Whilst I was off, towards the end of 2022, there was a sudden rush of celebrity/musician deaths. It almost seemed like they knew what 2023 held in store and just preferred to shuffle off this mortal coil rather than face it.
Although I easily could, it seems to me a little odd to write a eulogy to them this late after the event of their sad passing; so instead I’ve done a mix which includes the three I was most upset by, and some other tunes by (at the time of writing) musicians who are very much alive. God, I hope I haven’t jinxed them now..
So, here you go, this week’s mix. I do often have to rein myself in when I have a theme to provide a mix for/about, and I think I’ve managed it this time: a homage (but not exclusively limited) to Terry Hall, Maxi Jazz and Martin Duffy, at least one of whom some may need guidance as to their importance and why they should, and will, be missed:
Friday Night Music Club Vol 24
And here’s your track-listing with explanatory sleeve notes:
- Terry, Blair & Anouchka – Missing
I’m probably not alone in being most shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Terry Hall. I first remember encountering his dulcet tones on The Specials’ Too Much Too Young, a record which, when it came out in 1980, I was too young to understand. Similarly, the subject matter of Ghost Town was, at the time, way above my head – but I remember associating Terry with the lively, upbeat sounding bit in the middle (“Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town?/We danced and sang, and the music played in a de boomtown.“), so I was always slightly bemused by the popular opinion of him as a bit of miserablist.
Whilst I saw many tributes to Terry online after his very sad passing, very few of them featured anything from his brief Terry, Blair & Anouchka incarnation, so I thought I should redress that. He teamed up with American actress Blair Booth and jeweller (!?) Anouchka Grose and began recording under the aforementioned moniker in 1989. Two singles were criminally ignored, both only scraping into the top 80 of the UK Singles Chart. This, the first single, made it to #75. It deserved better.
2. The Lightning Seeds – Sense
Collaborations with Ian Broudie were plentiful, but for my money Terry’s vocals absolutely make this version (more so than his own version).
3. The Go-Go’s – Our Lips Are Sealed
Also recorded by Fun Boy Three (sorry, this version is just superior, if only because it allows me to imagine I’m in a sordid, secret relationship with Belinda Carlisle) this was co-written by Terry and Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin. Possibly the greatest pop record ever made. If Terry Hall had done nothing else, his involvement in this alone should earn him our undying respect and love.
4. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down
Although Mr McManus had a C-word (not that one) health scare a couple of years ago, he’s still with us at the time of writing. Originally recorded by legendary soul act Sam & Dave, this appeared on Elvis’ 1980 Get Happy! album, which is worth 35 minutes or so of your time if you’ve not had the pleasure.
5. Dave Edmunds – Girls Talk
Also not dead (although I did have to check). From hereon in, assume the artiste in question is alive and kicking unless I say otherwise, otherwise it will get pretty tedious if I just keep saying they’re not dead. I’ve been wanting to post this tune, which I love, for a while now, and right here it just seemed to fit.
6. Moloko – Pure Pleasure Seeker
This is from the Things to Make and Do, the same album as The Time Is Now and Sing It Back (the latter admittedly tagged on with the smasheroo Boris Musical Mix version), which means this tune is often overlooked, unless you’re making adverts for beds (I think). Reclaiming this one back from the evil clutches of capitalism (right on, brothers and sisters).
7. The Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra
Shush. It’s a tune. And a mighty fine one, at that. Dislike it at your peril.
8. Cornershop – Brimful Of Asha (Norman Cook Remix)
Since watching the Fatboy Slim/Brighton beach documentary recently, I’ve been on a bit of a Norm-trip. A Cook-off, if you will. So this is included just as a reminder of how ace it is. (Around the time this came out, I remember seeing an interview with Norm, where he warned Jason Nevins, having success with a Run-DMC remix, not to spread himself too thinly with his remixes, which frankly seemed a bit rich…)
9. Wild Child – Renegade Master
…especially as Norm remixed this.
10. Faithless – Mass Destruction
Back to the death roll-call I’m afraid. Maxi Jazz and Faithless made mostly inspiring, upbeat, trance-based club records, and were an incredible live act that I had the pleasure of seeing a couple of times. I’m sure you’re mostly familiar with their biggest hits: Insomnia, We Come 1 and God is a DJ; they all featured highly in the post-passing articles and tributes I read, but less so this brilliant articulation of, amongst other things, dismay at disinformation that was, released in 2004, way ahead of its time, the term fake news not entering the zeitgeist until several years later. It’s still, sadly, just as relevant today.
11. Belinda Carlisle – (We Want) The Same Thing
I don’t really need to justify the inclusion of this, do I? Good. Thought not. It’s ace, and that will suffice.
12. Violent Femmes – Prove My Love
“Third verse, same as the first!”
13. Pixies – Head On
Ironically, or perhaps appropriately, given it’s title, a double-header with…
14. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Far Gone and Out
…this, who originally wrote and performed Head On, so it didn’t seem right to omit them from this mix.
15. Felt – I Will Die With My Head In Flames
Martin Duffy’s sudden death in December, as a result of a brain injury following a fall at his home, was both saddening and shocking. He had first come to prominence as keyboard player in the always under-rated indie band Felt. This, short but sweet, little beauty never appeared on an actual Felt album (compilations aside) and was the B-side (or possibly the 2nd track on an AA side, I’m not entirely sure) to 1986’s Rain of Crystal Spires, which, needless to say of all Felt records, and pretty much every record that Felt mainman Lawrence has been involved in, was unjustly ignored by Joe Public, the idiot.
16. The Colourfield – Thinking of You
As I believe I mentioned recently, it’s always nice to have your musical taste supported, and such was the case when I tweeted about how sad I was about Terry’s passing: my old mucker Heledd replied: “Thinking of You always reminds me of you – you were the first person I met who loved it as much as me.”
I can think of worse records to be associated with.
17. Primal Scream – Shoot Speed/Kill Light
After Felt disbanded/fell apart, Martin Duffy became a full-time member of Primal Scream. His passing inspired the band to release this statement: “We’re all so sad…Martin was the most musically talented of all of us. (He) could play piano to the level where he was feted not just by his peers in British music, but old school master American musicians such as James Luther Dickinson, Roger Hawkins, David Hood (and) producer Tom Dowd”.
18. The Charlatans – Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over
It wasn’t just the Primals who mourned him; following the death of founding member Rob Collins, Martin learned all of The Charlatan’s songs in three weeks so that he could appear with them supporting Oasis at their legendary and record-breaking gigs at Knebworth in 1996. He also contributed keyboard parts to the band’s fifth album Tellin’ Stories. Here’s Charlatans front man and National Treasure in waiting, Tim Burgess: “(Martin) stepped in to save the Charlatans when we lost Rob – he played with us at Knebworth and was a true friend. He toured with me in my solo band too – he was a pleasure to spend time with”.
This isn’t on Tellin’ Stories, but was the single The Charlatans had out at around the time of those Knebworth gigs, so undoubtedly Martin would have learned it.
19. The Specials – Enjoy Yourself
“Hello. My name’s Terry and I’m going to enjoy myself first.”