It’s another Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, so another long weekend which I will doubtless spend putting off doing all the odd jobs – like finish unpacking, or finally construct my bed (it’s only been seven months…) around the house which I’ll be cursing myself for not having done come Tuesday morning.
To soundtrack that, and whatever you’re up to, here’s another of the old mixes split down into manageable one hour chunks. I was surprised when I revisited this one to find that it the original mix was only two hours long, so we’ll have rattled past this one and on to anew one in no time.
I shan’t waste anymore time (except for the usual disclaimer which you all probably know off by heart by now: any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software; any mis-timed mixes are down to me; all record selections are mine) so here’s the link:
In the past, when a momentous occasion took place, a standard question as to where you were when you heard the news would circulate.
“Where were you when you heard that Kennedy had been assassinated?” they would ask of Vox-Poppers, or “Where were you when the moon landings happened?”. Folks would trip over themselves to try and outdo each other as to what flamboyant act they were engaged in when they heard the news, a bit like the competing Yorkshiremen in that old Monty Python sketch:
(And yes, before any of you get in touch, I’m perfectly aware that the sketch actually pre-dates Monty Python, having first been performed on At Last The 1948 Show.)
This is a question which I think we will see being asked less and less as time goes on, for the answer will almost always be: I was at home, same place as I’ve been for the last XX years.
For the record, I was at home, same place as I’ve been for the last 12 months, when I heard the news. I’d been in what we still feel obliged to refer to as a “virtual meeting” all morning which had, as is the norm, over-ran by an hour or so, and so I was already in a bit of a bad mood as this meant I had missed the TV show which has become my lunchtime staple viewing – Bargain Hunt – and I was pretty sure that meant that it would have inevitably been hosted on this occasion by my favourite presenter (and I suspect also the favourite of many other housebound gentlemen), the lovely posh-but-twinkly Christina Trevillian (*sighs*), as it almost always is when I manage to miss most/all of it (as opposed to the occasions when I catch it from the start and it’s hosted – always – by Anita bloody Manning, who, as with Julia Roberts and Keifer Sutherland, I simply cannot stand to watch. She reminds me of a particularly annoying Little Britain character:)
Anyway. My lunch break was at such a late hour that I realised it would actually correlate with my favourite afternoon TV quiz show, Impossible, which – and you read it here first – I’m pretty sure will one day replace Pointless in the prime, just before the news slot.
But no. There it was: all channels showing what appeared to be the longest news broadcast since Wills and Kate (but not Harry and Meghan, oh no) last dropped a sprog, with everything else for the rest of the day cancelled, unless you wanted to venture onto some of the more unpleasant reality/fly-on-the-wall TV shows, like Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away!, which you can tell just from the name is a Channel 5 show. It follows bailiffs High Court Enforcement Officers as they go about their jolly day, catching up with people who haven’t been able to pay a debt, or evicting people from rented properties because the landlord has decided to put the rent up and they can no longer afford to live there.
I was stopped once by a shop assistant in my local supermarket and asked if I was one of said Court Enforcement Officers from the show; I said I wasn’t and had never seen the programme, but caught a bit of it one Sunday afternoon when there was nothing else on. Let’s just say I was not flattered.
But anyway, I digress. Prince Phillip, the Duke Of Edinburgh died yesterday, and we’re all supposed to be in mourning.
Although, the Prince’s favourite show, Babestation, aired as usual, only with the models wearing black armbands as a tribute, I noted when I checked for…er…research purposes.
And of course, whilst it’s very sad that a family has lost a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, it’s news which I think many of us had been expecting for a goodly while now. He was 99 years old, he’d just had an extended stay in hospital after some kind of heart surgery, and, let’s face it, he didn’t look well when he was taken home. This was not exactly a surprise.
Not that I think that knowing someone is likely to pass makes it any easier to deal with their actual passing. I know from my own recent, brutal, experience that no matter how prepared, how steeled you might think you are, when the news comes through it still hits you like a juggernaut and you’re still shattered. There is no escape from grief.
Now, I’m no Royalist, but were we to get a day off work for the funeral then I will happily dress in black and weep into a hanky for as long as it takes. But I imagine they’ll do what they did when Diana was murdered died: pop the funeral on a weekend so the national economy isn’t affected, but the Union Jack and florist industries flourish.
I was living in Cardiff back in 1997, when Diana died, still working in Boots The Chemist selling tights, tampons and panty-liners to the capital’s finest. The funeral was on a Saturday, and we were given the morning off to watch the ceremony and pay our respects. I didn’t watch it, I enjoyed a couple of extra hours in bed.
I actually had the opportunity to meet Diana several years earlier. At the time I was at college, and serving on the Student Union Executive, in my utterly non-political role as Social Secretary. Because my role was non-political, I gained a reputation for fence-sitting or abstaining when it came to votes of a political nature. As far as I saw it, I had not been elected on the basis of any political views I may or may not have held, I was elected on the basis of my ability to organise a good night out for the students. So, I didn’t think it right that my political views should have any bearing on matters.
And then one day the news came in: Diana was going to be visiting the college, to open the recently completed Princess of Wales Sports Centre. Truly the famous quote from Field of Dreams applies here: If you build it, they will come. The Executive were all invited and expected to attend and meet the Princess. And, much to my mother’s horror when I told her many years later, I declined. And I was the only one from the entire, predominantly left-wing, anti-monarchy Student Union Executive to do so. I gained more political traction from that act, as a man who stood by his principles, than I ever wanted, expected, or indeed anything else I did again. Suddenly, I was a hero. For the rest of their time in position, my Executive colleagues had to answer awkward questions about why they went when I didn’t, were they really in their jobs to work for the students, or to promote themselves and further their own careers? It was quite delicious for a while.
