Friday Night Music Club

Yes, I know the titles implies this should be getting posted later today, but let me explain.

Today it’s Children in Need night in the UK, and that can mean only one thing: nothing to watch on TV, unless newsreaders performing poorly choreographed dance routines floats your boat.

It’s a worthy cause, don’t get me wrong, but once you’ve dipped your hand in your pocket, as I’m sure you undoubtedly will, there’s really no need to carry on watching.

Personally, I think they would make loads more money if, once you’d contributed, your TV programmes went back to the normal schedules. The whole thing could be over and done with in half an hour or so.

Anyway, I thought I’d help out with your evening entertainment after you’ve done your charitable duty, by giving you a top mix of tunes to while away a couple of hours. So here you go, just shy of 140 minutes of tunes to bop around your kitchen to and suffice it to say, it’s a real mixed bag, covering the contemporary to the antiquated, the oft-impersonated to the never-bettered, the cherished to the forgotten, the much loved to the…erm…not loved so much. You’ll see.

But – and I mean this most sincerely folks – I love every record included in this mix. Yes, even that one. And that one. And definitely that one. Yes! This mix includes (at least) three acts generally considered to be among the naffest of if not the late 1970s, then ever. But I’d invite you to give them a go with a fresh pair of ears: kitsch, maybe, but loosen up, you might find you quite like them too (NB: I would recommend having a few drinks to truly accomplish this turnaround in opinion. Also, there’s a fair bit of effin’ & jeffin’ on some of these, so if you have kids a) hard luck, and b) put them to bed before playing this, or you’ll have to explain to them exactly what Fiddy is getting up to in “da” club, or worse, just what is going on on the Cansei de Ser Sexy record).

And when I say “mix”, I don’t mean anything has been beat-matched, or scratched, or whatever the cool name for mixing is these days: we’re in purely fade-in/fade-out territory here.

(There are, of course, a couple of technical glitches, by the way. Sorry, but I didn’t have time to go back and re-record the whole mix to get rid of them. I would have done, had the mixing software I have not crashed when I was on the penultimate tune the first time around, forcing me to go back and start all over again. Hope they don’t spoil things – look on the positive side: they will, at the very least, give you that real club feeling as you spin round to face the DJ/your sound system and call him/it whatever rude name you plump for.)

Last time I did one of these, I put the songs on Spotify, only to find they didn’t have many of the songs anyway, so I’ve not renewed my free trial subscription with them (until next time they offer it to me); instead you should (if I’ve done it right…) be able to stream it via Soundcloud here, or you can just download or stream it from the Dubious Taste vaults here (as a WAV file), which should play just fine on iTunes or Windows Media Player.

To make it as close to a “going out” experience as you can, I’d recommend playing it from one of those two sources, rather than scrolling down here to see what I’ve included. You wouldn’t approach a DJ in a club and ask him what he intended to play for the next couple of hours, now would you? No.

But if you must, here you go, 34 songs, in the same running order as on the mix, and without any of my usual snarky comments. As with most of my mixes, its starts innocuously enough….

Enjoy!

Oh and one more thing, you can donate to Children in Need here. Do it quickly, before the dancing newsreaders come on.

Too late.

More soon.

Be Llŷrious

This is the series where I remember my recently passed friend Llŷr by posting a song which reminds me of him.

Amongst many other things, there were two interests which Llŷr and I shared: winding people up and showing off what we knew about pop music.

Sometimes, the two met in a perfect storm. Sometimes, people didn’t know if we were having them on about something, in a “boy who cried wolf” type scenario. Often, instead of finding that rather frustrating, we would feel vindicated and just laugh it up.

And, without a word being spoken, we both knew when there was a wind-up in play. And we both knew that having each others’ back would make the deception even funnier than we already thought it was.

Some examples: shortly after Hel (Llŷr’s older sister) and I met for the first time, she took me to one side and asked me this:

“Is it true what Llŷr has told me about Brian May’s guitar?”

It turns out that, amongst the many wind-ups Llŷr had foisted upon both his sisters, there lay this little nugget: that Brian May of that there Queen fame, had built himself the guitar which you so often see him play on footage of their performances.

“Oh, yeh,” I replied. “That’s true.”

Hel looked at me suspiciously, eyes narrowed.

“Really…?”

This was before everyone had Google on their phones and could simply check the veracity of any such claim.

“Really,” I assured her.

At the reception (note: not a wake) after his funeral, some fifteen years later, Hel sidled up to me.

“You can tell me now,” she said. “You were both winding me up about the Brian May’s guitar thing, right?”

Example 2: one evening, when we still shared a flat, I got a call from Llŷr, who was out drinking with some work buddies.

“Dude, I’m going to pass you over to Jamie, he has a question for you.”

Cue the sound of a phone being passed between two drunken buddies.

“Yo, Jez! What’s Turning Japanese about?”

“It’s about wanking, Jamie. Surprised you need to ask.”

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The Vapors – Turning Japanese

Footnote: at least one of these answers has subsequently been debunked. I’ll leave you to guess which.

More soon.

***

Llŷr’s younger sister Sian is running the London Marathon this year, raising money for the Brain Tumour Charity. Sian won’t mind me saying that she is not normally the running type anymore than I am – she’s usually far too busy getting shot in the opening episode of series 5 of the fecking brilliant Line of Duty – so if you feel so inclined it’d be lovely if you could spare a few quid to support her. Thanks once again to all of you who have been generous enough to sponsor her so far – I know who (most of you) are and it is massively appreciated. If anyone else reading this would like to help, you can do so here:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?pageId=1001560

Thank you.

The Chain #20

A warm welcome to all the Chain Gang for the latest instalment in…erm…well, The Chain, obviously.

It seems you’ve decided to take it easy on me this week, with, at the time I’m starting to write this, just the 16 suggestions (plus mine) received. So far. Can’t rule out the occasional late arrival though.

So to recap: we ended last week with The Smiths “Rusholme Ruffians/His Latest Flame (Medley)”, and of course we were looking for your suggestions for records which can be linked to that.

Now you know the score by now: at this point I would normally simply go through the list of suggestions, in the order that I received them, until we get to the end, I suggest mine, reveal what the actual link from the official BBC The Chain is, and invite your links to that ready for next week.

This week, however, I’m going to mix it up a little bit, because, well frankly, the last suggestion I received simply has to be first.

Here’s George to explain:

“I’ve got a link to Ant and Dec………..”

Is it just me, or has it suddenly got very cold in here?

“In The Smiths the drummer was Andy Rourke. PJ O’Rourke is an American journalist……..and PJ and Duncan were in Byker Grove (not actually filmed in Byker) and they released a few singles, for example ‘Lets Get Ready to Rumble’ And PJ and Duncan are better known (according to my partner) as Ant and Dec!”

I love the double disclaimer in George’s suggestion, not just the “according to my partner” bit, but also spelling Rumble in the way he has, instead of the way that we all know it was actually spelt on that legendary single. Like this:

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PJ & Duncan – Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble

Fear not. That’s not the last we’ve heard of from George this week. And I should stress, his suggestions get better, not worse.

So, to The Swede, of Unthought of, though, somehow with a short, but sweet, suggestion:

“From Smith to Jones – Meilyr Jones with the terrific ‘How to Recognise a Work of Art’.”

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Meilyr Jones – How To Recognise A Work Of Art

If you don’t know that record – as I didn’t until The Swede suggested it and I went a-huntin’ – I would heartily recommend you give it a go. It reminds me of My Life Story crossed with Johnny Boy’s “You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes”, and if that doesn’t tempt you, then I don’t know what will. In fact, if I can go all Victor Kiam for a moment, I liked it so much I’ve gone and got me the album, 2013, too. So, y’know, cheers Swede!

Anyway, back to business. Here’s babylotti:

“Mint Royale released a single called ‘From Rusholme with Love’, one of their most well known tracks is ‘Sexiest man in Jamaica’, not many know the sample was lifted from a live Selecter album with Prince Buster introducing the song in his own humble way, so I suggest that song: The Selecter ft Prince Buster, Rough Rider”

I just confess, I’d often wondered where that sample was lifted from. Cheers for enlightening me.

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The Selecter feat. Prince Buster – Rough Rider (Live)

In case you don’t know the Mint Royale tune babylotti refers to, it’s this:

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Mint Royale – Sexiest Man In Jamaica

And before we go any further, it would be improper not to doff a cap, raise a glass, or show respect in whatever way you think is appropriate, to the now late, always great Prince Buster who passed away last week.

Look out, here come George again.

“I’ve got a link involving Mick Hucknall………..”

No, it’s definitely got colder again.

“Johnny Marr of The Smiths was born in Manchester as was Mick Hucknall….(wait, it gets better) and Mick Hucknall recorded a trbute album of songs of Bobby “Blue” Bland (I promise you it gets better very soon……), for which Mr Hucknall was fortunate not to be sent to prison, and amongst the many fine songs recorded by Bobby “Blue” Bland is one from his R&B era, ‘Little Boy Blue’ (which is my favourite of all his songs).”

Judge for yourselves, Chain Gangers.

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Bobby “Blue” Bland  – Little Boy Blue

Better than his first suggestion, no? And at least it isn’t an actual record by the Tiffany-from-EastEnders’ vomit covered singer (look it up).

Ok, here’s SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“So Rusholme, Google tells me, is in Manchester. The Smiths also famously put Strangeways on their album sleeves which is also in Manchester. The Mull Historical Society also sang about Strangeways in their minor classic ‘Strangeways Inside’”

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Mull Historical Society – Strangeways Inside

That’s an album I’ve owned for ages but have never really got into. You’d think having seen them, albeit on the main stage at Glastonbury, on a gloriously sunny Saturday afternoon, when I was too mashed to move having over-done the space cakes would endear them to me, wouldn’t you?

“Or just post Sackville by the Carpets” continues SWC.

That’s more like it!

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Inspiral Carpets – Sackville

We are now about to go fully Manc.

I’ll hand you over to Badger (also of When You Can’t Remember Anything) for the next link:

“Taking the Manchester thing that my esteemed colleague SWC mentioned and twisting it slightly by introducing ‘Shadows of Salford’ by Doves”

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Doves – Shadows of Salford

“But…” Badger continues, “Manchester is linked to Liverpool via a motorway. If you turn off that motorway near the end you end up near ‘New brighton’. Which has a promenade famously sung about by The Boo Radleys.

Well, it certainly has a promenade The Boo Radleys sang about. Famously, though….?:

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The Boo Radleys – New Brighton Promenade

You’ll recall that last week Swiss Adam from baggingarea managed to correctly guess the next song in the official chain. Let’s see if he can manage it again this week, shall we?

“To jump on Badger’s suggestion, Doves also had M62 Song which handily links Manchester and Liverpool westwards”.

No, he can’t, is the short answer.

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Doves – M62 Song

“I love all this talk of the M62” proffers The Great Gog. “It’s Immaterial started off in Liverpool and hypothesised about heading out to Manchester on Driving Away From Home (Jim’s Tune). – “it’s only 39 miles and 45 minutes…and that’s my birthplace you know”. Mine too!”

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It’s Immaterial – Driving Away From Home (Jim’s Tune)

One of my favourite records ever, that. I remember seeing them perform it on Top of The Pops back in 1986 and incredulously thinking: “What on earth is that??”

It’s a cracking anecdote, that, isn’t it?

“An alternative would be that in Rusholme Ruffians,” The Great Gog continues, “Morrissey makes reference to a speedway operator. The word speedway to me and many other Mancunians of my age evokes memories of the great Belle Vue Aces team of the 1970s, so perhaps a spot of Kathleen Edwards and “12 Bellevue” would be in order.”

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Kathleen Edwards – 12 Bellevue

This is where I piggy-back on The Great Gog’s idea. I made two semi-suggestions myself, both of which stem from his. The first was “Speedway” by Morrissey, but it seems a bit lame to link a record by The Smiths to a record by Morrissey, so I’ll scrub that.

However, I’m sticking with this absolute corker:

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Miaow – Belle Vue

Now then. We have an announcement. Regular Chain Ganger What’s It All About, Alfie? isn’t a spy at all, as we’d all suspected from her reluctance to divulge her name. No: it transpires that she has a name, and lo! It is Alyson.

Here’s her suggestion:

“Coming from the far north I get my English place names a bit muddled and in my head I got Rusholme and Rushden mixed up. I seem to remember when listening to football results being read out on a Saturday that there was a team called Rushden & Diamonds. Got me, in a very round about way, to thinking about the sadly missed Prince and one of my favourite songs from him – Diamonds & Pearls.”

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Prince & the New Power Generation – Diamonds and Pearls

Now, on to my remaining suggestions. I have to admit I was struggling a bit this week, figuring that most of you would go with links to The Smiths, to Rusholme, to Rank, but that very few of you would come up with anything linked to Ruffians. So, I flicked through my thesaurus (which I really should refer to again to come up with some alternatives for the word “suggestions”) which proffered the word “Barbarian”. Which leads me to this:

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Voice of the Beehive – There’s A Barbarian In The Back Of My Car

And I was going to leave it there, but I happened to notice for the first time that that was co-written by 1980s grebo Zodiac Mindwarp, which leads me to this:

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Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction – Prime Mover (Automatic Cannibal Mix)

Look out, George is back, and he’s taking the starting point for his third and final suggestion (which was actually his first…confusing doing this in a random order, innit?) as the album that The Smiths “Rusholme Ruffians/His Latest Flame (Medley)” is lifted from, Rank, and links it:

“…to J Arthur Rank (the British film producer) then using rhyming slang (“I’m just off for a “J Arthur” – a spot of one-handed lovemaking) to end with The Vapors song Turning Japanese, a song allegedly about Onanism – but the writer says that this is wrong.”

I have to say I’m rather disappointed if that’s the case. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve told that is what the song’s about. Gah! Egg all over my face!

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The Vapors – Turning Japanese

Here comes Charity Chic:

“Staying on the ranking theme can I have the greatest one hit wonder of all time and a song which I think has featured on this series before (It hasn’t, or rather if it did, I forgot to tag it, although it has featured on this blog fairly recently – Ed.): Uptown Top Ranking by Althea and Donna.”

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Althea & Donna – Uptown Top Ranking

“If there is a rule about songs not featuring twice,” CC continues – there isn’t but I think we should perhaps introduce that rule now. Don’t want to make things too easy for me, now do you? –  “Ranking Full Stop by The Beat please.”

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The Beat – Ranking Full Stop

Time for the last of the suggestions, and I’ll hand over to Alex G from We Will Have Salad, who, rather annoyingly from my perspective, has a good memory:

“Well, you did lay down the challenge, so… The Smiths obviously links to Will Smith, who was half of DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, and thereby had a hit with “Summertime”. You really should listen to your friends when they tell you it’s one of the two greatest records with “summer” in the title.”

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DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince – Summertime

I remain unbowed. I’m not saying it’s a bad record (although I have probably said that at one time or another). I’m just saying that if I have to pick my favourite two songs with the word “summer” in the title, I’m going for “Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly & The Family Stone and “Here Comes The Summer” by The Undertones every time. But each to his/her own, and all that.

And that’s the end of that, and you probably will have noticed that normality has been restored, and there’s been no  correct guesses as to the official link this week. As usual, that’s because your suggestions are all really good, and as usual, the official one is ever so slightly underwhelming:

“Another famous ‘Smith’ is Cure frontman Robert…”

The song, on the other hand, is terrific. But you already knew that, right?

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20. The Cure – In Between Days

And that’s it for another week. I would think most of you know what to do now, but we’re having a few more visitors to these shores recently, so I’ll recap: send me your suggestions for songs that you can link to The Cure’s “In Between Days”, along with a description of how you have got to your suggestion, via the Comments section below. All suggestions welcome.

See you all same time, same place, next week.

Oh, and more soon, obviously.

The Chain #7

Hello there, fans of mind-bending links between records. I left you last week with KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” as the song for you to suggest a record that connects to it and I’ll be honest, I was expecting to hear from the usual suspects, George and Dave, and probably no more. Instead, more of you have joined in, resulting in there being an unprecedented eight tunes of varying quality, including my own one, for you today.

But first, an apology; for two of those suggestions I’ve actually picked a different song by the suggested artist to that which was proposed, the reasons for which I hope will become clear, and acceptable, as we work our way through them.

So let’s kick things off with one of those that I’ve changed. George wrote this:

“And here’s my suggestion. KT Tunstall: Tunstall is one of the towns of Stoke-on-Trent. And Ted Chippington was born in Stoke on Trent. And he made a cover version of The Wanderer. So no comment showboating, just a simple link this week.”

Now, I only posted Ted’s version of The Wanderer a couple of weeks ago as part of my Friday Night Music Club, here. So George I hope you’ll forgive me for picking something different by Ted.

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how much I enjoy having songs on my iPod which have the late great John Peel introducing them, and this is one such example, which means I probably got it from one of my peers (Dirk..?), so credit where credit’s due.

So, I’ll hand you over to JP:

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Ted Chippington – Non Stop Party Hits..(B-side)

The next suggestioneer is The Great Gog, who, as is becoming traditional, gave me multiple choices to track down:

“As Gog Towers is located less than 10 miles from Tunstall, I also made the Stoke-on-Trent link. However, I opted for someone named after one of the other towns – namely Dave Fenton, who fronted the Vapors. Perhaps News At Ten from them rather than the obvious track? There is of course film & TV soundtrack writer, George Fenton as well, which would allow a posting of the Bergerac theme should you so wish.

 Alternatively – and one you’d never get on the Beeb – the black horse has been the symbol of Lloyd’s bank for many years. Said establishment got name-checked along with their rivals at that time on Manic Street Preachers’ “NatWest-Barclays-Midland-Lloyds” from Generation Terrorists.”

Excellent! So working our way through that lot, we have:

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The Vapors – News at Ten

Is it just me, or does that bear more than a passing resemblance to The Jam’s “Pretty Green” in places…? Anyway, I think we can all be thankful that I didn’t remember that one when I was doing my TV show theme the other week, or I might have extended it into a tedious fifth week.

And then there’s this, which I anticipate will be the least clicked link I’ve ever posted, which is saying something when you think of all the Quo I’ve written about:

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George Fenton – Bergerac Theme Tune

..which I think we’ll gloss over rather quickly and move onto this:

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Manic Street Preachers – Nat West-Barclays-Midlands-Lloyds

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: nobody wrote song titles like Richie Manic.

Next is Alex G’s suggestion:

“OK, the Stoke-On-Trent thing’s been done, so I’ll take a different angle. The KT in KT Tunstall stands for Kate Tunstall, so it’s a redundancy – it makes her Kate Tunstall Tunstall. First person who came to mind as having the same thang going on, y’all, is J.J. Jeczalik from The Art Of Noise. The J.J. stands for Jonathan Jeczalik. So I suggest “E.F.L.” by The Art Of Noise (or really anything they did while he was in the band – so not from the 1997 reunion).”

Your wish is my command. As far as I can work out – and I’m open to correction here – this only got released as the B-side to their version of Prince’s “Kiss”:

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The Art of Noise – E F L

Think I’m gonna dance now, indeed.

And that leads me to my own choice for this week. Mention of her name being Kate Tunstall Tunstall reminded my of an old David Baddiel joke about the L in LL Cool J standing for Lionel, making his name Lionel Lionel Cool J, so here’s something by Lionel:

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LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out

Moving on to the second of the suggestions where I’ve picked a different tune to the one suggested. Charity Chic wrote this:

“KT comes from Fife and features in Vic Galloway’s excellent book Songs in the Key of Fife. So some Stevie Wonder would be nice”

The book title is, of course, a pun on Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life”, and I asked CC what song from said classic album would be his preference for me to post. His choice was Sir Duke, which I love, but I’m not going to post because CC does a thread where he posts songs which refer to other musicians, and I don’t have anywhere near enough Duke Ellington (to whom the song title refers) so I’m hoping CC does have some I can listen to.

Instead, I’m going for this little beauty:

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Stevie Wonder – As

7+ minutes of gospelly greatness, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Which leads me on to the final suggestion for the day, an absolute belter which had me sifting through my record collection, muttering under my breath about where my copy could have gone (it remains unfound), and the reason for leaving this ’til last, apart from it being such a great record, is that I love The Swede’s reasoning:

“The Black Horse in Ipswich and The Cherry Tree in Woodbridge were two of the earliest drinking establishments that I ever frequented. They were both left behind some time later, however, when me and my pals discovered The Greyhound, which in those long ago days of the late 1970’s served the finest Adnams I’d ever tasted. I remember it still.

So how about ‘Black and White’ by Greyhound?”

Oh, so happy to oblige. Cheers!

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Greyhound – Black And White

That really is pretty special.

So, thanks to all who have contributed to this week’s post. And here, featuring a very young Lemmy, is what the Radcliffe & Maconie listening public went for next:

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7. Hawkwind – Silver Machine

As usual, your suggestions please for a) what the link between the KT Tunstall track and the Hawkwind one is (and remember, don’t phone in, it’s just for fun), and b) what you’d like me to post next week that links to Hawkwind’s “Silver Machine”, along with an explanation of the connection. Pop it in the Comments box, and I’ll do my darndest to post it next week.

Needless to say: More soon.