Saturday 31 January 2009

Everybody Loves A Cover Version, Right?

First up we have Camera Obscura, a band from Glasgow who unfairly in my opinion get dismissed by people as "another Belle & Sebastian, sure they have that twee quality and Tracyanne and Carey are sartorially challenged but there is more to them than just another twee indie band. Live they do try to murder early 80's pop records, the last time i saw them they did a thoroughly miserable (in a good way) version of Robert Palmer's Some Guys Have All The Luck.

Here we have their take on one of another Scottish superstar's best known hits, Sheena Easton, the sweet little girl from Belshill, Lanarkshire who was corrupted by his purpleness, Prince.

If you don't own anything by Camera Obscura I suggest starting with the first album Biggest Bluest High Fi after which you will be hooked and want the following 2 albums.

Camera Obscura - Modern Girl.

Next we have the Caulfield Sisters with a cover of a song by the third best band ever to grace this planet, I do have a propensity for exaggeration. The Caulfield sisters are a band from Brooklyn formed in 2002 and are hardly prolific in their output. As far as I'm aware their discography runs to one 6 track ep, a dowload only single and one half of a split 7" single, all
of which can be purchased from American Laundromat Records, who have a great line in tribute albums, I can recommend the Pixies tribute Dig For Fire and High School Reunion.

The Caulfied Sisters - Some Candy Talking

BTW - You need to go see The Airborne Toxic Event before they become huge, last night in King Tut's was fucking increadible at the end the audience were dancing on stage with the band. A review will follow.

Friday 30 January 2009

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

What do you get if you take an Isley Brothers tune recorded by an American garage band and beloved by the Northern Soul crowd then have one of the most innovative and upfront DJ's remix it?

A 100 mile an hour, rarer than hen's teeth, dancer that is a guaranteed floor filler.

The Human Beinz were a cult garage band from Youngstown Ohio who had a US top ten with "Nobody But Me" a track originally recorded by the Isley Brothers several years earlier. This track made it's way across the Atlantic where it became a favourite at the Twisted Wheel in Manchester as a northern obscurity. This soul turned psyche rock tune is one of the reasons that finding a definitive description of what constitutes a northern soul record is damned near impossible.

Pilooski is a French DJ and part of the Dirty Sound System and responsible for a series of white labels that people would kill for. Included in the the artists that Pilooski has remixed are Frankie Valli, Can, The Human Beinz and The The. If you are lucky enough to own these records then keep them as they were limited to 1000 and definitely no re-pressings. There are 2 compilation albums Dirty Edits Vol I & Dirty Edits Vol II which are also ridiculously rare.

Human Beinz - Nobody But Me (Pilooski edit)

and to compare and contrast

Human Beinz - Nobody But Me

Thursday 29 January 2009

R.I.P. John Martyn

Sad, sad news.

John Martyn - Ways To Cry


In the wake of the whole Hypechester thing, anybody with a guitar, a pair of Joe Bloggs flairs, a bowl haircut and a Mancunian accent could be signed to a record label on these attributes alone. There were some really terrible records that came out on the coat tails of the Mondays and the Stone Roses.
I'm not saying that the High are one of those but they were formed by Andy Couzins, who had been a member of the Stone Roses and their sound is not dissimilar, it has that jangly Byrds thing going on. The music is nothing earth shattering but compared to some of the dross coming out at the time it is pretty good.

The first track was a single and is also on the first album Somewhere Soon.

The High - Up & Down

The second track, if I remember correctly had to be withdrawn from sale for some alleged attempts to nobble the charts or didn't chart because of the allegations, or something. However I could be completely wrong and have just made that up but I'm sure I read it somewhere at the time.

The High - More

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Brenda Fassie - Vuli n' Delia

Sticking with the downtempo tunes, here is one that I found on one of the better "chillout" compilations Punta del Est Sunset.

Brenda Fassie was famously described as "the Madonna of the townships" by Time Magazine, although I don't think Madonna even at the height of her success had the fanatical following that Fassie achieved . She was outspoken, controversial and had repeated visits to drug rehab during her short life (sound familiar?). She died on 9th May 2004 after 2 weeks in a coma brought on by a cocaine overdose.

I have no idea what the title means or the lyrics to the track are and it doesn't really matter.

Brenda Fassie - Vuli n' Delia ( A Man Called Adam mix)

Tuesday 27 January 2009

I'm Gonna Take You Somewhere You've Never Been.

It's chill-out time, as a good friend of mine would say. The first time I heard this track was on a down tempo mix tape that someone gave me back in 1991 and I couldn't get enough of it , kept rewinding it and playing it again on my Walkman. The only problem being that I didn't have a clue what it was called or who it was by as there was no track listing with the cassette.

I eventually stumbled across it by chance in DUB II, a short lived dance music shop in Glasgow, when listening to a batch of their latest arrivals and was elated at finally a - finding out what the fuck it was and b - getting a copy on vinyl. I actually took both copies they had and gave one to a mate who didn't even have a turntable at the time.

The song is not unlike Fallen by Dove (later One Dove) also from '91, in the trippy spoken female vocal and over all stoned feel of the tune.

1991 was a good year for chill-out tunes, what with the Aloof's Apocalypse Now sampling Never Get Out of The Boat, Orbital's Belfast and a handful of other classic tracks, this was definitely the year for rolling fat ones and introspective navel gazing. Magic.

And if anybody can tell me where the harmonica sample comes from I would be most grateful.

Orchestra JB - Come Alive (Original Love In London mix)

Monday 26 January 2009

Welcome! Living Leg-end

It was inevitable, I have tried to resist but have succumbed to posting about my favourite band, the band or rather lead singer, gang master, team manager, whatever who makes my wife's blood boil and my friends all shake their heads and look at me with pitying expressions.

There is absolutely no reason to do a post on the Fall other than being completely selfish. You, will be in one of 2 camps you will either love the Fall, in which case this post is pointless as you will already own this track and at least 30 of the 90 odd releases, or you will hate them and will not have read any further than the first sentence of this paragraph. One of the things I love about them is that there is no sitting on the fence, I can't recall anybody saying "yeah the Fall, they're alright".

By the time you have read this I will already have driven to Edinburgh for one of my infrequent appearances at my company's office. I will have struggled to get up at 6am, after what can only be described as a rather uplifting weekend. The Edwyn Collins gig on Friday night and the rest of the weekend spent doing absolutely nothing, just lounging about with the better half and the boys (that still sounds strange, boys plural).

On the 40 odd minute drive, a lot longer if left any later, what better than a piece of M.E.S. genius to get another week of to a pounding start.

The Fall - Blindness (Peel Session)

Sunday 25 January 2009

Fair Fa' Your Honest, Sonsie Face

Tonight is Burn's Night in Scotland and up and down the land people will be tucking into haggis, drinking whisky and reciting poems by the national Bard. We do like to re-enforce our national stereotypes, although not many deep fried Mars Bars will be consumed as this is more of a myth. I know that they are available in certain chippies in the Capital.

This year's celebration has been high jacked for political reasons by the SNP the excuse being the 25oth anniversary of the former exciseman's birth. It has been decreed by our sonsie (cheerful) faced, not sure about the honest though, First Minister to be the Year of Homecoming when those ex pat Scots are supposed to make their way home and spend their money here. We have already had an advert with luminaries such as Sir Sean Connery telling us what a great country it is. I know it is a great country and wouldn't live anywhere else but I object to a fucking old tax exile who hasn't lived here for thirty or more years telling me so and getting paid for the privilege or maybe waving his fee as the ad is by the Scottish Executive, the governing party of which just happens to be the SNP who he has expressed very vocal support for in the past.

You may get the feeling that I am opposed to the concept of Burns Night, nothing could be further from the truth, I think that the life of our national Bard should be celebrated, I love some of his poetry and songs, a Man's A Man For A' That, My Love Is Like a Red Red Rose, On Seeing a Wounded Hare Limp By etc. What I can't stand are male only Burn's Supper's. I had the misfortune to go to one of these not once but 2 years in succession. I have no idea why these things are men only, as Burns being a bit of a philanderer loved the company of women. These things are lengthy affairs the one i attended kicked off at 7 pm and finished around half twelve and was taken very seriously, even more seriously as the amount of drink consumed increased. During the readings you were not allowed to speak or leave the table even to go to the toilet. Now this would be okay apart from the length of a couple of Burns poems. Take Tam o' Shanter, all 3000 odd words of it, which in the hands of a septuagenarian took some time to recite and after consuming 5 or six pints was more than a little discomforting. Not all Burns Suppers are single sex affairs and I have been to some great nights where the company has been mixed and it has not been taken too seriously.

The first track here I Love My Jean performed by Camera Obscura. The lyrics to this are by Robert Burns and the music by the band. I think I'm right that the first time this was heard was when they performed it live at Peel Acres for the great man's Burn's Night special on 22/01/2004.

Camera Obscura - I Love My Jean

The second track has nothing what so ever to do with Burns, although i like to think that Burns would approve of the sentiment of the lyric. It is by Dick Gaughan, a Scottish folk singer much loved by Billy Bragg amongst many others.

Dick Gaughan - No Gods and Precious Few Heroes

I will be having haggis this week sometime, not because it is Burns night but because I love it. If you haven't tried it and you can get your hands on one I thoroughly recommend it.

Saturday 24 January 2009

Deep Down and Dirty

I was having a conversation last night about my spotty youth and when I had a passion for scooters.

In the scootering world there were 2 camps, you had your Mods, all 3 button suits, parkas and scooters with tons of mirrors, to this day I don't understand what the fuck that was all about and whip aerials. They were into the Who, the Jam, the Kinks, basically any band that wore suits and had The at the start of their name.

Then you had the Scooter Boys, who wore MA1 flight jackets, combats and docs and drove cut down, chopped or sometimes even straight Lambrettas or Vespas. They were into mainly Northern Soul, Punk/post punk, psychobilly and later on the stuff coming out of Manchester in the late 80s although the scootering world was about a year behind some of the rest of us.

Being a rather scruffy type, already having docs (as my mother thought that they were "hard wearing, sensible shoes") and being into punk and soul I was firmly in the scooter boy camp, when I got my first scooter a Vespa PK 50 with a 110 conversion, quickly sold for a 1965 Vespa GS.

Anyway (focus Drew), back to the point of the post. At the time the merits of psychobilly were lost to me. King Kurt's Destination Zulu Land was funny and worth having as the 12" played from the label out making it almost unplayable on most music centres. The Meteors were, well the Meteors and I believed that The Cramps were a joke. However a few years ago I reacquainted myself with the Cramps, due to the fact that my next door neighbour was a devotee and regularly passed me their cd's over the back wall. I have had to re asses this band and what I thought was stupid music is actually clever and highly entertaining. However I still feel that I need to have a bath after listening to them as they are probably the sleaziest band in existence.

The Cramps - Can Your Pussy Do The Dog?
The Cramps - Goo Goo Muck

Friday 23 January 2009

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

We move away from the degradation and grime of the north of England in the 70's to the urban decay of Washington DC in the mid 1980s for this week's boogie.

Go-Go was the popular form of dance music in the USA's capital city where it originated in the late 70s. It was a mixture of genres incorporating mid 60's motown and early 70's uptempo funk in the mix. Another distinguishing feature was the reliance on real instrumentation as opposed to the increasing use of electronic generated sounds of the time.

Although there were a quite a few exponents of this genre of dance music, the main ambassadors by far were Trouble Funk. I don't know much about the band apart from they were as funky as fuck. I was introduced to them through a mate at college, who had spent time in the states the previous year he also put me on to the delights of Schooly D and 2 Live Crew.

Trouble Funk - Let's Get Small
Trouble Funk - Say What

Both tracks come from the excellent compilation Droppin' Bombs which can be purchased here. Or you could get the awesome Say What - Live In London for a reasonable price here.

Thursday 22 January 2009

Finally I have it on 12"

Yesterday morning a 12" single was delivered by the postman that I have been trying to get my hands on at a reasonable price for years.

The first time I heard Geek Love was when it was voted number 1 on Peel's festive 50, 1992 and was bowled over by it but was unable to get hold of it anywhere. Since then I have tried on and off over the years to get a copy but it has always been just a bit too pricey. Dirk over at Sexy Loser offered to sell it to me for what was a reasonable price about 6 months ago but alas at that time I was devoid of funds.

Last weekend I played the spangle mix (mp3) of it and decided to check ebay in the vain hope that there may be a copy available. I was completely stunned to see 3 copies for sale, one at a very reasonably priced £19.99 (buy now) and at the click of a mouse it was mine. To digress for a minute, is it just me but when I find something on ebay that I have been looking for I never quite feel the same elation as if I were to find it in a second hand record shop or at a record fair, it always seems to feel like a bit of an anticlimax somehow.

