The Chain #41

Never let it be said I’m not a man of my word.

For here we are, a week later, and The Chain is back! Back!! Back!!! (again) for another instalment.

Truth be told, I was totally blown away by the response I received to last week’s edition, so blown away that I almost went full on Sally Field. So y’know, cheers.

I’m also delighted that not only have a couple of old Chain Gang friends chipped in this week, but we also have three new members to welcome aboard.

Before we go any further though, some admin, and I need to add a new rule to the ten I posted last week, namely this:

11. The same artist can feature twice in the same week, but only if suggested by different people. In other words, if you suggest two songs by the same act, I’ll ask you to just pick one of them; if you don’t reply, I’ll pick for one for you.

Actually, this is an old rule that I forgot to include last week. One of you nearly came a cropper with this one, but just about managed to dodge the bullet. You’ll see what I mean.

Ok, so we have 49 new songs (count ’em!) and over three and a half hours worth of tunes to get through this week, and there’s some real treats, including a couple of acts I was surprised to find featuring in The Chain for the first time, some commercially unreleased live stuff, a couple of songs which have featured here before under different guises, a couple of real rarities (I think), a contender for Worst Record In The History of Everything Ever, and – and I mention this now to introduce some totally unneccessary tension and excitement into proceedings – one of you correctly guessed the next record in the Official Chain.

So let’s kick things off with a reminder of the last source song, that is the song that you were all providing suggestions to this week:

20140211-18431840. The Beach Boys – God Only Knows

And where better to start than with a new member of The Chain Gang? Ladies and Gentleman, please rattle your manacles and give a warm welcome to GMFree:

“The most obvious songs that I thought of first were ‘God Only Knows’ by James…”

Now, in the same way that I think if you’re going to cover a song you should try and do something interesting with it, by the same token I think that if you’re going to write a song and give it the same name as universally loved classic, then it is undoubtedly going to be compared to said song, so you’d better make sure yours is good….

514jppRFD4L

James – God Only Knows

“…and….” Whoa there, GM! We’ve not finished with the songs also called “God Only Knows”.

Over to you The Swede (of Unthought of, though, somehow):

“From ‘God Only Knows’ by The Beach Boys to…..’God Only Knows’ by Joe Henry – same title, different song, fortunately a quite lovely one.”

He’s not wrong, you know:

0045778689064

Joe Henry – God Only Knows

Now to the first of my oh so many suggestions this week. Imagine Yoda is reciting the name of the source song, he’d probably refer to it like this:

artworks-000204426433-sddax0-t500x500

Young Fathers (feat. Leith Congregational Choir) – Only God Knows

Time for Dirk of sexyloser fame to contribute:

“‘God Only Knows’? So what does he know? Well, he knows it’s true, obviously … so I’ll go for Teenage Fanclub”

Now, strictly speaking, I should be disallowing this suggestion, because this song has featured on The Chain before, back in edition #32, to be precise. However, I’m going to allow it this week for three reasons: firstly, it ws me who suggested it last time; secondly, I posted a Peel Sessions version last time and this time I’m posting the original, and thirdly, because last time it featured I had changed one word in the title from “God” to “Gourd” so that it linked to the source record (XTC’s “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”, in case you’re interested).

In other words, this is totally fine:

TEENAGE_FANCLUB_GOD+KNOWS+ITS+TRUE-103737

Teenage Fanclub – God Knows It’s True

What else does God know? Let’s ask David Bowie, who has probably found out whether he was right by now:

6755ffa8430c403b8cc3b5357688463f_1000x1000x1

David Bowie – God Knows I’m Good

That song title in no way references my Gourd pun earlier, by the way.

Next up, it’s Martin from New Amusements, and he’s going all deep and meaningful on us:

“‘God Only Knows’ has one of the most honest first lines in songwriting history, I’ll throw in ‘Honesty’ by Billy Joel.”

billy-joel-honesty-cbs-4

Billy Joel – Honesty

Ok GM, the floor’s yours again:

“…and ‘Lord Only Knows’ by Beck, there is a great version from his Union Chapel show in 2003 which includes harmonica and merges into Hot In Here (Herre !?) in a way only Beck can do.”

You mean this, I presume:

Beck03

Beck – Lord Only Knows & Hot In Here (Live at Union Chapel)

We’re into not commercially released stuff with that one, as far as I know. Any chance to feature Beck, and moreover Union Chapel, my favourite venue in London, will be gratefully seized.

Next up, it’s over to The Beard, who provides one of his usual interesting links:

“God Only Knows is featured in the film Boogie Nights. The film centres around the supremely endowed Dirk Diggler, played by Mark Wahlberg. He also starred in ‘Four Brothers’ which is pretty much a remake of the John Wayne driven western ‘The Sons Of Katie Elder’. John Wayne? Motherfuck him as said Public Enemy on Fight The Power.”

Folder

Public Enemy – Fight the Power

Speaking of John Wayne, he also starred in the original release of ‘True Grit’ along with the next artist. Over to you, Alyson (of What’s It All About?):

“In light of [last] Tuesday’s sad news of the death of Glen Campbell, and the fact he stood in for Brian Wilson in 1964 as a Beach Boy, I am reminded of his song ‘Galveston’ which always makes me think of a beach because of the following lines:

‘I still hear your sea waves crashing
While I watch the cannons flashing
I clean my gun
And dream of Galveston.’

I know we’ll all have heard it a lot over the last couple of days but I never tire of these songs of his.”

To be fair, Galveston is one of a clutch of Campbell’s records that I don’t think many of us will get tired of hearing:

glen-campbell-galveston-capitol-3

Glen Campbell – Galveston

And so we seem to have made the seamless move from songs which reference ‘God Only Knows’, to songs which link to members, full or part time, of The Beach Boys. So what next?

George has the answer:

“Can I propose a third song that is really, really shit?” he asks.

Yes, I know you haven’t heard his first two suggestions yet. I choose the order the songs feature in, and I want to post his third (really, really shit) suggestion first.

As I pointed out to George in the Comments to last week’s edition, he doesn’t normally ask permission.

“It’s by Wilson Phillips…….one of whom is a relation of a Beach Boy…….and the song is ‘Hold On’. But feel free to disqualify it because it is simply too dreadful.”

George is fully aware that a record being dreadful, or shit, or shittily dreadful, is not enough to preclude it from The Chain. For here, we embrace the dreadfully shit (by which I categorically do not mean Donald J Trump, who we try to keep at arms length at the very least).

And besides, I’ve listened to this – and all of the suggestions – a lot over the last week, and I’ve grown to quite like this:

Wilson_Phillips_Hold_On_single_cover

Wilson Phillips – Hold On

Actually, two of Wilson Phillips are the daughters of Brian Wilson; I expected someone would suggest a record by the parents of the third member, but nobody did, so I may as well:

R-1374858-1293880166_jpeg

The Mamas & The Papas – Creeque Alley

“God Only Knows”, of course, features on The Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds”, so how about a couple of suggestions which link to that? Step forwards The Great Gog, who I see has now got as far as starting his own blog, but hasn’t yet got round to writing anything on it just yet. He’s probably got far more important things to be getting on with, like suggesting this kind of thing:

“I’ll go with the fact that ‘God Only Knows’ features on the album Pet Sounds. This album also features a track called ‘Caroline, No’. Whenever I spot this on the album, I always think of the similarly titled Talk Talk track, ‘Does Caroline Know?’ – not surprising really as I owned the ‘It’s My Life’ album some time before I acquired Pet Sounds.”

‘Pet Sounds’ is one of those albums, I think – or at least it is to me – that I knew what a great album it is long before I actually got round to listening to it, let alone owning a copy. I don’t think I actually heard ‘Pet Sounds’ until I was in my late twenties, but I remember in my early twenties having a very long discussion in the pub one night with one of my friend’s younger brother’s friends about how amazing it is, without him realising I’d never heard it. Hold the front page: Jez is a complete bullshitter shocker!

Anyway, here’s your suggestion:

428e5e3cfe9ab29472c4044d8a36efc8_992x1000x1

Talk Talk – Does Caroline Know?

Mention ‘Caroline, No’ and I can’t resist posting this:

images36KBUMFI

Kaiser Chiefs – Caroline, Yes

Bet you all thought I was going to post some Quo then, didn’t you?

Nah.

Oh wait, what’s this?

God Only Knows how utterly predictable I am.

Although it does mean I can post this….

A change of pace now, and here’s Jules from Music From Magazines who I think now feels obliged to suggest something by Lambchop every time:

“‘The Book I Haven’t Read’ (Live Version) from a tour CD titled Pet Sounds suck” by Lambchop.”

