ANOTHER CLASSIC 45 WITH GREAT B-SIDES

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All three of these songs have been featured on this blog in the past, but not as one posting.

The single was released in October 1988 but again failed mysteriously to give The Go-Betweens a hit single.

mp3 : The Go-Betweens – Was There Anything I Could Do?

As the heading of the post indicates, the single came with more than decent b-sides. Here’s those from the 12″ release:-

mp3 : The Go-Betweens – Rock n Roll Friend
mp3 : The Go-Betweens – Mexican Postcard

Enjoy

PS

The blog has sort of taken a bit of a back seat in recent weeks as I’ve spent loads of time either watching football on the telly or making the most of the light nights and playing golf.  With Euro 2016 coming to a conclusion soon (i.e. there’s not games on the telly every night!), I’m hoping to crank things up again in the coming days including a few guest ICAs that have been sent in.

Cheers.

JC

 

REMEMBERING THE MEMBERS

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One of my favourite songs back in 1979:-

mp3 : The Members – The Sound Of The Suburbs

At the time, I thought it was a great punk record and I used to play it really loud just to annoy the hell out of my old man. Looking back on it now, it was really nothing more than glorified pub-rock with a cracking shout-a-long chorus. Not all that far removed from the sort of stuff that brought fame and fortune to Sham 69.

But quite clearly, us kids love it cos it spoke to us all about how miserable and bring life was and collectively we dragged into the pop charts where it reached #12 in the spring of 1979.

The follow-up single was one that I bought without ever hearing as that’s what you did with your favourite music and bands when you were 16 years old. At the time I hated it……I had no idea what the hell it was about, and to be honest I didn’t really care. Oh and the tune also annoyed me as it reminded me of the appalling Dreadlock Holiday by 10cc more than anything else. History shows that it was all just ahead of its time…..and by maybe around 1983, I realised that it was a genuine classic:-

mp3 : The Members – Offshore Banking Business/Pennies In The Pound (12″ version)

Trivia facts. The drummer in the band got his brother to produce some of the earliest material recorded by The Members. The drummer was Adrian Lillywhite…his brother’s name was Steve….and he went on to become one of the best-known and biggest-earning producers in the 80s and 90s. Oh and he also married Kirsty MacColl.

Offshore Banking Business was a top 40 hit, and many of the lyrics were courtesy of JC Carroll who had been a trainee merchant banker before joining the band. The band never enjoyed any further chart success with any of their five subsequent singles before they called it a day in 1981.

But like many others of their ilk, the chance to relive it all decades later proved too tempting to turn down and since 2007 the band have been on the road and in the studio making music for a living. I haven’t been tempted….

WHEN IT ALL GOES PEAR-SHAPED

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I’m sure everyone of you has a similar story to tell……

A new band comes on the scene and the noise they make on the radio and in print is quite appealing. As a music fan, you invest some of your hard earned spare cash into buying product which doesn’t disappoint. You even make an effort to catch them live on stage and come away impressed. The next thing is that you’re telling your mates and work colleagues that said band really are a bit special and well worth checking out.

But then one day, something happens that irritates you. It might be an unexpectedly duff record. It might be something you read after the most prominent member of the band has said something really stupid or even offensive. Now you find yourself on the defensive about the band and no longer find yourself championing them. Before you know it, you take on the traits of someone who has reformed after a drink or drug addiction and become a bit holier-than-thou and start denouncing the band.

Welcome to the my relationship with Deacon Blue.

Formed in the mid 80s, I first came across this lot thanks to them being one of a number of unknown Scottish artists who were on a compilation cassette called Honey At The Core.

They had an elegant and eloquent front man in Ricky Ross. I particularly loved that, at a period in time when Glasgow had been dismissed by many as just another former industrial city with nothing going for it, Ricky Ross was someone who was prepared to argue just how special a place it was, and how it was more than capable of getting off its knees. The music he and his band were churning out was also enjoyable. It was just the right side of anthemic and it also had a bit of a political edge. A song like Raintown could only be about a city like Glasgow, and a song like Dignity could only be about someone who came from Glasgow. The cover on the debut LP, released in 1987, was a fantastic photograph of the Glasgow of old when it was famous for shipbuilding and engineering. Yes, there was a degree of nostalgia about it all, but at a time when I had not long left for the first time in my life and re-located to Edinburgh, it was the sort of LP that I could put on of an evening and think of home.

Unsurprisingly, the band began to grow in popularity and soon became regulars in the singles and album charts, particularly after the release of their second LP When The World Knows Your Name in 1989. The new songs were totally different from the debut – very radio-friendly and of such mass appeal that the band were capable of selling out more than one night at the 12,000 capacity hall at the SECC.

