Sunday Morning Coming Down

So I had this morning’s post all lined up and ready to go, when I did my usual sweep of my peers’ blogs to check I wasn’t posting anything anyone else just had, and to see if there was anything I wanted to download (and then buy shortly afterwards, of course), and I visited, as I often do, and if you don’t you should, Swiss Adam’s magnificent blog “Bagging Area” where he had written these words:

“It’s half term and we are in the Lake District for the next couple of days, near Ulverston (which I can’t think of without singing it to the tune of Glen Campbell’s Galveston).”

I’m exactly the same: anytime I see a bottle of Gaviscon the same tune pops into my brain.¬†I can’t believe that ad-men haven’t tried to use it to promote their milky acid-reflux¬†busting wares, although they may have been met with the same reaction as when those charged with promoting a haemorrhoid cream tried to use Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” in their ad.

Anyway, Swiss this one’s for you:

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Glen Campbell – Galveston

Two things of note about this. Firstly, check out the title of the B-side – possibly the most Country song title I’ve ever seen.

Secondly, and I’ve written about this before on these pages, it reminds me of a disastrous blind date I once went on, where, towards the end of the evening, after we’d both realised the date was going nowhere except home alone in a cab, we discussed music and I happened to mention I liked some Country music, and named Kris Kristofferson, after whom this thread is now named, as someone who’s work I particularly admired. My suggestion was shot down by my date, who proclaimed Glenn Campbell as the greatest Country star ever, and naming “Galveston” and “Witchita Lineman” as two of the greatest records ever.

Which they are, but they weren’t written by Campbell, they were written by Jimmy Webb, and of course I couldn’t resist pointing out the flaw in her argument to her, triumphantly declaring myself to be the winner of that particular round of hostilities.

46, and still single. Can’t think why. Which sounds like a pretty good title for a Country record itself.

Meet y’all back here later for some Chain fun?

Or, in other words: More soon.

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Late Night Stargazing

If ever I was asked to name my favourite album by Teenage Fanclub, I’d probably¬†pick their sixth, “Songs From Northern Britain”. And then I’d change my mind and¬†choose “Bandwagonesque” instead. And then I’d think about it a bit more and pick “Grand Prix”. And so on, until I’d gone through the whole lot.

This is from “Songs From Northern Britain” and, as with pretty much every Teenage Fanclub song, it’s flawless:

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Teenage Fanclub – Planets

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Although, looking back,¬†I’ve only posted three songs by them in the last 6 months, for some reason I have it in my head that I’ve¬†been on a bit of a Manic Street Preachers tip here recently.¬†There’s more to come via one of the suggestions I received for this week’s Chain suggestions, but I figured I’d keep things flowing with this little beauty.

For many fans, “Motorcycle Emptiness” (another Richie Edwards title) is their finest moment. Well, here it is made even better (which shouldn’t be possible, but they manage it), with a little help from the Stealth Sonic Orchestra, who are actually Apollo 440 (remember them??) in disguise:

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Manic Street Preachers – Motorcycle Emptiness (Stealth Sonic Orchestra Remix)

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

Hello, good evening and welcome to what is for us lucky folks in the UK is that rarest and most beautiful of things: a bank holiday weekend.

For those of you outside the UK, that means we have Monday off.

And for what I think is the first time in my working life, I have been astute enough to book today off too, giving me a glorious 4 days off on the trot.

And how will I be spending it, I hear you ask? Predominantly, perched in front of my laptop writing guff for you all to enjoy read, interspersed with the occasional missive to the agency who manage the flat I live in about where they can stick the¬†¬£150.00 “administration fee” they want to charge me¬†to renew my tenancy agreement.

So before, I get all grizzly about that, let’s get going with a non-themed, just tunes Friday Night Music Club.

But¬†first some admin:¬†inspired by The Robster over at “Is This The Life?”¬†I’m using a different file-sharing service this week. I’ve grown a little tired of people telling me they can’t use the Zippyshare link to songs on their phones, and even more so about the pop-ups that Zippyshare seem to generate, and the content of some of the ads they insert, which I definitely do not approve of, and which I hope none of you have clicked. I’ve road-tested the new one and it seems to be waaaaaay better, but I’d¬†be grateful for your feedback (Cath, Llyr, Kay) as to whether¬†it’s an improvement or not.

