There’s a very good reason why one of these hasn’t surfaced since I returned: I’m an avid watcher of Have I Got News For You and listener of Radio 4’s The News Quiz. Both, whilst recorded on a Thursday, are broadcast on a Friday, which gives them a headstart on anything I might be thinking about writing about for a Saturday morning post.
See, the last accusation I want to have levied at me is one of plagiarism; I’ve lost count of the amount of times over the past few weeks I’ve intended to post something here, then watched/listened to those shows, and deleted my post as there were a few too many similarities gag-wise.
But when a big news story breaks on a Friday…well, the tables are turned.
So no prizes for guessing who today’s post is all about…
The problem is, I don’t have much to say that I haven’t said already, so this won’t be much of a rant, more a celebration. Not of the man, but of the fact that he’s gone. For now.
And it is extraordinarily good news, and it must be, because I’m not even going to spend much time gloating about Nadine Dorries, not someone greatly troubled by either facts or brain-cells, quitting as an MP because PM Rishi Sunak actually had the balls to block her peerage, a peerage which you’ll recall Johnson had nominated her for in his jump before he was pushed resignation honours list as a thank you for her unwavering support through all the…jeez, where do I start…I dunno…through everything. No matter what he did wrong, there was loyal Nadine, slurring her defence of the walking marshmallow in an ill-fitting suit.
This proved to merely be the amuse-bouche for the day of strops and sulks that would come later…
…dammit. Bends. With a B. There’s no escaping him.)
Anyway, where was I? As yes: it was a day of toys being thrown out of prams, of allegations of a conspiracy against Johnson by the MP-led Privileges Committee who were looking into whether or not he misled Parliament over lockdown rule breaking parties at Downing Street. We all know they happened, at a time when mixing with those outside of your bubble was prohibited, but did he lie to the House about them?
Shortly after being advised of the contents of the report the Committee had prepared, Johnson realeased a resignation statement, where he said: “I am not alone in thinking that there is a witch hunt under way, to take revenge for Brexit and ultimately to reverse the 2016 referendum result.” Looking at the state the country’s in now, I bloody hope there is.
He still doesn’t get it, does he? He still thinks he can’t have done anything wrong, because he is Boris and he can do whatever he likes. I’m reminded of this extract from a letter written to his father back in 1982:
Lest we forget, whilst the Privileges Committee was considering whether he lied to Parliament about Partygate, it has always been Johnson’s position that no rules were broken, but if they were, it was unintentional, and any statement he made to Parliament which may also have been incorrect was inadvertent. He told the Committee that social distancing had not been “perfect” at gatherings in Downing Street during Covid lockdowns but insisted the guidelines (as he understood them) were followed at all times.
“As he understood them.” Like he had nothing to do with creating the guidelines. Like he didn’t stand behind that expensive lectern and tell the nation precisely what the guidelines were. Perhaps if they’d been written in faux-Latin he might have remembered them better.
And then, a couple of weeks ago, his sister accidentally let slip that it wasn’t just at Downing Street that the lock-down rules had not been followed:
Let’s take a closer look at his resignation speech.
“I am now being forced out of Parliament by a tiny handful of people, with no evidence to back up their assertions, and without the approval even of Conservative party members, let alone the wider electorate.” You’re not being forced out, you bumbling comb-less oaf, you resigned (for the second time, I might remind you. No, wait – third if we count that time you quit as Foreign Secretary. But it’s interesting to note you struggle with the difference between resigning and fired. Between renuntiateet accentus, if it helps. You’re welcome). You could have stayed on and seen how the vote in the House of Commons as to whether the findings of the Committee should be accepted or not went, but you have chosen not to, because you know that vote would not go in your favour. And that’s with the massive majority that your party currently holds. Forgotten how many MPs rebelled against you to bring your time as PM to a close have you? 52. In one day. And that’s before we consider the 148 who voted against you in the confidence vote in June 2022 (although there was doubtless an overlap between the two, a bulging middle section of the Venn duagram, if you will).
