(and again on 29 October 2013)


Dave and The Cat, the two bright lads behind the Jock’n’Roll website came up with the brilliant concept a couple of years back to try to find out what was the best ever Scottish single by asking folk to send in their Top 10s by e-mail.

The idea proved incredibly popular as sad blokes like me sent in lists that made the case for long-forgotten tracks by equally long-forgotten acts. The rules were pretty easy and straightforward – the songs in question had to have been a single and the act had to have been Scottish.

This didn’t stop your humble scribe falling foul of the rules – I was certain that Musette and Drums by The Cocteau Twins had been a single or at the very least part of an EP, and so put it forward within my particular 10. I was completely wrong – it was only ever an LP track, and so I was invited to re-submit.

As for whether an act was Scottish or not, this was entirely down to Dave and The Cat. For instance, Lloyd Cole (born in Derby) was allowed in on the basis that the remainder of the Commotions were Scottish. Rod Stewart (born London) was not allowed in despite most Americans believing he was the most famous Scottish singer on the planet.

Before long, some newspapers and radio stations picked up on what was happening and the boys began to began to be interviewed about things. What seemed to most get the attention of the media was the fact that the song destined to be #1 was wholly unexpected.

I’m not sure if the majority of those who voted in the Jock’n’Roll poll actually chose Party Fears Two as their all time #1 Scottish single. However, I would place a very large wager that maybe as many as 75-80% of voters will have found a spot for it somewhere in their Top 10 thus giving it more than enough votes overall to take the top position.

Click here for the full rundown

There’s just something about Associates and Billy MacKenzie that makes people get all nostalgic and proud that they and he came from Scotland. When the band seemingly burst onto the scene out of nowhere in 1982, it was with songs that were genuinely unlike anything else you had ever heard. Even all these years later, the stuff still sounds incredibly vibrant, fresh and unique, and very difficult to categorise. It’s just so much easier to have a listen to the breakthrough single and its b-side (which is a different version from that on the LP Sulk) :-

mp3 : Associates – Party Fears Two
mp3 : Associates – It’s Better This Way

Billy had a mischievous wit and charm that endeared him to his fans. He always seemed to have a twinkle in his eye whenever he was on TV. This was a band that seemingly wanted to put fun back into pop music without diluting its quality. The appearances on Top Of The Pops soon became must see affairs, culminating in one time where Alan Rankine turned up with a chocolate guitar (£2,000 from Harrods) and broke it up into pieces to give to the audience while Billy and the others mimed away trying to avoid getting a fit of the giggles.

And although the band were based out of necessity in London, Billy in particular seemed to love just taking the piss out the capital and talked lovingly of his home country, and in particular his home city of Dundee.

You couldn’t help but like Alan and Billy as people – the fact that they were making incredible music was an amazing bonus.

Having discovered them via the hit singles, it was easy to see by delving into the back catalogue that the poppy stuff wasn’t typical of the band. Where they went from here was always going to be interesting. Sadly, 1982 with its hit singles and the consequent masterpiece LP was the last Associates work that the duo produced.

Alan chose to leave the band but Billy carried on, drafting in other musicians to work alongside.

It’s all too evident more than 25 years later to realise just how integral Alan was to the sound and look of Associates. There was also a particular chemistry between him and Billy that was never ever recaptured in full, despite an awful lot of the post-Sulk recordings being tremendous pieces of work with some amazing vocals from Billy.

January 2007 was the 10th anniversary of the death of Billy Mackenzie, and I paid a long tribute to the man in the pages of this blog. At the time, I said his legacy is a volume of work that has highs and lows, albeit one that is dominated by that 1982/83 era of Sulk. Even if that had been the only LP he had ever made, Billy would still be a legend in pop music. I stand by that statement……

(That posting, incredibly, was one that I was able to retrieve from the limited archive acess I had at the old blog. I re-posted it in August 2013.  If you would like to read the full tribute, you can click here).

(I later did an equally lengthy piece on Alan but alas it is lost forever thanks to bastard google acting on dmca notices.)




Cinerama slipped out an album in April 2001. It contained no new material and simply brought together the two Peel Sessions from 98 and 99 along with the tracks specialy recorded at Peel Acres and for the DJs 60th birthday party in August 1999. It wasn’t however, seen by fans as a cash-in as there was a demand for the acoustic and live versions in particular as they were quite distinct from the studio recordings.

At the same time, a further single was lifted from the previous year’s LP Disco Valente. This time, it was issued on vinyl which was a first for Scopitones, although there was also a CD single too. But it all came with a twist.

Here’s the CD single:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Superman
mp3 : Cinerama – Starry Eyed
mp3 : Cinerama – Yesterday Once More

The release of Superman rectified what had been a bit of an oversight as it had proven to be the most popular track on the album. But it was really just the vehicle for testing the water with what was the most TWP thing in terms of guitars that Cinerama had done so far. Starry Eyed did hark back to an earlier era (and little did we know prove to be a staging post on the way to TWP coming back into being).

The other track was another brave stab at a cover. David Gedge has never been afraid to cite influences which the indie cognoscenti would turn their noses up at throughout his career. In this instance, he took on and delivered one of the biggest hit singles that had been written and recorded by The Carpenters.

There were more surprises for those who bought the 7″:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Superman (version en Espanol)
mp3 : Cinerama – Dura, Rapida Y Hermosa

The sleevenotes were completely in Spanish which I take it was a nod to the fact that the Madrid-based Elefant Records had issued a single back in 1999 when the band had been unable to do so in the UK due to issues with labels.

The a-side is completely in Spanish….I’ll leave it others to determine if its a decent delivery or not. But it sounds a tad forced to me to get the lyrics to fit the tune.

The b-side is a hybrid…..opening with a live partly-stumbled through recording of Hard, Fast and Beautiful from a gig at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City in October 2000, before seamlessly becoming the Spanish language version.

File under obtuse.



As I said last week, much of what will appear in this series will be lifted from wiki .

Here’s what it says:-

Lazy Line Painter Jane was Belle & Sebastian’s second EP, released in 1997 on Jeepster Records. The title track features guest vocalist Monica Queen and was recorded in a church hall. “A Century of Elvis” features bassist Stuart David reading out a story he had written, over music by the band. The backing music from that track was later used on “A Century of Fakers” from 3.. 6.. 9 Seconds of Light.

Pretty feeble stuff as this particular EP deserves a lot more praise. Such as this on-line review from allmusic:-

On their second EP of 1997, Belle & Sebastian delve deeper into ’60s pop, developing a richer, fuller sound, not to mention an actual rock & roll edge. “Lazy Line Painter Jane” has a swirling organ and a thick backbeat, as well as guest vocals from Monica Queen, who duets with Stuart Murdoch. Her voice and the organ come as a shock, but “Lazy Line Painter Jane” reveals itself as one of Belle & Sebastian’s best songs. “You Made Me Forget My Dreams” and “Photo Jenny,” two shining examples of the group’s folk-rock, live up to the high standards of the title track, while “A Century of Elvis” has a lovely, lilting instrumental track (it would later be used for “A Century of Fakers”) that supports a pleasantly surreal story by Stuart David.

It is true – the lead track, which comes in at a shade under six minutes, is one the best B&S songs and much of that is down to the vocal contribution from Ms Queen who, by 1997, was a bit of a veteran of the Glasgow music scene as part of the band Thrum who had enjoyed critical acclaim via releases on Fire Records.  Indeed, just about the loudest cheer of the B&S gigs at Glasgow Barrowlands in December 2010 greeted Monica’s surprise appearance on the stage during the encore.

The EP came with a short story in the sleevenotes:-

Lazy Line Painter Jane prayed for an inspiration that would lift her above the mundanity of midday on a Thursday. She was in a hole, sat with egg and chips, watching buses through the plate glass and easy radio of some old cafe. She was too bashful to pray outright in the cafe, so she pretended to read her fortune at the bottom of her tea cup, and she got what she wanted that way.

The inspiration came along quite soon. It was lucky for her. It had seemed impossible, for her to feel ok, considering the trouble she was in. It seemed impossible, considering the gloominess of that lunchtime.

