The Chain #38

It’s weird how things pan out. We have various categories here, where I award points for (nobody’s counting, the points mean nothing, apart from giving a warm glow for the recipient) the following:

Worst/Cheesiest Record of the Week

Showboat Comment of the Week

The Next Record in The Official Chain

Well, this week, we have a suggestion for each of the above. All of them will receive points. Yes: one person correctly guessed the next song in The Official Chain. If I could afford Ray Winstone’s head to pop up to ask you to lay your bets “nahhhhh”, this is where he’d be.

To recap: last week, we ended up with “Bonny” by Prefab Sprout, from their “Steve McQueen” album. Plenty of food for thought there, you’d think? Well, we have the most tunes ever to get through this week, although that’s mostly because I kept thinking of new ones.

Oh and by the way, it was rather pleasing to note that absolutely nobody complained about my deliberate mistake last week, which was to omit the link for the Crazy Frog tune. My faith in humanity is almost restored.

But before we go any further, many of you will know that regular Chain Ganger Badger’s better half was Lorna was involved in a car crash last week. Needless to say, our thoughts and best wishes go out to them. Get well soon.

So where better to start than with Badger of When You Can’t Remember Anything‘s suggestions:

“Beans often come from sprouts so how about something by Sunflower Bean? Tame Impala perhaps…”

Yes, that’s Tame Impala by Sunflower Bean, rather that Sunflower Bean by Tame Impala. As it says on their Bandcamp page: “Tame Impala wrote a song called Led Zeppelin and now they have a song named after them.” You can’t fault their logic.

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Sunflower Bean – Tame Impala

“Or,” continues Badger, “cabbages are basically big sprouts so how about ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’ by them.”

Coincidentally, an album I picked up earlier this week:

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Cabbage – Uber Capitalist Death Trade

I feel a catchphrase coming on. If Badger’s suggesting that, then I’m suggesting this:

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Teenage Fanclub – The Cabbage

Badger and I weren’t the only ones to go down the vegetable route; here, with the first of several suggestions is Jules from Music from Magazines:

“Joanna Newsome has a fine number called ‘The Sprout and The Bean'”

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Joanna Newsom – Sprout And The Bean

And here’s The Great Gog:

“I feel that this is as good a time as any to mention Jasper Carrott and Funky Moped, although I think that a fair proportion of its sales were down to the inclusion of the non-musical Magic Roundabout on the flip side.”

You’re probably right, GG, so let’s stick with the A-Side which is, by the way, the Worst Record of the Week:

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Jasper Carrott – Funky Moped

There you go, that’s your five portions of vegetables sorted out for today. A reward for finishing off all of your Brussel Sprouts is deserved; here’s Jasper with a classic routine:

Of course, Brussels also leads us to Europe, and to Belgium. Here’s Michael:

“Brussels being the capital of Belgium….Arno is a legend, in Europe often singing in English , ‘Les Yeux de ma Mère’ is a beautiful song , so you could also argue the bonnie link.”

You could, but you really don’t need to:

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Arno – Les Yeux de ma Mère

And since we’re in Belgium, here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:

“Plastic Bertrand is the only Belgian singer I’m aware of….”

What, you haven’t heard of Arno before, CC…..? Care to nominate a song by the most famous Belgian (after Hercule Poirot and Jan Vertonghen, both of whom would have done better than our actual defence did yesterday).

“I only know the obvious one…”

Me too, as it goes. So here it is:

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Plastic Bertrand – Ça Plane Pour Moi

Unsurprisingly, there was a whole load of suggestions linking to Bonnie. First out of the bag is The Great Gog, again:

“It’s not too much of a leap to Supertramp and their song, Bonnie, which I would imagine will be among the contenders for worst song of the week.”

Nope, but you’ve already won that gong, so no worries:

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Supertramp – Bonnie

In a normal week, the next suggestion, from George, would win the Comment Showboat of the Week. Not this week though, oh no:

“Using the song title, Bonny, to the name Bonnie, which leads to child star of the 70s Bonnie Langford, who appeared on a TV show with Lena Zavaroni, one of Rothesay’s famous exports, and there is no way I’m suggesting ‘Mama He’s Making Eyes At Me’, NO WAY, because I am linking from Bonnie Langford to Jon Langford, founder member of The Mekons, and to the song ‘Prince Of Darkness’, who seems to be having a rare old time at the moment in the UK and the USA. (The Prince of Darkness, that is, not Jon Langford)”

See that? Biting satire as well a great suggestion:

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The Mekons – Prince Of Darkness

Over to SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything next, who is also “going down the Bonny route” which definitely sounds like a euphemism.