“When I left office last year [you mean resigned, Boris], the government was only a handful of points behind in the polls. That gap has now massively widened. Just a few years after winning the biggest majority in almost half a century, that majority is now clearly at risk.” The old selective memory is really kicking in here. Let’s not forget that during your tenure as PM, Chris Pincher, a senior member of your government – appointed by you – was forced to resign after allegations he had groped two men on a drunken night at a private members’ club. His resignation prompted multiple reports of other past sexual harassment allegations against him. Your spokesperson initially said you had not been aware of any allegations made about Pincher when you appointed him to government. You backtracked after it emerged you’d been briefed about a specific allegation ahead of that appointment. Not forgetting that it was reported you had quipped “Pincher by name, pincher by nature.”
I mean, that kind of leadership can’t have helped the support getting decimated, now can it?
And then there was Neil Parish MP, who was forced to resign after admitting watching “tractor porn” in Parliament? (What even is tractor porn? I have visions of a Page 3 photo of a tractor, and a caption reading “Massey Ferguson just loves getting dirty out in the countryside…”). Another (whose name escapes me, and I am not going to Google it to find out) was found guilty of sexually abusing a teenage boy. In local elections held to replace the pair of them, opposition candidates won by large majorities. So yeh, everything was just hunky dory when you quit as PM.
…following his most recent resignation, the usual candidates lined up to pay tribute to him. Winner of Most Reasonable Employer of the Year award 2022 (current holder one Mr D Raaaaaaaaab) Priti Patel described Johnson as “a political titan” (two letters too many at the end there, Priti), whilst Richard Mills, Johnson’s local Conservative association chairman, said he had “delivered on his promises to local residents” (and if he hasn’t then he now has plenty of time on his hands to pop round and sire another couple of kids he’ll deny all knowledge of later).
Oh. Before I go, there’s just one more thing…
…those glad to see the back of him were much easier to get quotes from. Liberal Democrats, deputy leader Daisy Cooper simply said: “Good riddance.” And that’s where I’ll leave it.
I watched Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me the other day. I should have known better, having read the synopsis:
As he struggles with Alzheimer’s disease, country-music legend Glen Campbell embarks on his farewell tour in the U.S., Australia, and Europe.
It’s a fly-on-the-wall, warts and all portrayal of how the disease utterly debilitates the sufferer, the strain it puts on all those around them. It’s utterly compelling, but absolutely heart-breaking.
Between shows, you see him veer from being totally lucid, to suddenly having no idea where he is or who he’s talking to, even if it his wife and kids. He gets frustrated, angry, paranoid.
That changes when he performs. His muscle memory, if you like, his instinctive ability to recall songs wins through, and those moments are a joy to behold.
But as the tour progresses, you see him unravelling more and more frequently on stage. The footage from the final show of the tour is really quite upsetting; you see Campbell go off on rambling monologues to the audience in between songs, complaining that his “hair itches”, before launching into, ironically, the classic Gentle On My Mind. And for a few moments, all is well again.
Until Campbell goes into the guitar break, which just goes on and on and on and on and is out of time with the band, who he begins to berate and…it’s just so, so sad.
I’d recommend your watching it, but, my, you really have to be in the right frame of mind.
In 2017, Campbell released Adiós, a collection of re-recorded or remastered versions of all his most loved songs, and many others, presumably as a way to enhance those moments when his instincts kicked in and took him back to when he first played them.
Here’s the updated version of Gentle On My Mind from said album:
The Country Music Awards happened this week, and were broadcast in the UK on BBC4.
I didn’t watch it, not for any vain “there’s nothing I can learn here” reasons, but more because I’m not really a fan of New Country and so I figured I probably wouldn’t enjoy it.
Also: I didn’t notice it was on until about ten minutes from the end.
