I’ve never hidden my love for cover versions having featured many hundreds of them over the years at this and the old blog. Here’s three of the more unusual examples of the genre that I’m fond of:-

mp3 : Black Box Recorder – Uptown Top Ranking

Yup, it is a cover of the #1 single by Althea & Donna back in February 1978…..one that takes what was a perfect pop/reggae single and turns it something quite disturbing and haunting. Not sure how many of you will actually like it, but there’s something quite erotic about the vocal delivery by Sarah Nixey ‘see me in my halter back, see me give you heart attack, give me little bass, let me wind up my waist…’

mp3 : Martin Gore – Loverman

Yup, it’s the fella out of a band that I was never that keen on after Vince Clarke left them….this takes something that was quite disturbing and haunting and turns into something quite poppy and disposable. Not sure how many of you will actually like it….I mean where Nick Cave sounded menacing and a danger to society, this could almost pass as a version you’d hear on Pop Idol or X-Factor.

mp3 : Cake – I Will Survive

The best cover versions are by those bands and singers that take something incredibly well-known and turn into something that something that sounds like one of their own originals (see The Wedding Present on just about every occasion). If you like the sort of stuff churned-out over the years by Californian alt-rock act Cake, then you’ll adore this. If you consider the disco-classic to be sacred, you’ll hate it. For the record, I adore the original, but I want to be counted in, if not quite a loverman of the cover, then an admirer.



There was a request made recently for a Johnny Marr ICA to complement the efforts (# 96 and #97) afforded to his former band mate.

What follows aren’t by any stretch of the imagination the best tracks that he’s played on but they do serve to highlight some of the diverse acts he’s been involved in, either as a member or as a guest musician, presumably being paid union rates.

Side A

1. Native Land – Everything But The Girl (1984)

So let’s start by actually featuring something he played on while he was in The Smiths. I wrote about this on the old blog back in 2011 and will just regurgitate those words one more time:-

The decade that was the 80s is one that divides opinion on whether it was a good era for music. On the one hand, there were some really appalling things inflicted upon us…..Jive Bunny, Shakin Stevens, Joe Dolce, The Birdie Song, Cliff Richard being #1 every Xmas, Bucks Fizz, T’Pau, Bowie & Jagger destroying Dancing In The Streets, Agafuckingdoo, Phil Collins, Billy Joel and soap stars becoming pop stars (Kylie Minogue excepted!!)

But on the other…..well, there’s been loads of great and often long-forgotten bands featured here on TVV which hopefully more than make up for the monstrosities listed above (many of which remain staple diets of loads of ‘classic’ radio and video stations).

The track featured today came up on random shuffle on the i-pod the other day. It’s one that sums up a lot of the 80s for me….new emerging bands that made intelligent pop records that were jaunty and upbeat…the soundtrack to the seemingly continuous demonstrations against the bomb, nuclear power, the ideologically-driven attacks against the coal industry, the apartheid regime, homophobia, racism and Thatcher/Reagan. Every other weekend in 1984 I seemed to be off somewhere or other determined to make my voice heard…

The line-up on this single was an indie supergroup with Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt being joined by Phil Moxham of Young Marble Giants fame on bass and June Miles Kingston who was part of Fun Boy Three and later on was with The Communards playing drums. Oh and Johnny Marr played harmonica…..

The single should have been a big hit. But it only reached #73 and it would take another four years and a cover version for EBTG to enjoy real success.

(The b-side of this single, Riverbed Dry, is at the foot of this post as an mp3; but Jonny didn’t play on that)

2. Up Against It – Pet Shop Boys (1996)

Johnny had of course worked previously with Neil Tennant in the early days of Electronic and so it can’t have been too much of a surprise to receive a call asking if he could add his talents to what they felt was a ‘guitar-sounding song’ that was to feature on the next Pet Shop Boys LP. The song turned out to be Up Against It which is tucked away as the eighth track on Bilingual – the backing vocals on the song were seemingly an idea hatched by Johnny in the studio on the day he went into record his part.

3. Get The Message  – Electronic (1991)

I love how the first few bars of are so reminiscent of a slowed-down Bigmouth Strikes Again before Bernard Sumner adds his special ingredients via the keyboards and vocals. In 2007 Johnny Marr said it was “…maybe the track I’m most proud of out of my whole career”, while in June 2009 he reiterated that it was “the best song I’ve written”. That’s good enough for me to make it the centrepiece of the first side of this ICA.

4. Rolling Back The Rivers In Time – Girls Aloud (2008)

As part of a feature in music magazine in 2012, Johnny was asked ‘ What possessed you to work on Girls Aloud’s last album?’

His reply was that he was evangelical about pop music and the idea that pop is crass and commercial is an old-fashioned rockist conceit linked to the whole “Disco Sucks” campaign. He added that he had always seen The Smiths as a pop group and cited that Sparks, Roxy Music, Bowie and Sweet all made great pop 45s, stating that he wanted to hold on to the nobility and aspirations of pop, and what it can be.

Until I looked at what could feature on this ICA, I had no idea he had played with Girls Aloud. Makes me smile and a wee bit proud that as far back as December 2006, over on the old blog, I sang the praises of this particular all-girl band. I revisited the post in August 2013.

5. Love Is Stronger Than Death – The The (1993)

Strange as it may seem, but Johnny was part of The The for a longer period that he was in The Smiths, albeit his tenure from 1988-1994 only involved two albums, both of which were the most commercially successful in the long career of Matt Johnson. This wonderfully sad song, written by Matt following the death of his brother, is as far removed from the sound of early The The as can be imagined – indeed, it is such a powerfully delivered number that you can imagine it belonging to the arsenal of the big stadium rockers of the era – but thanks to Johnny’s contribution on guitar and harmonica nobody, no matter how talented they are as a vocalist and whoever they got in beside them to work on the arrangement, could dream of ever topping the original version….which may well be why nobody has tried (to the best of my knowledge).


1. Shirley – Billy Bragg (1986)

This is the a different recording of Greetings To The New Brunette, the track which opened the LP Talking With The Taxman About Poetry. Much more of a band effort than the better known version, there’s a lot of Johnny on guitars and harmonica. Was tough to not feature Kirsty MacColl on backing vocals but I can more than make up for that with….

2. Walking Down Madison (LP version) – Kirsty MacColl (1991)

As mentioned in a previous posting, it was just a week after the break-up of The Smiths that Johnny penned a tune which he quickly sent onto Kirsty who, at the time, was needing a bit of help overcoming writer’s block. Although it would take four more years before the tune was made available, the addition of lyrics, melody and a touch of rap brought about a Top 30 hit in the summer of 1991.

3. European Me – Johnny Marr (2013)

His decision to throw caution to the wind by writing and recording under his own name, and indeed taking lead vocal, took a fair few folk by surprise. There’s nothing particularly earth-shattering about the songs on the two albums to date – The Messenger (2013) and Playland (2014) – with them being a blend of solid guitar solos and melodies tacked onto the verse-chorus-verse approach that has been the most solid of foundations for rock and pop music since the genres came into being. What was more interesting was that he threw himself wholeheartedly into being an out-and-out frontman for the first time in his career which, in a live setting, meant also singing lead on numbers he had written with Morrissey. It was a beautiful contrast that he was determined to play the songs as close to the renditions from the 80s as possible while his more esteemed former band member was going down ever increasingly rockier takes to utilise the talents of his own backing musicians.

It also meant that Johnny had to face up to and deal with questions from the press on the increasingly bizarre outbursts from Moz, including his views and opinions on race and politics; to his credit, Johnny has more or less avoided any slanging matches simply pointing out that his own beliefs on what makes a just society haven’t changed all that much since he was a teenager. Given all this, I felt the title of this song made it a certainty for the ICA. Oh and for the fact it owes more than a small debt to Penelope Tree by Felt.