Anyway: on the day of Diana’s funeral, my route to work took me through the Roath and Cathays areas of Cardiff where I lived, traditionally quite a studenty area, and as this was late August/early September, there weren’t too many of those youngsters around. In fact, I remember thinking how quiet it was as I walked to work, and I assumed this was because everyone was at home, watching the TV coverage.
My route took me across the usually busy City Road, and then down an alleyway adjacent to a working men’s club. And I swear, no word of a lie, as I walked down that alleyway, I heard this record booming from an open window of the club:
There will, of course, be a funeral. It will, of course, be paid for by you and I, the British taxpayer. It’s not a two-way deal, of course. Don’t expect Her Maj to break open the massive whiskey bottle containing one and two pence shrapnel so she can chip in for your funeral, because that simply won’t happen.
But who should organise it? Well, I think the Royal Family should take a leaf out of the British Government’s Covid-19 Handbook, and see if there are any posh toffs who could do it for them. A cursory look over Dido Harding’s CV shows she has absolutely no experience whatsoever of arranging funerals, so she seems ideally placed to do it, for just several billion pounds over the amount one could realistically expect to be spent on such a showcase event.
Needless to say, there is never a good time for any family to go through the pain and suffering that a bereavement inevitably brings. But it occurred to me that this one could have come at a worse time for the Windsors. For a start, Prince Andrew must be feeling strangely conflicted right now, sad that his father has died, but at the same time relieved there will be an extended period now where nobody accuses him of being a paedophile. I wonder if, since he was withdrawn from public appearances after his disastrous interview with Emily Maitlis, he’ll be allowed to attend the funeral?
But also, you’ll recall the recent Oprah interview with Harry and Meghan, where there was an allegation that a member of the royal family made racist comments about the likely skin colour of the couple’s offspring. From a PR point of view, Philip’s death presents an opportunity to the very least put some more distance between those allegations and any response – today’s newspapers are, after all, tomorrow’s fish’n’chips wrapping. But it also affords the Royals the chance to, for want of a better term, throw somebody under the bus, for many people felt the racist comment could probably be attributed to Philip, solely on the basis that, well, he had form for saying things which could be described as inappropriate at best.
As I mentioned when I wrote about the interview in a previous post, I don’t buy that it was Philip; sure he has a history of gaffes but – and I say this not to condone any of his comments, but to offer an explanation of them – generally when he said something wrong it was intended in jest, or as an “ice-breaker” intended to put a member of the public at rest. That doesn’t make it right, that makes it an old man getting it wrong and saying something inappropriate, and I think we all know someone like that.
The comment mentioned in the Oprah interview came from a much more savage, hurtful place, and my money remains where it did when I wrote that last piece.
*Pops tongue back in cheek*
But there is something racist, something with a whiff of cancel culture about the timing of Prince Philip’s death which will inevitably lead some of the more gullible to seek some kind of conspiracy. And it is this: forever more, when you type “Prince died April” into Google (other search engines are available), you will be faced with a screen or three full of references to Philip. You will need to scroll down quite some way to find any mention of The Greatest Prince, who also died in April – April 21st 2016, to be precise.
Since I drew a comparison with the death of Diana earlier, I can’t resist posting this bit of comedy genius from Stewart Lee:
To sum up: of course I feel empathy for the Royal Family as they mourn the loss of a beloved family member. But do you know who I empathise with more? The South Pacific tribe on the tiny island of Tanna in the Vanuatu archipelago, who saw Prince Philip as a living god. Who should they follow now?
Yes, I know the titles implies this should be getting posted later today, but let me explain.
Today it’s Children in Need night in the UK, and that can mean only one thing: nothing to watch on TV, unless newsreaders performing poorly choreographed dance routines floats your boat.
It’s a worthy cause, don’t get me wrong, but once you’ve dipped your hand in your pocket, as I’m sure you undoubtedly will, there’s really no need to carry on watching.
Personally, I think they would make loads more money if, once you’d contributed, your TV programmes went back to the normal schedules. The whole thing could be over and done with in half an hour or so.
Anyway, I thought I’d help out with your evening entertainment after you’ve done your charitable duty, by giving you a top mix of tunes to while away a couple of hours. So here you go, just shy of 140 minutes of tunes to bop around your kitchen to and suffice it to say, it’s a real mixed bag, covering the contemporary to the antiquated, the oft-impersonated to the never-bettered, the cherished to the forgotten, the much loved to the…erm…not loved so much. You’ll see.
But – and I mean this most sincerely folks – I love every record included in this mix. Yes, even that one. And that one. And definitely that one. Yes! This mix includes (at least) three acts generally considered to be among the naffest of if not the late 1970s, then ever. But I’d invite you to give them a go with a fresh pair of ears: kitsch, maybe, but loosen up, you might find you quite like them too (NB: I would recommend having a few drinks to truly accomplish this turnaround in opinion. Also, there’s a fair bit of effin’ & jeffin’ on some of these, so if you have kids a) hard luck, and b) put them to bed before playing this, or you’ll have to explain to them exactly what Fiddy is getting up to in “da” club, or worse, just what is going on on the Cansei de Ser Sexy record).
And when I say “mix”, I don’t mean anything has been beat-matched, or scratched, or whatever the cool name for mixing is these days: we’re in purely fade-in/fade-out territory here.
(There are, of course, a couple of technical glitches, by the way. Sorry, but I didn’t have time to go back and re-record the whole mix to get rid of them. I would have done, had the mixing software I have not crashed when I was on the penultimate tune the first time around, forcing me to go back and start all over again. Hope they don’t spoil things – look on the positive side: they will, at the very least, give you that real club feeling as you spin round to face the DJ/your sound system and call him/it whatever rude name you plump for.)
Last time I did one of these, I put the songs on Spotify, only to find they didn’t have many of the songs anyway, so I’ve not renewed my free trial subscription with them (until next time they offer it to me); instead you should (if I’ve done it right…) be able to stream it via Soundcloud here, or you can just download or stream it from the Dubious Taste vaults here (as a WAV file), which should play just fine on iTunes or Windows Media Player.
