Replenishing the Vinyl

Not really a Saturday morning kind of record, this one. More a ‘in the wee small hours of a Friday night or Saturday morning record’, really.

But it’s a gorgeous record that my Dad owned and which I picked up recently.

I know nothing of Rod McKuen, other than Frank Sinatra did this album of his songs. Oh, and my Dad also has a Rod McKuen album, Live at Carnegie Hall (I think), which is also magnificent.

But this is a record that evokes smoky bar rooms, whiskey on the rocks and some mafia types looking on appreciatively. It’s poignant, mournful, moving and beautiful. And it contains next to none of his famous songs, bar maybe one which many will know because Johnny Cash covered it on “American Recordings V – A Hundred Highways”:

Frank Sinatra A Man Alone 1969

Frank Sinatra – A Man Alone

Frank Sinatra – I’ve Been To Town

Frank Sinatra – The Beautiful Strangers

Frank Sinatra – Love’s Been Good To Me

More soon.

 

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The Chain #26

Welcome back to the Chain Gang.

We ended up last week with me inviting suggestions for songs which link to The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Voodoo Chile [Slight Return]”, which is lifted from their “Electric Ladyland” album, whilst also making a rather bold prediction:

“I’m willing to bet I know which artist Charity Chic will suggest.”

So over to you, CC:

“If you are thinking Wall of Voodoo, they only had one decent song which I suggested last week which could be winner if it didn’t take you back to the radio theme.”

Errrr,  no. That wasn’t who I was thinking of. However, that did prompt Dirk from Sexyloser to suggest the following:

“Wall Of Voodoo’s “Dance You F***ers*” was okay as well, if I remember correctly”

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Wall Of Voodoo – Dance You Fuckers

Fancy another go, Charity Chic?

“Chile used to be ruled by a tin-pot fascist dictator called General Pinochet. When he took I’ll he came to the UK where our very own tin-pot fascist dictator Margaret Thatcher gave him bed and board at the countries expense. Thereafter the normally spineless Jack Straw the then Home Secretary deported him. I wrote to congratulate him but never got the courtesy of a reply.

 So “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” by Heaven 17 please.”

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Heaven 17 – [We Dont Need This] Fascist Groove Thang

Nope, that wasn’t what I was thinking of either. How embarrassing. Anyone else?

Here’s Rol from My Top Ten:

“Why has nobody suggested Kirsty MacColl yet? Is that what you were expecting from Charity Chic?

Kirsty had an excellent album called Electric Landlady. The opening track is called Halloween, making it doubly appropriate.

That’s not my official suggestion. Just the obvious one you were no doubt looking for.”

Bingo!

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Kirsty MacColl – Halloween

You see, the other week, having successfully suggested a link to a Kirsty MacColl record for the second week running, and aware of our mutual adoration of her work, CC announced that he would attempt to link to something by her at every opportunity.

I’m reminded of QI, and the number of times Alan Davies has proffered “a blue whale” as an answer, and got it wrong, but then when it is the answer, manages to miss it. Like this:

Now. Before we go any further, I need to just clear a little something up. And having popped the tissues away, now I need to clarify something.

The reason we are linking to The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Voodoo Chile [Slight Return]” is that it was the next record in the official BBC Chain, following on from Joni Mitchell’s “You Turn Me On I’m a Radio”, and the official link between the two was given as “…Mitch Mitchell played bass in the Jimi Hendrix Experience…”. Needless to say this raised a few eyebrows, by The Swede (“That’ll be news to Noel Redding’s estate”) and Alex G (“What a disappointing official connection. I expect better than that for £145.50 a year.”)

So let’s just check with the bible of all accurate data: Wikipedia, which lists Mitch Mitchell’s credits as ‘backing vocals, drums (except on “Rainy Day Dream Away” and “Still Raining, Still Dreaming”), percussion, lead vocals on “Little Miss Strange”‘ and Noel Redding’s as ‘backing vocals, bass on “Crosstown Traffic”, “Little Miss Strange”, “Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)”, “Burning of the Midnight Lamp”, and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”, acoustic guitar and lead vocals on “Little Miss Strange”‘

So perhaps we should have a couple of Noel Redding related tunes before we go any further.

There is a town just outside London which hosts an annual music festival over the August Bank Holiday Weekend. That town is Reading, but it’s pronounced the same way as Noel’s surname. The other way to pronounce it is, of course, in the same way as in the phrase “Reading, Writing And Arithmetic”, which just so happens to be the title of the debut album by The Sundays. Here’s the opening track:

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The Sundays – Skin & Bones

Similarly, here’s George, with both of his suggestions linking to the unappreciated multi-instrumentalist:

“Noel Redding the bass player/drummer, could also play the mandolin, and so could Ira Lonnie Loudermilk, better known as Ira Louvin, one half the toptastic Louvin Brothers. (He was also the heavy drinking much married and alleged wife-beater who was once shot by one of wives). And one of the Louvin Brothers’ song is The Angels Rejoiced Last Night, which has one of the finest examples of lyrics in country music you’ll ever hear.”

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The Louvin Brothers – The Angels Rejoiced Last Night

I don’t know about you, but the sight of that album sleeve has just bumped that record to the top of my “must own” pile.

Here’s George’s second suggestion:

“I’m surprised no-one has posted an Otis Redding suggestion, so mine is ‘Stay in School’.”

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Otis Redding – Stay in School

I have two things to say about that. Firstly, I always thought Roy Orbison was ‘The Big O’? Secondly, George adds: “I played this to some of my classes when I was working.” So what on earth was your teaching style like if you had to play the pupils a record imploring them not leave?

“I also played them the occasional track by Gong,” George adds, like that makes it perfectly acceptable. Although maybe in an alternative to classroom bell context, a “That Gong’s not for you, it’s for me” kinda way, I guess it might work.

But I digress. Where were we. Oh yes, Chile. CC was not the only person to go down the “Chile” route. Here’s The Robster from Is This The Life?

“I also couldn’t get Chile out of my head, in this case the country – ‘Chile Your Waters Run Red Through Soweto’. While the Billy Bragg version is best known, for me you can’t beat Sweet Honey In The Rock’s take which is just wonderful.”

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Sweet Honey In The Rock – Chile Your Waters Run Red Through

And in similar territory, literally, here’s The Great Gog:

“Back in my mid-80s student radio days, I had a stand-in co-presenter for the mammoth 4-hour Saturday Sportswatch (not my choice of title). I set the Hendrix track off and as it finished I was busy scribbling info off Ceefax for an upcoming link. Said co-presenter then back-announced the track, pronouncing Chile as one would the South American country which is spelt that way. Cue much mirth around the studio where music snobbery was positively encouraged.

 Anyway…I’m obviously now in South American county mode, so I offer ‘Ecuador’ by Sash!…”

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Sash! – Ecuador

…or,” The Great Gog continues, “‘Brazilian Love Affair’ by George Duke.”

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 George Duke – Brazilian Love Affair

Before we move on to the most popular links, one which received two nominations this week, firstly from Rol (“The other obvious suggestion is ‘Slight Return’, the Bluetones’ biggest hit. But you can have that one for free.”) – CC: did you notice that’s the second time he’s said “obvious choice”? He may as well have said blue whale – but also from The Beard (“Alternatively, ‘Slight Return’ by The Bluetones”), which, to be fair, looks a little bit odd when taken out of context i.e. immediately after his other suggestions, which we’ll come to in a bit.

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The Bluetones – Slight Return

Now, a Public Service Announcement. I have had to disqualify three suggestions this week, because I don’t think the suggested link is correct. I’m talking about these:

“Jimi’s guitar solo from, oh I forget but not Voodoo Chile, was recycled in BAD’s C’mon Every Beat Box and then later Right Said Fred (Deeply Dippy I think). Which was then covered on the Heavenly Fred EP by the Rockingbirds. One of whom plays guitar for Edwyn Collins.”