But afterwards, they broadcast a couple of old shows: Country at the BBC and Country Queens at the BBC. Midway through the first, Glen Campbell strode onto the set of The Val Doonican Show (which, judging by the amount of clips which were from it, must have been the best place on UK TV to see Country artistes perform at the time), looking like a GI Joe doll with his trimmed beard, and launched into a pretty perfect version of this, which I must have posted here at some point, but not for a good few years.
As it’s such a belter, it will stand yet another airing:
I’ve always wanted to write a series about musical mondegreens, that is misheard lyrics. The most famous, perhaps, is Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, where people mishear ‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky as ‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy.
I mention this now because Rhinestone Cowboy contains one which I misunderstood when I was a kid: I could never quite grasp why he might be getting awfuls coming over the phone, when in fact many years later I realised he was getting offers. By way of justification, I like to pretend that I actually predicted the rise of prank calls and trolling, but we all know that’s not true.
But what of Val Doonican? There was a run of four or five Country artists on Country at the BBC who were appearing on his show, which is perhaps a little bit strange given his own recorded output comprised mostly of laid-back, easy listening classics, and these two songs, both of which make me smile to this day, I think because whilst on the face of it these are both simplistic, ridiculous tales, the lyrical dexterity puts me in mind of another folk hero of mine, Jake Thackray:
This morning an undisputed classic for you delictation.
It’s a song often covered, to the point where I would struggle to say whose version I prefer. If pushed, I would probably plump for Dean Martin’s, but this version could easily push his into second on a good day. I think it’s the slightly wonky xylophone which does it for me:
Shortly before his sad death in 2017, Glen Campbell went into the studio and re-recorded a load of his most well known songs – and quite a few lesser known ones too.
The album, Adiós, came out in June 2017, two months before he died.
The songs are a little more polished (read: not as good) than the versions we’re more familiar with, so you’ll forgive me for swerving the obvious choices today. But man alive, that voice was still as golden as it was back in the day.
And tucked right at the the end of the album, is this, which when you know he passed shortly afterwards and knew that he knew his days were numbered, becomes even more poignant:
For here we are, a week later, and The Chain is back! Back!! Back!!! (again) for another instalment.
Truth be told, I was totally blown away by the response I received to last week’s edition, so blown away that I almost went full on Sally Field. So y’know, cheers.
I’m also delighted that not only have a couple of old Chain Gang friends chipped in this week, but we also have three new members to welcome aboard.
Before we go any further though, some admin, and I need to add a new rule to the ten I posted last week, namely this:
11. The same artist can feature twice in the same week, but only if suggested by different people. In other words, if you suggest two songs by the same act, I’ll ask you to just pick one of them; if you don’t reply, I’ll pick for one for you.
Actually, this is an old rule that I forgot to include last week. One of you nearly came a cropper with this one, but just about managed to dodge the bullet. You’ll see what I mean.
Ok, so we have 49 new songs (count ’em!) and over three and a half hours worth of tunes to get through this week, and there’s some real treats, including a couple of acts I was surprised to find featuring in The Chain for the first time, some commercially unreleased live stuff, a couple of songs which have featured here before under different guises, a couple of real rarities (I think), a contender for Worst Record In The History of Everything Ever, and – and I mention this now to introduce some totally unneccessary tension and excitement into proceedings – one of you correctly guessed the next record in the Official Chain.
So let’s kick things off with a reminder of the last source song, that is the song that you were all providing suggestions to this week:
And where better to start than with a new member of The Chain Gang? Ladies and Gentleman, please rattle your manacles and give a warm welcome to GMFree:
“The most obvious songs that I thought of first were ‘God Only Knows’ by James…”
Now, in the same way that I think if you’re going to cover a song you should try and do something interesting with it, by the same token I think that if you’re going to write a song and give it the same name as universally loved classic, then it is undoubtedly going to be compared to said song, so you’d better make sure yours is good….
