Late Night Stargazing

My apologies that Friday Night Music Club didn’t appear as usual this week. My family was rocked this week with some pretty¬†awful news, which I don’t really want to go into in any specific detail about¬†– partly because as I write this I’m not in full possession of the facts, but mostly because it involves a family member who I care a great deal for, and I’m not sure this is quite the right forum for discussing someone else’s health issues.

Here’s all I will say: one of my cousins is quite seriously ill, and we are all very concerned for her.

The cousin in question – forgive me, I don’t think it appropriate to tell you her name – is a year younger than me, is an only child and we spent a lot of time together when we were growing up. Although we’ve seen each other less frequently as we’ve got older, when we do meet up, that spark is still there, and we spend most of the time giggling and laughing at things like we’re still 10 years old.

Similarly, and although I will attribute the source of my love of and devotion to¬†The Smiths elsewhere later in this blog, it was her that first switched me on to them. We were at her house, and she popped a VHS cassette into the machine and played me the video for “Panic”. I remember thinking how awesome it was.¬†When I look back now, I see this moment as her further eroding my inexplicable defences against them. I’ll explain that some other time.

As I say, I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I do want to share a tune which, every time I hear it, I am reminded of her.

And here’s why.

I’m not sure if it happened when I was at home during a break from college, or whether it was in the year I spent back living with my parents after I graduated, but one evening there was¬†a phone call to our family phone¬†from my cousin.

My mother trotted out into the hall to answer the phone, but quickly called for me to come and take it from her.¬†It was my cousin: she was with some friends,¬†they were listening to The Smiths debut album and they had realised what a drop-dead gorgeous song tonight’s choice is. She knew I was a fan, so had rung me, as they wanted to know all the words to it. I ran and grabbed my vinyl copy which had the words on the inner sleeve. I spent the next twenty minutes dictating the lyrics to her.

This is the song, and it feels strangely appropriate for where we are now:

the-smiths-4e80981ee53b2

The Smiths – The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

More soon, but also get well soon. Please.

Advertisements

The Chain #18

Evening Chainies! Welcome aboard the latest instalment of interactive blogging, where I welcome your suggestions for songs to play next week.

For newcomers, here’s the deal: there’s a feature on 6Music’s Radcliffe & Maconie week-day afternoon¬†show where they play a record, ask their listeners to suggest a record connected to it, they pick the best one, play that, and ask for suggestions for the next song to play.

Where we differ is this: we play the same record as they do, invite your suggestions, play all of them, awarding completely arbitrary bonus points here and there (usually for correctly guessing the next song in the official Chain, occasionally for the cleverest/most impressive explanation as to how the suggested record was reached (or “Comment Showboating”, as it’s become known round these parts), but most often for suggesting something by a band I bloody love), then play the next record in the 6Music list, point out it’s nowhere near as clever/good/witty as any that you have come up with, and ask that you repeat the trick, provide¬†a suggestion that links to the official record, which we¬†play the following week, and so on, and so forth, repeat ad infinitum.

Of course, we’ve only been doing this for three weeks, and they’ve been doing theirs, playing three tracks a day, five times a week, so we’re quite some way behind them, so when I say we play the same record as they do, we do, just about six years later.

Here’s the only three things I ask:

  1. When making your suggestion, provide an explanation as to how you got there. And try to be a little bit more creative than just saying “So and so did a cover of that, please play their version”;
  2. Whilst it’s great to have obscure,¬†cool records suggested, try and mix it up a little. Don’t be embarrassed to suggest a cheesy or downright awful record. Lord knows I’ve suggested enough myself;
  3. If I don’t own, or am unable to track down a copy of the song in question, please make sure that you’re able to supply me with it if need be. (NB – this happens rarely. This may only be week 18, but we’re 130 suggestions in, and only three times have I been stumped so far.)

Before we get started, one more bit of admin to get through.

I have not yet introduced the “Two Suggestions per person” rule that I mentioned last week. Well, not yet, anyway. To be honest, I felt a bit like a stroppy kid, losing at a game of football in the park who threatens to take his ball home unless he wins. So, uncapped numbers of suggestions remain, for now. But please bear in mind that I don’t have an infinite amount of time go trawling for the oh-so-many tunes that I don’t already own.

