Wednesday, March 31, 2010
It could have gone to Australia, Canada, the USA, France, Germany or just about any corner of the UK. Names went into a hat. Mrs Villain drew out one piece of paper.
And while I knew no full postal addresses of any of the entrants, I'll be surprised if the winner wasn't the closest to Villain Towers in terms of distance.
The lucky entrant was Peter Dickie, who lives in Paisley, Scotland. A town not more than six miles as the crow flies.
Congratulations Peter. And commiserations to everyone else.
Keep your eyes peeled for another competition in about six weeks time.
It wasn't however until May 1986 that the next record was released. When it was trailed that Sandie had gone into the studio to work with the famous production team of Langer and Winstanley and that one of the earliest things that would be foisted on the public would be a cover version of one of the most popular songs recorded by Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, there was huge anticipation.
Now until I found this in a second shop a couple of days ago, I hadn't actually heard it. I'd been lucky enough to be sent over the Janice Long session by a TVV reader, and indeed posted it just over a year ago. The session version wasn't bad....not a patch on the original version, but one that had some great guitar playing on it along with a fine vocal from Sandie.
I was therefore really disappointed to finally hear the studio version and reckon that it must be considered to be one of the most disappointing records I now have ownership of:-
mp3 : Sandie Shaw - Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?
It is one of the best examples you can find of how NOT to do a cover version. It takes a very simple and lovely song and submerges it in really awful and appalling production values that are a very unsubtle way of trying to ensure mainstream acceptance. Even worse, it does nothing to bring out any of the quality in Sandie's voice.
Truly disgusting. No-wonder it flopped at #68.
So why am I including it?? Well, some of you might disagree with my thoughts, and you may feel there is something of merit in this otherwise vaste of vinyl. Besides, the b-side is a tribute that many newish fans of Morrissey or The Smiths might not have heard before:-
mp3 : Sandie Shaw - Steven, You Don't Eat Meat
Feel free to disagree.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
To regular readers who know what this is all about, I apologise for repeating myself again. To new readers who are stumbling upon the concept for the first time....please read on and then get involved.
On 6th April 2009, a fair few bloggers from all around the world agreed to be part of Paul Haig Day. This was n response to a plea that I had put out over the internet as a thank you to Paul and his manager for offering tremendous great support to TVV and other bloggers in the face of determined efforts by folk posting dmca notices forcing not just mp3s but entire postings to be taken down.
Paul Haig Day was organised with just over a week's notice, and just over 30 bloggers responded with some words and a Paul Haig related track of their own. I really would like to better that number this year, but right now with seven days to go its looking to be about the same number as last time out. Unless you can help out with a last minute rush.
Despite the lack of folk signing-up over the past seven days, there's been a few things that have lifted my spirits.
Firstly, Paul's manager got in touch to wish everyone well with the venture.
He's also made a suggestion that anyone are taking part who perhaps knows a bit more about Paul's stuff should think about posting some of their favourite but perhaps less well known tracks, and that way as wide a selection of songs as possible will get used on 6th April.
Secondly, and as if by magic, the following day I found a second-hand copy of a compilation LP in a shop that does feature a rarity, and its been added to my own list for next Tuesday.
Thirdly, Webbie over at Football and Music, who was one of the first to come on board but said he would only post if he could find a Paul Haig football connection has come up trumps. But you'll need to wait till next week.
Finally......an email from ctel has revealed that, for one day only, he is, as a special one-off, resurrecting the blog Acid Ted just so that he can be part of Paul Haig Day II. And that, as the song goes, is what friends are for.
I'm also going to resort to some junk mail tactics around other bloggers who are linked to this place in the hope they'll get on board at the last minute. It would be great if some of you were able to pester some of your own comrades....
If it is a case of not having any songs to play, then have a listen to some of what's been made available here over the past few Tuesdays. And if you're not sure what to write, then why not just mention Paul Haig Day II and do a link to his own official website. Or even better, take soeme copy from this definitive bio.
So, if you do feel like signing up, just either send me an email, or leave a comment behind.
mp3 : Paul Haig - Something Good (10 inch mix)
mp3 : Paul Haig - Work Together
Buy Paul Haig product here. You wont be disappointed.
Here's a clip of one of the great tracks from his most recent LP:-
And the promo of one of the songs featured today:-
Monday, March 29, 2010
A story appearing in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat in 1895 read:
William Lyons, 25, a levee hand, was shot in the abdomen yesterday evening at 10 o'clock in the saloon of Bill Curtis, at Eleventh and Morgan Streets, by Lee Sheldon, a carriage driver.
Lyons and Sheldon were friends and were talking together. Both parties, it seems, had been drinking and were feeling in exuberant spirits. The discussion drifted to politics, and an argument was started, the conclusion of which was that Lyons snatched Sheldon's hat from his head. The latter indignantly demanded its return.
Lyons refused, and Sheldon withdrew his revolver and shot Lyons in the abdomen. When his victim fell to the floor Sheldon took his hat from the hand of the wounded man and coolly walked away. He was subsequently arrested and locked up at the Chestnut Street Station. Lyons was taken to the Dispensary, where his wounds were pronounced serious. Lee Sheldon is also known as 'Stag' Lee.
Lyons eventually died of his injuries. Shelton was tried, convicted, and served prison time for this crime. This otherwise unmemorable crime is remembered in a song.
The version recorded by Mississippi John Hurt in 1928 is considered by some commentators to be definitive, containing as it does all of the elements that appear in other versions.
A cover with different lyrics was a chart hit for Lloyd Price in 1959; Dick Clark felt that the original tale of murder was too morbid for his American Bandstand audience, and insisted that they be changed to eliminate the murder. In this version, the subject was changed from gambling to fighting over a woman, and instead of a murder, the two yelled at each other, and made up the next day. However, it was the original, unbowdlerized, version of Lloyd Price's performance that reached #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 and was ranked #456 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
But "Stag O Lee" songs may have predated even the 1895 incident, and Lee Shelton may have gotten his nickname from earlier folk songs. The first published version of the song was by folklorist John Lomax in 1910 by which time the song was well known in African American communities along the lower Mississippi River.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, by contrast, present an even more violent and an homoerotic version of the tale on the 1996 LP Murder Ballads. It also appears to be set in the 1830s.....
mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Stagger Lee
This song was once played on music programme that aired on British TV, the memory of which was triggered (please pardon the pun) by the re-posting last weekend of the track by My Life Story. And here is said clip from The White Room:-
Over the years, this has become a live favourite on just about every Bad Seeds tour, with subtle little changes making the performance just a little bit different each time. One of the most stunning versions came on the Abbatoir Blues tour, where the band were augmented by backing singers from a gospel choir and the results were truly breathtaking:-
mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Stagger Lee (live)
Nearly nine minutes long. And not a single second was wasted.