“‘God Only Knows’? So what does he know? Well, he knows it’s true, obviously … so I’ll go for Teenage Fanclub”
Now, strictly speaking, I should be disallowing this suggestion, because this song has featured on The Chain before, back in edition #32, to be precise. However, I’m going to allow it this week for three reasons: firstly, it ws me who suggested it last time; secondly, I posted a Peel Sessions version last time and this time I’m posting the original, and thirdly, because last time it featured I had changed one word in the title from “God” to “Gourd” so that it linked to the source record (XTC’s “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”, in case you’re interested).
We’re into not commercially released stuff with that one, as far as I know. Any chance to feature Beck, and moreover Union Chapel, my favourite venue in London, will be gratefully seized.
Next up, it’s over to The Beard, who provides one of his usual interesting links:
“God Only Knows is featured in the film Boogie Nights. The film centres around the supremely endowed Dirk Diggler, played by Mark Wahlberg. He also starred in ‘Four Brothers’ which is pretty much a remake of the John Wayne driven western ‘The Sons Of Katie Elder’. John Wayne? Motherfuck him as said Public Enemy on Fight The Power.”
Speaking of John Wayne, he also starred in the original release of ‘True Grit’ along with the next artist. Over to you, Alyson (of What’s It All About?):
“In light of [last] Tuesday’s sad news of the death of Glen Campbell, and the fact he stood in for Brian Wilson in 1964 as a Beach Boy, I am reminded of his song ‘Galveston’ which always makes me think of a beach because of the following lines:
‘I still hear your sea waves crashing While I watch the cannons flashing I clean my gun And dream of Galveston.’
I know we’ll all have heard it a lot over the last couple of days but I never tire of these songs of his.”
To be fair, Galveston is one of a clutch of Campbell’s records that I don’t think many of us will get tired of hearing:
And so we seem to have made the seamless move from songs which reference ‘God Only Knows’, to songs which link to members, full or part time, of The Beach Boys. So what next?
George has the answer:
“Can I propose a third song that is really, really shit?” he asks.
Yes, I know you haven’t heard his first two suggestions yet. I choose the order the songs feature in, and I want to post his third (really, really shit) suggestion first.
As I pointed out to George in the Comments to last week’s edition, he doesn’t normally ask permission.
“It’s by Wilson Phillips…….one of whom is a relation of a Beach Boy…….and the song is ‘Hold On’. But feel free to disqualify it because it is simply too dreadful.”
George is fully aware that a record being dreadful, or shit, or shittily dreadful, is not enough to preclude it from The Chain. For here, we embrace the dreadfully shit (by which I categorically do not mean Donald J Trump, who we try to keep at arms length at the very least).
And besides, I’ve listened to this – and all of the suggestions – a lot over the last week, and I’ve grown to quite like this:
“God Only Knows”, of course, features on The Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds”, so how about a couple of suggestions which link to that? Step forwards The Great Gog, who I see has now got as far as starting his own blog, but hasn’t yet got round to writing anything on it just yet. He’s probably got far more important things to be getting on with, like suggesting this kind of thing:
“I’ll go with the fact that ‘God Only Knows’ features on the album Pet Sounds. This album also features a track called ‘Caroline, No’. Whenever I spot this on the album, I always think of the similarly titled Talk Talk track, ‘Does Caroline Know?’ – not surprising really as I owned the ‘It’s My Life’ album some time before I acquired Pet Sounds.”
‘Pet Sounds’ is one of those albums, I think – or at least it is to me – that I knew what a great album it is long before I actually got round to listening to it, let alone owning a copy. I don’t think I actually heard ‘Pet Sounds’ until I was in my late twenties, but I remember in my early twenties having a very long discussion in the pub one night with one of my friend’s younger brother’s friends about how amazing it is, without him realising I’d never heard it. Hold the front page: Jez is a complete bullshitter shocker!
