Late Night Stargazing

Oh Lawdy.

I appear to have reached the point in my life where I record daytime game shows to watch when I get home from work.

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The Charlatans – Impossible

Next stop: going to the shop in my dressing gown, and asking if the person singing a song is a boy or a girl.

More soon.

A Traditional Easter

I’d better get a disclaimer in quickly. I’m away this weekend and have decided to have me a lap-top free few days, so all of the posts that will appear over the long weekend have been written in advance. I say this purely in case I’ve chosen a tune that any of my blogging peers have also chosen; no plagiarism intended.

And so on that note, here’s The Charlatans:

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The Charlatans – Judas

More soon.

Acoustic Afternoons

Sometimes I’m greatly assisted in writing this series by a band or artist I love releasing an album or EP featuring acoustic versions of some of their finer moments. Such is the case with today’s pick.

In 2011, The Charlatans released the “Warmer Sounds” EP, where they not only performed  songs from their back catalogue, they radically reworked them too. This led to me realising I’d been getting the words wrong to this one since it came out in 1990. Oopsies.

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The Charlatans – The Only One I Know (Acoustic)

Researching this (by which I mean checking what year the EP came out), I was staggered to learn that The Charlatans haven’t had a Top 40 hit single in the UK since 2006, or a Top 10 hit since 1997. For a band still releasing great albums (this year’s “Different Days” is a fine example), that’s astounding. Sort it out, UK!

More soon.

I Am the Mouth

The issues with posting mp3 links which caused me a problem with this week’s “This is Pop” thread seem to have reappeared, so this weeks’ edition of “The Chain” is going to be delayed, I’m afraid. It sorted itself out last time, so “The Chain” will appear soon enough. In the meantime, to fill the void, I’ve already written all of this week’s posts, so I’ll start posting them a little early.

There’s much to love about The Charlatans, so it’s slightly odd that more often than not the tune by them that gets played out is their first Top 10 single “The Only One I Know” from way back in 1990, or their biggest hits, both from 1996, “One to Another” and “North Country Boy”.

It’s the song which they always close their live set with which gets the thumbs up from me; originally released as a single in 1991, this is the US version which popped on the B-Side of “Weirdo” a year later:

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The Charlatans – Sproston Green (US Version)

Majestic.

More soon.

The Chain #16

Evening Link Fans!

You know how I said I had a lot to get through last week? Well this week, even more so.

But before we get cracking, and to kill off any semblance of suspense, I’ll tell you that none of you – including me – picked the official record in The Chain. In fact none of you – including me – went down the same route as the person who picked the official one, which when you read it, will have you slapping yourself in the face and saying “Of course!!! Why didn’t I think of that!!”

First out of the traps, so to speak, this week was Charity Chic, proving once and for all why the name of this blog is very appropriate indeed, for I must admit, it was a song which I owned, albeit on a 90s compilation CD I’d picked up for something else entirely, but which also contained his suggestion:

“Dundee Unite fans despairingly sing “You’ve only got one shoe” to the socially deprived fans of Glaswegian clubs. When Gordon Strachan was manager of Celtic he was known as Chesney after a small red headed boy on the soap opera Coronation Street.  So The One and Only by Chesney Hawkes please Jez.  It’s bound to be the winner.”

Yes, folks. This is really happening:

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Chesney Hawkes – The One and Only

It’s okay. It’s safe to come out now. The be-moled one has gone.

But hot on his heels, here’s S-WC from When You Can’t Remember Anything, who not content with giving us two suggestions in his first week, goes two better by giving us four this week. So, deep breath, here we go:

Shoes were made for walking which immediately gives you ‘Fools Gold’….”

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The Stone Roses – Fools Gold

(and yes, the full 09:53 version. Of course, the full 09:53 version. Why would anyone want to listen to the short version..??)

“…But it also gives you Nancy Sinatra as well…”

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Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

“…As you walk in shoes you may well gaze down at them. Which is called Shoegaze. So perhaps ‘Sight of You’ by the Pale Saints.

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Pale Saints – Sight of You

“…Although ultimately if you have Kirsty singing about one pair of shoes you really need another point of view so you have to go with Fucked Up and ‘The Other Shoe’. Argument over.”

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Fucked Up – The Other Shoe

Moving swiftly on before I make really bad joke about that, here’s bagging area with more multiple suggestion mullarky, the third of which is my favourite link of the week:

“The Charlatans walked with no shoes on ‘Tellin’ Stories’…”

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The Charlatans – With No Shoes

“…Run DMC’s shoes were their Adidas…”

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Run DMC – My Adidas

“…Keith Richards once said ‘I don’t remember much about making Exile On Main Street but I do remember I had this really cool pair of snakeskin shoes’. “Happy” off that album is a blast.”

