Come Dancing

Even without looking out of the window to see what the weather’s like, a cursory look over the TV listings tells you that the dark nights are drawing in.

Apart from the sudden slew of new drama series of varying quality suddenly clogging up the schedules, The X Factor returned the other week for its annual attempt to engage the British public and entice them into parting with their hard-earned cash in return for a ballad by a soon to be forgotten act with a traumatic back-story.

I haven’t watch the show for years now, and when I did it was only for the audition rounds which usually included some comedy gold. But it soon occurred to me that some of these people were not just deluded as to their ability, some had genuine mental health issues and throwing them into the bear-pit of an audition not just in front of millions of TV viewers but a baying live studio audience was perhaps not the best thing for them, so I stopped watching.

And then there’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Now, I’ve never watched this program. I’ve sat through it when there was simply no alternative – say, I was visiting friends who insisted on watching it, or when I’ve not been able to wriggle free of the leg-irons –¬†but I’ve never actually watched it. It seems to me to just be a longer version of that excruciating moment on Children In Need when the news presenters try and do a song-and-dance number, just with less singing and more sequins. Mildly amusing the first time it happens, perhaps, but not a joke which stands up to repeat airings.

Plus, it has a habit of rehabilitating loathsome people, like, say,¬†Ann Widdicombe, in the nation’s collective consciousness, making¬†the perception of them shift from that of a¬†loathsome, fussy, censorious, cantankerous politician who opposed¬†the legality of abortion, rallied against¬†issues of LGBT equality such as an equal¬†age of consent and the repeal of Section 28, and who¬†supported¬†the re-introduction of the death penalty, to that of a loveable overweight old lady who flew¬†through the air on a harness, or who was swung round by Anton du Beke as if she was a replacement floor polisher.

It does, however, always remind me of this single, which is it’s one redeeming feature:

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The Kinks – Come Dancing

Whilst The Kinks and Ray Davies are rightly revered as National Treasures, I think it’s fair to say that much of this richly deserved adulation and affection was not earned on the back of their later output.

But when listening to this record, I was reminded of a single I bought by them back in 1984; it’s no longer in my record collection, and I don’t recall seeing it amongst it for many years, so it’s fair to say I must have sold it or, more likely, donated it to a charity shop.

Which is a shame, because listening to it again, it’s not bad. It’s not great is the same way as, say “Waterloo Sunset” or “You Really Got Me” is, but it’s y’know, okay:

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The Kinks – Do It Again

More soon.

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The Chain #21

Well, it seems to be Wednesday evening¬†again, and that can only mean one thing: I must remember to put my bins out.¬†Oh, and host this week’s edition of The Chain.

You’ll recall we ended last week with The Cure’s “In Between Days”, and I invited you good folks to come up with songs which you can link to that record. The aim is, of course, in no particular order a) to showboat a little in your logic and song selection; b) to pick something which will cause a little debate in the Comments, be it about how great or how awful your choice is (never forgetting that, here, there’s no such thing as a¬†Guilty Pleasure, hence recent inclusions from Busted, Chesney Hawkes, and PJ & Duncan, and you’re not necessarily saying that you like your own suggestion anyway), and c) trying to guess what the next record in the official BBC The Chain series, as featured originally on Radcliffe & Maconie’s Radio 2 show, which now airs on 6 Music.

After last week’s attempts to jiggle about with the running order, which frankly left me dazed, confused, and worried that I’d missed somebody out, I’m settling for an easy life this week, and resorting back to the tried and tested method of simply posting the suggestions as they were received.

So, first out of the traps this week was Rol from the My Top Ten blog, who was noticeable in his absence last week:

“Because I missed last week‚Äôs I thought I‚Äôd get in early this week‚Ķ but now I‚Äôm spoilt for choice?

The Go-Betweens?

Inbetweener by Sleeper?

Torn Between Two Lovers?

Between The Wars?

Between My Legs by Rufus W.?

Walk Between The Raindrops?

All tempting, but…

Ultrasound ‚Äď Between Two Rivers, from their 2012 album Play For Today. It‚Äôs lovely, it starts with a nice bit of a brass, and they‚Äôre about to release their third album any day now.