“So many gods to choose from… luckily I don’t own anything by Hermes House Band, so you’re spared that. Instead, let’s go for the god to whom I am most frequently compared (admittedly in the form “you’re no…”) and some proper old-school house: ‘No Way Back’ by Adonis.”
Shame about the Hermes House Band; I’ve got loads of gags about the Hermes parcel delivery service all lined up and ready to go.
Who else haven’t we heard from yet? Ah yes, The Robster from Is This The Life?, I wonder what he’s got to offer?
“If we’re going down the God route though, and with God supposedly living in Heaven or some such mythical place, I offer Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the title track of their seminal second album ‘Lift Yr. Skinny Fists, Like Antennas to Heaven…’.”
I’ll tell you who else hasn’t chipped in yet: Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music, that’s who:
“Sorry to disappoint you but there is noGod,” he blasphemes, “so…”
Hold up, what did you just say?
“Sorry to disappoint you but there is noGod…”
Pray, do continue.
‘No Gods (and Precious Few Heroes)’ by Dick Gaughan, please. JC recently posted a goose-bump inducing live version which is the one to feature”
And it’s JC’s legendary place that I visited to find the specific version CC was after, so it would be rude of me not to attribute credit where credit’s due and provide a link to his site The (New) Vinyl Villain (although if you visit me here, then I’d be really surprised if you didn’t already visit JC).
Although, admittedly, it’s not the best quality recording, and you kind of didn’t really suggest that one anyway, so for one time only I’m going to allow you to suggest a different song by the same artist:
And we’ll stay with GMFree for a moment longer, if we may:
“I had a habit on the much missed When You Can’t Remember Anything series to mention the great Stephen Jones almost every time, here are two from him…”
Wait a minute, what did I just say about ‘for one time only’…?
But this is the bullet-dodging suggestion I mentioned earlier, for the first of these two suggestions is by Stephen Jones recording under the name TrUcKeR and the other one…erm…isn’t (that one will be along in a bit, if you care to hang around long enough):
Is it okay if I like the sleeve of that more than I like the actual track….?
Now when I posted the Public Enemy track earlier, I deliberately avoided commenting on how sad it is that a record released in 1989 about black oppression felt as relevant today as it did back then. And that’s because I knew that one of you was going to make precisely that point about a record released a lot earlier than that. So, abramson60, the stage is yours:
“I’ve been listening to a lot of Nina Simone of late so taking the God road ‘Mississippi Goddam’, a song that is sadly still relevant today when we see what happened in Charlottesville [at the weekend] and it was only last week the UK police released the appalling hate crime figures.”
“…the original version…actually prefer the Kiss version, but they don’t sing the verse about Cliff. Dunno why.”
I would imagine it’s because most of Kiss’ fanbase would have no idea who Cliff is, the heathens.
Anyway, I agree with you about preferring the Kiss version, but I do really like the Argent version too, although every time I’ve heard it my little ears have pricked up as I thought something by Focus had come up on shuffle for me.
We’ll come back to Rol’s second suggestion in a bit.
That’s all the God suggestions done. Next we have a song about Jesus, but I think we need some sort of bridging song, just to reinforce the link here. This’ll do the trick:
For the uninitiated, Mr Rossiter was the lead singer of Gene (who I adore) and I cannot recommend the album that track comes from (‘The Defenestration of Saint Martin’, in case you can’t make it out from the image above) highly enough. An over-looked gem, in my opinion. Seek, and ye shall find.
Which leads us on to God’s greatest adversary, and we’re heading back to GMFree’s seemingly never-ending list of suggestions, which is for this:
Now GMFree mentioned the much missed When You Can’t Remember Anything blog a little earlier, and regular visitors to these shores will know that the writers of that now deceased blog, SWC and Badger, often contributed here. So I was delighted when SWC got in touch to make some suggestions again this week, although the first one he doesn’t really suggest, more wonders out loud about it, which he knows full well is too much for me to resist:
“I need to decide whether to go down the beach route the boy route or the God route. I thinking if ‘God Only Knows’ then perhaps ‘Better the Devil You Know’ but I may change my mind.”
