FROM THE SOUTH-WEST CORRESPONDENT….FOR THE FINAL TIME

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It was with a mixture of sadness and happiness that I read this e-mail the other week:-

Hi Jim,

That will probably be my last ever SWC column – if you read my last ever WYCRA post (note from JC – it has since been deleted!!) you will understand why – I’m off to the jungle for a while. Its a job I volunteered for a while back – they have massive gang problems in Guyana as well as one of the highest homicide rates in the world and they need experienced intelligence workers to help out. So we are off to a UN compound or something in the capital. I have no idea what to expect…

I will have limited access to the internet there, to be honest I’ll be fairly busy as well.
So thanks, I owe you a lot, more than I think you will ever realise. VV was the major inspiration behind my blog, but I admire and respect your dedication to blogging, music and your audience. Thanks for putting up with my weekly diatribe of nonsense – although I have to say I really enjoyed writing them. I emptied the box the other day. The next disc I pulled out was ‘Cha Cha Cha’ by EMF followed by ‘Buddy Holly’ by Weezer. I’ve attached a track from the EMF album and the Weezer track. Just for old times sake….I haven’t written anything about them though. The EMF album was unexpectedly outstanding.

There were a few crackers left in that box you know  – dEUS, The Lemonheads, Scheer, Lambchop and James to name but a few. Weirdly there was a copy of ‘Ok Computer’ in there, considering I have never owned a copy and nor has my sister, I have no idea who it belongs to…

Anyway…Keep on blogging, its outstanding, but I think you know that…

One day I’ll buy you a pint my friend.

S-WC

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I was sad as I always looked forward to S-WC’s e-mails…..I sort of pride myself on having the blog open to anyone who wants to contribute – although in the end, that was the downfall of the old blog as many of the contributions led to DMCA notices which triggered off Google’s automatic tearing down of TVV – but S-WC was the first to offer to write a weekly column even after taking the plunge and starting his own blog.

I really do wish him well in Guyana…I know from experience that moving overseas to work for a spell can be one of the best things to happen in anyone’s life…and I’m sure he will thrive in that environment.

The comment about the pint brought a wee lump to my throat. Y’see, a few months back, it really did look as if S-WC was going to be in Glasgow on business and we made provisional arrangements to meet up. As you may have gathered from the recent Friends Electric series, I’ve been lucky enough to have met a good number of the bloggers I most admire and I know that meeting S-WC in the flesh would not have been a letdown. Sadly, at the last minute, he was told he wasn’t needed in my neck of the woods and we agreed that we’d merely postpone that pint (albeit I would need to break the news to him when we hit the pub that I’m strictly a wine and spirits connoisseur!!)

But as he said…and I’m holding him to it…..one day.

Here’s the last songs S-WC is contributing for now

mp3 : EMF – Perfect Day
mp3 : Weezer – Buddy Holly

He also put this in the zip file….and it made me laugh,

mp3 : Jungle – Busy Earnin’

Safe trip my friend. And don’t be a stranger on those few occasions that you do get internet access

 

THE JAMES SINGLES (14)

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James spent years in obscurity watching lesser talents become world-wide superstars but at least they could hold their collective heads high that they made music that was, in general. a class apart. Even when they did crack the charts and some fame and fortune landed at their feet, the band were doing so through songs which could be traced back to their indie and idiosyncratic roots. And then, in January 1992, they released this abomination of a single:-

mp3 : James – Born of Frustration

I hadn’t been all that fond of previous single Sound but this was positively the first single by the band that I took an instant dislike to. The demand for tickets for the live shows had taken the band into arenas and it was looking as if outdoor stadia were next….but did they really have to write and record singles that ticked every one of the boxes in the book of stadium rock cliches.

There’s just no denying it…..Born of Frustration is a lazy re-hash of the equally despised Don’t You Forget About Me which turned folk against Simple Minds some six or seven years previously….right down to the la-la-la-la singalong. If I was being kind I would describe it as epic. But I can’t do that…other than the opening 20 seconds which features a nice wee bit of acoustic guitar, it’s shit.

B-sides aren’t much better:-

mp3 : James – Be My Prayer
mp3 : James – Sound (Diceman Mix)

The single entered the charts at #13 which got the band an appearance on Top of The Pops. It fell down the charts the following week….not the greatest of signs for the parent LP which was imminent.

THE MOZ SINGLES (Part 22)

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I once observed, over on the old blog,  Morrissey had never cracked the trick of releasing three great LPs in a row, and I was worried that having got the critics eating out of his hand with You Are The Quarry and Ringleader of The Tormentors, the next album, whenever it came out and whatever it was called, would receive a panning just because it was time to again turn on the great man.

Well, the charm offensive deployed by Morrissey with journalists at the time of the records’ release worked in some ways, because Years Of Refusal, while not being lavished with praise, hasn’t been slaughtered in too many places. But in the views of this long time fan, it is a bit of a disappointment, and in many ways this is demonstrated by the rather lacklustre first ‘new’ single taken from it (remembering that two other tracks were also singles but these were also featured on a previous Greatest Hits compilation from 2008).

I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris isn’t an awful song, but it isn’t all the good either. It’s all just a bit too mundane, and I don’t think a man of the stature of Morrissey should do mundane.

The new songs on the b-side are also fairly average – almost a case of ‘Morrissey By Numbers’ – but Shame Is The Name is worth a listen for the mere fact that it features a backing vocal from Chrissie Hynde.

And the live recording of one of the great old record by The Smiths from 17 October 2007 at the Genesse Theatre, Waukegan in Illinois is an sad illustration and example of the criticism often levelled at his band’s ability to destroy the subtlety, class and poise of the original…..

It only reached #21 on its week of release in the UK back in February 2009, despite the chance for something a great many Morrissey fans of both sexes to finally get their hands on something they had wanted for ages* – a naked image of the singer – thanks to the inner sleeve of the 7″ single.

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mp3 : Morrissey – I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
mp3 : Morrissey – Because Of My Poor Education
mp3 : Morrissey – Shame Is The Name
mp3 : Morrissey – Death Of A Disco Dancer (live)

*Not this particular fan I should mention….but Mrs Villain was quite taken by it and wondered why, although he is older than me, Morrissey is skinnier than me. I reckon it’s a combination of photoshop and that he’s clearly holding his belly in….

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 103)

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As with last week’s featured single, this one had a place in the 45 45s at 45 series so I’m lifting that very tale:-

Quite a few folk told me that I really would like Sons and Daughters long before I ever got round to hearing them. I did know that Adele Bethel was in the band, but having seen her previously perform live on stage with Arab Strap, I wasn’t convinced she was capable of fronting her own act. So despite there being a real buzz about the band in Glasgow, I remained quite blasé about things, and I never got round to finding the time to check them out.

One day, while pottering around the house (quite possibly yet again putting the CD and vinyl collections into the proper alphabetical order) I heard a great noise coming from my TV which was tuned into MTV2. I wandered into the living room and saw a video for a song that caught my ear partly because of a great guitar riff and partly because it was being sung in a broad Scottish accent. Then there was a chorus of sorts in which a vaguely familiar looking female came in on joint vocals, and then the video descended into chaos with a bar-room brawl. Fantastic stuff, but who the hell were these fabulous people??

Up came the caption, and at that point dear readers, I hung my head in shame. For it was of course this:-

mp3 : Sons and Daughters – Johnny Cash

So out I traipsed to Avalanche Records to purchase the LP Love The Cup. I felt as if everyone I the shop was laughing at me for being the last person in Glasgow to buy the album which had been on prominent display for ages. I took it home and played it. And then I immediately played it again. And again. And again.

Not long afterwards, the Villains were on one of their regular pilgrimages in search of the sun. We found ourselves one day on the French island of Martinique on a day-trip from our main base on St Lucia. Mrs V was trying on some clothes in a boutique, and there was a French-language radio station on in the background. Without warning, Johnny Cash came on – and it wasn’t the Man In Black.

I grooved….well, I was on holiday and unlikely ever to set foot in the shop again and didn’t care how ridiculous I looked. I may have been the last Glaswegian to pick up on the song, but I bet I was the first to hear it on a radio station in the middle of the West Indies.

The b-side of this single, as you’ll see from the sleeve is called Hunt, a an alternative version of which can be found  on the follow-up LP, The Repulsion Box:-

mp3 : Sons and Daughters – Hunt (b-side version)
mp3 : Sons and Daughters – Hunt (LP version)

Enjoy

ANYONE REMEMBER THIS LOT?

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Around the turn of the century, Cousteau briefly enjoyed a fair bit of media exposure with many comparing their sound to the likes of Scott Walker and Burt Bacharach. Such comparisons were the results of the song-writing and arrangement talents of multi-instrumentalist Davey Ray Moor (who had previously enjoyed a very successful career composing advertising jingles and TV soundtracks) and vocalist Liam McKahey whose delivery and style were a real throwback to the easy listening era some 40 years previously.  Personally, I always thought he was more akin to Graeme Skinner who is best known for fronting 80s hit band Hipsway.

The band was given a lot of critical acclaim which never quite got them beyond cult status with the record buying public. They initially released two LPs and a smattering of singles between 1999 and 2002 before Moor decided he’d had enough. McKahey took on the task of songwriting and a third LP was released in 2005 before the band called it a day altogether.

I’ve a CD copy of the debut album on the shelf, picked up in a bargain bin for £2.99. It’s certainly more worthy than that albeit it’s a very long time since I listened to it all the way through. The album does have one genuine standout track that deserved to be a huge hit:-

mp3 : Cousteau – The Last Good Day Of The Year

My big book of indie discography informs me there were two other singles lifted from the debut LP and here, just for your aural pleasure, they are:-

mp3 : Cousteau – She Don’t Hear Your Prayer
mp3 : Cousteau – Wish You Were Her

Enjoy

GET IT RIGHT UP YE!

(A repost from 8 April 2010)

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For years, I thought that the Factory mogul was the brains behind the production of this, the third single from Magazine released on 17th November 1978.

Turns out it was a totally different Tony Wilson…one who for years worked at the BBC. Stupid me…..

For some artistic reason, Howard Devoto insisted that Give Me Everything be released without any marketing campaign and with no review copies to be sent to the music press. Almost as if he wanted it not to succeed. And almost as if he wanted to avoid dealing with any music journalists.

However, the review penned by Dave McCullough in Sounds showed that the strategy somewhat backfired:-

At last I have Howie and his chums sussed. They’re really The Muppets in disguise laughing their scraggy-heads off while the hundred thousand punks STILL take them seriously. This is dreadful – the lyrics proving more cringeworthy even than usual. ‘You’re so oblique and easy’. Look – Howie – you’re as much a poet as Len Fairclough is a poet – so why don’tcha sod off – you baldy little pain?

Or had it backfired?? Howard’s response was to send the journalist a cheque for £10 with the words:-

Your review of Give Me Everything was so unbelievably sympathetic, was so to the point that this £10 of my enthusiastic and shrieking money must go to you. You’re not so oblique but you’re so easy. You must have it. I hope you can see that. I’m sorry it couldn’t be more. Please cash it. Have a Christmas. Howard.

Which was of course printed in full in the following week’s edition of the paper…….an incident that helped inspire the later song Feed The Enemy.

mp3 : Magazine – Give Me Everything
mp3 : Magazine – I Love You You Big Dummy

The b-side is a cover of a Captain Beefheart song (now there’s something I never ever got….and as a consequence have nothing of his/theirs on vinyl or CD). It remains one of the most popular Magazine recording ever as evidenced by its inclusion in the sets of the comeback gigs in February 2009.

I wonder if the journo and Howard ever kissed and made up??

Oh and as a wee bonus, here’s yer Peel Sessions versions:-

mp3 : Magazine – Give Me Everything (Peel Session)
mp3 : Magazine – I Love You You Big Dummy (Peel Session)

Broadcast on 24 July 1978, some four months before the 7″ single was released.

Happy Listening.

FROM THE CRUMPSALL CORRESPONDENT

Again….huge thanks to David for his patience on this as he sent it up weeks ago when much of Britain was grabbed by the mania of the Tour de France 2014:-

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Like Adam over at Bagging Area, I too was not going to let slip a chance to see the Tour de France as it hit the North. So we set off from Manchester Victoria early on Sunday morning on a train packed to the rafters to Mytholmroyd, just beyond Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire.

Parking our camping chairs on a grass verge at the bottom of Cragg Vale – at five and a half miles, England’s longest continuous single gradient – we and thousands of others waited three hours or more in glorious sunshine for the peloton to pass. Preceded by the publicity caravan, and a host of police cars and motorbikes, half of them your actual French Gendarmerie, they were upon us and gone in a flash.

As a cycling fan who grew up watching Bernard Hinault, Greg LeMond and Laurent Fignon, initially on ITV’s World Of Sport, then on Channel 4’s early coverage, when it was on for a whole thirty minutes a day, I never thought I’d get the chance to see it so close to home. At one point they were a mere fifteen miles from our house.

There were tears in my eyes after the boys in Lycra had gone round the bend up the road.

It’s surprisingly easy to tie in the Tour with 80’s indie music. First of all, because the rather wonderful theme music to the Channel 4 coverage of the time was written by none other than Pete Shelley.

mp3 : Pete Shelley – Tour de France Channel 4 theme

Secondly, when cycling garb is now all the rage, in the 80’s it was only really worn by… cyclists. Except that is, for The Age of Chance.

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Age of Chance formed in Leeds – which saw Saturday’s Grand Départ – in 1985, and were signed to Fon Records of Sheffield, where Sunday’s stage finished. They were darlings of the indie scene, often touted at the time as the band most likely to succeed, but they never really did.

They were more raucous than their C86 contemporaries, with a bit of funk thrown into their thrashy guitar sound. Working with Sheffield’s Designers’ Republic, they produced some striking cover art. The sleeve of “Don’t Get Mad … Get Even” was one of Q Magazine’s 100 Best Record Covers Of All Time, describing it as “too intricate to rightfully exist in the pre-desktop publishing age.”

Coupled with this, they were never seen out wearing anything else than kit of some of the biggest cycling teams of the time, notably Renault-Elf and Système-U. Because of their obvious love of design, they were sometimes unfairly derided for being more style over content, but they were a blistering live band who knew how to work a crowd.

Their greatest success was an Indie Number One with their cover of “Kiss” in 1986, at a time when few of us indie kids would dare admit to even listening to Prince. Two years before The Art of Noise did their own version, theirs is far superior, yet virtually forgotten.

Despite signing to Virgin in 1987, success always eluded them. They finally split in 1991.

Where they are now, I’ve no idea, but I bet they out at the roadside this weekend, cheering on the peloton through Yorkshire, getting envious glances at their vintage cycling gear.

Cheers,

David

JC adds……David’s words led me to dig out the 12″ copy of said song…..it contains a great remix and a more than half-decent b-side:-

mp3 : Age of Chance – Kiss
mp3 : Age of Chance – Kiss Collision Cut
mp3 : Age of Chance – Crash Conscious

Enjoy

FROM THE SOUTH-WEST CORRESPONDENT

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With thanks to S-WC for being so patient………he sent this up to me weeks ago but has had to stand on the sidelines as I did the Friends Electric series:-

The Return of the Box (5)

Rock Special!!

Foo Fighters – For All The Cows

Lizard Music – Fashionably Lame – ‘Jacko’s Book’

Skyscraper – Never Again

I’m really not going to bang about the Foo Fighters, I think you all know who they are and know what records they have done and who is in them. What I will say is that at Reading 1995 I was at the first Foo Fighters Gig in the UK when about 50000 people tried to cram inside a tent that held 15000 to see Dave Grohl march around a stage singing songs about winnebagos. It was an incredible gig, one of the best I have ever seen, weird then that I never really got into the Foo Fighters after that, I own three of their singles (it was four, but I saw that the 7” of ‘This Is A Call’ was selling for daft money on Ebay so I flogged it), and this is one of them.

mp3 : Foo Fighters – For All The Cows

For All The Cows was the third release off their eponymous debut album and includes as a B Side a live version at that very show at Reading, which is probably why I bought it. It reached the lower regions of the Top 30 back in 1995. As a Foo Fighters song its not one of their best, but you know it’s the Foo Fighters, so its better than most of the rock that was on offer in 1995.

So let’s move on to Lizard Music, a band who will probably appear on my own blog When You Can’t Remember Anything soon as they have an animal in their name (this week is animal musician is Panda Bear – don’t miss that – shameless plug, sorry). I distinctly remember receiving this in the post as it came with two promotional presents, firstly a bottle of tequila, which was labelled ‘Lizard’s Breath’ and I drunk it with two Indian chaps I know outside a brothel in Dalston – I stress the outside bit on that sentence. Secondly it came with a lollipop and frozen or gelled inside that lollipop was a real dead lizard. Which I thought was gross at the time. In fact I still do. I remember very little about the album itself, so I’ve played it again and found my old notes – I said this back in 1995, listen to this album three times to fully get it – six out of ten. Stand out track ‘jacko’s Book’because of the funkier sound. Listening to it now it is exactly as I remember it, thireteen tracks of punky power pop with a rocky edge, not that bad, not that good either. One for the charity bin at the end of the road.

mp3 : Lizard Music – Jacko’s Book

Finally Skyscraper, back in 1993 a mate of mine Martin started a club night in Gillingham, Kent. He was 18 and wanted to break into the industry. The first night he booked a band, that band were Elastica and using a contact he had through his postman (seriously) he got the NME down to review it. The headline next week read ‘This Charmless Twang’ and history was made. The next club night was the most anticipated thing to happen in Gillingham since Barry from the Butchers Arms said he was having a Bingo Night. Martin booked Skyscraper. He booked them solely on the basis that they contained an ex member of Swervedriver and an ex member of long forgotten Camdenites Milk. They were also favourites of the NME and they promised to come down again to review the band. Musically they were basically a grunge band with what the press would have called an inventive edge. The night came and it was packed, I mean rammed beyond capacity. Martin stood there grinning. The owners of the bar, despite taking record profits that night banned the club night, and that was that. Gillingham reverted back to being a town full of knuckle dragging racists instead of a cool hip happening kind of place. Martin, well he works in the industry, of course he does.

mp3 : Skyscraper – Never Again

S-WC

FRIENDS

The past few weeks have been a celebration of some of the best blogs and bloggers out there but I wanted to extend the concept by one more day in an effort to persuade someone to return to his keyboard.

This is the bloke who almost single-handedly got me started on this adventure all those years ago.  I had just been removed from what was regarded by quite a few folk as a high-pressure and high-profile job – at the time I was incredibly bitter but looking back it was one of the best things to ever happen to me as it led to so many unexpected and new opportunities coming my way.  One of the first was having a bit more free time and I found myself scouring the internet searching out what was at the time a huge explosion of music blogs.

One of these was the work of someone who lived and worked in Glasgow. It was called Let’s Kiss and Make Up and it was a combination of quality writing, photography and tunes.  After a few weeks of stalking the author, I plucked up the courage to send him an e-mail asking for advice on how best to set up a blog. A few weeks later, as a bit of a thank you, I left a 12″ single for him at his place of work, but without warning him I was going to do so. The e-mail exchanges increased but then out of the blue his blog disappeared.

A few weeks later I got an e-mail saying that he had ‘killed’ the blog for personal reasons but was starting again, this time calling it And Before The First Kiss.  We made tentative plans to hook up but before either of us knew it, I was off to Canada to work for a few months.  This delayed us meeting in the flesh until January 2008, a full 15 months after we had first been in contact by e-mail.  We hit it off immediately….to a level way beyond what either of us dare hoped for….and we are now the closest of friends having shared many a great night out at many a great venue in Glasgow.

He’s someone who claims he is only capable of writing at his best when he is unhappy or troubled….and as he sets very high standards and is currently very happy with his lot, then you’ll understand why his own blog has been on an extended vacation since June 2013.  But he has very kindly penned something for this blog, and I’m delighted to again offer the opportunity to enjoy the words and thoughts of Comrade Colin:-

“When our mutual friend asked me to come out of retirement, for a brief moment, and scribble a few words over at his place he said I had a ‘blank page’. Oh how he cruelly mocks me. You see, I used to keep a music blog (of sorts) but have been rather distant for some time now (I note that, indeed, June 2013 was the last update. Oh dear.). It’s the usual excuses of life, work and family; too many distractions and other things to attend to. It’s a familiar story. Also, I suppose, the 140 character ‘thing’ happened and I just got a bit lazy. For me, a post would always usually begin with a photograph I’d taken. At other times, it might be something I’d read in the newspaper, a conversation I’d had with a friend or an ‘encounter’ on public transport. Not usually the music, oddly enough. The words would come out of the ether and sometimes reflect upon what the photograph was presenting (to my mind, at least) or what the song was about, but not always. I wasn’t entirely sure to be honest. But, I enjoyed the challenge and made time for it. I built ‘blogging’ into my routine and would always be thinking ‘what comes next?’ Anyway, that was then. I don’t really have much else to say right now. I mean, the bottom line is I used to write a music blog but now I don’t. Motivation and enthusiasm are vital in keeping you going and I was found severely lacking. I lost the habit too easily, too quickly, with a few false endings and bumpy starts along the way. This is why the heroic day-to-day efforts of JC are to be applauded. It’s a tough gig, for sure. That’s what The Rolling Stones say at least.

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This photograph was taken on February 11th, 2007 at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. It was a writing day for me. Back then, the Mitchell was one of my regular haunts (working, but away from the office). I noticed this adorable couple (or are they brother and sister?) and I was struck by how comfortable they seemed with each other, within themselves; cups of sweet tea and good books surrounding them. As soon as I took the photograph I immediately thought of this song. To this day I’m still not sure why but there you go. But one thing I do know: I miss The Delgados an awful lot.”

The Delgados – ‘Reasons for Silence (Ed’s Song)’

Thanks Comrade.   I hope you’re inspired enough to either get things going again over at your own place or else become a regular contributor here.

This post is dedicated to another dear mate of mine…..one who just never ever ‘got’ the type of music I enjoy so much….he was so mainstream it was scary.  RC would have been 50 years old today if leukaemia hadn’t cruelly claimed him a few years back….there’s rarely a day goes by that I don’t think of him.

THE MOZ SINGLES (Part 21)

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It was back in August 1994 that the world got to listen to the fruits of the union between Morrissey and Siouxsie Sioux. It was a track that had been recorded at least nine months before release during the sessions for Vauxhall And I, an LP which had hit the shelves in March 1994.

The song is a cover originally recorded by Timi Yuro. If like me, you don’t know anything about the lady, then this obituary from The Guardian newspaper back in 2004 might assist.

The lack of a b-side on this CD single didn’t help sales, and it only reached #25 in the UK charts, a position that was, at the time, very consistent with that of most solo offerings from the two protagonists – which makes me think either every Morrissey fan in 1994 bought Siouxsie & The Banshees singles (and vice-versa), or it was a single that many fans missed out on because they weren’t aware of its existence. The latter is possible given that there was absolutely no promotional work done on the single at all – no video or TV appearances – and it got next to no airplay on radio.

Personally, I think it is quite lovely:-

mp3 : Morrissey & Siouxsie – Interlude
mp3 : Morrissey & Siouxsie – Interlude (extended)
mp3 : Morrissey & Siouxsie – Interlude (instrumental)

The sleeve from a snap taken in 1957 by Roger Mayne, and is entitled Girl Jiving In Southam Street. Southam Street is in the North Kensington district of London, and as far as I know, the girl in question has never been identified (but to my eyes has the look of Kirsten Dunst)

Happy Listening

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 102)

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This week’s single was #22 in my 45 45s at 45 series back in 2008. I thought I’d do a re-posting…

My love for this bit of plastic is very much down to two things.

Firstly, The Skids were the first Scottish band to really make a big impact on the punk/new wave scene. And by that, I mean they were probably the first to get themselves onto Top Of The Pops.

Given how little exposure bands got on TV back in the 70s, getting your face on TOTP was an incredibly important arena to be seen on. And the debut performance from Richard Jobson et al will stay etched firmly in the minds of everyone who saw it. As well as in the minds of their parents.

This truly was the first time I heard my dad say something completely negative about something on TOTP. He was 43 years of age when this came out…..his taste was a little bit of Johnny Cash, a little bit of Neil Diamond, a little bit of Supertramp and a little bit of Status Quo. He knew that music was important to me, and never did he slag off anything that I brought into the house or that I professed to loving when watching TOTP.

Then he saw and heard The Skids.

I don’t think he swore as at that time, he wouldn’t do so in front of any of his three young sons. But he laughed out loud at Richard’s efforts at dancing and singing, which truly were like nothing else on the planet. I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was the generation gap finally showing through.

Of course I went out and bought the record a few days later with that week’s money from the paper round. Of course I played it louder than anything else I owned at the time. Of course I tried, behind the privacy of a closed bedroom door, to dance the way I had seen Richard dance (remember kids, no VHS tapes in those days, you saw something once and you had to commit it to memory).

