Wednesday 31 January 2018
I have been trying to put together a Shack ICA for JC for quite some time now but every time I sit down to compile the list I get distracted and just listen to the records and keep forgetting that I am supposed to be ranking them and then trying to pick the 10 best. I think that it may be an impossible task but I will keep trying. One thing that this Shack fest has done has been to remind me that there wasn't just one talented member of the Head family. John is also quite accomplished when it comes to writing songs and also singing them. "Not Afraid of Loving You" is a perfect example of this, a gorgeous gentle love song that was tucked away on the b-side of equally as good Byrds Turn to Stone the sole single from the 2003 album ". . . Here's Tom With The Weather".
A lovely mellow song to brighten up your midweek.
Shack - Not Afraid Of Loving You
Tuesday 30 January 2018
As I said on yesterday’s post Terry Callier collaborated with Massive Attack back in 2006. Greg Dulli had obviously been listening and decided to cover the song under his Twilight Singers guise and roped in his mucker Mark Lanegan to provide an absolutely brilliant vocal for the lead song on the "A Stitch In Time" ep.
The Twilight Singers - Live With Me
Monday 29 January 2018
Let's start the week with a bit of uplifting soul from Chicago soul, folk and jazz legend Terry Callier. Ordinary Joe, a tale of an everyman, was released on the Chi-Town label in 1972. If Callier's name is familiar to you and it isn't for this song or the equally excellent Look At Me Now, it may be for Love Theme From Sparticus which was a big record in the more discriminating clubs in 1997 or his collaboration with Massive Attack on the sublime Live With Me from 2006.
Terry Callier - Ordinary Joe
Friday 26 January 2018
And just when Ctel thought it would be safe to come back out from his hermetically sealed Fall free room. Unfortunately, I'm not finished yet.
Touch Sensitive along with Theme From Sparta FC is probably the track that non indie music lovers will recognise as it was used to sell whose small card beloved by young boys who love to waste petrol by accelerating too quickly and having ridiculous exhausts fitted. The less said about their choice of bass heavy tunes that they like to inflict on passers by the better, suffice to say it's not the Fall. But I digress, Touch Sensitive was released in 1999 and horror of horrors it contained a dance mix.
"Shut the fuck up, bandwagon jumping, not us, The Fall invented dance music back in the early 80s" was not something MES ever said but it could have been.
Have a good weekend people. I will mostly be listening to the Fall.
The Fall - Touch Sensitive (Dance mix)
Thursday 25 January 2018
It took me a while but I eventually learned to love the Fall.
Actually that statement is not entirely true, it makes it look like for a considerable time that I forced myself or was coerced to listen to the gruppe until I eventually gave in to some sort of Stockholm Syndrome and was brainwashed which is not the case.
I had been aware of the Fall from the early 80s, nobody who listened to John Peel could not have known of their presence but back then I found the music quite rudimentary and the vocals jarring, sometimes when they came on I would switch the radio off and listen to something more of my liking, other times I would just ignore the track and let it wash over me, sometimes I would listen and then dismiss the track but very occasionally I would find a song tolerable but still not enough to go out and buy anything by whatever incarnation of the Fall was in session. Eventually this would change and I too, like thousands of others would wait in anticipation for the phrase "tonight we have a new session by the Fall" which would make my week/month or occasionally year. I would also hear the music in other places, I remember Mr Pharmacist being played at Scooter Club dos and somebody had the effrontery to play The Fall's atrocious cover of Ghost In My House once at one of these nights, quickly realising his mistake it came off mid play. I would later marvel at some of Smith's singular interpretations of the classic or obscure songs of others but at that time I was completely horrified at the bloody awfulness of the R Dean Taylor cover.
It eventually clicked for me in 1988 when I heard "check the record, check the record, check the guy's track record, check the record, check the guy's track record" repeated over and over on New Big Prinz the opening track of I Am Kurious Oranj, the band's 11th album ( I know a bit slow on the uptake) and the soundtrack to a ballet that Smith had written with Michael Clarke based on the accession of William of Orange to the English throne 300 years previously. The ballet was performed at the Edinburgh International Festival to mixed reviews. I am still not quite sure how I " got it" but I did and from then on I was hooked, not obsessively at first that would come later around the mid 90s but I had awoken to the strange and frightening world of Mark Edward Smith and there was no going back. Everything music wise from then on would be judged through the prism of the Fall.