See you all in hell.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
mp3 : The Style Council - Headstart For Happiness
I went to Amsterdam to see The Style Council one Sunday in Nov 1984. We'd travelled over by coach on the Saturday night after a Charlton v Leeds match in London. After a green-gilled ferry to Ostend, we travelled up to the city of canals, bicycles and scantily-clad women in shop windows. All day Sunday was spent drinking. (The difference between Dutch Heineken and the fizzy Session beer of blighty soon kicked in). We were all shit-faced.
After the gig, (and my climb down the front of the Circle to Stalls having fallen in love with DC Lee), I came out of the theatre and - because I'd dawdled for a much needed piss - I'd become detached from the rest of the merry coach load. Clueless as to where the coach had parked earlier that day, I was soon lost.
My jacket was on the bus and it contained my passport, ID and money. Little known to me, after a 15 minute wait, they'd set off without me in order to meet the ferry.
It was freezing and nearly midnight as I stood shivering in a 'Tube Station' T-shirt and jeans in downtown Amsterdam - where all the streets look the same. I was totally stranded, due back at work the next morning and my girlfriend in the UK was expecting me.
What would you do next?
Initially, I went to the Dutch Police Station. I know; I should've known better. It was just as you would envisage. 2 blokes, feet up on desk, TV on, smoke filled room, bottle of Bells in filing cabinet. "Go and follow the coach to the Port" was the 'shexy futball' Van Der Valk-meets-Ashes To Ashes response from the moustachioed porn star lookalike.
"Er righto .. I'll do that then".
I did go back to the Theatre thinking that the band, recognising my dire plight, would welcome me aboard the warm tour bus. I'd be tucked up in a bunk bed alongside Mick Talbot whilst Paul strummed English Rose and DC Lee fed me hot toddies, donuts and skunkweed.
"We're going to Berlin now" grunted the big hairy fucker who always used to look after Weller.
(This was 1984, so Berlin presented it's own problems - unlike today's open all hours EU borders). I'd naturally assumed that they were returning to Kent and White Cliffs and warmed teapots ... but no.
'Think again' I thought, as the bitter November wind gnarled into my mind and my body. It was now 12.30am.
And so it came to pass...
I was back outside the Theatre; the band couldn't help me. I decided to (somehow) follow the coach to the Port - where surely my passport will have been handed in by my mate to a nice Customs fellow and all this mess would be tidied up. I know... I'll hitch-hike.
Looking around me in central Amsterdam, I asked a couple of drunks by a tram stop where the motorway south was. (A bit like standing in Leicester Square asking for the M1). It took 3 or 4 more requests before I got an answer which made reasonable sense. I needed the E35 - wherever that was. They pointed; and then shook their heads as I turned; but not before telling me that it was illegal to hitch-hike in Holland!
So I began running to the motorway junction. I was becoming more and more desperate, but without any money, what else could I do? Besides, the running temporarily took my uncontrollable shivering away.
Luckily, it was only about 3 miles to the junction. But as I stood on the hard shoulder with my thumb up, I quickly realised how isolated I was and how it must have looked. It was very late on a Sunday night/Monday morning and there was little traffic. After the hustle of the city, it was a quiet and eerie place.
After what seemed like forever, a car finally stopped. It was a black BMW with 3 large black men inside. As I had never been as cold in my life, I didn't care about anything but getting warm, and the thick furry seat covers and blast of warm air from the car heaters are the only things I really remember. That, and the Barry White lookalike driver saying,
"What you doin' man? You're gonna die out there".
I tried to explain my plight, as a fat bassline from speakers the size of windmills almost burst my heart through my chest. ‘Fuck’. They were only going 2 junctions in my direction and, in what seemed like only 5 minutes, I was back standing on the hard shoulder. This time, I was well away from the Amsterdam suburbs, without any road lighting and only the steam from my breath for company.
I was now shaking like a shitting whippet; the cold and the fear and the stark reality hit me. After what seemed an age, a small Citreon van – the sort you would only see in some arty French film from 1968 - pulled over and stopped.
“Where you going?” asked the driver. “Er … south. Belgium. Please”. The truth was that by now I didn’t really know where I was going. I had no concept of the geography of north west Europe.
He told me his name was Dan and he was going to Utrecht ... wherever that was. In the van were lupins. Lupins and tulips and other big bloody flowers I didn’t recognize. He was a Dutch florist. A florist with a goatee beard and a spliff on the go. (He could have been a goat with a spliff and a gladioli up his arse, I didn’t care).
I explained my predicament to him as the sound of ‘See My Friends’ by The Kinks ….. came through his tinny car radio. He took me the 50 or so km to his home town. He was my Samaritan. Dan Van Samaritan if you like.
In his little apartment, he gave me coffee, toast and a spare bed. He explained he had to leave for work around 7am. When I woke around 8am, he’d left me a sweater, a rainproof jacket, a map of Holland, a hunk of cheese and 12 Guilders. (About £5).
mp3 : The Kinks - See My Friend
What would I do next? Join me next month (if you are in the slightest bit interested) as I continue the true story of my journey home to Blighty. To be continued … perhaps.
Love Dick x
Dick Van Dyke, Sunday 28 March 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
TELEVISION, THE DRUG OF THE NATION
Another song dragged up from a great TV performance.
It was 1996, and the show was called The White Room, hosted by Mark Radcliffe. As far as I'm concerened, this was one of the best and nost underrated music programmes ever made in the UK. It usually had one or two 'big' acts headlining, along with a few emerging acts. many of who were assocaited with the mid 90s rise of Britpop.
Until I saw them on the show, I had never heard of My Life Story, but I soon tracked down the current single they played that night:-
mp3 : My Life Story - Sparkle
They were a huge act in terms of numbers - combining the classic pop line-up with a lively string section. My first thought when seeing them on TV was that they were a wonderful throwback to some of the great OTT 80s pop acts such as ABC, or perhaps it was like watching Marc & The Mambas all over again. I also thought, purely because of the strings, that it could be Tindersticks on speed (with a different vocalist of course....)
If you click here, you can learn more about the band, and find out that by the time I cottoned on to them, they had been around for a fair few years, and indeed in terms of popularity were reaching a peak.
I havent been able to track down the live performance from all those years back, but I have shoved the promo for Sparkle as well as the previous single, 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, up at The Video Villain.
