Wednesday, 22 March 2017
So there I was sat at my desk on Monday afternoon procrastinating and thinking of making my upteenth up of tea of the day when my own phone pings, not the work one, so at least I'm interested enough to look and I see that it's a text from JC, "Wanting to firm up the plans for Friday" I think, as we are supposed to be meeting up for beers, that have been way too long in the planning, so I pick up the phone and well to say that the text made my Monday would be a slight understatement, made my week, definitely and most probably my month unless something else amazing happens in the next 10 days. The text is actually cancelling our pints on Friday night which is not the good part, the good bit is that JC has been offered a ticket for the Friday night at The Barrowlands for the 6Music Festival and he was wondering if I wanted first refusal on it! He's that kind of guy is JC, he's offered the chance to see Sleaford Mods/Warpaint/Ride and the Mary Chain at the best music venue on the planet and he thinks that somebody else would appreciate it more. It took me about 10 seconds to reply to the text confirming that I would indeed like the ticket. I had tried on the Friday that they were released to get some but with no luck and had resigned myself to listening to the gig on the radio, or what coverage there was.
Now I know some of you will be saying what about your no going to see reformed bands rule Drew? Well I will hold up my hands and confess to being a hypocrite this time, mostly due to Swiss Adam's positive review of the Psychocandy tour and also the couple of mates who saw the Reids at the Barras then who also said that they were a hell of a lot better than they expected and it wasn't just a nostalgia fest. So you can slag me all you want I'm not caring and I also get to see Warpaint who I have been told are very good live. I was never that into Ride but interested to find out how they sound these days too. Unfortunately I won't be there early enough to see Sleaford Mods which is a bit of a pisser but unavoidable.
I am nearly as excited about this gig as something else that is happening the first weekend in May that will be mentioned shortly here and at other affiliated sites I suspect.
The Jesus and Mary Chain - Kill Surf City
Tuesday, 21 March 2017
If I told you that today's track was another excellent stomping piece of American Garage rock, could you hazard a guess at what year it was release?
1966 you say.
Well technically you would be wrong as this song was unfathomably never released but was recorded in that year.
The Fanatics or Neal Ford and The Fanatics as they were known back in the 1960s were from Texas and contemporaries of 13th Floor Elevators and The Moving Sidewalks. The group were formed in 1964 by Ford, already a veteran of the local music scene. The band released their first single, I Will Not Be There in 196. The single was quit aptly titled as the band shortly afterwards went on a hiatus when Ford wasn't there due to being called up by the Naval Reserves. On his return the group started up again, recorded a second single and started work on their only album which would be released in 1967 after a further couple of singles the second of which Gonna Be My Girl received some attention nationally and they released a further single I Will If You Want To which they hoped would be tgheir breakthrough but sadly received little airtime. The band continued on the local live circuit until calling it a day in 1969. Good Men was one of the original demos for the album but for some reason didn't make the grade and languished unreleased until Caped Crusader Records put it out on 7" in 2007.
The Fanatics - Good Men
Monday, 20 March 2017
I Really Love You by Jimmy Burns is a pretty rare piece of Chi town soul, released on the Erica label in 1965. It was released on Grapevine in 1979 and then again on Inferno last year when I eventually got a copy on vinyl as I didn't have the necessary six grand for an original on Erica and it was a bit far down my wants list to pay £40 + for the 1979 release. That's not to say it's not a very good record, it is and one which is guaranteed to get you grooving.
On the flip side of the Inferno release is a girl group track utalising the backing track from I really Love You more which I really can't listen to as I keep expecting the backing vocals from the Jimmy Burns track come in and it really infuriates me when they don't.
Jimmy Burns - I Really Love You
The Brand New Faces - Brand New Faces
Friday, 17 March 2017
There is only one thing worse than a middle-aged man with no where to go on a Friday night and that is to be a middle-aged man with somewhere to go on a Friday night, I for one really can't be arsed. But tonight I have to go to the 21st birthday party of my favourite nephew. Some of you may recall his 18, yeah the one where none of the girl friends were invited as "all they do is cause bother". I think tonight's event will be slightly different. But one thing's for sure that in being amongst the bright and not so bright young things the age old adage about youth being wasted on the young will probably be muttered by at least one of us over the hill used to be's and the rest of us will look on jealously wishing it was us doing it all over again, One plus point is that Lewis, as attested by his attending the Orb with me and going to the Sub Club often, likes a bit of techno, so the tunes should be good at least unntil the over 40s have had enough drinkand start moaning that they want something to dance to and the old favourites, ie the worst of the 80 and 90s will get an airing and it will turn into a bit of a nostalgia fest.
Still, I have the football to look forward to at the weekend. I say look forward to, what I mean is dread as we were gubbed three nil on Tuesday night in Brechin. So it is not looking good for tomorrow's home game against Stenhousemuir who humped us five nil in December and then 4-2 in January. The joys!
Have a good weekend people.
Nina Kraviz - Desire
Wednesday, 15 March 2017
I have no doubt that Stephen McRobbie, Alison Mitchell and all the others who have graced either the recording studio or stage as a Pastel will have listened and been influenced by the band featured yesterday. Nothing To Be Done is the first track from the band's second album, Sittin' Pretty released twenty eight years ago, Jesus!
There was a good programme on 6Music the other week where Stuart Murdoch lead a discussion with various other Glasgow indie heroes including Stephen Pastel on the music scene in the City from the 1980s onwards. My only gripe with the programme was that in amongst all of the influential record labels and club nights discussed, Slam and Soma did not even get a mention which I found a bit strange as both DJs and labels had and still have a huge influence on dance culture in the UK and beyond but I suppose they don't really fit the indie image.
The Pastels - Nothing To Be Done
Tuesday, 14 March 2017
It was fifty years ago on Sunday past that the most influential album in rock music (in my opinion) was released. An album which as we all know bombed at the time, the world wasn't yet ready for the Velvet Underground and Nico, apart from a few thousand switched on people.
I often wonder what my record collection would have sounded like without the Velvets and have come to the conclusion that most of the music that I have bought and loved over the years from the Jesus and Mary Chain, through Spacemen 3/Spiritualized to current favourites Rancho Relaxo just wouldn't have existed, the influence of Reed, Cale Morrison and Tucker is so great. which leads me to reason that my listening habits would either be a lot blander or I would have become a tunnel visioned soulie with no time for anything else. Either way it would be much different to what it is today.
The Velvet Underground and Nico may not be my favourite these days but it still holds a special place in my heart. It has a bit of everything in there, darkness and light, brutal feedback and noise (European Son), the incredible tenderness of Sunday Morning, the cooler than cool swagger of I'm Waiting For The Man and much more besides. Although the album had been re-released in 1983 in the UK it was still quite difficult to get a hold of a copy in 1985 when it first came to my attention due to it being constantly mentioned in relation to The Jesus and Mary Chain who for me at that moment were the most exciting band around. I first got a copy of it on tape from the older brother of a friend who was into Orange Juice/Postcard and all that stuff. I procured my first copy of the LP in a swap deal for what I can't remember with a pal who like me had read all the hype and bought it when on holiday in the States listened to it and hated it. His loss my gain, doubly so as he also bought White Light.White Heat which he liked even less.
Run Run Run is one of the highlights of the album for me, christ they are all highlights, European Son, slightly less so. You can imagine my delight when watching The Whistle Test's Rock Around The Clock on BBC2 in 1986 when Echo and The Bunnymen and Billy Bragg covered it.
The Velvet Underground - Run Run Run
Monday, 13 March 2017
It is inevitable that some of the soul singers that I have come to love over the years have been passing in recent years as a lot of them had been recording from the late 50s/early 60s but Joni Sledge certainly was taken before her time being only 60 when her death was announced on Friday. She formed Sister Sledge in 1971. They are probably best remembered for their work with Chic in the late 70s recording some of the best disco/soul records ever. One of their earlier singles from 1974, Love Don't You Go Through No Changes On Me saw action in the northern scene and has been featured on the blog before. The Sisters also had the dubious honour of a cover by the Fall of Lost In Music, one of the gruppe's best covers actually. I have decided to post my favourite Sister Sledge track, Thinking of You,
Rest easy Joni
Sister Sledge - Thinking of You
Friday, 10 March 2017
I've been listening to the new album by Timothy J Fairplay, Where Is The Champion a lot since it's release a few weeks ago. It has a very old school quite retro feel about it, even down to the 80s video game inspired artwork and made me want to listen to John Foxx afterwards. I get a very dystopian vibe from it but that is probably just down to my very gloomy outlook at the moment. I went back to listen to other stuff I have by Fairplay and a lot of it has a retro feel but still of it's time if that doesn't sound too stupid, whether it be the Junior Fairplay stuff or the single released on Hoga Nord records last year. Today's track comes from the excellent second volume of the Andrew Weatherall vs the Boardroom compilation which scarily was released some eight years ago now! On this track Fairplay looks to the golden age of Acid House for inspiration and comes up with something which sounded fresh in 2009 and to these ears anyway, has not dated from then til now. althoughI will have to let my 21 year old nephew have a listen and get the opinion of a regular modern day club goer as I am listening through the earsd of a middle aged man who has only seen the inside of a club recently to see bands not indulge in the whole hedonistic club adventure thing.
Turning to football, a topic beloved of middle aged men, Airdrie's enlisting of the help of a legend from this galaxy and another from one far far away has not helped the team on the park one iota as last week they were resoundly humped 2 - 1 in probably the worst performance I have witnessed this season at the very least., So now we have enlisted the support of Forest Gump, see here and to paraphrase him:- watching Airdrieonians is like a box of chocolates you never know what you are going to get, however unlike chocolate, attending an Airdrie match these days is rarely sweet or pleasurable. Let's hope they can get something from the local derby tomorrow away to Albion Rovers,
Have a good weekend people.
Tim Fairplay - U Know U Jack
Thursday, 9 March 2017
No this isn't a post about whichever politician you might want to choose but about The Black Angels, the psych rock band from Austin Texas. Snake In The Grass for me is the highlight of the band's second and for me best album to date, Directions To See A Ghost, released in 2008. It is an epic effects driven track with a pummeling back beat and the ever present drone in the background. You would be right in thinking that this mob were influenced by the Velvet Underground so much so that not only does their logo feature Nico but their new album Death Song completes the title of a Velvets tune.
The Black Angels - Snake In The Grass
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
It is debatable that a lot of modern popular music today would sound the way it does if it hadn't been for Clyde Stubblefield who sadly passed away on the 18th of last month. As the drummer in James Brown's backing band he was responsible for laying down the rhythm on The Funky Drummer which it is said was then re-discovered by Hank Shocklee when looking for beats for Public Enemy's first album. and has since been sampled or copied by absolutely anybody trying to make their record that little bit funkier. A search in Who Sampled comes up with 1368 songs where the drum break is sampled. So it could be argued that along with the "Amen" break by G C Coleman, the funky drummer beat changed popular music from the 1980s to the present day more than any other sound or technological breakthrough.
In 1988 Coldcut, who had already used the funky drummer sample on their groundbreaking Say Kids What Time Is It were asked by Polydor to create a "payback mix" highlighting some of the many James Brown samples that were being added to what felt like every second Hip Hop or House record at the time, the use by indie bands to highlight the dance element that was always a part of their music (aye right!) would follow later. The duo even got to meet James Brown at the Dorchester where when asked to comment on the sample robbery of his music rather graciously said "these guys have got to make a living". A few years later I don't think he was as forgiving.
Clyde Stubblefield we salute you.
James Brown - The Payback Mix (Keep On Doing What You're Doing But Make It Funky)
And here's Fatboy Slim's mix where the funky drummer beat is even more obvious.
James Brown - Payback (The Final Mixdown)
Tuesday, 7 March 2017
I am beginning to question if all of the garage records that are said to have been released in 1966 were actually released in that year as it would appear that most of the good ones that I have are from that year. Or is it a case that when these records were re-discovered the year was just guessed at due to similarities with records released that actually have years on the label?
I have no reason to question the validity of today's release as it has been confirmed by the keyboard player Ron Gordon that I Tell No Lies was released in January 1966 on local Memphis label Arbel and came to the attention of someone at Verve who signed the band but for some unknown reason did not release this powerful full on, organ and Rickenbacker driven song. The record that they did release on Verve Mad Mad Mad, is not a bad song but not nearly as good or distinctive as I Tell No Lies. The band dissolved the following year when two of the members fell foul of the draft and ended up in Vietnam.
The Escapades - I Tell No Lies
Monday, 6 March 2017
Modern Soul is a rarity around these parts there have been less than 10 singles featured over the lifetime of the blog, Although I'm not too sure if calling something that is forty years old should really be termed as "modern" but there you go. An original copy of Man of Mine will set you back north of £60 and therefore it's no surprise that my copy of this absolutely lovely mellow mid tempo dancer is a repress from on the Italian Record Kicks label,
Betty Wright - Man of Mine
Friday, 3 March 2017
I think we will stick with the drum and bass again this week although tat the time it would probably have been classed as Jungle and another hugely influential track from a couple of years before the Alex Reece track from last Friday. Origin Unknown were Andy C and Ant Miles. The " . . . long dark tunnel" sample was lifted from a BBC documentary on out of body experiences and the "31 seconds" comes from the countdown to the launch of Apollo 11. Valley of The Shadows was actually the b side of the 12" single. The a-side The Touch although not a bad record is a bit too fast and furious and this is maybe why Valley got the dj attention being a bit, though not much, mellower.
Airdrie's attempts to inveigle the cream of the star explorers to the cause of the Sensory Room for children at the Excelsior reached the pinnacle last week when none other than James Tiberius Kirk agreed to join Luke Skywalker in signing a shirt. You still have three days to bid here if you are feeling flush.. Maybe he can help the team to boldly go where they have rarely gone this past wee while and achieve a home win and a much needed three points against Stranraer at home tomorrow.
Have a good weekend people.
Origin Unknown - Valley of the Shadows
Thursday, 2 March 2017
When Fisherman's Blues was released in 1988 I was more than a little disappointed with the album. "What's with all this bouzouki shit" was my initial thoughts. Gone was the epic sound of the previous album replaced by this irish/Scottish folky feel not without it's epic moments when you look a little closer as four of the tracks on the original vinyl clock in at over 7 minutes. It took me quite a bit of time to warm to the album but in the end I did succumb to it's charms but not enough to invest in the 7 disc retrospective release of the album in 2013. These days Strange Boat, We Will Not Be Lovers, the title track and Scott and his ensemble's version of the Van Morrison penned Sweet Thing.
My favourite track is "And A Bang On The Ear" in which Mike Scott takes a verse each to recount past girlfriends, lovers and that first unrequited love.. His bittersweet recollections are given such an uplifting mood by the music that I am incapable of listening to it without smiling and to tell you the truth remembering past dalliances of my own. It was a while until I found out that the title meant a peck on the cheek or similar affection.
A few yours ago their was a particularly good edition of Master Tapes on Radio 4 in the UK where Mike Scott discussed the making of Fisherman's Blues with John Wilson and a studio audience who also fired questions at the musician. I am still waiting for Wilson to get Roddy Frame on the programme to discuss the making of High Land Hard Rain, now that would be an episode worth the license fee alone.
The Waterboys - And A Bang On The Ear