That‚Äôs my suggestion for this week.”

Now, I normally have a bit of a moan about being snowed under with suggestions, about how I might have to cap the amount of suggestions per person (I hope you all note that I’ve still¬†not enforced that rule) but since Rol had mentioned so many potential links, and as he hadn’t proffered anything last week, I figured I’d be magnanimous and ask if he wanted to nominate¬†a second. But there was no swaying him. Fair enough.

Here’s Ultrasound then:

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Ultrasound – Between Two Rivers

Be terrible if any of those Rol elected not to formally submit as a suggestion turned out to be the right one, wouldn’t it? (That’s my way of injecting a little suspense into proceedings).

Next up, here’s The Great Gog:

“In between days comes night. For some reason at this point Steely Dan‚Äôs ‚ÄúNight By Night‚ÄĚ sprang to mind, and that‚Äôs a bit of an ear-worm of mine, so the rest of you can have a listen, too.”

Thanks GG, will do!

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Steely Dan – Night By Night

The next couple of suggestions I received were from babylotti:

“I‚Äôm going to link to ‚ÄėDays’, by The Kinks.”

Now that, I would suggest, is the complete opposite of Comment Showboating.

So here’s a factoid to make up for it: when Days was originally released, both the single sleeve and record label referred to the title as being “Day’s”:

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The Kinks – Days

See?

But wait! I stand corrected! Babylotti isn’t done yet:

“Ray Davies from the Kinks famously was seeing Chrissie Hynde for most of the 80s. Chrissie obviously being the mainstay of The Pretenders and I shall nominate their song called Back on the Chain Gang‚Ķ”

I can’t really resist posting that one, for what I would hope are fairly obvious reasons:

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The Pretenders – Back on the Chain Gang

See that? That’s our theme tune, that is.

Time to welcome back the Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything¬†now, who rather presciently says:

“Right this won‚Äôt be the answer but‚Ķ”In Between Days” used to be my ringtone when Mrs B phoned me. About a month ago I replaced that with ‚ÄėDigeridoo‚Äô by Aphex Twin.”

You’re not wrong, Badger: that’s not the right answer. But since my knowledge of Aphex Twin pretty much begins and ends with “Windowlicker” and “Come to Daddy” I’m more than happy to oblige:

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Aphex Twin – Digeridoo

Time was, having just posted a tune which predominantly features a didgeridoo, I’d be able to make a really bad “Can you tell what it is yet?” gag, but alas no more. That particular comedic avenue has ended up the same way as the Animal Hospital: closed.

“Or” Badger continues, “Robert Smith formed a Cure off shoot called The Glove. Which links back to Hand in Glove by The Smiths.”

Badger knows from previous posts that a very simple way to make sure I raise no objections to a suggestion – not that I ever would, unless there is absolutely no link back to the source record – is to nominate something by one of my favourite bands ever, about whom I would never make any crass comments.

So with that in mind, here’s a picture of a man’s arse:

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The Smiths – Hand In Glove

You know that saying about how you have to wait ages for certain things to turn up –¬†buses, or policemen, say –¬†and then two turn up at once? Well add to that list “writers of the¬†When You Can’t Remember Anything blog”.

Or to put it another way, here’s SWC:

“The follow up single to In Between Days was Close to Me that featured on the album Head on the Door. The first two words of which is the name of a very fine Jesus¬†& Mary Chain track.”

This perplexed me at first, as I wasn’t aware of any Mary Chain single called “Close To”. But then the penny dropped, and such was my embarrassment at my own stupidity that I’m not going to get all pedantic and point out the album’s called The Head On the Door. And anyway, this is the first time we’ve¬†featured one of their songs here on The Chain, so I’m not going to begrudge it. I mean, the words “Head” and “On” are still there, right?

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The Jesus & Mary Chain – Head On

SWC isn’t done yet though. Oh no.

