Friday Night Music Club Vol 28

Before we go any further, my apologies for the absence of a new mix for you last week. I messed up and scheduled the post for Saturday instead of Friday night, and that would never do. Sorry about that.

So, I’ll not mess around, let’s get straight into this week’s shenanigans:

Friday Night Music Club Vol 28

And here’s your tracklisting, along with sleevenotes:

  1. Petula Clark – Downtown

A few months ago, this song seemed to be following me everywhere. I took this as a sign; Petula may as well have been singing “Stick me in a mix and release me to the world on a Friday night, yer bastard!” at me. Who could resist?

Besides, from experience of flat-sharing with young people, they tend not to actually go out until older flops like me are starting to think about going home; since I never publish these mixes until 9pm on a Friday night (UK time), this seemed an entirely appropriate and classy way to kick things off this week.

2. La Roux – Uptight Downtown

A roux is a combination of flour and fat (yummy!) which is commonly used as a thickening agent in cooking of stews and sauces.

It is not to be confused with La Roux, an 80s-infused synthpop duo (at least, they were when their first eponymously titled album came out in 2009, but they weren’t by the time their second long-player Trouble in Paradise came out in 2012, founder member Ben Langmaid having jumped ship and left singer Elly Jackson all on her Jack Jones). Their first album was beloved by public and critics alike, producing four singles, two of which – Bulletproof and In For The Kill – are genuinely magnificent. The second album was less fondly received, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any bangers on it. I really like this one for example.

3. Microdisney – Town to Town

I know many will point to their earlier releases, but for me, Microdisney’s Crooked Mile album is the best thing they ever released. This was probably because it was the first record by them that I ever heard; I instantly loved it, and when I investigated their back catalogue, I found it to be largely impenetrable. Crooked Mile is by far their most commercial release, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This, the opening track and lead single, is simply superb. It even has a joke in it about people mispronouncing Cathal Coughlan’s name – and the much-missed Coughlan was not exactly renowned for being funny.

4. Talulah Gosh – My Best Friend

Before I drift into making this a Town-themed presentation, an intervention of the twee-est variety. This lot’s biggest claim to fame is they were the first band to feature Amelia Fletcher, the favourite of every late-80s/early 90s indie acts, appearing on releases by The Wedding Present, The Pooh Sticks, and The Brilliant Corners to name just a few.

5. The Dead Milkmen – Punk Rock Girl

A not very well-known one, this, but one I was introduced to by an old mate Ian Drake, who lived about three doors down from my room in the halls of residence in my first two terms at college. I went to my first festival with Ian. In 1989 we went to the Reading Festival. It was the first time it predominantly featured indie music – main stage headliners were New Order, The Pogues and The Mission – the change in direction coming when, a year earlier, Meatloaf and Bonnie Tyler had to cut short their set and run for cover when a multiple of bottles of warm piss were thrown at them by an unimpressed crowd. When I was Social Secretary at the Students Union, I gave Ian paid work, even though he was no longer a student, and a few years later he returned the favour by getting me a job at Cardiff’s Virgin Megastore, probably the most enjoyable job I ever had, even if it was just for one Christmas.

Anyway, The Dead Milkmen didn’t play Reading in ’89, but Ian would often play this to me, when he wasn’t assaulting my eardrums with the likes of Lawnmower Deth, Napalm Death, or Extreme Noise Terror. Which is probably why I like this record all these years later: partly because it remind me of Ian, but also because it reminds me him playing a proper record for a change.

6. The Colorblind James Experience – Considering A Move To Memphis

Speaking of Ian, he played this at the Graduates’ Ball on the night that I, finally, graduated. And he played it just for me. And I know that because a) he announced it was for me, b) he knew that I wouldn’t be able resist dancing to it, and c) he also knew that everyone else most definitely would be able to resist, leaving me all alone and strutting my awkward stuff for all six-and-a-half bloody (marvellous) minutes of it.

7. Piranhas – Zambezi

Staying in the 80s for a while at least, with this horny (stop it!) number. I’ve always loved this one; not only is it catchy as hell, it contains one eternal truth: landlords and bank managers are gits and we shouldn’t worry about them anywhere near as much as we do.

8. The Larks – Billy Graham’s Going to Heaven

More horny (no, seriously, stop sniggering) brilliance. I look back with great pride on the fact that I posted this song on the day that Billy Graham did die and go to heaven (supposedly).

9. Fishbone – Ma & Pa

More in the same vein. As with the last track, I’ve posted this before, they both always remind me of my DJ’ing at Uni days, specifically right at the very start when I was being mentored by Jolly Jim, who, lest we forget, was the man who first called me Jez and broadcast it to the world (well, to about 30 people attending the indie disco that night). Should you be so inclined, you can read about that here.

10. K7 – Come Baby Come

Gear change ahoy! I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for this one, which reached the dizzy heights of #3 in the UK charts back in 1993. I was most impressed that before I checked the chart placing, I guessed it got to #4 in 1992. One year out – hey, Ken Bruce, where’s my t-shirt? (Also, my immature funny bone was tickled to find learn that Louis Sharpe (aka K7) hails from the city of Ponce in Puerto Rico. I’ll let you make your own jokes up about that.)

11. Kriss Kross – Jump

Since we’re on slightly cheesy hip hop tunes from the early 1990s, here’s Mac Daddy and Daddy Mac with their biggest hit in the UK. Coats-on-backwards-ahoy!

12. House Of Pain – Jump Around

More jumping, more (less cheesy) hip hop. Doubtless you’ll be aware that the opening of this is a sample of Bob & Earl’s 1963 Harlem Shuffle, a bit of trivia which allowed me to win a tie-break Name That Tune/Spot the Intro question in a quiz night at a pub I spent far too much time at back in my Cardiff days. Possibly my second finest moment ever (after the Billy Graham thing from earlier).

13. George Baker Selection – Little Green Bag

There was a time when this, along with the rest of the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack, was simply everywhere. I’ve tagged Steven Wright’s dialogue intro to the start, so I don’t think this needs any further explanation. Iconic.

14. The Isley Brothers – Fight the Power, Pts. 1 & 2

To my eternal shame, until I watched the rather brilliant series Fight the Power:How Hip Hop Changed the World which aired on the BBC a few months ago, I’d never heard this before. If you’ve never seen it, even if you’re not fussed on hip hop – actually especially if you’re not fussed on hip hop – it’s essential viewing, and its still up on the BBC iPlayer, so you’ve got no excuse (unless you’re not in the UK, in which case, switch your VPN to UK and pretend).

15. Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street

I shot my bolt by using the word “iconic” too soon with the George Baker Selection. Ah, what the heck. This is iconic too.

16. The James Taylor Quartet – Theme From ‘Starsky And Hutch’

I may have mentioned this before, but when I first moved to London, I had quite the commute to get to my new job. This involved going on the London Underground, and one day my dutiful iPod decided to play me these two tracks – Bobby followed by The JTQ – in the sequence I’ve placed them here. And now I can’t hear one without hearing the other, for on that day, I was not a bloke in a suit and tie heading to the office, I felt like I was in New York, dressed like Sly Stone, resplendant in flowery shirt open to the navel, massive flares and a huge floppy hat, strutting my stuff out of the subway. Such is the power of music.

17. David Soul – Silver Lady

Since we’re on Starsky & Hutch, here’s one from the pile marked There’s No Such Thing as a Guilty Pleasure to wrap things up. Back in the 70s, Soul was a hunk, a pin-up, and I will forever remember the whispers that went round school when a classmate’s mother was seen placing a big sloppy kiss on a poster of him. Such is the power of music. And chunky cardigans.

That’s yer lot.

More soon.

Name That Tune

Now the ticker tape parade of me reaching 400 posts has subsided, back to normality.

In my first year at college, every other Tuesday was spent in the Student Union’s nightclub/venue, “Shafts” (the college was in a South Wales mining community, in case you think there’s some innuendo to be found there) at the fortnightly Indie night, wittily called Funk Off.