To make it as close to a “going out” experience as you can, I’d recommend playing it from one of those two sources, rather than scrolling down here to see what I’ve included. You wouldn’t approach a DJ in a club and ask him what he intended to play for the next couple of hours, now would you? No.
But if you must, here you go, 34 songs, in the same running order as on the mix, and without any of my usual snarky comments. As with most of my mixes, its starts innocuously enough….
Oh and one more thing, you can donate to Children in Need here. Do it quickly, before the dancing newsreaders come on.
Okay, okay, I’m a little later than usual. My apologies. I seem to have developed some kind of Chain Tourette’s Syndrome this week, incapable of resisting posting an additional link or splurging out another suggestion. You’ll see.
Last week we ended with “Live Forever” by Oasis, and it’s fair to say the Mancunian siblings caused quite the difference in opinions between you, with some voicing “By and large and on the whole, all things considered… Oasis can piss off” and others “Can I start by saying that I bloody love Oasis?”
As usual, suggestions came from one of several broad categories, but where to start?
At the beginning, seems as good a place as any. Here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area to kick things off:
“Johnny Marr springs to mind (shared manager, guitar given by Johnny to Noel on which he wrote that song I think). Johnny Marr’s solo song ‘Upstarts’ from a couple of years ago was splendid, a comeback. And even though I don’t much like ’em, Oasis were upstarts for a while.”
Those of you who read the Comments section will know that prompted a big fat “Did they??” from Yours Truly. In fact, it turns out everyone’s favourite begrudgingly apologetic dog smuggler recorded with them twice, on “Fade In-Out” from “Be Here Now”, and on “Fade Away (Warchild Version)” from the 1995 “Help!” compilation album. In fact, anything with the word “Fade” in the title, and Depp was all over it like a tramp on chips.
But I digress; back to Swiss Adam for his hat-trick of collaboration suggestions (even though his first one wasn’t really one):
“John Squire played with the Burnage numpties at Knebworth. And John Squire was in the Stone Roses without whom Oasis would never have existed. They could also never have written anything as trippy and light as Elephant Stone.”
Continuing the theme, let’s shift from people who have played with Oasis, to acts that have featured one of the band (okay, let’s face it, Liam or Noel). Over to Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything:
“Live Forever is considered by many as Liam’s greatest vocal recording. Although that’s harsh on ‘Little James’. Anyway Liam also contributes vocals to Echo and the Bunnymen’s wonderful comeback single ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’. The irony of that was probably lost in him.”
Wonderful is damning this record with faint praise; I often dread a band I love reforming and releasing their new material, but Echo & The Bunnymen proved the exception to the rule with this:
And of course, with “Forever” in the title, we have a double-linker! We’ll come back to more with a similar (okay, identical) link later on.
The mere mention of Liam gives me the opportunity to post this, from the “Live Forever” Britpop documentary, my favourite ever interview clip involving him, where he is asked if he feels he has an androgynous quality about him:
Anyway, another suggestion from me, this time featuring the other one-eyebrowed wonder. Noel Gallagher teamed up with The Lemonheads’ Evan Dando to record – but never officially release (hence the absence of a proper sleeve and the somewhat shonky sound quality) – this:
And, since I’m going to see them next Friday at The Roundhouse perform not only their brilliant debut album “Fuzzy Logic” but also their even better follow-up album “Radiator”, here’s a bonus, a tune I’ve posted before, their epic 22:30 minute long live version from the Hammersmith Apollo, complete with Cian Ciaran’s techno wig out section:
Before I start posting nothing but Super Furry Animals records, it’s time for The Beard to perform an intervention:
“Oasis’ touring keyboardist was Jay Darlington from Britpop no-marks Kula Shaker [Don’t worry folks, he’s not going there]. Their lead singer Crispin Mills was the son of actress Hayley Mills. She starred in the film ‘Tiger Bay’ (alongside, I think, Sir John Mills?) [Correct!]. ‘Tiger Bay’ is also the name of Saint Etienne’s third album. ‘Like A Motorway’ from this album, please.”
As usual, competition has been hot this week to come up with the Worst Record of the Week, and here’s The Great Gog with the first, which not only links to the Gallagher brothers, but also to the football team mentioned in The Official Chain link which led us here:
“…the brothers Gallagher support a certain team who are still in the Champions League (sorry, couldn’t resist!)…[*cough* 2-0, 2nd October 2016]…so, the ditty supposedly sung by the early ’70’s City squad, “The Boys In Blue” – although I can’t imagine that the likes of Franny Lee would have been that good at holding a tune.”
No need to imagine, GG, here they are, and let’s just say Franny was no Ossie Ardiles, either on the pitch or in the studio:
I’ll be honest, I only posted that so I could bring your attention to the song-writing credits, which will probably seem familiar to many of you. Yes, Godley, Crème and Gouldman – three fifths of 10cc. The muso-nerds amongst you will know that 10cc get their name from the average male ejaculate. 10cc formed in 1972, the same year as “Boys in Blue” was released. There’s a joke in there somewhere, but you don’t need me to do it, you can fill in the wanks blanks.
Anyway, back to you GG:
“Also, there is of course, “Blue Moon” – of which there have been many versions, but as an early contender for Worst Song Of The Week, I’ll plump for Showaddywaddy’s version.”
You have to feel a bit sorry for Showaddywaddy, surely the most unintentional casualty of the whole Operation Yew tree thing, for who amongst us didn’t used to enjoy saying their name in the voice of a certain, dead, disgraced, BBC DJ, TV presenter and paedophile? And now even that simple joy has been taken away from us. I bet Eric Bristow does that impression still. (See, I’m nothing if not topical!)
Something a little more straight forward and less contentious next: here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:
“Until I come up with something obscure I’ll go for an obvious one: ‘Midnight at the Oasis by Maria Mulduar’.”
