I spent a large part of last weekend playing Weatherall related stuff. As well as the stuff he had recorded under his varied guises, were releases by other artists and probably the output that gives me most pleasure, his remixes of other artists where he bends and mutilates the originals so much that many have little resemblance to the original tune. I decided to dig out some of the ones that I play the least, not because they are of a lesser quality than say the Primal Scream or Stereo Mc remixes but because of the sheer volume of them it is quite easy to forget some especially those from the early 90s. Remixes of songs by the likes of Big Hair and Earl Gateshead, Airstream and today's choice. The thing I love about Weatherall's reinterpretations is that they take you on a journey and can hold your attention even although they tend to be lengthy affairs, you didn't get too many of them on a c90. Yab Yum by Uzma I think illustrates my point very well, it is deep, dubby and very very long. Magic!
I think that I will spend much of my weekend depressed as I think that I will witness a mauling of my team live on telly on BBC Alba this evening as Airdrie take on Dunfermline. Why, you may ask am I not going? Well, Dunfermline who just over two years ago went into administration are the only full time club in our league with three times the budget of any of the others and can therefore live without me making a contribution.
Bizarrely today's track which was picked last weekend fits in nicely after The Only Ones post after Brian's comment yesterday where he mentions the soundtrack to This Summer, as the original version of Whole Wide World by Wreckless Eric also featured in the film and on the record. Meursault's cover comes from an album of special versions of their own songs and cover versions crowd funded and crowd chosen. The Organ Grinder's Monkey was produced in order to part fund Meursault's tour of the East Coast of America in 2014. The album contains covers of songs by the likes of Low, Paws and The Magnetic Fields and different versions of their own songs including Dearly Distracted and One Day This Will All Be Fields. As well as being a worthy album at the time it is also an essential one for any fan of Meursault and can still be purchased here.
I first heard Another Girl Another Planet when I was either 11 or twelve , so it would have been 1980/1981 courtesy of Tank, Stiff oldest brother and I instantly fell in love with the song, the soaring guitars . the languid vocal delivery and the words which really chimed all made it an essential record to own but by then it was nigh on impossible to get a hold of, just two or three years after it's release. How did we survive pre Discogs?
Even though I loved Another Girl, Another Planet it was years before I listened to anything else by the Only Ones. I picked up my copy of Trouble In The World in 1987 at a record stall in the Barras. Although not on a par with AGAP the fourth single by the band is a very good "new wave" or "power pop" if you prefer record. It was quite a few years later that I actually got round to listening to a full album by the band when Stiff gave me a copy of the second album, Even Serpents Shine (terrible cover) which I really rate that in turn led me to the eponymous first album which is even better,
I'm not sure if it is a Scotland wide thing but in Lanarkshire anyway, there is a competition in the primary schools at this time of the year when every pupil is expected to be able to recite a Scottish poem in full, in front of their teachers and peers. In my day it was restricted to the work of the national Bard but these days it appears that as long as it is Scottish you are fine, Leo's poem this year was The Sair Finger by Walter Wingate. He may be a distant relation. I'm not sure if, when I was a kid we had to recite in P3 like Leo as I only remember my Primary 7 effort, that may be because I was second and received a book token but felt agreived at not winning. In recent years I have wondered what made me pick a poem about a maimed animal that was on it's road out, it does seem like a kind of strange choice for an 11 year old.
On Seeing A Wounded Hare Limp By Me, Which a Fellow Had Just Shot
Inhuman man! Curse on thy barb'rous art, and blasted by thy murder-aiming eye; May never pity soothe thee with a sigh, Nor ever pleasure glad thy cruel heart Go live poor wanderer of the wood and field! The bitter little of life that remains: No more the thickening brakes and verdant plains To thee shall home, or food or pastime yield. Seek mangled wretch, some place of wonted rest; No more of rest, than now of dying bed! The sheltering rushes whistling o'er thy head, The cold earth with thy bloody bosom prest. Oft, as by winding Nith, I , musing, wait The sober eve or hail the cheerful dawn; I'll miss thee sporting o'er the dewy lawn And curse the ruffian's aim, and mourn thy hapless fate.
No wonder I'm a miserable git!
I have a kind of ambivalent attitude towards Burns. From what I've read I don't really like the guy but I do however have a deep affinity with a lot of the poetry I have read, as a socialist "Is There For Honest Poverty" puts my case far more eloquently than I could and as an agnostic with more than a little contempt for the "good christians" who seem to be the first to condemn others I find Holy Willy's Prayer spot on. I am not however overly fond of the all male Burns Suppers or the way that the poetry was high-jacked by the Nationalists for their own ends or that the fact that Burns wanted to emigrate to Jamaica not to partake of the weed but to manage a slave plantation has been swept under the carpet, replaced by the lovable rogue persona.. But there is no getting away from the fact that the poetry is incredible and when put to music can be some of the most beautiful songs you are likely to hear and even my personal bard, Roddy Frame has never come up with anything as heart achingly gorgeous as Ae Fond Kiss.
Camera Obscura famously recorded a session of Burns song live at Peel acres for a Burn's Night special in 2004. The following year a couple of the tracks were re-recorded and released on an ep.
If you liked the Camera Obscura track, please donate a quid or what ever you can here to Carey's Just Giving page.
I will finish with the final verse of Is There For Honest Poverty which says it all really. Then let us pray, that come it may - As come it will, for a' that - That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth Shall bear the gree, an' a' that; For a' that. an a' that, It's comin yet for a' that' That man to man the world o'er. Shall brothers be for a' that.
This came out for Record Shop Day last year on the Late Night Tales label, it's a cover of a Yeasayer tune. I am not sure how true to the original Hopkins version is, as I have never felt the need to hear it as this is enough for me. On the other side there is a dub by Nils Frahm which is okay but nowhere near as good as this version. I think that it is just beautiful even the bit where it sounds like something went a bit wonky.
Before Christmas Echorich reminded me of this excellent piece of Garage from 1995 using the vocal talents of Colonel Abrams, Michael Watford and Jay Williams produced by the S-Man, Roger Sanchez. If this doesn't lift your spirits on what is fast becoming the bleakest January that I can ever remember then I'm not sure much can. I apologise for the crackles as this is a tune that got frequent turntable time and not always when I was at my soberest. I suppose at the time this could be seen as a bit revivalist , even in the mid-nineties as it harks back to 1987/88. Doesn't make it any less brilliant though.
This weekend I will mostly be contemplating how to tell a twelve year old that in life you "have to take the crunchy with the smooth" as Billy Bragg so eloquently put it.
It;s about time for some words of wisdom from Mark Edward Smith. I have absolutely no idea what he is on about in Winter but it does sound good to these ears. This performance comes from the 5th session the gruppe produced for John Peel recorded on 26 August 1981. It would be recorded later that year and released on what some regard as the best Fall album, Hex Enduction Hour.
I hated the term Shoegaze but it stuck, well until "grunge" swept away all in it's wake only for that to be killed off by britpap. Well apparently it has returned but the new term for it is "nu gaze". For fuck sake I ask you. ClubAC30 has been championing this kind of music since the mid noughties. So if you were a dreampop band from St Petersburg, you couldn't find a better label to release your music and with a name like Pinkshinyultrablast you can kind of guess what the music is going to sound like. They released their first album, Everything Else Matters at the tail end of last year and early next month the next single, posted below, will be released and can be ordered here or could have been except all copies have been sold on pre-order, that's how good it is. You can still order the album, well the cd anyway! I could tell you that they have been compared to Lush or that Drowned In Sound have described them as "excessively impressive" but just give them a listen, it will be worth your while I promise you.
It's Just Begun, the title track of the 1972 album by The Jimmy Castor Bunch has to be right up there when it comes to the most sampled track in music, second possibly to the Amen break from Amen Brother by the Winstons. Sweat, the difference being that multiple elements of It's Only Just Begun have been lifted not just a six second drum part. According to WhoSampled.com elements of the track can be found on 119 other records by everybody from Grandmaster Flash to Jamiroquai. The fact that bits of it have been sampled to death takes nothing away from this excellent piece of frenetic funk.
Where were we? Well before Christmas for completion purposes only I posted the youtube clip of the twelfth single on the label by Denim. Today we are back with the dance music with a belter of a tune by a duo/trio who would become very well know and not just within the dance music aficionados a few years later when another song (?) of theirs would be used in Trainspotting. Underworld would also go on to have a fruitful pairing with Junior Boy's Own where they had already released a brace of brilliant singles under alias Lemon Interupt , however Mmm . . . Skyscraper was their only release on Boy's Own. The tune is long and throbbing and has some very strange lyrics about porn dogs and god talking to Elvis. It isn't quite on the same level as Rez but then again not very much is.
That was a rough week was it not! I'm not really in a dancing mood but I do want to hear something that's got some beats and some cheeky samples and after CC's post on Tuesday I think a little bit of the Orb might be in order. This version came from the Further Adventures Beyond Dark Matter package that was ordered back in Feb/March 2014 and came out in installments (unintentionally) with the DVD part arriving July last year which I have yet to watch.
From the mid to late 90s I collected records that stated remixed by James Lavelle/UNKLE with nearly as much enthusiasm as records that bore the legend "remixed by Andrew Weatherall" but I have to admit that very few came up to the exacting standards set by our Audrey. Take Lavelle's remix of Bitter Sweet Symphony, some would say it's lazy he's just added a particularly prominent back beat to the track and in essence that is all there is to it but it is a record I return to quite often. I certainly play it more than the original. But that's probably me just being an knob.
I must confess I bought the first FLK release hoping that it was another prank by Drummond and Cauty but thought that it was a little too obvious for them and it was just a chancer or chancers trying to dupe mugs like me into buying any old pish. I was pleasantly surprised by the cd especially the incongreous use of snippets of The Jesus and Mary Chain and Bela Lugosi's Dead in the mix with all the folk and atmospherics. And so I bought all the subsequent releases since with the exception of The Rites of Spring 12" as there were only 4 copies pressed and as I was not in London, Manchester or Leeds on the 19th April 2014 or willing to pay the hundreds of pounds that the fourth one went for on ebay. So when I recieved a tweet stating that an album would be released on the 1st September last year I ordered it. It eventually arrived towards the end of November due to all these majors hogging the pressing plants with their less than essential audiophile, 180g remastered "classic" albums the originals of which can be purchased mint of Discogs at a fraction of the price. A rant for another day. The album has since been flogged to death. The mixture of old dance ( late 80s/early 90s sounds) and even older Folk really appeals and the album would probably have had a higher placing in my albums of the year had it been received a month or so earlier.
I asked Leo last night what his favourite song at the moment was and he said "St Anthony, wait no Too Much Apple Pie, of course". What kind of dad would I be if I didn't post his choice on his birthday?
I have to confess that last week I wasn't that enthused at the prospect of what nobody realised would be Bowie's last album. In fact apart from the Love Is Lost single I hadn't taken much of an interest in Bowie since he released what is my favourite song by him Absolute Beginners. But today I was genuinely shocked and saddened by the death of arguably the most influential person in rock and pop. It got me thinking of just how much Bowie music I did have and of how I had just taken for granted, Stuff like Young Americans, The Bewlay Brothers, Five Years and dozens if not hundreds of others. They were so familiar, always there in the background but never regarded by me in the same way as Spector's productions or London Calling or other music I consider to be essential, most of which, apart from the stuff that came before him obviously, was most probably influenced by him either knowingly or not, You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone, ain't that the truth.
I saw Bowie at the Wembley Arena on the Serious Moonlight tour with my pal Ben his sister and their father and it was one of the best gigs I have ever seen, one which went on for ages without a duff song, At the time I loved the big baggy suit, the over the top stage set the sheer effortless coolness of the whole performance, the only disappointment for me was the lack of Stevie Ray Vaughan in the band as I was really looking forward to hearing his guitar playing. Funnily enough I never had any feeling of need to see him again live on subsequent tours which I am now glad of as I'm not sure that he could have bettered the performance I saw,
We will not see his likes again, something I typed not so long ago with Lemmy's passing which is even more true today. But I am getting a bit tired of thinking it.
Another incredible soul voice passed away at the weekend. Otis Clay began his recording career with Chi town label One-derful in 1965, prior to which he had been singing in gospel groups in Indianna and Mississippi. After leaving One-derful he recorded for numerous labels during the 60s and 70s including Cotillion and Hi and in 1980 recorded a single for Echo, his own label, that has been on my wants list since I first heard it in about 1990, the original version of The Only Way Is Up. He was active in music right up until his death with his last album, This Time For Real a collaboration with Billy Price released just last year. Clay was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2013,
Today this blog has reached the right old age of seven. I know it's a cliche but I honestly didn't think that I would be able to sustain it for seven weeks let alone seven years and probably some of you are wondering why I have. I think that the main reason is that I think that I have an impeccable taste in music and that the more people who realise that the better.
Last night when I was thinking about what dance tune to post today and after listening to the latest Weatherall offering, The Woodleigh Research Facility, which is very good by the way and reminded me of the Sabres of Paradise stuff only darker, I realised that I had pulled out the 12" of From Across The Kitchen Table, my preferred version. Afterwards I dug out the 7" version which is nearly as good and then I dug out the album and decided to play that version which when it finished I stuck straight back on again, I'm not sure whether it was just my mood last night or what but I was definitely veering in the direction of the album version as my new favourite version. One thing I know will never change is that whenever I hear the 12" version I am transported back to Debbie's flat in Aberdeen way back when I was still idealistic, thin and not worried about losing my hair. I have decided to post all three versions of the song so you can make up your own minds.
Airdrie are at home to Dundee Utd in the Scottish Cup tomorrow and although the Arabs have had a dismal season so far no doubt this is when the fightback begins and the Diamonds will get humped!
Here's something else I forgot about and found during the holidays while tidying up the music. Mish Mash was a club night mixing dj's and live musicians at a short lived club in Glasgow called Alaska. I only went once but it had quite a good, friendly vibe about the place but at the time I was working most weekends in the pub and didn't get intyo the town much. This mix was for a cd for Levi's to promote their new shop at the time in Glasgow's new Buchanan Galleries. Trippy, dubby and laidback,
The noughties was the decade of landfill indie, there was a lot of pish out there masquerading as music, all formulaic, lightweight, totally forgettable and on the whole as indie as Fopp is these days. I bought into a few of these bands, the first Starsailor album, Pigeon Detectives, who were quite entertaining live and also today's single from Morning Runner. This is one of the ones that I had forgotten all about until the middle of last week while trying to sort out some vinyl and digging out all my Motorhead singles to play very loud in memory of Lemmy. The tune starts off all Coldplay, Burning Bridges not any of the Motorhead singles obviously, and then turns into the afore mentioned Starsailor, Not bad now and again but not something you would play every day.
The noughties were full of this kind of stuff, personally I blame XFM and early 6 Music before they got their shit together but I also thank them for making me get off my arse and start looking for new more interesting sounds which lead me to dubstep, Burial and a rekindling of my love for electronic music and convincing me that I wasn't too old for it.
I think that this song will be quite apt for more than a few of us up here in Scotland this morning. Back to work after any length of time is usually a struggle but when you've been out very late for the last four out of six it is even worse. I realise that I have nobody but myself to blame and that by now I should know better but that won't make it any easier to get out of my pit.
Can't think of a better way to ease the pain of the first day back at work after all the festivities than for it to be accompanied by an upbeat piece of ridiculously rare soul, Well I can, you could of course postpone the inevitable by a day as most of us Scots have done.
I'm Losing Again was a Top Of The World favourite in the early eighties and was so obscure that the artist who recorded it when asked about the song years later couldn't even remember recording it! The track was tucked away on the flip side of the 1967 Soultown records release, Hard Lovin Woman.