Those who are quick to dismiss Pet Shop Boys have got it all wrong. I reckon they’re about as great a singles act as has ever been, and not just in my lifetime, and they have confounded just about everyone with the truly groundbreaking and breathtaking live tours over the years.

And let’s not forget that some of the lyrics penned by Neil Tennant are as poetical and beautiful as anything that the great singer/songwriters armed with an acoustic guitar have ever produced.

mp3 : Pet Shop Boys – Rent

One of my favourite singles of theirs dates from 1993.  It was their 13th Top Ten hit in the UK and took the storyline of a man refusing to accept his gay tendencies and thus finding himself trapped inside a loveless, useless and cruel relationship where he is continually being mocked by his wife or girlfriend….a plot that has been used every now and again by soap operas the world over.

mp3 : Pet Shop Boy – Can You Forgive Her?

It also has a very lovely b-side….with a lyric Morrissey himself might have penned, or at the very least inspired:-

Hey, headmaster, what’s the matter with you?
Why you always so serious? Why so blue?
All the kids in the school have seen you
being patient with the boys who fool you
when you used to hit them with your ruler
so independent too

Hey, headmaster, what’s the matter with you?

There’s a crisis rumoured in the school
The boys have cut their hair short to look cool
Examination time is drawing near
Disintegration of the football team
No one seems to want to play for real
in classroom, club or pool

Hey, headmaster, what you gonna do?

There’s an invitation in the post
to a reading party on the coast
Pack your bags up, you old bibliophile
Get together with your friends
who will give you time to think and time to kill
with independent hosts

Hey, headmaster, aren’t you gonna go?
Hey, headmaster, aren’t you gonna go?

mp3 : Pet Shop Boys – Hey, Headmaster




I stated yesterday that today’s posting would look at covers recorded by Cinerama…and I’m going to be as good as my word.

Peel Session 2 : recorded 15 August 1999, broadcast on 2 November 1999

mp3 : Cinerama – Elenore

A cover of a 1969 single by The Turtles; the song has a very interesting back story as it was composed as a riposte to the band’s record label who were desperate to be given a happy-go-lucky pop song in the style of the #1 hit Happy Together.

Peel Session 3 : recorded 13 May 2001, broadcast on 24 May 2001

mp3 : Cinerama – Yesterday Once More (Peel Session)

There’s no doubt that the young David Gedge listened to the radio waiting for his favourite songs to sing along.  So it’s no real surprise that this 1973 single by The Carpenters became one of the dozens of covers he’s recorded over the years

Peel Session 6 : recorded 27 November 2003 , broadcast on 6 January 2004

mp3 : Cinerama – Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)

The smash hit club/dance single from 2003 is turned into a real heart-tugger of a love song, so much so it sounds like a Gedge original

b-side of Manhattan single, 2000

mp3 : Cinerama – London

In which the frantic and electric Morrissey/Marr composition is given a very fine and melodic makeover.

b-side of Superman single, 2001

mp3 : Cinerama – Yesterday Once More

Every sha-la-la-la, every whoa-o-whoa (etc)

b-side of Health and Efficiency

mp3 : Cinerama – Diamonds Are Forever

Well, if the call from the Bond folk to compose an original ain’t gonna come then you’re as well to show them what they’re missing.






I’m a huge fan of Take Fountain which was the 2005 ‘comeback’ album by The Wedding Present in the sense that it was the first music released under that moniker in nine years. But during that hiatus, David Gedge had been very busy writing and recording music as part of Cinerama, a band which released three albums and twelve singles of incredibly and consistently high quality. There were also, you’ll not be surprised to know, a whole bundle of Peel Sessions and as was always the case with David Gedge, the opportunity was usually taken to air what were the unreleased tracks as well as having a stab at an unusual unexpected cover.

I’ll actually look at some covers in tomorrow’s posting but for today I’m focusing on some Peel session songs by Cinerama that wouldn’t see light of day until TWP laid them down for Take Fountain.

There’s two sessions involved – the first was recorded on 8 May 2003 and broadcast on 4 June 2003 and included these two tracks:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Edinburgh
mp3 : Cinerama – Larry’s

The former would be renamed as I’m From Further North Than You but in a tribute to its original title the promo video for its release as a single was shot entirely on location in Scotland’s capital.

mp3 : The Wedding Present – I’m From Further North Than You
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Larry’s

The other cuts are from the band’s sixth and final Peel Session, recorded on 27 November 2003 but not broadcast until 6 January 2004:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Always The Quiet One
mp3 : Cinerama – Mars Sparkles Down On Me
mp3 : Cinerama – Why Are Nickels Bigger Than Dimes?

Both sessions are unlike all the previous Cinerama material as they are arranged, more or less, for a more basic lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass and drums rather than the more complex style involving strings, brass and woodwind. So it made perfect sense just to take the songs and record them under the TWP moniker. Incidentally the last of the tracks on this second session was also given a different title and while it didn’t make the cut for Take Fountain it did appear as a b-side:-

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Always The Quiet One
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Mars Sparkles Down On Me
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Nickels and Dimes




Continuing with the run of bands that I’m surprised to see on CD86.

I don’t think too many readers will need any lessons on the history and timeline of The Jesus and Mary Chain. If you do, then I’ll refer you to this wiki page which is extremely detailed and comprehensive.

I’m assuming that Bob Stanley has included the boys from East Kilbride (the same town as Roddy Frame was raised) on the basis that they would go on to be the best known and among the most sustainable indie bands to emerge from the era in question with all sorts of celebrity fans the world over. I don’t think anyone who watched the continual chaos and violence around the early gigs, combined with a total ‘fuck you’ attitude from the band members would ever have imagined they would enjoy such a long and incredibly successful and rewarding career in the music industry.

CD86 contains Upside Down, the debut single which actually came out on Creation Records in November 1984 when the line-up was Jim Reid (vocals), William Reid (guitar), Douglas Hart (bass) and Murray Dalglish (drums).  The first 1.000 copies were in black with red writing and included a contact address for the band. and were printed by future band drummer and all-round superstar Bobby Gillespie. Later initial versions had a multitude of colours (red, yellow, blue or pink) but no contact address; nor where they printed by Bobby.  Such was the demand for the single that Creation re-released in it 1985 with a totally different sleeve but with the same b-side, a cover of a Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd number:-

mp3 : The Jesus and Mary Chain – Upside Down
mp3 : The Jesus and Mary Chain – Vegetable Man





Not to be confused with Love of The Common People by Paul Young. Nor indeed the cover version that was later recorded by William Shatner.

Common People by Pulp is one of those songs that your instincts tell you the first ever time you catch it that it will become a timeless classic you will never grow tired of. And then you listen more closely as you get more familiar with the song and you realise that there is so much more to it than a catchy ditty that sound great on the radio or coming out of your telly on Top Of The Pops or whatever.

For me, this was the song that propelled Jarvis Cocker from talented but mostly unappreciated wordsmith into the people’s poet. At the time, I thought it was a fantastic bit of imaginary writing, but some years later, Jarvis revealed that the main protagonist was not a figment of his imagination – there really had been some upper-class toff at St Martin’s Art College in London who fancied a bit of rough (I suppose its makes a difference from the usual which seems to be a gap year traipsing round India seeking self-enlightenment).

This is a song that has a great storyline, fantastic lyrics, a catchy tune that you can dance to and an unforgettable sing-a-long chorus. And yet…..

……the version that was best known was the shorter 7″ version which omitted a few lines in the middle of the song when the tempo changed ever so-slightly, including what I reckon are the most telling lyrics:-

‘You will never understand
How if feels to live your life
With no meaning or control
And with nowhere else to go’

Jarvis Cocker’s life was never the same after this. He became a tabloid regular with his outspoken views and acidic one-liners – a genuine working-class hero who captured exactly how so many folk felt after nearly two decades of successive Tory governments in the UK. Then he waved his bum at Michael Jackson at the Brits the following year…….but that is another story.

Released in June 1995, Common People reached #2 in the UK charts, kept from the top spot by Robson & Jerome‘s cover of Unchained Melody.

(For those not familiar with the #1 act, they were two acts in a popular TV series who were encouraged to cash-in by the record industry. Nowadays, things like that have largely been overtaken by the myriad of talent shows that make new ‘stars’, but the effect is the same. Can anyone nowadays recall what Robson or Jerome looked like?)

I have what is described as CD2, which contains the full-length version of the song and three acoustic versions of older Pulp tracks.

mp3 : Pulp – Common People
mp3 : Pulp – Razzmatazz (Acoustic Version)
mp3 : Pulp – Dogs Are Everywhere (Acoustic Version)
mp3 : Pulp – Joyriders (Acoustic Version)

Oh and it also came with an unforgettable video.

All of this and it only made #45 in this countdown??



leeds754The story is thus.

Back in 2003, Cinerama released a single called Don’t Touch That Dial. Like all other releases by the band, it didn’t sell in any great numbers.

A few months later David Gedge, decided it was time to put Cinerama on hold and resuscitate The Wedding Present.

Fast forward to 2005 and the release of the TWP comeback album, Take Fountain, and track 7 turns out to be a song called Don’t Touch That Dial.

Both versions are rather splendid in their own right.  One sounds like Cinerama (with keyboards to the fore)and the other sounds like The Wedding Present (with backing vocals and much more guitar). They simply have a lead singer (and songwriter) in common.

mp3 : Cinerama – Don’t Touch That Dial
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Don’t Touch That Dial (Pacific Northwest Version)




Back in the early days, during the promotion of the first couple of albums, whenever PJ Harvey took to the stage for a gig or made a rare live TV appearance her appearance wasn’t that far removed from a 20-something indie-student going to the local union. Hair swept back and held in place by an Alice band and everyday clothes such as baggy black jumpers, leggings or jeans, all rounded off with a pair of trainers or Doc Martens.

She was determined to let the music do the talking and image was secondary.

But that all changed dramatically during the recording of the LP To Bring You My Love which was released in February 1995. I don’t think I was alone in being gobsmacked when I first caught sight of the promo for the lead-off single.

Long flowing black hair. Bright red lipstick around a mouth that pouted at the camera. A ruby-red designer dress that showed a vamp with a gorgeous figure. High heels. Slinky dancing. PJ submerged underwater. A vision of absolute loveliness.

It really should have been a massive hit and deserved much more than the paltry #38 it achieved in the UK.

mp3 : PJ Harvey – Down By The Water

Over in the States, it was a different story – the single was massive on the US Modern Rock chart partly because the video, unsurprisingly, was on heavy rotation on MTV. It was clear that PJ Harvey had decided to play along with the game, and the image was every bit now as important as the songs.

Here’s your b-sides:-

mp3 : PJ Harvey – Lying In The Sun
mp3 : PJ Harvey – Somebody’s Down, Somebody’s Name

Oh and interesting to note that the sleeve of this single would probably get banned nowadays thanks to the cigarette in Polly Jean’s right hand. Strange how much some things have changed in the past 20 years.


The Shoebox of Delights – Jim Picked Number 15
Songs For The Deaf – Queens of the Stone Age


SWC writes.…………..

I was (and had before I went on holiday) going to write a little story about how wonderful charity shops are. This album folks, was until about 0930 Tuesday morning, the last CD I ever bought, found in a charity shop in Exeter for £1.50. An absolute chuffing bargain. On Tuesday whilst in Burlington, Vermont I found a copy of ‘After Murder Park’ by The Auteurs in a thrift shop – price – $2. Now that is the last CD I ever bought and also an absolute chuffing bargain.

But, as I cycled, walked, drove and on one occasion horse rode, through the countryside of Vermont and New Hampshire, this band kept coming on the iPod, the car stereo and I am pretty sure that the horse was singing ‘Feel Good hit of the Summer’ whilst I was on its back. So I thought, bugger it, let’s do an Imaginary Compilation on Queens of The Stone Age. Also I am stuck at an airport for at least three hours and I have time to kill (well it gets me out of shopping with the family – I’ll stay with the bags and this MASSIVE doughnut, you go and have fun, its fine….).

I came to Queens of the Stone Age late. The first album of theirs that I owned was the most recent – but since then I have actively sought out as much of their stuff as I can find, and ‘Songs For the Deaf’ is totally brilliant, it is their third album and they recruited Dave Grohl and Mark Lanegan to bolster their sound – which pretty much turned them into a super group by adding two guys who are always on top of their game. Queens of the Stone Age are a consistently brilliant band, one who have a biit of mystique about them. Their world is a sexual drug filled and somewhat paranoid place that is laced with darkness and humour.

So here is my Imaginary Compilation

Side One

‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’ – There is perhaps no better place to start, that chugging riff at the start which to me is instantly recognisable. An open letter to the (apparent, I wouldn’t know, I’m pretty much a tea total monk)  joy of various types of narcotics, with just that simple lyric of seven types of drugs repeated over and over again. Simple, effective and downright incredible despite featuring the bloke out of Judas Priest on backing vocals. Ready everyone…..’Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin…’

‘If I Had A Tail’ – Filth. Utter Filth. This song makes me want to go and have a shower, I’ve never been sure why, perhaps it’s the way its bass line throbs away and the guitar kind of just toys with you. Or perhaps its those lyrics particularly the bit where Josh Homme goes ‘oooh La La’ and talks about sucking and licking. Yes it’s that bit. Definitely. Features a cast of thousands (well Dave Grohl on drums, Alex Turner, Mark Lanegan and Nick Oliveri) as well. On a separate point Nick Oliveri deserves your highest praise because he was once arrested for punching two of Terrorvision.

‘Monsters in the Parasol’ – More filth. This is a butt shaking romp about a transvestite (the monster in the parasol, I assume is a metaphor, is that the right grammar?). It’s really catch again and is a bit of an earworm. One that I know now will be playing over in my mind on the forthcoming flight.

‘First It Giveth’ – In which Josh adopts a painful sounding falsetto and warbles over punishing riffs and then it bursts into full on strop mode for a chorus which I think is best described as apocalyptic. That might be over doing it, but I love it all the same.

‘No One Knows’ – Here the album slightly changes pace a bit and we find ourselves sliding into a nice and sleazy dimly lit bar. This song is song sleazy it may as well be half drunk, reeking of cheap petrol station bought cologne and making a move on your girlfriend/wife/brother/well anything really. Its slime of the highest quality and it is genius.

Side Two

‘You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire’ –  This the greatest strengths of rock at its hardest– stunning riffs, breakneck speed, and guitars that churn and spit like a threshing machine. Yes its full of really old metal clichés but this is the Queens of The Stone Age, this what you expect from them. It’s fantastic and rather like the musical equivalent of a bouncer putting you in a full nelson until you beg for mercy – and then – giving you a hug for your troubles.

‘I Sat by The Ocean’ – One of the more straight forward tracks that the Queens have recorded. The sound here and across the whole of the ‘Like Clockwork’ album is more tight and this track is actually quite poppy. On this track the vocals are shared by Homme and bassist Michael Shuman.

‘Better Living Through Chemistry’ – Possibly the greatest song in the world to start with a bongo drum and perhaps the closest that Queens get to matching the sound of Homme’s previous band Kyuss. Its kind of floaty and it shows that this track was written in the desert. It is one of their greatest songs, epic and somewhat surrealist, if that is even possible.

‘The Lost Art of Keeping A Secret’ – This was supposed to be a macho kind of record but the rumour goes that Homme got stoned whilst recorded it and decided to bring in a marimba and a saxophone and turned it into a wonderful pop record. The chorus is probably the catchiest thing that they’ve recorded. Strangely I nearly left this off for one of its B Sides but changed my mind.

‘……..Like Clockwork’ – I’ll end with what I think is the nicest track that Homme and co have ever recorded. It starts with voice and piano and builds majestically into a guitar sound that is swelled by some strings. Then in comes that falsetto again and he warns ‘Its all downhill from here’. I’m getting on a plane in about twenty minutes – I don’t believe him.

A lot has been written about Queens of the Stone Age, they say that ‘Rated R’ is one of the greatest records ever made, it even made that book ‘1001 records to hear before you die’. It is a wonderful record. If you are new to Queens of the Stone Age, start there and then indulge entirely.

That was supposed to be Number 15, it kind of was. Can I have some more numbers please?

Thanks everyone have a good day.


mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – Feel Good Hit of The Summer
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – If I Had A Tail
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – Monsters in The Parasol
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – First It Giveth
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – No One Knows
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – I Sat By The Ocean
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – Better Living Through Chemistry
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret
mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – ….Like Clockwork

JC adds……

I’m with the author on the quality of Rated R and the greatness of ‘Lost Art….’ I’m otherwise a bit ambivalent about Q0tSA but there’s no arguing they’re exceptionally good at what they do.


I couldn’t believe it either!!

Fair enough that the singles charts have not been targeted all that much in recent times, but I was bemused to learn that late 1992 with this cover version was the last time that Marc Almond enjoyed genuine commercial success:-

mp3 : Marc Almond – The Days Of Pearly Spencer

It’s also a fact that all five of his singles which have made the Top 20 since the initial demise of Soft Cell are cover versions :-

I Feel Love (with Bronski Beat) in 1985
Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart (with Gene Pitney) in 1988
Tainted Love ’91 (as part of Soft Cell) in 1991
Jacky in 1991
The Days Of Pearly Spencer in 1992

I could have sworn there had been some success with one or more of his own compositions, but Stories of Johnny (1985), Tears Run Rings (1988), A Lover Spurned (1990), and Adored And Explored (1995) didn’t get any higher than the mid 20s chart-wise.

Again, I find that to be something quite bemusing as many of his own compositions have been excellent releases which usually received the full marketing and promotional treatment from his record labels.

As ever, here’s the b-sides of the single featured today:-

mp3 : Marc Almond – Bruises
mp3 : Marc Almond – Dancing In A Golden Cage



The first of the singles to hit the Top 10 reaching #3 just after its release on 26 October 1979 around the same time as the Setting Sons album gave The Jam their first Top 5 LP.

mp3 : The Jam – The Eton Rifles
mp3 : The Jam – See-Saw

The album version is also getting an airing today.  It’s not much different except that there’s an extra 30 seconds or so of incendiary guitar playing after the three-minute mark and it was this version that tended to feature in the live setting:-

mp3 : The Jam – The Eton Rifles (LP version)

Two more bonus versions, the first being from the Peel Session recorded on 29 October 1979 and broadcast on 5 November 1979. To be honest it sounds a little limp compared to the studio versions:-

mp3 : The Jam – The Eton Rifles (Peel Session)

Finally what could well be the best version of the lot…

mp3 : The Jam – The Eton Rifles (demo)

Recorded in July 1979 as a solo recording by Paul Weller.



Now I might have been surprised at Age of Chance being part of CD86 (see Part 34 for details) but I’m bemused as to the inclusion of biG*fLaME although the reason is probably the same as last week in that they were part of the original C86 cassette – although this most likely had more to do with office politics at the NME than the music.

Named after a revolutionary socialist feminist grouping that had formed in 1970, this Manchester-based trio, consisting of Alan Brown (bass, vocals), Greg Keeffe (guitar) and Dil Green (drums), were incredibly different from most.  They were more punk than indie with an uncompromising sound and attitude.

Their debut single was released in 1984 on their own Laughing Gun label after which they became part of Ron Johnson Records (you’ll note that I didn’t use the word signed as I don’t think that would have been part of the band’s manifesto).  There would be just the four 7″ singles, one 10″ EP and one 12″ compilation issued between 1985 and 1987 before the end of biG*FlaME. but Browne and Keefe joined other Manchester bands with varying degrees of success.

It is fair to say they were an acquired taste but my good mate Jacques the Kipper has always been a fan. Here’s the track from CD86:-

mp3 : biG*fLaME – Why Popstars Can’t Dance

It was the third of the singles release on the Ron Johnson label back in 1986.  There were two bits of music on the b-side:-

mp3 : biG*fLaME – Chanel Samba
mp3 : biG*fLaME – Breath Of A Nation




You can blame The Swede for this. The Belle & Sebastian posting a while back led him to leave this comment:-

“Your 45 45s at 45 sounds like fun, but was a bit before my time. Any chance of reposting the list one day?”

So I thought I’d delve into that archives for the entire series which more or less tells the story of the first 45 years of my life between 1963 and 2008. One per week for the forseeable future and with it being a cut’n’paste job it also in some ways gives me a bit of free time. Here’s the preamble to how it all began:-

“On June 18th 2008, I will turn 45 years of age. That’s in just under three months time.

One of my all time heroes, Bill Drummond, marked his 45th Birthday with the writing of a book that was partly biographical, partly philosophical but completely genius.

I’d love to have the talent to do something similar, but instead I’ve decided that I’ll make do by saying a few words on 45 of my all-time favourite 45rpm records.

Actually, that previous sentence is totally misleading. In fact it could even be regarded in the same light as Heather Mills’ evidence in her divorce case – ‘inconsistent, inaccurate and less than candid.’

Here’s why…..

(1) Not all of the songs on the list were released on bits of plastic that spun around your turntable at 45 revolutions per minute.

(2) The list is not my 45 all time favourite singles as I’ve decided to restrict each act/performer to one entry. Otherwise it would have been a chart dominated by a handful of bands such as The Jam, New Order, Orange Juice and The Smiths.

(3) What consists of a list at this particular moment in time could fluctuate on a daily basis. I reckon I’m firm on my all time Top 10…..but what one day might, for example, be sitting at #24, could the very next jump up to #13 or drop down to #33. And at the lower end of the list, some songs which bubbled under may find themselves sneaking in at the expense of something sitting proudly in the 40s or 30s.

(4) The 45 in question had to have been bought by me (or on the parent album as I was sometimes skint) at the time of release – this means that stuff that I grew to love years after it first came out are controversially disqualified.

So, over the coming weeks, I’m going to have a regular series counting down some great singles – and I’m going to also post the b-side as well (or Tracks, 2, 3 and 4 in the case of it being a CD single).

I’m in no doubt that what will gradually be revealed will irritate almost all of you as something you think should appear high up the chart suddenly makes an appearance in the high 30s. Or you’ll be hacked off when I choose a song that you’ll consider can never be regarded as the best 45 he/she/they ever released. Or worst of all, when a band or performer who you would have in your Top 5 doesn’t appear in the list at all…..

To give you an idea of how long this particular exercise took, I started off with a list of almost 300 names. For most of them, it was relatively simple enough to find my one favourite single that they had recorded. For others it was a really tough task. Over the course of a couple of weeks, I whittled it down. Once I was below 100 songs, it became almost impossible.

I hope that this will prove to be a series you find enjoyable enough, and please feel free to come on board with your comments, views and observations and savage attacks on my taste at any point in time. For now, in artistic alphabetical order, here are the songs which came in at Nos. 46-50…

mp3 : Billy Bragg – Levi Stubbs’ Tears
mp3 : Morrissey – November Spawned A Monster
mp3 : REM – Electrolite
mp3 : Stereolab – Ping Pong
mp3 : Violent Femmes – Blister In The Sun

See….I told you it wasn’t an easy task.”



The second non-album single of 1979 and every bit as good as its predecessor in terms of quality on both sides of the plastic.

mp3 : The Jam – When You’re Young
mp3 : The Jam – Smithers-Jones

This was THE anthem of my teenage years.  The song that said all that had to be said.  It should have been a much bigger hit than just #17 after its release on 17 August 1979.  But the really massive hits were just around the corner…

There was a John Peel session recorded on 29 October 1979 and broadcast seven nights later:-

mp3 : The Jam – When You’re Young (Peel Session)

It’s a version that captures the band in very fine form…it’s a sort of hybrid between the single version and the way it was performed on stage

Almost exactly a year later, the band played it live on 28 October 1980 at the Newcastle City Hall where it was captured for inclusion on the NME Dancin Master cassette issued a year later:-

mp3 : The Jam – When You’re Young (live)

The b-side, one of the last Bruce Foxton compositions to be released by the band, was re-recorded for the Setting Sons LP that hit the shops in November 1979.  The orchestral version really took fans by surprise but it was a version that fitted in magnificently to said LP:-

mp3 : The Jam – Smithers Jones (album version)

As with all of the band’s UK 45s it was re-released by Polydor Records in 1980 and 1983. It didn’t chart in 1980 but it did hit #53 in 1983.

As mentioned earlier in the week, I’m now away to Toronto for a few days.  Bear with me if you send an e-mail and hear nothing back.




Just Two Guys Messing Around

(An Imaginary Compilation of sorts – Part 4) by S-WC

Like a Tory Cabinet Minister found loitering outside a children’s home at 3am, there is inevitable controversy. Dodgy decisions continue to dog my random track picks on the way back from cricket.

After the disappointment of seeing Badgerman get Pavement chosen for him, I am sitting in the passenger seat awaiting my fate. I have been distracted all day by his choice and am cursing my luck.

At around the twentieth over of the first innings, Badgerman leans over to me and asks me if I want a pint. I suddenly realised that for the last thirty minutes I have been thinking entirely about something else, the moment I first heard Pavement – and the moment that I (finally) asked Our Price Girl out.

It was after hearing Summer Babe on a Saturday afternoon, I had planned to try and walk home with Our Price Girl by turning up quite late at the shop – I knew she finished at four, so I rocked up at ten to four. She was standing by the vinyl section, and I went up and said hello, and she said “Oh, hi, I thought you’d forgotten about me today”. What….!!! I probably blushed and I know I said something cheesy which she laughed at. Anyway, ‘Summer Babe’ came on and she looked at me and said ‘Do you want to walk me home in ten minutes time’. I think I misheard her or I wasn’t concentrating because I said Whats this record playing? She sighed and said “its Pavement and is that a no (such a cool answer)”. Is what a no? I said, “Nevermind” she said and popped behind the counter. She served me and gave me the bag containing this wonderful record. Thanks I said – look – and then I blushed, stammered, and folks, I even dropped the bag I was holding, I dropped the fucking bag. Finally I continued….Do you want to do something later, Club Orange (which I had since discovered) or something?

“You can walk me home if you like” she said. “In ten minutes”.

Anyway, back to me sitting in the passenger seat, we are stuck on the M5, roughly 100 metres from the junction we need. I live about ten minutes from here, but can’t get out due to the traffic and it being slightly dangerous to walk on the Motorway.  The iPod (mine) has been in an odd mood for the past nine songs, it started with Kendrick Lamar, then had Bloc Party, some old skool jungle, a bit of Mercury Rev and twelve minute Mogwai song. So when the tenth track comes on by Birmingham indie band Peace I’m starting to wonder what I will get. It was People Get Real by St Etienne and that folks is where the controversy comes in.

I was really pleased with this choice, it gave me the opportunity to listen to Foxbase Alpha again. I own two St Etienne albums but I know a chap who is a massive fan who will guide me along. I say to the Badgerman as we roll forward ten foot, Do you have any St Etienne albums? . ‘No’ he replied, ‘well I have this remix album, Casino Classics – this was the other St Etienne album I own, a greatest hits record of sorts, with their tracks remixed by a host of other people. Then it hit me….

Please excuse this technical bit, it is relevant. When you burn the CD of ‘Casino Classics’ by St Etienne in the artists section of your iPod, the artist recorded is the person who did the remix – so in your artists library on iPod it doesn’t say St Etienne, it says Aphex Twin or whoever it was that did the remix despite it being a St Etienne song. It’s a bit silly.

The act that remixed ‘People Get Real’ – was Death in Vegas. I point this out to the Badgerman – and he says, “Never heard of them. Oh hang yes I have, they did that song with Liam Gallagher about ten years ago. What is that knobhead in Corsa doing, the fucking idiot?” Badgerman rarely swears. He hates traffic. I shut up immediately, but I do smile. I love Death in Vegas. Even if their remix of ‘People Get Real’ is a pale version of the original. The controversy is a bit of an anti climax really. Sorry.

Death in Vegas are a dance act heavily influenced by psychedelic rock and electronic. They were founded by Richard Fearless and over the years the sound they produced was constantly changing. Their second album The Contino Sessions is a bloody masterpiece and if you only ever buy one record by this band, make it that one. They kind of jumped on the Chemical Brothers bandwagon that was still rolling in the late 90s – by bringing in guest vocalists on their work, ‘Contino Sessions’ contained the voices of Dot Allison, Jim Reid, Bobby Gillespie and Iggy Pop amongst others. Later album Scorpio Rising used Liam Gallagher’s vocal skills to excellent effect, which is the track that Badgerman mentioned.

So here are the tracks I have chosen and I’m aware that I have warbled on a bit, sharing memories of an age where we didn’t have mobile phones and had to chat in the lounge to our girlfriends in full earshot of your parents.

In honour of that, the first 1000 downloads come free with a 4 track remix EP which features a hand drawn sleeve. It is tucked inside the sleeve and will be on 7” that plays a 33 and a third RPM but sounds slightly lower quality than the rest of the record. I’ll spare you my views on these tracks, they are all ace. A little bit My Bloody Valentine, a little bit Teenage Fanclub, a little bit Chemical Brothers, a little bit authentic Indian Strings, a little bit Mercury Rev and some Iggy Pop thrown in for good measure.

Side One

‘Dirge’ – Featuring Dot Allison taken from ‘The Contino Sessions’

‘Rekkit’ – From Death In Vegas’s first album ‘Dead Elvis’

Scorpio Rising – Featuring Liam Gallagher – From Scorpio Rising

‘Rocco’ From Dead Elvis

‘Aisha’ – Featuring Iggy Pop From The Contino Sessions

Side Two

‘All That Glitters’ From Dead Elvis

‘So You Say You Lost Your Baby’ – Featuring Paul Weller From Scorpio Rising

‘Dirt (Mullet Mix)’ – Take from ‘Dirt’ Single

‘Death Threat’ – From The Contino Sessions

‘Flying’ – From The Contino Sessions

Oh and here is the ‘People Get Real’ mix.

The Remix EP

‘Dirt (Slayer Mix)’ – Not sadly, remixed by the actual Slayer, which I would genuinely pay money to hear.

‘Rocco (Dave Clarke Mix)’

‘Aisha (Nightclubbing)’

‘Dirge (Slam Mix)’

Thanks everyone


mp3 : Death In Vegas – Dirge
mp3 : Death In Vegas – Rekkit
mp3 : Death In Vegas – Scorpio Rising
mp3 : Death In Vegas – Rocco
mp3 : Death In Vegas – Aishia
mp3 : Death In Vegas – All That Glitters
mp3 : Death In Vegas – So You Say You Lost Your Baby
mp3 : Death In Vegas – Dirt (Mullet Mix)
mp3 : Death In Vegas – Death Threat
mp3 : Death In Vegas – Flying
mp3 : St Etienne – People Get Real (Death In Vegas mix)
mp3 : Death In Vegas –  Dirt (Slayer mix)
mp3 : Death In Vegas – Rocco (Dave Clarke mix)
mp3 : Death In Vegas – Aisha (Nightclubbing)
mp3 : Death In Vegas – Dirge (Slam mix)




Just Two Guys Messing Around

(An Imaginary Compilation of sorts – Part 3) by Tim Badger

Before I start, I’d like to thank everyone for the kind comments made regarding the last two compilations that I wrote for this wonderful series and I’d like to thank JC for indulging in the nonsense that S-WC and I keep sending him.

There are two guys in the back of my car who are wondering why S-WC and I are sitting in stone silence listening to the last two and a half minutes or so of Ride the Tiger by The Boo Radleys. Then again they have been slightly worried since S-WC and I tossed this morning.

The toss was one of two ‘governing rules’ we have added to our ‘random imaginary compilation’ pick. The toss involved me rolling a dice, if it was even then I would go first, so the first 11th band would be mine.

I roll it’s a four. So I’m up, hence why we are sitting in silence waiting for the Boo Radleys to finish.

The second rule also involved the roll of the dice – evens meant we used S-WC’s iPod and odd meant mine. His iPod has roughly 6000 more tracks on it than mine, and about 2000 of them are by obscure bands who I have never heard of (A Sunny Day in Glasgow, anyone???, No, just him I would imagine). I pray for an odd number….I got another 4. So this really explains why we are waiting for the song to finish. His iPod has been fairly eclectic this morning, we’ve had Sugar, Queens of the Stone Age, Johnny Cash, Hinds (I refer you to obscure band thing about five sentences up) and The Prodigy to name half the bands so far. We did both agree that three of these would make excellent compilations.

The 11th track starts, and within 6 seconds, S-WC says this ‘You lucky bastard’. The 11th track is Pavement and if you think I am making it up – here is a photo (kind of an unwritten rule we have added to show we don’t just make this up as we go along).

imageThe two guys in the back, looked bemused and say, quietly, can we go and watch the cricket now. It is 10.20am. I check my iPod, I have precisely 15 songs by Pavement, then I check S-WC’s – he has 109 songs by Pavement. On the way into the ground, I ask him if I can ‘borrow some Pavement’. He nods, glumly.

