Tonight’s mix is not the one I had planned to post.
The one I had prepared was a little too upbeat for such a momentous weekend; whilst I personally won’t be joining in the nation’s mouring, I didn’t want to disrespect those that are.
And so I decided to create a mix “on the fly”; I decided what the first and last track would be, and then started recording as I journeyed from one to the other.
I tell you this instead of offering sleeve notes, as there will doubtless be those who think some of my selections are….disrespectful. That wasn’t the intention. The intention was simply to pick tunes which sounded good next to each other – any which may seem to have been chosen as some sort of comment on any recent high profile passings are entirely coincidental.
So let’s crack on, shall we?
(By the way, because this mix is just shy of 2 hours, Google Drive can’t cope and won’t let me upload it, so the link below takes you to my old Soundcloud account. Hope it works ok!)
The other morning, I went into work early. It was still dark as I got on the bus, and as it rolled into town, this came on my iPod, and it jolted me from my state of not-quite-awake-yet-and-I’ve-just-read-The-Metro-which-has-really-depressed-me stumble, into a confident, striding, smiling behemoth.
Hopefully it will work for you too. Listen to it really, really loud. Turn it up to 11.
Or just laugh at the title being slang for a big poo, if you prefer,
Without wishing to get all Embarassing Bodies on you all, if I’m to talk about my time in hospital, as I very much want to, then you need to know how I ended up there. And to do that, I need to give you a little bit of background/context.
Around fifteen years ago, I was diagnosed with psoriasis. Here’s what the NHS has to say about the condition:
“Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales.
These patches normally appear on your elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but can appear anywhere on your body. Most people are only affected with small patches. In some cases, the patches can be itchy or sore.
Psoriasis affects around 2% of people in the UK. It can start at any age but most often develops in adults under 35 years old, and affects men and women equally.
The severity of psoriasis varies greatly from person to person. For some it’s just a minor irritation but, for others, it can majorly affect their quality of life.
Psoriasis is a long-lasting (chronic) disease that usually involves periods when you have no symptoms or mild symptoms, followed by periods when symptoms are more severe.”
Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?
And boy, does my heart swell with pride to learn that I’m one of the lucky 2% in the country to be afflicted.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for psoriasis, but a range of treatments can improve symptoms and the appearance of skin patches. My symptoms were limited to my knees, shins and elbows, so could be covered up whenever I was out and about. I was prescribed various ointments which seemed to prevent the affected areas from spreading.
Then, around June this year, suddenly it went nuclear, spreading to pretty much every part of my body below the neck line. (‘Little Jez’ remained unaffected, not that anybody would know.)
I went to my GP, who referred me to a consultant dermatologist. I waited for contact.
A few weeks later, I’d not heard anything so I returned to my GP. By now there was an extra factor which I wanted to let him know about; during his previous examination, he had asked if I was getting any aches anywhere, which at the time, I wasn’t. But now, I had developed pain in my legs and feet, my arms felt like I had been punched and given a dead-arm, and I had a loss of grip and function in both of my hands. In short, walking had become difficult and painful, and I was unable to do the simplest of task, such as holding a pen, or opening jars and packaging.
It turns out there’s a complication of psoriasis called psoriatic arthritis, and my GP suspected I had developed this too. A quick call to the consultant, and I had an appointment a week later.
And so it was that I found myself sitting behind a curtain in my underwear, being examined by a seemingly unending line of consultants and medical students.
A week later, I returned to the dermatology clinic, for a further round of poking, prodding and blood tests.
That evening, my phone rang. The call showed up as being “No Caller ID”, so I ignored it, assuming it was a sales call. A voicemail was left, which I also ignored; we’ve all received those calls, where you listen to the voicemail and it’s an automated message asking you to contact somebody about the accident you’ve (not) been involved in, or the PPI you really should reclaim before it’s too late.
By this time, as my loss of function had worsened, I’d signed off work for seven days. I was now due to either return to work, or get officially signed off by my GP. I planned to go to see my GP the next day, which meant getting up early to try and get an appointment, so I went to bed early.
