Ready for another roller-coaster ride of fun? Well, you’ll just have to make do with another of my mixes, I’m afraid.
And I’m introducing a new mission statement for this series: no longer will there be mixes which focus solely on one type of music, be it dance, indie, rock or whatever. From now on, each week will be as much of a mixed bag of genres as I can throw together from all the tunes I own. I’ll try to introduce you to something new, remind you of some stuff you’ve probably forgotten about, and reacquaint you with some old favourites.
Place your bets as to how long I’ll last before I get bored and revert to type.
In the meantime, buckle up (or unzip, whichever floats your boat), and feast your lug-holes around my latest effort, No 20 in a series that thus far actually has actually contained 28 mixes and 2 *ahem* “Specials” at Easter and Christmas. Go figure.
And here’s your track-listing and sleeve notes – look away now if you don’t want to spoil any surprises:
Flight of the Conchords – Business Time
It takes a pretty special comedy duo to have released a record which still makes me laugh fourteen years after I first heard it, but New Zealand’s finest folksters achieved it with their eponymous album (the follow-up, I Told You I Was Freaky, not so much, although it has its moments).
Anyway, Business Time finds Jemaine getting ready to get down and dirty with his other half, and it’s the perfect way to kick things off this week, apart from the fact that Jemaine’s getting lucky on a Wednesday, but I don’t do a Wednesday Night Music Club, so here will have to do.
2. M J Cole – Sincere
Shortly after Hel and I first became mates, we began exchanging mixtapes. (I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong – neither of us was trying to impress the other in quite the way that preparing a mixtape for a member of the opposite sex usually indicates.) No, this was prompted by me confessing that (at the time) I didn’t own any Prince records, and only knew the singles. Hel provided me with a C90 crammed full of Princely treats, which was the perfect “in” (again, with his music) that I needed. I was, of course, tempted to reciprocate with 90 minutes of Quo, but decided better of it, and responded with a mixed bag playlist, much like the one you’re (hopefully) listening to now. She then responded with two mixtapes, modestly titled “The Greatest Mixtape in the World Vol 1 & 2”, at which point I decided to nip things in the bud before I was forced to buy shares in TDK to continue.
Anyway, this little beauty, which I’d never heard before, was on one of the ones she did for me, and I’ve loved it ever since.
And I have told you that because it was either that or make a rubbish joke about ex-footballer Joe Cole, and you wouldn’t want me to stoop so low, would you?
3. Oakenfold – Starry Eyed Surprise
Last week, I included an Oakenfold mix of an indie classic, and here he is again, this time with a song released under his own name. It features the vocals of someone who wants us to believe their name is Shifty Shellshock, who some of you may remember as the lead singer of Crazy Town, who had a hit with the godawful Butterfly back in 2000. Despite, or perhaps because of, all these composite parts, I really love this record, to the point where a couple of months agoI bought Bunkka, the double vinyl Oakenfold album it appears on. It speaks volumes that I’ve not listened to it yet, mind.
4. Sheila B. Devotion – Spacer
Now, even though the tag-line for this blog is that there’s No Such Thing As a Guilty Pleasure, there are still some tunes which I love but wonder if the world is ready for me attempting to defend. This, from 1979, featured pretty highly on the list. Until recently, when much respected music journalist Jon Savage released the latest in his excellent series of compilation albums (Jon Savage’s 1977-1979: “Symbols Clashing Everywhere”) recently, and included this. So, job done, I’m totally vindicated.
5. Technotronic – Get Up! (Before The Night Is Over)
Yes. You read that right. Technotronic. Here, in one of my mixes. Because it’s ace, as is it’s predecessor Pump Up The Jam (although I hated both when they originally came out. No guitars, see?). And if you disagree, well, you’re just plain wrong. Nuff said.
6. Starlight – Numero Uno (Club Mix)
Since we find ourselves momentarily back in the realms of late 80s/early 90s dance anthems, this juicy slice of italo-piano house deserves a revisit too. Cracking stuff (although I hated it when it originally…etc etc etc)
7. The SuperMen Lovers – Starlight (Radio Edit)
To bring things a little more up-to-date (by which I mean 2001), I cannot deny that this is here purely because the previous tune made me think of it. As such, it’s as close to a link between any two tunes you’ll find in this mix. Funky stuff, which I liked quite a lot when it came out (the dance-penny having finally dropped).