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262. The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

When I was in my final year at college, I would often spend a Friday night round at my mate Daints’ flat. Daints was the singer in the band that I attempted to play lead guitar in, and I would often seek sanctuary round at his. Occasionally we would rehearse or, heaven forbid, write a song; more often we would¬†sink a few beers, smoke a few fags (USA folks: that doesn’t mean what you think), play a little Tetris (this does nothing to negate any nerd thoughts you may have had about me, does it?) and indulge in what today is annoyingly¬†termed “banter” but back then was just some mates having a laugh.

On one such occasion, Daints was ribbing (again, not what you USA folks might think) one of his flat-mates (a nice enough girl called Paula, who my friends and I all referred to,¬†rather unkindly I can see with the benefit of hindsight, as “Baked Potato” because of her resemblance to one) about her love of The Cure, by pointing out that there out-put at the time (i.e. when this came out) was nothing more than “chart music”. He spat the phrase out with such¬†distaste that she had no chance of recovery.

Still, it’s perfect Friday Night fodder, and let’s be honest, whilst I have no clue about what bothers the charts these days, there’s nothing wrong with our favourite bands being successful, right? Hence it’s inclusion here.

Next, an oft-overlooked single from what I think is one of the greatest debut albums in recent history:

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263. Franz Ferdinand – Michael

Now, the closest you will get to a theme this week, and a man who apparently had no “G” on¬†his¬†keyboard¬†:

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264. Michael Jackson – Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’

Let’s just examine some of the lyrics for a second:

“You’re A Vegetable (You’re A Vegetable)
Still They Hate You (You’re A Vegetable)
You’re Just A Buffet¬†(You’re A Vegetable)
They Eat Off Of You (You’re A Vegetable)”

Erm, okay Michael.

Who knew he had so much in common with Thatcher?

Or the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for that matter (Let’s not go there – Legal Ed.)

Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa indeed.

Ok, moving on to my favourite type¬†of record¬†to play when DJ’ing.: long ones.

The benefit of dropping long record are threefold:

  1. You don’t have to think about what to play next for a while;
  2. You can dash off to the toilet and get back in plenty of time for the next tune;
  3. Generally, people don’t like to walk off the dancefloor mid-record, as it makes it look like¬†they didn’t know what they were dancing to in the first place. Long records test their endurance in a way that Bear Grylls can only dream of,¬†allowing you chuckle about¬†¬†those who start dancing¬†and who then feel compelled/become determined to see it out to the end of the song, however knackered they may look 3/4 of the way through.

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265. Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up

That’s just shy of 12 minutes worth of funky grooviness right there, and if you can’t make it to the Gents and back in that time, then I’d suggest you contact your GP.

Next up, a song you will all know, but a remix of it that I first came across when I picked it up on a compilation CD in a Virgin megastore sale, and which has such a fantastically 80s bass-line it almost makes me want to be the next Mrs John Taylor:

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266. Duran Duran – Girls on Film (Salt Tank Remix)

And for all you lonely people (by which ¬†here’s the original video, directed by 10cc’s Godley and Cr√®me and banned by the BBC for what will become fairly obvious reasons if you watch it (by which I mean Dad, do not watch this when Mum’s around):

Moving swiftly on….and following on from my recent Kate Bush posts, here’s a remix of a 1992 tune by Utah Saints, which samples La Madame Bush, this version released in 2008:

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267. Utah Saints – Something Good 08 (Van She Tec Mix)

…and which had a simply splendid video to accompany it:

Terrible gag at the end, mind, but as a former Cardiffian, I can’t help but love it.

Next up, a tune that simply sounds good played next to that one:

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268. Simian Mobie Disco – Audacity of Huge

I first came across the next record when I was DJ’ing at college; originally called¬†“Pro>Gen”, it got it’s first release¬†when the band’s sort-of original line-up was still intact, by which I mean before Will Sinn had tragically drowned off the coast of¬†Tenerife.

Truth be told, it did little to bother the charts on it’s first release, but post-Sinn, in that way that records tend to do when someone involved with creating them dies, like the general public rubber-necking a car crash,¬†it was¬†much more successful when it got re-released as “Move Any Mountain”.

Here’s the original:

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269. The Shamen – Pro>Gen

I worked with The Shamen once. *CLANG* Name-dropping alert!!