I woke the next morning to find a further ten missed calls. This seemed a particularly aggressive cold call sales campaign. As I went to listen to my voicemalis, the phone rang again. I answered, and found myself talking to one of the dermatological consultants I had met the previous day. She explained that they had reviewed my blood tests, which showed a very high probability – around 80% – that I had a blood infection. A serious one. She instructed me to get myself to A&E as soon as possible.
We ended up last week with me inviting suggestions for songs which link to The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Voodoo Chile [Slight Return]”, which is lifted from their “Electric Ladyland” album, whilst also making a rather bold prediction:
“I’m willing to bet I know which artist Charity Chic will suggest.”
So over to you, CC:
“If you are thinking Wall of Voodoo, they only had one decent song which I suggested last week which could be winner if it didn’t take you back to the radio theme.”
Errrr, no. That wasn’t who I was thinking of. However, that did prompt Dirk from Sexyloser to suggest the following:
“Wall Of Voodoo’s “Dance You F***ers*” was okay as well, if I remember correctly”
“Chile used to be ruled by a tin-pot fascist dictator called General Pinochet. When he took I’ll he came to the UK where our very own tin-pot fascist dictator Margaret Thatcher gave him bed and board at the countries expense. Thereafter the normally spineless Jack Straw the then Home Secretary deported him. I wrote to congratulate him but never got the courtesy of a reply.
So “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” by Heaven 17 please.”
You see, the other week, having successfully suggested a link to a Kirsty MacColl record for the second week running, and aware of our mutual adoration of her work, CC announced that he would attempt to link to something by her at every opportunity.
I’m reminded of QI, and the number of times Alan Davies has proffered “a blue whale” as an answer, and got it wrong, but then when it is the answer, manages to miss it. Like this:
Now. Before we go any further, I need to just clear a little something up. And having popped the tissues away, now I need to clarify something.
The reason we are linking to The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Voodoo Chile [Slight Return]” is that it was the next record in the official BBC Chain, following on from Joni Mitchell’s “You Turn Me On I’m a Radio”, and the official link between the two was given as “…Mitch Mitchell played bass in the Jimi Hendrix Experience…”. Needless to say this raised a few eyebrows, by The Swede (“That’ll be news to Noel Redding’s estate”) and Alex G (“What a disappointing official connection. I expect better than that for £145.50 a year.”)
So let’s just check with the bible of all accurate data: Wikipedia, which lists Mitch Mitchell’s credits as ‘backing vocals, drums (except on “Rainy Day Dream Away” and “Still Raining, Still Dreaming”), percussion, lead vocals on “Little Miss Strange”‘ and Noel Redding’s as ‘backing vocals, bass on “Crosstown Traffic”, “Little Miss Strange”, “Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)”, “Burning of the Midnight Lamp”, and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”, acoustic guitar and lead vocals on “Little Miss Strange”‘
So perhaps we should have a couple of Noel Redding related tunes before we go any further.
There is a town just outside London which hosts an annual music festival over the August Bank Holiday Weekend. That town is Reading, but it’s pronounced the same way as Noel’s surname. The other way to pronounce it is, of course, in the same way as in the phrase “Reading, Writing And Arithmetic”, which just so happens to be the title of the debut album by The Sundays. Here’s the opening track:
Similarly, here’s George, with both of his suggestions linking to the unappreciated multi-instrumentalist:
“Noel Redding the bass player/drummer, could also play the mandolin, and so could Ira Lonnie Loudermilk, better known as Ira Louvin, one half the toptastic Louvin Brothers. (He was also the heavy drinking much married and alleged wife-beater who was once shot by one of wives). And one of the Louvin Brothers’ song is The Angels Rejoiced Last Night, which has one of the finest examples of lyrics in country music you’ll ever hear.”