Yes. Yes, it is:

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The Rolling Stones – Happy

Here’s George:

“I was thinking of suggesting this: the Kirsty MacColl track comes from the album Tropical Brainstorm, and Typically Tropical did that single Barbados in 1975.”

This one..?

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Typically Tropical – Barbados

But before George has chance to flood me with multiple suggestions, can we give a warm Chain welcome to The Badger, who co-authors the When You Can’t Remember Anything blog with S-WC, who…erm…floods me with multiple suggestions:

Whilst my esteemed colleague S-WC is probably right about Fucked Up, he should consider this: Kirsty MacColl famously covered ‘A New England’ by Sir Billy Bragg. Billy Bragg also sang about Shoeburyness in the classic A13. So you could go there…”

And we will, for I once got Janice Long to play that for me on her late night Radio 2 show, kicking off – and I know you’ll find it hard to believe I could be behind such a thing – an hour of themed songs about roads:

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Billy Bragg – A13, Trunk Road To The Sea

“…Kirsty also sang on The Wonder Stuff’s ‘Welcome to the Cheap Seats’ from the ‘Never Loved Elvis’ album….”

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The Wonder Stuff – Welcome To The Cheap Seats

“…Elvis also featured in the title of a Cud album ‘Elvis Belt’. Which contained the classic ‘Only a Prawn in Whitby’.”

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Cud – Only (A Prawn in Whitby)

Moving on…no, wait…George hadn’t finished it seems…

“Then I thought of this: one of the other tracks from the Tropical Brainstorm album is “Não Esperando” which is Portuguese for No Waiting (and I didn’t have to look that up!), and the “waiting” bit leads to, yes, one of the 5 best songs ever recorded, Jesus Is Waiting by Al Green, the last track on the Call Me album, and 5-and-a-half-minutes of absolute genius.”

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Al Green – Jesus Is Waiting

Next up is Alex G, author of the rather fantastic We Will Have Salad who is kind enough to give my Copy and Paste skills a bit of a break by just suggesting the one song:

“What would you find “In These Shoes?”. If you were a shoemaker, probably a last. And Bob Last was the man behind the legendary late-70s indie label Fast Product, which in its brief existence gave us the debut singles by The Human League (the only reason I know the word “sericulture”), The Mekons, Dead Kennedys and Gang Of Four. Nice one, Bob. My pick: the original Fast Product version of “Damaged Goods” by Gang of Four, which Mr Last also produced. And which is great.”

Yes.Yes, it is:

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Gang of Four – Damaged Goods

And here’s Marie, who rather wonderfully adds an element of creative writing into her suggestion:

“I imagined the title of Kirsty’s “In These Shoes?” as a response to an invite to a Northern Soul All-Nighter. When asked, “What’s wrong with them?”, she might have answered, “Ain’t No Soul (In These Old Shoes) (by Major Lance.)”

One of the things I love about running this post (I can’t really claim to write it), is that often I’ll be introduced to a record I’ve never heard before, and which I instantly love. There’s a couple of tunes up there I was unfamiliar with, but my favourite of those this week goes to:

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Major Lance – Ain’t No Soul (In These Old Shoes)

Next, the return of another who I think we can now safely call a regular contributor round these parts. Here’s What’s It All About Alfie?

“This Chain could grow arms and legs, but it’s feet we’re interested in this week as feet live in shoes. A pair of shoes has two soles and following Marie’s thinking, how about Soul ll Soul with Keep On Movin’ (in these shoes) – a bit of a “lady” choice but gives The Chain balance perhaps?”

When this came out in 1989, my girlfriend at the time bloody loved it (in fact, we met because of it; she asked me to play it when I was DJ’ing one night, which I did, despite not being all that fond of it myself (No guitars, see..) The following week, I kept an eye out for her arrival, waited for her to get herself a drink and take up a spot kind of near the dancefloor, and then proceeded to play it for her again. Bingo! The oldest trick in the DJ’s Handbook.) but it wasn’t until a good few years later that the penny finally dropped with me about Soul II Soul and what an amazing record Club Classics Vol. One is:

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Soul II Soul (feat. Caron Wheeler) – Keep On Movin’

Three more to go, and here’s The Great Gog:

“I shall ignore all this talk of shoes and go with the fact that there is a chain of newsagents called McColl’s (yes, I know the spelling is ever so slightly different). Therefore I think that a song about a newsagent would be appropriate. I can think of no better such ditty (indeed I can think of no other, either) than In The Middle Of The Night from the debut album from Madness.” (Nope, me neither. The Jam’s “Man in a Corner Shop” is about the best I can come up with).

