The Chain #45

And so, the return of the series which more than any other, when a song I don’t recognise has popped up on my iPod when on shuffle has made me go “What the feck is this…?” (sometimes in a nice way, often not).

Yes, it’s the very long awaited (be modest, it says here – Ed) return of the greatest thing on the internet (oh, don’t bother then – Ed): The Chain. And hopefully The Chain Gang are all assembled, like slightly nerdy versions of The Avengers, except all hot, bothered, and ready to rock and maybe even ‘n’ roll a bit too.

For the unitiated, this is the series where I blatantly nick an idea off Radcliffe & Maconie on BBC 6Music, and ask for suggestions for songs linked to the next in a series of songs. But here’s the rub: free from the constraints of time and the length of a radio programme, instead of picking just one, I’ll post all of them, then ask for suggestions linked to the next in the official series. This way, we (ok, probably just me) gets a hell of a diverse playlist to while away our days, and a whole lot more fun than usual compiling it.

And did I mention there are points to be earned?

Well, yes there are. Totally meaningless points; you won’t be winning a prize or anything, but points nonetheless. And here’s how your suggestion can win them:

Correct Guess: 3 points (fairly self-explanatory, this one – guess the song which is the next in the official 6Music sequence and these could be yours)

Double Linker: 2 points (for a suggestion which works on two levels, and definitely not a sex toy)

Showboater of the Week: 2 points (for the most convaluted link between the source record and your choice)

Worst/Cheesiest Suggestion of the Week: 1 point (again, I would hope this category needs no further expansion).

Up until this reboot, points have been awarded and then discarded, but whilst the series has been laid off, I’ve gone through all the old posts and where I have specifically said that points were being awarded, I have totted them all up and will continue to do so. And if you don’t believe my accuracy, go ahead, check for yourself, my stats could do with a boost.

So we’ll start off by having a look at the league table as it stands

1:  George             17
2:  Swiss Adam         13
3:  Alyson             9
4=: Charity Chic       8
    The Robster        8
6=: The Swede          7
    SWC/Badger         7
8=: Dirk               6
    Rigid Digit        6
10= Alex G             5
    Martin             5
    The Great Gog      5
13= GM Free            3
    Jules              3
    Kay                3
    Rol                3
17  The Beard          2

And so George would appear to be the Liverpool FC of the group, romping into a twenty-two four point lead as he has, although it should be noted that at least one of the point-winning categories was invented as a result of a particularly breath-taking bit of bullshit linkage by him way back in the day.

So where were we? Oh yes – asking for your links to this record:

Pulp – Sorted For E’s & Wizz

Now I figured this was a really easy way to restart the series: just send me any song which has some sort of drug reference involved. Pop music, and music in general, is quite literally littered with them.

Look, here’s one, and it seems a particularly appropriate place to start:

E-Zee Possee – Everything Starts With an E

Or there’s this little beauty:

Soulwax – E Talking

(Choon!)

And here’s another one (sort of):

Junior Jack – E Samba

Or even this:

The Fall – Whizz Bang

See? Easy this, innit?

I only mention this because I was somewhat underwhelmed by the amount of suggestions I received this time. I’m putting this down to two things: firstly, the amount of time it’s been since the last post in this series, and secondly, me moving the suggestions to email rather than via the Comments Section.

I think the latter is the biggie here, so screw it, we’ll go back to suggestions via the Comments at the end of the post again.

I had a bit of a moan about this to Kay at work the other day, as she hadn’t suggested anything – not behaviour fitting of someone equal 13th in the league table of dreams, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Her response was that she couldn’t think of anything other than the theme tune to Wizbit.

In case you’re confused, or one of those annoying young people, or both, Wizbit was a 1980s children’s TV show about a magic alien, shaped apparently like a wizard’s hat, but to these eyes as a fully unpeeled Dairylea triangle:

Wizbit Theme Tune

Yes, that is Paul Daniels you can hear in that, and that’s why Kay immediately earns herself a point for sort of suggesting by far and away the worst song of the week.

See, easy this, innit?

Although I figure a spoiler alert is needed at this point: nobody guessed the correct next record in the Official Chain, so there will be no points awarded there.

But let’s see what the rest of you have suggested and I think this time around, I’ll just take them in the order I received them.

First out of the blocks was The Robster:

“One song sprang immediately to mind. It’s not obscure, it’s not clever, it’s bleedin’ obvious really but a great track nonetheless:”

Queens of the Stone Age – Feel Good Hit of the Summer

That, right there, is your actual I-Spy book for party drugs. Have you ticked them all off yet? Well don’t (I am contractually obliged to say) because drugs are bad.

Next up is Charity Chic‘s suggestion:

I’ll break you in gently by going for Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes) by Carla Thomas”

Carla Thomas – Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes)

Eyes like saucers, mate, he’s off his nut.

And now things get tricky, for the next email I received was from Jules and it contained a YouTube link. This one:

…which I assume is meant to be an allegory for the Phoenix from the flames that is The Chain, or example of the worst porn on earth. Hard to tell with Jules, to be honest.

So whilst we dwell on that, here’s George, who any moment now will have the word POINTS! ringing in his ears:

“The last song was by Pulp, whose front man was Jarvis Cocker, which leads to Joe Cocker, so I suggest Delta Lady. In another connection, both men are from Sheffield.”

Joe Cocker – Delta Lady

POINTS for a double linker!

And now I’ll hand the reins over to the newest member of The Chain Gang, Pat, who gives me several thoroughly decent suggestions, although I’ll need to explain this first one a little.

The E in the title of the Pulp song refers to Ecstacy, a party/clubbing drug also referred to colloquially as “pills”, for that is the form in which they are swallowed (as opposed to smoked, injected or sniffed). Who needs Susie Dent, amIright Countdown fans?