I have two things to say about that. Firstly, I always thought Roy Orbison was ‘The Big O’? Secondly, George adds: “I played this to some of my classes when I was working.” So what on earth was your teaching style like if you had to play the pupils a record imploring them not leave?
“I also played them the occasional track by Gong,” George adds, like that makes it perfectly acceptable. Although maybe in an alternative to classroom bell context, a “That Gong’s not for you, it’s for me” kinda way, I guess it might work.
But I digress. Where were we. Oh yes, Chile. CC was not the only person to go down the “Chile” route. Here’s The Robster from Is This The Life?
“I also couldn’t get Chile out of my head, in this case the country – ‘Chile Your Waters Run Red Through Soweto’. While the Billy Bragg version is best known, for me you can’t beat Sweet Honey In The Rock’s take which is just wonderful.”
And in similar territory, literally, here’s The Great Gog:
“Back in my mid-80s student radio days, I had a stand-in co-presenter for the mammoth 4-hour Saturday Sportswatch (not my choice of title). I set the Hendrix track off and as it finished I was busy scribbling info off Ceefax for an upcoming link. Said co-presenter then back-announced the track, pronouncing Chile as one would the South American country which is spelt that way. Cue much mirth around the studio where music snobbery was positively encouraged.
Anyway…I’m obviously now in South American county mode, so I offer ‘Ecuador’ by Sash!…”
Before we move on to the most popular links, one which received two nominations this week, firstly from Rol (“The other obvious suggestion is ‘Slight Return’, the Bluetones’ biggest hit. But you can have that one for free.”) – CC: did you notice that’s the second time he’s said “obvious choice”? He may as well have said blue whale – but also from The Beard (“Alternatively, ‘Slight Return’ by The Bluetones”), which, to be fair, looks a little bit odd when taken out of context i.e. immediately after his other suggestions, which we’ll come to in a bit.
Now, a Public Service Announcement. I have had to disqualify three suggestions this week, because I don’t think the suggested link is correct. I’m talking about these:
“Jimi’s guitar solo from, oh I forget but not Voodoo Chile, was recycled in BAD’s C’mon Every Beat Box and then later Right Said Fred (Deeply Dippy I think). Which was then covered on the Heavenly Fred EP by the Rockingbirds. One of whom plays guitar for Edwyn Collins.”
I had the BAD track all lined up and ready to go, listened to it to make sure it sounded okay, and realised after it finished that I hadn’t noticed any Hendrix-guitar in there. So I listened again. And again. And again. And again. Nope. So I had a little look on-line, and stumbled across this page which explains all of the samples, source materials and references on BAD’s “No 10 Upping Street” album, from which “C’mon Every Beat Box” is lifted. No mention of Mr Hendrix at all there, nor on several other places I checked.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I would love to post all of them, not least The Rockingbirds version of Deeply Dippy, but as far as I can see, these suggestions fall at the first hurdle. So sorry, but in the absence of any link, I can’t play any of those tunes.
Ok, so there were two other means of linking to our source record this week which attracted mucho attentioni (those online Italian lessons weren’t wasted on me, right?), and so I’ll hand you back over to Dirk for a moment:
“Now, there are quite a lot of really good bands called “The Something Something Experience”, such as The Colorblind James Experience, The Iowa City Beef Experience, The Jean Paul Sartre Experience, The Joyce McKinney Experience, The Mr. T Experience, The Tony Head Experience plus, I’m sure, a few others which I can’t think of currently. ‘Lift To Experience’ spring to mind as well, but they don’t count in my Mr. Monk–world.
Also we have The Sid Presley Experience and the B-Side of their 1984 7″ ‘Hup 2-3-4’ is rather splendid, so it shall be my link for this week, please: ‘Public Enemy Number One’.”
