Wednesday, April 30, 2008
In 1981, The Specials released Ghost Town, a song that was completely unlike any other that had ever emerged from the ska movement. It bulleted up the charts and spent a number of weeks at #1. In retrospect, it has been called the most prophetic of songs ever to be a chart-topper, and there’s all sorts of great pieces of writing all over the internet about how politically significant it all was.
But…….I’m sorry to say, and this may be seen as a piece of heresy, but my love for the song is solely related to the tune and the great vocal performances...
However, that shouldn't be taken as meaning that I wasn’t aware of the political stooshie that Ghost Town was causing. I was growing up fast in 1981, just about to leave school and go off to University. I had a comfortable and very pleasant upbringing, but I was from an area where I had friends who should have come with me to university, but were in circumstances where they had instead to take on a job to in banking or with the civil service to help support their parents, one or both of whom were out-of-work. Poverty and deprivation weren’t alien concepts to me.
There is no other way to put it - Ghost Town is a savage attack on the state of British society at the outset of the 80s. The Tories under Margaret Thatcher had come to power in 1979 thanks in part to a famous main campaigning slogan of ‘Labour Isn’t Working’ with a poster that showed a huge crowd of people waiting to get into the unemployment office and sign-on.
Two years on, the situation was even worse – unemployment rates had almost doubled across the country. In some areas, particularly where there was a high concentration of young ethnic minorities, as many as 8 out of 10 folk weren’t in employment.
Throw in the rise of the fascist far-right in the shape of the National Front who were blaming non-whites for the state of the nation and a police force that was being given more and more stop-and-search powers by a government determined to appear as the party of law-and-order, then the ingredients were there for something to kick-off.
The people were getting angry.
So angry in fact that in April 1981, something happened that was totally alien in the UK. There was a riot in the streets.
It happened in Brixton in London, and it began as the reaction of a crowd to what they saw was the racial arrest of a local youth(something that was subsequently proven to be true).
The trouble escalated over a 48-hour period before being brought under control. For the first time that I could recall, pictures of police and civilains fighting toe-to-toe in the streets were shown on television, along with images of what seemed to be a whole neighbourhood on fire. And it really did look as if there was going to be some sort of major uprising, but within two or three days, the police had regained order.
Two months later, Ghost Town was released as a single.
But the song wasn't just a reaction to what had happened in Brixton - in fact it had been written and recorded before the April riot. But to some it seemed to act as a rallying call, for within weeks of its release, as it climbed its way up the charts, there were more riots on the streets.
This time it was Toxteth in Liverpool that was initially in the spotlight. Again, it was initially a reaction to tensions between the police and disaffected black youths, and similar scenes of carnage were beamed live into our homes courtesy of the TV (and all this in the days before we had 24-hour news channels). Toxteth was on a larger scale than Brixton and before long, other riots broke out, the largest being in Handsworth in Birmingham, as well as in many other towns and cities across England.
My recollection is that it took about a week to get things back to normal.
Living in Scotland, I had a feeling of being sheltered from all of this trouble. It may have been Liverpool, Birmingham, London and so on, but it felt as if it was as far away as Detroit, Chicago or Los Angeles.
There was no rioting in Glasgow. Nor was there ever any threat of rioting in Glasgow, despite the unemployment problems being every bit as bad here as anywhere else. What I believe was crucially absent at the time, was a disaffected ethnic minority in my home city that was prepared to take to the streets in protest. I'm not going to make any absurd claim about racism not being an issue in Glasgow in 1981, but it certainly was nowhere near as big a problem as it was in the inner-cities south of the border. Oh and its fair to say, that policing methods were slightly different as well...
The fact I was physically separated from the trouble and violence is why I never, at the time, made the connection between Ghost Town and what was happening in many parts of the country. It was only in the cold light of day a short while later, when the music papers in particular made the connection that the little light bulb went on above my head.
To lots of people, this song will always be associated with events that briefly threatened the very fabric of British society. To this humble scribe, its just a great song.
Yet another 7” that bit the dust twenty-odd years ago, so you’ll have to make do with a CD copy (mind you, it is the 12” extended version) and one of the two b-sides which features probably my favourite ever Terry Hall vocal.
mp3 : The Specials - Ghost Town
mp3 : The Specials - Friday Night, Saturday Morning
And you should know by now where to go to view the video.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
But in all honesty, I was really too young at 13 to get a grip on what was happening in 1976 and 1977. And besides, I was still more interested in playing football in those years than I was in listening to music. You can also factor in that it wasn’t until 1978 when I got a paper-round that I was able to have enough money to properly indulge in buying records rather them home-taping them straight from the radio onto my portable cassette player. And I had no guilt that all the inner-sleeves of LPs at that time came with the warning ‘Home Taping Is Killing Music’, complete with its logo of a skull and crossbones superimposed over a cassette tape.
So, although I soon grew to love the Pistols, I wasn’t in the vanguard of punk, and I can’t legitimately put any of their singles into this chart on the rules I set out for myself in terms of buying the song as and when it first came out.
And PiL were an act that were close to being included but in the end could only come in somewhere in the 50s. (and that's a revelation that I know will be a blow to a friend in Vancouver, Canada).
But you can’t keep a good man down for too long, and so John Lydon makes his appearance at #19 with what I think is the greatest dance record ever made.
You will have gathered by now that I’m no expert on dance music – I leave that to friends like ctelblog who has the most incredible blog over at Acid Ted which is quickly becoming the ultimate Encyclopaedia of Dance/House/Rave from the late 80s and early 90s.
And I’m not going to kid on that the song made me go out and buy all sorts of similar stuff – dance music remains something that I will dip in and out of rather than spend lots of time on.
I didn’t know too much about Leftfield until this 1993 collaboration with John Lydon, but my love for this single led me to buying their CD of the time and discovering to my great delight that it also contained a collaboration with the great and hugely-underrated Toni Halliday of Curve.
The CD confirmed a number of my prejudices about the dance genre – while some of the stuff was among the personal highlights of 1993, there was just too much that I failed to get, and so it became a CD that was ideal for the skip function.
I don’t think John Lydon has ever delivered a better vocal in his life. I know that when he was a young punk 17 years earlier he did insist his musical influences were hugely varied from prog-rock to reggae and all parts in-between, but I don’t think any of us could ever have imagined him doing something quite like this:-
mp3 : Leftfield/Lydon - Open Up (vocal edit)
Can anyone really listen to this and resist the urge to jump around like a mentalist?