Anyway, over to Pat:

“Linking to E’s……”:

The Imposter AKA Elvis Costello – Pills and Soap

If I might interupt for a moment, this seems as good an opportunity as any to wheel out an old catchphrase.

Ahem.

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

Green Velvet – La La Land

Right. As you were. Back to Pat. Pat? Pat?? Paaaaaaaat?

Ahem. Anyway. Next up on Pat’s playlist is this, which he justifies thusly: “…linking to drugs in general….”

David Peel & The Lower East Side – Everybody’s Smoking Marijuana

I’m glad you made that distinction, because the drug referenced in that song is more likely to make you visit an all night garage to buy a Twix or a pastry product at 4:00 am than it is to lead to illicit dancing…

And, since I’ve mentioned all night garages:

Half Man Half Biscuit – Twenty Four Hour Garage People

(I plumped for that version just so we could all all hear Peel’s slightly befuddled voice at the end, which momentarily makes my day brighter whenever it happens.)

And that, inevitably, leads me here:

Happy Mondays – Twenty Four Hour Party People

But I digress. Back to Pat’s suggestions, and I promise not to stick my hoofing great oar in this time.

“”…“from a [Creation] compilation ‘Sorted, Snorted & Sported’ link to the word sorted and a great version of the New Order song”!:

And finally from the font of Pat, this, which he justifies as follows:

“…linked to a night out that doesn’t quite work out as planned….”

…which doesn’t sound like any night I ever had on E’s or Whizz, but you can’t choose your friends, can you? (Or is that what they say about family….I forget….)

Leyton Buzzards – Saturday Night Beneath The Plastic Palm Trees

Now, have you ever found yourself wondering whether your favourite bloggers prefer their orange juice smooth or with the bits, as I believe it’s technically referred to on most packaging, left in? Well, wonder no longer, for here’s Alyson from What’s It All About to answer that nagging doubt for you:

“There is Pulp in Orange Juice (and I usually prefer mine with it left in). Will therefore go for the band Orange Juice and the obvious song, Rip It Up.”

Orange Juice – Rip It Up

Over to Rol of My Top Ten fame next, who, seemingly under the misapprehension that I’d be writing this up quickly, wrote this:

“Up against the clock this weekend, so going with the first remotely decent song I could think of and not going to stretch the grey matter too much.”

Bran Van 3000 – Speed

I invited Rol, as I think I did to all who submitted suggestions, to feel free to send more, and sure as eggs is eggs, he came back with the following:

“…whizz is an example of onomatopoeia…”

Whoa, there tiger! A clarification is required here: although not in the context we are talking about whizz – I’ve never known a drug to make any kind of noise, onomatopoeiac or otherwise, although I’ve made a fair few odd ones when ingesting the same – think Billy Whizz from The Beano and you get where Rol is coming from.

“…so you could have the song with that name by either John Prine…”

John Prine – Onomatopeia

“…or Todd Rundgren”, he climaxed.

Todd Rundgren – Onomatopoeia

Over now to The Great Gog, who frankly had me flummoxed by the very matey tone of his email, which came from someone called Dave. A quick explanation later and needless to say we all saw the funny side, and he came up with not one but two suggestions.

Floor’s yours The Great Gog/Dave:

“I’ve always been intrigued by the line: ‘Mother, I can never come home again ‘cause I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere in a field in Hampshire’.

Basically, why Hampshire? I can’t think of any other song that mentions it by name, although two of its cities have been the subject of Top 5 hits.’

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why The Chain exists: not so you can propose songs you like by some contrived link you’ve struggled to come up with (although, that’s fine if you do, hence the Showboating award), but to suggest songs which link to the source material, regardless of whether they’re any good or not.

The New Vaudeville Band – Winchester Cathedral

Mike Oldfield – Portsmouth

I’m having awful flashbacks to “Country Dancing” lessons at Junior School because of that last one.

Oh hang on, it gets worse: post-school, voluntary, “Country Dancing” lessons.

My, how I’ve changed.

Quick, before anyone notices, I’ll hand the reins over to Rigid Digit of Stuff & Nonsense infamy:

“The obvious choice here is…”

It’s obvious, it’s not their finest moment, but it’s still great:

But … I don’t do obvious…”, Rigid contines, “so my suggestion is…:

Tony Christie – I Did What I Did For Maria

Why’s that, Mr Digit?

“Why? Pulp front-bloke Jarvis Cocker co-wrote Walk Like A Panther for All Seeing I. Jarvis has said that the song was written specifically for Tony Christie to sing, and he was instrumental in getting Christie on-board – even flying out to Spain to meet him and convince him.”

Oh go on, then. Don’t mind if I do. (I’m trying out new catchphrases):

The All Seeing I – Walk Like a Panther

Now, you’ll recall that we left Jules from Music From Magazines hanging with an odd Dallas clip. Shortly after receiving that, Jules sent me an actual suggestion, which…well, since it wasn’t by Lambchop, as Jules’ suggestions usually are, let’s just say it took some deciphering.

But we got there in the end, despite Jules’ insistance not to bother, and here we go:

The Clash – The Right Profile

…which is included because of the lyric: “Go out and get me another roll of pills.” I think.

Sorry George, we almost made it.

And finally, as they used to say on The Two Ronnies, one last contribution from The Great Gog, who is still wittering on about Hampshire:

“The rather marvellous British Sea Power popped up on random play and the song referenced a field in a county adjacent to Hampshire – I’m guessing it is potentially unique. Said county was Wiltshire and the track was….”