The next day at work (the cricket was excellent by the way, over 500 runs scored and 17 wickets went down), he hands me a memory stick with 108 Pavement songs on it (I am unsure which song he left off and why). Good luck he says, it will be very difficult. I plug it in to my computer and start to listen to them. After a while I can categorically say, Pavement are excellent and I am glad that I now own more than 15 of their songs. If you have never listened to Slanted and Enchanted I thoroughly recommend it, followed by Wowee Zowee.

Anyway, here is the Pavement Imaginary Compilation (based on 108 songs that I have listened to no more than 3 times (apart from one) – so there will be obvious glaring omissions and like every other one I have done, very singles heavy and I left out Stereo as JC featured it about three weeks ago)

Side One

‘Texas Never Whispers’ – from Watery Domestic EP

The swirly organ type instrument at the start of the track doesn’t sound like Pavement it sounds very 70s and a bit psychedelic. In fact it sounds like elephants charging. Weirdly this was sampled by Placebo much later on their Black Market Music album. I have an American friend who claims that Watery Domestic is the greatest EP ever released. It probably isn’t but it is excellent.

‘Cut Your Hair’ – From Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

One of the few Pavement tracks to cross over, largely because it’s a bit goofy and a whole load of fun. Although I would imagine that there is something underneath it that is a bit more sinister. This does get lost with absurdly catchy nature of the song – not only do you get ‘oo-oo-ooo’s’ but you get that riff that showed that if they had to, they could make massive pop records.

‘Range Life’

Any song that takes the piss out of the Stone Temple Pilots is alright with me. This is a song about selling out and about street cred. Pavement never caved into the demands of record labels when grunge went boom and suddenly a thousand American alt rock bands landed on these shores. They were and are a better band because of that.

‘AT&T’ – From Wowee Zowee

I included this because I think half way through this Steve Malkmus the singer in Pavement manages to squeeze the word ‘gravy’ into it. I thought that this was impressive and kind of sums up Pavement to me. It’s also a brilliant song.

‘Gold Soundz’ – From Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

This has a retro feel to and is one of my favourite Pavement songs. One of the few I already owned in fact. This is indeed golden and once I heard this song I was hooked. In a perfect world, this record would be played on ALL radio stations at least twice a day.

Side Two

‘Summer Babe’ – From Slanted and Enchanted

One of S-WC’s favourite songs of all time, and it is easy to see why. He said, if I left this out he would never ever speak to me again. It was tempting to be honest (I’m kidding.).  Summer Babe is hopelessly romantic in an indirect way, I love the way there are sideways nods to Ice Ice Baby and the way that the lyrics are kind of drawn out to you, all ‘Shiny robes’ and ‘plastic tipped cigars’. Yet there is the ‘Waiting, waiting waiting’ bit that shows underneath it all it’s still a love song for slackers in lumberjacks shirts.

‘Here’ – From Slanted and Enchanted

Of all the songs, I listened to, that I hadn’t heard before, this was the best and is now probably my favourite Pavement song. Depending on what you think of Pavement and their undoubted legacy, this song stands out above and beyond any other song by them. It is them at their most poignant and vulnerable but still has the normal nudge of humour. “Come join us in a prayer / We’ll be waiting, waiting there / Everything’s ending here,” sings Malkmus in a world-weary whisper. It’s a touching moment and one that shows that despite the irony – there is genius beneath it. I played this song four times in a row after hearing it.

‘We Dance’ – From Wowe Zowee’

We Dance is not an ambitious song, but it is very enigmatic and I think one of the boldest that they have recorded. On the back of ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’ Pavement should have returned as megastars in waiting – yet they returned with Wowee Zowee and ‘We Dance’ set the tone for this – almost like a test for fans, ‘if you like us, you will stay with us’.

‘Box Elder, MO’

Box Elder was originally on the band’s debut EP Slay Tracks but I only have it on the Best of Album Quarantine the Past. But it was a statement of intent even then. It showed the gifts that Malkmus had as a songwriter. It showed the band would sing about sentimental things but from a sceptical point of view and that they knew how to grab your attention with a killer tune.

Trigger Cut

“Trigger Cut” is Pavement as their best, lyrically it is refreshingly bizarre, I have no idea what “Lies and betrayals / Fruit-covered nails / Electricity and lust” refers to, but I imagine it would be fun trying to find out.

So there we go. Pavement are ace. I showed S-WC and asked if he would make any changes, he said Embassy Row would be included in his ten – that song was genuinely cut at the last-minute for ‘Range Life’ (and I cut Fight This Generation for ‘Box Elder’). S-WC was right of course, it was really difficult to whittle down to ten tracks. Bloody good fun trying though.

The 11th track game is good fun. It’s really simple, pop your iPod on, when it gets to track 11, stop it, take a photo of the screen, and base your compilation on that band. Whoever it is.

Tim B

mp3 : Pavement – Texas Never Whispers
mp3 : Pavement – Cut Your Hair
mp3 : Pavement – Range Life
mp3 : Pavement – AT & T
mp3 : Pavement – Gold Soundz
mp3 : Pavement – Summer Babe
mp3 : Pavement – Here
mp3 : Pavement – We Dance
mp3 : Pavement – Box Elder
mp3 : Pavement – Trigger Cut

JC adds…….

Since Tim is such a ‘newie’ to so many of the Pavement songs and he’s done such a terrific job in the circumstances, I thought I’d add a couple of excellent covers:

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Box Elder
mp3 : Tindersticks – Here

and round it all off with a very different version of Tim’s favourite:-

mp3 : Pavement – Here (Peel Session)




As promised yesterday.

I feel I have to mention that there’s nothing featuring later than 1996 but want to stress that this is not a reflection on the songs and music that has been released since then. It’s simply down to the fact that there is so much to choose from in that initial thirteen-year burst of activity when Billy Bragg was without any question the foremost singer-songwriter in the UK. I’d never seen anyone quite like him before.

And then there’s the live experience…whether just him and his guitar, or with a band, he never fails to entertain. His songs are great, but quite often the monologues are even better.


1. Greetings To The New Brunette

There is just now way I can allow an imaginary compilation not to open with something that features the talents of Johnny Marr and Kirsty MacColl so prominently. I was tempted to go with an alt version that is basically just Billy and Johnny but Kirsty’s typically wonderful backing vocals won me over.

2. Which Side Are You On?

This track was synonymous with his live shows in the early-mid 80s when the UK was in the middle of what felt like an unprecedented and prolonged period of politically motivated civil unrest. I was astonished to learn that the song was already 50 years old when Billy started performing it – evidence indeed that some things never change.

3. The Space Race Is Over

From angry ideologist to caring, sharing and loving dad in the blink of an eye. It’s a story which resonates with many of my closest friends and this one is dedicated to all of them.