This, then, would be one them there rarities I mentioned earlier:

AlbumArt

Lambchop – The Book I Haven’t Read (Live Version)

Next up is BabyLotti:

“I’ve got to link to the best cover of one of The Beach Boys’ songs I’ve ever heard, Don’t worry baby by Ronnie Spector from the She Talks To Rainbows EP. Produced by no less than Joey Ramone”

bfa50b_877078659302eb322ed0cb2f97f5af7a

Ronnie Spector – Don’t Worry Baby

It’s pretty hard to top that, to be fair, so let’s move on to a new batch of songs, and here’s all the God-bothering suggestions you came up with.

First out of the bag is Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“So many gods to choose from… luckily I don’t own anything by Hermes House Band, so you’re spared that. Instead, let’s go for the god to whom I am most frequently compared (admittedly in the form “you’re no…”) and some proper old-school house: ‘No Way Back’ by Adonis.”

Shame about the Hermes House Band; I’ve got loads of gags about the Hermes parcel delivery service all lined up and ready to go.

R-27332-1231412285_jpeg

Adonis – No Way Back

The rest of you stick to referencing songs with ‘God’ in the title, so let’s work our way through them.

First up, a song which we featured a cover by Tricky of back on The Chain #37. Nevertheless, it’s the original version suggested by Martin of New Amusements so it’s in:

“Going the God route, with ‘Dear God’ by XTC…” 

11766295_800_800

XTC – Dear God

“…and…” Whoa there, Martin! We’ve not finished with the songs that have God in the title.

First, we’re going back to The Swede for his second suggestion of the week, “…another divine link of a slightly more irreverent nature…” as he quite rightly puts it:

CS1211327-02A-BIG

Half Man Half Biscuit – God Gave Us Life

If any of our overseas readers would like to know who any of the people mentioned in that song are, feel free to email me, or, preferably, Google them.

Time to welcome aboard the latest member of The Chain Gang now, so Ladies and Gentleman, please click your pickaxes together and give a warm welcome to C from Sun Dried Sparrows:

“‘God Only Knows’ made me think of God, not something I do very often, for I am faithless. And then I thought of….”:

R-84792-1251281657_jpeg

Faithless – God Is A DJ

Who else haven’t we heard from yet? Ah yes, The Robster from Is This The Life?, I wonder what he’s got to offer?

“If we’re going down the God route though, and with God supposedly living in Heaven or some such mythical place, I offer Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the title track of their seminal second album ‘Lift Yr. Skinny Fists, Like Antennas to Heaven…’.”

cover

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Antennas To Heaven

Remember when I said there was over three and a half hours worth of tunes this week? Well that’s almost twenty minutes of them, right there. I’d pop the kettle on if I were you.

Ok, so if we’re on songs that feature God in the title and feature an exclamation mark somewhere, then it would be terribly remiss of me not to post this:

d3e9151ceaa5ad4c5199f572fe3598f6_300x300x1

Super Furry Animals – God! Show Me Magic

I’ll tell you who else hasn’t chipped in yet: Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music, that’s who:

“Sorry to disappoint you but there is no God,” he blasphemes, “so…”

Hold up, what did you just say?

“Sorry to disappoint you but there is no God…”

Thought so.

Pray, do continue.

‘No Gods (and Precious Few Heroes)’ by Dick Gaughan, please. JC recently posted a goose-bump inducing live version which is the one to feature”

And it’s JC’s legendary place that I visited to find the specific version CC was after, so it would be rude of me not to attribute credit where credit’s due and provide a link to his site The (New) Vinyl Villain (although if you visit me here, then I’d be really surprised if you didn’t already visit JC).

Here’s the tune:

dick

Dick Gaughan – No Gods And Precious Few Heroes (Live)

Quite some time ago, or so it seems, I left GMFree hanging with their second suggestion, so it’s probably about time we went back and checked on them.

“I wanted to include The God Machine with the KLF cover ‘What Time is Love” but I don’t own a copy…”

You do now:

the-god-machine-home-1993-2

The God Machine  – What Time is Love

Although, admittedly, it’s not the best quality recording, and you kind of didn’t really suggest that one anyway, so for one time only I’m going to allow you to suggest a different song by the same artist:

“…so will offer the equally heavy ‘She Said'”:

THE_GOD_MACHINE_SCENES+FROM+THE+SECOND+STOREY-412628

The God Machine – She Said

And we’ll stay with GMFree for a moment longer, if we may:

“I had a habit on the much missed When You Can’t Remember Anything series to mention the great Stephen Jones almost every time, here are two from him…”

Wait a minute, what did I just say about ‘for one time only’…?

But this is the bullet-dodging suggestion I mentioned earlier, for the first of these two suggestions is by Stephen Jones recording under the name TrUcKeR and the other one…erm…isn’t (that one will be along in a bit, if you care to hang around long enough):

a2638529477_16

TrUcKeR – God is a Dead Trucker Driving to Heaven

Is it okay if I like the sleeve of that more than I like the actual track….?

Now when I posted the Public Enemy track earlier, I deliberately avoided commenting on how sad it is that a record released in 1989 about black oppression felt as relevant today as it did back then. And that’s because I knew that one of you was going to make precisely that point about a record released a lot earlier than that. So, abramson60, the stage is yours:

“I’ve been listening to a lot of Nina Simone of late so taking the God road ‘Mississippi Goddam’, a song that is sadly still relevant today when we see what happened in Charlottesville [at the weekend] and it was only last week the UK police released the appalling hate crime figures.”

So, no jokes here. Just Miss Nina Simone.

nina

Nina Simone – Mississippi Goddam

Now, here we are, linking to songs about God, and not one of you has suggested anything by the Reverend Cliff Richard yet. The closest we get is this, from Rol of My Top Ten:

OK, my two suggestions will be as follows…

1. A song with the following lyrics…

No it’s never too late to change your mind
Don’t step on snails, don’t climb in trees,
Love Cliff Richard but please don’t tease
It’s never too late to change your mind

Thereby giving you your Cliff Richard fix even if nobody suggests him this time. Cliff and God go together, after all.

That’s…”

argent-god-gave-rock-and-roll-to-you-epic-3

Argent – God Gave Rock And Roll To You

“…the original version…actually prefer the Kiss version, but they don’t sing the verse about Cliff. Dunno why.”

I would imagine it’s because most of Kiss’ fanbase would have no idea who Cliff is, the heathens.

Anyway, I agree with you about preferring the Kiss version, but I do really like the Argent version too, although every time I’ve heard it my little ears have pricked up as I thought something by Focus had come up on shuffle for me.

We’ll come back to Rol’s second suggestion in a bit.

That’s all the God suggestions done. Next we have a song about Jesus, but I think we need some sort of bridging song, just to reinforce the link here. This’ll do the trick:

Giorgio_Moroder_-_Son_of_My_Father

Giorgio Moroder – Son Of My Father

And so to Jesus, and, more specifically, to Martin of New Amusements again. Martin’s not the Messiah, but he knows another Martin who thinks they must be.

“And the son of God route with…”

folder

Martin Rossiter – I Must Be Jesus

“…because it’s ace.”

He’s right, you know.

For the uninitiated, Mr Rossiter was the lead singer of Gene (who I adore) and I cannot recommend the album that track comes from (‘The Defenestration of Saint Martin’, in case you can’t make it out from the image above) highly enough. An over-looked gem, in my opinion. Seek, and ye shall find.

Which leads us on to God’s greatest adversary, and we’re heading back to GMFree’s seemingly never-ending list of suggestions, which is for this:

boys_for_pele

Tori Amos – Father Lucifer

Now GMFree mentioned the much missed When You Can’t Remember Anything blog a little earlier, and regular visitors to these shores will know that the writers of that now deceased blog, SWC and Badger, often contributed here. So I was delighted when SWC got in touch to make some suggestions again this week, although the first one he doesn’t really suggest, more wonders out loud about it, which he knows full well is too much for me to resist:

“I need to decide whether to go down the beach route the boy route or the God route. I thinking if ‘God Only Knows’ then perhaps ‘Better the Devil You Know’ but I may change my mind.”

Too late! And count yourself lucky I picked this one and not the song of the same name by professional Scouser Sonia:

KYLIE_MINOGUE_BETTER+THE+DEVIL+YOU+KNOW-36998

Kylie Minogue – Better The Devil You Know

Which leads us nicely on to our third new member of the Chain Gang. Ladies and Gentlemen, will you please be upstanding and straighten out your natty suits with arrows on them for KC:

I’d like to suggest ‘The Lord’s Favorite’ by Danish wunderkind iceage and I’ll apologise for the use of the word wunderkind, that was how SWC described them to me.”

