A Message to The Chain Gang

Hello.

I owe you all an apology.

Here we are, in the last full week of January 2017, and so far we’ve only had one edition of “the best thing on the internet” ™ (not my words, the words of Top Gear magazine more than one you kind folks) so far this year: The Chain.

Truth be told, I’ve been finding it quite hard to get myself motivated to write it. I’m not sure if this is a case of the January blues. I think not.

I think it’s to do with the amount of work it takes (and yes, I know I always say that I just host The Chain, but since most of you write or have written blogs yourselves, I think a lot of you recognised that as utter bullshit false modesty.)

Maybe if I talk you through the process of how it is (normally) created, you’ll get the idea.

Wednesday: between 23:30 and midnight, post the latest instalment.

Thursday & Friday: erm, not a lot happens here, move on.

Saturday, Sunday & Monday: start sourcing all of the songs suggested so far that I don’t already own.

Tuesday: source all of the cover art, and any outstanding suggestions. Try and make some sort of narrative sense out of the songs, so that it’s not just “SWC suggested this:” and “George came up with this:” Try to think of some clips to include, as well as my own suggestions. Place all the songs on a playlist on my iPod.

Wednesday: listen to the playlist on the way to and from work, trying desperately to think of something, hopefully something funny or at least mildly amusing, to say about some of them. Get home. Start writing. Finish sometime between 23:30 and midnight, publish, eat.

Now I don’t want to sound all ungrateful, because I’m deeply touched that you all stop by here, read what I have written, leave kind comments and superb suggestions for the next edition. But frankly, last week I found myself approaching Monday night with a certain amount of…not dread, more apathy. The same on Tuesday. And again on Wednesday.

See, I spend my entire working day, as I’m sure many of you do, sitting in front of a computer screen and sometimes the last thing I feel like doing when I get home is to spend another five or six hours in front of another one.

I’m not having a pop here, by the way; lawd knows that I encourage you all to make multiple suggestions, sometimes posting the ones you mention in passing even if you have specifically stated it’s not your actual suggestion. I’ve always wanted this place to be an interactive blog, so I’m certainly not complaining now that The Chain is exactly that.

But, in short, something had to give, and unfortunately for the past couple of weeks, that’s been The Chain. And for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been mulling over what to do about it.

Here’s the options as I see them:

  1. Limit the amount of suggestions to two per person. I’m not doing this. Apart from what I’ve just written, I genuinely love seeing the stepping stones of your thought processes as you skip from one tune to another. So we can rule that out.
  2. For fairly obvious reasons, I can’t actually start writing The Chain until all the suggestions are in, so perhaps instead of giving you seven days, we could make it five. I’m not doing this, as I think it would exclude some of you who, having posted something earlier in the week, suddenly come up with an absolute blinder at the nth hour. So we can rule that out.
  3. Make The Chain a fortnightly post. Nah, I don’t like that either, as it just means I’ll have two week’s worth of tunes to write come Wednesday night. Next.
  4. I can knock it on the head now, quit while I’m ahead.

Hmm. I have always said that once writing not just The Chain but this blog in general becomes a chore, then it’s time to stop doing it.

So, fellow Chain Gangers, it is with a very heavy heart that I announce that tomorrow’s edition of The Chain, the 36th edition, will be the last.

…To be posted on a Wednesday.

Instead, after tomorrow we’ll be moving to a Sunday. This will give me the whole weekend (assuming my hectic playboy lifestyle allows it) to tinker around writing it, rather than trying to cram it all into a five hour space I don’t really have spare. Also, it means I should have more time to write about other stuff during the week, and read some of your excellent blogs, which I am very, very behind on.

Hope that all meets with your agreement?

And just in case it does turn out that it’s just a case of the January blues, I intend to listen to this anytime I can’t be arsed with writing:

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R.E.M. – Get Up

More soon. Like, tomorrow. Or later today, depending on when you read this.

Late Night Stargazing

There’s been much mention of songs about creeks, fords, rivers, bodies of water on The Chain recently, which has led me to think of tonight’s choice.

I don’t wish to sound morbid, but this is one of the two songs that I want to played at my funeral. Unless I think of anything better, I’ll post the other one this time next week.

If The Wedding Present were to do a song called “Cheerio Jez, Who’s going to do The Chain now?” that might just knock one of them out of the running, mind.

Come on, we’ve all thought about it, haven’t we? Those songs that sum us up so perfectly that we want to sign off with them? No?? Just me???

Some days it’s Morecombe and Wise doing “Bring Me Sunshine”, but ordinarily, it’s this:

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R.E.M. – Find the River

There’s a reason it’s the swansong on their majestic, glorious, but let’s be honest, gloomy, “Automatic for the People” album: they wanted to leave us on a gorgeous upper.

Job done.

More soon.

The Chain #29

As the late great Sir David Frost would have said had he been hosting it, rather than faffing about interviewing Richard Nixon, or popping through the keyhole with a bloke who makes pasta sauce: Hello, Good Evening, and Welcome to the latest instalment in the series of posts known as The Chain.

