Sunday 14 July 2013
Whit's In Yir Box? T
We resume this series after a two week break with the letter T. To be honest I thought that there were more singles for this letter than there actually are.
The first single is a Spanish ep from Vince Taylor, primarily bought for Brand New Cadillac. Like most people of my age and musical preferences I first heard the track as a cover by the Clash and it was quite a few years before I even heard the original and a considerable period before I got my hands on it on vinyl. Apparently Vince was a bit of a nutter who left the music business to become an aircraft mechanic and died at the very early age of 52 from cancer. The other tracks on the ep are good especially I Like Love but not a patch on Brand New Cadillac.
I really liked Duffy's fourth single Mercy, thought that it had a really good retro soul vibe to it but didn't expect the cover by the Third Degree to be so much better, more infectious and more of a dancer. I defy anybody to listen to this song and be able to stay still if they can they are probably dead or fans of One Direction.
It looks as though the Ts are full of cover versions or originals that are better known by other people and the next single would become better known when covered by a young Elvis Presley three years after the original was released. There is something primal but beguiling about Big Mama Thornton's vocal on Hound Dog. My copy is the "dodgy" unofficial pressing released in 2010 but I have seen copies of the original on eBay that weren't that expensive and thought about it a couple of times but there are other pressings that I would replace before this one, as the quality is pretty good.
54 - 46 takes me right back to when I was 18, wearing an MA1 and Docs and frequenting Scooter Club dances. I first owned the track on the Trojan Explosion album which was great value as it contained nearly every ska tune played at these dos on one piece of vinyl and also a couple of gems that weren't such as Bob Marley's Small Axe. Seven or eight years ago I found a re-issue of the single on Beverley's with Pressure Drop on the other side but unlike the pressing of Hound Dog this isn't that great with quite a few clicks and pops on apparent mint vinyl but still worth having nonetheless.
Next up is a single that I originally had on 12" vinyl which was borrowed by a girlfriend who gave it, the album it came from and a whole load more of my records to Oxfam in retribution when we finished, a story for another day, possibly. The Trash Can Sinatras came out at the tail end of the purple patch that Scottish music went through in the mid to late eighties, Obscurity Knocks being their first and best single. Listening to this song usually puts me in a good mood, even when I remember the fate of my original copy, it's one of those tracks like Honey At The Core by Friends Again that conjure up visions of sunny days when everything was so much simpler. Happy Days! Years later i got to see them opening for Roddy Frame on the first night of the ABC in Glasgow and was really disappointed, not that they were rubbish or anything just really boring.
Surfing Bird is another song that was played at Scooter Club dos but The Cramps version usually accompanied by some pretty hard core slamming on the dance floor which sometimes would end up in real violence. The original version by the Trashmen is probably associated in a lot of people's minds with Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. The first few bars of this track usually leads to absolute bedlam in this house as both boys love this mad tune.
Next up we have probably Phil Spector's second finest moment. I am still amazed that River Deep Mountain High bombed in America. From all accounts the recording of the song was fraught and that dozens of musicians and backing singers were used on it. It is said that it cost $22 000 to record a sum unheard of at the time. But the results are astounding, the phrase "wall of sound" never being more apt than it is on this track and what a vocal performance by Tina Turner, even if it did take her hundreds of takes before Spector got what he wanted.
The final single in the T section is by the Twilight Singers but not the one that should be in the box, that should be Teenage Wristband but for some reason it was only released on cd single. Feathers, the follow-up is an alright track but. the b-side Number Nine is a slow burning epic of a song and the first time that Dulli and Mark Lanegan collaborated I think. The opening organ kind of makes me think of You Can't Always Get What You Want but when that deep, deep voice of Lanegan starts you know that you are in for something a bit moody and dark. What we end up with is some kind of sleazy epic, wonderful.
Vince Taylor - Brand New Cadillac
The Third Degree - Mercy
"Big Mama" Thornton - Hound Dog
Toots & The Maytals - 54 - 46
The Trash Can Sinatras - Obscurity Knocks e.p.
The Trashmen - Surfin' Bird
Ike & Tina Turner - River Deep Mountain High
The Twilight Singers - Feathers/Number Nine
"Big Mama" Thornton - Hound Dog