“I’ll start with ‘Anne Bonny’ by Death Grips”

(Warning: contains swears.)

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Death Grips – Anne Bonny

Next up is Martin from New Amusements:

“The obvious temptation with Bonny is to go the Tyler route, but who likes obvious when there’s the Bonnie Raitt route, maybe with ‘Something To Talk About’.”

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Bonnie Raitt – Something To Talk About

Time for The Robster from Is This The Life? with a bit of a history lesson:

“The only thing I’m coming back to is ‘My Bonnie’, the 1961 debut single by Tony Sheridan. He was backed on this by some young upstarts called The Beat Brothers (as the label credited them). Apparently they went on to become quite famous under a slightly different name…”

No points for knowing who that is, of course.

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Tony Sheridan & The Beat Brothers – My Bonnie

A couple of suggestions linking to the same artiste now, once as “featuring…” and once in his own right. Let’s take Jules’ next suggestion first:

“Bonnie Prince Billy ‘We are Unhappy’ (the version from ‘Singers Grave – A Sea Of Tongues’ please)”

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – We Are Unhappy

…followed by another one from SWC:

“From Bonny to ‘Prince’ Bonnie and Hot Chip’s rather lovely ‘I Feel Bonnie’.”

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Hot Chip feat. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – I Feel Bonnie

Time to welcome back The Beard, who pinches one off my toes:

“Bonnie was one of the Blue Peter dogs. She was a golden retriever. Golden Retriever is a Super Furry Animals number.”

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Super Furry Animals – Golden Retriever

But The Beard isn’t finished just there:

“…and from Bonnie the Blue Peter dog to Roachford’s ‘Cuddly Toy’ via Alan Partridge…”

I’m going to end up posting this every week, aren’t I…?

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Roachford – Cuddly Toy

There was a distinctly outlawish theme to a few of the suggestions; step forward Lynchie:

“Bonny made me think more of one of Billy The Kid’s aliases – William H. Bonney – so I’d like to put in a good word for Joe Ely’s ‘Me and Billy the Kid’.”

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Joe Ely – Me And Billy The Kid

In the movie ‘Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid’, the Kid is played by one Kris Kristofferson, who regular readers will know is a hero of mine, so here’s one by him:

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Kris Kristofferson – Jody And The Kid

Many of you weren’t content at simply linking to Bonnie, plumping for songs which reference, or are just plain about, famous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. Here’s another one of mine to kick this batch off:

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Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames – The Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde

Others to link to the dastardly duo were The Robster:

“Just remembered… ‘’97 Bonnie & Clyde’ by Eminem…” 

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Eminem – ’97 Bonnie and Clyde

“Or maybe Tori Amos’ cover of it….”

Or both?

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Tori Amos – ’97 Bonnie & Clyde

Then there’s Walter from A Few Good Times in my Life who offers this:

“I take the gangster road…in 1996 German punk band Die Toten Hosen released a song called ‘Bonnie and Clyde’.”

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Die Toten Hosen – Bonnie & Clyde

But of course, no round up of songs about Bonnie & Clyde would be complete without this one, as suggested by Swiss Adam from Bagging Area:

“Bonny>>> ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ by Serge Gainsbourg.”

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Serge Gainsbourg – Bonnie And Clyde

Serge was, of course, a randy old sod, as Whitney Houston once found out:

At which point, Rol from My Top Ten chips in:

“Two of my three Bonnie & Clyde suggestions have now come up… But where the hell is the third, arguably most obvious, one???”

But before he has chance to clarify, Michael reappears:

“You must be referring to the Steve Wynn and Johnette Napolitano version…”

This one?

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Steve Wynn – Bonnie & Clyde

Anyway, Rol’s suggestion:

“Bruce Springsteen also recorded his own Bonnie & Clyde song… Nebraska.”

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Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska

Okay, are you all sitting comfortably? Good, because I’m about to go off on a bit of a tangent, and hog the limelight for….oooh…the next five songs.

In the movie about the outlaws Bonnie & Clyde, pithily titled “Bonne and Clyde” Bonnie was played by Faye Dunaway, and Clyde was played by Warren Beatty. Beatty may, or may not have been the subject of this record:

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Carly Simon – You’re So Vain

He also played the lead in 1978’s multi-Oscar nominated “Heaven Can Wait”…

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Meat Loaf – Heaven Can Wait

…and 1975’s (not multi-) Oscar nominated “Shampoo

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Shampoo – Trouble

Faye Dunaway used to be married to Peter Wolf, lead singer with the J. Geils Band:

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J. Geils Band – Centerfold

…and she starred in 1968’s “The Thomas Crown Affair”, which won the Oscar for Best Original Song for this:

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Noel Harrison – The Windmills of Your Mind

And, of course, her co-star in The Thomas Crown affair was one Steve McQueen, which is, of the course, the name of the album that this week’s source record comes from.