Is it just me, but does anyone else reckon Arcade Fire learned a lot from My Life Story?
Update all these months later........still havent found a clip of the live performance, but here's the videos as mentioned above:-
Friday, March 26, 2010
Foil were a coming together of members of a couple of guitar-rock bands called The Naked See and Mutiny Strings. They formed in 1996 and went on to release five different singles and two LPs, all on the 13th Hour label which was an offshoot of Mute Records. So in a sense, they owed their recording career to the commercial success of Erasure and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.
Dazed, Sick and Unwell. Can I Do Anything? These were the words of their debut single that had a sound that owed a lot to influences from across the pond such as Pixies and Sugar, but there was still something quite unmistakably Scottish about them thanks to the rasping Celtic vocal delivery of Hugh Duggie. Sadly, they were band in wrong place at the wrong time.
Not only was singing in your own accent considered to be a joke (unless you were American or Welsh in which it was only acceptable if you sang in your own language), but the critics weren't wanting gritty or noisy guitar-led bands anymore. The peak of Britpop had come and gone, and given that it had replaced grunge as the flavour of the day, something totally different was now required. Which was found in the phenomenal growth of a new type of dance/electronica with the likes of Orbital, Underworld, The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, and The Prodigy becoming the choice of poison for so many....
Which was a shame for Foil as they made a noise and racket that was joyous and memorably anthemic, particularly on all of the singles which were tailor-made for blasting out over your radio. The break they really needed was for one of their songs to have been picked up and featured on one or more of the movie soundtrack LPs that were in vogue at the time as every mogul tried to repeat the success of Trainspotting. But it just didn't happen.
Reviver Gene was first issued in July 1996, followed by Let It Go Black three months later. It was 1997 when the boys went into the studio armed with a bunch of killer-hooks and fine lyrics from which they emerged with more great singles in Are You Enemy? and Don't Come Around. When neither of these picked up anything in the way of sales, a re-recorded version of Reviver Gene was issued in November 1997, on CD and limited edition 7" green vinyl.
Still no joy.
Still, what do the record buying public know? After all, Reviver Gene was re-issued in a week when Barbie Girl by Aqua was at #1.....
The boys and girls in the promotional arm of 13th Note used words that describe the band very well:-
Taut, wired, drenched in equal parts paranoia and black humour yet hiding a tender heart. Foil play music that reaffirms your faith in the healing powers of the electric guitar. The sounds emanating from their debut album reveal a diversity that defies typecasting, and a knack for writing songs that go straight to the heart. Drenched in equal parts paranoia and black humour, yet hiding a tender heart, they sacrifice neither addictive melodies nor song writing prowess to the articulation of raw emotion.
mp3 : Foil - Reviver Gene
mp3 : Foil - Sedate Me
mp3 : Foil - Hey You
mp3 : Foil - Play Dead
Incidentally, the band have nothing at all to do with Foil, a San Diego based band of the mid-noughties, which is the band you will be directed to if you type in 'Foil - myspace'
And if you were a fan of Moby way way way back in the days, then you might have caught Foil playing live as they were the support on the Animal Rights tour.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Except this one:-
mp3 : Radiohead - Knives Out
It only reached #13 in August 2001. It came on the back of Pyramid Song and again had plenty of fans and critics scratching their heads at its lack of commercial appeal. There was no obvious catchy chorus and no real effort at sounding all that memorable on radio.
I reckon its one of the best things they've ever done. I could have sworn it was Johnny Marr playing on the record the first time I heard it.......indeed it sounded at times as if The Smiths had reformed with a new vocalist. Still does. Have a listen to the 40 second section that begins at about 2mins 25 seconds and tell me you can't make out some Manchester magic.....
The single was released across 2 x CDs.
mp3 : Radiohead - Worrywort
mp3 : Radiohead - Fog
mp3 : Radiohead - Cuttooth
mp3 : Radiohead - Life In A Glasshouse (full length version)
Again, all four tracks were quite different from what most fans were expecting. Here's extracts of what it says about them on wiki:-
Worrywort is a slow and dreamy electronic song again featuring unique percussion effects or beat-boxing.
Fog is an ambient and melodic song, mainly bass-driven, and featuring some creative use of tambourine. This version of the song differs from Thom Yorke's solo piano version sometimes played live. That brief live piano version was itself released as a b-side two years later, during the band's Hail to the Thief era, at which point it was nicknamed "Fog (again)."
Cuttooth has piano and bass working collectively and fluently with samples running in and out throughout the song. It is notable for having been mentioned 12 times in Ed O'Brien's online diary of the studio process for recording Kid A and Amnesiac, leading fans to expect it as a centrepiece of the band's new material, though the song would not make the cut on either record. Some of the lyrics of Cuttooth ("I don't know why I feel so tongue tied / I don't know why I feel so skinned alive") were later used in the song Myxomatosis, appearing on the band's 2003 album Hail to the Thief.
The full length version of Life in a Glasshouse found on the single is derived from the same performance as the version found on Amnesiac, but differs in that it lacks the opening electronic effect, and features slightly more soloing by jazz trumpeter Humphrey Lyttelton and other members of his band before Yorke begins singing.
So there you go.
Cracking video as well.
PS : Mrs Villain has just heard this for this first ever time. She thought it was something new from Rufus Wainwright.........
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Fair enough that the singles charts have not been targeted all that much in recent times, but I was bemused to learn that late 1992 with this cover version was the last time that Marc Almond enjoyed genuine commercial success:-
mp3 : Marc Almond - The Days Of Pearly Spencer
It's also a fact that all five of the singles that have made the Top 20 since the initial demise of Soft Cell are cover versions :-
I Feel Love (with Bronski Beat) in 1985
Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart (with Gene Pitney) in 1988
Tainted Love '91 (as part of Soft Cell) in 1991
Jacky in 1991
The Days Of Pearly Spencer in 1992
I could have sworn there had been some success with one or more of his own compositions, but Stories of Johnny (1985), Tears Run Rings (1988), A Lover Spurned (1990), and Adored And Explored (1995) didn't get any higher than the mid 20s chart-wise.
Again, I find that to be something quite bemusing as many of his own compositions have been excellent releases which usually received the full marketing and promotional treatment from his record labels.
As ever, here's the b-sides of the single featured today:-
mp3 : Marc Almond - Bruises
mp3 : Marc Almond - Dancing In A Golden Cage
If you've a spare five minutes on your hands, you could do worse than head over to his official website and read what is written on the Biography page. You'll find it under the History section.....
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Sometimes you end up buying the Wrong Record.