That’s the way to do things: if in doubt, blame SWC.

Iceage_-_Plowing_Into_The_Field_Of_Love

Iceage – The Lord’s Favorite

Now many of you will recognise KC from her posts on SWC and Badger’s site; she was, if I recall correctly, a relative newcomer to writing and her posts were really rather excellent, so it’s a shame she no longer has a platform to show off her talents. So KC: if you want to continue to write, and haven’t had any other offers to do so elsewhere, drop me an email, you’d be more than welcome to contribute here. Just until the boys get bored and resurrect WYCRA, of course.

God…Lord…Jesus…Lucifer…all suggestions of Biblical proportions. Which leads me back to Rol for his second suggestion, which is this “…because it’s ace.” Have you and Martin been copying each other’s superlatives? You have, haven’t you? You’ve both let me down, you’ve let the class down, but most all you’ve let yourselves down.

Good job both of your ace suggestions really are ace:

nickie-lee-the-ten-commandments-of-man-1967-5

Nickie Lee – The Ten Commandments Of Man

Okay, so having covered the ‘God’ aspect of ‘God Only Knows’, perhaps it’s time to focus on links to one of the other two words in the title, namely ‘Knows’. Here’s Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense

“The Beach Boys tell us that ‘God Only Know’s, but Robert Plant asserts that ‘Heaven Knows’ (which is arguably the same thing?)”

Arguably, but it’s getting late.

robert-plant-heaven-knows-atlantic

Robert Plant – Heaven Knows

Now as a die-hard fan of The Smiths, mention of a song title that starts with the words “Heaven Knows” sets by clogged up heart beating a little bit faster, for it gives me an excuse to post this:

R-4395719-1402781217-7454_jpeg

Sandie Shaw – Heaven Knows I’m Missing Him Now

Ha ha, fooled you!

Sorry, Rigid, you were saying?

“Marillion then confirm the original statement by saying…”

139517-a

Marillion – He Knows You Know

Time to dust off my Chain Catchphrase. Well, if you’re suggesting that, then – altogether now – I’m suggesting this:

B0006GTDJC

Goldie Lookin Chain – You Knows I Loves You

Moving swiftly on, a couple of you, taking the Boys from The Beach Boys, decided to flip it over to the fairer sex. Here’s George:

“I was going to suggest ‘Girls Girls Girls’ by Sailor but I changed my mind….”

Good job you did, for I’d definitely have to disqualify that one, as it featured in The Chain #35

So, have another go: “…going from Boys to Girls, and The Moments song ‘Girls'”.

Now, every version of that song that I could find credits it to The Moments & The Whatnauts, so I’m hoping this is the tune you were after:

Moments & Whatnauts

The Moments & The Whatnauts – Girls

And here’s SWC with an actual, proper suggestion, and it’s no coincidence that I first heard this song because of a post on When You Can’t Remember Anything:

girls-father-son-holy-ghost-608x608

Girls – Vomit

And as you can see, that features on an album called ‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost’ which makes that a Double-Linker. Points!

So, having exhausted those suggestions too, let’s have a look at some Boys. And one of you got very excited at the prospect. Hello Kay, who shortly after posting her suggestions, sent me a text to say she was worried it made her sound like, and I quote “a right creepy perv”.

See what you think, readers:

“I’m going for the theme boys – so many to choose from. Maybe….” 

123_the_wild_boys_song_spain_006_20_0381_7_duranduran_com_duran_duran_discography_discogs_wikipedia

Duran Duran – The Wild Boys

“…or…”

A_-Front8

Wham! – Bad Boys

“…(I am of a certain age)…”

Nothing pervy about a woman of a certain age liking her boys wild and bad. And from the 1980s.

“…but I suppose I should go with the first song I thought of which linked to the Beach Boys and that’s…”

Brace yourself everybody. It’s Worst Record of the Week time, and if this isn’t one of the Worst Records in the History of Everything Ever, then I’d like to know what is. No scrub that, I really wouldn’t.

c7bf600bcd34baa794a183db279c1b0f--sabrina-sabrina-sabrina-salerno

Sabrina – Boys (Summertime Love)

Quick, somebody else suggest something. GMFree, you must have a few hundred more up your sleeve, surely?

“Thinking about a link to Beach and Boys lead me to ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ by The Cure included on Standing On a Beach comp, along with the b-side ‘The Exploding Boy’.”

I’ve warned you about this already….

I’ll pick the more unknown one of those two, which featured on the B-Side of the band’s wonderful “In Between Days” single:

tumblr_n5dhrwH6er1tb2ocvo1_500

The Cure – The Exploding Boy

Which leads us nicely on to our last cluster of tunes, which relate to the Beach in The Beach Boys. Here’s George for his final suggestion:

“…from Beach to Sand, and…”

GS-BOATLM-CD

Giant Sand – You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory

In case you’re interested, that’s the other song which has featured on The Chain before, but then it was performed by Ronnie Spector and came from the very same EP as the one BabyLotti suggested earlier.

Let’s have GMFree’s last suggestion, the other one by Stephen Jones, which you’ll recall I’m allowing because he released it under his Baby Bird moniker, as opposed to the TrUcKeR of the earlier suggestion:

BabyBirdfatherhood

Baby Bird – Aluminium Beach

Over to SWC for his second suggestion now:

“For the beach link I’m going to say ‘Pure Shores’ by All Saints as it’s on the soundtrack to the film ‘The Beach’.”

And because it’s ace, as Rol and Martin might say. (Because it is.)

a3ea065f-270e-4679-894a-0ab3456ff6c3

All Saints – Pure Shores

Let’s see what else Alyson has conjured up on the beach theme next:

“The other song that came to mind straight away was this one, pure cheese…from back in the early ’70s when this kind of thing was all over the airwaves!”

the-first-class-uk-beach-baby-part-i-1974-2

The First Class – Beach Baby

Which, cheese or not, is also ace. And it gives me the chance to post this, my final suggestion of the week. And it may seem an odd one to go to, but some of you will have spotted the reason for the link when listening to that last tune:

strawberry-switchblade-since-yesterday-korova

Strawberry Switchblade – Since Yesterday

Did you spot it, readers?

Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, beaches.

This, then, The Robster’s final suggestion:

hes-on-the-beach-12-inch-front-cover

Kirsty MacColl – He’s On The Beach

Isn’t that ace too? We went through a phase a while ago of having a record by Kirsty pretty much every week on the Chain, but that’s the first time she’s featured in ages. Sort it out folks.

And from an artist who used to feature regularly to the band I was surprised has never featured before, so many thanks to abramson60 for rectifying that with this absolute belter:

ramones4n-1-copy

Ramones – Rockaway Beach

Seriously, think of how many albums the Ramones have released, and how many songs of about two minutes that means they’ve recorded. This is the 41st edition of The Chain. How did we get this far without them cropping up?

Which leads me to the final suggestion of the week. Which just so happens to be next song in the Official Chain.

Here’s their link:

“From the Boys on the Beach to…”

And here’s ours, as penned by KC in this Sunshine Strand:

“If Badger was here he would agree that the greatest song to feature beaches either in the band title or the song title is…” 

echo

41. Martha And The Muffins – Echo Beach

Congratulations, KC! Points to the New Girl! The rest of you: hang your heads in shame, she’s tucked you all right up there.

So, all that leaves me to do is to thank you all again for the love you’ve shown The Chain, for your awesome (and ace) suggestions, and to ask you to do it all over again.

Your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “Echo Beach” by Martha and The Muffins, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition.

More soon.

Bye, Bye, Bye, Bye

I’ve just heard the sad news that Chuck Berry has died.

As a teenager, when I was learning to play guitar, I figured I should look to some of the greats to pick up some tips from, so I bought a Berry best of, and this has always been one of my favourite tunes of his:

chuck-berry-no-particular-place-to-go-funckler

Chuck Berry – No Particular Place To Go

Pub-quizzers will know that an often-asked question is what his only UK Number One was. Answer: “My Ding-A-Ling”. It would be a shame if that’s how he’s remembered. Up until 1994, that was looking likely. Luckily, in that year, one of his songs was featured in an iconic scene from an iconic movie:

For me though, there was a cover version of one of his songs which I’ve loved ever since I bought the album it features on, and pretty much every time I saw them play live, they ended with this:

ArticleSharedImage-60218

Status Quo – Bye Bye Johnny

I could go on picking great rock’n’roll records that Chuck wrote or performed – the list is almost endless – but I’ll leave it at those three, in the hope that others out there will post more.

