This wasn’t supposed to happen.

The ICA series for 2016 should have bowed out with that superb piece from Swiss Adam that gave us some of the very best of Andrew Weatherall. But then I spotted that Close Lobsters were due up next in the Saturday series and I realised that I would struggle to just pick one song to represent just how good and indeed underrated a band they were. There was also the fact that I could have gone with a cover version to keep the recent theme going but I then made the last-minute call to do an ICA….a lazy one as I won’t say too much about any of the songs other than to indicate which record they can be found on.

Here’s their story, as put together by a real writer over at allmusic:-

An unfortunately short-lived but utterly wonderful neo-psychedelic jangle pop band, Close Lobsters only managed two albums and an EP in their brief career, but all three releases are brilliant, some of the best music of the late-’80s U.K. indie scene.

Close Lobsters were formed in Paisley (prophetically enough, given the band’s psychedelic tendencies) and the adjacent town of Johnstone in 1985 by singer Andrew Burnett and drummer Stewart McFayden. The pair couldn’t decide between the names the Close and the Lobsters and simply combined the two for their nonsensical but evocative handle. Adding guitarists Tom Donnelly and Graeme Wilmington, plus Burnett’s brother Robert on bass, Close Lobsters gained some early notoriety when their song “Fire Station Towers” showed up on the legendary New Musical Express cassette C-86, which lent its name to an entire movement of post-punk guitar bands. Close Lobsters had a greater commitment to melody than most of the C-86 bands, though, as shown on their first single, “Going to Heaven to See If It Rains,” which was released in November 1986. A second single, “Never Seen Before,” appeared in April 1987, with a superior re-recorded version of “Fire Station Towers” and a cover of the Only Ones’ “Wide Waterways” on the flip.

The quintet’s first album, Foxheads Stalk This Land, was released in late 1987 to lukewarm response in a U.K. press already tired of the C-86 propaganda, but its inviting mix of jangle pop, hazy psychedelia, inscrutable lyrics, and monster guitar hooks gained Close Lobsters a small but fervent following on the U.S. college radio scene. A follow-up single, “Let’s Make Some Plans,” came out in early 1988; this new song and four other excellent tracks were collected by Close Lobsters’ American label, Enigma Records, and released as the EP What Is There to Smile About? in the summer of 1988. Simple and direct, without a wasted note, it’s probably the best Close Lobsters release. For the U.K. fans, Strange Fruit released Close Lobsters’ four-song Janice Long Session from July, 1986, including the a-sides of the first two singles, the B-side “Nothing Really Matters” and “Pathetic Trivia,” which would be reworked as “Pathetique” on Foxheads Stalk This Land.

Close Lobsters’ second full album, Headache Rhetoric, was released in March 1989. Darker and less immediately accessible than either of the band’s previous releases, with a druggily psychedelic vibe akin to Love’s best work, it’s the sort of album that takes a while to sink in but packs a mighty wallop once it does. Unfortunately, it sank almost without trace in the U.K., and Enigma Records by this time was undergoing the financial problems that would cause it to fold within the year, so the label was unable to capitalize on the band’s cult success in the states.

After a final EP, Nature Thing, with appropriate covers of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)” and Leonard Cohen’s “Paper Thin Hotel” on the flip, was released in the spring of 1989, Close Lobsters quietly called it a day.

In 2012, the original band members got back in touch and they decided to reform to play live shows in selected European cities. The response was favorable and the next year the band played the NYC Popfest and released their first new music since 1989, an EP titled Kunstwerk in Spacetime for the Shelflife label.

I can add to the above with the fact that 2016 saw the release of more new material courtesy of the Desire and Signs EP, again on Shelflife Records.


Going To Heaven To See If It Rains

The debut 45 in which they sound very like another new and emerging band of the time called The Wedding Present. It reached #9 in the UK Indie Charts in October 1986.

Let’s Make Some Plans

The third single, released in November 1987; later covered by The Wedding Present as the b-side to California in June 1992


Deliciously danceable title track from the debut LP released in October 1987

Skyscrapers of St Mirin

An ode to the home town of some of the band (St Mirin is the patron saint of Paisley while the local professional football team take the slightly different spelling of Saint Mirren). Originally available as a b-side to What Is There To Smile About? released in August 1988, it was also included on the second LP Headache Rhetoric in March 1989

Never Seen Before

They had a great habit, for the most part of not including their singles or b-sides on albums. This was the second 45 – it’s as perfect a slice of indie-pop from the 86/87/88 era as you could hope to come across, right down to additional female backing vocals  Deserved to be a massive mainstream success.


Just Too Bloody Stupid

Opening track to the debut LP.  By now, you might have spotted that this was a band who more or less recorded minor variations on one tune; but by god, it was a belter of a tune.

What Is There To Smile About?

Flop single #4.  Was there really sixteen better and higher-selling singles in the Indie Charts in August 1988?  I have my doubts….

