The Chain #33

So this is what Thursday looks like, is it? I’m not sure I care for it much. It’s no Wednesday, is it?

We ended last week with the 32nd record in The Official Chain, “Valley Girl” by Frank Zappa, and my usual open invitation for suggestions for songs which can be linked to that.

And, as usual, the usual diverse range of songs came in, linking a numerous amount of clever, corny, obscure, obvious, tenuous or terrific ways. This week, for a change (and because it’s a lot easier) we’re going to look at them in the order they came in.

Also this week, as I was struggling for ideas for my own suggestions, I seem to have developed a new catch-phrase.

First out of the traps this week was Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music, with a suggestion which truly fulfils the remit of the name of this here blog:

“‘Frank Zappa and the Mamas were at the best place around’ according to Deep Purple on Smoke on the Water”

Altogether now: Der-der-der, der-der-de-der, der-der-der-der-der…..

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Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water

That’s taken from their 1972 album “Machine Head”, an album which my brother owned when we were kids, on gatefold vinyl. When opened, this was the collage which greeted you:

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As you may be able to see, each of the band member has their photo with their name on the right hand side – there’s Gillan, Blackmore, Glover, Lord, Paice, and then on the left, just one photo bears a name, a name which my brother and I found hilarious when we were kids: Claude Nobs.

This sounded to us like one of those comedy innuendo names, like Ivor Biggun or Hugh G. Rection. But actually, Nobs is there for a reason. He does not appear on the record. He is not one of the sound technicians. During Zappa’s concert, when the fire that the song tells the story of broke out in the Montreux Casino, started by a fan firing a flare into the ceiling, Nobs was a hero, saving several young people who had hidden in the casino, thinking they would be sheltered from the flames.

He still has a funny name, mind.

Anyway, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this version, just in case you think that what that song needs is less guitar riffs, and more salsa brass:

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Senor Coconut – Smoke On The Water

If that version isn’t on Strictly Come Dancing some day, then…well, I won’t have the faintest idea, as I never watch it.

Over to the Great Gog now:

“Frank Zappa’s band were the Mothers Of Invention which set me thinking about anything referring to invention / inventiveness or whatever, and inevitably our old friends, Manic Street Preachers cropped up with ‘Another Invented Disease’.”

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Manic Street Preachers – Another Invented Disease

I think sooner or later I’m going to have to draw up a league table of the acts who have featured the most in The Chain. The Manics have to be right up there, along with Kirsty MacColl and maybe The Bluetones.

“Also springing to mind on a separate train of thought,” continues the Great Gog, “was a band who I’m guessing didn’t name themselves purely to be next to Zappa in the record store racks, but achieved that anyway. That will be Zapp and the only song I can recall of theirs is ‘It Doesn’t Really Matter’ – and it didn’t to the Great British record-buying public at least, because it wasn’t much of a hit.”

And here’s why I think that was: because we just weren’t ready for someone trying to sound like Prince after he’d had a vocoder forcibly inserted:

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Zapp – It Doesn’t Really Matter

Here’s Rol from My Top Ten, with the first of many “Frank” links:

“Tom Waits – Frank’s Wild Years. I won’t come up with a better song than that this week.

Although I might come up with a few worse ones.”

Time will tell, eh, readers?

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Tom Waits – Frank’s Wild Years

And since we’re on Frank’s, well if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this:

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The Frank and Walters – After All

Time to welcome back Dirk from Sexyloser, conspicuous by his absence the past week or so, and, from the length of his suggestion, keen to make up for lost time:

“That’s an easy one and one that links to one of my favourite tunes in the history of the whole wide world ever: how cool is that? Now, Zappa had this song on the album “Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch”, which was released in 1982. Now, if you have a closer look at the lyrics of “Valley Girl”, you start wondering who stole from whom when you take into consideration that The Valley Girls’ “Marina Men” (a m.i.g.h.t.y. tune, friends!) was ALSO released in 1982: if some expert now told me that the Valley Girls’ 12″ came out first, my life would be complete, believe me!”

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Valley Girls – Marina Men

“Plus,” Dirk continues, “in order to show you that I’m a friend of the stars: one of the first comments I received when I started sexyloser years and years ago came from Pamy out of The Valley Girls: she thought it was cool to see the record being brought up again some 25 years after its release. Had I already known about the Zappa – tune then, I would have asked her for the exact release date straightaway! So Pamy, if you’re reading this, who was first: you or Zappa? Also, as a kind reminder: I’m still waiting for this lyric sheet, alright?!”

I don’t think she reads this, Dirk. Not unless one of you is about to suddenly rip a mask away from your face to reveal your true identity, like the owner of the run-down, reputedly haunted, circus in every episode of Scooby Doo ever.