Suffice to say, we lost another legend today.

More soon.

 

R.I.P. Rick

Okay, I’ve had a week to compose myself. Let’s do this.

As 2016 goes through it’s final curtain call, there have been more prominent, more universally mourned, losses than that of Rick Parfitt.

But you all know me by now. I can’t let him go without saying goodbye properly.

*Hey, have you seen the news….?*

You know when you get a text like that, it’s never going to be good news.

Some context: It is Christmas Eve, and I am on a train travelling up from That London to spend Christmas with my parents. The Train Manager (no, me neither) has just done his best Norman Collier impression, announcing that the next station is my destination; I’m packing all my stuff away, when I got the aforementioned text from Hel.

*No….?* I replied.

I checked the BBC app on my phone and there it was: “Status Quo’s Rick Parfitt dies.”

I stared at it for a moment before responding.

*Shit. Now I have.*

The train pulled into the station. I alighted. In a daze I walked along the platform, over the footbridge and out to the car park, where my parents sat waiting to collect me.

My mum got out of the car, we hugged, kissed, she asked me how I was.

“Rick Parfitt’s dead,” I said.

“Oh…..” she replied, understandably a bit taken aback by my reply, and possibly not at all sure who I meant.

I got into the car, front passenger seat, next to my Dad, the designated driver.

“Hello! You alright?” he said cheerily.

“Rick Parfitt’s dead,” I said.

“Is he?” he replied, not quite sure how to react.

For the next couple of hours, my phone was alive with texts, emails, tweets, from people I know – many of them you, reading this now – saying how when they heard the news I was the first person they thought of. I find that incredible, movingly so, as if he were a family member of mine, and you’d wanted to reach out and check how I was, having heard the news.

I apologise now to you all if my answers were somewhat brief. The wind had been knocked right out of my sails. But, y’know, thank you.

Some more context: yes, 2016 has been the cruellest year. Yes, I loved Bowie, but I didn’t really get into him until my mid-teens; yes, Prince too: a little later; yes, Leonard Cohen: god, it wasn’t until the last ten years or so that I truly appreciated him. The Smiths. The Wedding Present, Super Furry Animals, Teenage Fanclub, R.E.M.: all of these had yet to either exist or cross my radar.

But Quo, they were the first. And Rick Parfitt, well he was the first rock star that I ever wanted to be.

It was a love affair that was not without its critics. As Rick said: “People try to dismiss what we do but they can’t. People have terrible goes at us about the music being simple when it’s not really. It appears simple perhaps in its chording but generally, to actually play what we play and how we play it, it’s not simple. It’s bloody hard work.”

Let me take you back. It’s a Saturday morning in 1979. I’m in my bedroom, listening to Tony Blackburn on Radio 1. He’s doing a phone-in quiz, playing the intro to a current hit, and inviting listeners to call in to identify the record and win a prize. I have no access to a phone, and I certainly didn’t have the bill payers permission to call Tony, so I resort to hollering the answer at the radio.

The song in question is “Whatever You Want”, a record with one of the most distinctive intros ever. I find myself rebuking the callers who get it wrong. And then I realise: I don’t remember ever actually hearing this record before, and yet I still know it.

I was 9, maybe 10. And The Quo had got me, right there. They were ingrained and I didn’t know how it had happened.

A few years later, 1982. The BBC are showing a concert by Status Quo, from Birmingham’s N.E.C., a venue I would venture to in a few year’s time to see them for myself. I’ve written about it before and got a take down notice for a song I posted – the only one I’ve ever had, but I don’t begrudge them, I find it kind of funny. My brother and I commandeered the television, sat down to watch, and were utterly entranced. I hadn’t been to an actual gig at that point.

The lights dimmed, a single elongated synth note signified the start of the gig, smoke billowing at foot level across the stage.

A spotlight comes on, and there was Rick, standing against what appeared to be a wall of speakers, legs apart in that classic stance, white silk shirt open maybe one button more than was strictly necessary,  white Fender Telecaster slung around his shoulders, Fender Telecaster necklace slung round his neck, blond mane shaking in time to his own rhythm, and he is fucking going for it, chugging out the opening chords to “Caroline”, our breath taken away. This was twelve bar boogie. This was rock’n’roll. This was exhilarating.

Fast forward a couple of years. My mate Paul and I are wandering round the sprawling metropolis that is Peterborough. It is around three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. Paul has it in his mind that we will be able to pull. I am less sure, considerably less confident than he. I take him to one side and explain that in the unlikely event that we manage to talk to any girls (I needn’t have worried, by the way) I’d let him do the talking but I implored him not to introduce me by my actual name (which isn’t Jez, by the way, but you can probably work out what that’s a derivative of). Instead, I want him to tell them my name is…Rick.

To me, it was the most rock’n’roll name of the most rock’n’roll person in the world, and if just a little bit of that denim swish could rub off on me I’d take it with both hands.

It was Rick who inspired me to learn to play the guitar. Every day I would rush home from school, rush upstairs, plug my guitar in and play along to Quo records, performing my own little Quo concert to nobody at all, perfecting the stance. My parents would describe it as me “getting my fix”, which when you think about the amount of narcotics they did at their peak is kind of ironic.

I shouldn’t have been so shocked about his death, really. He’d been beset with health issues for years: a quadruple heart bypass in 1997, a further heart attack earlier this year which curtailed his touring for good after doctors told him his lifestyle of touring, drink and drugs could kill him. Rick wasn’t having it though: he vowed not to become a “born-again Christian”, pledged he would continue to enjoy the “odd pint”.

In an odd way, it’s almost a disappointment that he died because of an infection following a shoulder injury rather than as a result of shovelling a colossal amount of Columbian marching powder up his snork. Not with a bang, but with a whimper, as they say.

So, to some tunes. We all know the story by now. Band found fame in the late 60s with their psychedelic pop songs like “Pictures of Matchstick Men”, dressed up to the nines on Carnaby Street clothes that Hendrix and The Who had already rejected. The realisation that this psych-persona would not afford any longevity, and the discovery of ripped jeans and boogie is often attributed to them hearing The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues” in a club one night, but the moment when that first got incorporated into their music can be found here, a Goffin/King cover, 3:25 in when suddenly the bass seems to take on a life of its own, and the band in a new direction:

status-quo-spare-parts-cd

You’re Just What I Was Looking For Today

Then listen to this, from 1970s “Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon”, the first album they made in that prototype format, almost tribal, Native American in its sound:

51hcng2serl

Need Your Love

At this point, fellow Quo stalwart Francis Rossi and Rick were writing songs together; it seemed obvious really, the lead singer/guitarist and the rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist pairing up, but it wouldn’t last. But that album proffered the co-written truly awful “Everything” (it’s so cringe-worthy, I’m not going to post it) but also the quite wonderful:

 Lakky Lady

Surprisingly, though, as the sound got crunchier, and they had their breakthrough album with 1972’s “Piledriver”, it was Rick who provided the more peaceful moments. It’s my favourite album by them (when I was a kid, a friend of mine had the gatefold cover edition, which I didn’t; I rode my bike to his house in the next village and surreptitiously swapped them, tried to feign ignorance when he realised and cycled after me to get his copy back), not least because of the juxtaposition between the newly polished boogie with the gorgeous blues of tracks like this Parfitt co-written tune:

r-1700662-1418391667-9697_jpeg

All The Reasons

There’s an absolute monster on that album too, mind, another co-written by Parfitt, which showcases his incredible rhythm technique, topped off by a guitar lick nonchalantly thrown into the middle that I spent months trying to master:

Big Fat Mama

Jesus, that’s still a beast of a tune.

They rarely wrote together after that album. In a post-death statement, Rossi has described his relationship with Parfitt as: “Without doubt the longest relationship of my life: this was also the most satisfying, frustrating, creative and fluid.” Emphasis on the frustrating, I think.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to pick his best tune from every album, although it’s very tempting.

One thing I’ve always loved about the Quo is that every now and again I’m surprised when someone mentions that they know or love a song by them. Christmas 1993, I was working in the Virgin Megastore in Cardiff. It was the year when Take That’s “Babe” and Mr Blobby’s ingeniously titled “Mr Blobby” vied for the top slot at Christmas. It was not exactly a time of fine pop pomp and tuneage. But at least it wasn’t X-Factor. Yet.

I had a friend working there, Ian. I knew Ian from college, we were a few doors down from each other in the halls of residence in our first term. Ian is into skater-punk bands like The Dead Milkmen, and brief loud noise-grunt bands like Napalm Death, and Death by Milkfloat. I’m working at Virgin over Christmas because he already worked there, knew I needed work and remembered that he owed me a favour: after he finished college and had no money, I was the Entertainments Officer at the Students Union, pretended he was still a student so I could give him as much “cash in hand” work as I could wangle.