Hey Hey My My (Into The Black)

As mentioned in the bio above, this was on the Nature Thing single released at the same time as the second album, Headache Rhetoric; one of a number of bands from the West of Scotland who, at the time and in the coming years, would cite Neil Young as a huge influence.

Lovely Little Swan

Opening track on Headache Rhetoric, an album that disappointed a few folk on its release but has undergone a bit of a critical reappraisal over the past quarter of a century.  Parts of this remind me of early-ish R.E.M.

I Kiss The Flowers In Bloom

Another track from Foxheads Stalk This Land that would have made a very fine single except the band preferred not to rip fans off , and a fine way to round things off.

Enjoy.  And Happy New Year when it arrives wherever you live.


Nina Persson is one of my favourite singers. She is best known for her work with The Cardigans who have become one of the most successful bands to come out of Sweden in recent years racking up more than 10 million album sales worldwide. Nina has also released material as part of A Camp and as a guest vocalist with the likes of Manic Street Preachers, Sparklehorse and David Arnold. She’s never shied away from tackling cover versions and in almost every instance delivers something quite different from the original:-

mp3 : The Cardigans – The Boys Are Back In Town
mp3 : A Camp – Boys Keep Swinging
mp3 : Nina Persson & Nathan Larson – Losing My Religion

Nathan Larson is, like the bloke featured yesterday, yet another musician whose CV indicates I should know a lot more about him other than the fact he works with his other half every now and again. Click here for more info.

Tomorrow will bring another in the Saturday series from Scotland, then its more from The Undertones on Sunday before another week of covers.



Maydrim was a short-lived indie/electronica band from Spain. The main brains behind the project was Antonio Escobar, a ridiculously succesful producer, composer and arranger who has won all sorts of awards in his home country and elsewhere as can be seen from this wiki page.

It’s quite sad that I only know of him from this cover:-

mp3 : Maydrim – Shakespeare’s Sister

Just a wee bit different from Johnny/Andy/Mike and the racist’s version.


No really, that is a fairly recent picture of Terry Hall sitting on top of these few words.

He’s someone who has mastered the art of the cover version over the near 40 years (!!!!!!) that he’s been involved in music. Like these:-

mp3 : Guy Lombardo & The Royal Canadians – Enjoy Yourself
mp3 : The Specials – Enjoy Yourself

mp3 : Billie Holiday – Summertime
mp3 : The Fun Boy Three – Summertime

mp3 : The Roches – The Hammond Song
mp3 : The Colour Field – The Hammond Song

mp3 : Captain & Tennille – Love Will Keep Us Together
mp3 : Terry, Blair & Anouchka – Love Will Keep Us Together

mp3 : Charles Aznavour – She
mp3 : Vegas – She

mp3 : The Lightning Seeds – Sense
mp3 : Terry Hall – Sense

And while I’m mentioning The Lightning Seeds, here’s a bonus cover:-

mp3 : Thunderclap Newman – Something In The Air
mp3 : The Lightning Seeds – Something In The Air



All the greats eventually get the full-blooded cover version treatment with singers and bands queing up to pay tribute to those who greatly influenced them. The late Leonard Cohen has had his songs covered more than most, including various compilation LPs over the years which have been commercially released or given away free with music magazines. There’s even been specially curated gigs at which some of the great and good have appeared on stage to pay tribute.

So many tracks to choose from, but I’ve gone for one which, in its original recording, is not much more than a gravelled voice and some backing oohs and aahs over a toy synthesiser with its cheap drum pattern:-

mp3 : Leonard Cohen – Tower of Song

The opposite tack was taken by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds who, in a drink and drug fuelled frenzy one day in a studio, eventually cut what became an infamous 33 minute version of the track in which all sorts of musical genres are eventually thrown in. It’s not for the faint hearted:-

mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Tower of Song (full length)

An edited version was made available for inclusion of the tribute/compilation album I’m Your Fan, released in 1991:-

mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Tower of Song (album version)

Here’s two more versions worth giving a listen:-

mp3 : Lloyd Cole – Tower of Song
mp3 : Martha Wainwright – Tower of Song

And finally, the daddy of them all in which Lenny C is given the shoegaze treatment:-

mp3 : The Jesus & Mary Chain – Tower of Song



I’m taking up the suggestion made last month by a few readers to devote some time and space to cover versions. By doing so over the next two weeks it sort of gives me a break from having to think too much about what to write at a time when, understandably, visitor numbers are down and there’s a desire not to come up with what proves to be a thought-provoking or well-written piece that gets lost amidst the mistletoe and decorations.

I’m starting things off with an example of a great cover in that the band involved make it sound nothing like the original and instead would have you believe it was genuinely one of their own. I’m sure that just about all of you will be familiar with the song being covered, but just in case not:-

mp3 : The Stranglers – No More Heroes

The song was included on the soundtrack to a 1999 comedy/action movie called Mystery Men but instead of the four punk/pub rockers from London, it was a version recorded by the finest band to ever come from Milwaukee:-

mp3 : Violent Femmes – No More Heroes

And while I’m here.

mp3 :  Violent Femmes – Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?



Next up is, what I reckon, is a hugely underrated 45 thanks to it having a fabulous hook and cracking sing-a-long chorus.

It was released in October 1979 and was a brand-new song not having featured on the debut LP.   I’m not claiming it’s a bona-fide all-time classic but it deserved to do better than three weeks in the Top 4o with a peak position of #32.

mp3 : The Undertones – You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It)

The b-side, unusually, was a cover version.  It was of a song by The Chocolate Watch Band, an American garage rock band, with The Undertones picking it up as it had been included on the Nuggets compilation LP which they regarded as essential listening.  Mind you, this particular song title is something they could have come up quite easily themselves:-

mp3 : The Undertones – Let’s Talk About Girls

Merry Christmas Everyone. Here’s the long-standing tradition of the day:-

mp3 : Sultans Of Ping  – Xmas Bubblegum Machine

I’m going to be here all week… feel free to drop in any time you like.






As with last week’s song, I only have one single by the next act to come up in the alphabetical run-through of the singers and bands from Scotland on the songs held on my laptop, so apologies for the repeat posting.

This is a single dating from 2006; there was a follow-up the follwoing year after which things went quiet, but as a magazine article revealed back in 2011 when the debut LP appeared, there was a good reason, namely that ‘enigmatic Edinburgh citizen Clean George has busied himself with a classical music degree, a lawsuit from Kraftwerk and myriad projects since we last heard from him way back in 2007.’

Clean George IV is the name adopted by George McFall and since the debut album he’s released material as CGIV. He’s quirky but don’t let that put you off. Here’s the b-side of his debut single which reminds us that drug addiction is not confined to urban areas:-

mp3 : Clean George IV – The Great Highland Crack Epidemic



This was a late change of plan. There was originally going to be a posting on Crass as they were about as far removed from the usual jolliness and frivolity of the festive period as I could come up with. But that’s been filed away for use on another day sometime in 2017.

Instead, I’ve pulled this together:-

mp3 : Various – A Drunk Father Christmas and The Antichrist

The title is taken from a line in one of the featured songs. The sentiments are driven by the fact that once again, decent music has helped me through some hard times. As it does with all of us…with nothing better to exemplify that than the #1 song in the WYCRA 200….

It’s two days before Xmas and I’m going to be travelling by train 230 miles south of Glasgow to attend the funeral this afternoon of a dear friend who died very suddenly and very unexpectedly some 12 days ago. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit it has affected me greatly. My moods have been swinging violently but more often that not I’ve been low and down and pretty crap company. Last Saturday night was the occasion of the six-monthly Little League event that I’d been looking forward to since the last one in June on my birthday. I was in two minds about going, but the husband of my late friend reminded me that life goes on and you’ve got to do what you can when you can to make the most of it. I ended up, unsuprisingly, having a great time in the company of Aldo and many other folk who over the years I’ve been lucky enough, through the club, to get to know and love. For sure, it was a wee bit emotional at times…..but as the night worked towards its 1am curfew and after a lot of dad-dancing, yes, I did feel better, I felt alright.

A small number of the songs on this latest compilation were aired last Saturday and indeed I’ve ripped off two in a row that were played in the same sequence (Smiths and Nirvana) and confirmed that our resident DJ is a genius at these things. I am a mere novice but I like to think some things work.  It runs to 62:30 exactly. It’s a wee bit iffy quality wise with variations in volume but that’s the nature of old vinyl.


The Distance – Cake
I Speak Your Every Word – Curve
All The Records On The Radio Are Shite – Ballboy
Big Blonde – Aidan Moffat & the Best-Ofs
Shoppers Paradise – Carter USM
A New England – Kirsty MacColl
Girl Afraid – The Smiths
About A Girl – Nirvana
Cut Your Hair – Pavement
Basement Band Song – The Organ
Bouncing Babies – The Teardrop Explodes
The Cutter – Echo and The Bunnymen
Suffragette City – David Bowie
Left To My Own Devices – Pet Shop Boys
Another Girl, Another Planet – The Only Ones
The Look Of Love – ABC
Yes – McAlmont & Butler
Roadrunner – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers

Oh and Merry Christmas everyone. I will be here over the weekend with the usual offerings in the long-running series for Saturdays and Sundays and then doing some cover version stuff all next week and the same again for the following seven days. I also intend to catch up with my reading – I’ve been neglecting too many friends over on the right hand side for far too long.


Nobody paid all that much attention to the three solo albums released by Graham Coxon between 1998 and 2001 while he was still part of Blur. To be fair, none of the records were remotely commercial or all that accessible and could easily be dismissed as vanity projects to while away the time in between recording and touring with his ‘mates’.

After he unexpectedly and rather messily left the band in 2002 he seemed to make more of an effort to write and record material that would be more easily enjoyed as exemplified by the release of Happiness In Magazines in May 2004.

