The Chain #43

There. That’s caught you all out. The Chain on a Wednesday morning.

Don’t get used to this. I’m at a work conference this afternoon and won’t get back until late, so I figured if I didn’t get it done before then, it’d end up being another week before it appeared. So, I started writing it earlier than usual (but still a week late, if you’re being ungratefully picky).

Anyway, we’ve lots to get through this week – 63 new suggestions in total – and so, as has become usual, we’ll start off with a reminder of the source record for the week:

original_44242. The Beatles – Martha My Dear

Yet again, one of you correctly guessed the next song in The Chain, but we’ll come to that later. Or, more specifically, at the end.

But first, where to begin? Link-wise, I can think of no finer place than with therobster from Is This The Life? although, as you will see, the first tune of the week can only be partly credited to him:

“I’ve gone down the ‘intentionally misspelled animal-related band name’ route. How about some Def Leppard? No…?” 

Yes! But with no actual one-armed suggestions forthcoming from the robster, in stepped Rol from My Top Ten:

“If therobster isn’t going to suggest one, can I suggest…”

Def Leppard

Def Leppard – Let’s Get Rocked

“…because it’s very silly.”

Back to therobster, who actually suggests this:

“…let’s have the Monkees. As the Beatles were from Liverpool, I reckon ‘Randy Scouse Git’ would fit well. Plus, it’s actually about a party the band went to that was hosted by The Beatles”

Monkees

The Monkees – Randy Scouse Git

Now, just in case any of you were planning on pulling me up on using that sleeve, let me explain. RCA Records bosses told the band that they would not release the song with the title “Randy Scouse Git” (which, incidentally, is taken from 1960s sitcom “‘Til Death Us Do Part”), and demanded they gave it an alternate title. “Okay”, said drummer/singer Mickey Dolenz, “‘Alternate Title’ it is.”

Here’s another band that fits nicely into the category:

Byrds

The Byrds – I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better

Now, as therobster quite right points out, The Beatles is indeed a mis-spelling, and a pun, on a group if insects, but this seems to have completely passed Kay by:

“I’m going down the insect/bug route” she announces, and then names these two tunes:

Adam & The Ants

Adam & The Ants – Prince Charming

and

Verve

The Verve – Catching The Butterfly

But whilst we’re on links from The Beatles to the beetles, we may as well have Mrs GMFree, who suggests: “A Beetle is a VW car which is German, so are krautrock masters Kraftwerk…”

Or, as Alan Partridge would say:

tumblr_mzmv3gTWx11qedb29o1_500

 “Kommen sie bitte und listen to Kraftwerk”

Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk – Autobahn

(NB. I tried to track down a video clip of just the Partridge – Kraftwerk introduction, sadly to no avail. But imagine my surprise when typing the words “alan partridge introduces kraftwerk” into Google to find that the fourth link it offers is to…The Chain #28!)

But I digress. GMFree seizes the opportunity to do the old Chain link one-two shuffle:

“Which leads me to my [next] suggestion with the recent death of Holger Czukay…”

Can

Can – Mushroom

“…which I first heard covered by The Jesus & Mary Chain, one of many bands influenced by the experimental Germans.”

And GMFree isn’t done there, providing “a Beatle link to a Captain Beefheart cover”, which contains one of the rarest sounds ever committed to record – Mark E Smith giggling:

Fall

The Fall – Beatle Bones ‘N’ Smokin’ Stones (Peel Session)

There’s also this, of course:

House Of Love

The House of Love – The Beatles and The Stones

Enter George (that’s an introduction, rather than a command), who suggests:

“…given that The Beatles once played on the roof of their Apple building, what about…”

Drifters

The Drifters – Up On The Roof

Ah yes, Apple Records. Alex G picks this up and runs with it:

“‘Martha, My Dear’ is from The Beatles’ eponymous 1968 LP, their first on their own Apple Records imprint. So from one artist-owned label named after a fruit, to another: Ray Charles’ Tangerine Records. I do wonder whether the Beatles got the idea from him, though nobody else seems to think so. Anyway, let’s go for Ray Charles’ version of…”

Ray

Ray Charles – Eleanor Rigby

Which is, as Alex G points out/pleads, a double linker. Points!

Time for a Magical Mystery Tour next, courtesy of Julian from Music From Magazines:

“The Beatles had a couple of names before they became famous

1. The Quarrymen

To quarry is to mine as in ‘Soul Mining’ by The The ( fill your boots)”

Don’t mind if I do.

