AC Acoustics formed in Glasgow in the early 90s. Wiki mentions that they were heavily inspired by The Jesus and Mary Chain – blending white noise with early Pavement-style experimentation and, on occasion, augmenting their two guitar, bass and drums instrumentation with saxophones and violins.

They released a total of eight singles and four albums between 1992 and 2002, with the most critically acclaimed – Understanding Music – released originally in 2000 enjoying a re-release a full decade later.

Despite never obtaining much commercial success, they were well liked by many of their better known peers in the industry and toured as the opening act for the likes of PJ Harvey, Spacemen 3, Embrace, Stereophonics and Placebo.

I’ve only one of their tracks. It appeared on 22-track compilation CD entitled Park Lane Archives released in 2009 that brought together songs (mostly in demo version but some otherwise never previously released) that had been recorded in a Glasgow studio, located as you might have guessed, in Park Lane which is not all that far from Villain Towers.

mp3 : a.c.acoustics – Bluff Drive By

This was one of the previously unreleased tracks.  It reminds me very much of Pavement. It also comes to a very abrupt and unexpected ending.




Billy tay bridge with Wild and Lonely

After being dropped by Warners in 1988, Billy quickly put some demos together with Blair Booth and Philip Erb (who he had recorded “Cinemas Of the World” with) and secured a deal with Virgin subsidiary Circa. The result was 1990’s “Wild And Lonely” a record much maligned by many Associates and MacKenzie fans. There are a number of reasons for this but the main one is that while the rest of the UK had romped through the 2nd Summer of Love in 1988 and two years later Acid House, House, Hip-Hop and sample-tastic dance music was filling the charts, “Wild And Lonely” had been produced by Julian Mendelsohn and it sounded slick and well – a bit like 1986. “Wild” and “Lonely” were two of Billy’s Whippets by the way…

My favourite track from this era is a B-side track from the single “Fire To Ice” called “The Glamour Chase” – an Abba-like paean to lost hope, shattered dreams and dented pride. The song refers to the ditched Warners album, Billy’s stalled career and the cost of the quest for fame (“Quality knows what is insincere/ All is not what it seems to appear/ Searching for what in this emptiness/ Why all this sudden need to impress/ Why must we always think we know best/ Knowing you’re wanting a part of me/ Only protects that same part of me”).

mp3 : Associates – The Glamour Chase

Billy insisted the track was included on the UK version of the “Wild And Lonely” CD and it was the only track on the album which Julian Mendelsohn didn’t produce. Billy produced it.

Sid Law

JC adds (in August 2015)….

The marvellous illustration above is the work of Stuart Murray, but I only discovered this many months later via the comments section.

It was done by Stuart me for a book called The Great Scots Musicography in 2003 (a tome from which I draw much of the info that subsequently appears in postings), and Stuart says it was one of his favourites for the book. You can check out more recent work of his at


johnny_cash_-_johnny_cash_greatest_hitsFrom April 2007:-

There’s loads been written about The Man In Black, including a waft of biographies, some better than others. There’s even been an Oscar-winning movie about part of his life. So I don’t really need to go into too much detail.

Johnny Cash lived from 1932 until 2003. His recording career had many ups and downs over the best part of half-a-century, and it’s estimated he sold in excess of 50 million albums. He was something of a pioneer – being one of the first artists to break down barriers between country music and pop music, dressing like a goth (sans white-face make-up tho’) decades before the genre was invented and patenting the fast-living, carefree drink and drugs lifestyle that other such as Keith Richards have since blazed. He was as well known and as popular by the time of his death as he was at the peak of his career some 30 years previously.

He made films and had his own networked TV show. He recorded songs with hundreds of other artists and was part of a touring ‘supergroup’.

In short, he did everything you could imagine in the life and times of a successful and charismatic musician.

I grew up with the sounds of Johnny Cash in the 60s and early 70s, sometimes in my own house, but most often when I visited and stayed over with an aunt and uncle who seemed to have all his records. In saying that, there was no way in my sultry teenage era, nor during my time at university when I thought I was cool and trendy, could I admit to having a love of any sort of country music far less having an idol in Johnny Cash. But as more and more hip bands began to include acoustic songs on their albums, it began to be easier to suggest country/blues influences without getting laughed at.

And then in the 1990s, thanks in the main to Rick Rubin and Def Jam Recordings, (but also to U2 who had performed a duet with him) Johnny Cash became fashionable again. His series of American Recording LPs, which featured a mix of Cash originals and cover versions, brought him to a whole new audience, with appearances at Glastonbury on MTV much in evidence.

I recently picked up my first ever Johnny Cash vinyl record of my own via an e-bay bargain……the 1967 CBS issue of Johnny Cash’s Greatest Hits Volume 1. And from that, here’s a couple of tracks……..

mp3 : Johnny Cash – Orange Blossom Special
mp3 : Johnny Cash – Don’t Take Your Guns To Town

And from the tail-end of his career, here’s a couple of duets

mp3 : Johnny Cash & Joe Strummer – Redemption Song
mp3 : Johnny Cash & Nick Cave – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry

And a couple of songs that namecheck the great man:-

mp3 : Sons & Daughters – Johnny Cash (live)
mp3 : Alabama 3 – Hello, I’m Johnny Cash

Finally, if you want to hear how good a job was done by the main players in the movie Walk The Line, have a listen to these two tracks:-

mp3 : Johnny Cash & June Carter – Jackson
mp3 : Joaquin Phoenix & Reese Witherspoon – Jackson




From December 2007:-

Yet another of the vinyl treasures that I found during my extended stay in Toronto.

A mint-condition copy of the 12″ of This Is Not A Love Song by P.I.L. For a bargain $10.

But I refuse to believe that the song dates back to 1983. That’s nearly 25 years ago for fuck sake. (WITH THIS UPDATE IT IS NOW 32 YEARS FUXXXACHE!!!).  I’m not ready to accept that I’m getting that old that quickly. Time for the botox and liposuction.

I’ve long owned a copy of this record, but (a) I wore it out through constant playing, and (b) the whiter-than white sleeve was grubby and torn. I’m delighted to have at long last replaced it.

There are four songs on this magnificent piece of plastic – including an original and remix version of the single.

The remix is quite different from the original. Wobble’s bass lines and Lydon’s vocals are identical but the keyboards are far more prominent while the guitar is further back in the mix.

It’s probably a bit more poppy than the actual single, and while it’s pretty impressive in its own right, it just doesn’t have the same impact as what remains one of my all time favourite records.