We booked them on the Synergy Tour when I was at college and one of my many duties was to ensure their rider demands were met. On this occasion, one of them was that all of the performers were provided with a hot meal.

No problem, I thought: they can have something from the college refectory, same as every other band that had come through our doors. If it’s good enough for the Manic Street Preachers, The Blue Aeroplanes and Carter USM (CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!), it’s good enough for this lot, reasoned I.

So,¬†they were provided with menus of the day’s delicious offerings, from which they all ordered, and I dispatched a¬†couple of members of¬†my team to go and collect their chosen sustenance.

Mr C. was, I recall, not happy about the standard of the slop that he was given, ranting off about how he hadn’t eaten properly for days and how he couldn’t eat what he had been given.

I stood up and looked him in the eye.

“We have to eat this shit every fucking day, mate” I said.

Mr C sat down again.

I still love his rap in this though.

After the gig, I ventured into the dressing room. Now I’m not saying that they weren’t all diabetics, but there were¬†an awful lot of syringes laying around in there.

I once played “Pro>Gen” at a house party, and the now ex-girlfriend of one of my best mates started singing “E’s are Good” when it got to the chorus, not in any ironic “they all sound the same” kinda way, but in a genuine “that’s what this record is, right?” kinda way.

Lucky escape, mate.

At the same house party (shout out to the Hilldrop Massive!!), I played this, and a man I’d never met before, or since,¬†practically exploded with excitement, came and hugged me, and then would not shut up about the fact I’d played it for the rest of the night. So, in his honour:

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270. Double Trouble & Rebel MC – Street Tuff (Scar Radio Mix)

Two more songs for tonight. Firstly, the song which they invariably use to mark the end of one of their gigs; this is essentially the sound of The Charlatans flicking the lights on and off, stacking chairs and starting to mop the floor around you:

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271. The Charlatans – Sproston Green (US Version)

But it’s not our end of night tune. That honour goes to¬†another act that needs no introduction, and which, if you timed listening/reading to all of this just right, will be pretty much¬†perfect:

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272. The Chemical Brothers – Midnight Madness

The video is rather fun/disturbing (delete as applicable):

That should do you for this week.

More soon.

Name That Tune

Had I posted this a few weeks ago, I could have appeared fairly organised.¬†Topical, even. Vaguely current. Relevant. Lots of other phrases that don’t exactly spring to mind when describing your truly.

I could have linked today’s post¬†to the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth or death, whichever it was. I can’t remember. I just know he was born and died on the same day. With some years in between, obviously.

Or, after his body was found buried under a car park in Leicester,¬†I could have linked it to bloody Leicester winning the Premiership (see, I’m still not bitter. Totally over it.)

But I’m not organised, not topical, neither current nor relevant, so hear I am, better late than never.

Released in March 1997, and the second single to be lifted from the second album “In It For The Money” (the first, “Going Out” had been released over a year earlier), this is Supergrass at their loudest:

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Supergrass – Richard III

The eagle-eared amongst you will have noticed that neither the king nor the Shakespeare play is mentioned in the song – so what the hecking heck is that title about?

As with many other musicians,¬†when writing a song, Supergrass would give it a¬†working title.¬†The most famous example of this is the one that Paul McCartney¬†gave to “Yesterday”:¬†“Scrambled Eggs”. Anyway, Supergrass used to give their songs people’s names as working titles, and this was the third one they had provisionally christened Richard.

That is all.

Oh, no wait a minute, come back. I’ve got some more.

Here’s another song called “Richard” (although to the best of my knowledge, not a famous one); in 2013 it was¬†the 30th Anniversary of the original release of Billy Bragg’s¬†“Life’s a Riot with Spy vs. Spy”, and to celebrate it got the whole remastered and re-released she-bang, including¬†a¬†bonus disc recorded live on 5 June 2013 at the Union Chapel, Islington, “That” London – the same venue¬†I’ll be seeing Billy play later at this year.

The bonus disc starts with this introduction from Billy:

“I’m gonna tell you why we came on a little bit early tonight. There is an early curfew here…at this venue…but with the cameras here and everything, it was suggested that with the 30th anniversary of ‘Life’s a Riot’ coming up, I might do something a bit special for you at the end. Now: other bands, when they want to celebrate a seminal album, hire the Albert Hall and an orchestra and spend an evening playing the album. Fortunately for you and me, especially those of you with expensive babysitters, ‘Life’s a Riot with Spy vs. Spy” is only seventeen minutes long. It fits neatly into a second encore.”