“The first thing that came on my mind was a song by Maria Muldaur. Midnight At The Oasis is one of these songs that accompanied me during the last decades. I really can’t explain why I can’t get this little folk/jazz tune out of my mind. Probably because it is just a good song.”
Oooh- bands with siblings in them, can I play? Please pwetty please?
It seems to me that Scotland has more than its’ fair share of bloody marvellous musical talent, and quite a few music bloggers too, many of whom visit these pages, so this one’s for you, a much overlooked (until that bloody awful musical came out a few years ago; other than featuring the music of The Proclaimers, it has little to recommend it) and rather lovely tune:
Okay. Brace yourself. Here’s George with the winner of this week’s Worst Record of the Week award.
“Going from the Gallagher Brother to two sisters, those two in the Cheeky Girls (one of them married Lembit Opik) and, having consulted with my partner, their most famous song is called Cheeky Song, which I’ve just played. It’s rubbish.”
I do love the way that George always pretends not to know anything about his suggestions for Worst Record of The Week and tries to shift the blame over to his other half. We all know the truth, George, you’re fooling nobody.
Thank god neither of you have heard of Jedward, s’all I can say.
Oh, and a slight correction; Lembit Opik didn’t marry one of the Cheeky Girls, they were engaged but split up in 2008 after a “difficult period” in the relationship, which I think we can interpret as meaning “when he slept with the wrong sister”.
So, here’s what I’m sure will be the least clicked link of the week. I, on the other hand have had to listen to that more times when writing this blog than I had ever had the misfortune to hear it before (Twice).
Look! There’s a Christmas Remix!! If you’re all very good boys and girls, I’ll see if I can find that and post it nearer the 25th. I bet it has some sleigh bells and probably a joke about pulling a Christmas Cracker.
Let’s get out of here, and have some simple songs which link to the word “Live”, the word “Forever”, or some derivative of either.
Time, then, to give the customary very warm Chain Gang welcome to first time contributor Martin from New Amusements (is that a Gene reference I espy, Martin…?):
“I’m going with living forever… having tinkered with synonyms (eternal and immortal) and come to unsatisfactory dead ends (anything by, er, Eternal, and Immortals by Fall Out Boy), I have instead decided to opt for the words “Electric word, life. It means forever, and that’s a mighty long time.”
In other words, Let’s Go Crazy by Prince. Doubly fitting, as those Gallagher boys have been known to go crazy on the odd occasion…”
A classy suggestion, and just what the Doctor order after George let those pesky cheeky-ettes in:
“Oasis claim they’re gonna live forever. Irene Cara claimed likewise on “Fame”. To be fair to all involved, they’re not wrong *yet*.”
There’s still another month left of 2016, Alex. Plenty of time yet.
On the day or so before I write The Chain, I upload all of the songs onto a playlist on my iPod, and give them a listen as I commute to and from work, the idea being that a) I can check all of the mp3s sound okay, b) can get a rough idea of the running order, and c) hope I can think of something interesting or amusing to write about each tune. As I got to off the bus and walked to the office this morning, this tune came on:
I have to say, it put me in a really good mood for the start of the day. You should try it. The only disappointing thing about it was that when I got to the office, not one person was wearing a leotard or leggings, Doris wasn’t squawking “Hi Fidelity” by the water cooler, nor was Bruno attempting to play the photocopier like a piano. Still, can’t have everything.
Back, now, to The Great Gog, who before he started regaling us with Manchester City related awfulness, did actually suggest this:
“My first thought was to suggest another song with the words ‘live’ and ‘forever’ in the title: OMD – ‘(Forever) Live And Die’.”
Remember earlier we were talking about Oasis records that Johnny Depp had played on? Well here’s fun: that Warchild version of “Fade Away” also featured one time Pete Doherty muse Kate Moss giving it the full Linda McCartey on tambourine. What are the odds, eh?
Here’s George, who doesn’t seem even remotely apologetic for making me/us listen to The Cheeky Girls:
“…on the forever link, what about ‘Forever Came Today’ by Diana Ross and The Supremes?”
“Ok so The Cheeky Girls song may get the prize for the worst record of the week [there’s no “may” about it, it does] but here is another contender. “Forever and Ever” by that hirsute Greek, Demis Roussos. I always thought Neil Diamond (my choice from last week) was a very hirsute man back in the day with all that exposed chest hair, but nothing on Mr Roussos. Come to think of it the Gallagher Brothers are quite hirsute in the eyebrow department, them having only one an’ all. A double-link and a pattern forming here for me relating to hairy men!”
Time to hand over to Rol from My Top Ten for his musings of the week:
“First thought: Queen – Who Wants To Live Forever?
Which, if the question referred to the Oasis song, would lead to a resounding “Not me!” I appreciate that some people might feel the same about Queen, but quite frankly they would be, at best, misguided.”
I’m not sure if it’s distasteful, ironic or entirely appropriate that this is posted just as we pass the 25th anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death, but since I know Rol is a big fan of Queen (as opposed to a fan of big queens) I’ll go with the latter.
“‘Who Wants To Live Forever?’ comes from the soundtrack of the movie Highlander, which leads me naturally to a lovely early Billy Joel song called ‘Summer, Highland Falls.’ Hey, if we can show Neil Diamond love, Billy must get his too.”
A debate for another day, I think, but certainly one I’ll be backing you up on (up to a point):
Phenomenal bit of work there, artist responsible for the design of the single sleeve.
“What’s next on the list?”
“Something called “Forever in Blue Jeans” by Neil Diamond. Any ideas?”
“How about we just stick his face on some denim?”
“Perfect. Fancy a pint?”
Now this song reminds me of someone, a former flatmate of mine and Hel’s. This was his favourite record by Diamond. I mean, it’s okay but it’s no “I Am…I Said”, is it? Hell, it’s not even “Cracklin’ Rosie” or “Beautiful Noise”. This is one of the perils of house-sharing these days; you can interview them as much as you like, but you never know what people are really like until they move in. This guy was priceless.