Okay, so that’s the tedious stuff out of the way. Let’s get cracking.

Last week, I left you with Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love” and asked you to come up with any ideas as to what we could play this week. And true to form, you’ve come up with some absolute stonkers, and some utterly weird things too.

So, first up this week is Swiss Adam from bagging area who wrote:

“Hounds of Love? Does your pussy do the dog? (asked The Cramps)”

Short and to the point, is our Swiss:

TheCrampsADateWithEl_1

The Cramps – Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?

Actually, I take that back. For before we can draw breath, Swiss is back with a second suggestion. Which is fine. We can still have a kick-a-round:

the-house-of-love-never-1989-6

The House of Love – Never

Yup, totally with you on that one Swiss. It’s a single which is often overlooked because of the majesty of the singles that had preceded it, but it’s still a corking little indie-pop record which deserves an airing.

Now for those of you who don’t peruse the Comments section, where the suggestions are left, these next two take a little extra explanation.

See, last week I was asked to post Vampire Weekend’s “A-Punk”, which I duly did, but added that they’re not a band I’m fond off, and that they generally just rub me up the wrong way. Regular contributor George left a message, in an effort to show some solidarity, letting me know that he feels much the same way about The Clash and Bruce Springsteen.

Cue Charity Chic, stepping effortlessly into shit-stirring mode:

“Kate Bush on her return to live performances sold out the Hammersmith Apollo for a 22 night residency between 26th August and 1st October 2014. There used to be another venue in Hammersmith called the Palais.¬†So ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’ by The Clash, please…and dedicate it to George!”

Sorry George, but this is for you:

84aa6080bf2380fb0848e3c2ba0a3f75

The Clash – (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais

And he isn’t done there either:

“Kate Bush had an album called The Dreaming. Bruce Springsteen had an album called Working on the Dream. The title track please…and dedicate it to George!”

Working-On-A-Dream-cover

Bruce Springsteen – Working On a Dream

I have visions of Charity Chic posting the second of those two, saying “Boom!”, dropping his microphone and strutting off stage.

Next up, here’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“Well there is a track by Death Grips called ‚ÄėWorld of Dogs‚Äô but I wouldn‚Äôt put up a picture of the album cover.”

Not sure I see what the fuss is about, Badger:

121001-deepweb

Death Grips – World of Dogs

I should, of course, point out that isn’t the actual cover Badger refers to.¬†If you want¬†to Google it, I’d strongly recommend that you don’t do it at work.

“As a serious suggestion ‚ÄėHounds of Love‚Äô was covered memorably by The Futureheads which takes us nicely to ‚ÄėDecent Days and Nights‚Äô by that lot.”

Badger almost became the first person to have points deducted for providing too obvious a link there, just dodging the bullet by suggesting a record by The Futureheads other than their cover of Madam Bush:

MI0000745511

The Futureheads – Decent Days And Nights

Here’s George, who clearly is not going to rise to Charity Chic’s bait:

“From Hounds to Dogs and Tropical Hot Dog Night by Captain Beefheart (from the Shiny Beast Bat Chain Puller album)”

MI0000642565Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band – Tropical Hot Dog Night

I have to confess, Beefheart are one of those bands I know I’m supposed to like, but I’ve given Trout Mask Replica many opportunities to win me over, and every time I’ve just come away scratching my head (in befuddlement, I don’t have nits).

That said, though, I really like the track George has suggested, so maybe it’s about time I gave it another go.

Here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow¬†with another suggestion I didn’t know, or rather didn’t know this version of it. I’ll let him explain:

“On the b-side of the ‚ÄėHounds of Love‚Äô 7‚Ä≥ single, Kate Bush covered a traditional seafaring ballad, ‚ÄėThe Handsome Cabin Boy‚Äô. The great Martin Carthy sang an acapella version of the same song on his self-titled debut LP in 1965.”

a24b08b8-4cda-48a5-8b50-1d82a6ff8eee

Martin Carthy – The Handsome Cabin Boy

Here’s When You Can’t Remember Anything‘s co-writer, S-WC:

“Kate Bush allowed ITV to use her surname for a section of the show I‚Äôm a Celebrity‚Ķ called The Bushtucker Trial [not sure that’s entirely true, but I’ll let it slide – Ed]. Johnny Rotten appeared in one of those and ate a kangaroos anus. So we‚Äôd best have Anarchy in the UK.”

