Sunday 16 June 2013

What's In Yir Box? R

This week's selection is a little more expansive than that of last week but still maintaining the quality, well with the exception of one  whose merits can be argued, not on the basis of the single but by the gobshite lead singer being a legend in his own lunch hour, which tends to make an objective view of his music quite difficult.

To kick off we have the Ramones with their 1980 cover of Baby I Love You, I could have included Rock N Roll Radio or Do You Wanna Dance? in the box at one time but the Ronettes cover is there because it was the first thing I heard by the Ramones and also the first thing produced by Phil Spector which not only led me to listen to further Ramones records but also to the joys of the Ronettes and the rest of the Spector back catalogue, although it would be a further ten years or so before I would come out the closet regarding my love of the sounds of  the deeply troubled producer and 60s girl groups more generally.

My love affair with the Raveonettes started by chance in autumn 2002. I was sitting in the "rest area" in the Edinburgh office when the company I work for still had an office in Scotland, scanning the Scotsman when I saw a bit in the listings section talking about this  Danish duo who were playing King Tuts the following evening, the article mentioned the Jesus And Mary Chain, Buddy Holly and the Cramps as influences. So as I had nothing better to do the following night and went along.

Not knowing what to expect I was blown away from the outset when they started with prolonged feedback which evolved into Everyday, the Buddy Holly classic and for the next forty minutes or so I was in feedback and minor chord heaven. I have stated on many occasions that the recorded output of the duo does not fully reflect the intensity of hearing them live, you can't really say performing because there isn't really any performance but the sound generated is something else. That's not to say that the records aren't good, they are just different from the live experience.

At one time all nine 7" singles were in the box but some had to make way for other things and so three remain. The third single, Beat City on lovely white vinyl still has the rawness of the early days when every thing was recorded in B flat minor. That Great Love Sound from the first full album proper was the one which I thought would see the band break through as it was poppy enough to attract the mainstream but still "cool" enough for the hipsters, it actually got to number 39 in the UK charts in 2003 but the next time I saw them they were still playing King Tut's, to a bigger audience but not the breakthrough I had predicted.  The third single by Sune and Sharin in the box is from the third album, by this time they had been punted by the major label and all hope of them becoming the next big thing had gone. The single was released on Fierce Panda and is full of lovely feedback, Mo Tucker like drumming and lovely sweet harmonies which makes the song feel all the more sinister.

Next up is the single eluded to in the opening paragraph, Rock N Roll Lies by Razorlight. I first saw Razorlight strangely enough when they were supporting The Raveonettes, I really liked the noise they made but even then you knew that Johnny Borrell was a cock, who thought more of himself than the rest of the room did. I have to admit that I went to see them a further three times to diminishing returns and the final lot of tickets just after Somewhere Else was released I gave to a work colleague as I really couldn't be arsed. Rock N Roll Lies is a good indie rock tune but the reason that the single remains in the box is because of the b-side, a complete rip-off Patti Smith's version of Gloria but I still really like it and it reminds me of how good they sounded on my my first encounter with them, as In The City was certainly the highlight of the set.

I discovered a fair bit of music due to the Tube, not least the next single. I'm almost positive that it was the video for Good Technology that I saw on the Tube and not a live performance. Whatever it was that I saw  it made me seek out the single from either Virgin or HMV on my ever increasing trips into the city at the weekends at the time.

The next band also had a memorable appearance on the Tube. I was not a big fan of the SWP,  some of Chris Dean's politics didn't sit well with me and his harsh statements about Billy Bragg and Neil Kinnock really riled me but his lyrics and tunes were and still sound fucking brilliant, none more so than Keep On Keeping On and the flip side Reds Strike The Blues. They were also, probably the coolest looking band of the time, a lot cooler then The Style Council for me.

The first time I heard Eli Paperboy Reed was when Mark dropped (If You Want The Love Of A Man) Come And Get It at the final Blog Rockin' Beats night in The Flying Duck. I thought that it was an old tune, totally floored by the fact that at that time it was a new release. It was duly purchased, flogged to death and given a rightful place in the box.

