Before we go any further, my apologies for the absence of a new mix for you last week. I messed up and scheduled the post for Saturday instead of Friday night, and that would never do. Sorry about that.
So, I’ll not mess around, let’s get straight into this week’s shenanigans:
And here’s your tracklisting, along with sleevenotes:
Petula Clark – Downtown
A few months ago, this song seemed to be following me everywhere. I took this as a sign; Petula may as well have been singing “Stick me in a mix and release me to the world on a Friday night, yer bastard!” at me. Who could resist?
Besides, from experience of flat-sharing with young people, they tend not to actually go out until older flops like me are starting to think about going home; since I never publish these mixes until 9pm on a Friday night (UK time), this seemed an entirely appropriate and classy way to kick things off this week.
2. La Roux – Uptight Downtown
A roux is a combination of flour and fat (yummy!) which is commonly used as a thickening agent in cooking of stews and sauces.
It is not to be confused with La Roux, an 80s-infused synthpop duo (at least, they were when their first eponymously titled album came out in 2009, but they weren’t by the time their second long-player Trouble in Paradise came out in 2012, founder member Ben Langmaid having jumped ship and left singer Elly Jackson all on her Jack Jones). Their first album was beloved by public and critics alike, producing four singles, two of which – Bulletproof and In For The Kill – are genuinely magnificent. The second album was less fondly received, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any bangers on it. I really like this one for example.
3. Microdisney – Town to Town
I know many will point to their earlier releases, but for me, Microdisney’s Crooked Mile album is the best thing they ever released. This was probably because it was the first record by them that I ever heard; I instantly loved it, and when I investigated their back catalogue, I found it to be largely impenetrable. Crooked Mile is by far their most commercial release, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This, the opening track and lead single, is simply superb. It even has a joke in it about people mispronouncing Cathal Coughlan’s name – and the much-missed Coughlan was not exactly renowned for being funny.
4. Talulah Gosh – My Best Friend
Before I drift into making this a Town-themed presentation, an intervention of the twee-est variety. This lot’s biggest claim to fame is they were the first band to feature Amelia Fletcher, the favourite of every late-80s/early 90s indie acts, appearing on releases by The Wedding Present, The Pooh Sticks, and The Brilliant Corners to name just a few.
5. The Dead Milkmen – Punk Rock Girl
A not very well-known one, this, but one I was introduced to by an old mate Ian Drake, who lived about three doors down from my room in the halls of residence in my first two terms at college. I went to my first festival with Ian. In 1989 we went to the Reading Festival. It was the first time it predominantly featured indie music – main stage headliners were New Order, The Pogues and The Mission – the change in direction coming when, a year earlier, Meatloaf and Bonnie Tyler had to cut short their set and run for cover when a multiple of bottles of warm piss were thrown at them by an unimpressed crowd. When I was Social Secretary at the Students Union, I gave Ian paid work, even though he was no longer a student, and a few years later he returned the favour by getting me a job at Cardiff’s Virgin Megastore, probably the most enjoyable job I ever had, even if it was just for one Christmas.
Anyway, The Dead Milkmen didn’t play Reading in ’89, but Ian would often play this to me, when he wasn’t assaulting my eardrums with the likes of Lawnmower Deth, Napalm Death, or Extreme Noise Terror. Which is probably why I like this record all these years later: partly because it remind me of Ian, but also because it reminds me him playing a proper record for a change.
6. The Colorblind James Experience – Considering A Move To Memphis
Speaking of Ian, he played this at the Graduates’ Ball on the night that I, finally, graduated. And he played it just for me. And I know that because a) he announced it was for me, b) he knew that I wouldn’t be able resist dancing to it, and c) he also knew that everyone else most definitely would be able to resist, leaving me all alone and strutting my awkward stuff for all six-and-a-half bloody (marvellous) minutes of it.
7. Piranhas – Zambezi
Staying in the 80s for a while at least, with this horny (stop it!) number. I’ve always loved this one; not only is it catchy as hell, it contains one eternal truth: landlords and bank managers are gits and we shouldn’t worry about them anywhere near as much as we do.
8. The Larks – Billy Graham’s Going to Heaven
More horny (no, seriously, stop sniggering) brilliance. I look back with great pride on the fact that I posted this song on the day that Billy Graham did die and go to heaven (supposedly).