He survived on a diet of pizza and pasta on alternating days, then tried to take the piss out of me for eating liking foreign food because I was eating Mexican one evening. His idea of eating pasta was to boil some water, add pasta, drain then add nothing but tomato ketchup. Once, he realised he had put too much water in the saucepan, so decided to empty some out – into the kitchen bin, rather than into the sink. He would eat packets of crisps and just drop the empty packets on the floor. We once found a half devoured bag of Doritos next to the toilet. A toilet which he refused to lift the seat of when he peed, and which he refused to flush before he left to go to work (after we had) of a morning, leaving a gorgeous odour to greet the first person home. He made several unwelcome passes at Hel, and made up an entirely fictitious girlfriend who he claimed worked on a leading TV soap opera, even though we did know someone who worked on the same show who categorically told us the girl didn’t exist. Oh, and he did a runner from the house in the middle of the day when we were at work, leaving me and Hel to cover his share of the household bills, and I suspect, liberating a large chunk of my vinyl – including all of The Smiths original Rough Trade album releases – as he went.
All of which might just about be forgivable were it not for one thing: he liked Kasabian.
Every possible opportunity he had, he would bang on about how awesome they were, and when one of their albums, I forget which, the one where they try and sound like Oasis meets the Stones meets “Rocks”-era Primal Scream probably, like that narrows it down, was voted Album of the Year by Q magazine, he bought a copy (of the magazine), and kept leaving it around the house, open at the relevant page, like we were going to go “Oh, well if Q says it’s the Album of the Year….”
And if it wasn’t Kasabian, it was bloody Mumford & Sons. I rest my case.
I mention all of this now, because one day he burst into the house, breathless with excitement, gushing “Jez…Jez…have you heard of Longpigs? Best…Britpop band…ever!”
Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with Longpigs first album, “The Sun is Often Out”. And they gave us Richard Hawley, so for that we are of course grateful In fact, I can’t believe I’ve never posted anything by him – I’ll rectify that over the weekend.
But best Britpop band ever? C’mon…
Anyway, that leads me, in a very roundabout way indeed, to what I think is their finest moment. For if you do Live Forever, then surely it could be said that you go on and on…
Remember when Worst Record of the Week used to be about posting the Cheesiest Record of the Week? Well, that would win, even if it’s deliberately so.
And, just take a look at that Radio 1 sticker that proudly adorns the front. It reads: “As First Heard on the Kevin Greening Show”. Surely I’m not alone in furrowing my brow and saying, “Sorry, who??” Perhaps his career was cut short precisely because it was his show that first played that.
Hang on, Rol’s thought of something else. Having convinced himself not to suggest something by Gallagher and Lyle, he came back with this:
“Oh, I just had a thought about the Gallagher & Lyle route that would lead to a semi-respectable song.
Gallagher & Lyle reminds me of Tate & Lyle.
Tate & Lyle make sugar.
So… Sugar – ‘If I Can’t Change Your Mind'”
“Semi-respectable”?? That’s a fine record, and no mistake:
…which is a cover of The Who track from “The Who Sell Out” of course. And Oasis covered The Who’s “My Generation” on their live album “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down”. This week, more than any, we seem to be going round in circles and finding additional links.
“Alternatively,” SWC continues, “the complete opposite of live forever would be dying young so we could have ‘All Die Young’ by much missed Smith Westerns.”
I had totally forgotten how good that is, like a cross between My Bloody Valentine and Doves.
Last suggestion of the week, and I’ve deliberately kept this one back til last. I’ll leave you in the capable hands of The Robster from Is This the Life? to wrap things up:
“Pre-Oasis, Noel Gallagher was a roadie for Inspiral Carpets. Post-Oasis, he formed the High Flying Birds. Therefore I offer ‘Flying Like A Bird’ from Inspiral Carpets’ self-titled comeback album from 2014. I’d also like to dedicate it to their drummer Craig Gill who passed away last week.”
You know the drill by now; your suggestions for records that link to “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” by XTC, along with a brief description as to how you got from one to the other, via the Comments section below.
It’s Chain Gang time, and for any newcomers to these shores, hello, and here’s an explanation as to what we do here: each week we move along the records which have featured on the BBC’s The Chain segment of Radcliffe and Maconie’s show, originally on Radio 2, currently on 6 Music; we play the next in the chain, ask for your suggestions for tunes we can play which link to that record, but instead of picking just one, we endeavour to post links to them all. Then, at the end of the post, we reveal what the official next record is, and off we go again.
I mention this as at the weekend I met up with some friends for Sunday lunch; a few of them read this regularly (hello!), some sporadically (hello!), some never (there’s not much point in saying hello to them) and one who falls into the middle category asked me what the hell is going on here. Got it now?
Perhaps it would be better if we just crack on? Last week, we ended with the song that was the 24th record played in the official chain on the aforementioned show, Joni Mitchell’s “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” and these are the suggestions you came up with.
Oh and by the way, this is slightly later than usual as I’ve had some issues with the layout of this post, which I don’t seem to be able to rectify. I suspect it’s because of the size of the post; I’ll keep trying to make it look pwetty for you all after I’ve posted it.
Anyway, this week, all of the suggestions (including my own) can be put into one of six, broad categories.
Category 1 – JoniMitchell:
Regular readers will know that the record that brought us to Joni Mitchell was Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ “Radio Radio”. Even more regular readers will know that a few weeks ago, in a Comment Conversation about acts which everyone else seems to adore and revere, but which leave some of us utterly flaccid and distinctly unaroused, regular contributor to this page, George, told us how he is left cold by The Clash and Bruce Springsteen. So imagine our surprise when he mentioned last week that he had a link which resulted in a song by The Boss. However, he declined to let us know what it was.
