Claps, Clicks & Whistles #7

So far in this series, we’ve had songs which feature hand-claps, songs which feature whistling, but none that feature both hand-claps and whistling.

Until today.

You will let me know if the excitement gets too much for you, won’t you?

The Struts are a band from Derby, who make music which has, quite accurately in my opinion, been described as “unabashedly over the top retro-fetishist classic rock”.

Certainly, listening to their debut album, 2014’s somewhat arrogantly titled “Everybody Wants”, you do find yourself noting similarities with the aforementioned classic rock songs.

Take today’s tune for example: is it just me, or does the melody of the verse bear more than just a passing resemblance to “Waterloo Sunset”…?

In September 2015, USA Today named them “Band on the Verge”, which either means that they were tipping them for big things, or that their tour bus had broken down by the side of the road.

Anyway, on the verge is where they’ve stayed, despite – or perhaps because of – opening for Guns’n’Roses in August 2016. They’ve also opened for The Rolling Stones, which is perhaps unsurprising since lead singer Luke Stiller has been described as “the musical love child of Freddie Mercury and Mick Jagger”.

Sure, there’s nothing new or ground-breaking going on here, but don’t let the generic rock/pop-ness of The Struts put you off; they are a lot of fun.

And at the very least, you can while away a few moments spotting their influences, which apparently include Queen, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, The Smiths, Oasis, The Strokes, The Libertines and My Chemical Romance. Maybe they should add some more to that list to help them get off that verge. If it really does refer to a broken down tour bus (which it doesn’t, but I’m going to see this gag through to the end whether you like it or not), Mike & the Mechanics might be an idea.

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The Struts – She Makes Me Feel

Just to be clear, I would never recommend any band should try to sound like Mike & The Mechanics. Except post-Thotch Brian Pern, of course.

More soon.

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The Chain #8

Ok, so where were we?

Ah yes, I left you with Hawkwind’s “Silver Machine”, and I asked you to suggest what we should play next, along with your ideas as to what linked that to the previous tune, which was KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”.

So first, the admin, and the official link between those two songs. As is so often the case, George was a) the only person who offered a suggestion, and b) 100% correct. He wrote: “I suspect the link between KT Tunstall and Lemmy is Stoke-on-Trent, as Lemmy was born there, although I don’t know which of the 6 towns it was.”

And here’s what it says on the BBC website:

Tunstall was one of the six towns that federated to form Stoke-on-Trent, which is Lemmy’s hometown…”

So, were I to be giving out Gold Stars, George would surely be the recipient for getting that right first.

But we’re going to pop George on the back burner for now. No offence, George.

So, to your suggestions. And first up is The Swede, who suggested this:

“I’ll keep it simple and go from ‘Silver Machine’ to ‘Don’t Leave Without Taking Your Silver’ by George Jones, a song that gets me every time.”

Your wish is my command.

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George Jones – Don’t Leave Without Taking Your Silver

George Jones modelling for “Avanti” at C&A in that cover shot, by the way.

The Swede’s line of thought is not entirely dissimilar to mine. I’d initially thought of being utterly obvious and posting David Essex’s “Silver Dream Machine”, but I eventually plumped for this. And say what you like, schmaltzy as it may be, this is a great record:

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David Soul – Silver Lady

Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area went down a similar train of thought as The Swede and I, but instead of concentrating on the “Silver”, he went for the “Machine”, and suggested this:

“Goldfrapp’s Strict Machine is a good follow on from Hawkwind’s Silver Machine. If a bit obvious.”

Obviousness is no impediment to a posting here (particularly when I really like the song in question), so here you go:

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Goldfrapp – Strict Machine (Single Mix)

Which leads me to my second choice. Yes, I’m allowed two, it’s my blog.

This came on my iPod earlier, and I thought I should include it here, partly because it’s by a little known group, partly because I really like it, derivative rock’n’roll that it is, but mostly because it includes two riffs that have been shamelessly nicked from other songs which I couldn’t put my finger on for ages. I got there in the end. I’ll leave you to see if you can spot and identify them both:

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The Struts – My Machine

Oh, wait, here’s George again, referring to his selection, which you haven’t heard yet:

“…you might as well stop taking requests right now because NO ONE will suggest a better song than that [his suggestion], even if they contrive a link to Fox On The Run.”

Simmer down George, I’m coming to yours.

The Swede concurs:

“George has nailed it – 100%. Magnificent choice.”

You’ll let me know if I’m building this up too much, won’t you?

Luckily, here’s Charity Chic, who bloody loves a challenge, and sent me this:

“Silver Machine to Silver Fox the nickname of footballer Fabrizio Ravanelli to Fox on the Run!”

I suspect that this is a private joke between George and Charity Chic that I’m not privy to. No matter. I’m equally unsure which “Fox on the Run” we’re talking about here; I’m aware of two, so let’s have them both:

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Manfred Mann – Fox on the Run

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The Sweet – Fox on the Run

Next up is The Great Gog’s suggestion:

“Lacking inspiration on this one, so it’s a personal tale. In 1988 I acquired my first car – a decrepit 9-year old VW Derby. In honour of the colour of the parts of its body that weren’t rusty, I named it the Silver Machine (I know, pathetic…). My friends took a different view – it quickly developed a reputation for bits falling off it (wing mirror, door handle, random bits of the exhaust system, etc.). They referred to it as the VW Debris.  So a personal link to Debris by The Faces (from A Nod Is As Good…).”

For which I must thank you, not just because it’s a bloody great tune, but also because the initial reason I started writing this blog was to tell the world, who I’m sure was just dieing to know, the reason I’d bought certain records through my life, and to drop some true life, often embarrassing, anecdotes as I do it. So, I’m always grateful for the occasional personal link as it reminds me what I’m supposed to be doing.

Anyway, here’s The GG’s choice:

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The Faces – Debris

Oh, and congratulations to Sir Rodney of Glasgow/Los Angeles.

Which brings us to the final suggestion of the week. Okay, George, the floor’s yours:

“Here goes. Silver Machine by Hawkwind, a hawk is a bird, as is a penguin, and Penguin Eggs is a folk album by Nic Jones, and track 4 is The Little Pot Stove.”

Classic George comment show-boating there.

Now, I must confess, I’d never heard of Nic Jones before, but when two fellow bloggers whose opinions I utterly respect tell me this is worth a listen, my ears prick up.

I needed a little help to track down the song in question, however  (thank you, anonymous man who shall not be named!).

When I was younger, I probably would have described this as “finger-in-the-ear folk music”, but now I’m a little (ahem) older I can see this as nothing short of beautiful.

So, thank you George for bringing this into my world. Apart from the whole showing-offiness thing about writing a music blog (and no matter what anyone says, there is a certain amount of ego involved in doing this), this is exactly the reason I do this: to interact and find out about stuff I would never have otherwise encountered.

I imagine this may polarise opinion, but I urge you to give this a listen:

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Nic Jones – Little Pot Stove

That really is a bit lovely, isn’t it?

No? You’re wrong.

Several Gold Stars to George for that.

(Dad – you’ll like that one, I think)

So to wrap things up for another week, here’s what the official link to “Silver Machine” was, and there’s already been a clue as to how they co-habit in this post:

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David Essex – Rock On

I think we can agree that our suggestions are somewhat superior.

So, no real need for you to suggest what the link between “Silver Machine” and “Rock On” is, because it’s bloody obvious, but a warm welcome to your ideas as to what can follow “Rock On” please.

Same time next week?

Or, rather: More Soon.