Charity Chic is back, with two more suggestions now, one absolute belter, and one…er…less so. I wonder if you can guess which one is which?

“The Skids who recorded the mighty ‘Into the Valley’ were from Dumfermline…..”

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Skids – Into The Valley

“So too is Barbara Dickson who recorded the not so mighty ‘Answer Me’.”

Don’t you go bad-mouthing Dickson on my watch, CC! For me, Dixon epitomises Saturday night TV in the 1970s, since she seemed to be the guest singer on every episode of “The Two Ronnies” ever:

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Barbara Dickson – Answer Me

Over now to The Robster from Is This the Life?:

“What immediately sprang to mind was Our Frank by Morrissey, but you had a Moz tune on the previous episode, so…”

Yes, so? That’s not a reason not to have another one by him this week:

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Morrissey – Our Frank

“…Fresh from seeing Pixies in Cardiff last night, and with my body still recovering from a full TWO HOUR onslaught in the mosh-pit, my mind turns to lead singer Black Francis. Now he has released records under the alternative name Frank Black. In 2000, with his backing band The Catholics, he recorded an album called ‘Sunday Sunny Mill Valley Groove Day’, the title track of which was a cover of the Sir Douglas Quintet track. The album was never officially released, although Frank did distribute some copies at gigs. He re-recorded the track for his 2005 album ‘Honeycomb’ while other tracks ended up as b-sides or on compilations. It also provides a double-link for The Chain!”

Frank + Valley = double- linker!

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Frank Black – Sunday Sunny Mill Valley Groove Day

Well, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this, my own double-linker, one of the greatest Northern Soul tunes ever, and frankly (see what I did there), I can’t believe nobody else suggested it this week:

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Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – The Night

Now if anyone was ever going to rip their mask off and reveal themselves to be Pamy from the Valley Girls, then surely it’s George:

“Frank Zappa’s middle name was Vincent. Which leads to Vincent Eugene Craddock, who was better known as Gene Vincent. So the song is Baby Blue.”

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Gene Vincent – Baby Blue

Here’s Rol, back again, with a suggestion which may, or may not, be worse than his earlier one. You decide:

“That would lead me on to Vincent Furnier, aka Alice Cooper. ‘School’s Out’ is too obvious, so how about ‘Teenage Lament ’74’?”

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Alice Cooper – Teenage Lament ’74

Time for something circular from Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense now:

“Alice Cooper released two albums on Frank Zappa’s Record Label Straight. Ian Dury and The Blockheads sang ‘I Want To Be Straight’, and to complete the circle (back to Frank’s middle name) [and back to George’s suggestion, for that matter] he also recorded ‘Sweet Gene Vincent’.”

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Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Sweet Gene Vincent

Back now for his third suggestion, it’s Rol time again:

“…it just occurred to me that a Zappa is a good way of killing flies… as is Flyswatter by Eels.”

I do not recommend you using the song Flyswatter by Eels to kill flies, it’ll take you ages. You’d be much better off trying an actual flyswatter.

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Eels – Flyswatter

Before we’re completely over-run with Rol’s interjections, here’s a few suggestions by Martin from New Amusements:

“So many roads to take from this one, doubtless many cul-de-sacs…

The ‘valley’ connection: Generation X, Valley of the Dolls’…”

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Generation X – Valley Of The Dolls

“A ‘moon’ connection (since Frank co-wrote Valley Girl with his daughter, Moon Unit) – Moon Unit implies moon base, hence the ‘Space 1999 Theme’…”

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Barry Gray – Space:1999 (Series One Theme Tune)

(You did mean the Series One Theme Tune, right Martin? Pah, of course you did. Nobody would pick the Series Two Theme Tune. The Series One Theme Tune is the best Space:1999 Theme Tune ever, everybody knows that).

“A better ‘moon’ connection – Keith wrote, sang and drummed on the excellent ‘I Need You’ from ‘A Quick One’ by The Who…”

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The Who – I Need You

“…Another ‘valley’ connection: The Monkees, ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’…But ultimately, I will revert to type. Yes, I want to pitch Pleasant Valley Sunday to you, because it’s utterly brilliant, Gerry Goffin and Carole King at their 60’s song-writing zenith. But, to maintain my indie boy credentials, can I hesitantly suggest The Wedding Present’s 1992 cover of same….?”