My mate Ben was the big REM fan when we were at school. He was an avid reader of Rolling Stone and it was from an article there that he first learnt of the band from Athens, Georgia and duly decided to investigate further. It wasn't until he played me Life's Rich Pageant that I really took any notice, it impressed me so much that the following weekend I purchased the album. I have always loved Superman and to this day it is still my favourite REM song, a cover, I know. Heresy I hear you collectively cry.

There is not much I can say about That Summer Feeling, apart from, Jonathan Richman is a very wise man. For a young impressionable kid when I first heard this song from one of Bat's tapes I just thought it a great song but from my perspective as a middle aged curmudgeon some nearly thirty years later when it transports me back to when the summer went on forever, life was a lot simpler and all you had to worry about was whether she liked you as much as you liked her, it is a work of genius that always makes me smile and think of a golden retriever and a petulant girlfriend.

The last group in the box under R were like the first,  produced by Phil Spector but unlike the Ramones were responsible for the best pop single ever recorded, no arguments. that one was put to bed on the 18 November 2011 here. Be My Baby is not the only single by the Ronettes in the box, it is the only undisputed one but also present is I Can Hear Music which just pipped (The Best Part Of) Breakin' Up and Do I Love You and it was a close running thing and if I had room,  all four singles would be in the box. I sometimes think that I was wrong not having Breaking Up in there, as the C'mon baby" at two minutes 26 secs sends shivers up my spine. but then I put on I Can Hear Music and it's shivers from start to finish.

So that's the Rs, there seems to be a lot links between the songs here that there haven't been with previous letters, maybe there was but at the time I just didn't notice them. Anyway, tricky one to pick one from, a few have featured before and That Summer Feeling quite recently. So I've decided to post the b-side of the Razorlight single.

Ramones - Baby I Love You
The Raveonettes - Beat City
The Raveonettes - That Great Love Sound
The Raveonettes - Dead Sound
Razorlight - Rock N Roll Lies
Red Guitars - Good Technology
Redskins - Keep On Keeping ON
Eli "Paperboy" Reed & The True Loves - (If You Want The Love Of A Man) Come And Get It
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers - That Summer Feeling
R.E.M. - Superman
The Ronettes - Be My Baby
The Ronettes - I Can Hear Music

Razorlight - In The City


Charity Chic said...

I was at that Raveonettes/Razorlight gig at king Tuts Drew and would concur with your comments on Johnny Borrell. The boy is a knob

e.f. bartlam said...

Rezillos - Somebody's Gonna Get They're Head Kicked In

R. Kelly - Remix to Ignition

Richard Hell & Voidiods - Blank Generation

Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop, Sedated

But this letter belongs to R.L. Burnside (Fireman Ring Your Bell, Goin' Down South, Snake Drive, Po Black Mattie, Come on In, Staggo Lee, Rollin & Tumblin)
Roxy Music - Mother of Pearl, Virginia Plain, Do the Strand, Re-Make/Re-model, If There is Something, etc.)

I loved R.E.M. when I was a kid but, Superman is probably one of the few songs I can still listen to...cover and all. It's great.

Fables of the Reconstruction still has some winners on it. Can't Get There From Here...back when it was to their benefit to pretend to be Southerners.

Swiss Adam said...

We agree then. A good list. Redskins rock. Johnny Razorlight is a knobhead.

dickvandyke said...

My wife once told Mr Jonny Razorlight to pop a shirt on, or he'd likely catch a chill on his kidneys.

My R's with a rather different beat ...

Jim Reeves - Distant Drums - on RCA from summer '66.
Ruts - Babylon's Burning - Jun 79.
Diana Ross - Remember Me - Motown from '71.
Eddi Reader - Patience Of Angels from '94.
Racing Cars - They Shoot Horses Dont They? - on Chrysalis from '77.
Rubettes - Sugar Baby Love - on Polydor from '74.
Brenda Russell - Piano In The Dark from '88.

And an all-time favourite single .. Tom Robinson Band - Up Against The Wall - EMI '78

drew said...

e.f. - yet again you mention someone I've never heard of, R L Burnside?

DVD - I'm not sure why Up Against The Wall or the Rising Free ep aren't in there. I'm sure at one time either or both were.

CC - it never ceases to amaze me of how small a world it is.

SA - agreed.

Anonymous said...

ah. I too love that REM track. It's the harmonies