Until, that is, after last week’s Chain post had been posted, at which point he sent this:
“Now that you’ve published this week’s Chain I can give you my Springsteen link. Elvis Costello’s real name was Declan McManus. Mick MacManus was a wrestler, and Bruce Springsteen wrote a song called The Wrestler. Now, I have been in touch with the chairman of FOMAMB (Federation of Middle Aged Male Bloggers ) who tells me you are not allowed to edit your post and re-upload it with my suggestion.”
This is fictional federation-ness gone mad! Curse the federation! Where’s Blake’s 7 when you need them?
So why am I mentioning this in a section a category which I have quite clearly just announced contains links to Joni Mitchell? Well, because Alex G from We Will Have Salad kindly stepped in to assist, that’s why:
“That’seasy” writes our hero, “Nick Mitchell is a wrestler. Or Ryan Mitchell is a wrestler. And so on.”
Thanks Alex! And here you go George. No, no need to thank us:
“One of Joni’s most famous songs is Woodstock, about the legendary festival in 1969. Although initially scheduled to perform there, Joni was prevented from doing so by her record label as they had booked a TV appearance for her the next day and they were concerned she wouldn’t make it back in time.
Her then-boyfriend was Graham Nash, who did perform at Woodstock as part of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. He relayed the weekend’s events to Joni who subsequently wrote the song about it.
The link then… Woodstock was opened by Richie Havens who played one of the event’s most fondly remembered sets. On his 1974 album ‘Mixed Bag II’, Havens covered The Loner, a song originally written and performed by Neil Young, who also played Woodstock as a member of CSN&Y.”
And that, BBC, is how you “educate, inform and entertain”.
Sometimes, the suggestions can go off at a bit of a tangent, mind. One person’s suggestion may lead another contributor in a different direction. So long as the link is sound, though, we’ll dust off the tune in question and give it a spin. Take Swiss Adam from Bagging Area‘s first suggestion of the week, for example (and yes, I did just say first suggestion, for often folks will make offer more than one. I’ve got four this week, but then it’s my blog, so there):
“Neil Young is the obvious route but Robster’s got it covered. Teenage Fanclub’s Neil Jung perhaps?”
Lifted from their should-have-been-huge “Grand Prix” album, it’s often overlooked that when it was released as a single, “Neil Jung” came in two different versions: your actual bona fide album version and this, the lesser known but still bloody excellent, version:
One of the great things, even if I do say myself, is there sheer diversity of the suggestions we get here, and here’s an example. From Teenage Fanclub, to Fluke, to The Fall, all linking back to the same source. Here’s George again:
“Joni Mitchell sang about a Big Yellow Taxi. Taxi was an American sitcom from the late 70s, starring, amongst others, Danny De Vito. And there’s a Fall single Rolling Danny (originally by Gene Vincent).”
Yeh, I thought that was how Danny was spelt too, until I checked out the single sleeve, that is:
Now, The Chain is not just about picking the coolest record with the cleverest link. Here at A History of Dubious Taste (generally) and The Chain (specifically) we like to feature the occasional record which some might describe as cheesy, some just as downright crap. Previously, we’ve had songs by Chesney Hawkes, Busted, and last week, Russ Abbot. Truly we know no shame.
First to take a tilt at claiming this week’s “Worst Record of the Week” crown goes to babylotti. This is actually the third suggestion he gave this week (the others will feature in a bit, in different categories):
“Paul Evans with the ‘Hello, This is Joannie (The Telephone Answering Machine Song)’, purely because I thought he was referring to Joni Mitchell as a kid (I originally thought that was how it was on the record….)
Ordinarily, I would now write something terribly scathing and/or witty, but this is a record which I posted a few weeks ago on my currently on hiatus “Friday Night Music Club”, thread, where I once posted a load of songs about telephone calls. You can read it here: self-referential tosser.
Anyway, nice try, babylotti, but I’m afraid that’s not the Worst Record of the Week. Stick around folks, you’ll see soon enough.
“Joni collaborated with Charles Mingus on her LP ‘Mingus’. This was Mingus’s final musical project and the album was dedicated to him after his death. On the 1959 LP ‘Mingus Ah Um’, Charles Mingus paid his own tribute to the recently deceased saxophonist Lester Young, with the gorgeous ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’.”
That leads me rather nicely on to my own first suggestion of the week. “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” is lifted from Joni’s “For the Roses” album, and, just like Joni and Jon Langford, John Squire of The Stone Roses, when he wasn’t chucking paint over his former record company’s offices, or taking several years to make an album that falls into “alright but not as good as their first album and certainly not worth the wait” bracket, or releasing underwhelming come back singles (did anyone like The Stone Roses come back material? In fact, can anyone name any of the singles? Without checking? Nope, thought not.)
So here’s a double linker, courtesy of Yours Truly:
Is it just me, or has Harry Belafonte got massive hands?
Now, newcomers I now need to introduce you to the concept of Comment Showboating. This is where a contributor provides a long, detailed, spectacular explanation of how they have got from Record A to Record B, and is a phrase I originally used to describe one of George’s early suggestions. It is meant as a compliment, by the way. More recently, Dirk from sexyloser has been providing the entertainment in this regard, but not this week:
“No Comment Showboating attempt this week, because the fact that this song seems to derive from an album called ‘For The Roses’ immediately made me think of a version of ‘Good Year For The Roses’ that I simply LOVED ever since I first heard it (on Peel, where else?), and in my estimation it’s better than any other version I know, and this – excuse me – includes E. Costello. So my choice for this week links to Dino Lee (The King Of White Trash) and his version of ‘Good Year For The Roses’ from 1985.”
“If you can’t find it anywhere, I’d be happy to send you an mp3-file …” Dirk adds. Oh ye of little faith! But that does flag up one of the rules here at The Chain: if you’re going to suggest a record, particularly an obscure one, then you must have a copy yourself in case I don’t have it already or am unable to source it. And then be nice when I come begging.