(If I could award myself the Comment Showboat of the Week for that little lot, I would. Guess I’d better give it to one of you lot instead. Harumph.)

Go on then George, do your stuff:

“From Steve McQueen to Alexander McQueen, the designer, whose partner was George Forsyth, which is also the name of a long dead American General, and also of a Peruvian footballer. And also from Peru was Daniel Alomia Robles, who wrote the song El Condor Pasa, which was made famous by Simon And Garfunkel as ‘El Condor Pasa (If I Could)’.”

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Simon And Garfunkel – El Condor Pasa (If I Could)

Here’s The Beard, back for another go:

“Shaun Ryder cribbed the opening to the Happy Mondays’ ‘Step On’ (“You’re twistin’ my melon, man…”) from a documentary about Steve McQueen. ‘Step On’ is, of course, a cover of a John Kongos number that I believe has featured on these pages before [it hasn’t, so we could have it…] Happy Mondays also covered Kongos’ Tokoloshe Man. So that instead, please.”

Fair enough. This featured on “Rubáiyát”, which was released to mark record label Elektra’s 40th Anniversary:

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Happy Mondays – Tokoloshe Man

Back to Rol now, who reveals he is currently working on a Top ten of songs about, or mentioning, Steve McQueen, and suggests this:

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Gil Scott-Heron -The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Time to check in on Jules again, who suggest a Lambchop song for the second week running (this is not a criticism, by the way):

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Lambchop – Steve McQueen

Oh, and Jules, sorry but I can’t use your fourth and final suggestion, as it has already featured in a previous Chain post. Sorry!

Anyway, other films starring Steve McQueen include “Bullitt” so here’s Swiss Adam’s other suggestion:

“Steve McQueen takes us to the jazzy soundtrack to ‘Bullitt’ by Lalo Schiffrin”

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Lalo Schifrin – Bullitt (Main Title)

Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense picks up the theme:

“Bullitt features probably the greatest cinematic car chase….”

He means this, of course:

…which leads to his next suggestion:

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Madness – Driving in My Car

…and leads me to suggest this:

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Deep Purple – Speed King

Want other Steve McQueen films? Rigid’s got ’em:

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The Clash – The Magnificent Seven

…which leads me to suggest this, from the 1995 charity compilation album ‘Help: A Charity Project for the Children of Bosnia’:

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One World Orchestra – The Magnificent

In case you don’t know, that’s actually The KLF, who seem to be on the brink of a comeback…

Another McQueen film? The Great Escape. Back to you, Rigid:

“…something from the Blur album perhaps, or a convoluted reference to the Blur/Oasis race for number 1 and the suggestion of Oasis’ ‘Roll With It’…?” 

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Oasis – Roll With It

Okay, where shall we go next? I know, let’s have some suggestions relating to Prefab Sprout themselves, and to kick things off, here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?

“I always thought that their ’88 hit ‘King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was called ‘Albuquerque’ as the word comes up so often in the lyrics – Whenever watching the TV show Breaking Bad which was set in Albuquerque I thought of the song ‘A Horse With No Name’ by America (from Ruislip) and sure enough it popped up in the third season (and is my suggestion for this week). A tenuous double link is that the America band members back in the early ’70s would have worn the fashionable trouser of the day – loon pants – and Prefab Sprout’s main man was of course Paddy McAloon!”

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America – A Horse With No Name

Next up, here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:

“The prefab is a kind of house, so I’ll go with ‘My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains’ by Captain Beefheart. Such a beautiful song.”

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Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band – My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains

Remember Michael suggesting Arno right back at the start of this week’s post? Here’s his other suggestion:

“Prefab being an abbreviation for prefabricated makes me think of boys bands so why not something by The Monkees: ‘I’m a Believer’.”

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The Monkees – I’m a Believer

And on the subject of prefabs, here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“I should go from something by Prefab Sprout to the *original* Prefab Four, i.e. The Rutles, but I’m not actually familiar with their output. ‘Cheese and Onions’ is a mildly infamous song of theirs, though, so I’ll go with that.”

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The Rutles – Cheese And Onions

Now, we’ve had numerous links to Steve McQueen, the album that the source record features on, but what about other albums by Prefab Sprout?

“Prefab Sprout’s next album was ‘From Langley Park to Memphis’ and one of the singles from it was aforementioned ‘King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’. Elvis of course was the KORNR and he lived in Memphis so an alternative suggestion is ‘Walking in Memphis’ by Cher (as she dressed up as Elvis on ‘Top of the Pops’ back in the day).”

