King Biscuit Time is the name under which Steve Mason of The Beta Band released his solo material.  The No Style EP is typical of what one writer described as “a combination transmogrified of Psychedelic, House, Dancehall, Pop, Folk, Hip-Hop and electronics into Mason’s his wide-screen, surround-sound international around-the-world-in-a-day Dada pop that exists in isolation to everything outside his own planet.”

The lead-off track is quite magnificent and dancey while the other two vocal tracks are quite lovely and soppy.  The instrumental track (Untitled) is just a wee bit too noodly for my liking though but overall it’ll be a well worthy 15 minutes of your to take a listen:-

mp3 :King Biscuit Time – I Walk The Earth

mp3 : King Biscuit Time – Untitled

mp3 : King Biscuit Time – I Love You

mp3 : King Biscuit Time – Time To Get Up

CD single released in 2000 by Regal Recordings.



Lots of bands used John Peel sessions to record cover versions.  Many of these would later appear on b-sides under license from the BBC but in recent years there’s been a trend towards some of the bands most frequently invited into the studio to release all such material on CD album or within boxsets – The Fall, The Wedding Present, PJ Harvey and Magazine all spring to mind.  As do this lot:-

mp3 : The Delgados – Mr Blue Sky

mp3 : The Delgados – California Uber Alles

mp3 : The Delgados – Matthew and Son

mp3 : The Delgados – Last Rose of Summer

Stewart Henderson used the sleeve notes of the CD release to explain:-

The next session was scheduled to coincide with the release of ‘Hate’ and was recorded on 15 September 2002. This on was going to be a departure from previous sessions because we had decided to do four cover versions – we would choose three and John would be allowed to pick the fourth. John’s choice was ‘Last Rose of Summer’ by a Jamaican vocal group called The Symbols (also known as The Masters). This was a really enjoyable session to do although we all had individual problems with the songs that were chosen – Alun hated’Mr Blue Sky’ from the beginning and it took us forever to work out the outro; Paul had a nightmare doing the drums on ‘California Uber Alles’ and ‘Matthew and Son’ was a pain in the arse for me to play but overall the versions came out really well (for Alun’s sins we ended all our ‘Hate’ shows with ‘Mr Blue Sky’)

Oh and I’m with Alun Woodward on this.  I really hate the song Mr Blue Sky…..ok, I hate the original ELP version…The Delgados make it more than listenable.  And it’s a really good take on the Dead Kennedys classis as well.




S-WC outlined all sorts of reasons why cover versions are recorded.  As he mentioned, sometimes it can be for a tribute album.  From wiki:-

The Smiths Is Dead is a tribute album to the 1980s’ English alternative rock band The Smiths, released in 1996. It was compiled by the French cultural magazine Les Inrockuptibles and released to celebrate the 10th anniversary of 1986’s The Queen Is Dead. The album was released at the height of the Britpop phenomenon and contained covers by many popular Britpop acts such as The Boo Radleys, Supergrass, Bis and Placebo.

It’s very much a mixed bag and I think it’s accurate to say that none of the covers improve at all on the originals, but that would have been a near impossibility to begin with. The other biggest problems are that too many of the tracks fail to digress all that much from how The Smiths themselves recorded the songs or that the band asked to do the cover do so in a way that even Morrissey’s backing band would have been embarassed by the efforts.  However, an honourable mention must go to Boo Radleys for what is a hugely different take on the title track… that too me many years to really appreciate but nowadays is the only one I have on the i-pod :-

mp3 : Boo Radleys – The Queen Is Dead
mp3 : The High Llamas – Frankly, Mr. Shankly
mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – I Know It’s Over
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Never Had No One Ever
mp3 : The Frank & Walters – Cemetry Gates
mp3  : Placebo – Bigmouth Strikes Again
mp3 : Bis – The Boy with the Thorn in His Side
mp3 : Therapy? – Vicar in a Tutu
mp3 : The Divine Comedy – There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
mp3 : Supergrass – Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others




With thanks to SWC for mentioning these yesterday.  Covers of songs that are so well-known that I can be lazy and not provide background notes:-

mp3 : China Drum – Wuthering Heights

mp3 : Futureheads – Hounds Of Love

mp3 : Oasis – I Am The Walrus

mp3 : The Streets – Your Song

mp3 : Manic Street Preachers – Umbrella

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Back For Good




It’s still covers week on T(n) VV:-

Whats in Your Box Part 10

Stanford Prison Experiment – ‘Cansado EP’

In reality this is a cover version special, but first a little word about Stanford Prison Experiment as their CD inspires today words.  Stanford Prison Experiment were a hardcore/punk band from California who released a couple of albums in the mid 90s. They were signed to World Domination Records (see Part 6 for more on that) and were led by a certain Mario Jiminez. Their second album The Gato Hunch was supposed to be their breakthrough record but they split soon after its release.

Cansado is taken from that album and to be honest it’s a bit forgettable and for the first time I haven’t posted the main song of the CD. It is standard American punk in the vein of but not as good as Fugazi and Black Flag. What stands this EP out from the rest of the crowd is its selection of B sides. All of them are cover versions. I have included one as the posting , which I have cunningly disguised to see if anyone out there can guess which song it is. Remember this is an LA Punk Band who were around in 1995. A bit of the clue, the song features on an Album which JC included in his recent 50 at 50 series (I think, or was it over at 17 Seconds, I forget). Anyway, cover versions. Everyone loves a good cover.

