Friday Night Music Club (That Summer Feeling #4 – #14)

Evening all.

Remarkably, the shockwaves of me posting summery records for three consecutive days doesn’t seem to have had any detrimental effect on the weather – in fact if we’re to believe the weather forecasts it’s set to continue for the rest of the weekend.

So, I thought I’d give you a few more tunes to soundtrack your barbecues and beach parties over the next couple of days. Nothing terribly surprising in here, I don’t think, bar maybe one or two. But every one is an absolute pearler,

The first couple of songs pretty much sum up how my¬†week working in That London has been. Here’s Sir William Broad, under his alter ego, the King of the Curled Lip:

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326. Billy Idol – Hot In The City

and this, one of the greatest summer records ever, in my not so humble opinion:

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327. The Lovin’ Spoonful – Summer In The City

I first came into ownership of both of these records at roughly the same time, when I was at 6th Form, where I took on the responsibility of providing tunes for the common room. There was a cheap and knackered old stereo in there, a turntable with a worn down belt that prohibited anything being played at the correct speed, and a radio that the aerial had long since perished on, and two tape decks, only one of which worked.

As you’ll find out soon – this is my definition of soon, mind – in the eponymous auto-biographical thread of this blog, it was at 6th Form that I forged my musical identity, if that doesn’t sound too pretentious, and I took great pleasure in preparing a new mixtape pretty much every night to grace the airs of the musty common room. My parents will¬†doubtless recall me spending every night hunched over my Dad’s recently acquired Midi system, headphones on, studiously selecting a new set of tracks to dazzle my peers with instead of, say, doing my homework. It was these tapes, finely honed to ensure every taste was catered for, that I think laid the foundations for me starting to DJ a few years later – not the technical skills, mind, I’ve never got the hang of “proper” mixing – but the ability to tailor a set to an¬†expectant, diverse¬†crowd.

By the time the first summer arrived, at the end of my stint in the Lower 6th, I was, I felt, a fully fledged Indie kid, but didn’t want to be one of those people who forces their music down everyone’s throats, so I elected to temper the cool stuff with some more mainstream records. I would ask that you bear this in mind for coming posts, as this will be my¬†defence for having purchased some pretty poor pop in the same period. It wasn’t for me, it was for those other kids who, y’know, wouldn’t know a¬†cool record if it bit them on the arse.

As part of this campaign, I bought a Now! album – the only one I have ever purchased – Now! That’s What I Call Summer. It’s a mixed bag, as you’d expect, with Cliff Richard a little more prominent than is frankly necessary.

But there were an above¬†average strike rate of good stuff on there too, and “Summer in the City” was chief among them, head and shoulders above many of the tracks featured.

In June 2000, fresh from picking up the Best New Act Award a year earlier at the Brits, through some pretty canny exploitation of voting via that there¬†new-fangled internet thing, Belle & Sebastian released this absolute corker, which, if you’re unfamiliar with, may have you scratching your head as to why I’m including it in a summer mix. Well hold your horses, and give it until the lyrical refrain at the end:

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328. Belle & Sebastian – Legal Man

Now, I may find myself saying this a lot tonight and over the summer posts that will follow over the weekend, but this is one my favourite summer songs ever:

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329. The Undertones – Here Comes the Summer

The song has recently been used in a TV ad campaign by Aldi, and I can’t make up my mind whether that’s a good thing or not. Sure, it means that every now and then I get to hear it blasting from my TV for 40 seconds, but on the other hand – Aldi????? Is nothing sacred?? Whatever next – The Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs” being used to advertise Pirelli tyres? “Tame” by Pixies advertising Smirnoff vodka? Oh wait….both those things have happened…..

So, anyway,¬†if you’re lucky, you’ll be spending some time soon on a beach somewhere, so here’s a few beachy heads which sound just as ace today as they did when they first came out, none of which require any introduction or comment from me:

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330. Ramones – Rockaway Beach

(I’m gobsmacked. Unless I forgot to tag them previously, this is the first time I’ve posted¬†a Ramones tune. I deserve to have my blogging credentials revoked.)