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Cher – Walking in Memphis

And what about the album after that….? Over to Martin again:

“‘Protest Songs’ … which is all the excuse I need to pitch ‘The Internationale’ by Billy Bragg, and hope that it scores extra points for being more relevant now than ever.”

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Billy Bragg – The Internationale

No extra points, I’m afraid Martin, but I will take this opportunity to nudge you in the direction of Swiss Adam’s Bagging Area, where he has just finished posting a week of protest songs. Worth a visit, in my opinion.

Anyway, that’s your lot for this week. Except, a little while ago, Rigid Digit mentioned the Steve McQueen film and Blur album “The Great Escape”, but didn’t actually nominate a song from said album. Magnanimous host that I am, I asked him if he had one particular song in mind:

“My choice would be the peerless ‘The Universal’ (despite it’s continuing usage on the British Gas advert)”

Can’t argue with that:

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38. Blur – The Universal

And that, as you will have gathered by the number craftily placed at the start, is the next record in The Official Chain, so congratulations, and bonus points, to Rigid Digit.

So, your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “The Universal” by Blur, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for next Sunday’s edition.

Oh, and more soon, of course.

I Am The Mouth

Bit of an open goal for me this week; having mentioned today’s tune in passing the other week when explaining the concept of this thread, at least two people mentioned they’d gone and listened to this one instead of the tune I’d posted. Cheers.

If “Step On” and “Kinky Afro” give you the opportunity to bless the dancefloor with your best Bez impression…

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…then the darker, moodier, less played (hence it’s inclusion here) “Loose Fit” let’s you break out your louche Shaun Ryder moves:

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Here you go. Enjoy.

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Happy Mondays – Loose Fit

More soon and all that.

The Chain #18

Evening Chainies! Welcome aboard the latest instalment of interactive blogging, where I welcome your suggestions for songs to play next week.

For newcomers, here’s the deal: there’s a feature on 6Music’s Radcliffe & Maconie week-day afternoon show where they play a record, ask their listeners to suggest a record connected to it, they pick the best one, play that, and ask for suggestions for the next song to play.

Where we differ is this: we play the same record as they do, invite your suggestions, play all of them, awarding completely arbitrary bonus points here and there (usually for correctly guessing the next song in the official Chain, occasionally for the cleverest/most impressive explanation as to how the suggested record was reached (or “Comment Showboating”, as it’s become known round these parts), but most often for suggesting something by a band I bloody love), then play the next record in the 6Music list, point out it’s nowhere near as clever/good/witty as any that you have come up with, and ask that you repeat the trick, provide a suggestion that links to the official record, which we play the following week, and so on, and so forth, repeat ad infinitum.

Of course, we’ve only been doing this for three weeks, and they’ve been doing theirs, playing three tracks a day, five times a week, so we’re quite some way behind them, so when I say we play the same record as they do, we do, just about six years later.

Here’s the only three things I ask:

  1. When making your suggestion, provide an explanation as to how you got there. And try to be a little bit more creative than just saying “So and so did a cover of that, please play their version”;
  2. Whilst it’s great to have obscure, cool records suggested, try and mix it up a little. Don’t be embarrassed to suggest a cheesy or downright awful record. Lord knows I’ve suggested enough myself;
  3. If I don’t own, or am unable to track down a copy of the song in question, please make sure that you’re able to supply me with it if need be. (NB – this happens rarely. This may only be week 18, but we’re 130 suggestions in, and only three times have I been stumped so far.)

Before we get started, one more bit of admin to get through.

I have not yet introduced the “Two Suggestions per person” rule that I mentioned last week. Well, not yet, anyway. To be honest, I felt a bit like a stroppy kid, losing at a game of football in the park who threatens to take his ball home unless he wins. So, uncapped numbers of suggestions remain, for now. But please bear in mind that I don’t have an infinite amount of time go trawling for the oh-so-many tunes that I don’t already own.

Okay, so that’s the tedious stuff out of the way. Let’s get cracking.

Last week, I left you with Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love” and asked you to come up with any ideas as to what we could play this week. And true to form, you’ve come up with some absolute stonkers, and some utterly weird things too.

So, first up this week is Swiss Adam from bagging area who wrote:

“Hounds of Love? Does your pussy do the dog? (asked The Cramps)”

Short and to the point, is our Swiss:

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The Cramps – Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?

Actually, I take that back. For before we can draw breath, Swiss is back with a second suggestion. Which is fine. We can still have a kick-a-round:

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The House of Love – Never

Yup, totally with you on that one Swiss. It’s a single which is often overlooked because of the majesty of the singles that had preceded it, but it’s still a corking little indie-pop record which deserves an airing.