Geek Love was inspired by the novel of the same name by Katherine Dunn about a family of freaks in a travelling circus. The track contains samples of dialogue from the film Freaks by Tod Browning made in 1932 which was banned until the late 60s, I seem to remember seeing it on Channel 4, late one night at the tail end of the 80s.

The song sounds absolutely beautiful but at the same time I find it quite disturbing. Peel said of the track "Even if they never made another record, they'll have achieved more than most of us do in our entire lives". They did release another 7 singles and 2 lps but in my opinion nothing came close to Geek Love.

I know that this track has been posted before on other blogs but just in case you don't have it already or you have never heard it I ripped it from the vinyl that I now own at long last.

Bang Bang Machine - Geek Love (original 12" mix)

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Please Prove Us Cynics Wrong!

Moodswings - Spiritual High

Dad, did Elvis die on the toilet?

"Dad, did Elvis die on the toilet?", this is how I was greeted by my 5 year old when picking him up from school the other week. "J said that he did and it was because he took drugs and ate too many cheeseburgers, her dad told her that!" he explained.

What do you do? So I told him that it was true and that Elvis was a very troubled man at the time, to which he replied "maybe he shouldn't have gone to MacDonals (sic) as much." I now believe that my son is much less likely to become a maccy dees junkie, which can only be a good thing.

Elvis - Crawfish (Pilooski edit)

Elvis - Long Black Limousine

Monday 19 January 2009

What's happening?

It is hard to believe from some of his latest scribblings in the Guardian, eg " Why Freddie Mercury Is A Punk Rock Icon", that Alan McGee was once relevant in the music industry and had a knack of signing interesting and exciting bands, no I am not referring to Oasis but rather the Pastels, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Teenage Fanclub and My Bloody Valentine to name but a few. If interested in the Creation story you should invest in the rather excellent My Magpie Eyes are Hungry for the Prize.

The second single I ever bought on Creation records was What's Happening by Jasmine Minks. Clocking in at 1:50 seconds, it's all thrashy guitars and shouty vocals just what you need on a Monday to chase away the blues.

It really is a pity that McGee turned into such a twat. If any more evidence were needed here is a quote from 2007 - "Bloody nonsense. My Bloody Valentine were my comedy band. Ride were different - they were a rock band, really, a fantastic rock band - but My Bloody Valentine were a joke, my way of seeing how far I could push hype."

Jasmine Minks - What's Happening

Sunday 18 January 2009

Mixing Pop and Politics

The mid to late 80's were a good time if you were an earnest young man with lofty ideals and a rudimentary knowledge of politics and class struggle. Not so good if you were a miner, shipyard employee, steel worker or any of the other "traditional industries" that were decimated during that decade.

By about 1983/84 I had become quite politicized after being introduced to Crass via my best mate's older brother's record collection (when he was out). I had avidly sought out music on Crass's label and bands with the same anarcho punk leanings, however there were a couple of problems for me in most of this otherwise worthy output. Most of the music was rudimentary at best with lyrics spat out at 100 miles an hour. Lyrics that made me think and question my own beliefs. But was it music? Possibly. Could you listen to it on a daily basis? No. Did I really believe that we could live in "anarchy, peace and freedom"? Not a chance in my neck of the woods, Strathclyde or any where else in the UK for that matter. For me there was a gap waiting to be filled. Yes I could listen to Dylan but it said nothing to me about Britain under Thatcher and although I loved all the political punk/new wave stuff such as TRB, SLF, The Angelic Upstarts etc, they belonged to the guys a few years older.

Then one Friday night I was sitting in the living room as usual watching the Tube and it happened, this guy with a big nose and a guitar was singing" just because your better than me doesn't mean I'm lazy, just because your going forwards doesn't mean I'm going backwards". I had found my protest singer, who was saying what I was thinking and with the bonus of being reasonably tuneful.

Through the 80's I got involved with a few political/protest movements, Red Wedge, although I was not yet age to vote, the Anti Apartheid movement, Amnesty International and CND. I remember this time as being thoroughly fucking grim but with a great soundtrack of protest songs by the likes of Bragg, the Beat, the Redskins, the Communards, Chumbawamba etc and up here Dick Gaughan.

The first track up is the track that first put me on to Billy Bragg, from the 6 track mini lp Life is A Riot with Spy vs Spy.

Billy Bragg - To Have And To Have Not

Secondly, a track from the first Chumbawamba lp "Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records". This was long before they signed to EMI, released Tub Thumping and were involved with the debacle at the Brits with John Prescott.

Chumbawamba - Whitewash

Lastly possibly my favourite of Bragg's own political tunes recorded live for KEXP.

Billy Bragg - Waiting For The Great Leap Forward

Friday 16 January 2009

Balearic innit?

Following on from Thursday's post and the eclectic mix of tunes championed by the Ibiza DJs we find a track by an artist who I at first glance would never have put money on Jose Padilla dropping at the Cafe del Mar, John Martyn. But then thinking about it, those laid back, some would say slurred vocals along with tracks such as Solid Air and Small Hours make perfect sense to accompany the setting of the sun outside a bar.

John Martyn used to live about 12 miles from the town where I live and it was not unknown for him to go on 3 or 4 day benders. On one such occasion he turned up in the pub where I was working. It was obviously well into the session as dishevelled does not do justice to the state he was in, however I served him as you would and left him to get on with the business in hand. The landlord of the pub arrived and told me to throw "the bum in the corner" out, I protested trying to make him realize who exactly he had in his pub but he was oblivious and I had to escort a living legend off of the premises.

The track posted is Sunshine's Better remixed by Talvin Singh, of which Martyn was less than happy about at the time and blocked the release. My copy is from a promo that a good friend , who I met yesterday for the first time in ages sought out in Ibiza. This was above and beyond the call of duty as there were plenty of other things for him to be doing.

Get a cold bottle of San Miguel close your eyes and listen to this and you could almost be on the white isle around sunset.

John Martyn - Sunshine's Better (Talvin Singh mix)

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

As this week saw the 50th Anniversary of the founding of one of the most important dance record labels ever, it would be churlish not to post a couple of class dancers from the legend that is Motown.

First up is The Night by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons signed to Motown subsidiary Mowest in 1972 for what would be a disastrous few years and they parted company with the label in 1974, leaving behind this belter of a track which was supposed to be released in the states but was pulled. Like many other tracks before and after it was picked up by the Northern Soul scene here in the UK and became a Wigan Casino favorite.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons - The Nigh

And for the main event, Frank Wilson's Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) the ultimate Northern Soul tune, number 1 in The Northern Soul Top 500 and the most expensive single of all time. Frank Wilson was an arranger/producer for Motown at the time he recorded Do I Love You and decided after discussions with Berry Gordy that that was indeed how he his career would progress. Berry then ordered the masters of the song with Wilson's vocals be destroyed and the song re-recorded by another Motown artist. One of the 2 copies was discovered in 1977 and has changed hands 4 times and the other turned up in Canada in 1999 and was sold for £15 000.

If you don't smile and feel the urge to dance when you hear this tune then, you sir/madam have no soul.

Frank Wilson - Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)

as an added bonus

Marvin Gaye - Sunny

Thursday 15 January 2009

The Woodentops

The Woodentops were a band from Northampton formed in the early 80's who mixed acoustic guitars with driving beats to create indie dance a good few years before that term became fashionable with the NME. Their first album Giant, is an absolute gem and every self respecting 80's indie fan should own a copy, they went on to produce another more leftfield/experimental album Wooden Cops On The Horizon which is not without its moments but is not a patch on the debut. They later found a following amongst the Balearic crowd after Why from the second album was picked up by the djs in Ibiza.

The band were famed for their frenetic live performances an example of which can be found on the Live Hypno Beat album. I eventually got a chance to see them in 2007 when they reformed and fulfilled a long standing promise (20 years) to perform in Glasgow after the original gig was cancelled in 1987 due to in fighting within the band. I attended the gig with my mate and his 2 older brothers, who had tickets for that cancelled gig. The band were absolutely electric with Rolo McGinity giving it his all to a depressingly less than half full King Tut's.

The track posted here is the 12" mix of Good Thing which I picked up in Barcelona on my honeymoon, another story for another day maybe.

The Woodentops - Good Thing (12" mix)

Wednesday 14 January 2009

Airborne Toxic Event

One of my favourite tracks of last year was Sometime Around Midnight by Airborne Toxic Event, a band I had never heard of before. I raved about it for ages and when asked to describe it by a friend, all I could say was it "was a baw hair from being a U2 track" in it had that sort of grand scope and dramatic sound but without the pomp and the bombast that seem to be an integral part of bonzo and the the other 3s records.
When I found out that Airborne Toxic Event were supporting Frightened Rabbit at King Tuts, an already highly anticipated night became unmissable. The band exceeded all of my expectations. I went along thinking that the songs that were on their myspace page would probably be the highlights of the night, however I found myself unable to find one tune during their short set which I disliked. The only criticism I could find was that they were a cocky bunch for a support act, then again in my eyes it was justified. I was even more impressed when informed that, that had been their 30th show in 30 days.
Unable to get their album at the merchandise stall as it is not released until Feb I decided to get it on import. I'm not going to review the album but will post a couple of tracks and if you like what you hear I urge you to pre-order the album because you wont regret it and if you are in the UK go and see them as they are touring here again starting in Norwich on 22nd of this month ,I and a few mates who I have browbeaten into submission will be attending King Tuts on the 30th.
Airborne Toxic Event - Sometime Around Midnight
Airborne Toxic event - The Girls In Their Summer Dresses

Tuesday 13 January 2009

Touched by the Hand of God

Last week JC over at the Vinyl Villain posted Andrew Weatherall's remix of Come Home by James. Weatherall is without doubt my favourite remixer and dj and a favourite on some of the other blogs I frequent. From about 1990 to 1995/96 if he was credited on the sleeve then I would buy the tune no matter who it was by, even Texas. Since then I have found myself not as enthused by his output as I once was, although it did not stop me buying. Over the past couple of years he has hit top form again, the Wrong Meetings 1&2 albums were not what was expected but were excellent. His recent remixes including Uptown by Primal Scream and Sweet Love For Planet Earth by the Fuck Buttons have been inspired and have restored my faith in the man I once held up as a minor Deity.

The first track is a mix which is present on the b side of the Stereo MC's Ground Level 12", one thing about Weatherall's mixes is that they are usually 6 minutes +.

The other track is not a remix but from the aforementioned Wrong Meeting which came in a lovely 12" box set complete with art print and t shirt. It finds Weatherall in a less dance orientated mood and this track sounds like something that wouldn't have been out of place on a Joe Strummer album.

Stereo MCs - Everything (Everything Grooves pt1)

Two Lone Swordsmen - Get Out Of My Kingdom

Monday 12 January 2009

It's a . . . boy

Today at 11:19 my wife gave birth to our second son a whole stonking 9lbs 1oz. Both doing fine.

I am rather emotional at the moment

Staxx - Joy
Steve Earle - Nothing But A Child

Sunday 11 January 2009

Everybody Loves A Cover Version, Right?

I for one love cover versions and know from wandering around blog world that a lot of you feel the same. Covers are the cause for many a drunken discussion in the pub when my mates and I meet (an all too infrequent event these days), around the merits of even attempting to cover a certain song, how good the original was etc, you get the picture. A scene that has probably been replicated millions of times. To me a cover version doesn't even have to be radically different from the original it just has to be done well (subjective I know).

I am not an advocate for capital punishment but I do think that Michael Bolton should be taken out and shot for crimes against music for his woeful covers, especially Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay.

The first cover here is by a band and genius that need no introduction, Aztec Camera. The boy wonder has done some wonderful covers over the years most of which can be found on the b-sides of singles, so get searching on ebay, but this has to be his best. He takes a mediocre pomp rock tune Jump, complete with cheesy synth and turns it into a thing of beauty. The studio version can be found on the b-side of All I Need Is Everything but the version posted is on the flip of Somewhere In My Heart 12" and was recorded live at the Glasgow Barrowlands on 30th January 1988, a gig that I had the good fortune to attend.

Next up is Maria McKee with Lone Justice covering Sweet Jane. I have had arguments with people over this track, a mate once said that they had ruined it by turning a perfectly good 3 minute tune into an over blown mess, I however love it. You decide. This track comes from a long out of print BBC Radio 1 In Concert cd.

Aztec Camera - Jump

Lone Justice - Sweet Jane


How many soul fans does it take to change a light bulb?

One to change the bulb and 400 or so to spit vehemently that it is not as good as the original

Saturday 10 January 2009

Afghan Whigs

The whole Grunge thing passed me by, I has too busy having fun and dancing to the kind of music that you will find over at Acid Ted to be bothered by miserable guitar music. Over the years I have tried to get into it as the better half loves Nirvana but it just doesn't work for me, it leaves me cold.

I had always considered the Afghan Whigs to be a grunge band so had never really listened to their music until a few years ago when I discovered KEXP Seattle on the net while bored at work. The morning show hosted by Jon Richards plays a diverse mix of music and is responsible for putting me onto quite a few bands. Every so often he would drop a track by the Afghan Whigs and I decided that they needed further investigation. What I found was not what I would term grunge but a rock band with a really soulful element, indeed of the many covers Dulli has recorded a large proportion are of soul songs.

Their frontman Greg Dulli is better known these days for his latest incarnation as The Twilight Singers and collaboration with Mark Lanegan as the Gutter Twins. The first track here is a cover of an Ass Pony's song who were closely associated with the Whigs at the time. The second is one of the many standout tracks from their final album 1965, if you don't own anything by this band I suggest starting with this album.

Afghan Whigs - Mr Superlove

Afghan Whigs - 66

Friday 9 January 2009

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

Foolishly I decided to yet again put myself through the torture of abstaining from alcohol for the duration of January, or "I'm aff it" as we say in these parts, so Friday does not have the allure of the G&T or pint of Guinness once I have logged off the company laptop and drawn a veil over the weekly grind.

In order to lift my spirits I have turned my attention to the healing power of soul music and Northern Soul in particular. For those of you unacquainted with this sub sect of soul I am not going to attempt a definition as it would take too long to explain what constitutes a "northern" tune and my explanation would not satisfy the fanatics, suffice to say they are usually rare, mid/uptempo 60s soul records in the Motown style. Northern soul aficionados can be very passionate about their tunes, making your average indie music snob look like the epitome of fair mindedness. When I was a lot younger I once foolishly asked a northern dj what the tune he was playing was to which he retorted "If you don't know that then you don't deserve to be in here", I kid you not.

I will return frequently on this blog to a bit of northern as it is one of my great loves. Most of my northern collection is on cd and compilation lps (which will horrify all those serious collectors out there) as the original singles can cost thousands and I can't really justify anything over 20 quid for a single, I have tried but have not been able to convince myself let alone the good lady. Of the 7" in my possession most of them are either re-pressings as with the tune selected today or dodgy bootleg pressings.

Today's tune is by the late, great Jackie Wilson, corny I know but true. This tune will always remind me of the Togetherness Weekenders in Fleetwood, seeing a good few hundred people shuffling, spinning and clapping in time to this tune is a sight to behold.

So pull back the carpet, sprinkle the talcum powder on the floor or the lino in the kitchen and have a little shimmy

Jackie Wilson - Because of You

Thursday 8 January 2009

First Post/Last Post?

So there I was watching Roddy Frame when JC,  (the Vinyl Villain) said "why don't you write your own blog?"

I had thought about it but had decided that it would be just vanity assuming that anybody would be interested in what I had to say so put the idea to the back of my mind. But recently, while jumping about the internet reading the blogs listed down the side I thought fuck it I'll give it a go, post some tunes that mean something to me and hope they are of interest to someone.

The next problem was thinking of a title for the blog, however yesterday the ipod selected ". . . From Across The Kitchen Table" by the Pale Fountains and it kind of made sense as it is an example of how I can get obsessed about a song and is also the location where most of the thought for this blog will be done.

I first heard this song in 1987 when a student, two years after its release. My girlfriend at the time introduced it to me (and to whom I am eternally grateful). The song just stopped me in my tracks, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and when the backing singer sang the line "you saved my life, I fought you" I nearly wept. I fell in love with the track so much so that I asked D to make me up a C90 of just that one song and it became the main track of the soundtrack to my first year at Uni .

I became totally obsessed with the song and bought the vinyl album, however the version on the album was different and inferior to the that on the tape and the hunt began.

In those pre-internet days finding out of print vinyl consisted of searching charity, second hand record shops and the occasional record fair. Through this process I ended up with the song on 2 other formats, the 7" double pack and cd album, neither of which was the correct version. It took about another ten years and the internet for me to get the 12" extended mix on a cdr of Pale Fountains and Shack rarities and not until 2006 did I manage to get a copy of the 12".

The Pale Fountains were a band from Liverpool formed in 1980, 2 of whose members were Michael Head, who went on to form Shack and Andy Diagram who joined James. They produced 6 singles and 3 albums and in From Across The Kitchen Table an epic to match any penned by Pete Wylie or Ian McCulloch.

Pale Fountains - from across the kitchen table