“Or if you want cheese. Lol Tolhurst was once in The Cure. Lol is an expression for laughing. As is LMFAO. And they are Sexy, and They Know It.”

sexy-and-i-know-it-single-1LMFAO – Sexy and I Know It

Often on The Chain, I have to go searching the corners of the internet to track down copies of some of the songs suggested. I wish this had been one of them. But no, tucked away in the darkest corner of my external hard-drive, there it nestled.

Let’s move on shall we? There’s nothing to see here.

Here’s George:

“Linking Cure to Medicine, and Medicine Head‚Äôs first single His Guiding Hand, a song that The Swede will surely approve of, and a song rated by John Peel as one of the finest songs ever recorded.”

Indeed he did; in 2005 there was a Channel 4 documentary entitled “John Peel’s Record Box”, which focussed on a small, private collection of 143 singles representing some of his personal favourites, which Peel stored in a private wooden box. (It should be noted at this point, that said box contained no records by his most beloved band, The Fall: he kept them in a separate box).

You can watch the whole documentary here:

Needless to say from George’s introduction, His Guiding Hand” was in there. As is Status Quo’s “Down Down”. Just sayin’.

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Medicine Head – His Guiding Hand

Since we’re on the matter of John Peel, many of you will be aware that we’re fast approaching October 25th, the anniversary of his death, and a day where all those musically interested souls who owe such a debt to Peel try do something to honour his legacy. If you’d like to keep abreast of what events are going on, I’d recommend you a) visit the excellent Keeping It Peel blog, and b) follow @keepingitpeel on Twitter.

Anyway, I digress. Here comes Charity Chic, who decides to dip into that list of potential songs which Rol gave us right at the start:

“As Rol correctly points out there could be a link to Between the Wars by Billy Bragg…”

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Billy Bragg – Between The Wars

“…Kirsty MacColl brilliantly covered Days which babylotti mentions above.¬†She also covered Billy Bragg‚Äôs New England so that would be nice”

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Kirsty MacColl – A New England

And you lot have clearly caught me in a good mood this week, because here’s a little extra treat for you. Lifted from one of those Radio 1 Live Lounge things (I think, I can’t actually remember where I got this from), but which as far as I know has never been commercially released (hence the less than pristeen sound quality and absence of a proper sleeve) is Kirsty and Billy performing an acoustic version:

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Kirsty MacColl & Billy Bragg – A New England (acoustic)

Moving on, but not quite so swiftly as we did to escape LMFAO, here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area:

“The Cure‚Äôs Just Like Heaven was memorably covered by Dinosaur Jr. Whose own song “Freak Scene” is one of the best songs ever recorded.”

He’s right you know. It really¬†is:

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Dinosaur Jr. – Freak Scene

Here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?¬†who is definitely not a spy:

“If you feel unwell you probably want to find a Cure so will head Down To The Doctors where he/she will make you Feel Good again. Yes it‚Äôs Dr Feelgood with Down At The Doctors from me this week.”

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 Dr. Feelgood РDown At The Doctors

Heads up, George is back:

“I have a chain involving Tottenham Hotspur‚Ķ”

Regular readers will now they’re my team, and Badger’s too, so in a week when we lost our opening game in the Champions League and then lost our main striker for an as yet undetermined period of time through injury, I was a little reluctant to invite George to expand on this.

I need not have worried:

“OK. Robert Smith of The Cure to Tottenham Hotspur footballer (of the 1960/1 double team) Bobby Smith. Tottenham Hotspur play at White Hart Lane (or used to) (Still do, mostly¬†– Sports¬†Ed), and Clay Hart was a country singer whose most famous song begins with these awesome lines ‚ÄúIn a broken down apartment house lay a woman in labour‚Ķsaid by the grace of god I‚Äôll have this child with the help of a neighbour‚ÄĚ! Spring, by Clay Hart. Only in country music do you get such fabulous lyrics.”

And that, dear readers, is how to do Comment Showboating:

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Clay Hart – Spring

And that just leaves us with one suggestion, and this week that comes from The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:

“For my suggestion this week I‚Äôm going down the knob-twiddling route once again. David M. Allen co-produced a string of Cure albums, including ‚ÄėThe Head on the Door‚Äô from which ‚ÄėIn Between Days‚Äô is taken. Among Allen‚Äôs many other production credits is my favourite (and a criminally overlooked) Psychedelic Furs LP, ‚ÄėBook of Days‚Äô, from which I‚Äôll choose ‚ÄėTorch‚Äô.”