Jane had never managed to build Thursday into the weekend like some other people did. She didn’t look forward to the weekend anyway. The only good thing about the weekend was that it ushered in the following week. She was a slave to the working week. But she was unemployed.

She was doubtful whether she even deserved her Thursday gift. She had done a lot of swearing and shouting during her period. She almost felt guilty to take up the baton and run. But run she did. Straight to the cathedral graveyard. She took her idea straight through the cathedral graves and out, over the wall at the other end. She found herself in the East End of the city.

She took the inspiration and ran. It filled her like a playground balloon. Now she wasn’t treading on any toes. Jane’s agenda was clear. She just felt like running. To forget her joblessness and her hopelessness. Stripped of her present care, her skin was translucent, and she travelled fast and light over grass and stone precincts. She ran past lines of traffic into quiet streets where her breath and fast steps were the only sound she could hear. Stripped of her present care. And her guilt at being lazy.

Jane pretended she was making indie-rock videos as she tore through the East End. She thought herself quite magnificent, and caused only two minor disturbences as she went. She stopped running when she reached the river.

That was lovely. Reaching the river. A sudden wilderness of wasteland and trees. She may have been a bit worried if it wasn’t for the oxygen pumping in her head, acting like a drug. There was a path, dancing with industrial mayflys, constructed with an air of municipal grants. She followed it, ducking under flyovers, flying over traveller’s caravans. She ran past long curves of ash and alder. She ran until she flopped down in a bus shelter. The rain came on. She had run out of rock video fodder.

She waited in the bus shelter for a while. She had reached the main street of a town that was not part of the city at all. She had reached the provinces, and as such, the youth of the town flirted and taunted with an unaffected provincial air. Casuals drank QC. They put on a show for her, but they never challenged her directly. She was grateful they didn?t pick on her strangeness. Her inspiration had flagged, and she didn?t know how she could handle them by herself.

They went away, to be replaced by the town’s thinking girl’s talent. He smoked a regal cigarette, and paced around a little. Jane couldn’t decide if he was waiting for a bus, or if he had just come out because the rain had stopped. But she liked the sound his segs made on the wet pavement. And she admired him for his quiff. It was the biggest quiff that small town beatings would allow for. He sat down in the shelter. He obliged her by staring at her boots, and rubbing his forhead feverishly. He sat for the length of his cigarette and then went off, leaving Painter Jane alone.

She drank up the peace because she knew that she would be back in her house by fall of night. In the city, a dozen things would be vying for her attention simultaneously. She thought it was around six, but in fact it was nearer nine. She pulled her knees close to her chest. Her jogging bottoms smelled of pollen. She waited for the bus to take her back to the city. As she waited, she thought about how she had got her name, and what she was going to do about it.


You can see now why the band were accused of being pretentious to the point of annoying. Just as well the music was so good.

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Lazy Line Painter Jane
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – You Made Me Forget My Dreams
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Photo Jenny
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – A Century Of Elvis

The EP almost hit the big time.  It entered the UK charts at #41 on 9 August 1997, dropping down to #70 the following week. And that’s without much radio play to accompany the EP.


All of the Top 10 singles had appeared on the blog before.  I was tempted just to post links back to those postings but having come this far with another look at the 2008 rundown, I thought I’d stick with it.


(and again on 28 October 2013)


I spent four years of my life at University at the start of the 80s. I suppose I did what I was supposed to do in that I ended up with a degree that got me into meaningful employment, but I also was able, to use the ad man’s phrase, live life to the max and broaden my horizons in many aspects of life. Including music.

The band that I most associate with those happy days are in the chart at #10.

Friends Again weren’t around for all that long, forming in 1982 and breaking-up in 1984, having released just a handful of singles and one LP, and never making the breakthrough that so many fans and indeed their major record label expected.

I first came across the band when they played a gig at the Students Union at Strathclyde University. I was immediately grabbed by the sound of the band, and in particular the guitar playing of James Grant and the talents of Paul McGeechan on keyboards. And then there was front-man and vocalist Chris Thompson – cool as fuck was the phrase that came to mind, with a vocal style that was a cross between Motherwell and Memphis. Stuart Kerr on drums and Neil Cunningham on bass were a more than half-decent rhythm section too.

Before long, I was tracking down their singles, as indeed seemed to be just about everyone else I socialised with. Their initial single, Honey At The Core, was released on a local label, and sold in more than enough quantities to entice Phonogram Records to offer the band a deal.

Those of us who had seen the band a few times were delighted with the song chosen for the second single, Sunkissed, as it was always the highlight of the live set. It surely wouldn’t be too long before the boys were regulars on Top of The Pops….

But it flopped. As did a third single called State of Art.

All three singles had been more or less produced by the band themselves, and Phonogram decided that it needed to bring in someone who had a track record in the production stakes. So the boys were teamed up with Bob Sargeant who had worked with the likes of The Beat and Haircut 100, and went to work on the debut LP. The label also brought in Tom Verlaine ex-main man of legendary US art-rockers Television to work with the boys, while also allowing them to produce some stuff themselves. It was all a bit of a recipe for disaster as it turns out…

The early singles and the live performances showed Friends Again as a band who could throw in all sorts of music into the mix and sound fresh. There was some jingly-jangly stuff so reminiscent of the Postcard bands, there was a bit of funk/soul, there were more than a fair amount of country/folk songs with acoustic guitars, and of course there was a bunch of hugely dynamic and catch pop-songs that had so enticed the record label.

Sadly, the LP that emerged blinking into the bright sunlight – Trapped and Unwrapped – spectacularly failed to capture all of this. In this case, it is very easy enough to put the blame on the record label. Three of the twelve songs on the LP were vastly inferior re-recordings – Honey At The Core and Sunkissed, as well as Lucky Star (originally the b-side to Honey At The Core). Many of the other songs, loved and adored in the live setting, seemed stripped of their vitality. The acoustic songs were the only ones that escaped unscathed – proof that this was a record that was quite literally, over-produced. There was even a horn section deployed on some of the songs…

There is no doubt the band were bitterly upset at what was foisted on the record-buying public. Two further singles taken directly from the LP also flopped (the highest chart position reached was a very lowly #60), so the label, in desperation, re-released a remixed version of one of the earlier singles. It also flopped.

The band were very obviously despondent about the ways things had turned out – live shows became less dynamic and they seemed to be going through the motions. The buzz surrounding them had also gone, and where venues had once been packed, they were now half-empty.

I was at the last gig that Friends Again played, although I didn’t know it at the time. It was at a very small students’ union at Bell College in Hamilton, a town some 12 miles south-east of Glasgow, and not that far from where the band members had grown up. It was another lacklustre affair, not helped by a lack of chemistry on stage. Here was a band seriously pissed off with life and seemingly with one another. It might even have been the following day that Friends Again broke up…

James Grant and Paul McGeechan quickly went on to form pop/soul act Love and Money , while Stuart Kerr was soon on TOTP as the stickman in the first version of Texas with their massive hit I Don’t Want A Lover. Neil Cunningham went into artiste management.

Chris Thompson to all intent and purposes became a solo act under the name The Bathers, and ploughed a lone furrow akin to the softer side of Friends Again to much critical acclaim but little commercial success. Interestingly enough, when Love and Money also failed to really hit the big-time, James Grant embarked on a solo-career that was based on acoustic folk/country songs…

There are many hundreds if not thousands of bands with a story that is similar to that of Friends Again. They quickly get a local following that is hyped a little, they soon sign a deal with the devil and then are discarded when success isn’t immediate.

For years, the recordings by Friends Again were very difficult to get – it was mostly just vinyl as Trapped and Unwrapped initially had a limited CD release. And if it was available, it tended to be second-hand, or on import and expensive. But back in 2007 it was given a budget re-release, with the bonus that it contained the original recordings of Honey At The Core and Sunkissed instead of the re-recorded versions which means it’s bit easier to get a hold of the song that is #10 in the rundown:-

mp3 : Friends Again – Sunkissed

And for a bit of fun, here’s the b-side and the 12” extended version as well:-

mp3 : Friends Again – Dealing In Silver
mp3 : Friends Again – Sunkissed (12″)

Turns out, that having been more widely available in 2008 when I first put the chart together, the album is once again a bit on the rare side as it is out of print.  Second-hand market is the best way….