Now this is the one time on the chart that I’m going to cheat a little. Instead of offering up the other tracks from the single (which are basically just remixes), I’m posting the track with Toni Halliday that I mentioned a few paras back. It’s a song that if it hadn’t been for Lydon would have been a contender for my chart:-
mp3 : Leftfield (featuring Toni Halliday) – Original
Both videos are over here.
Oh well, back to the more predictable stuff for the remainder of the rundown.
Monday, April 28, 2008
The fact that the band became the biggest act on the planet for a brief time in the early 80s, as well as Sting becoming the most self-righteous and pompous prick imaginable makes it all too easy to mock The Police. But as a 15 year-old lad, I thought they were as good as anything else that was emerging from the post-punk era that had been christened New Wave.
Not too many other bands were singing about prostitutes in 1979. These were the days when even the use of the word ‘damn’ was liable to get your song banned from the airwaves. The Police were actually regarded as a group that was a bit daring, cutting edge and subversive. You’ll have to trust me on that for I know its almost impossible to imagine.
But Roxanne wasn’t the first song that I ever heard by The Police. My first sighting of the band was in fact on The Old Grey Whistle Test in late 1978. They played two tracks that night, including what was their current single. A couple of days later I picked it up in the local record shop. The thing that I most remember was the sleeve - a picture of someone (turns out it was drummer Stewart Copeland) slowly hanging themselves by putting the noose around their neck and standing on a block of ice that was melted away by a three-bar electric fire. The back of the sleeve was a close-up photo of the ice block having melted.....and beside it was the photo that had been held by the hanging man.
I honestly had some nightmares about that sleeve. Is this what you were driven to when someone chucked you and broke your heart?? Surely not...(and it's just occurred to me that perhaps a certain Ian Curtis might have glimpsed this sleeve at some point or other....)
But aside from the sleeve, it was a record that I played constantly hour-after-hour and day-after-day. I hadn’t been exposed to all the much reggae, so the song had a beat and rhythm that I thought was really unusual. I also loved the sound of Sting’s voice – it was so much sharper, clearer and tuneful than most other singers fronting new-wave bands. I was gutted when I realised the single wasn’t going to chart (it only made #42 on its first release):-
mp3 : The Police - Can’t Stand Losing You
mp3 : The Police - Dead End Job
The Police were one of a handful of bands that I was championing at school, but it was initially very difficult to get too many people interested. Then, all of a sudden, Sting began to get a lot of attention thanks to him having a main part in the movie Quadrophenia, and interest in his band exploded. Including from lots of folk in school. I think about 7 or 8 of us ended up going along to the Apollo gig – the tickets were unreserved seating so it didn’t matter when you bought them.
They say you never forget your first time, and that a small part of it lives with you forever. I’m no different…..and although I’ve been left embarrassed by an awful lot of the stuff that came out after the initial singles, I’ll never forget the part The Police played in developing my life-long love and affection for music and live gigs.
Sneer all you like. But this record deserves its place in the Top 20.
The re-released single made #2 in the singles charts in the summer of 1979. See how the band looked in those days by visiting The Video Villain.
More dodgy camerawork alert........we (myself and Mrs Villain) arrived about 10 secs before he came on stage, and were thus further back than was ideal for capturing any of it on film.
You can never go wrong with a gig by the Bard of Barking. Especially one that is solo in front of a packed and hugely appreciative Glasgow audience. Just Billy and various guitars, along with his songs and chat:-
The World Turned Upside Down/Jeane/Pict Song/Greetings To The New Brunette/Farm Boy/Carpenters v Bob Dylan Busking Contest/ Sexuality/O Freedom/The Saturday Boy/Both Sides Of The Tweed/Take Down The Union Jack/Levi Stubbs' Tears/ Old Clash Fan Fight Song/I Keep Faith/There Is Power In A Union/Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards
Encore : To Have And To Have Not/Sing Their Souls Back Home/The Milkman Of Human Kindnesss/A New England
20 songs, along with probably 15 great stories/anecdotes/battle-cries spread over 100 memorable minutes.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
I got my hands of a bundle of new 7" singles the other day. On first impressions, I'm a bit disappointed with The Hungry Saw by Tindersticks. The band have long been one of my favourites, but they sort of broke-up a few years back. Some, but not all of the band have reformed, but I'm sad to report that something sounds lost.
Malcolm Middleton has released Blue Plastic Bags as a single, and even if you've already got it courtesy of the LP Sleight of Heart, it's still worth picking up the 7" to catch the b-side which is King Cresote covering Choir (one of Malcolm's songs on Into The Woods).
I saw a band called Copy Haho a few weeks back - they're from Stonehaven in north-east Scotland. I now have a single of theirs that was released back in 2006 - a double A side called Bookshelf/Desert Belle. It's a fine bit of work - some parts of Bookshelf remind me in some ways of early Go-Betweens with its understated vocals over some lovely guitar work, while Desert Belle is a perfect pastiche of the great early-80s indie pop that was coming out of Liverpool and Manchester. I thoroughly recommend this single to anyone who considers they have good taste, and you can pick it up via mail order right here at this myspace site. (where you'll also be able to hear a more recent version of Bookshelf among other tracks)
I got an anonymous request for a couple of re-posts, and as ever, I'm happy to oblige:-
mp3 : PiL - This Is Not A Love Song (12" remix)
mp3 : PiL - This Is Not A Love Song (version)
The latter is the one that appears on the PiL greatest hits thingy that came out in 1990 or thereabouts.
The other day I posted up Johnny Cash by Sons & Daughters at #26 on the 45 45s at 45 chart, but mentioned that as and when I got a hold of the original single, I'd post the b-side. So here it is:-
mp3 : Sons & Daughters - Hunt
Its a different version from that which later appeared on the LP The Repulsion Box.
Finally, here's something rather fine from a guest contributor, a friend of mine called John Greer:-
mp3 : The Lanterns - High Rise Town
"This is a band formed in 1997 by Jim Sutherland and, sisters Gina and Sylvia Rae who both grew up in the council housing estates of Livingston and Sighthill area of Edinburgh.
They were signed to Columbia Records, by A&R man ex-Teardrop Explodes drummer David Balfe.
Sutherland had a varied musical background, before he formed The Lanterns, he performed on the iconic BBC Scotland TV show Beechgrove Garden's theme tune, worked on a single by the McClusky Brothers, She Said To The Driver and toured with them and Billy Bragg and played on his album The Internationale.
This excellent first single reached No.50 in the UK charts in January 1999, with its poignant anti-drugs message sung with Scots accent/attitude. It was also Mark and Lard's Radio One record of the week.