We ended last week with “Up on Cripple Creek” by The Band, and I set you all three challenges:

  1. Come up with your usual high standard of suggestions for songs which link to that record;
  2. See if any of you could come up with a song worse than the one I had thought of, or failing that, the actual one I was thinking of;
  3. I didn’t actually write this, but I think we were all hoping for some suggestions to lift the post-election blues.

And, as I hoped, you did not disappoint.

As usual, you can break down this week’s suggestions into various categories, so here we go with the first of those groups, which picked up on the fact that many of The Band hailed from the country who experienced some technical difficulties last week when the website which facilitates people applying to emigrate to their fine land crashed due to the amount of traffic it received after Trump won the election: Canada.

First out of the traps was George, determined to dazzle us with his knowledge of terrible records:

“Worst Record In The Chain challenge accepted! [see..?] The Band were mostly from Canada. And also from Canada were a group called Sway, who covered Ottawan’s ‘Hands Up (Give Me Your Heart)’, and if you thought that the original was bad, just listen to that cover.”

As it goes, I don’t think the original is that bad. Of it’s time, yes. As for the cover George has nominated though, well…he has a point. Also of it’s time, that time being when it was acceptable to churn out cheesy versions of old tunes, i.e. the late 80s. I’m looking at you, Stock Aitken and Waterman. And you can piss off as well, Cowell:

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Sway – Hands Up (Give Me Your Heart)

As an aside, you’d think that if you were going down the Canadian route, then simply suggesting something by Ottawan would be sufficient, what with Ottawa being the capital of Canada and everything. But no: it turns out Ottawan were not actually Ottawan at all; they were founded by French record producers Daniel Vangarde and Jean Kluger and fronted by Caribbean-born Jean Patrick Baptiste and Annette, who apparently is so famous as not to require a surname. Such things are for mere mortals like you and I.

Much as he might be keen to win the coveted crown of “Worst Record of the Week” (you haven’t, by the way George. Not even close), George is also keen to make a more credible suggestion, also tip-toeing his way along the Canadian route:

“And from that absolute piece of nonsense to something simply awesome, as The Swede will undoubtedly agree. Sticking with the Canada link, there’s a Canadian ballad dating from ca. 1839 called ‘Canadee-i-o’ which is on the Nic Jones’ album Penguin Eggs.”

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Nic Jones – Canadee-i-o

Adding to the list of Canadian based suggestions comes Rol with a not entirely unpredictable choice (I mean that in a nice way, of course):

“Leonard Cohen was also Canadian. Take your pick… most of his songs are scarily prescient right now.

Death Of A Ladies’ Man will do if you don’t want to choose yourself.”

I’d be here all day trying to decide if I did.

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Leonard Cohen – Death Of Ladies’ Man

Just in case you’re worried we’re about to move into (or remain in, depending on your thoughts on Mr Cohen) gloomy territory, we’ll move on to the next group now, which is songs which relate to the Creek in the Cripple Creek, and to get things moving on that front, here’s babylotti:

“The word ‘Creek’ inspires two songs from me, both ones I originally heard/taped off John Peel. The Fall, with Cruisers Creek probably my first or second memorable encounter with the band…”

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The Fall – Cruisers Creek

“… and another Peel favourite, Half Man Half Biscuit’s ‘I Love You Because (You Look Like Jim Reeves)’ with it’s classic opening verse:

‘Me girlfriend looks like Peggy Mount, what am I supposed to do?

I’m up the creek and never mind the paddle boy, I haven’t even got a canoe”.

Genius.

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Half Man Half Biscuit – I Love You Because (You Look Like Jim Reeves)

Pure class.

Oh, and just in case you’re interested, this is Peggy Mount:

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Which in no way should be considered a neat segue to Charity Chic and his first suggestion of the week:

“Husband and wife Marc Olsen and Victoria Williams appeared together as part of The Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers. Prior to this and whilst still a Jayhawk, Olsen penned a song ‘Miss Williams’ Guitar’ for his beau.”

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The Jayhawks – Miss Williams’ Guitar

Over to Badger now, who, unselfish chap that he is, nominates a band that his buddy SWC loves (as does he, it has to be said, and, after they posted them over at their When You Can’t Remember Anything blog a month or so ago and I went out and snaffled me their back catalogue, so do I):

“Saddle Creek is the next town up the Nebraska river after Cripple Creek and Saddle Creek Records house the totally wonderful Hop Along whose ‘Painted Shut’ was the second best album released last year. So to celebrate that let’s have ‘Waitress’ by them.”

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Hop Along – Waitress

Here’s Rol again:

“Can I suggest Shit Creek by The Icicle Works…? Seems very appropriate this week.”

Doesn’t it just?

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The Icicle Works – Shit Creek

“And…Up On Cripple Creek is about a girl called Bessie, so I also suggest ‘You Stand Here’ by Dressy Bessy (which does sound very much like Inbetweener by Sleeper to me… linking back a few weeks on The Chain… which might get messy: what happens if we cross links?)”

