Back we go then, to last week’s unfinished business, interrupted as we were by “technical issues”.
And in what I’d love to take credit for as entirely planned, but which is actually utterly coincidental and fortunate, this morning’s song is one which was written by one of the three co-writers of yesterday’s tune. Nope, not Phil Spector, nor Jeff “Not John” Barry: I speak of the wonderful Ellie Greenwich.
Between 1963 and 1967, Greenwich and Barry were responsible for an impressive array of classics. Check this list out: The Crystals’ Da Doo Ron Ron and Then He Kissed Me; The Ronettes’ Be My Baby and Baby, I Love You; Darlene Love’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home); The Exciters’ (more famously covered by Manfred Mann) Do-Wah-Diddy; The Dixie Cups’ Chapel of Love; and The Shangri-La’s Leader of the Pack.
That’s not a bad list of credits, right?
This morning’s tune was bumped from the summery playlist I recently prepared for JC’s site time and space reasons; I wanted it to be around the hour mark, and something just had to go to keep the length there or thereabouts.
Plus, I couldn’t quite make up my mind which rendition of it I’d include.
So in a homage to Hong Kong Phooey, I thought I’d post all three versions I own and which were in contention, and you can make your own mind up.
(And in case that reference goes over your head, here:)
Would it be Elkie Brook’s version, which was first a single in 1977 and appeared on her Two Day Away album, but which I first encountered via the former Vinegar Joe lead singer’s wonderful, if M.O.R., 1981 album of (mostly) covers, Pearls:
Back when I was a kid, attending the school disco was a big event, although it would always, inevitably, end in disappointment.
For after several hours of bopping around to the latest pop sensations, suddenly things became very serious when things got slowed down for the last couple of records. For this was the moment where you were supposed to ask a girl to dance, but I never did.
No, I was one of those wallflowers, pressed terrified against the wall, unable to pluck up the courage to go and ask someone to dance for fear of rejection; forced to stand and watch as all of my mates grabbed a girl, led them onto the dancefloor and spent the next three and a half minutes trying to thrust their tongue down their throats whilst grinding their groin in a misplaced display of attraction.
At the time, this – purely because of its tempo, I think – was an often played song which graced what we called dismissively/jealously referred to as “The Erection Section”, although listening to it now the lyrics don’t seem to be on an entirely appropriate topic.
But Elkie’s voice…although she doesn’t properly let her vocal chords rip here (check out some of the records she made with Robert Palmer of all people under the moniker Vinegar Joe; she was the UK’s Janice Joplin, except she missed out the bit where she accidentally took too much heroin and was elevated to superstar status), anyone who can make we voluntarily listen to a Chris Rea composition (which this is) more than once must have something about them, which Elkie surely did:
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”:
“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’.”
“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”
“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.”
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”.
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:
…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.
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:
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:
Charon is the Ferryman in Greek mythology. He carries your soul on his boat down the river…
“It’s you, babe, whenever I get weary or I’ve had enough… feel like giving up, you know it’s YOUUU, 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)
(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:
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:
As Alyson quite rightly points out, he is now a financial advisor, in Blackpool
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
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.
In 2008, he was interviewed by Amanda Holden for ITV’s ‘When Britain First Had Talent’, which pretty much serves him right
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”:
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.
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:
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”.”
“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.”
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.”
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”
“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:
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:
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:
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.