Sunday Morning Coming Down

Okay so this thread has maybe been a little top-heavy on the Kristofferson recently.

So this morning, let’s have some George Jones.

Covering Kristofferson, obviously.

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George Jones – Why Me Lord?

Now, George Jones is a legend, but he’s not the only legend to have covered that song:

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Johnny Cash – Why Me Lord?

Oh go on then. If you insist. The original.

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Kris Kristofferson – Why Me

More soon.

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The Chain #8

Ok, so where were we?

Ah yes, I left you with Hawkwind’s “Silver Machine”, and I asked you to suggest what we should play next, along with your ideas as to what linked that to the previous tune, which was KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”.

So first, the admin, and the official link between those two songs. As is so often the case, George was a) the only person who offered a suggestion, and b) 100% correct. He wrote: “I suspect the link between KT Tunstall and Lemmy is Stoke-on-Trent, as Lemmy was born there, although I don’t know which of the 6 towns it was.”

And here’s what it says on the BBC website:

Tunstall was one of the six towns that federated to form Stoke-on-Trent, which is Lemmy’s hometown…”

So, were I to be giving out Gold Stars, George would surely be the recipient for getting that right first.

But we’re going to pop George on the back burner for now. No offence, George.

So, to your suggestions. And first up is The Swede, who suggested this:

“I’ll keep it simple and go from ‘Silver Machine’ to ‘Don’t Leave Without Taking Your Silver’ by George Jones, a song that gets me every time.”

Your wish is my command.

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George Jones – Don’t Leave Without Taking Your Silver

George Jones modelling for “Avanti” at C&A in that cover shot, by the way.

The Swede’s line of thought is not entirely dissimilar to mine. I’d initially thought of being utterly obvious and posting David Essex’s “Silver Dream Machine”, but I eventually plumped for this. And say what you like, schmaltzy as it may be, this is a great record:

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David Soul – Silver Lady

Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area went down a similar train of thought as The Swede and I, but instead of concentrating on the “Silver”, he went for the “Machine”, and suggested this:

“Goldfrapp’s Strict Machine is a good follow on from Hawkwind’s Silver Machine. If a bit obvious.”

Obviousness is no impediment to a posting here (particularly when I really like the song in question), so here you go:

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Goldfrapp – Strict Machine (Single Mix)

Which leads me to my second choice. Yes, I’m allowed two, it’s my blog.

This came on my iPod earlier, and I thought I should include it here, partly because it’s by a little known group, partly because I really like it, derivative rock’n’roll that it is, but mostly because it includes two riffs that have been shamelessly nicked from other songs which I couldn’t put my finger on for ages. I got there in the end. I’ll leave you to see if you can spot and identify them both:

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The Struts – My Machine

Oh, wait, here’s George again, referring to his selection, which you haven’t heard yet:

“…you might as well stop taking requests right now because NO ONE will suggest a better song than that [his suggestion], even if they contrive a link to Fox On The Run.”

Simmer down George, I’m coming to yours.

The Swede concurs:

“George has nailed it – 100%. Magnificent choice.”

You’ll let me know if I’m building this up too much, won’t you?

Luckily, here’s Charity Chic, who bloody loves a challenge, and sent me this:

“Silver Machine to Silver Fox the nickname of footballer Fabrizio Ravanelli to Fox on the Run!”

I suspect that this is a private joke between George and Charity Chic that I’m not privy to. No matter. I’m equally unsure which “Fox on the Run” we’re talking about here; I’m aware of two, so let’s have them both:

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Manfred Mann – Fox on the Run

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The Sweet – Fox on the Run

Next up is The Great Gog’s suggestion:

“Lacking inspiration on this one, so it’s a personal tale. In 1988 I acquired my first car – a decrepit 9-year old VW Derby. In honour of the colour of the parts of its body that weren’t rusty, I named it the Silver Machine (I know, pathetic…). My friends took a different view – it quickly developed a reputation for bits falling off it (wing mirror, door handle, random bits of the exhaust system, etc.). They referred to it as the VW Debris.  So a personal link to Debris by The Faces (from A Nod Is As Good…).”

For which I must thank you, not just because it’s a bloody great tune, but also because the initial reason I started writing this blog was to tell the world, who I’m sure was just dieing to know, the reason I’d bought certain records through my life, and to drop some true life, often embarrassing, anecdotes as I do it. So, I’m always grateful for the occasional personal link as it reminds me what I’m supposed to be doing.

Anyway, here’s The GG’s choice:

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The Faces – Debris

Oh, and congratulations to Sir Rodney of Glasgow/Los Angeles.