Some of the new stuff got on my nerves, as did the fact that Ricky Ross was all over the media saying how his songwriting was developing as a craft and that he was an artist who wanted to be remembered for the timeless quality of his songs. Nor did it help that he was also using his new found fame to jump on his soapbox and tell anyone prepared to listen that the only way Glasgow and Scotland make progress was through political independence.

In other words…he turned into a pretentious, pompous self-deluding arse….and the music the band were pumping out was becoming unbearable to listen to.

But you can never take away the magic of some of the early stuff:-

mp3 : Deacon Blue – Raintown
mp3 : Deacon Blue – Dignity
mp3 : Deacon Blue – Riches

If you think I’m being harsh on Ricky, you should hear me when the name of Pat Kane of Hue and Cry is mentioned…..

THE CINERAMA SINGLES (12)

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There was just one release from Cinerama in 2003 and it was in the shape of a three-track CD single:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Don’t Touch That Dial
mp3 : Cinerama – The One That Got Away
mp3 : Cinerama – On/Off

It later emerged that the romantic relationship between David Gedge and Sally Murrell had ended around the time of recording this single. The band still continued to tour into 2004 at which point it was announced that Cinerama would be no more and that when they next went into the studio, the resultant music would be the first releases in eight years by The Wedding Present.

The next single was Interstate 5, released in September 2004, followed by the LP Take Fountain in February 2005, both of which are among the finest records of the very many recorded by TWP. The band was, with the exception of Sally Murrell, identical to that of the latter-day Cinerama. The new material was picked up by the media in a way that none of the Cinerama stuff had enjoyed and the gigs began again to be played in larger venues.

You couldn’t make it up!!

Cinerama still exist in that David brings them out of storage every now and again for gigs while he released an album under the band name in 2015, which in fact was a re-recording and re-working of Valentina, the LP released by TWP in 2012…

Hope you’ve enjoyed this short but I would say essential dabble into the lesser known band on the Scopitones label.

B&S ON SUNDAYS (6)

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From wiki:-

“Jonathan David” is a single released by Belle & Sebastian on Jeepster in 2001. The lead track gets its name from the biblical duo of Jonathan and David, while “The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner” is a reference to Alan Sillitoe’s short story “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.” The front cover features band members Mick Cooke and Bobby Kildea with Gill Dodds. All three tracks from the single were later collected on the Push Barman to Open Old Wounds compilation. The title track was the band’s first single to feature lead vocals from guitarist Stevie Jackson.

The allmusic review:-

The B&S railroad rebounds from that mess of unforeseen mediocrity, the “Legal Man” EP. Perhaps it’s hard to carp at a group that’s restored the lost Brit tradition of “all exclusive tracks” EPs (making them like Buzzcocks, the Smiths, or Mega City Four in that regard), as opposed to LP singles with rip-off B-sides on two separate CDs. But “Legal Man” mixed an advanced sense of humor with… shockingly zero musical inspiration. So, hurrah, these three tunes tap back into this bunch’s pumping artery of graceful, sonorous songcraft. Perhaps “Jonathan David” should have been sung by superior talent Stuart Murdoch, but its piano-driven brooding chords (enhanced by an eerie church organ) support a sterling melody more arresting than anything off Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant. Great Zombies-inspired a cappella harmony bridge, too! Then, when Murdoch retakes the mike on the oddly titled “Take Your Carriage Clock and Shove It,” he trills over deep orchestral violins, cellos, and sweet country lap steel that float like carefree balloons, making old fans swoon the world over. Finally, the similarly excellent, more bouncy/jaunty “The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner” wins official release at last.

Readers from last week will know that I disagree strongly with the above reviewer as I thought, and still do, that Legal Man was a tremendous single. And I disagree too with the view that Jonathan David was a return to form. And that’s primarily down to the fact that Stevie Jackson‘s attempts at lead vocal have tended to grate over all the years. Yup, its a fine tune but I don’t listen to it very often.

The other two songs though really are worth it. Carriage Clock is a lovely lament about the futility of devoting your life to the factory or office while Middle Distance Runner is something of a lost 45 in my opinion. It was a song that had been around for a while, including if my memory serves me correctly, a live performance on TV about a year or maybe as much as 18 months prior to its release.0

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Jonathan David
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Take Your Carriage Clock and Shove It
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – The Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner

The song reached #31 in the UK charts; not as high as Legal Man but still very respectable given there was hardly any radio play.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG #29 : THE BIG GUN

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The return of the Saturday series that had to make way for the loom back at the old 45 45s at 45 feature.

