If you’re reading this then Congratulations! You managed to survive the week without either melting or spontaneously combusting, and your reward is another all new mix, Volume 13 in case you’re keeping count (and wondering what the bingo reference at the top of the page is). And yes, I am annoyed I couldn’t find an image of a bingo caller holding up the number 13.
“And what do you have in store for us this week?”, I hear you rasp through bone-dry throats.
Well, we kick off with a record which to these ears is synonymous with a chart countdown, for before Top of the Pops had Phil Lynott’s Yellow Pearl or Paul Hardcastle’s The Wizard as a theme tune, it had CCS’s version of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love, a record which still provokes a Pavlovian reaction in people of a certain age, in the same way that the Pearl & Dean advert immediately makes us want to buy an ice cream and throw jelly babies at the dweebs in the front row of the cinema.
Then we’re straight into Camera Obscura’s hymn to the man who used to front The Commotions, and you’ll be surprised to learn that I don’t follow that up in the obvious way, but instead offer up some Divine Comedy, some Franz Ferdinand, my second favourite Killers record (no, it’s not Mr sodding Brightside, or that dreadful one about not being a “souldier”, whatever that’s supposed to mean) before John ‘Potty Mouth’ Grant earns one of these all by himself:
After that, we’ve some Roxy Music, some Charlatans, a bit of Bassomatic, followed by some songs inspired by watching recent reruns of Top of the Pops, neatly dodging some fisticuffs between Jimi Hendrix and the BMX Bandits over the affections of an Aussie pop-queen, before we head back to Indieland courtesy of Ride, The Mighty Lemon Drops and The Damned.
Rollicking good fun, in other words.
Which just leaves me to do the admin: any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software; any mis-timed mixes are down to me; all record selections are mine.
Camera Obscura – Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken
Felt – Ballad Of The Band
The Divine Comedy – Becoming More Like Alfie
Franz Ferdinand – Darts of Pleasure
The Killers – Bones
John Grant – Chicken Bones
Roxy Music – Street Life
The Charlatans – Over Rising
Bassomatic – Fascinating Rhythm (7″ Mix)
East 17 – Deep (Breath Mix)
The Age Of Love – The Age Of Love (Jam & Spoon Remix)
Gloworm – I Lift My Cup
Kylie Minogue – Better The Devil You Know
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Foxy Lady
BMX Bandits – Kylie’s Got A Crush On Us
Ride – Taste
The Mighty Lemon Drops – The Other Side Of You
The Damned – Eloise
And just in case that’s not enough for you, regular readers of JC’s legendary The Vinyl Villain blog will know that he has been kind enough to post another exclusive mix I lovingly prepared for him, this one on a summery theme. If you’re not a regular reader of JC’s legendary The Vinyl Villain blog then a) why not? b) what’s wrong with you? and c) you can rectify that immediately by popping over and seeing what I (and JC the rest of the time) have been up to here. And my many thanks to everyone who has left kind messages about the mix which is posted over there, they are truly appreciated.
No, I’ve just got something in my eye, s’all…
Now get out of here before I decide to post some Quo as a thank you.
This is the series where I remember my recently passed best friend Llŷr by featuring songs which remind me of him.
I mentioned our friend Martin in my post the other day. Martin and I have spent the week swapping details of recommended acts we think the other would like. Actually, most, if not all, of the suggestions have been his. They’ve all been really, really great and will doubtless feature on these pages soon, once I’ve thought of a terrible pun involving his name to call the post.
If I remember this correctly, when Llŷr and I lived in the crappy flat with the mountain of washing-up and a chair recovered from the streets, Martin was responsible for a load of vinyl suddenly arriving at ours (and if he wasn’t, it really doesn’t matter, because that’s not the point of the story). He was having a clear out, take what we want, give him back what we didn’t, he’d flog them or take them to a charity shop.
This is how it was, living with Llŷr. If someone wanted to know what a song was, it was him they contacted first. If they wanted to off-load some vinyl, it was his doorstep they turned to first. My nose learned to cope with being out of joint.
We both frantically flicked through them, both alighting on one 12″ that we both loved and wanted.
Llŷr won, of course, the record quickly slotted into his own collection.
Fair enough. A small price to pay.
Llŷr‘s younger sister Sian is running the London Marathon this year, to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity. Many thanks to all of you who have donated thus far; if you can spare some pennies, pounds, whatever, we’d all be extremely grateful. Here’s the link:
It’s a very special Friday Night Music Club this week for two reasons: firstly, in the UK it’s Easter Weekend, so a long weekend (No work til Tuesday!); secondly, as I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m going to see Underworld tonight.
In my younger days, I was always quite resistant to dance music. If a tune didn’t have guitars on it, I wasn’t interested.