4. The Saturday Boy (live)

If anyone ever mentions that they don’t like Billy cos he is a one-trick pony only capable of singing protest songs then this is my way of coming back at them. A stunning tale of love and rejection. And a reminder of what exactly la la la la la la la la la la means when used in a song (most of the time anyway).

This live version is taken from an official bootleg Live at the Barbican recorded in March 2004. And given the imaginary LP has gone into a live setting for the moment I think it would be appropriate to include a typically funny and entertaining monologue before the next song….and so, lifted from the same bootleg…

4a. Morrissey’s Rubber Sheet

5. Levi Stubbs’ Tears

Walter quoted some wonderful lyrics yesterday. This contains one of my favourites

“The sort a war takes away
And when there wasn’t a war he left anyway”

Everyone accepts that Billy isn’t the greatest singer in the world, but its the very basic, fragile and uncertain nature of his delivery that makes this so effective a song. See also, in a similar theme, the very moving Valentine’s Day Is Over from Worker’s Playtime or the Peel Sessions album.


1. Love Gets Dangerous

The first time I saw Billy was on the street during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the days when he had the amp strapped to back so that he could set up when and where he liked busker style. He played four or five tunes and attracted a huge audience. This was one of the tunes that day and I’ve gone for the Peel version as it comes closest to catching that particuluar performance that day. Falling in love is indeed very very scary.

2. The Short Answer

And as if to prove the above point, here it is writ large in all its ugly and painful way when things fail to work out.

“Between Marx and Marzipan in the dictionary
There was Mary”

3. Everywhere

It’s not just the sad love songs that prove he has an uncanny ability to tug at the heartstrings and in this instance he is ably assisted by the poignant mandolin playing of Peter Buck.

4. Brickbat

From angry ideoligist to caring, sharing and loving dad in the blink of an eye. It’s a story which resonates with many of my closest friends and this one is again dedicated to all of them.

5. Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards

If I was ever asked if there was one song in the world that I wished I had ever written, it would be this.

And here’s a wee confession….without fail it activates my tear ducts despite the fact that it’s not a sad song whatsoever.  But it’s a song that makes me think about death for the simple fact is that I want it to be played at my funeral as the mourners depart the service…and I want them all to laugh out loud at the point Billy shouts ‘beam me up Scotty.” You’ll all be welcome to attend.

The best closing song to any album….ever.

mp3 : Billy Bragg – Greetings To The New Brunette
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Which Side Are You On?
mp3 : Billy Bragg – The Space Race Is Over
mp3 : Billy Bragg – The Saturday Boy (live)
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Morrissey’s Rubber Sheet
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Levi Stubbs’ Tears
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Love Gets Dangerous (Peel Session)
mp3 : Billy Bragg – The Short Answer
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Everywhere
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Brickbat
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards



billy bragg

Quick intro if you don’t mind.

I’m away for a short holiday this coming Friday….heading over to Toronto for 10 nights to meet up with old friends. I’ll be taking in a bit of baseball as the Blue Jays edge closer to a first divisional title since the heady days of grunge as well as some golf and hopefully maybe even a bit of live music if I get the time.

I’m having to plan the next few weeks worth of postings so what is going to happen this week is that the four Imaginary Albums I have in the can will appear back to back; this coming Saturday will see the ‘new’ feature kick off in my absence and then there will be a period of random stuff back-to-back including the return of SWC and the numbers pick. Apologies in advance if anyone sends over e-mails that aren’t acknowledged….I will get round to everything back to normal in due course. In the meantime, here’s a delightful contribution from Walter over in Germany whose own blog A Few Good Times In My Life provides much enjoyment.


As spoken a few days ago and inspired by your fantastic series I made me up to compile 10 songs by Billy Bragg. Knowing that is a hard task as well I selected these songs first because they accompanied during the last decades and second because they show the facets of his musical output. On one side he made a lot of songs with a political background reflecting what’s going on in these days. On the other side he is one of the last poets making very personal songs about his life, love and family. So it’s nearby that this compilation is divided in a political and a personal side.

A. Political Side

1. Northern Industrial Town

This song appeared in 1996 on ‘William Bloke’ and not played very often. For me it’s a perfect description of a town and the people somewhere in England. And at the end you’re surprised that it’s Belfast – not far away as politics might think.

2. World Turned Upside Down

This is Billy’s version of a song by Leon Rosselson about a 17th century group known as the Diggers in Surrey. They simply wanted a share of the land. Unfortunately, Oliver Cromwell didn’t share their ideas and used the army to put down the Diggers, as he wanted to protect the ruling elites’ position within society.

3. Deportees

Woody Guthrie wrote this song in 1948 when he read about an airplane crash in Los Gatos. The crash resulted in the dead of 32 people, 4 Americans and 28 migrant farm workers who were being deported from California back to Mexico. It is a song that was very close to ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and is a standard interpreted by Billy Bragg on ‘Talking With the Taxman about Poetry`.

4. Take Down The Union Jack

This is his song where he protests against the British monarchy and it’s time for something different/new.

Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset
And pile all those history books, but don’t throw them away
They just might have some clues about what it really means
To be an Anglo hyphen Saxon in England. Co. Uk

5. Between The Wars

With no backing band but his own electric guitar, Billy Bragg sang ‘Between the Wars’ as a first-person narrative of a miner hoping his hard work would be rewarded by care from the government his efforts helped support. Another song about the miners in the 80s and maybe one of his most emotional ones.

B. Personal Side

6. A New England (Peel)

Maybe this is the song that made him famous. What I find really poignant about this song is how cold and brutally honest he is. “I don’t feel bad about letting you go I just feel sad about letting you know” – he knows it’s going to be painful but he feels no guilt. And also the “I’m just looking for another girl”. Imagine saying that to someone when you broke up!

7. St. Swithin’s Day

Another song about an engagement that couldn’t last longer. There are seldom songs that express so much what happened between two people like the ones by Billy Bragg.

The Polaroids that hold us together
Will surely fade away
Like the love that we spoke of forever
On St Swithin’s Day

8. Tank Park Salute

The Tank Park is the Bovington Tank Museum near Wareham in Dorset, UK, and I believe the title of the song refers to a visit Billy and his dad made there. It is a moving song, especially if you have lost your dad, and moves me to tears, But of course, Mr Bragg is near genius in touching home truths.

9. Cold And Bitter Tears

Not typical in instrumentation and arrangement but worth to listen often. Harmony singing on a little Caribbean rhythm he give us another song of love gone by.

10. Walk Away Renee

It’s a song about first unfulfilled love ever. Maybe lots of you know how this guy must feel when his love and dreams don’t come true. And probably the best last words in a song:

And then one day it happened
She cut her hair and I stopped loving her

So that’s it JC. I suppose there will be comments missing some songs. But if we limit this compilation I had to decide which one it will be.


mp3 : Billy Bragg – Northern Industrial Town
mp3 : Billy Bragg – World Turned Upside Down
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Deportees
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Take Down The Union Jack
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Between The Wars
mp3 : Billy Bragg – A New England (Peel Session)
mp3 : Billy Bragg – St Swithin’s Day
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Tank Park Salute
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Cold and Bitter Tears
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Walk Away Renee

JC adds:-

I’ve been toying with the idea of a BB compilation for some time and indeed have had four prototype versions that in the end I felt didn’t quite work.  But, inspired by Walter, I’ve had another go with the proviso that none of his ten excellent choices appear in mine.  It’s coming your way tomorrow.




I’m somewhat surprised that Age of Chance were included on CD86.  It’s nothing to do with the quality of their music but more that it doesn’t comfortably tie in with much of the rest of the indie/twee nature of the other songs.

The four-piece, consisting of Steve Elvidge, Neil Howson, Geoff Taylor and Jan Perry, came together after meeting at Leeds Polytechnic College and their first two singles came out on their own Riot Bible label.  They were an unusual lot in that they wore cycling clothing while performing (at a time when the sport was far from cool and seen as geeky) and their music was a combination of styles, including a form of the newly emerging hip hop sound, with strident often spoken vocals delivered over rock and punk guitar chords.

The second Peel session in June 1986 brought them some more interest thanks to what was a brave and unusual cover of Kiss which was riding high in the charts at the time with Prince being regarded as the new king of pop music. The cover was then recorded as a track for a mini-LP for the Sheffield based label Fon and in due course would be voted in at #2 in the end of year Festive 50 on the Peel show.

This led to Age of Chance signing to Virgin Records in January 1987  and a stab at the big time.  Three singles and a debut album were released that year but without any huge breakthrough –  a lot of critics seemed to say they had never released anything as good as the Prince cover and were unlikely to ever do so (which was unduly harsh).

The beginning of the end came in the autumn of 1988 when Elvidge, who was the lead vocalist, left the band during the middle of sessions for the next album.  The music was completed and a new singer, Charles Hutchinson, brought on board the following year to add the vocals.  This led to a delay in the release of the album and it bombed completely when it eventually reached the shops at the tail end of 1989.  The band did soldier on for another year or so relying on what were always regarded as decent live performances to maintain enthusiasm but they eventually called it a day in early 1991.

The track on CD86 was their second single on their own label:-

mp3 : Age of Chance – Bible of the Beats

It reached #4 on the UK Indie Charts and this was the b-side:-

mp3 : Age of Chance – Liquid Jungle





There were certain 80s Scottish singers and bands that I admired and respected rather than took a shine to. It wasn’t that the songs and music were dull, boring or uninspired but more that the delivery and production were just too clean and polished for my liking.

The band most probably at the top of this list would be The Big Dish although Danny Wilson would likely be not too far behind. Both had ridiculously talented frontmen who couple pen and hold a tune but neither did enough to hold my interest all that much.

The Big Dish, from the very working-class and industrial town of Airdrie some 25 minutes slow train journey to the east of Glasgow centred around vocalist and guitarist Steven Lindsay on whom Virgin Records placed a lot of faith tolerating a number of band changes in the early years from their formation in 1983 and allowed the best part of two years for the initial singles to be released during which time the band built up their fanbase with a number of high-profile support slots to touring bands. Two albums and six singles yielded little in the way of commercial success and Virgin dropped the band in late 1988.

They were soon snapped up by East/West (part of the Warner Brothers family of labels) but in all essence it was now in the main Lindsay backed by some very talented and in-demand session musicians. The first release on the new label actually took the band into the singles charts at #37 with Miss America but two singles and one album later the band called it a day at the end of 1991.

Stephen Lindsay initially maintained a career in the music industry working with highly regarded composers like Craig Armstrong and issuing solo records. He later turned his hand to visual art where he was acclaimed by quite a number of critics and the, in 2012, The Big Dish reformed for a show as part of an annual music festival in Glasgow where it proved to be one of the most sought after tickets.

Here’s the song of theirs that is probably the most highly regarded from their back catalogue. Virgin Records tried to make it a hit on two occasions

mp3 : Big Dish – Prospect Street



This particular series is now going on an extended break but it will return at some point in the future.  I’m doing something else with Saturdays for the next wee while…all will be revealed in seven days time!


Julian Cope
Julian Cope managed to rack up a quite incredible 16 Top 75 hits in the UK singles charts between 1983 and 1986. OK, only World Shut Your Mouth in 1986 made the Top 20, but the fact remains that just about every single he released in that period had some sort of impact sales wise, even if the majority of them only popped in on the placings for one or two weeks, sniffed around the #50 mark and then disappeared again to be quickly and quietly deleted by his record companies.

Such was the fate of today’s offering, an EP which was released in 1991, and got as high as #57.

mp3 : Julian Cope – Head
mp3 : Julian Cope – Straw Dogs
mp3 : Julian Cope – Anyway At All
mp3 : Julian Cope – Bagged Out Ken

At this point in his career, Julian went to great lengths to explain what each of his songs were about – almost I suppose to try and stop music journalists asking the same inane questions time after time after time. And while the descriptions within the sleevenotes for the EP dont come anywhere near the length or complexity of those that accopanied the LP Peggy Suicide, they are worth repeating here:-

Head : The first reverse double-entendre I’ve written, i.e. it alludes to being sexual but isn’t. The song concerns intuition and learning to trust that intuition.
“When you kill something you believe in
You can hear its cries
You’ve got your antenna
Though you think you’re no longer receiving”

Straw Dogs : A ritual death-in-the afternoon confrontation – a fall from the community into an “I’m alright Jack” scenario. Possibly the loss of some indefined belief caused the singer an immeasurable and quite ridiculous (to our modern ears) amount of grief

Anyway At All : Recorded live in November 1990 for the 6M LECTURES in Austin, Texas. It features Julian on solo cello with unknown backing. Possibly never intended for release, neverthless a small insight into the Repetition/Exhaustion Disciplines.

Bagged-Out Ken : Aha, some light relief at last. A Ken doll from Miami leaves his home and flies to England “….looking for Feeling-Groovy Barbie”. He hears the Happy Mondays and, being a U.S. college student, digs the whole loose scene.
N.B. The backing vocalists are singing the names of old ’60s Barbie outfits.

Quite barking, I’m sure you’ll agree. But quite brilliant with it is so many ways.

And the inspiration for all of the above is that I have just started reading One Three One, the debut novel published last year, and judging by the first 30-odd pages its going to be an enjoyable ride.  Wonder if Moz’s much hyped debut novel will be as thrilling?