Last time round, back in September 2015, was The Big Dish and they were the 28th Scottish band alphabetically within my itunes collection. Next up, naturally, is the 29th. And so the spotlight focusses on The Big Gun.

An internet search will reveal very little other than…

The Big Gun from Ayrshire, Scotland, recorded only one single, “Heard about love”, in 1986. After having it played and praised by John Peel, the young band including Andrew O’Hagan (later author of acclaimed novels Our Fathers and Personality), played a few gigs and then promptly split up, convinced they had played their part in music history out and only really had one good song in them anyway. The band was, according to O’Hagan himself, named “not very brilliantly, after ‘the big gun factory’ where Arthur Seaton works in the novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning”.

But as I mentioned previously on the old blog and then again via a re-post in November 2014, the band also released a one-off flexidisc back in late 86/early 87 with the other track being given over to Basil Pieroni, who I would later get to know and call a friend through Butcher Boy. It was done as a taster for the label Hi-Fibre and the accompanying info with the flexidisc offered the following:-

The Big Gun : Keith Martin (vocals, guitar); Alan Carruthers (guitar); Andy Crone (bass); Andy Kerr (Drums); Andy O’Hagen (additives)

Hi-Fibre : Fresh, substantial and committed, in this instance, to the provision of free pop. Here, enthusiasts can sample the delights of The Big Gun and Basil Pieroni recorded here for the first time.

Hi – Fibre : Bright, urgent and working through the night to deliver instant classics to the nation; fast, reliable and painfully instinctive

As it turned out, only one single was ever released on the label, but to my ears it is one of THE great lost 45s of Scottish indie-pop.  I don’t own a copy of said 45 (very few people do!!) but I have digital versions of the songs.

mp3 : The Big Gun – Heard About Love
mp3 : The Big Gun – Happens All The Time

POSTSCRIPT (added 23 June 2016)

I’ve said before that certain things seem to happen around this blog that prove to  too much of a coincidence to suggest nothing other than some strange forces appear to be at work.  And so it proved with The Big Gun….

It’s worth recalling that it is now nine months since I called temporary time on this series, all the while anticipating this lot would be involved in its relaunch.  What I didn’t know then was that a Berlin-based record label, Firestation Records, would in May 2016 turn their attention to The Big Gun and manufacture a limited run of 200 12″ mini-LPs containing the original single, the demo that was on the flexi disc and a further two songs recorded in demo form but never given a release.  As soon as I learned about this I put in an order and just 72 hours before this posting was received a package was safely and securely delivered.  And so at long last, I own something by The Big Gun.

Another example of how the summer of 2016, in musical terms, is turning out to be more than OK.

Here’s the link to the mini-LP as well as many other great things that Firestation are doing.

JC

 

LET’S NAIL THE MYTH ONCE AND FOR ALL

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The fifth single from New Order. And the one which propelled them to stardom.

No-one can argue that it isn’t a classic. A song that was really quite like no other on its release. And the record sleeve is also one of the most recognisable of all time.

It is not known just how many copies of FAC 73 were sold after its release on 7 March 1983. It’s reckoned to be over a million, but because Factory Records weren’t part of the British Phonographic Industry, there are no reliable figures nor certifications or awards.

The story over the years is that the sleeve was so expensive that every copy sold actually cost the record label money. It’s a great story but its simply not true.

Yes, the initial editions with a die-cut cover and cut outs and silver inner sleeve were expensive to manufacture and package. However, once the single sold out its initial run the sleeve got progressively more simple and cheaper with each repressing.

I’ve got three copies of Blue Monday in the cupboard full of vinyl – all have different sleeves ranging from the more expensive original to what is no more than a plain black cover with the colour coding on the right hand side. You needed to own a copy of the Power, Corruption & Lies LP to decipher the code – it actually spells out the song title on both sides of the vinyl, the name of the band and the catalogue number. And here, ripped direct from the vinyl, is the music:-

mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday
mp3 : New Order – The Beach

Still sounds amazing all these years later.

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

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Mercury Rev
were, for quite a long time throughout the 90s, one of those bands who got a fair bit of critical acclaim in the music papers and magazines but who were often quite difficult to track down on radio. They were, to all intent and purposes, the perfect definition of a cult band.

Between 1991 and 1997, they churned out 3 LPs and 9 EPs/singles, none of which sold all that well in the UK. Back home in the USofA, they were even more unheralded, with the soft and high-pitched vocal style of Jonathan Donahue often being cited as the thing that most held them back at a time when rock with a slightly harder edge was in vogue.