The album was preceded by the release of two excellent singles – Freakin’ Out and Bittersweet Bundle of Misery. The former, with its guitar work eerily reminiscent of the late Stuart Adamson mixed in with a touch of J Mascis, actually made a little bit of history as it charted solely on the basis of sales of a limited 7″ release (just 5000 copies were pressed) in an era when single sales were predominently via CDs. The latter was more Blur-like than any of his ‘mates’ had been churning out – it was almost as if he’d taken the formula that had made Coffee And TV such a hit and decided to replicate it – and it took him to the giddy heights of #22 in the singles chart.

The album’s release was met largely with positive reviews – many made the point that him reuniting with producer Stephen Street had clearly paid dividends in that the record was a return to stylish and classy guitar music full of catchy and occasionally ambitious tunes. It was an album that would lead to him being named as Best Solo Artist in 2005 by NME.

Freakin’ Out was proving to be the most popular song on the album and was being best received during the live shows which accompanied its promotion and so the decision was taken to re-issue it as a single in October 2004, this time across a multitude of formats and as a double-A release with All Over Me, a ballad from the LP that brought to mind many of his Britpop contemporaries and highlighted that it wasn’t just Damon Albarn who could pen the tear-jerkers. This time round the single hit #19 and gave him his highest ever chart placing.

mp3 : Graham Coxan – Freakin’ Out
mp3 : Graham Coxon – All Over Me

The bonus track on the CD was a previously unreleased track and while it has some great guitar work, it does kind of highlight Graham’s limited vocal abilities.

mp3 : Graham Coxon – Singing In The Morning

But listen closely to one of the verses that is repeated a few times during the song and you’ll hear a magnificent two fingers to the other members of Blur for more or less giving him the sack a couple of years previously:-

Get rid of me
And they’re kicking my arse
But they gotta because
They suck



I was a fan of Joe Jackson when he first enjoyed success in the late 70s and was lumped into the genre of new wave. Aside from the fact that he had a few fast tempo numbers and at other times his bitter lyrics and vocal delivery could be an occasional reminder of same-era Elvis Costello, there was nothing vaguely new wave about this prematurely balding singer-songwriter, a fact that would be confirmed many years later by the story he tells of his struggle and efforts to make the big time in his entertaining autobiography A Cure For Gravity which stops abruptly in 1978 just as he finally becomes a star.

The first two LPs and accompanying singles had been credited solely to the front man but then, in June 1980, there was a new 3-track single released attributed to Joe Jackson Band. I dutifully bought it, took it home, played it and went uh-oh….it just wasn’t very good at all.

Now I knew from reading the label that this was a cover version but had no idea that it was of a reggae song, and a bona-fide classic at that, which had soundtracked a film back in 1972. I had never heard of Jimmy Cliff and actually assumed on hearing the JJB version that he was some sort of American singer-songwriter long he lines of the blokes out of The Eagles or Steely Dan such was the sort of sound emanating from the turntable:-

mp3 : Joe Jackson Band – The Harder They Come

My apologies for inflicting it on you.

The two tracks on the flip side of the 12″ were originals and demonstrate the two contrasting styles more typical of the band – one is a thrash-through at 100mph and the other a more reserved ballad:-

mp3 : Joe Jackson Band – Out Of Style
mp3 : Joe Jackson Band – Tilt

The single was a monumental flop, not selling anywhere near enough copies to get close to the Top 75. None of the songs were included on the later LP Beat Crazy, which itself sold poorly and proved to be the last album recorded by the four piece. Joe would return to the spotlight the following year with an album of jazz and swing that I just didn’t take to at all, and then in 1982 it was all a bit Billy Joel clever piano pop music that led to a million-selling LP in Night and Day and a massive hit single in Steppin’ Out.

By this point I was past caring.

I’m still reasonably fond of the first three LPs, and indeed have toyed with the idea of an ICA from that era – but there is no way the cover version would have found its way on.

And just a heads-up that the two-week period between Christmas and New Year will see this place devote itself entirely to cover versions.


I’ve never posted anything featuring Sex Pistols before. Don’t know why….just never got round to it.

Seems a good time to rectify things….and I don’t think I really need any to add any words of thoughts to this song except to mention that we are fast approaching the 40th anniversary of its release. And to think that, as a teenager, I already thought of the Queen as being ancient back in 1977….she was, as I’ve just checked, 2 years younger than I am just now!

mp3 : Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen

Here’s yer rather excellent b-side:-

mp3 : Sex Pistols – Did You No Wrong

A #2 hit (of course!!!) on Virgin Records. If you want a copy of the A&M version of the single I spotted that someone was selling it on Discogs a few weeks back for £15,000.



Tom Tom Club, the side project of Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz from Talking Heads, enjoyed two big hit singles in the UK back in 1981 and 1982. Wordy Rappinghood got all the way to #7 (which no doubt pissed off David Byrne as it wouldn’t be until 1985 that Road To Nowhere would give the whole band a Top 10 hit) while their cover of Under The Boardwalk reached #22.

