Friday Night Music Club

Here we are again, and I’d like to start off by thanking all of you who got in touch to say they enjoyed last week’s mix; it seems Swiss Adam was right: make them shorter, and people are more likely to find time to listen to them. Truly, he is the Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams of the blogging world. (Somebody will get that reference, I’m sure.)

I really enjoy spending my Friday nights putting these together, although it has been to the detriment of the rest of the blog, I must admit. Hopefully I’ll get the balance right soon.

And so this week’s mix, Volume 6.2, the second hour (or so) of the six hour (or so) mix I originally put together before thinking better of it and splitting it down into six mixes, which should sound alright if you want to play them all in sequence. I guess you could say this is my equivalent of those collector’s magazines that seem to come out this time every year, where you buy one piece of a model per edition, glue it to the one you got last week and then wait until the next week when you can have your wallet lightened to the tune of a tenner in order to secure the next bit.

Except, with the Friday Night Music Club there is, in the words of Melba Montgomery’s mawkish 1974 hit (or J J Barrie’s 1976 hit, or Tammy Wynette’s version or Johnny Cash’s version or…aw you get the picture) No Charge.

And it’s more of the same this week, although perhaps a little less pop-heavy than last time, but essentially the usual formula of a real mixbag with a couple of unexpected 70s lost/over-looked/forgotten tunes thrown in (nothing as kitsch as an old one where I included The Dooleys, Guys & Dolls and The Nolans in the same mix, you’ll be relieved to hear), and where I momentarily slide off into what could loosely be called “a theme”. Fans of all things Gedge will immediately spot why The Wedding Present track follows the song it does, and how that started me off on the theme. Don’t worry, I manage to rein it in. Eventually.

If you are still dancing from last week’s mix, then this week’s definitely gives you plenty of time to have a nice sit down and get your breath back.

The first two records in particular remind me of people, if you’ll indulge me for a moment. The opening track is by The Kinks, and whenever I hear a Kinks record I’m always reminded of my mate Rob, because an old double album of their Greatest Hits, which I’d bought on vinyl from Britannia Music Club when I was a kid, would always make an appearance when he came back to my place after a night out clubbing.

The Kinks’ song I’ve selected also always reminds me of my old mate Richie. He was the first person to ever play it to me, and he insisted on performing a whole routine based around the lyrics of the song, which he mouthed as he pranced around. Truly, the spectacle of him acting out the line “…and when he pulls his frilly nylon panties right up tight…” was so funny it lives with me to this day, thirty-five (or so) years later.

He repeated the trick with the next song, the B-Side to Jilted John’s eponymous classic. You don’t hear Jilted John on the radio so much these days, as some of the phrases used in it are…let’s call them “of their time.” No such problem with Going Steady, though, to my mind a much funnier song, which has does some “of their time” lyrics of its own, most notably when Double J mangles the word “butch” so that it rhymes with 70s police show stars Starsky & Hutch.

Anyway, I’ll waffle on no further, other than to slide my usual quality disclaimer in: any skips and jumps are down to the mixing software; any mis-timed mixes are down to me; all record choices are 100% mine.

Here you go:

Friday Night Music Club Vol 6.2

And here’s the track-listing:

  • The Kinks – Dedicated Follower of Fashion
  • Jilted John – Going Steady
  • Graham Coxon – Bittersweet Bundle of Misery
  • Mud – Rocket
  • The Wedding Present – Flying Saucer
  • Menswear – Stardust
  • Darwin Deez – Constellations
  • The Postal Service – Such Great Heights
  • Portishead – Wandering Star
  • Kylie Minogue – Slow (Chemical Brothers Remix)
  • Suzanne Vega – Blood Makes Noise
  • Fujiya & Miyagi – Knickerbocker
  • Pop Will Eat Itself – X Y & Zee
  • Black Box Recorder – The Facts of Life
  • Rialto – Monday Morning 5:19 (Widescreen)

More soon (this time next week)

Late Night Stargazing

It’s funny how you have no idea how some records came into your possession, but with others – usually a particular album that you love – you have no problem with recalling exactly how it was that you first came across it.

Tonight’s choice is from an album that is a really easy recall for me. Let me take you back…

It’s 1994, and I had read glowing reviews of this record, and, having heard two singles from it, was desperate to hear it in its entirety. But alas, my student budget at the time didn’t extend to purchasing albums. It was Christmas, and what little spare cash I had rattling around my pockets had been spent on presents for my girlfriend at the time, and her family, who I was spending part of the festive season with – on this occasion, her father (divorced from her mother) and his partner.