And that’s why I’ll let it slide. Still sounding as fresh and as angry today as it did back in 1976 (I imagine, I was a little too young got punk), here’s them Grundy-baiting Sex Pistols:

sex

Sex Pistols – Anarchy in the U.K

And there’s a good reason why I’ll let that slide, for if I didn’t, I’d have to disqualify a third suggestion from Swiss Adam at bagging area:

“Shaun Ryder too. Wrote for luck?”

Oh, go on then:

images6Z306279

Happy Mondays – Wrote For Luck

Sadly, as long as I waited, not one of you suggested we continue that particular theme by playing something¬†by Peter Andre. Not even “Insania” which he wrote on the show. An opportunity missed, I’m sure you’ll agree. Or, hopefully not.

Coincidentally, those last two suggestions feature bands who are commonly referred to incorrectly as “The Sex Pistols” or “The Happy Mondays”. There is no prefix on either. The next suggestion – by Swiss again with his¬†fourth – yes, fourth – go, features a band with nothing but the word The in their name:

the-the-dogs-of-lust-1993-5

The The – Dogs Of Lust

Now, right at the top of this post, I mentioned that so far I’ve only needed to be bailed out three times when hosting this thread, and two of them were suggestions made by George. So when he popped up again with this, I felt myself break out into a cold sweat:

“From Kate Bush to The Very Things‚Äô song The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes.”

The other time I couldn’t find a postable copy of a song, it had been suggested by Dirk over at Sexyloser, so when he chipped in by saying: “George, the recommendation of that particular Very Things ‚Äď tune almost makes me forgive you disliking The Clash so much: excellent choice!”, well, I knew I was in trouble.

Luckily, we’ve just had a Bank Holiday Weekend here, so I had a little extra time to track it down. It’s not the finest quality, and there is a moment or two’ silence at the start that I haven’t had time to trim off, but here in all their glory, are The Very Things:

the-very-things-the-bushes-scream-while-my-daddy-prunes-reflex-records

The Very Things – The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes

Have to say the jury’s still out on that one here at Dubious Taste Towers. I’d fully expected to award the Oddest¬†Record of the Week gong¬†to the¬†Captain Beefheart track, but I think The Very Things takes that honour. It certainly wins Best Title of the Week. (I need some jingles for these, don’t I?)

Here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad¬†with an idea for a bit of pre-fame (they were not famous for a lot longer than they were famous, after all) Pulp:

motucomp

Pulp – Dogs Are Everywhere

Finally this week, here’s What’s It All About, Alfie?:

“Another female singer with similarly ‚Äúbushy‚ÄĚ dark hair had their biggest chart hit in 1978 and it was Patti Smith with Because The Night so going for that one please.” Which, as Charity Chic gleefully pointed out, was written by one Bruce Springsteen:

patti-smith-group-because-the-night-arista-5

Patti Smith Group – Because The Night

And so we come to the end of your suggestions, and we come onto mine.

Ahem.

There are many types of Hound, other than the ones of Love. There are Basset Hounds, which I couldn’t think of anything for. There’s the¬†Greyhound, but The Swede suggested the only song I know by them back in The Chain #7. There’s the Whippet, a sighthound breed descended from greyhounds,¬†but there’s nothing there…

…wait a minute. Whippet. Whippit. Whip It.

devo-whip-it-virgin-3

Devo – Whip It

I’m here all week.