You need to ask? It’s like when streams cross, Rol:

Dunno about you, but I’m definitely imagining that’s Trump Tower and that two certain non-politicians are stuck in a gold lift.

Anyway, you suggested a tune, didn’t you?

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Dressy Bessy – You Stand Here

PS – that reminds me more of Belly than anyone else. I think. Can’t quite put my finger on it, to be honest. Maybe The Breeders circa “Pod”. Either way, it gets a thumbs up from me.

Time for a big Chain Gang welcome now to first time contributor Lynchie, who writes:

“Am I being too stupid to suggest Buffy Sainte Marie playing mouthbow and singing “Cripple Creek” LIVE?”

Lynchie, no suggestion is too stupid for these pages, and yours is far from stupid. Plus, you were kind enough to post a link to the clip you were referring to in the Comments (I’ll not post it again here, but if you want it you can find it back on The Chain #28).

Instead, here’s the version you mention in glorious sound-only format:

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Buffy Sainte-Marie – Cripple Creek (Live)

Suggestions weren’t just restricted to Creek related, mind; a few nominated songs with a more watery flavour. Take Kay, for example:

“I have two which both link creek with river/water etc. A bit literal, but there you go….First of all the wonderful PJ Harvey – ‘Down by the Water'”

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PJ Harvey – Down by the Water

“…and secondly Kylie Minogue and Nick Cave – ‘Where the Wild Roses Grow’. A really dark record for a really dark day.”

No prizes for guessing on which day Kay suggested those, eh readers?

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Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (ft. Kylie Minogue) – Where The Wild Roses Grow

About time I joined in the water sports, I think (Stop it…). Who fancies some a capella fun?

Lifted from the soundtrack of the truly wonderful Coen Brothers movie “O Brother Where Art Thou?”, here’s Alison Krauss:

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Alison Krauss – Down To The River To Pray

Ok, on then to the third group: The Band and it’s members.

But first, I love a good Factoid, and Alyson supplies a belter this week, even if she can’t quite remember the nuts and bolts of it:

“Discovered recently when I posted a video clip of One Of Us by ABBA that Agnetha got custody of the “Music from Big Pink” album by The Band, when she and Bjorn (or was it Benny) went their separate ways. Won’t take credit for spotting this – it was another chain ganger whom I won’t embarrass by naming – but that will be my suggestion for this week!”

So here for Alyson and The Swede (ooops!), is a bit of ABBA:

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ABBA – One of Us

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with liking a bit of ABBA. One of the many purchases I made from Britannia music back in the 1980s was their Greatest Hits Volume 2, which I still own, long after much of my own vinyl has been sold, stolen or donated to charity shops. In fact, “One of Us” is taken from their final studio album “The Visitors”, a vinyl copy of which I have very happy memories of, not so much for the record itself, but for it’s sleeve. I’ll cryptically say no more than that for now, but at least one person reading this will know what I’m referring to, and they’ll have just spat their coffee all over the place in surprise. I’ll explain some other time.

In the meantime, here’s The Swede. Look innocent everybody, like we don’t know his little secret.

Oh hi, Swede. Us? Talking about you? Noooo, course not.

We’re on to links to The Band, and band members of The Band. Any suggestions?

“Robbie Robertson of The Band mentored Jesse Winchester’s early career, even producing his first LP in 1970. I’ll choose a much later track by Jesse though, ‘Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding’ from 2009’s ‘Love Filling Station’. “

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Jesse Winchester – Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding

I’ve never heard that before. It is properly gorgeous. The Swede: thank you for bringing that into my life.

“There’s a YouTube clip of Jesse performing the song on Elvis Costello’s American TV show that I’d defy anyone to get through without serious lip-quivering” The Swede adds. He’s not wrong:

That voice has no right to be coming out of that face. Just incredible.

Until I heard that, had you mentioned the word “Winchester” to me my reference point would have been this:

I think this might actually be a decent plan to escape the world right now, as it goes.

Back at the start of October, I wrote a post about how “Labour of Love” by Hue and Cry always took me back to a certain bar that we used to frequent in Peterborough when I was at Sixth Form, the name of which I couldn’t recall. My old mate Richie got in touch with a list of bars it could’ve been, and he nailed it first time: Miss Pears. A terrible name for a bar, I’m sure you’ll agree. I’m sure you’ll all sleep well tonight knowing that.

I mention this because the next song also reminds me of the same place; they had a TV which seemed to have the video for this eternally playing on a loop.

The Robster provides three suggestions “that don’t need much explaining”, and this was one of them, a double linker since there’s a water link in it too:

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Robbie Robertson – Somewhere Down The Crazy River

I always thought Robbie Robertson was one of those made-up joke names, like Boaty McBoatface. Seems I was wrong.