8. Tush – Chrysalis
I imagine this lot are so-named because their records make you want to shake yours. And speaking of being up-to-date, this is from 2021, and is lifted from the band’s rather fantastic Fantast album. Check it out, I’m sure they’ll be getting ripped off fairly paid for having their songs on some streaming site or another.
9. The Bloody Beetroots – Cornelius
This is an absolute banger; it reminds me of The Prodigy output circa 2009’s Invaders Must Die album, except, y’know, good.
10. Lemon Jelly – ’88 Aka Come Down On Me
If you’re one of those people who think Lemon Jelly only released chill-out choons, then give this a listen and think again. And they were wise to the fact that ’64-’95 – the album this comes from – sounds very different to their previous output, for it had a sticker on the front warning: “This is our new album. It’s not like our old album.” And they’re right, it really isn’t.
11. Electric Six – Danger High Voltage
If I could be bothered to check, I’d look to see who appeared on the scene with their comedy chops unfurled first: this lot or The Darkness. Either way, they both got found out as being one-trick poneys around the same time, as I recall. Which doesn’t mean that neither of them made decent records; Danger High Voltage remains a belter in my book.
12. Stiff Little Fingers – Listen
Now there’s a well-engineered mood change, even if I do say so myself. This is not exactly typical of SLF’s output, it’s a little more chart friendly than, say Tin Soldiers or Alternative Ulster, but it does have an anthemic sing-a-long chorus you can join in with whilst you have yourself a nice sit down and a bit of breather, before we crank things up again for the finale.
13. Conway – Big Talk
This was much played on 6Music a few years ago. I bought it. Not many others did, I fear. It’s pretty good in that 80s-esque/Ladyhawke kind of way that was popular a while back.
14. Arcade Fire – Wake Up
And so to the…er…climax, although now I’m writing this I have a nasty feeling I’ve included this in a previous mix, which means I may have broken my “no record shall feature twice” rule. Ah well, if I have it was good while it lasted. In any event, it’s a thoroughly rousing way to round things off.
I know I have often moaned in the past about how time-consuming it is to write The Chain, but this morning, at around 2am, having put off writing it every day this week, it suddenly occured to me that there are three reasons why it takes me so long:
1. You won’t be surprised to learn that I don’t own every record that gets suggested, so I have to track down a copy to post here. I quite enjoy this aspect, as it goes;
2. As I’m going through all of your suggestions, I put all the songs on a playlist so I can familiarise myself with them, and hopefully come up with either some decent jokes (I’ll let you be the judge of how succcesful I am with that) and/or some funny video clips to include in the post. This latter aspect, as I’m sure you can imagine, often leads me down a YouTube rabbithole. That said, I quite enjoy this aspect too;
3. For practically every song you suggest, I manage to think of at least one more to link to either the source record, or your suggestion. That’s not meant to sound like a boast, more a statement of fact: people who write music-based blogs tend to know quite a lot of records. I try to exert some kind of control over the amount of my own suggestions I include but sometimes I just can’t resist. I really like this aspect as well.
So next time I moan about what a pain it is to write The Chain, ignore me. Once I get going on it, I bloody love it.
As can be seen by the amount of suggestions I’ve made this time.
And that’s despite the source record being, in my opinion, one of the worst singles by – well, I’m not going to say the worst bands, not when Black Eyed Peas and Coldplay are both things – but certainly by a band that I don’t much care for.
In case you’ve forgotten, said source record this time around was this:
As usual, the suggestions can be split into categories, one for each word: ‘U2’, ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Day’, with a few tangents thrown in for good measure.
We’ll save the vitriol of links to U2 for later I think, so let’s start with a suggestion from PhonicPat:
“[Beautiful Day] is from their ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind” album which leads nicely to…:”
Over to C from Sun Dried Sparrows to kick off all the nominations linked to the word ‘Day’ and complete the cleansing of the palate:
“I think ‘keeping it simple’ will be my mantra from now on, so… Beautiful Day takes me to beautiful Days. I’ve just been through your back pages and I couldn’t see Kirsty MacColl’s sublime cover version appearing here before, so can we have that one please?”
Next up is a clutch of suggestions/songs mentioned in passing – which you all know I can’t resist – from Kay. For those of you who don’t know, Kay is my manager at work, but also a friend. She, too, wants to keep things simple:
“I’m a simple soul [I’m saying nothing – Ed], so I immediately started thinking of songs about a particular day of the week. First thought was…”:
“…then remembered [Look out, folks, she’s off. Experience tells me to get comfy and look like you’re paying attention – Ed] Foals had a song called Sunday, and I thought I would choose that, so you’d have to post it (much to your disgust)…”
Allow me to explain that “much to your disgust” comment: I’m not a Foals fan. I don’t dislike them either, to be honest. I just find them a bit “meh”. I don’t understand why anyone would want to pay money to go and see them, unless they need to pick up a new Yasser Arafat-type scarf from the merchandise stall, that is.