And here’s another one of those ‘The Something Something Experience’ bands, suggested by Yours Truly, although strictly speaking they’re a the ‘Something Something Something Experience’ band: a band with a truly magnificent name, but who’s music sadly doesn’t quite fulfill expectations, unless you’re expecting some fey C86-esque indie jingly-jangly guitars, in which case, fill your boots:
But by far and away the most popular link this week was to Voodoo. There was a great song by Vic and Bob from their “The Smell of Reeves & Mortimer” series called, I think, “Do You Do Voodoo?” which I was hoping to link to now, but can I find it? Can I heck as like.
So, let’s start off with a welcome return for Marie, who suggests this:
“As soon as I saw the word “Voodoo” (with Halloween being just around the corner an’ all), I knew that I had to suggest this song: Charles Sheffield’s ‘It’s Your Voodoo Working'”
I wish I could say I’d planned this week’s post to land a couple of days before Halloween, but honestly, I never look at what the next link in the Chain is until I come to write this, so I can’t claim to be that organised.
“‘Voodoo Chile’ was part of the Hendrix medley released as a free record with Soft Cell’s most accomplished album, The Art of Falling Apart. The other side of that record was a song based on George A Romero’s film about a boy who believes himself to be a vampire. So I’m suggesting that one, ‘Martin’, by Soft Cell.”
“But,” continues SWC, “his version is not the best for that you need to go to Acid Brass version.”
For the uninitiated, “Acid Brass” is an album of acid house choons covered by a brass band. The Williams Fairey Brass Band, to be precise. Don’t let that put you off though, this is, as SWC alludes, brilliant:
I said three versions, right? Right. Here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area:
“Voodoo Ray is not only the best record with the word Voodoo in its title, but one of the best records ever made. No arguing. Fact. The Acid Brass version is wonderful too but Gerald’s was proof that British house music was going somewhere else entirely. For an updated version see Optimo’s remix (done with Jeremy Deller).”
Can we have a factoid about the tune before you go Swiss?
“It was supposed to be Voodoo Rage but there weren’t enough spaces in the digital name display so he changed it to Ray.”
Here’s babylotti again. He’s been thinking.
“Just yesterday I was listening to Philip Boa & The Voodoo Club, they once sang a song about Paul, who was in love with a container…..which is a line from another of their songs, so my next suggestion is Love on Sale by them…”
Now. “Container Love” by Philip Boa & The Voodoo Club is another record I adore, so I’m a bit annoyed you didn’t pick that one. In fact, I very nearly over-ruled you and played that instead. But then I realised we’re a bit light on cheese this week – we love the occasional cheesy record round these parts – and without Love on Sale then you wouldn’t have been able to provide this week’s Dairylea triangle:
“Which leads me to my awful song selection, from Love on Sale to ‘You Gotta Be A Hustler If You Wanna Get On’ by Sue Wilkinson.”
That made it to Number 25 in the UK charts back in 1980. It was her only hit. Maybe she’d have had more if her name hadn’t been so…well, drab. I mean, it’s not exactly the sort of name that conjures up visions of a pop star, is it? To me, Sue Wilkinson sounds like the woman from the office with a fixation on cats, who arranges the collections for people’s birthdays and tries to engage you in conversations about The Great British Bake Off when you’re trying to mind your own business by killing time at the photocopier.
Now, we can’t really do a post referencing records linked to Voodoo without mentioning The Robster’s next suggestion:
“Screamin’ Jay Hawkins looked like a witch doctor who practiced voodoo. He’s best known, of course, for his classic I Put A Spell On You, but in 1974, he released a single called Voodoo, which was backed by You Put The Spell On Me. So you can have any one of those three.”
Suddenly, this has become like a version of Michael Barrymore’s “Strike It Lucky”: I can have top, middle or bottom, you say? Middle! (See, I can resist making the obvious joke sometimes)
“Working on the basis of ‘first thought, best thought’, the song that immediately popped into my head to follow ‘Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)’ was ‘(The Ballad Of) The Voodoo Ranger’ by Multicoloured Shades.”