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Madness – In the Middle of the Night

Here’s The Swede, who picks up where George left off, linking to the title of the album from which “In These Shoes?” is taken:

“…‘Tropical Brainstorm’, which was co-produced by Dave Ruffy, drummer with The Ruts, one of the few groups of their time with the potential to rival The Clash in terms of passion and musical versatility. Certainly they were the only ‘punk’ band who got anywhere near The Clash when it came to reggae. ‘Give Youth a Chance’ is a good case in point.”

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The Ruts – Give Youth a Chance

Which brings us to the last of the suggestions from you guys and girls, and, since we started with a slice of cheese from Chesney, ending with another slice of cheese seems appropriate. I’ll let Kay explain:

“My suggestion is Footloose by Kenny Loggins. Just the thought of Kevin Bacon dancing angrily in a warehouse brings a smile to my face. Can’t remember if he’s dancing to footloose or some other gem in the warehouse – but what a scene!”

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Kenny Loggins – Footloose

Ok, cheese is a little unkind. I went to see that in the cinema when it came out in 1984, bloody loved it then, and bloody loved hearing it again now.

And, so to my choice. And mine is nowhere near as clever as all of yours (give yourselves a hearty pat on the back for another excellent week of suggestions, by the way). I’m giving you some breathy camp electro-clash-iness:

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Tiga – Shoes

All that’s left for me to do then is spark off a load of face-palms with the big reveal as to the identity of the official link:

“The late Kirsty MacColl’s former husband Steve Lillywhite produced Peter Gabriel’s third eponymous album…”

Grrr. How did none of us think of that??

Anyway, here’s the record they chose from said album:

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16. Peter Gabriel – I Don’t Remember

So, your suggestions please, via the Comments box below, for songs that link to Peter Gabriel’s “I Don’t Remember”, along with an explanation as to how you got there too please!

See y’all same time next week.

By which I mean: more soon.

Friday Night Music Club

Hello, good evening and welcome to what is for us lucky folks in the UK is that rarest and most beautiful of things: a bank holiday weekend.

For those of you outside the UK, that means we have Monday off.

And for what I think is the first time in my working life, I have been astute enough to book today off too, giving me a glorious 4 days off on the trot.

And how will I be spending it, I hear you ask? Predominantly, perched in front of my laptop writing guff for you all to enjoy read, interspersed with the occasional missive to the agency who manage the flat I live in about where they can stick the £150.00 “administration fee” they want to charge me to renew my tenancy agreement.

So before, I get all grizzly about that, let’s get going with a non-themed, just tunes Friday Night Music Club.

But first some admin: inspired by The Robster over at “Is This The Life?” I’m using a different file-sharing service this week. I’ve grown a little tired of people telling me they can’t use the Zippyshare link to songs on their phones, and even more so about the pop-ups that Zippyshare seem to generate, and the content of some of the ads they insert, which I definitely do not approve of, and which I hope none of you have clicked. I’ve road-tested the new one and it seems to be waaaaaay better, but I’d be grateful for your feedback (Cath, Llyr, Kay) as to whether it’s an improvement or not.

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262. The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

When I was in my final year at college, I would often spend a Friday night round at my mate Daints’ flat. Daints was the singer in the band that I attempted to play lead guitar in, and I would often seek sanctuary round at his. Occasionally we would rehearse or, heaven forbid, write a song; more often we would sink a few beers, smoke a few fags (USA folks: that doesn’t mean what you think), play a little Tetris (this does nothing to negate any nerd thoughts you may have had about me, does it?) and indulge in what today is annoyingly termed “banter” but back then was just some mates having a laugh.

On one such occasion, Daints was ribbing (again, not what you USA folks might think) one of his flat-mates (a nice enough girl called Paula, who my friends and I all referred to, rather unkindly I can see with the benefit of hindsight, as “Baked Potato” because of her resemblance to one) about her love of The Cure, by pointing out that there out-put at the time (i.e. when this came out) was nothing more than “chart music”. He spat the phrase out with such distaste that she had no chance of recovery.

Still, it’s perfect Friday Night fodder, and let’s be honest, whilst I have no clue about what bothers the charts these days, there’s nothing wrong with our favourite bands being successful, right? Hence it’s inclusion here.

Next, an oft-overlooked single from what I think is one of the greatest debut albums in recent history:

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263. Franz Ferdinand – Michael

Now, the closest you will get to a theme this week, and a man who apparently had no “G” on his keyboard :

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264. Michael Jackson – Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’

Let’s just examine some of the lyrics for a second:

“You’re A Vegetable (You’re A Vegetable)
Still They Hate You (You’re A Vegetable)
You’re Just A Buffet (You’re A Vegetable)
They Eat Off Of You (You’re A Vegetable)”

Erm, okay Michael.