Anyway, carry on.
“…but then thought neither a Monday or a Sunday is a beautiful day. So I’m going for…”
That’s all the ‘Day’ suggestions, and before we move let’s move on to the “Beautiful” links, a suggestion which covers both, and I’ll hand you over to The Robster from on/off/on-again/no-he’s-definitely-gone-this-time Is This The Life?
“Beautiful Day was used by ITV for their ill-fated coverage of The Premiership back in, erm, I don’t remember. Quite a few years ago. The song I always associate with football on TV is Life Of Riley by the Lightning Seeds which Match Of The Day used for its Goal Of The Month feature.”
Ill-fated it certainly was, for two reasons: firstly, given an alternative, I don’t know anyone who would elect to watch football on ITV, and secondly, tactical analysis was provided by former professional footballer Andy Townsend, not from the comfort of a warm studio, but from what was know as The Tactics Truck, for no other reason, it seemed, than alliteration.
Whilst we’re on the subject of football, here’s PhonicPat with a couple of suggestions which I’ll allow, even though they link to The Robster’s suggestion more than to the source record:
“Late to the party this time around and some of my thoughts already reflected in the comments [but I haven’t got to them yet in this post, in case you were wondering – Ed]…More footy with…”:
“…and one more football song:”
Sorry, Pat. I can’t say I enjoyed that one. Worst Record of the Week, in my book.
Now we’ll move on to just plain Beautiful, words often used to describe Swiss Adam from Bagging Area, I’m sure:
“There are lots of songs that link to beautiful – Peaking Lights’ Beautiful Dub has the double pleasure of the word in its title and being beautiful to listen to.”
There’s a little snatch (and no, I don’t mean Bono) of the melody of that, such as it is, which reminds me of Una Paloma Blanca by Jonathan King, but since I’ve banned Morrissey’s solo records from the blog because of his extremist views, I guess I should extend that to convicted paedophiles too. So instead, here’s the George Baker Selection with the titularly-truncated (presumably Ms Stubbs complained) Paloma Blanca:
Personally, whenever I hear the name U2, I want to rebel against it, and listen to the complete opposite. So, like a typically confusing clue on 70s game show 3-2-1…
…here we go: The clue mentions the complete opposite and the the opposite of U could be Me or it could be We; the opposite of the opposite of 2 is the number immediately adjacent to it, so it could be 1 or it could be 3; if you want to rebel against something then you want to bring about change, and perhaps the most famous rebels were the French Resistance…so the next suggestion is of course:
I mean, really I should be awarding myself some points for Showboat of the Week. Not that I can be bothered awarding points anymore. Nobody really cares about them, do they?
Here’s Martin again with another song which sort of links to the band’s name:
“Finally I want to mention ‘U Talk 2 Much’ by Sultans of Ping FC, not least for its U2-referencing sleeve art”:
Which takes me back to PhonicPat, and an alternative Sultans of Ping FC tune, suggested “…for the footy link”:
Do you remember when U2 graciously and modestly decided that everyone with iTunes should be blessed with a free copy of their 2014 Songs of Innocence album, whether they wanted it or not? Well, that leads me here:
Time to go off on some (non-football) tangents, I think, and so here’s Alyson from What’s It All About?:
“U-2 is a kind of plane and another plane become the inspiration for a song by OMD, so I’m going for Enola Gay, which very scarily was a big hit for them in 1980, 40 years ago now. The awful event addressed in the song, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, happened only 35 years prior to that. Is it just me or is time running away with us as we get older?”
And follow that up with an equally warm hand on his entrance for Stevo Kifaru, who, for a first-time Chain Ganger has certainly got the hang of naming a load of records knowing full-well I won’t be able to resist posting them all:
“U2 were named after an American spy plane, the Lockheed U-2, so I’m going with the theme of Spies for a second. My initial thought was…:”
Pop the handbrake on for a moment and hide the jacket potatoes, I have (yes, yet another) suggestion:
….which I’m sure you’ll agree is the very best of the mixes, right Chums?