I kept my growing passion for the band to myself for the time being and gradually added, singles, albums and cds as the opportunities arose. Not the easiest thing to do prior to the internet. During the 90s most of my focus on music had turned to the dance music scene and most indie went by the way side, except for the Fall and The Wedding Present. Smith also embraced dance music, as early as 1989 when he collaborated with Coldcut on the single Telephone Thing. During the 90s there were a few singles released with dance remixes included that horrified some of the purists and probably made MES smile. There was also an album containing bits of Techno, jungle and breakbeats, the poorly received Levitate but from 1992's Code Selfish you could hear the beats coming in. Which helped keep them on my radar. Over time I started to get Evangelical about the Fall and would bore friends to death with talk of this or that album. I would also try and convert others to Fall fandom without much success really, with only one person being turned on to the Fall but I knew that that conversion was only a matter of time and it would eventually click for him too.
Over the prolific output of the gruppe, there have been some outstanding albums, some very good ones and some quite poor ones but there have been none that haven't including something worth the cover price. Sometimes it has been exasperating buying releases by the band as tracks or mixes have been exclusive on a certain format meaning that multiple versions of releases had to be bought, as Fall Fans are completists but you had already guessed that hadn't you. There are also the myriad of live releases , the quality of which can vary widely. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
Live, the Fall could be absolutely amazing and sometimes the worst band in the world depending on how Smith was feeling on the night. But I can tell you it was electric when eventually Smith would wander onto the stage around half way through the first song and utter the phrase "good evening we are the Fall . . , " and that was all the audience interaction you got and it was all you needed, his presence on stage was somewhat hypnotic and you could not keep your eyes off of him It took me a while to pluck up the courage to go and see Smith and Co live but after I did for the first time I berated myself for ages for taking so long to do it. From that moment on there was no stopping me until a couple of terrible gigs in Edinburgh in 2010/2011 when Smith took to the stage for maybe 20 minutes each time then that was it. I did go back to the Arches in 2012 when he delivered most of the set sitting behind the speakers, he did pull it back with an absolutely brilliant 15 minutes including one of the best versions of Blindness I have ever heard (I have heard a few, on checking iTunes, I have 25 versions in the database and that doesn't include recordings of some of the gigs I attended where it was played) But it was too little too late, I told Stiff that I would not be shelling out for any more Fall gigs and he agreed. Ironically, I changed my mind late last year and tried to get tickets for the gig in Oran Mor which was moved to the QMU but by the time I decided to end my self imposed ban all of the tickets had gone for what would be the final Fall gig and from all accounts they finished on a high.
Unlike a lot of Morrissey fans, I have not had to do any soul searching regarding Smith's pronouncements on politics, the state of the nation etc as I have never been under any illusions about him being any sort of saint or even just a "nice guy". Neither was he someone that I had any desire to meet. From most accounts he could be very difficult, aggressive and contrary. I believe that a lot of what he did utter in interviews can be taken with a pinch of salt. By that I am not condoning any of the unacceptable things that he has uttered over the years just that I think on quite a few occasions he would wind up interviewers for fun, knowing the reaction that certain statements would receive. I once nearly went for a guy who said after the 20 minute set from The Fall in Edinburgh in 2010 "that's why we love him, he does what he wants" . I left the guy in no uncertain terms that I did not love MES and it was down to fanboys like himself that he knew that he could get away with a 20 minute set and basically rip his fan base off without any repercussions or I'm sure any guilt on his part. I knew that Smith could be a contrary, reactionary, git and I may have described him as a c**t on more than one occasion but if he had been a nice guy then the Fall would not have been the Fall and might have ended up like The Sons of Mumford whom he was famously very disparaging about.
I still can't put my finger on why I love the music of The Fall so much, a lot of it has to do with the constant flux in the band and sound "not being quite sure what you're going to get". I was slightly obsessed for sometime by everything Fall and there have been periods when I have listened to nothing else and have been perfectly happy, not needing any other music to fulfill me but I don't think that I have ever gone any longer than a week without listening to the gruppe. If I were made to chose one thing from my collection and that is the only music I would ever be allowed to listen to again, then I would have no hesitation in picking up The Complete Peel Sessions boxset as it contains everything I would ever need apart from Soul of course.
I have never been one to sit and examine Smith's lyrics in great detail and cannot comment on whether he was a genius lyricist or not but when the vocals are clear there are some absolutely bloody amazing lines that I think, yeah that's brilliant but then there are things like A Lot of Wind and Insult Song where he must have been taking the piss. A lot of time for me it doesn't matter what he is singing as I think of his voice mainly as another instrument, the most important instrument to be sure but another instrument none the less. Although he took it to the limit on the last few recordings with some of the barks, growls and gurgling which did become very tedious.
So, at present I am utterly devastated but not surprised by MES death, his poor health being widely documented. The realisation that there will never be another Fall album to eagerly anticipate, speculate about, write-off before hearing and then love/hate leaves me cold and something I don't want to think too much about. But it really is the end. Other bands can regroup, find another singer to learn the lyrics to all the old songs and record new ones but not the Fall. What us Fall fans do have, however, is an incredible back catalogue to listen to and study and for that we really must give thanks to Mark Edward Smith, for his bloodymindedness and singular vision of what his gruppe should sound like.
The Fall - New Big Prinz
The Fall - New Big Prinz (Live in Nottingham)
I forgot to add this
John Peel - The Fall
Wednesday 24 January 2018
I know that very few of you will thank me for this post but as Billy says "you've got to take the crunchy with the smooth".
I spent a very pleasant evening listening to Pink Floyd songs the other evening. I was surprised to learn that I have 167 tracks by the band. As you know I am quite fond of a long meandering tune and during their early phase the Floyd were quite partial to producing + 10 minute epics and on a couple of albums, Atom Heart Mother and Meddle one side consisted of a single track. Echoes in it's original form on Meddle lasts for 23 minutes there is however an even better live version which goes on for a further four minutes and was recorded in the Paris Theatre, London on the 30th September 1971 for the BBC. I would be surprised if this had been broadcast in its entirety at the time but if I am wrong then huge respect for the BBC. I don't think that it would be aired today. It comes from a rather splendid 4 cd Japanese Bootleg "Pink Floyd BBC Archives 1970 & 1971". The voice introducing the track maybe familiar to some of you. If the Floyd got his approval then they certainly get mine. Although some smart arse will point out "that he did like some pish an all". All part of lifes rich tapestry.
Pink Floyd - Echoes (Live at the BBC)
Tuesday 23 January 2018
Last night I was searching my itunes for a particular Pink Floyd track when I came across this little gem from Aphex Twin that I had forgotten about. You may be asking why I was looking for POink Floyd in the first place? Well I like the Floyd, deal with it.
A few years ago on soundcloud a couple of hundred tracks appeared on Soundcloud tagged to user48736353001 which turned out to be tracks by the one and only Richard D James aka Aphex Twin. The archive was made up of unreleased tracks produced from the late 80s to the mid 90s all in 320 kbps Mp3s which were downloadable. Which was rather generous of the techno innovator. Quite a few of the tracks came with notes by James, for 20 Pink Floyd he stated "Didn't have many records to sample back then and the girl who lived next door had a floyd lp, never listened to them then or since, just bagged the sample and made the tune, few different versions of it, been in the atic (sic) for all these years". Now, I don't want to question Mr James' honesty but if he had never listened to Floyd, then how did he know what bit he wanted to sample. I have no such qualms about stating on record that I have listened to Pink Floyd on more than a few occasions and love them, well most of their stuff. I lost interest once Roger Waters parted company with the rest of the band, finding his solo work better to that of the then trio's.
Aphex Twin - 20 Pink Floyd
Monday 22 January 2018
The first time I heard this track was when I went over to the dark side and spent some time in the Modern room at a Togetherness Weekender, well after about 50 hours of nearly non stop northern a bit of a change was in order. Imagine my surprise when sometime later while reading, I heard the very same song coming from the TV when L was watching Ally McBeal, a TV show if I remember rightly more than a few soul staples were murdered by a very bland, blonde singer.
Al Green - Keep On Pushing Love
Friday 19 January 2018
I wasn't really that fussed by the original version of Devotion by Nomad that was released back in 1990, I couldn't really be doing with the Welsh rapper on the track, the instrumental version was ok but was not the one that got the airplay. The fact that the man responsible, Damon (Nomad backwards, get it?) Rochefort wrote for the Bizarre column in The Sun made me more than a little skeptical about the record. Also the use of popular samples from Lyn Collins "Think" and Ten City "Devotion" gave the impression of House by numbers. Last year however Pangaea released a remix which is right up my street. Making it fresh for 2017, speeding it up, giving the track a new bass line and most importantly ditching the rap. When on the subject of the rap, on the original, MC Mikee Freedom mentions Hawk The Slayer and earlier this week on Twitter, Simon, of the much missed The Songs That People Sing and Jake Sniper were discussing that very sword and sorcery film and spookily this tune had already been picked for today's post.
Airdrie are not in action tomorrow, as it is the 4th round of the Scottish Cup and you may recall that the Diamonds were ignominiously kicked out of the cup by Highland league team Cove Rangers in the last round. Last week's 3 -2 defeat away to Stranraer saw the team slip down a league position to 7th. This week it was also revealed that next season Airdrie will be back to part time football, a sensible move I think. Also this week the promising youngster Willis Furtado decided to move on and is now signed for JC's team Raith Rovers.
Have a good weekend people
Nomad - Devotion (Pangaea edit)
Thursday 18 January 2018
The opening lines of this song has always reminded me of I Want You by Bob Dylan especially the live version from the Budokan album. It doesn't detract from the fact that I Love You (Listen to this) is a very good track in it's own right but I can't help but think of Dylan for the first thirty seconds or so. The song was originally on the third and my favourite Dexy's album Don't Stand Me Down and is also the shortest track on the album. This live version comes from the Duke of York concerts in April 2013. It was also the b-side of the 7" single that I was lucky enough to get when I went to see the documentary of the film of those shows as I had pre-booked my tickets. A documentary that Stiff very nearly missed as I stood arguing with the girl at the Forge that the film was definitely on there until the penny dropped and I realised my mistake, the Fort not the bloody Forge! We then had to try and navigate through the East End of Glasgow, most of which was closed off for the rehearsals for the opening of the Commonwealth Games which was taking place that very same night, We took our seats just as the opening credits started rolling.
Dexys - I Love You (Listen To This) Live Duke of Yorks Theatre.
Listen for yourself and see if I'm talking pish
B D - I Want You
Wednesday 17 January 2018
Cathy Rich laid down the vocal track of this cover of a tune written by Sonny Bono when she was just twelve years old. I had heard the Sonny and Cher version in my late teens but it wasn't until the All Seeing Eye's "And The Beat Goes On" that I was alerted to this far superior version. As I said I knew the song but there was no way that the vocal sampled on the 1997 version by the group from Sheffield was Cher's and so I started digging and found out that the version was by The Buddy Rich Big Band and so the search started to get a copy of this song. A couple of years later it was included on a great compilation of music that could be heard at the Blow Up club, a place that I had never been to but bought the album on the strength of the inclusion of the Beat Goes On and Love Potion No 9 but there really isn't a duff track on the album. The hunt is still on for a copy of the 7" single released in 1967. A few years later Cathy Rich went on to record a version of Wild Thing with Kim Fowley on production duties.
The Buddy Rich Big Band - The Beat Goes On
Cathy Rich - Wild Thing
Tuesday 16 January 2018
This caught my attention when I heard it at the end of last week. It reminds me of 212 by Azealia Banks and like that tune it has some truly shocking lyrics. "You gotta get loose with the Henny and the coke" I despair for the younger generation and the future of civilised society if they are drowning good Cognac with sugary Ginger. Mes amies en France will be horrified!
Monday 15 January 2018
Sunday nights eh?
Anyway, over the festering season I was thinking about what I could do to freshen up the blog, maybe kill of the dead horse that is "It's Friday. . . Let's Dance and think of something different to kick off the week. But try as I might, I'm buggered if I can think of a better way to enter the working week than with a bit of soul so there won't be many changes here and as for Fridays well last week may have given you a clue.
Marva Whitney, or Soul Sister #1 she was often referred to had released three pretty unsuccessful singles before she came to the attention of James Brown with whom she toured Europe, Africa and Asia in 1967/68, She also had a relationship with the band leader who would produce her fourth single, "Unwind Yourself", one of those records that from the mid 80s onwards was sampled to death. The follow-up single is the one that we concern ourselves with today or more specifically the flip side of "What Do I Have To Do To Prove My Love To You", "What Kind of Man". The single was released on the King label in 1968, however this single also for some unfathomable reason failed to chart. She would not bother the Billboard Chart until her 11th single "It's My Thing" which proves that the USA was not ready for the possibly the "rawest, brassiest" soul voice ever in 1968.
If you like this then you could do worse than purchase "Its My Thing" the album that collects together most of the King singles from 1968/69 which was re-released on Soul Brother Records on CD back in 2000 with extra tracks and double vinyl in 2015. It's well worth the money.
Marva Whitney - What Kind Of Man
Friday 12 January 2018
Wednesday's post by SWC at The Sound of Being Ok got me pondering how many tunes I had in my collection that have sampled the drum break from Apache by the Incredible Bongo Band. Off the top of my head I could think of at least half a dozen, however after consulting Who Sampled Who, I have at least 30 tracks out of a potential 528 tracks that have sampled some element of the track.
Here's the first one that I could think of, a remix of a single from the fourth album by Future Sound of London. We Have Explosive was remixed by pioneering DJ, remixer and producer Curtis Mantronik. When I dug out the single I was surprised to learn that it came out in 1997, I would have placed it no later than 96 but would have put money on 1995.
Some very good news on the Airdrie front, the consortium have managed to buy the ex-chairman's shares and are now effectively running the football club which should ensure some stability going forward and has already resulted in the signing of a few players, including a much needed striker. Last week's nil-nil draw with East Fife. This was the first nil nil the team have had in nearly three years of competitive games. Tomorrow the team travel to Stanraer who are fifth in the league one point and one place above the Diamonds. As ever in this league there is everything to play for.
I will be mostly watching a squad of nine year olds go-karting this weekend as Leo is 9 today and has decided that this is what he wants to do on Sunday with his mates.
Have a good weekend people.
Future Sound of London - We Have Explosive (Mantronik Plastic Formulae #1)
Thursday 11 January 2018
The above picture was pinned to the following tweet last week from @paulwhitelaw -
"The other day I decided to save on the subway fare by walking from Govan to Partick via the Clyde Tunnel. A tense terrifying, lonely half hour. I felt Like I was trapped in a claustrophobic Cold War nightmare. NEVER AGAIN."
I have contemplated this journey under the river Clyde on a couple of occasions but have bottled out both times, which I now think was a wise move as it looks like an incredibly eerie place. This song and especially this remix, proper scary stuff, sprang straight to mind.
John Foxx - Underpass (Dark, Long and Sinister mix)
Wednesday 10 January 2018
I'm of to see the Skids tonight at the Wah Wah hut with the Wilson brothers and will most likely bump into JC as he is attending tonight also. Still in two minds about this one to be honest, everybody who caught them live last year has raved about them but I just don't know. I will let you know how it turns out. If it's anything like TRB last year then I have nothing to worry about.
Here is the first Skids single I ever bought from Trax in Airdrie as much for the cover as I hadn't heard the track up until that time.
Skids - Charade
Tuesday 9 January 2018
But still head and shoulders above most other things released in 1984.
I spent the weekend looking for an Aztec Camera performance from the Barrowlands in 1984 after a request from Brian over here after his excellent (well apart from the last one) posts on the brilliance that is Oblivious. Alas the tape has not turned up yet of the 84 performance but I did find one from 1988 recorded in Manchester which doesn't sound that great and an absolutely terrible recording of the Barrowlands gig in August 1990 when I was asked who Mick Jones was.
It doesn't take much to nudge me into listening to Roddy and Aztec Camera and so I spent a good part of the weekend listening to various things, apart from Sunday afternoon when I listened to Morning Dove White, possibly the best album of the 1990s, an argument for another day possibly.
We will concern ourselves with an album that caused controversy when it was released, Knife, the second album from Aztec Camera. Personally I have always really, really liked it but I know quite a few others who don't rate it at all. The reason why I like it is probably the same reason as others don't in that it is not High Land Hard Rain part 2. It really is quite different there is a bit of a more poppy danceable feel to it, nothing near the soul lite of its successor, Love but in songs like Just Like The USA and Back Door To Heaven, the weakest track on the album but one I would listen to rather than most singles released in 1984.
I think that one of the main problems with a lot of fans of HLHR is Frame's choice of producer for the album, Mark Knopfler. Now I have severe problems with this man and his band, in fact he was second on my list all through the 80s and the 90s of who come the revolution would have been up against the firing squad. But he didn't turn the band into Princes of Purile Pop never mind Sultans of Swing, and there was never a sweatband in sight. Yes there are synths here and there and some fake horns but no real horrible production, that would come in 1987 where it was a lot more difficult for the worth of the songs to shine through. The track that gets the most criticism I find is the title track which I really don't understand as right from the start I have loved it. It is said that this is the track where Knopfler's influence is felt most, possibly but that doesn't make it any less of a track and neither does the fact that it lasts nine minutes. I do feel that there was more than a hint of musical snobbery in all of the criticism of this album and the production/producer.
So let me have it,
Aztec Camera - Knife
Monday 8 January 2018
When I started this nonsense I did not expect it to last nine weeks let alone nine years but somehow I have got away with spouting pish and posting some music that I think some other may want to hear for this long. I am aware that the quality wasn't that great from the beginning but has gotten worse over the past few months due to work and other shit going on but I have made a resolution to try to post if not every day during the week, then most days. I am not promising that the quality will improve or that the content will change that much but at least it may be a little more frequent than it has been of late.
As I have said before it is the comments and the interaction that keeps me and most other bloggers going, so if you think something is rank or I am talking absolute shite then please feel free to leave a comment. A huge thanks to all of you who have done in the past, if I have not replied sorry, it was not a snub but my attention span is not what it once was and I have most likely meant to and forgotten.
What other song could I post today other then From Across The Kitchen Table and I make no apologies as it is what it is.
The Pale Fountains - From Across The Kitchen Table (7" Version)