Now for those of you who don’t peruse the Comments section, where the suggestions are left, these next two take a little extra explanation.

See, last week I was asked to post Vampire Weekend’s “A-Punk”, which I duly did, but added that they’re not a band I’m fond off, and that they generally just rub me up the wrong way. Regular contributor George left a message, in an effort to show some solidarity, letting me know that he feels much the same way about The Clash and Bruce Springsteen.

Cue Charity Chic, stepping effortlessly into shit-stirring mode:

“Kate Bush on her return to live performances sold out the Hammersmith Apollo for a 22 night residency between 26th August and 1st October 2014. There used to be another venue in Hammersmith called the Palais. So ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’ by The Clash, please…and dedicate it to George!”

Sorry George, but this is for you:

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The Clash – (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais

And he isn’t done there either:

“Kate Bush had an album called The Dreaming. Bruce Springsteen had an album called Working on the Dream. The title track please…and dedicate it to George!”

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Bruce Springsteen – Working On a Dream

I have visions of Charity Chic posting the second of those two, saying “Boom!”, dropping his microphone and strutting off stage.

Next up, here’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“Well there is a track by Death Grips called ‘World of Dogs’ but I wouldn’t put up a picture of the album cover.”

Not sure I see what the fuss is about, Badger:

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Death Grips – World of Dogs

I should, of course, point out that isn’t the actual cover Badger refers to. If you want to Google it, I’d strongly recommend that you don’t do it at work.

“As a serious suggestion ‘Hounds of Love’ was covered memorably by The Futureheads which takes us nicely to ‘Decent Days and Nights’ by that lot.”

Badger almost became the first person to have points deducted for providing too obvious a link there, just dodging the bullet by suggesting a record by The Futureheads other than their cover of Madam Bush:

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The Futureheads – Decent Days And Nights

Here’s George, who clearly is not going to rise to Charity Chic’s bait:

“From Hounds to Dogs and Tropical Hot Dog Night by Captain Beefheart (from the Shiny Beast Bat Chain Puller album)”

MI0000642565Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band – Tropical Hot Dog Night

I have to confess, Beefheart are one of those bands I know I’m supposed to like, but I’ve given Trout Mask Replica many opportunities to win me over, and every time I’ve just come away scratching my head (in befuddlement, I don’t have nits).

That said, though, I really like the track George has suggested, so maybe it’s about time I gave it another go.

Here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow with another suggestion I didn’t know, or rather didn’t know this version of it. I’ll let him explain:

“On the b-side of the ‘Hounds of Love’ 7″ single, Kate Bush covered a traditional seafaring ballad, ‘The Handsome Cabin Boy’. The great Martin Carthy sang an acapella version of the same song on his self-titled debut LP in 1965.”

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Martin Carthy – The Handsome Cabin Boy

Here’s When You Can’t Remember Anything‘s co-writer, S-WC:

“Kate Bush allowed ITV to use her surname for a section of the show I’m a Celebrity… called The Bushtucker Trial [not sure that’s entirely true, but I’ll let it slide – Ed]. Johnny Rotten appeared in one of those and ate a kangaroos anus. So we’d best have Anarchy in the UK.”

And that’s why I’ll let it slide. Still sounding as fresh and as angry today as it did back in 1976 (I imagine, I was a little too young got punk), here’s them Grundy-baiting Sex Pistols:

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Sex Pistols – Anarchy in the U.K

And there’s a good reason why I’ll let that slide, for if I didn’t, I’d have to disqualify a third suggestion from Swiss Adam at bagging area:

“Shaun Ryder too. Wrote for luck?”

Oh, go on then:

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Happy Mondays – Wrote For Luck

Sadly, as long as I waited, not one of you suggested we continue that particular theme by playing something by Peter Andre. Not even “Insania” which he wrote on the show. An opportunity missed, I’m sure you’ll agree. Or, hopefully not.

Coincidentally, those last two suggestions feature bands who are commonly referred to incorrectly as “The Sex Pistols” or “The Happy Mondays”. There is no prefix on either. The next suggestion – by Swiss again with his fourth – yes, fourth – go, features a band with nothing but the word The in their name:

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The The – Dogs Of Lust

Now, right at the top of this post, I mentioned that so far I’ve only needed to be bailed out three times when hosting this thread, and two of them were suggestions made by George. So when he popped up again with this, I felt myself break out into a cold sweat:

“From Kate Bush to The Very Things’ song The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes.”

The other time I couldn’t find a postable copy of a song, it had been suggested by Dirk over at Sexyloser, so when he chipped in by saying: “George, the recommendation of that particular Very Things – tune almost makes me forgive you disliking The Clash so much: excellent choice!”, well, I knew I was in trouble.