There must have been thousands doing the same as me because the single continued to rise up the charts. TOTP had a policy of not having bands on two weeks in a row (unless they were at #1), so it was a fortnight before the band got back onto the show. This time my dad went into the kitchen and made a cup of tea as he was thoroughly sick to his back teeth with the song by now. I was a teenage rebel……at last.

Oh and the second reason why I love this song? One of the best b-sides ever. No arguments.

mp3 : The Skids – Into The Valley
mp3 : The Skids – TV Stars (live at The Marquee, London)

The TOTP performance is now widely available thanks to youtube . As is the promo video. As is a hugely clever advert featuring the song, which I’m sure must have made my dad laugh many years later.

Happy days.

MY FRIENDS ELECTRIC (22)

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Today’s friend electric probably doesn’t need much of an introduction as I’m guessing most of you will be familiar with his work.

Drew is the very substantial talent who sits Across The Kitchen Table.  You never know until you pay a visit just what musical offerings will be on the menu as Drew has the most wide-ranging taste of anyone that I know.  The tunes alone are an excuse enough to make you want to be a regular visitor but the sprinkling of fairy dust comes courtesy of the writing which is a combination of  social commentary, personal diary, critical analysis and the occasional delve into the memory bank.

I’ve been lucky enough to have hooked up with Drew on a number of occasions, mainly through us being in the audience at gigs over the years.  But we’ve also made specific arrangements to meet up outwith said gigs and I’m in the privileged position of having actually sat at the very kitchen table which is pictured at the head of his blog.  I can vouch that the boy makes a mean bowl of pasta and also knows exactly the right sort of wines to accompany the food…..

So I’m very proud to say that Drew is more than a Friend Electric but, like many other bloggers that I’ve been lucky enough to have met in the flesh over the past 8 years, a true friend. He is generous to a fault and great company no matter the location, be it a large city centre concert venue or the snug of a small lounge in the small town in which he lives with his wonderful family…his kids are going to grow up with great taste in music and inherit a very fine and quite valuable record/CD collection.

Here’s something I’ve stolen from him, penned back on 7 February 2012:-

VINYL TIME

Picture the scene, it’s Saturday just before noon, the breakfast dishes are done and the kitchen cleared up. Number one son is away with the better half fucking up packing some poor unfortunate’s shopping in the aid of school funds. Leo is sitting at the “pooter” watching Remembrance Of The Daleks which will keep him engrossed for as long as I let him sit in front of the thing.

So,  I find myself at a loose end with nothing to do. Well there is the washing machine to load, the hoovering to be done and a few other things that I could be doing but nothing urgent.

During these rare occasions I retreat to the dinning room and put on something that I have not got round to listening to or something that I haven’t listened to in ages.  It will always be on vinyl, as well,  it just feels right that when I’ve got the time I sit down and give an album the attention it deserves moving only the once to flip over the vinyl. After which I will go back to whatever mundane tasks need to be done happy in the knowledge that I have just listened to something the way it was intended to be listened to,  no skipping, shuffling or repeating.

On Saturday I found myself in a quandry. I had the urge to hear Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues but that would mean playing a cd and this was ‘Vinyl Time’. I decided that as I could not think of anything else I wanted to hear more, I would break the rules this once. I did toy with the idea of playing All Creatures Will Make Merry as this was re-released on lovely red vinyl last year but no, Pissing On Bonfires it had to be.

And for the next thirty eight and a bit minutes I sat on my chair and immersed myself in what is still  an amazing listen even after being heard by these ears tons of times. It feels as fresh now as it did when I first purchased it on a whim and waited ages for it to come.

If there are any of you out there that don’t own a copy of this absolute gem get yourself over to Song By Toad pronto and purchase it and as much of the label’s back catalogue as you can afford. Then mibbe one day they will be able to afford to do for Meursault’s debut what they did for the follow up and release it on vinyl which would spare me the dilema of breaking the rules of ‘Vinyl Time’.

mp3 : Meursault – A Small Stretch Of Land

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The rather sad news emerged the other week that Meursault will soon be no more as Neil Pennycook, the main man in the band and possessor of the finest voice in all of Scotland, wants to branch out into new things and work with other musicians.  The band play their final ever gig in Edinburgh later this month.  I intend to be there…