Now, before I become all bogged down with “The Rule”, we’ll move onto the third category of the night.
Category 3 – Turns/Turn-Ons:
Often the simplest links are the best, and more often then not the simplest way to link from the source song to your choice of tune is to pick a word from the title and find one that has the same word, preferably, but not necessarily in the title.
He’s right, that is wonderful. I’d never heard of Gravenhurst before, but if you like that track, I can heartily recommend getting hold of a copy (legally, of course) of the “Flashlight Seasons” album for more of the same. Cheers SWC!
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a wheelbarrow being delivered.”
Erm, fair enough. You’re excused.
What seemed an age ago, babylotti gave us the third of his three suggestions, and it’s about time we went back to check out his other two. Well, one of them for now:
“Robert Palmer’s cover of Jam & Lewis’s ‘I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On’ (the original was by Cherrelle)”
Now, had you not stipulated you were nominating the Robert Palmer version, I would have happily plumped for the Cherelle version. There’s just something about the Robert Palmer version that makes me feel a little…uneasy. Listen to the lyrics: this a man apologising to a woman for being so utterly irresistible (simply irresistible, you could say) that she cannot help but get turned on by him. This came out in 1985, when Palmer was 36. I know that’s not quite old enough for this to qualify as locker room talk, the optimum age for which we all now know is 59, but still…. The “Don’t blame me, you shouldn’t have gone out with me because you should have known you wouldn’t be able to resist me” defence makes my skin crawl, and Palmer’s version of this song is a Ched Evans of a record.
Trump should use this version as his walk-on music for tonight’s final live debate. At least Palmer is dead and so won’t be able to protest about it’s appropriated use.
Ahem. Anyway. Remember Alex G from right at the top of this post, kindly providing me with a reason to post some Bruce Springsteen? Well, here he is again:
“I would say this is kind of obvious, but since nobody else has suggested it (and I still like it)…”
And since we’re now on to songs which contain the lyrics “You turn me on”, here’s The Beard:
“You turn me on are the opening words of a well known song by Simple Minds. Said song (almost) shares it’s title with one time Saturday morning kids show Live & Kicking. The predecessor of this show was Going Live!, helmed by Phillip Schofield. The greyer than grey presenter was famously accosted by Fruitbat from Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party in 1991. The song they, erm, played at that shindig was After The Watershed.”
For those of you who don’t know what The Beard is blethering on about, here’s the footage:
For reasons which are probably already pretty clear if you watched that all the way through, The Rolling Stones took out an injunction against the band to prevent it being played on the radio, and then took further legal action to make sure the song was thereafter credited to “Morrison, Carter, Richards and Jagger”. You’d have thought, given that “After the Watershed” came out in 1991, Richard Ashcroft might have learned something, wouldn’t you?. But no: six years later The Verve released “Bitter Sweet Symphony”, which, predictably, befell exactly the same fate for sampling The Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham’s orchestral version of “The Last Time”.
Time to pop back to babylotti again, for his third choice which was actually his second (I really don’t make this easy for myself, do I?)
“Because I meant to post it when ‘Radio, Radio’ was the chain, but it still is relevant with this thread, Latin Quarter’s ‘Radio Africa’. Wasn’t really a fan, but saw them at the Sheffield Leadmill years ago & have remembered that song ever since……”
Over now to The Great Gog, who was first to post a suggestion this week, which used to mean he got top billing, but hey-ho, times change, and now he finds himself the second of two songs in the fourth category. Nothing personal, mind, I thought this was one of the cleverest links this week:
“Well, Joni clearly believes herself to be an item of electrical equipment, and this is not a unique state for a recording artist to find themselves in. Remember Buggles? The “Video Killed The Radio Star” duo (there’s a Radio link I hadn’t thought of!)? Some people may be surprised to know that they recorded an album. Still more may be surprised to learn that they even made it as far as a second album. It is on this second album where Trevor Horn rather robotically advises the listener that “I Am A Camera”. It was released as a single but didn’t trouble the Charts at all.”
The Bluetones were a fine singles band in my book, but were regarded as a poor man’s Stone Roses, which I’ve never seen myself. It’s like when Gene were proclaimed as a Happy Shopper Smiths, simply because they had an articulate, literate lead singer and their music was guitar-lead. I’ll feature some more of their records on here sometime soon.
In the meantime, over to Alyson from What’s It All About Alfie? Now, I have to be honest, her reason for suggesting the song she has done does not having anything to do with “Blue”, but I was feeling a little lonely in this category, all on my Jack Jones, and by putting Alyson’s suggestion in here too (it does fit) it bestows double-linker status on it:
“Elvis Costello did a version of ‘Good Year for the Roses’ but that means we double back to him. Thinking of flowers however, it did remind me that when I went to see him in the early ’80s he was supported by a band called The Bluebells (led by Bobby Bluebell !). They had a hit (twice) with the song ‘Young at Heart’ so I’ll go with that one as well.”
Dirk’s back with his actual second suggestion of the week:
“I know that the above [his first suggestion] is not the correct link as chosen by the BBC lads, in fact it’s (because, as CC correctly points out, good ole’ Joni seems to like wearing a nice beret) Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler’s ‘The Ballad Of The Green Berets’. Of course it is….“
Which just leaves my final one for this week. Mention a beret to pretty much anyone who was brought up in the UK in the 1970s, and the first person who will spring to mind isn’t Joni Mitchell, or Billy McKenzie, or Prince, or Rickie Lee Jones, or, astonishing as it may seem, to Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler. No. They will think of Michael Crawford as Frank Spencer in BBC sitcom “Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em”.
Frank Spencer was not the brightest chap in the world, talking in an almost infantile way despite quite clearly being an adult. He was also very accident prone, and the main events of each episode was building up to the grand finale, a impeccably orchestrated stunt which Crawford, apparently, did mostly himself.