I had the BAD track all lined up and ready to go, listened to it to make sure it sounded okay, and realised after it finished that I hadn’t noticed any Hendrix-guitar in there. So I listened again. And again. And again. And again. Nope. So I had a little look on-line, and stumbled across this page which explains all of the samples, source materials and references on BAD’s “No 10 Upping Street” album, from which “C’mon Every Beat Box” is lifted. No mention of Mr Hendrix at all there, nor on several other places I checked.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I would love to post all of them, not least The Rockingbirds version of Deeply Dippy, but as far as I can see, these suggestions fall at the first hurdle. So sorry, but in the absence of any link, I can’t play any of those tunes.

Ok, so there were two other means of linking to our source record this week which attracted mucho attentioni (those online Italian lessons weren’t wasted on me, right?), and so I’ll hand you back over to Dirk for a moment:

“Now, there are quite a lot of really good bands called “The Something Something Experience”, such as The Colorblind James Experience, The Iowa City Beef Experience, The Jean Paul Sartre Experience, The Joyce McKinney Experience, The Mr. T Experience, The Tony Head Experience plus, I’m sure, a few others which I can’t think of currently. ‘Lift To Experience’ spring to mind as well, but they don’t count in my Mr. Monk–world.

Also we have The Sid Presley Experience and the B-Side of their 1984 7″ ‘Hup 2-3-4’ is rather splendid, so it shall be my link for this week, please: ‘Public Enemy Number One’.”

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The Sid Presley Experience – Public Enemy Number One

Time to welcome back Charity Chic:

“I was going to offer up ‘Considering a Move to Memphis’ by the Colorblind James Experience but Dirk stole my thunder…I am not having a good day…”

Well, actually he just mentioned it in passing, so I’ll give you that one (also because it’s one of my favourite records ever):

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The Colorblind James Experience – Considering a Move to Memphis

And here’s another one of those ‘The Something Something Experience’ bands, suggested by Yours Truly, although strictly speaking they’re a the ‘Something Something Something Experience’ band: a band with a truly magnificent name, but who’s music sadly doesn’t quite fulfill expectations, unless you’re expecting some fey C86-esque indie jingly-jangly guitars, in which case, fill your boots:

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James Dean Driving Experience – Sean Connery

But by far and away the most popular link this week was to Voodoo. There was a great song by Vic and Bob from their “The Smell of Reeves & Mortimer” series called, I think, “Do You Do Voodoo?” which I was hoping to link to now, but can I find it? Can I heck as like.

So, let’s start off with a welcome return for Marie, who suggests this:

“As soon as I saw the word “Voodoo” (with Halloween being just around the corner an’ all), I knew that I had to suggest this song: Charles Sheffield’s ‘It’s Your Voodoo Working'”

I wish I could say I’d planned this week’s post to land a couple of days before Halloween, but honestly, I never look at what the next link in the Chain is until I come to write this, so I can’t claim to be that organised.

Anyway, here’s Charles:

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Charles Sheffield – It’s Your Voodoo Working

Time for babylotti’s suggestion(s):

“‘Voodoo Chile’ was part of the Hendrix medley released as a free record with Soft Cell’s most accomplished album, The Art of Falling Apart. The other side of that record was a song based on George A Romero’s film about a boy who believes himself to be a vampire. So I’m suggesting that one, ‘Martin’, by Soft Cell.”

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Soft Cell – Martin

It’s not long before babylotti’s back though, with a second suggestion:

“Jeez, how did I not take that chance to link to Tom Robinson Band’s Martin? I think I just did…;-)”

Don’t think you can get round me with a cheeky winking emoji, old chap. That’s the sort of thing likely to make me not post your choice. But since it’s a rather fine choice, here you go:

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Tom Robinson Band – Martin

It’s not often that we get different versions of the same song suggested here, but that’s exactly what happened this week. I’ll let SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything explain:

“I have always thought that the greatest song to ever feature the word voodoo was by A Guy Called Gerald and Voodoo Ray….”

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A Guy Called Gerald – Voodoo Ray (Original Mix)

“But,” continues SWC, “his version is not the best for that you need to go to Acid Brass version.”

For the uninitiated, “Acid Brass” is an album of acid house choons covered by a brass band. The Williams Fairey Brass Band, to be precise. Don’t let that put you off though, this is, as SWC alludes, brilliant:

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The Williams Fairey Brass Band – Voodoo Ray

I said three versions, right? Right. Here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area:

“Voodoo Ray is not only the best record with the word Voodoo in its title, but one of the best records ever made. No arguing. Fact. The Acid Brass version is wonderful too but Gerald’s was proof that British house music was going somewhere else entirely. For an updated version see Optimo’s remix (done with Jeremy Deller).”

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Jeremy Deller – Voodoo Ray (Optimo remix)

Can we have a factoid about the tune before you go Swiss?

“It was supposed to be Voodoo Rage but there weren’t enough spaces in the digital name display so he changed it to Ray.”

Thanks Swiss!

Here’s babylotti again. He’s been thinking.

“Just yesterday I was listening to Philip Boa & The Voodoo Club, they once sang a song about Paul, who was in love with a container…..which is a line from another of their songs, so my next suggestion is Love on Sale by them…”

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Phillip Boa & The Voodoo Club – Love On Sale

Now. “Container Love” by Philip Boa & The Voodoo Club is another record I adore, so I’m a bit annoyed you didn’t pick that one. In fact, I very nearly over-ruled you and played that instead. But then I realised we’re a bit light on cheese this week – we love the occasional cheesy record round these parts – and without Love on Sale then you wouldn’t have been able to provide this week’s Dairylea triangle:

“Which leads me to my awful song selection, from Love on Sale to ‘You Gotta Be A Hustler If You Wanna Get On’ by Sue Wilkinson.”

Not awful, babylotti, cheesy.

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Sue Wilkinson – You Gotta Be A Hustler If You Wanna Get On

Ah. Okay. As you were. Awful it is.

That made it to Number 25 in the UK charts back in 1980. It was her only hit. Maybe she’d have had more if her name hadn’t been so…well, drab. I mean, it’s not exactly the sort of name that conjures up visions of a pop star, is it? To me, Sue Wilkinson sounds like the woman from the office with a fixation on cats, who arranges the collections for people’s birthdays and tries to engage you in conversations about The Great British Bake Off when you’re trying to mind your own business by killing time at the photocopier.

Now, we can’t really do a post referencing records linked to Voodoo without mentioning The Robster’s next suggestion:

“Screamin’ Jay Hawkins looked like a witch doctor who practiced voodoo. He’s best known, of course, for his classic I Put A Spell On You, but in 1974, he released a single called Voodoo, which was backed by You Put The Spell On Me. So you can have any one of those three.”

Suddenly, this has become like a version of Michael Barrymore’s “Strike It Lucky”: I can have top, middle or bottom, you say? Middle! (See, I can resist making the obvious joke sometimes)

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Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Voodoo

Time for some Swede action. Here’s The Swede from Unthought of though, somehow:

“Working on the basis of ‘first thought, best thought’, the song that immediately popped into my head to follow ‘Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)’ was ‘(The Ballad Of) The Voodoo Ranger’ by Multicoloured Shades.”

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 The Multicoloured Shades – (The Ballad Of) The Voodoo Ranger

Chain Gang, count yourself very lucky, for that song made me think of one very cheesy one which, had I had the time, would have got posted right now. I’ll save it for another time…

Here’s Swiss Adam, back for a second, third and fourth bite at the cherry:

“Voodoo always makes me think of The Gun Club’s debut album Fire of Love (the cover art). Sex Beat is a peak on an album of peaky peaks. They were never that good again.”

I’m not sure we’ve ever had someone link via the medium of cover art before. I suppose, given the cover art I used for “Electric Ladyland” last week – which Hendrix himself disapproved of, by the way – I should be grateful. Anyway: a first!

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The Gun Club – Sex Beat

Anyone who regularly visits his excellent Bagging Area blog will not be surprised by the manner in which Swiss continues: “…which gives me two Andrew Weatherall links- Two Lone Swordsmen did a spirited cover version of Sex Beat…”

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Two Lone Swordsmen – Sex Beat

“…and the sleeve of Sabres of Paradise’s wonderful single Wilmot recycled The Gun Club’s cover images and is a voodoo influenced tune itself.”

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The Sabres Of Paradise – Wilmot

I always thought that was about popular chicken-in-a-basket entertainer Gary Wilmot. Apparently not.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the songs posted here was Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better”, and I happened to comment that it was my favourite Bond theme ever, although occasionally it might be the next record. Here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?:

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Paul McCartney & Wings – Live And Let Die

It seems Rol has been trying to think of something clever:

“I was going to try and be deep and obscure this week, but then I remembered one of my favourite tracks from my favourite album of last year: ‘Voodoo Doll’ by John Grant”.

Regular readers will know I share Rol’s love of all things John Grant related, so here you go:

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John Grant – Voodoo Doll

Time to welcome back (I think – you have posted here before, haven’t you…?) Brian from Linear Tracking Lives:

“Like The Robster, my first thought was Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Then I recalled quite a few albums with voodoo in the name, such as the Dirty Dozen Band’s Voodoo and Paul Carrack’s Suburban Voodoo, but there isn’t that one song that hits on the theme. Then I smiled when I thought of Harvey Korman as Hedley Lamarr in ‘Blazing Saddles’ telling his band of bad guys “Now go do that voodoo that you do so well.” Yes, I’m that highbrow. Well, that’s liberally lifted from Cole Porter’s ‘You Do Something to Me’. Francis Albert sings that song with gusto, but it’s not my favourite. So, finally, my pick is a close cousin to voodoo…. Witchcraft, sung by Sinatra”

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Frank Sinatra – Witchcraft

Here’s Alex G, fresh from expressing his disappointment at last week’s link, which given the amount of research he’s done into his own link is a bit rich:

“Talking Heads did a song called Papa Legba, which is named after some sort of spirit in Haitian Voodoo.”

(Papa Legba is the loa who serves as the intermediary between the loa and humanity. He stands at a spiritual crossroads and gives (or denies) permission to speak with the spirits of Guinee, and is believed to speak all human languages. Either that or an over-priced midfielder currently arousing the curiosity of  Manchester United’s scouting team. You decide.)

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Talking Heads – Papa Legba

Alyson’s back, to expand on her earlier “Live and Let Die” nomination:

“Thinking about it a bit more, the fictitious island where much of the Voodoo action in the film took place was called San Monique but of course it is highly likely that this fictitious island was supposed to be Haiti where, apparently, the majority of the population hold Voodoo beliefs. This of course got me thinking of the song ‘Haitian Divorce’ by Steely Dan.”

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Steely Dan – Haitian Divorce

Time now for a big warm Chain Gang welcome to Kuttowski, who unless I’m very much mistaken, is Walter from the excellent A few good times in my life blog. Welcome aboard, Kuttowski/Walter, what have you got for us?

“I think it is time to join the chain gang. Thinking about the word voodoo Screaming Jay Hawkins and Voodoo Ray came to my mind. But it all said by the ones before. So I would suggest Voodoo by Mano Negra, a French band lead by Manu Chao back in the late 80’s. Starting with a dark mood this song turns into a weird folk chaos.”

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Mano Negra – Voodoo

“Otherwise,” he continues, “I would suggest Jah Wobble’s Voodoo.”

You can have both:

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Jah Wobble – Voodoo (Original Mix)

And so to the last of the Voodoo related tracks, and a very heartfelt welcome back, albeit via the conduit that is SWC, to Badger:

“I spoke to Badger and his suggestion from the sofa is thus. Part of the voodoo ceremony is to slaughter a rooster. (He is basing this solely from the Mickey Rourke/Lisa Bonet film [Angel Heart, I believe – Film Ed] of a few years back.) But that takes us too ‘Mansize Rooster’ by Supergrass.”

