The Chain #50

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Pumpkins are gourds.

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

Takeaway salesman?

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

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

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

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

Anyway, sorry Rol. You were saying?

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

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

“And then there is…” Rol innocently continues:

Phew. No puns then.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hop into TITTS and we’ll be off.

(I am 51 years old.)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is tardis-2.gif

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

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

…and…

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

The really rather ace:

The considerably less ace:

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

…which leads me to this piece of genius:

**TIME TRAVEL KLAXON ALERT **

Here we go:

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

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

“…then 1970 by them too….”

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

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

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

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

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

“…then 1970 by them too….”

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

This one?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He’s not wrong:

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

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

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

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

…and….

“…and…”

Here’s Pat, back with another related suggestion:

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

Billy Corgan: Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins.

Homer: Homer Simpson, smiling politely.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just saying.

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

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

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

“Field Music are the best band from Sunderland.”

Better.

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

And here’s C from Sun Dried Sparrows:

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

I thought Lovefoxxx was your dating profile name?

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

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

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

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

…and this odd little thing I stumbled across:

..and this, from Pat:

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

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

Off we pop:

To here:

Which just about wraps it up.

Oh wait. Here’s Rol again:

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

Obviously.

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

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

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

More soon.

Be Llŷrious

One of the most joyous things about mine and Llŷr’s friendship was that we both knew how to make the other one laugh. A lot. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to make somebody laugh as much as Llŷr, and I’m damned sure nobody ever made me laugh as much as he did.

Making Llŷr laugh was one of my favourite things to do, because he was so funny to watch when he laughed, especially when I’d said something a little close to the mark and he tried to suppress it. You could see his face going bright red, his eyes bulge, his shoulders would begin to shudder as he clutched his sides and attempted to hold them in check. Usually, he would cave in, and would literally roll on the sofa laughing; other times he’d just have that great big grin on his face as he giggled away to himself. If I managed to time it just right, I could make him spray whatever he was eating or drinking out of his mouth.

As I mentioned in a recent post, when we lived together – mostly before he got ill, but we endeavoured to keep it going after that too – it was a constant, if unspoken, quest between us to get the other to crack up. We had honed it down to a fine art, sometimes not even needing to speak, a quick glance in his direction at the right time let him know exactly what I was thinking and that was enough to set him off. Often this was done purely for comic effect, but it would be true to say that Llŷr was a very patient and accommodating chap whilst I, on the other hand, was quicker to take exception to someone. And when we were watching TV, this was often based on nothing more than the way they spoke or dressed.

I was reminded of this on Sunday morning, when I woke on the sofa having nodded off after watching Joe Biden’s victory speech (falling asleep on the sofa was in itself a very Llŷr thing to do). The TV was on, and through half-open eyes I located the remote and flicked through the channels to see if there was anything to watch rather than go to bed. I landed on a repeat of an old game show, and as the quizmaster greeted each contestant in turn, it only took one of them to say “Hello” and I found myself arching one eyebrow upwards and turning to my right, to where Llŷr would have been sitting in the Flat of Filth (he always sat to my right at home, a bit like Ant and Dec). It was a glance which I knew if he caught, he would be able to interpret and hopefully a fit of giggles would ensue.

Only to be reminded, yet again, that he has gone, and that I’ll never be able to make him double-up laughing again.

*****

Llŷr bloody loved Prince, rightly so, so this seems appropriate:

More soon.

Claps, Clicks & Whistles #20

Blimey, it’s been a while since I wrote one of these!

For those of you who don’t recall the thrust of this series, or those who have only started frequenting these pages in the not unsizeable gap that is since March 2018, here’s the giste: I have a theory, and that theory is that any song which features either handclaps, finger-clicks or whistles can only be fantastic (and generally upbeat) records. This series sets out to test this theory.

So far, I have been 100% correct, but then I do have the slight advantage of being the content provider/writer/editor.

So I’ll keep it brief, for this artiste needs no introduction whatsoever:

Prince – I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man

More soon.

Same Title, Different Song

In 1982, Dave Robertson of Stiff Records made a suggestion to a new label signing: record three cover versions to attract everybody’s attention, then release an original composition and it will be a massive hit.

The band dutifully obliged, releasing covers of The Dixie Cups “Iko Iko”, Shirley Ellis’ “The Clapping Song”, and Inez & Charlie Foxx’s “Mockingbird”.