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331. The Go-Go’s – Beatnik Beach

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332. Martha And The Muffins – Echo Beach

Another one that featured on that Now! album, there. See, ¬£4.99 well spent already (which dates me, obviously. A newly released double album on vinyl for ¬£4.99 – them’s were the days…)

I was about to say “Now,onto something more contemporary”, which would be true, since the most recent tune I’ve posted so far came out¬†sixteen years ago, but I was saddened to find this came out ten years ago. Saddened only in the sense that it means it’s ten years since I witnessed bass player Thomas “The House of Lords” Dartnall fall off the stage in Cardiff’s Barfly. *Sighs* “I grow old…I grow old…I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled.” (Bit of Prufrock¬†for you there, poetry¬†fans).

Still, it carries on thematically from Legal Man and Echo Beach in depicting a protagonist desperate to escape the drudge of an office job to enjoy some time soaking up the rays (NB: My boss should read nothing into this):

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333. The Young Knives – Weekends And Bleak Days (Hot Summer)

“Hot summer, what a bummer”, indeed.

The next two songs were released ten years apart, but in my mind the latter is the spiritual offspring of the former.

First, here’s Damon and the Blurboys with their observations on the beery shag-culture of holidays in Greece:

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334. Blur – Girls & Boys

…and here’s Mike Skinner, living the dream:

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335. The Streets – Fit But You Know It (Radio Edit)

And so to the last tune for the night, and to one my favourite summer songs ever, by one of the coolest and most influential artists ever to walk this earth:

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336. Sly & The Family Stone – Hot Fun in the Summertime

That’ll do you for tonight.

More soon.

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Friday Night Music Club

For the past seven days, I have been picking out songs for this week’s Friday Night shenanigans, popping them into an order that felt right, and trying to think of something vaguely amusing to say about them.

But then on Thursday, I got some news which made me change this week’s theme entirely.

So, here are this¬†week’s tunes; the tunes I intended to post this week would be next week, but I have next week’s planned already, so the original ones from this week won’t feature next week, but the week after that,¬†unless anything happens in the next couple of weeks that makes this week’s get postponed for another week.

Everybody clear about that?

Ok, so this week’s theme is…well, let’s see if you can work it out.¬†And please don’t write in, it’s just for fun. Nor is it¬†particularly tricky.

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177. Steppenwolf – Magic Carpet Ride

In case you were wondering, this is not the version used on the “Reservoir Dogs” soundtrack;¬†that’s a cover version¬†recorded by¬†Nashville ¬†group “Bedlam” who certainly sound scary, don’t they readers? I bet they have a “You Don’t Have To Be Mad To Work Here, But It Helps!” sign on their studio wall.

By the way, have you ever noticed Рand I do not claim to be the first person to have ever pointed this out Рthat the traditional depiction of a magic carpet, is not a carpet, but a rug?

Look:

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That’s a rug, that is. It’s got tassles on the corners!

Mind you, apart from the historical precedent that had been set,  I can see why Disney continued to refer to it as a carpet in their 1992 film Aladdin: too many references to rugs might have put Elton John off writing the songs for The Lion King.

Now who are these shifty looking chaps peeking out from¬†behind some trees? It’s only blimming 60s rock pioneers and runners-up in the 1968 “World’s Worst Hide¬†‘n’ Seekers”¬†Creedence Clearwater Revival, that’s who:

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178. Creedence Clearwater Revival – I Put a Spell on You

Have you got it yet? Okay, well let’s have another tune then. You’ll like this one. Not a lot, but you’ll like it. Here’s another load of hunks:

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179. Focus – Hocus Pocus

Yes, that was some proper yodelling you just heard there.

When I used to go clubbing, a mate of mine was into his progressive house music big time. At some point or another he heard the term “progressive rock” and was curious, so he asked me if I knew any bands he should check out. I mentioned “Yes” and “E.L.P.” which drew a blank look. Well, Dum Dum, if you’re reading this, that was prog 1970s style. I do hope you didn’t waste any money.

Moving on to 1982 now, and a song which I seem to remember used to get this 12 year old boy a little bit hot and bothered when the video came on Top of The Pops:

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180. The Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra

Looking at it now, I have no idea why:

I think it’s the line about “silk and satin, leather and lace, black panties with an angel’s face” that made me blush so. And if you think that’s rather lame, you should have seen the state I was in a year earlier when this was a hit:

Girls did not look like that in my class, that’s for sure. I might have turned up a bit more often if they had.

Anyway, I digress. The more astute of you will have noticed a magical theme through the songs so far, and that’s because here in the UK, 2016 claimed another celebrity from my childhood with the death of TV magician Paul Daniels.

When I was a kid in the late 1970s and early 1980s Daniels was everywhere: he had his own magic show on BBC1; hosted several game shows, and even had a children’s show called “Wizbit”.

It struck me recently, in a particularly dark moment, that one of the reasons so many popular entertainers from my youth have died recently is because I’m no spring chicken anymore either, and since they were generally about 30 years older than me back then…well, it’s hardly surprising. Yeh, I know, bleak, right?

Anyway, in his later, post-regular-TV-appearance years, Daniels became a bit of a figure of fun, a relic of those light entertainment shows from the period which had been banished from the TV listings by alternative comedy, by satellite and cable, by the mass media’s¬†lustful craving for something a little saucier than he and the lovely Debbie Magee could ever produce. I always found that a little sad and distasteful, especially as he always seemed to take it all on the chin, and even play up to it to a degree. He’d made his fortune and got out¬†while the going was good, what did he care?

But I come here not to bury him but to praise him.¬†He always seemed a good egg to me (although it was pretty funny when he was hospitalised after Sooty hit him in the face with a pizza. True story. Shouldn’t laugh but…could an anecdote be any more 70s children’s entertainment?)¬†and he was a genuine influence on my life, albeit briefly; I tried to take up magic in my youth, buying a pack of Paul Daniels Playing Cards and a book of card tricks, which I think I gave up on after a couple of weeks of realising I couldn’t even shuffle the bloody things properly.

So when the news of his death broke on Thursday, I was genuinely saddened and decided to dedicate tonight’s Music Club to him, and dig out a few tunes with a somewhat¬†magical quality.

And here we are. Shall we continue?

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181. The Lovin’ Spoonful – Do You Believe In Magic

Surely, somewhere, there must be a 60s-themed¬†bistro called “The Lovin’ Spoonful”, right?

I’m absolutely gutted that I posted Super Furry Animals “God Show Me Magic” on here a couple of weeks ago, or that would be in this list. As it is, here’s a couple that I can’t really avoid posting:

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182. Queen – A Kind Of Magic

From one of their most commercially successful albums, which, coincidentally, was released the year after their iconic performance at Live Aid (I’m sure those two facts are in no way linked) this to my mind marked the end of Queen’s final purple patch. The next album, although yielding a Number One single in “Innuendo”, also saw them writing songs about being an Invisible Man (something it’s very hard to imagine Freddie Mercury ever being – and yes I know Roger Taylor penned that one, no need to tell me) and twatting about on top of steam trains at the Nene Valley Railway (near my childhood home) in the “Breakthru” video. Mind you, they probably had more pressing matters on their minds at the time…

Ok, here’s another one I can’t really avoid:

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183. Take That – Could It Be Magic

Count yourself lucky I didn’t post the Barry Manilow version.

Time for a factoid: did you know Manilow nicked the chord progression for this from Chopin’s Prelude in C Minor, Opus 28, Number 20? Don’t believe me? Check this out:

Maybe he didn’t write the songs that make the whole world sing after all.