But in 1998, the release of the LP Deserter’s Songs very briefly put the band firmly in the spotlight. It was a record seemingly not all that different in sound, mood and tone from 1995 work See You On The Other Side, but it just seemed to capture the hearts and minds of many music fans, including the staff at the NME who made it #1 LP of 1998.

I hadn’t paid any attention to the band until then but when I finally did it wasn’t down to the things being written about them. Instead, it was the power of television…..

This was the time when I first got satellite TV, and one of its initial attractions was the ability to surf across the music channels trying to find new and edgy music or videos that I would like, and for a while a lovely promo for a song called Goddess On A Hiway was on heavy rotation.

Come Xmas 1998, and it was the usual requests from friends and relatives about what was on my list to Santa in terms of music and books, and given the critical acclaim afforded to the album, I did add Deserter’s Songs and it subsequently was wrapped in glittery paper come 25th December.

It was, and remains, an LP that I don’t quite get what all the fuss was about, albeit it was pleasant enough in a non-offensive way. My favourite track on it was subsequently released as a single in January 1999 and in reaching #26, became the band’s first bona fide hit:-

mp3 : Mercury Rev – Delta Sun Bottleneck Stomp

What is most interesting however from the CD single that I picked up for 99p a few weeks later after it had disappeared out of the charts is that the band and/or their label persuaded The Chemical Brothers to make a remix of the song which is near unrecognisable :-

mp3 : Mercury Rev – Delta Sun Bottleneck Stomp (Chemical Brothers remix)

The CD single also contained a really rootsy track which was in fact a live version of a Neil Young song that had originally been recorded for an XFM session in November 1998:-

mp3 : Mercury Rev – Vampire Blues (live)

Mercury Rev, The Chemical Brothers and Neil Young.  Three acts that you wouldn’t expect in one blog post far less on a CD single in the bargain bin.

HERE I AM, I’M YOUR FAN

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From wiki:-

I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen is a tribute album to Leonard Cohen, released in 1991, produced by the French music magazine Les Inrockuptibles.  The album features Cohen’s songs interpreted by some of the most respected rock acts of the time. Its name is a play on the title of Cohen’s album I’m Your Man.

For the album’s American release on Atlantic Records, R.E.M.’s rendition of “First We Take Manhattan” and House of Love’s “Who by Fire” (the lead tracks on each side of the vinyl and cassette versions) were swapped so that R.E.M., one of the most popular American rock bands of the era, led the album. In all other countries where the album was released, however, the R.E.M. track appears on Side Two. In the United Kingdom, the album was distributed by record label EastWest Records, in France by Sony Music.

The album includes two different covers of “Tower of Song”, one by Robert Forster and another by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The latter version is a radical deconstruction of the song, edited from an hour-long jam session held by the band.

Tracklisting:

“Who by Fire” – The House of Love
“Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” – Ian McCulloch
“I Can’t Forget” – Pixies
“Stories of the Street” – That Petrol Emotion
“Bird on the Wire” – The Lilac Time
“Suzanne” – Geoffrey Oryema
“So Long, Marianne” – James
“Avalanche IV” – Jean-Louis Murat
“Don’t Go Home with Your Hard-On” – David McComb & Adam Peters
“Who by Fire” – The House of Love
“First We Take Manhattan” – R.E.M.
“Chelsea Hotel” – Lloyd Cole
“Tower of Song” – Robert Forster
“Take This Longing” – Peter Astor
“True Love Leaves No Traces” – Dead Famous People
“I’m Your Man” – Bill Pritchard
“A Singer Must Die” – The Fatima Mansions
“Tower of Song” – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
“Hallelujah” – John Cale

JC says…….

Like most albums of this nature, the cover version can be a hit and miss although in this instance there’s far more of the former than the latter.  In many cases, the singer or band actually make it sound as if the song is one of their own, perhaps as much because it is nigh on impossible to mimic Leonard Cohen without sounding faintly ridiculous.

In the spirit of recent postings from Dave Glickman, I’ve decided to offer up a taster 5-track EP from the album for you.

Side A

  1. James – So Long Marianne
  2. David McComb & Adam Peters – Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On

Track 1 is mid-era stadium rock James demonstrating that they still had the ability to surprise folk.  The simple guitar ballad is given a big production treatment, led in particular by some sprightly trumpet playing from Andy Diagram while the bass of Jim Glennie and drums of David Paynton-Power make for a great listen..