I’ve messed about a bit with some tunes and come up with this:-

mp3 : JC presents – The One Hour Indie Disco

Confession time. It actually lasts 63 mins and 39 seconds, but in my defence, the crowdfilling last tune commences before the hour is up, so everyone’s dancing as the empty and not so empty glasses are cleared from the tables.

I think it works well if you download it and give it the full listen. Equally, you could skip through the songs you don’t like:-

LET’S MAKE THIS PRECIOUS (Dexy’s Midnight Runners)
ASK JOHNNY DEE (Chesterfields)
ONCE IN A LIFETIME (Talking Heads)
WALKABOUT (Sugarcubes)
PING PONG (Stereolab)
SHADY LANE (Pavement)
CRASH (Primitives)
THIS LOVE IS FUCKING RIGHT (Pains Of Being Pure At Heart)
FOXHEADS (Close Lobsters)
IT’S A GAS (Wedding Present)
BLUE BOY (Orange Juice)
OBSCURITY KNOCKS (Trashcan Sinatras)
CEREMONY (New Order)


THE £20 CHALLENGE (Week Six)


Tim Badger writes…..

“You are lucky” SWC tells me in the pub as he gives me this weeks CD. “I took my daughter to the zoo the other day and we picked the CD from the Hospicare music shop on the way back”. I didn’t know how this made me lucky so I took a deep breath and asked “Why does that make me lucky?” At this point I haven’t opened the bag, there is a pint of Otter Bright sitting in front of me and that is far more important.

“Well, I gave her three choices, three debut album choices handpicked by me. The first CD was a remastered version of the debut longplayer by Rod Stewart ‘An Old Raincoat Won’t Let You Down’, which features such timeless Rod classics such as ‘Street Fighting Man (not his), Handbags and Gladrags (erm, not his) and ‘Dirty Old Town’ (erm again…)’ . The second was the debut album ‘Much Love’ by long forgotten soul princess Shola Ama – who I have also confused with ex Newcastle show pony Shola Amoebi – both are a bit shit to be honest, its easily done. She had her biggest hit with a cover version of the Turkey Richards staple ‘You Might Need Somebody’ “– he is trying to funny he means Turley Richards obviously.

I take a huge gulp of the Otter and glance at the bag in front of me. I’m hoping that its not Shola Ama – not only for the sake of my ears but for the sake of your ears too. SWC has been looking to up the ante since I let Mrs Badger buy last weeks CD, although she let him off the hook lightly because after she had given him Simon & Garfunkel she revealed to me later that night she nearly bought him his very own copy of ‘Picture Book’ by Simply Red – and was going to annoy him even more by putting it inside a copy of ‘Showbiz’ by Muse. SWC knows Muse quite well or rather his wife does – Mrs SWC went to school with at least two of them and one of their wives and last year they went to a birthday party at a huge castle on Dartmoor that the band had hired for the night. Weirdly he doesn’t really enjoy their music as much as I do. When Muse played a homecoming gig at Teignmouth a few years back, SWC was the most miserable person to have a backstage pass. I have a photo of him chatting to celebrity fat bloke Chris Moyles – or rather Moyles is doing the talking, SWC is doing the ‘Get the fuck away from me look’. To perfection. SWC denied even knowing who he was.

mp3 : Muse – Sober

I’m digressing.

“So what was the third debut album?” I ask him, hoping its not ‘The Party Album’ by the Vengaboys.

“This is why you were lucky. At the zoo we sat in the garden and had a small picnic. Whilst we were there my bag got shat on. By a peacock.”

I get a strange look from the bloke across the pub as I have just sprayed what’s left of my otter over the table – you know when you laugh and drink at the same time and what you were drinking comes out your nose. Well that happened. I recover myself just as SWC is picking up the bag.

Turns out it was a bag his wife bought him for his last birthday. I call it his man bag. Anyway…

“So in my hand I had the debut album by Starsailor….

mp3 : Starsailor – Alcoholic

…….when she saw this’

He handed me the CD. “And said look Daddy ‘Bloody Sodding Peacock’ and it had to be that”. He smiled and laughed. I laughed too as its good to hear that Toddler SWC has as good a grasp of English swearing as her daddy.

Its ‘Expecting to Fly” by The Bluetones. An album which has a peacock spreading its wings on the cover and it’s a rather wonderful choice. Again this was an album that I have heard and have probably owned a copy of on cassette – I certainly recognised all the tracks – but have never actually owned properly.

It has several brilliant tracks on it – here are a collection of them

mp3 : The Bluetones – Bluetonic
mp3 : The Bluetones – Cut Some Rug
mp3 : The Bluetones – Slight Return

And perhaps best of the bunch

mp3 : The Bluetones – Putting Out Fires

Here is the skinny

Bought Hospicare South West Music Shop, Exeter

Price £2

Left £9

Beats Rod Stewart any day of the week. Just.




I clicked on The Sundays over at the index on the right hand side of t’blog and discovered that each of the previous two postings had featured the rather splendid dreamy-pop song which is Summertime. Can’t believe that I hadn’t mentioned this before:-

mp3 : The Sundays – Can’t Be Sure

As debuts go, it really is up there with the best of them and proved so popular that it was voted #1 in the 1989 Peel Festive 50 and reached #45 in the UK charts which night not seem all that great but was actually a very good position for most singles released on Rough Trade Records. It has the catalogue number RTT 218 if you’re remotely interested.

One of the b-sides also appeared on the debut LP, Reading Writing and Arithmetic:-

mp3 : The Sundays – I Kicked A Boy

But there’s a real gem tucked away on the 12″. It sounds as if Harriet Wheeler is being backed by messrs Joyce, Marr and Rourke…..

mp3 : The Sundays – Don’t Tell Your Mother

Bloody marvellous.


A guest posting from George Forsyth


The Faces made four albums and one live album. Plenty to choose from for a ten-track ICA. Even discarding that live album (Coast to Coast, not very good).

The first album, First Step, seems to get some quite unfavourable reviews, and of course this is entirely wrong. There’s elements of early heavy-metal in there, a legacy I suppose of Rod Stewart’s time with the Jeff Beck Group (whose album Truth is remarkably similar to that first Led Zeppelin album), and you can hear that on one of the tracks below (Flying). There’s some great slide-guitar playing from Ronnie Wood (on “Stone”), and one of those knock-about-good-time-rock songs (“Three button hand me down) which I suspect is the kind of song that most associate with The Faces, and a sound that came to the fore in the last two albums (A Nod’s As Good As A wink.… and Ooh La La).

The second album, Long Player, is in the same as First Step, then came A Nod’s As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse, followed by Ooh La La. One track below is one of those examples where a cover version is better than the original. At the same time as the Faces were making these records, of course, Rod Stewart was pursuing his own solo career and releasing some belting albums, which featured the rest of The Faces as backing musicians on some of the tracks.

Someone (i’m sure some of you will know to whom I refer) once said to me, when we were inspecting a friend of mine’s collection of 7-inch singles that had been entrusted to me whilst said friend was living in a retreat, that it was the most fun he’d had whilst keeping his clothes on. I’d like to say that spending a few hours in my Music Room listening to The Faces comes second to that, but it would not be true. Another thing I noticed in my hours of solitude, albeit a very noisy one, was Ronnie Wood’s guitar-playing, it has much more prominence than it does on all those rubbish Rolling Stones records of which he’s been a part.

The Faces have never had one of those reunion tours, but an incarnation of them has played a couple of concerts (2010 &2011). With Mick Hucknall doing the vocals. I’ll leave it you to supply your own list of expletives.

So here’s ten tracks, and as Judge Judy frequently says “PUT YOUR LISTENING EARS ON!”

1. Three Button Hand Me Down – from the first album First Step, and what might be seen as that trademark Faces sound

2. Stone – from First Step, with I think Ronnie Laine on lead vocals

3. Flying – from First Step, an early heavy metal track(?), and a great guitar riff. Toptastic track.

4. Bad ‘n’ Ruin – from Long Player, the second album, and a track that has a great opening line (Mother don’t you recognise your son). And another great riff.

5. On The Beach – from Long Player. This sounds as if it could be on Exile On Main Street. Well, I think it does. And more fine slide guitar from Ronnie Wood.

6. Maybe I’m Amazed – a live track from a BBC concert. And one written by Paul McCartney, and this is better than his version. There’s also a live version on the Long Player album.

7. Miss Judy’s Farm – track 1 from the third album A Nod’s As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse. I did not want to include this here, I suppose everyone knows it, but it’s sucha great song, that opening is so strong, it just had to be on the ICA.

8. That’s All You Need – last track from As Nod’s As Good As A Wink.

A Nod’s As Good As A Wink is a splendid album, a fine early 1970s rock album, and one of those albums you should never tire of putting on. On another occasion I could easily have chosen two different tracks from it. Of course, rather perversely, I’ve put, in effect, three tracks from the preceding two albums on this ICA

9. Fly In The Ointment – from Ooh La La

10. If I’m On The Late Side – from Ooh La La

As I said at the top, there’s only four studio albums, and I bet you can get them AND get change from a £20 note, so don’t waste money on a Best Of collection, just get the lot. And if anyone out there has that 4CD set Five Guys Walk Into A Bar that was released about ten years ago, and is tired of living, just send it to me.


OCD EPs : #1 : FATHER SCULPTOR (re-post with fixed links)



The Background…..

And then one day, you just have to have it all…

I don’t know about you, but every once in a while I come across a band where I eventually decide that I have to get my hands on everything they ever recorded. It usually starts innocently enough – one album purchased on iTunes or a couple of songs downloaded from my favorite indie music blog. Perhaps I’ll find a b-side collection on a fan site and pick out a few favorites or come across a video of a particularly stellar radio or television broadcast. And then suddenly, the obsession kicks in. What else in their catalog is still purchasable? Where can I find the best quality rips of those broadcasts? And, by god, why didn’t I download all those b-sides when I had the chance?

Maybe this sounds all too familiar to you or perhaps I’m just sharing my own personal demons. Collecting anything, after all, must be a mild form of psychological illness, albeit a rather benign one. I take solace in the fact that when bit by the bug, I tend not to be a full “completist”, limiting myself to studio tracks, outtakes, alternative versions, unreleased tracks, compilation contributions, tour disks and broadcasts. Knowing that there is a place on the internet where I can get my hands on bootlegs of every Morrissey show is good enough for me; I don’t need to have each and every one in my personal library.

With all this in mind and in the spirit of T(n)VV’s ICAs, I thought I might propose a corollary concept: OCD EP’s are short collections of the best or most interesting obscure, off the beaten track songs that only the most ardent, and dare I say obsessed, fans might be familiar with and have in their libraries. I have in mind a few of these EPs from my own collection, which is where I found the courage to title this piece as number 1 in a series (number 2 is forthcoming, but I make no promises after that). I have no expectations that others will join in as has been the case with the ICAs, but please feel free to contribute your own if so inclined. Guidelines of your own choosing of course, though these were my thoughts as I put together the first one:

• It’s an EP, not an album. So 4-6 tracks max and no hidden tracks.

• No album tracks, a-sides or anything easily purchasable at a digital music store.

• Not so sure about b-sides. I suppose if they are very obscure and hard to find they could be worthy inclusions. But, just for example, The Smith’s “These Things Take Time” would hardly qualify.

• Focus on songs that even the average fan of the band might not be familiar with – unreleased tracks and sessions, outtakes and alternate versions and otherwise obscure or difficult to access songs.


As I’ve mentioned before, this blog has played a major role in reconnecting me with the indie music scene, filling in the gaps during the years that I was focused on other things and introducing me to new music. So, let’s start with a group that I never would have heard of were it not for JC’s promotion – Father Sculptor. One advantage of choosing a more recent band is that there is only a limited catalog of tracks to find; the counter-balancing downside being the lack of other collectors and established fan sites on which to find them. In this particular case, there isn’t likely much new to discover, as it seems that after just a couple of years, the band disappeared from the scene. I have no background or insight into what happened to them other than noticing that their website and social media presence is no more. Perhaps our host, who seems to have had some relationship with them in the past, can share some additional information?

To my knowledge, during their short lifespan, Father Sculptor released only two EPs – Vi, which collected a series of singles that had previously been made available as free downloads from their site, and Faith & Violence. Stand out tracks for me included Aristide, Frances and Swallowed in Dreams. Beyond the EPs, my library contains a radio edit of one of the Faith & Violence tracks that was posted on this blog a while back and five other songs that I found in various corners of the internet (which may or may not be by the band – more on that later). No tough decisions this time, as these five tracks, listed chronologically, comprise my Father Sculptor OCD EP:

Side One

1. Velvet Fall (2011)

On their website, Father Sculptor had artwork posted for what appeared to be their first single, Velvet Fall/Two of Swords (demo). However, it seemed that the tracks were never made available for download from the site or for purchase anywhere else. My guess is that the single was never released. Searching the web for “father sculptor velvet fall” brought up nothing relevant, however, one day a couple of years back I did find a “Velvet Fall” video on a relatively obscure site with no mention of the band name (I can’t find that video today).

Is it this Father Sculptor debut single? I can’t say for sure, but it certainly sounds like it could be. While not as good as the tracks on Vi, it is certainly listenable.

2. Two of Swords (demo) (2011)

The video for Two of Swords (demo) is quite easy to find and clearly labeled as a Father Sculptor song. In contrast to Velvet Fall, this song is excellent and ranks up there with my other favorite tracks from the band. It would have been interesting to see what would have come of it with a full work up in the studio.

Side Two

3. Faith & Violence – Coming Soon (video backing track) (2013)

Prior to the release of Faith & Violence, a promotional video was posted on the Father Sculptor website. It didn’t include any snippets from the new EP, but was instead backed with this short wordless song. Of course the music may or may not be a Father Sculptor composition, but I’m inclined to believe it is until I find out otherwise.

4. Blackshirt (2013)

Not long after the release of Faith & Violence. A video for Blackshirt was posted on the web. Perhaps this was intended to be the follow-up single to the EP or maybe an early peak at a debut LP. There was no way for me to know as only a couple of months later, traces of the band on the web began to disappear. In any case, it is a quite enjoyable song that would have fit comfortably on the preceding EP.

5. Ray (2014)

Naturally I assumed that there would be no more Father Sculptor after 2013. Yet, a year later another video appeared. Ray is an instrumental that I would have to guess was something they were working on at the time that they disappeared but had yet to add vocals to. I quite like it and fairly recently discovered that it bears some resemblance to Intro by The xx.

Dave G

JC adds…..with apologies to Dave.  I totally messed up on the links when it was originally posted.  The songs are now as they should be instead of the same bit of music bring posted three times.



The next release on Scopitones was the album Disco Volante. The fact that The Wedding Present had metamorphosised into Cinerama was seemingly still lost on quite a few folk – my copy of that particular CD has a sticker in the top right hand corner which has the words ‘THE NEW ALBUM BY DAVID GEDGE FROM’ followed by, in type that is twice the size, ‘THE WEDDING PRESENT’.

It’s eleven tracks didn’t include Manhattan while Wow had been re-recorded in an extended form. Lollobrigida was there as was what turned out to be the fourth single of the year in November 2000:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Your Charms

The single version is a little shorter than the album version, dispensing with the opening fifteen seconds or so in which the musicians on flute, cello, violin, trumpet and french horn are warming up in that way they do when you go to a classical concert, opera or ballet. It’s as rich sounding as you’d expect with that amount of instruments involved. And it’s a classic Gedge lyric about falling head over heels.

As ever, two b-sides:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Reel 2, Dialogue 2
mp3 : Cinerama – Girl On A Motorcycle

The former had been aired a year earlier via a Peel Session with its title more than a nod to the fact that many of the songs were really soundtracks for movies being imagined by David Gedge and his bandmates as there’s a co-credit for Simon Cleave on this one.