4. Dashboard – Modest Mouse (2005)

I can’t claim to be any sort of expert on Modest Mouse; I do know however, that their 2004 single Float On is an exceptionally enjoyable few minutes of indie pop music. That however, pre-dated Johnny joining the band in 2006, being part of the ensemble who wrote, recorded and toured the LP We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank which hit the shops the following year.

The album got a lot of positive reviews and featured highly in a number of end of year critics polls, but I’ve always found it a bit of a difficult listen with too many of the songs seeming to last maybe 45 seconds or a minute beyond what they should have been – almost as if the musicians were just to keen to show off their skills at the expense of tightening up on the numbers. It’s also in many places, very reminiscent of the sort of music that had propelled Arcade Fire to fame and fortune. The lead single, which appeared some two months in advance of the release of the album, remains a very fine listen, clearly benefitting from Johnny’s input as a player and writer.

(as with the EBTG single, I’ve made the b-side available as a bonus track to the ICA)

5. Hand In Glove – Sandie Shaw (1984)

The debut single by The Smiths had been a relative flop. Now that they were famous and the ever-increasing numbers of fans were snapping up everything, the idea of re-releasing Hand In Glove with Sandie Shaw on lead vocal was an inspired one. The three boys in the band re-recorded their bits and Moz watched on from the sidelines as Sandie demonstrated how to give it the big vocal treatment. It reached #27 in April 1984, enabling an appearance on Top of The Pops in which they boys appeared sans shoes in homage to the singer as she had done this more often than not at the height of her fame in the 60s. Sandie kind of threw Moz shapes in what has become a legendary performance.


Bonus songs:-

mp3 : Everything But The Girl – Riverbed Dry
mp3 : Modest Mouse – King Rat



I had this crazy notion that I’d go out and find cover versions of all the singles that were released on Postcard Records and pull together a short series for the blog. Indeed it crossed my mind to make it a regular for Sundays over the next few months.

But finding this stopped me in my tracks.

Try as I can, I’m unable to give you anymore info on this amazing piece of footage from Japan. They also lovingly do another great Postcard record:-

Oh well…….here’s the one Postcard cover most folk will be aware of.

mp3 : Propaganda – Sorry For Laughing

And no, that’s not meant as an intentional pun on the video clips which I happen to think are quite brilliant.



I don’t feature The Undertones too often on this blog, mainly as I have a huge dislike for Feargal Sharkey in his latter-day role in the music industry when he was the bulldog who attacked bloggers.

But it does make sense to have them follow on from Buzzcocks in this slot given that they too have reformed and enjoyed success in the live setting many years after first bursting onto the scene. I was actually due to go and see them in Glasgow just over two weeks past, but a bout of ill-health confined me to the house (it also prevented me seeing Trash Can Sinatras a few days prior).  I’m told I missed two unforgettable evenings by those who were there.

It’s worth using suff from wiki to get an idea of how The Undertones came into being:-

The Undertones formed in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1974. The band members were five friends from Creggan and the Bogside, who originally drew inspiration from such artists as the Beatles, Small Faces and Lindisfarne. The band initially rehearsed cover versions at the home of the guitarists, brothers John and Vincent O’Neill, and in the shed of a neighbour. In early 1976, before the band had played gigs at any venues, Vincent O’Neill left the band being replaced by his younger brother Damian.

Beginning in February 1976 the group began playing at various minor local venues, including schools, parish halls and scout huts, where the band’s lead singer, Feargal Sharkey, was a local scout leader. With the arrival of punk rock in late 1976, the artistic focus of the band changed. Artists such as the Adverts, Sex Pistols, the Buzzcocks and, particularly, the Ramones became major influences on the Undertones.

By 1977 the band were performing their own three-chord pop punk material alongside cover versions at concerts. By mid-year they performed concerts outside Derry for the first time. In March 1978, the Undertones recorded a demo tape at Magee University in Derry and sent copies of the tape to various record companies in the hope of securing a record deal, but only received official letters of rejection.

The band had also sent a copy of their recordings to influential BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, requesting he play the songs on his radio programme. Peel replied to the band, offering to pay for a recording session in Belfast. On 16 June 1978, the band recorded their debut four-song EP “Teenage Kicks” on a budget of only £200. The EP was engineered by Davy Shannon at Wizard Sound Studios, Belfast – and was released on Belfast’s Good Vibrations record label. The title song became a hit with support from John Peel, who considered Teenage Kicks his all-time favourite song, an opinion he held until his death in 2004.

In June 1978, these were the ages of the band members:-

Feargal Sharkey (vocalist) : 19
John O’Neill (rhythm guitar/vocals) : 20
Damian O’Neill (lead guitar/vocals) : 17
Michael Bradley (bass) : 18
Billy Doherty (drums) : 19

It’s genuinely scary that five blokes as young as that could come up something as unforgettable as this:-

mp3 : The Undertones – Teenage Kicks

The song dated back some 12 months prior to its recording and so its writer, John O’Neill was still in his teens at the time. Within a month of it being released on Good Vibrations the band had been snapped by Sire Records who re-released it on 14 October 1977. Three weeks later, it peaked at #31 in the UK singles charts.

A copy of the single on Good Vibrations is worth a small fortune nowadays.  Sire had the decency to include all four tracks when they released it.

mp3 : The Undertones – Smarter Than U
mp3 : The Undertones – True Confessions
mp3 : The Undertones – Emergency Cases

Four songs with a combined running time of under 8 minutes. An EP completely of its time and yet timeless. Oh and the use of the letter ‘U’ instead of the word predates that very practice by Prince by quite a few years. Maybe the purple one had picked up a copy while browsing through the record stores of Minneapolis….

Oh and if True Confessions had been released on its own as a 45, it would be surely been a massive hit and almost as fondly regarded as the lead song.




From wiki:-

Douglas Veitch, better known as Champion Doug Veitch (born 1960, Hawick, Scotland) is a Scottish musician and songwriter.

The self-styled ‘King of Caledonian Swing’ rose to some prominence in the mid 1980s.A favourite of John Peel, for whom he recorded two radio sessions, he holds the record for having most (six) consecutive NME singles of the week. His music was a ground-breaking polycultural mix, using elements from dub, reggae, country Music and Scottish folk music, which foretold the cross cultural mixing more common in later years.

In 1985, he co-founded the label DiscAfrique with his colleague Owen Elias, which was one of the first world music labels in the United Kingdom, releasing records by The Bhundu Boys, Orchestre Baobab and The Four Brothers amongst others.

In 1989, he released an album of Scottish country dance music with his wife under the moniker Martin, Doug and Sara.

And from his own website, a more recent update:-

In 1989, Doug released a compilation album, “The Original”, which included all the singles plus tracks from radio sessions.

This album featured all of Doug’s musical influences, from Country, Reggae, Mariachi, Western Swing, Cajun through to the High Life guitar music of Ghana. The album gained much media attention from the press. Despite renewed interest, Doug remained a virtual recluse and could not be persuaded to perform live.

However, in the summer of 2014, Doug replied to a Facebook post from Pete Lawrence (Making Waves) regarding “Reeling” – an album of Scottish dance music that Doug had released with Martin Bell. This led to a discussion on the prospect of playing a live gig. After a gap of some thirty years and largely due to the efforts of Martin in sourcing a truly all-star band, in February 2015, Champion Doug Veitch made a “triumphant and joyous” return at the 100 Club in London.


I only own a couple of the singles from the 80s and one of these has featured previously on the blog. So here’s the other:-

mp3 : Champion Doug Leitch – Jumping Into Love

From 1985. It didn’t chart.



An Imaginary Compilation – The Libertines

This the second half of the journey back from Cambridgeshire – the sister bit to SWC’s one about the Jesus and Mary Chain (oh and I agree – where was ‘Upside Down’). Its been delayed a bit because events overtook us. I did start it – I’d chosen the tracks and had actually written the majority of it but then my bollocks swelled up and I kind of forgot about everything, which I think you can forgive. Everything from the words ‘The Journey…’ was written about eight weeks ago, it sat unloved on my computer at home. I only found it this morning and added this paragraph.

The journey back was thankfully uneventful, apart from the service station incident.

We stopped off at a Service Station on the M42, I think it was called Hopwood Park, it was very good. We are sitting in the café and SWC is warbling on at me about the football, he moaning that his team have lost again, but I am distracted.

Sitting opposite me, with a lady who has her back to me, is Keith Chegwin. Cheggers Plays Pop, tackle out for a Channel Five Game Show, Keith Chegwin. He is drinking a large cup of coffee and has what looks like a Burger King Whopper and Supersized Fries in front of him. Its definitely him. I’d recognised his squashed up, punched too often by Edmonds, face any day of the week. I haven’t been this excited about seeing a celebrity since the time that Martin Clunes stood behind me in Exeter’s Marks and Spencers and I’ve taken a piss next to Chris Kamara, so you can imagine how excited I am.

SWC stops and moans at me a bit more “Are you even listening to me, I said, that’s what we get for appointing ex Spurs players as a manager”.

I shake my head and mouth ‘Cheggers is behind you’.

“What?” he says.

I don’t want to draw attention to the fact, that its him. Literally no one else has approached him although, a women keeps looking at him and smiling – I mean why wouldn’t you – its Cheggers.

I text SWC. Yes, I know he is sitting opposite me, but I can’t just tell him, what if Cheggers hears me. “Keith Chegwin is sitting behind you and he has tomato sauce on his shirt” (he has, he has made the school boy error of trying to eat his burger in one go and the sauce has squirted out) I type. SWC’s phone buzzes and he looks at it – then looks at me, and then looks at the text again.

He texts back “Why didn’t you say so?” , he then does this little turny head thing and pretends that he is tying his shoelace before declaring “yup its definitely him, shall we go and say hello, I wish I’d bought my copy of Brown Sauce’s ‘I wanna be a winner’ with me. I could have doubled the price of it by getting it signed.”

“You don’t own that” I say

“I bloody do, I got it on 7” for 50p at a boot fair in Axminster about four years ago – along with ‘Atmosphere’ by Russ Abbot, ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’ by Adam Ant and ‘D.I.S.C.O’ by Ottawan but only because it had a French version on it. The I stands for ‘Incroyable’, total spend 80p”.

I look up, the women from across the seating is now having her photo taken with Chegwin. He gives her a peck on the cheek, much to her delight. A few more people, mainly sad older women in sports casuals are now starting to queue up to have their photo taken. Cheggers is loving it though, despite the fact that he has tomato ketchup on his face and shirt and his chips are getting cold. Come to think of it, he’s a bit of an idiot.

“The moment has gone” I say to SWC, who looks disappointed and we finished our drinks and get up to leave, not before I say, rather too loudly, “John Craven would have never had his photograph taken with tomato sauce on his face”. SWC nods in agreement before adding “and I always preferred Philbin. I’m pretty sure that Cheggers heard us, because he has wiped the sauce of his face and is scowling slightly.

Back to the music, which what we are here for after all. The 11th song was by The Libertines. This feels me with joy, I already knew this when we saw Cheggers, it kind of was the precursor to a great day. A tremendous choice. When I told SWC told JC about our randomly picked choices he said “It just goes to show, crap football equals excellent ICA’s”. Absolutely.

So – an ICA on the Libertines – here goes – I’ve tried to keep it singles light and I have completely ignored the third album on the grounds of being utter rubbish. I’ve kept the notes short because the tunes speak for themselves.

Side One

Can’t Stand Me Now – Single

I’ll start at the very top I think. Easily the bands finest moment, and put simply one of the greatest indie guitar records of the last fifteen years or so. I would imagine that you all own this. I wanted to include it over at my place in the WYCRA 200 (sorry shameless plug that) but we’d already featured it before so had to leave it out – but had we it would have been Number 7 in that list.

Don’t Look Back Into The Sun – Single

The song that replaced ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ in the WYCRA 200 and therefore the band’s second finest moment. The single that was supposed to be the ‘goodbye’ record from them. Again I’d be surprised if anyone reading this didn’t already own a copy. So let’s go down the slightly obscure route…

The Delaney – Taken from ‘I Get Along EP

I saw Babyshambles live a few times and was once surprised to hear them playing this, but then again this has always been something of a fans favourite. The original version appears as the B Side to the second Libs single ‘Up the Bracket’. Easy to see why it’s a fans favourite though.

All At Sea – Taken from ‘What Became of the Likely Lads?’

This was originally supposed to have been on the debut album but was scrapped at the very last minute, and then surfaced as the B Side to the ‘…Likely lads?’ single. It also happens to be an outstanding little track.

Music When the Lights Go Out – Taken from ‘The Libertines’

Peter Doherty once played this track live on Newsnight and again is a tremendous little song. It is that is credited to Peter Doherty and Carl Barat and appears on the second album. The song deals with the problems of trying to end a relationship. It was one of the first songs (along with ‘Albion’ that Doherty wrote (and I cut ‘Albion’ to include it). It is also a song that apparently Pete and Carl physically fought over during the second album sessions because of the way that they wanted to record it.

Side Two

Boys In the Band – taken from ‘Up the Bracket’

Apparently named after a 1970 film of the same name, which was one of the first films to openly address gay issues. This song however is about groupies and how they follow and worship bands. It is a song about attention and how easy it is to get it when you are a boy in a band. The line ‘And they all get them out for the boys in the band’ is apparently about red carpets. So they say.

Never Never – Taken from ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ single

Another firm fans favourite and again a track that was meant for an album but was cut at the last minute. The original version of this was called ‘Never Never (Hancock)’ and was something of a mythical release in which the band recorded the track and added a load of samples from the Hancock Half Hour TV Programme. The recording as far I know was never (never) released.

Death on the Stairs – taken from ‘Up the Bracket’

Carls favourite Libertines song and one that the band have admitted that they find very hard to play live. This is largely because the band could never seem to get it right. The song is about madness and Carl often refers to seeing himself sitting alone in a bedsit eating beans of toast and he called that feeling ‘Death on the Stairs’. Although Pete claims that they called it that because they got thrown out of a record company’s office and down the stairs. Personally I believe Pete.

What Became of the Likely Lads – Single

The bands eventual final single (before the reformation). The song is obviously about the breakdown of the band – you can hear that in the lyrics “What became of the dreams we had?” and “What became of forever?”. Its another brilliant sad, although one tinged with sadness and poignancy. Interestingly the video shows footage of two young boys (actors) on a council estate, which is implied to be Pete and Carl (but in reality can’t be them)

I Get Along – From ‘Up the Bracket’

The first Libertines song I ever heard. It was the second track on their debut single ‘What A Waster’. That song was written by Doherty about Doherty and the legend goes that ‘I Get Along’ was written by Barat about Barat. It was eventually released as a single on its own and famously Doherty forgot to turn up for the video shoot.

Thanks for reading…I’m off to stalk John Craven.



I said most of what I had to say yesterday. Here’s some more great songs.

Side One

That Way from Before Hollywood (1983) : lead vocal by Grant McLennan

Until now, I don’t think I, or indeed anyone, has ever opened up an ICA with the closing track of an LP. It just goes to show how many great songs there were back in the day that they could put this gem at the end.  It certainly would make you want to get up and turn the record back over immediately.

The House That Jack Kerouac Built from Tallulah (1987) : lead vocal by Robert Forster

Having failed to crack open the markets with the first four albums, everyone involved threw the kitchen sink and the rest into the recording of Tallulah including the addition of a fifth member on violin and oboe. It was a record greeted with some scepticism on its release as a result of to its lush production and move away from indie-guitar pop, but which is now regarded as a bona-fide classic.

The Wrong Road from Liberty Belle and The Black Diamond Express (1986) : lead vocals by Grant McLennan

The thing is, the path that would lead to Tallulah had in some ways been set by this track from the album released the previous year.  The addition of violin, cellos, viola and organ take this to places the band hadn’t explored before and the result was one of their finest ever songs.  Epic.

Was There Anything I Could Do? from 16 Lovers Lane (1988) : lead vocals by Grant McLennan

FFS. How did this single not get any airplay?

Surfing Magazines from The Friends of Rachel Worth (2000) : lead vocal by Robert Forster

Here’s a band that came out with some of the best lyrics of their generation falling back on a variation of la-la-la-la-la for the chorus and pulling it off with some style.

Side Two

Bye Bye Pride from Talullah (1987) : lead vocal by Grant McLennan

In which the decision to bring in a new member who plays oboe is totally justified in four minutes flat.

Rock and Roll Friend b-side to Was There Anything I Could Do? (1988) : lead vocal by Robert Forster

A song that became synonymous with Robert’s efforts to get back in the saddle after Grant’s shock death in 2006.  It must have been very tempting just to pack it all in. Instead, he went into the studio and recorded The Evangelist, his first solo LP in 12 years and hit the road and in every show he played this (a song he had re-recorded himself in 1996) and dedicated to his late band mate.  It’s worthy of a place on this ICA for that alone notwithstanding it is such a fine number.

I Just Get Caught Out from Tallulah (1987) : lead vocal by Robert Forster

Another great little failure of a pop single.  I defy you to listen and not dance.

Dusty In Here from Before Hollywood (1983) : lead vocal by Grant McLennan

A  ballad just to mix things up a bit and because it fits in well at this point on this ICA.

Dive For Your Memory from 16 Lovers Lane (1988) : lead vocal by Robert Forster

Couldn’t think of a more fitting way to end this ICA. The other song that Robert often dedicates nowadays to Grant; there’s something poignant that he once wrote a line ‘I miss my friend.’

Don’t we all?

Bonus 45 : The debut single from 1978.

mp3 : The Go-Betweens : Lee Remick
mp3 : The Go-Betweens : Karen

Tune in tomorrow for ICA #100 as it features a tale and a half from Badger.


Continuing the headlong rush towards #100 in the series.

It’s impossible to do justice to The Go-Betweens in one ICA, so here’s the first of two successive days of me tearing what little is left of my hair out to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

Side One

Man O’ Sand To Girl O’ Sea single (1983) : lead vocal by Robert Forster

As I’ve said before, the single (and its b-side) which was indirectly responsible for me starting to blog back in 2006.  An absolute belter of a 45 – but let’s face it they all were – and a completely different version from that found on the LP Spring Hill Fair. Angular guitars, a pleading desperate lyric and a rhythm section that drives things along to a perfect beat….oh and not forgetting the vocal harmonies.  Perfection in just under three and a half minutes.

Streets Of Your Town from 16 Lovers Lane (1988) : lead vocal by Grant McLennan

See that thing I mentioned about perfection….feel free to apply it to this too. This was rightly released as a single and was the closest they ever got to a chart hit…..when it reached #80.  There’s all the evidence you need to realise just how criminally ignored this band throughout a stellar career that saw nine studio albums all told (six in the period 81-88 and three when they later re-formed between 2000-2005, the last of these being just 12 months ahead of Grant’s unexpected death from a heart attack at the early age of 48)

Going Blind from The Friends Of Rachel Worth (2000) : lead vocal by Grant McLennan

The re-formed band was Grant & Robert with musicians who hadn’t been part of the original line-up but whose pedigree was incredibly impressive.  The keyboards came from Sam Coomes who has long been an integral part of the USA west coast indie scene while his then wife, Janet Weiss, played the drums.  On this track, Janet was joined in the studio by her two fellow band mates from Sleater-KinneyCorin Tucker on vocals and Carrie Brownstein on guitar.  This indie super-group in turn gave us something delightfully 80s at the turn of the century.

Here Comes A City from Oceans Apart (2005) : lead vocal by Robert Forster

If you need proof that the second incarnation of the band could make music that was as enjoyably catchy and infectious as in their mid 80s pomp, then look no further than this, the opening track of what proved to be their final ever record.  Sure, it owes a lot to the style and delivery of David Byrne but there’s little wrong with that.

Spring Rain from Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express (1986) : lead vocal by Robert Forster

Yet another flop single.  It always bemused me that so few fans of The Smiths fell for the charms of The Go-Betweens given the fact that the two bands were responsible for the best indie-pop with a guitar bent of the era.

Side Two

Right Here from Talullah (1987) : lead vocal by Grant McLennan

Another great pop song that was given a release as a single only to be criminally ignored.  I make no apologies for the fact that so many 45s are on this volume; it only demonstrates just how cloth-eared radio station producers were in their continual failure to not put the songs on daytime playlists.

When She Sang About Angels from The Friends of Rachel Worth (2000) : lead vocal by Robert Forster

This was a band, who when they slowed things down, were every bit as effective as when they cranked out another indie-pop classic.  Two examples on this ICA are back-to-back – this first being from the comeback album in 2000 with a tune that Roddy Frame himself would have been proud of…..followed by….

Cattle and Cane single (1983) : lead vocal by Grant McLennan

The single version is some 20 seconds shorter than the version on the LP Before Hollywood.  I’ve mentioned before that this is a very special song to me for a number of reasons; nowadays, it makes me sad as it reminds me of Grant’s sudden and very unexpected death but it is a song, along with a few others, that I associate with some of my happiest days, weeks and months on Planet Earth when I fell properly in love for the first time.

Some facts : It was written as a recollection of childhood in a London flat in an effort to combat homesickness with the band as far away as can be from their native Australia, cold and skint and fearing they’ll never succeed.  It was written using the acoustic guitar belonging to the owner of the flat while he lay comatose from drug abuse.  The guitar belonged to Nick Cave.

Sublimely beautiful.

Draining The Pool For You from Spring Hill Fair (1984) : lead vocal by Robert Forster

One of best things about The Go-Betweens is the complete contrast in styles from the two lead singers.  It enabled a much wider range of songs and tunes to emerge from the recording process and things were never dull.  Robert is the first to admit that he’s most the most classical of singers, but he’s still going strong today releasing a series of top-notch solo albums and when he tours he’ll slip in quite a few of the tunes from the days of his old band.  I love it when he plays this break-up song that is witty and clever and far from sad.

This Girl, Black Girl b-side to Man O’ Sand To Girl O’ Sea single (1983) : lead vocal by Grant McLennan

Just because.

Volume 2 coming your way tomorrow.


Oh you’ve come back today?  Pleasantly surprised given that I did warn what to expect.

Volume 2 is every bit as good as Volume 1.  The ten tracks selected yesterday were for a specific one-off record that I thought would flow very well and the concept for today is the same.

Side One

Suedehead from Viva Hate (1988)

The four minutes of music that calmed our fears. and proof that the end of The Smiths was not the last significant statement to be made in rock’n’roll.

You Have Killed Me from Ringleader of The Tormentors (2006)

Another of the more catchy tunes from his long career, it’s of a rockist type that none of us could have ever imagined him tackling back in the 80s.  But it is the sort of sound he has increasingly embraced as the years have gone on, partly as that’s the domain of his backing bands of recent times but also as it suits his more limited vocal delivery the older he gets.

My Life Is A Succession of People Saying Goodbye b-side to First Of The Gang To Die (2004)

As mentioned yesterday, some of the finest songs have inexplicably been relegated to the obscurity of b-sides.  This is a lovely slow/mid-tempo number in which our protagonist, not for the first time, bemoans his lack of luck in the love stakes.

The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get from Vauxhall and I (1994)

The single which preceded the release of the LP and took him back into the UK Top 10 for the first time in six years. It was a pleasant and welcome surprise that, after a run of singles and albums in which he was embracing genres like glam and rockabilly, he was returning to the more gentle almost indie-type of music with which he had first found fame.  Another one which still sounds great all these years later which is testament to the production skills of Steve Lillywhite.

All You Need Is Me from Years Of Refusal (2009)

Originally a new song on a 2008 ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation, it was added to the following year’s studio LP, his ninth in all but what turned out to be his last for five years.  Another rock rather than pop tune, its inclusion is as much to do with the self-deprecating lyric as anything else – something that Morrissey has done to great effect many times over the years.

Side Two

You’re Gonna Need Someone On Your Side from Your Arsenal (1992)

Another of the  glam rock efforts from the album that was produced by Mick Ronson, this is another lyric in which Moz doesn’t take himself too seriously.  Hard to imagine that it was co-written by the bloke resposnible for the ghastly Perfect by Fairground Attraction which went to #1 in the late 80s.

Everyday Is Like Sunday from Viva Hate (1988)

Probably his best known and best-loved song  here in the UK – certainly judging from the mass singalongs it entices when played at outdoor festivals.  Oddly enough, not one that I listen to all that often nowadays but included here as it was the perfect fit between what went before it and what comes next…..

First Of The Gang To Die from You Are The Quarry (2004)

The other song which also ensures a massive singalong when aired lived.  This opened his comeback/birthday gig in Manchester back in 2004 and it is the sole occasion when I have genuinely been worried for my health when watching music thanks to the massive crowd surge at the MEN Arena which lifted both myself and Mrs V clean off our feet; for a few seconds it felt like we were going to fall down and be crushed, accidentally, under hundreds of pairs of feet.  But we were determined to see this particular song through before retreating to somewhere a lot safer and so we held each other as tightly as we could and just went with the crazy flow. It proved to be strangely exhilarating.

Sister I’m A Poet b-side to Everyday Is Like A Sunday single (1988)

Another quality b-side that was superior to many of the songs that made the cut for Viva Hate.  It was exciting to buy the early solo singles with the knowledge that, as with his former band, some of the best stuff was only ever going to be available in such forms. Little did we know that all sorts of re-issuing and re-packaging would entail in the years ahead to make them more readily available.

Tomorrow from Your Arsenal (1992)

Get past the clumsy opening 20 seconds and you’ll come to the excellent ending to Your Arsenal and a song that was remixed for release as a single in the USA. Another of the pleading  lovelorn lyrics for which he is famed, this time over a tune that is reminiscent of The Smiths.

And with that, I’ll sign off and await the criticism for those tunes not included these past two days.



Little bit of a spurt on the ICAs as Badger has sent in one with a request that it be #100 in the series.  Given how much he and his sidekick have contributed to this place over the years then I feel to not concur with his request would be very rude – but with no others in the pipeline it has meant me having to get my finger out.

I thought by now someone out there would have had a go at pulling together an ICA by our favourite miserablist and least favourite political commentator. I’ve thought about a few times but shied away from the challenge involved.  But it’s time to man up.

Now please remember, these aren’t what I consider to be the best 10 Morrissey songs.  It’s simply a go at creating what I think would make a fabulous and consistent LP.

And while I’m here, I’d like to dedicate this post to Robert, Hugh, Carlo and everyone else who has made  Strangeways one of the best and friendliest club nights going and proving how much fun can be had from dancing the hours away to Moz and The Smiths in the basement of a very good bar in Glasgow.  This coming Friday marks the end of six years of the night in its current format and I want to wish all concerned the very best.

Side One

Now My Heart Is Full from Vauxhall and I (1994)

Nowadays, I get angry and embarrassed by much of what Morrissey says in public, particular when he muses on what he believes has gone wrong with society in the UK and that certain right-wing ideas seem to be the best fix, and in all honesty it is becoming increasingly difficult to enjoy the music in the way I used to. And then I play this. And just about everything is forgiven.

Glamorous Glue from Your Arsenal (1992)

The most perfect tribute, musically, to the era when Bowie, Bolan and The Sweet dominated the UK singles charts in the early-mid 70s. No surprise given that Mick Ronson was on production duties.

The Last Of The International Playboys single (1989)

Just about the nearest thing we ever got to a Smiths single post break-up with Andy Rourke, Mike Joyce and Craig Gannon all playing on this wonderful ode celebrating an 80s Billy Liar.

Ganglord b-side to The Youngest Was The Most Loved single (2006)

As with just about all other artistes whose career spans such an extended period, there will be exceptional songs which, for some inexplicable reason, were thrown away as b-sides. This one was even more bizarre in that it wasn’t the b-side to the 7″ vinyl nor was it on the more promoted CD1 of the second single lifted from Ringleaders of The Tormentors but was only on CD2 where it was accompanied by a more than passable cover of A Song From Under The Floorboards.

Worth mentioning in passing that co-writer Alan Whyte, who achieved more than 80 writing credits with Morrissey between 1992-2008, has enjoyed continued success at the pop-end of the market with hits for Madonna, Black Eyed Peas, Cheryl Cole and Chris Brown among others.

Late Night, Maudlin Street from Viva Hate (1988)

With its tale of adolescent humorous self-pity this is something of a precursor for the autobiography that would hit the shelves in 2013.  It is interesting to listen to how much Moz’s voice has changed over the years  – it’s gotten deeper and the range of his youth is no longer here – and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’d ever be capable delivering a vocal this fragile and haunting nowadays. One of the few songs from the solo canon that would not have been out-of-place on any record by his former band.

Side Two

Irish Blood, English Heart from You Are The Quarry (2004)

Seven years absence from the recording studio was always going to make the eventual comeback LP seem very special.  Much of You Are The Quarry hasn’t dated too well and its initial fawning reception is evidence that many fans, myself included, failed to cast a proper critical look at things.  Having said that, the comeback single remains a belter thanks to a hard-hitting tune and ridiculously catchy sing-a-long chorus.

Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself from Vauxhall and I (1994)

Another, thanks to the tune, that could date from the very beginning of the career when Johnny Marr was riding side-saddle with him.  One of the many highlights from what, I think most fans consider, is the best album of his career.

November Spawned A Monster single (1990)

Few, if any, would have dared to write a lyric which challenged people to think about how they looked, and by that I mean literally look, at people with severe disabilities.  Not only that, but have it set to a disturbingly uneven but somehow catchy tune in the middle of which you invite a guest vocalist to come in and basically make the sounds she imagined would come from the delivery of a difficult and painful birth.

Quite simply, one of the most astonishing records ever made by anyone.

Girl Least Likely To b-side to November Spawned A Monster single (1990)

If the subject matter of the single was too much for you, then, if you had the 12″ vinyl or CD version you could always listen and dance instead to another of the lost gems from the solo career.  There’s some who argue that the lyric is completely autobiographical and has Moz hinting at his hidden sexuality although he himself has said it was written about a particular female friend whose ambition to succeed was insatiable.

Speedway from Vauxhall and I (1994)

It’s a very fine finish to a very fine album.  Just seems appropriate to close this ICA in a similar vein. In my own strange way, I’ll always stay true to you dear readers.

So many songs that I wanted to include have been left off.

Only one thing for it – Volume 2 will be coming your way tomorrow.

Look on the bright side, that’s a day nearer you getting to read Badger’s latest tome.





And so we come to the 13th and final 45 released by Buzzcocks in their initial incarnation. The lyrics, written by Steve Diggle, kind of sum up how much of a chore it must have become trying to hit payola again now that the band had fallen out of favour.

Here in suburbia
There’s nothing left to see
Just want to spend my time running free

I’ve had enough of the day job
I can see farther than that
Just want to spend my time running free

The air of tension still is rising higher
Screaming emotions are singing to you
(No no no time no no no time)
(No no no time no no no time)

Here in the engine room
A pulse shouts for a word
Just want to spend my time running free

I’ll pull out condition
There’s no need to face facts
Just want to spend my time running free

You better make a move before sleeping gets you
You better shape soon before the weak things make you
(No no no time no no no time)
(No no no time no no no time)

Here in proles’ paradise
Experiments on the weak
Just want to spend my time running free

It’s a trick of the torment
You tend to forget yourself
Just want to spend my time running free

Your conscience may be changed as the plan gets harder
It’s just been rearranged to keep the strata
(No no no time no no no time)
(No no no time no no no time)

Your conscience may be changed as the plan gets harder
It’s just been rearranged to keep the strata
(No no no time no no no time)
(No no no time no no no time)
(No no no time no no no time)
(No no no time no no no time)
(No no no time no no no time)
(No no no time no no no time)

It’s a sad, resigned lyric and it has a similarly sad and resigned tune to go with it.  But very listenable.

The b-side is a really strange one.  I never knew it until more than 20 years later (see last week’s posting for an explanation) and the first thing that hit me was that it sounded remarkably like Pete Shelley fronting The Boomtown Rats (blame the sax and shout a long chorus).  Was What Do You Know? the departing shot at the record label bosses who behind the scenes were looking for Buzzcocks to achieve the same sort of mainstream success of some of their contemporaries?  If so, it’s a great two-fingered salute to all concerned.  Even if it’s not, it was a fine way to go out.

mp3 : Buzzcocks – Running Free
mp3 : Buzzcocks – What Do You Know?

Right who’s next for the Sunday singles treatment?


From wiki:-

The Cateran formed in Edinburgh in the mid-1980s, with a line-up comprising Inverness natives Sandy Macpherson (vocals), Cameron Fraser (guitar), Murdo MacLeod (guitar), Kai Davidson (bass guitar), and Andy Milne (drums). Davidson had played in several bands in the early 1980s, including Reasons For Emotion, which also featured Craig and Charlie Reid, who later found fame as The Proclaimers.

They were initially influenced by US acts such as Hüsker Dü and the Dead Kennedys, and signed to the DDT label. The band’s debut release was the 1986 mini-LP Little Circles and subsequent single Last Big Lie, which they promoted by touring with The Proclaimers, for whom Davidson also acted as manager. They moved on to Vinyl Solution for the second album, Bite Deeper in 1988, before moving on again to Imaginary Records later that year for The Black Album EP. The band’s third and final album, Ache, was issued in 1989 on the What Goes On label, and the band supported Nirvana on their UK tour that year.

A further EP followed in 1990 before the band split in 1991, with MacLeod and Davidson forming a new band, Joyriders, who released two singles, both of which were named “Single of the Week” by the NME, before splitting up in the mid-1990s.  A compilation album of the Joyriders recordings was issued in Japan in 2009.

Davidson later had a career as a social worker, and died on 13 June 2007, aged 44, after falling from a tower block. A fund was set up in his memory to support young musicians. The Proclaimers donated £20,000 to the fund in December 2007.

Murdo McLeod, the guitarist with The Cateran, was the first bona-fide rock musician I ever met and had a drink with thanks to him being a friend and flatmate of a work colleague who also hailed from Inverness.  I went along to see the band a couple of times in 1986 and actually picked up a copy of their debut material at the time.  However, the work colleague was soon on his way to a new job in London and I lost any real interest in The Cateran.

mp3 : The Cateran – Last Big Lie

Incidentally, the replacement for The Cateran fan in the office turned out to be Jacques the Kipper and through him I would meet and have drinks with my second bona-fide rock star, namely Hugh Duggie of Foil (as featured recently in a wonderful ICA).

Strange world sometimes.




In the past I’ve tended to sort of beat myself up trying to pen the various ICAs, often saying far too much to justify a particular song choice at the expense of another. This time I’m going to try to be a bit more concise as I pull together a 10-track compilation by The National.

Since forming in Cincinnati in 1999, this five-piece band have, in a career path sort of similar to early R.E.M., built up a following through a combination of increasingly good songs with the desire and willingness to graft for their art. They have released six LPs this far, from a self-titled debut in 2001 through to Trouble Will Find Me in 2013. This ICA is going to feature only songs that have been lifted from their third, fourth and fifth albums as, IMHO, they represent an era when they were truly at the top of their game and no band on the plane came close to matching their quality and consistency over the five-year period concerned.

Side A

1. Secret Meeting (from Alligator, 2005)

The opening track of the album that brought them to a wider audience thanks to it featuring in so many end of year lists/polls. A track which progressively builds up to the point where the rest of the band join in with a chant of a line that is hard to decipher but has little to do with anything else sung beforehand. Enchanting and intriguing. And what’s not to love about a song that has the free form poetry of ‘I know you put in the hours to keep me in sunglasses, I know’

2. Mistaken For Strangers (from Boxer, 2007)

The key to maintaining the momentum from that initial appearance on the critics list is to make your next record every bit as good, if not better. There was a real sense of ‘wow’ when Boxer hit the shops with America embracing the band as the latest potential saviours of alt/indie/radio friendly guitar music. The band was really busy in the aftermath of this record – it coincided with my short spell working in Toronto and The National seemed to be regulars on all the half decent radio stations with this song regularly aired.

3. Apartment Story (from Boxer, 2005)

Like so many songs by this band, the lyrics are open to all sorts of interpretation. This could be about a couple stuck inside while some sort of disaster outside unfolds but I prefer to think of it being a wonderful love song that celebrates,without being the least bit sweet or icky, that magical time in a relationship when you can happily imagine being in a bubble with your other half and to hell with what is happening out there in the real world.

4. Conversation 16 (from High Violet, 2010)

I have no idea what this is about. I thought at first listen it was a parody of American Psycho with the suggestion of cannibalism; later listens made me think about a control freak agonising over his fragile relationship. Then I saw the promo video featuring the wonderful Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords) as a female president of the USA and John Slattery (Mad Men) as a besotted aide and I got totally thrown. So just take it for being the wonderful song it is.

5. Abel (from Alligator, 2005)

One of two really uptempo numbers towards the tail end of Alligator, I always thought this was strangely placed, sandwiched between two slow numbers. It can sort of jar somewhat in that contect given its loud, fierce energy comes along rather unexpectedly but I think it makes for a perfect ending to the first side of this piece of high quality 12″ vinyl.


1. Daughters Of The Soho Riots (from Alligator, 2005)

Curveball time. This is a band who have produced some very beautiful slow songs. Just feels right to start the second side with one of their finest.

2. Slow Show (from Boxer, 2007)

Another stunning love song. That sensation of no matter how bad your day has been, you have the solace of a warm embrace waiting for you when you turn the key into the lock of your front door.

3. Bloodbuzz Ohio (from High Violet, 2010)

This sounds like Paul Quinn on vocals. I think that has a lot to do with why I love this band so much. It’s just an outstanding piece of music that I want to sing along with every single fucking time. And then go apeshit crazy on the dance floor for its concluding instrumental section. This would be very high up in any updated 55 45s at 55 listing in a couple of years time (not that I’m going to inflict that on you).

4. Start A War (from Boxer, 2007)

Another slow one. Just seems to flow perfectly on from the previous track.

5. Mr November (from Alligator, 2005)

This ICA opened with the first track from the breakthrough album and it seems right to end it with the frantic and energetic closer. A particular favourite in the live setting. Along with the Super Furry Animals trademark number, this is the greatest song to repeatedly used the word ‘fuck’ in the lyric.

I enjoyed compiling this.  Hope some of you enjoy listening. It’s less than 40 minutes long all told

mp3 : Side A
mp3 : Side B

The individual songs can be obtained from clicking the title in the narrative.


An e-mail from SWC to Villain Towers.

Hey Jim

Hope you are well…As part of the bundle of records I bought Badger a few weeks back I picked up two 12″s that had no labels, they were in the indie category so I bought them both – they were 50p each. The problem is having played both of them I have no idea what they are….I’m wondering if your readers can help work out the mystery 12″ers.

The first one sounds like a remix of another track, there is a definite Beta Band feel to it – but I don’t think its them.

The second one is not indie it is very dancey and again could be a remix of something or just something a bit obscure that I don’t recognise….

I’ll provide a packet of biscuits of the persons choice to anyone who correctly identifies them – that obviously means I would have be able to find the original and agree….

Here they are.

mp3 : Unknown Track 1
mp3 : Unknown Track 2




Sorry if the headline and image has got you thinking this has something to do with Trainspotting. It is merely the ramblings of a man who. not long ago, was at death’s door being saved only by the love of his best friend and his best friend’s daughter as theu bring him records obtained from a charity shop. Over to you Badger…..

The Charity Shop (Record) Challenge – Part Two

The second brightly wrapped parcel has balloons on it. SWC’s daughter helps me unwrap it and she tells me a story about a balloon and squeezes of my leg (“because when I’m poorly Daddy tells me a story and gives me a cuddle”). This balloon travels up in the air and doesn’t stop until it reaches the moon when it gets there it is befriended by a lion who plays it with but pops it with his claws. This makes the lion sad, so sad that he has to do a poo (cue mad child laughter). I’ve repeated that word for word.

She’s four (just) and already tells better stories and more believable ones than her daddy.

The record has a silver grey sleeve and this is deeply unimpressive to the little girl. She wants to open up the third one which has lions and bears on the paper, I imagine these were the inspiration for the story that I’ve just repeated. She opens it and that one is a blue record which she tells me is ‘Mummys favourite colour – she should have that one’ she tells me, after listening to it I have to agree because its terrible.

Anyway back to the second one. This one for those of you who have been trying to guess is ‘Crotch Deep Trash’ by The Soup Dragons and is as Charity Chic would say ‘A real find’.

Record 2 – Crotch Deep Trash (extended version) – The Soup Dragons – Price £1.99


I’ve spent a lot of time in charity shops and I have never seen anything by the Soup Dragons ever, I now own four 12”s by the Soup Dragons, all of them have been given to me, all of them have come from charity shops. Seriously. (The others are Backwards Dog, Mother Universe and I’m Free (remix)).

Now cast your eye at the title it clearly states that this is an ‘extended version’ – this is saying something as the record is pretty done and dusted in three minutes. I’m not sure by how much they extended this but it wasn’t by much. Regardless of this, its an excellent record, all shouty vocals, screechy guitars and pounding drums, it sounds a lot of like ‘Automatic’ era Jesus and Mary Chain and that folks is a very good thing.

Backwards Dog – This is also very good. Apologies for the recording quality of both though.

mp3 : Soup Dragons – Crotch Deep Trash
mp3 : Soup Dragons – Backwards Dog

Unlike Record 3 which is Why Can’t I Be You? (12” Version) by The Cure – Price £2.50

Now before you all jump up and down on my injured bollocks and expel me for ever from indie school for being rude about my elders, hear me out. I love this single. I own several Cure records and used to even have a big baggy black jumper called ‘Bob’ which I left in a pub in Leeds in 1993 and waited outside at 9am the next morning so that I could get it back. So I like the Cure.

However, why in the name of everything that is precious, they though that this 12” version would be acceptable is a complete mystery to me. Its utter bobbins, it removes all the good bits of the original and pads it out with effects and loops and soundclashes and it just sounds like Modern Romance have recorded it and not The Cure. The bastards. I would actually rather be back in hospital listening to Ron in the bed next to mine bang on about ‘Bloody Poles’ than listen to that again. Its eight minutes long as well.

The B-Side is called ‘A Japanese Dream’ and it’s a bit better but you know only just. If only because it goes on about monkeys and stuff.

mp3 : The Cure – Why Can’t I Be You (remix)
mp3 : The Cure – A Japanese Dream

(JC adds….Badger is spot on with his analysis of this. I once bought a second hand copy of this 12″ single solely with the intenion of posting ot on the blog. One play letter and that idea was ditched…..)

“Can we do one more” the little girl asks me, I agree, I’m enjoying myself, to be honest, SWC has even made me cup of tea and bought out some plates for the brownies, its nice to be around friendly people (and SWC). So we unwrap the fourth one which is back to the Peppa Pig paper “I only had three rolls of paper” he says. His daughter unwraps it and laughs at the sleeve. It’s the back of the sleeve she’s laughing at. “Bum” she says. She’s right. I’m looking at the backside of a female and a very smug looking Dave Gahan.

The fourth record is “Personal Jesus” – Depeche Mode – Price £1.99

“That’s definitely worth more than that” SWC says. He’s probably right, I once sold a 12” of a Depeche Mode song on Ebay for about £35 – they are really collectible for some unfathomable reason.

Now, you can re read my bit about the Cure here if you like because the same rules apply about Depeche Mode. They’ve taken one of their better singles and remixed it for the single and in doing that bloody ruined it. Here folks we have

mp3: Depeche Mode : Personal Jesus “Holier Than Thou” Version.

The record and the remix seems a bit smug for some reason if you ask me, still let’s have a look at the B Sides….One of them is badly scratched so we will gloss over that one but here is the other one

mp3 : Depeche Mode : Personal Jesus (acoustic)

So it’s the same song again, sorry. Its slightly better than the remix version, but the quality is so bad it sounds like Gahan is whispering his way through it, which he probably is to be fair.

So that takes us up to record 4 – records 5 6 and 7 to follow.




In 1992, The Wedding Present had set a then record for the number of chart appearances in a calendar year by releasing a new single on the first Monday of each month. As soon as December 1992 was out of the way the band announced that they were parting ways with RCA Records and taking much of 1993 off.

In early 1994 it was revealed that the new label would be Island Records but that original bass player Keith Gregory had left the line-up meaning that David Gedge was now the sole member left from the original line-up. They decamped to the USA to record the new material for the new label with the first release being this 4-track single in September 1994:-

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Le Bikini
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Flame On
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Him Or Me (What’s It Gonna Be)?

I think it was a major disappointment that the single stalled at #51; indeed the follow-up It’s A Gas fared even worse while the parent album Watusi barely broke the Top 50. These turned out to be the only recordings for Island Records who dropped the band in early 1995.

Looking back, the world wasn’t quite prepared for the sounds made on Watusi. As wiki reports, the songs ranged from warm lo-fi pop (“Gazebo”, “Big Rat”) to semi-psychedelic, Velvets-like workouts (“Click Click”, “Catwoman”). There were also the two fantastic pop singles released as 45s which really deserved better.

Worth mentioning that while the TWP song Flame On is different from that of Captain America featured here three days ago, Him Or Me (What’s It Going To Be)? is a cover of a 1966 hit single (#5 on the US Billboard chart) by Paul Revere & The Raiders.

Have a listen to the original and compare.  TWP make their version so different it sounds like one of their own.

mp3 : Paul Revere & The Raiders – Him or Me (What’s It Gonna Be)?





Yesterday’s piece was put together late on Sunday night. It genuinely was meant as my first and last words on the American election. But it was catching up on a few in-depth weekend pieces in the media that got me thinking just how crazy and momentous the result was and how, in political terms, things will never ever be the same again.

I’ve worked closely for the past 30 years with many politicians in Scotland – most of whom have been incredibly gifted and talented while a small number of others have been the complete opposite. The ones in the former camp often had to work hard over a long period of time to obtain those gifts and talents – being a skilled political operative, no matter the colour of your rosette and the spectrum in which your prevalent views hold sway, isn’t something that comes naturally to anyone.