And then, the killer song what they wrote themselves (to quote Ernie Wise), which in 1983 gave them their biggest hit, their only UK Top 10 (See? Dave knows best), and an absolute stone-cold classic to these ears. I speak, of course, of this:

the-belle-stars-sign-of-the-times-stiff-3

The Belle Stars – Sign of the Times

Of course, The Belle Stars weren’t the first act to record a hit single by that name, nor would they be the last.

Take Bryan Ferry, for example. In 1978, on hiatus from Roxy Music, he released his fifth solo album, “The Bride Stripped Bare”; this was the second single of four lifted from it, and the only one to grace the UK Top 40, and even then only reaching No. 37:

Sign_of_the_Times_(Bryan_Ferry_song)

Bryan Ferry – Sign of the Times

An honourable mention at this point to Prince, who would get a bit more written now had he not abbreviated the word of to o’, which saves me precisely no time to either write or type:

9c2174b6ae2da7518596ae9fc5b08c3c

Prince – Sign O’ The Times

You’ve probably guessed where I’m going next. Yup, in one direction only. (See what I did there?)

I’m surprised to find that I really like this next song. For a start, I don’t think I’ve liked any songs released by his former band, but then again, I don’t think I’ve ever really listened to anything by them, so don’t be too flabbergasted if at some point one of theirs crops up in the This Is Pop thread elsewhere on these pages at some point.

I’m also surprised because at just over five and a half-minutes long it seems just a teensy bit too long given that, well, nothing really happens in it, it doesn’t go anywhere, it just flits between falsetto and what appears to be an impression of Kelly Jones of Stereophonics fame.

But sometimes you find yourself liking a record not because it fits the remit and sound of the type of thing you like, but despite it. And such is the case with this (which I’ve deliberately misspelled in the hope that I’ll avoid a take-down notice):

harry-styles-sign-of-the-times-single-2017-instagram

Hairy Stiles – Sign of the Thymes

There. I’ve said it. And I feel so much better for it.

More soon.

Same Title, Different Song

May I start this post by taking the unprecedented step of asking that you go away and visit fellow bloggers and much valued Chain Gangers SWC and Badger’s place, When You Can’t Remember Anything

The boys have just finished their mammoth 2016 postings, a song (and often more) a day listing of their top 200 songs, compulsory reading in my book. Two things I learned from their blog last year: firstly, that there are many, many tunes which had never crossed my radar which are bloody ace, and secondly that both SWC and Badger are bloody good writers: every post is entertaining, usually funny, occasionally incredibly moving, so y’know, don’t go just to download the tunes, read what they’ve written too. You won’t regret it.

The boys have just started a new project, the does-what-it-says-on-tin “Three Songs With The Same Title”, where each week they will post three songs with the same title, then reveal which song will feature the following week, and invite readers to contribute their suggestions, just on the off-chance that they’ve missed one.

As they say “This is another series in which we are sort of ripping off someone else (read blatantly), basically all the good ideas for music blogs have gone…so we are taking existing ideas and erm, twisting them.”

S’ok, they mention the similarities between this and my weekly Chain post, so I’m not saying anything they haven’t mentioned themselves; I’m not stealing their thunder or trying to take credit for their idea. Besides, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

But what that does mean is that I’m going to retire this thread to give the boys a clear run. What can I say? It’s tough being a trail-blazing pioneer…. (my tongue is placed firmly in my cheek as I type that, by the way).

But let’s be honest: I rarely post anything on this thread and they’ll do a way better job, more regularly, on their blog than I have done here anyway .

So I’ll sign off with one last post on this thread, and chaps: my apologies if this was a song title you planned on using later on.

The other night – bizarrely, the night before the WYCRA boys announced their new theme –  I dreamt of three songs with the same name title (or as I thought, two with the same name and one slightly different one) but on closer examination, I find that all three are ever so slightly different.

So let’s start with this one and build from there:

charlie-rich-the-most-beautiful-girl-epic-6

Charlie Rich – The Most Beautiful Girl

I genuinely have always thought that was called “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” which means you can probably guess where I’m going next:

princethemostbeautifulgirlintheworld

Prince – The Most Beautiful Girl in the World

Incredibly, that remains Prince’s only UK Number One to date. I mean, what does a guy have to do to get his second? He died last year and still we didn’t manage to make anything from his back catalogue top the charts. Shame on us, it’s the very least he deserved.