Now, if any one you had suggested that, I would have been awarding bonus points. But I can’t really award them to myself, so I won’t. (*looks pleadingly at you all*)

And so, to the official song in The Chain, where this was the reasoning:

“Kate Bush‚Äôs 2005 album Aerial featured the track ‚ÄėKing of the Mountain‚Äô, which referred to Elvis Presley”

..and this was the song:

elvis_presley-his_latest_flame_s_2

18. Elvis Presley – (Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame

As usual, not a patch on any of your suggestions, but there you have it.

And so that’s my bit done for another week. Please send me your suggestions of records we can play next week, that link to “(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame” by Elvis Presley – there should be plenty for you to work with there –¬†along with a brief description as to how you got there, via¬†the Comments section at the bottom of the page.

See you next time!

(More soon).

Bank Holiday

Some of us blogger folks are creatures of habit.

For example: Drew, over at Across The Kitchen Table religiously posts “That Summer Feeling” by Jonathan Richman and¬†The Modern Lovers¬†every year at some point over the summer. And he’s right to, it’s a brilliant, brilliant record.

Me? Other than trying to crowbar a tune by The Wedding Present/Super Furry Animals/Status Quo in at every possible opportunity, and ending every post with the words “More soon”, I’ve not been doing this long enough to have established such a tradition, but this is where it starts. I posted this song on the same day last year, and, just so you know, I intend to post it on this day for every year that I’m still able to type.

It’s August Bank Holiday, and that means it’s time for some Blur:

BlurParklife

Blur – Bank Holiday

More soon.

Sunday Evening Coming Up

Back in my clubbing days, which seem oh-so-long ago now (but not as long ago as they should be for a man of my age), Sunday night on¬†the August¬†Bank Holiday weekend meant that me and some of my chums would venture to one of the “shiny” clubs in Cardiff.

Let me explain.

We used to frequent a long-since closed club called The Emporium, a dark, dingy club, safe in the knowledge that it was the most accepting crowd in Cardiff. Nobody cared what you looked like, how old you were (as long as you were old enough to be in there, of course), as long as you were happy to dance in one of the three rooms and not bother anyone. It wasn’t a club where you went to pull (although that doubtless happened there), it was¬† a club where you went to – if it’s not too corny a thing to say – feel the vibe.

All the rest of the clubs in Cardiff seemed to be the opposite, all lights and mirrors, the sort of place that attracted blokes in button-down collar shorts, who wanted to carry on drinking bottled lager once the pubs had closed, and either have a fight or pull a girl. They had the glossy, plastic people in them, all handsome, gorgeous, made up to the nines, and me and my band of merry men definitely did not fit in.

But come Bank Holiday weekend, if you wanted to go clubbing, you had to bite the bullet and just go to one of them.

One such weekend, Roger Sanchez was playing one of the shiny clubs. That was the sort of calibre DJs these nights would pull in: Roger fucking Sanchez. I had wanted to go, but none of my mates were up for it. I ended up going for a couple of pints in town with Colin instead.

Colin was the anti-clubber. He hated dance music in the same way that I had back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. We’d managed to drag him along to The Emporium one night, convinced that if he ever gave it a go, he’d love it; he had a kip on one of the long seats and¬†was “asked” by security to leave. I’m not quite sure what kind of risk he posed to security, but then again, I suppose having a grown man snoozing by the entrance isn’t quite the impression you want to give to people who’ve just paid to get in.

Anyway, this particular Bank Holiday Sunday Night, I had resigned myself to not going clubbing, when a mate of mine, Byron, wandered into the bar we were drinking in, and asked me if I was going to see Sanchez. I told him I wasn’t bothered, but so unconvincing was my response – or possibly, so unentertaining my company – that Colin said if I wanted to go he wouldn’t be offended, as long as we didn’t expect him to come along too.

And that was that. Byron and I went, paid on the door together, then I never saw him again. He had a habit of doing this; many’s the time he had rocked up at The Emporium, bought some pills, then gone home again, and I suspect that’s what happened that night.

Luckily, I bumped into some people I knew from The Emporium, and I hung out with them for the rest of the night. There’s a couple of stories there, but we’ll leave them for another time…

What I’m trying to get round to saying is that Roger Sanchez was awesome. Ordinarily, I’m a little scathing of DJ’s who drop their own records or remixes, but on this occasion, Roger played this, by a band I don’t have much time for ordinarily, but this sent the dancefloor wild:

R-152671-1454664516-4229_jpeg

No Doubt – Hella Good (Roger’s Release Yourself Mix)

More soon.