Oh, Martin. Never be hesitant round these parts when suggesting The Wedding Present. Besides, when they released a limited edition 7″ single at the start of the month, every month, throughout all of 1992, with an original song as the ‘A’ side and a cover version on the ‘B’ side, I bought the lot, and still have them all. And their version of Pleasant Valley Sunday was on the flip-side of May’s “Come Play With Me”:

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The Wedding Present – Pleasant Valley Sunday

Time to welcome back Julian Badenoch for a second week on the trot, and after I’d spent a few days scratching my head and trying to work out where I knew his name from after he kindly dropped by last week, I was reminded – admittedly by him – that he writes, as he calls it the “unreliable music blog”: Music from Magazines (“unreliable” seems a little overly self-deprecating, Julian. I think “sporadic” is more appropriate):

“This may be wrong for the girls but …Valley sounds like valet which leads to valet parking, and Grace Jones’ instruction to ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’…”

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Grace Jones – Pull Up To The Bumper

Now I’m not the biggest fan of Ms Jones generally – we got off to a bad start when she battered Russell Harty about the head – but that’s an absolute stone cold classic (I’ve not said that for ages, I don’t think…)

Anyway, Julian proceeds: “…which could be paired with ‘Relax’ [I’m skipping that one, as I’m not quite sure I follow what the link is; doubtless I’ll get it the second I press Publish] or even ‘If It Don’t Fit Don’t Force It’…”

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Parliament – If It Don’t Fit (Don’t Force It)

Next! Over to Alyson from What’s It All About Alfie?, permanently scuppered in her efforts to get her suggestions by a combination of a) being in work and b) those fast-fingered blogging boys:

“…as I have absolutely no indie boy credentials whatsoever to maintain, I can go in a totally different direction. One of the first songs I can think of that links to the word Moon, is by Al Jarreau and it’s his theme from the TV Show ‘Moonlighting’. I mention this only because a certain Chain Ganger, who shall not be named, recently revealed a first album purchase which did kind of link to that show!”

I’m not going to mock. I bought a single from the same album. It most definitely wasn’t my first single, so I cannot even afford myself the luxury of that excuse.

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Al Jarreau – Moonlighting

Here’s a little know factoid for you: Al’s surname is actually spelt Jarrow. His parents adopted this as their family name after they took part in the 1936 Jarrow March. However, when he started earning his corn as a soul singer, young Al decided to change the spelling from ‘Jarrow’ to ‘Jarreau’ because he didn’t think being associated with the Tyneside town with the same name made him sound “suave” enough.

100% true, that. Except for the bits that aren’t. Which is all of it, obviously.

“Other than that all my Moon suggestions come from way back, Moon River, Blue Moon, Moonlight Serenade etc. or are by Showaddywaddy (and we won’t go there). Slightly more recently there is ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ by Toploader (this millennium anyway, just) [DON’T YOU BLOODY DARE SUGGEST THAT!!]. The one I’ll go with as my actual suggestion [Phew! Crisis averted]however is going to be ‘Moonlight Shadow’ by Mike Oldfield (featuring the vocals of Maggie Reilly). As ever I don’t know if its cool or uncool to like Mike Oldfield around these parts but not averse to hearing a bit of ‘In Dulce Jubilo’ at this time of year.”

Also a single I bought when I was a kid, so it’s a thumbs-up from me:

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Mike Oldfield – Moonlight Shadow

Hands up who needs a bit of Badger in their life?

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Thought so. Off you snuffle, Badge:

“Now valleys. They are found in the country as are girls which leads us to ‘Country Girl’ by Primal Scream…”

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Primal Scream – Country Girl

(Is it just me, or is that sleeve strangely reminiscent of The Wannadies’ “Bagsy Me” album, released in 1997, almost 10 years earlier…..?

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I’m not playing anything from it, jus’ sayin’ like.)

Sorry, Badger. Floor’s all yours again.

“Or if we want to go a bit seventies doll is another word for girl which takes us to ‘Valley of the Dolls’ by strangely absent Scottish dance guru Mylo.”

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Mylo – Valley of the Dolls

That’s a fair point, what has happened to Mylo?

“SWC will be along later with his suggestions,” wraps up Badger, in what looks suspiciously like an audition for hosting duties on some interactive music blog, like that’s an idea that would ever take off, “I think he was going down the Frank route. Or something to do with Lithuanians.”

Huh? Lithuanians?

And here is he, right on cue. Badger and SWC both write When You Can’t Remember Anything, so it’s quite nice that their suggestions have come in next to each other, not least because I only have to type their blog name once.

Anyway, SWC, what’s all this about Lithuanians?

“So…in the city of Vilnius in Lithuania there is a statue of Frank Vincent Zappa. There is a reason it is there, but I can’t remember what it is. [You can read it here, if you so wish to do – Helpful Ed] As I’ve stated Vilnius is in Lithuania which gives us a lovely link to ‘Lithuania’ by Jaga Jazzist.”