The Robbie Roberston suggestions don’t stop there. Here’s The Beard:

“The Band’s Robbie Robertson has worked with Martin Scorsese on the soundtracks to several of his films. One such collaboration was Casino. Las Vegas, in particular The Strip, is renowned for it’s casinos. Slightly off The Strip is a shiny gold hotel emblazoned with the name of an arsehole. Despite said arsehole’s bigoted views and alleged improprieties he is on the cusp of taking over as the King of the Jungle. With hopes of a Sam Allardyce style rapid fall from grace in mind, it has to be Impeach The President by The Honey Drippers.”

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The Honey Drippers – Impeach The President

“Or if that’s too grim a link for something as joyous as The Chain, Love Is The Drug by Roxy Music….”

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Roxy Music – Love Is The Drug

“…or Devo’s cover of ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, both of which are on the soundtrack to the aforementioned Casino”

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Devo – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

There was more than one person in The Band, by the way, as Charity Chic explains:

“Garth Hudson played with his organ in The Band [I said stop it….!] You can cross a creek via a ford. Therefore Hudson Ford with Burn Baby Burn please”

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Hudson Ford – Burn Baby Burn

The verse to that has a touch of “Yellow River” about it, doesn’t it? Wait a minute…river…creek…oh go on then. And as this week sees the 25th anniversary of their break-through album “Out of Time”, here’s R.E.M. doing a cover of the old Christie hit:

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R.E.M. – Yellow River

But undisputed king of suggestions to link to The Band this week is undoubtedly Rigid Digit:

“Lets do this literally: The Band can be alternatively spelt as The Banned, hence the 1970s punk cash-in “Little Girl” must be next up…”

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 The Banned – Little Girl

“…or: The Band => Banned => Banned Records. Or in this case, a record that was banned by it’s creator when he discovered what the title actually meant. Is Cliff Richard and “Honky Tonk Angel” waiting in the wings?”

Well, it is now:

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Cliff Richard – Honky Tonk Angel

Which must be the worst record of the week, right?

Wrong. For our Rigid friend has another suggestion:

“…or:  The Banned was the name of the made-up band on Eastenders. One of the group left and scored a massive hit with a piano-tinkly ballad. Could it be Nick Berry with ‘Every Loser Wins’..?”

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Nick Berry – Every Loser Wins

Ok so THAT has to be the worst record of the week, surely?

Nope. But Rigid, you are about to find out how close you came to guessing the song that I was thinking off. In fact, with SWC you jointly nudge even closer to it. I’ll let SWC explain:

“The Banned were the name of the pub band in Eastenders which featured Sharon and Kelvin on vocals. The British public took them to their hearts and sent their one and only single in to the higher parts of the top 20. Sadly I forget what it was called. But it is a contender for the worst record of the week.”

“Something Outta Nothing” blurts out Rigid, with scant regard for his public perception.

Oooh, you’re both so unbelievably close…!

The record I was thinking of, and undisputed Worst Record of the Week was “Something Outta Nothing” but when it got released as a single they didn’t release it under the moniker ‘The Banned’, they released it as…well, sounding like a song that Samantha Fox rejected for being “too shit”, they released it as this:

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Letitia Dean & Paul Medford – Something Outta Nothing

No, I don’t have any shame, since you ask.

Need some help stopping your ears bleeding? Here’s The Robster with another of his brief, self-explanatory songs, one of my favourite records of all time, by one of the most under-rated indie bands of all time:

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Felt – Ballad Of The Band

A little more The Band-related shenanigans now from The Great Gog:

“The Band also recorded as song called The Weight, so I immediately thought of a song title which is itself a weight – ‘4st 7lb’ from Manic Street Preachers.”

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Manic Street Preachers – 4st 7lb

“I did also think of ’78 Stone Wobble’ by Gomez” The Great Gog continues, “which could technically be referencing a weight, but may well be concerning itself with something else altogether”

You’ve got me scratching my head there. Am I missing something? What else could it refer to…?

No matter, it’s bloody great so it’s bloody in:

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Gomez – 78 Stone Wobble

Before we move on to the final grouping, which is songs which link to the word “Cripple” – a category I’m sure we’re all approaching with nothing short of nervous trepidation – here’s Walter:

“The B-side of the record is ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’. It became an anthem of America’s southern pride. That leads me to another song showing southern pride. So let me suggest Lynyrd Skynyrd with Sweet Home Alabama.”

This has actually featured before on The Chain – don’t let those streams cross!! – way back on the Chain #4. I’m allowing it’s inclusion this week because it wasn’t suggested by one of the Chain Gangers (at that point, there was only me, George and Charity Chic), it was the next link in The (Official) Chain, and because in those days I would ask for suggestions as to what the link was, as well as suggesting alternative links. So, as a testament to how this little corner of ours has grown and changed (for the better, I think), here you go:

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama

No, no, I’m not crying, just got something in my eye, s’all….

We’ll ignore the fact that, unsurprisingly, Trump won 62% of the vote in Barmy ‘Bama.

Last week, I made a joke. I don’t know if you spotted it. I said that regular contributor Dirk “…has a different way of dealing the idea of linking records together. Whilst the rest of us ponder the staple tune and think of songs to link to it, Dirk seems to decide on what record he wants to hear then just make up any old stuff to get to it.”