Track 2 is courtesy of a collaboration between the late frontman/guitarist of The Triffids and an arranger who worked with, among others, Echo & The Bunnymen being responsible for much of the sound on Ocean Rain.  Leonard Cohen is known to have said that he loves this version and considers it a big improvement on his own recording which can be found on the Phil Spector-produced Death Of A Ladies’ Man.  Incidentally, the guitarist on this recording is none other than Will Sergeant….while Martin P Casey of The Bad Seeds and Grinderman contributes on bass

Side B

  1. The House Of Love – Who By Fire?
  2. Lloyd Cole – Chelsea Hotel #2
  3. John Cale – Hallelujah

Track 1 is rather lovely and shows a lesser known ballad-side to The House Of Love with Guy Chadwick in fine voice.

Track 2 is kind of Lloyd Cole by numbers but quite frankly that’s good enough for me on most occasions.

Track 3 is a rendition of a song which is now very well-known thanks to it being taken on for rendition by some non-entity or other in TV ‘talent’ shows but back in 1991 it was still a bit of a secret.  John Cale delivers a fragile but outstanding take with just himself on vocals and piano.  It’s as live…

Enjoy

SYNTH-POP DUOS

Quickfire question.

Name five 80s famous UK synth bands who were comprised of a duo?

Got your answer?   Great stuff.

I suspect that the majority of the lists would contain the likes of Pet Shop Boys, Soft Cell, OMD, Yazoo, Erasure and Eurythmics.  Maybe Tears for Fears would get the occasional shout (see what I did just there??).

But how many of you would have said Blancmange?

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They seemed to emerge in the wake of the overnight success of Soft Cell. But while Marc Almond always had something sinister and shady about his persona and Dave Ball looked sort of seedy and weird,  Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe were always seemingly clean-cut and good-living.

For a brief period between late 1982 and the summer of 84 they were vaguely famous in that they had six singles on the spin reach the Top 40. But prior to their commercial success they were seen by some as cutting edge, so much so there was a session recorded for John Peel which was broadcast in February 1982.

They first came to general attention via a song that just missed being a hit:-

mp3 : Blancmange – Feel Me

Just two months later however, they hit payola with a catchy as fuck ditty which blended synth pop with the music of the sub-continent thanks to the prominent use of sitar and tabla:-

mp3 : Blancmange – Living On The Ceiling

This #7 smash spent almost four months on the chart and when it eventually dropped out altogether, the record bosses cashed in by releasing a re-recorded version of the big ballad from the debut album:-

mp3 : Blancmange – Waves (12″ single version)

All of the above featured on Happy Families, the aforementioned debut album released in September 1982.  The sophomore effort, Mange Tout, appeared in May 1984 and included hit singles which were by now a year and six months old respectively, but that didn’t stop fans shelling out and the Top 10 album went ‘Gold’ with more than 100,000 sales in the UK.

But all of a sudden, the bubble burst.  The third album, Believe You Me released in late 1985, together with its three singles, proved to be a flop and the duo called it a day not long after.  However, like many others from the era, they came back to take advantage of the nostalgia industry around 80s pop but to their credit they went back into the studio in 2011 and recorded and released a brand new album more than quarter of a century on.

And that’s your potted history of a band, who as I say, are more often forgotten about than recalled. Oh and given it was pulling out the Waves single which prompted this piece, here’s its more experimental b-sides for your enjoyment:-

mp3 : Blancmange – Business Steps
mp3 : Blancmange – The Game Above My Head

The latter has a Paul Haig feel to it, certainly from his early 80s post Josef K era.

 

THE CINERAMA SINGLES (11)

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I mentioned last time round that you could do worse than track down a second-hand copy of Torino, the third studio LP from Cinerama that was released back in 2002. Here’s further evidence of how good a record it is, with this the third and final flop single lifted from it:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Careless

This was a low-key release which is no real surprise given that the world continued to more or less ignore Cinerama. David Gedge must have been pulling his hair out at the fact that bands whose four or five members had less collective talents than he had in his pinky finger were making fortunes while he was now playing venues that he could have filled three and four times over a decade earlier with his old band. The two new songs were seemingly cut around the same time as those that had made it on to Torino:-

mp3 : Cinerama – This Isn’t What It Looks Like
mp3 : Cinerama – Sparkle Lipstick

The fact was, Cinerama in a five-year period, had now released 3 albums and 11 singles of a very high standard to absolutely no avail. The fact too that the band, when playing live, were now sneaking the odd TWP number into the sets perhaps gave an inkling that David was mulling over what to do next……

B&S ON SUNDAYS (5)

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From wiki:-

“Legal Man” is a single released by Belle & Sebastian on Jeepster Records in 2000. The title track also features Jonny Quinn (on congas), Rozanne Suarez (on vocals) and The Maisonettes (on vocals). The cover features band members Stevie Jackson and Isobel Campbell along with Adrienne Payne and Rozanne Suarez. All three tracks from the single were later collected on the Push Barman to Open Old Wounds compilation. The track became their highest charting single up to that point, reaching #15 in the UK singles chart. They also made their debut on Top of the Pops to perform this song.