There are I think, five types of cover version and I will do my best to demonstrate my theory here.

Number One – The make the song your own – Best example I can think of is Wuthering Heights by China Drum. A cover version so good, that I now associate that song with them, rather than with Kate Bush. See also I suppose Hounds of Love by The Futureheads and I am The Walrus by Oasis.

Number Two – Do it for a Film – Difficult because its either going to be ironic, terrible or a cover of a great song. The best example I can think of here is Love Will Tear Us Apart by Honeyroot from film Red Road. Already a brilliant song and few would dare to cover it, but Honeyroot took it and stripped it bare and wrung every last inch of emotion and heatbreak out of It, making it even more beautiful and if you’ve watched the film, you’ll know why. It is in my opinion ‘The Best cover version Ever’. Heck, I thought I’d post it as well as it is so great, but if you don’t already own it, shame on you.

mp3 : Honeyroot – Love Will Tear Us Apart

Number Three – The Radio One/Aren’t we wacky/Tribute Album – You are in a ‘Live Lounge’ and you have to do a cover. So you do something awful and make it slightly less awful. Nearly every cover version recorded in Radio One’s Live Lounge is terrible. The only exceptions I have ever heard are Your Song by The Streets (which I put in category 1 now) and The Manic Street Preachers doing Umbrella. Other radio stations are not immune from this (I’m looking at you Six Music, although you are forgiven for The Wedding Present‘s version of Back for Good). See also ironic covers of crap songs by Punk Bands and almost anything on a tribute album.

Number Four – The Why Bother – You do a song and IT SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE THE ORIGINAL. Pointless. I was listening a few weeks ago to Handwritten by The Gaslight Anthem and after track 12 or something Sliver by Nirvana came on. I assumed the album had finished and had gone into a random shuffle. It took me a full half and hour to realise it was a cover version. It is EXACTLY the same as the original and if you don’t believe me I’ve posted it in all its pointless glory.

mp3 : The Gaslight Anthem – Sliver

Which brings us to Number Five – The Was that what I thought it was – Cover versions that you listen to and go – hang on that was such and such wasn’t it and you have to play it again to make sure. I have an ambient version of Michael Jackson’s Stranger in Moscow that bears no resemblance to the original what so ever. This is where Stanford Prison Experiment come in. So what do you think they have covered – post in the comments section your answers and how long it took to guess, no googling the answer either. It took me to one minute 45 on the second play. JC will get it after 45 seconds or something but good luck.

mp3 : Sssh…..what is it

Have a good week one and all.

JC Update

After 30 seconds….I thought it was a particular song….after 45 seconds I changed my mind as it then reminded of something else….after 65 seconds I went back to my original thought….after 75 seconds yup….I stuck with my original thought and was duly rewarded.

It was SW-C’s post that got me thinking about doing a full week of covers so big thanks to him.



I’ve never hidden my love of a good cover version.  The old place used to have the occasional week’s worth of postings that were all about cover versions.  I thought I’d so similar here in my new abode.

One of the things that I think makes a particularly good cover is when a singer or band take a song and do it in their own inimitable style so that unless you knew the original version you’d be hard pushed to realise it is not an original you’re listening to.  Edwyn Collins has managed this on a couple of occasions:-

mp3 : Edwyn Collins – Ding a Dong

mp3 : Edwyn Collins – The Witch Queen Of New Orleans

The first of these is a cover of the winning entry in the 1975 Eurovision Song Contest.  The original was by a band called Teach In who were from the Netherlands and on its release as a single in the UK, Ding a Dong reached #13 . Although would be their only success in the UK, Teach In were well-known in their native land – indeed their participation in Eurovision came after a number of hit singles in 1974 – and released 5 LPs and around 20 singles in the 70s.

The second song dates from 1971 and was written and recorded by Redbone, an American band that enjoyed a fair bit of critical and commercial success in the States in the 70s.  The Witch Queen of New Orleans was also a hit in the UK, reaching #2 in October 1971, a position it kept for four successive weeks but kept off the top spot by Rod Stewart singing Maggie May. Given that Edwyn would have been 12 years old at the time, I’m guessing his love for Witch Queen stems from him watching Top of The Pops and wishing that somehow the song would get boring old Rod off the show for at least one week….



In which I finally catch up with all the entries in this long-running series……


(66) Josef K – Chance Meeting b/w Pictures : Postcard Records 7″ (1981)

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you David Weddell, Malcolm Ross, Paul Haig and Ronnie Torrance.  Collectively known as Josef K.  All you need to know can be found in here. It’s a fantastic website.


(67) The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu – Whitney Joins The J.A.Ms : KLF Communications 12″ (1987)

OK. The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu are not completely Scottish. But one half of them is and as far as I’m concerned that’s good enough for this 1987 one sided single to be included in this long-running alphabetical series. Plenty more to come before we reach Zoey Van Goey ………..  Happy to accept that this track has not dated all that well but also willing to argue that it was ground-breaking in its day.