Hallelujah, what a great, often overlooked tune. And I think I speak for everyone here when I say it’s great to hear Badger is on his way back to fighting fit.

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Supergrass – Mansize Rooster

Four songs to go, and here’s my last choice. This is, I believe, a cover of a Kiss record, performed here by The Lemonheads back in their early days before they had added the The to their name. I’m not going to explain the link: if you don’t get it, then just type the words “Jimi Hendrix” and “Plaster Caster” into Google. But don’t do it at work:

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The Lemonheads – Plaster Caster

Having given him a bit of a ribbing earlier, I was going to let Charity Chic have the last word this week. But, that honour is being saved for my favourite link of the week.

So, sorry CC, but here’s your other selection:

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Neil Young – From Hank to Hendrix

Earlier on, I mentioned that The Beard had suggested The Bluetones “Slight Return” as his final choice, and here come his first two choices, the reasoning behind which I love:

“From Jimi Hendrix to Hendrik Van Kleefe, the dodgy Dutch diamond dealer from To Hull And Back, the Only Fools and Horses Christmas special from 1985. Two of the world’s greatest cities, Hull and Amsterdam, are featured in the episode. 1985 also saw the release of Flag Day, the debut single by “the fourth best band in Hull” aka The Housemartins.”

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The Housemartins – Flag Day

And finally:

“‘Amsterdam’ by Peter Bjorn and John didn’t come out in 1985 but is great nonetheless.”

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Peter Bjorn and John – Amsterdam

Right, can you all line up please? *Does quick head count* Okay, I don’t think I missed anyone out. So let’s have a look at the reason behind the next record in the official Chain:

“Jimi Hendrix’s manager was Chas Chandler, who played bass in The Animals…”

…and this was the record of choice:

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26. The Animals – The House of the Rising Sun

So, let’s be having your suggestions for records which you can link to The House of the Rising Sun by The Animals, along with a description as to the link between the two records, via the Comments section down below.

See you next week.

(More soon).

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I seem to be in the mood (i.e. hungover) for a few more of these mellow Sunday Morning tunes, so indulge me and allow me to share a few more.

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Love’s Been Good To Me

Johnny Cash covered this one on his wonderful Rick Rubin produced American Recordings series, and his version is top-notch of course. But for my money, you can’t beat Ol’ Blue Eyes’ version. And any mention of Frank always makes me think of the much over-looked Fast Show character you can find here at 09.08. The whole episode is worth a watch if you have time; Series 3 is when Whitehouse, Higson, Thompson et al were at their absolute peak, in my book.

Like it? Go buy it here.

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Leaving New York

From their absolute dog of an album “Around The Sun”, the opening track and frankly, you can eject the CD as soon as you’ve listened to this one. (Do people still play CDs..?) Archetypal R.E.M., it’s all gorgeous harmonies and backing vocals to die for. As I mentioned in a previous post, when I used to share a flat with Heledd (although I don’t think I actually mentioned her name. Consider that rectified. And hello Hel!), our Fridays would often involve a playlist I had prepared. Apart from laughing at my attempts to sing along to “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It”, Hel is not a big fan of Stipe, Buck, Mills (and Berry), but this tune caught her ear, and as a result cropped up regularly post-playlist when we were both in “a bit pissed and ready for a sing-song” mode. Right after we’d played Max Boyce, usually. Many songs remind me of many people, but as a result of those Friday nights, this song more than any other reminds me of Hel. She doesn’t own it, yet she totally owns it. Cheers!

Like it? Go buy it here

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Sweet Jane

A Lou Reed cover, as you no doubt know, and if you ever want an example of a song being re-worked so far it almost sounds like a completely different song, this is it. Better than the original, in my opinion. There. I’ve said it.

Like it? Go buy it here

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I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be For Ever)

Taken from the first Stevie Wonder album I ever bought, and as the premise behind me writing this blog stems from the book High Fidelity (see Introduction, Explanation, Justification for my mission statement), it seems appropriate that I get things back on track by posting the song which is played over the end credits of the film adaptation of the novel.

Like it? Go buy it here.

More soon.