Late Night Stargazing

A few weeks ago, I had a bit of a phase of posting records by Belle & Sebastian, or by former member Isobel Campbell on this thread.

Tonight, I’m going to briefly pop back to the same area.

The other day, with my trusty mp3 player, as always on shuffle, tonight’s song cropped up.

I could tell it was Belle & Sebastian, but couldn’t put my finger on what it was called or what album it was from, which surprised me as it had all of the hallmarks of a track from one of their earlier albums, which I much prefer to their more recent stuff. (The cut off point, in case you’re interested, is 2000’s “Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant”, or maybe, at a push, 2003’s “Dear Catastrophe Waitress”. And yes, I realise that makes me sound like one of those unbearable “Oh, I only like their early stuff, before they got popular” types, but that isn’t true (on this occasion), for I didn’t even know who they were until 1998’s “The Boy With The Arab Strap”)

Anyway, upon further investigation, I found that the song in question is this, lifted from 2006’s “The Life Pursuit”. It’s prime Belle & Sebastian: twinkly piano, mournful brass, lyrics both bitter and pervy at the same time….perfect for a late night, in fact.

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Belle & Sebastian – Dress Up In You

Time for me to reassess those later albums, I think.

More soon.

The Chain #39

Scene: an empty warehouse, in darkness.

FX: A door creaks opens, a switch clicks.

The lights flicker into life.

Delivery Man 1 [poking his head through the door]: Yes, this looks like it.

Delivery Man 1 backs into view, clipboard under arm, guiding a large object covered in a sheet, which is being pushed by Delivery Man 2 with considerably more effort than Delivery Man 1 is expending.

FX: The door slams shut.

Delivery Man 2: Whereabouts does it need to go? What does the order say?

Delivery Man 1 consults the clipboard.

Delivery Man 1: It says “Leave in the middle of the floor, covered, as if it’s been here for ages.”

Delivery Man 2 [with a shrug]: Bit weird, but if that’s what it says.

Job done, they exit, leaving the light on.

FX: the door opens and closes. Pause. Repeat.

An incredibly handsome, if fat and bald, man enters the room. He surveys the object before removing the sheet.

Incredibly handsome, if fat and bald, man: And we’re back in the room!

Hello, and welcome to The Chain. Where’ve you been? I’ve been waiting for you.

Prompted by a question about whether one of this week’s suggestions qualified under the rules, and nothing whatsoever to do with the amount of time since one of these posts appeared, nosireebob, I thought it might be best if I go over them again here, with a brief explanation of what we do here.

So, The Chain is a feature on BBC 6Music’s Radcliffe and Maconie show (and prior to that, their show on BBC Radio 2), where a record is played and they invite suggestions as to what record could be played next, which must link in some way to the one just played.

The difference here is that whilst they choose just one record to play, we try to post all of the suggestions which you submit.

The only rules are:

  1. No suggested record can feature twice (unless it has only featured as part of The Official Chain). If you’re not sure – ask!
  2. The only exception to this rule is “Back on the Chain Gang” by The Pretenders, which has been adopted as our theme tune
  3. When making your suggestion, you must provide an explanation of the link between the two songs
  4. You must already own a copy of it, and be willing to provide it (in case I don’t already own it or am unable to source it)
  5. Suggestions must be more than just naming a different song by the same artist.
  6. You can make as many suggestions as you like, but please, go easy on me, won’t you?

That’s about it. I award points every now and again, for Worst Record of the Week, Cheesiest Record of the Week, Comment Showboat of the Week, and of course, for anyone who happens to guess either the song or act (or both) that is the next record in the Official Chain, which becomes the source record for the following week. Nobody’s keeping score (well, I’m not anyway), the points are just a bit of fun.

Okay, that’s the admin done. Last time out, the source record was “The Universal” by Blur; personally, I found this a really tricky one to link to, especially as I have to wait and see what’s left after you guys have nominated all the good ones. Ho hum, such is life.

So, here we go then, and as usual, we’ll bracket them into several fairly broad categories and, as usual, we’ll probably wander off on a couple of tangents along the way.

First out of the traps last time was Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music who wrote:

“It has to be something off ‘Universal Audio’, the final album by The Delgados. I Fought the Angels would do rather nicely I feel”

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The Delgados – I Fought The Angels

Of course, CC was not alone in suggesting a link to something of Universal appeal; Dirk from sexyloser proffered thusly:

“…because not enough good German music is being featured on these pages, I’d like to  link to Die Sterne – ‘Universal Tellerwäscher’ from 1994 …. which in fact is a mighty record indeed!”

I was going to make a rather unkind joke about the phrase “good German music” being an oxymoron, but then I listened to Dirk’s suggestion and have to agree, it is mighty fine (even if I have not one clue as to what it’s about, although Google Translate, which is never wrong, obviously, tells me that a Tellerwäscher is a dishwasher ):

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Die Sterne – Universal Tellerwäscher

Sticking with the Universal theme, SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything suggested this:

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Universal Being – Size of an Elephant

whilst The Great Gog wrote:

“…seeing as we’re all commenting on The Universal, Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ Universally Speaking would seem apt.”

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Red Hot Chili Peppers – Universally Speaking

And The Beard quoted a completely different song which contains the word “Universal”:

“Universal, unique untouched, unadulterated, the raw uncut”

He is, of course, referring to this:

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Blackalicious – Alphabet Aerobics

Time for the first interlude of the day; I stumbled along this clip the other day, which I’m sure you’ll agree contains some quite wizardly rapping:

Anyway, where were we?

Ah yes. Blur’s ‘The Universal’. Take it away Julian of Music from Magazines fame:

“Blur did a song “Beetlebum”
The Beatles did a song “Across The Universe”
Laibach did a version of “Across The Universe”
Laibach nailed “Sympathy For The Devil”

(The 7.52 version please)”

As you wish:

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Laibach – Sympathy For The Devil

Time for a big Chain welcome for the first of two new contributors to The Chain this week, here’s Telefrank:

“The video for ‘The Universal’ references the Korova Milk Bar, so something by Wendy Carlos natch.”

Just to join up the dots: the Korova Milk Bar features in ‘A Clockwork Orange’, so this seemed like as good a tune as any:

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Wendy Carlos – Title Music From ‘A Clockwork Orange’

Walter from A Few Good Times in My Life pointed out that “…the opposite of universe might be the underground. So…”

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The Jam – Going Underground

It’s scary how that song is so relevant now, 35 years after it came out. “Times have changed”, some people say. I’d play them that and respectfully disagree.

Anyway, before I start going off on one, more Universal shenanigans. Here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“A nice easy link from ‘Universal’ to another well-known film studio: Columbia.”

