Monday, 12 November 2018

Monday's Long Song

These long songs on a Monday are unearthing some gems across the sites, the Swede in particular has been putting me on to things that are totally new to me. When looking out things for here I have dusted down some tracks that haven't been played for ages or I had totally forgotten about and in some cases has sent me off on some weird and wonderful listening tangents.

Today's track fall into the "hasn't been played for ages" category. When I took a punt on "These Were The Earlies" back in 2004 I was kind of perplexed at first, didn't know what to make of it, it didn't sound like anything else around at the time, It was very trippy in an late 60s British folk/psychedelic way but with modern synths but with a bit of a US West Coast vibe about it too. One of the stand out tracks was Morning Wonder. A while ago I managed to pick up a single sided 12" promo of this track which extended the album cut to double it's length, all repetition and krauty sounding synths.

The Earlies - Morning Wonder (Final Mix)

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Friday, 9 November 2018

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

Australian psychedelic dance rockers Jagwar Ma have a knack of getting it spot on when they pick the producers to remix their tracks, the man that is Andrew Weatherall has produced a couple of belters, the Time and Space Machine dub sessions are excellent and the Pachanga Boys epic trippy mix of Come Save Me is essential but my favourite comes from the Every Now and Zen remixes 12" and is definitely aimed more at the dance floor than sitting stoned out of your gourd nodding along to. The original is a pretty good dance floor friendly track if you can get passed Gabriel Winterfield's vocals which for me are a weakness of the band and probably why I prefer the remixes of their stuff where the vocals are at a minimum. However, German producer and DJ Michael Mayer strips out the vocal, adds a wobbly bassline and turns the track into a minimal techno monster that build over the course of seven minutes, it reminds me somewhat of Reveal by Richard Norris' side project Circle Sky.

If I must talk about the football, I can sum up last week's performance by Airdrie with one word pish. If you need further details, the fact that the goalkeeper was the man of the match should tell you all you need to know. Tomorrow they make the long trip down to Stranraer who are two places above the Diamonds who crashed from 4th to 7th after last week's rubbish. Let's hope they can do something tomorrow but again, I wouldn't put any money on it.

Have a good weekend people.

Jagwar Ma - Give Me A Reason (Michael Mayer Does The Amoeba Remix)

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Some Kind Of Wonderful

I've had an urge to watch Some Kind of Wonderful this week not sure why. I think it may have something to do with the state of the world and going back to a less scary time. It's quite a feat to be in a time that makes you hanker back to the good old days of the Cold War and Thatcher at the height of her powers. Or maybe it's just that I'm just a sad middle aged man reminiscing about my youth. Whatever the reason I watched what I think is John Hughes' best film and thoroughly enjoyed it, sure some of the acting isn't terrific, the plot is typical John Hughes and the characters are all stereotypes but it made me smile and also get as infuriated with Eric Stoltz character as much as I did way back when. It's Watts you clown, she's the one not the Wannabe but this being a John Hughes movie he get's it in the end.

As I've said previously,  simpler times.

One thing did that did stand out was that the soundtrack is not as good as I thought it was, there is a terrible remix version of The Hardest Walk, Brilliant Mind by Furniture, a rather sweet cover of Can't Help Falling In Love and the Stephen Duffy song posted below which soundtracks one of my favourite scenes in the film. I think that this song may have been written for this film as I couldn't find it anywhere other than on the soundtrack album. Apart from those the rest is pretty par for the course mid 80s sludge.

Stephen Duffy - She Loves Me

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Martin Stephenson

On Saturday night I had the great pleasure of seeing Martin Stephenson perform Gladsome, Humour and Blue in its entirety at Oran Mor. This album is probably my favourite by this much underrated artist and sound tracked my year in Aberdeen just as much as the Betty Blue soundtrack, 1000 Years of Trouble and various House 12" singles. In fact Nancy was played at least once a day for about a month.

I have never seen anybody so happy to be on stage as Stephenson and his between song banter was funny and at times informative about presenting the Dainties with one more dirge to record, when all they wanted was for Martin to come up with something a bit upbeat and poppy "like Roddy Frame". He also gave some insights into what it was like to be on the road with other bands, apparently the Bluebells were a great laugh but that Prefab Sprout were a miserable shower.

Gladsome, Humour and Blue has been re-recorded for it's thirtieth anniversary and can be purchased here. If you liked the original you will also love this re-interpretation and if you don't know the original you should buy this anyway as it is a lovely album, not the most upbeat of records but the music and lyrics are top class. The album was re-recorded at Beetroot Studios in Airdrie, a stone's throw from the football stadium and produced by Stuart MacLeod who joined the band on stage for an encore and who Stephenson tried to sell him a guitar. This recording session was not the first time that Stephenson had been to the town of my childhood, he has recorded at MacLeod's studio a few times and in 2004 released an album called Airdrie - Songs From The Industrial North which is pretty rare to get a hold of these days but is available for download at the Bandcamp page. Although today's track is on that album it did not get an airing on Saturday night but I can't grumble because the extras that we did get over and above the Daintees album were perfect for the time and place.

If you ever get the opportunity to see Martin Stephenson, don't hesitate as it is worth it just for the big stupid grin and the stories alone, the songs are a great bonus all the same.

Martin Stephenson - Mountainous Spring

Monday, 5 November 2018

Monday's Long Song

This track is a few minutes shorter than my usual song in this series but it come on over the weekend and I listened to it three times on the bounce and thought that it was quite apt this week.

Now,  I'm not one for trying to tell people from other countries how to vote, I lost a lot of credibility for David Bowie prior to the Scottish Independent Referendum when he deemed to put his neb in and a few others for that matter but folks in the USA could do worse than listen to Bruce Springsteen this week, that's all I'm saying.

Land of Hope and Dreams was written by Springsteen in 1998 was performed live on the following year's E Street Band reunion and then recorded during the sessions for 2002's The Rising but not included it was subsequently rerecorded and released on Wrecking Ball in 2012, The studio version is ok, actually really good but does not pack the punch of the live one posted here, from the Live In New York City album. Most Springsteen songs when you think of it come into there own in the live environment. I really should have paid the money a couple of years ago and gone and seen him at Hampden!

Bruce Springsteen - Land of Hope and Dreams 

Friday, 2 November 2018

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

Propellerheads are probably best remembered for their collaboration with Dame Shirley Bassey, History Repeating or the cover they did of the theme to On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The duo were signed to Wall of Sound one of the leading labels lights in the "Big Beat" genre in the mid to late 90s. Take California was the second single from the boys from Bath and is my favourite. It has your typical hip-hop beats, synonymous with this scene which are actually sampled from on old soul tune, Hit or Miss by Odetta which I first heard when it was used on DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist's seminal mix cd Brainfreeze.

Well, no new manager bounce for Airdrie last week. just another incredibly poor performance in which the Diamonds eventually succumbed to the inevitable defeat on the 86th minute when Stenhousemuir scored. It was bitterly cold last Saturday with limited benefit coming from digging out the long-johns and I think my feet eventually warmed up at about 22:00 hrs. Tomorrow they play host to Forfar who are one place and two points above them in the table. I will be going more in hope than expectation and will be wearing two pairs of socks!

Have a good weekend people

Propellerheads - Take California

Thursday, 1 November 2018

I've Been In Front, I've Never Given In.

I love this track so much it is an aural sedative. After listening to the pompous twat that is Michael Portillo on the Moral Maze last night, I put on They Gave Me A Lamp and almost instantly  calmed down which is strange that a song about the Miner's Strike of 1984 - 85 should do so and not make me rage even more so, especially as Portillo lest we forget due to his reinvention as a railway enthusiast and extremely bad dad dancer, was an acolyte of Thatcher and a very loyal member of the government intent in crushing not only the miners but any worker who didn't stay in line and put up with their lot.

Enough of the politics already, I hear you say.

 I think that it may be the participation of the Derbyshire trio Haiku Salut, as their latest album, There Is No Elsewhere (which is very good by the way) has a similar effect on me. Or it could be the brass or the impassioned sampled dialogue or just that it is a great song which is sadly over far to soon. There is a very good remix of They Gave Me A Lamp by Plaid which came out on RSD 18 release, People Will Always Need Coal which is also very good. O

The album that the track comes from, Every Valley, the third by Public Service Broadcasting is worth checking out, although an album thoroughly wrapped up in the coal industry in the Welsh Valleys may not sound like a great listen, it really is, it's atmospheric, moody but also has some great moments of light and optimism not least on Progress , on which Tracyanne Campbell provides the unmistakable vocal, what there is of it.  I had the good fortune to see both of those tracks being performed live at Electric Fields during one of the standout sets of the festival for me.

Public Service Broadcasting - They Gave Me A Lamp 

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Happy Birthday Boy

Max turned fifteen today! I said to him this morning, "this time next year you will be able to vote in Scottish elections" to which he responded "this time next year I can leave school" and argument I decided that was best left for another day, one that I think will include a lot of raised voices and no mutually agreed outcome. The joys!

I was going to post something that Max is listening to at the moment but it's all absolute pish. Sadly the early promise has disappeared maybe Stiff's right and he burnt himself out on good music before he was twelve. So in honour of Halloween here is a track from the first and my favourite Dream Syndicate album, The Days Of Wine And Roses.

The Dream Syndicate - Halloween

Monday, 29 October 2018

Monday's Long Song

This track knocked me for six the first time I heard it as it is not what you expect from Kenny Anderson.  A song that lasts for more than ten minutes, surely not but then again King Creosote always confounds expectations.  On one level the song is typical of Anderson, those soft Perthshire vocals, repeating a few phrases over and over accompanied by piano and guitar but then there are the drums, front and centre, that kick in just over a third of the way through and then drive the song all the way until the finale.  Drums are not usually what you would associate with KC but they are effective, so much so that  eleven and a bit minutes have passed in what feels like the blink of an eye and there is nothing else for it but to go back to the start and play it again.

King Creosote - Ankle Shackles 

Friday, 26 October 2018

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

I think we shall have a bit more Guerilla this week from The Drum Club and remixed by Orbital. It is a bit Progressive House by numbers when you listen to it now but at the time this sounded just the thing, a little bit of breathy female vocal, pulsing bass line, a nagging sampled refrain and a squelchy bit. To be honest at the time we didn't need anything else to keep us entertained. Simpler times.

The Diamonds did rather well away to Montrose last week, returning home with a three nil victory. According to the match report it was a pretty solid performance and convincing victory. Let's hope they can give the same sort of performance tomorrow when Stenhousemuir come to visit, which will be the first match with new manager Ian Murray at the helm. Tonight I will be looking out the long-johns as it looks like it is going to be the first of many Baltic visits to Shybury before the end of the season.

Have a good weekend people.

Drum Club - Alchemy (Phasers On Stun mix)

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Keeping It Peel

Fourteen Years!

Webbie came up with this idea eight years ago and I always find it quite an enjoyable task dipping into Ken Garner's book the Peel Sessions every year and reminding myself of all of the diverse sessions that were done for the great man's radio show, albeit a task that is tinged by sadness that Peel is no longer with us, to educate, inform and do all the hard work of finding the new bands and artists for us. There are other very good dj's out there keeping up the good work but good as they are, they ain't  Peel and I don't think there will ever be another dj that comes close, that may be nostalgia and if you can prove me wrong I will be happy but I just don't think so.

This year's session is a bit different, as it's not two or three tracks recorded at Maida Vale but a live dj set by the Scratch Perverts which I do remember hearing at the time and absolutely loving.

The Scratch Perverts - Peel Session DJ Set 26/01/1999

John Peel - The Fall

Monday, 22 October 2018

Monday's Long Song

I've just finished reading Stuart Cosgrove's second part of his Soul Trilogy Memphis 68, and very good it was too even better than part one. It only reinforced the annoyance at myself that I have been feeling since L came back from Memphis regarding my fear of inter continental flying, as I have been told several times over the past week or so "you would love Memphis, Drew, you really would". I can console myself that even if I were to get over this, some have said "irrational" fear, the distinct lack of funds and my total inability to save as much as £100 means that unless I win the lottery, I will not be going. If I were to win the lottery I would be going by boat anyway.

Back to the music, finishing the book made me change the track that I had lined up for today and replace it with something that not only helped bring someone who up until the album that today's track was released was a minor figure in the Memphis Soul scene,  also shaped the direction that soul would travel in the 1970,  laid the foundations for the likes of Barry White and took soul music from the constraints of the sub 3 minute pop song, if not into the realms of the concept album, then at least the song as a long form story. A Jimmy Webb penned, Glen Campbell, Nashville staple is not the sort of thing you would associate with changing the face of soul music but that's just what happened when Isaac Hayes reinterpreted By The Time I Get To Phoenix, adding a spoken word back story to the sounds of the Bar-Kays, Hayes takes nearly nine minutes setting the scene before the track kicks in fully and then the next nine minutes are taken up with absolutely sublime soul and then it's over, wow! The album this track comes from, Hot Buttered Soul only contains 4 tracks, three of which are covers and one original composition by Hayes and Al Bell. It was a toss up whether to post By The Time I Get To Phoenix or the sublime rendition of Walk On By which also qualifies for this series clocking in at 12 minutes.

There will not be a lot to see here this week as I am at a three day meeting, in the exotic location of Heathrow bloody airport. I have put together something for Thursday though.

Isaac Hayes - By The Time I Get To Phoenix

Friday, 19 October 2018

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

Back to the heady days of 1993, when it was really difficult to keep up with all the excellent 12" singles that were coming out. This was when Progressive House ruled supreme, well with me anyway and you always got your money's worth when purchasing records on labels like Guerilla, Cowboy, Soma and the likes as most tracks stretched out well over 6 minutes and there would usually be at least one further interesting mix by another leading light of the genre on the b-side.

Today's two for the price of one comes from Spooky who consistently came up with the goods on their own recordings and also the remixes they did for others. Schmoo was the duo's third  release on William Orbit and Disc O'Dell's Guerilla label. There were four mixes on the 12" two by Spooky and two by Underworld, who were yet to become the stars of the dance scene that they would be in the coming years, But in 1993 along with remixing the likes of  Spooky and One Dove they would produce two very good singles and one outstanding one in Rez.  On their mix of Schmoo, they take an already very good piece of dub house disco and turn it into a dance floor classic, indicative of the sounds that I and thousands like me were listening to back then when a good dj took you journey on the dancefloor.

Tomorrow Airdrie are away to Montrose, I was up for the journey north but Leo was less keen  and really didn't fancy the 5 hour round trip, so tomorrow I will be tuned into Open All Mikes and checking Twitter for a match that the Diamonds really need to come away with something from.

Have a good weekend people.

Spooky - Schmoo (Underworld mix)