"Bloody hell, look at this", cried my pal, holding up a garish cartoon sleeve.
In 1984, you couldn't move amongst the record racks for tasteful Neville Brody rip-offs & self-conscious modern design, & here was Paul Haig looking like he was playing at being Tin Tin or some such, with a light & knowing smirk on his face.
Everyone laughed,but I was rather taken by it - thought the faceless gents on the backdrop looked like Dr Phibes' Clockwork Musicians. Plus it had a big long version of Blue For You on it. And it was mid-price. So sod it, I'm having it.
Getting it home & giving it a spin, I felt a bit deflated. Not that there was anything particularly wrong with it, just that Rhythm Of Life had been on my LPs-To-Get list for a year at least now, & - there was no getting around it - I'd bought the Wrong Record.
And that version of Blue For You was just longer, not better. Ach well, Side Two...
Somehow I'd missed hearing Justice back in 1983, despite owning the other ROL-era 7''s & having caught Haig on various music progs doing his bit. I'd read glowing reviews, but, well, this'll be another slightly over-/under-cooked version I suppose, dance floor-friendly to be sure but not too well suited to my bedroom of an early Saturday evening while I did my hair.
Oh... hang on...
mp3 : Paul Haig - Justice (Bruce Forest NY Remix)
Since then of course, I've heard the original versions of Justice (7'', 12'' & LP guises, even - via the wonders of the web - a live take from 1982), & many times, but this one remains my favourite.
Amongst the habitually-distended eighties perorations of the mini-album, it was immediately obvious that this wasn't a remix, but instead a thoughtful rearrangement, & to this day it nails the oblique poise of the song for me. In Haig's own versions, you remain unsure & at arms' length, the "peaceful night" far enough away to be either nostalgia or possibility; this version takes the getaway motif & runs with it, streamlining the action & focusing the obscure, looming quandary, gliding into a breakdown & coda that are all neon & taillights & make it plain that this reading is about leaving where the others are about arriving. It has the same equivocal demeanour as the others, a mixture of reverie & determination, but somehow in those, Haig simply fades out; in this one, he actually does get away. Cue end titles.
The 2004 reissue of Rhythm Of Life thoughtfully appends the New York Remix tracks to the end of the 1983 running order, & although I suppose it's a minor heresy to jigger about with the intended tracklisting (not to mention preferring a reinterpretation over the artist's own design), when I listen to ROL these days, I often programme this version in place of the original.
And I swap it & Work Together so's Justice makes for the curtain-closer. As a favourite singer of mine once rebuked a control-freak correspondent on their website, "Who says you get a vote? Get your own stupid band" - but still, I recommend giving it a try sometime, just for a change. It makes for a perfect envoi.
Sometimes the Wrong Record is also the Right One. Such are the pitfalls & chance delights.
Cut to 2004, & I'm playing this version of Justice in a pub deep in the heart of Glasgow, delighted to find a couple of pals approaching me to do a bit of trainspotting. Paul Haig, I tell them, & show them the sleeve. Everyone laughed. "Space Captain Birds Eye", I believe was the phrase.
Contributed by Davis McArdle, long-time reader and occasional participant via the comments section
Note from JC:
Big thanks to Davis for doing his bit for Paul Haig Day II, even though he doesn't have a blog of his own. Much appreciated.
Two weeks to go now until the actual day, and I'm a wee bit disappointed that numbers haven't yet surpassed last year's effort, although this e-mail cheered me up no end:-
I missed Paul Haig Day 1. So glad you're doing this again. I run a radio station in the US. We're going to join you (for at least part of the day, as I don't have much Paul Haig...I do have his latest release, and selected old stuff...need more!) on 4/6.
We're at http://www.exit977.org/ so you can see what we're about.
Cool on ya!
So once again, I'm asking please if you haven't signed up, to do so ASAP by either leaving a comment behind on this post or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . It would also be great if you could spread the word as wide as you can.
And to round things off this week, here's the 12" inch version of the song Davis gives big licks to up above, together with b-sides:-
mp3 : Paul Haig - Justice
mp3 : Paul Haig - On This Night Of Decision
mp3 : Paul Haig - Justice 82
Oh and here's one for trivia fans. The middle track was produced by John Porter who would later work on the debut LP of The Smiths.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sadly, the world wasn't ready for the charms of Cinerama, and after three studio LPs, a handful of compilations, 11 singles and not to mention the painful break-up of a long-standing relationship with a band member, David Gedge brought TWP back into being.
The band's fifth single was released in late 2000 and takes it title from the very famous Italian actress. It's a tale of lust more than anything else, although the hushed tone of the vocal delivery makes it a fair bet that there's a bit of infidelity involved as well. The arrangement on this track, as indeed with almost everything recorded by Cinerama, is truly special.
mp3 : Cinerama - Lollobrigida
There were two other songs released on this CD single, both of which are well worth a listen. See Thru has a tune that is as near to that of TWP as anything recorded by Cinerama, while Sly Curl is a hugely unusual number as much of the closing 70 seconds or so it features a spoken word section narrated by the comedian Sean Hughes.
mp3 : Cinerama - See Thru
mp3 : Cinerama - Sly Curl
The band recorded two wonderful versions of these songs for a John Peel session that was broadcast on 19 September 2000. The difference being that Lollobrigida was sung in French, while in place of Sean Hughes, the narration was delivered by a lady called Ilka Paetz. In German....
mp3 : Cinerama - Lollobrigida (Peel Session)
mp3 : Cinerama - Sly Curl (Peel Session)
Sheer Genius. I dare you argue otherwise.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Here’s a question – have you ever fancied a ‘famous’ singer or musician? As a male, I’m not talking your usual Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Clare Grogan, Kate Bush or whoever, I’m more interested in a queerer pitch.
What brought it to mind was an article by JC a couple of weeks back that referred in passing to Terry Hall. My heart warmed at his mention, and it got me admitting to myself that I’d really proper fancied him in my youth. I’m not sure why, as he’s perhaps not what you might call conventionally good looking, even back then. Maybe it was those puppy dog eyes, more likely it was his haircut, almost certainly it had a lot to do with his voice. I wasn’t desperate to sleep with him – there were plenty girls in my class that I would have preferred for that - but I did ‘like’ him in a way that I didn’t other musicians of the time.
For those that don’t know Terry Hall is probably best known as singer with The Specials. They were truly brilliant, and are now kinda reformed and remarketed, so there’s really no excuse for not owning all their stuff. Terence Edward Hall (born 1959, Pisces) also went on to sing with Fun Boy Three (with two ex-Specials), the Colour Field (with nobody you’ll know), Terry, Blair and Anouchka (with, ahem, Blair and Anouchka - that’s Booth, an American actress, and Groce, a jeweller), and Vegas (yawn, with ex-Eurythmic, Dave Stewart). There’s also all the solo stuff and guest appearances too many to mention, except for the one with Ian Broudie that inspired this article. The boy’s been about, as they say.
You don’t have to google that far to learn all there is to know about Messrs Hall, Golding and Staples post-Specials vehicle, Fun Boy Three. Despite six UK Top 20 hits, this only made 68 in 1982. So far as I can tell the b-side is no longer widely available. Though when you listen to it, you might think that’s not a bad thing.
mp3 : Fun Boy Three - The More I See (The Less I Believe)
mp3 : Fun Boy Three - ?
Sadly, my ‘affair’ with Terry ended when I was forced to accept that he was a regular at the red footballing outskirts of Manchester. I carried on enjoying his music in its many and varied forms, and perhaps flirted further with him now and then, but I could never again see him in that same hallowed light I did as an early-teenager.
Around the period, I was breaking up with Terry, one of my best mates was ‘coming out’ – not easy at the best of times, and where we lived, well nigh impossible. But, perhaps strangely, I don’t recall us ever comparing notes. This seemed more a topic for bedroom discussions between us ‘straights’ and I think I can safely point to one mate who fancied Joe Strummer and another Lou Reed. Though neither of them was exactly a leggy lovely and they certainly didn’t work for me.
No, I’d moved my affections to, perhaps, the antithesis of Terry Hall. I was now hankering – steady, that’s hanker with an ‘h’ – after David Sylvian, singer with (as I like to describe them) synth-punks, Japan.
Japan formed in 1974 when Sylvian (the glam version of his real name, David Alan Batt, born 1958, er….Pisces) was only 14. They comprised Mick Karn (or Anthony Michaelides), Rob Dean, Steve Jansen (actually a brother Batt) and Richard Barbieri. Their first two albums came out in 1978 and, gradually, they built a more mainstream following with albums Quiet Life (1979), Gentlemen Take Polaroids (1980) and Tin Drum (1981). Like Terry, David moved on and in with another, in this case Riuchi Sakamoto (with whom he recorded Forbidden Colours for the David Bowie starring film, Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence). Solo, I’d recommend Brilliant Trees (1984), and then I have to admit to losing him both musically and physically.
Sharper musical minds will notice that the timescales don’t seem to match here. Worry not, while I loved Japan’s early stuff – who couldn’t crave some Adolescent Sex – it wasn’t until the early 1980s that my crush on David Sylvian really began. I’m not sure exactly when or why my feelings towards him changed and he became more than merely the singer in one of my favourite bands, though I do know it had nothing to do with that dreadful hairstyle. Suddenly he became the man I’d fancy, if I was a woman. (As you can tell, times were tough in the north of Scotland – we had little else to discuss after cod, haddock and mackerel prices.)
I’m not a huge expert on rarities but, if I’m to believe Wikipedia, then this particular version of a Marvin Gaye US hit, written by Smokey Robinson, to be found on the b-side of Nightporter, remains unreleased on cd.
mp3 : Japan – Ain’t That Peculiar
But back to me. My life was changing. I was leaving for the big city and a course in Accountancy. No, seriously. I expected cosmopolitan. I got lots of posh public school types afraid of their sexuality. Desperate not to be gay. Of course, I reacted badly. I found a large, pretty picture of an old ‘boyfriend’, Green Gartside, of Scritti Politti (at the time, non) fame, and stuck it on my wall. That was never going to ingratiate me to my fellow students. And, boy, did it not.
Some might think it was waking up to Green every day, or the sight of Morrissey’s dried stalk pinned to my wall (it was a gladiolus, flower fans), but actually it was the fact he used obsessively to listen, on constant repeat, on a record player, to Buddy Rich and Ginger Baker drum solos (not the song, just the drum parts), that I reckon resulted in one room mate ending the year being convicted for stalking a very famous, then young, English actress. The other (mmm – how could you resist a big Irishman with a moustache) Phil Lynott loving room mate and I almost ended the year being convicted for his murder. On a brighter note, the Uni also chucked me out of Accountancy.
I mentioned Morrissey back there. I’ve never discussed with JC how far his relationship with Steven Patrick went. He may reveal that now, who knows. For the record, Mozza never made my personal fancy list. I loved the band, the music, the image and the man himself, but I never fancied him.
Having said that, The Smiths did seem to coincide with a dampening in my ardour for male pop stars. Musically, I had no-one special in my life for years. Maybe I got too close to the reality for a while. Maybe it was the tales of Julian Cope from a girlfriend who had previously gone out with Fish. Maybe it was another girlfriend disappearing off to spend the night in a sleeping bag with one of That Petrol Emotion. Maybe it was me finding out that sleeping with the girlfriend of the loud, pretentious and self-obsessed pretty boy lead singer of a well known local band was better fun. Maybe musos were particularly ugly for a few years. Maybe Madonna filled both roles.
Whatever, no-one male singer has really grabbed my fancy in the same way since.
But, over the years, from time to time there’s still been a tingle here and there. Though none quite like the early days when “my cement was wet”. Roddy Frame (born 1964, not that far from Pisces) has always been a bit special and, unlike me, has improved with age so count him in. More controversially for this column, I do also have a thing for Mark Anthony Patrick Owen, small, smiley-faced, cheeky chappy Take That-ter, born 1972 but only two days further away from Pisces than Roddy.
Pisces again? Why does it always come back to fish??
mp3 : Lazyboy (feat Roddy Frame) – Western Skies
Hmm, I’ve gone too far, I can see JC beginning to stir - at this point, I should probably quit.
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Big Gay Heart (Demo)
And finally, the BBC Governors are killing music. If like me, you want to save 6 Music………
Petition here -
And add your views to the consultation here –
Email via here -
Jacques The Kipper, Sunday 21 March 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
SONGS THAT WERE WASTED ON THE B-SIDE
I have a very bad hangover today. It was a night out to say farewell to a great crowd of people who I've worked with for 3 years. Head hurts now and I don't feel like writing much.
It was a friend of mine who put one of their songs on a compilation tape back in the early 90s. I picked up this single for 99p somewhere. Discovered I liked the b-side better
mp3: Poppy Factory - Little Princes
Can anyone enlighten me about Poppy Factory? All I can trace on the net is they released 3 singles on the Chrysalis label and then sunk without trace. Maybe the lack of chart success stopped an album being released. But as I say, I don't know... *
* MARCH 2009 UPDATE
One of the comments left behind, ages later in May 2008, said:-
I can help you on Poppy Factory because I know one of them quite well - they recorded an album that was never released, they were dropped after 3 singles and I agree about Little Princes - I listened to it last night for the first time in ages and it still sounded good to me
I've also found this while browsing:-
Coming out of Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1991 Poppy Factory combined the lyrical playfulness of Madchester music with the pop sensibilities that would a few years drive Britpop’s domination of the music scene.
Known early for eccentric live shows the band gathered some A&R attention before being signed to Chrysalis records. Three singles followed - 7x7, Stars and Fabulous Beast e.p. but poor sales and caused the record company to shelve the already recorded album and the band were not heard from again.
The album - named Good Times - included a cover version of classic song May To December after the record label asked for a cover to be included and the band’s lead single - Jack Cotton - selected this as it was the theme to a television show of the same name that his Mother watched.
And now that I've got a lot more confidence in what I'm doing compared to those very early days (the original post was just my twelfth ever), here's the a-side plus the band's other two singles:-
mp3 : Poppy Factory - 7x7
mp3 : Poppy Factory - Stars
mp3 : Poppy Factory - Fabulous Beast
Oh and here's what surfing round youtube threw up:-
Friday, March 19, 2010
The fact that it has taken well over 1,000 postings at TVV before I've taken the plunge and written about them is a clear indication that I'm a bit uneasy about things. Blame the music snob side of me that I'm not very good at hiding.
The thing is, I really did think Big Country were quite special when they first hit the scene in late 1982. Being a fan of The Skids, I was hugely interested in what Stuart Adamson was going to do next, and luckily enough I caught an early glimpse as he took his new band out on a tour of student venues, including Level 8 at Strathclyde University where I spent so many of my weekends between 1981 and 1985.
They were an excellent live act, with the biggest surprise being the fact that Stuart was actually a better singer in so many ways than his old sidekick Richard Jobson. It was also clear that Stuart, realising just how technically proficient a guitarist he was, had ensured that his new band mates were also among the best you could find, and each of Bruce Watson, Tony Butler and Mark Brzezicki made sure that Big Country could never be labelled a one man band.
I bought all the early singles and the debut LP, The Crossing, and caught them live at least two more times over the next two years. However, I was disappointed in the first of the new material to emerge after the initial flurry - the singles Wonderland and East Of Eden - and didn't even buy the second LP. But it didn't matter in the scheme of things as Big Country were now bona-fide chart superstars whose tours were selling-out in rapid time no matter the size of the venue, particularly in Scotland.
So I gave up on the band early on, and didn't pay much attention to them. It was also the case that everything I had of theirs was on vinyl, and so there was a long spell when I didn't have the capability to listen to them even if I wanted. And besides, if I wanted my fix of Stuart Adamson's sublime guitar skills, I could always play one or more of The Skids albums that I had bought on CD.
The suicide of Stuart Adamson in December 2001 was something that shocked and saddened me, and it was really only reading the obits and the tributes then that I fully realised the actual impact he had made on so many people during his 43 and a bit years on Planet Earth.
But even then, I still havent, until the past two weeks, listened to any Big Country songs for the best part of 30 years. I did so because I know that I couldn't possibly have a series carrying a grandiose title such as that I've bestowed on it without acknowledging and appreciating the success of Stuart Adamson's other, but let's be honest, better known band.
mp3 : Big Country - Harvest Home
mp3 : Big Country - Balcony
mp3 : Big Country - Flag Of Nations (Swimming)
These are the three tracks from the 12" version of the debut single. They are better than I imagined them to be all these years later. It was the only one of their first 11 singles which failed to chart, and as far as I know the two b-sides weren't released in any other format, so hopefully I might be completing some gaps in some collections,
Incidentally, I have downloaded and listened again to the two singles from 1984 that turned me off the band. I still don't like them all these years later. But I can understand just why they were so bloody popular......
Despite the fact that Big Country are seen as one of Scotland's most successful bands of the 80s, not one of the four were born in this part of the world. Stuart was born in Manchester (but moved to Dunfermline at a very early age), Bruce is Canadian, Tony a Londoner, and Mark was from Slough.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
From the back of the 12" single:-
Having stepped from the wreckage of their 1968 Ford Galaxy American police car Rockman Rock and Kingboy D (The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu) found their ice cream van. Heading east up over the Pennine-straddling M62, they pull their ice-cream van onto the hard shoulder. Behind them to the west, they can still make out the sprawling conurbation of Greater Manchester and those surrounding Lancashire towns, proud in their decline.
Further west, somewhere beyond where Liverpool used to be, a dirty sunset sinks into the Irish Sea. To the east the sky is already dark. The Yorkshire towns seeking solace in their Pennine valleys. But up here on this unhealing gash across the backbone of England the immediate landscape is a desolate moorland, with none of the grandeur of the Highlands or the classic English beauty of the Lakes.
Three bedraggled sheep huddle for shelter in a ditch. The drizzle toughens. Then climbs to a solid rain. Heavy goods vehicles plough by. Tacographs on overload. A leaded grime smears the verges. Sodden Silk Cut packets wonder whether they are biodegrading. A crow flies north.
Through the downpour and diesel roar, Rockman Rock and Kingboy D can feel a regular dull thud. Whether this is the eternal echo of a Victorian steam-driven revolution, or the turbo-driven kick of a distant Northern rave is irrelevant.
Thus inspired, the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu climb into the back of their ice cream van and work.
mp3 : The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu - It's Grim Up North (Part 1)
mp3 : The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu - It's Grim Up North (Part 2)
Part 1 is a 10-minute composition with two distinct segueing sections. The first 7-minute section is a heavy, pounding industrial techno track, over which Drummond gives a roll-call of Northern towns, through a CB microphone. Between verses, Drummond's processed voice urgently alerts us that "It's grim up North". The instrumentation is in minor key and frequently discordant, featuring synthesised sounds reminiscent of passing heavy goods vehicles or train whistles. Although the underlying rhythm holds a 4/4 time signature, several instruments keep 3/16 and 3/4 time throughout the track, including a deep second drum line - the "regular dull thud" - which juxtaposes when the 4/4 instruments and percussion drop out.
The second section is a fully-orchestrated arrangement of Jerusalem, with the sounds of brass, strings, organs, drums and choir. The instrumentation and vocals of the first section gradually diminish to nothing over a period of nearly two minutes. Following the climax of the hymn, howling wind and crow calls are heard to fade out.
Part 2 is a 6-minute reprise of the techno themes from Part 1, without the vocals and orchestra.
