Interesting debate last week when I suggested that In Between Days was not only the finest moment of The Cure but also the best New Order song that New Order never wrote and recorded,

I hung my hat on it being the Lowlife era….others have thought it was more Power, Corruption & Lies.  Thinking more about it, it’s probably a mix of the two as the tremendous opening tracks of both LPs illustrate:-

mp3 : New Order – Age Of Consent

mp3 : New Order – Love Vigilantes

And when featuring those two songs on the blog, I really can’t let the occasion pass without listening to their other great LP opener of that era:-

mp3 : New Order – Dreams Never End

It really doesn’t seem like 32 years ago. It too sounds a big influence on In Between Days




Christmas 1997.

Santa, via Jacques the Kipper, brings me a copy of Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, the hugely acclaimed LP released a few months earlier by Spiritualized.

Sadly, it’s an LP I can’t quite take to albeit there were a couple of songs I thought were more than half-decent….but despite maybe a dozen or so efforts, I still didn’t get what all the fuss was about.

Fast forward fifteen or so years. Decide to give it another go.  This time I do get it.  I can’t put my finger on other than acknolwedging that, even as I hit my 40s, my musical horizons continued to expand.  Let’s just say, it was like discovering a lost masterpiece in the attic.

It’s an LP in which just about every musical instrument and every musical genre seems to have been thrown into the mix. Much of the material is about a painful and messy end to a relationship, with the basis being the real-life events that surrounded the band’s frontman Jason Pierce and the band’ keyboard player Kate Radley.

My favourite song on the album is Broken Heart which must be one of the the most gut-wrenching, emotionally-draining but defying songs ever written and recorded.  The fact the person who the song was written about contributes so much to its haunting sound just seems incredible.

I hadn’t realised until very recently that this was one of two songs later re-recorded and put out as EP in August 1998.  I was delighted therefore to come across a second-hand copy of the 12″ of Abbey Road EP and rushed home to play this version of Broken Heart.

And to my astonishment and delight I discovered that it’s even better than the LP version with the addition of what sounds like a full-blown orchestra and gospel choir to the mix.

mp3 : Spiritualized – Broken Heart (Abbey Road Mix)

The leads track on the EP was this:-

mp3 : Spiritualized – Come Together (Abbey Road Mix)

One of the most accessible tracks on the album but it couldn’t get any airplay thanks to the regular use of the word fuck/fucked/fucker.  It therefore made sense to all and sundry to have a fresh stab at it, but the use of mess/messed to replace the swear words, to my ears, diminish it somewhat.

The EP was completed by something which wouldn’t have been out of place as the credits roll on a movie where the very final scene has left the entire audience in a state of shock and tears:-

mp3 : Spiritualized – Broken Heart (instrumental)

The Abbey Road EP didn’t sell all that well, only reaching #39 in the singles chart.  But then again, none of the singles from Ladies and Gentlemen…. went Top 20.




it can’t be denied can it?

mp3 : The Cure – In Between Days

Quite possibly my favourite few minutes from The Cure.  And yes, it is because it so reminds me of Lowlife era New Order. A #15 hit in the UK back in the summer of 1985. Still sounds gorgeous after all this time.

It’s one I’ve had on 12″ vinyl since its initial release.  Here’s yer rather splendid b-sides :-

mp3 : The Cure – The Exploding Boy

mp3 : The Cure – A Few Hours After This

Three excellent tracks on one 12″ single.  What more can you ask for?




One of my favourite LPs is 1978-1990, which consists of four sides of vinyl featuring 28 of the very best songs from The Go-Betweens.

What makes the double album that wee bit more special is that every song gets a little commentary from either Grant McLennan or Robert Forster which taken together provides a potted bio of the band. While going through the CDs the other day I stumbled upon this 4-track sampler issued by Beggars Banquet.  Like the LP, the songs have notes attached.

I’m not sure if it was ever made available commercially…I picked mine up from a shop in Glasgow that was well-known for putting promotional material on general sale to try to make a little bit more cash.  The sticker on the front reminds me I paid £2.49 which wasn’t bad at all.  It’s listed for sale at £6.99 plus postage on Discogs just now.

Here’s the songs and what can be found in the sleeve notes:-

mp3 : The Go-Betweens – Cattle and Cane

Written in summer on a borrowed guitar in a Paddington bedroom, London. The other rooms were occupied by unconscious friends. The rhythm struck me as strange, the mood as beautiful and sad. The song came easily, was recorded quickly and still haunts me: GM
(Recorded in October 1982 in Eastbourne, England. Originally released as a Rough Trade single)

mp3 : The Go-Betweens – Bachelor Kisses

We came back from Christmas in New York having lost our record company somewhere along the way. I wrote this in immigration having been refused entry to the United Kingdom. The first person who heard the song was my sister. She said that Marianne Faithful should sing it : GM
(recorded in July 1984 in London. Originally released on the Sire album ‘Spring Hill Fair’

mp3 : The Go Betweens – Man O’Sand To Girl O’Sea

In rock’n’roll terms The Go-Betweens always take the checkered flag. This road running slice of beauty and mayhem – I can distinctly remember turning to the band and saying “let’s burn this land”. And by Jesus we did : RF
(recorded in August 1983 in Sussex, Originally released as a Rough Trade single)

mp3 : The Go-Betweens – Bye Bye Pride

Cairns is a lazy, small town full of boats and cane fields. It is also unbearably hot. An old army officer once said to me that the heat took away his pride. He then sucked loudly on the straw in his gin and headed out to the first hole. I was his caddy so I followed him : GM
(recorded in January 1987 in London. Originally released on the Beggars Banquet album Tallulah)

It’s hearing these songs again that remind me of the heights that this band were capable of reaching. The notes also show just how talented they were as wordsmiths, both in song and in prose. It is a mystery as to why they never crossed over to obtain the commercial success that they so deserved.

Cattle and Cane in particular is a very very special song. Nowadays, it makes me sad as it reminds me of Grant’s sudden and very unexpected death. But at the same time, it is a song I associate with some of my happiest days, weeks and months on Planet Earth when I fell properly in love for the first time.

Man O’ Sand….made my 45 45s at 45 list back in 2008 – as much for the cracking b-side that accompanied it as the single itself. Two songs that play a major part in my decision to start a blog all those years ago.

RIP Grant. Thank you and your comrades for such amazing and timeless tunes.



mp3 :PJ Harvey and John Parish – Heela

Now then, this song or rather the album that its from, brings to mind a story.

In 1996 we lived in Plumstead, a suburb of London. A crap one at that – a breeding ground for far right extremists, nutjobs, the depressed and masses of people with chips on their shoulder about something. It was horrible. Anyway at the time I was doing a bit of DJing and a bit of writing so I was sent CDs and the like. After being in the flat for about a month – I got burgled,

it’s a horrid experience as anyone who has been burgled will tell you. Luckily we didn’t lose that much, a mountain bike, an unused boxed stereo, some clothes and my electric razor (I mean who steals a man’s razor, come on!).

When the dust had settled, about a week later, we gave the house a thorough clean to make ourselves feel better. Now I was cleaning and tidying the sofa and I took the cushions off to you know, fluff them up, (yes, fluff them up, shut up) and down stuffed behind the seat was an envelope. It was from one of the promo companies that sent CDs to me and it had been opened. I didn’t put it there and I didn’t open it. So it must have been the burglar(s).

Inside was the album Dancehall at Louse Point by PJ Harvey and John Parish – from which Heela is taken. On that album written in black pen (MY PEN!) were the words “This looks shit got any Phil Collins”.

I photographed it – I’ll dig that out.

Now, being burgled I can, kind of understand and accept (well get over), people do that to one another, its not right but you know worse things happen in life.

But to slate PJ Harvey and to prefer Phil Collins, PHIL COLLINS instead is just unacceptable. I won’t have it.

So my burglar was a dick, and ill-informed one with lousy taste in music at that and I hope he drove off a cliff somewhere in a stolen van with an endless tape loop of ‘Another Day in Paradise’ ringing in his stupid ears.

Incidentally at the time I had about £5000 worth of music in the house, not one other CD or record was touched, not even my signed copy of ‘One Way’ by The Levellers.

Heela is lovely, a bit different from the usual PJ standard and the album is recommended. She made a few records with John Parish, none of the others spring to mind as much as ‘Dancehall..,’ though.

See you next week


Note from JC

I laughed out so loud when I first read this in the e-mail that I had snot coming out of my nose.  I thought I’d round off this truly tremendously contribution  with one for the burglar just in case he happens to be reading:-

mp3 : Phil Collins – Just Another Day In Paradise

Fuck….the link appears to have been stolen.



I was reasonably prolific in June 2007 with 24 posts in all.  The month began as May 2007 had ended with a daily series called ‘Holiday Hymn’ in which I provided a daily series of postcards from the island of Aruba.

These were  followed by a tale of a journey home that turned bad with alcohol confiscated by customs as I fell foul of the recently introduced no liquids in hand luggage rule; some posts about covers (inevitably!), stuff about bands that were largely forgotten; a post for turning 44 and others that I think still read well. Oh and a few words at the end of the month to say that just as the blog was really hitting its stride I was having to put things to one side for a bit as I was going over to Toronto to work for 16 weeks.

There was also a  a rant about From The Jam (which I’m now a bit embarrassed about given that Bruce Foxton has since done a really nice and thoughtful thing for a dear friend of the blog),

Here’s the full list of songs that were featured in June 2007….I don’t think I’m wrong when I say it would make for a great Radio 6 show or a jukebox that would be eternally blasting out music:-

Belle & Sebastian – Another Sunny Day
Super Furry Animals – Hello Sunshine
Billy Bragg – That’s Entertainment
Curve – What A Waste
Aztec Camera – Sunset
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – That Summer Feeling
Josh Rouse – Sunshine (Come On Lady)
Alexi Murdoch – Orange Sky

The Adventure Babies – Camper Van
Malcolm Middleton – Stay Close, Sit Tight
Tindersticks – Until The Morning Comes
REM – Electrolite
The Monochrome Set – Jet Set Junta
Blancmange – Waves
The Wedding Present – Back For Good
Simple Minds – I Travel
Beck – Devil’s Haircut
Beck – Devil’s Haircut (Remix by Noel Gallagher)
Lloyd Cole – Butterfly
Lloyd Cole – Butterfly (Planet Ann Charlotte Mix)
R.E.M. – Radio Song
R.E.M. – Radio Song (Tower of Luv Bug Mix)
Giant Sand – Red Right Hand
Lambchop – (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
Lambchop – The Theme From The TV Show ‘Dallas’
Jackie Lee – White Horses
The Trash Can Sinatras – White Horses
The Wedding Present – White Horses
Primus – Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver
Pete Wylie – Sinful (Tribal Mix)
The Smiths – This Charming Man (New York Vocal)
Prefab Sprout – He’ll Have To Go
Scritti Politti – Faithless (Triple-Hep N’Blue)
Care – My Boyish Days (drink to me)
Care – Flaming Sword
Care – Whatever Possessed You
The Lightning Seeds – Flaming Sword
The Jam – Away From The Numbers
The Jam – In The Street Today
The Jam – Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
The Jam – Strange Town
The Jam – Thick As Thieves
The Jam – Scrape Away
The Jam – Tales From The Riverbank (fan club flexidisc version)
The Jam – Happy Together
Moby – Sunday (The Day Before My Birthday)
New Order – 1963
James Kirk – Old Soak
Blink – Happy Day
Family Gotown – Box
The Frank & Walters – Fashion Crisis Hits New York
Arab Strap – There Is No Ending
The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu – The Queen and I
The KLF – Kylie Said To Jason (full length version)
Graham Coxon – Freakin’ Out
Foil – Are You Enemy?
The Pixies – Velouria
Queens Of The Stone Age – No One Knows
The Clash – White Man In Hammersmith Palais
The Clash – Stay Free
The Clash – Straight To Hell (unedited version)
The 1990’s – Pollokshields
Morrissey – Come Back To Camden
Cornershop – Heavy Soup
The Weather Prophets – Well Done Sonny
Malcolm Middleton – A Brighter Beat
Elizabeth – (Dance) Into The Heart Of Your Enemy
Billy Bragg – Ontario, Quebec & Me (live)
Prefab Sprout – Goodbye Lucille #1
The Breeders – Safari
Arcade Fire – Wake Up
Leonard Cohen – Suzanne
St Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Martin Stephenson & The Daintees – In The Heal Of The Night
British Sea Power – Remember Me
The Lilac Time – The Girl Who Waves At Trains
St Vincent – Now. Now.
I Am Kloot – Over My Shoulder
Neil Young – After The Goldrush
Edwyn Collins – Don’t Shilly Shally
The Wedding Present – It’s For You
The Trash Can Sinatras – Only Tongue Can Tell
Martha Wainwright – Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole
The Wannadies – Hit
Grinderman – Love Bomb

In addition to that rather exhausting list, there were three other songs wthin the posting I’m revisiting in full. It dates from 21 June 2007 and is one in which I give a big shout out to ctel.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Judging by the comments that he often makes afterwards, one of the regular and long-standing visitors to TVV – Ctel – seems to enjoy when I post rare tracks by the best band to come out of Athens, Georgia.

Yesterday, I picked up second-hand copies of a couple of 12″ singles from the IRS days. Maybe Ctel already has the tracks, but if not, what follows are for mostly for him, but I’m sure he’ll be happy for you all to share:-

mp3 : R.E.M. – Finest Worksong (Lengthy Club Mix)

This single was released in April 1988, a full 7 months after the album Document came out, and so it was given a different recording and mix featuring a horns section. A shorter version of this was later put on the compilation LP Eponymous, but to the best of my knowledge the track in all its glory is only available on the 12″ single. The band left IRS two days after the UK release of Finest Worksong and signed for Warner Brothers.

mp3 : R.E.M. – Time After Time etc.

This is the b-side to the Worksong single. It’s a live medley taken from a recording made by Vara Radio in Holland of the band’s concert in Utrecht on 14 September 1987. According to the set-list reproduced in the book Adventures In Hi-Fi : The Complete R.E.M. by Rob Jovanovic and Tim Abbott (Orion Publishing 2001), the three-track medley, which comprises Time After Time, Red Rain (a cover of the Peter Gabriel song) and So. Central Rain was the fourth and final encore of the show. Much of it is Michael Stipe singing acapella, with Peter Buck seemingly the only other band member on stage. It’s a very quiet recording, so you may have to crank up your volume for best effect.

mp3 : R.E.M. – This One Goes Out (live)

In other words, an early version of The One I Love, the song which brought the band to the attention of a wider audience. It was actually the first ever public airing of the song and was on 24 May 1987, a full three months before it was issued as a single. It’s taken from the 12″ release of It’s The End Of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).

The record sleeve tells us that the recording is from a show at McCabes Guitar Shop in Santa Monica held as a benefit for Texas Records who had been hit with a lawsuit. The Jovanovic/Abbott book reveals that the show opened with four songs by Steve Wynne of Dream Syndicate, followed by a couple of songs by a ‘tipsy’ Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs (the latter of which she was joined on stage by Stipe), before the main R.E.M set.

This One Goes Out was in fact the first full R.E.M. song of the evening. However…’s a recording with a difference. When Merchant left the stage, it wasn’t Berry, Buck or Mills who joined Stipe but Geoff Gans, a member of staff at IRS Records.

The book says…’Gans started some acoustic strumming and the unlikely pairing served up a stunning version…’.

And it is.

The other track on the b-side of the single is a live version of Maps and Legends from the same how, but this can also be found on the CD of the re-released Fables of the Reconstruction that came out in 1992.

So thanks Ctel for coming by so often – and thanks for inspiring these rare and great songs.

2013 update

Little did I know when I wrote these words that we would one day meet in the flesh and that he would be single-handedly responsible for saving the blog a few years later when I got quite overwhelmed with things happening in my real life…but’s a tale for another day.

If any of you are keen to hear any of the songs in the list, please let me know and I’ll get round to reposting them.