Now Dirk took that in the spirit it was intended, although when I first read his suggestion this week, I wasn’t so sure:

“…if that…were even HALFWAY true, I’d by now have invented an interesting tale which leads to Intense Degree’s “He Was The Ukulele Player For Dr. Eugene’s Travelling Folk Show Band” just because it has “band” in the title …. and because I’d like to hear it again!”

Having just popped over to Dirk’s place I see that he has kindly posted the whole of the Colorblind James Experience’s second album, which I’ve never heard, and which I shall be returning to pillage and leave a nice comment shortly, so I figured I owed him a favour:

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Intense Degree – He Was The Ukulele Player For Doctor Eugene’s Travelling Folk Show Band

Not really my cup of tea that. In fact, the kindest way I can describe it is “mercifully short”. Still, each to their own and all that. S’not all about me, now is it?

Anyway, Dirk does continue to make an actual suggestion:

“…instead I took the complicated route and found something linked to “Cripple” (not many of you will do THAT, I’d have thought): The Crippled Pilgrims and ‘Black And White’: a mighty tune off their 1984 debut MiniAlbum … which I haven’t listened to for quite a while … admittedly, so …”

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But as for not many linking to “Cripple”, well, sure, not many, but some. Step forwards, The Robster with another of his suggestions that “don’t need much explaining”:

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Antony And The Johnsons – Cripple And The Starfish

Not just The Robster, either. Step forwards SWC:

“Eagulls released the imaginatively titled EP a few years back. The fourth track was called Cripple Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis. But the best track on the episode was Moulting. And if that’s the correct link then I’ll run through Exeter tomorrow wearing just a feather boa and a pair of wellingtons.”

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29. Eagulls – Moulting

Regular Chain Gangers will know that when I insert the number of The Chain we’re at as part of the mp3 link, it can mean only one thing: that is the contributor has correctly guessed the next song in The (Official) Chain, has won some bonus points, and on this occasion gets an all expenses trip to Exeter!

Does anyone have any wellies SWC can borrow tomorrow?

Of course, on this occasion, I’m just winding you up. Of course that isn’t the next record. I don’t think it had even been released when The (Official) Chain was at this stage.

We’re nearly there though.

Just one more to go. And it wasn’t just The Robster and SWC who came up with a song linked to “Cripple”, yours truly did too. This is from the first album that I ever bought on CD, (purchasing it at the same time as The Housemartins ‘London 0 Hull 4’, in case you’re interested):

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John Lennon – Crippled Inside

Now I don’t know about you, but when I find out what the source record is each week – and I genuinely don’t look until I start writing the post – the first thing I do is go to my iTunes (other music and multi-media playing devices are available), type in some of the words from the song title, or from the album it features on, and see what I already have which might be of use. This week, it gave me that record, The Fall record that babylotti suggested, the Buffy Sainte Marie record that Lynchie suggested, and one other, which just so happens to be the real next link in The Chain. And you’re all going to wish you hadn’t shot your bolt with your links to Creeks, Cripples, and Water this week.

Here’s the link:

“…Neil Young wrote a song called ‘Cripple Creek Ferry’, from the ‘After the Goldrush’ album…”

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29. Neil Young – Cripple Creek Ferry

All that’s left for me to do this week is invite your suggestions for songs which you can link to “Cripple Creek Ferry” by Neil Young, via the Comments section below, along with your usual brief descriptions as to what links the two records together.

See you next week folks.

More soon.

The Chain #24

Ordinarily, I start every post on The Chain by recapping what we do here, what record we’re linking to this week, and then say I’d better crack on as we’ve got loads to get through.

Now whilst it is true that we have got an awful lot of tunes this week, there’s not as many as perhaps there could be, and that’s because one of our regular Chain Gang contributors is conspicuous by his absence for a second week running and is, I hear, rather unwell. I mean, I haven’t actually been presented with a sick note excusing him from participating, but that’s what I hear.

So, Badger: get well soon mate, and this week’s post is dedicated to you.

Last week’s record was “Radio, Radio” by Elvis Costello & The Attractions, a song which cropped up a couple of months ago on my Radio-themed “Friday Night Music Club” post, and so I was anticipating a few that I had chosen back then would resurface again here. Not a bit of it, which is either indicative of either the wide range of musical tastes you guys and girls cover, or of how many bad records I chose. Or both.

So to kick things off, one of my suggestions which didn’t quite make the cut when I was writing that “Friday Night…” post, mostly because it doesn’t have the word “Radio” in it’s title. But it seems an appropriate place for us to start:

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Charlie Dore – Pilot of the Airwaves

Onwards, then, to some of your suggestions, and one final piece of housework. George: sorry about this, but there at least five records you’re not going to enjoy this week.

Here’s Dirk from sexyloser:

“Great start to link not one, but four different Clash tunes to, much to the dismay of George, I would suspect (I l.o.v.e. this!): ‘Capital Radio One’….”

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The Clash – Capital Radio One

…and we’ll check back with Dirk throughout today’s post to go through the rest of them.

But first, more Clash-related shenanigans from Unthought of, Though, Somehow‘s The Swede:

“‘Radio Radio’ is taken from the LP ‘This Year’s Model’. If your car happens to be this year’s model (at least if it was registered in the UK between March & August), the age identifier portion of the number plate would be 16. In 1980 The Clash promoted the ‘London Calling’ LP with the 16 Tons Tour, every night of which would see the band walk on stage to ‘Sixteen Tons’ by Tennessee Ernie Ford.”

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Tennessee Ernie Ford – Sixteen Tons

Next up, here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area with one of those suggestions where we get three for the price of one:

“Clearly you need to go to Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers’ ‘Roadrunner’, with his radio on…”

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Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner

“…And Joy Division who danced to the radio in Transmission….”

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Joy Division – Transmission

“…And Half Man Half Biscuit who had Joy Division Oven Gloves.”

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Half Man Half Biscuit – Joy Division Oven Gloves

Actually, there’s a double link for that one, as it was the subject of a Facebook campaign to get it to Number 6 in the UK Singles charts in an effort to save the BBC’s radio station 6 Music. It actually managed to scale to the giddy heights of Number 56, but the station survived, thankfully.

Time to check back in with Dirk, whose next Clash/Radio song is, perhaps unsurprisingly:

“…‘Capital Radio Two’…”

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The Clash – Capital Radio Two

Whenever someone mentions Capital Radio, I’m always reminded of one of their DJs, who also worked the decks on Radio 1 for a while: David ‘Kid’ Jensen. I am still allowed to mention him, aren’t I? He’s not one of the bad ones, right? Good. Then I can legitimately play this:

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The Pretenders – Kid

But enough of my suggestions (by which I mean, I’ll have some more later): time for Alex G, who this week writes his suggestion like this:

“The recent Edinburgh Fringe revival of 80s comedy show “Radio Active” has got me listening to the old shows again. One of the episodes is called “The Radio Radio Programme” and as usual it includes one of Phil Pope’s musical parodies, his target in that particular episode being “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel. Not one of PP’s best efforts, but reason enough to suggest linking to the original “Sledgehammer” by the actual Peter Gabriel.”

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Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer

I could, at this point, post that ground-breaking video, but we’ve all seen that, so instead I thought I’d take a step back and post a couple of Phil Pope’s better parodies. I think you’ll recognise his targets on both of these:

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The HeeBeeGeeBees – Meaningless Songs

Oh, and this, which I don’t find in the slightest bit amusing:

How dare they.

Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie? leaps to my their defence, by proving that sounds nothing like them:

“Elvis Costello’s next release after ‘Radio Radio’ was ‘Oliver’s Army’ which led me to think of the Status Quo song ‘In The Army Now’.”

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Status Quo – In The Army Now

Alyson – and indeed her other half Jamie – will be back in a bit. When you see what one of them suggests, you’ll be wishing they had stopped at Quo.

In the meantime, here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music, who you may recall was very close to suggesting the official next record in the chain last week, and therefore almost bagged himself some invaluable (by which I mean of no value whatsoever) bonus points:

“From ‘Radio Radio’ to the excellent ‘Mexican Radio’ by Wall of Voodoo…”

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Wall Of Voodoo – Mexican Radio

CC’s not done yet though:

“…whose lead singer was Stan Ridgway who gave us the less excellent Camouflage”

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Stan Ridgway – Camouflage

“Suspect I won’t be troubling the scorers this week…” he sadly concludes.

You’re right, CC, you won’t. But you haven’t nominated the worst record of the week. Has he, Alyson?

Nor has The Beard, although he gave me a bit of a fright with the direction of this week’s suggestion:

“The lyrics to ‘Radio Radio’ make reference to late night listening. Circa 1992 I heard Annie Lennox played back to back in the small hours on Radio One, something that haunts me to this day. One of the songs played was Why. Why by Carly Simon is infinitely better.”

Deep breaths, everyone. We’re okay. He didn’t go there. The Annie Alarm remains untroubled.

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Carly Simon – Why

“…as is Nobody Does It Better by the same artist”, continues our (presumably) Bearded Buddy:

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Carly Simon – Nobody Does it Better

Ordinarily, I might only allow one song by the same artist to be nominated by the one person, but I’m going to let it slide here for two reasons. Firstly, “Nobody Does It Better” is my favourite Bond theme ever (most of the time; sometimes it’s “Live and Let Die”). Secondly…well…have you ever seen the episode in the second series of “I’m Alan Partridge” where our late night radio host describes the opening sequence of “The Spy Who Loved Me”, to which “Nobody…” is the theme, as the VHS copy he intended to watch in his static home has been inadvertently taped over with “America’s Strongest Man”? And have you ever wondered how accurate his commentary is? Wonder no longer:

Speaking of songs that I wouldn’t normally allow, here’s The Great Gog:

“‘Radio Radio’ features the same word repeated in its title as does another ECATA ditty, ‘Party Party’ from the film of the same name. There are obviously lots of other examples of this type of song-titling, but that one seemed the most appropriate.”