He sidled up to me one day and told me that everyone there had their area of speciality, so if someone came into the store asking after a particular record, you could summon someone who would have a rough idea of what they were after.

“I’ve told them what yours is,” he smirked.

I knew without asking that he had told all of the music nerds and cool kids who worked there that I was a Quo fan.

“S’okay,” he said, “I played them ‘Lonely Man’ and they pretty much all changed their mind about them. And you.”

Still never been sure how to take that.

I had no idea he even knew that record, but it’s possibly Parfitt’s greatest, most unrecognised, most beautiful moment. If you listen to only one of these tunes, make it this one:

w14080_full

Lonely Man

That should be the end. There’s so much more I could write about Rick Parfitt – the tragedy that touched his life when his daughter, Heidi, drowned in a swimming pool aged just two; the much lighter stories of how he and Rossi were referred to as The Doctors at the recording of the Band Aid single due to their supply of narcotics which got everybody else through the session, or the (possibly apocryphal) tale of how they once, in Australia, hit a kangaroo with their tour bus and, believing it to be dead decided to dress it up in denims and have their photo taken with it, only for it to suddenly spring back to life, simply stunned, and hop off, with denim jacket – containing tour bus keys – still on it – and how much he meant to me.

There’s the moment when he butts into a decidedly sub-average album closer, injecting it with much needed rock’n’roll ethos, sound, alcohol and God knows what else for a couple of minutes…

d42a949e1f0b32e96fe936470d3880dc

Breaking Away

…to the story I’ve related before about how “Mystery Song” – probably my favourite Quo song ever – came to pass (as I can attest from the prick I made of myself at Glastonbury when Oasis came on, two spoon fulls of speed do not make you think clearly…an excuse they may have used when they signed the sponsorship deal with Levi’s which explains this album sleeve)…

blue-for-you-50f6266319f29

Mystery Song

…and of course there’s “Whatever You Want”, but you all know that one, you don’t need me to post it again.

So there I was, Christmas Eve, rudderless, when I check Twitter and spot this:

screenshot_20161231-001215

For the uninitiated, that couplet goes:

“She wears denim, wherever she goes

Says she’s gonna get some records by The Status Quo, oh yeah.”

And suddenly, despite the tragic loss, it’s almost okay, because I know that others – and there was a lot of outpouring of grief on my timeline, more than I had expected – and specifically another musician I love (Norman is “of Teenage Fanclub fame” in case you don’t know), who had named checked The Quo in a lyric, hadn’t been taking the piss when he did it, as I had often worried he may have been. I should have known better. I felt vindicated, in the same way as I did when I first heard that John Peel always carried a copy of “Down Down” with him when he DJ’d.

What I’m trying to say – and I don’t think he would dispute this – is that Rick always struck me as being an ordinary bloke who got lucky, right place right time, who got to be a rock legend – and like it or not, sniffy purists, that’s what he was – and was determined, having got to where he wanted to be, to live life to the full.

I have one last enduring memory I want to share with you. Indulge me for a moment longer, will you?

In December 2014, I went to see Quo play at the O2 in That London. I was sat right up in the gods, on my own as I generally am at Quo gigs – I don’t blame my mates for not wanting to fork out £50 to see a band they don’t really like – but have befriended a couple of old codgers sitting next to me. I can’t remember their names, but let’s call them Chas and Maureen for narrative purposes. (The names fit, by the way). Chas has a bad back, so he practically instructs me to dance with Maureen for the many livelier numbers his muscles can’t cope with. I’m happy to oblige; if you can’t twirl a septuagenarian around at a Quo gig, then where can you?

The band finish off, as they often do, with their cover version of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” and suddenly Maureen and I are aware of Chas tugging at her shoulder and pointing at the stage.

At this:

Rick Parfitt. Rock star and cool dad.

Sleep easy, mate. You’ve earned a bit of a kip, I reckon.

More soon.

The Chain #27

Evening all.

Before we get going a disclaimer: if I seem a little distracted tonight, it’s because I’m trying to accomplish that task that so many (men) find difficult – multi-tasking. For tonight, whilst writing this, I am also watching Spurs in the Champions League. So, if my demeanour takes a turn for the worst towards the end, you’ll know why. (As you can see, I’m full of optimism….).

So, to business: last week I left you with “The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals and asked for your suggestions for songs to link to it, and, as usual, you’ve not let me down with the standard of suggestion or level of link.

As is often the case, the majority of the suggestions fell into the same categories, and this time there were four

  1. Links to the names of members of the bands
  2. Links to the word “Animal(s)”
  3. Links to the word “House”
  4. Links to…erm…the oldest profession in the world.

There are a few others which we’ll sprinkle liberally throughout the post too.

  1. Band Members Names

Now, you’ll remember that the reason we’re looking at “The House of the Rising Sun” was because one of the members of the band was Chas Chandler, who went on to manage Jimi Hendrix, the subject of last week’s post, so it only seems right that we start with a Chas related record.

Also, there wasn’t that much in the way of cheese last week; this redresses that immediately.

Over to you, Charity Chic (who is going to be annoyed that I have already started one sentence with the word “So”):

“Let’s get the cheesy one out the way at the start – Chas ‘n’ Dave with Snooker Loopy”:

chasdavesnookerloopy502827

The Matchroom Mob with Chas & Dave – Snooker Loopy

Next up, is George:

“John Steel of The Animals met Alan Price in Byker. Byker Grove was a TV programme that gave us Ant and Dec…but we’ve already had Ant and Dec….I’ll start again…”

And have a word with yourself while you’re at it, George.  It was PJ and Duncan we previously featured, and as we all know, they were completely different to Ant and Dec. One of them had been tragically blinded in a bizarre paintballing accident, for a start. (“Bizarre Paintballing Accident” sounds like a suggestion from a random “New Order/Half Man Half Biscuit/Elvis Costello” title generator, doesn’t it? Actually, thinking about it, that joke works just as well with the words “New Order” and “Elvis Costello” removed from it.)

Over to Alex G from We Will Have Salad for the next name related piece of fun:

“Alan Price was in The Animals, therefore… “£20 To Get In” by Shut Up And Dance.” 

r-1596886-1303986008_jpeg

Shut Up and Dance – £20 to Get In

Time for my first suggestion of the week. Alan Price appeared in, and composed the music for, “O Lucky Man!”, a 1973 film directed by Lindsay Anderson. Five years earlier, Anderson released arguably his most iconic film, “if….” which is also the name of a famous poem by Rudyard Kipling, but is also the name of a single culminates in a glorious sing-a-long, probably my favourite song by The Bluetones,  who make their hat-trick appearance here on The Chain.

2c271f10a9bc

The Bluetones – if…

Now, here’s George with his first proper suggestion:

“Chas Chandler: a chandler was the person in charge of candles and wax, and speaking of wax leads to The Three Johns song Teenage Nightingales To Wax.”

a1468063600_10

The Three Johns – Teenage Nightingales To Wax

But before George returns with his second suggestion, here’s Dirk from Sexyloser:

“In fact, George, it should lead to Nightmares In Wax’ ‘Black Leather’ instead, bearing in mind that Pete Burns died only a few days ago.”

A fair point. I didn’t comment or mark Burns’ passing here at the time because, well, to be honest, I’m all dead pop-starred out for this year. Still, here he is:

nightmares-in-wax-black-leather-12

Nightmares In Wax – Black Leather

Back to George for his third suggestion, not to a band member, but to their manager:

“The manager of The Animals was Mickie Most. Mickie Most set up the RAK label, and Hot Chocolate were signed to that label. And the song is Emma. Which is a fine, fine pop song.”

hot-chocolate-emma-rak-jugoton

Hot Chocolate – Emma

Last one for our linking band members names, and here’s The Beard:

“Alan Price had success after leaving The Animals with Simon Smith and The Amazing Dancing Bear which was also covered by The Muppets on their debut album.”

It was, and I very nearly posted their version (it’s by Scooter, which would have led to a lot of very disappointed fans of the German dance band accidentally stumbling across this place), but the Muppets will be making an appearance later, so we’ll pass on that.