You can’t beat a bit of know-twiddling in my book (innuendo very much intended), and it’s the type of link that doesn’t appear often enough here.

Anyway, here’s The Psychedelic Furs

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The Psychedelic Furs – Torch

And that concludes all of your suggestions for another week and I’m afraid none of you guessed what the record was in The (official) Chain. But before I reveal all, here’s my two suggestions, and I went down the same route as Alyson and George (with¬†his first suggestion) did, going from The Cure to another word for a cure being a remedy, which led first to this, where Keith and the boys have got not just the poison, but the remedy too, which is one of those Good News/Bad News scenarios:

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The Prodigy – Poison

…which in turn led me to…(don’t worry, I’m not about to go all “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” or “Unskinny Bop” on you. They can keep for another day)…this:

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The Black Crowes – Remedy

Literally not heard that in years, and bloody great it still sounds too.

And so, to the official record and Rol, you are going to kick yourself, as are you CC for picking out the wrong one from his list of semi-suggestions. For the next record in the BBC Chain was chosen following this suggestion:

“…¬†From ‚ÄėIn Between Days‚Äô to ‚ÄėInbetween-er‚Äô‚Ķ”

Ah well, never mind chaps, eh?

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21. Sleeper – Inbetweener

And that’s that for another week. So please submit your suggestions for songs which you can link to “Inbetweener” by Sleeper, along with your reasoning for the connection, via the Comments section down below.

I’ve got one already, unless one of you lot go and nick it first.

See you next week!

(More soon).

Friday Night Music Club

No swears this week, I promise. Well nothing obvious, anyway.

We’re going dancing instead. And if we’re going dancing, there’s certain things that we need to take with us.

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165. Echo & The Bunnymen – Bring On The Dancing Horses

Yes, horses. That’s what we need. Course it is. No night out is complete without at least one fluttering fetlock.

And shoes. We need shoes.

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166. Arctic Monkeys – Dancing Shoes

Cheers Alex! (I have no idea how this is the first tune my them that I’ve posted here)

Now what else? Ah yes, a disco stick. No night out is complete without a ride on a disco stick, right?

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167. Lady GaGa – Love Game

Wait a minute….that’s not a song about a stick you use in a disco…that’s a song about….Oi! Gaga!! Noooo!! This is supposed to be a non-rude edition of The Music Club!!

Perhaps we should just go.

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168. The Kinks – Come Dancing

That’s better. A prime slice of Davies storytelling and no mistake.

Next up, released way back in 20-God-that-makes-me-feel-old-07, and for my money one of the greatest indie singles of the last ten years. Recorded by exclamation mark afficonados and unquestionably the greatest non-Welsh band to come out of Welsh capital Cardiff (the band members all met¬†at the fine city’s university, but none are actually Welsh), here with the original¬†release of the single (the version on their debut “Hold On Now Youngster…” album being slightly longer and slower) which you can find on their “Sticking Fingers In Sockets” EP:

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169. Los Campesinos! – You! Me! Dancing!

If that doesn’t have you bouncing round your humble abode then you have not an ounce of grooviness about you.

There’s so much to love about “You! Me! Dancing!”:¬†the outright unfettred youthful exuberance; the¬†slow build up;¬†the hand-claps. And¬†some of the smartest yet twee-ist lyrics you’ll ever hear to boot. This, from the climax of the record – for that’s what it is, a climax – where the lyrics are spoken rather than sung:

And I always get confused
Because in supermarkets they turn the lights off when they want you to leave
But in discos they turn them on…

..And then on the way home, it always seems like a good idea to go paddling in the fountain, and that’s because it IS a good idea.”

(I can vouch for this. For many years when I lived in Cardiff, my walk home was via the front of¬†City Hall, which is graced with some beautiful fountains, and by God they look tempting when you’re staggering back at 4am under the influence of various substances, even if they are switched off at that time. This record gave me permission to do it. Still never had the nerve though.)