British Sea Power – It Ended On An Oily Stage

Which seems far too classy a way to bow out, so let’s end as we began, if for no other reason than it will look like I know what I’m doing, with a supplementary conversation with Kay.

“What about ‘Magic E’?” she said, which isn’t exactly the kind of proposition one expects from their boss.

Turns out she was talking about this, of which I have no memory whatsoever:

Magic E (Look & Read)

Wait a minute. I recognise that voice. That’s your actual 70s/80s TV kids presenter/legend Derek Griffiths, isn’t it?

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

A popular song was “Magic E”, originally written in the mid-70s for Words and Pictures to demonstrate the silent E and the change in pronunciation of preceding vowels — for example: “cap” becomes “cape” with me, “tap” becomes “tape” with me. The song’s simple lyrics about changing the words with “magic E” were memorable and simple to learn.

And then:

“…most of the songs were sung by Derek Griffiths.”

Which means I can end on a note much more befitting of the nonsense that goes on here:

Cole & Griffiths – Heads & Tails

And that’s yer lot.

Except, of course, to reveal the identity of the next record in the official Chain, chosen because Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker once caused a bit of a fuss at the Brit Awards. So did frontman Danbert Nobacon.

Who’s Danbert Nobacon, I hear you ask.

Well, he’s in this band, and this is the next song in The Chain:

Chumbawamba – Tubthumping

So, you’re suggestions please for songs which link to Tubthumping by Chumbawamba, along with a brief explanation of the link, either by email to dubioustaste26@gmail.com or via the Comments section at the bottom, whichever you prefer.

More soon.

Four (Two)

So, following on from last night’s post…

…it’s the weekend before payday, and I’m broke. So, a weekend, in the flat, watching TV and adding to the usual slew of posts that I generally write over these two days.

You may have noticed, despite my best efforts to disguise my ineptitude behind a veneer of seemingly planned series’, that often what I write here is pretty much made up of whatever I think of when the laptop grinds into life.

Even more often, usually just as I’ve clicked the button marked “Publish”, I think of something I wish I’d written instead.

Such was the case with last night’s post.

How can I let a fourth anniversary pass without mention of this:

fork

Which is of course, a reference to this timeless comedy sketch:

This seems appropriate:

(1969) Led Zeppelin I

Led Zeppelin – Communication Breakdown

As do these four versions of the same song, the first of which I picked up on 7″ single back in 1986 from a Record Fayre (I never understood why they insisted on spelling Fayre like that, as if they thought it would add some rustic credibility to the event) at The Wirrina in Peterborough (demolished back in 2010, it’s only as I come to write this that I find Northern Soul All Nighters were held there in the 1970s):

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood Front

Elvis Costello – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

Although perhaps the most famous version is this:

the-animals-dont-let-me-be-misunderstood

The Animals – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

Then there’s the obligatory Disco(ish) version:

61k82ALcsvL

Santa Esmeralda starring Leroy Gomez – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

And of course, the Queen of all versions:

MI0000580904

Nina Simone – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

And, on a similar subject, another 7″ single I bought, also in 1986 (I was, arguably, starting to get the hang of buying decent singles by this point….):

the_pretenders-dont_get_me_wrong_s

The Pretenders – Don’t Get Me Wrong

…as can be evidenced by the fact that I did not buy this one on 7″ single at all, but I am strangely filled with an overwhelming urge to hear it now:

little-miss-cant-be-wrong

Spin Doctors – Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong

But I digress. Where was I?

Ah yes. Candles.

Then to round things off, I can’t let the chance to post this go by:

81vYM6AnYKL__SL1416_

Ian McCulloch – Candleland

More soon.

God’s Comic

There’s been a load of old guff on telly over Christmas and New Year (am I right in thinking “Mrs Brown’s Boys” got a Christmas AND a New Year’s Eve special??), but there has been at least one jewel, buried away on BBC4, but shown twice so you’ve no excuse if you missed it.

“Bob Monkhouse: The Last Stand” showed one of Britain’s best loved and much missed comedians performing what turned out to be (and, as becomes apparent as you watch it, he knew it) his final performance.

In the early 80s, when there was a changing of the guard and alternative comedy came in, brushing all of the old timers away, Monkhouse managed to escape unscathed, mostly, I think, because by then he was better known for being a gameshow host than a comedian.

This gig, aired for the first time, was him reminding everyone of the force he had been. In front of an audience of specially invited young comedians – it was filmed in the summer of 2003, so many in the audience (Kevin Day, John Culshaw, David Walliams, Reece Shearsmith, Mark Thomas) were not the established acts they are now – Monkhouse delivers a set of wonderful gags, impeccably timed, before embarking on a trip down nostalgia avenue, reminiscing about his relationships with other comedy legends: Peter Sellers, Tommy Cooper, erm…Benny Hill.

The footage is interspersed with current interviews with those in the audience that night, and it is truly fascinating stuff.

Of course, it got me thinking of a suitable record to play, and I could think of none more appropriate than this:

spike-5

Elvis Costello – God’s Comic

“Spike – The Beloved Entertainer” is probably my favourite Elvis Costello album. Yes, I know that “Armed Forces”, “Imperial Bedroom”, “Almost Blue” and “This Year’s Model” are all classics, but “Spike” does it for me because it was one that I discovered for myself, rather than  being told (rightly so) that all those I’ve already mentioned deserved a place in any self-respecting record collection.

I say “discovered for myself”, but that’s ever so slightly disingenuous: had I not watched this documentary, holed up in my room in the halls of residence in my first year at college, then maybe it would have passed me by:

Oh, and if you’re living in the UK (I think restrictions prevent you from watching it if you’re not) and want to watch that Bob Monkhouse show (and I really do recommend that you do), it’s here, presumably for a limited time only.