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Oasis – Columbia

Walter continues the theme: “Universal is also a music label distributing music of various and different artists. So I suggest:”

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Tom Petty – You Don’t Know How It Feels

From the Universal links, it’s one small step to the universe, and space in general, and to our second new member of The Chain Gang of the week, abramson60, the 60th from the very noble Abramson family, as Adam Buxton would say:

Anyway, abramson60 has certainly got the hang of how to make sure you get lots of tunes played here: list of a load of songs he’d considered before finally plumping for a completely different one. I, of course, cannot resist:

“Universe would automatically take me down the space road, so you could have….”

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 Liz Phair – Supernova

“…or another of my pet favorites…”

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Julian Cope – Spacehopper

“…not forgetting that he went on to become the nation’s favourite spaced out artist.”

But, “…sticking with universe, The Rocky Horror Picture Show had long lasting and profound influence on the somewhat naive 16 year old me who first saw the film at the tail end of the 70’s. So my pick is ‘I’m Going Home’, not quite sure where to but somewhere in the outer reaches of space.”  I’m not sure I quite follow the link there, but as it’s your first visit, I’ll let it slide this time:

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Dr. Frank N. Furter – I’m Going Home

Over to The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow next, who says:

“I’ll keep things cosmic and suggest ‘Space is Deep’ by Hawkwind – the studio version from ‘Doremi Fasol Latido’ please.”

Very well.

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Hawkwind – Space Is Deep

A couple of you suggested links from lyrics withing ‘The Universal’, which is fair enough and fine by me. For example, Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense suggested:

“‘The Universal’ includes the lines:
“And to karaoke songs,
We like to sing along,
Although the words are wrong”

So .. mondegreens (misheard lyrics) and possibly the most well known: ‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy'”

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Purple Haze

Next up, Martin from New Amusements, who takes the “list a load of songs then pick a completely different one as their choice” approach adopted by abramson60 and combines it with Rigid Digit’s focus on the song’s lyrics:

“The Universal includes a line about ‘satellites in every home’ so we could go with that, enabling…”

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The Hooters – Satellite

“…or…”

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Lou Reed – Satellite Of Love

“…or…”

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Tasmin Archer – Sleeping Satellite

“…or, I guess…”

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The Tornados – Telstar

If I could just butt in for a moment, I can’t hear that record without thinking of this record (and vice versa) since I can’t help but think that while it’s not a straight-out sample, the synth melody line, owes more than a little debto the old instrumental Martin suggests:

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Saint Etienne – You’re In A Bad Way

Martin’s actual choice will follow in a moment, but props where props are due, the category it falls into was first suggested by The Robster from Is This The Life? (well, actually, it was first mentioned by Rigid Digit last week time)

“My link comes in the form of British Gas adverts. The Universal was, as you point out, used in an ad campaign for British Gas. So was ‘More Than A Feeling’ by Boston, which despite ticking all the middle-of-the-road 70s AOR boxes, is a damn fine tune and one I always find myself playing air guitar to. True!”

It may well be, but unfortunately that’s featured in The Chain before, so, as per the rules above, I can’t allow it this week. Sorry!

Tell you what, have another go:

“Another gem from the British Gas archive is the wonderful ‘Rescue Me’ by Fontella Bass which cannot fail to give everyone a lift on a Monday morning.”

Much better.

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Fontella Bass – Rescue Me

Back to Martin again: “…let’s go down the route of the Blur track’s British Gas-based ubiquity, all the excuse we need to have ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ by The Rolling Stones, since that tells us ‘it’s a gas, gas, gas.'”

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The Rolling Stones –  Jumpin’ Jack Flash

He’s still not done yet, mind:

“But I’d rather suggest a song I really like, so the gas connection allows me to pitch the much-less-played ‘It’s A Gas’ by The Wedding Present. Any excuse to get the Gedge out, after all.”

I could not agree more.

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The Wedding Present – It’s A Gas

Catchphrase time! If you’re suggesting that, then I’m suggesting this:

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T. Rex – Life’s A Gas

And as a special treat, here’s Marc Bolan performing ‘Life’s A Gas’ with Cilla Black, of all people:

The less said about that the better, I think.

But whilst we’re on adverts, here’s Snuff from their ace “Flibbiddydibbiddydob” album (these are so short, you may as well have two):

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Snuff – Bran Flakes

Snuff – Shake ‘n’ Vac

After those words from our sponsors, back to The Great Gog:

“‘The Great Escape album’ from which The Universal is taken also includes a song called ‘Top Man’. When I was younger (and a little less Great) I used to venture into Manchester and frequent a store of that name, and occasionally even buy something. Having done this, my then-significant other would drag me to where she wanted to buy stuff – Chelsea Girl. Obviously the title of a song by Simple Minds…”

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Simple Minds – Chelsea Girl

Well, if you’re suggesting that, then I’m suggesting this:

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Ride – Chelsea Girl

Sorry GG, I interupted, do carry on:

“…[Chelsea Girls is] also referenced on Mighty Mighty’s ‘Is There Anyone Out There?’ Which sort of links back to matters universal.”

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Mighty Mighty – Is There Anyone Out There?

Right, where next? Since we seem to have exhausted all of the possibilities of links to “The Universal”, how about links to Blur? Seems like a plan.

Over to Birthday Boy Rol (45 today!) from My Top Ten, then, with two and a half suggestions:

“Suggestion that needs no explanation: ‘Mr. Blur’ by Tom Verlaine.”

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Tom Verlaine – Mr. Blur

He continues: “Suggestion that leads a little more explanation: Blur used to be called Seymour. I’m sure someone will link to the obvious song from that (the one about a record company boss…”

You mean this one, I assume?

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Belle & Sebastian – Seymour Stein

“…so,” Rol continues, “I’ll point us towards the character of Seymour in the movie ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’ and suggest the song ‘Feed Me, Seymour’ as sung by the killer plant Audrey II (aka Levi Stubbs from The Four Tops).”

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Audrey II – Feed Me (Git It)

The Great Gog’s back:

As Rol has mentioned Seymour, the track that I always think of when I hear Blur’s previous name is ‘Read About Seymour’ by Swell Maps.”

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Swell Maps – Read About Seymour

Now, before he started listing spacey songs, abramson60 also proffered up a few relating to the name of Blur:

“Blur taken as unclear leads me to…”

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Lindisfarne – Fog On The Tyne

You can all count yourself lucky that I decided not to post the version with Gazza on it. Actually, that might have been quite appropriate, since writing and indeed reading The Chain often has the air of a hostage situation about it, so maybe we should expect him to rock up with a bucket of fried chicken and a fishing rod.

Anyway, back to you abramson60:

“…or maybe when everything clears…”

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Jimmy Cliff – I Can See Clearly Now

I’ve got Snuff covering that too somewhere, but let’s not overdo it, eh? That would take us over the 2 minutes of Snuff records mark, which would never do.

Any more, abramson60?