“We’re undeveloped, we’re ignorant, we’re stupid, but we’re happy”. There’s my epitaph, right there.

Anyway, if you ever, ever get chance to go see Los Campesinos! live, treat yourself and go, you won’t be disappointed.

Next up a band whose¬†debut album I bought on the strength of the review in Metro, the daily free-tabloid so beloved of eye-contact-avoiding commuters. Not, I should stress, because the quality of the review was in any way illuminating, just simply because I liked the name of the band and the album in question. So, here from their “In Our Space Hero Suits” album it’s:

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170. Those Dancing Days – Space Hero Suits

Next, a song of two halves. Well, actually a song of about one quarter and a remaining three quarters. You’ll see what I mean.

Featuring a¬†union of Euros Childs (formerly of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci fame) and Norman Blake (currently, I hope, of Teenage Fanclub fame), this is Jonny:

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171. Jonny – Cave Dance

I’ve gone a bit quiet on my “From Leeds With Love” thread for a couple of weeks (again); I’d love to say this was totally planned so that I could justify posting a song by The Wedding Present here, but that’d be a total lie, I just haven’t got round to writing one.

So, here’s The Wedding Present, with the second of twelve¬†7″ singles they released in 1992:

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172. The Wedding Present – Go-Go Dancer

Next, to a song more famously recorded by the group’s front-man after the band split and he went solo:

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173. Generation X – Dancing With Myself

Hold on a minute…..Oi!! Idol!!! Noooo! We’re supposed to be keeping things clean round here this week, we do not need your thinly veiled hymn to the joys of onanism smuttering up these pages.

(Bloody love that record, though.)

And now, as they say, for something completely different.

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174. Leif Garrett – I Was Made For Dancin’

Say the name Leif Garrett to me, and two things pop into my head; firstly I seem to remember him wearing the most ludicrously tight red leather trousers – not a good look, ever – and secondly, for a while¬†he seemed to pop up every other week¬†on The Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, the BBC’s Saturday morning live kids TV show which ran from 1976 and 1982. That is,¬†he popped up on the weeks that¬†the “special” “musical” guest wasn’t ironing-board-chinned talent-vacuum¬†B.A. Robertson, anyway.

Garrett was quite the teen pin-up for a while, although this never really translated into record sales, either in his homeland in The US of A or here in the UK. They bloody loved him in Germany and Australia though. Read into that what you will.

Should you be so inclined to go and purchase his Greatest Hits album – and¬†I see no reason why you would want to do that, since I’ve just given you the only thing approaching a decent song he ever made, so¬†you can see just how far short of the mark the rest of his songs fall – but if you are so inclined, then please do. It’s entitled “The Leif Garrett Collection (1977-80)” which gives you some idea of his shelf life. It doesn’t however, give you any indication of just how long he outstayed his welcome by.

Moving on, and here’s one of them there mash-up songs. It’s in disguise though, as you can tell by the title. I had no idea I owned this until it came up on my iPod the other day, so I can only think that I must have obtained it from one of my peers out there in the blogosphere. So…er…thanks. I think.

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175. Liquid Gold – Dance Yourself Dizzy (Yomanda Synth and Strings Mix)

See, what they’ve done there? They’ve taken Liquid Gold’s super-cheesy 1980s UK disco hit “Dance Yourself Dizzy”, slowed it down a bit, and thrown Yomanda’s super-cheesy 1999 club smash “Synths and Strings” over the top of it.

I have a bit of a soft spot for both of these tunes, “Dance Yourself Dizzy” because it reminds me of being a kid, and “Synths and Strings” because I was once in a bar in Cardiff where I found an acquaintance of mine (a bloke called Nigel who used to run the quiz night in my local pub) was DJing. He was dropping some naff records – it was that kind of a bar – so I approached him and asked if, since he was playing such piss-poor records, if he would mind dropping a bit of Yomanda for me.

He gave me a right look and said “My records might be cheesy, but I draw the line at ‘Synths and Strings’

Anyway, that mash-up¬†doesn’t really work in my book but who am I to judge, so here’s the video of the Yomanda tune, posted for no other reasons than for comparison purposes, and certainly nothing to do with the plentiful shots of ladies in short skirts, nosireebob:

Right, just time for one more. I’m intentionally trying to keep things brief this week, and not bang on as much as I have here recently. Please don’t moan, I’ve had a very busy week and frankly I’m knackered.

So here, without any need for further introduction, explanation, deviation or hesitation, but plenty of repetition, is super cool French duo Justice:

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176. Justice – D.A.N.C.E.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

The other thing about having a day off on a Friday is that I have more time to put together a few songs for your Friday night delectation. Which you would think¬†means an improvement in quality, in the tunes if not the writing. I’ll leave it to you to decide if that’s the case or not.

At the very least, it’ll be delivered earlier than usual.

After last week’s poptastic disco post, we’re heading back into slightly louder indie territory for this week’s selection. Oh, and a theme towards the end. Of course.

So, first up, the second song I ever heard by one of my favourite ever bands, and still sounding fresh as a daisy:

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87. Super Furry Animals – God! Show Me Magic

Now to a band that I managed to catch twice last year, and have written about on these pages before. When I last waxed lyrical about them, I mentioned I have a semi-amusing story to tell, which I would save for the actual “A History of Dubious Taste” thread. That still holds, you’re getting nowt out of me now. (I realise I may be building this up a bit too much, of course. Calm down. Note the words “semi-amusing”. They have been chosen for a reason.)

Anyway, from their “Play” EP, for me, this is one of their finest moments:

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88. Ride – Like A Day Dream

(Happy Birthday Neil)

Something a little more recent now, and when I say recent, this is my definition, so I mean released two years ago. From Worthing, in Sussex, here’s some:

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89. Royal Blood – Little Monster

And whilst I’m attempting to at least appear vaguely hip and current, here’s another one from way back in the midst of time (i.e. 2014):

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90. The Black Keys – Fever

Okay, time to take you back, and to a psychobilly group that had one hit, this one, back in 1983.

King Kurt came to my attention via the Personal File of lead singer Gary “The Smeg” Clayton in Smash Hits, where I’m sure they referred to him as Smeggy, but I can find nothing to corroborate this, so maybe I’m wrong. It’s been known to happen.

The Personal File in Smash Hits was usually a half-page feature and was a telephone interview, which gave the interviewer (usually, if memory serves, the late, great and much missed Tom Hibbert) the advantage of not having to be too concerned about any awkwardness his questions might cause. Hibbert was the master of this format; he would start by asking a few standards (Name, Date of Birth), move into obviously teen-pop magazine territory (First Crush?) then ask something so off-the-wall as to make the interviewee think the article was going to be just fluff at best.

As an example, having done the above, he asked Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys “Does your mother play golf?”, quickly followed by “What kind of underwear are you wearing?” (Note – this is not a question to be asked in any other context. I’ve got in a lot of trouble that way.) With the interviewee now suitably relaxed, Hibbert would go in for the kill. Again, from his Neil Tennant interview: “What does Chris do in Pet Shop Boys?” and¬†“Why does he always look¬†so moody?” – to be fair, the questions everyone had always wanted to ask – and so deliciously skewered is Tennant, so caught off guard, he provided the following answers, respectively: “He tends to write the songs’ ‘hooks'” and “Because he is moody…’sulky’ is a better word…When he found out we were Number One all he could do was complain that we had to do Top of the Pops again.”

Anyway, dragging myself back from the tangent, there was one of these about Gary “The Smeg” Clayton/Smeggy, about which I can remember nothing other than that I thought his name was funny, but then I was a 14 year old boy at the time.

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91. King Kurt – Destination Zululand (Humdiddlededumhoowahayha)

Onwards now to 1994, and a blast of Inspiral Carpets, who were derided by many when they were at their peak, and even more so when they attempted a come-back. Unfairly so, I think:¬†in my book they were a great and consistent singles band. In December last year, my little group of friends met up, as we do every year, in the Dublin Castle in Camden for our annual drink-and-plough-pound-coins-into-the-juke-box-a-thon. There will always be a bit of a drunken sing-a-long, always, as I think I may have mentioned before, to “Fairytale of New York”, but last¬†year also to the Inspiral’s “This Is How It Feels”. Y’know, cos it’s such a cheery Christmas song. One of my happiest moments of 2015, as it goes.