Who knew he had so much in common with Thatcher?

Or the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for that matter (Let’s not go there – Legal Ed.)

Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa indeed.

Ok, moving on to my favourite type of record to play when DJ’ing.: long ones.

The benefit of dropping long record are threefold:

  1. You don’t have to think about what to play next for a while;
  2. You can dash off to the toilet and get back in plenty of time for the next tune;
  3. Generally, people don’t like to walk off the dancefloor mid-record, as it makes it look like they didn’t know what they were dancing to in the first place. Long records test their endurance in a way that Bear Grylls can only dream of, allowing you chuckle about  those who start dancing and who then feel compelled/become determined to see it out to the end of the song, however knackered they may look 3/4 of the way through.

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265. Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up

That’s just shy of 12 minutes worth of funky grooviness right there, and if you can’t make it to the Gents and back in that time, then I’d suggest you contact your GP.

Next up, a song you will all know, but a remix of it that I first came across when I picked it up on a compilation CD in a Virgin megastore sale, and which has such a fantastically 80s bass-line it almost makes me want to be the next Mrs John Taylor:

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266. Duran Duran – Girls on Film (Salt Tank Remix)

And for all you lonely people (by which  here’s the original video, directed by 10cc’s Godley and Crème and banned by the BBC for what will become fairly obvious reasons if you watch it (by which I mean Dad, do not watch this when Mum’s around):

Moving swiftly on….and following on from my recent Kate Bush posts, here’s a remix of a 1992 tune by Utah Saints, which samples La Madame Bush, this version released in 2008:

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267. Utah Saints – Something Good 08 (Van She Tec Mix)

…and which had a simply splendid video to accompany it:

Terrible gag at the end, mind, but as a former Cardiffian, I can’t help but love it.

Next up, a tune that simply sounds good played next to that one:

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268. Simian Mobie Disco – Audacity of Huge

I first came across the next record when I was DJ’ing at college; originally called “Pro>Gen”, it got it’s first release when the band’s sort-of original line-up was still intact, by which I mean before Will Sinn had tragically drowned off the coast of Tenerife.

Truth be told, it did little to bother the charts on it’s first release, but post-Sinn, in that way that records tend to do when someone involved with creating them dies, like the general public rubber-necking a car crash, it was much more successful when it got re-released as “Move Any Mountain”.

Here’s the original:

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269. The Shamen – Pro>Gen

I worked with The Shamen once. *CLANG* Name-dropping alert!!

We booked them on the Synergy Tour when I was at college and one of my many duties was to ensure their rider demands were met. On this occasion, one of them was that all of the performers were provided with a hot meal.

No problem, I thought: they can have something from the college refectory, same as every other band that had come through our doors. If it’s good enough for the Manic Street Preachers, The Blue Aeroplanes and Carter USM (CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!), it’s good enough for this lot, reasoned I.

So, they were provided with menus of the day’s delicious offerings, from which they all ordered, and I dispatched a couple of members of my team to go and collect their chosen sustenance.

Mr C. was, I recall, not happy about the standard of the slop that he was given, ranting off about how he hadn’t eaten properly for days and how he couldn’t eat what he had been given.

I stood up and looked him in the eye.

“We have to eat this shit every fucking day, mate” I said.

Mr C sat down again.

I still love his rap in this though.

After the gig, I ventured into the dressing room. Now I’m not saying that they weren’t all diabetics, but there were an awful lot of syringes laying around in there.

I once played “Pro>Gen” at a house party, and the now ex-girlfriend of one of my best mates started singing “E’s are Good” when it got to the chorus, not in any ironic “they all sound the same” kinda way, but in a genuine “that’s what this record is, right?” kinda way.

Lucky escape, mate.

At the same house party (shout out to the Hilldrop Massive!!), I played this, and a man I’d never met before, or since, practically exploded with excitement, came and hugged me, and then would not shut up about the fact I’d played it for the rest of the night. So, in his honour:

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270. Double Trouble & Rebel MC – Street Tuff (Scar Radio Mix)

Two more songs for tonight. Firstly, the song which they invariably use to mark the end of one of their gigs; this is essentially the sound of The Charlatans flicking the lights on and off, stacking chairs and starting to mop the floor around you:

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271. The Charlatans – Sproston Green (US Version)

But it’s not our end of night tune. That honour goes to another act that needs no introduction, and which, if you timed listening/reading to all of this just right, will be pretty much perfect:

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272. The Chemical Brothers – Midnight Madness

The video is rather fun/disturbing (delete as applicable):

That should do you for this week.

More soon.