But over the years, my resistance got chipped away, and so I thought tonight I’d play you a selection of dance tunes which were milestones for me.
So, first up is a stone-cold classic, the biggest selling 12″ of all time:
Now I wish I could say that I bought this when it first came out. Well, I could say that, but it’d be a big fat whopping lie. In 1983, I had no idea who Joy Division were, or that New Order had risen from their ashes, but I did see the now legendary appearance on Top of The Pops where they insisted on playing Blue Monday live, and after which, famously, the single went down in the charts.
In 1988 I went away to college, and by 1989 I was DJing the Indie Night every other Tuesday. The night was, frankly, dieing on its arse. Some weeks we were lucky to get 20 people through the door. And then three things happened:
Rave culture kicked in
Closely followed by “Madchester”
A load of Indie bands that I liked suddenly started messing around with dance beats and getting their records remixed by respected DJs.
And so suddenly, we were able to play all of these great records (not the rave ones, though) at our little Indie Night and so for a very short while these records moved centre stage and we had our finger right on the pulse.
Did you manage to get the “Oh Yeah!” bit in the right place? I always feel so chuffed when I do. The simple pleasures that life brings, eh? Pathetic really.
One Tuesday night, a couple of lads from Nottingham, decked out in hooded tops and flared jeans, pressed their faces up against the shatterproof glass which surrounded the DJ booth in the Students Union and mouthed “Got any Mondays?” at me. I hadn’t (my finger wasn’t quite on the pulse at this point, more tapping to see if I could find a good vein) but said if they wanted to bring some in I’d be happy to play it. 10 minutes later, after they had bombed back to their flat to collect, I had the next record held in my hands. The title intrigued me. I played it. The dance floor didn’t exactly fill, but quite a few joined the two lads Daints and Peetey (the former of which I would form a band with shortly afterwards) as they started to frug away in what I learned sooner after was a fair approximation of Bez:
Many years later, when I had finally started going to club nights, we went to see Jon Carter play in The Emporium in Cardiff. I remember I was just leaving the dancefloor when the vocal part of “24 Hour Party People” kicked in and I found myself scrabbling to get back to the dance floor sharpish. One of the biggest, non-checmically induced, rushes I ever had.
There was another band who ditched their early sound to start producing records which were neither Rave nor Madchester, a band I loved when they were Grebo, and loved even more when they started messing around with loops and samples. This is one of their last singles, probably one of my favourites, which always takes me back to a basement indie club in Cardiff called G.W.’s that Daints and I often frequented after we’d left college:
The success in reviving the Indie Night, for which I naturally took all the credit, led to me being asked to co-DJ the Saturday night slot with a lad who we nick-named Dave Doubledecks on account of him running his own mobile DJ outfit, but whose name was actually Phil. This night exposed me to a great many other dance records which were by now, circa 1990, the main staple of the UK Charts, and there were some that, much as I absolutely no way on earth would have admitted to liking at the time, I secretly did, and love to this day. I make no apologies for their inclusion here. So there.
The first time I heard the next record, I was at the club night at the Students Union, in all honesty cribbing up on what I could play the following Saturday night. The DJ dropped this and I was stunned. Not because of the saucy “Je T’aime”-ness of the vocal track, but because a record that slows down that much in the middle just shouldn’t work. It did though; the place went fucking apeshit for it.
Much as you might hate this next record, deride it for pinching the vocals from Loleatta Holloway’s “Love Sensation” and then getting a model to mime to it, in 1989 (and surprisingly often these days) if you wanted to get everyone in a Students Union chart night to dance, this was your weapon of choice:
I say travesties because this record only ever got to Number 2 in the UK Charts. It had sold exactly the same amount of copies to be the joint number-one , along with “The Joker” by The Steve Miller Band, a record which had been re-released due to its use in a Levi Jeans ad. “Groove…”‘s placing second was due to a rule instituted in the 1980s, which stated that in the event of a tie, the single with sales that had increased most from the previous week would reside above the other. The week before, “The Joker” had been one position lower in the chart the previous week than “Groove Is in The Heart”, and thus “The Joker” was therefore deemed to be the bigger-selling of the two.
This was the first and only time the rule was ever implemented, and it’s since been ditched. Not that anyone pays attention to the Charts anymore.
Right, I could literally sit here and post hundreds of these until well into the wee small hours, but if I don’t get moving soon I’ll be missing the gig tonight.
So I’m going to sign off by breaking the golden rule of any mix-tape, CD compilation, or playlist: by playing three records by the same artiste.
So, from the first Underworld album I ever bought at the time it was released, “Beaucoup Fish”, their third with Darren Emerson having joined their ranks (but fifth overall), and which swiftly led to me going out and buying the previous two: