The Chain #51

“Just one week off, please, one week where nothing happens to get my goat, one week where I can post something nice and positive of a Saturday morning. That’s all I ask,” I wrote last week.

A tap on the shoulder from my alter ego.

“There’s always The Chain, which you moved to a Saturday morning…”

Ohhhh yes. Totally forgot about that!

And so I revisited the last post I did in The Chain, and find it was so long ago – December 2020 – that I had the audacity to mention Spurs winning a game of kickball, which hasn’t aged at all well.

So, let’s pick up where we left off all those months ago, with the next record in The Chain that I invited suggestions for. This record:

The Coasters – Charlie Brown

OK, so you can probably guess where most of the suggestions stem from, but we’ll start off with a suggestion by George (not of ASDA).

“Two members of The Coasters used to be in The Robins, who’s best song, and this will undoubtedly be the best song on the next Chain, was Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Which was written by Leiber and Stoller.”

Undoubtedly (we’ll see….):

The Robins – Smokey Joe’s Cafe

So, slightly obscure link dispensed with, let’s address the elephant in the room. There are at least two Charlie Browns, the one in the Coasters song of the same name, and the one that we’re probably all more familiar with, from the Peanuts cartoon.

So let’s kick off properly with songs which reference Charlie Brown, and I’ll hand over to Hal, who explains and suggests thusly: Thirty years ago (30 years FFS…) Jim Bob & Fruit Bat released 101 Damnations which featured…:

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Good Grief Charlie Brown

Hal’s “FFS” is of course Young People Speak for “For Flip’s Sake” [Are you sure about this?- Ed], and is often used when one encounters an anniversary of an event considered to have occurred relatively recently, but which transpires to have actually been much earlier, thereby adding to our feelings of old age and past-it-ness. Don’t be fooled by Hal’s use of Young People Speak, for he is as old as we are, which is why he can conjure up such selections from hitherto forgotten bands such as Carter USM (as I believe the “kids” on “the” “street” refer to them these days, if they do at all).

Hal is to be celebrated for refusing to accept that thirty years have passed since that monumental occasion, oft referred to in history books, as the year of Our Lord 19 Hundred and Ninety, the year Carter USM released their debut album.

And he’s right to refuse to accept this, because as the album came out in January 1990, it’s actually 31 years now. Sorry, Hal!

Staying on the Charlie Brown link, here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area who not only suggests a song linked to our favourite wibble-mouthed cartoon character, he also introduces a much needed touch of class:

Echo and the Bunnymen’s Bring On The Dancing Horses covers Charlie Brown in its first 2 lines via Jimmy Brown and Charlie Clown…

Jimmy Brown Made Of Stone

Charlie Clown No Way Home

Echo & The Bunnymen – Bring On The Dancing Horses

But here’s Rigid Digit, dragging us back into Carter USM territory:

Carter USM’s Falling On A Bruise includes the line: “You win some and you lose some, you save nothing, nothing for a rainy day, You need your nutra-sweet daddy or some Peppermint Patty”

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Falling on a Bruise

Perhaps I should explain. Charlie Brown, as well as being the hapless character in The Coasters records, shares his name with a character in a cartoon written by Shultz called Peanuts.

Cue the next suggestion from Rigid Digit:

Ok, maybe not that Peanuts…

…or this one, suggested by Phonic Pat:

Warmduscher – Disco Peanuts

…but within the cartoon strip known as Peanuts, there are many characters who do have their names crop up in songs. Peppermint Patty is one of them, and here she is again, courtesy of TheRobster:

And then there’s Nobody Speak by DJ Shadow & Run The Jewels which includes the line “I walk Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Linus and Lucy / Put coke in the doobie roll moodies to smoke with Snoopy'”

DJ Shadow feat. Run The Jewels – Nobody Speak

Who else? Well, The Robster doesn’t stop there, trotting out a litany of characters:

Joni Mitchell – Woodstock

Lou Reed – Sally Can’t Dance

Incredibly, since they only made (if you’re feeling generous) two decent records ever, this lot appear for the second edition on the trot:

Hole – Violet

The Beatles – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Thank you and good luck with your auditions, indeed.

The Royal Guardsmen – Snoopy vs. The Red Baron

There was also a band called Linus, continues TheRobster, but I don’t know much about them. Me neither, and I’m not going to do your research for you.

Another Peanuts character, picks up the Devonian, is Lucy Van Pelt, whose name was taken for a Japanese indiepop band, and then they had a trademark issue with whoever owned Peanuts after Charles Schultz died, so they changed it to Advantage Lucy instead. But from their days as Lucy Van Pelt, I’ll suggest:

Lucy Van Pelt – Hammock Waltz

Now when somebody describes a band as being “Japanese indiepop“, I had a pre-conceived idea of what they might sound like, but it was nothing like that. And that’s a good thing – my favourite “never heard of this lot before, must explore” record of the month.

And then there’s the eponymous Charlie Brown himself, or, as Phonic Pat deliberately mis-spells it to get it fit his next suggestion, Charly:

The Prodigy – Charly

Along with his already aired suggestion Rigid Digit also laid claim to some other records being linked, which weren’t (unless I were to allow pun-related tunes, which I might be minded to if we were a little short on the ground of suggestions, which we’re not), so I’m afraid Hang on Snoopy (because it’s Sloopy, not Snoopy) and Oasis’ Don’t Look Back in Anger (because he admits to making up that the line “And so Sally can wait” was written after Noel Gallagher had been watching an episode of Charlie Brown), are both disqualified.

However, nothing wrong with his two Brown suggestions, even if he does claim that they are both related to Charlie’s non-existent siblings:

Jim Croce – Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

and…

Frank Zappa – Bobby Brown Goes Down

Maybe Whitney would still be alive if that were true.

And here’s another Brown suggestion, courtesy of Phonic Pat:

The Pogues – A Pair Of Brown Eyes

Devonian is back, with this suggestion: As nobody’s said it yet, “Charlie Brown” is not the only hit song to make use of the hookline “Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?”. There’s also

Bloodhound Gang – Why’s Everybody Always Pickin’ on Me?

I imagine nobody else had suggested that because of the “impression” of a disabled person at the start of it.

Fortuitously, here’s The Great Gog to save us: The phrase “Why’s Everybody Always Picking On Me?” that features in Charlie Brown also appears in this:

The Rainmakers – Let My People Go-Go

I bloody love that record.

Finally, says Phonic Pat, somewhat presumptuously, but I like this suggestion a lot, so I’ll let it slide, linking the trombone sound the adults make in the Peanuts films, how about a trombone take on the Pixies?

Alice Donut – Where Is My Mind

Over to Stevie from Charity Chic now, who has two suggestions for us:

Best Coast – Boyfriend

and:

Coast to Coast – (Do) The Hucklebuck

Although I get the impression he’s not proud of the second choice, as he signs off with the words “I’ll get my coat.” No need, Stevie, really: all of those rock’n’roll and doo-wop records of the late 70s and early 80s were my introduction to pop music, and I have a soft spot for them all, from Shakin’ Stevens to The Stray Cats, from Coast to Coast to Rocky Sharpe and The Replays.

What Stevie has inadvertently done there is lead us seamlessly into those suggestions which consider the Coast aspect of the source record, and here’s The Great Gog with another couple:

I also wonder what type of Coaster the band were named after. A mat on which one places a drink, a person that lives by the sea or a fairground ride? Assuming the latter, we could have:

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Rollercoaster

I personally wouldn’t, GG continues, but you may want to include:

Ronan Keating – Life Is A Rollercoaster

God, that’s nauseating. Let’s cleanse the palate, sharpish:

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Love Rollercoaster

and

Belle & Sebastian – The Rollercoaster Ride

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: Crikey, he’s been a bit quiet with his own suggestions this time. And you’d be right. Those last two were mine, and so are all of the rest left to go, all of which are Coast-related. To say I picked up on that and ran with it would be an understatement. So strap yourselves in, here we go:

Broken Social Scene – 7/4 (Shoreline)

Laura Cantrell – Queen of the Coast

Maximo Park – The Coast Is Always Changing

Midfield General – Coastnoise (Dave Clarke remix)

Blood Orange – Champagne Coast

If I was still giving out points, I’d have to consider giving myself one for that double coast link as a double pointer.

Now, some parts of the coast have a beach, some have other geographical characteristics. Where there’s a beach, they tend to fall into two general categories: ones made up of pebbles:

Pebbles – Girlfriend

or stones, if you prefer:

The Rolling Stones – The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man

Seriously, if I was still giving out points, I’d have to consider giving myself one for that Stones/coast link as a double pointer.

And the second type of beach, after pebbles/stones? Why, a sandy shore, of course!

Sandie Shaw – Long Live Love

And close to some coast lines, you’ll find the occasional Cliff:

Cliff Richard and The Young Ones – Living Doll

Now, earlier this week it would have been the comic genius Rik Mayall’s birthday, so indulge me for a minute will you?

Thank you.

Here’s the moment from the final episode of The Young Ones where it all goes utterly utterly wrong:

Here’s the video for the song:

And here’s the gang performing it live for Comic Relief:

And best of all, here’s the speech Rik gave when he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. If you’ve never seen this before, I’d heartily recommend you take ten minutes to watch it:

All that leaves me to do is to announce the source record for next time’s edition, and to express some sympathy to The Robster, who picked the wrong version of the right song:

Matthews Southern Comfort – Woodstock

Suggestions via the Comments section below please!

More soon.

The Chain #50

It’s Saturday morning, and that can mean only one thing round Dubious Towers: Rant or Chain?

Any hope of building suspense is already ruined by the title of course. But believe me, after the humiliation of the press shots of Shagger Johnson looking at his most bumblingly unkempt on Thursday evening, and what his utter failure means for all of us here in the UK, it was by no means a foregone conclusion as to what would appear here this morning. Anyway, we’ve got all weekend until the announcement we’re all now expecting, so there’s plenty of time for me to cobble something together.

So. The Chain. We ended last time with this as the source record:

We were a little thinner on the ground than usual this time around, which I wasn’t especially surprised about, because there’s not a lot to work with there, is there? So hats off to all of you that contributed.

As you know, what I try to do with these is to bring your suggestions together into, if not an actual narrative, then some sort of cohesive whole, so that it’s not just me going “And here’s so-and-so’s suggestions”. And that’s what I’m going to try to do this time, but as many of the songs were related to other songs with years in the title, I figured I’d slip those in every now and then, in their true chronological order.

But first, a little tune, the title of which perfectly describes that Pumpkins source song title:

Look, I know I say this quite a lot, but not all Quo records are of the chugga-chugga three chord boogie variety. A Year is taken from their Piledriver album where they had almost permanently settled on their winning formula, but this is a far more bluesy affair, with a bridge which nods back to their psychedelic days. Seriously, give it a listen.

I’ll be using any songs which simply link to the word “year” as an alarm to warn you it’s about time we went time travelling. If you think about it, it’s a really clever way for me to crowbar all of the ones I thought of into the narrative, and isn’t a bit crap at all.

Ok, so it’s time for some time travel, and we’ll head back to the earliest of the yearly-titled suggestions. Care to hop aboard?

And we’re heading back to 1959 for this bit of flamboyant gothness, which, just as A Year doesn’t sound like Quo, so this doesn’t sound like a Sister of Mercy record, it sounds more like a Jim Steinman composition (checks this: it isn’t, but I had no idea that Sisters mega-hit This Corrosion is a Steinman song, and he has a co-writing credit on Dominion/Mother Russia. Seems he rubbed off on Andrew Eldritch. (Not like that, you mucky lot!)):

Anyway, that was suggested by…erm…me, too. (Note: not #MeToo). I suppose I’d better let some of you lot play, hadn’t I?

Ok, so let’s kick off proper with songs which can be linked to the band name, and for a starter, here’s Rol from My Top Ten:

“Pumpkins are gourds.

So I’ll go with The Gourds and their cover of Gin n Juice by Snoop Dogg. (Or Lion. Or whatever he’s calling himself this week.)”

Takeaway salesman?

“You could also have Cucumber Castle by The Bee Gees,” Rol continues, “although it is pretty awful (and I like the Bee Gees).”

Rol is right, of course. I like the Bee Gees too. And that really is not good.

As an aside, for those of you old enough to remember them, was it just me that thought Barry Gibb looked like the blue one (a lion?) from 1970s kids TV show Animal Kwackers?

And you never saw them together, did you? (as I believe it is customary to say when making this kind of joke.)

Anyway, sorry Rol. You were saying?

“Melons are also gourds. Apparently. Which might explain why The Smashing Pumpkins came up with one of the worst pun album titles ever created.”

He is referring, of course, to the album from which our source record is lifted, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. But watch yourself Rol, now you’ve mentioned puns, I have a nasty feeling about where you’re going with all this, since way back in The Chain #32 this very topic came up and I ventured The Beach Boys’ Gourd Only Knows and Teenage Fanclub’s Gourd Knows It’s True and absolutely nobody noticed.

“And then there is…” Rol innocently continues:

Phew. No puns then.

Whilst we’re on all matters gourd-related, here’s the ever reliable Stevie from Charity Chic Music:

“Getting in early with The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead by XTC a song I once heard played at a funeral.”

This, I think, deserves some further explanation. Was the coffin much bigger at the top than the bottom? Did the cremation take ages and start from a single, strategically placed candle? I think the world needs to know.

God, I love a good harmonica. I sense a new idea for a (probably quite brief) series.

And since Rol mentioned the album name from whence our source was ripped, here’s The Great Gog:

“I’ll go with the fact that 1979 is taken from the album Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, and linger on the last word albeit with a different adjective. So that will be The Saw Doctors and Exhilarating Sadness.”

Whoa! What was that and where did it come from?

That, good people, was the sound of young people making music. I know, seems a bit out of place round here, doesn’t it? It was also an artiste which links to the word “year”, which means it’s time to hop in our time travelling machine which looks remarkably like a more famous fictional one but which, for legal reasons, is called something completely different. I don’t know. Haven’t given it much thought.

How about: This Is Travelling in Time and Space? That’ll do.

Hop into TITTS and we’ll be off.

(I am 51 years old.)

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And we’re landing back in 1966, for the first of several suggestions from Pat from PhonicPat who gives us our obligatory Half Man Half Biscuit song of the month (and a bit):

Since we’re already in Pat’s charming company, he’s given us another couple of songs which link to the source band’s name, thankfully devoid of gourd-related puns:

…and…

Allow me to squeeze another couple in. Firstly, here’s legendary jazz pianist Fats Waller:

The really rather ace:

The considerably less ace:

And if I’m chucking a load of Smash references in, I may as well throw a Pump in too:

…which leads me to this piece of genius:

**TIME TRAVEL KLAXON ALERT **

Here we go:

And here we are in 1969, the year when all the cool people were born, and I’ll leave you in the hands of babylotti for a while:

“Immediately, I don’t know why, but 1979 made me think of 1969 by The Stooges…”

“…then 1970 by them too….”

Whoa there cowboy! Let’s finish off 1969 before we go gallivanting across the years.

And here’s Pat (who also suggested The Stooges) with another suggestion:

When I was feverishly searching t’internet to try and find some more tunes, I stumbled across this rather surprising entry:

And I don’t suppose we can really leave 1969 without giving this an airing, even if it is rather well known that the digits in the title don’t actually refer to a year, but to something altogether much ruder:

And since we’re on the edge of the 1970s, we may as well let babylotti finish what he started with his Stooges talk and drag us into a slightly more recent age:

“…then 1970 by them too….”

“…then I remembered the great cover version of that song by Flesh for Lulu.”

This one?

Here’s a thing. About fifteen years ago, Rocco from Flesh For Lulu was in a fly-on-the-wall property documentary called A Place in Spain: Costa Chaos. It turned out to be one of those excruciating, uncomfortable shows that should go down in legend, but it seems only me, and me good mate Val who I was living with at the time and who watched this with me, remember it.

Actually, not quite us two. For fortuitously, someone has posted most of the episodes on YouTube (I think one is missing), but if you have time to spare, then I’d thoroughly recommend you spend it watching this (first episode only included here):

Seriously, when the commentary says things like “But neither of them seems to have considered how they’re going to pay for it”, you know you’re watching car crash telly. Quite how I’ve managed to get writing this finished with such a distraction, I’m not sure.

Over now to a couple of suggestions linked to Smashing Pumpkins main man Billy Corgan, and first off the boat is Hal:

“Billy reputedly had a fairly healthy self-regard, which reminded me of the opening couplet to ‘San Francisco Fat’ by personae non gratae NOFX

And in a similar vein, here’s Swiss Adam from baggingarea:

“Smashing Pumpkins singer and professional misery Billy Corgan played on New Order’s 2001 comeback album, on the song Turn My Way- which as songs go on that album is pretty good and better than anything on the follow up Waiting For The Siren’s Call.”

He’s not wrong:

He also co-wrote this (Billy Corgan, not Swiss Adam):

Let’s shift ever so briefly to 1973, just so I can post this, which is ruddy magnificent:

And just as I thought I was running out of suggestions, here Devonian with three on the bounce:

“Remember how Smashing Pumpkins had to add a “The” to make sure we all understood that they were referring to the excellence of said squashes, rather than the act of setting about them with hammers? That made me think of songs by other bands with similarly enthusiastic names, such as… da-da-da-DAH…”:

…and….

“…and…”

Here’s Pat, back with another related suggestion:

“The Sonic Youth version of The Simpsons theme with the link The Smashing Pumpkins, The Homeralooza episode which included the following conversation

Billy Corgan: Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins.

Homer: Homer Simpson, smiling politely.”

And so on we march to 1979, and I’ll hand over the reins to Rigid Digit:

“1979 could be a very broad subject. Arguably, I could offer a list of the best songs of 1979 (and there were many – it was a fine fine year in the world of Pop).

A personal memory – 1979 is the first year I really started taking note of pop music, and on an episode of Top Of The Pops saw Dave Edmunds performing Girls Talk – that says more to me about 1979 than Alan Sunderland scoring a last minute winner for Arsenal.”

Sorry, you lost me with that last bit. But here’s Dave anyway:

“Written in 1978, Tom Robinson had a go at guessing the state of the nation 18 months into the future. Not all (any?) of his predictions came true – and certainly not the one about Spurs beating Arsenal (they lost 5 Nil).”

Times have changed, matey, what happened last weekend…? Oh, yes, this:

Just saying.

The Beard doesn’t know when to stop using an analogy, so I’ll let it slide:

“Alan Sunderland scored the winning goal for Arsenal in the 1979 FA Cup Final.”

Don’t make me post that football clip again….

“Field Music are the best band from Sunderland.”

Better.

“The Noisy Days Are Over by, erm, Field Music.”

And here’s C from Sun Dried Sparrows:

“There’s the band Death From Above 1979, although I believe they often drop the 1979 bit from their moniker, it is a bit of a mouthful after all… anyway, this leads me to think of ‘Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above’ by CSS, fronted by the marvellously named Lovefoxxx.”

I thought Lovefoxxx was your dating profile name?

It would be rude at this point not to feature some actual Death From Above 1979, so you can decide whether or not you wish to make love to them:

Poor old Willie, having to churn out albums of covers to pay that tax debt back.

But wait: that’s a **TIME TRAVEL KLAXON ALERT **

Which takes us to our last few records, all suggested by yours truly:

…and this odd little thing I stumbled across:

..and this, from Pat:

…and finally, this, which I was very surprised that Swiss Adam didn’t suggest:

I say “and finally”, but what I actually mean is “and finally from the past”, because what’s the point in having a saucily-named time travelling machine if we can’t go into the future as well as the past?

Off we pop:

To here:

Which just about wraps it up.

Oh wait. Here’s Rol again:

“And then there’s Little Red Courgette, obviously.”

Obviously.

Which just leaves me to announce what the actual next record in the real Chain is, and it’s this:

“The pumpkin patch featured in the cartoon strip ‘Peanuts’ which featured Charlie Brown, so…:”

Which just leaves me to ask for your suggestions for songs which link to Charlie Brown by The Coasters, to be submitted via either the Comments function on this page, along with a brief explanation of your link, or if you prefer anonymity that you ultimately won’t be afforded, by email to dubioustaste26@gmail.com

More soon.