The night had two resident DJ’s, Jim and Chris. Chris was rumoured to be a bit of a headcase, apparently carrying a knife with him when he DJ’d. Jim was a nice enough, bloke, who ended up playing bass in the band I was in a year or so later, and who I’m still in semi-regular contact with on Facebook (and who will be sent this post in the hope I haven’t offended him).

However, it was not, it’s fair to say, a well attended event, barely scraping fifty attendees on most weeks. We didn’t really mind this, as it meant that we could ask for any record we liked, and Jim and Chris would generally oblige, as it meant that at least someone would go onto the dancefloor.

My mate Danny Sweeney and I would often sit predicting what record would be played next. “Okay, so The Wonder Stuff are on now, bet they play Pop Will Eat Itself next…yup, there it is”. We, of course, thought we could do better.

So at the end of our first year, Danny and I approached the Social Secretary, a chap called Ken, and asked if we could maybe, y’know if it wasn’t too much trouble, totally fine if not, have a go at DJ’ing the Indie Night.

As it happened, Jim and Chris had, I think, decided they’d had enough of DJ’ing, and were ready to stand down from their post, although I have some dim recollection that Chris had been kicked off his course and Jim didn’t want to carry on without him.

And so Ken, and the Entertainments Manager Phil, agreed to giving us a go, and dates and times were sorted out when we could be trained up.

The DJ booth was a place of wonder to me the first time I entered it. There were two Technics decks with the channels unit/mixing desk positioned in between them, all facing out onto the dancefloor, and with two crates of albums and 12″ singles housed underneath. Next to that was the light controls, which could be pre-programmed (by which I mean, buttons pressed making each individual light whirr into life) or you could operate them manually (by pressing a button, etc etc etc). Next, a video player, monitor, computer and keyboard; “Shafts” had several screens positioned around it, and you could mix between vinyl and videos, as well as using the computer to write messages for the crowd to read. Back in 1989, this was pretty high-tech stuff.

Finally, embedded into the back surface was a tray containing a couple of thousand 7″ singles, which we would scour through before the set began, pulling up any we thought we might play that night.

I had my training session and was left alone to practice for a couple of hours or so. It seemed pretty straight-forwards, and my happiness at having conquered it was topped by being asked to turn up for the next week’s “Funk Off” where I would DJ with Jim. Danny would DJ at the next one after that and then, when term started again in September, the night was to be ours.

So, Tuesday night rolled around, and I strolled up, with a bag of vinyl that I hadn’t spotted in the racks when I had my training session, and which I thoroughly intended to play.

Jim was already there, and was programming our names into the computer. Screen One: Welcome to Funk Off. Screen Two: Your DJs: Jolly Jim and…

“We need to give you a name”, said Jim.

“Is Jez not sufficient?” I replied.

“No. You need something alliterative to go with it. Something that isn’t ‘Jolly’, because that’s mine.”

So for that first night, and never again, we were billed as “Your DJs: Jolly Jim and Jocular Jez”.


“You’ve brought some records”, said Jolly Jim. “Let’s have a look.”

Jocular Jez was reluctant.

“It’s fine,” Jolly Jim reassured me, “as long as you haven’t brought anything as fey and ball-less as Talulah Gosh, of course.”

You can guess what happened next, dear readers.

Yes, the first 12″ he pulled from my bag (okay, that sounds ruder than I meant it to) was none other than this:


Talulah Gosh – Talulah Gosh

Cue: awkward silence and a raised eyebrow in my direction.

I didn’t dare to play it, after that look. But Jim dropped a tune which I don’t think I’ve heard before or since, a proper ace skanking hornblast of a record, which fits here too:


The Larks – Billy Graham’s Going to Heaven

There’s a couple of tunes buried away in my back catalogue of records that I love, that I think have enhanced my life (for the better), and which I can directly attribute to Jolly Jim, and this is most definitely one of them. The others will surface sooner or later, rest assured.

Cheers Jim!

More soon.