Here’s perhaps the most famous one (and yes, I know he’s not wearing a beret in this clip):
In the 1970s and early 1980s there was a band who I have mentioned before on these pages, who did “comedy” versions of pop songs. But their repertoire was not restricted to such cheesiness. Sometimes they wrote their own, original songs, and sometimes the subject matter of those songs was popular television comedy characters.
In case you’re wondering about the slightly dubious sleeve, that’s the original cover of “Electric Ladyland” from which “Voodoo Chile [Slight Return]” is lifted.
So – your suggestions please, via the Comments Section down below, for records which you can link to Voodoo Chile [Slight Return] by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, along with an as brief or as complicated as you like explanation as to how you have got from one record t’other.
And I’m willing to bet I know which artist Charity Chic will suggest. And if he doesn’t, I will.
Okay, I know I said I was through with the Prince posts, but indulge me for a moment with just one more.
Many years ago, when we first met, long before I moved to London and we shared a flat, Hel and I got to talking about Prince. Her knowledge of the great man far outweighed mine; I had to profess that I pretty much knew his singles from When Doves Cry onwards but that, bar “Purple Rain” and “Sign O’The Times”, I was fairly ignorant as to the quality of his albums.
Shortly afterwards, a C90 cassette (yes, that’s how long ago it was) landed with me, full of Prince tracks, pointing me in the right direction, a guide which allowed me to go off and explore for myself.
The track in this post was included, and Hel was most insistent that if I listened to nothing else, I had to hear this one.
Fast forward a good few years. When the news broke of his sudden death last week, this was the first song that sprang to my mind, as my Twitter feed will attest: the title seemed to comment perfectly on his death, and the timing of it. If ever there was an appropriate month for him to leave us, it was April.
And then, after weeks of perfectly pleasant, slightly warmer weather than usual for this time of year (but let’s not get into the whole global warming thing right now), it seemed that the weather in certain parts of the UK thought it should be paying tribute to the great man too.
Suddenly, there were reports of incoming blizzards and snow storms, almost as if the weather knew what I was thinking, knew the record I had in mind, knew that Prince had died.
In case you’ve lost track of why I’m doing a weekend of Prince covers, it’s not just to mourn the passing of the Purple One, it’s also to show the diversity of the artistes that he inspired and influenced.
Hopefully, the next few posts demonstrate that point.
First up today, probably my favourite Prince song ever, first performed by all of the members of R.E.M., minus Michael Stipe, plus Warren Zevon:
A few years ago (actually, now I think about it, 12 years ago. Ouch!) a mate of mine threw a birthday party (I think….) at his place in West London. It was a day-into-night affair, so there was a barbecue and lazing around and drinking in the afternoon, followed by a fair amount of substance abuse of one kind or another in the evening. (Can I just stress again that when I mention this kind of thing, I am not advocating their use? I’m just relating, s’all. Y’know, just in case someone sues me or something. Don’t shoot the messenger.)
There were 30 or so people there, but apart from the host and his wife, and the couple I’d travelled up from Cardiff with, I knew nobody. This makes what happens next fairly predictable.
There was a trade-off to being invited: all attendees were instructed to prepare in advance, and provide on arrival, a mix-tape, over both sides of a C-60. All cassettes were to be unmarked, no track listing provided, and they would provide the soundtrack to the party. For added fun (there were no prizes), attendees were then supposed to try and work out who had made which mix-tape.
I still think this is a cracking idea for a party, provided you’ve got a working tape deck to play them on.
You won’t be surprised to learn that I attacked this task with much vigour and gusto. What I needed to do, I thought, was one of my trademark mixes that slowly build to a climax, but at the same time pick songs which I liked but which the few people I knew there might not necessarily associate with me, so as to throw them off the trail when it came to identifying the creator of the cassette.
In other words, I over-thought it.
You’ll be even less surprised to learn that of the 30 or so attendees, only four of us bothered making a mix-tape, all of whom were male. And one of whom used a C-90, the dirty rotten cheat.
My selection caused much bafflement and scratching of heads, and I was delighted that nobody managed to twig which mix-tape was mine. I had won!! I was the Belle of the Ball!!
But then, much later, someone else turned up with a mix-tape that started with Dennis Waterman’s “I Could Be So Good For You” and everyone forgot about mine and hailed him a genius instead.
Dammit, I own that on 7″ single, why didn’t I think of including it?
I’m not bitter though. Oh no.
I wish I could remember all of the songs I’d included, but alas, I can only remember the first three, the ones which were sufficient to throw everyone off the scent, and they’re all perfect for posting here, so, well, here you go:
In order they were (and, in brackets, my reason for selecting them):
(Step 1: Pick some weird old 60s tune everyone kinda knows, but which nobody would associate with you. Unless they had heard any of my previous mix-tapes (which they hadn’t) which almost inevitably start off with something in this vein. A scene setter, if you like. Ladies and Gentleman, fasten your seatbelts, we’re going on a journey).
(Step 2: A journey to Wales. A stroke of genius this; the host of the party is Welsh, as are his wife and the couple I had travelled up from Cardiff with, but other than that, all English (as far as I can recall). I literally (not literally; metaphorically) cloaked myself with Welsh language psych-folk.)
(Step 3: Then throw in a curveball, a tune by someone that you know at least one other person is bound to have a bit of an obsession with.)
It worked: there was much finger pointing after this came on in a “But this must be yours, you like Gorky’s and Prince!”, “So do you!” kinda way, but none in my direction.
Much, much later that night, as it got darker and colder and people started to either drift off home or, at the very least, into the house, I found someone frantically hunting around the tape deck. I asked what they had lost.
“I’m trying to find that tape that had the balloon song at the start,” they replied.
I allowed myself a smug smirk, and pointed it out from the pile. “Good that one, wasn’t it?”
And no I’m not going to play you “I Could Be So Good For You”. Well not yet, anyway.
That should get your Sunday morning off to a breezy start, alright.