In between these, there was also a flop single which peaked at #65, despite which it has proven to be their most enduring and memorable song. One that makes me think of sunshine, sandy beaches and a wonderfully blue sea lapping onto a Caribbean shore:-

mp3 : Tom Tom Club – Genius Of Love (extended version)
mp3 : Tom Tom Club – Lorelei (instrumental version)

I hate winter.



Having cracked the higher echelons of the charts last time out, the band took the decision to re-record a well-liked song from their debut LP, speed it up so that it wasn’t a million miles away from the tempo of The Ramones, and make it their fourth single:-

mp3 : The Undertones – Here Comes The Summer

Only 1 minute and 45 seconds in length and one which got a load of favourable reviews yet stalled at #34 at the height of the summer of 1979.

There were two new songs recorded for the b-side:-

mp3 : The Undertones – One Way Love
mp3 : The Undertones – Top Twenty

The former has been described by the band as their homage to Last Train To Clarkesville, albeit via a one-note special. Interesting to learn that all the members of The Undertones, like so many kids in Britain who grew up in the last 60s and 70s, got hooked on The Monkees thanks to their TV shows being on constant repeat during the 90 minutes or so that were devoted to children’s TV on the BBC.

The latter is akin to Scottish punksters The Rezillos, with its ‘hey hey hey’ backing vocal.

All in all, three hugely enjoyable songs with a combined running time of a little over six minutes.




I can’t help it if she only ever released one solo single before calling time on her recording career and concentrating on the acting career. I know I’ve posted this song quite a few times over the years, always apologising for how dreadful it is, but it’s in the collection and so is worthy of featuring in this series. Besides it makes it an easy, lazy posting for me:-

mp3 : Clare Grogan – Love Bomb (12″ version)

Early Xmas present for you.

Stop laughing. She and the boys in the band were trying to earn an honest living.


There are people far better qualified and with far more knowledge than me to write about the song featuring today. I was late to the work of Bobby Wratten, one of the most important and influential UK indie musicians of the 90s and 00s and yet the mention of his name will usually invoke an answer of ‘Who?’.

My introduction came a little over ten years ago when I was discovering new music thanks to the wonderous talents of music bloggers whose passion for the music they were writing about and featuring with attached mp3s was so infectious that I decided to start one of my own. It was through such places that I heard, for the first time about The Field Mice, Northern Picture Library and Trembling Blue Stars, all bands with which Bobby Wratten was involved.

The story behind the last of these is quite sad. Bobby had been in a long-term relationship with Annmari Davies who had also been a member of The Field Mice and Northern Picture Library. The break-up of their relationship led, unsurprisingly to the dissolution of the latter band after just one album and a handful of singles.

A heartbroken Wratten, who was already on record as a self-professed incurable romantic, decided to write a lot of songs about his ex, all of which appeared on a wonderfully delicate LP called Her Handwriting in 1994 which was attributed to a new band called Trembling Blue Stars. It was however, really a solo effort with the assistance of Ian Catt who had previously worked with St Etienne.

The LP has variously been described, accurately, as an unabashed hankie-wringer capturing every type of emotion that comes with the unexpected ending of a relationship.

The LP was led off by this 7″ single, which was the first recording to come out on Shinkansen Recordings, which was seen as the natural successor to the recently dissolved Sarah Records:-

mp3 : Trembling Blue Stars – ABBA on the Jukebox (7″ version)
mp3 : Trembling Blue Stars – She’s Always There

It really is the most gorgeous and fragile of recordings with a lyric that recalls the happy memories of time spent together.

The album followed a few weeks later and included a much extended version of the debut single:-

mp3 : Trembling Blue Stars – ABBA on the Jukebox

See, I do have a sensitive side which offers empathy to those whose hearts are in need of mending.

Oh, and worth mentioning that Annmari  would work again with Bobby as part of Trembling Blue Stars on a number of their later recordings.





The final ICA of 2016 during which there have been so many top-notch guest contributions covering all genres. Today’s is again, something a bit special and epic.  When he dropped the e-mail to me, Swiss Adam said “Please take this off my hands- I keep changing it, adding songs, taking them off, re-doing it. It’s doing my head in.”

Anyone who has ever turned their hand to an ICA will know exactly what he means…..

Andrew Weatherall ‘Just What Is It That You Want To Do?’

‘We want to be free. We want to be free, to do what we want to do. And we want to have a good time. And we want to have a party. And that’s what we’re gonna do. We gonna have a party’

Anyone who’s paid even the most infrequent visits to Bagging Area will know that I hold Andrew Weatherall and his work in high regard. For well over a quarter of a century he’s been one of British music’s true maverick and creative spirits, a dj, producer, remixer and writer who has trod his own path, often turning away from the light and the easy money towards something darker and more interesting. As an artist whose fingerprints are all over well over 650 tracks reducing this to a mere 10 is nigh on impossible.