The Sample Life

Not done one of these for a while, and it occurred to me to revive it when I was thinking about what to post in this week’s “Late Night Stargazing” thread.

It was going to be one of these records. Can you guess which one?

It could’ve been oh-so different for The Beta Band. Following the critically-acclaimed “The 3 E.P.’s” – acclaimed both as individual releases and as the combined album they forged together – and an eponymous album that they freely admitted they hadn’t quite nailed it on, The Beta Band holed up in a studio to give it another crack.

I would imagine you all know the story by now, but just in case you don’t:

The Betas finished their “Hot Shots II” album and pencilled this in for the lead single from it:

MI0003345865

The Beta Band – Squares

Any concerns that they had failed to nail it again were dispersed: “Squares” is magnificent, prime trippy Beta Band gold,¬†sampling as it does, this:

R-2012775-1320837719_jpeg

The G√ľnter Kallmann Choir – Daydream

But there was a problem. For just as they were ready to roll with the release of “Squares”, a previously unheard of act called I Monster released a single which featured exactly the same sample from exactly the same tune. What are the odds of that happening?

i-monster-daydream-in-blue-instant-karma-cs

I Monster – Daydream in Blue

The weird thing is, I feel like I’m being unfaithful to The Beta Band by posting that.

“Daydream in Blue” was a smash hit, or so my befuddled memory tells me. I had it in my head that it reached¬†the top of the UK charts, but a little research tells me it only got to No. 20.

But the damage was done. The Beta Band elected to postpone the release of¬†“Squares” for a couple of months, but by then, the British record buying public were all Gunther-ed out, and it failed to make the Top 40.

Still, if you asked me now which I’d rather hear, it’s The Beta Band every time.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Regular readers will know I’m a big fan of Kris Kristofferson, particularly the¬†records he released in his purple patch between 1970 and 1972.

Over the years, it’s become a bit of a mission of mine to introduce Kristofferson’s songs to friends of mine who I think would find their¬†existence considerably enriched by having these records in their lives (by which I mean everybody), or at the very least to be aware that Kristofferson isn’t just the old bloke from the “Blade” film franchise.

¬†My go-to songs for such occasions are¬†the one which shares a name with this thread, or “Me & Bobby McGee”. Some will know the latter because of Janis Joplin’s version.

But on more than one occasion, when playing the latter, and probably puzzled given Joplin’s version, I’ve been asked if Kristofferson was gay.¬†I’ve had to point out that “Bobby” can be a nickname for a girl, being short for Roberta, and as an example have said “You know, like Bobbie Gentry”.

The problem with this, is that if the person I’m talking to doesn’t know who Kris Kristofferson is, they sure as hell don’t know who Bobbie Gentry is either, so I then have to explain who she is as well.

This morning’s post is going to save me a lot of time from now on.

This is Bobbie Gentry, not with her most famous song (that honour must surely go to genuinely unsettling¬†“Ode To Billy Joe”), but instead with this Bacharach/David composition, perhaps more famously done by Dionne Warwick, despite Gentry’s version being a Number 1 hit in the UK before Warwick had even released her version, which failed to chart here.

Bobbie+Gentry+Ill+Never+Fall+In+Love+Again+492014

Bobbie Gentry – I’ll Never Fall in Love Again

Plus, just look at the sleeve. That Bobbie ain’t no dude.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

About ten years ago, I had the absolute pleasure of making the short trip¬†from Cardiff to Bristol’s beautiful Colston Hall to watch Idlewild perform an acoustic set.

Tonight’s post is not, as far as I know, taken from that gig – I have no idea where it was recorded, if I’m honest – but nevertheless it is a live acoustic recording of one of my favourite songs by them.

Enjoy.

IdlewildLIVEPIC2

Idlewild – Love Steals Us From Loneliness (Acoustic)

More soon.