The latter, is for once, a bit of a throwaway number. I’m guessing it was written and recorded for possible inclusion on the album but didn’t make the cut. It was the first b-side in which the quality noticeably dipped.

Two albums down. Six flop singles and gigs being played to small audiences in venues half the size of those that had hosted TWP. Was it time to rethink things?



Dave’s OCD EP (see two posts further up the page…above the  Cinerama effort!!!) has clearly prompted this stroll down memory lane.

It began in February 2011 when I went along to a gig at King Tut’s at the suggestion of Drew (Across The Kitchen Table); there was a huge buzz about a band called Spector and we both wanted to see what the fuss was about. To be honest, they were dull and not worth bothering about.

But we were both taken by the appearance of one of the support bands – Father Sculptor – and in the subsequent review of the gig on the old blog I raved about them. To my total surprise, an e-mail appeared in the Inbox a few days later from the band, not only thanking me for the kind words but telling me they were avid readers of The Vinyl Villain and it had meant a lot to them to get a mention.

Thus began regular exchanges of correspondence – I was usually among the first to get a listen to their new material which they would in due course post online at their website, always without fail giving it very positive mentions on the blog. The bands consited of five young men, all studying in Glasgow, although none were actually from the city. In time, they began to get a wider press with positive write-ups in the NME and The Guardian newspaper, as well as a range of web-based music outlets.

The band scrimped and saved towards their ambition of actually making a physical record instead of merely making things available as downloads and I was thrilled, delighted and honoured when they asked if I could promote a show for them in Glasgow for the launch of what would be a self-financed debut EP on 12″ vinyl.

The gig took place in Stereo on Saturday 13 April 2013. There was a more than decent turnout and the boys played a terrific set. I spent some time with them the following morning during which it hit me that they were on the verge of greatness but there were some things that could easily tear them apart – one being they weren’t a completely cohesive unit and so there were bound to be fall-outs, especially given how young and relatively inexperienced they were; secondly they would soon be facing up to a situation where they were no longer students and the pressure would be on some if not all of them to find employment which would bring its own pressures to bear.

As it turned out, their wasn’t much more after the release of the EP, with Dave’s post earlier pulling the various threads together. There’s many a band out there like Father Sculptor who, having shown great early potential and in their case getting some amazing stuff out there via the internet and on vinyl, don’t get what they fully deserve. I do miss them.

Here’s some of the stuff that came out between 2011 and 2013:-

mp3 : Father Sculptor – Artiside
mp3 : Father Sculptor – Ember
mp3 : Father Sculptor – Blue
mp3 : Father Sculptor – Rhein
mp3 : Father Sculptor – Frances
mp3 : Father Sculptor – Dysmirror
mp3 : Father Sculptor – Lowlands (radio edit)
mp3 : Father Sculptor – The Swim
mp3 : Father Sculptor – Sault




Much of what will appear in this new series will be lifted from wiki as I’m reserving the right to have lazy Sundays for a bit. The idea is to feature all the EPs and 45s released over the years by Belle and Sebastian.

It was back in 1996 that debut LP Tigermilk came out, followed just a few months later by If You’re Feeling Sinister. So you had the very unusual circumstances of two albums (albeit one of which was near impossible to get a hold of) and no singles. That changed in May 1997 with the release of the Dog On Wheels EP on Jeepster Records, but as wiki reveals:-

The four recordings on the EP actually pre-date the band’s début album Tigermilk, produced whilst band members Stuart Murdoch and Stuart David were on the Beatbox music course in Glasgow. Murdoch, David and Mick Cooke are the only long-term members to play on the songs. The drums were supplied by David Campbell, whilst Brian Nugent played flute on “String Bean Jean”, and Gerry Campbell, a tutor at Beatbox, provided keyboards on “The State I Am In” and “Belle & Sebastian” as well as lead guitar on “String Bean Jean”.

The sleeve notes also credit Mark McWhirter, Michael Angus and Steve Mackenzie so that means (not for the first time) that wiki gets it wrong!!

Four really good songs.  The lead track has a Latin feel to it, not least the trumpet solo about halfway through;  the second track is an earlier version of what was the opening song on Tigermilk and which to this day is among the most popular of all B&S songs amongst fans; listening now to tracks three and four you can hear their demo nature in contrast to the polished sounds on If You’re Feeling Sinister but given they would never get any other airings via re-recordings they are well worth having.

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Dog On Wheels
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – The State I Am In
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – String Bean Jean
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Belle and Sebastian

The EP did make the UK charts, entering at #59 on 24 May 1997, before dropping out of the Top 75 the following week.



(and featured again in this form on 4 March 2015)


Is this the song in my self-indulgent rundown that stands out like a sore-thumb?

In terms of a world-wide audience, it’s probably the best-known of all of the 45s (so far). It’s certainly got the most identifiable opening notes (that is unless you get confused with Call It What You Want by Credit To The Nation which sampled the intro).

First time I heard this was as the opening song on a cassette made up by Jacques the Kipper. It was a time when every six weeks or so, we would thrust a tape into each others hands along with set of cryptic clues for each song, and challenge the other, not just to identify the track, but also offer a few observations.

His clue for the opening song was ‘Vodka’. Sheer genius if you ask me…..the boy should have become a copywriter with an advertising agency.

But back to the song…

It’s about as far removed as you could ever imagine from the twee stuff that I listened to so much over the previous decade, and it could almost be classified as the dreaded stadium rock. And yet…

There’s just something very special and outstanding about Smells Like Teen Spirit that is difficult to pinpoint. I can’t argue that it’s anything unlike you’d ever heard before, given that it has a riff that is very similar (some say identical) to More Than A Feeling by 70s soft-rockers Boston. Nor is there a case to be made that the vocals are completely different from other folk given that Kurt Cobain’s style of quiet/shout/quiet/shout was something you heard from Black Francis on many Pixies songs. And yet…

The song did seem to arrive like a bolt out of the blue. Yes, there had been some coverage in the UK music papers about some sort of scene based around the city of Seattle, but how many times before had we read about a scene in Chicago, New York, LA, San Francisco or any other American city that had petered out before it crossed the Atlantic. But then Nirvana came across to the UK to promote Nevermind. There was a live appearance on an early evening chat-show on Channel 4 hosted by Jonathan Ross. He introduced the band who went straight into a heavy-metal riff, and then Kurt took over on a completely indecipherable lyric that was a low-moan or a scream…

In the middle of the tune, he sang the words,Just Because You’re Paranoid Don’t Mean That They’re After You’. Then he started screaming again. The song finished in a flurry of feedback not seen in any TV studio since the heyday of Jesus And Mary Chain, before the drums were kicked over and the band stormed off to muted applause and a bemused chat show host who had his finger in his ear. Jonathan Ross than, in a brilliant piece of improvisation said ‘That was Nirvana – doing a song that none of us were expecting. They’ve asked me to mention that they are available for children’s parties and bar mitzvahs…’

It was a truly astonishing piece of TV, and the most ‘punk’ thing I had seen in years, and I knew right then that Nirvana were the genuine article. (The song they played was Territorial Pissings). It was the sort of thing that won’t happen nowadays as prime-time TV live shows are no longer really live and bands won’t behave in that way for fear of upsetting the label bosses.

Of course it all went badly wrong almost immediately, and the band nowadays seem to be loved and admired more for the dead rock star syndrome rather than anything else. The fact that it all ended before there could be any critical backlash or before they fell out of fashion, means that there are very few reasons why music historians and commentators can ever make critical comments about Nirvana, other than be horrified at some of the copy-cat acts that came in their wake. But that’s just nonsensical – you never read anyone blaming The Beatles for every single four-piece band that’s walked the planet since 1963 do you?

mp3 : Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
mp3 : Nirvana – Drain You
mp3 : Nirvana – Even In His Youth
mp3 : Nirvana – Aneurysm

I never did get to see the band live on stage. Mrs Villain and myself had tickets for a Glasgow gig that never happened as Kurt Cobain committed suicide shortly beforehand. I immediately went back in for my refund, but Mrs V kept her ticket as a memento. Seems she was the clever one as she could probably get far more than its face value if she was to put it on e-bay…

Oh I’ve  tracked down the Jonathan Ross clip as well. Even if you’re no fan of the band, it’s worth having a look just to see how fresh-faced he was back in 1991. And check out his hair, as well as the ad-libbing (turns out I didn’t repeat it 100% word-for-word, but I wasn’t far off).