I have no recollection of what I bought them – likely my girlfriend had sorted that and I’d chipped in – but I remember what they bought me: a mini-amp, which I could clip onto my belt, plug my guitar and a pair of headphones into and strum away to my heart’s content, and a waistcoat, meant, I think, as a nod to my at the time latent Quo obsession. Thirty years later, both are still in my possession, somewhere. I very much doubt I can still get into the waistcoat and button it up. But you never know, one day…

Anyway, my girlfriend’s dad lived in an end-of-terrace house on the outskirts of Rawtenstall, near Manchester, and his neighbours had gone on holiday when we were visiting, and had asked them to keep an eye on the place, water the plants, that kind of thing. He had agreed to doing the neighbourly thing, partly out of a sense of communal duty (besides, you never know when you might need a favour back), but mostly because he knew they were thinking about selling up, and he was thinking of buying their house and knocking the two properties into one.

And so it was that one day, we all trooped next door, my girlfriend’s dad armed with a tape measure and I, of course, making myself as useful in his quest as possible by heading straight for their CD collection, to see if there was anything worth temporarily borrowing and copying.

And there it was, nestling amongst their collection: the album I had read so much about and so desperately wanted. I liberated it, went back to his house, and recorded it onto a C90 cassette, before returning it the next day. I can’t pretend the idea of just keeping it didn’t cross my mind several hundred times in between.

You’ll all be familiar with this record I would imagine, and if you’re not, just go and buy, stream or download a copy of Dummy by Portishead; I’ve been listening to it again as I write this, for the first time in God-knows-how-many-years, and it’s as beautiful and bizarre and amazing as it was back then.

Here’s the opening track, which sets the other-worldly tone of this classic film noir trip-hop album right from the off:

Portishead – Mysterons

It’s no mean feat that thirty years later this record still makes me sit back, dazed and just think: Wow.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

July 1997 – July 1998.

Over three nights, Portishead performed and recorded their live sets, featuring the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, which eventually saw the light under their 1998 release Roseland NYC Live album.

This is the result, an update on an already stunning record:

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Unbelievably, this lot, who to me conjure up nothing but dark, smoky, film noir rooms, have never featured on these pages before.

I got hold of my first copy of their debut album through slightly odd methods. It was 1994, and my girlfriend at the time and I were up staying with her dad, who lived in a renovated semi-detached on the outskirts of Rawtenstall, near Manchester.

His neighbours had gone on holiday, and he had, fortuitously, been charged with looking after their place whilst they were away. I say fortuitously, for he was toying with the idea of putting an offer in on their house and knocking the two places into one big house, and so, equipped with the keys, we had ventured next door to have a look round.

As he wandered round, assessing each room’s potential, muttering away to himself like Martin Roberts on ‘Homes Under the Hammer’, my eyes alighted on the household CD collection, and to this album in particular.

Looking back, 1994 produced some bloody marvellous albums: Morrissey’s “Vauxhall and I”, Johnny Cash’s first volume of “American Recordings”, Manic Street Preachers’ “The Holy Bible”, Suede’s “Dog Man Star”, Beck’s “Mellow Gold”, Pavement’s “Crooked Rain Crooked Rain”, Nirvana’s “Unplugged in New York”, all of which would feature prominently  on my list of things I had to save in the event of a fire.

At the time , I was still an avid reader of the NME, and I’d read a particularly glowing review of this album in their esteemed pages and had been intrigued

Here’s what they wrote:

“This is, without question, a sublime debut album. But so very, very sad. These are avant garde ambient moonscapes of a ferociously experimental nature. In other words, seriously spooky shit. 9/10

These were the days when if the NME said something was good, I still paid attention, and who could resist such a write-up?

Not me. I pocketed the CD, taped it back at his house, then returned it the following day.

As I listened to it whilst it recorded, I knew this was an album I had to actually own for myself, and a visit to some record store or other in Manchester a day or two later secured it.

I could pick any track from the album as being suitable to post here. There’s no need for me to be a smart-arse about it though, I’m sure everyone reading this already has a copy. So, I’m going to go for an obvious one:


Portishead – Glory Box

22 years after I first heard it, that still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

More soon.