Reading again so many of the statements attributed to the President-elect over the past 30+ years since he became a household name hammered it home to me that he is not a politician by any stretch of the imagination. If any form of recruitment process had been applied as it would when folk look to land a job or take a step forward in a career then he would never have made any short list. As I was reading the pieces, I began to think of a few songs whose titles made sense and that got me thinking of a playlist.

I then put it together immediately before going to bed. It had started off cynical and twisted but then I tried to have it lift me out of my funk and so went a bit upbeat before getting cynical again, then going a bit loopy as I was getting too morose before eventually ending it in the way I had started. I wasn’t sure about sharing it with you, but 24 hours on, well why the hell not. Especially when my use of fade out on the second last track ensured I could nail it at 60:00 exactly!!

mp3 : Various – And The Public Gets What The Public Wants


Idiot Country – Electronic
Help Save The Youth Of America – Billy Bragg
Honest Mistake – The Bravery
Accidents Will Happen – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
I Wish – Stevie Wonder
24 Hour Party People – Happy Mondays
He’s On The Phone – Saint Etienne
Really Stupid – The Primitives
Clampdown – The Clash
The Headmaster Ritual – The Smiths
Toxic – Britney Spears
Where’s Me Jumper? – Sultans Of  Ping FC
I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor – Arctic Monkeys
Ballad Of The Band – Felt
Waking Up – Elastica
Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag – Pigbag
Running The World – Jarvis Cocker

For those of you who don’t know the final song, I should warn you that the main refrain is repeatedly preceded by the words ‘Cunts are still…’

Make of it what you will.

And I promise. That is my last words on the matter.


When you’ve been doing this sort of nonsense for as long as I have, it pays to take a short breather every now and again, and as I mentioned in the additional posting I shoved up on hearing the news of the death of Leonard Cohen, this recent period has been one of them.

I was very fortunate in that, during the time I was planning exactly what to do with the blog while I was tuning out for 2 weeks, I could turn to four ridiculously good guest posts in quick succession. The fact that readers could enjoy  Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Martin Stephenson, The Pipettes and JAMC over four days demonstrates exactly the variety and quality entertainment that I want to bring to this place. My thanks to Badger, Rich, Strangeways and S-WC for filling the void with such panache.

My own break was partly enforced from the fact that I was away visiting two very dear friends – a husband and wife – over an extended long weekend to celebrate them turning 50 years of age and throwing a party in their home town in Hampshire. I hadn’t been able to make the family celebration they had held up here in Glasgow earlier in the year as it coincided with my trip to Toronto, but I was determined to make sure I didn’t miss out the second time. It was always going to be a drunken few days – I don’t see them as often as I’d like and when we do get together it is always very messy that would always end in tears-stained nostalgia if we didn’t continually rip the piss out of one another.

This particular mate was my best man when I remarried in the mid 90s. By then, he was already forging an incredibly successful career doing things and being in situations that very few of us could ever imagine. The nature of his job is such that he can’t say too much about it and I’m therefore not going to give anything away – I’ll simply confirm that he’s not a spy or anything like that but that a great deal of his work is of utmost national and international security.

He once, many years ago, had to spend nine months away from his family in a very dangerous place; while we were talking over the long weekend he reminded me, and I’d completely forgotten about this, that I had given him a box of home-made C90 cassettes to take with him as his musical accompaniment. Not only did I supply the cassettes but I typed out something like 25 pages of notes on many of the songs with a lot of asides about why they were important or personal to one or other or both of us. I genuinely couldn’t recall doing this and was stunned when he brought out said box and notes and let me read over them.

This was all done back in 2003, and while I’m not claiming that my thousands upon thousands of words were worthy of any literary prize, I was proud of them in that they, and the songs, had seen him through some tough and lonely times; I could also see that this, in some ways, was my first ever stab at blogging albeit such a thing hadn’t been invented at that particular time. I was tempted to bring the notes back up the road with me and reproduce them here, stopped only by the fact that much of what was written was relevant to the particular situation and circumstances ny mate would find himself in and even now, thirteen years on, neither of us would want to put into a wider, more public domain. But reading my written words again, having forgotten that they existed, was a highlight of the year so far.

Which is just as well given the lowlights that would unfold over the next few days.

My political leanings can be worked out easily enough from the words and songs that have featured on this blog over the years so it’s fair to surmise that the ascension of Donald Trump into the White House doesn’t sit easily with me. But hey, if that’s what the voting system used in the States brings about, then so be it.

It’s been fascinating to watch the reactions to this outcome, just as it was when the Brexit vote and Scottish Independence results came through in recent times. Particularly on social media where so many folk on the losing side then seem to make a mad rush to ‘unfriend’ those who voted the other way. This seems just completely the wrong thing to do – if you surround yourself only with those whose views and opinions are completely in line with your own, then you’re not really going to get much of a perspective on life and society.

I am distressed and worried about what the future holds; I’m not envious of those with children whose fears must be even greater.  But I’m not going to stop talking to any friend – in real life or in cyberspace – for the ‘crimes’ of either voting a madman into the White House or putting an X in a particular box which then gave the outside world the impression that the little island I happen to live on is populated by racist bigots.

Life is way too important for that.

But I won’t ever talk to anyone who phones in and votes for an act on the X Factor………..

You’ll be pleased to know that things round here will return to normal from tomorrow. I just wanted to come back sharing a few things that were on my mind.

mp3 : The Psychedelic Furs – President Gas
mp3 : The Presidents of The United States of America – Bad Times
mp3 : Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury
mp3 : Chumbawamba – Mouthful of Shit

Onwards and upwards. Starting with going over to read some of my favourite blogs.  I’ve missed you guys and gals.



r-464676-1203267603-jpegThe fact that the final few singles from Buzzcocks sold in such few numbers means that they are now the most difficult to find on the second-hand market and are marginally more expensive to buy than the hits.

That’s one theory.  But it might well be the case that this particular single is more valued as it is something of a forgotten classic.

Strange Thing isn’t anything at all like the catchy near power-pop of the hits of the previous years.  Instead it’s more akin to the sound of many of their new wave peers – surely I’m not alone in listening to the music and hearing the sort of sounds that Weller & co. were taking to new unthought of heights of popularity?  The closing section in particular always brings to mind Private Hell from Setting Sons.

In keeping with what had happened with the previous single, the flip side was given over to Steve Diggle and this time he came up with something that proved he had indeed been playing close attention to the support band on the last big tour of 1979.  Airwaves Dream really does sound like Joy Division without the tricked up production values applied by Martin Hannett.

What I’m kicking myself about is that I didn’t buy the single on its release.  In fact, I didn’t discover these two gems until many many many years later when I picked up a cheap copy of the re-released and re-packaged Singles Going Steady CD which had been expanded to include the final four singles from that great era (the initial release of the compliation ended with Harmony In My Head/Something’s Gone Wrong Again).   Given that the younger me had felt let down by Are Everything I wasn’t expecting much from these unknown songs; it was a surprise that they both turned out to be pleasures.

It’s fair to say that the teen me might have struggled with Strange Thing/Airwaves Dream on its release as my mind and tastes would have been attuned to the poppier side of Buzzcocks, and so I’m glad it took me 20+ years to hear them for the first time.

mp3 : Buzzcocks – Strange Thing
mp3 : Buzzcocks – Airwaves Dream




Captain America was formed in 1990 by vovalist and guitarist Eugene Kelly following the dissolution of his former band, The Vaselines. The initial line-up also contained Gordon Keen (guitar), James Seenan (bass), and Andy Bollen (drums),

The line-up later changed, as did the name of the band following an injunction threat from Marvel Comics who claimed copyright. The band became known as Eugenius which just happened to be the frontman’s affectionate nickname and there were even more personnel changes by the time they went back into the studio (but that’s a story for when I get to the letter ‘E’).

I don’t play this song often enough. It’s an absolute belter of a tune.

mp3 : Captain America – Flame On