“Having said all of that I would much prefer to offer up Dr Phibes and the House of Wax Equations (any brownie points for extra long band names?) [Nope – Ed] and Hazy Lazy Hologram, link being obvious and in hazy, and everyone loves drug induced music, don’t they?”

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Dr Phibes & The House Of Wax Equations – Hazy Lazy Hologram

Back to Julian for his obligatory weekly suggestion of a record by Lambchop:

“A Blur is what the world is when ones had too many HIC!!

Where was I ?

Who fucking knows?

Oh yes its all coming back to me…..”

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Lambchop – The Man Who Loved Beer

And what of the individual members of Blur, there must be some links there, right?

Guess what, here’s abramson60. Again.

“Blur’s singer is Damon Albarn who is the son of Keith Albarn, who once managed Soft Machine, whose drummer Robert Wyatt went onto have a solo career, recording ‘Shipbuilding’ which as we all know was written by Elvis Costello, who took part in the Red Wedge tours along side Billy Bragg. So my suggestion has to be ‘Valentine’s Day Is Over’.”

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Billy Bragg – Valentine’s Day Is Over

I have two things to say about this. Firstly, I had no idea of the Albarn connection to Soft Machine, and secondly, abramson60 did suggest this back on February 15th, which makes his choice of Billy track a little more understandable.

But frankly, you had me at “Shipbuilding”:

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Shipbuilding

SWC’s back:

“Damon Albarn was the boyfriend of Justine Frischmann of Elastica. So let’s have ‘Stutter’ from them.”

The first record I ever bought by Elastica this, albeit on an NME compilation album of their Singles of the Week from 1993, and without doubt one of the finest ever songs about erectile disfunction.

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Elastica – Stutter

Charity Chic’s back, with the obligatory Clash record of the week. Don’t worry George, there’s a finite number of them that can be suggested:

“Damon Albarn was in The Good,The Bad and the Queen, as was Paul Simonon who wrote and sung ‘Guns of Brixton'”

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The Clash – The Guns of Brixton

Speaking of George, he’s been rather quiet so far this week, so here’s the first of his suggestions:

“Damon Albarn was/is also in a band called Gorillaz, and gorillas are in a branch of primates, as are monkeys, leading to ‘Monkey On My Back’ by The Triffids (from the Field of Glass EP). I think the song is not actually about monkeys.”

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The Triffids – Monkey on My Back

Well, if you’re suggesting that, then I’m suggesting this:

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Inspiral Carpets – Monkey On My Back

In fact, given his involvement with Gorillaz, you could describe Albarn as a…

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 The Maytals – Monkey Man

(My apologies, by the way: I realised I’ve misnamed the mp3 as Toots and The Maytals, rather than just The Maytals, but I really can’t be arsed with changing it.)

The Great Gog’s back again:

“I did have one more up my sleeve, but left it in case anyone else came up with it – they haven’t , so here goes. Blur’s lead singer is D. Albarn. Shuffling one of those letters to the left a bit allows me to type Dr. Alban, the early 90’s hitmaker who made such a lasting impression on me that I can only recall one of his tunes…”

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Dr Alban – It’s My Life

Hands down winner of the “Worst Record of the Week” award, there.

“Used in a Tampax advert at some point in the nineties too,” pipes up The Beard. Now, let’s not lower ourselves by making any jokes about that particualr subject. That’s it. None. End of. Period.

Instead, let’s move onto the other members of Blur, and focus for a moment on bass player Alex James. Over to you, George:

“Another Alex is Alex Harvey, so the song is from the first Sensational Alex Harvey Band album ‘Framed’, and ‘The Hammer Song’.”

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The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – The Hammer Song

Another from SWC next, I think:

“When he is not doing that [being in Blur] he schmoozes up to his famous neighbours David Cameron and Jeremy Clarkson. He also pretends to make cheese which gives us a lovely link to ‘Gorgonzola’ by Leslie Sarony.”

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Leslie Sarony – Gorgonzola

Mention any of the old music hall acts such as Leslie, and I’m afraid I can’t help thinking of this chap:

Back over to Rol, who might just see this post before his birthday’s finished:

“All this talk of Alex James’s cheese behooves me to suggest Copy Cats by The Humdrum Express, which features the lines…

“I read a Jamie Oliver’s Feastival review
Where ex-Top Gear presenters jumped the queue
To a sign publicising ageing sleaze
But it was Alex James’s aptly named new cheese”

(It also features the line “More Betty Than Swervedriver”, which I’m half thinking of stealing to rename my blog.)”

Bagsy and first dibs duly note.

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The Humdrum Express – Copy Cats

I may aswell chuck one in to the Alex-mix. When he isn’t making cheese, or being in Blur, he’s also popped up in some questionable novelty acts, most famously with Fat Les, but also in Wig Wam, a truly awful project that I’m not going to offend your ears by playing. His partner-in-crime there, though, was one Alison Clarkson aka Betty Boo:

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Betty Boo – Where Are You Baby?

Two band members left, and absolutely nobody suggested anything Graham Coxon-related so I had a quick shufty round and found that according to wikipedia, he appeared on Blue Peter twice as a child.

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Mike Oldfield – Blue Peter

But since all the rest of the band are getting at least two songs, we may as well have one of his singles. Friends of mine will attest that every time we’ve heard thisplayed out, I always point out that the intro sounds a lot like “Into the Valley” by Skids (Since nobody has ever agreed with me on this point, I’d post it so you could compare, but as it’s already featured on The Chain once before, I can’t. Who made these stupid rules up anyway??):

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Graham Coxon – Freakin’ Out

Which just leaves drummer Dave Rowntree, and a suggestion by The Beard:

“He shares his surname with the confectioners Rowntree. They are based in York and created the KitKat. York City’s Bootham Crescent ground was for a period renamed KitKat Crescent. ‘Crystal Crescent’ is a track by Primal Scream amd nothing to do with chocolate or the city of York.”

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Primal Scream – Crystal Crescent

Times may not change, by Primal Sceam certainly have over the years, haven’t they?

Finally, Rowntree has stood for election three times on behalf of the Labour party, losing on each occasion. Which leads me to this:

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Radiohead – Electioneering

Which just leaves us to reveal what the next record in the Official Chain is, and many of you will have noticed the absence of one particular song from the start of this post, when we looked at songs with the word “Universal” in the title. Many people wanted to suggest this, but Swiss Adam from baggingarea was the first out of the traps so the kudos and points are his this week:

“The Small Faces have their own ‘Universal’ which is a lovely song.”

Ain’t that the truth:

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Small Faces – The Universal

So, all that laves me to do is to ask for your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “The Universal” by Small Faces, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition.

Let’s say that will be next week, and see what happens, eh?

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Although she’s arguably better known these days for the three albums she released with former Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age singer Mark Lanegan, Isobel Campbell first crossed the collective radar as a member of Scottish indie-popsters Belle & Sebastian.

For my money, Belle & Sebastian, whilst still occasionally wonderful, just haven’t been as consistently great since Isobel left.

I always thought she was criminally underused when she was in Belle & Sebastian; she didn’t sing lead vocals on a track until their Brit Awards busting third album, the  “The Boy with the Arab Strap”, and then once more on the follow up, “Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant”, which is probably my favourite album by them.

There’s something about both songs – and that something is undeniably Isobel’s frail, winsome, folky voice – which makes them stand out from the rest of the tracks on those two albums.

It’s the song that she sings on “Fold Your Hands…” that we’re visiting for our weekly dose of late night loveliness tonight:

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Belle & Sebastian – Family Tree

 More soon.

The Chain #35

Blimey is that the time?

Alright, alright, alright, already, we’re back, a week later than intended, but restored back to our rightful place on a Wednesday night. This was of course always the plan come 2017, and has absolutely nothing to do with Spurs getting knocked out of the Champions League and into the UEFA Europa League, where they’ll be playing their games on Thursday nights.

So those of you with exceptionally long memories will recall that at the end of The Chain #34,we were left with Malcom McLaren’s “Buffalo Gals” as the record to link to, and as usual the suggestions were many, varied and fell into on of a couple of different categories. They also include a veritable menagerie of different animals; not just buffalos, but cows, crawfish, ducklings, swans, an elk, a moose (and probably a mouse), an ostrich, and cartoon cats, canaries and flying squirrels. We’ll hear from (or mention in passing) all of these, whilst also visiting a sex shop and engaging in some Morris Dancing. Now that’s what I call fulfilling my diversity quota.

And before we go any further, I should point out that one of you gets very close indeed to guessing what the next record in The Chain – right act, wrong song, as is (apparently) so often muttered from the judges’ chairs on The X Factor.

So let’s kick things off by working through the more obvious bunch first – those that linked to “Buffalo”, and even these can be split down into two further sub-categories: those that link to Buffalo (the animal) and those that link to Buffalo (the place).

First up, is Jules from Music From Magazines who, bless him, doesn’t seem to want to let the Christmas feeling go just yet:

“…just one last go at a Christmas/NYE drunk sing along…”

Jules, you sent me this on January 3rd, mate.

“…’Go Buffalo’ is a cracking number by Like Swimming…”

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Like Swimming – Go Buffalo

“Someone who doesn’t like swimming is Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk as featured in ‘Aqua Boogie’ by Parliament, the 12″ version of which was only pressed on one side (no B side to enjoy once and then ignore ).”

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Parliament – Aqua Boogie (12″ Version)

Hold on, he’s not done yet:

“Now this is memory based, but a famous artist, entrepreneur and kiddy fiddler (hell he tried to entice my kid brother into his Roller on the Kings Road I later found out) wanted to release only single sided 45s on his UK label.”

It’s usually at about this point that I would start glancing round the bus to see if I have any chance of escape from the conversation.

“Jonathan King discovered Genesis with Peter Gabriel as a member which can only go to one place…”

I dunno about you lot, but the suspense is killing me.

“The The’s ‘Angel Of Deception’

Only joking.”

I do the jokes. And I love the album that’s from, although some of the songs haven’t really aged all that well:

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The The – Angels of Deception

So where’s the one other place that we can go to……?

“Robbie Williams – ‘Angels'”

Oh. Goodie.

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Robbie Williams – Angels

I can’t really scoff at this. Sitting in the bar at a family wedding around twenty years ago, I led the gathering in a heart-felt rendition of this. About seven times. What little hair I have left still bristles at the memory.

My favourite Robbie moment, however, was this, when he made a guest appearance in the BBC studios at the football World Cup 1998, and was ceremoniously taken down a peg or two by Martin O’Neill:

Anyway, let’s rewind, and start back at the beginning. Here, providing not only the first suggestion I received, but getting us going with a Double Linker, it’s The Great Gog:

“Buffalo is an animal that is farmed for its milk, as is a cow. The Wonder Stuff had a sizeable hit with ‘Size Of A Cow’. It just so happens that their lead singer is [popular rhyming slang] Miles Hunt who shares a surname with a racing driver who (rather tidily for this link) won the F1 Drivers Championship driving for McLaren in 1976.”

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The Wonder Stuff – The Size of a Cow

Next up is The Robster from Is This The Life? who suggests:

“I’m going for a very easy (and slightly obvious) one – ‘Guilty Girls’ by Buffalo Tom. No cryptic, convoluted link needed. They’re one of my favourite bands and that’s good enough for me!”

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Buffalo Tom – Guilty Girls

Mine too, Rob, though I have to admit to kinda losing track of them after the double-whammy of “Let Me Come Over” and “Big Red Letter Day”, so a nod towards some of their later stuff is much appreciated. (It’s as I add their name to the Tags and find their name doesn’t auto-enter that I find myself thinking: how the hell have I never featured anything from them before? I know I was going to post “Tailights Fade” a couple of months ago, but was beaten to it by the When You Can’t Remember Anything boys nicking in first. They’ll nick anything those two; you watch, they’ll be starting up a thread where they invite people to suggest records next.) (Psst! – you know I’m kidding, right chaps? And you know that because I’ve already suggested a couple over at your place.)

Speaking of obvious choices, as The Robster was, and since I mentioned When You Can’t Remember Anything, here’s Badger from the very same blog, with one of the three suggestions that I suspected we’d get this week:

“The obvious route is to ‘Buffalo Stance’ by Neneh Cherry.”

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Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance

And here’s the second one that I expected, from Alyson over at What’s It All About, Alfie?

“From Buffalo Gals to…. “

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Bob Marley & The Wailers – Buffalo Soldier

The third other one that I was expecting to get mentioned, wasn’t, although babylotti came pretty close, as you’ll see in the fullness of time. So I guess, I’d better suggest it:

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Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth

That song has had various segments of it lifted, quoted, or sampled on many different records over the years, one of my favourites is this, which I seem to associate with a break-dancing Transformer and I’m not sure why: was it in the video? Or used in an advert? Or did I eat far too much cheese before bed one night….?

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Les Rythmes Digitales – (Hey You) What’s That Sound?

A change of pace now. No great explanation from Rol of My Top Ten this week:

“Just two suggestions this week. I was going to try for just one, but I can’t decide between the two below:”

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Kathleen Edwards – Buffalo

and

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The Dead Weather – I Cut Like A Buffalo

In fact, many of the suggestions were pretty brief, once you take out all of the most welcome Christmas and New Year messages, along with all of the very kind things many of you said about this place which I’m far too modest to post here. For example, here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area:

“In ‘Burning Lights’, Joe Strummer sings ‘…you are the last of the buffalo…’ and it’s a wilderness years highlight so I’ll nominate that please.”

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Joe Strummer – Burning Lights

Over to George now, with a suggestion which comes pretty close to winning the Comment Showboat Award of the week:

“Buffalos have horns, a bony structure on the top of their heads. Another animal with a bony structure on its head is the elk (although they have antlers, but they are still bony), and the elk is also known as a moose. And from my childhood I can recall a lyric featuring the word “moose”, namely “there’s a moose loose aboot this hoose”, which is one of the few lyrics in a song by Lord Rockingham ‘s X1. I think the song is called ‘Hoots Mon’. And I bet everyone will recognise the tune once they play it.”

There’s only one way to find out:

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Lord Rockingham’s XI – Hoots Mon!

Could I ask my friends North of the Border to clarify something for us, he’s actually saying ‘mouse’ isn’t he….? Not that I’m going to disqualify George’s suggestion, because it definitely sounds like ‘moose’.

George included a link to a video clip to his suggestion, something which made him smile. You know where to go to find that. Instead, in case any of you in the UK were wondering quite where you recognise that song from, I would think it’s maybe from this:

Look out. Jules is back:

“Thanks George for the moose link! Casting my mind back to the cartoon series ‘Rocky and Bullwinkle’ about a flying squirrel and a moose (yes, I know) takes one inevitability to ROCKY with some great tunes. Let’s move on to the star Sylvester Stallone.

Sylvester’s work makes me feel mighty real but I preferred his work with Tweety Pie.”

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Mel Blanc – I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat

Over now to Martin, who I think has posted here before, but forgive me Martin, I’m a little rusty. If this is your first time, then we’d all like to offer you a warm Chain Gang welcome, if not, then we’d all like to offer you a warm Chain Gang welcome back.

Anyway, here’s Martin’s suggestion:

“…On the basis that ‘Buffalo Gals’ is a perfect anagram of ‘Bagful of Las’ [and it is, I’ve checked], can I pitch for the ‘There She Goes’ by The La’s, please? Especially if I promise not to resort to anagrams to often…”

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The La’s – There She Goes

Just one more obvious-ish Buffalo link, and it’s another from me. I was about to write that this was one of my favourite records from the past couple of years, until I checked and found out it was released in 2010, and so now I just feel very, very old indeed:

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Avi Buffalo – What’s In It For

Okay, here comes Dirk from Sexyloser and he’s gonna get all geographic on your asses:

“Loads of great musicians come from Buffalo in the state of New York, located on the eastern shores of Lake Erie at the head of the Niagara River: I trust it’s a fantastic place to go … I mean, I’ve never been there and certainly don’t want to go, but either way …! Where was I? Ah yes, musicians include John Lombardo and Mary Ramsey out of 10,000 Maniacs, so their ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’ should be fitting, right?”

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10,000 Maniacs – Anthem For Doomed Youth

“Also Buffalo is a twin town to Dortmund, Germany and I’m sure you all know that Phillip Boa out of Phillip Boa and The Voodoo Club come from Dortmund. If memory serves correctly, he was featured before, but not with ‘Ostrich’, my favourite song of theirs: does that count? I hope it does….”

He has featured here before, Dirk, but you’re right, not with that song, so here you go:

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Phillip Boa & The Voodoo Club – Ostrich (Love is Not The Same)

Okay, something a little more…erm…traditional next. This suggestion comes from Jonny, who is definitely a first time poster here, so please all offer him a warm Chain Gang welcome.

The reason I know this is Jonny’s first time posting here, is because he’s an old mate of mine; we went to the same school although, inevitably, I’m a few years older than him so we didn’t know each other then, but we used to work together in the kitchen of a greasy motorway café masquerading as a family restaurant back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. I worked there every holiday throughout college, and ultimately for a year after I graduated, and it Jonny and I forged a great friendship. He was into photography and I enjoyed writing; together we cobbled together a spoof corporate newsletter called “The Crappy Eater” (which gives you a pretty good clue as to the identity of the place we worked in), where we basically took the piss out of and made up shit about our work colleagues. We “accidentally” left it laying around in the staff room one day and…well, some people found it funny, but some of the old dears who worked there were definitely not impressed. Somewhere, buried in a box, somewhere in my flat, I think I have a couple of the articles we wrote. I doubt many of you will be interested as you won’t know the people we’re winding up, but Jonny: if I can find them, I’ll email you copies.

Anyway, one of the reasons that Jonny and I got on so well, apart from the fact that we were amazingly cool gods of the burger griddle, was that we both shared similar music tastes of an indie-ish nature, and it was with Jonny that I ventured to London’s Brixton Academy back in 1992 to see Sonic Youth play promoting their “Dirty” album, ably supported by Pavement and Huggy Bear. Long term readers may recall me writing about it here a long time ago.

So when Jonny sent me a suggestion, I was expecting it would be a really cool blast from the past. I was half right: it was definitely a blast from the past, but also most definitely not really cool.

Over to you Jonny (and I should add, I have had to edit this because I’m not all that familiar with the libel laws so I thought it best I erred on the side of caution):

“So ‘Buffalo Gals’ takes me here (I know the connection is loose and somewhat obscure, but hear me out)” [S’okay, Jonny, I like my connections like I like my women: loose and obscure]

“…back to being a 13 year old, purple legged, lanky piece of shit who was forced on a yearly basis to take part in the school’s Country Dancing display…” [He was quite lanky. I suspect he may have played the part of the Maypole]

“Those Buffalo Gals going round the outside, for me, conjured up images of a scantily clad maths teacher I quite liked the look of prancing round my bed wooing me in for my first sexual experience. Sadly for me, that never happened.

My brief day/wet dream would then be shattered by my then form tutor kicking out the jams with his ‘Molly Dance’. Terrible song. Terrible timing.

But somehow that fucking ‘Molly Dance’ found its way into my record collection and remained there for many a year until in a moment of skint madness I flogged the entire collection of over 700 pieces of carefully chosen vinyl masterpieces for about the amount of a gas bill.”

Anyway, crowbar that in your chain and pull it.”

700 pieces of carefully chosen vinyl masterpieces…and this:

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Ramblin’ Rod & His New Morris Van – (I Can Do The) Molly Dance

If I may fill in a couple of the blanks: the eponymous Ramblin’ Rod was in fact the Morris Dancing alter-ego of Jonny’s form tutor. And the Morris Van bit is “…a joke, that’s short for ‘vanguard'”, said Ramblin’ Rod in what was probably his only ever interview, which apparently took place at a party where “where Rod and friends were wassailing by dipping buttered toast in cider, then sticking the resulting “soldiers” in every tree trunk they could find.” Sounds like one hell of a party, right?

Before we get into the other big category – links to Malcom McLaren – let’s round up the other suggestions.

Here’s Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense:

“Taking the ‘Girls’ theme [actually, it’s Gals, but since I made the same error in The Chain #34 I’ll let it slide] – a celebration of Girls everywhere; a wonderful piece of late 70s, possibly un-PC, Music Hall-esque nonsense:”

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Sailor – Girls, Girls, Girls

Yeh, it’s definitely not PC, but it’s no (previously featured) “Some Girls” by Racey is it?

There, that didn’t take long, did it?

Time for some Malcolm McLaren links, I think. Here’s Alyson, back for another go:

“Malcolm McLaren also released Double Dutch from the same album and that led me to think of Ray and Anita, that Dutch duo who were ’90s dance outfit 2 Unlimited. How about a bit of ‘No Limit’…?”

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2 Unlimited – No Limit

Given how many times the word “No” features in that song, I’ve always found it a little weird that it begins with Ray (I assume it’s not Anita) pleading to hear us say “Yeah!”.

Always reminds me of Jim Trott, that song. You know, Jim Trott, right?

Hold on, I feel a catchphrase coming on. Cue fanfare.

Well, if you’re going to suggest that (a record which features the word “No” many, many times), then I’m going to suggest this lot, back for a second airing this week:

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The Wonder Stuff – No, For The 13th Time

Back to McLaren links, and back to George:

“From Malcolm McLaren to Malcolm McDowell, he of Clockwork Orange, to The Fall and their 6 min 20 second masterpiece ‘Kurious Oranj'”

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The Fall – Kurious Oranj

Readers of a certain age will remember (a different) Curious Orange from Lee and Herring’s “This Morning with Richard Not Judy” show; this was the best (quality, if not necessarily the funniest) clip I could find:

Anyway. Where were we? Ah yes: McLaren and his numerous links. Here to add to them is The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:

“I know that for a while Malcolm McLaren managed quite a famous band, though for the life of me I can’t remember their name 🙂 Instead I’ll go down the producer route. Trevor Horn produced ‘Buffalo Gals’ and among his many (and varied) other credits is Belle and Sebastian’s ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress’, from which I’d like to suggest ‘ Step Into My Office, Baby’.”

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Belle & Sebastian – Step Into My Office, Baby

Tailgating on the back of that suggestion, here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music with another short but sweet entry:

“The band that The Swede was referring to was clearly Bow Wow Wow so ‘I Want Candy’ please”

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Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy

Much as I love that version (and I really do), this – the original, I think – shades it for me:

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The Strangeloves – I Want Candy

As I’m writing this on Wednesday evening, after Trump’s first speech, and after a load of new salacious rumours began circulating about him, I wondered if I’d be able to get through this post without making reference to it. I reckon if I can get passed a band called The Strangeloves without making a joke, I’ll have done well.

Ah well. Guess I blew it.

Back to McLaren, and here’s babylotti, who’s taking us on a trip over to New York:

“From Malcolm Mclaren, manager of New York Dolls for a minimal time, leads me to David Johansen. I’ll suggest Wreckless Crazy from him…”

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David Johansen – Wreckless Crazy

“…which links me to Johnny Thunders. I’m going to suggest his version of Crawfish with Patti Palladin…”

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Johnny Thunders & Patti Palladin – Crawfish

“…and my last link, after the disastrous year for celebrity deaths I feel I have to go for ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory’ by Ronnie Spector with Joey Ramone.”

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Ronnie Spector (feat Joey Ramone) – You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory

Of course, the McLaren-managed band that you’ve all done exceptionally well not to mention, but which my brother would never speak to me again if I didn’t, are the Sex Pistols, so here’s one which is by no means one of their finest moments, but it’s one which we’ve both got a bit of a soft spot for:

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Sex Pistols – Silly Thing

But undoubtedly, the best suggestion of the week, the Comment Showboat of choice, came from Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“About ten years ago, there was an ITV reality show called “The Baron”, the premise being that three celebrities attempted to curry favour in a little coastal village in Aberdeenshire in order to be elected as the new Baron of Troup. The show was a complete damp squib and buried in a late night slot, so there’s no reason for anyone to recall it, really. The only reason *I* remember it is that I happen to live close to the village where it was filmed, and a few of my friends appeared in it.

Getting to the point, the three celebrities flown in were Mike “Runaround” Reid (who won, and then almost immediately snuffed it), Suzanne Shaw from Hear’Say, and… Malcolm McLaren. See, there was some relevance to all of this. On those grounds I would have suggested Mike Reid’s reading (or reiding) of “The Ugly Duckling”, but I think that should really have linked to the last record in the chain rather than the current on, so…”

Whoa there cowboy! That’s a good enough reason for me to post what is not only the Comment Showboat of the Week, but is also the Cheesiest Record of the Week (and since we’ve already featured 2 Unlimited, that’s no mean feat):

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Mike Reid – The Ugly Duckling

That bit in brackets on the record label is a bit harsh, isn’t it?

Anyway, as you were Alex; you were about to proffer your actual suggestion:

“… so bearing in mind there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure [there isn’t, there really isn’t, though sometimes you lot really test that theory], let’s have Hear’Say’s Betty Boo-penned signature hit ‘Pure And Simple’ instead.”

Otherwise known as “The song where it looks like someone’s lighting their farts in the video”:

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Hear’Say – Pure & Simple

And in case you think that’s the cheesiest record of the week, you’re wrong: as Alex G says, it was written by Betty Boo which automatically makes it one of the best records of the week. So there.

Anyway, the aforementioned Miss Shaw was at one time the latest squeeze of serial philanderer and chicken in a basket entertainer Darren Day, which leads me to this:

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Hazel O’Connor – D-Days

Uh oh. Jules has climbed back on board. Quick everybody, avoid eye contact, stare at your copy of the Metro, pretend to make a phone call:

“Malcolm McLaren used to run a boutique on the King’s Road with Vivienne Westwood it was called SEX, most of the sex shops I used to frequent [Jules – have you ever heard the term “over-sharing”…?] mostly sold gentlemen’s magazines and ‘marital aids’ aka vibrators. Not the punk band but the American slang for a vibrator Steely Dan…”Deacon Blues”:

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Steely Dan – Deacon Blues

“…which as it happens contains the line ‘they call Alabama the crimson tide’. Crimson Tide of course is a fine film about a Russian/USA standoff… [no comparisons to be made with anything going on in world news there then…] …so:”

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The Clash – Ivan Meets G.I. Joe

Mention of Vivienne got me thinking of other famous Westwood’s, and the first one that sprang to mind was former Radio 1 and 1Xtra hip-hop DJ and host of the UK version of Pimp My Ride, Tim Westwood, who happens to be the son of the former Bishop of Peterborough, the Right Reverend Bill Westwood. And since I grew up in and around that fine cathedral city, this seems appropriate:

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The Long Blondes – Peterborough

Which should be the end, but George suggested this which, following a year of so many celebrity deaths, seemed an apt way to finish things off this week:

“Buffalo Gals was released in 1982. As was ‘Wham Rap!’ by Wham. (I find myself very ,very sad at George Michael’s death). I bought this in 1982, still have it, and still think it’s a toptastic pop song, it’s impossible to sit still when this plays.”

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Wham – Wham Rap!

Time to wrap things up then, and let’s find out what the next record in The Official Chain was:

“Produced by Malcolm McLaren were…”

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35. Bow Wow Wow – C30 C60 C90

Oh go on then, half a bonus point to Charity Chic for guessing the band, if not the song.

So, your suggestions please, via the Comments section below, for records that you can link to Bow Wow Wow’s “C30 C60 C90”, and don’t forget to explain the link in your suggestion.

See you next week (more soon).

That Summer Feeling #27

Second appearance from Belle and Sebastian here, and it was a toss up whether to post this or the equally lovely “Ease Your Feet In The Sea”, but this one wins because it compliments the recent post about “Unemployed in Summertime” rather neatly:

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Belle & Sebastian – A Summer Wasting

Without wishing to tread over old ground (and by the way, thank you for the lovely comments, texts, emails and calls that my post about “Unemployed in Summertime” prompted; more than any others that I’ve ever received they meant a great deal to me), it seems to me the title of this song could be taken in one of two ways: a mournful, reflection on wasted time, or a bright and breezy recollection of a summer from our youth where the summer holidays seemed to stretch out to infinity in front of us, where time wasn’t an issue and where you could just ride your Chopper around the new build estates or simply laze around on playing fields, doing nothing, to your heart’s content.

It’s Saturday. Let’s plump for the latter, shall we?

More soon.

The Chain #13

Okay, finally, here we are. And to make up for my tardiness, I’ve included links to the blogs of each of the contributors (that have one, that I know of). Consider this to be my seal of approval. If you’ve never visited them, then you should. And now you have now excuse not to.

I  left you last time with “Song to Woody” by Bob Dylan and asked for your suggestions for songs to link to that record, and for your ideas about what the official link between that and “Andy Warhol” by David Bowie was.

So, to tidy up the latter point, here’s The Swede from Unthought of, Though, Somehow to explain:

“‘Andy Warhol’ appeared on Bowie’s LP ‘Hunky Dory’, as did ‘Song for Bob Dylan’ . This is Bob singing a song for someone else.”

Correctimondo! Bonus points to The Swede.

And so to this week’s suggestions, and as usual they are of an extremely high and more diverse standard than ever, so I’ll do my usual deferring of responsibility by just posting them in the order they were received.

First up, The Great Gog (by the way: no blog for me to link to, GG? Correct me if I’m wrong. There’s one I thought was you, but on closer investigation seems to have no author attributed to it…) who said this:

“Dylan’s song is to Woody (Guthrie). I’m mildly amused by the thought that he would have written a song instead to Woody Herman, the bandleader. Continuing the notion of randomly linking people with nothing other a name in common, I arrive at Herman’s Hermits and their song that could be (but isn’t) about a dairy-free 24 hours – No Milk Today.”

Ah, that famously lactose-intolerant popular 60s beat combo and stock answer on Trivial Pursuit (Baby Boomer edition) pop questions (alternated with Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch).

That’s easy, thought I. I have a Herman’s Hermits Greatest Hits album. Which, unbelievably, does not contain this record:

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Herman’s Hermits – No Milk Today

And so to The Swede’s suggestion. And this is really uncanny.

“Like The Great Gog (brilliant suggestion by the way), I’ll head off in the direction of a different Woody to the subject of Bob’s song, in my case Woody Allen. Is there a better opening sequence in cinema history than that of Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan’? The soundtrack for that sequence is the fantastic ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, written by George Gershwin and performed by the New York Philharmonic.”

I say uncanny because I just bought a boxset of early Woody Allen films – I remember watching “Sleeper” and “Love and Death” with my folks when I was a kid and thinking they were amazing – and earlier in the week I watched “Manhattan” for the first time. I know, I know…I hang my head in shame for not getting round to it earlier. Needless to say, I was totally blown away by it.

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George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue

Next up, it’s Charity Chic:

“Short but sweet today.  Woody was the name of the cowboy character in Toy Story leading to I’m Your Toy by the Flying Burrito Brothers”

Or, unless I’m very much mistaken, as it’s also known:

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 The Flying Burrito Brothers – Hot Burrito #1

Sometimes, for my sins, I forget just how amazing Gram Parsons was, and then I hear songs like that and I’m reminded not just of that, but also what a loss he was. Or, as The Swede puts it:

“Wonderful song. I may need a bourbon on hand to get through it without blubbing though.”

Look out, here comes Swiss Adam from bagging area who has a double suggestion:

“Joe Strummer was known as Woody before he was Joe Strummer (so a pre-Clash song like Keys to your Heart by the 101ers would be appropriate), from there The Clash to various post Clash outfits (The Pogues for Joe, Big Audio Dynamite for Mick, Havana 3am for Paul and Gorillaz for Mick and Paul) and any number of guest appearances from Joe (Joe with Black Grape, um Joe with Fat Les, Joe with, um, the Levellers) or Mick… I could go on…..”

No need, you already had me at The 101ers:

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13. The 101ers – Keys To Your Heart

You will have noticed the insertion of the number 13 at the start of that link. And that’s because Swiss has hit the jackpot there – he’s the first person (as far as I can recall, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) to suggest the actual next record that featured on the official show’s list. Bonus points a plenty this week.

But wait – he’s not done yet. Oh no:

“Woody Guthrie famously said his machine killed fascists [a message he had written on his guitar – Ed]. On the inner sleeve of Half Man half Biscuits “Achtung Bono” Nigel Blackwell holds a guitar emblazoned with This Machine Kills Wasps. You can’t go wrong with any song off “Achtung Bono”. “We Built This Village on A Trad Arr Tune” is especially great. ‘Act 1 Scene 1 Brenda Blethyn gets shot’.”

A canny move there; Swiss has realised that if you want to get two suggestions posted, make sure at least one of them is by someone you already know I love. And besides, I got such positive feedback last time I posted Half Man Half Biscuit, I can’t resist that:

half_0020_manHalf Man Half Biscuit – We Built This Village On A Trad. Arr. Tune

And so to George:

“Bob Dylan to Dylan in the Magic Roundabout, which was narrated by Eric Thompson, to Eric Clapton to Cream and the song SWLABR (from Disraeli Gears).”

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Cream – SWLABR

And in case you were wondering what SWLABR stands for, George is kind enough to enlighten us:

“SWLABR stands for She Walks Like A Bearded Rainbow”

Which I’m sure you’ll agree clarifies things perfectly. Probably just my mind thinking from its’ usual repose in the gutter, but I suspect it’s rude.