It turns out Stevo is quite the Chatty Cathy (a bit rich, coming from me, granted), for he continues:
“I also thought U2 reminded me of the nomenclature of German submarines, always beginning with a U, & that brought me to Das Boot. Many years ago my friend randomly asked me, what was the number of the sub in Das Boot? I thought for a second & said U96. I have felt like such a nerd since that day, my friend obviously grateful that I answered his question, but the look he gave me was one of shock at my depths of geekness….In reality I just remembered the techno remix of the theme tune that was released under the name of U96….”:
In the interest of balance, perhaps I should point out that Bono at least seems to be vaguely self-aware and have a sense of humour about how many people view him, even if that sense of humour has been written by somebody else:
“U2 to Stiff Little Fingers to Grandmaster Flash and back to U2 in 3 moves:
There is a story that Adam Clayton says the bass line for U2’s ‘With Or Without You’ is basically Stiff Little Fingers’ ‘Alternative Ulster’ slowed down.”
Now. I know you haven’t suggested it, and I wouldn’t ordinarily post a second song by the source artist (especially when it’s U-Sodding-2), but I don’t think I can let that slide without investigating. So here’s both of those records, to allow us to compare and contrast:
Hmm. I suppose he may have a point. But it’s not exactly the most complicated bass-line in the world is it?
“SLFs 1997 album Tinderbox,” Rigid gamely continues, undeterred, “contains a cover version of ‘The Message’, which includes the lyric: “Don’t push me cos I’m close to the Edge”
So, here’s both the cover and the original. I do like a bit of SLF, but I know which of these I prefer:
Sounds a bit Walk This Way, only not as good to me, no? Imagine the Run DMC boys hadn’t turned up at the studio and so Aerosmith recorded their part too.
Where were we? Ah yes: Grandmaster Flash:
Of course, any mention of The Edge being close to the edge means that I’m contractually obliged to share this clip:
Last ones before we find out what the next record in The actual Chain is, and I’ll hand over to The Great Gog to bring things to a thrilling climax as only he can:
“The phrase ‘close to the edge’ has already been mentioned. Of course Bono and the other two are close to The Edge when they play live. Close To The Edge was also an album recorded by Yes in 1972. Later versions of this album include a cover of the Paul Simon-penned America, also recorded in the same year.”
Now, I’m no Yes man, so I checked what Wiki has to say about this, and GG is quite correct:
“In 1987, ‘Close to the Edge’ was reissued by Atlantic Records on CD in the United States and Europe. Another issue of the album was digitally remastered by Joe Gastwirt in 1994. In 2003, the album was reissued again on disc in an expanded and remastered edition by Rhino and Elektra Records. Included were two previously unreleased tracks: an alternate version of ‘And You and I’, an early run-through of ‘Siberian Khatru’, and Yes’s 1972 single ‘America’ with its b-side, an edit of ‘Total Mass Retain‘.”
Never in doubt:
It’s not so much a cover version as a lot of proggy noodling with the Simon & Garfunkel lyrics chucked in after a while.
I should be careful how I phrase that, really; for to describe them as ‘Simon & Garfunkel lyrics’ does rather give the impression that Art had some involvement in the song-writing process, a goof that Annie Nightingale made when she interviewed Paul Simon for The Old Grey Whistle Test many years ago:
“1972 saw Simon record the song ‘Mother & Child Reunion’,” GG continues. “He performed this song on stage (and presumably close to The Edge) with U2 at Madison Square Garden in 2015.The performance is on YouTube but the quality isn’t great and there’s a load of waffle from Bono at the start of it.”
Which seems a good enough reason to just post the Paul Simon version:
And all that leaves me to do is….oh wait. Rigid Digit is back:
“Forgot to include the story of my U2 branded SatNav.It’s terrible – the streets have no names, and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.
And I think my U2 fridge is on the way out – all it does is Rattle and Hum.”
Thanks Rigid, I trust you’ll be here all week?
Anyway, as I was saying (he says, locking the door behind him to be on the safe side), all that leaves me to do is to give you the next song in The Chain, along with the way the person suggesting it got there. And don’t worry, it’s a waaaaaaaay better record this time:
The link: As PhonicPat said right at the top, Beautiful Day appeared on the band’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind album. What Pat didn’t say was that said album was produced by Brian Eno (and Daniel Lanois); and the album that this is taken from (Fear of Music) was also produced by Brian Eno (without Daniel Lanois):
So, your suggestions, please, for songs which link to Cities by Talking Heads, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below or via email to email@example.com in time for whenever The Chain circus next rolls into town, in a month or so’s time (probably).