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Jaga Jazzist – Lithuania

“In addition there is a street in Berlin named Frank Zappa Strasse (its in Marzahn, check it out…) which gives us two options – the brilliant ‘Berlin Got Blurry’ by Parquet Courts …”

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Parquet Courts – Berlin Got Blurry

“…or the godawful ‘Take My Breath Away’ from homoerotic classic ‘Top Gun’. Your choice….”

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Berlin – Take My Breath Away

In case any of you are unsure as to why SWC refers to Top Gun as being homoerotic, then watch this, written and performed by Quentin Tarantino from early 90s indie-flick “Sleep With Me” (which, by the way, is definitely Not Safe for Work, containing, as you would probably expect from anything written and performed by Tarantino, a fair degree of effing and jeffing)

Now, I’ve noticed a scarcity of records vying for the title of “Worst Record of the Week” this week, so, time for me to wheel out my new catchphrase.

If you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this:

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Infernal – From Paris To Berlin

Europop at it’s most….erm…most distinguished there.

As an aside, do you remember when in 2006 they re-recorded that for the football World Cup, which was being held in Germany? No? Have a listen to this (not the official video, needless to say – all traces of that seem to have been wiped from all corners of the internet):

England got to the last eight that year, going out on penalties to Portugal. I think they deliberately lost so that we didn’t have to hear that rubbish ever again. Until today.

Here’s Rigid Digit, back to inject some class back into proceedings:

“Frank: Frank Bough presented BBCs Grandstand – all the big sporting events, mainly Football, Rugby League, Horse Racing and Snooker were covered every Saturday Afternoon. ITV offered an alternative with World Of Sport fronted by Dickie Davies which focused on Wrestling, Darts and Stock Car Racing.

Which leads to:”

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Half Man Half Biscuit – Dickie Davies Eyes

There’s another band who must feature in the “Most Suggested” list. Not that I’m complaining. I’ve written before how that contains one of my favourite rhyming couplets ever.

Hold up, old Goalhanger Rol’s back, hovering ready to pounce should another suggestion leave a gaping goal, which as we all know by now, is what I do.

“Frank Bough would lead me either to ‘Make It Right’ by Tim Buckley …”

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Tim Buckley – Make It Right

“…or ‘Spank’ by Jimmy “Bo” Horne. Both, for the same reason.”

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Jimmy “Bo” Horne – Spank

Well, if you’re suggesting that….altogether now……then I’m suggesting this (see, catchy, innit?):

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Spanky Wilson – Sunshine of Your Love

And just in case you don’t know what Rol and I are referring to, it’s to the broadcasting career ending expose of Bough, when it was revealed he enjoyed attending S&M dens, dressed in stockings and suspenders, and indulging in a little light flagellation.

Over to George again now, and you may recall that last week George suggested a tune by Emerson Lake & Palmer, and the next day Greg Lake dropped dead. Let’s see who he has in the cross-hairs this week:

“I can get a link to the Clash, but I’m not going to [regulars will know why – Semi-Helpful Ed]. Frank Zappa was made a special ambassador for Czechoslovakia by then President Vaclav Havel. Vaclav Havel was a founder of Charter 77 (formed in 1977, and isn’t that the title of Clash song…?) so I am of course suggesting a track from Talking Heads’ first album, 77, namely ‘Don’t Worry About The Government'”

So tune in tomorrow for tributes to one of the late founding members of Talking Heads:

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Talking Heads – Don’t Worry About The Government

Here’s The Beard with his usual clutch of contributions:

“Valley Parade is the home of Bradford City FC. The dreadful nineties outfit Terrorvision hailed from Bradford. I stood next to their lead singer at a Supergrass gig at Leeds Town & County Club in 1996. He was wearing, if memory serves me right, awful trainers. I can’t remember what made them so particularly awful but since I always associate Terrorvision with bad footwear. As awful as his trainers were they were nowhere near their single Tequila in the scale of awfulness. Bile inducingly bad. Tequila is of course a type of alcoholic drink. Better songs loosely linked to alcohol, to name just a few, are:”

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Rupert Holmes – Escape (The Pina Colada Song)

(I have genuinely never heard that record as being described as “better” than any other, so fair play for buying in to the ethos of this place, trying to justify those records traditionally considered “guilty pleasures”, which we all know don’t exist. Well, not in the land of music, anyway)

He’s not done yet though:

“‘Velocity Girl’ by Primal Scream (“here she comes again, with vodka in her veins”)”

If I hadn’t posted it yesterday, this would undoubtedly have featured today. We’ll call it an honorary mention this time, and we’ll try to think of a reason to post it some other time. Sorry!

