves as “The fourth best band in Hull”, so Flight of the Conchords were “New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo”.

First there was the comedy duo of the same name, comprised of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, then there was a BBC radio series, narrated by Rob Bryden, which – if you’re in the UK, I imagine – you can still hear on the BBC Sounds app (annoyingly inferior to the old radio iPlayer as it is) or you can listen to the first episode (the rest are there too) here. In it, the two luckless folksters try to make it big in London, aided and abetted, but mostly hindered, by their gloriously inept manager, Murray, played by Rhys Darby.

Then there were two HBO TV series, the first of which which aired in 2007. These lifted much of the plot, and a lot of the songs, from the radio series, but this time set the…erm, I hesitate to call it this…action in New York.

There have been two albums released off the back of the two TV series, the first is compulsory listening, the less so; let’s say that they got the tricky third album syndrome an album early, which given that they were also writing a comedy series in which said songs would feature, is hardly surprising.

Anyway, there is much to love about Flight of the Conchords, and particularly their first album. Sadly, I can’t play my favourite song by them in this series, as it clocks in at a self-indulgent 4:05; you’ll therefore have to wait to hear me waxing lyrical about the time I played it straight after a Jay-Z tune and it sounded magnificent. I love a good juxtaposition, me.

So instead, my second favourite song by them:

Flight of the Conchords – A Kiss Is Not a Contract

And then there’s this, a tune which doesn’t make it on to either album, but which I think is just brilliant:

Flight of the Conchords – Bret You’ve Got It Going On

To give that some sort of context: Jemaine thinks Bret is depressed, and is trying to build his confidence:

I once put that on a mix CD for Llŷr; luckily he saw the funny side, and as far as I know, did not think that I watched him sleep. Or put a lady’s wig on him.

Well, not every night, anyway.

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

Mental note to self: if you’re going to start a new series, best not to do it just before Christmas, New Year and when the January Blues kick in.

To make up for that, three songs for the price of one, all by the same band, all instrumentals, one of which encouraged me to play my guitar faster and more janglier than I had before, and at least two of which persuaded me to liberate my Dad’s harmonica, learn to play both songs on it, and then manage to lose it somewhere. I don’t know where. If I did then it wouldn’t be lost, would it?

First up, this from their much loved debut album, it’s only The (ruddy) Housemartins:

The Housemartins – Reverends Revenge

And then there’s this, a B-side to the mighty Happy Hour single, which I was delighted to inherit the 12″ of from my brother a couple of years ago:

The Housemartins – The Mighty Ship

And then there’s this, which crops up on the B-side of their Think For a Minute single:

The Housemartins – Who Needs The Limelight

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Housemartins: truly the kings of tunes you could squeeze on the end of a mixtape.

More soon. Next week, even.

Tuesday Short Song

Inspired by some of my blogging peers (Walter at A Few Good Times In My Life, Martin at New Amusements, Swiss Adam at Bagging Area and apologies to anyone else I may have missed) who every Monday post a long song, I thought I’d do something to compliment their work, by posting a short song every Tuesday.

So from here until I run out of songs to post (as is usual, I’ve not planned ahead so this may be a very, appropriately, short series) I’ll be posting songs which clock in at under two minutes.

And I can’t think of a finer way to kick the series off than this, one of the greatest record ever, partly because it’s so brief. It, like all the other songs in this series (I hope) does what it needs to do and then fucks off:

Primal Scream – Velocity Girl

A reminder: that song, now recognised as being so pivotal, was only deemed worthy of being a B-Side.

And one more thing: whenever I hear this song, I think of me and Tony, sitting opposite each other, cross-legged on a table at a sixth form party, singing it with each other, regardless of what the DJ was playing at the time (which was undoubtedly shite).

Happy days.

More soon.