Luckily, we’ve just had a Bank Holiday Weekend here, so I had a little extra time to track it down. It’s not the finest quality, and there is a moment or two’ silence at the start that I haven’t had time to trim off, but here in all their glory, are The Very Things:

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The Very Things – The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes

Have to say the jury’s still out on that one here at Dubious Taste Towers. I’d fully expected to award the Oddest Record of the Week gong to the Captain Beefheart track, but I think The Very Things takes that honour. It certainly wins Best Title of the Week. (I need some jingles for these, don’t I?)

Here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad with an idea for a bit of pre-fame (they were not famous for a lot longer than they were famous, after all) Pulp:

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Pulp – Dogs Are Everywhere

Finally this week, here’s What’s It All About, Alfie?:

“Another female singer with similarly “bushy” dark hair had their biggest chart hit in 1978 and it was Patti Smith with Because The Night so going for that one please.” Which, as Charity Chic gleefully pointed out, was written by one Bruce Springsteen:

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Patti Smith Group – Because The Night

And so we come to the end of your suggestions, and we come onto mine.

Ahem.

There are many types of Hound, other than the ones of Love. There are Basset Hounds, which I couldn’t think of anything for. There’s the Greyhound, but The Swede suggested the only song I know by them back in The Chain #7. There’s the Whippet, a sighthound breed descended from greyhounds, but there’s nothing there…

…wait a minute. Whippet. Whippit. Whip It.

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Devo – Whip It

I’m here all week.

Now, if any one you had suggested that, I would have been awarding bonus points. But I can’t really award them to myself, so I won’t. (*looks pleadingly at you all*)

And so, to the official song in The Chain, where this was the reasoning:

“Kate Bush’s 2005 album Aerial featured the track ‘King of the Mountain’, which referred to Elvis Presley”

..and this was the song:

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18. Elvis Presley – (Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame

As usual, not a patch on any of your suggestions, but there you have it.

And so that’s my bit done for another week. Please send me your suggestions of records we can play next week, that link to “(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame” by Elvis Presley – there should be plenty for you to work with there – along with a brief description as to how you got there, via the Comments section at the bottom of the page.

See you next time!

(More soon).

Friday Night Music Club

It’s a very special Friday Night Music Club this week for two reasons: firstly, in the UK it’s Easter Weekend, so a long weekend (No work til Tuesday!); secondly, as I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m going to see Underworld tonight.

In my younger days, I was always quite resistant to dance music. If a tune didn’t have guitars on it, I wasn’t interested.

But over the years, my resistance got chipped away, and so I thought tonight I’d play you a selection of dance tunes which were milestones for me.

So, first up is a stone-cold classic, the biggest selling 12″ of all time:

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191. New Order – Blue Monday

Now I wish I could say that I bought this when it first came out. Well, I could say that, but it’d be a big fat whopping lie. In 1983, I had no idea who Joy Division were, or that New Order had risen from their ashes, but I did see the now legendary appearance on Top of The Pops where they insisted on playing Blue Monday live, and after which, famously, the single went down in the charts.

In 1988 I went away to college, and by 1989 I was DJing the Indie Night every other Tuesday. The night was, frankly, dieing on its arse. Some weeks we were lucky to get 20 people through the door. And then three things happened:

  1. Rave culture kicked in
  2. Closely followed by “Madchester”
  3. A load of Indie bands that I liked suddenly started messing around with dance beats and getting their records remixed by respected DJs.

And so suddenly, we were able to play all of these great records (not the rave ones, though) at our little Indie Night and so for a very short while these records moved centre stage and we had our finger right on the pulse.

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192. Primal Scream – Loaded (Edit)

Did you manage to get the “Oh Yeah!” bit in the right place? I always feel so chuffed when I do. The simple pleasures that life brings, eh? Pathetic really.

One Tuesday night, a couple of lads from Nottingham, decked out in hooded tops and flared jeans, pressed their faces up against the shatterproof glass which surrounded the DJ booth in the Students Union and mouthed “Got any Mondays?” at me. I hadn’t (my finger wasn’t quite on the pulse at this point, more tapping to see if I could find a good vein) but said if they wanted to bring some in I’d be happy to play it. 10 minutes later, after they had bombed back to their flat to collect, I had the next record held in my hands. The title intrigued me. I played it. The dance floor didn’t exactly fill, but quite a few joined the two lads Daints and Peetey (the former of which I would form a band with shortly afterwards) as they started to frug away in what I learned sooner after was a fair approximation of Bez:

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193. Happy Mondays – 24 Hour Party People

Many years later, when I had finally started going to club nights, we went to see Jon Carter play in The Emporium in Cardiff. I remember I was just leaving the dancefloor when the vocal part of “24 Hour Party People” kicked in and I found myself scrabbling to get back to the dance floor sharpish. One of the biggest, non-checmically induced, rushes I ever had.