Which brings us on to my suggestion, and it was only when I got to typing this that I realised I’d not given it a jot of thought in the two weeks (count ’em!) since I last posted on this thread.

So…um…er…suddenly realises how contestants on “Only Connect” feel, cursing myself for having picked The Eye of Horus, only without the plus point of having met Victoria Coren-Mitchell (if you live in the UK and get none of these references you are watching the wrong channel at 20:30 of a Monday)….how about…erm….*buzzes in with 1 second to spare* this:

A simple two-step. From Bob Dylan to this:

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Belle & Sebastian – Like Dylan In the Movies

…and from there- no, I’m not done yet – one of the movies Dylan made was Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, in which he co-starred with one Kris Kristofferson. Regular readers will know I need no second bidding to crowbar a bit of KK in, so here’s his song, with his growly spoken-word intro dedicating the song to John and June, whoever they are (don’t message me, I know who they are) which offers a bar-room hobo’s philosophy on preaching to the converted. It’s a song which has come to mind a lot in recent weeks. Don’t let that description put you off, by the way:

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Kris Kristofferson – To Beat The Devil

So, no need for suggestions as to what the official link was this week, but your suggestions please via the Comments box below as to what we can play next time that links to The 101ers “Keys to Your Heart”, and the reason for the link.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club (That Summer Feeling #4 – #14)

Evening all.

Remarkably, the shockwaves of me posting summery records for three consecutive days doesn’t seem to have had any detrimental effect on the weather – in fact if we’re to believe the weather forecasts it’s set to continue for the rest of the weekend.

So, I thought I’d give you a few more tunes to soundtrack your barbecues and beach parties over the next couple of days. Nothing terribly surprising in here, I don’t think, bar maybe one or two. But every one is an absolute pearler,

The first couple of songs pretty much sum up how my week working in That London has been. Here’s Sir William Broad, under his alter ego, the King of the Curled Lip:

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326. Billy Idol – Hot In The City

and this, one of the greatest summer records ever, in my not so humble opinion:

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327. The Lovin’ Spoonful – Summer In The City

I first came into ownership of both of these records at roughly the same time, when I was at 6th Form, where I took on the responsibility of providing tunes for the common room. There was a cheap and knackered old stereo in there, a turntable with a worn down belt that prohibited anything being played at the correct speed, and a radio that the aerial had long since perished on, and two tape decks, only one of which worked.

As you’ll find out soon – this is my definition of soon, mind – in the eponymous auto-biographical thread of this blog, it was at 6th Form that I forged my musical identity, if that doesn’t sound too pretentious, and I took great pleasure in preparing a new mixtape pretty much every night to grace the airs of the musty common room. My parents will doubtless recall me spending every night hunched over my Dad’s recently acquired Midi system, headphones on, studiously selecting a new set of tracks to dazzle my peers with instead of, say, doing my homework. It was these tapes, finely honed to ensure every taste was catered for, that I think laid the foundations for me starting to DJ a few years later – not the technical skills, mind, I’ve never got the hang of “proper” mixing – but the ability to tailor a set to an expectant, diverse crowd.

By the time the first summer arrived, at the end of my stint in the Lower 6th, I was, I felt, a fully fledged Indie kid, but didn’t want to be one of those people who forces their music down everyone’s throats, so I elected to temper the cool stuff with some more mainstream records. I would ask that you bear this in mind for coming posts, as this will be my defence for having purchased some pretty poor pop in the same period. It wasn’t for me, it was for those other kids who, y’know, wouldn’t know a cool record if it bit them on the arse.

As part of this campaign, I bought a Now! album – the only one I have ever purchased – Now! That’s What I Call Summer. It’s a mixed bag, as you’d expect, with Cliff Richard a little more prominent than is frankly necessary.

But there were an above average strike rate of good stuff on there too, and “Summer in the City” was chief among them, head and shoulders above many of the tracks featured.

In June 2000, fresh from picking up the Best New Act Award a year earlier at the Brits, through some pretty canny exploitation of voting via that there new-fangled internet thing, Belle & Sebastian released this absolute corker, which, if you’re unfamiliar with, may have you scratching your head as to why I’m including it in a summer mix. Well hold your horses, and give it until the lyrical refrain at the end:

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328. Belle & Sebastian – Legal Man

Now, I may find myself saying this a lot tonight and over the summer posts that will follow over the weekend, but this is one my favourite summer songs ever:

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329. The Undertones – Here Comes the Summer

The song has recently been used in a TV ad campaign by Aldi, and I can’t make up my mind whether that’s a good thing or not. Sure, it means that every now and then I get to hear it blasting from my TV for 40 seconds, but on the other hand – Aldi????? Is nothing sacred?? Whatever next – The Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs” being used to advertise Pirelli tyres? “Tame” by Pixies advertising Smirnoff vodka? Oh wait….both those things have happened…..

So, anyway, if you’re lucky, you’ll be spending some time soon on a beach somewhere, so here’s a few beachy heads which sound just as ace today as they did when they first came out, none of which require any introduction or comment from me:

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330. Ramones – Rockaway Beach

(I’m gobsmacked. Unless I forgot to tag them previously, this is the first time I’ve posted a Ramones tune. I deserve to have my blogging credentials revoked.)

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331. The Go-Go’s – Beatnik Beach

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332. Martha And The Muffins – Echo Beach

Another one that featured on that Now! album, there. See, £4.99 well spent already (which dates me, obviously. A newly released double album on vinyl for £4.99 – them’s were the days…)

I was about to say “Now,onto something more contemporary”, which would be true, since the most recent tune I’ve posted so far came out sixteen years ago, but I was saddened to find this came out ten years ago. Saddened only in the sense that it means it’s ten years since I witnessed bass player Thomas “The House of Lords” Dartnall fall off the stage in Cardiff’s Barfly. *Sighs* “I grow old…I grow old…I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled.” (Bit of Prufrock for you there, poetry fans).

Still, it carries on thematically from Legal Man and Echo Beach in depicting a protagonist desperate to escape the drudge of an office job to enjoy some time soaking up the rays (NB: My boss should read nothing into this):

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333. The Young Knives – Weekends And Bleak Days (Hot Summer)

“Hot summer, what a bummer”, indeed.

The next two songs were released ten years apart, but in my mind the latter is the spiritual offspring of the former.

First, here’s Damon and the Blurboys with their observations on the beery shag-culture of holidays in Greece:

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334. Blur – Girls & Boys

…and here’s Mike Skinner, living the dream:

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335. The Streets – Fit But You Know It (Radio Edit)

And so to the last tune for the night, and to one my favourite summer songs ever, by one of the coolest and most influential artists ever to walk this earth:

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336. Sly & The Family Stone – Hot Fun in the Summertime

That’ll do you for tonight.

More soon.