That said, for me “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” is not one of his better records, it’s certainly not one of my favourites; actually, and I appreciate this may be sacrilige to many of you, I’d rather listen to this duo than that tune:

flight

Flight of the Conchords – The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)

“You’re so beautiful…like a high class prostitute

You’re so beautiful, you could be a part-time model

(But you’d probably have to still keep your normal job)”

Genius.

And that’s Same Title, Different Song done for the time being, idiosyncraticly signing off with three songs with different titles. I’m a maverick, and no mistake.

Over to you chaps.

More soon.

That Summer Feeling #30

For fear of overkill, apart from marking their passing, I’ve shied away from posting much Bowie or Prince since their sad, sudden demises earlier this year. For example, the other week, when writing the post about my brother’s birthday and his musical inclinations as we grew up, I completely omitted, deliberately, to mention he was the only person I knew (at the time) who bought the “Purple Rain” soundtrack. It was too soon, I thought.

Time to redress that. Here from his genre-busting “Sign O’ The Times” album is an absolute doozy:

Sign-☮-The-Times-CD1-cover-640x640

Prince – Play in the Sunshine

As I was listening to that, it occurred to me there’s a whole instrumental break in it that sounds like it’s lifted from a soundtrack. Now, Prince loved making movies to go with his albums, but I wasn’t aware of him doing one for “Sign O’ The Times” so I did a little research, and boy oh boy I’m glad I did, for I stumbled across possibly the best review of an album I’ve ever read.

This, from “The Village Voice”:

‘Sign O’ The Times…[is the sound of]…the most gifted pop musician of his generation proving what a motherfucker he is for two discs start to finish.’ The author, Robert Christgau, goes on to praise Prince’s ‘one-man band tricks…[which] make Stevie Wonder sound like a struggling ventriloquist’ along with his ability to express real emotions: ‘The objects of his desire are also objects of interest, affection, and respect. Some of them he may not even fuck.’

Sheena Easton was not available for comment.

Moe soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down (All Other Music is Temporarily Suspended edition)

Morning all. As with last night’s Late Night Stargazing edition, video clip only til I get home when I’ll add an mp3 link for y’all.

I posted the original of this on The Day The Music Died, so I shan’t bang on too much about how great it is.

Here’s The Be Good Tanyas shuffling take on”When Doves Cry”. S’nice enough, I suppose. Again, posted more to illustrate the diversity of the musical acts that His Purpleness touched (metaphorically) than anything else. Oh, and the video isn’t really a video, if you know what I mean.

And now, here’s the mp3 link:

The Be Good Tanyas – When Doves Cry

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing (All Other Music is Temporarily Suspended edition)

It’s my Dad’s birthday this weekend, so I’m away at my folks for the weekend, which means no access to my library of tunes.

I’d planned to prepare all of the weekend’s posts before I left, but Windows decided it wanted to rob me of a couple of hours of my Friday night doing an upgrade (and could I spot the difference after it’d finished? What do you reckon..?) and so consequently I didn’t get everything done before I set off. So you’ll forgive me for posting a video clips for the next couple of posts. I’ll add mp3 links when I get home.

So, having focussed on others covering Prince recently, here’s Prince covering someone. Radiohead, specifically. I don’t usually like to post live stuff, as it’s often of variable quality. This, however, is, as you’d expect, just incredible:

And now, here’s the mp3 link:

Prince – Creep (Live at Coachella 2008)

More soon.

All Other Music is Temporarily Suspended #5

Here’s the next batch of Prince cover-oddities.

First up, Sufjan Stevens, who for reasons best known to himself, decided to release this on one of his “Silver & Gold” Christmas albums. Go Figure.

a98e1e1d

Sufjan Stevens – Alphabet St.

And at the other end of the spectrum, originally released as an extra track on CD2 of their single “Come On”, which was lifted from their mostly acoustic “Stoned and Dethroned” album. But don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security; this is closer to how they sounded circa “Sidewalking”, in other words it is The Jesus & Mary Chain doing what The Jesus & Mary Chain do best: be noisy, sleazy and just a little bit glam, to a backdrop of a lot of feedback.

220px-JAMC_ComeOnCD2

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Alphabet Street

And finally, as has become traditional in this mini-series, the original and greatest version:

prince44

Prince – Alphabet St.

More soon.