Anyway, here, from their “Devil Hopping” album, is this:

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92. Inspiral Carpets – I Want You (featuring Mark E. Smith)

Back in the early 1990s, Top of the Pops had a policy that, were you lucky enough to appear on the show, you had to perform the vocals live. This led, most infamously, to Kurt Cobain performing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as if he were a 45rpm being played at 33rpm (and yes, I appreciate that some of my younger readers will have no idea what rpm means. Google it.)

It also gave rise to, as far as I’m aware, the only ever appearance on Top of the Pops by The Fall’s Mark E. Smith. It’s worth a watch, if only to see him getting the words wrong and forgetting where he is supposed to come in,¬†cackling into the mic when he gets it wrong, despite frequently (and obviously) checking the words on a crumpled piece of paper, whilst Inspirals singer Tom Hingley gamely ploughs on with his bits.

If for nothing else, we should all be eternally grateful to Inspiral Carpets for giving us this.

All of which has got me in a Fall kinda mood, so here’s my favourite record by the ramshackle Mancunian growlers:

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93. The Fall – Dead Beat Descendant

As with many bands I figured I needed to know more about, I bought their “45 84 89”¬†singles compilation when I was younger. I have to confess, there was much that I didn’t get at the time. But there were also several tracks I loved, some of which I knew were cover versions, one of which I only found out very recently was one. So let’s start there:

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94. The Other Half – Mr. Pharmacist

Next, this:

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95. R Dean Taylor -There a Ghost in My House

Somewhere in the back of my head is the factoid that R Dean Taylor was the only white singer to release a single on the Tamla Motown label, but I’ve found nothing online to support this. What I have found is that he was signed as both a writer and performer for the label, and even played on Motown classics “Standing In the Shadows of Love,” and “Reach Out” (even it was only the tambourine he played).

Finally this week, a band that, I’m relieved to say, needs¬†no introduction or¬†further comment:

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96. The Kinks – Victoria

That’ll do for now.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

After the terribly sad, unexpected news on Monday, I’ve found it pretty difficult to get myself going this week, so I¬†had decided I wasn’t going to post anything today, so bereft of ideas and inspiration was I.

I spent my journeys to and from work listening exclusively to Bowie records on my trusty mp3 player, only this morning deciding to switch it back to the random shuffle setting it usually rests on.

When you lose someone close to you, you often find the slightest thing will remind you of them. Now, I’m not suggesting that I was close to Bowie, but his works were close to me. And all of today’s songs came on as I travelled home, in, I kid you not,¬†the¬†order that I present them to you now. Each one made me think of Bowie, some for more obvious reasons than others, which I will try to explain as we go. So I figured they could be this week’s addition to our Friday night. Hopefully, you won’t think I’m sullying the memory, that’s most definitely not the intention.

C’mon kids, we can get through this together.

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69. The Webb Brothers – I Cant Believe You’re Gone

Fairly self-explanatory one, that, right?

Next, a song which Bowie covered on his 1973 album “Pin Ups”:

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70. The Kinks – Where Have All The Good Times Gone

Next up, a song which seems to sum up the ethos of Bowie:

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71. Mama Cass – Make Your Own Kinda Music

…followed by one which also¬†has an apt title:

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72. The Supremes – I Hear A Symphony

I totally accept that the next song was written as a tribute to jazz legend Duke Ellington. But if the words “Thin” and “White” were added to the title….

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73. Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke

Next, this:

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74. Mansun – Wide Open Space

Okay, I’ll admit this one is a little tenuous. But since the news on Monday, all I’ve really wanted to do was get away from it all, escape, collect my thoughts.

So, moving on, a contribution from long term Bowie fan (although I gather they didn’t exactly hit it off when they met):

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75. Morrissey – I Will See You In Far Off Places

And finally:

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76. Roy Orbison – In Dreams

This one, to wrap things up, has everything, even a mention of Stardust.