So now you know.
Stunning stuff on all fronts.
And an anthem for the UK should the Tories, as expected, get in in the upcoming General Election.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I remain thoroughly fond of many of their records, particularly those recorded and released in the earliest part of their career. I also enjoyed going along to watch them play live, and as have perhaps mentioned before, saw them one night in a tiny Edinburgh venue where they were supported by a then little-known band from the south of England calling themselves Radiohead.
It was actually the band's second EP, released in October 1991, that first brought them to my attention, courtesy of the lead track, Fashion Crisis Hits New York, being included on a C90 cassette tape compiled on my behalf by Jacques the Kipper. The initial records were released on the indie label Setanta Records which, although London-based, concentrated heavily on young Irish acts such as the lot being featured today as well as A House and The Divine Comedy. Oh and the label also gave a welcome home to Edwyn Collins at a time when no other label would go near him for fear of being associated with commercial failure. It would be Setanta Records that would release A Girl Like You.....
But back to the band in hand.
I was lucky enough to be advised by the staff in the small, independent store where I spent all my money in the early 90s that Setanta were intending to pick up on the higher profile the band were beginning to enjoy by combining the tracks on EP1 and EP2 within one CD release, and that they would be happy to order one in for me. As a result, I got my hands on the early tracks, some of which would be re-recorded and remixed for their debut LP some 12 months later on the much larger but still indie Go! Discs label. And here they are in their full glory:-
mp3 : The Frank And Walters - Walters Trip
mp3 : The Frank And Walters - Franks Right
mp3 : The Frank And Walters - Michael
mp3 : The Frank And Walters - Never Ending Staircase
The band only enjoyed one period of commercial success when the single After All reached #11 in the UK charts in January 1993, right on the back of some blistering live performances in support of Carter USM who were one of the most popular bands in the country at the time. There was just something totally irresistable about a trio who wore bright orange tops combined with purple flared velvet trousers who were fond of paying tribute to hip-hop in their own inimitable style, as this flip side cover version from the aforementioned hit single shows:-
mp3 : The Frank And Walters - Funky Cold Medina
The band have been a going concern on and off over the years, with studio albums also being released in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2006, as well as two compilation LPs and a live DVD at other times.
Oh and when Carter USM came out of retirement for a couple of gigs in 2007, it was The Frank And Walters who were asked to support.
Here's video from the hit single:-
Oh and I shouldnt forget that it has become customary to post this song every year on 17th March. It's one that got me noticed a few years back and given a very nice mention in The Guardian newspaper:-
mp3 : Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back In Town
Happy Listening. Go easy on the Guinness.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Not sure what this is about? Click here for a detailed explanation.
Even if it something you're not too sure about - maybe you don't think you know enough about Paul Haig or Josef K to write something extensive, please feel free to join in by posting one of his tracks. I know that Paul is OK about the old single Relive (which accompanied the TVV posting back on 2 March) to be made available through blogs and fansites, so maybe you could do that if nothing else.
It is important in the face of continuing onslaughts against bloggers that we collectively take some action, and the more folk use 6th April to give mention of Paul Haig Day II the better. So I'm asking you all very nicely to sign up if you haven't yet done so. Please join in by leaving behind your support at the comments section or alternatively send an email via the address on the right hand side.
Oh and if you could also draw attention to the campaign via your own websites or blogs, that would also be very nice indeed.
Paul Haig of course first came to prominence via Josef K, a band that were part of the roster on the legendary Postcard Records (aka 'The Sound Of Young Scotland') back in the very early 1980s.
After releasing a couple of singles, they ran into some problems as the proposed debut LP, entitled Sorry For Laughing, was scrapped at the very last minute in January 1981 as the band didn't like the production. Two more singles followed before the debut LP, now entitled The Only Fun In Town was released in June 1981.
Yet no sooner was the LP released than the band, allegedly deciding to follow one of punk's founding principles, decided they couldn't beat the initial recordings and called it a day, with only a final single released in February 1982. Incidentally, when news emerged of the band's demise, Edwyn Collins immediately asked guitarist Malcolm Ross to come and join Orange Juice. Which he did...
I thought you might be interested in hearing the last single released by Josef K as well as their version of a song that was never released until years after they had broken up and by which time had been a minor hit single for Paul:-
mp3 : Josef K - The Missionary
mp3 : Josef K - Heaven Sent
mp3 : Paul Haig - Heaven Sent
Happy Listening. And please, sign up for Paul Haig Day II.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Last July, I posted a review of the book Falling & Laughing - The Restoration of Edwyn Collins. For those of you who don't know, it is the story of how one of Scotland's national treasures underwent an incredible journey to recovery after two near death experiences after falling seriously ill in 2005. It is a story written by Grace Maxwell, the wife of the said national treasure. And you wont be surprised that the book was one of the best things to emerge anywhere in 2009. Click here for a link to last July's posting.
The book has been a huge critical success as well as an inspiration to a great many people. Eight months on, and the paperback edition has just been published. Last week, on 10th March, during a recent Book Festival that always attracts some of the best-known authors in the business, Grace Maxwell took to the stage of the Mitchell Theatre in Glasgow to talk about her work, to read a few extracts and to take questions from a capacity audience of just over 400. Oh and Edwyn was alongside her to help her out....
The event was always going to be a bit special, but what unfolded turned into something bordering on magical.
It began with Grace reading from the opening section of the book which relates how she first met Edwyn back in August 1980 when the Orange Juice singer along with Alan Horne, the band's manager and record label mogul, came to London to try and get some record shops interested in stocking copies of their debut single. Grace hadn't long moved to the big smoke from Glasgow and was happy enough to offer space on the floor of her flat to the happy travellers. It was the beginning of a relationship that has lasted 30 years and involved events that neither of them could ever have imagined in their wildest dreams.
Grace, with the occasional interruption and interjection from Edwyn, then answered some questions from the MC for the night (and apologies for not catching his name - all I know is that he was a Glasgow-based publisher and an obvious EC/OJ fan) covering various events and happenings in the book, following which there was a chance for the audience to join in.
As is usually the case, the audience was initially a bit shy. Indeed the first contributor who eventually put their hand up explained that he didn't want to ask a question but just simply say how fantastic it was that Edwyn was still alive and still able to take to the stage and perform his music. Cue applause.