“Or…”

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Nouvelle Vague – Too Drunk To Fuck

Well, if you’re suggesting louche cover versions of alcohol based beverages, then I’m going to suggest this louche cover version of an alcohol based beverage (Wasn’t quite as catchy that time, was it? Mental note to self: new catch-phrase needs some polishing):

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Dexys Midnight Runners – Marguerita Time

No, I didn’t quite believe it existed until I heard it either.

Oh, wait. The Beard’s thought of another one:

“And ‘I Got Loaded’ by Peppermint Harris. I think that’s his name anyway.”

It was indeed, so-called because of his world-renowned minty fresh…erm…”Aris” (look it up):

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Peppermint Harris – I Got Loaded

To round things off this week, I’ll hand you over to babylotti:

“Going to go all Antipodean on you here:  Valley makes me think of ‘In the Valley’ by Midnight Oil…”

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Midnight Oil – In the Valley

“…The Oil’s Rob Hirst filled in for Crowded House live when Hessie was ill, so my favourite from them, ‘Fall at Your Feet’…”

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Crowded House – Fall at Your Feet

I’d forgotten how many songs I know by them.

“…and Nick Seymour from Crowded House [if Midnight Oil are ‘The Oil’, are Crowded House not ‘The House…? – Facetious Ed] is the brother of Mark Seymour from Hunters & Collectors, so I’ll go for the oft covered ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ by them…”

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Hunters & Collectors – Throw Your Arms Around Me

Well, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest…no, enough already.

Here’s the next song in The Official Chain, and there’s a few “close, but no cigars” being handed out this week, goes like this:

“…Frank Zappa’s daughter, Moon Unit sang on ‘Valley Girl’. So from Moon Unit to…”

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33.Nick Drake – Pink Moon

So, your suggestions please, via the Comments section below, for records that you can link, and explain the link in your suggestion, to Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon”.

We’ll be back to Wednesday next week again, so you have one day less than usual. Also, as it’ll be Christmas week, any festive suggestions would go down a treat.

See you next week!

More soon.

The Chain #30

This week seems to have flown by; Wednesday evening and I find myself woefully unprepared for this week’s edition of The Chain. I blame Teenage Fanclub for being so bloody good last night, and for taking up one of my evenings usually spent getting this ready.

Also, my efforts to track down one of your suggestions led me to download the entire album as a single mp4, then edit it down to the one song I needed, then convert it to an mp3. I’ll not say which one, I’ll wait and see whether my new found tech skills are detected!

In short, this may be a little briefer than usual. Sorry.

So, last week, after being inundated with suggestions which linked to The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek” which involved songs which mentioned creeks, various other bodies of water, and…erm…cripples, I rather thought that I might have it easy this week when the next track in The Official Chain turned out to be Neil Young’s “Cripple Creek Ferry”.

No such luck.

So let’s crack on, shall we? And where better to start that with babylotti:

“I don’t care how obvious it is, I’m getting Saint Etienne’s version of ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ in first!”

There are plenty of mixes of this to choose from; my own personal favourite is Andrew Weatherall’s “A Mix in Two Halves”, but tonight, Matthew, I’m plumping for the better known version from Saint Etienne’s classic “Foxbase Alpha”:

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Saint Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart

He’s not done there, though, nosireebob:

“Also, Elkie Brooks had a hit in 1978 with the aforementioned song, from the same album came the one single I remember her for:”

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Elkie Brooks – Pearl’s a Singer

And he’s still not done:

“And I now also have to link to ‘Pearl’s Girl’ from Underworld.”

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Underworld – Pearl’s Girl

“Elkie Brooks did a lot of good songs in the early 70’s,” chips in Kuttowski of A Few Good Times in my Life. “She was formerly the singer together with Robert Palmer in Vinegar Joe. I well remember them with their ‘Proud To Be A Honky Woman’.”

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Vinegar Joe – Proud To Be (A Honky Woman)

Well, having allowed “Pearl’s Girl” it’d be pretty churlish of me to refuse to post that, wouldn’t it?

That’s a pretty rollicking start to this week’s usual eclectic mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Time for a seamless link, I think.

Here’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“Cripple Creek was also the name of a Western made in 1952 directed by Ray Nazarro and if we are talking Westerns then there is only one place to go and that is with “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” or possibly from the soundtrack of the same name “The Ecstasy of Gold” which brings it back to the Gold thing”

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Ennio Morricone – The Ecstasy of Gold

“Gold thing? What gold thing?”, I hear you ask. That’s the problem with me jiggling the running order in a vain attempt to build some sort of narrative to appease you all; sometimes the links may be seamless but sometimes there’s a mention of a link that I haven’t covered yet. I’ll let Badger clarify:

“Cripple Creek is a town in Colorado and used to be very big in gold mining. This instantly allows a link to “Gold Mine Gutted” by Bright Eyes, that they are also signed to Saddle Creek, means you get a double link, all I need is a ferry and you have the whole shebang.”