The The

The The – Uncertain Smile

Julian continues:

“2. The Silver Beatles

Martha is a lady’s name

And the bloke leaning over my shoulder at the bar is called Dave, amongst other things

So let’s switch on the Magimix ™ and see what delight we get

………… and the winner is

David Soul ‘Silver Lady'”

Much as I love that record, it’s featured before, way back in The Chain #8, and as such has to be disqualified. But since GMFree has done the old Chain link one-two shuffle, I suggested Julian might want to follow suit. So, since, he’d got to David Soul, perhaps one of his other songs? Nope. That’s too straight-forward for our Julian:

“David Soul starred in a short lived TV show called ‘Casablanca’, so how about…”

Dooley

Dooley Wilson – As Time Goes By

I must say, I’m not in the least bit surprised that Julian has suggested a song from a film which contains the line “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

Anyway, he’s riffing by now:

“…coincidently [Casablanca] was the record label that released…”

Parliament

Parliament – Dr. Funkenstein

Having valiantly chipped in to assist therobster earlier, Rol’s back with a suggestion all his own doing:

“‘Martha My Dear’ is from The White Album. Another band who released a ‘White Album’ (following on from their Blue, Green and Red albums… even though all of them were actually just eponymous) were Weezer. From that, I’ll suggest…”

Weezer_-_Weezer_(The_White_Album)

Weezer – Thank God for Girls

Do any other White albums spring to mind? Well, no, although there is, of course “The Whitey Album”, by Sonic Youth off-shoot Ciccone Youth (I really thought this would get suggested, especially as I posted a track from it in a recent post).

Ciccone

Ciccone Youth – Addicted to Love

Over to Alyson from What’s It All About? to wrap up the whiteness now:

“It occurred to me that The Beatles ‘White Album’ reminds me of Mr Barry White…I can’t find any dog-related [this will get explained soon – Ed] Barry songs or ones about a girl called Martha [I think we pretty much used them all up last time – Ed] so it’ll have to be the next most appropriate for this place:”

Barry

Barry White – Let The Music Play

Now, all this white stuff is all well and good, but let me draw all of your attention back to something Alex G said earlier: ‘Martha, My Dear’ is from The Beatles’ eponymous 1968 LP…” And he’s quite right: the album in question is colloquially known as ‘The White Album’ but it’s actually, officially, called ‘The Beatles’.

Which takes us back to George, who suggests a new category: “…the ‘eponymous album that wasn’t a debut’ route.” And specifically he suggest this, from Blur’s 1997 album, the fifth that they released:

Blur

Blur – Death of a Party

I must say, this is my favourite link of all that were suggested this time. It had never occurred to me before that most acts, when releasing an eponymous album, made it their debut, presumably to double the impact of their name, get it “out there” as a recognisable brand. So I did a little digging and found these acts also released eponymous albums, but not first time around:

Metallica

Metallica – Enter Sandman

Yes, everyone calls their fifth album “The Black Album”, but it’s not called that, it’s called ‘Metallica’.

And at the other end of the musical spectrum, this lots’ first album was 1973’s “Ring Ring”, but it wasn’t until two years later, when they released their third album, that they released an album called…well, you can figure the rest of that sentence out for yourselves:

Front Cover

ABBA – S.O.S.

I sense a new series of posts coming on…

Now, remember how in her suggestion Alyson mentioned something about dogs in songs? Well that’s where we’re going next and here’s Dirk from sexyloser to explain why:

“..the title ‘Martha My Dear’ was inspired by McCartney’s Old English Sheepdog, named Martha.”

Which leads us nicely into a whole batch of songs about dogs. Sort of. But before we get to Dirk’s suggestion, here’s The Great Gog, awake at 02:31am and thinking about dogs:

“All this talk of Martha has me thinking of my one of my sister’s dogs, which goes by that moniker. Martha is a spaniel, no idea what type of spaniel though. One type is a cocker spaniel which immediately led me to thinking of…”

Cocker

Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends

Relax ladies, he’s married. And dead.

Back to The Great Gog it is then:

“Another type is a King Charles spaniel. The next King Charles is still a prince, however, so I can legitimately suggest…”

Prince Charles

Prince Charles & The City Beat Band – Cash (Cash Money)

The Songs (Sort Of) About Dogs category is (almost) the largest category, so strap yourself in for some canine capers. You could say that we’ve gone dog crazy, in fact:

Soup

The Soup Dragons – Backwards Dog

Okay then Dirk, what have you got for us?

“Another famous Old English Sheepdog was Alfie, who starred in ‘Serpico’, so – of course – did Al Pacino. And Al Pacino will always be remembered – at least in my household – not for Serpico, but a) [for the sex scene he had with the fabulous Ellen Barkin in] ‘Sea Of Love’, the film being named after a single by Phil Phillips from 1959. I prefer The Heptones’ version from 1968 though, also we don’t have enough Rocksteady on ‘The Chain’, I’m sure you’ll agree!”

Sorry, I stopped paying attention at the mention of Ellen Barkin. (I was wondering you were linking to her surname)

Heptones

The Heptones – Sea Of Love

What was the other thing Al Pacino is remembered for in Dirk Towers, Dirk?

“…and b) for ‘The Godfather’….So…if you have a minute The Godfathers would be appropriate…perhaps….?”

Godfathers

The Godfathers – Birth, School, Work, Death

And Dirk’s not done there. Oh no:

“We could also have something by Blondie as well…‘cos contrary to what everyone thinks, the band didn’t choose their name because Debbie Harry was blonde, no, they named themselves after Adolf Hitler’s German Shepherd, Blondi (the ‘i’ – ending was generally regarded as being too uncommon for American ears, so much so that the ‘-e’ was added)!”

Which is good enough for me. Here’s the Blondie track Dirk suggested:

deborah-harry-13772

Blondie – Ring Of Fire (Live 1980)

At which point, Walter from A few good times in my life pops in to throw this threesome into the mix:

“…if we go the ‘dog’ road there will be a lot of songs recommended, i.e….:”

And as it happens, nobody else suggested any of the three Walter mentioned, (although I had one lined up as one of my oh-so many choices) so here they are:

Specials

The Specials – Do The Dog

and

Stooges

The Stooges – I Wanna Be Your Dog

and

Adam - Dog

Adam & The Ants – Dog Eat Dog

Ok, brace yourself. It’s time for the undisputed Worst Record of the Week award, and to present the award here’s all round nice guy and not a white supremacist enabler at all, Sean Spicer accept the award and explain what the hell he was thinking when he sent me this suggestion is Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense:

“…sticking firmly to the Dogs route (and a contender for Worst Record Of The Week)…”

Not just a contender, Rigid, but so nailed on The Worst Record Of The Week that nobody else even bothered to try to think of any more because this was so obviously unbeatable.

But first some context.

The song is about Barbara Woodhouse, a dog trainer who found celebrity status in the UK in the late 1970s/early 1980s, back when celebrities were required to have some semblance of talent (see also celebrity steeplejack Fred Dibnah). Here’s a clip to give you an idea:

And here she is, interviewing William Shatner, teaching his dogs a thing or two, and then revealing a little too much about her bedtime habits for my liking:

And here’s Rigid’s suggestion. Remember: in the world of The Barron Knights, a man putting on a ladies voice = funny:

Barron

The Barron Knights – The Sit Song

Not that they’re alone in that belief:

And here’s two actual funny women, Rebecca Front and Joanna Scanlon, parodying Ms Woodhouse directly and subtly:

I’ll leave the last word on that Barron Knights song to Charity Chic who quipped:

“I think you missed an H out of the title.”

Rigid then goes on to mention the Dogs d’Amour, but doesn’t actually suggest a record by them. Luckily for us him, babylotti steps in with three suggestions by the band; I’ve picked the one he cited as his favourite. Because I’m nice like that.

Dogs D'Amour

the Dogs d’Amour- How Do You Fall In Love Again?

Relax ladies, etc. etc.

I must say I always get the Dogs d’Amour mixed up with The Quireboys. Were they around at the same time? (NB: This is a rhetorical question, the type where instead of already knowing the answer, I already know that I don’t really care.)

So let’s have some more doggy-do’s, and one which I was surprised nobody else suggested. A song which is famously about a dog, although the name in the title was changed from ‘Brandy’ in the first draft (who sounds more like a stripper than a dog, if I’m honest) to:

Manilow

Barry Manilow – Mandy

Count yourselves lucky I didn’t post the Boyzone version. Or the Westlife version. Whichever one of them recorded it. They’re the same thing really anyway, aren’t they?

Oh, and innuendo fans, check out the title of that B-Side. Parp!

IMG_20170626_195601

Since we appear to be in 1970s softie ballad territory, here’s another from Rigid Digit:

“What the world needs is more acoustic guitar playing beardy blokes…”

which is debatable, but he means that as an introduction to this:

Cat

Cat Stevens – I Love My Dog

It’s no wonder that Cat Stevens changed his name. A cat admitting to loving a dog is always going to be given the cold shoulder by the feline community.

Now, I must admit that when Rigid suggested that song, I actually thought he was talking about this:

Peter

Peter Shelley – Love Me Love My Dog

Thank goodness for The Barron Knights, or I’d have to give myself the Worst Record of the Week award now.

But it’s okay, I can turn things round. From Peter Shelley, to Pete Shelley:

Pete Shelley

Pete Shelley – Homosapien

(I was going to post a Buzzcocks tune and had settled for the (s)punky little burst that is ‘Orgasm Addict’, until I realised how that might look when played after the previous two songs…)

Time for another one that I was surprised nobody else came up with. The original version has featured on The Chain before, so I would have had to disqualify it. But, as with the helping hand I tried to give Julian earlier, had the original been suggested than I would doubtless have given you a nudge towards this:

Futureheads

The Futureheads – Hounds Of Love

One more doggy disc to go, and we’re back with Rigid Digit again. He’s relentless, isn’t he?

His final suggestion is for a record that’s “Madly brilliant, but not really essential.”

Who

The Who – Dogs

Their record label initially refused to release that, on the grounds that it was trying just a bit too hard to sound like The Small Faces. Harsh, but fair.

But as Rigid astutely concludes:

“There ain’t many songs whose last words are: ‘lovely buttocks'”

A fair point, well made. But just think of the songs which could be improved by the inclusion of those words. “God Save The Queen” springs to mind.

Speaking of which…

Often, the suggestions link from one song to another by way of one word in the title. But there wasn’t much to work on here, just three words, and one of them, Martha, was pretty much done to death last time. But there was one more song to link to that name, from Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area:

I have a niece called Martha. Her Mum, my sister, was born in June 1977. My parents sometimes say that if she’d been born on the Queen’s jubilee day they’d have called her Jubilee. At least I think they’re joking. So [this] seems an appropriate link (Pistols obvs).”

Pistols

Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen

As does this, to be fair:

Blur Parklife

Blur – Jubilee

Having mopped up the last of the Martha’s, we’ll edge towards the end of the song title now with a “My” or two. Or three, actually. And two of them are from me.

This being one of them:

Armand (2)

Armand Van Helden – My My My (feat. Tara McDonald)

And since it features a man and his dog (and for no other reason, honestly) here’s the video for that one too:

The other “My” suggestion comes from abramson60, who, clearly unmoved by that video, announces that he’s “got a soft spot for Joan Armatrading.”

Joan

Joan Armatrading – Me Myself I

Me: Well, if you’re suggesting that…

The Chain gang: …then you’re suggesting this:

De La Soul

De La Soul – Me Myself and I

And so on to what is the biggest grouping of songs of the week.

Surprisingly, nobody went for this:

tmp_2F1420573049348-s4rvbej6l5g919k9-e0b7ea9049dbb04b796f7811c3583366_2FMCR914-675x672

The Stone Roses – Elizabeth My Dear

So, where to start with this little lot. Well, let’s split them down into songs which feature the word “Dear” in the title (or prominently elsewhere in the lyrics) and, first, songs which can in some way be linked to Deer.

And, after missing last times linkage, it’s a warm welcome back to SWC, who proffers this:

“If we want to be clever…”

Hinds

Hinds – Garden

Look out. Julian’s back:

“I never checked the spelling and assumed Paul was singing about a ruminant mammal on his Scottish Croft . The Beatles released a b-side “Rain” and Bambi was a deer, know the song yet?

Blind Bambi… no idea

Dead blind Bambi… still no idea…?”

I must admit, I assumed at this point that Julian was about to suggest this:

bambi

Sex Pistols – Who Killed Bambi

(Except it’s not really the Sex Pistols, is it? It’s got Eddie Tudor-Pole on lead vocals for a start. And it’s from ‘The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle’. And it’s title and that picture are  clearly meant to shock, but it’s shocking for the sake of being shocking. Not cool.)

But no, Julian was in fact going here:

“Ok it’s the rain song from Bambi”.

This caused a little confusion at Chain HQ, as the song that Julian actually wanted was this:

Bambi

Bambi – Little April Showers

…which, confusingly, was not going to be in the original film, it was going to be a song called “Rain Song”, which was ditched in favour of “…April Showers”, and which you can see/hear here:

And then, just to confuse things even further, Julian goes and suggests this:

Houses of The Holy

Led Zeppelin – The Rain Song

But of course, we all know where Julian’s really heading:

“More importantly the animated video for “Is a Woman” also features falling leaves and a deer, by Lambchop of course”

But of course:

Lambchop

Lambchop – Is A Woman

And here’s the video he mentions:

I’ve not had chance to watch that, so I’m trusting you on that one, Jules.

Ok, so that’s the deer related bunch over with, so “if we are going down the dear route”, says SWC, then “we need….”

Dears

The Dears – 22: The Death Of All The Romance

Cheers, SWC, I’d totally forgotten about that one. Great to hear it again.

Back to GMFree now, for another couple of belters:

Lush

Lush – Dear Me (Miki’s 8-Track Home Demo)

and

Blade Runner

Don Percival – One More Kiss, Dear

I have a confession to make: I’ve never seen Blade Runner. Sacrilege, I know. But it’s one of those films that everybody bangs on to me about how amazing it is that it can never live up to expectations. I guess I’d better rectify that before the new one comes out later this year, right?

Over to babylotti now, who suggests these two:

“[I’m] going to fall back on Marvin Gaye’s divorce settlement album, ‘Here My Dear’, with obvious reference to Martha my dear….I’ll suggest the title track rather than any of the singles.”

Marvin

Marvin Gaye – Here, My Dear

…before also doing that old Chain link one-two shuffle:

 “And from there I believe I have to link to…”

CCR

Creedence Clearwater Revival – I Heard It Through The Grapevine

And whilst we’re on great versions of classic songs, does this next one remind anyone of anything?

Little Fish

Little Fish – Darling Dear

Anybody? No? Not even this:

Just me then.

Back to abramson60 again for his second and final submission:

“…there would be ‘Mother dear, they’re teaching me to do the goose-step’, which can be found in….”

Alex

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Give My Compliments To The Chef

Martin from New Amusements snuck his suggestion under the wire just in time:

“Keith Moon used to call everybody “Dear Boy” and he did a pretty fair cover of Beatles track ‘In My Life’ for his lone solo album ‘Two Sides of the Moon’ (even if it was played with too straight a bat). Anyway, a double-linker!”

A double-linker indeed. Points!

Keith

Keith Moon – In My Life

Back to Walter now, and his final two suggestions (although, granted, his first three were more mentioned in passing than actual suggestions):

“For sure,  from probably Talking Heads’ last good record ‘Naked’…”

Talking Heads

Talking Heads – Ruby Dear

and “Another song that accompanied me since my youngest days…”

Traffic

Traffic – Dear Mr. Fantasy

Time for C from Sun Dried Sparrows tune now, and this is an example of me saving the best ’til (almost) last; I think this is my favourite song by this lot. I love a good bracket (see?)

“I went down the ‘dear’ route too and another song whose title ends in the word ‘dear’ (there can’t be many, surely?). “Dear” is such a charming, old-fashioned word, I always thought it sounded a bit out of place for Blondie to use it but I love that they do. So I’d like to suggest…”

Blondie

Blondie – (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear

Now, when the suggestions start coming in, I will often have a little bet with myself as to who I think will suggest what. I’m rarely right, of course. For example, this week I was sure that Dirk would suggest this:

Au Pairs

Au Pairs – Dear John

But he didn’t, so now I have to, just to give extra justification for me posting this:

Quo

Status Quo – Dear John

You’re right. I can’t help myself sometimes.

Which just leaves two songs, and you’ve probably noticed that Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music has been a bit quiet this time out. Here’s why:

“My first thoughts (neither of which will be the correct answer) were…”

Siouxsie

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Dear Prudence

…which, given it’s a cover of a song from The Beatles’ “White Album” and features the word “Dear” is unquestionably a double-linker (Points!!).

And I wouldn’t be so sure about neither of your suggestions being right, CC, for you’re right on the money with your second one. The official link is, quite simply “From one Dear to another…” and the next record in The Official Chain is this:

Dexys

43. Dexys Midnight Runners – There, There, My Dear

I’d forgotten how great that record is too, as it goes.

So, CC, congratulations. A huge bag of non-existent points is winging its way to you. Hopefully that makes up for The Chain making you late for work last time. And today, too.

Ok, you know what happens now. This is the bit where I invite your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “There, There, My Dear” by Dexys Midnight Runners, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition. Who knows when that might be.

More soon.

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Same Title, Different Song

A couple of tracks from acts that I love this morning.

First, from their third – and my favourite – album, “Surrender”:

the_chemical_brothers_-_out_of_control_-_front

The Chemical Brothers – Out of Control

The Chemical Brothers, of course, often employ guest vocalists (they’ve worked with Noel Gallagher, Tim Burgess, Hope Sandoval, Beck, Wayne Coyne, Beth Orton, Richard Ashcroft, Q-Tip, Kele Okereke, Will Mason, Fatlip, Klaxons, Lightspeed Champion…the list goes on) and, of course, on “Out of Control” it’s the turn of Bernard Sumner and Bobby Gillespie to make appearances; the above is the extended album version.

Similarly ground-breaking and influential are Super Furry Animals, who apparently I mention too often round these parts. If I do, so be it: it’s because they’re effing amazing.

From their sixth album, “Phantom Power”:

1347547054_1331974641_super-furry-animals-phantom-power

Super Furry Animals – Out Of Control

The reason this song title has sprung to mind today is because this week Lush announced the imminent release of their first new material in twenty years, a four-track EP (yes, just like they used to in the good old days) entitled “Blind Spot EP”.

In the press release, Miki Berenyi said: “It certainly took some time to set up, but once we were in the studio, everything came together incredibly quickly. It was great fun! It’s been a long time since I’ve written Lush lyrics, and I realised early on with this EP that what I wrote about then is not what I feel comfortable writing about now. My perspective, and what is close to my heart, has changed, and I think that’s conveyed in the songs.”

Bass player Phil King adds: “I know I’m biased, but I work for a music magazine and so much of the music I hear played in the office sounds non-descript or derivative. Emma has this way of writing unusual chord changes and manages to weave lovely melodies over the top, and it immediately sounds distinctive, like Lush.”

I have a policy of not posting mp3s here that either haven’t yet been, or have only just been released, so you won’t be getting anything from me here – but you can have a gander at the video for the lead track from the new EP, called, you guessed it, “Out of Control”:

I think it’s fair to say that’s a real return to their earlier, ethereal, oh-go-on-then-if-I-absolutely-have-to-say-it-“Shoegazey” sound rather than their later Brit-poppy days, and that’s no bad thing. (I say that as if I don’t like their Brit-pop phase, but I think we’ve established in previous posts that’s not the case)

It’s scheduled for release on April 15th, but you can pre-order it here.

Enjoy.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

On “Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards”, the closing track of his “Worker’s Playtime” album, Billy Bragg muses:

“Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses”

The question is one which is often brought when musicians make a political record, the inference being that there is no point in doing so, it will have no effect, they are preaching to the converted.

Politicians, however, seem to have a slightly different viewpoint, and try to bandwagon-jump onto whatever seems to be the current musical zeitgeist in an effort to curry favour.

For example: 1984 America. Ronald Reagan attempted to ride on the shirt-tails of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in The USA”, blissfully unaware that the song is in part a tribute to Springsteen’s friends who had fought in the Vietnam War, some of whom did not return, and also protests about the hardships Vietnam veterans faced when returning home – hardly topics the Republican Reagan would want highlighting, you would think.

More recently, Adele requested that current candidate Donald Trump stop using her songs in his campaign. Trump’s had a bit of a tough week of it, as it goes, with the Pope wading in to tell him some of his suggestions were not particularly Christian. Which is actually one of the kinder things one could say about the weirdly-bouffanted madman.

Our politicians on this side of the pond are no better: remember Gordon Brown trying to claim he was a big fan of Artic Monkeys? Or Johnny Marr telling David Cameron that he isn’t allowed to like The Smiths?

But why do I mention this? Because several of these examples are about permission, or rather permission not being given.

This week’s selection of songs includes several which fall very firmly into what many people would describe as “Guilty Pleasures”, and regular readers will know that this is a term I very much disagree with. Part of my mission statement for this place is to reclaim these songs back, in the same way that the gay community have recaptured the term “Queer”. There should be nothing Guilty about gaining Pleasure from music, much less so from something so inoffensive and transient as pop songs.

So, I give you permission to like all that I post tonight. There. No need for you to feel bad now, okay?

But first, some housekeeping. We need to link last week’s loud choices to this week’s, so first a couple of tracks to bridge the weeks together.

In other words, some more loudness first:

51QP8ouT73L__SS280

117. Wolfmother – Woman

Wolfmother are Australian and…er…well that’s literally all that you need to know about them, as after that track they won’t be troubling us any further.

Moving swiftly on, in comparison, here is one of the greatest post-punk/new wave/call-it-what-you-like-it’s-bloody-great singles ever committed to vinyl:

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118. The Only Ones – Another Girl, Another Planet

And I’m not alone in my love of this song; in the millennium edition of his Festive Fifty, where John Peel, rather than cataloguing the best fifty records of the year, widened the scope to best fifty records ever, “Another Girl….” came in at Number 18. Can’t all be wrong, can we?

We’re not into “this is not a Guilty Pleasure” territory yet, by the way. Almost, but not quite.

And have you spotted a theme yet, dear listeners?

This will do it for you if you haven’t. The opening track from their second album, “Hypnotized”, a tongue in cheek opener if ever I heard one, given the lyrical content of much of their eponymous debut album:

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119. The Undertones – More Songs About Chocolate and Girls

The Undertones are touring again, minus Feargal Sharkey unfortunately.

Right. Here we go. The moment when my credibility and musical taste will get called into question. Let me make something very clear: I like all of the records I am about to post. I recognise that many of them are kitsch or cheesy, and almost all of them are not, or have never been, fashionable or cool. I’m with Danny Baker on the concept of cool:

So, yes I like these records, and I’m neither embarrassed nor do I feel guilty to admit it. I am out and I’m proud.

Ready? Prejudices left at the door? Good. Here we go then:

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120. Sailor – Girls, Girls, Girls

I mean, for a start, look at the state of that lot! What’s not to like?

This dates back to 1975 (it reached Number 7 in the UK charts) which explains the…er…somewhat dated view of women.

Think that’s bad? You’re wrong. It’s ace. Cheesy, yes; cringe-worthy, definitely; but ace nonetheless. You will need a mantra such as this to get you through the rest of this post.

So. Get yer laughing gear round this then:

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121. Racey – Some Girls

Relax ladies, they’re married. Actually, since this came out in 1979, they’re probably not anymore.

This reached the giddy heights of Number 2 in the UK, and Number 1 in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, all countries renowned for their good taste and modern views on feminism and equality.

Racey’s “Some Girls” actually comes from good stock: it was written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, a song-writing/production due who reigned supreme in the 1970s and early 1980s, clocking up over fifty Top 40 hits, such as The Sweet’s “Blockbuster!”, “Teenage Rampage” and “Ballroom Blitz”; Suzi Quatro’s “Can The Can”, “48 Drive” and “Devil Gate Drive”; Mud’s “Tiger Feet” and “Lonely This Christmas”; Smokie’s “Living Next Door to Alice”; Toni Basil’s “Mickey”…the list is…well, not endless, but lengthy.

Something slightly, but only ever so, more contemporary now:

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122. Rachel Stevens – Some Girls

Phwwoooaaaar!! That’s more like it, eh, lads? Eh?

Get a grip. No not like that, put it away, you dirty boy.

Okay, part of the reason this is here is because the song title is the same as the Racey tune; but it’s here on its own merits too. This is from 2004, was produced by Richard X (more famous for that Sugababes “Freak Like Me”, Liberty X’s “Being Nobody” and Kelis “Finest Dreams” which all could easily have featured here tonight, and at least two of which will definitely appear on these pages in the future. You have been warned.), but cannot really be considered Miss Stevens’ finest moment.

If not this, then what would that be? Her founder membership of S Club 7? Nope. Her finishing 2nd on “Strictly Come Dancing” in 2008? Nope. Her involvement as a coach on “The Voice of Ireland”, the originally titled Irish version of “The Voice”? Nope. Her appearance in Series 5, Episode 1 of “Dick and Dom in da Bungalow”? Nope. The use of her 2004 version of porn star Andrea True’s “More More More” in a series of television adverts for SCS Sofas? Could be!

Is it just me that suddenly has this going through my mind now?:

Anyway. Back to the pop.

Some Girls has always reminded me of this, also from 2004:

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123. Goldfrapp – Strict Machine (Single Mix)

Released at more or less the same time (I think the Goldfrapp single was marginally earlier), or at least close enough to “Some Girls” to negate any allegations of plagiarism anyway, I wonder what it is that makes Alison Goldfrapp be held up as a much-revered, credible artiste (which she is, and rightly-so) whilst Rachel Stevens is considered…well…less so. I can only think it is because of her earlier S Club career, which doesn’t exactly seem fair to me. Pop snobbery, is the phrase that springs to mind.

But whilst we’re back in what many will consider more acceptable waters (not me, all are equal), I give you this:

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124. Ladytron – Seventeen (Soulwax Mix)

Glacier cool lady kraut-rock-esque vocals? Check. Uber-cool remix by Soulwax? Check. I love this, picking it up on a promo CD single in D’Vinyl Records, an absolute treasure trove of a second hand record store in the Roath area of Cardiff. If ever you’re down that way, pop in. I say pop in – you’ll be there for hours, I guarantee it. And you’ll come out financially poorer but culturally enriched by all of the goodies you’ll have unearthed.

And while we’re on Soulwax remixes, and since I mentioned them in passing earlier, have a go on this:

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125. Sugababes – Round Round (Soulwax Remix)

Another one I picked up in D’Vinyl. They do sell records that Soulwax haven’t got their greasy mitts on, I promise.

When Andy Warhol made that famous quote about everyone being famous for fifteen minutes, I very much doubt he realised that around 70% of them would be famous for being in Sugababes for fifteen minutes.

You may have noticed we’ve gone a bit girly. So, here is one hell of an all girl band, who in their early days were more about having a good time than being particularly proficient on their instruments:

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126. We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It – Rules & Regulations

This is one of those records that my brother and I both bought; he owned it first, of course, I went and got it after seeing them pop up on the Indie Chart section of The Chart Show, when it used to be on Channel 4 on a Friday evening, before it moved to Saturday lunchtimes on ITV. Now, like most music on British TV, it’s nowhere.

Anyway, what I love most about my version of this record is the fact it’s a 12″ and all 5 tracks are crammed onto one side. On the other side, this:

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Not sure if that comes across well, but those are etched drawings of each of the girls in the band, or as eil.com call it a “1986 UK limited edition autographed and picture etched 5-track 12” ‘.

We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It resurfaced a few years later, with a truncated name (“Fuzzbox”) and a more glossy, polished sound and image, and frankly the appeal was gone for me by then. As Billy Bragg (yes, him again) said on his version of “Walk Away Renee” that I posted a while ago: “Then one day she cut her hair, and I stopped loving her”.

Moving on to 1991, and to the short-lived riot grrrl scene, and another all-girl band, named after the transport of choice for the heroine in Pedro Almodovar’s movie “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”:

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127. Mambo Taxi – Do You Always Dress Like That In Front Of Other People’s Boyfriends?

That’s one of the greatest song titles ever, and quite why I haven’t kept my powder dry and posted it in my “The One and Only” thread instead of here is beyond me.

Now, I have absolutely now idea how I came into possession of this next track. It wasn’t a single, it featured on the artistes only solo album, and even then only as a bonus track on the Japanese release of it.

It is, however, one of my favourite ever out-and-out pop songs, wittily skewing that revolting old sexist comment blokes make about shagging an ugly girl with a paper bag over her head. Here though, the roles are reversed; the singer is in a club having recently split with her ex, and to quote The Suit You salesmen from the Fast Show, she “wants it” – so much so that she pulls a guy with roughly the same build as her former beau, and takes him home on the condition that when they sleep together he wears a paper bag over his head:

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128. Lene – Paper Bag

Thinking about it, I probably like that so much because the lyrics give hope to us painfully ugly dudes.

And yes, that is Lene from Euro-pop act “Aqua”, but that doesn’t make it any less ace. You like Annie (the Norwegian recording artist , not the musical) don’t you? DON’T YOU????

It’s just pop music. Go with it.

Back into so-called more credible territory again now, and here’s Queen of the 6music airwaves Lauren Laverne from back when she was a pop star:

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129. Kenickie – In Your Car

Go on, just you try and listen to that without bouncing round the room and joining in the “Yeh Yeh”s in the chorus. You can’t can you?

Another Brit-poppy tune next, from a band who found their most commercial success around the same time, having previously flirted with the idea of fame and fortune in their shoe-gazey, ethereal phase a few years earlier:

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130. Lush – Ladykillers

Lush announced they would be reforming and playing some dates and releasing some new material in 2016; if they play this live, as they surely must, I’ll be regretting not getting tickets.

Okay, time to wrap things up for another week, and this one’s an absolute doozy. Released in 1983, co-written by Todd Rundgren and Stevie Winwood and featuring Carly Simon on vocals at the chorus, but mostly the brainchild of photographer-turned-singer/performer Lynn Goldsmith, this is a “How To” guide to ensuring your first date ends well:

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131. Will Powers – Kissing With Confidence

And we’re done. See? That wasn’t too painful, now was it?

I will try to restore your faith in my musical tastes over the weekend.

Maybe.

In other words: More Soon.

Oh, and you have spinach in your teeth.

The Election Section #4

Ok, so time for some impartiality. Every song so far has been anti-Tory, so let’s see what we can find that is a) pro-Con (which seems a contradiction in terms, but never mind), and b) a decent tune.

Hmmm….

Er…….

Nope.

I’ve drawn a blank on that one. I wonder if we should read anything into that……?

Let’s skip along.

The Lib Dems. Ah yes, we have a song which perfectly describes the public perception of them:

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Lush – Hypocrite

Okay, I may as well be honest. All of the rest of the posts will be anti-Tory, so we may as well squeeze the rest of the parties in now.

SNP? Here you go:

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The Proclaimers – Letter From America

You don’t need me to tell you what its about…

Plaid Cymru? Have this:

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The Alarm – A New South Wales

I genuinely love that record. I think it’s the male voice choir. You can’t argue (well you can if you like, but you’re wrong and lalalala I’m not listening) but there’s something about a Welsh Male Voice Choir (note the capitals) which means I love this (and for that matter this) more even than I love this. (And I love this quite a lot indeed too). I Can’t Explain.

Mike Peters from The Alarm (usually said in the same breathy tones as JimKerrfromSimpleMinds) has long since been a vocal activist in Welsh politicism and for me, this record is bang on the money – for the time it was written, back in the 80s. Since then, South Wales – and Cardiff in particular – has been regenerated beyond belief. Folks tend to be a lil sniffy about visiting Wales, but I would urge you to do so: it’s one of the most fantastic, beautiful places I ever visited, let alone lived in. Cardiff, wonderful as it is, is just the hub. A mere stone’s throw away are such beauty spots as the Brecon Beacons and The Gower and …ohhh…so much more…..

Ahem. I appear to have come over all Rhod Gilbert in those “Come to Wales” adverts.

Ah, feck it.

As someone who lived in Wales for 20 years and loved (almost) every minute of it, I can maybe do better than that. I’m going to get all adopted-Welsh on your butt. There is no finer sound for getting you all tingly and setting your hairs on end than hearing the crowd at the Millenium Stadium (or Cardiff Arms Park, back in the day) than this: Wembley 1999

The crowd don’t seem particularly engaged, do they? Trust me, by the end they were singing, alright.

Those two old looking geezers in the line up (not dressed in uniform) are Tom Jones, who’ll you’ll recognise and need no introduction to, and Max Boyce, who you might not recognise and will need an introduction to. Reader: Max. Max: Reader.

Max Boyce was, frankly, massive in the late 70s and early 80s, coming up as he did from the folk circuit in the same way that Billy Connolly and Jasper Carrott did around the same time. Billy and Jasper are touted as the fore-fathers of alternative comedy, doing observational stuff which didn’t involve mother-in-laws, wives being really fat, or black people called Chalky.

The very odd thing is that Max seems to have been air-brushed out of the accepted populist history of comedy around this time, and I can’t help but wonder if Max hadn’t been Welsh whether he’d have got such a rough deal in the annals (double n, innuendo seekers move along) of history.

I think it’s about time that was put right.

Even though his act was predominantly about Welsh Rugby – or rather, about Welsh men and their rugby (and affectionately, cheekily, anti-English in a way that only a rugby fan could get away with), Max still managed to find favour with many outside of Wales. The even odder thing is that the fact he was popular outside of Wales never seemed to be appreciated or understood by those inside Wales. When I lived in Cardiff, my friends were often gobsmacked that I knew the words to Hymns and Arias and Sospan Fach (not 100% accurately I’ll admit, but still, I had a go…)

I have to concede, I had a leg-up here. On Saturday afternoons when I was a kid, we’d have to drive over and visit the grand parents. I believe I’ve mentioned this before, so I won’t bore you with it again. Suffice to say, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash were the staple diet of the car’s cassette player, but Max Boyce got a fair look in too. My dad owned copies of “Live at Treorchy” and “We All Had Doctor’s Papers” and they would be played as much as anything else. (My great grandmother, deposited in the car on one such occasion, announced “I have no idea what he is saying, but I’m sure it’s quite rude!”. And yes, she did sound like Lady Bracknell) My dad even burned copies of both these albums for a former flat mate of mine, so desperate was he to prove his non-existent Welsh links.

I met Max once. I was working in Boots the Chemist on Queen Street in Cardiff and I spotted him and hovered around the tills when he got served. He went to one of the prettier, younger ladies who did the till stuff, then looked up at him:

“It’s you, isn’t it?” she said

“Erm…yes…” Max Boyce said, modestly.

“It’s Max, isn’t it?” she said

“Yes, yes I am” said Max Boyce, modestly.

“Max….Bygraves!!” she exclaimed

“Am I fuck!!” said Max Boyce, angrily. “He’s in his fucking 80s!” said Max Boyce not very happily.

So anyway, from those two albums, I give you these:

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and

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But, in an effort to drag this back to something vaguely political, Max wasn’t just about the funnies. Listen to Rhonnda Grey which, to these Anglicised ears, is sadder and more poignant than “A New South Wales”, and paints a picture of the Merthyr, Pontypridd and Caerphilly area I remember from when I first moved there oh so many years ago. Sad and beautiful, see?

Ok so moving on, who’s next?

The Green Party. This seems appropriate:

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Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin – Save The World

UKIP. Oh, just fuck off, will you? I’m not even going to grace you with a song. We all know what you are.

More utterly biased stuff soon.