One more blindingly obvious one:

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184. Pilot – Magic

What finer recommendation do you need for a song than that it was included on the soundtrack of “Happy Gilmore”? So I’m told, anyway. I wouldn’t know. Never seen it. Might be a very funny film, though I somewhat doubt it.

“Happy Gilmore” stars Adam Sandler, so I will never watch it. My default setting when it comes to Sandler is “Avoid”.

Though I have seen “The Wedding Singer”, but that had Billy Idol in it, which just about saved it.

Something a tad more contemporary now. From¬†their third album “Bruiser”, and the main track¬† on their 2010 “Kusama EP”, the much under-rated:

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185. The Duke Spirit – Everybody’s Under Your Spell

That’s pretty bloody great, isn’t it? The greatest thing to come out of Cheltenham, easily surpassing “The Races” and¬†the recent lower league footballers pissing into a pint glass and pouring it over a balcony controversy. Worst apology ever, by the way.

The Duke Spirit’s fourth album “Kin” is out in April, and I cannot wait. But I’ll have to. Stay with me til then, won’t you?

In 2007, frustrated by their record label’s decision to basically ignore their “Twilight of the Innocents” album, Ash started describing it as their “final album” and made it known that henceforth¬†they would be eschewing the album format. This sparked many a rumour that the band was about to split; instead they began releasing a series of singles, a new one every fortnight between October 2009 until¬†September 2010 on 7″ vinyl and¬†digital download only. That’s 26 singles in total (take that, The Wedding Present, with your feeble 12 singles in one year!), one for each letter of the alphabet, hence the whole lot being released on two…erm…albums, pithily¬†called “A- Z Series Volumes 1 & 2”.

This was the first, and watch out, it has one fuck of a bassline:

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186. Ash – Return of White Rabbit

Scooting along now:

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187. The Magic Numbers – Forever Lost

I was hoping to track down a clip of when they walked off Top of the Pops after host Richard Bacon introduced them as a band that had been¬†put in a “fat melting pot of talent”, but apparently it was in the rehearsals so there is no footage. Ho hum.¬†¬†Bacon is said to have tried to apologise and claimed he was¬†referring to their status, not their appearance. Course you were, Richard. Course you were. And you only did the one line of coke too, right?

Next, a band who’ve never really made it big over here in the UK, which is a shame, for they made some really great power pop records in their time. This is from their 1977 album “In Color” (that’s not a typo, they’re American, that’s how they spell “colour”):

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188. Cheap Trick – I Want You To Want Me

As usual, I seem to have gone on a bit longer than I intended again, so just two more to go.

I was going to post Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip’s “Magician’s Assistant” but then I listened to it and remembered just how depressing it is, being about self-harm and suicide and all, so I decided against it. But the mere allusion (or should that be “illusion”? Ha, see what I did there?)¬†to the lovely Debbie McGee allows me to post this classic TV moment:

And yes, that’s Peter Hook playing the walk-on music.

Hands up who want to hear Kelis? Very well. This is from her third album “Tasty”, the follow-up¬†single to 2003’s “Milkshake”, when she was in full-on saucepot mode:

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189. Kelis – Trick Me

And if my recollection is correct, then chapeau to legendary pork-swordsman Jamie Theakston…

Finally, we go out where we came in:

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190. Mighty Dub Katz – Magic Carpet Ride

…who as I’m sure you know is actually Norman Cook in one of his many chart-busting guises.

And that’s yer lot, as they say.

Next Friday night I’ll be watching Underworld at The Roundhouse; it’ll be the first time I’ve ever managed to see them (quite how I’ve avoided them all these years is beyond me), so next week expect to see me trying to pretend I know something about dance music, other than¬†tunes which I got out of my tree to back¬†in my clubbing days.

Or to put it another way: More soon.