The two B-side tracks are notable for their historical significance; “Judy Is a Dick Slap” is the first instrumental released by the band, while “Winter Wooskie” is the third and final lead vocal from former bass player Stuart David, who left the band in 2000. Initially a demo, the track was completed by the other members after David’s departure as a farewell gesture.

The review from all music:-

I must admit that I have no idea what a “Legal Man” is-a pimp, a policeman, a meter maid? I’m clueless. This knowledge, however, is not necessary to enjoying this single. “Legal Man” find Belle and Sebastian picking up on the 60’s pop sound of “Lazy Line Painter Jane” complete with backing female vocalists The Maisonettes and, strangely, a sitar. An odd combination, but it works. The second track “Judy is a Dick Slap,” is perhaps the funniest B&S song ever. Mainly because of it’s rather, er, attention getting title, but subsequent lack of vocals. This, the first instrumental song by the band, is also an excellent joke. The final song, “Winter Wooskie” is a slower more tear-jerking ballad, but humorous as well-the object of the singers’ affection nearly sleeping though his ode. This record shows the band going forward, albeit in many different directions at once. Clearly there is some “growing” going on here, but it all seems a welcome step for the band.

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Legal Man
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Judy Is A Dick Slap
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Winter Wooskie

Legal Man was released in May 2000, some 18 months after This Is Just A Modern Rock Song. In the interim, Belle and Sebastian had picked up best new act at the 1999 Brit Awards, a result that had left many establishment figures in the music industry speechless.  What had happened was the vote for this award was open fully to the public with the winners fully anticipated to be Steps who had enjoyed a run of hit singles and massive media exposure; however, it was the first real used of internet voting and the B&S fanbase, many of them using their personal and student e-mail addresses, voted en masse and got the award.  The reaction of the tabloid press in the UK was hilarious – how dare a band who nobody had ever heard of it take such a prestigious award?

The new single was a dramatic shift in sound for the band.  It was aimed full-on at radio stations and it did get daytime play.  For many people, it was the first time they had bought a B&S record/CD.  I’m sure many of them would the following month go out and buy the new LP Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant and been bamboozled by the fact that none of the songs sounded anything like Legal Man!

 

BONUS POSTING : 53…..AND COUNTING

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mp3 : Various – 53….and counting

Please enjoy

Scot & Sagar – Barcelona
The Servants – The Sun A Small Star
The Go-Betweens – A Head Full Of Steam
Honeyblood – Bud
Lush – Ladykillers
Modest Mouse – Float On
Memphis – You Supply The Roses
Arab Strap – The Shy Retirer
Tracey Thorn – Hands Up To The Ceiling
Bjork/David Arnold – Play Dead
Butcher Boy – Profit In Your Poetry
Pulp – Lipgloss
Sons & Daughters – Dance Me In (single mix)
Cats On Fire – My Friend In A Comfortable Chair
The Pastels – Baby Honey
The Smiths – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
John Cooper Clarke – I Married A Monster From Outer Space

53:36. 17 seconds short of nailing it!!

A LAZY STROLL DOWN MEMORY LANE : 45 45s AT 45 (1)

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON WEDNESDAY 18 JUNE 2008
(and again on 8 November 2013)

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I’m not sure how many singles are released in the UK every week. Let’s guesstimate at 200.

If so, this would mean that since 1 April 1982, there have more than 250,000 bits of product originally designed to rotate on a turntable at 45rpm made available to the great British public. And not one of them has been as majestic as the work of art and genius that is Temptation by New Order.

Yup, that’s the song I consider to be my all time favourite 45 on the very day that I turn 45. And given it has held down the position for 26 years, 2 months and 18 days, its likely to hold the coveted slot for quite a while yet. At least till I’m 78 I reckon….

I’ve loads of great memories associated with this song.

My then closest friend called me up one day to say that he’d gotten his hands on the latest New Order single. He said that it wasn’t like any of the previous two releases – Ceremony and Procession – but it was something that had to be heard to be believed. I immediately got on my bike and cycled the couple of miles to his house for a listen. My mate handed me the single and invited me to place it on the turntable. He then left the room and said he’d be back in a minute or two but I was to give him my initial impression.

I thought it was appalling. There was something just not quite right about it, and who was this new vocalist that had been drafted in with his helium-like voice? My mate came back in and asked me what I thought. I looked him in the eye and asked him if he’d gone off his head as it was dreadful. It was then he burst out laughing and let-on that the single was to be played, not at 45rpm, but at 33 and 1/3 rpm….

Which I did…..and immediately fell in love with the hypnotic and robotic rhythm pulsating from the cheap speakers. This was the New Order that Tony Wilson and Rob Gretton had been been promising us for so long – and the song that finally got them to emerge from the shadows of Joy Division and stand on their own eight feet.

I don’t know how many times we played that record back-to-back that night, but a few hours later, I was back on my bike on the way home singing different snatches of the song, a cassette recording in my pocket and looking forward to buying my very own copy the following day after I’d borrowed some money from my mum.

I was lucky enough to go into a record shop which had an assistant who asked ‘Do you want the 7” or 12” version?”, and my choice of the 12” turned out be inspired.

It was quite unlike the 7” which was by now so familiar to me. The sleeve was slightly different, it had a different introduction and it rotated on the turntable at 45 rpm. It also sounded, to my ears at least, a perfect recording whereas the 7″ seemed now to be something spliced up to come in at under 5 minutes for radio play….

Now it was my turn to phone my mate and get him on his bike down to my house, where he grudgingly accepted that the 12” version was superior.

It was all a bit disappointing that Temptation didn’t make the band instant superstars – I was a bit worried that having made such a masterpiece that did next-to-nothing, New Order would soon either choose to break-up or maybe just fade into obscurity..

Instead, the band just got bigger and better in so many ways over the next 10 years or so.

And with the inclusion of a new version of Temptation on the phenomenally-successful soundtrack to the film Trainspotting, the song finally got some long-overdue recognition and acknowledgment.

Which brings me to another story (if you’ll indulge me…)

I’d like to think that this series has highlighted how important my time at University was in terms of really developing a passion for music. Most of my weekends between late-1981 and mid-1985 were spent in various parts of the Students Union at Strathclyde University – be it Level 8 for gigs and the ‘popular’ indie-disco, or the smaller downstairs converted dining-room for the more obscure stuff mixed in with the Goths.

Upon graduating, I moved to Edinburgh to live and work and I reckoned that I’d never set foot in the building again. Which I didn’t……

………until 12 years later when I accompanied a local dignitary who I worked for as he had the task of giving a welcome speech as part of an event for the fresh intake of students in September 1997. The location was the newly furbished Level 8 of the very building that I had spent so many happy nights. I was a bit unsure of myself as I got into the lift to go up the 8 floors of the building where maybe 300 or so students were patiently waiting for the formalities to begin. As I stepped into the space, my jaw visibly dropped at how different it all looked….the makeover had changed the old haunt beyond recognition……but the real shock was to hear that the song coming over the speakers was Temptation. I was a bit spooked to say the least…

It turned out that the CD to the Trainspotting soundtrack was what was being played, but to have arrived at that moment as Barney was singing about grey eyes, green eyes and blue eyes was really disconcerting…

But it’s not just the stories and memories that makes this song so very special.

The 12” version of this song is so joyously infectious that you can’t help but sing along. Its so incredibly catchy that you can’t stop yourself dancing. Its also a track that has often been a live tour-de-force at New Order gigs. The early 90s documentary ‘New Order Story’ has got an especially incredible version recorded live at Montreux in Switzerland…

I don’t know how many times I’ve played Temptation. It was a near staple inclusion on all the compilation tapes I used to make, and I still include one version or another of it on many of the playlists compiled for the I-pod. I have never ever grown bored by it, and know that I never will.

And…..as I mentioned above, there’s also the fact that it did so much to establish New Order as an act in their own image, and not just three seemingly non-descript blokes and a shy girl looking to carry on where Joy Division had left off.

I’ve never seen anyone quite like you before. No I’ve never heard anyone quite like you before.

mp3 : New Order – Temptation (12 inch version)
mp3 : New Order – Hurt (12 inch version)

PS :

Bonus Birthday mix-tape for you all…..see above!!

 

THE £20 CHALLENGE (Week Eight)

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JC writes…..