9. Fishbone – Ma & Pa
More in the same vein. As with the last track, I’ve posted this before, they both always remind me of my DJ’ing at Uni days, specifically right at the very start when I was being mentored by Jolly Jim, who, lest we forget, was the man who first called me Jez and broadcast it to the world (well, to about 30 people attending the indie disco that night). Should you be so inclined, you can read about that here.
10. K7 – Come Baby Come
Gear change ahoy! I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for this one, which reached the dizzy heights of #3 in the UK charts back in 1993. I was most impressed that before I checked the chart placing, I guessed it got to #4 in 1992. One year out – hey, Ken Bruce, where’s my t-shirt? (Also, my immature funny bone was tickled to find learn that Louis Sharpe (aka K7) hails from the city of Ponce in Puerto Rico. I’ll let you make your own jokes up about that.)
11. Kriss Kross – Jump
Since we’re on slightly cheesy hip hop tunes from the early 1990s, here’s Mac Daddy and Daddy Mac with their biggest hit in the UK. Coats-on-backwards-ahoy!
12. House Of Pain – Jump Around
More jumping, more (less cheesy) hip hop. Doubtless you’ll be aware that the opening of this is a sample of Bob & Earl’s 1963 Harlem Shuffle, a bit of trivia which allowed me to win a tie-break Name That Tune/Spot the Intro question in a quiz night at a pub I spent far too much time at back in my Cardiff days. Possibly my second finest moment ever (after the Billy Graham thing from earlier).
13. George Baker Selection – Little Green Bag
There was a time when this, along with the rest of the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack, was simply everywhere. I’ve tagged Steven Wright’s dialogue intro to the start, so I don’t think this needs any further explanation. Iconic.
14. The Isley Brothers – Fight the Power, Pts. 1 & 2
To my eternal shame, until I watched the rather brilliant series Fight the Power:How Hip Hop Changed the World which aired on the BBC a few months ago, I’d never heard this before. If you’ve never seen it, even if you’re not fussed on hip hop – actually especially if you’re not fussed on hip hop – it’s essential viewing, and its still up on the BBC iPlayer, so you’ve got no excuse (unless you’re not in the UK, in which case, switch your VPN to UK and pretend).
15. Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street
I shot my bolt by using the word “iconic” too soon with the George Baker Selection. Ah, what the heck. This is iconic too.
16. The James Taylor Quartet – Theme From ‘Starsky And Hutch’
I may have mentioned this before, but when I first moved to London, I had quite the commute to get to my new job. This involved going on the London Underground, and one day my dutiful iPod decided to play me these two tracks – Bobby followed by The JTQ – in the sequence I’ve placed them here. And now I can’t hear one without hearing the other, for on that day, I was not a bloke in a suit and tie heading to the office, I felt like I was in New York, dressed like Sly Stone, resplendant in flowery shirt open to the navel, massive flares and a huge floppy hat, strutting my stuff out of the subway. Such is the power of music.
17. David Soul – Silver Lady
Since we’re on Starsky & Hutch, here’s one from the pile marked There’s No Such Thing as a Guilty Pleasure to wrap things up. Back in the 70s, Soul was a hunk, a pin-up, and I will forever remember the whispers that went round school when a classmate’s mother was seen placing a big sloppy kiss on a poster of him. Such is the power of music. And chunky cardigans.
Welcome back to third instalment of my mammoth six-part cut-out-and-keep series of mixes.
This one starts off a little political, which, since I’ve not had a Rant on a Saturday morning for a while, I hope you’ll let slide. I’ve tried to puncture the serious tone by chucking in a seemingly out-of-place indie tune (which only seems out of place in respect of the musical jump, not the theme), and then by a late 70s/early 80s children’s TV theme, which I’ve deliberately not named in the track-listing (partly because I want it to be a surprise, mostly because I have no idea who to credit it to), but will make sense in the running order. It’s nicely juxtaposed, I think, with some Rage Against the Machine. Look, it made me smile when I thought of including it, and these days that’s enough reason.