I’ve decided to break his work up into logical chunks, themed around different phases, starting off with a two-disc set. The first takes in his remix work, some early ones from the late 80s and early 90s where he made his name and then some recent ones. Both demonstrate why remixing, in the right hands, is so much more than just adding a clubby drumbeat to a guitar or pop song. The second pulls together his 90s group Sabres Of Paradise (with Jagz Kooner and Gary Burns) and his 90s/00s next step Two Lone Swordsmen (with Keith Tenniswood). This still involves leaving out massive chunks of his output which we’ll have to return to another time.

Disc One: Side One- The Early Remixes

Primal Scream ‘Come Together’ (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

So to open, no Loaded. Seems counter intuitive I know. Loaded is a masterful record, a call to arms and a call to the dancefloor. It gave Weatherall a big break and ensured Primal Scream had a career. But this is better. Ten minutes of perfect, bubbling gospel house with the Reverend Jesse Jackson sample and Screamadelica’s mission statement- ‘all those are just labels, we know that music is music’.

Saint Etienne ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart (A Mix of Two Halves)

Saint Etienne’s waltz time cover of Neil Young turned into a dub odyssey, spliced in the middle by the reggae sample. The two halves- dub first, song second- pull the bass and rhythm to the fore and make something very special indeed.

One Dove ‘Breakdown’ (Squire Black Dove Rides Out Mix)

After Screamadelica, Weatherall went on to sprinkle his magic production dust over One Dove’s debut album and genuine lost classic Morning Dove White. He then further re-worked his own productions on the singles. I could just have easily included the Guitar Paradise Mix of White Love here (and if I’d waited 24 hours to submit this probably would have) but this 10 minute excursion is cinematic, dub influenced pop. New genre for you there.

The Orb ‘Perpetual Dawn’ (Ultrabass II)

The Orb taken to bass heavy extremes with a righteous Misty In Roots vocal sample. ‘Roots music, music which records history, music which tells about the future…’

My Bloody Valentine ‘Soon’ (Andrew Weatherall Mix)

This is something else. Taking the guitar riff from MBV’s spectral Soon, a crashing sample from West Bam and the chunkiest rhythm Weatherall re-defines the guitar band remix. Everything turned up as far as it needs to go, everything in exactly the right place. Still sounds massive today.

These are the big hitters from his early years- and miss out some other superb remixes- two totally essential versions of New Order’s Regret, Finitribe’s speaker rattling 101, a housed up S’Express, Sly and Lovechild ‘The World According To… Weatherall (which I love), Happy Mondays, The Grid, some magnificent Jah Wobble remixes- any one of which could be substituted for something from the above. Not to mention Loaded.

Disc One: Side Two- The Recent Remixes

I was going to open up Side Two with Weatehrall’s majestic remix of Primal Scream’s ‘Uptown’ (Long After The Disco is Over). It is full of sweeping New York in the 70s strings summoning end of night euphoria/melancholy. After a few years laid low this was proof the creative juices were flowing again. But Primal Scream opened Side One so it’s only fair to cast the net a bit further.

Moby ft Wayne Coyne ‘Another Perfect Life (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

Moby made an album of white-robed pop and asked Wayne Coyne to sing some lyrics about drug addiction. Weatherall threw everything at this remix, from the joyous intro to the bubbling arpeggios, turned the verses and choruses around, added krautrock synths, breakdowns, layered gospel vocals, some sliding, keening sounds, a load of echo. Raise your hands.

Steve Mason ‘Boys Outside’ (Andrew Weatherall Dub 1)

More dub. A beautifully bouncy bass extracted from a largely acoustic Steve Mason record and then looped, reverbed and echoed out into space.

Toddla T and Roots Manuva ‘Watch Me Dance’ (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

This record is utterly insane, starting out like True Faith and taking in a deranged vocal. It sounds like the best few minutes you could ever spend off your tits in a dark room with flashing lights, dry ice and strangers all around you. NB This is a good thing yeah? Every vinyl copy of this 12” single went up in flames in a warehouse fire in 2011. That’s how hot it is.

Fuck Buttons ‘Sweet Love For Planet Earth (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

Fuck Buttons make a very intense kind of noise from toy instruments and computers. Weatherall fine-tuned them a little, stretched them out and added a rhythm. In a way this is his My Bloody Valentine remix redone for the 21st century.

Mike Garry and Joe Dudell ‘St Anthony- An Ode To Anthony H Wilson’ (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

Mike Garry’s wonderful poem for Tony Wilson, a celebration of the Factory boss and ‘Manchester music, marijuana, majesty and Karl Marx’, was set to music by Joe Dudell, a string quartet version of New Order’s Your Silent Face. Weatherall took it back to the electronic roots of Power, Corruption and Lies. Released to raise funds for cancer charities and The Christie hospital- go buy it.

Apologies to Wooden Shjips, Toy, Moby and Wayne Coyne and a host of others who have been rejigged to perfection in recent years- another disc, another night.