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Bright Eyes – Gold Mine Gutted

Badger wasn’t the only person to mention the gold link. Step forward and take a bow Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“’Cripple Creek Ferry’ is from the album ‘After The Gold Rush’. One of the most (in)famous gold rushes was the California gold rush which started in 1848 but exploded in 1849, and whose prospectors were thus dubbed ’49ers’, which naturally leads to the Italo-house outfit 49ers and their classic hit “Touch Me”.

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49ers – Touch Me (12″ Sexual Mix)

NB – there is very little that is “sexual” about that mix.

Which leads me on to the first of my suggestions this week. 49ers are mentioned in the American folk song, so beloved of Huckleberry Hound, “Oh My Darling Clementine” which leads me on to this little lot:

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My Darling Clementine – She Is Still My Weakness

…which in turn very nearly led me on to “My Weakness is None of Your Business” by Embrace, but you’ll be pleased to learn I showed some self-constraint.

Anyway, back to Badger:

“Or if you want contenders for the worst suggestion ‘Going For Gold’ by Shed Seven.”

I have a bit of a soft spot for Shed Seven, as it goes. They always seemed to be trying quite hard to make records which exceeded their limited capabilities. That said, ‘Going for Gold’ is not one of their finer moments. It’s also not even close to being the worst suggestion of the week, I’m afraid.

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Shed Seven – Going For Gold

Now then. Awful records. I appear to have created a monster here. For this week you were all tripping over yourselves to suggest them.

“I’m going to win the prize for Worst Record On The Chain this week” says George.

Go on then. Do your worst.

“Neil Young was also the name of a Manchester City forward of the 1960s. And one of his team-mates was Colin Bell. And Colin Bell’s birthday is February 26th. As is Michael Bolton’s. And amongst Mr Bolton’s songs is a cover of ‘Yesterday’, which is so bad I’m not sure you should post it. Mr Bolton also covered ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ which is catastrophically poor as well. All of which is quite a shame because he seems like a genuinely nice and amusing bloke. By the way, for the sake of your well-being never play his cover of ‘So Tired Of Being Alone’. It’s really shit.”

What you seem to have done there is name three records which you don’t want me to play. You lot are lucky enough to be able to choose whether or not to click play, but me? I’ve had to listen to all of them to decide which one to post, so I’m tempted to post all three, but I’m not that cruel. So here’s the first one you mentioned:

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Michael Bolton – Yesterday

Think that’s the worst record of the week? Think again.

Getting my hopes up for something…well…a bit less shit, or failing that, somebody with a credible haircut at least, by starting his first suggestion with the word “Heh” before launching into a bit of Greek mythology, here’s Rol of My Top Ten:

“Heh.

Charon is the Ferryman in Greek mythology. He carries your soul on his boat down the river…

Yes…

Styx.

“It’s you, babe, whenever I get weary or I’ve had enough… feel like giving up, you know it’s YOUUU, babe…”

Etc.”

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Styx – Babe

Will you just take a look at some of those barnets? Yes, it was 1980, but that’s no excuse. Anyway, what are the odds of them having turned up here, as well as being the models in the display pictures that first caught the eye of Michael Bolton in the window of his local barber’s shop?

“Alternatively,” Rol continues, “if you want something a little bit cooler…

Half Man Half Biscuit – Styx Gig (Seen By My Mates Coming Out Of A)

There.

Cred restored.

Just.

(Not that I care about such things.)”

Shan’t post it, then.

Yeh, right. Like I’m ever going to pass up the opportunity to post something by Half Man Half Biscuit:

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Half Man Half Biscuit – Styx Gig (Seen By My Mates Coming Out of A)

Also intent on restoring his reputation after his earlier Michael Bolton aberration, is George, although when George has a theme, he sure as heck sticks with it:

“To make up for that, you can have some Fats Domino (The Fat Man I suggest) as Mr Domino shares his birthday with Colin Bell.”

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Fats Domino – The Fat Man

And why stop there, when you’re on a hat-trick?:

“And a Johnny Cash track, as he too shares the same birthday as Colin Bell, what about Personal Jesus?”

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Johnny Cash – Personal Jesus

Now Rol’s and George’s reputations are restored, let’s see if Charity Chic of Charity Chic Music fame fancies ruining his:

“Neil Young is from Canada and has never won Opportunity Knocks. Neil Reid from Glasgow has, with the truly awful ‘Mother of Mine'”

Brace yourselves, folks.