Too late! And count yourself lucky I picked this one and not the song of the same name by professional Scouser Sonia:
Now many of you will recognise KC from her posts on SWC and Badger’s site; she was, if I recall correctly, a relative newcomer to writing and her posts were really rather excellent, so it’s a shame she no longer has a platform to show off her talents. So KC: if you want to continue to write, and haven’t had any other offers to do so elsewhere, drop me an email, you’d be more than welcome to contribute here. Just until the boys get bored and resurrect WYCRA, of course.
God…Lord…Jesus…Lucifer…all suggestions of Biblical proportions. Which leads me back to Rol for his second suggestion, which is this “…because it’s ace.” Have you and Martin been copying each other’s superlatives? You have, haven’t you? You’ve both let me down, you’ve let the class down, but most all you’ve let yourselves down.
Good job both of your ace suggestions really are ace:
And as you can see, that features on an album called ‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost’ which makes that a Double-Linker. Points!
So, having exhausted those suggestions too, let’s have a look at some Boys. And one of you got very excited at the prospect. Hello Kay, who shortly after posting her suggestions, sent me a text to say she was worried it made her sound like, and I quote “a right creepy perv”.
See what you think, readers:
“I’m going for the theme boys – so many to choose from. Maybe….”
Nothing pervy about a woman of a certain age liking her boys wild and bad. And from the 1980s.
“…but I suppose I should go with the first song I thought of which linked to the Beach Boys and that’s…”
Brace yourself everybody. It’s Worst Record of the Week time, and if this isn’t one of the Worst Records in the History of Everything Ever, then I’d like to know what is. No scrub that, I really wouldn’t.
In case you’re interested, that’s the other song which has featured on The Chain before, but then it was performed by Ronnie Spector and came from the very same EP as the one BabyLotti suggested earlier.
Let’s have GMFree’s last suggestion, the other one by Stephen Jones, which you’ll recall I’m allowing because he released it under his Baby Bird moniker, as opposed to the TrUcKeR of the earlier suggestion:
Which, cheese or not, is also ace. And it gives me the chance to post this, my final suggestion of the week. And it may seem an odd one to go to, but some of you will have spotted the reason for the link when listening to that last tune:
Seriously, think of how many albums the Ramones have released, and how many songs of about two minutes that means they’ve recorded. This is the 41st edition of The Chain. How did we get this far without them cropping up?
Which leads me to the final suggestion of the week. Which just so happens to be next song in the Official Chain.
Here’s their link:
“From the Boys on the Beach to…”
And here’s ours, as penned by KC in this Sunshine Strand:
“If Badger was here he would agree that the greatest song to feature beaches either in the band title or the song title is…”
A couple of months ago, I picked up a couple of albums by the now late, always great, Glen Campbell.
One claimed to be “Wichita Lineman”, but isn’t; it’s a cash-in compilation album which has it’s moments, obviously.
The other is his 1977 album “Southern Nights”, the title track written by Allen Toussaint, an artist I knew of but nothing by until I went to see Billy Bragg and Joe Henry last year, and Henry waxed lyrical about him and performed one of his songs (“Freedom of the Stallion”, in case you’re interested). I’m currently investigating his rather large back catalogue.
But I digress: “Southern Nights” may not be one of his better known records, but the title track was a US #1 – his last, I believe – and has some other gems on it; a couple of songs written by Jimmy Webb (of course), a Neil Diamond cover and a certain Brian Wilson composition which will be familiar to you all, particularly if you’ve cast an eye over this week’s returned series The Chain.
As expected, Foo Fighters rawk and rolled with great gusto on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury last night. I’d love to post something by them this morning, but they don’t exactly fit the Country vibe we have going on here of a Sunday morning.
Lucky for us, then, that a few years ago Glenn Campbell recorded a cover of the song they opened with last night: