Thursday 30 November 2017

The Genius of Michael Head Part 1

A few weeks ago when posting a track from what I think is Shack's best album, Waterpistol that I was considering revisiting main member Mick Head's back catalogue. So here we go, and predictably enough we will start at the beginning.

(There's Always) Something On My Mind was the first single by Mick Head's first band, The Pale Fountains. The line up of the band included his brother, John on guitar, Andy Diagram on trumpet, who would later go on to be a member of James, Chris McCaffery on bass and Thomas Whelan on drums. The single was released on the Independent  Belgian label Les Disques du Crepuscule and off shoot Operation Twilight back in 1982. Although the single failed to grab the attention of the record buying public, the sound, in which you could hear the influences of Love, Burt Bacharach and of course coming from Liverpool, the Beatles pricked the attention of the A&R men from the majors and before the band's next single they would move onto a major label.

The Pale Fountains - (There's Something) On My Mind

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Maximum R&B

Back in April Nick Waterhouse released L.A Turnaround on 7" single. This track was one of the highlights of his third Album, Never Twice. For some strange reason I never flipped the single over to find out what the b side was like until about a month ago, The track is a belter of a cove of an old unreleased R&B tune with some fabulous sax. In an interview for a magazine Waterhouse explained how he first came across the song.

"I Cry, was a long-lost unreleased tune written for Dean & Jean. I first heard courtesy of Dick Vivian's (Rooky's Records San Francisco) legendary 1980s mix tapes. It fit right in with the oeuvre of the "Never Twice" sessions so I cut it with my long-suffering and highly talented tour backup vocalist Brit Manor taking the lead and me trying my hand at the cool Everly style harmony. Ron Dziubla rips a tenor solo on this to rival the original"

For the past few weeks I haven't played the a-side once, I Cry is absolutely magic.

Nick & Brit - I Cry

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Hew's Misstra Know It All

I think it was Stevie over at Charity Chic Music that commented recently that us Bloggers tend to overlook classic, popular records by artists in favour of the more obscure tracks or singles that never really made it. I must confess and hold my hands up to this. Frequently I have heard something by some artist on 6Music or a track has been thrown up randomly on the Ipod and I have thought to myself "I will need to post something by them but not that, everybody knows that, I will need to find something a bit more, well less known"

So on Friday night when I had an urge to dig out the single of today's track I decided that even although it was a hit and everybody knows it I was going to post it. He's Misstra Know-It-All was released in 1974 for and reached number 10 in the UK charts, so it was pretty popular and was the final track on Stevie Wonder's wonderful Innervisions album that was released the previous year.

The track is basically a 5 minute description of a con-man, with a plan and an answer for everything which was aimed straightly at Richard Nixon, the then president of the United States and thoroughly dishonarable character but it could be equally aimed at many clowns in the public realm at the moment, take your pick it's not hard to find one it is apt for.

Stevie Wonder plays every instrument on this track and supplies every sound apart from Willie Weeks bass playing.

Stevie Wonder -  He's Misstra Know-It-All

Friday 24 November 2017

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

This Black Friday shit has been doing my head in all week even more so even than Spreadsheet Phil and his budget and the fact that the UK seems to be in terminal decline and it appears that everybody is okay with that as long as we take back control of our fucking borders. And don't get me started on the loss of the European Medicines Agency.

But it is Friday and I will put aside all of my anger and instead be transported back to the distant past and the dingy clubs of 1990 when Anthem by N-Joi was just that. I loved that record at the time and to me it still sounds really good if at least two minutes too short. Interesting fact about this record, that Saffron, who would later go on to front the band Republica does not sing any of the vocals which were actually samples from Gwen Guthrie, Darlene Davis and Caron Wheeler.

Aidrie are away to East Fife tomorrow and they will have to play a lot better than they did last Saturday when they were beaten by a Highland League team in the Scottish Cup. Off the park there seems to be a chink of light as the consortium, which includes the stadium owners, the main sponsor and the Airdrie Supporters Trust have been given preferred bidder status for the shares currently owned by the ex Chairman who had all the grand plans and then bottled it after a year.

L and I are off to Dundee on Sunday night for an over night with my mate and his wife for his birthday so nothing to see here until Tuesday.

Have a good weekend people.

N-Joi - Anthem

Thursday 23 November 2017

Racing In The Street

I first read Fuel Injected Dreams when I was 19. The girl who put me on to the Pale Fountains also introduced me to the book. I was up visiting friends in Aberdeen after I had jacked it in and we were at a party where I bumped into Debbie. She came up to me and told me that she had been thinking about me and had something for me if I wanted to go back to her flat with her later. Well I thought that my luck was in, so a bit later on we left the party and headed for her flat. After making a pot of tea she went off to her room and returned with a book which she said she had picked up during the summer and as soon as she started reading it she thought of me and knew that I would love it. How right she was.

The story revolves around an LA graveyard shift DJ, who has a chance encounter with a reclusive, megalomaniac record producer who was responsible for some of the biggest hits of the early 60's with the bands he created and famed for his production techniques but by the end of that  decade had dissolved into a gun toting, drug induced psychotic who keeps his wife prisoner in his mansion, sound familiar to anyone? This chance encounter has the DJ revisit his teenage years and one summer in particular and try to solve a mystery which happened then with some very strange and extremely disturbing results.

The book is kind of trashy and a bit dated now,  as it is set in the mid eighties but I think that it is still worth reading. On discovering that Baker was a screenwriter it did not surprise me as the book reads like a movie and it is easy to picture it as such. I always had Dennis Hopper down for the drug crazed producer, although even by the late 80s he would have been too old to play the part.

I have read this book many times now and years ago I gave it to L when she was going overseas to visit her sister. I was rather hacked off when  L arrived home sans book, don't get me wrong very pleased to see her but slightly distraught about the missing novel. To this day she argues that she brought it back. I searched for this book but to no avail, this was pre or very early internet days and to make matters worse the book was then out of print, the author having committed suicide and subsequent major wrangles over his estate meaning that it was not available. Eventually after a few years searching and improvements on the web I tracked down a copy in a second hand book shop in southern California and payed quite a bit of money for it. It has, however been re-printed since and copies can be found on Amazon for as little as one pence, which may put you off, however it is worth the investment if you ask me.

Over the years I have bought copies of the book and given them to people that I have thought would appreciate this tale of music, lust, drugs and psychosis. Mostly the feedback has been positive but a couple of people have looked at me differently after reading.

I have never been that much of a car nut, I prefer being on two wheels, preferably 10" ones on a machine produced in Italy but I have always fancied "a gleaming blue '63 Corvette split-window coupe" on the back of this novel. Not sure that I could ever afford one or even the petrol for that matter and I would feel guilty about the environmental impact of the car but it would be cool.

Although Springsteen is not talking about a 63" Stingray but a '69 Chevy, not sure which model, I do think of this song when I think of the Stingray.

Racing In The Street 

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Sometimes All You Need

Is a bit of Nancy and Lee.

I have been reading Fuel Injected Dreams again, it's a kind of biannual ritual and during this time I normally listen to nothing but 60s girl groups and but also I usually reach for other things from that era and Nancy And Lee are always in there.

I once saw Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan cover this at a gig a couple of days after the death of Lee Hazelwood and it was just as good as it sounds. Apparently their was a version of Campbell and Lanegan's second album Sunday at Devil Dirt that came with a free live cd which had them doing the song but I have never been able to get my hands on a copy.

Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood - Sand

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Della Reese 06/07/1931 - 19/11/2017

Rest Easy Della.

Della Reese - Compared To What

A Dark Corner

I don't know very much about this record apart from it came out in 1967 on Royal Family Records the Bourbons were part of the Texas Garage/Psych scene which could explain why this record kind of reminds me of the 13th Floor Elvevators. I find it quite sad that a band that sounded this good only produced the one single. Still one very good single is better than none at all or ten pish ones. I suppose.

The Bourbons - A Dark Corner

Monday 20 November 2017

Psychedelic Soul

This single  by the Temptations wasn't Motown's first foray into the counter culture of the USA in the late 60s although this Whitfield and Strong penned tune it is for me one of the best and funkiest. My copy is not the best and I apologise for the noise but I put this on yesterday and knew that this was the tune to start the week with. Released on the Gordy label in 1969 and reached number 2 in the Billboard chart. On the single you can clearly hear that the track fades out rather than stops. In 2003 the full version was unearthed and released on the Psychedelic Soul compilation which shows the Funk Brothers at the top of their game. Magic stuff.

The Temptations - Psychedelic Shack 

Friday 17 November 2017

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

Some discoey House with a very 80s feeling baseline from a few years ago. Just the kind of thing to set you up for the weekend.

Airdrie take on Cove Rangers, who have scored 70 goals in only 16 games in the the Highland League , in the third round of the Scottish Cup at the Excelsior tomorrow and fuck knows what will happen! Leo and I will be in attendance and let's hope that there are hotdogs, as when Leo gets one we seem to win. It's as good a predictor as anything else at the moment.

Have a good weekend people.

Deadboy - Des Niles 

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Twee As F**K

JC's series "10 Days Of Twee" got me remembering when I kind of immersed myself in all things Twee around 2007/2008. At the time I was looking for something a bit different and for a wee while all of the Scandi Indie stuff  had been interesting me but around this time I decided to cast my net a bit wider and found two really interesting labels that were doing their own thing, WeePop! and Cloudberry, the former from London, England and Cloudberry from Astoria, Queens, New York City. What both of these labels had in common was the DIY ethos and the beautifully crafted Indie pop and lovingly put together releases. You even got free sweets from WeePop!, if the music wasn't sugary enough for you. These labels are where I first came across the Just Joans, The Manhattan Suicides , The Darlings and loads more.

 Cloudberry  also introduced me to the talents of the Pains of Being Pure At Heart ( has there ever been a more twee name for a band). Their first EP, This Love Is Fucking Right!" was released on the label and like all the other it was on a 3" CDR in a limited run of  100, mine's is number 61. I think that the title of the main track may be a nod to the Field Mice and that is not where the comparisons with Sarah Records end with this band from New York,  as I would suggest that the band have more than one record on the much missed Bristol based label in their collections and possibly also a few Slumberland records in there too.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - This Love Is Fucking Right!

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Orchard Of My Eye

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart  - Doing All The Things That Wouldn't Make Your Parents Proud

Tuesday 14 November 2017

You Better Run

Some major label 60s Garage sounds from a group that were actually quite well known. You have probably heard of the Young Rascals, or the Rascals as they went on to be know when they grew up from their number one single in the States in 1966, Good Lovin' or if you are a follower of Dr John Cooper Clarke's filling in  for Jarvis on the Sunday Service on  6Music you will know that he has appropriated their 1967 laid back Groovin',  another number one for the group from Garfield New Jersey in 1967, as his theme tune.

The tune we are concerned with was the follow-up to their first number 1, a very different tune indeed, You Better Run, a song with a brattish, near punk attitude which must have had those used to Good Lovin' scratching their heads. Needless to say after the achievemts of the previous single the label and band were disappointed with the position of 20 on the Billboard chart. They were to get back to chart topping ways of course with more chart friendly material and again unlike most other Garage bands they kept going for quite a few years eventually coming to an end in 1972.

The Young Rascals - You Better Run

Monday 13 November 2017

On The Modern Side

Here is a very classy example of Moderns Soul, well I say modern it's 46 years old but let's not get into semantics.

Ann's second name may be bogus but there is absolutely nothing snidey about this tune. As far as I can find out this is the only record that Miss/Mrs Bogus ever recorded at least under her own name. It was released on Statue Records out of Tupelo, Mississippi and the last copy for sale on discogs fetched $1319 putting it well out of my price range.


Link now up, sorry.

Ann Bogus - Don't Ask Me To Love Again

Saturday 11 November 2017

Friday 10 November 2017

It's Friday . . . Let's Jack

Proper old school Chi-town house from 1988 given a dusting down and a refit for 2017 and sounding just as great as it did nearly thirty years ago.  Top stuff.

Thursday 9 November 2017

Oh Happy Day

I received an email today informing me that Tim Badger, SWC and KC (now KT) are back with a new blog after their various pursuits in Austalia, or saving the world or getting married, you can work out who did what I expect, Anyway the new blog can be found here.

I have been looking for an excuse to post this version of one of my favourite cover versions. This version of The Edwin Hawkins singers song was performed on the Jools Holland show way back around the time of the release of Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space.

Spiritualized - Oh Happy Day (Later . . . With Jools Holland)