I promise to post something a little more upbeat over the weekend.

More soon.

 

It’s Chriiiistmas!!!

Oh ok, I admit it then. I’m not Father Christmas. I’m a very naughty boy.

So back to the tuneage, and I figured that after yesterday’s feast of festive forlornness, I’d liven things up with a couple of songs by your actual crooners.

For me, Christmas is a perfect time to revisit¬†some of these easy-listening idols,¬†so here’s a couple to get us in the mood. First up is walking talking Grecian 2000 advert (on this album sleeve anyway), Andy Williams:

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Andy Williams – It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

And then there’s Dean “King of Cool” Martin, member of The Rat Pack and provider of the next song;¬†so iconic was he that you can just picture him, tuxedo on, bow tie undone, his trademark¬†glass of scotch in his hand:

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Dean Martin – Let it Snow

I think he must have drawn those baubles himself, using his tumbler holding hand with the tumbler still in place.

Next on my list of easy-listening, velvet on the ear crooners, is…er….Billy Idol.

What do you mean you never knew Billy Idol had recorded a Christmas song? Course he did. He only went and recorded a whole album of the ruddy things back in 2006. Don’t believe me? Well, with a sleeve straight out of¬†a family round robin card, here you go:

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Billy Idol – Here Comes Santa Claus

Actually, that leads me rather nicely on (slightly disingenuous of me that, I totally planned it) to a¬†couple of rock legends for some songs about that old fella who’ll be breaking into your house later, necking your sherry, scoffing your mince pies, and treading reindeer crap right the way through your house:

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Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

I have to admit that I had no idea until I was writing this that that hadn’t been a single in its own right, but rather was tucked away on the B-side of his My Hometown single. See, it’s an education for us all this, isn’t it?

And it seems that at some time or another, every grizzled old walnut faced warbling misery guts has got in on the Christmas record act:

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Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa

Bob Dylan in¬†bouncy Christmas record shocker? What next – Morrissey covering “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells”? Leonard Cohen¬†doing “While Shepherds Washed Their Socks By Night?” (Actually, I’d happily buy both of those.) Van Morrison teaming up with Cliff Richard? Oh wait…that one actually happened….:

How was that allowed to happen?

But it’s not just weird Christmas collaborations that¬†have me scratching my head though:

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Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa

Er…doesn’t Santa come down the chimney. He can’t mean…no…he doesn’t….can he??? Dirty boy.

Moving swiftly on, a song from a Christmas Peel Session¬†which, as far as I’m aware, never got commercially released, although as always I’m open to correction about that. For example, for some reason I had it in my head that this was recorded at Peel Acres, but a little digging on that there internet tells me that it was just done at the normal Maida Vale studios, and transmitted to an expectant nation¬†back on 18th December 2002. Two years later, Peel was dead. I’m not saying the two things are linked, but I don’t think we should rule it out just yet:

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Belle & Sebastian – Santa, Bring My Baby Back to Me

(I’ve no idea who photo-shopped that, but whoever you are, I salute you.)

By 1978, The Kinks were no longer the force they were back in the 60s, and that’s fairly evident from this single which, to be honest, could just have easily featured in yesterday’s post, telling as it does the story of a¬†department store Father Christmas¬†who is beaten up by a gang of poor kids demanding that he gives them¬†money instead of toys, which he should give to¬†“to the little rich boys” instead:

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The Kinks – Father Christmas

To round up things on this Christmas Eve, a song which I think has to go down as one of the weirdest Christmas records I own. Years ago, whilst trawling through the second hand section of Andy’s Records in Peterborough, I stumbled across a compilation album of alternative versions of Christmas songs. It includes a prototype version of “Step Into Christmas”¬†by The Wedding Present, “The First Noel” by Test Crash Dummies, “Silent Night” by The Primitives, a load of other (possibly Australian, since the album came out on Aussie label Dead Line Records) acts, but which culminated in the definitely not Australian but¬†definitely not to be fucked with Henry Rollins:

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Henry Rollins – ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Don’t have nightmares, now will you?

More soon.