A few years later, P.I.L. released a greatest hits compilation, which included yet a further remix of TINALS – and one that was completely different. A re-recorded vocal and a horn section that I just wan’t prepared for at the time. For years it was a version that I hated, but I have grown more fond of it in recent times. You can make your own minds up:-

mp3 : P.I.L. – This Is Not A Love Song (original 12″ version)
mp3 : P.I.L. – This Is Not A Love Song (re-mixed version)
mp3 : P.I.L. – This Is Not A Love Song (re-recorded version)




From February 2009.

In which your humble scribe tries to show that there’s more to him than jangly-guitars, indie-pop and great haircuts from days of old.

Back in the late 1990s, I was in a job that involved the occasional bit of overseas travel. To those of you who don’t ever have to do that for a living it might sound like a great way of life, but believe me, aside from the excitement of arriving somewhere for the first time and enjoying, if you’re lucky, a bit of sightseeing, the joys of being far away from home for a few days isn’t any fun.

It was in 1997 that I went on what proved to be my furthest ever jaunt, to Kuala Lumper in Malaysia to accompany my boss who was giving the keynote speech to a conference of civic leaders – I was there partly as the bag-carrier and organiser, but I was also around to make any last-minute changes to the speech and presentation. I have three abiding memories of the trip.

Firstly, it was very very hot and humid with the most amazing bursts of thunder and lightning I ever imagine I will see.

Secondly, as someone who is not a fan of any sort of exotic food, my participation in a 16-course banquet held in honour of the boss was torture of the worst kind – I was pretty ill for 48 hours afterwards but still had to be seen in and around the conference venue and elsewhere at all times. I made sure I knew where the nearest toilet was.

Thirdly, I heard Moaner by Underworld for the first ever time.

I was having real problems sleeping during the trip, and in the middle of one night I found myself tuned into MTV Asia. It was a station dominated by all sorts of American rock’n’roll stadium acts, particularly Guns’n’Roses who seemed to be on every other song. Then out of the blue came a video that seemed to be a soundtrack to the latest Batman movie – a throbbing, thumping, grinding, intense and manic bit of music that got louder and louder and hugely intense….and just when it seemed to be hitting some sort of ecstatic peak it disappeared without warning, leaving no trace at all of its presence. I was hooked and promised myself that if I ever got back in one piece, I’d immediately track down the song so I’d have one happy abiding memory from it.

This proved to be far more difficult than I imagined as the only way to get hold of it was to buy a single on expensive import or shell out for the soundtrack LP to Batman & Robin. In the end I did the latter. And while it is a soundtrack that I have never played in its entirety (too many things on it that were a total turn-off), the Underworld track became a huge favourite.

Coming in at more than 10 minutes in length, it was of course much longer than the version that I had heard back in Malaysia, but that didn’t bother me in the slightest. However, if the truth be told, for a long while I could really only listen to the opening six and a bit minutes up to the part that I so remembered from that first time….the ecstatic point where the vocal screams ‘down to the waterfront.’ I used to put the track on every C90 compilation of that era but I always hit the stop button right at that moment….but as time has marched on and the full song has found its way on to the i-pod I’ve learned to love every single note.

And despite the title of this posting, I can also say that I’ve never had the opportunity to properly dance to the track (i.e, in a club). Yes, i’ve jumped around an empty flat with nobody watching, and I’ve also lain on a beach throwing my arms above my head while singing along, much to the distress of other holidaymakers who are concerned why a lunatic has been allowed onto an otherwise tranquil Caribbean island.

And given I’m now nearer 50 than 40, I guess I never will get that dance. One of life’s few regrets y’know….

mp3 : Underworld – Moaner (album version)

Looking up info on the song it turnd out that it was released as a single in Germany and the USA with four different versions – ‘short’, ‘album’, ‘relentless legs’ and ‘long’ – with the version on the soundtrack being ‘album.’ Just over a year later later, it was included on the LP Beaucoup Fish as the closing track – the version being ‘long’ (confusingly, the ‘long’ version is in fact shorter than either the ‘album’ or ‘relentless legs versions.’).

This post is dedicated to my dear friends Ctelblog from Acid Ted and Drew from Across The Kitchen Table. If only I had got to know them a few years ago….they would have known where to take me to make my Underworld ambition come true.




Another week of delving into the archives of the lost blog and reposting some things I think read okay. This was back in July 2009:-

History hasn’t really been all that kind to Spandau Ballet, and that really all stems from 1983 onwards when the single and LP True gave them enormous crossover appeal, success, fame and fortune. And I’m not going to sir here typing away any real defence of the band, for it was a very clear and distinct career move to shift away from the sort of music that had dominated the first two LPs into the bland, radio-friendly wine-bar shite that was incredibly popular in UK plc when Thatcher was at her most frightening.

But I’ll take issue with anyone who simply dismisses the early work just because it was a Spandau Ballet song.

Their debut single is one of the great synth-pop singles in an era where acts like Soft Cell, Human League, OMD and Depeche Mode were churning them out.

mp3 : Spandau Ballet – To Cut A Long Story Short

This was a huge hit, reaching #5 in the UK singles chart, and I don’t mind admitting that I did lots of dancing to this, as well as their great follow-up The Freeze, in Glasgow discos in the early 80s. In fact, their debut LP Journeys To Glory, released in October 1981, along with Non Stop Erotic Cabaret and Dare by the afore-mantioned Soft Cell and The Human League, are about the only synth-dominated LPs from that era that I’m still happy to listen to all the way through almost 30 years later.

Not long after the LP appeared, we had the single that many of us will say was the high point of the band’s output, the Top 3 smash Chant No.1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On) . The band followed this up with Paint Me Down, another classy bit of pop-funk, but rather worryingly, the other tracks on the parent LP, Diamond, released in May 1982, were quite disappointing.

Looking back, it’s worth remembering that the two albums were released only 8 months apart, so there’s a case to be made that some of the material on Diamond was a bit rushed in an effort to stay in the public eye, and maybe if the band had been given another six or nine months, the LP would have been a lot stronger.

Paint Me Down only reached #30, which must have been a shock to the band and everyone associated with them given all previous four singles had been big hits, but that was nothing compared to the follow-up She Loved Like Diamond which only just made the Top 50. Something needed fixing…..

And so the record label sent for uber-producer Trevor Horn and he sprinkled his magic dust over the underwhelming album track Instinction and produced a brashy and bold bit of pop that soon had the boys back in the Top 10, on Top Of The Pops and in the pages of Smash Hits:-

mp3 : Spandau Ballet – Instinction (single version)

I finally picked up a copy of this bit of vinyl on e-bay the other day (along with a few other classics of the era), and I’m delighted to share it with y’all. Normally, I would also put the b-side up as well, but it really is a dreadful bit of pap called Gently, a self-produced number that really does put the band firmly on the road to the sort of stuff that was shoved on in the background so as not to interfere with the important chit-chat and gossip at the dinner parties…you know the sort of thing…..’Tristan just picked up his half-a-million bonus from the bank the other day after he persuaded the plebs to buy shares in the the Telecoms/Electricity/Gas companies they already owned. Tee-hee. Crack open another case of bolly…..”

Oh and I havent a fucking clue what Gary Kemp meant with the words Stealing Cake To Eat The Moon.




After featuring On Tape last week, there could really only be one song selected this week:-

mp3 : This Poison! – Poised Over The Pause Button

I had no idea that this lot, who I presume were named after the Magazine song, were Scottish. They hailed from Perth and between 1986 and 1988 released two singles for Reception Records (the record label founded and run by The Wedding Present) and recorded one John Peel session.

The band members were Scott Taylor (vocals and guitar), Derek Moir (guitar and backing vocals), Alistair Donald (bass) and Steve Gray (drums).

In 2005, what looks like just about everything they ever recorded was compiled on a CD entitled Magazine (which convinces me the band were named after said song from Magic, Murder and The Weather) released on Egg Records.

The single which features on CD86 is quite tasty, if vert much of its time, and certainly demonstrates TWP influences.  The b-side is less exciting but far from the worst song you’ll ever here via this blog:-

mp3 : This Poison! – I’m Not Asking





Notwithstanding that the ‘A’ side of this single featured very recently in Sid Law’s wonderful mini-series, as I have a copy of the 12″ single it merits a slot within the Saturday Single.

39 Lyon Street was a one-off single project created by Associates. The group used an alternative name to exercise a clause in their contract with WEA that stated they could record for any label they desired, so long as the A-side was not credited to Associates.

I’ve pinched this from a now defunct blog called Retro Dundee:-

lyon street mid 80s - Copy

This is how Lyon Street looked back in the 1980’s. A typical Dundee street that you would pass going into the city centre. In the early 80’s, however, something was brewing at number 39. A wee social gathering of creative musicians were busy producing acts who would go on to record some classy alternative pop music.

This is where Billy Mackenzie & Alan Rankine of The Associates were living, along with others. In amongst the others were Christine Beveridge & Steve Reid who went on to record as Orbidoig, releasing a couple of singles. A cross-pollination of The Associates & Orbidoig created a 3rd act called…39 Lyon Street. They also released a single, called “Kites”, which was a cover of the Simon Dupree hit from the psychedelic 60’s.

And here we are:-

mp3 : 39 Lyon Street – Kites
mp3 : Associates – A Girl Named Property

And that dear readers, brings to an end this alphabetical and numerical run through some of the 45s that I have in the cupboard of vinyl or shelves of CD from Scottish acts.

Next week, I’m going to start all over again but this time looking at albums as well as singles or indeed featuring songs that I only have via compilations.




Dear Readers.

Please indulge me with this one.  I’m putting up this re-post from July 2009. I’m doing so because today marks the 10th anniversary of the day that Edwyn Collins collapsed at home after a stroke.

The original posting fills in the details……………..


After reading this compelling 310 pages, I was left with quite a number of impressions, one being that I couldn’t possibly cope with being married to Grace Maxwell. She herself acknowledges that she is a nagging, dominating, sharp-tongued and single-minded individual who has difficulty ever admitting that she ever gets something wrong. But one thing is for sure…..if she wasn’t like that, her partner would most likely be dead, or at best locked away from the world, dependant on specialist round-the-clock treatment. So without any question at all, Edwyn Collins is very blessed to have Grace Maxwell by his side…

Falling and Laughing – The Restoration of Edwyn Collins is a truly astonishing and eye-opening book. It’s also a very very frightening bit of work, and not the sort of thing you really want to be reading if someone close to you is lying ill in hospital with a life-threatening condition.

I’m sure most regular TVV readers are familiar with the basic facts, but here’s a quick resume of what I knew before picking up the hardback.

In February 2005, Edwyn Collins suffered a stroke which left him seriously ill in a London hospital. He was in a coma and required major brain surgery to stop internal bleeding which threatened to kill him. His recovery was hampered by him contracting MRSA, but in the fullness of time, he got back home, and thanks to some fantastic TLC from his partner Grace, their son Will and many other members of his family and his close friends, not to mention many hours of therapeutic treatment, he made a remarkable recovery which allowed him to get back on stage again in late 2007 and to then go on tour in the summer of 2008.

If only it had been that simple……

Opening with a very short prologue that asks the reader to imagine you not having any more thoughts, the book then looks back at the early part of Edwyn’s career with Orange Juice and the circumstances which brought him and Grace together for the first time in 1980, leading to them deciding to live together some five years later. From the outset, Grace was an essential part of Team Edwyn – she was his full-time manager before they got together as a couple, and she shared his woes and worries as he went out of fashion post-Orange Juice but never ever giving up on his immense talent, even when his records were selling to almost no-one.

The world-wide success of the single A Girl Like You in 1994/95 changed everything, setting them, and new son Will, up for life in terms of financial security. It also gave Edwyn the opportunity to make and produce music as and when he liked from the comfort of his own and much-in-demand studio. By early 2005. life seemed quite uncomplicated. Edwyn was 45 years of age, an elder and much respected statesman in music, still recording new songs but under no pressure to come up with the hits. Indeed there was a great deal of satisfaction with the new songs recently recorded and about to go into the post-production for a new LP which would be followed by the inevitable tour and other promotional work.

But then Grace came home on at around 7pm on the night of Sunday 20th February 2005 after picking up her car that had been left a friend’s house after a party she and Edwyn had attended the night before – and discovered him lying semi-conscious and distressed on the living room floor….

Much of the book deals with the next few months as Edwyn tries to battle back from the stroke. Grace writes with a directness and clarity that is utterly refreshing, and she is never over-dramatic about events. She gives a great deal of praise to the medical and nursing staff involved in saving Edwyn’s life, but without ever making them appear as saints. At the same time, she also paints a very distressing picture of a medical system that contributes more to a crisis than it does resolve it.

Grace was fortunate in having some immediate family members who work in medicine, and so she could often talk to someone and try to get an alternative view. Grace was also able to devote 100% of her own energy to be with Edwyn over an extended period of time – a luxury very rarely afforded to most wives/husbands/partners. If she had been in a position where she had taken all the medical opinions totally at face value, and had been unable to spend as much time by Edwyn’s side in the very early days, it is quite likely that everyone would have given up the fight…but they battled through all the obstacles and barriers placed in their way, and slowly his recovery began.

But just as Edwyn was about to be moved out of general care into a specialist unit where his therapy would be intense, there was a setback that made the original stroke seem a bit like a pleasant Sunday stroll in the sunshine round – the contraction of the superbug MRSA. What follows really is the stuff of nightmares……

I’m not spoiling anything by revealing that in the fullness of time, Edwyn faced up to and defeated death for a second time. His rehabilitation is covered in great depth and compassion. Grace doesn’t hide from the fact that this was an immense strain on her and Will and describes some unpleasant family exchanges with an admirable honesty that brought a lump to the throat of this particular reader. I’m sure most of us by now have been in difficult circumstances when someone close is being treated for an illness, and reading many of Grace’s lines brought back a lot of memories of watching loved ones painfully tear themselves up trying to work out what course of action is the best way forward.

As a long-time fan of Edwyn Collins, I would love to have discovered that his recovery turned out to be a smooth and straight-forward process, with him taking his medicine and undergoing his therapy without complaint or giving anyone any cause for concern, and indeed Grace could have easily painted such a rosy picture with very few of us being any the wiser. That she doesn’t is testament to just how good a book this is, and helps the reader gain a much better understanding of just how remarkable it is that Edwyn has the ability nowadays to take to the stage and entertain us.

Having been lucky enough to see him perform three times over the past 12 months I thought that Edwyn – not withstanding the very clear mobility and speech difficulties he still has – was almost completely rehabilitated. Grace’s book reminds everyone that there is still a long way to go. It also reminds us that what Edwyn and so many others close to him have achieved over the past couple of years is quite miraculous – but it has all been through grit, graft and guts, not to mention a lot of Grace.

mp3 : Edwyn Collins – Graciously
mp3 : Edwyn Collins – Let Me Put My Arms Around You


The intervening five and half years since the book was first published have again been nothing short of miraculous.  Edwyn has continued to defy the odds with more new, critically acclaimed music and live shows that are always joyous celebrations of the fact he is still alive.  One of the best was last summer when he played a Spiegeltent in Glasgow Green as part of a cultural event associated with the 2014 Commonwealth Games.  The place was jammed packed with fans of all ages and the reception Edwyn received as he took to the stage was heartfelt, vocal and lengthy.  The set we were treated to was one of the best I’ve ever been privileged to witness….and all the while I found myself standing right next to Grace Maxwell who was having as great a time as the rest of us.

The story of Edwyn’s efforts to rebuild his life has also now been captured on film and while it is often a very strange and ‘arty’ piece of work, I do recommend if you get the chance to view The Possibilities Are Endless which was released in 2014.




… send birthday greetings to the above handsome fella.

That’s my young brother – SC – who lives in Florida (where he moved back in the mid 80s…probably to escape my obsession with strange pop music). SC turns 49 today and while he is for the most part, a responsible doting dad and dedicated husband, he still has it in his head when he is out with the boys that he has the stamina, staying power and dance moves of his 19 year old self.

I didn’t get round to popping a card into the post for him last week, so he will have to make do with receiving his birthday wishes via T(n)VV – he is a daily reader and he has been known to leave the occasional comment.

My favourite musical memory with SC is of taking him to the Students’ Union at Strathclyde University to see Spear of Destiny. For the early part of the gig he stood next to me towards the back of the hall and then said he was going to move a little bit closer to the action. The next time I saw him, the band had gone off after their third encore and the lights had come up – there was SC stripped to the waist, sweating like he never had in his life before having just enjoyed a lengthy session in the mosh pit. He was ecstatic and his next pint of lager never touched the sides. Here’s to happy memories young bro’

mp3 : Spear of Destiny – Flying Scotsman
mp3 : Spear of Destiny – Rainmaker

I’ll also throw in a couple of songs from what has long been his favourite band. I know they come in for a fair bit of stick within the blogging community but they have done some decent stuff over the years:-

mp3 : U2 – The Fly
mp3 : U2 – Desire (Hollywood Mix)




Billy was back in London in April of 1995. He and Steve Aungle were down touting their large repertoire of new material around record companies. But Billy was also bumping into folks like Barry Adamson who was completing his “Oedipus Schmoedipus” album at the time. The former bass player from Magazine now Uber-hip groovemeister and general godfather of cool needed a singer to slide a vocal onto an intsrumental track he had written for a ditched drinks commercial. Could Billy drop by and have a listen? Barry could hardly get his samples loaded up and playing before Billy was vocalising over it…
Barry Adamson described how Billy went away and came back three days later with the track’s lyrics finished and the tune ready. Billy went over and over his vocal lines till he was happy with it. I think the results are superb. It is one of my favourite Billy tracks. Billy MacKenzie and Barry Adamson? How good can things get?

The track slipped out on a promo 12″ in August 1996. I picked up my copy in Avalanche in Edinburgh for 50p that month. Great track.

mp3 : Billy Mackenzie/Barry Adamson – Achieved In The Valley Of The Dolls

While he was down in London Billy also appeared in The Cure’s Mint Car video swigging champagne and goofing around. That’s Billy with the wild wig at 1.25-ish (he is wearing a crucifix on a chain and a dark jacket). Back in 1980 The Cure’s Robert Smith had contributed backing vocals to “Paper House” on The Associates debut album – “The Affectionate Punch” – both bands were signed to Fiction at the time.

Sid Law



…..when this was ignored.

Lloyd Cole has been active in the music business for well over 30 years now. His live shows remain a real treat thanks to a deft combination of new material and the songs he’s most famous for from his days when backed by The Commotions.

It is a real shame that his solo career has never taken off in the way that it should have for he’s released a lot of cracking albums, particularly since the turn of the century when he began to increasingly concentrate on just his voice and his guitar rather than worry too much about the production and arrangements which in all truth occasionally marred his initial solo works after he split up the band.

One of his finest compositions dates from the late 90s. It first saw light of a day on a very underrated LP released in 2000:-

mp3 : Lloyd Cole & The Negatives – No More Love Songs

The definitive version however, was released three years later and was the only single taken from the LP Music In A Foreign Language (a record in which Mr Cole did a more than passable cover of a Nick Cave classic).

mp3 : Lloyd Cole – No More Love Songs
mp3 : Lloyd Cole – Claire Fontaine
mp3 : Lloyd Cole – Claire Fontaine (long)

The single is long deleted and hard to get hold of…indeed the b-sides today are actually courtesy of their inclusion on a later box set entitled Cleaning Out The Ashtrays.

Oh and that Nick Cave song I was referring to….

mp3 : Lloyd Cole – People Ain’t No Good

This post is dedicated to Rol Hurst. He’ll know why.




It was Niv (not Nev as I so carelessly published earlier!!!) who asked if these could feature.

A 1988 release. More mail-order cassettes from the NME. 40 tracks spread over two tapes with the contents more or less resembling a playlist you’d hear in Student Unions up and down the UK – particularly Tape 2.

Indie City 1

Side 1

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Tupelo
Depeche Mode – People Are People (Different Mix)
Sonic Youth – Death Valley ’69
Cabaret Voltaire – Nag Nag Nag
Josef K – Radio Drill Time
Motorhead – Motorhead
Orange Juice – Blue Boy
The Fire Engines – Candy Skin
The Mekons – Never Been In A Riot
Gang Of Four – Armalite Rifle

Side 2

The Freshies – I’m In Love With The Girl On The Virgin Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk
Aztec Camera – We Could Send Letters
The Damned – Smash It Up
The Three Johns – Death On A European
Newtown Neurotics – Mindless Violence
Redskins -Lean On Me
Colourbox – The Official World Cup Theme
Joy Division – Transmission
Cocteau Twins – The Spangle Maker
The Normal – Warm Leatherette

Indie City 2

Side 1

The House Of Love – Shine On
The Loft – Up The Hill And Down The Slope
The Pogues – Dark Streets Of London
The Triffids – Wide Open Road
The Smiths – Hand In Glove
Robert Wyatt- Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’
…And The Native Hipsters – There Goes Concorde Again
The Cramps – Human Fly
R.E.M. – Radio Free Europe
The Special AKA – Gangsters

Side 2

Dead Kennedys – Holiday In Cambodia
Southern Death Cult – Fat Man
The Cult – Spiritwalker
The Primitives – Really Stupid
Jonathan Richman – Roadrunner
James – Hymn From The Village
The Fall – Rowche Rumble
Pop Will Eat Itself – Black Country Chain Saw Massacree
This Mortal Coil – Song To The Siren
New Order – Murder

Now I know that some of the artists and some of the song titles above are incorrect, but I’ve simply reproduced what was typed in the track listings to the cassettes.

They are a cracking couple of artefacts with a mix of really well-known singles bundled up with some wonderfully cult acts. And Motorhead….who were the heavy metal band of choice for all discerning punk and new wave fans. There’s more than a few songs that have previously featured on T(n)VV and there others such as …And The Native Hipsters that I always intended to but never got round to it until now.

Worth mentioning that NME handed out 500 promotional copies of a 3xLP vinyl version of Indie City 1 & 2. There’s one kicking around on Discogs just now and it would set collectors back £50. It doesn’t come with anything that wasn’t available on or with the cassette and given that just about all 40 of the tracks are still widely available today, digitally or in new/second-hand vinyl and CDs, it seems an awful lot of money to pay. But then again, some folk like to own things that are or were limited to such small numbers.

Oh and I should mention that while a lot of the tracks have been ripped from the cassette, where the songs have been made available before on this blog I’ve simply re-activated old links to the song.

Also, rather surprisingly, some of the tracks on the cassette (Smiths, Fall, R.E.M.) are the album versions of the song rather than the single versions but then again The Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds contribution is the 7″ version of Tupelo rather than the album version.




Have a really good look at the sleeve for today’s featured song from CD86. Have any of you out there actually ever seen it in real life? I only ask as it is incredibly rare….it is also a ridiculously expensive piece of vinyl. The available copies on Discogs retail for £150 or thereabouts.

mp3 : The Pooh Sticks – On Tape

I can’t even offer a b-side as it was a one-sided single, released in 1988 on Fierce Recordings.

As with Jasmine Minks (featured back in Part 2 of the series), here we have a song that is synonymous with the whole C86 scene which in fact is a bit of a cheat. There is no doubt however, that The Pooh Sticks would not have come into being without the aid of C86.

On Tape is a brilliant record on so many different levels. It sounds as shambolic and cheaply recorded as most of the C86 tracks were, it pays homage to the humble cassette which, after all, was the medium under which C86 thrived and above all else the lyrics gently mock the trainspotter obsessiveness of so many music fans (myself included!!) with lyrics such as “I’ve got Falling and Laughing – the original Postcard version” and “I sent for the Soup Dragons single, mail-order only; £1.30 to Martin Whitehead, but it never came!”

Oh and in Trudi Tangerine (tambourine/piano) they surely have the best-named indie pop star of all time.

The next five singles after On Tape were also one-sided 45s and these were then gathered together in a vinyl only box set before being made available on a CD compilation entitled Alan McGhee. A live LP followed (on pink vinyl) before another run of 7″ singles on coloured vinyl or as flexidiscs. This was a band determined to do entirely the unexpected….

1990 saw another compilation album and a slew of one-off singles and then, just as the world embraced the advent of grunge and loud guitars, The Pooh Sticks moved to a new label – Cheree Records – and released an album which to all intent and purposes was a power-pop tribute to 70s style soft-rock and AOR.

Incredibly, despite no great sales, this effort got the band into major territory with RCA Records via the Zoo Entertainment imprint and this led to the 1993 release of the tongue-in-cheek named Million Seller. If you any evidence of the lack of demand for the music from this era, you can pick up second-hand copies of the CD for about £3.

By 1995, after a third studio LP, The Pooh Sticks broke up….

In the absence of a b-side, I will offer up the only other track of theirs I have in the collection – it’s another of the early one-sided 45s courtesy of its inclusion on a Rough Trade compilation from back in 2004.  All 95 seconds of it:-


mp3 : Pooh Sticks – I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well




An observant reader spotted that I had messed up some of the links to the b-sides in the original posting. The easiest thing to do was delete the old posting and do it all gain using cut’n’paste.  Sorry I made such a basic fuck-up…..

Here we go with V2.

Yet another James single which came as a 3xCd release, with each going for £1.99 or all three for £5 if you wished.

Truth be told, I didn’t wish. Runaground is a decent enough single but was already available on the Best of James compilation as one of the two new tracks which I had already purchased out of laziness just so that I could put one album with all the ‘hits’ into the CD player.

Not buying Runaground was a major error in my part for it denied me the opportunity to enjoy some tremendous live versions of old favourites as well as a couple of otherwise unavailable b-sides.

The single was released in May 1998 when the band were receiving all sorts of acclaim for the quality of Best Of which had topped the album charts in the UK. I think everyone concerned was bitterly disappointed when it crawled into the singles charts at #29 and then disappeared from trace almost immediately. Maybe if a little bit more had been made of the b-sides  or maybe if the record label hadn’t blundered by labelling Disc 1 as having exclusive rare tracks when fans of old already had them then we night have given it a bit more attention.  Who knows.

The three b-sides on CD 1 consisted of two tracks that had originally featured on the initial release of the 1990 LP Goldmother only to be removed and replaced by the singles Sit Down and Lose Control less than a year later when the LP was re-released as the band’s popularity exploded; the other track on CD1 was a song previously available as a b-side to the hit single Born of Frustration.

So far so humdrum

The three songs on CD2 consisted of songs taken from a BBC Greater London Radio session that had been transmitted on 6 March 1998. Here was a stripped back and wonderful sounding James with acoustic takes on three previous hit singles that bore little resemblance to the original versions.

Now you’re talking.

The three songs on CD3 featured an interesting and extended 8-minute remix of Runaground which is very reminiscent to the remix of the song Goldmother as featured earlier in this series when it was a b-side to hit release of Come Home; a largely instrumental track with a spoken/choral vocal that sounds as if it would fit on a film soundtrack; and a cracking and funky remix of an otherwise dullish track from the 1997 studio LP Whiplash.

Put On Your Dancing Shoes.

mp3 : James – Runaground
mp3 : James – Hang On
mp3 : James – Crescendo
mp3 : James – Be My Prayer
mp3 : James – Say Something (live at GLR)
mp3 : James – Laid (live at GLR)
mp3 : James – Lose Control (live at GLR)
mp3 : James – Runaground (The James Remix)
mp3 : James – Egoiste
mp3 : James – Lost A Friend (Aloof remix)

At long last, an entire singles package that wasn’t a rip-off.




Of all the bands to feature in this series 1990s are by far and away the most local to Villain Towers. Their debut LP featured a song about the area they are from and where I live:-

mp3 : 1990s – Pollockshields

While the sophomore album paid tribute to our local bus service:-

mp3 : 1990s – 59

1990s emerged at a time when Rough Trade Records were enjoying something of a renaissance with indie-guitar bands being briefly back in fashion and acts such as The Strokes and The Libertines generating good sales and enabling punts to be taken on up and coming acts.

Two of the band – lead singer Jackie (aka John) McKeown and bassist, Jamie McMorrow, had a bit of a pedigree as founding members of the cult act The Yummy Fur a band which was also responsible for the early careers of Alex Kapranos and Paul Thomson from Franz Ferdinand who really were the media darlings of the day.

The band worked tirelessly to make it big in the industry. If they weren’t gigging as headliners in in small venues across the country then you’d find then as opening acts for all sorts of similar acts such as Babyshambles and the afore-mentioned Franz Ferdinand.

Despite being a cut above most bands of their ilk, 1990s never quite made it. Their legacy is just four singles and two LPs under their own moniker although they were also one side of a very rare and hard to find 45 in which they and The Royal We recorded cover versions of Postcard singles.

I last saw them just over three years ago opening for Cornershop in Glasgow and given that there were a few unreleased songs aired that night I had hoped there might be further releases in the offing but sadly, no. I can only assume the band are no more.

This was their second single for Rough Trade back in October 2006. It reached #86 in the singles charts which was about as close as they ever got to mainstream success:-

mp3 : 1990s – You’re Supposed To Be My Friend
mp3 : 1990s – Jingle Bells

Don’t worry…..the b-side is an original composition and not a take on the traditional Christmas number.





For more years than I care to remember, I always said that my ideal night out would be to sit down in a pub alongside Bill Drummond and Tony Wilson and just enjoy the conversation that would inevitably flow. Yes, it was all a pipe dream, and indeed it was something that, if it had been allowed to happen, would in all likelihood have been a bit of a disaster given the psychological make-up of my two heroes. I’m not sure if they would in fact have got on or whether the first barbed comment from one of them would have had the other storm off in a huff (possibly after a punch or two had been thrown).

But I just have a feeling that these two geniuses, who I think were among the most urbane, witty, talented, opinionated and intelligent people on the planet, would have just kept up a non-stop discussion in an entertaining and enlightening way on just about any subject under the sun or moon. And to have been in their collective company would have been a privilege as well as enormous fun.

But of course the premature death of Tony Wilson back in 2007 put paid to that ever happening, but even now, two years on from that very sad day, I’m still fascinated by the life and times of both men. And while Bill can continue to amuse and delight me with books like 17, it’s now down to others to keep Tony’s flame burning brightly.

The latest bit of work to do just that is You’re Entitled To An Opinion, which has been penned by David Nolan, a music journalist whose past works include Confused, a terrifically enlightening and enjoyable bio of Bernard Sumner which revealed in a far from sordid way, lots of things about the singer that helped fans get a better insight on what it was that drove him on. That particular book was an excellent example of a rock biography, clearly written by someone who was an admirer but who wasn’t afraid of offering a critical comment when the music or other aspects of the subject’s life deserved it.

I’m delighted to say that David Nolan has done an equally superb job with his look at Tony Wilson, and You’re Entitled To An Opinion is a tremendous read with all sorts of facts and information that were new to me, particularly the early chapters on his upbringing, and the later chapters that deal with the last few months of Tony’s life as he battled a particularly violent form of cancer.

What we get isn’t just a re-hash of Tony Wilson, the music mogul who arguably did as much as anyone else to raise the profile of Manchester over the last quarter of the 20th Century and help with its regeneration as a modern, vibrant city far removed from the greyness and grime that was the legacy of its industrial past. There’s loads in this book about Anthony Wilson (or sometimes Anthony H Wilson) the journalist/reporter who many of his contemporaries reckon could have been a giant in that field if he hadn’t been so distracted by his love of music and the lifestyle of musicians. There’s also substantial details about his family/private life which prove to essential in helping readers understand some of Tony’s behaviour over the years, and in particular his ‘devil may care’ approach to business.

But of course the centrepiece of the book is The Factory Years, from the founding of a club, to the forming of a label, to the forming of THE club, to it all crashing down around their ears and the subsequent small re-launches in the 21st century.

The author has spoken to dozens of people who knew or worked with Tony Wilson, and not all them are always complimentary. But this doesn’t mean David Nolan has given us a book with all sorts of spite directed at the man who himself accepted most seemed to know him as ‘Wanker Wilson’. I lost count of the times where a narrative would end with something along the lines of ‘But that was just typical of Tony’ which should give you all an idea that this was a man it was near impossible to hate. But there are one or two life-long enemies out there who do get their say….as with all good bios, the reader is then free to make up their own mind.

Some of the anecdotes are less than serious – such as the time Tony was dispatched to Liverpool to cover a story and how his worst fears of his car getting stolen were eventually realised in a way that was both funny and imaginative on the part of the thieves. Others are moving, including Tony’s battle for the right sort of medical treatment for his illness. Others debunk some of the myths and/or legends that have grown up around Tony Wilson, without belittling his many achievements for instance – the facts surrounding the Sir Keith Joseph/Mad Monk interview are laid out and while not as outrageous as the scenario painted in the film/book 24 Hour Party People, it still shows Tony at his mischievous but self-destructing best.

You’re Entitled To An Opinion is a book that will be appreciated and enjoyed by anyone who has ever had any interest in any facet of Factory Records, Granada TV or indeed the city of Manchester itself.

And here’s the last song ever played at the Hacienda (not that anyone knew it at the time):-

mp3 : Sneaker Pimps – Post Modern Sleaze

And this post wouldn’t be complete without these bands….

mp3 : Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart (Pennine Version)
mp3 : New Order – Confusion (Rough Mix)

Both taken from 12″ singles that have followed me wherever I’ve lived over the past near 30 years…..



Okay it is 1988. It has been nearly three years since The Associates last LP “Perhaps”. The slightly techno friendly cover of Blondie’s “Heart Of Glass” has not set the charts alight despite a slew of formats (three 12″ versions, CD single, 7″ single, a 3D printed sleeve with some special glasses inside the sleeve etc). Billy has an album sitting in the can, Shirley Bassey has just covered one of his songs with Yello. In a quick series of moves Warners dropped Billy from their label and stopped the release of the already completed album “The Glamour Chase” dead in its tracks.

Three years of work on “The Glamour Chase” album and a decade of writing, recording and gigging. Now labell-less, deal-less and all his material in the can in a Warners basement and staying there. It is hard to comprehend that kind of blow. But a mighty blow it certainly was. After being dropped from the label over lunch in a Mayfair restaurant, Billy asked the record company executive given the task of dining and dropping him for a cab home on the record company account. The exec readily agreed and in a legendary move Billy took a cab home – all the way from London to Dundee.

“The Glamour Chase” did not surface in a proper release until 2002 when it was thrown in as a non-ironic freebie with the first CD release of 1985’s “Perhaps”. Some of it is fairly pedestrian lightweight, late 80’s funky standard pop stuff but there are some tremendous songs on it (particularly the Boris Blank produced Because You Love, Snowball, The Rhythm Divine and In Windows All) but perhaps the real standout track was a song Billy had been playing live for a few years called “Empires Of Your Heart” and everyone should hear it. Listen to this… can you believe a record company dropped this guy and left this kind of material in the can?

mp3 : Associates – Empires Of Your Heart

I also attach a track from a bootleg called “The Audience That Fell To Earth”. Billy MacKenzie with Paul Haig and some others performing “Empires Of Your Heart” at Wilkie House on 14 September 1986.

mp3 : Billy Mackenzie/Paul Haig – Empires Of Your Heart (live)

Sid Law



The discography of The Wedding Present consists of 34 singles, 2 extended plays, 8 studio albums, 5 live albums and 13 compilation albums many of which have songs otherwise unavailable or have different arrangements or alternative versions from the original recording. Trying to narrow all that down to an imaginary 33 and 1/3 LP, five tracks on either side, with the perfect running order, was a total nightmare. But here’s my stab:-

Side A

1. Dalliance (1991 single and track from the LP Seamonsters)

This song featured on the blog just over six weeks ago. A stunning and unexpected wall of sound that took the band to a whole new level in terms of fanbase and out of the realms of mere indie-pop. David Gedge doesn’t write 3 minute pop or rock songs; instead we often get mini soap-operas set to magical tunes. This is a real tear-jerker. Listen to it drunk and think about someone who once broke your heart. I dare you not to think of them and then say you weren’t fighting back the tears, whether of anger or sadness.

2. Brassneck (single version, 1990)

The production of Steve Albini on Seamonsters really helped the band break out of the indie-shell and a hint of what he would do can be found on the remix of the opening track from the Bizarro LP. Thirty seconds are trimmed from the original while the arrangement is tightened and beefed up. I love how the electric guitar gives way to the acoustic strumming about two-thirds of the way through before the ‘beached whale wailing’ beckons David back to microphone.

3. My Favourite Dress (live) (recorded at Sound City Leeds in 1996)

First recorded back in 1987, this evergreen single is probably the band’s most played live song. It never fails to get a huge roar when the opening notes are struck and it takes all the males in the audience back to a time when they were slimmer, fitter, healthier and had much more hair on the top of their heads and none up their noses or in their ears. At which point we all kid on we are 30 years younger than we really are and four minutes later collapse in a heap wondering why we can’t dance as energetically as we once did.

“A stranger’s hand on my favorite dress” – one of thousands of killer lines  he’s written over the decades.

4. Always The Quiet One (from the 2005 LP Take Fountain)

Between 1998 and 2004, all of the material written and recorded by David Gedge came out under the moniker of Cinerama – and extremely high quality songs they were too. The first time anyone ever heard this track was as part of the last ever Cinerama Peel Session. Within a year, the Weddoes were back with their first LP in nine years with this being one of many highlights.  A lighter, poppier side to the band with a tale that is Morrissey/Smiths-esque in genre and quality.

5. Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm (1988 single)

There’s some wording on the back of the sleeve of this single.

‘Additional vocals by Amelia’

This little touch gave the band a different dynamic as they brought in the indie goddess who was Amelia Fletcher from Tallulah Gosh to add backing vocals to some new songs after the release of the debut LP. It was a short-lived partnership of no more than a few months and it didn’t make it beyond minor contributions to the sophomore classic that was Bizarro. But it planted a seed for male/female vocals that came to the fore in the Cinerama era and thereafter in the 21st Century Weddoes. This is a cracking 45 which took the band into the Top 50 of the singles chart for the first time

Side B

1. Kennedy (1989 single and track on the LP Bizzaro)

This is an immense piece of music that still sounds incredibly fresh more than a quarter of a century on. There is nothing more that needs to be said.

2. Perfect Blue (from the 2005 LP Take Fountain)

Ever since the band reformed, just about every time they perform Kennedy in a live setting it is followed up with one of the slower songs from the repertoire to enable the audience to recapture its collective breath after the bouncing around. And so with this imaginary LP.

A song of two halfs. The first two and three-quarter minutes is a straight-forward but beautiful love song with a dreamy backing vocal from Terry de Castro that is a throwback to the Amelia Fletcher material. The final two and a bit minutes is pure Cinerama…..strings, horns and guitars collide magnificently in a coda that Tindersticks would have been proud of. A hidden gem of a track.

3. Lovenest (1991 single)

A shortened version of another of the outstanding songs on Seamonsters. This aural assault on the ears ends in a blast of controlled feedback for about 40 seconds… it always sounds magnificent.

4. Flying Saucer (Peel Session)

An often overlooked classic from the singles period. Cracking tune and for once it’s not a mini soap opera – instead it celebrates the joy of falling head over heels. The tune, with its extended guitar riff to the end of the song, in many ways is reminiscent of Kennedy which is no bad thing in my book.

Some thought it a folly for the band to put out a limited edition vinyl 45 once a month throughout 1992 with the single being officially deleted the day after its release. The plan however, worked a treat with every one of them going into the charts for one week only with the highest placed being #10 and the lowest #26 – the singles actually sold in the exact same quantities, the placing they got depended on how the sales of other singles that particular week had gone.

The singles and the cover versions that made up the b-sides were later compiled onto two separate CD albums entitled Hit Parade 1 and Hit Parade 2. The initial copies of the second of these came with a bonus disc containing exclusive BBC Radio versions of the twelve singles – some had gone out on BBC Radio Leeds, some on the Mark Goodier Show on Radio 1, some on the World Service (I’m not kidding!!!) and some made up one of the many sessions the band recorded for the John Peel show.

5. It’s What You Want That Matters (from the 1987 LP George Best)

A song that had first been aired two years previously on the Peel show when it was known as What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?

I’ve admitted before that I was late to The Wedding Present. I hadn’t given them much attention in the early days simply as the music papers were saying this was the band to fill the Smith-sized void in your life and I just didn’t think at the time that anyone could do such a thing. George Best had been out for the best part of three years when I first got a hold of a copy. This was the initial stand out track for me. And I still love it all this time later.


So there you have my take on ten tracks for a compilation LP. It’s taken me nearly four weeks to deliberate over and determine. I’m sure some of you will take me to task…..and quite rightly!!!!

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Dalliance
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Brassneck (single version)
mp3 : The Wedding Present – My Favourite Dress (live)
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Always The Quiet One
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Kennedy
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Perfect Blue
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Lovenest (edit)
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Flying Saucer (Peel Session)
mp3 : The Wedding Present – It’s What You Want That Matters


The Wedding Present are famous for putting out cover versions as b-sides or for recording them during radio sessions. Here’s a bonus disc to go with the imaginary album

Side A

1. The Wedding Present – Happy Birthday
2. The Wedding Present – Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)
3. The Wedding Present – Back For Good
4. The Wedding Present – Let’s Make Some Plans
5. The Wedding Present – Pleasant Valley Sunday

Side B

1. The Wedding Present – Theme from Shaft
2. The Wedding Present – Our Lips Are Sealed
3. The Wedding Present – Cattle and Cane
4. The Wedding Present – Felicity
5. The Wedding Present – Box Elder

The originals came from Altered Images, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, Take That, The Close Lobsters, The Monkees, Isaac Hayes, The Go-Gos, The Go-Betweens, Orange Juice and Pavement.

Oh and the comment about Felicity being a William Shatner number is not a reference to a track on George Best……it’s a play on words as the song, despite originally being an Edwyn Collins vocal, was in fact composed by James Kirk……….

Click on the song title above for the mp3s




I mentioned last Saturday how the b-side of the single by Zones reminded me so much of the late 70s era three-bar blues style of Status Quo who remained one of the most popular and biggest selling bands in the UK even as punk, new wave and electronica gained footings in the music world. I was of an age that only knew that particular version of the Quo and wasn’t aware till many years later, when I saw footage from a 1968 Top of the Pops show that was part of a music series the BBC were broadcasting that I learned the band had started out making what is has been described as psychedelic pop.

Pictures of Matchstick Men was their first Top 10 hit single and was a song heavily influenced by the popular sounds of its time such as later-era Beatles and Beach Boys and contemporary bands such as Pink Floyd. I’m not a huge lover of the psychedelic pop genre – this might come down to a lack of exposure to it from my mum and dad (see last Monday’s posting!!) although there one or two songs I can listen to now and again such as Itchykoo Park by Small Faces and Happy Together by The Turtles.

The Quo 45 was the subject of a cover version in 1989 by Camper Van Beethoven who, just four years earlier, had been responsible for one of the finest, most enduring and most fun singles of the mid 80s:-

mp3 : Camper Van Beethoven – Take The Skinheads Bowling

I’d never heard the cover version before I picked up a second-hand copy the other week and I was hoping for a quirky take on it given that this was the period when the band had a violinist in their line-up.

mp3 : Camper Van Beethoven – Pictures of Matchstick Men

I think it’s fair to say it was a major disappointment. This bore no resemblance to the sorts of music the band had been making just four years previously. It is depressingly bland and lacking any sort of rhythm or soul but when I looked up details on wiki I learned that it was their biggest selling single which I found rather depressing reading.

The b-side isn’t any better as they put to music the tale of the man who shot the man who assassinated the President:-

mp3 : Camper Van Beethoven – Jack Ruby

It’s always disappointing when a band, in an effort to record and release music with a broader appeal than their earlier material, lose the very bit of magic that made them stand out in the first place.

File under…played once and put away in the back of the cupboard.