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t allow a song by the same artist as the record we are linking to (not that it’s ever happened before, mind). On this occasion, you just get away with it on the grounds of the repetition of words theme.

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Party Party

The film is bloody awful, mind.

GG has a point: there are lots of records which employ repetition in their title, and to prove it, here’s Kay:

“Using the theme of repetition – Radio Radio – I thought of Tonight, Tonight by The Smashing Pumpkins.”

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The Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight

In fact, you could also have this one, which I pointed out to Kay I was surprised she hadn’t suggested, given that’s it’s by her favourite group, that it has a title with the same word repeated in it, and even has the word ‘repetition’…erm…repeated quite a lot in it:

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Hot Chip – Over and Over

I don’t think Kay has stopped kicking herself for missing that yet.

Time to check back on Dirk and see where he is with his Clash-a-thon:

“…‘This is Radio Clash’…”

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The Clash – This Is Radio Clash

Thanks Dirk, see you in a bit!

Time for The Robster from Is This The Life?:

“Seeing as there’s a lack of cheese so far… How about – playing on the Attractions – ‘Opposites Attract’ by Paula Abdul. Appalling, I know, but this isn’t about taste, is it?”

It certainly isn’t, but you, too, need not be concerned about the quality levels not having dipped enough just yet. Eh, Alyson?

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Paula Abdul – Opposites Attract

Regardless, “I feel the need to right that wrong,” The Robster continues, “so my other offering is Kirsty MacColl’s ‘There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis’.”

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Kirsty MacColl – There’s a Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis

Right. Let me take a step back, survey the carnage, and see who I haven’t mentioned yet.

George. Of course, George.

“Older people than myself, such as Charity Chic and The Swede, might prefer to use the word wireless instead of radio. In the tv programme Not The Nine O’Clock News, they once did a song with the lyrics “On the road you must be brave and tireless, on the road you can listen to the wireless”. I think that song is called I Like Trucking.”

Close, George. My recollection is that on the show it was referred to as “I Like Trucking”, but when the cash-in accompanying album “Hedgehog Sandwich” was released, the title had been shortened to just “Trucking”:

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Not The Nine O’Clock News – Trucking

Alyson’s back, with her hubby in tow this time:

“I have an entry first from the other half Jamie, who decided that if there are two radios the sound will be in stereo which led him to think of the Stereophonics who released a track called Vegas Two Times from their ‘Just Enough Education to Perform’ album. Bit of a double link with the “stereo” and the “two times” both relating to Radio Radio.”

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Stereophonics – Vegas Two Times

What with me having lived in Wales for 20 years, at the time that the Stereophonics came to prominence, you could be forgiven for thinking I love them.

You’d be wrong though.

Did you ever have that thing happen to you, when you’re in the middle of a conversation and someone suddenly sticks their head round the corner, and says something which completely makes you lose your thread? Here’s Swiss Adam again, who’s located another unexpected item in his Bagging Area:

“R.E.M.’s Radio Song too”

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R.E.M. – Radio Song

Now where was I…? Oh, never mind. Can’t have been important.

Back over to Dirk’s Clash Corner for the final time now. What are you listening to now, Dirk?

“… ‘Radio Clash’!!!”

Of course you are. And now, so are we (minus George).

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The Clash – Radio Clash

Here comes Rol from My Top Ten:

I worked in the radio industry for 23 years of my life. Radio Radio is one of my all-time favourite songs because of the lines…

‘And the radio is in the hands
Of such a lot of fools
Trying to anaesthetize
The way that you feel’

When I started working in radio, back in the late 80s, my ambition was to be a jock because then I’d get to pick my own music. A couple of years later, presenter choice was gone from local radio and my ambitions of being a DJ were over. I stayed in the industry for a further 20 years in other roles because it was an easy job and I got lots of freebies from the record library: basically, all the good stuff they wouldn’t ever play because it didn’t “test well” with the great unwashed.

All of which would usually lead me to suggest the same track I selected last week: Rex Bob Lowenstein by Mark Germino & The Sluggers. But as I already had that one, can I instead go with a very similar tale…”

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – The Last DJ

George is back!

“I have a chain that results in a Bruce Springsteen song…” he says, slightly curiously, given that on these very pages he has named Broooce as the other act, along with The Clash, that he dislikes.

Despite much encouragement, he declined to provide us with the link, declaring he would “rather stick pins in my eyes”, which seems a bit extreme. I’d recommend ear plugs as a far more effective way to avoid hearing something, George. You’re welcome.

Instead, he comes up with this:

“From Elvis Costello to Elvis Perkins (son of Anthony Perkins the actor) and from his album Ash Wednesday the song Ash Wednesday.”