More soon.

The Chain #19

Hello, and welcome to The Chain Gang (© Charity Chic)

You’ll forgive me if I crack right on this week, as we have an awful lot to get through.

Ok, so we ended last week asking for suggestions for records to play which had some vague connection to Elvis Presley’s “(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame”, and I’ll tell you straight off that one of you managed to suggest the song that follows next on the official Chain. So: bonus points will be awarded at some point in today’s post.

Exciting this, isn’t it?

So let’s get cracking shall we?

First out of the traps today is Alex G from We Will Have Salad who writes:

“I’m sure there must be other Maries in popular music (though I can’t think of any off the top of my head), but I do know that Marie’s the (real) name of the fairly popular vocalist and light entertainer, Lulu. So in accordance with your request for some cheese (and because I don’t actually know very much by Lulu), how about “Boom Bang A Bang”?”

I can’t pretend this isn’t a song that I love and have posted before, so I’m not complaining. Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you the UK’s entry into the 1969 (a good vintage, by the way) Eurovision Song Contest:

lulu69w

Lulu – Boom~Bang~A~Bang

For those of you who don’t know the Euro-tale behind this, it was back in the days when the UK wasn’t hated by the rest of Europe, and we regularly stood a fairly good chance of winning the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1967, Lulu’s tune was the UK’s entry, and it was involved in a four-way tie for first place, with France, Sweden and the Netherlands. Regrettably, there wasn’t time to go through the process of establishing an out-and-out winner on the night, so Lulu was proclaimed joint-winner.

Moving swiftly on and can we all give a very warm Chain Gang (© Charity Chic) welcome to babylotti. Now, babylotti seems to be one of those rare creatures to contribute to The Chain (although numbers are starting to flourish): someone who doesn’t have a blog of their own. Regular readers will know that this is something I want to encourage: I love having my regular blogging buddies suggesting stuff to play here, but I also want more people who just pop by, read, listen and download (for assessment purposes only, of course, before purchasing their own copy) to join in, so: babylotti, you are very welcome here. Just don’t take the piss by posting loads of suggestions, okay?

“Maria McKee collaborated with Youth on a project called Sweetest Child, their one & only single being of the same name, so my suggestion is that.”

featuring-maria-mckee-sweetest-child-geffen

Youth feat. Maria McKee – Sweetest Child

Now. Strictly speaking, I should be declining that suggestion on the grounds that the song we’re linking to has the name “Marie”, not “Maria” in it. But, before there are complaints from the locals: I’m going to let it slide this time, for three reasons: firstly, it’s your first time here so I’ll cut you some slack; secondly, for a time in the late 1980s I loved Miss McKee’s band Lone Justice, and they will feature again here soon, so I’m more than happy to hear some of her solo-ish work; thirdly, I don’t think there’s a single one of the regular contributors who haven’t posted a suggestion then gone “Doh! I’ve thought of something waaaay better than that!”, and I, diligent and warm host that I am, have posted both. So, shush. Maria McKee suggestion stands.

Take the pressure off me, someone, please?

Ah, here’s Charity Chic, creator of the Chain Gang name with which you are all now blessed (I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t think of that.)

“I suspect I would lose points for the fairly obvious Marie Marie by Shaking Stevens. So what about the original by The Blasters?”

No, but you might lose points for placing an erroneous g where a ‘ should be in his name. Very long term readers will know, I was pretty much obsessed with the Shaky one when I was a kid, so sorry, you’re getting both versions:

shakin-stevens-marie-marie-23974

Shakin’ Stevens – Marie Marie

the-blasters-marie-marie-warner-bros

The Blasters – Marie Marie

Speaking of points, here’s….no, not yet, calm down, I’m just messing with you…

Oh wait, it’s Charity Chic again!

“I see a Maria has already sneaked in. Maria was a song in the musical West Side Story (don’t panic I’m not stopping there) Squeeze had an album called East Side Story which included the wonderful Tempted.”

CC, you have redeemed yourself:

squeeze-tempted-1981-2

Squeeze – Tempted

If I had to say anyone had mastered the art of getting multiple songs played here, it’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything, who sent this:

“I was going to start with suggesting eternal flame by The Bangles. In the hope that the latest flame lasted for ever…”

Hmmm. At least you didn’t go for the Atomic Kitten version, I suppose…

bangles-eternal-flame-1989

The Bangles – Eternal Flame

“Then I wondered what would happen if Elvis in the throws of passion called out ‘oh brenda’ to be met by Marie saying ‘that’s not my name’. Which just so happens to be a song by the ting tings.”

517YPxXymYL

The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name

“….but then after scrolling through the iPod for a vague chain link I came across ‘Her Name was Audre’ by Maximo Park. Which seems perfect.”

Maximo-Park-Too-Much-Information-Album-Cover-1024x1024

Maxïmo Park – Her Name Was Audre

I have to admit I kinda lost interest in Maximo Park after their second album, so it’s rather nice to hear something from later on in their career. Time for to me to revisit them, I think.

Hold up. babylotti’s back:

“I shall suggest another one, Sister Marie Says by OMD, from their 2010 History of Modern LP, though written in 1981 it sounds like it could have appeared next to Enola Gay and not been out of place. And he sings this as Sister Mary, not Marie to add to my earlier Maria faux pas”

Sister-Marie-Says7-Inch-Vinyl

OMD – Sister Marie Says

I can’t say that anything by OMD had crossed my radar since they stopped writing records for Atomic Kitten (there’s a separate theme starting right there…) and reformed, but I take your point about that sounding like something circa Enola Gay.

babylotti’s not finished there though:

“Ok last one, I suggest His Latest Flame – “Somebody’s Gonna Get Hurt” for hopefully obvious reasons…..”

Now, there’s a name I’ve not heard for a long time.

His+Latest+Flame+Somebodys+Gonna+Get+Hurt+284393

His Latest Flame – Somebody’s Gonna Get Hurt

It seems our new friend has an interesting definition of the phrase “last one” though (I’m teasing by the way):

“To add to this chain, I’m going to make the leap from Somebody’s gonna get hurt, to Somebody’s going to get their heads kicked in tonight…. the original or The Rezillo’s one, your choice….”

Since I’ve posted two versions of Marie, Marie I can’t really not do the same here, now can I, Chain Gangers?:

fleetwood_mac-man_of_the_world_s

Earl Vince & The Valiants – Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite

Rezillos - Can't Stand The Rezillos The (Almost) Complete Rezillos front

The Rezillos –  Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight

And now, as they say, for something completely different. Here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:

“‘(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame’ was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, as was the Andy Williams classic, ‘Can’t Get Used to Losing You’.”

andywilliamscantgetusedtolosingyou-409398

 Andy Williams – Can’t Get Used To Losing You

I figured using the album sleeve, with it’s “And Other Requests” was more appropriate than the single sleeve for that one.

Here’s What’s It All About, Alfie? with something else of a certain vintage:

“As we all know, at one point Elvis’ latest flame was Priscilla Beaulieu but Priscilla was also the real name of that other ’60s singer/light entertainer Cilla Black. (Don’t worry it’s not going to be Alfie) – Going to choose her very first release, the Lennon & McCartney penned song Love of the Loved please.”

cilla-black-love-of-the-loved-1963

Cilla Black – Love of the Loved

Back over to the When You Can’t Remember Anything blog, and to S-WC:

“Two suggestions from me. Elvis famously resurrected his career in Vegas. Vegas was a song by Sleeper. So we could have that. I forget which album it was on – the first one I think.”

Indeed it was. As I purchased this on cassingle (remember them?) back in the day, I’ve plumped for the single version though:

sleepervegas-colouredvinyl68983

Sleeper – Vegas

The very thought of Louise Wener still makes me go a little weak at the knee….

Here’s S-WC’s second choice:

“The second one is that Elvis as well as singing about Flames called Marie also wrote about being ‘In The Ghetto’ which is probably his finest moment. That was memorably covered by Leatherface on their 1989 classic ‘Fill Your Boots’”

leatherface_-_fill_your_boots

Leatherface – In the Ghetto

Remember how earlier I said ‘I don’t think there’s a single one of the regular contributors who haven’t posted a suggestion then gone “Doh! I’ve thought of something waaaay better than that!”, and I diligent host that I am, have posted both.’? Well, here’s What’s It All About, Alfie? back for a second bite:

“I’m back as now having listened to my last suggestion it sounds truly awful so to redeem myself I’m going to suggest that other Elvis – Costello. He also sang about a girl’s name, the lovely Alison.”

Even if I wanted to complain about multiple submissions (which I don’t), that is not a song I could resist posting (so I won’t):

121-14-im-cover-3108

Elvis Costello – Alison

Hold up, here’s George with what I think we can all agree is this week’s clear winner of the Comments Showboating award:

“Here goes. The song (Marie’s the name) His latest Flame was originally sung by Del Shannon. Unfortunately Del Shannon killed himself with a gun (in 1980). And two years earlier Terry Kath had killed himself with a gun, although this was accidental [this from Wikipedia: “Don’t worry about it … look, the clip is not even in it.” …….Kath showed the empty magazine………….then replaced the magazine in the gun, put the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger. However, there was a round in the chamber, and Kath died instantly.] Terry Kath was in the band Chicago, whose song 25 and 6 to 4 is pretty good.”

If, like me, you’re more familiar with Chicago for their slushy ballads (“If You Leave Me Now”, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” etc.) then I’d heartily recommend you give this one a listen to see what they used to sound like:

chicago-25-or-6-to-4-cbs-8

Chicago – 25 Or 6 To 4

But George isn’t done just there. No-siree-bob:

“I was going to link to The Smurfs but they’re Belgian….so instead. Elvis Presley’s manager was Tom Parker (who was Dutch, and I thought the Smurfs were Dutch but they’re not). And Parker was a character in Thunderbirds, he was Lady Penelope’s chauffeur/manservant. And Felt did a song called Penelope Tree.”

As I mentioned in the Comments to last week’s post, I cannot believe I’ve not posted anything by Felt before, lead singer Lawrence being one of the great unsung heroes of the UK independent music scene:

felt-penelope-tree-cherry-redFelt – Penelope Tree

Ordinarily, I’d save my own contribution until the end, but as George has kindly taken me halfway to both of my suggestions this week, I may as well go now.

Parker was indeed a character from Thunderbirds, and back in 1989 the renamed, rebranded, repackaged Fuzzbox released a single as a homage to those superheroes on  puppet strings:

fuzzbox-international-rescue-10731-p

Fuzzbox – International Rescue

Of course, they weren’t the only band who released a Thunderbirds-related single, for in 2004 those naughty Busted boys had a hit with the theme to the movie. But I’m not going to play that. A Thunderbirds related Busted song? On these pages? Don’t be so ridiculous.

bustedwhatigotoschoolfor223072

Busted – What I Go To School For

Back over to you guys, and here’s Swiss Adam from bagging area with – drum roll please – the correct suggestion, by which I mean, the next official record in The Chain:

“Marie’s the Name was the inspiration for the riff to Rusholme Ruffians and on Rank and at live shows Marr jammed the two songs together.”

rank

19. The Smiths – Rusholme Ruffians/His Latest Flame (Medley)

Bonus points (again) to Swiss it is then!

Over to The Great Gog now:

“Some good tunes already suggested: Smiths, Felt & OMD. Hit by the perils of just returning from hols with all the good suggestions gone, and I feel like I’m being forced into a bit of fromage. I’ve been on a cruise ship on the Baltic for the last fortnight, and I believe Tony Christie was doing such venues at one point. He of course had a girl called Marie who was apparently hanging around for him in Amarillo, presumably as there was nothing else to do there.”

I really wouldn’t worry about the fromage, GG. You’ve seen what I posted,right?

is_this_the_way_to_amarillo

Tony Christie – (Is This The Way to) Amarillo

Those of you who read the Comments on this section as they come in will know that Charity Chic posted a very intriguing comment, which I invited CC to expand on:

“You’re wrong there about Amarillo GG – I once spent an hour in a turkey compound there hiding from an armed and unstable man in a El Camino truck intent on causing us harm.”

For those of you were as fascinated as I was for more details, he has indeed spilt the beans, here. (Oh and cheers for the plug!)

Whilst we’re on Charity Chic, here’s a first: a (kinda) dual suggestion by two of our Chain Gang regulars. Firstly Swiss Adam of bagging area, flush with his bonus points, returns with three simple words:

“Absolutely Sweet Marie”

Since no artiste was given, I can only assume Swiss meant this version, as opposed to, say,the George Harrison or Jason & The Scorchers versions:

bob_dylan_-_blonde_on_blonde

Bob Dylan – Absolutely Sweet Marie

…at which point, CC chipped in with:

“The Jason and the Scorchers version please”

Fair enough!

jasonthescorchersabsolutelysweetmarie645443

Jason & The Scorchers – Absolutely Sweet Marie

And so we come to the last suggestion of the week, and it’s a warm Chain Gang welcome back to Rol from My Top Ten:

“The Smiths was my first, most obvious, choice… but for something a bit more obscure, how about Flame On! by Captain America? “

Happy to oblige. I seem to remember this lot getting into a spot of bother with a certain high street retailer back in the day. Can’t think why:

r-2077725-1275778951_jpeg

Captain America – Flame On

Ok, so before I wrap things up, two things. Firstly: CW, thanks for your comment and I – no, we all – look forward to your suggestions in the future. And secondly, many many thanks for all of the  messages about my cousin, it really meant a lot to me that some of you took the time to pass on your kind words of support.

Before I get all teary-eyed, I’ll end for the night. Your suggestions please for any record that you can link to The Smiths “Rusholme Ruffians/His Latest Flame (Medley)” which is lifted from their 1988 live album (and Rough Trade contract fulfilling) “Rank” – via the Comments section at the bottom of the page please!

See you same time, next week.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

Hello!

I’ve been struggling all week to come up with anything to play this week. And then, tonight, Friday, a day later than I usually start writing these posts, on my way home from work I found myself thinking about how the way that I get to hear about new music has changed so much.

Nowadays, I’m pretty much reliant on my blogging chums to flag new stuff to me; bar Jools Holland’s “Later…” there’s next to no music television programmes on in the UK these days (Friday night BBC4 documentaries excepted); or occasionally a friend will text, tweet or email me to ask if I’ve heard of someone or other, or to see if I want to go see someone I’ve never heard of live (the answer’s generally yes, as long as a) I’m not skint; b) I can track down at least one song that I like by the suggested act, and c) whether or not I value the opinion of the person asking or not).

When I was a kid, new music did not appear on the Multi-Coloured Swap Shop. Songs that were already hits appeared on Top of the Pops. And I had no idea what the Old Grey Whistle Test was, and would probably would have avoided it even if I did.

No, when I was growing up the only way I heard anything new was via the radio.

And that gave me an idea for tonight’s post. Four words to strike fear into the heart of any of you who endured my recent run of TV show titled posts. To misquote Martin Luther King: “I have a theme..”

Radio.

So I got home, cranked the laptop up, opened iTunes and typed “Radio” into the search window.

427 songs were suggested.

Jesus, this thread is going to finish me off, I thought.

But fear not: by the time I’d eliminated all the songs I have by TV on the Radio, or by Radiohead, or were on a rather fine Radio Soulwax mix I downloaded recently, or any that were on the list because they were the Radio Edit of a single, I was down to a much more palatable amount.

So, let’s crack on, shall we?

And what better place to start than with this stone cold classic:

ClassicTracks_05-1109

273. R.E.M. – Radio Free Europe (Original Hib Tone Version)

I’ve had a life-long love affair with R.E.M. Well, not quite life-long. I wish I could say I bought this when it first came out, but no. I first heard it on the third R.E.M. album I ever bought, a Best of (regular readers will perhaps be surprised to learn it wasn’t the first record I ever bought by the band) called “Eponymous”.

Radio Free Europe first came out in 1981, the band’s first single, later resurfacing as the opening track on their debut album “Murmur” two years later. I didn’t buy anything by the band until 1987’s “Document”, four years and five albums later, but I’d still like to think I was a little ahead of the majority of the pack here in the UK, where most were unaware of them until 1988’s “Green” album, interest growing somewhat by the time 1991’s “Out of Time” came out, and hitting absolute peak with 1992’s flawless “Automatic For The People”.

In the summer of 1989, I somehow found myself at quite a posh garden party, full of young darlings, public school types, who had been quite astonished that I didn’t know I was supposed to kiss the proffered hand of a young lady I was introduced to. Yes, THAT posh. (I shook it, an act which was greeted by quite the round of disbelieving guffaws.)

Anyway, feeling ever so-slightly out of place, I proceeded to get phenomenally pissed, and wandered into a barn where a DJ was trying had to tempt the fops onto the dancefloor. He played R.E.M.’s “Orange Crush” from their Green album, which pleased me (not enough to dance, mind), that was until the DJ took to the microphone and said: “That was R.E.M. a new, up and coming band from the U.S.of A.”

I couldn’t take it, marched over and started to berate him about how they were neither new nor up and coming, how they’d been around for years, how that track was from their sixth album and how that was the sort of thing he really should know if he was going to make it in the cut-throat world of DJ’ing, quietly omitting to mention that I’d only been a fan since the album before.

Musical snobbery, eh? Never gets you anywhere. Oh, what do you philistines know, anyway?

Moving on to 1993, and another of my favourite bands:

teenage-fanclub-radio-creation

274. Teenage Fanclub – Radio

I don’t have much to say about this, apart from it being the lead single from their “Thirteen” album, that it’s a quite magnificent single from a quite magnificent album, which, for reasons that I don’t think I’ll ever really understand, saw the band completely fail to capitalise on their break-through album “Bandwagonesque”. If you don’t own them, kids, go get ’em. Or, if you hang around here long enough, I’ll probably end up posting every song from them both sooner or later.

Moving on to another artist whose work I’ve admired for a great many years:

Radio Radio Front

275. Elvis Costello – Radio, Radio

This is from 1978, when Mr McManus was at his snarling best, so much so that following an appearance on US show Saturday Night Live in 1977, he found himself banned from appearing again.

Here’s the story: The Sex Pistols were booked to appear on the show, but for one reason or another – reportedly, a lack of visas – they couldn’t make it and Elvis and his band The Attractions were roped in. His record company wanted them to perform their current UK single “Less Than Zero” – which was about Oswald Moseley, leader of the fascist movement in the UK – but Costello was less keen, thinking the song wasn’t exactly going to resonate with an American audience.

So Costello took the stage, started to play “Less Than Zero” before calling proceedings to a halt a few bars in, announcing “I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but there’s no reason to do this song here” before launching into “Radio Radio” instead.

Going so far off message was not appreciated by the powers that be; he wasn’t invited back until 1989. He did, later, however reference it on the 25th Anniversary Show, when, as Beastie Boys were just getting going on “Sabotage”, this happened:

Wow.

Where do you go to top that? Well, you can’t, but I know someone who’ll give it a bloody good go:

wonderstuff_radioassk_101b

276. The Wonder Stuff – Radio Ass Kiss

Ironically, this track, written by popular rhyming slang Miles Hunt, was only ever released as a single in the US, and not here in the UK, where it remained just another track from their second, not-quite-as-good-as-their-first album “Hup!”. Quite how they got away with lines like “Bugger the plugger” is beyond me. But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised: many years ago I saw Phil Collins being interviewed after he had appeared in US hit TV show “Miami Vice”. Collins related how when he attended the script run through, he’d found that his character repeatedly used the phrase “wanker”, and Collins asked the producers if they knew what it meant.

“Sure,” came the response, “it’s English slang for ‘idiot’, right?”

Fortuitously, there was nobody better qualified than Collins to enlighten them as to the true meaning.

One of the other acts who were approached to appear on Saturday Night Live on that night Costello so infuriated the TV bosses, were this next lot. They declined the invitation, giving this as their explanation: “We don’t substitute for anybody.” Bonus cool points.

ramones-do-you-remember-rock-n-roll-radio

277. Ramones – Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio?

Well, yes, Joey, Johnny, Tommy, Dee Dee, I do, which is why I’m writing this post.

You don’t need me to tell you about the Ramones, now do you? Thought not.

One person whose music is perhaps as far away from the Ramones and Rock’n’Roll Radio as can be is the next chap:

lp-john-denver-windsong-7981-MLB5308279995_102013-F

278. John Denver – Late Nite Radio

Denver is probably best known over here for a) Annie’s Song, b) looking like the Milky Bar Kid, c) his love of the Rocky Mountains, and d) his love of flying. Sadly, he failed to survive the occasion when he inadvertently combined those last two by crashing his plane into one of them.

Time for a musical interlude. Not that I’m saying what you’ve had so far wasn’t musical, just…this sounds like a musical interlude. And that’s a good thing. Particularly when it’s provided by a band who most people only know for one song, and that a remixed version of it, and even more so when to the best of my knowledge, this sounds like nothing else they’ve ever done:

MI0003829011

279. Cornershop – Kalluri’s Radio (Version)

And we’re back in the room.

Next up, a song which first came to my attention via a compilation album called “The Trip: Created by Saint Etienne”. It’s crammed full of Northern Soul, down-tempo numbers, lost and obscure nuggets from the 60s and 70s; if you’ve never heard it then I urge you to track down a copy.

I say it’s created by Saint Etienne, it’s more likely to just be Etienne stalwart and fountain of all pop knowledge Bob Stanley that compiled it. Bob once was kind enough to retweet a link to these pages once, so I reckon I owe him a name-check.

In the real world, knowing that a member of Saint Etienne had read one of my posts would earn me extra bonus points; alas it was predominantly about Bucks Fizz with a healthy portion of Shakin’ Stevens, so I reckon I’m probably in cool point deficit now. Ho hum.

But I digress. This is Douglas Dillard, banjo player (banjoist? banjoer?) and founder member of bluegrass outfit The Dillards, and Harold Eugene “Gene” Clark, singer, songwriter, guitarist  and founder member of The Byrds.

Together, they came together under the inspired name of:

doug-dillard-and-gene-clark-the-radio-song-am

280. Doug Dillard & Gene Clark – The Radio Song

Two to go now, and it’s time for some 2 Tone ska. I don’t feature nearly enough of this kind of stuff on these pages, which some of you poor misguided fools may consider a blessing, so here’s an absolute belter to rectify that:

Onmyradio

281. The Selecter – On My Radio

And so to the last one for tonight, and any post about songs with the word Radio in the title, inspired by my musings on how I rarely listen to the radio these days (6music at the weekends aside, and particularly former Fun Lovin’ Criminal Huey Morgan’s show of a Saturday morning, which is simply unmissable), would not be complete without this polished gem (it features and was produced by Trevor Horn, so it was never going to be anything but polished, now was it?):

The-Buggles-Video-Killed

282. The Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star

What’s extraordinary about that record is that although it’s written from a future perspective, it was actually first released in 1977 (by Bruce Woolley and The Camera Club), before music videos were anywhere near the peak they would become. MTV wouldn’t even be launched for another four years, yet all that the song prophesizes – how polish, image, self-promotion, glamour and glitz would become the prevalent (X) factor, as opposed to, y’know, how good you are and what you sound like – has pretty much come true.

Which is a fairly bleak way to wrap things up, but there you go.

More soon.

Do Tell Him, Spike!

Elvis_Costello_Spike

Tomorrow night I’m going to see Elvis Costello.

Not to see him perform, mind, although I’ll be a little annoyed if he hasn’t brought his guitar along.

No, tomorrow night I’m going to see him “in conversation” with Nick Hornby, author of, amongst others, the excellent “31 Songs” (in which he attempts to provide a critique of – you guessed it – 31 Songs which he loves, making the very valid point that it’s harder to explain what you like about a song than what you don’t like (I feel his pain), and that it’s far too easy to just talk about what the record reminds you of (err…..mental note to self: must try harder….) and “High Fidelity”, which is itself named after a Costello song. You will know if you have ever read the introduction to this blog, Hornby is also inadvertently responsible for me writing it.

Anyway, the event is primarily to promote Elvis’ new memoir “Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink” (Is a memoir different to an autobiography…? *shrugs* I dunno..).

This is what his website says about the book:

“This memoir, written entirely by Costello, offers his unique view of his unlikely and sometimes comical rise to international success, with diversions through the previously undocumented emotional foundations of some of his best-known songs and the hits of tomorrow. It features many stories and observations about his renowned cowriters and co-conspirators, though Costello also pauses along the way for considerations of the less appealing side of fame.

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink provides readers with a master’s catalogue of a lifetime of great music. Costello reveals the process behind writing and recording legendary albums like My Aim Is True, This Year’s Model, Armed Forces, Almost Blue, Imperial Bedroom, and King of America. He tells the detailed stories, experiences, and emotions behind such beloved songs as “Alison,” “Accidents Will Happen,” “Watching the Detectives,” “Oliver’s Army,” “Welcome to the Working Week,” “Radio Radio,” “Shipbuilding,” and “Veronica,” the last of which is one of a number of songs revealed to connect to the lives of the previous generations of his family.

Costello recounts his collaborations with George Jones, Chet Baker, and T Bone Burnett, and writes about Allen Toussaint’s inspiring return to work after the disasters following Hurricane Katrina. He describes writing songs with Paul McCartney, the Brodsky Quartet, Burt Bacharach, and The Roots during moments of intense personal crisis and profound sorrow. He shares curious experiences in the company of The Clash, Tony Bennett, The Specials, Van Morrison, and Aretha Franklin; writing songs for Solomon Burke and Johnny Cash; and touring with Bob Dylan; along with his appreciation of the records of Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, David Ackles, and almost everything on the Tamla Motown label.

Costello chronicles his musical apprenticeship, a child’s view of his father Ross MacManus’ career on radio and in the dancehall; his own initial almost comical steps in folk clubs and cellar dive before his first sessions for Stiff Record, the formation of the Attractions, and his frenetic and ultimately notorious third U.S. tour. He takes readers behind the scenes of Top of the Pops and Saturday Night Live, and his own show, Spectacle, on which he hosted artists such as Lou Reed, Elton John, Levon Helm, Jesse Winchester, Bruce Springsteen, and President Bill Clinton.”

Astonishingly, for an artiste with such a rich and plentiful back catalogue stretching back to 1977, he has only ever had three top ten singles in the UK, and two of those (“I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down”, and “Good Year For The Roses”) were cover versions.

Of his 30 albums, on the other hand, 11 have made the UK Top Ten.

As you will probably have guessed by now, I’m more of a singles kinda guy than an albums one, so it’s perhaps less astonishing that I own more kind of bits and bobs by the non-jumpsuited Elvis than full albums.

One album I do own, however, is “Spike”, and there will be more about this at a later date.

For now though, something a little different for round these parts. Here’s the interview the BBC did with him at the time of “Spike”‘s release in 1989, a Late Show special if memory serves.

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Spike

It’s rare for me to be drawn in by what is essentially a promotional interview to such an extent that I actually go and buy whatever is being plugged, but this did it for me. As soon as I heard Elvis speak, as soon as I heard him perform some songs from the album, I knew I had to own it.

The next day I went to Rainbow Records in Pontypridd to get a copy, left swiftly as they didn’t have it, and then ventured into Cardiff to pick a copy up from the wonderful Spillers Records. Yes, Mum & Dad, sorry but that’s what my student grant went on in my first year: Elvis Costello CDs and train fares. (And booze and fags, if I’m honest).

Obviously, I’m hoping he is on equally good form tomorrow night. If he is, then I’ll be coming to a reputable bookshop near me soon.

More soon.