Chain Gang, count yourself very lucky, for that song made me think of one very cheesy one which, had I had the time, would have got posted right now. I’ll save it for another time…
Here’s Swiss Adam, back for a second, third and fourth bite at the cherry:
“Voodoo always makes me think of The Gun Club’s debut album Fire of Love (the cover art). Sex Beat is a peak on an album of peaky peaks. They were never that good again.”
I’m not sure we’ve ever had someone link via the medium of cover art before. I suppose, given the cover art I used for “Electric Ladyland” last week – which Hendrix himself disapproved of, by the way – I should be grateful. Anyway: a first!
Anyone who regularly visits his excellent Bagging Area blog will not be surprised by the manner in which Swiss continues: “…which gives me two Andrew Weatherall links- Two Lone Swordsmen did a spirited cover version of Sex Beat…”
I always thought that was about popular chicken-in-a-basket entertainer Gary Wilmot. Apparently not.
A couple of weeks ago, one of the songs posted here was Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better”, and I happened to comment that it was my favourite Bond theme ever, although occasionally it might be the next record. Here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?:
Time to welcome back (I think – you have posted here before, haven’t you…?) Brian from Linear Tracking Lives:
“Like The Robster, my first thought was Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Then I recalled quite a few albums with voodoo in the name, such as the Dirty Dozen Band’s Voodoo and Paul Carrack’s Suburban Voodoo, but there isn’t that one song that hits on the theme. Then I smiled when I thought of Harvey Korman as Hedley Lamarr in ‘Blazing Saddles’ telling his band of bad guys “Now go do that voodoo that you do so well.” Yes, I’m that highbrow. Well, that’s liberally lifted from Cole Porter’s ‘You Do Something to Me’. Francis Albert sings that song with gusto, but it’s not my favourite. So, finally, my pick is a close cousin to voodoo…. Witchcraft, sung by Sinatra”
Here’s Alex G, fresh from expressing his disappointment at last week’s link, which given the amount of research he’s done into his own link is a bit rich:
“Talking Heads did a song called Papa Legba, which is named after some sort of spirit in Haitian Voodoo.”
(Papa Legba is the loa who serves as the intermediary between the loa and humanity. He stands at a spiritual crossroads and gives (or denies) permission to speak with the spirits of Guinee, and is believed to speak all human languages. Either that or an over-priced midfielder currently arousing the curiosity of Manchester United’s scouting team. You decide.)
Alyson’s back, to expand on her earlier “Live and Let Die” nomination:
“Thinking about it a bit more, the fictitious island where much of the Voodoo action in the film took place was called San Monique but of course it is highly likely that this fictitious island was supposed to be Haiti where, apparently, the majority of the population hold Voodoo beliefs. This of course got me thinking of the song ‘Haitian Divorce’ by Steely Dan.”
Time now for a big warm Chain Gang welcome to Kuttowski, who unless I’m very much mistaken, is Walter from the excellent A few good times in my life blog. Welcome aboard, Kuttowski/Walter, what have you got for us?
“I think it is time to join the chain gang. Thinking about the word voodoo Screaming Jay Hawkins and Voodoo Ray came to my mind. But it all said by the ones before. So I would suggest Voodoo by Mano Negra, a French band lead by Manu Chao back in the late 80’s. Starting with a dark mood this song turns into a weird folk chaos.”
And so to the last of the Voodoo related tracks, and a very heartfelt welcome back, albeit via the conduit that is SWC, to Badger:
“I spoke to Badger and his suggestion from the sofa is thus. Part of the voodoo ceremony is to slaughter a rooster. (He is basing this solely from the Mickey Rourke/Lisa Bonet film [Angel Heart, I believe – Film Ed] of a few years back.) But that takes us too ‘Mansize Rooster’ by Supergrass.”
Hallelujah, what a great, often overlooked tune. And I think I speak for everyone here when I say it’s great to hear Badger is on his way back to fighting fit.