Their sound synth- pop sound was once described as the 'The Corrs meets Irvine Welsh' on a sunny day in Sighthill. After releasing one album Luminate Yer Head, they split up.
Jim Sutherland went on to produce Aberfeldy’s first album Young Forever."
And just a reminder that #20 in the 45s rundown will appear tomorrow. If Nick Cave copped a bit of flack at #21, I'm certain there will be disparaging remarks about the next lot...
Friday, April 25, 2008
I did so because, unlike them, I got to hear the songs that I liked getting played on the radio, and sometimes I even got to see the bands that were my favourites appearing on the telly. I was of a very impressionable age, and my attitude was that you were a nobody if you didn’t get played on Radio 1 or Radio Clyde this side of midnight. And an even bigger nobody if Noel Edmonds, Jimmy Saville, Tony Blackburn or Dave Lee Travis didn’t read out your name in a rundown during Top Of The Pops.
In my wee world, it wasn’t relevant that the sorts of bands – the ones that so excited the guys with long hair, the combat jackets and the patchouli oil - could sell LPs in their millions and play concerts that recreated all the albums note-for-note in shows lasting three hours in length - mainstream recognition was the be-all and end-all.
So, its just as well that as I’ve got older my attitude has softened –for I would never have found a place in my heart and mind for the greatest act to ever come out of Australia.
In a career that now goes back more than 20 years, Nick Cave, whether with The Birthday Party, The Bad Seeds or Grinderman has had one commercial hit that got him on TOTP. And even then, that was because fans of Kylie Minogue bought the single....
He has released one great LP after another throughout his career. Each LP has spawned two or three singles, some of which have been astonishing in their ambition. Some have been tremendously catchy with great tunes and big choruses, while others have been gorgeous yet understated ballads that are poems set to music. He’s even made all sorts of promotional videos, many of them entertaining and eye-catching in an effort to get some mainstream attention.
All to no avail.
Instead his fame and career is now so similar to the dinosaurs of the 70s in being based entirely on critical acclaim album sales and live performances that leave you panting for more without ever troubling the compilers of the singles charts.
All this means is that an awful lot of folk who have an interest in music, but no real depth of passion or soul for it (i.e. they’ll maybe buy what they hear on the radio but never take risks) are missing out on his genius and talent. I suppose that’s good in one way as it means Nick Cave will ever get so big and famous that his live shows move to arenas and stadia. But overall, don’t you agree that his music should be in every household?
Yet again, there were a number of singles that I hummed and hawed over before selecting one for this rundown. It goes back to 1994:-
mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Do You Love Me? (single version)
mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Cassiel’s Song
mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Sail Away
A single drum note. The haunting sound of the stacatto Hammond organ. Nick mumbling the one line over and over to himself. The bar-room piano that comes crashing in on top of everything. And that’s just the introductory 45 seconds - a sort of overture for all that follows.
Is this a song that is a plea for affection from someone who wants so much to be loved back??
I’m not sure....
I’ve always thought it is something altogether far more creepy and sinister – the song of a dominating control-freak who breaks the soul and spirit and eventually the body of their lover because although she gave him everything, it was never ever enough to satisfy his lust.
In many ways, it’s a bit like The One I Love by REM. If you just catch the most audible part of the song, it all seems innocent enough. But listen closely and you'll notice that there's a lot of venom and poison lying within……
The video was shot in Sao Paulo, Brazil where Nick was temporarily living at the time. If you’ve never seen it before, its well worth five minutes of your time by clicking here. You’ll also find a great live version alongside it.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
But its getting more and more difficult to put into words, in a different way, just why a particular 45 means so much to me.
I think I’ve also thrown myself by Buzzcocks appearing way down at #23. Can I really justify that it’s better than what you’re getting today? Looks like I’m going to have to...
My love for this song is very much down to two things.
Firstly, The Skids were the first Scottish band to really make a big impact on the punk/new wave scene. And by that, I mean they were probably the first to get themselves onto Top Of The Pops.
Given how little exposure bands got on TV back in the 70s, getting your face on TOTP was an incredibly important arena to be seen on. And the debut performance from Richard Jobson et al will stay etched firmly in the minds of everyone who saw it. As well as in the minds of their parents.
This truly was the first time I heard my dad say something completely negative about something on TOTP. He was 43 years of age when this came out…..his taste was a little bit of Johnny Cash, a little bit of Neil Diamond, a little bit of Supertramp and a little bit of Status Quo. He knew that music was important to me, and never did he slag off anything that I brought into the house or that I professed to loving when watching TOTP.
Then he saw and heard The Skids.
I don’t think he swore – at that time, he wouldn’t do so in front of any of his sons (I’ve two brothers 3 and 4 years younger than me). But he laughed out loud at Richard’s efforts at dancing and singing, which truly were like nothing else on the planet. I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was the generation gap finally showing through.
Of course I went out and bought the record a few days later with that week’s money from the paper round. Of course I played it louder than anything else I owned at the time. Of course I tried, behind the privacy of a closed bedroom door, to dance the way I had seen Richard dance (remember kids, no VHS tapes in those days, you saw something once and you had to commit it to memory).
There must have been thousands doing the same as me because the single continued to rise up the charts. TOTP had a policy of not having bands on two weeks in a row (unless they were at #1), so it was a fortnight before the band got back onto the show. This time my dad went into the kitchen and made a cup of tea as he was thoroughly sick to his back teeth with the song by now. I was a teenage rebel……at last.
Oh and the second reason why I love this song? One of the best b-sides ever. No arguments.
mp3 : The Skids – Into The Valley
mp3 : The Skids – TV Stars (live at The Marquee, London)
The TOTP performance is now widely available thanks to youtube and can be watched at The Video Villain. As is the promo video. As is a hugely clever advert featuring the song, which I'm sure must have made my dad laugh many years later.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
When I was typing out the words and thoughts to accompany the song that made #24 on this chart, I didn't know what it was that made #23.
But it turns out to be the song I had in my mind when I was talking about 30 years ago when I was wittering about scratchy guitars, a tune that made you leap around and sweat profusely while joining in on a chorus to die for and all in the space of something lasting less than 2mins 30 secs in length. (OK....the song is actually 2 mins 43 seconds in length)
Do I really need to say anything else?
mp3 : Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't Have)?
mp3 : Buzzcocks - Just Lust
Some stats. The single was released in September 1978. That means it's almost 30 years of age!!!!! It was the band's biggest hit, reaching #12 in the charts.
I’m actually at a loss to work out how Ever Fallen In Love? is only at #23 in the rundown.
I suppose its because I think there are 22 singles better than it…..but even I’m having doubts.
Footage is over at The Video Villain.
You'll gather that I had the camera with me - well, I tried to video part of the show and it seems to have turned out OK. If I can master how to post said clip to the blog, I will share it with you all in due course.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
In early-2005, they were touring the UK and appearing at the tiniest of venues such as the Debating Chamber of Glasgow University. Word of mouth got out that as a live act, they were unlike anything that had come along in recent times. Their cartoon video for the single Power Out was on heavy rotation on MTV2. But still they seemed to be something of a mystery….unless of course you were one of those who surfed the internet where you would find thousands of people prepared to say that Arcade Fire was the future of rock’n’roll.
Then came the summer festivals in Europe, Japan and North America. Arcade Fire seemed to be on the bills of just about all of them, and this is where they really grabbed the attention of the casual listener/watcher. The last six months of 2005 saw debut LP Funeral fly off the shelves of record shops everywhere, but particularly in the UK. The round-up of music for the year saw many pundits/writers/columnists list the LP as their favourite of the previous 12 months, thus maintaining a momentum in sales in the all-important pre-Xmas rush.
Suddenly, everyone seemed to believe what the bloggers had been saying for months - Arcade Fire truly were the best and most exciting band in the world. The pressure really was on to deliver a follow-up LP that met these expectations. The band spent most of 2006 locked-up in Montreal writing and recording the songs, and the lack of live appearances and new material only seemed to heighten the expectations amongst fans and critics alike.
Neon Bible came out in the early part of 2007. The reaction was, in my mind, bizarre. To the likes of myself who hadn’t quite picked up on the band in the first weeks of hysteria, it sounded like a great follow-up. Yes, it was far more polished and accomplished than the debut, and it maybe did lean heavily on other influences rather than their own sounds. It certainly wasn’t a clone of Funeral…
And yet, those who were in at the start seemed to turn on the band rather viciously and accuse them of recording something akin to a commercial sell-out. It was almost as if they were jealous that their little secret was now so well-known and proving to be popular. I remember reading one particular critic saying that he could no longer give any time of the day to Arcade Fire now that their LPs were on sale in supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda (the latter being part of the Wal-Mart group), which I really thought was the height of cultural snobbery.
It will be hugely interesting to see what sort of LP is next, and what sort of reaction the band will get. I think their reputation for being such a fantastic live act will ensure the fan base remains high and tickets for shows will be hard to come by (even REM over the past 8-10 years with critically-panned and poor-selling LPs have sold out the arenas and large outdoor shows). Does indie-orchestra have a long-term future?? I think so....
By the time I latched on to Arcade Fire, the early singles had sold out and were out of print. So you’ll need to make do with a lift from the LP:-
mp3 : Arcade Fire – Rebellion (Lies)
Drums, bass, piano, guitars and strings are all at the fore at one point or other during this incredible five and a bit minutes. And then there’s that fabulous sing-a-long chorus. A far better tune than the more lauded Wake Up (although I will admit that the latter is a live tour-de-force)
If, 30 years ago you’d have said that one day I’d be raving about a band like Arcade Fire, I’d have sneered in your face. Back then all that mattered were scratchy guitars, a tune that made you leap around and sweat profusely while shouting along with the chorus on singles lasting no more than 2mins 30 secs in length.
The times they-are-a-changing.
Video is here.
More mutterings about growing old coming your way tomorrow.
After his brush with death, this was a night very few, if any, of us ever imagined.
This was a show that was full of courage. Edwyn's stroke has still left him with severe difficulties in walking and to hold a conversation. And yet, his brain has the capacity to allow him to learn certain things that stay lodged there, thus enabling him to perform on stage.
There were 15 or so songs - I wasn't counting - from throughout his career taking in early Orange Juice right through to the airing of a new and unrecorded song. Edwyn's singing was more than passable - there were a few bum notes, but hey, that's always been the case when he's played live.
I was right down at the front, and the first thing to say to anyone who thought the gigs might be akin to watching a car crash is that Edwyn doesnt seemingly have to push himself all that hard physically or mentally to put on the show. Yes, its a real effort for him to walk unaided onto the stage and take up his place sitting on an amp in front of a microphone in the full-glare of the lights centre-stage. The biggest difference is that he doesn't say much other than to introduce each song and be failingly polite to the audience for the warmth of reception at the end of each song.
Above all else, it was very clear that Edwyn was having a ball up on stage - obviously enjoying what he was doing and the reaction it was bringing out in people - and proving that he was a born performer and entertainer, even in the face of such adversity. He's also a stubborn old sod determined not to let his disability get in the way - which is why, despite walking being such an effort, he insists on leaving and then returning to the stage for an encore rather than staying put for one set.
As there's some folk reading this who will, like myself, be going to Oran Mor in Glasgow tonight, I'm not saying much about the set composition for now - I'll maybe return to that tomorrow.
What I can tell you is that Roddy Frame, for the way he performed on guitar last night, has not only booked himself a place in heaven, but has ensured he will immediately be awarded his wings when he gets there. There was a real sense of magic about some moments last night....and the affection, admiration and love that Edwyn and Roddy have long had for one another was very obvious for everyone to see.
I was so happy to have been there, more so because, as the tribute song goes, Edwyn Collins is back. With soul.
Monday, April 21, 2008
I was very very lucky to see Radiohead at the outset of their career on two occasions – the first when they were complete unknowns in September 1992 as the support act to The Frank and Walters at The Venue in Edinburgh. Just over a year later, having had success in the USA with Creep, they were given the support slot with James and this time it was Glasgow Barrowlands just before Xmas 1993.
I’d be a liar if I said that on the basis of those two gigs I could have predicted that world domination would soon be theirs. In fact, I’d go as far to say that having bought debut album Pablo Honey on the back of the 1992 gig and been a bit disappointed with it, I wasn’t all that looking forward to seeing them support James. But that night, they gave a pretty decent performance, and a bit of hope that they were going to be more than one-hit wonders.
Problem was, the band seemed to disappear from view thereafter as the UK went barmy for Britpop. As we now know, it was in fact to begin the long and drawn-out process to write and record songs for their second LP, on which work began in early 1994 but which wasn’t released until May 1995.
And its my considered opinion that The Bends might just be the best LP of all time…..its certainly the one I’ve listened to more than any other over the past 13 years. Yup, I much prefer it to the more-critically lauded OK Computer.
Part of this is down to the existence of the song that has made #25.
You can scour the internet and see that the song is pretty special to a lot of people, but there’s a bit of argument as to what exactly it is about. What can’t be denied is that Thom Yorke delivers an incredibly intense and moving vocal while the boys in the band deliver a haunting and memorable tune and melody.
It is clearly about something that is far from natural – the constant use of words like rubber, plastic and polystyrene only help emphasise that point. But is it about an artificial feeling of love that the protagonist has for someone, or does it have a deeper meaning? Is it indeed the template for Radiohead’s manifesto for the future in which their disgust about the way the planet is being treated would come to dominate how their songs sounded as well as the band's philosophy and outlook on things?
I’m not entirely sure, and I’ve said previously, I tend not to delve too deep into the meaning of lyrics. They are important, but no more so than the music.
I know that many of you will disagree that this in fact the finest single ever released by Radiohead. While I had a bit of a debate with myself about which song to select for certain bands, this one was, as the cliché goes, a no-brainer. This is a song that can provoke so many emotions in me, depending on my mood and state of mind, and there’s not many others that I can say that about.
mp3 : Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees
mp3 : Radiohead - India Rubber
mp3 : Radiohead - How Can You Be Sure?
Surprisingly, the single only reached #20 in the UK charts, and it was later single Street Spirit (Fade Out) that was the big seller.
The video is where you would expect to find it.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
In a nutshell - there were two free gigs in Glasgow, both of which turned out to be pretty special. The first of these was last Monday with the launch of Midnight Organ Fight, the magnificent new LP from Frightened Rabbit. The band played almost all of the songs, including live premieres of a couple of the slower numbers, one of which - Poke - had almost everyone in tears at the end.
If you haven't yet bought a copy of Midnight Organ Fight, well you're missing out on something special. And if you have already bought it, why not do what I did yesterday and buy a second copy to pass onto a friend who is still in ignornace of this amazing bunch of boys and their equally amazing bunch of songs....
Then on Thursday afternoon, I met up with a couple of friends (including Comrade Colin) for a catch-up over a tea/coffee/hot chocolate at a place called Tinderbox in the city centre. What none of us knew was that Stevie Jackson from Belle & Sebastian was playing a small inimate gig in ana adjacent art gallery/shop as as part of a local fectival. So in we went....and the added pleasure came from seeing his sound engineer was none other than Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub....while we also spotted Gerry Love of TFC, Stephen Pastel and Duglas T Stewart in the small and exclusive audience. There may well have been other legends of the Glasgow scene there as well...
All that remains is to put up a couple songs to mark these two never to be repeated 'concerts':-
mp3 : Frightened Rabbit - The Modern Leper (live)
mp3 : Belle & Sebastian - To Be Myself Completely
The first is from a live recording at the recent SXSW festival in Austin, Texas (and thanks to The Pop Cop for his help with this), while the latter is from the LP The Life Pursuit.
This week's song from the vaults of TVV is one that has featured a couple of times, but was requested by a new reader who wished to remain anonymous:-
mp3 : The Bible - Mahalia (extended version)
An exciting week lies ahead - gigs by Edwyn Collins on Monday & Tuesday, and according to reports, the guitarist in his band is going to be none other than Roddy Frame.
But before then, I'll be posting #25 in the 45 45s at 45 rundown.....it's from a rather popular beat-combo who are not from Scotland.....
Friday, April 18, 2008
One day, while pottering around the house (quite possibly yet again putting the CD and vinyl collections into the proper alphabetical order) I heard a great noise coming from my TV which was tuned into MTV2. I wandered into the living room and saw a video for a song that caught my ear partly because of a great guitar riff and partly because it was being sung in a broad Scottish accent. Then there was a chorus of sorts in which a vaguely familiar looking female came in on joint vocals, and then the video descended into chaos with a bar-room brawl. Fantastic stuff, but who the hell were these fabulous people??
Up came the caption, and at that point dear readers, I hung my head in shame. For it was of course this:-
mp3 : Sons & Daughters – Johnny Cash
So out I traipsed to Avalanche Records to purchase the LP Love The Cup. I felt as if everyone I the shop was laughing at me for being the last person in Glasgow to buy the album which had been on prominent display for ages. I took it home and played it. And then I immediately played it again. And again. And again.
Not long afterwards, the Villains were on one of their regular pilgrimages in search of the sun. We found ourselves one day on the French island of Martinique on a day-trip from our main base on St Lucia. Mrs V was trying on some clothes in a boutique, and there was a French-language radio station on in the background. Without warning, Johnny Cash came on – and it wasn’t the Man In Black.
I grooved….well, I was on holiday and unlikely ever to set foot in the shop again and didn’t care how ridiculous I looked. I may have been the last Glaswegian to pick up on the song, but I bet I was the first to hear it on a radio station in the middle of the West Indies.
The b-side of this single, as you'll see from the sleeve is called Hunt. A version of this song was put on the follow-up LP, The Repulsion Box:-
mp3 : Sons & Daughters - Hunt
Now if this version is different from that on the b-side of Johnny Cash, I apologise. I have found a copy on e-bay and ordered it, but it never arrived in time to make this particular post...if it is different, I'll try and add it in later on...
I thank you.
Video of the single is right here.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
This was a band that came from out of nowhere. They inked a deal with London Records after a mere handful of gigs, and the debut single, Smalltown Boy, sold by the barrowload, hitting #3 in the UK charts in May 1984. It also made the Top 50 in the USA and Top 10 in Australia.
A trio of follow-up singles and the debut LP all sold in great quantities and the band seemed set for a long and successful career. But out of the blue, vocalist Jimmy Somerville (and acknowledged by everyone as the band spokesman) announced he was quitting the band to pursue an outlet that would allow him to be ‘more political.’ In due course, he would find massive success, including #1 records, with Communards. He also became part of Red Wedge, the conglomeration of musicians who campaigned for the Labour Party at the 1987 UK general election.
As for Bronski Beat – they did manage a couple of hits with new vocalist John Foster (who in retrospect sounds awfully like Andy Bell who would later come to prominence with Erasure), but they were very much overshadowed by the success of Communards. They soldiered on for a few more years, ever more fading into obscurity from the mainstream.
There’s just something about the early Bronski Beat records that make them sound so special. There’s a bit of the inventiveness of Giorgio Moroder in there, along with the pop-savvy touch of Human League and Heaven 17. There’s also the choir-boy falsetto vocals of Somerville that recalled, in some ways, Russell Mael from Sparks. Theirs were records that struck a chord with so many people, from the hard-core gay militants to the indie-kids and the disco-divas with their handbags and stiletto heels.
The look adopted by Jimmy Somerville for the video to the debut single is one that has become synonymous with young gay men in the early 80s. If you want proof, look no further than the recent BBC cop/sci-fi series Ashes to Ashes which was set in 1981, but in an episode centring on a young gay man, that particular character was dressed straight out of a Bronskis video from 1984.
That’s the impact and legacy of this one song -
mp3 : Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy
This is another 7” single lost in the great Edinburgh flitting shambles of 1985, so there's no b-side I'm sorry to say. But to sort of make up for it, I've posted a slightly extended version of the song.
You should know by now that if you click here, you’ll be linked to the page where the video will be found.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
One thing I can’t do however, is really explain why that happens to be the case. I’m not able to dissect a work or art, nor can I really look beyond the immediate visual images that meet the naked eye for something that is more deep and meaningful. And sometimes this happens in music.
I chanced upon a brilliant piece of writing on the LP Songs To Remember by Scritti Politti. It highlights how the record, which on first listen appears to be a hotpotch of soul, jazz, R&B and pop at its purest, is actually a very clever and subversive piece of work full of political sentiments that almost border on the anarchic.
Now I’m not saying I was never aware of the fact that Green Gartside had a strong and almost extreme left-wing ideology, but I kind of let it drift away on the wind whenever I played what has long been one of my favourite LPs of all time. There’s a lot to admire in the essay - for instance, I’d never have cottoned-on to the fact that the sleeves of the singles were a parody of the finer things in life such as cigars and Courvoisier. I also love the analysis that this was a record full of innovative acts of homage thanks to Green’s style and approach, but the use of soul would later be stolen by ‘the hideous mid-Eighties Live Aid Brigade with their own agenda’, with many of them believing ‘big hair and big volume equals soulfulness’ .
This is all very well and true, but I just can’t help but proclaim my love of the songs is all down to finding something classy sounding in among all the guitar-dominated songs that I was immersed in at the age of 18, which for some reason was of immediate appeal to my ear. Especially this:-
mp3 : Scritti Politti – Faithless
I loved the vocals, both lead and backing, and I loved the instrumentation and arrangement. I could never have said back in 1981, nor indeed now in 2008 that what made it so special was:-
“Proceeding at the sombre pace of a New Orleans funeral march, heavily lacquered in gospel shrieking, it is, as the title suggests, implicitly about the modern, probably white soulboy and lover addicted to the linguistic constructs of soul, the "oohs", the "testifies", the "I got souls" but who is disconnected from them in his contemporary, agnostic time and place - "Faithless", indeed.”
That’s how it’s described by David Stubbs, author of the piece I was mentioning earlier. Read it in full right here.
Scritti Politti went on to be a chart success on both sides of the Atlantic a few years later when they left the Rough Trade label and signed for Virgin Records. But these later works of art, while pleasant enough in their own right, never appealed as much as the songs to remember from 1981.
The mp3 that you can download is from the near 10 minute long version called Faithless (Triple-Hep’n’Blue), and I only at long last again picked up a copy via the Internet a couple of months back. And because it is such a large file that will consume bandwith, I've taken the liberty of putting on at sharbee, which is a bit more inconvenient for you all, but is worth the effort if you really want to hear the track in all its glory.
But prior to that, in May 2007, I did receive a copy via e-mail from someone called Vuka who responded to a plea I had made in the pages of TVV during a previous posting on Scritti Politti. So, if you happen to chance upon this particular posting…..thanks again Vuka.
Scritti Politti footage (but sadly not Faithless) is over here.
POSTSCRIPT TO YETERDAY'S POST.......
My mucker ctelblog didn't let me down - he came in via the comments section and gave us so much more on Born Slippy.
I fact, he's such a decent bloke that he's given us all a direct link to the original version of the track. All you need to do is click right here. It's well worth it....
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
And while I’m not a huge fan of the dance-music genre, every now and again, something special lodges in my brain and taps away incessantly.
I own a few singles and LPs by Basement Jaxx and Chemical Brothers, but none of their stuff has made this self-indulgent chart. Sometimes I look at the list and wonder if that’s a glaring omission, but then I recall just how many other great bands or acts missed the cut.
And while I don’t necessarily think today’s offering is from a lot that are as good as the two acts I mentioned above, I do think the four and a bit minutes that this takes up is as good as anything in my record/CD collection:-
mp3 : Underworld – Born Slippy (Nuxx)
Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy. That’s the four words that to me best describe this single.
Now if you’re an indie-kid like me, you might be interested to learn that this finally became a hit nearly two years after its initial release. Born Slippy was originally a genuine techno record in that there were no vocals, while Born Slippy (Nuxx) was a vocal remix stuck away on the b-side.
It was only when it appeared on the Trainspotting soundtrack that it was again picked up by Radio 1 DJ Pete Tong who began a campaign for the single to be re-released. Which is what happened, and why its become so well-known.
You might also be fascinated to know that Born Slippy was one of three tracks on the Underworld LP, Second Toughest In The Infants, named after greyhounds that ran at the Romford dog track....
Read all about it here
Incidentally, as much as love Born Slippy, I don’t think I’ve ever danced to it outwith the confines of my living room. Clubs and raves are for young folk….and I was already getting past it back in 1996.
My mucker ctelblog runs a great dance-orientated blog called Acid Ted. I hope he can leave behind something useful and enlightening in the comments section....
Video is you know where.
Monday, April 14, 2008
The Trash Can Sinatras were formed in the late 80s, in a town called Irvine, which is around 25 miles or so south-west of Glasgow.
Much of the initial attention was focussed on singer Frank Reader, simply for the fact that his elder sister, Eddi Reader had enjoyed a fair bit of attention and fame, firstly as a backing vocalist with Gang Of Four, and later as the singer with Fairground Attraction who enjoyed a #1 hit with Perfect in 1988.
I suppose I first noticed the band for the simple reason that they were signed to Go! Disc Records which was the home of Billy Bragg and The Beautiful South, leading me to think the Trashies would be have some sort of political bent. I saw their debut 12” EP on sale in a record shop in Edinburgh and bought it on spec for £2. It was only then that I discovered the band were in fact more aligned with the other reasons that label boss Andy MacDonald signed acts – they wrote and sang gloriously catchy pop songs that were full of clever lyrics that demanded close listening.