That was one of the descriptions meted out to Hey! Elastica, a short-lived but rather wonderful Edinburgh band from the early 80s who I featured more than a few times over on the old blog before google had its evil way with it.

There was a huge hype about them – visually they were quite stunning, while the sound they mad was tailor-made for radio play. The indie kids and students loved the sound and yet it had the potential to crossover to younger folk more in tune with mainstream pop.  Jacques the Kipper was, like me, rather fond of them as we would discover many years later when we bonded over our tastes in music.

Hey! Elastica signed what I’m led to believe was a rather substantial contract with Virgin Records. Four flop singles and one flop album later, it was all over. October 1982 was the debut single and March 1984 was the LP. Seventeen crazy and wild months that left us with no more than 14 different songs and a load of happy memories for those of us lucky enough to ever catch them live. They could have been and should have been the Scottish B52s.

Here’s each of the singles……………

Debut Single

mp3 : Hey! Elastica – Eat Your Heart Out (12″ version)
mp3 : Hey! Elastica – Clay Hips (First Movement) (12″ version)

Second Single

mp3 : Hey! Elastica – Suck A Little Honey (12″ version)
mp3 : Hey! Elastica – Suck A Little More

Third Single

mp3 : Hey! Elastica – Party Games
mp3 : Hey! Elastica – Elastican Chant No.2

Final Single

mp3 : Hey! Elastica – This Town (12″ version)
mp3 : Hey! Elastica – That Town
mp3 : Hey! Elastica – Twist That Town

The other 8 songs that made it onto the sole LP are available on request….



SWC writes…..

Badger was sort of right last week, I do have this habit of winding people up. Most of the stuff I say is completely true though. I am sucker for inane little facts, snippets of information and nuggets of knowledge that make your socks roll up and down your legs and shout ‘Golly’. So you can imagine how happy I was when I found out earlier today that the red waxy stuff that adorns Edam cheese was invented by the grandfather of Huey Lewis from Huey Lewis and the News fame. Almost as happens as I was when I found out that the Afrikaans word for an ‘elephants trunk’ is ‘slurp’ and that octopuses have beaks. That’s how happy.

I was less happy when I found out that Mrs Badger was to pick this week’s charity shop CD. This is not because she has bad taste in music, as shown by our own recent experiment with our wives iPods over at our own blog (both better and miles more eclectic than ours). Rather it is because she is bound to make it difficult for me. So it was with some fear when Mrs SWC and I turned up at Badger Towers last Sunday for lunch, the CD was going to be presented to me after the trifle (actually it was a very nice trifle). Also just to set the record straight, The Badgers and the SWCs often have lunch together, it’s a fairly regular thing, we don’t just get together to give each other CDs bought from various branches of Scope.

After the trifle, whilst the tea is being made and the dishwasher loaded by Badger – who is looking resplendent in his favourite frilly pinny – Mrs Badger pops a bag containing the CD on the sofa beside me and immediately starts talking to my wife and our daughter about things like ‘pretty dresses’. It is a very clever move. She told me earlier that Badger has no idea what it is, because he ‘was bound to tell me, after one or two glasses of wine’ (true he would).

I leave the CD where it is, my hand twitching slightly, the CD appears to be sinking into the sofa, seemingly burning a hole in the bag. I’m rubbish at poker. I grab the bag and peek inside.

It is ‘Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits’ it cost £2 from the Whipton branch of Scope in Exeter.

Now it is about now that I should confess a few things. Firstly, ‘The Graduate’ starring Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman is one of my favourite films, and its soundtrack is a musical masterpiece. It’s largely because Anne Bancroft looks wonderful in every scene in that film and that bit where Hoffman goes ‘Mrs Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me, aren’t you?’ is one of cinemas finest minutes.

‘Sound of Silence’ is one of the finest records ever recorded and despite being nearly 50 years old it has aged excellently (and if you disagree then the door is over there). These two famous tracks come from the soundtrack and are also featured on the Greatest Hits CD.

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Sound of Silence
mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Mrs Robinson

Let’s talk cover versions for a second if I may, I’ll come back to the confessions later

Now despite ‘Sound of Silence’ being nearly half a century old, it has rarely been covered but a few months back the unintentionally hilarious act Disturbed decided that the world needed a nu metal version of it. I haven’t got it but I played it on You Tube just a moment ago and a massive piece of sick arrived in the back of my mouth. It is as awful as it sounds.

‘Mrs Robinson’ has been covered as we know, by the Lemonheads, which isn’t bad to be honest.

mp3 :  The Lemonheads – Mrs Robinson

Another track on the CD ‘Cecilia’ has been butchered by well-known arsehole and Chelsea Fan Suggs. He took an already awful song and made it fucking awful.

Here’s the original if you want it. It sucks massively though

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Cecilia

Second confession. I rarely buy Greatest Hits CDs largely because they often are just record companies flogging a long dead horse. There are four exceptions to this rule, Buffalo Tom’s ‘A Sides’ (which The Robster will agree with), Super Furry Animals ‘Songbook Vol. 1’ (which everyone should agree with). ’21 Singles’ by the Jesus and Mary Chain’ and ‘Straw Donkeys’ by Carter USM (ditto). Every other Greatest Hits compilation is a rip off. I may add ‘Melting Pot’ the Charlatans one to that good list in the near future.

Now despite only costing £2, this Greatest Hits CD is a rip off, it contains a number of live tracks that are ruined by polite applause included ‘Homeward Bound’ one of S&G’s better tracks. Seriously if you want to listen to Simon and Garfunkel go and buy the ‘Sounds of Silence’, ‘The Graduate’ and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ albums. All three are excellent; don’t waste your cash on one of the several million compilations.

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Homeward Bound (with added clearly piped in ‘polite applause’)

Third Confession – Paul Simon, despite nowadays being a domestic violence sympathiser, was at the time – one natty mofo. On the cover of this CD he has a zapatista moustache (kind of) and a white beret. Only a real rock star could wear a white beret on an album cover. Would you see Thom Yorke or Morrissey or Kanye West wearing a white beret on an album sleeve – no you would not, because they are just shallow fawns toking on fashions crack pipe (possibly). Simon also appears to be holding a golden acorn which is probably symbolic of something.

Fourth Confession – The song ‘The Boxer’ is utterly wonderful. No, no, Stay with me. I listened to this CD in full on my way to work on Monday morning – I had an hour’s drive so bunged it on. Now maybe it was a combination of Devon’s rolling hills and the beautiful sunshine but the bit where the thunderclaps drums kick in just after the vocals go ‘Lie la lie’ for the first time sent shivers down my spine and despite it being an obvious Dylan rip off – it’s a beautiful thing.

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – The Boxer

Bringing it back to facts and inane pieces of information. There is a bridge in Bickleigh, Devon which goes over the fast flowing River Exe that legend has it was the inspiration for S&G’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’. They stayed in the nearby cottage and spied the fast flowing river and the rest is POP HISTORY. Another lesser known fact is that I once saw a yellow Mark II Ford Capri stuck in a tree near the same bridge. At least one fact in this paragraph is not actually true. All three in the opening one are.

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water

Here is the skinny

Bought from Scope, Whipton

you can google Scope to find out more about their ongoing brilliant work in providing disabled people with the same opportunities as the rest of us.

Price £2.

Money Left £11

Weeks Left 5

Oh, before I go and just because here is an ode to the lovely Anne.

mp3 : Mega City Four – Anne Bancroft




The third of the singles to appear on Scopitones in 2000 came out in August. This one starts off sounding a little bit like a quieter number by TWP, and just as you perhaps are being lulled into a false sense that it really isn’t going to go anywhere or do anything, the accordion kicks in and it transforms itself from an ugly duckling of a tune to the most graceful swan:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Lollobrigida

How great must this have made Sally Murrell feel? She was David Gedge‘s long-term girlfriend and muse, and here he was presenting a song to her in which she is being compared favourably to a stunning looking Italian actress.

Again there were two new songs for the b-side:-

mp3 : Cinerama – See Thru
mp3 : Cinerama – Sly Curl

The former was probably the first of the signs that certain songs were just not really suited to the Cinerama set-up. It wouldn’t have been out of a place on a TWP record – the first two-thirds of it anyway – and just where you would expect some loud guitars, in come some synth strings. But not for long….that bottled-up guitar solo that hadn’t been played for about five years is committed to record.

The latter was another which caused much surprise as it featured a guest spoken contribution from the Irish comedian Sean Hughes, who was known to be a huge fan of all things Gedge and indeed indie. It’s a rather lovely number which again offers up a quality b-side.



a guest contribution from Derek Howie

I enoyed reading Jacques the Kipper’s recent tribute on Prince. He was my second biggest hero in music after Bowie and, like Jacques, it actually hit me harder than Bowie. Bowie bowed out with the masterpiece that is Blackstar, and it just seemed like the perfect end to a legendary career. Prince however had still so much to give. He had brought out 4 albums in just over 18 months and there was talk of more to come.

As he predicted, I do disagree with Jacques in that there is a lot of great stuff in the Vault. Some has leaked out over the years and there is a lot of fantastic songs there. Hopefully more will be released in a proper manner in the future and we will have more to enjoy.

As my tribute to one of the greatest live artists ever, I thought an Imaginary Live Compilation Album of Prince would show off the wee man’s versatility and brilliance throughout his career. A lot of his music sounded even better live.

I saw Prince play at the Hydro a couple of years ago and I still get a buzz from thinking back at how good it was. Hopefully this will give a flavour of what his concerts were like and you may find some songs that you will enjoy even if you aren’t his biggest fan. Enjoy.


1. Forever In My Life

Forever In My Life is from Prince’s arguably best album Sign O’ The Times. This version is from one of Prince’s legendary aftershows where, after a full concert, he would go to a more intimate club and funk out for another few hours for the lucky few who were able to get in, playing a lot less commercial stuff, and basically playing for himself.

This is taken from an aftershow At Paard Von Troje, Den Haag, Holland on 18th August 1988 and gives a good idea of the type of music he played at these gigs.

2. Days of Wild

This is the only recoding in this compilation that is actually on an otherwise studio album.

In late 1996 it was announced that a new album would be available by phone pre-order. I phoned up and ordered it from the States, and then forgot about it. The triple album, Crystal Ball eventually turned up in early 1998, with a couple of bonus albums, the acoustic The Truth and Kamasutra by the NPG Orchestra. The 5 discs were in a clear spherical container with no track-listing or booklet. It’s an album that I struggled with at the time but I’ve gone back and revisited it and now it’s one of my favourite Prince albums.

Crystal Ball is actually a compilation of songs from the Vault, mainly from 85-86 and 93-96.

Days of Wild is a live track recorded on 9 December 1995 at Prince’s Paisley Park Studios, where he often played concerts. The unreleased studio version was originally planned to be included on The Gold Experience album but was dropped before its final release.

3. Something In The Water

Something In The Water (Does Not Compute) is from the 1983 album “1999”. This instrumental version is from a soundcheck before his concert in the Orange Bowl Miami on 7th April 1985.

The recording of the soundcheck came to light earlier this year and is well worth listening to of you can get a recording of it. Needless to say, the 12 songs that he played during the 71 minute soundcheck didn’t feature in the concert itself. Prince and the Revolution just went out and showed what an incredible band they were.

His casual soundcheck is far better than most others’ actual concerts.

4. Erotic City

Erotic City was the b-side of the single Let’s Go Crazy, the second single to be released from Purple Rain on 18th July 1984.

The extended version of the song was due for inclusion on The Hits/B Sides compilation album, but it was removed by Prince, probably due to its explicit lyrics, and the abridged version was included instead.

This live version was recorded on Prince’s 26th birthday on 7th June 1984 at First Avenue, Minneapolis, which was the first live appearance of the song.

5. Old Friends 4 Sale

The song is from the criminally under-appreciated “The Vault… Old Friends 4 Sale” album in 1999. It’s Prince at his laid back best and gives an indication of some of his jazz influences. The album was delivered by Prince to Warner Bros three years earlier along with “Chaos and Disorder” but they held onto it. Prince didn’t promote or tour the album and talked about it being a contractual obligation but it does it a disservice.

The song itself was from 1985 but was in Prince’s legendary vault along with many, many other great pieces of music, and it’s hoped that these will now start to filter out.

This recording is from a 2012 “Welcome To Chicago” rehearsal.

6. Empty Room

A live version of Empty Room was on the 2004 live album C-Note album, although it was initially released as a members-only download from the NPG Music Club at the start of the previous year. C-Note is made up of 4 largely instrumental soundchecks and Empty Room.

This version was recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival on 18th July 2009.

The studio version of the song remains officially unreleased.

7. Joy In Repetition

This song was released on the 1990 album Graffiti Bridge and also included on the 2002 live album “One Nite Alone… The Aftershow: It Ain’t Over.”

This version was the opening song to a concert at Inglewood Forum, LA on 28th April 2011. It’s my favourite bootleg and, to me, it’s Prince at his very best, although apologies for the long intro if it’s not your thing.

Prince became a Jehovah’s Witness in 2001, which resulted in him stopping swearing or singing explicitly about sex in the way that he had during the 80’s and 90’s. It’s noticeable that Prince changes the lyrics of this song to acknowledge that when he changes the lyrics from “4 letter words are seldom heard with such dignity and bite” to “4 letter words will not be heard not upon this stage tonight”.

The lyrics also include the line “Live music from a band plays a song called “Soul Psychodelicide””, which was a 59 minute song played at a jam session on 22nd July 1986, five days after Joy In Repetition was originally tracked.

8. Purple Rain

I guess I couldn’t not include Purple Rain, although I originally hadn’t planned to. It’s never been one of my favourite songs but as some of my inclusions are a bit more obscure, I thought I’d include one for the populist vote! It’s the title track from Prince’s best known album from 1984.

This version was recorded during Prince’s 21 night residency at the O2 in London on 21st September 2007.

9. Whole Of The Moon

A cover of the Waterboys single. Prince performed this with his backing band at the time 3rd Eye Girl.

The Waterboys included Purple Rain on their “The Live Adventures of The Waterboys” album and I wonder if this is Prince returning the favour.

The track was recorded at Prince’s Paisley Park studios in Minneapolis on 2nd May last year at his “Dance Rally 4 Peace”, following on from Freddie Gray’s death in police custody in Baltimore a few weeks earlier. Prince also released a single called “Baltimore” which also called for peace following the incident.

10. Nothing Compares 2 U

This is recorded during his recent Piano and a Microphone tour in the Sydney State Theatre on 21st February.

The quality of the recording isn’t the best but I felt I had to include it to show what his last tour was about. All the reviews were excellent and it’s nice to think that he went out on a high. He is best known for his guitar playing but it shows his musicianship that he was able to go on tour with only a piano and no backing band.

He was originally meant to be starting this tour in Western Europe late last year and had booked a night in the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, but, to my great disappointment, it was postponed an hour before the tickets were due to go on sale due in part to tickets appearing on tout websites, but it was cancelled shortly afterwards following the tragedy at the Bataclan. Our loss was Australia and NZ’s gain and he did go on tour there earlier this year.

The song itself is obviously synonymous with Sinead O’Connor from 1990 but Prince had originally written it for The Family’s 1985 album “The Family.” This album is typical of Prince’s many protégés’ albums where he writes most of the songs, plays most of the instruments but is largely uncredited.

Following on from O’Connor’s success with the song, Prince started playing it regularly and a live version appeared on the 2003 compilation “The Hits 1”

Again Prince’s studio version remains officially unreleased but there are bootleg copies of it.

Bonus track – Purple Rain (reprise)

The last song of Prince’s last concert from the Fox Theatre, Atlanta on 14th April 2016.