There was another band who ditched their early sound to start producing records which were neither Rave nor Madchester, a band I loved when they were Grebo, and loved even more when they started messing around with loops and samples. This is one of their last singles, probably one of my favourites, which always takes me back to a basement indie club in Cardiff called G.W.’s that Daints and I often frequented after we’d left college:

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194. Pop Will Eat Itself – R.S.V.P. (7” Mix)

The success in reviving the Indie Night, for which I naturally took all the credit, led to me being asked to co-DJ the Saturday night slot with a lad who we nick-named Dave Doubledecks on account of him running his own mobile DJ outfit, but whose name was actually Phil. This night exposed me to a great many other dance records which were by now, circa 1990, the main staple of the UK Charts, and there were some that, much as I absolutely no way on earth would have admitted to liking at the time, I secretly did, and love to this day. I make no apologies for their inclusion here. So there.

First up, an early project by one William Orbit:

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195. Bassomatic – Fascinating Rhythm (7′ Mix)

The first time I heard the next record, I was at the club night at the Students Union, in all honesty cribbing up on what I could play the following Saturday night. The DJ dropped this and I was stunned. Not because of the saucy “Je T’aime”-ness of the vocal track, but because a record that slows down that much in the middle just shouldn’t work. It did though; the place went fucking apeshit for it.

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196. Lil Louis – French Kiss (Original Mix)

Much as you might hate this next record, deride it for pinching the vocals from Loleatta Holloway’s “Love Sensation” and then getting a model to mime to it, in 1989 (and surprisingly often these days) if you wanted to get everyone in a Students Union chart night to dance, this was your weapon of choice:

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197. Black Box – Ride On Time

These days better known as producers, remixers, call them what you will, this next lot, appropriately, met at The Hacienda in 1988:

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198. K-Klass – Rhythm Is A Mystery

Not really a “dance” record as such, next is one of the greatest records ever made, a guaranteed floor-filler, and the subject of one of the biggest travesties in UK Chart history:

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200. Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart (Peanut Butter Radio Mix)

I say travesties because this record only ever got to Number 2 in the UK Charts. It had sold exactly the same amount of copies to be the joint number-one , along with “The Joker” by The Steve Miller Band, a record which had been re-released due to its use in a Levi Jeans ad. “Groove…”‘s placing second was due to a rule instituted in the 1980s, which stated that in the event of a tie, the single with sales that had increased most from the previous week would reside above the other. The week before, “The Joker” had been one position lower in the chart the previous week than “Groove Is in The Heart”, and thus “The Joker” was therefore deemed to be the bigger-selling of the two.

This was the first and only time the rule was ever implemented, and it’s since been ditched. Not that anyone pays attention to the Charts anymore.

Right, I could literally sit here and post hundreds of these until well into the wee small hours, but if I don’t get moving soon I’ll be missing the gig tonight.

So I’m going to sign off by breaking the golden rule of any mix-tape, CD compilation, or playlist: by playing three records by the same artiste.

So, from the first Underworld album I ever bought at the time it was released, “Beaucoup Fish”, their third with Darren Emerson having joined their ranks (but fifth overall), and which swiftly led to me going out and buying the previous two:

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201. Underworld – Push Upstairs

And finally, from their “A Hundred Days Off” album, possibly, probably, my favourite track by them:

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202. Underworld – Two Months Off (King Unique Sunspots – Vocal mix)

I say probably, as it’s a pretty bloody close call with this:

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203. Underworld – Cowgirl (Bedrock Mix)

Hopefully, we’ll get some, if not all, of them tonight.

And I’ll leave you with their latest single, the opening track from their “Barbara, Barbara, We Face A Shining Future” album, and which has first song of the night written all over it.

More soon.

How To Do a Cover Version

Some more simple lessons today.

  1. Shorten the title
  2. Be a band that personifies a current musical trend
  3. Add a couple of phrases which mean nothing, but can be repeated to show incredulity (i.e. “You’re twisting my melons, man!” and “Call the cops!”)
  4. Most importantly, have a bloke in the band who contributes nothing musically, but who just dances in a way that every teenager can copy.

Like this, in other words:

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Happy Mondays – Step On

To illustrate point 4, here’s the video and Bez (as if you needed telling):

And here’s the longer titled, less cool, Bez-free original version:

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John Kongos – He’s Gonna Step On You Again

More soon.