He then does just that – plays the whole album in 17 minutes (or so).

Which of course, includes this:

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Billy Bragg – Richard (30th Anniversary Live Version)

Or you can watch the whole thing here; seems to have been filmed by someone in the audience, but it’s surprisingly good quality, not your standard shaky hand-held footage with sound¬†quality akin to being recorded underwater¬†affair:

I love that he still dedicates the last verse of “A New England”, which wasn’t on his original¬†version, but was on hers, to Kirsty MacColl.

And, just to make this post all nice and circular and tidy, here’s a clip from the glorious “Cunk on Shakespeare”, where Diane Morgan/Charlie Brooker’s genius documentary making character, Philomena Cunk, explores the works of Shakespeare:

If you didn’t see it, try and track the full programme down. I was laughing like a drain (which has always struck me as being an odd simile) for the whole half hour it was on.

More soon.

The Chain #6

Hello, good morning and welcome.

I have to say this is rapidly turning into my favourite thread of the week, and just to refresh memories/fill in newcomers, this is where we play the next record from 6Music’s Radcliffe & Maconie’s “The Chain” and invite your suggestions for what you would like to hear next that links to that record (along with an explanation of the link). And then cross our fingers that I already own it or can track down a copy. Oh, and if you want to have a guess at how the songs were linked on the radio show, feel free.

So, we left you last week with “Girl From Mars” by Ash, and we have two great, great suggestions, both of which link to the same band.

First up is George, who wrote:

Right. Here goes for Comment Showboating. I‚Äôve got a link from Ash to The Fall. You‚Äôll like this. The Ash album from which Girl From Mars comes is 1977. If you add up the digits of 1977 you get 24. And in the number 24, the ‚Äú2‚ÄĚ is next to the ‚Äú4‚ÄĚ. So you could say the ‚Äú2‚ÄĚ is by the ‚Äú4‚ÄĚ. Or 2 by 4. Track 2, side 1 from The Wonderful And Frightening World Of‚Ķ by the Fall is 2√ó4.

Okay, two things to say about this. Firstly, and I think George knows this, I love Comment Showboating, particularly on this thread. So, please, if you’re going to make a suggestion, fill your boots, make it as convoluted as you like.

Secondly, George: that is just one of the most brilliant links I’ve ever read. How can I resist? (Clue: I can’t) Here’s the version lifted from the 6 CD opus that is The Fall’s Complete Peel Sessions:

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The Fall – 2 x 4 (Peel Session)

Moving on to Dave aka The Great Gog who sent me this:

“Sticking with the planet / young female theme ‚Äď there is ‚ÄúA Mercury Girl‚ÄĚ by Cleaners From Venus (from 1987 album Going To England). Giles Smith from the band became a journalist and wrote an excellent book entitled Lost In Music. I believe that some sisters had a hit with a song of that title and of course, The Fall interpreted it in their own way on The Infotainment Scan. So there you go ‚Äď a convoluted link and another excuse to post something from Mark E. Smith & co.”

Which gives me, albeit inadvertently, not one but two songs to post:

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The Cleaners From Venus – A Mercury Girl

and, of course:

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The Fall – Lost in Music

It is taking every fibre in my being to resist the temptation to just post a load of covers The Fall have done now.

Instead, since yesterday was both the Scottish and English Cup Finals, I have an excuse to post this, the most surreal bit of Grandstanding-ah! you’ll ever see:

Look at that, Villa fans. You used to win games!!

As for my suggestion, well I would have plumped for this (already posted in my Friday Night Music Club strand) and I would hope the link from Ash’s Girl From Mars to this is fairly self-explanatory:

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The Undertones – More Songs About Chocolate and Girls

But here is where the licence-paying BBC listening public went next:

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6. KT Tunstall – Black Horse And The Cherry Tree

And the reasoning? “An ash is a type of tree. So is a cherry…”

Which, bearing in mind our suggestions, is a bit shit really, isn’t it?

So, ladies and gents, your suggestions please about what record you’d like me to post that links to KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”. Please leave your suggestions – and how you got to it – in the Comments box down below, and feel free to make it as Commenty McShowboatface or as simple and straight-forward as you like.

Oh, and George and Dave – loving your work, keep it up chaps. S’much appreciated.

More soon.