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Elvis Perkins – Ash Wednesday

A couple more folks returning from earlier now. Here’s The Robster:

“We got here by way of the name of Elvis Costello’s record label. There’a a reggae label called Easy Star Records that has a house band, The Easy Star All-Stars. Along with an astounding selection of guest vocalists, they’ve released a series of excellent tribute albums over the years, one of which was ‘Radiodread’, a reggae tribute to ‘OK Computer’ by Radiohead. I could suggest any number of songs from it (‘Lucky’ featuring the legendary Frankie Paul; ‘Let Down’ featuring the uber-legendary Toots & The Maytals), but I’m going to plump for ‘No Surprises’ featuring The Meditations.”

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Easy Star All-Stars – No Surprises (Feat. The Meditations)

And here’s Charity Chic:

“I was going to offer Radio Gaga by Queen but even I would not stoop that low.  The Frank Sidebottom version on the other hand …”

This one?

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Frank Sidebottom – Radio Ga Ga

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that’s the worst record we’re featuring this week, right? No. No it isn’t. For Frank Sidebottom was a genius. You know he was, he really, really was.

I suppose we should let Dirk have a non Clash request, right?

“What I really would like to hear is The Members – ‘Phone-In Show’ from their debut album, simply because I haven’t heard it for ages and can’t be arsed to search for the LP.”

Well Dirk, I could be arsed to search for it, but couldn’t find the bloody thing. So instead, here’s their version of ‘Phone-In Show’ taken from one of their Peel Sessions instead:

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The Members – Phone-In Show (Peel Session)

You may have noticed that it’s not just Badger who is conspicuous by his absence this week. Where has his When You Can’t Remember Anything… partner in crime S-WC got to? Well, he’s in the middle of moving house, but he did take time out from packing up boxes to suggest this:

“I don’t really have a lot of time to explain but my suggestion is ‘Radio Ladio’ by Metronomy.”

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Metronomy – Radio Ladio

Doesn’t really need much explanation, to be honest, that one SWC. Anyway, hope you have your broadband sorted in time to get a suggestion in for next week!

Rol’s back, with a suggestion to protect George’s eyes from becoming pin cushions:

“…my second choice would be State Trooper by Bruce…

Radio’s jammed up with talk show stations
Just talk talk talk talk talk
Till you lose your patience…”

I think maybe George has suffered enough this week.

Only joking. Course he hasn’t. Here’s the Trentemoller remix of it, which might make it a tad more palatable:

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Bruce Springsteen – State Trooper (Trentemoller Mix)

Okay, where next. Ah yes. Can’t really put this off any longer. Welcome back Alyson:

“I think I have probably come up with something that would win cheesiest song EVER in a poll of polls. Yes, from Elvis Costello to Abbott and Costello (the more mature chain-ganger will remember them) to Russ Abbot who had a mid ’80s hit with Atmosphere (as in he liked a party with one).”

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Russ Abbot – Atmosphere

Let’s be honest, it was only a matter of time before I got round to posting this. There’s so much to make you cringe here: the reference to being “at the dancing party”  – was that ever a thing?; the desperate attempt to be hip by referencing Frankie Goes to Hollywood; the frankly rather seedy looking video where Russ saunters through a nightclub full of dressed-for-the-80s bright young things, looking like the sort of person your mother used to warn you about.

You’ve never seen the video, you say? Then get your laughing gear round this:

See what they did there? It’s so disappointing that it doesn’t quite work.

Maybe it does if you do it the other way round?

Better. Much better.

Okay, to round things off this week, one last suggestion from me.

In 2006, Basement Jaxx released their fourth album “Crazy Itch Radio”, from which I’ve chosen this little beauty:

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Basement Jaxx – Take Me Back To Your House

Which just leaves us with the small matter of what the official song in the link was. And normally I’m a little bit disparaging about the tune they select, not so much for the song, but for the reason it was suggested/selected.

But credit where credit’s due, this week’s is a double-linker:

“Elvis Costello sings on the Joni Mitchell covers album [A Tribute to Joni Mitchell]…”

..and although he doesn’t sing this one, the choice of Joni tune doubles up here:

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24. Joni Mitchell – You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio

And that, as they say, whoever they may be, is that.

Your suggestions please, via the Comments section down below, for records that can be linked to “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” by Joni Mitchell, along with a brief description of your linking logic.

Same time next week?

(More soon.)

Sunday Morning Coming Down

If you visit here regularly, it can’t have escaped your attention that one of my favourite bands is R.E.M.

Other than their signature jangly college rock sound, they would often drop an absolute pearler of an alt-country tune, and it’s to one of those that we’re heading this morning.

If I absolutely had to pick my favourite R.E.M. song, it’d probably be this one:

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R.E.M. – (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville

Years ago, when the band I was in at college met for rehearsals (and yes, anyone who was lucky enough to see us, unbelievable as it may seem, that was rehearsed) every so often we’d break for a few minutes, the rest of the band would sit and roll cigarettes and chat, and I would *ahem* “treat” them to a rendition of this. In the midst of writing this post, I have unleashed the old acoustic guitar and am pretty chuffed I still remember the chords to it.

With apologies to my neighbours for me singing it at 7:00 am, though. If it’s any consolation, I’d rather not have been awake at that time on a Sunday either.

More soon.