Remembering Kirsty

I’m sure I won’t be the only person here in the blogosphere that will be writing a post in memory of Kirsty MacColl today, for today it is 15 years since this astoundingly talented woman was so cruelly taken from us.

In case you don’t know the story of her untimely demise, on 18 December 2000 she and her sons were on holiday in Mexico, and went diving in a designated diving area at the Chankanaab reef, that watercraft were restricted from entering . As the group were surfacing from a dive, a high-speed powerboat entered the area. Kirsty saw the boat coming before her sons did; Jamie (then 15) was in its path but Kirsty was able to push him out of the way. Tragically, in doing so she was struck by the boat and died instantly.

The powerboat involved in the accident was owned by Guillermo González Nova, multimillionaire president of the Comercial Mexicana supermarket chain, who was on board with members of his family. One of his employees, boat-hand José Cen Yam, stated that he was in control of the boat at the time of the incident. He was found guilty of culpable homicide and was sentenced to 2 years 10 months in prison. However, under Mexican law he was allowed to pay a punitive fine of 1,034 pesos (about £61) in lieu of the prison sentence. He was also ordered to pay approximately £1,425.22 in restitution to Kirsty’s family, an amount based on his wages.

To add insult to quite literal injury, eyewitnesses contradict Cen Yam’s claim that he was in control of the speedboat, and people who have spoken to him since say that he has admitted to receiving money – presumably from Nova – for taking the blame.

If you’d like to read more about Kirsty and the campaign to get justice, you can do so here.

All of which just makes me…well, sad. And not just because of the injustice, nor for the frankly gruesome nature of her death. That too, of course….but what makes me sad is the fact that whenever I hear any song by her or featuring her, I am immediately reminded of all that I have written so far here today.

Which means whilst I love all I am about to post, I do it with a very heavy heart.

So, let’s start this tribute off with one of her very earliest single, from 1981, the catchily-titled:

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Kirsty MacColl – There’s a Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis

Here’s Kirsty doing the very same song on Top of The Pops:

And, from her debut album “Desperate Character”, a slower, more country, version:

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Kirsty MacColl – There’s a Guy…(Country Version)

Personally, I always thought that version was very much a template for the next song, a single from 1989’s utterly wonderful “Kite” album:

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Kirsty MacColl – Don’t Come the Cowboy With Me Sonny Jim!

In between these two albums, due to some wranglings of a contractual nature, Kirsty earned her corn doing session work as a backing singer, and became very much in demand, particularly after she appeared on “Fairytale of New York” with The Pogues. Either side of that she appeared on (to name but a few):

The Smiths – “Ask” (not to mention the B-side too, a cover of Twinkle’s “Golden Lights”)

Billy Bragg – “Sexuality” (She looks fantastic in this, happy, the sort of woman you would have a right laugh down the pub with; the bit when she mocks the size of Billy’s….er….lil Bill behind his back always raises a smile round these parts)

Happy Mondays – “Hallelujah” (This is from that legendary edition of Top of The Pops when the Mondays appeared along with The Stone Roses, one of those era defining moments when us indie heads finally felt like we might be winning…and there’s Kirsty, right in the middle of it, wisely electing not to try to out-Bez dance Bez)

Morrissey – “Interesting Drug”(His fourth solo single following the messy end The Smiths met, and there’s Kirsty again, popping up on backing vocal duties, if not in the video. Not one of his better efforts this, mostly only notable for The Moz sneezing as the track edges towards fade-out.)

The Wonder Stuff – “Welcome to the Cheap Seats” (I can’t say I’m overly fond of this one, big fan of The Stuffies that I am. Suffice it to say, in my opinion, Kirsty is by far the best thing about it.)

Without fail, every interview you read given by anyone who worked on any of those records, they will say one, if not all three, of the following things:

  1. What a delight she was to work with
  2. That she never needed a second take, nailing her part first time..
  3. …a skill which inevitably draws comparison with either Karen Carpenter or Dusty Springfield.

That’s the sort of illustrious company in which Kirsty’s name should rightly be mentioned.

But all of this belittles what a wonderful artist she was in her own right. And to prove it, here’s two live performances of songs from what turned out to be her last album, “Tropical Brainstorm”, where she was experimenting with Latin American rhythms, instruments and sounds, not the sort of thing I normally go for, I’ll admit, but since I could happily listen to Kirsty singing my shopping list, I love.

Kirsty MacColl – “In These Shoes?” (Live on Later with Jools Holland)

Kirsty MacColl – “England 2, Columbia 0” (Live on Later with Jools Holland)

And thankfully, Jools is kept well away from the piano, thus preventing it turning into more of his tiresome boogie woogie.

I’ll be raising a drink to Kirsty tonight. Thanks for the memories. I just wish there were more of them.

More soon.