FROM OUR CRUMPSALL CORRESPONDENT

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From wiki:-

The name Crumpsall derives from old English and means a “crooked piece of land beside a river”.Crumpsall was rural in character during the early part of the 19th century, however, the necessity to house Manchester’s growing population of mill workers saw the area become more urbanised. Crumpsall was incorporated into the city of Manchester in 1890.

Sir Humphrey Chetham was born in Crumpsall in 1580, the son of a successful Manchester merchant who lived in Crumpsall Hall. He was responsible for the creation of Chetham’s Hospital (now Chetham’s School of Music) and Chetham’s Library, the oldest public library in the English-speaking world, and located in the city centre.

The folk singer, comedian and broadcaster Mike Harding, was born in the area in 1944.[17]

The Moors murderess Myra Hindley was born in Crumpsall in 1942.

Howard Jacobson was brought up in Crumpsall and some of his novels, Kalooki Nights and The Mighty Walzer feature descriptions of Jewish life in the area.

Actor and singer Don Estelle (Gunner “Lofty” Sugden in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum), real name Ronald Edwards, was born and brought up in Crumpsall.

Jason Orange of band Take That was born at North Manchester General Hospital in Crumpsall.

None of the above named however, are responsible for this e-mail that dropped into the TVV inbox recently:-

I could be your Crumpsall correspondent if you like. Although I live in Stockport, I’ve worked at North Manchester General Hospital in said Crumpsall for 26 years now.

Like most of north Manchester, it’s looked down upon by the Didsburyites and Chorltonites that I find myself knocking about with. The birthplace of Mike Harding, Don Estelle, and Myra Hindley, though we tend to gloss over the last one. For many years it was home to the stunning Co-op Biscuit Works, which produced the “Crumpsall Cracker.” The Co-op knocked it down in the eighties. They’ve gone downhill ever since.

Wondered if you might want to post this on the site. Being able to listen to A Thin Red Line again after all this time, I was wondering who to share my joy with. Who better than someone steeped in the history of Scottish pop like yourself. Feel free not to if it doesn’t fit in with what you want to be doing with the site.

Without the archive of the old site to check, I can’t say how much attention you’ve paid in the past to TV21, though I think they got a mention when they reformed a couple of years ago.

Back in 1981, when their magnificent debut was released it stuck out as being out of the ordinary and it certainly struck chord with me, despite the fact that as a 16 year old in a sleepy Staffordshire village I still had to order it from Burton-on-Trent’s only independent record shop.

Having just obtained a digital copy of  Snakes And Ladders – Almost Complete: 1980-82 and rearranged the running order to make it fit that of “A Thin Red Line” the thing that amazed me most of all, was that even though I’ve not played the album for nigh on thirty years, I still the know the lyrics to every song, all the way through.

Even back then, TV21 always seemed to stand slightly apart from the rest of the music scene, the Scottish scene in particular. They differed from the Postcard/Pop Aural gang that we all loved at the time – slightly more cerebral, with some Angry Brigade thrown in as well – the Provisional wing of the Sound of Young Scotland. A fuzzy, indeterminate picture on the cover, no band photos or biogs on the inner sleeve, it was obvious that to them, it was all about the music. Stomping baselines and a heavy drum sound behind teenage angst, plus more than a touch of the political consciousness of the day that again made them stand out from the crowd. Musically and politically, they seemed to stand nearer to the likes of Fischer-Z than their Scottish, more jangly contemporaries.

Maybe because it was produced by child prodigy Ian Broudie (he was only 23 at the time), or maybe because they’d already worked with Troy Tate of the Teardrop Explodes, it sounds surprisingly Liverpudlian, with the brass sections on Snakes and Ladders and Tomorrow fading in and out, straight out of the Teardrop’s Kilimanjaro.

Listening again after so many years, it has more than stood the test of time.  Ticking Away for example would not have sounded out of place if it had appeared on the new Teleman album, one of the best albums of 2014 so far. Yet they also seem perfectly at home sandwiched between the Fire Engines and Dolly Mixture on Scared To Get Happy, a recent 5 disc box set covering ten years of 80’s indie pop.

“A Thin Red Line” is an often overlooked masterpiece, a combination of punchy pop songs with an underlying rage against the machine. Seek it out.

DKR

JC adds

TV21 are not that far away from featuring on the Saturday’s singles series and I’ll say a bit more about them then. What I can say is that Mike Melville, who has an incredibly good taste in music and is responsible for the very fine blog Manic Pop Thrills, is a huge fan of the band and has in fact promoted a number of their gigs a few years back following the reformation of TV 21. If you take a visit over to his place (click here) you will find plenty of postings in his archives about the band including some great photos and reviews as well as a tremendous podcast back in January 2010.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of tracks from the LP which DKR has so enthusiastically written about:-

mp3 : TV21 – Ticking Away
mp3 : TV21 – This Is Zero

Enjoy

THE MOZ SINGLES (Part 16)

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The release of You Are The Quarry in 2004 made for a triumphant comeback, but if anything the pressure on the 2006 follow-up LP Ringleader Of The Tormentors was even more intense as we waited to see if the quality could be maintained.

The new single was only officially made available some 7 days before the LP, but of course was already widely known thanks to regular airings of the video as well as leaked copies being posted on the internet.

Lyrically, You Have Killed Me is one of the most unusual singles ever released by Morrissey. They drew on the film Accatone, a work released in 1961 and dealing with pimps, prostitutes and thieves living in a rundown part of Rome, and also namechecked other Italian film stars (although I’ll confess to not knowing any of them before this single was released).

At this point in time, Morrissey was obsessed with Rome, choosing to both live and record the latest LP there. It’s a single that I reckon is one of his classiest throughout his long solo career, although I know a number of fans were disappointed that it was so radio-friendly, thanks to the influence of Jesse Tobias, the new guitarist in Morrissey’s band, and co-writer of this single. (Tobias had previously been associated with a number of mainstream American acts). By now no-one could reasonably expect the great man to be churning out pastiches of The Smiths, and in reality, all he was doing was reflecting the sort of music that many of his ageing fans were listening to elsewhere.

The b-sides were also quite interesting. One was a near unrecognisable cover of an old track by The New York Dolls, a 70s act that Morrissey had been obsessed with as a teenager, while the two original tracks were similar to the single in sounding polished and rather mainstream.

mp3 : Morrissey – You Have Killed Me
mp3 : Morrissey – Good Looking Man About Town
mp3 : Morrissey – Human Being
mp3 : Morrissey – I Knew I Was Next

A fabulous collection of songs if you were prepared to accept it was time for Morrissey to start acting his age….indeed, it could be argued that the two original b-sides are as good as anything that was on the critically acclaimed LP many of us rushed out and bought the following week.

Continuing the theme of The Eternal City, the sleeve shot was taken on railtracks in the Pigneto zone of Rome by Italian photographer Fabio Lovino.

Oh and I meant to also say that You Have Killed Me remains one of the great man’s most succesful singles, hitting #3 in the UK charts at the beginning of May 2006, and helped the LP hit #1 in the album charts shortly afterwards – only the third of his LPs to hit that spot (the others were Viva Hate and Vauxhall And I).

Enjoy.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 97)

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From wiki:-

Creeping Bent, aka The Creeping Bent Organisation, is an independent record label set up by Douglas MacIntyre in 1994, based in Glasgow, Scotland. The label has been described as a successor to earlier Scottish indie labels Postcard Records and Fast Product.

Creeping Bent was officially launched with an event at Glasgow’s Tramway theatre on 12 December 1994 called “A Leap Into The Void” in homage to Yves Klein, and featuring film, theatre and pop music.”Frankie Teardrop”, a 1995 collaboration between Suicide vocalist Alan Vega and Altered Images drummer Stephen Lironi, was an NME single of the week in 1995. Creeping Bent was chosen by John Peel as the featured label when he curated the 1998 Meltdown Festival at the Royal Festival Hall.

In the late 90s, the label released a number of singles which had one cult Scottish act on one side and a second cult Scottish act on the other side. Let’s return to wiki:-

The Secret Goldfish were a band from Glasgow who took their name from an imaginary book from the novel The Catcher in the Rye. They released three albums and several singles in the 1990s, on the Glasgow based Creeping Bent record label. Their first album, 1996’s Aqua Pet…You Make Me was produced by Stephen Lironi. Their sound has been described as “sounding much like The Jesus and Mary Chain locked in a public toilet with Jefferson Airplane and The New York Dolls”.

Second album Jet Streams was released in 1997, and in 1999 they issued the Somewhere in the World EP, the lead track of which was co-written by Vic Godard and featured Francis MacDonald and Stevie Jackson. A final album, Mink Riots followed in 1999, before the band split up.

And again……

The Nectarine No. 9 was an indie band from Edinburgh, Scotland. Formed by former Fire Engines frontman Davy Henderson in 1991, the band’s music has been described as “dark, moody and brilliant” and “noisy guitar rock with quirky rhythms”. The Nectarine No. 9 released several albums throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and recorded seven John Peel sessions.

And without any further ado, here’s the rather splendid single from August 1999, with the catalogue number of bent042:-

mp3 : The Secret Goldfish – You’re Funny About That, Aren’t You
mp3 : The Nectarine No.9 – Walter Tevis

Enjoy

GETTING AWAY FROM GRUMPY POSTINGS

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The past two days of postings  have been a tad grumpy what with being the underwhelming Salad being followed by the incredibly disappointing 13th single from James.

The solution therefore has to be a song that has the ability to make me smile no matter the mood I’m in whenever it pops up on the i-pod.  It’s one that some readers may be surprised to find featured on t’blog as, let’s face it, it is a song that is ridiculously light and rather inconsequential when it comes down to it, rarely if ever to feature on any countdown of all time favourites for a particular month far less a lifetime, but I have professed my love for this tune on previous occasions over at the old place.

mp3 : Betty Boo – Let Me Take You There (12″ version)

It was back in August 1992 when this delectable piece of pop caught the summer feeling and climbed its way to #12 in the UK charts and two years on from when Betty Boo (whose real name is Alison Clarkson) had first come to the attention of the public when she had enjoyed two Top 10 singles and a very successful debut LP that reached #4 and led to her being named Best Breakthrough Act at The BRITS.

The lead-off single was incredibly radio friendly, helped by its clever sampling of a Four Tops song, and relates the simple tale of wanting to escape from the daily grind and head down to the seaside for a day of fun and frolics.  It’s not a song that would ever claim to change the world, but I fell for its charms big-time and still have a 12″ copy kicking around in the cupboard

This was the last time however, that Betty Boo bothered the charts as a solo artist.  The follow-up singles flopped badly while the LP from which they were lifted sold miserably and reached just #66.

Alison Clarkson however, has managed to maintain a career in and around the music industry, chiefly as a songwriter for a number of disposable and largely forgettable acts.  Click here if you want more.

Enjoy

 

 

THE JAMES SINGLES (13)

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That it has been almost a full month since the previous entry in this series will perhaps give you an idea of how difficult it has been to do this post.

James had finally captured the hearts and minds of music fans in the UK and indeed across much of Europe. All those years of blood, sweat and toil and what had been Manchester’s greatest secret was out there in the open. All that was needed now was a poptastic sing-a-long single at the end of 1991 to provide a perfect preview for the new hugely anticipated LP that was due out in the early months of 92.

But if you’ve been following this series, you’ll know that with James, it’s usually always a tale of the totally unexpected with a twist nobody anticipated. The release of Sound in November 1991 was certainly that.

Listening to it now still fills me with horror. Yup, releasing a six-minute single with no discernible chorus can be seen as brave….but it only works if the music can hold the listener’s attention which sadly in this case it did not. There are some who thought it was evidence of an inevitable drift into stadium rock thanks to the size of arenas that the band could now sell out in a matter of minutes but quite frankly it is just not bombastic enough to fall into that category. It sounds to me like a band who were confused about what to do next and the results were a messy mix of a record having big contributions from everyone with no overall sense of control.

Released on 7″, 12″, cassette single and CD single. Sound did reach the Top 10 in the UK but only for one week before dropping like a stone. This was one bought by fans only and not, as with the re-released Sit Down, by casual listeners attracted by the vibrant pop blaring from their radios.

Thankfully, everyone concerned didn’t release all sorts of different b-sides on the different versions – buying either the 12″ or CD would get you everything:-

mp3 : James – Sound (7″ version)
mp3 : James – All My Sons
mp3 : James – Come Home (Youth Pressure Dub)
mp3 : James – Sound (full length)

All My Sons appears to have been included as the antidote to the single, clocking in at under two minutes. Dating back to the early 90s, it was really an outake from the Goldmother era….but worryingly boring. Oh and it was also disappointing to get yet another remix of Come Home……..

Enjoy

 

GONE AND PROBABLY TOTALLY FORGOTTEN

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Hands up if you can name the band in the picture above…..

OK….some of you may have cheated in that you’ve alerts to the mp3 and were able say with some confidence that it is Salad.

But how many of you can name the four members who made up the band???????????

That’s a bit more tricky isn’t it……………….

Formed in 1992 by vocalist Marijne van der Vlugy, (a Dutch-born model and one time VJ on MTV), guitarist Paul Kennedy, bassist Pete Brown and drummer Rob Wakeman, two singles released on their own Waldorf label in the latter half of 1993 got a few London-based meeja folk awfully excited and the band were touted by some as the next big thing as so often happens when a good-looking female singer backed by three nondescript and interchangeable blokes form a band….especially when they form a band in London.

An indie offshoot of Island Records threw a shedload of money at them and bosses watched on aghast as subsequent singles failed to crack the Top 40. I’m guessing though that a bit of touring, either as support to high-profile acts or via the small venue UK circuit that became so popular at the height of Britpop, got Salad a bit of a following as the debut LP, Drink Me, reached #16 in the charts upon its release in May 1995. But still the hit single proved elusive.

Two years on, a follow-up LP was released to complete disinterest – #127 for one week only would probably have meant sales in the hundreds. The band was dropped and split almost immediately.

According to wiki:-

Van der Vlugt now writes and sings with Cowboy Racer, whose song “Yellow Horse” featured on the U.S. television show, Grey’s Anatomy. Pete Brown and Rob Wakeman established the popular entertainment site, BoreMe, which Pete Brown now runs on his own. Charley Stone played guitar with Spy51, but their website has not been updated since 2001. She also performed some live dates with Fosca in Sweden in March 2008. Rob Wakeman released a few Tech House and Techno singles between 1999 and 2002, including Legs With Wings on City Rockers (2002). Rob Wakeman, together with Jo Addison, formed the band Lapwing in 1999, appearing on various compilation albums from labels including Mind Horizon Recordings and Dishy.

All I knew of them before looking all this up was that I have one of their early songs on an Indie Top 20 compilation CD from the day. Turns out it was the second 45 on their own label – the sort of thing that I found interesting to listen to maybe three or four times all told before I decided it was merely so-so. I just played it again for the first time in nearly 20 years. It’s still so-so, but given that A&R men of the time have long desired to discover arty-sounding bands who will crossover into the lifestyle sections of the weekend newspaper supplements nobody should be really surprised that this did stir a bit of interest:-

mp3 : Salad – Diminished Clothes

Enjoy

FROM THE SOUTH-WEST CORRESPONDENT….

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The Return of the Box (3)

This week some more alt rock from the States and one that I think JC may have featured a few weeks back.

Hum – You’d Prefer An Astronaut

Hum originate from Illinois and are an alt rock band perhaps best known for the song Stars which achieved a lot of radio play on the American alternative stations. They released four albums between 1989 and 2000 when the split, and this their third was their most commercial successful, although saying it hardly set the world alight. Hum sound a lot like a previously mentioned band Superchunk and have that slowed down slacker feel to their music. The album is pretty good, with ‘Stars’ and ‘The Pod’ being the stand out records on it. This was I think the only one of their four albums that was released over here, it came out on Dedicated records, who at the time in 1995, also housed Spiritualized, which brings up nicely my connection to this band.

Amazingly in 1995 I was (briefly) a member of Hum, now don’t search Wikipedia because it isn’t there –and here’s why. I was sent to interview Spiritualized (I say sent, I kind of begged like a hungry dog) on tour in London, and Hum were the support band. When I arrived at the venue Hum were sound checking. The guitarist at the time, the wonderfully named Tim Lash was half way through when his manager told him that there was a phone call for him. I had been sitting watching the soundcheck, and had,I thought slyly pinched a can of Red Stripe from their rider, which I was drinking at the side of the stage. The singer came over and said, “hey if you can drink our beer, you can help sound check our songs”. So for roughly six minutes I got on stage and strummed a guitar with Hum. Tim Lash came back and stood and watched and then said dryly, “I hope your interview skills are better” and then before they had the chance to sack me I said “You know guys, this just isn’t working, our musical tastes are just too different” I quit the band and claimed musical differences.

mp3 : Hum – Stars

Engine 88 – ‘Clean Your Room’

Engine 88 were from San Francisco and were doing the rounds in the 1990s. They released three albums, two of these were released on Caroline Records, who kind of made a habit of releasing a lot of albums in the mid 90s that sounded almost identical. Something which I think I called frat boy punk at the time. By this the records were largely punk in the vein of Green Day played by white kids with guitars, with spiky haircuts and a range of stupid gurning faces for the cameras. Engine 88 are not really that different, they cite Fugazi, Nirvana and the Breeders as their influences but really this is Green Day or Rancid by numbers. It’s not terrible though. You kind of feel that around the time there were releasing records there was a bit of frenzy going on as labels looked for bands like Green Day to sign.

Clean Your Room was the debut album by Engine 88 and featured at least two fairly decent singles, Funny Car and Twenty both of which failed to chart in the UK (they were only released on 7” though). The band have now split and gone on their separate missions, and I will list these because its kind of interesting. The singer is now in a soft rock band that sound too much like Counting Crows for my liking, the guitarist is in a Pretenders Covers Band (obviously, why wouldn’t you), the bassist teaches martial arts to kids and the drummer runs a video store with the manager of Green Day. Punk really is not dead.

mp3 : Engine 88 – Funny Car

Marion – Lets All Go Together

JC may have posted this a few weeks ago on his excellent piece on Marion. Assuming he did, I will just add this. I loved Marion and they didn’t get anywhere near the success they deserved. They were perhaps the one band who might have justified the ‘New Smiths’ tag that was lumped on a lot of bands in the 90s. Lets All Go Together was the fourth record off their debut album The World and Body and you know its kind of ace.

mp3 : Marion – Let’s All Go Together

S-WC

BLUE JEANS AND CHINOS; COKE PEPSI AND OREOS (Part 9)

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A few weeks back I featured Violent Femmes take on Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? while many moons ago over on the old blog I had an in-depth look at the band’s self-titled debut LP. It struck me when reading S-WC’s contribution from yesterday, and the fact that he is 11 years and 363 days younger than me, that many readers may have missed out on the greatest band to ever come out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin given that their best and most enduring material dates back to the early-mid 80s when the likes of S-WC and his peers were maybe just too young to pick up on bands that never had the slightest hope of making it onto Top of The Pops.

They began life as a busking trio consisting of Gordon Gano (vocals and guitar), Brian Ritchie (bass) and Victor DeLorenzo (drums/percussion) in their home town. Legend has it that in August 1981, the late James Honeyman-Scott of The Pretenders caught them performing on the day his band were playing a show in Milwaukee and invited the trio to open for them. This led to a fair bit of publicity and requests to open for other bands touring the USA and before you know it their records were coming out via Warner Bros.  The American Dream in full swing……

The debut LP was released in April 1983. It is the ultimate definition of a slow-burner as it took eight years to be certified platinum, by which time the band had released 5 albums and 9 singles, none of which charted in any meaningful way, although the critical acclaim and the fact that they always put on an entertaining live show meant that they had a fair-sized fan base, particularly in the UK and Australia.

The music at its best has an acoustic bent blending pop, country and folk with many of the songs reflecting on how life doesn’t always turn out as planned. By 1992, the band had gotten a bit tired and briefly split-up reforming again after about 15 months but with Guy Hoffman coming in on drums. This incarnation of the band was very busy throughout the remainder of the decade on the road and in the studio with a further three LPs. It was during this period that the band perhaps got their biggest ever exposure when long-time fan John Cusack had featured the band’s songs in the cult movie Gross Point Blank.

This led to a newer younger fanbase discovering Violent Femmes and so it was no surprise that 20 years on from the release of that amazing debut LP that plans were made to re-release it with a whole number of extras of demo versions, non-LP singles from the period and live tracks. Unlike many such re-issue editions, this didn’t in the slightest detract from the quality.

There was a further fall-out in 2009 when their most famous and enduring song, Blister in The Sun, was licensed for use in a TV ad in the USA. The fact that it was used to promote a burger chain particularly infuriated Brian Ritchie and he attacked Gordon Gano, who ironically is a vegetarian, for putting the band in a situation where this could happen. The band broke-up…

It looked as if that would be it, but in 2013 news came that they were getting back together again in 2013 to promote the 30th Anniversary of the debut LP. Some of you might think that’s just taking nostalgia too far, but believe me, this debut LP is one of the best records ever released and fully deserves to be acknowledged by its makers in every possible way. But in one last surprise, it was revealed that Victor DeLorenzo was not going to be part of the plans, and his place behind the drum kit was taken by Brian Viglione of the Dresden Dolls.

The band is still going strong and tomorrow night are playing here in the UK in London before appearing at a series of folk/roots/blues festivals across North America in the summer.

Here’s one track from each of the first five LPs plus a live track taken from a 1999 acoustic tour of their home state:-

mp3 : Violent Femmes – Blister In The Sun
mp3 : Violent Femmes – Country Death Song
mp3 : Violent Femmes – Special
mp3 : Violent Femmes – Lies
mp3 : Violent Femmes – American Music
mp3 : Violent Femmes – Prove My Love (live)

Enjoy

THE MOZ SINGLES (Part 15)

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The second single taken from Kill Uncle was, at the time, the lowest charting single in the solo career, hitting only #33 in April 1991.

And being honest, that’s about all it deserved.

The b-sides are what make this single a bit more interesting, with one being his take on one of the most famous songs ever written by Paul Weller, while the other has a drum pattern that for some reason always reminds me of London by The Smiths.

mp3 : Morrissey – Sing Your Life
mp3 : Morrissey – That’s Entertainment
mp3 : Morrissey – The Loop

A few years back during a live show at the Edinburgh Playhouse, the audience was treated to a version of The Loop that I thought was one of the highlights of the night thanks to the harder and less refined edge that his backing band brings to all the Smiths-era and early Morrissey songs. It doesn’t often work (and if you want proof, track down their live butchering of This Charming Man), but for some reason it did on this.

Great haircut in the sleeve photo which was taken by Pennie Smith.

Enjoy.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 96)

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This is the single which should have featured last week but I had filed it away in the wrong place and didn’t have time to find it in time.

It was released in June 1992 on a small Edinburgh based label called Gerry Loves Records. It has a song on one side by Rick Redbeard and a song on the other side by Adam Stafford.

It was my favourite single of 2012 but I never ever featured it on the old blog. The simple reason is that the single was released only on vinyl (and mostly by mail order) in a very small quantity – 300 in total – and despite it being utterly brilliant it never quite sold out and while that was the case I never wanted to make the songs available.

But it’s now just shy of two years since the single was released and I’m guessing that anyone who was desperate to get a copy will have one by now.

mp3 : Rick Redbeard – Now We’re Dancing
mp3 : Adam Stafford – Vanishing Tanks

I know these won’t be everybody’s cup of Darjeeling but I am incredibly fond of both songs and indeed just about all of the output these two unique and very talented artists have released over the years.

I mentioned a couple of weeks pack in my apology posting that I had been to a number of great gigs and events this year but had been too lazy/tired to write about them.  One such event was The Duke Street Expo at which Rick and Adam both performed.  Here’s the full details of the line-up that Saturday afternoon and evening:-

http://www.eastendsocial.com/event/duke-street-expo/

While here’s a review from one of Scotland’s leading broadsheet newspapers:-

The Commonwealth-funded East End Social continued to shine a light on a neglected area of Glasgow with its most ambitious and community-spirited event to date – a seamless (and sunny) all-day festival of live music, comprising two ticketed gigs in churches plus a steady stream of free pop-up performances in unlikely venues along a bustling strip of Duke Street.

The Duke Street Expo – Duke Street, Glasgow

* * * *

Roll up for acoustic troubadours in ladies’ boutiques, easy jazz listening in charity shops and shape note singing, guitar and vocal loops and complimentary pakora on the patio of an Indian restaurant. “I’ve never seen the street this busy,” commented one impressed local.

Rapper Kobi Onyame channelled the good feeling through his set at the Everlasting Arms Church, while Rick Redbeard, aka Phantom Band frontman Rick Anthony, provided a healing listening experience.

Admiral Fallow were the headline draw here, but frontman Louis Abbott and co-vocalist Sarah Hayes also performed more intimate solo shows, the latter delivering a suitably fragrant set of folk covers in the local florists – with a single red rose across her keyboard.

As the afternoon wore on, the music got louder and the bijou venues got busier and sweatier. There was risk of a spritz or even a close shave when David McGregor of Kid Canaveral packed them in around the customers at Urban Funk gentleman’s barber shop. Meals were passed over the heads of the crowd at Dennistoun Bar-B-Que as hip-hoppers Hector Bizerk drummed up some festival spirit. Thankfully, the tattooists at Electric Artz were safely wielding their needles in the back room while punk power trio Ex-Wives played the most thunderous set of the day.

The evening concert at Dennistoun New Parish Church was a gentler affair, featuring three sublime voices. Siobhan Wilson, backed by instrumentalist Tommy Reilly, tempered the purity of her vocals with a kittenish edge and deceptive charisma. Like Wilson, Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor favoured a mostly sparing backing of beats, effects and guitar for his solo material, allowing his reedy, plaintive voice to work its understated magic.

King Cresote had all but knackered his vocal cords singing in the pub earlier, but with a bit of echo applied to the upper 
notes, he sounded his usual affecting self, rounding off this grand day out with a ramshackle, but lovable, set encompassing old and new songs, some mischievous baiting of the Yes vote and a self-styled cabaret foray into the crowd.

I’m lucky enough to be helping to deliver the East End Social through what I do in my daytime job and I can honestly say I haven’t had as much fun at a music event in years as I did on that day. I wasn’t alone….have a look at what was said across Twitter as things unfolded.

https://twitter.com/hashtag/eastendsocial?src=hash

Loads of great photos too…..I can be spotted in the one of Adam Stafford performing in the patio of the Indian Restuarant….the fat, baldy bloke in blue and white hooped indie style t-shirt!!

Enjoy!!

 

ONE OF THE BEST SONGS FROM THE C86 ERA

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The Bodines are no more than a small footnote in musical history, but they did write and record one of the best indie-pop singles of the 80s.

They were a four-piece band from Glossop, a town fairly close to Manchester and given they emerged in 1985, it is probably fair to say that The Smiths were amongst their inspirations.

Alan McGhee took a shine to them and signed them to Creation for whom they released three singles on a 12-month period before they then rather bizarrely signed to Magnet Records, a UK label which was best known for middle-of-the road chart pop acts – although it should be said that Magnet were making an effort to find an indie act with the capability to cross over as The Bodines were one of a number who signed to the label in the mid-80s.

Whatever hopes the band and the label might have had were quickly dashed as two singles and one LP sold in miserably low amounts leading to the inevitable parting of the ways by late 1987. They reformed two years later (no doubt inspired by the fact that a number of their C86 contemporaries were enjoying a modicum of success) but one single on a local Manchester label later it was all over yet again.

I suppose it must have been difficult when you write something as majestic as this and nothing else comes close to matching it:-

mp3 : The Bodines – Therese

Enjoy

 

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #1: THE SMITHS

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The first of a new series.

It’s inspired in part by the fact that a framed limited edition copy of the above print, signed by the photographer, hangs directly above the space in my house where I have the PC and where I try my best to come up with entertaining words for this blog. It was given to me a year ago yesterday as a 50th birthday present by a dear friend and occasional contributor to the old blog, Mr John Greer.

It’s strange that while The Smiths remain my all time favourite band, I don’t write about them all that much these days, albeit there is a regular series on Morrissey being re-used as filler for posts on Sundays. I thought I’d address the situation by featuring the band in the first of what will be a very occasional series in which I take one of my favourite bands or singers and list what I think would make the idea ‘Best of’ album with a few words on why. The only proviso is that I’m going to do it as a proper old-fashioned LP…10 tracks in total with an A-side and a B-side and it’s got to hang together like a proper LP and not just a collection of greatest hits. Without further ado, here’s my go at The Smiths:-

Side A

1. The Queen Is Dead (Original Unedited Version)
2. Still Ill
3. How Soon Is Now?
4. Rubber Ring
5. Asleep

Side B

1. The Headmaster Ritual
2. Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me
3. Accept Yourself
4. Bigmouth Strikes Again
5. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

It’s taken about three hours of humming and hawing and numerous changes of mind before I settled on the above. There are loads of songs that I can’t believe didn’t make the final cut which may well invite ridicule from other fans. But the logic is:-

1. The opening track is where any myth that The Smiths were just a singer and guitarist augmented by two session musicians is nailed once and for all….especially on this version with its extra 70 seconds or so of pulsating drums, bass and wah-wah guitar work

2. Self-deprecating and joyous; and impossible not to dance to.

3. Pride of place as the centrepiece of the all-important opening side of the album.

4. The band were better than most at recording something which, on the first few listens, sounded disposable and throwaway and yet with the passing of time revealed itself as something special. Rubber Ring is a tremendous example of this and perfectly complements what had come just before it on this imaginary LP

5. Because Asleep has to follow Rubber Ring. It is the law. And besides it’s time to show the band didn’t need guitars to be very special.

6. If the band had never written and recorded The Queen Is Dead then this was a stick-on to open the LP

7. Every LP recorded by The Smiths had its share of tear-jerking ballads. This is the one I’ve chosen, after much deliberation.

8. An early song thrown away on a 12″ b-side that has more than stood the test of time and long been a personal favourite

9. The song that marked the comeback after 18 months inactivity. It proved they still had it…and a joyous single that deserved to reach #1

10. It’s not a personal favourite but I can’t think of a better way to have a one-off record by the band beautifully fade out and leaving the listener wanting to pick up the vinyl, turn it over and start all over again.

mp3 : The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead (Original Unedited Version)
mp3 : The Smiths – Still Ill
mp3 : The Smiths – How Soon Is Now?
mp3 : The Smiths – Rubber Ring/Asleep
mp3 : The Smiths – The Headmaster Ritual
mp3 : The Smiths – Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me
mp3 : The Smiths – Accept Yourself
mp3 : The Smiths – Bigmouth Strikes Again
mp3 : The Smiths – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

That was incredibly difficult to do.

ADVICE, LIKE YOUTH, PROBABLY WASTED ON THE YOUNG

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From the old blog 2 years ago today:-

From wiki:-

Mary Schmich’s “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” was published in the Chicago Tribune as a column on June 1, 1997. In her introduction to the column, she described it as the commencement speech she would give if she were asked to give one.

The column soon became the subject of an urban legend, in which it was alleged to be an MIT commencement speech given by author Kurt Vonnegut in that same year. Despite a follow-up article by Schmich on August 3, 1997, in which she referred to the “lawless swamp of cyberspace” that had made her and Kurt Vonnegut “one”, by 1999 the falsely attributed story was widespread.

Schmich’s column, in time, was well-received by Vonnegut. He told the New York Times, “What she wrote was funny, wise and charming, so I would have been proud had the words been mine.”

The essay was used in its entirety by Australian film director Baz Luhrmann (pictured above) on his 1998 album Something for Everybody, as “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”. The song sampled Luhrmann’s remixed version of the song “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)” by Rozalla. Subsequently released as a single, the song opened with the words “Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of ’99”.

Luhrmann explains that Anton Monsted, Josh Abrahams and he were working on the remix when Monsted received an email with the supposed Vonnegut speech. They decided to use it but were doubtful of getting through to Vonnegut for permission before their deadline, which was only one or two days away. While searching the internet for contact information they came upon the “Sunscreen Controversy” and discovered that Schmich was the actual author. They emailed her and, with her permission, recorded the song the next day.

The song features a spoken-word track set over a mellow backing track. The “Wear Sunscreen” speech is narrated by Australian voice actor Lee Perry. The backing is the choral version of “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)”, a 1991 song by Rozalla, used in the film William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. The chorus, also from “Everybody’s Free”, is sung by Quindon Tarver.

The song was largely obscure until Aaron Scofield, a producer in Phoenix, Arizona, edited the original 12″ version into a segment of a syndicated radio show called ‘Modern Mix’. This show played many stations in the United States. In Portland, Oregon – where ‘Modern Mix’ played on KNRK — listeners began requesting the track. KNRK Program Director Mark Hamilton edited the song for time and began playing it regularly. He distributed the song to other PDs that he networked with and the song exploded in the US.

The song was a worldwide hit, reaching number 45 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, and number one in the United Kingdom and Ireland. I for one, am often moved by the words and the music.

And as I turn 51 years of age this very day and as my body more and more reminds me that I am not the indestructable force I once believed I was, it seems an appropriate time to again share the song with you.

mp3 : Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) (edit)
mp3 : Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) (Mix)
mp3 : Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) (geographic’s factor 15+ mix)

Listen and weep….

Or rave.

FROM THE G41 CORRESPONDENT……

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You’ll have spotted that S-WC has switched days this week, with yesterday not only marking his contribution to T(n)VV but also his 39th birthday and the official launch of his own blog, When You Can’t Remember Anything.

He’s opened up proceedings with a cracking piece of writing about the frustrations of not quite being 18 years old and thus being denied entry into any decent local pubs and the music he’s associated with that tale comes from Smashing Pumpkins and in particular their 1992 LP Siamese Dream.

It’s an LP I’ve a lot of time for…indeed the band are one of my guilty secrets. I thoroughly enjoyed them at their creative and critical peak in the 90s and in fact going to see them in Glasgow on the Mellon Collie tour marks the last time I ever threw myself with gay abandon into a mosh pit – I came out a bit battered, bruised and hard of hearing with an acceptance that having long passed into my 30s I had no chance of surviving with the young pups down the front anymore.

I’ve pulled out one of the singles from Siamese Dream for your enjoyment today.

Disarm was the third 45 lifted from the LP and rather unusually, it outsold the two earlier singles, and in reaching #11 in the UK charts was at that point in time their highest chart position for a single.

The other thing worth noting is that the single did well despite a lack of airplay on BBC Radio and an outright ban on a Top of the Pops appearance as there was unease about the lyric ‘cut that little child’.

It was, like many others of that era, released in multi-formats including 7″ vinyl and 2 x CDs. I’ve one of the CDs in the collection which, in addition to the single also has two cover versions from giants of the 70s rock industry – Fleetwood Mac and Thin Lizzy:-

mp3 : Smashing Pumpkins – Disarm
mp3 : Smashing Pumpkins – Landslide
mp3 : Smashing Pumpkins – Dancing In The Moonlight

The latter is a particularly effective and lovely cover, taking a soft rock/pop song and turning into a poignant and heartfelt ballad for a lonely teenager.

Enjoy

FROM THE SOUTH-WEST CORRESPONDENT (On his 39th birthday too)

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This week two bands with remarkably stupid band names and one kind of lost classic

Let’s not be coy here, Schtum is a silly band name.

Formed in Derry, Ireland, Schtum were a four piece that played a rocky kind of indie that was probably labelled ‘post grunge’ when it first came out. This is perhaps slightly off kilter when describing their sound. They sound like an Irish Fugazi, and that people is no bad thing at all.

Like many of the bands that have been featured in the Box series, this single represents, by far, this bands best moment of music. I am going to stick my neck out and say that this is the best six minutes of music to ever come out of Derry.

Schtum revolved around the vocal talents of one Christian O’Neill. They had a minor hit in the 90s with the song ‘Skydiver’ and ‘Big Big City’ was the follow up and is a much better song. The problem with it that at just under six minutes long it was unlikely to ever get much radio play. A shame because I think this would have done quite well had popular radio at the time had the opportunity to play it. Certainly after a couple of reminder plays here this morning, I’ve been humming this ever since.

It reminds me of Whipping Boy at their angriest, that is probably the Irish accent in the vocals though. It is a sneering blast, an ode to a home town, warts and all, catchy, angry, noisy, and just ever so slightly better than brilliant.

mp3 : Schtum – Big Big City

When I pick CDs out of this box, if they are good they go in the loft, if they are bad they go in the charity shop bin at the end of the road. So despite Schtum having one of rock stupidest names, I have been able to ask myself this morning ‘Do you want to keep Schtum?’ to which the answer has to be ‘Yes’. For this is one hell of a single.

The one thing worse than the awful name is the joke name, so ladies and gents, here are a band called A. You imagine then guffawing behind the poor sap in HMV who places CDs onto the shelves, s/he finds the little grey border thing with ‘A’ written on it and s/he then gets confused because the band is called A. Oh the hours of laughing that must have caused.

A are a punky rock band, who, after playing as Grand Designs (a much better name), changed their name in1993. They originally were a prog rock band but hailing from punk rocks second home of Suffolk public attention demanded that they changed tact to sound more like Green Day, which they manage not to do, but do manage to sound like a more shouty less radio friendly Busted. Considering that nowadays singer Jason Perry is now writing songs with Busted’s and winner of ‘I’m Celebrity Give Me a Low Grade TV Series to Present’ Matt Willis, this is not that surprising.

mp3 : A – 5 In The Morning

Minor celebrity fact fans will like this bit, the original bassist in the band was a chap called Stevie Swindon, he left the band quite early on and was replaced by a chap called Daniel P Carter. Carter now presents the Radio 1 Rock Show. If that ever comes up in a pub quiz, you are almost certainly drinking in the wrong pubs.

So we come to the lost classic. This is a great record by a band that I know very little about. If I was asked to name other songs by Number One Cup I wouldn’t be able to. Wikipedia tells me that they were from Chicago and the singer was a guy called Seth Cohen. I also found out that the band were forced into a hiatus in 1998 when Cohen broke his neck playing hockey, this didn’t surprise me as hockey is bloody dangerous, twenty people running around a field armed with wooden bats and a bloody hard ball.

mp3 : Number One Cup – Divebomb

Number One Cup fit in nicely with one of themes running through this box, alt rock from America, they sound like Superchunk, Dinosaur Jr, Buffalo Tom and all those other bands from the mid 90s that arrived on our shores in a post Nirvana wave.  Divebomb was a minor hit and was very popular in the indie clubs in the mid 90s, the NME dubbed it a strong contender for Single of The Year, I’ve just checked their archive it didn’t make the Top 50, it should have when you consider that Back For Good by Take That was at Number 47 and Alanis Morrisette at 30.  File under ‘Lost Classic’. Oh and the B Side includes a Cover Version, albeit a rather quirky one, so that is this weeks obligatory cover version track.

mp3 : Number One Cup – Joe The Lion

One last thing, from around today, this website http://wycranything.wordpress.com might be up and running. I’ve decided to give blogging a go properly. Posts will include the following: –

Bands that are Animals (dubbed the Animal Collective)

Bands that are Places (dubbed A Place With a Name)

And a series called 40 Albums YOU should hear before I am 40 (which is exactly a year from today).

I hope that I can keep this blogging lark up.

Thanks for reading.

S-WC