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Neil Reid – Mother of Mine

This, and a subsequent comment by Alyson, led me to do a little digging to see what nuggets I could find out about him. Here’s some factoids, one of which I might need to double-check:

  1. As Alyson quite rightly points out, he is now a financial advisor, in Blackpool
  2. Reid’s self-titled album went to number one in 1972, making him the youngest person to reach the pinnacle of the UK Album Charts, at the age of 12 years 9 months
  3. Said album is one of the very few Number 1 selling albums which has never had an official CD release. I think we all know why that is.
  4. In 2008, he was interviewed by Amanda Holden for ITV’s ‘When Britain First Had Talent’, which pretty much serves him right
  5. In between the end of his solo career and starting his life in the giddy world of finance, he was the third Reid brother in The Jesus & Mary Chain

Please, God, someone suggest something decent.

Rigid Digit, what have you got for us this week?

“Neil Young – intrinsically linked with Crazy Horse (although they’re only on a couple of tracks on After The Goldrush).

 Therefore – Crazy Horse => Crazy Horses (aka The Osmonds “go” Heavy Rock)”

Some of you may not think posting something by The Osmonds is necessarily an improvement, but I beg to differ: when you compare it to the majority of the rest of their turgid output you realise what a surprisingly bloody great record “Crazy Horses”:

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The Osmonds – Crazy Horses

“Crazy Horses” was, as Rigid Digit continues: “later covered by Tank (featuring Algy Ward, previously of The Saints and The Damned)”

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Tank – Crazy Horses

Oh Rigid: you already had me at The Osmonds.

Crazy Horse though – some of you must have some suggestions in that area, surely?

Well, yes, as it goes. Here’s The Great Gog:

“Going for a double link here. Neil Young has made a number of records with Crazy Horse. Ian McNabb has also made a record with members of Crazy Horse. Ian McNabb has also recorded a song that mentions a river that has a famous ferry. That song is of course, “Merseybeast”. Sadly this was the title track of the album after the one he did with Crazy Horse, but perhaps that would have been too perfect a link.

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Ian McNabb – Merseybeast

Nor have there been enough songs to link to Neil Young himself, so here’s a couple of mine. Firstly, a pre-fame daughter of a former Blue Peter presenter, fronting a band who never had much critical acclaim or commercial success, I think mostly down to the wanky way they insisted on spelling their name:

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Theaudience – If You Can’t Do It When You’re Young When Can You Do It?

Time for another seamless link. One of the things you can do when you’re (Neil) Young, is rock up on stage and make an already majestic song just that little bit more majestic:

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R.E.M. (feat. Neil Young) – Country Feedback

We’ll be popping back to some more live stuff in a moment, but first, over to Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie? with a suggestion and a question which has sparked some great posts by some of our fellow Chain Gangers (go on, treat yourself and click on a few of the links to their blogs if you don’t already visit them regularly):

“From one Neil to another Neil – Diamond to be precise.

Now I have become aware over the weeks that there are people who are just not “cool” to like around these parts and as for Mr Bolton and his very unusual cropped-top/long at the back mullet haircut, I totally agree. Have still to work out where Neil D sits on the scale but personally I have always liked him, (most of) his songs, and his recent stuff. He did also have quite odd hair back in the day but hey, didn’t they all – oh and some very tight trousers.

Anyway Cripple Creek sounds as if it would have been quite a rocky place so if Mr Diamond had been there with the girl of his dreams there would have been “Love On The Rocks”.”

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Neil Diamond – Love on the Rocks

More Neil based fun now – and who can honestly put their hand on their heart and say they haven’t at some time or another had fun whilst Neil-ing? – from The Beard:

“From Neil Young to Neil from The Young Ones. He scored a number two hit in 1984 with his cover of Hole In My Shoe by Traffic.”

I’m assuming from the rest of your suggestion that you want the Neil version, rather than the Traffic jam, right? Excellent!

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Neil – Hole In My Shoe

“It was kept off the top spot”, the Beard continues, “by Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Two Tribes. The spectre of nuclear war was the theme of that track. The same topic also formed the basis of The Young Ones episode Bomb. Dexy’s Midnight Runners were the musical guests in the episode, playing Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile) which is not, sadly, about a darts player.”

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Dexys Midnight Runners –  Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven when You Smile)

By the way, does anyone else remember that as being released as Kevin Rowland & Dexys Midnight Runners, as opposed to just Dexys Midnight Runners…? Nope, me neither.

As promised, another live track now, courtesy of kuttowski:

“On ‘After The Goldrush’, Nils Lofgren, a 19 year old guitar player appeared on the scene. In his later career he played with Crazy Horse, Grin and Bruce Springsteen and I suggest his No Mercy.”