Besides, I don’t think that’s the record our Bearded Buddy was looking to nominate, as he continues:

“Animal was, of course, the drum bashing Muppet. A similar sounding drummer is Philthy Animal Taylor from Motörhead. Their single No Class is in fact pure class.

motorhead-no-class-1979

Motorhead – No Class

Which leads us rather nicely onto the next category, but before we go there: we’ve all seen over the years boy bands exploit their innocent fan base by releasing a single which featured a different member of the band on the cover? Well, who knew that such acts weren’t just restricted to the teen market….?:

9982

Time to sprinkle a little uncategorisable magic dust. And some more shameless nicking of ideas.

I’ll let The Great Gog, who suggested it, take over:

“The Animals also recorded We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, which was covered by (lovable?) 90s Scousers, Space. A couple of decades earlier, a French band of the same name came to our attention with the then futuristic-sounding Magic Fly.”

space-magic-fly

Space – Magic Fly

Take a look at that sleeve. Remind you of anyone? Seems a little bit daft, a little bit punk to me. And there was me thinking Daft Punk were ground-breaking, and it turns out they’re just rehashing ideas from their fellow countrymen from the 1970s. Luckily, very few of the UK’s current pop stars follow suit, or most of them would be in prison. Maybe that should be unluckily…

By the way, that suggestion continues a trend which I’ve encountered a couple of times since I started hosting The Chain, and which Alyson identified following my Halloween night post, a condition known as “Oh so that’s what that record’s called”. (see also “House of the King” by Focus and another one that I’ve forgotten already.)

Speaking of Focus, that hasn’t been an issue for me so far, it’s 0-0 at half time, in case you’re interested.

Last one before we start looking at the sings in the Animal(s) category, and here’s The Robster from Is This The Life?:

“Japan is known as the Land of the Rising Sun. Melt-Banana is a Japanese band who have quite a few songs that mention animals. They once released a compilation called 13 Hedgehogs which included tracks called Iguana In Trouble, Turtle vs. Bunny (Who One?) and Pig To Dog. But I’m going for the fabulously-titled Bird-Like Monkey in Cave, Singing in Drops, basically because it’s the only one of the above that breaches the 2-minute mark. (There’s also Bird-Like Monky Part 2 on the same album if you prefer – it’s just seven seconds long and for that reason might be a little more bearable for those with tender ears…)”

Regular readers will know I love Japanese bands like Shonen Knife and Puffy AmiYumi, who have a knack of stumbling across the odd cracking tune every now and then. So when The Robster suggested this lot, who I’d never heard of before, I was positively moist with anticipation:

500x500

Melt-Banana – Bird-Like Monkey In Cave, Singing In Drops

No offence, Rob, but that reminds me of this:

Let’s move on to some Animal based fun. Not that kind of fun. Purely aural fun. Not that kind of aural fun either, you mucky lot.

    2. Animals

You’ll remember that last week I had to disqualify one suggestion because, well, as far as I could establish, it was wrong. I was disappointed, as the link led to one of my favourite cover versions. I’m delighted to report that Swiss Adam from Bagging Area has taken up the challenge:

“The Animals are named after our four legged friends. On the cover of The Rockingbirds’ ‘Gradually Learning’ 12″ single the guitarist (who also plays with Edwyn Collins) is riding a horse (which is of course an animal). The Rockingbirds covered Right Said Fred’s Deeply Dippy….”

right-said-fred-deeply-dippy-columbia

The Rockingbirds – Deeply Dippy

“…which,” Swiss continues, “features several references to Spain in its lyrics. Spain is partly famous for its horses, as Roddy Frame noted.”

spanish-horses

Aztec Camera – Spanish Horses

Next, a very, very warm welcome back to Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything, now able to type and submit his own suggestions again, and boy does he make up for lost time:

“I have three suggestions, but you don’t need to pick all three.”

Need? No. Gonna? Yes.

“Animal was the drummer in the muppets, and it was also a track from on ‘Paradise Don’t Come Cheap’ by gravel voiced hip hoppers New Kingdom. So we could have that.”

Yes, we could.

newkingdom

New Kingdom – Animal

“Or, ‘Animal Nitrate’ was a poor attempt at clever wordplay by Suede but a very fine single never the less. So that…”

23817

Suede – Animal Nitrate

“…or finally, and perhaps best of all, another word for a bunch of animals could be Animal Collective and therefore we probably need to hear ‘Brother Sport’ by them.”

animalcollective-brothersport

Animal Collective – Brother Sport

And just as I finish posting my fellow Spurs’ fan Badger’s entries, we go 0-1 down. Ho hum.

Time for the return of The Robster:

“The mentions of Animal the muppet reminds me that the Muppets appeared in the video for Weezer’s ‘Keep Fishin’” in which Miss Piggy kidnaps Pat, Weezer’s drummer, and Animal has to fill in.”

weezerkeepfishin474716

Weezer – Keep Fishin’

I can’t really let the chance to post a Weezer’s videos slide, especially when it features the Muppets:

Which leads me on to my next choice. There’s plenty of songs called “Animal”. I have deliberately picked one of the worst.

474-8-im-cover-4857

Def Leppard – Animal

That’s enough Animal based shenanigans. To category 3!

      3. House

Plenty of these, and I am now taking no notice of the television, treating it like you do the nutter on the bus, or any one you don’t know on the Tube: ignore it, maybe it’ll go away.

Here’s SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything to kick things off:

“I’m going to down the house route. Just saying. Not sure in which direction that will take me yet. Probably ‘Rock Da House’ by who ever did that. Or ‘The Jack that House Built’”. Perhaps.”

Since I’m trying to distract myself from the football (I can’t just turn it off, obviously), you can have both whilst you think about it:

_35

The Beatmasters feat The Cookie Crew – Rok Da House

jack-n-chill-the-jack-that-house-built-10-oval

Jack ‘N’ Chill – The Jack That House Built

Which must mean it’s my turn again. This, a song I have posted before, a long time ago, is one of the finest, most often-forgotten singles from the early 1980s:

the-big-sound-authority-this-house-i-miss-my

Big Sound Authority – This House

Seems there weren’t as many of these as I thought, for here’s SWC again, although he does have two for us:

“My suggestion based on…an hour rifling through old copies of ‘Deep Heat’ is ‘Hip House’ by DJ Fast Eddie…”:

the-dj-fast-eddie-hip-house-dj-international

DJ Fast Eddie – Hip House

“…If you can’t find that then probably House of Jealous Lovers by The Rapture.”

More than happy to post that, one of the grooviest indie records to come out in the last…Jesus, was this thirteen years ago????

jealous

The Rapture – House of Jealous Lovers

So more sprinkles. Here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?:

“Eric Burdon always looked grumpy whenever I saw him perform or in photographs. Decided it was maybe because he was also moonlighting as an ironmonger (the jackets in the HOTSR cover are just like those worn in our local shop when I was a youngster). Whenever your dad asked them for anything in the shop it was never on a shelf and they always had to go upstairs to the storeroom for it. Led me to thinking of Upstairs at Eric’s by Yazoo and I think my favourite from that album was Don’t Go.”

eric_1345671474

Yazoo – Don’t Go

For our American readers, that’s Yazz to you, which must have been very confusing when the other Yazz and her Plastic Population appeared a few years later.

Hold up, The Robster’s back, and he’s only going to suggest something else by Melt-Banana….:

“I’ve reassessed my choice of Melt-Banana track and thought maybe we should have something that vaguely resembles a song. Which led me to another compilation the band released called Return Of 13 Hedgehogs. It contained their cover of Toots & The Maytals’ ‘Monkey Man’. Certainly a mite more tuneful than ‘Bird-Like Monkey…’”

Remember earlier when I said I liked Shonen Knife and Puffy AmiYumi, who have a knack of stumbling across the odd cracking tune every now and then? Well it turns out that Melt-Banana do too, it’s just they’ve stumbled over one that isn’t one of their own:

6550352010230_main

Melt-Banana – Monkey Man

And on to the fourth and final category:

     4. The Oldest Profession in the World

You don’t need me to explain what that means, do you? You do? Erm, can you have a bash Charity Chic?

“The House of the Rising Sun was a place of ill repute. I’m told that such establishments are also known as brothels or bordellos.  So ‘Start Wearing Purple’ by Gogol Bordello please!”

startwp

Gogol Bordello – Start Wearing Purple

It’s funny how the menfolk who make suggestions here tend to feign ignorance when it comes to “being told” what kind of house is being described in The House of the Rising Sun. Take Dirk for example:

“Alright, apparently [see? – Ed] said house in the song really seems to be a brothel, a bagnio, a bordello, or, if you’d rather, a whorehouse. And this reminds me of Wreckless Eric’s ‘Semaphore Signals’. “Why’s this?”, you might be asking yourself – and quite rightly so! The truth of the matter is that for years and years I misheard the lyrics of ‘Semaphore Signals’ a little bit (blame it on my poor English, but hey – could you Englanders sing along to all of Tocotronic’s fantastic debut album? Nah, I bet your German is not good enough, right? I can though!). Either way, it was an embarrassing moment when I finally found out, albeit 15 years or so too late, that Eric says in the chorus “Messages of love down to her house” and not “Messages of love from the whorehouse”.

Still, he should have done. Perhaps. ‘Cos, whenever the tune comes up in the car when I’m on me way to work in the morning these days, I have a picture in my brain of half naked hookers waving little flags … and it always brings a stupid grin to my face!

P.S.: the Peel-Session version is marginally better than the album version.”

Mental note to self: stay off of the autobahn in the morning.

Here’s the Peel Session version, complete with a sleeve where Wreckless Eric’s name has inexplicably been mis-spelt (it’s entirely possible it’s a different Wreckless Erik, but there’s can’t be two, can there?):

wreckless_eric1

Wreckless Eric – Semaphore Signals (Peel Session)

Guys, guys…just because you know what a brothel is, it doesn’t mean you’ve been to one. Have a bit more pride on your knowledge.

Take kuttowski AKA Walter from A Few Good Times In My Life, for example, back for a second week and he’s not messing about:

“The fact that in this house the oldest profession was practiced it leads me to two songs about prostitution.” There. He’s said it. “First was Blondie’s X-Offender where she first played with her sexual attitude in front of the band.”

x-offender

Blondie – X Offender

What’s the other one, kottowski/Walter?

“The other one is ‘Killer Queen’ by Queen. Mercury made no bones about the song’s meaning, explaining, ‘It’s about a high class call girl. I’m trying to say that classy people can be whores as well. That’s what the song is about, though I’d prefer people to put their interpretation on it’.”

We don’t really need to bother, now you’ve told us, do we Freddie?

queen-killer-queen-emi-5

Queen – Killer Queen

Time that we heard from Rol of My Top Ten fame:

“Sticking with the brothel theme, I have two suggestions this week. (Both taken from My Top Ten Prostitute Songs, sorry.)

Elvis Costello – Love For Sale (or the Nina Simone version, if you prefer). Cole Porter rules.”

Now. I have looked everywhere for a copy of Nina Simone performing “Love for Sale”. I can’t find it, or any reference it. But rather than disqualifying a suggestion for the second week running, and in the unlikely event that you may have just got them mixed up somehow, you can have Billie Holliday’s version instead:

r-3787146-1344562559-7598_jpeg

Billie Holiday – Love For Sale

PS – Rol, if you can point me in the direction of Nina’s version, I’d love to hear it!

Luckily, there can be no confusion about who his next suggestion is by:

“Flight of the Conchords – You Don’t Have To Be A Prostitute (Sting has a lot to answer for.)”

There’s a further Muppet link here, too of course: Bret McKenzie won an the Best Original Song Oscar for “Man or Muppet” from their (the Muppets, not the Flights) 2011 comeback move.

Anyway, taken from, shall we say, their difficult second album, which in my opinion is patchy at best (the first album is essential listening), this is one of the better tracks:

Print

Flight of the Conchords – You Don’t Have To Be A Prostitute

Which just about wraps it up for the prostitution related songs, except, well just in case you don’t get the Sting reference, I found this when I was trying to track down the Nina Simone version of Love for Sale:

idina-menzel-live-barefoot-at-the-symphony-cd_jpg

Idina Menzel – Love For Sale/Roxanne

Now, I have no idea who Idina Menzel is, or rather I didn’t until I decided to add her to this post. She’s an actress, best know for appearing in “Glee” and more recently for being Queen Elsa in “Frozen” which apparently means it is her that sings that “Let it Go” song which seems to get referenced everywhere these days, but which I’ve never heard, nor do I ever want to, thanks very much.

Anyway, the reason I’ve included her version is for the audience reaction, which at the start of “Love for Sale”, a Cole Porter composition, is absolutely nothing, before a smattering of applause and whooping (it’s recorded in America) welcomes the second line of “Roxanne”, like the crowd have been stirred from their slumber by something they kinda recognise.

Oh, wait. I have one more song from this theme. As regular readers know, I love this band, particularly their early stuff, and this is a song which is right up there amongst my favourite ever tunes by them. Wikipedia says the song “concerns a young man’s encounter with a prostitute”, which explains why they called it “Mystery Song”. Although “Song Concerning a Young Man’s Encounter with a Prostitute” would have been a great title too, should Colorblind James Experience ever decide to cover it.

Anyway, put simply, this rocks, it rocks more than anything else on this page. So there.

6059146nl

Status Quo – Mystery Song

Incidentally, there’s a vaguely amusing story behind that song. That came out in 1976, when the band were at the height of their fame, and also well on the road to the drug addiction which made lead singer Francis Rossi’s septum fall out. When they were in the studio working on their “Blue For You” album, Rossi laced Rick Parfitt’s cup of tea with “an inordinate amount” of speed, not expecting him to drink it. You can work out how the rest of the story goes: he drank the lot, oblivious to the contents, began playing this riff and continued to do so until the rest of them left the studio, leaving him in there all night. On their return the following day, he was still sitting in the same place, playing the same riff, some twelve hours later. “I just couldn’t go wrong,” Parfitt recalls, “everywhere my fingers went on the fretboard it sounded fantastic.” Drugs, see kids. Don’t do them. Especially speed. Anyone who has read my article about what happened at Glastonbury the year I found a bag of the stuff will know I know exactly what I’m talking about.

Okay we’re on the home straight now, just some more sprinkles of magic dust to go, and to start off this final section, can we all give a very warm Chain Gang welcome to Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense (and anyone with a picture of Rigsby as their avatar is alright by me):

“Approaching his 50th Birthday, John Otway asked his fans for a second hit single to follow 1977s “Really Free”. The chosen track – Bunsen Burner – nicked the music from Disco Inferno, and Otway fashioned a lyric after helping with his daughters chemistry homework. The link to House Of The Rising Sun? HOTRS was the B-Side (or second track on CD single) – the track featured 900 fans (all credited on the record sleeve) in a glorious ‘call and response'”

bunsensingle

John Otway – Bunsen Burner

And since Rigid mentioned B-Sides, here’s The Swede from Unthough of, though, somehow with something which is as far removed from Otway as one could get:

“The b-side of ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ was a cover of ‘Talkin’ ’bout You’. I’d like to suggest the Ray Charles original.”

ray-charles-talkin-bout-you-1958

Ray Charles – Talkin’ ‘Bout You

Here’s The Beard, back for a second stab:

“Can I have another go, please? Ta. Be warned, this one is more than a little convoluted…”

Excellent. The Beard’s links are becoming my favourite links here each week, if not for the songs, then the reason he gives. As close to Comment Showboating as anyone has managed this week (apart from my quite brilliant even if I do say so myself link to The Bluetones). Time for the rest of you to up your game, I think.

“The Rising Sun is a pub on Beverley Road in Hull. Grafton Street is a thoroughfare, one end of which comes out on Beverley Road. Down Grafton Street is The Grafton, the pub where the video for Happy Hour by The Housemartins was filmed. Phill Jupitus appears in the video. He was also a captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Howard Devoto left Buzzcocks to form Magazine. A Song From Under The Floorboards by Magazine is fanruddytastic.”

Ain’t that the truth:

magazine-song-from-under-the-floor-boards

Magazine – A Song From Under The Floorboards

And that would be that, had The Beard’s suggestion not prompted a couple of further ideas from Rol, which I’ll allow, as they’re the next step on a couple of references The Beard makes. Plus, Rol is as brief as brief can be (although, just to be contrary, I’m posting them in the different order to suggested, just because his first suggestion sounds more like an end of the show track than his second to me):

“1.”

1fd9a0bb

The National – The Geese Of Beverly Road

and

“2.”

cs1782741-02a-big

The Beautiful South – The Rising Up of Grafton Street

Which means all that’s left is to reveal the next song in the official Chain, and the reason behind it, and see if we all go “Well, mine was better than that….” as we do most weeks:

So: here’s the reason:

“…The House of the Rising Sun was in New Orleans. And Dr John comes from New Orleans, therefore…”

…this is the song:

dr_%20john%20-%20in%20the%20right%20place

27. Dr. John – Such A Night

Well, mine were way…oh, okay fair enough.

So folks, let me have your suggestions of songs which link to Such a Night by Dr John via the Comments page below, along with a description of how you have linked from one t’other.

See you next week, if not before.

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:

pilot_of_the_airwaves_-_charlie_dore

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’….”

blackmarketclash

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.”

s-sixteentons

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…”

r-476145-1269561631_jpeg

Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner

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

transmissionlogo1

Joy Division – Transmission

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

half_0020_man

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’…”

6d892222eb1f3d842d70c92923dc9cc6

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:

997_large_2

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.”

115036106

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:

theheebeegeebeesmeaninglesssongs423488

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’.”

status_quo-in_the_army_now_s

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…”

wallofvo_mexicanr_45_large

Wall Of Voodoo – Mexican Radio

CC’s not done yet though:

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

663209

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.

r-188823-1424078103-2449_jpeg

Carly Simon – Why

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

tumblr_nt4ybf3nir1r88o32o1_1280

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.

elvis-costello-and-the-attractions-party-party-vinyl-clock-sleeve-80s

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.”

smashingpumpkinstonighttonight69297

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:

cs1773982-02a-big

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’…”

115387964

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?

paul%20abdul%20opposites%20attract_jpg_opt407x402o00s407x402

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’.”

kirsty-maccoll-theres-a-guy-works-down-the-chip-shop-swears-hes-elvis-polydor

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”:

r-604177-1328283707_jpeg

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.”

stereophonics-vegas-two-times-v2

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”

rem-radio-song-warner-brothers

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).

115387964

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…”

18145-the-last-dj

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.”

elvis_perkins_ash_wednesday_cover

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.”

easy-star-all-stars_radiodread

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?

fssqfront

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:

t53993337-i724457666_s400

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.”

metronomyradioladio466928

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:

trentemolleremixed

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).”

russ-abbot-atmosphere-spirit

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:

cs1246057-02a-big

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:

xroses

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.)

No Such Thing as a Guilty Pleasure

Today, I broke a record.

In the last week, I’ve had more hits on my blog than in any previous week.

I’m not really a man for statistics, probably because I quoted Mark Twain’s “There are lies, damned lies and statistics” to prove a point so many times when I was writing scholarly essays at the end of the 1980s, I now believe none of them.

So, let me say from the get go: I anticipate that this post will bring a record low in views or downloads.

For whilst Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area was off watching Peter Hook on Friday, a week earlier I was watching Status Quo play an Acquostic gig (that’s their awful pun, not mine) at the Union Chapel in Islington.

As you may know, Quo released an album of acoustic versions of some of their songs at the back end of 2014, and it was an unexpected smash hit. The problem with unexpected smash hits is that record labels tend to want a follow up, and Quo – reluctantly, so they say – are obliging (there’s an Aquoustic Volume II coming soon).

The other problem is that, because they weren’t expecting it to be such a hit, they pretty much shot their bolt with the first album, and included versions of all the big hits: “Rockin’ All Over The World”, “Whatever You Want”, “Down, Down” etc etc etc – so where to go next?

To my mind, the first album had focussed a little too much on the famous songs, including songs which didn’t really benefit from acoustic make-overs, so I was particularly excited by the idea of them unearthing further songs from their back catalogue and giving them the acoustic treatment. For me, early album tracks, like “Claudie” from 1973’s “Hello!” album, which they revisited on the first acoustic album, had been a triumph, so I was hoping for more of the same.

So, much as I loved the gig and it’s compact, snug surroundings, I was a little disappointed that they only played two songs from the new album. A misjudgement on their part, I think: this was a strongly partisan crowd who would have known whatever they wanted (see what I did there?) to pluck out and perform.

The two songs in question were “That’s a Fact”, the original being on 1976’s “Blue For You” album, and “Hold You Back” from 1977’s “Rockin’ All Over the World” album, and it’s the latter that I want to focus on here.

Hold You Back” has always been a live favourite, and on Friday night it prompted the audience to get up on their feet and have a bit of a dance. Have you tried dancing in a pew? It’s not easy.

Like much from the first acoustic album, “Hold You Back” benefits from a revisit and revamp, turning it into – and I now this will sound odd – the Scottish reel it always wanted to be. Here’s someone’s hand held footage of it, taken from a far better vantage point than I managed to secure:

There was, however, an elephant in the room: the absence of original member Rick Parfitt.

Rick has had more than his fair share of health problems recently, and I read this weekend that, because of them, he has probably played his last ever gig.

There was a notable absence of songs that Parfitt performed the lead vocal on at the gig, hence, to my disappointment, there was no “Mystery Song”. If ever a greater song was born from someone putting a couple of teaspoons of speed into someone else’s tea, I’m yet to hear it. To my mind, it’s the greatest song in their back catalogue, and I know I’m not alone in thinking that

Luckily, they have Andy Bown in their ranks, a talented multi-instrumentalist in his own rights, with a pre-Quo history (yes, such a time exists) to make others pale into insignificance, and it was he that stepped up to sing “Whatever You Want” (which he co-wrote with Parfitt).

Anyway, you can find various hand-held clips of the Union Chapel gig on You Tube if you so desire. Here, though, is their recent gig for Radio 2 at Hyde Park, which is essentially the same set, just played to a lot more people:

And here is an mp3 of them playing “Hold You Back” at the same gig (with apologies for the Radio 2 i-dent at the start, not that I expect any of you to listen to it…)

02_zps2iuvtgvs

Status Quo – Hold You Back (Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park 2016)

I await the obligatory “Oh dear” comment.

More soon.

Which Reminds Me…

I don’t know about you, but anytime I hear the name “Gordon”, which cropped up in my last post (linked to Sting, but every cloud, eh?), I think of this:

jilted-john-jilted-john-emi-international

Jilted John – Jilted John

Still one of the greatest records ever made, in my book.

And the name of one of my favourite blogs is taken from it. Do yourself a favour and pay Crying All The Way To The Chip Shop a visit.

The first time I remember hearing “Jilted John”, I would have been 17 or so, and it was played to me by my old chum Richard, who owned it (or at least had access to it) on 7″ single. (Coincidentally, on the same afternoon, Richie also played me Springsteen’s “The River”, again the first time I’d heard it, and which featured in this week’s Friday Night Music Club.) I owe this man a lot (Richie, not Broooce, as you will see soon enough if you stick around).

Immediately after playing me that, he flipped the single over and, with the words, “Well if you like that, you’ll love this…” he played me the B-side, and proceeded to act out the song in what I can only describe as being in a Rik Mayall stylee. Consequentially, whenever anyone mentions “Jilted John” (after I’ve corrected them for calling it “Gordon Is A Moron”, or course) I point them in the direction of this:

steady

Jilted John – Going Steady

I think I love that song even more than “Jilted John” itself, probably due to Richie’s impeccable miming capabilities.

It’s the lines “I used to think that girls didn’t like me, but Sharon’s a girl, and she loves me! She says I’m dead sexy and butch, and much better looking than Starsky or Hutch” that get me every time. Mostly as I remember the mime that accompanied it. Our little secret, Richie.

Seriously, if you don’t know “Going Steady” give it a listen. Have I ever let you down so far? (Don’t answer that!)

There’s a long standing tradition in pop music of response records, by which I mean acts recording a record which is supposed to act as a reply  to the original. And “Jilted John” attracted one such song; purportedly recorded by the Julie and Gordon mentioned in the original:

IMG_20160123_0003

Julie & Gordon – Gordon’s Not A Moron

Hmm. Methinks the lady doth protest too loud.

And when I say long standing, I mean it. The earliest example dates back to 1902 and this (apologies for the sound quality and the lack of a picture sleeve but these came out over a hundred years ago, what do you expect..???):

Arthur Collins – Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home

…and the response (curiously, also by Arthur Collins, who seems to have some sort of schizophrenic condition):

Arthur Collins – I Wonder Why Bill Bailey Don’t Come Home

Going off at a tangent for a moment, I can’t really let that pass without mentioning the other Bill Bailey, which affords me the opportunity to post this, possibly the most glorious and affectionate ribbing/tribute you’ll ever hear:

1624889639

Billy Bragg & Bill Bailey – Unisex Chip Shop (Live)

Back on track, there are more famous records which inspired a response:

MI0000046413

Big Mama Thornton – Hound Dog

..which, long before some pelvis swivelling chap called Elvis recorded his own version, prompted this:

bearcat_2

Rufus Thomas Jr. – Bear Cat

But my personal favourite is this, from 1952:

the-wild-side-of-life

Hank Thompson – The Wild Side Of Life

…which prompted this:

81peR-aU97L__AA1412_

Kitty Wells – It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels

and also, since I’ve not mentioned them for a while, this:

status_quo-wild_side_of_life

Status Quo – Wild Side Of Life

I sense a new thread forming….

More soon.