Then an elderly lady put up her hand. She was sitting directly in front of me next to an elderly man who has been taking the occasional photo during Grace's reading and the chat with the MC. Both had been nodding vigorously at times. When the microphone was put in front of her, the lady started to speak with some difficulty, but was able to explain that, like Edwyn, she had been struck down by a stroke and like him, the after effect had been severe aphasia. But that the book had helped her realise she was not alone in struggling back and she wanted to thank Grace for doing so much to publicise aphasia and to thank Edwyn for being an inspiration. In reply, Grace talked a little bit about the issues surrounding this very unpleasant after effect - and the lady in the audience then said "What no-one really understands is that we are not stupid or mentally disabled but we just can't express ourselves the way we want to. It's really hard to get that across."
I don't think I was alone in having a lump in my throat at this point. It was really only then that I fully realised just how hard the past 5 years must have really been on Edwyn, Grace, their son William and those most closest to them. And I was moved by the fact that it is not just ancient indie kids or music fans who are looking on at Edwyn Collins continued recovery with huge interest...
After quite a few more Q&As, Edwyn was joined on stage by Sean Read and Carwyn Ellis for a semi-acoustic set featuring songs from the Orange Juice era and the solo years,including one new song entitled I'm Losing Sleep.
With no drums or bass and a minimal backing, Edwyn's voice is more to the fore in this type of setting than normal, and that is when you realise that while he still has obvious problems fully expressing himself when talking, his singing voice is getting better and stronger by the day. As he explained in response to a question, it's all down to the fact that he practices and rehearses every day. Sean and Carwyn were peerless whether they were playing guitar, keyboards, percussion and saxophone or joining in on backing vocals. And Edwyn was clearly having a ball. After 30 minutes, it was time to seemingly bring the evening to an end. The audience rose from their seats and gave a loud and heartfelt standing ovation....
And yet there was more.
We had been told that Grace would sign copies of the book in the foyer outside the theatre. What we didn't know was Edwyn had decided he was also going to add his signature....
I reckon over a hundred people waited behind. If it is a strain or struggle for Edwyn to slowly write his name in all those books, he certainly didn't show it. Not only did the author and her husband sign all those books, but they spoke at length with anyone who wanted to say something or ask a question that they were too shy to have posed in front of an audience, and of course they posed for any pictures.
It took around an hour and a half for the last person to have their book signed. And I should know, as it was me.....
I wanted to wait till the end just so that I could say thank you in person to both Grace and Edwyn for everything. That and the fact that I wanted three copies of the book to be signed.
I handed over my hardback from last year and when Grace asked who it was to be dedicated to, I couldn't help but say 'The Vinyl Villain'. Grace looked up and smiled and asked if that was who I was, and she then turned to Edwyn and told him that I was the fan who had posted some videos of live performances and photos at edwyncollins.com
Edwyn in response said 'Thank you. Those videos are great.'
Now I knew that Edwyn had watched the videos as he had left some comments behind at his site. But the fact that he was personally thanking me just left me in awe. It was, without question, one of the most memorable moments in my near 47 years on this planet.
After a little bit more small talk, I got the two paperback editions of the book signed. One was dedicated to my dear friend and fellow Edwyn-obsessive Jacques the Kipper.
But the other simply says:-
'Congratulations....and best from Grace Maxwell and Edwyn Collins'
And that is because I want to offer that copy as a giveaway prize on TVV......
Now I did initially think about making it an auction with the highest bid going to charity. But no, I'd rather make it open to all and sundry. All you have to do is send in an e-mail - the address is over on the right hand side of the blog - and mark it 'Grace Maxwell Competition'. One lucky e-mail will be drawn out by Mrs Villain after the closing date which is Sunday 28 March.
mp3 : Edwyn Collins - Won't Turn Back
Oh and I hope you enjoy the video clip taken on the night. Its one of the many wonderful tracks to be found on the LP Gorgeous George.
Happy Listening. And viewing
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Lost In The Mists of Peel
Like many I spent my teenage years with my finger poised over the pause button - record and play depressed - waiting for the next essential track on John Peel.
I was obsessed with the programme, and having lost my father as I entered adolescence, Peel became nothing short of a surrogate father. I loved the fantastic, strange music, and I loved the exclusive inclusivity (like a club that hardly anyone knew about), but most of all perhaps I just loved the man and his anecdotes and his wit and his humility.
But looking back now, it was actually quite a short period - from 1985 to 1991 - from discovering the programme (via David Kid Jensen's evening show) to losing contact during a year studying in the USA where my decade-long journey into the heart of country music began (yes, really).
But it was a hugely important time in my life, so I thought I'd try and represent it by quickly flicking through some vinyl and grabbing some singles which I haven't listened to in years, but when I heard them on John Peel they each seemed like the greatest, most amazing record ever.
My tastes were mostly rabidly anti-rockist, shaped by C86. A two-minute Mighty Mighty song was perfection. Yet strangely these records are all kind of mini-epics which must have had affected me by challenging my indie orthodoxy.
There are many bands and artists that I discovered on John Peel who turned out to be hugely significant, from Half Man Half Biscuit to Nirvana. However the artists or tracks below I don't really know anything about. I would suggest that none of them were of any lasting importance. Someone out there may disagree, and hopefully will.
I just thought it might be more interesting to pick some records lost in the mists of time, in the dust of my shelves, in the recesses of my memories of listening to John Peel on the Dixons own-brand ghetto blaster on the shelf above my pillow.
mp3 : God - My Pal
mp3 : Bleach - Wipe It Away
mp3 : Thee Hypnotics - Justice in Freedom
mp3 : Moonflowers -Fire
What are anyone else's lost Peel favourites?
Cullen Skink, Sunday 14th March 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Sorry to interrupt JC's Great Opening Tracks series, but here's a remix of a Clash classic. An electro breaks remix of Should I Stay Or Should I Go? from Italy's Domenico Biancardi, about whom more from a previous post on ACID TED here.
Domenico says "I have maked a new remix of a classic song Clash - Should I Stay Should Go. A style was like Mowgli or Switch, breaks style."
This is a demo mix, so bear with it. The first minute of the track is really disappointing, sounding mostly like the original coupled to a standard four to the floor beat. But after a minute, it hits its stride and goes off into new and interesting places. Good but not as good as his previous mixes.
mp3 : The Clash - Should I Stay or Should I Go (Biancardi Mix)
Domenico Biancardi website
For those of you who don't know, Ctel very recently called time on his own superb blog Acid Ted after 1300 posts over a two year period. He's much missed as can be seen from the comments left behind on his final post.
He's been a great friend to TVV on many an occasion, even to the extent of taking it over for a short period of time when my own PC crashed and took with it all the music files. Hopefully one day he can be tempted out of retirement. In the meantime, expect to see a few more of his old articles appear in this slot on an occasional basis.