Disc Two: Sabres Side

Sabres Of Paradise ‘Smokebelch II’

1993. Based around a chord sequence from an L.B. Bad track Sabres Of Paradise put out this 12” single and moved electronic dance music forwards (again). Almost classical in structure and executed beautifully. If this was the only thing Sabres did, it would be enough. Add the ambient Beatless Mix and David Holmes’ piano-and-majorettes madness and you could fill one side of a C90 and listen to it non-stop on long bus rides to work. Which I did.

Sabres Of Paradise ‘Theme’

This single came out in 1994 and bursts out of the speakers with a hip-hop drumbeat, a huge surging horn part and then some spiralling guitar parts. On the front foot for seven minutes, the end section twists and turns trippily, on and on and on.

Sabres of Paradise ‘The Ballad Of Nicky McGuire’

Haunted Dancehall, Sabres’ 1994 album, was a soundtrack through the capital in the footsteps of our hero Nicky McGuire. This track starts out with a jerky drumbeat and builds from there, drawing the listener into to its circular funk. Don’t go looking for the novel the sleeve notes quote from, or our hero Mr McGuire. Neither exist outside the haunted dancehall.

Sabres Of Paradise ‘Edge 6’

More deeply dubby stuff, this time a 1994 B-side. It’s partner Return Of Carter is equally good.

Sabres Of Paradise ‘Wilmot’

Twisted voodoo dub with horns that snake and skank all over the place, partly inspired by Trinidadian calypso star from the 1940s Wilmoth Houdini. Bacardi paid a ridiculous sum to use this on an advert- the song survives such tawdriness. The money paid for a studio.

Disc Two: Swordsmen Side

Two Lone Swordsmen ‘Big Man On The Landing’

The first TLS album covered many musical bases-this track with a bassline so large you could ride it, is ominous and menacing and provides a stylistic link between Sabres and the Swordsmen. For further exploration go and listen to the stoned, paranoid guitars on Enemy Haze or the Kraftwerk go London techno of Beacon Block.

Two Lone Swordsmen ‘Rico’s Helly’

Double bass led electronic funk and a skippety two step beat- the sound of the flightpath estate (a studio above a dry cleaners near Heathrow Airport).

Two Lone Swordsmen ‘It’s Not The Worst I’ve Ever Looked… Just The Least I’ve Ever Cared’

From an album, Tiny Reminders, where Weatherall and Tenniswood ploughed their mutant, minimal techno about as deep and far as it could go- I genuinely could have picked any of the twenty tracks from this record- comes this dusty, downtempo slice. A catgut guitar, a slo-mo drum sample, some percussion, a steel drum.

Two Lone Swordsmen ‘As Worldly Pleasures Wave Goodbye’

Stay Down was an lp of short, sub-aquatic, ambient-techno songs. This was the last song, a gorgeous marriage of static, quiet noise and fluttering dub.

Two Lone Swordsmen ‘Get Out Of My Kingdom’

And then on Wrong Meeting in 2007 Weatherall gets the electric guitars back out and steps up to the mic to sing (actually he’d done this on the previous album From The Double Gone Chapel). Dub-rock and post punk, a full live band, rockabilly influences… this sounds a bit like early New Order had they come from West London rather than Salford.

I’ve bent the rules here, two discs is cheating. I could easily stick a third one together (various tracks released under other names during the 90s would be contenders) and a bunch of remixes done by Sabres Of Paradise and Two Lone Swordsmen that merit inclusion. A fourth would include the recent work (an e.p., a couple of albums) under his own name and as The Asphodells (with Timothy J Fairplay) and Woodleigh Research Facility (with Nina Walsh and Youth). But then we’re into Imaginary Box set territory.



Treat yourself to a chocolate biscuit if you got that one correct. If you don’t have such a thing close to hand then go buy one from a nearby shop and I’ll reimburse you as long as you send me the receipt.

Toyah, contrary to popular belief, was not just a solo project for Ms Willcox. Back in 1977, three friends had spent a brief period playing under the name Ninth Illusion, without recording any music. In the beginning of 1978 they added some more musicians and settled on a new, taking it from their female vocalist who was also just beginning to forge a name for herself as an actress.

By mid-1979 the band had signed to the London-based Safari Records and over the next 18 months here would be a handful of singles and LPs that didn’t really do all that much. By late 1980, there had been further line-up changes with only Joel Bogen remaining from the earlier line-ups and the decision was taken to focus on a more pop-orientated sound. The formula worked and the band had huge mainstream chart success in 1981 with three Top 10s and one further Top 20 appearance, all of which, thanks to being released on Safari, were eligible for consideration in the indie chart and between them they spent 13 weeks holding down the top spot.

mp3 : Toyah – It’s A Mystery
mp3 : Toyah – I Want To Be Free
mp3 : Toyah – Thunder In The Mountains
mp3 : Toyah – Good Morning Universe

Just for the record, I never bought any of these at the time of release nor are they in the collection nowadays. They’ve been collated especially to fill in the gaps in your knowledge base!

Worth also mentioning that when the band went out on a sold-out tour of large venues across the UK at the end of 1981, they took along Fad Gadget as the support act.  I wonder what the mums and dads and kids made of his slightly leftfield music and mannerisms…..


Kids today probably know this song better than many other flop singles from 1994.

While I can’t vouch for this myself, I believe it is a playable track in Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero World Tour as well as a downloadable track for Rocksmith 2014. I understand they are some sort of interactive electronic games. Whatever happened to the days when you picked up a tennis/badminton/squash racquet and did it yourself all in your own head?

mp3 : Dinosaur Jr – Feel The Pain
mp3 : Dinosaur Jr – Get Out Of This (no words just solo)
mp3 : Dinosaur Jr – Repulsion (acoustic live at CBGBs)

Love the sleeve which is the work of someone called Angry Johnny. Also love the promo video which displays the bonkers genius of director Spike Jonze (sad reminder too of how much The Twin Towers at the World Trade Centre once dominated the NYC skyline):-

Enjoy (warning…..the first of the b-sides is pure pish that is only really for those of a certain disposition…and who probably are very familair with the games mentioned above)



This piece was inspired by a recent lengthy article written by Bill Drummond, penned in the aftermath of the death of Pete Burns. I’ve never hidden my admiration for the author believing him to be a true genius whose contribution to arts, music and culture won’t really be appreciated until long after he’s no longer with us; this latest piece of writing (click here) is up there with his best.

It was the fact that he mentioned the one-off band in the photo accopanying the article were playing Paint It Black that jogged my memory and got me thinking back to a gig played by Echo & The Bunnymen at Glasgow Barrowlands in December 1985 for they ended what I’ve long considered to be as great a live performance as I’ve ever seen with a rendition of the Rolling Stones number.

More than 30 years on and I’ve often wondered what exactly it was that made that particular gig so special. I know that some of it would have been the fact that I was there on a date with a girl who I had long been besotted with and that she too was a big fan of the Bunnymen. We had a great time but we didn’t see each other again for a few weeks as the gig was just a couple of days before Xmas and we both had plans to spend time with our families in separate parts of Scotland and being an era well before the likes of mobile phones, the cost of longish distance phone calls was something we kept to a minimum. In the end, we went out just one more time in early 1986, both realising it would be better to stay friends than fuck things up completely.

So it’s not entirely the memory of a short-lived romance that makes this gig a highlight. I’ve always thought that it was down to the majestic nature of the set, combined with the fact the band were probably at their peak and that it was in the best music venue known to mankind anywhere on the planet. That and the fact that I was blown away by the fact they did such a storming final encore of Paint It Black before sending us all home.

There’s folk who now collate set lists from gigs of way back and put them on the internet. I’ve dug in and looked up that Barrowlands gig. It turns out to have been the final gig the band played that year and it was on Sunday 22 December and so they were obviously determined to go out in some style. The full set list is evidence:-

Going Up
With a Hip
Heads Will Roll
My Kingdom
Lips Like Sugar
Villiers Terrace
All That Jazz
The Back of Love
Ocean Rain
Seven Seas
The Killing Moon
Bedbugs and Ballyhoo
Angels and Devils
The Cutter
Never Stop
Thorn of Crowns
Do It Clean
Over the Wall
Paint It Black

It’s almost as if I’d been asked to come up with a set list of my own and the band played it there and then. I just know that it was a gig where I didn’t stop dancing from the first minute to the last, all the while trying to look cool and dignified for the goddess I was next to. And probably failing – after all, when Pete De Freitas was in the house, none of the rest of us stood a chance.

I know that on many an occasion over the past 31 years I have come away from a gig believing immediately afterwards that it is the best I’ve been to; but by the time the following morning comes around and I’ve replayed it in my head and compared it to that 1985 night in the Barrowlands it then just comes up marginally close but not quite good enough.

The one funny thing about the night is that over the years I’ve tended to be able to recall something about the support acts at the countless gigs I’ve been at but I’ve a total blank on that particular evening. It may well have been I didn’t get along in time but that’s unlikely as anyone who knows me will testify that I always insist on seeing the support act ‘just in case they are any good’. It is simply the fact that the Bunnymen that night blew everything else out of the water.

mp3 : Echo & The Bunnymen – Angels and Devils (live, 1985)
mp3 : Echo & The Bunnymen – Crocodiles (live, 1985)
mp3 : Echo & The Bunnymen – Paint It Black (live, 1985)

Sadly, not from the Glasgow gig, but lifted from the Crystal Days box set and a set played on 25 April in Gothenburg, Sweden where the band acted as their own support by playing a set of ten cover versions before coming back on and playing their own stuff.

Listen in particular to Crocodiles which comes in at a storming 6 mins plus which is more than twice the length of the studio version. It was, in those days, that way for Mac to ad-lib all sorts of lyrics and for the band to really go for it and get the crowd going crazy towards the end of sets.