With apologies for the non-appearance last Friday of this deservedly popular feature. It was down to ‘technical difficulties’.  Over now to Tim……………

It was quite late when SWC turned up at my house to give me this weeks CD. He had been to the gym first – he is in training for a half marathon in October – the last time he run one he pulled a ligament in his groin and couldn’t walk for six days (seriously he couldn’t even lift his leg to pull up his trousers) – saying that he still finished it in less than one and a half hours – which is about thirty minutes quicker than I could run it without a knackered groin. Anyway, he was popping by to drop off the CD and some files I needed for work the next day. He looked a bit flustered.

“What’s Up?” I asked him.

“Well” he said, “after I’d finished at the gym, I went and got showered and all that – and as I was getting out of the shower, I saw a man”.

Now there is nothing unusual in this, it’s a gym, its full of men. Then he continued, I realised he was just sipping his cuppa, he was probably just using what writers call ‘dramatic effect’. “He was naked – and stood in front of the mirror”. Another sip of tea. More ‘dramatic effect’.

“Then I realised he was hairdrying his balls”.

Ok the dramatic effect was worthwhile.

“Its unsettled me slightly, I mean why would you do that – he was proper going for it as well – leg on the little block thing, tackle out, full power, I didn’t know what to do, whether to look, laugh or cringe, so I kind of did all three”. Another bigger sip of tea.

“I wouldn’t mind, but it’s the second bit of strange behaviour I’ve seen from a naked man today”. Another sip.

“Go on” I say, feeling a bit like Sigmund Freud.

“Well at lunchtime, I went out for a walk to get a sandwich and I wandered down to the river to sit and eat it – and there was a guy swimming naked in the river – he just turned up, on a bike, stripped off and jumped in. There was a party of hikers wandering around too.”

“Well naked swimming is pretty popular in the countryside” I offer as consolation. Also this is true, if you are ever in Dartington, South Devon pop down to Dartington Estate and go down to the river around 2pm you will find its full of naked old guys swimming. You’ve be warned.

“Yes, but when he’d finished, he wandered over and asked me if I knew the way to bus station. Bold as Brass. Stark Bollock Naked – I mean usually I don’t give directions to naked people. I mean why he couldn’t put some pants on first, I have no idea. Got any biscuits?

Luckily SWC was fully clothed when he asked me this. I tend not to share my biscuits with naked people. Well naked men at the very least.

I changed the subject and talked about the memory stick full of music that he gave me last week. Which as usual contained a load of music by a load of bands that I have never heard of.

In the last six weeks I have received music from bands such as Demob Happy, Hippo Campus, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Wall, Whitney, The Goon Sax and Arbor Labor Union. All of which are brilliant, and are bands I would have never had listened to unless he had not offered them up to me. Suffice to say they all come highly recommended. Particularly the last two.

mp3 : Arbor Labor Union – Mr Birdsong.

mp3 : The Goon Sax –Sometimes Accidentally

These two bands have quietly released two of the finest records of the year – and I would have missed them. The first is according to SWC ‘Playful, psychedelic, joyful, slightly bonkers rock and roll’. The second – ‘the best thing to come out of Australia since Kylie”. He is right, of course about both.

Oh incidentally, The Goon Sax feature on vocals, the son of one of the Go Betweens (Robert Forster) and let’s just say the song writing gene is very strong.

SWC gave me this weeks CD – and it was ‘Late Registration’ by your friend and mine Kanye West.

Sometime earlier in the year, SWC wrote an ICA for this blog under a pseudonym on Kanye West and in doing so he completely changed my opinion on Kanye West. Not only was the music on it incredible but it was way in which he convinced me that he is worth a second, third and fourth listen. For what its worth those who claim Kanye’s antics hinder his work are missing the point. His self-importance is obvious, the arrogance is pre –prepared and that is what makes him the most interesting hip hop figure in recent year. That’s the reason why its him heading Glastonbury and not Nelly or 50 Cent (remember him?). Its soul, not sales.

I’ve come late to the Kanye party – this is officially the only Kanye album I now own – but what an album. I couldn’t tell you a thing about hip hop and as 48 and a half year old, white middle class man I have no intention of even trying, but you should own this album regardless of well anything.

‘Late Registration’ was his second album and it is a bleeding masterpiece. Seriously. Incredible. Its buoyant, enthusiastic, visionary, expansive and everything that a hip hop album (probably) should be.

“I got it from the Animals In Distress Charity Shop in Dawlish for 50p”. He said. “Better than a pair of hairdried bollocks that”.

Quite.  Here’s some tunes

Touch The Sky

Gold Digger

Diamonds From Sierra Leone

Crack Music

The Skinny

Bought From Animals In Distress – Dawlish

Price – 50p

Money Left £6.50

Weeks Left – 2

And because we have £6.50 left we have raised the price of the last CD to £3.

TIM