This is the version from his pithily-titled “Acoustic Live” album:

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Nils Lofgren – No Mercy

That’s enough Neil-ing, time for some Ferry-ing. Time for two from The Robster from Is This the Life:

“First up [Hey! That’s MY line! – Ed]– taking Neil YOUNG and Cripple Creek FERRY, Young’s Ferry was a historical ferry crossing of the Merced River, located in present day Merced County, California. One of Merced’s famous sons was ‘The King of the Western Swing’ Bob Wills who, along with His Texas Playboys, became one of the top chart acts of the 1930s and 40s. In 1945, they had a #1 country hit with a cover of Zeke Clements’ Smoke On The Water (definitely NOT the same song that Deep Purple recorded two and a half decades later.) This also links water/creek.”

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Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys – Smoke on the Water

“Alternatively, continuing the water theme and linking with the artist name, how about ‘Current Of The River’ by the Young Knives from 2008’s ‘Superabundance’?”

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It’s only after I posted that, that I remembered it’s the closing track on Superabundance, and comes complete with one of those pesky hidden tracks, which is also included in that link. Suffice it to say, this isn’t the one I edited.

Some more restoration of reputations now, as we welcome Charity Chic back:

“I would suggest the gorgeous Ferryman from the lovely Rachel Sermanni”

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Rachel Sermanni – Ferryman

Here’s Dirk from Sexyloser:

“I think I’ll go down the ferry-route, too. Problem is that I can’t really decide between Holly Johnson’s version of ‘Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey’, Ferry Boat Bill’s ‘Sally Goes Downtown’ (I should add that I only have this one on tape, not on vinyl/mp3, does that also count?) and Toy Dolls’ ‘You Won’t Be Merry On A North Sea Ferry’: I think I’ll go for the latter because it’s ace … and I’d like to hear it again!”

Well, that’s pretty lucky because, other than appearing on that single to raise money for the Hillsborough disaster fund back in 1989, I’m not sure Holly Johnson ever recorded a solo version of it, although of course there’s the version on Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” album (I’m open to correction on that, as always), and  I’ve not been able to locate the Ferry Boat Bill track anywhere, so…well…here you go:

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Toy Dolls – You Wont Be Merry on a North Sea Ferry

Over to SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“The Edmund Fitzgerald was a ferry that sank in Lake Superior in 1975 and was then made subject of a song by one Gordon Lightfoot, a Canadian folk singer.”

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Gordon Lightfoot – The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

If I may just interrupt for a moment there, before you suggest something we’re all going to regret: if we’re going to start posting songs about boats which sank when carrying large amounts of cargo (Five million hogs, six million dogs, and so on), then surely this has to get an honourable mention:

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The Pogues & The Dubliners – The Irish Rover

Sorry ’bout that, SWC. Do carry on, old chap:

“‘Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’ was however kept off Number one in the US of A by a certain Rod Stewart and ‘Tonight’s the Night’.”

Insert your own joke about Americans making terrible decisions here, if you like.

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Rod Stewart – Tonight’s The Night

I’d never noticed the vaguely “Je T’Aime…”-esque French lady vocal at the end of that before. Possibly because I’ve never listened to the bloody thing all the way through before.

Time for a fairly straight-forward link from Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area:

“‘The Ferryman (Zeebrugge)’ by Billy Childish and the Singing Loins is my fairly straight-forward link”.

See? Told you it was straight-forward:

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Billy Childish and the Singing Loins – The Ferry Man (Zeebrugge)

Over the past few weeks, you’ll have noticed I’ve tried to include a few video clips into proceedings, but not this week, for I knew that The Swede from Unthought of, Though, Somehow had posted one as part of his suggestion:

“Bugger – kuttowski beat me to it! [with the Nils Lofgren tune] So instead I’ll give a shout out to our local ferry, which crosses the River Yare at Reedham:

By pure coincidence, it’s a chain ferry! So ‘Back on the Chain Gang’ by The Pretenders is my suggestion.”

It’s a record that’s come up before, of course, but since it’s our theme tune here (and since your video clip has brought back memories of many happy family holidays on the Norfolk Broads), it seems a pretty perfect way to round things off this week:

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The Pretenders – Back on the Chain Gang

Which just leaves me to reveal the next record in The Official Chain, and the link that gets us there. And one of you will be kicking yourselves at how close you were:

“Another Neil Young of Manchester City scored the winning goal in the 1969 FA Cup Final. Oasis are well-known Man City fans, hence…”:

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30. Oasis – Live Forever

Bad luck, George.

So, your suggestions for songs (let’s face it, it’ll be plural, won’t it?) which you can link to “Live Forever” by Oasis, via the Comments section below, along with your usual brief descriptions as to what links the two, three, four, however many, records together, in plenty of time for next week’s post.

More soon.