After that, we take brief trip through some late 80s/early 90s rap and hip-hop (I’ll be honest, I’m still not entirely sure what the difference is) including a track by House of Pain. Not that track, no; instead I’ve selected their final UK Top 40 hit, It Ain’t a Crime (which, were it not for the bad boy lyrics probably would have appeared in one of my Saturday morning Rants with reference to our ‘Crime’ Minister – see what I did there?) partly because it’s the only single of theirs that I ever actually bought back in the day, but mostly for the very reason that I bought it back then: it has some of the most cringe-worthy lyrics ever committed to vinyl (or in the case of the format I bought it on: to cassingle!).
Telling the story of Johnny (I bet it took them ages to come up with that name) who “…was a bad boy, he was a juvenile delinquent/He had his picture on the wall of every precinct…” it contains these gloriously bad lines:
…He hit the backdoor like his name was Carl Lewis Dipped to the payphone to find out where his crew is He called up his homeboy Jose, “What up!” “Can I come over my man?”, he said, “No way A cop was here he was looking all over for ya But I told the pig I didn’t know ya” He said, “Cool meet me up at the school I need a ride cause I’m wanted for homicide…
..which I’m sure you’ll agree are a bit special, but not in a good way.
A History of Dubious Taste in no way condones the actions of Johnny, by the way, who sounds like a very naughty young man indeed.
I wish I could say it was planned to drop this mix on the day after the anniversary of his passing, but in all honesty it’s a complete coincidence. See, Llŷr was a massive hip-hop fan (and tried many times to explain the difference between it and rap to me, with no success), but also of the genre which makes up the last few tracks (as was I): electro-clash, a short-lived bubble of dance music from the early 2000s.
In fact, for a even shorter time, I was dating a woman who was also into electro-clash, so I got Llŷr to knock me up a mix CD of some of his favourite moments to give to her, which he happily did. All of the tracks featured today were on it, I think. Certainly Tiga & Zyntherius’ brilliant cover of Corey Hart’s Sunglasses at Night, which Llŷr proudly owned on vinyl, did.
She split from me about two weeks later, by the way. I’m pretty sure the two facts weren’t linked. Her boyfriend before me was, coincidentally, also called Jez and, having dated probably the only two Jez’s in Cardiff, she decided to move on to a different name and work through them instead. Good luck, Ji – I hope you’re very happy.
Often, mates would came back to ours after we’d all been out clubbing (they usually didn’t want to go home and face/wake up their partners, so, since Llŷr and I had no such concerns, our flat would generally end up being their place of refuge for a few hours) and I would slip on Vitalic’s wonderful OK Cowboy album, a noisy and gloriously beaty but odd record, and watch our guests either get right into it or sit terrified. Included in this section is a single from said album.
The mix ends with the archetypal electro-clash tune, Emerge by Fischerspooner. Released in 2001, right at the start of the electro-clash, it always felt to me that it would never be bettered, and so it proved.
Anyway, to the tunes, by way of my usual disclaimer: any skips and jumps in the mix are down to the mixing software; any mis-timed mixes are down to me (although I think I’ve done pretty well on this one, I think); all record choices are 100% mine.
Oh and one more thing: there’s a fair bit of effing and jeffing on this one, so I’d probably better slap this on it:
I got quite excited the other day, when I went into my Drafts folder and saw this title.
“Zut alors!” I exclaimed, thinking that I must have at the very least started writing the next installment of The Chain. And that I was French or German or whatever that language is.
But no, my laziness and ineptitude was laid out there before me, for all I had done was write the title, and that was it. Classic me, if my deadline nightmares are anything to go by.
Anyway, hello, and welcome back to the latest in what is turning out to be an increasingly infuriating occasional series: The Chain.
But at least it’s here, right? We all need distractions and things to think about at the moment, things to fill the time, and surely there’s no finer way to spend some time than reading what folks from all around the world can link to one particular song. It’s what Covid-19 was invented for, surely.
A brief reminder for those new to the shnizz we get up to here: we’re working our way through the songs played on The Chain section of Radcliffe & Maconie’s 6Music show, coming up with alternative suggestions, and listening to them all instead of just the one (Mrs Wembley). 80s sitcom gag, there, to help you acclimatise to the level of writing you can expect should you venture further.
I used to write these once a week, but then couldn’t be arsed lacked inspiration for a year or so, brought it back and suddenly find myself wondering where the days/weeks have gone and how it’s got to the point where I really should have written it by now has arrived.
Anyway, blah blah blah poor old me….let’s be off.
This episode, just to be different, we’re not going to start with the source record from last time. Well not quite, anyway.
No, instead, we’re going start with the first part of one of Rol from My Top Ten‘s suggestions:
The album version of Tubthumping opens with an inspirational quote from the great Pete Postlethwaite, taken from the movie ‘Brassed Off’…
Dammit, it’s done my head in for years trying to remember where I recognised that from! Cheers, Rol!
Before we go any further with Rol’s suggestion, I’ll hand you over to one of the two people who insist on emailing me (which is fine, by the way) their suggestions rather than popping them in the Comments section:
You may recall that last time out The Great Gog got a little obsessed with the county of Hampshire. And rightly so: if Hampshire had a church steeple with a 123-metre spire, then them pesky Ruskies would be queuing up to smear Novochok all over it and any corporate Italian restaurant chain in the immediate vicinity (I’m nothing if not topical).
Anyway, things don’t appear to have changed much in the Land of the Gog:
The album containing Tubthumping is Tubthumper.
Thumper is a rabbit in the animated film Bambi.
There are lots of cartoon rabbits in the animated film Watership Down.
Watership Down is set in some Hampshire fields – which could take us all the way back…
Is it too early to be handing out points for Comments Showboating? I think not: POINTS!
By the way, I’m not going to post the Points Table every time I write one of these, as nothing much will change from one post to another. It’d be like looking at any sports league table over the past four weeks. I’ll update things and do it every couple of posts or so.
Or…The Great Gog continues…stretching the link to breaking point (You’re by no means the worst cuplrit, fill your boots)…given my ramblings above…[this] would seem appropriate:
Next up, over to The Robster from the annoyingly still dormant Is This the Life blog who offers this:
All I could come up with is Get Up by R.E.M. but I’m sure I can come up with something else given time. Probably got, what, 18 months before the next installment? which is a bit rich, coming from the man who only posts anything at the end of the year. Go on click that link to his blog, let’s see if we can’t get him back in action. Your country needs you, Rob!
I posted the album version of this song not so long ago in my I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays series, so here’s a slightly different version, a live one, which pops up as one of the bonus tracks on the Collector’s Edition of the Shiny Happy People CD single.
But since the band themselves have practically disowned that single (guitarist Peter Buck once described it as “relentlessly upbeat” and also said “If we did one of those per record, I could see how it could get a little embarrassing”) maybe we should too; it’s notable for it’s absence from many of the Greatest Hits compilations, despite it being their =4th biggest hit in the UK (after, in reverse order: Leaving New York (#5), E-Bow The Letter (#4) and The Great Beyond (#3))
They weren’t so embarrased by it that they declined to do this, though (and who could blame them: would you turn down the chance to appear with the Muppets on Sesame Street???)
I love that the female vocalist is a Muppet who looks like Kate Pierson from The B-52s who, as you all know, provided the additional vocals on the single.
But I digress: this version is neither the album version nor the tucked-away-on-a-limited-edition-CD single version, but one I *coughs* obtained from a long gone and much missed blog called (I think…) The Independence of Tractors (long-time bloggers and blog followers may be able to jog my memory….I’m thinking of featuring this soon and would like to accredit, so if anyone has any info….y’know….), who once posted the whole of the band’s Tourfilm DVD as a series of mp3s:
I got a bit worried when you mentioned Jarvis and his controversial stunt at the Brits as I remember whose expense it was at. But no, it was our friendly water boys who if I remember correctly soaked Two Jags Prescott. Sticking to my Scottish band theme I’m therefore going to go with The Waterboys for the next link and sticking with my “water” theme in this comments box, the song….
Since we’re on Prescott, indulge me for a moment with my two favourite clips involving him. The first isn’t really about him, but it is from a documentary he made back in 2008 called Prescott – The Class System And Me:
I guarantee you, she voted Brexit.
And then there’s this notorious clip:
In his defence: a) what would you do if someone chucked an egg at you? and b) later (admittedly when he’d had time to get someone else to write a witty response think of something clever to say, he came up with this: “Well, Tony Blair asked me to go out and connect with the electorate….”
Anyway, that leads me to my next suggestion of the week:
Over now to Martin from New Amusements who proffers this Prescott related…um… jewel, I guess:
Like George, I’m going with a John Prescott connection, but hope to craft mine into a Double Linker. Yes, Danbert Nobacon once up-ended an ice-bucket over John Prescott at the Brits, but John Prescott was also memorably once replaced on ‘Have I Got News For You’ with a tub of lard, so I can surely claim a double link to Tubthumping for anything lard-related, so I’ll pitch:
He’s not done yet: …which, lest we forget, featured Marc “Lard” Riley. Since this is also about drinking, much like Chumbawumba’s chorus, could this be a Triple Linker? And maybe a point for worst suggestion of the week?
I don’t think I can refuse, can I, dear reader? It’s unquestionably the worst record of the week (POINT!) and he has managed to get a triple link out of this, the first time this has happened as far as I can recall (Ermmmm…points, I guess….).
I think we need to cleanse our palate a little, and remind ourselves that Martin could easily have dodged the sub-Barron Knights tosh that is The Shirehorses by referencing it and then directing us to this:
If that’s not a double-linker, than I don’t know what is.
Well, yes, Yes it is. POINTS!
Anyway, for continuity purposes, take a step back. If You Tolerate This… was the band’s first #1 single in the UK (I’m sure this can all be traced back to a shared cheese salad…) and it contains the line “Well, if I can shoot rabbits, then I can shoot fascists”, which leads me to another draft post of mine which I never got round to finishing. And neither Chas nor Dave are anywhere in sight.
This one even had a semi-clever title: “You’re Not The One For Me, Fascist”.
I’ll hand over to the ever wonderful Charity Chic to explain:
Chumbawumba recorded a song with Credit to the Nation called ‘The Day the Nazi Died’…
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t allow a suggestion which was simply “X recorded the source record, and they also recorded this”, but since this was a collaboration with the frankly quite marvellous Credit to the Nation, I’ll let it slide.
Plus: Charity Chic has a point to make:
….Morrissey (who may or may not be a Nazi) – he continues (“Not my words, the words of Top Gear car magazine!”) had a song called:
…And he is a bit of a tub these days who could probably do with a good thumping…Charity Chic signs off.
Just in case you’re not sure what CC is banging on about, or on which side of the fence you should be sitting when it comes to the whole “Is Morrissey a racist?” question, well I’ll leave you to make your own mind up.
And here to help you is a picture of him performing live on The Jimmy Fallon Show in May 2019:
And here’s a close-up of the badge he’s wearing on his lapel:
In case you’re not familiar with it, and I hope you’re not, that is a For Britain badge.
For Britain are not nice people.
Oh my, indeed.
Here’s my rule of thumb when it comes to Morrissey, which you are welcome to adopt: yes, when he was in The Smiths he made some inflammatory comments in interviews, but none of them leaked into his lyrics. Since The Smiths split and he went solo, they have. Regularly.
So: The Smiths – fine to still express love and admiration; Morrissey solo – tread carefully.
Which leads me to a suggestion from Jules of Music From Magazines fame, which *checks notes* I’m disqualifying becuase *checks notes*…well, I’m not sure why to be honest, but I am and that’s that:
Carrying on with the high five, Mel Brooks ‘Hitler Rap’
Ah now, I remember; in response to Charity Chic’s anti-Moz post, Jules responded: A high five for that and I don’t think that’s enough to allow it.
Yes, I am a strict Taskmaster, and yes, Greg Davies, watch your back!
What else have you got, Jules?
As I am a tad partial to a cider drink or eight anything I suggest at closing time will make sense….
Well, long time readers of The Chain will know that certain things crop up repeatedly. For sure is eggs is eggs, someone will suggest either a record by The Clash or Bruce Springsteen just to annoy George, and Jules will suggest something by Lambchop.
No, not that Lambchop….
So let’s unclasp the shackles and let Jules free; I have to say that I almost rejected all that you are about to enjoy, until I thought about his first suggestion a little harder:
Any crossword fan would see the anagram “wham bam Cuba” and the country’s name was nailed by the Gibson Brothers:
Now, let’s be honest: every time we’re unlucky enough to hear that, all we can really think of is this:
…Dave Grohl left the drum stool, strapped on a guitar and became Mr Foo…which sounds like a George Formby record (“Oh Mr Foo, what shall I do…? A niche joke, I know), but I’ve gone off at enough tangents, so we’ll leave that.
This song has featured in The Chain before so strictly speaking should be disqualified, but looking back I see that both this and The Rezillos version were suggsted at the same time, and, unable to choose between the two, I posted both. So I’ll let this slide too…but only so I can post my favourite record about somebody getting their head kicked in:
…link being Chumbawamba covered this on the “Fuck EMI” compilation.
Which leads me back to The Robster, who hasn’t quite had the eighteen months he ribbed me with earlier to think things over, but nonetheless has returned with this:
I remember when Tubthumping came out, it was released on EMI *shock-horror* a filthy major label. The band was deluged with accusations of selling out and going back on its DIY ethos. But one of the reasons they signed to EMI was because previous label One Little Indian rejected the ‘Tubthumper’ album as they didn’t like its sound. The band subsequently signed to EMI as “…experience had taught us that in a capitalist environment almost every record company operates on capitalist principles. Our previous record label One Little Indian didn’t have the evil symbolic significance of EMI but they were completely motivated by profit. Our position was that whoever we signed with would want us not for our ideas but for the potential profit, so we’d battle for a contract where we still had autonomy.”
So to that end, I’m offering up…a song about the music industry’s obsession with making moolah with little regard for the art:
We’re on the home stretch now, I promise. And with the finish line in sight, the baton is thrust into Alex G’s hand:
Of course, a song about a man who drinks a whiskey drink, a cider drink, a lager drink AND a vodka drink naturally leads us to Shane MacGowan. I suppose any song would do, but just to keep the theme going, it may as well be…
What Alex G omits to mention is that That Woman’s Got Me Drinking features the guitar work of one Mr Johnny Depp. When he’s not acting in the latest Tim Burton movie, or appearing in an advert for something smelly, or getting stopped at the border of an antipodean country trying to smuggle dogs across and subsequently being forced to make an apologetic if half-arsed video rather than go to jail, or defending himself against allegations of domestic abuse for that matter, there’s nothing Mr Depp likes more than to pop up in unexpected places:
Where were we?
Ah yes, booze related songs. I’m surprised there wasn’t more of these. Let me chuck one into the mix:
Two famous song titles are more or less quoted in the lyrics of ‘Tubthumping’ – the first one being ‘Danny Boy’, which, as we all know, is the Anthem of Northern Ireland. And what is the finest thing Northern Ireland ever produced, apart from ships (minus the Titanic. Obviously)?
Alas it’s not [I know] (although, Jez, nevertheless this should be a good excuse to include said tune in your essay straightaway), because, as I said, another song is being mentionedand that is ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’. Yes, I have noticed that Chumbawamba omit the ‘Argentina’ – bit (and replace it by ‘next door neighbour’). But this is purely for copyright infringement reasons, I’m sure.
Now, ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ is a song done by Julie Covington back in 1976. But only (freaks like) you and me know this. And Wikipedia. To the wider public another version is much better known, and that’s the one by Madonna from 1997.
So the link, no question about that, is, to my great dismay (because I would have LOVED to see my other option), Madonna’s version of ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’.
I mean, love ya for trying and all that, but it isn’t the link, and frankly Covington’s version pisses all over Madonna’s attempt, so Dirk: you shall (metaphorically) go to the (metaphorical) ball!
Brassed Off was on Film 4 the other night. It remains a thing of beauty. If you haven’t seen it, or even if you have, and have a couple of hours to kill (which, I think I’m safe in saying we all do at the moment) then you could do a lot worse than spend them watching this: it’s up to stream on the C4 app All4.
And that leaves just one thing: the unveiling of the next link in The Chain, and trust me, had anybody got this I would have been suspicious.
Here’s the official link from Tubthumping to the next record:
[Tubthumping] was once sung by Homer Simpson of cartoon fame. He also sang:
Your suggestions then, please, along with your explanation of how your suggestion links to Mellow Yellow by Donovan, via the Comments section below or, if you must, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minus points to anyone who suggests Coldplay. You’ve been warned.