(68) Kid Canaveral – Couldn’t Dance b/w Teenage Fanclub Song : Straight To Video Records (2008)

Kid Canaveral are an alternative pop group based in Edinburgh, and the indiepop poster children of the Fence Records roster. The band – David MacGregor (Guitars & Voice), Kate Lazda (Guitars & Voice), Rose McConnachie (Bass Guitar & Voice) and Scott McMaster (Drumkit) – formed in St Andrews, and after releasing their debut 7″ single ‘Smash Hits’ on their own label Straight to Video Records in 2007, they self-released a further 4 singles, an EP and their debut album Shouting at Wildlife, before signing to Fence Records in 2011.

Tune in next week for Part 69.



I’m lifting this from the intro to the actual comic:-

“They’re part of the melodic continuum that began in England’s Dance Hall during World War II. More recent points on that timeline have included The Kinks, Roxy Music, Bowie (Diamond Dogs era), The Smiths and Blur. Pulp’s songs present a very English slice of life, garnished with bathos, wit and humour. The melange includes guitars, bass, drums, violin, a very cheesy Farfisa organ (how retro!) ans the inimitable vocal stylings of Mr Jarvis Cocker. Pulp have been around for almost 15 years as a loose entity with a mottled Indie past. Pulp’s Island Records signing and subsequent release of their album “His’nHers” marked their major-label debut.

With “Different Class” they triggered a real Pulpmania.  As a a tribute to the single “Common People”, the Tank Girl cartoonist, Jamie Hewlett, specially drew a cartoon, illustrating the lyrics.

 Page 1


Page 2


Page 3


Page 4


Page 5


Page 6


Page 7


Page 8


Bloody marvellous innit?

mp3 : Pulp – Common People

mp3 : Pulp – Common People (Motiv-8 Mix)

mp3 : Pulp – Common People (Live In Session, 1995)

Different Class right enough.



Some of my recent postings have hacked off someone judging by three e-mails that all arrived in my inbox within a few minutes of one another on 18 November:-


To whom it may concern,

We have recently received a complaint regarding the following file(s), which you have been sharing through your Box account, and infringe on a previously-held copyright:

MyBox/Joy Division – Transmission.mp3
MyBox/Joy Division – Novelty.mp3

We have deleted the above file(s) from your account. Please delete any other files from your account that may infringe on any previously-held copyrights, as these go against the Box Terms of Service. Be aware that further infractions may result in account termination.

The Box Team



To whom it may concern,

We have recently received a complaint regarding the following file(s), which you have been sharing through your Box account, and infringe on a previously-held copyright:

MyBox/Echo & The Bunnymen – Heads Will Roll (Summer Version).mp3
MyBox/Echo and the Bunnymen – Heads Will Roll.mp3

We have deleted the above file(s) from your account. Please delete any other files from your account that may infringe on any previously-held copyrights, as these go against the Box Terms of Service. Be aware that further infractions may result in account termination.

The Box Team



To whom it may concern,

We have recently received a complaint regarding the following file(s), which you have been sharing through your Box account, and infringe on a previously-held copyright:

MyBox/The Smiths – Hand In Glove.mp3

We have deleted the above file(s) from your account. Please delete any other files from your account that may infringe on any previously-held copyrights, as these go against the Box Terms of Service. Be aware that further infractions may result in account termination.

The Box Team


It’s all just a bit sad and depressing. Can’t think there’s too many folk who drop by here who didn’t already have all of the songs concerned.

VILLAGE FIRE (Jimone and James II)


This was another bunch of tunes that always seemed to go down well whenever they were posted on the old blog.

Village Fire was released by Factory Records as a 12″ EP in 1985.  It has the prefix of FAC 138.   It brought together all the five tracks that James had recorded for Jimone (FAC 78, released in 1983) and James II (FAC 119, released in 1985).

mp3 : James – What’s The World

mp3 : James – Folklore

mp3 : James – Fire So Close

mp3 : James – If Things Were Perfect

mp3 : James – Hymn From A Village

Completely unrecognisable from the material that would turn the band into chart regulars a few years later, all these songs still sound marvellous the best part of 30 years later.

The Smiths did a live version of one of the songs, recorded live at the Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow.  I was in the audience roaring my approval:-

mp3 : The Smiths – What’s The World (live)




S-WC gave Arctic Monkeys a thumbs-up in his posting yesterday.  I thought I’d follow it up today with a few words of my own.

I was very fortunate in getting to catch them live on a couple of occasions just as they were breaking through thanks to their inclusion on one of those tours that NME help put together.  They were third on a bill that was headlined by Maximo Park….a few months later they returned to the same venue – the Academy in Glasgow – as bona fide headliners.  They were a joy to watch and listen to.

The debut LP is now seven years old.  I gave it a listen again all the way through the other day and found that it is has aged superbly and must be considered not just one of the finest debut LPs of that decade but up there as one of the very best LPs of the past 25 years or so.

I remember also being hugely impressed at the band’s attitude to fame and fortune.  They were all too aware that the British press had a great habit of making you their darlings  and then in the blink of an eye moving on to the next big thing and writing things that turn last week’s darlings into this week’s laughing-stock. Which is why I thought it was a stroke of genius that the first of the new material post-debut LP was released with the title of Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?

We all want some one to shout for
Yeah, everyone wants somebody to adore
But your heroes aren’t what they seem
When you’ve been, where we’ve been

Have I done something to trigger
The funny looks and the sniggers?
Are they there at all
Or is it just paranoia

Cos everybody’s got their box
And doing what they’re told
You push my faith near being lost
But we’ll stick to the guns
Dont care if it’s marketing suicide
We wont crack or compromise
Your derisory divides
Will never unhinge us

Theres a couple of hundred
Think they’re Christopher Columbus
But the settlers had already settled
Here long before you

Just cos were having a say so
And not lining up to be play doh
In five years time will it be
Who the fucks Arctic Monkeys?

‘Cause everybody’s got their box
And doing what they’re told
You push my faith near being lost
But we’ll stick to the guns
Dont care if it’s marketing suicide
We wont crack or compromise
Your derisory divides
Will never unhinge us

All the thoughts that I just said
Linger round and multiply in the head
Not that bad to start with
I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed

It’s not you it’s them that are wrong
Tell ’em to take out their tongues
Tell ’em to take out their tongues

It’s not you it’s them that are wrong
Tell ’em to take out their tongues
Tell ’em to take out their tongues
And bring on the backlash

It’s not you it’s them that are wrong
Tell him to take out his tongue
Tell him to take out his tongue

It’s not you it’s them that’s the fake
I won’t mess with your escape
Is this really your escape?

Alex Turner was just 20 years of age when he wrote that lyric.  An old head on young shoulders.

And it’s great to realise that five years on his band are still as popular as ever. Here’s all five tracks on that 2006 EP:-

mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – The View From The Afternoon

mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – Cigarette Smoker Fiona

mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – Despair In The Departure Lounge

mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – No Buses

mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?




Intro from JC

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m really enjoying the weekly contributions from SWC with much of the material being new to my ears.  I’m also loving that his writing is hugely entertaining and often laugh-out-loud funny….and this week’s is an absolute cracker.  I think it is worth mentioning that in his covering e-mail he said he wrote it in a state of delirium after a long day and a visit to the dentist…..


The music press has in its time spouted a lot of bollocks, I think it’s fair to say. For instance they love to hype a band and then when they turn out to be the musical equivalent of a double hernia, deny any knowledge of ever mentioning them (remember Terris ?- £1.99 I’ll never get back, you utter bastards at the NME ). But occasionally they got it right (see The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and most very recently Childhood) so we forgive them and move on to the Next Big Thing.

What really, really annoys me is when the press decides that its time for a New Scene. Here is a list of some (but not all) I can remember…

Britpop (shouty blokes with guitars, mostly bland white boys who look, sound, and act, like Oasis)

Shoegaze (basically Ride for the girls and Slowdive for the boys, but posh middle class, home counties residing, university educated scensters, now making a comeback with the likes of Forest and Younghusband – who (whisper it) are actually very good)

New Wave of New Wave (a scene created so that These Animal Men could exist. White pretend working class lads taking far too much speed for their own sanity)

Lion Pop (created so that Cud could become more famous than they deserved to be – dissolved when Cud released ‘Rich and Strange’ and no one bought it)

And…getting to the point….RoMo (Bands from the mid 90s who thought it was still 1985. Championed by the Melody Maker, ignored by, well everyone else, and the single reason why Melody Maker folded). Hands Up if you can remember a RoMo band?

Orlando were the darlings of the scene, set apart from the rest by actually being quite good. The rest of them had passed me by, until this popped out of the box today.

In Aura had the idea of merging Prog Rock with New Romantic stylings and their first single was this – a sprawling eight minute, erm, epic that swoops and ooohs and aahs and rocks and then wibbles and then settles down for a little sleep before waking up again at the end. Its, frankly, ridiculous, but utterly wonderful at the same time, an eight minute debut single is a very brave thing to do. It reminds me a lot of Duran Duran, which if it was 1984 would be a terrific thing. Sadly its nearly 2014 and I’m knocking on the door of 40 and I don’t want to be reminded of Duran Duran.

A website which mentions them called them “A fine weave of dark wave electro pop and epic rock (read prog there) a mix of Nine Inch Nails (nope, not really) Suede (in terms of sheer pomposity, yes), Primal Scream (in your fecking dreams sunshine) Pink Floyd (ditto) and Porcupine Tree (who?). It also mentioned that EMI signed them and gave them ONE MILLION POUNDS to record their debut album. I say that again ONE MILLION POUNDS. So there we have it. In Aura the musical equivalent of Andy Carroll* – good for eight minutes or so, vastly expensive, and then forgotten.

mp3 : In Aura – This Month’s Epic

*For those wondering who the hell Andy Carroll is… here





Big Flame (often rendered bIG fLAME) were a post punk/Indie rock three piece band, based in Manchester, England and active from 1983 to 1986. The members were Alan Brown (bass, vocals), Greg Keeffe (guitar) and Dil Green (drums). After a debut single (Sink) on their own Laughing Gun label, they joined the Ron Johnson roster for a series of mid-eighties singles as well as an appearance on the NME’s C86 compilation.

On the reverse of the “Two Kan Guru” compilation, it was jokingly stated that Green and Brown played in the original line up of Wham! with George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley; incredibly, this was accepted as fact by many people.In addition to releasing 5 singles and a compilation EP, Big Flame also recorded four sessions for the John Peel Show.

Big Flame were a major influence on Manic Street Preachers. In a 1991 interview, Richie Edwards stated “The 80s, for us, was the biggest non-event ever, like C86. All we had was Big Flame. Big Flame was the most perfect band. But we couldn’t play their records ‘cos they were too avant garde”.

The group also operated beyond the confines of the band itself. Keeffe and Green hosted a night at Manchester’s Man Alive club which they christened “The Wilde Club” providing a useful venue for groups other than their own. This spirit was also reflected in Ugly Noise Undercurrents which was a band-swap concept conceived by Alan to provide emerging groups with a facility for securing gigs in towns and cities beyond their home base. The Allez Ugly newsletter was the primary driver for this.

After the band split in 1986, Brown joined Ron Johnson labelmates A Witness on drums, touring the UK and Europe and appearing on several records (the 12″ EP ‘One Foot in the Groove’ and Strange Fruit Double Peel Sessions) and three sessions for BBC Radio One DJ John Peel. He left A Witness in 1988 to form solo project Great Leap Forward, while Keeffe joined Meatmouth (with Mark Whittam and Nicholas Blincoe) who released “Meatmouth is murder” on Factory Records, Fac196.

After a break from music, Alan Brown teamed up with Daren Garratt (of Pram) and Vince Hunt (of A Witness) in the band Marshall Smith, releasing an album ‘Colours’ in 2006 on the Euphonium label.

In 2007 Alan Brown joined Sarandon as bass player.

Greg Keeffe is now Professor of sustainable architecture at Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds.

Dil Green is now an architect based in London.

The thing is, up until a few weeks ago I never owned any bIG fLAME music other than a couple of tracks on compilation LPs.  I’d always wanted to include them on the old blog mainly as a thank you to my mate Jacques the Kipper who was and remains, even after all these years, a huge fan of the band.  I can just picture him back in the days with his giant hair atop his head, held together by at least one full can of hairspray, bodyslamming his way through the mayhem of a live gig.

But then I picked up a second hand copy of the Rigour EP from 1985:-

mp3 : bIG fLAME – Man Of Few Syllables

mp3 : bIG fLAME – Debra

mp3 : bIG fLAME – Sargasso

It’s all very noisy and screechy.  For those who won’t like it – and I reckon that could well be about 99% of you – each song is over and down with in no more than 2 minutes.

Go on.  Give it a try…….


Back on 8 October 2011, I started a series called ‘Saturday’s Scottish Single’. The aim was to feature one 45 or CD single by a Scottish singer or band with the proviso that the 45 or CD single was in the collection. I had got to Part 60-something and as far as Kid Canaveral when the rug was pulled out from under TVV.


(61) : James King – Back From The Dead b/w My Reward b/w As Tears Go By : Virgin 7″ (1981)


(61a) : James King & The Lone Wolves – Texas Lullaby b/w Sacred Heart b/w Chance I Can’t Deny b/w Until The Dawn b/w Lost : Thrush Records 12″ EP (1983)

James King & The Lone Wolves embarked on a mid-80s mission to make the charts. Unfortunately, after only a couple of singles, ‘Texas Lullaby’ and ‘The Angels Know’, King split the group up in 1985. And yes, the last of the tracks on the Virgin single is that written by Jagger and Richards and made famous by Marianne Faithfull.

And as far as your humble scribe is concerned, Texas Lullaby is one of THE great lost Scottish releases of the era – everyone of the songs is well worth a listen.


(62) James Yorkston & The Athletes – St Patrick b/w St Patrick (Vitus Mix) b/w Catching Eyes b/w Blue Madonnas : Domino Records CD single 2002

Read more about James Yorkston here


(63) Jazzateers – Sixteen Reasons b/w Show Me The Door : Rough Trade 7″ (1983)

Read all about Jazzateers right here.

What that wiki entry doesn’t tell you is that the band reformed earlier this year for what proved to be a triumphant gig at Stereo in Glasgow on 27 June.  My review of that night was one of the the last of its type on TVV before google pulled the plug.


(64) The Jesus & Mary Chain – Head On b/w In The Black  : Blanco y Negro 7″ (1989)

Read all about The Jesus & Mary Chain here.

As I said when I originally posted, this choice of single was influenced by the great haircuts on display on the sleeve. I’ve tried every one of those looks in days of old……


(65) Johnny and The Self Abusers – Saints and Sinners b/w Dead Vandals : Chiswick Records (1977)

I cheated on this one.  I never owned the actual piece of vinyl but I do have the A-side on a compilation album.

It’s from the band that would later find fame and fortune under the name of  Simple Minds.  Oh and Saints and Sinners was a the name of a pub that would later find fame and more fame under the name of King Tut’s……

Parts 66-68 next week.



Originally issued on a four-track CD back in 1993, there was a 20th Anniversary limited edition vinyl re-release to mark Record Store Day.  Some of these songs were featured a few times over at the old blog. I hope there’s a least a handful of new readers to whom this will be a wee bit of a revelation:-

mp3 : The Ukranians – Batyar

mp3 : The Ukranians – Koroleva Ne Polerma

mp3 : The Ukranians – M’yaso-Ubivsto

mp3 : The Ukranians – Spivaye Solovey

The Ukrainians grew out of a project started by The Wedding Present. The group, at the instigation of guitarist Peter Solowka, decided to make one of their sessions for John Peel  a Ukrainian one! Peter’s friend ‘The Legendary Len’ was drafted in as an extra member because he sang, played a scratchy, authentic village-sounding violin and was a student of Slavonic languages! The group recorded the first session and it was duly broadcast. Then Peel played it again…and again…and again!

What was intended to be a one-off bit of fun turned into a second session, at Peel’s request. This session, which included Ukrainian mandolinist Roman Remeynes, was also played numerous times. As a result, there was pressure to release these first two sessions as an album, and so Ukrainski Vistupi V Johna Peela was born. Although the band only played an 8 day UK tour to promote it, it sold almost 70,000 copies worldwide.

Fast forward to 1993. The Ukranians have by now recorded and released a debut LP and become staples of the festival circuit as well as headlining their own tours all across Europe. They went into the recoding studio and emerged with a new EP Pisni Iz The Smiths – four incredible takes on Bigmouth Strikes Again (Batyar), Koroleva Ne Polerma (The Queen Is Dead), M’yaso-Ubivsto (Meat Is Murder) and Spivaye Solovey (What Difference Does It Make?).



rdsksn keep fr

Released in 1984 at the height of what was the most bitter and confrontational industrial strike that has happened in my lifetime.

My most abiding memory of the song, aside from dancing to it in the student union, was when The Redskins gave a live rendition one Friday tea-time on ‘The Tube’ some six months into the strike.

Having just crashed their way through Hold On, lead singer Chris Dean (who also at the time wrote for the NME under the name of X Moore) introduced a temporary member of the band for Keep On Keepin On.  A miner from Durham (which was the closest mining area to the Newcastle studios where The Tube was recorded) took to the stage and attempted to explain why he was on strike.  His words were met with applause from the audience down at the front of the stage but they didn’t reach the ears of those of use sitting in our living rooms as the microphone had mysteriously failed.

There was uproar afterwards as Channel 4 was accused of deliberately sabotaging the performance.  The TV station claimed it didn’t know in advance that the striking miner would take to the stage and had no idea that he would take to that particular mic which had actually malfunctioned during the performance of the first song. I’ve got this footage on VHS tape and it is true that when Martin Hewes was singing backing vocals on Hold On he couldn’t be heard….but it still seems to have been all too convenient.

The publicity helped get the single some radio airplay and enough sales to take it into the Top 50, but sadly not enough to ever lead to a Top of The Pops appearance.

In an era of ever increasingly bland chart fodder, I’ve no doubt at all that The Redskins would get no airplay nowadays. Indeed, even when you watch or listen to shows that look back at the music that was most synonymous with the era you’ll never spot The Redskins.

Keep On Keepin On is a cracking record, as indeed is the LP Neither Washington Nor Moscow with its heady mix of pop, soul, blues, folk, punk and left-wing politics and it’s very obvious that The Redskins were a hugely talented band who could have made and sold records for many years to come.  But they didn’t…..

Where others such as Bragg and Weller could accept that there was more to the life of a musician than writing and recording agit-pop songs, it really was all-or-nothing for Chris Dean & co.  They painted themselves into a corner with the interviews they gave to the music and mainstream press and in due course the sad defeat for the miners and the ever-increasing shift to the right in UK politics meant they had nowhere to go and nothing meaningful to say.  For a while The Redskins had stood firm, held tight and fought.  But in the end they chose to die on their feet than to live on their knees.  The break-up was swift and inevitable.  But they left a fine legacy:-

mp3 : The Redskins – Keep On Keepin’ On (Die on Your Feet Mix)

mp3 : The Redskins – 16 Tons (Coal Not Dole)

mp3 : The Redskins – Reds Strike The Blues!




Formed in Athens, Georgia in 1976, and still going strong almost 40 years later, the B-52’s have rarely been taken all that seriously by music critics or indeed bloggers .  I’m prepared however, to put my head above the parapet and say that I’m quite fond of a lot of their earlier material. 

The B-52s were one of those bands that I first head about via the music papers but I never seemed to ever hear their songs getting played on the radio.  That all changed in 1979 with them inking a deal with Island Records for the UK distribution of their material and the re-release of the previous year’s 45 Rock Lobster.  At the time my  musical tastes were firmly ensconced in the sounds being made by UK new wave/post-punk bands but there was just something so infectiously catchy about Rock Lobster that you couldn’t help but enjoy it.

So before too long I spent some of the money earned from the paper-round on a copy of the eponymous debut LP and learned that I could like music that wasn’t angst-ridden, bitter or angry.  Music to dance to with a grin on your face as you sang along to totally nonsensical lyrics.  Just 12 months or so later, the band released follow-up LP Wild Planet which musically followed the formula of the debut.

After aborting plans for a full-length LP with David Byrne in the producer’s chair, it took until 1983 before Whammy! hit the shops. By this time, the musical snob in me had seen me move on from the band and I wasn’t the slightest bit interested…..until one night I found myself dancing in the student disco to what I later learned had been one of the singles lifted from LP………and all these years later I still love Song For A Future Generation.

The next LP, Bouncing Off The Satellites, was overshadowed by AIDS-related death of Ricky Wilson.  The band hardly promoted it and it more or less sunk without trace.  Three years later however, they made an unexpected comeback and even more unexpectedly, they found world-wide chart success thanks to the single Loveshack.

The B-52’s of that era and since are a pop act quite unrecognisable from the songs you’ll find on the first two LPs. I don’t own anything they’ve released since 1989 but as I said at the start of this post, I am fond of some of the earlier material:-

mp3 : The B52’s – Rock Lobster (single edit)

mp3 : The B52’s – Planet Claire

mp3 : The B52’s – Give Me Back My Man

mp3 : The B52’s –  Song For A Future Generation




To which the South West Correspondent throws his arms up in the air and says ‘I don’t know’. I am well and truly stumped this week. Here is a CD that I don’t remember buying. I don’t remember reviewing and I don’t remember ever listening to. I know NOTHING about this band. I don’t know where they are from; I don’t know who the singer is, whether they released anymore records or whether or not they are still going. So over to you guys….Anyone got any more info on Supermodel? By the way if you read this at work, be careful when you Google ‘Supermodel Haircut’.

So what do I know about it and them… well I can tell you is that this not the Australian/New Zealand band of the same name doing the rounds at the moment (thankfully). Secondly, the song is quite good, in the punky pop style that was big for about a week in 1995/6 (see 60ft Dolls, Three Colours Red and China Drum for other examples). Thirdly, the bands previous single was called ‘Penis Size and Cars’ and that bizarrely was covered by Sophie Ellis Bextors old band ‘theaudience’ who have their second reference in this column in two columns. Finally, this record appears to have been a hit in Finland. So big up to the Finns, when I say hit, it may have got to Number 34 in the Finnish Charts and sold 9 copies.

mp3 :Supermodel – Haircut

a PS from JC

I found the sleeve of this single on t’internet:-


I was able to find out they were signed to Fire Records.  The discography consisted of three singles and one LP:-

Penis Size and Cars – BLAZE 96

Haircut – BLAZE 99

No Second Coming – BLAZE 104

Clumba Mar – BLAZE 56

According to the entry on last fm:-

Supermodel were a lo-fi band from Staines, United Kingdom who were signed to London’s indie Fire Records in the United Kingdom and Columbia in the United States.

The NME described their Teenage Fanclub-style debut Clumba Mar as a “brand new invention, ELO-fi”, and the band toured by running their own nights called ‘The Apple Club’.

Guitarist, Wolsey White and singer/guitarist Triani went on to forge successful careers as producers, whilst drummer Lindsay Jamieson and bass player Chris Anderson went on to play in Departure Lounge.

More recently Jamieson has been a member of Ben Folds and Anderson performs as Crayola Lectern.

Any readers able to add more?

Oh and here’s theaudience version referred to above:-

mp3 : theaudience – Penis Size and Cars*

*blatant attempt to drive up traffic by attracting the casual perverts.



To listen to Cats On Fire is to step back in time to an era when my jeans had a waist size in the high 20s and my t-shirt labels didn’t feature the letter L far less one or more or the letter X.

But to simply suggest that Cats on Fire are a pastiche of the fabulous jingly-jangly guitar pop of the 80s would be doing them a huge disservice. Yes, they take the very best bits of bands like The Smiths, The Go Betweens, Felt along with others who emerged from C86 movement but somehow they also sprinkle their own fairy dust to the sound and deliver something that is incredibly fresh, important and special. It is prime indie music influenced by the prime indie music era. Cats on Fire make a noise that is magical, exciting. melodic, joyous, infectious and incredibly danceable. I close my eyes and once again I’m wearing skinny jeans, hipster trainers and a t-shirt that sits flat over my stomach.

I have no idea why the world has singularly failed to take notice of this wonderful band nor why the world’s media don’t hang on every utterance from lead singer and main songwriter Matthias Bjorkas who is one of those ridiculously intelligent, charming, talented and good-looking musicians that boys and girls fall in love with in equal measures.  He should be the 21st Century equivalent of Moz or Jarvis and yet he’s barely known even in his home country of Finland or in the neighbouring territories that make up Scandanavia.

The band took their first tentative steps as long ago as 2001 and have gone through some personnel changes over the past 12 years or so.  To begin with it was singles and EPs with the debut LP not appearing until 2007.  All told, there’s been around 60 songs of the highest quality you could ask for :-

mp3 : Cats On Fire – I Am The White-Mantled King

mp3 : Cats On Fire – Letters From A Voyage To Sweden

mp3 : Cats on Fire – 1914 And Beyond

mp3 : Cats On Fire – My Friend In A Comfortable Chair

Taken respectively from The Province Complains (2007), Our Temperance Movement (2009), All Blackshirts To Me (2012) and Dealing In Antiques (2010) – the latter being a compilation that gathers up many of the early singles/EPs that are now almost impossible to find in their original formats. All of these releases really do deserve your attention and can be ordered from a number of places across the internet.  I cannot recommend them highly enough.  Why not ask Santa to bring them to you next month??


Back on 8 October 2011, I started a series called ‘Saturday’s Scottish Single’.  The aim was to feature one 45 or CD single by a Scottish singer or band with the proviso that the 45 or CD single was in the collection. I had got to Part 60-something and as far as Kid Canaveral when the rug was pulled out from under TVV.

I’ll catch up soon enough by featuring 5 or more at a time from the archives..


(56) Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie – The Rattler b/w Here Comes Deacon Brodie : Capitol Records 7″ single (1989)

Read more about Goodbye Mr Mackenzie here


(57) Hey! Elastica – Eat Your Heart out b/w Clay Hips (1st Movement)  : Virgin Records 12″ single (1982)

From Edinburgh and part of the glorious age of Scottish pop that rode on the back of the critical acclaim afforded to the likes of Orange Juice.  Not everyone’s cup of tea but I loved them.  And discovered many years later that so did my good mate Jacques the Kipper.

Four criminally ignored singles and one LP before Virgin cut their losses and dropped the band.  Hugely energetic and entertaining live, if not, it must be admitted, the most accomplished.  This is the debut single


(58) His Latest Flame – America Blue b/w  Tongue Tied :  London Records 7″ single (1989)

Formed in the mid 80s in Glasgow and regarded by many as the nearest we ever got to The Bangles, albeit many of the records had a political kick to them.  The early singles were on Go! Discs but the latter material, including their only LP, was issued via London Records.  Tricia Reid has a mighty fine voice……..


(59) Idlewild – No Emotion b/w Lookin’ For A Love b/w No Emotion (Caucasian Dub – Trance Mix) : Sequel Records 2 x 7″ singles (2007)

Read more about Idlewild here.

Deliberate choice to go with a later lesser-known single, partly for the b-sides of a Neil Young cover and a weird-as-fuck dance effort


(60) Jack Butler – Velvet Prose b/w Candles b/w He Got No Game! : Whimsical Records CD single (2006)

Hailing from Stirling (a town in Central Scotland about equidistant from Glasgow and Edinburgh), Jack Butler are a four-piece consisting of Liam Kelly (vocals and guitar), Chris Lowdon (guitar), Allan Conry (bass) and Greg Moodie (drums).

Their debut LP Fit The Paradigm was released in April 2009 to a fair bit of excitement around these parts, and not only among the blogging community as one of the biggest selling tabloid daily newspapers gave the release excellent reviews and tipped the band for stardom.

I don’t own a copy of the album which I regret, certainly based on this two-person review:-

T: Wow, this sounds like Robert Smith on a crateful of speed.

N: Umm, well that’s left our readers with absolutely nothing from which to draw.

T: Ummm, what about leaving them with the image of Robert Smith on a crateful of speed?

N: I guess that’s one image I briefly toyed with, but to no avail, as Robert is now really getting too old to be toying with speed, let alone a crateful. Let me start, Jack Butler, a four piece from Stirling and described as “one of the freshest bands in Scotland” not forgetting to add “at the moment”, as they have a hell of a lot of competition here, take Aztec Camera (the most immediate reference), Trash Can Sinatras, or maybe Orange Juice. But one thing’s for sure, these guys are not excusing their harking back to post-punk 80’s vibe and who could blame them?

T: They sound like a train has crashed through your ceiling and is driving around your walls flashing disco lights while all the nightporters and commuters dive out of the carriages and do little dances around your bed. Which is great when they’re nice looking totty but not so good when they’re heifers. Most of the time though, they’re pretty damn attractive.

N: And this is the over-riding thought this band conjure up?

T: Yep. 9/10

The thing is, it had been the best part of three years previous since I had picked up a copy of their debut single having heard it on a blog and in the absence of anything else ever appearing in the shops I had assumed that they had gone through the ‘release a single and break-up’ routine. I certainly never picked up on the fact that an LP was out there….but then I’ve never been great at keeping up with developments as they happen.

Anyways….back to the 2006 debut. and I remember thinking that it was an absolute belter. Lead track Velvet Prose did have a wee bit of the standard indie-pop sound that was all over the charts at the time but I was more taken by the two b-sides which took me back a fair bit to some of the best bits of the 80s. Candles seems influenced by the early Zoo Records stuff of the Teardrop Explodes and the Bunnymen with the angular guitar work found on Josef K songs. But it’s He Got No Game! which is by far the standout – it sounds as if the Associates have reformed…..yup, it’s that good.

It’s a real pity it took so long for the LP hit the shops as I reckon based on these three songs Jack Butler could have gained a bit of momentum and gone on to carve a niche for themselves in the Scottish pop pantheon.

Parts  61 -65 next Saturday…..