Which brings us to the final suggestion of the week. Okay, George, the floor’s yours:

“Here goes. Silver Machine by Hawkwind, a hawk is a bird, as is a penguin, and Penguin Eggs is a folk album by Nic Jones, and track 4 is The Little Pot Stove.”

Classic George comment show-boating there.

Now, I must confess, I’d never heard of Nic Jones before, but when two fellow bloggers whose opinions I utterly respect tell me this is worth a listen, my ears prick up.

I needed a little help to track down the song in question, however  (thank you, anonymous man who shall not be named!).

When I was younger, I probably would have described this as “finger-in-the-ear folk music”, but now I’m a little (ahem) older I can see this as nothing short of beautiful.

So, thank you George for bringing this into my world. Apart from the whole showing-offiness thing about writing a music blog (and no matter what anyone says, there is a certain amount of ego involved in doing this), this is exactly the reason I do this: to interact and find out about stuff I would never have otherwise encountered.

I imagine this may polarise opinion, but I urge you to give this a listen:

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Nic Jones – Little Pot Stove

That really is a bit lovely, isn’t it?

No? You’re wrong.

Several Gold Stars to George for that.

(Dad – you’ll like that one, I think)

So to wrap things up for another week, here’s what the official link to “Silver Machine” was, and there’s already been a clue as to how they co-habit in this post:

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David Essex – Rock On

I think we can agree that our suggestions are somewhat superior.

So, no real need for you to suggest what the link between “Silver Machine” and “Rock On” is, because it’s bloody obvious, but a warm welcome to your ideas as to what can follow “Rock On” please.

Same time next week?

Or, rather: More Soon.

Friday Night Music Club

Evening all. Hope you’ve all had a decent week since I last graced these pages with anything new for you to chow down on. It’s Friday Night and that can only mean one thing: it’s time for the latest additions to the Music Club canon.

And this week, we’re going a bit country. Well actually, quite a lot country.

No wait, come back!

It’s not all ten gallon hats and Republican rednecks, I promise! That’s Country and Western, and we are most definitely not going Western tonight.

So saddle up (doh!), stick around, and you never know, you might learn – or even like – something.

First up, and to carry on where I left it last week, a song by The Fall. Well, almost. A song which The Fall released as an extra track on the UK CD version of their 1991 album “Shift-Work”.

The song was written by J.P. Richardson, who is perhaps better known as The Big Bopper, and perhaps even better known for having died in the same plane crash as claimed the lives of Buddy Holly and Richie Valens – the infamous “day the music died” Don McLean wrote about in “American Pie”.

Alas, Richardson didn’t have chance to record it before his untimely death, leaving the late great George Jones to record this rollickingly definitive version:

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97. George Jones – White Lightning

George of course is renowned for two things: being married to Queen of Country Tammy Wynette, and having a drink problem that makes it a minor miracle he lasted until he reached the grand old age of 81. The latter makes his choice to cover this record – a tale of family-produced moonshine – rather unsurprising.

Two examples to illustrate how much George liked a tipple: when he turned up at the studio to record White Lightning, he was so bladdered he needed around 80 attempts to get it right. The bass player, Buddy Killen was rumoured to have so many blisters on his fingers from playing it so many times, he not only threatened to quit the recording session, but also threatened George with a bit of ABH. When the session producer ultimately chose the first cut they had done that day to release, I’m sure he saw the funny side though.

The second example is one that has gone down in country music folklore. Here, then, from his aptly-titled autobiography “I Lived To Tell It All”, in his own words:

“Once, when I had been drunk for several days, Shirley [his second wife] decided she would make it physically impossible for me to buy liquor. I lived about eight miles from Beaumont and the nearest liquor store. She knew I wouldn’t walk that far to get booze, so she hid the keys to every car we owned and left.

But she forgot about the lawn mower. I can vaguely remember my anger at not being able to find keys to anything that moved and looking longingly out a window at a light that shone over our property. There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine under a seat; a key glistening in the ignition.

I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.”

You will notice that booze plays quite a part in a few of tonight’s choice. Before we go any further though, I owe you one Fall song, so here’s their version (and unofficial video):

Moving on, another country legend who I’ve waxed lyrical about on these pages before, and another artist who, I think it’s fair to say has battled a few of his own demons in his time:

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98. Kris Kristofferson – Out of Mind, Out of Sight

“Let’s keep drinking ’til we’re blind”, indeed.