“Sometimes it snows in April

Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad

Sometimes I wish that life was never ending,

But all good things, they say, never last.”

RIP Prince.



Back in 2014, I had a short running series in which I invited readers to submit a few words on their personal cult classics – songs which were largely unknown for the most part but which really should have been massive hits.

The problem with having a hotmail address is that sometimes things go into my Junk folder and I don’t pick them up when I trawl through them. That’s what I think happened to Walter‘s submission for the series…but he was prompted to resend the e-mail after The Mekons recent appearance in the ICA series. Here’s what he had to say:-

Hi JC,

as announced this morning I give you my personal Cult Classic.

‘Where Were You’ by The Mekons was released in 1978 on FAST 7.

The Mekons earned a true fan-community over the years in many places in the world. But I won’t call this a mainstream success. Back in the late 1970s I got  in touch with that so called punk rock genre and one of the first singles was this one by The Mekons.

It had everything I love on this kinda music. It was rough with good and simple chords, the voice of Jon Langford who
made me believe that every word he’s singing was true. And at least ‘Where Were You’ was one of the few songs that tells you a lot in less verses.

If this song should not fulfill your criteria, please let know me and I will contrive something else.

Best wishes for your new series!

Huge apologies my friend for letting you down all those years ago. Better late than never though….

mp3 : The Mekons – Where Were You?

Enjoy.  And drop in at Walter’s place and say hi.



Maybe it is the onset of old age, but I’m struggling to remember a time like now for Scotland experiencing such a glut of talented musicians. Hardly a week seems to go by without someone or other putting out some sort of new material in the shape of singles, downloads or albums that deserve to find a place on the shelves of any serious collection (or at worst on the hard drive of your laptop if you’re digitally inclined).

I always thought the 80s would be the high point as evidenced by the number of features on this blog over time but the time has come to reassess things and accept that the past ten years or so has been better than ever. Just off the top of my head – Franz Ferdinand, Twilight Sad, Young Fathers, Sons & Daughters, Butcher Boy, Biffy Clyro, Django Django, Meursault, PAWS, The Unwinding Hours, Adam Stafford, Phantom Band, Frightened Rabbit, De Rosa, King Creosote, Admiral Fallow, RM Hubbert, Honeyblood, Miaoux Miaoux, Hector Berzerk, C Duncan, Kid Canaveral, Plastic Animals, Withered Hand, Zoey van Goey and Errors have all emerged and made some ridiculously good music (yes….. I know I’ve missed out obvious others…as I said it was off the top of my head in the time it took me to type it!!). And that’s without listing your Mogwais, Edwyns, Aidans, Malcolms, Roddys and Emmas who pre-date the 21st century but continue to make equally ridiculously good music decades on.

This week, I find myself wishing to sing the praises – again – of Randolph’s Leap who are about to release sophomore album Cowardly Deeds on Olive Grove Records.

The band have been part of the music scene around these parts for about six years now making what has accurately been described as joyous brass-tinged, folk-pop centred around the not inconsiderable talents of singer-songwriter Adam Ross. There had been a number of low-key, lo-fi and largely home-made cassette and CD released in the initial years and it wasn’t until 2014 that the debut LP, Clumsy Knot, was made available bringing together all eight members on all sorts of instruments. The album became an instant favourite at Villain Towers with a number of big-sounding and upbeat songs where keyboards, violin, trumpet and trombone combined in a way that invoked memories of Dexy’s at the height of their powers laced with lyrics that were akin to the gentle humour and playfulness of Neil Hannon. Alongside these were some lovely folk-like ballads laced with wry amusingly bitter one-liners that brought to mind the genius of early Martin Stephenson.

And like any other band worthy of attention, Randolph’s Leap were somehow even more enjoyable in the live setting than on record.

My great fear however, was that the band would suffer from second album syndrome with Cowardly Deeds failing to scale the same heights. And if truth be told, when I got my advance copy a few months back courtesy of Lloyd Meredith (band manager, proprietor of Olive Grove Records and one of the nicest and most genuine fellas in the local music industry), my first couple of listens seemed to confirm those fears. The mistake I was making however, was that I was listening out for a re-hash of the debut as that was what I was probably secretly and deep-down hoping for.

It is a record which is less diverse than the debut but that is more than compensated for by the fact it is a very polished and accomplished piece of work jammed with tunes that would and will sound marvelous when broadcast by radio stations. The sort of songs – fast and slow alike – that if you hear the first thing in the morning stick around in your brain all day long, with the chorus just demanding to be sung or whistled. You want proof? Well, here’s the tracks that have been made widely available via videos:-

Cowardly Deeds is a spring/summer sort of album. One for light mornings and later evenings when the sun seems to take forever to go down. It’s a record which cements Randolph’s Leap as being worthy of adding to that list at the top of this posting. And somewhere quite near the top if I was to rank them.

Keep an eye out for the band hopefully heading your way (in the UK at least) over the coming months. Whether in their full 8-piece ensemble or just Adam on stage with his acoustic guitar, you are guaranteed a great night out.

Here’s some older material to give you a flavour:-

mp3 : Randolph’s Leap – Deep Blue Sea (from The Curse of The Haunted Headphones home recordings, 2012)
mp3 : Randolph’s Leap – Rough (from As Fast As A Man, home recordings, 2012)
mp3 : Randolph’s Leap – Counting Sheep (from Introducing, self-released compilation 2012)
mp3 : Randolph’s Leap – Indie King (from the Real Anymore mini-album, 2013)
mp3 : Randolph’s Leap – Hermit (from Clumsy Knot CD, 2014)

Click here for the album which is officially released on Friday 20 May. (and with a bit of luck I’ll be at the launch at this gig in Glasgow)




Disc 19 is This Is England. The last in the series and a bit of an anti-climax. Sorry.  But I can’t re-write history.

Topper Headon had been fired post the recording of Combat Rock and then Mick Jones was sensationally kicked out of his band (and not for the first time in his life) in 1983.  What’s also mostly forgotten is that Terry Chimes, brought in for Topper to tour Combat Rock, had also left under a cloud some eight months before Mick got the boot.

This isn’t the place to go over the rights and wrongs of all the turmoil, and besides, depending on whose versions you most believe you’ll come to a different conclusion on who was most to blame.

This Is England was written in late 1983 but wouldn’t be released for the best part of two years.  It’s a state-of-the nation diatribe with the lyric detailing much of what was wrong with the country under a right-wing government although many of the topics, such as inner-city violence, urban alienation, life on council estates, high unemployment and racism weren’t new to The Clash.

The critics savaged the songs and subsequent album Cut The Crap.  To them, and indeed to many, you had no right to call it a release by The Clash with just Joe and Paul on board, backed by some rock musicians and aided by a drum machine. Despite this, it did make #24 in the UK charts which wasn’t all that shabby a performance – indeed it is a higher position than was ever managed by Rock The Casbah.…..

It was originally released only in the UK on 7″ and 12″ vinyl and in years to come was initially disowned by all concerned not appearing on any compilation LPs., not showing up again until 2003 and then again being included as the 19th and final reproduced 45 in the The Singles box set which has provided the foundations for this series.

7″ release:-

mp3 : The Clash – This Is England
mp3 : The Clash – Do It Now

12″ bonus track:-

mp3 : The Clash – Sex Mad Roar

THIS IS ENGLAND  : Released 30 September 1985 : #24 in the UK singles chart

When I arrived back in this country Friday, June 29th 2006, having been away for several years, all I saw were St George crosses displayed everywhere.

After the awful England game on the 30th and ever since, these white and red displays look like yesterday’s tired fashion and are now a figure of fun; likewise the silly songs that were offered to go with the stupid team.

‘This Is England’ reflects this immense national fuck-up.

Bernard Rhodes, former manager of The Clash

And that, dear readers, brings this particular Sunday series to an end. Huge thanks for all the comments that have been left behind over the past four and a bit months, and in particular to echorich and JTFL for their wonderfully unique and indeed first-hand account of life in the USA with The Clash.

As hinted at a few weeks ago, the Sunday slot will now be taken up with a look back at the 45s and EPs of Belle and Sebastian.