In due course, I bought two follow-up EPs as well as the debut LP, all of which appeared in 1990. They were a band on heavy rotation, but I wasn’t really giving music too much close attention, as it was a time when I had not long met the now Mrs Villain and there were far more important and pressing things on my mind .......such as sorting out the divorce from the first wife.....
One day, I went to see the Trashies live in concert and came away rather underwhelemed. It was 1993 before the band released any new material, but the comeback single, like the gig a few years earlier, didn’t do much for me. And with that, I stopped taking an interest in the band.
However, I never stopped loving that debut EP, which still astounds me all these years later. I mentioned earlier about the catchy pop songs with clever lyrics…check this out:-
Always at the foot of the photograph - that's me there
Snug as a thug in a mugshot pose
Owner of this corner and not much more
Still these days I'm better placed to get my just rewards
I'll pound out a tune and very soon
I'll have too much to say and a dead stupid name
Though I ought to be learning I feel like a veteran
Of "Oh I like your poetry but I hate your poems"
Calendars crumble I'm knee deep in numbers
Turned 21, I've twist, I'm bust and wrong again
Rubbing shoulders with the sheets till two
Looking at my watch and I'm half-past caring
In the lap of luxury it comes to mind
Is this headboard hard? Am I a lap behind?
But to face doom in a sock-stenched room all by myself
Is the kind of fate I never contemplate
Lots of people would cry though none spring to mind
Though I ought to be learning I feel like a veteran
Of "Oh I like your poetry but I hate your poems"
Calendars crumble I'm knee deep in numbers
Turned 21, I've twist, I'm bust and wrong again
Know what it's like
To sigh at the sight of the first quarter of life?
Ever stopped to think and found out nothing was there?
They laugh to see such fun
Playing Blind Man's Bluff all by myself
And they're chanting a line from a nursery rhyme
"Ba Ba Bleary Eyes - Have you any idea?"
The calendar's cluttered with days that are numbered..
Now have a listen:-
mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – Obscurity Knocks
(NB : Some earlier visitors (ie before 6pm GMT on Monday 14th April) might have spotted that I originally posted the wrong file - it was the follow-up single Only Tongue Can Tell. It's all sorted now. Apologies all round for any confusion...)
It was a song that struck a chord with me. Just a short time earlier, I had been in a rather unhappy marriage. I had a job, but it was far from fulfilling. I did seem to know what it was like to have sighed at the first quarter of life. And I wasn’t sure if I had any real idea....
Thankfully, things changed for the better in the early 90s.....oh how my life story unravels in sections as this countdown continues.
I still have the EP in the collection, and here’s the other tracks:-
mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – The Best Man's Fall
mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras - Drunken Chorus
mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras - Who's He?
Incidentally, the band are still going strong all these years later, having released six well-received LPs, while some new stuff is expected later on in 2008.
The video is over at the usual place. And its alongside a great little film of the band playing an acoustic version of the song on the streets of Edinburgh. Click here.
Tune in tomorrow for something you might not have expected at #29.....
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Over the past seven days, I've been out four nights at gigs, which is probably not something I've done for nigh on 20 years.
First up was Sunday 6th April with a four-band line-up for £4 at Stereo in Glasgow. Due to having an early start at work the following morning, I left after the second band, Gdansk, had played their set - after all this was the sole reason for being at the gig.
Gdansk have long been championed, by amongst others, Comrade Colin over at And Before The First Kiss, and it was his silver tongue and powers of persuasion that dragged me away from the joys of watching the West Indies win a home cricket test match for the first time in years. But I want to thank him as Gdansk were just stunning and every bit as good as he had promised.
A four-piece band who reminded me in places of early Interpol, they played an intense and loud, yet effortless 45 minute set which seemed to just fly in. This band are worthy of your attention, and four fantastic examples of their work are now available at their myspace site. Click here for a visit. Then if you live in Glasgow get yourself out to see them live soon.
Just 48 hours later, I was at Glasgow ABC to see The Breeders, and this time I was in the company of Mike from Manic Pop Thrills. As is always the case with Mike, he has produced a well-written gig review over on his blog, which can be read here. I've already shoved in my tuppence worth of comments - this was a good but not great gig. The band were on fine form, particularly the rhythm section. But for £15 a ticket, when you're touring your 4th full-length LP, you've got to play for more than just an hour if you want to keep your customers satisfied. On that basis, I wouldn't rush back to see them again.
On to Friday 11th April and a visit to Oran Mor in Glasgow to see a solo concert by Lloyd Cole, this time in the company of Mrs Villain.
We're big fans of Lloyd and knew roughly what to expect from his show. It would be him, his semi-acoustic guitars and a bundle of songs along with some stories and observations, delivered in two parts with a short interval. Once again he didn't disappoint, although it was interesting to watch some of the audience look on in bemusement as his initial set was very much drawn from his solo years when many folk in the audience were only familiar with his Commotions records.
Its strange to think that 20 years after he broke up his band after just 3 LPs and a smattering of hit singles that Lloyd remains best known for that period of his career rather than the 10 LPs that he's released since then, all of which are filled with songs of real class, style and beauty.
Lloyd played two sets totalling 100 minutes, and squeezed in 30 songs, of which 11 were from the Commotions LPs, 17 from his solo stuff and 2 cover versions.
Although he lives in the States, he's on a tour at the moment, the full details of which can be read here. If he's coming to a town near you, and there are tickets available, and you're a fan who maybe hasn't seen him for a while, then do yourself a favour.....
The final gig was last night - this time I had the company of Mrs V and Comrade Colin as we headed to King Tut's In Glasgow.
Three bands were on the line-up. First up was a very young four-piece from Stonehaven in the north-east of Scotland called Copy Haho - the first time that any of the three of us had seen or heard of them. And we were impressed by their 30 minute set that in places reminded us of Teenage Fanclub and The Strokes. Unlike many bands at the bottom of a bill, they seemed pleased and excited about the whole thing, making an effort to engage with the audience.
I was interested enough to check them out over at their myspace site, where you will get more info and 5 songs, as well as the opportunity to purchase a limited edition 7" single (which I've done).
Then it was the main support act - Frightened Rabbit. Regular readers will know I've a great deal of affection for this lot, as has Comrade Colin. Mrs V came along to see what all the fuss was about only knowing the Be Less Rude/The Greys single in advance.
As it was a support slot, the band were only able to play for their allotted 30-odd minutes. They gave us the most frenetic and energetic set imaginable, drawing largely from the uptempo songs on the new LP The Midnight Organ Fight which comes out tomorrow (Monday 14th April). The effort the boys put in was just astonishing. Mrs V thought afterwards it was every bit as exciting and enthralling as an Arcade Fire show.....and I'm not going to disagree.
Let me put it simply.
Frightened Rabbit are the best new band to come out of Scotland this century.
If you want proof, go here and listen to the tracks available. Then, if you spot a gig near where you live (and by that I mean with 200 miles of your front door), get yourself along.
This is a band that should really be on the verge of greatness. I doubt if there will be a better album in 2008 than theirs. The Vinyl Villain has spoken......
But what about headline act Make Model about whom an awful lot has been written in the press lately? Sorry guys, there was no way anyone could follow-on from what we had just seen and it would have been unfair to stay and make comparisons, so we quietly took our leave.
And that is almost your lot in today's Sunday Magazine.
The posting the other day of the tracks by The Wild Swans has delayed a request I received a few weeks back from Victormanolo, so thanks for your patience:-
mp3 : Care - My Boyish Days (12" version)
And a wee note to Drunk Country who left a comment about Colorblind James Experience.....drop me an e-mail direct and I'll sort something out for you.....
Tune in tomorrow for #30 on the 45 45s at 45 rundown. I'll just give one teaser..........it's a song by a Scottish act (oh, that narrows down the possibilities to a few hundred)
Friday, April 11, 2008
The Wild Swans were one of the key bands in the Liverpool Scene that also produced Echo & The Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes and Pete Wylie/Wah! As a band, they were in and out of existence from 1980 to 1986, during which time they recorded a number of BBC sessions but released just one single (released in 1982) and no LP. Then, in 1988, they reformed and finally recorded an LP which was disowned almost immediately by all concerned and thus received a limited release...talk about perverse. Somehow a further album was recorded in 1989 (despite the departure of half of the band), but again to little aclaim. The Wild Swans called it a day shortly afterwards and retreated into cult obscurity.
Revolutionary Spirit was the last single to be released on the legendary label Zoo Records which was run by the legendary Bill Drummond. As I mentioned above, it came out in 1982. It was produced by the late Pete De Freitas of Echo & The Bunnymen who also drums on the record. (Incidentally, the death of Pete De Feitas in a motorcycling accident in June 1989 was the first time I shed tears for the death of a rock star).
I remember hearing both sides of the single on Radio 1 - it was most likely on the John Peel show but I can’t be certain – and then trying to track it down in shops the following day. It proved an impossible task. One of my mates from did however know someone who had a copy (I think it was a cousin in Liverpool) and he sent us up cassettes of the record.
In those days, maybe it was the sheer obscurity of the song that made it so special. However, in 1990 I finally got hold of my own copy of the record with the purchase of a Zoo compilation that brought together just about every single the label had released between 1978 and 1982. All those years later and I get a 'clean' copy to listen to, and so rediscovered its joys and recognising that that it truly was a timeless classic.
Lead singer Paul Simpson enjoyed more cult success with his next band, Care, alongside Ian Broudie who would then find fame and fortune with The Lightning Seeds. Much of the distinctive sound of The Wild Swans was down to guitarist Jeremy Kelly and he became part of Lotus Eaters who were one-hit wonders with The First Picture Of You in 1983.
The Wild Swans did reform in 1988 to release a debut album, and while they still had a hardcore following of fans, their time had come and gone. The music they made belonged to a different era, and certainly to the ears of this listener, was a disappointment, being nowhere near the class of the debut single, nor have the consistency of the releases by Care.
Oh and despite the wonders of e-bay and my rekindled interest in vinyl, I have still not yet been able to pick up a reasonably-priced vinyl copy of the single, originally released in February 1982:-
mp3 : The Wild Swans – Revolutionary Spirit
mp3 : The Wid Swans – God Forbid
Footage of The Wild Swans from this era is difficult to track down, but there is something available from 1988 over at The Video Villain, along with clips of Care and The Lotus Eaters.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
The fact he’s as low as #32 might surprise some of you, while the fact I’ve gone for a single that isn’t one of his better known may make it a double surprise.
Are you interested enough to learn that Edwyn Collins has released about a dozen or so singles in the UK as a solo artist over the best part of 20 years? And of these only A Girl Like You bothered the charts. But then again, it bothered the charts all over Europe and beyond (#6 in Australia…), making Edwyn more money for that particular four minutes of work than the rest of his recording career, and indeed his producing career, put together.
So to the majority of people, Edwyn Collins is a something of a one-hit wonder twice over - with Orange Juice and Rip It Up in 1982 and then A Girl Like You in 1994.
I’m not saying all of his solo singles have been instant classics, but it still baffling that he’s only struck gold on one occasion. Another single from the Gorgeous George LP really deserved a much wider audience. It’s long been my view that if something this easy on the ear with such a heartfelt lyric had been given to someone like Robbie Williams to record, then we would have been looking at an instant crowd-pleasing #1......
Having said that, the arrangement from the chart heavyweights would probably have made it unrecognisable from the original....
mp3 : Edwyn Collins – If You Could Love Me (radio edit)
I've got both CD 1 and CD 2 of this single, and between them, they offer up an additional six songs as 'b-sides'. The dilemma is whether to offer up all of them given the potential for playing havoc with the bandwith limits. But I did say at the outset of the 45s rundown that I'd post the a-sides and b-sides.......but the compromise is here is that you'll have to access them via the painfully slow sharebee rather than the more conventional fileden. I hope it's not too much bother.
mp3 : Edwyn Collins - In A Broken Dream
mp3 : Edwyn Collins - Hope And Despair
mp3 : Edwyn Collins - Insider Dealing
The first of these tracks is a cover version of a song from the 70s, originally released by Python Lee Jackson (with vocal by Rod Stewart). The second is a re-working of the title track of an earlier solo LP by Edwyn. The third is an instrumental clocking in at over 8 mins in length.
mp3 : Edwyn Collins - If Ever Your Ready
mp3 : Edwyn Collins - Come To Your Senses
mp3 : Edwyn Collins - A Girl Like You (Victorian Spaceman Mix)
The first is a misspelling of a track that Edwyn has recorded and released previously. If Ever You're Ready is also on the LP Hope and Despair, with further different versions available on the b-sides of the singles 50 Shades of Blue and Don't Shilly Shally. The second is a great track and in my view, wasted as a giveaway on a CD single, while I'm sure you know about the original version of the third...
Somehow I don’t think this will be the last appearance Edwyn makes in my nostalgic and self-indulgent consideration of great 45s. Oh and pop into The Video Villain for something just a little bit different, but still associated with Edwyn....