As I’ve mentioned before, I was brought up listening to Kristofferson, and whilst he has continued recording, railing against the authorities and touring right up to the present day (I was gutted to be too slow to manage to grab a ticket for his recent gig at the Union Chapel in Islington, but did manage to catch about half of one of his gigs in Bristol a few years back – I’ll explain why some other time), for me his real purple patch was from 1970 – 1972. If you’re curious to dig a little deeper (though they will be featured at some point in these pages if you want to stick around), or if you like the kind of alt-country that folks like Wilco or Ryan Adams produce, then I can heartily recommend 1970’s “Kristofferson” (which was re-released in 1971 under the title “Me and Bobby McGee” after Janis Joplin had released her simply stunning version of said song), 1971’s “The Silver Tongued Devil and I” and 1972’s “Jesus Was A Capricorn”, each displaying his flawless ear for a tune.

Now, just to prove that country music ain’t just about boys and their booze, here’s Michelle Shocked from her sophomore album “Short Sharp Shocked”, with a tale about Saturday night drinking and the rush to get to the local liquor store before it closed (presumably not on a lawn-mower):

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99. Michelle Shocked – (Making the Run to) Gladewater

As I mentioned last time Michelle’s name came up on the pages, she seems to have developed some rather questionable views on gay and lesbian issues which I’m not going to give time to here, partly because I don’t think I agree with her views which seem rather unclear at best, but partly because if I do I’d have to mention Piers Morgan, and we all know the only thing worse than having questionable views on gay and lesbian issues is being Piers Morgan, so I’ll leave it there. If you’d like to read more though, you can do here.

So, having established booze is playing a large part in tonight’s Yee-Hawing, we may as well expand that to include the other thing on your bona fide country star’s list of forbidden fruits. So here, for the none-more-country-named Broken Family Band:

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100. The Broken Family Band – The Booze And The Drugs

It seems apt that a song about booze and drugs, two things which will feature fairly large in my A History of Dubious Taste thread, should be the 100th record here.

Surprisingly, The Broken Family Band are not, as you might assume from their name and their sound, from some sleepy southern state backwater; rather they actually hail from that most un-country-music-esque of towns: Cambridge, England. It’s not just their country credentials which are exemplary: they recorded two sessions for Peel, did a cover version of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “The King Of Carrot Flowers Part 2” on their mini-album “Jesus Songs”, and in 2007 their Welcome Home Loser” album was included in The Guardian newspaper’s ‘1000 Albums To Hear Before You Die’.

Next on to a band who from their album titles (such as Kiss My Grass: A Hillbilly Tribute to Kiss”) you can tell a) love a pun (their very name is a pun on Aussie rockers AC/DC), b) love a cover version, and c) haven’t really grasped the idea of making decent album covers. Yup, from their “Weapons of Grass Destruction” (see??) album, it’s Hayseed Dixie, and no prizes for guessing which of their oh-so-many- covers I’ve plumped for (I’ve not mentioned the folks who recorded the original for absolutely aaaaaaaaages):

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101. Hayseed Dixie – Down Down

Relax ladies, they’re married.

No further comment needed, I think we’ll leave that there, shall we?

To more contemporary tuneage, and two songs which are in no way country, other than having the word “Country” in their titles (and the first one featuring a banjo). First, the lead single from their eighth studio album, which I’m slightly surprised to learn, is their highest ever UK chart-placed single. No further introduction required, the magnificent:

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102. Primal Scream – Country Girl

A change in pace now. In 1997, fresh(ish) from winning the race to Number One in the UK Singles chart, a Pyhrric victory if ever there was one, given the battering they subsequently took in the album sales, Blur regrouped and came back with an album which was such a departure from their previous “sound” they were almost unrecognisable.

Oasis may have won the day in terms of popularity and record sales, but for my money, with the follow-up to 1995’s “The Great Escape”, Blur demonstrated a musicality and diversity which their rivals could only dream of.

It can’t be underestimated quite what a surprise it was back in January 1997 when Blur released first the lead single (and UK Number One) “Beetlebum”, swiftly followed in April by second single (and UK Number Two, appropriately) “Song 2”, and there, sandwiched in between, was the wonderful, if not wonderfully titled, “Blur” album, from which this next track is lifted:

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103. Blur – Country Sad Ballad Man

Bit different to “Country House”, that, innit?

And finally, what better way to round things off for tonight than a truly iconic record from a truly iconic album capturing a truly iconic live performance by a truly iconic country star, perhaps the greatest country star:

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104. Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues

You don’t need me to explain this one do you? Thought not.

More soon.

And please remember to drink responsibly.