Four songs to go, and here’s my last choice. This is, I believe, a cover of a Kiss record, performed here by The Lemonheads back in their early days before they had added the The to their name. I’m not going to explain the link: if you don’t get it, then just type the words “Jimi Hendrix” and “Plaster Caster” into Google. But don’t do it at work:
Earlier on, I mentioned that The Beard had suggested The Bluetones “Slight Return” as his final choice, and here come his first two choices, the reasoning behind which I love:
“From Jimi Hendrix to Hendrik Van Kleefe, the dodgy Dutch diamond dealer from To Hull And Back, the Only Fools and Horses Christmas special from 1985. Two of the world’s greatest cities, Hull and Amsterdam, are featured in the episode. 1985 also saw the release of Flag Day, the debut single by “the fourth best band in Hull” aka The Housemartins.”
So, let’s be having your suggestions for records which you can link to The House of the Rising Sun by The Animals, along with a description as to the link between the two records, via the Comments section down below.
Had I posted this a few weeks ago, I could have appeared fairly organised. Topical, even. Vaguely current. Relevant. Lots of other phrases that don’t exactly spring to mind when describing your truly.
I could have linked today’s post to the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth or death, whichever it was. I can’t remember. I just know he was born and died on the same day. With some years in between, obviously.
Or, after his body was found buried under a car park in Leicester, I could have linked it to bloody Leicester winning the Premiership (see, I’m still not bitter. Totally over it.)
But I’m not organised, not topical, neither current nor relevant, so hear I am, better late than never.
Released in March 1997, and the second single to be lifted from the second album “In It For The Money” (the first, “Going Out” had been released over a year earlier), this is Supergrass at their loudest:
The eagle-eared amongst you will have noticed that neither the king nor the Shakespeare play is mentioned in the song – so what the hecking heck is that title about?
As with many other musicians, when writing a song, Supergrass would give it a working title. The most famous example of this is the one that Paul McCartney gave to “Yesterday”: “Scrambled Eggs”. Anyway, Supergrass used to give their songs people’s names as working titles, and this was the third one they had provisionally christened Richard.
That is all.
Oh, no wait a minute, come back. I’ve got some more.
Here’s another song called “Richard” (although to the best of my knowledge, not a famous one); in 2013 it was the 30th Anniversary of the original release of Billy Bragg’s “Life’s a Riot with Spy vs. Spy”, and to celebrate it got the whole remastered and re-released she-bang, including a bonus disc recorded live on 5 June 2013 at the Union Chapel, Islington, “That” London – the same venue I’ll be seeing Billy play later at this year.
The bonus disc starts with this introduction from Billy:
“I’m gonna tell you why we came on a little bit early tonight. There is an early curfew here…at this venue…but with the cameras here and everything, it was suggested that with the 30th anniversary of ‘Life’s a Riot’ coming up, I might do something a bit special for you at the end. Now: other bands, when they want to celebrate a seminal album, hire the Albert Hall and an orchestra and spend an evening playing the album. Fortunately for you and me, especially those of you with expensive babysitters, ‘Life’s a Riot with Spy vs. Spy” is only seventeen minutes long. It fits neatly into a second encore.”
He then does just that – plays the whole album in 17 minutes (or so).
Or you can watch the whole thing here; seems to have been filmed by someone in the audience, but it’s surprisingly good quality, not your standard shaky hand-held footage with sound quality akin to being recorded underwater affair:
I love that he still dedicates the last verse of “A New England”, which wasn’t on his original version, but was on hers, to Kirsty MacColl.
And, just to make this post all nice and circular and tidy, here’s a clip from the glorious “Cunk on Shakespeare”, where Diane Morgan/Charlie Brooker’s genius documentary making character, Philomena Cunk, explores the works of Shakespeare:
If you didn’t see it, try and track the full programme down. I was laughing like a drain (which has always struck me as being an odd simile) for the whole half hour it was on.
A few posts ago, when I was talking about me getting arrested in 1985 (and don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten I have to finish that year off…it’s just proving problematic. It will come and I will explain then) I somehow didn’t think to post this prime slice of Britpop greatness: