SOME SONGS ARE GREAT SHORT STORIES (Chapter Six)

AS SUGGESTED BY JONNY THE FRIENDLY LAWYER

We are two mariners
Our ship’s sole survivors
In this belly of a whale
It’s ribs are ceiling beams
It’s guts are carpeting
I guess we have some time to kill

You may not remember me
I was a child of three
And you, a lad of eighteen
But, I remember you
And I will relate to you
How our histories interweave
At the time you were
A rake and a roustabout
Spending all your money
On the whores and hounds
(Oh, oh)

You had a charming air
All cheap and debonair
My widowed mother found so sweet
And so she took you in
Her sheets still warm with him
Now filled with filth and foul disease
As time wore on you proved
A debt-ridden drunken mess
Leaving my mother
A poor consumptive wretch
(Oh, oh)

And then you disappeared
Your gambling arrears
The only thing you left behind
And then the magistrate
Reclaimed our small estate
And my poor mother lost her mind
Then, one day in spring
My dear sweet mother died
But, before she did
I took her hand as she, dying, cried:
(Oh, oh)

“Find him, find him
Tie him to a pole and break
His fingers to splinters
Drag him to a hole until he
Wakes up naked
Clawing at the ceiling
Of his grave”

It took me fifteen years
To swallow all my tears
Among the urchins in the street
Until a priory
Took pity and hired me
To keep their vestry nice and neat
But, never once in the employ
Of these holy men
Did I ever, once turn my mind
From the thought of revenge
(Oh, oh)

One night I overheard
The prior exchanging words
With a penitent whaler from the sea
The captain of his ship
Who matched you toe to tip
Was known for wanton cruelty
The following day
I shipped to sea
With a privateer
And in the whistle
Of the wind
I could almost hear
(Oh, oh)

“Find him, find him
Tie him to a pole and break
His fingers to splinters
Drag him to a hole until he
Wakes up naked
Clawing at the ceiling
Of his grave

There is one thing I must say to you
As you sail across the sea
Always, your mother will watch over you
As you avenge this wicked deed”

And then, that fateful night
We had you in our sight
After twenty months, it seemed
Your starboard flank abeam
I was getting my muskets clean
When came this rumbling from beneath
The ocean shook
The sky went black
And the captain quailed
And before us grew
The angry jaws
Of a giant whale

Don’t know how I survived
The crew all was chewed alive
I must have slipped between his teeth
But, oh, what providence
What divine intelligence
That you should survive
As well as me
It gives my eye great joy
To see your eyes fill with fear
To lean in close
And I will whisper
The last words you’ll hear
(Oh, oh)

mp3 : The Decemberists – The Mariner’s Revenge Song

 

JTFL

PS : By the way, this song is hilarious when The Decemberists play it live — they have a giant prop whale that runs around the stage and they get the crowd to scream in mock terror at appropriate intervals.

HOLIDAY 80

Back in 1980, this was the review penned in Sounds which was then one of the main weekly music UK papers:-

Too much, too late, but too good to be missed. Eighteen months ago The Human League stood on the brink of altering the course of British pop music. Their humour and conviction combined to create an aura of (until then) unknown commercial excitement. Had the Sheffield funsters swallowed their hip pride and attacked the singles charts, they would have created a devastating impact on the British pop music(k) scene.

But as always seems to happen to the originals, they failed because of their own foolish move towards dignity and ‘below ground’ obscurity. They stood back for a moment allowing the empty and dull Gary Numan to ruin their market with his one and only flash of excellence. As soon as ‘Are Friends Electric’ hit that number one spot it became clear that The Human League had lost the gamble. And the stakes were high.

So, now in the midst of ska silliness, the finest electronic band of all time finally release the goods. A double single that clearly defines to all four angles of synthesised madness. The soft beauty of ‘Marianne’, the weirdness of ‘Dance Vision’, the perfect semi-harsh statements of ‘Being Boiled’ (new version) and finally the absurd pap-poppity of Gary Glitters ‘Rock And Roll’ and Iggy’s ‘Nightclubbing’. To be taken in large doses. To be played to life.

Nobody then could have predicted that within 12 months, The Human League would be the band to redefine British music in a way that no-one else had done since the era of The Beatles as synthesisers replaced guitars as the instrument of choice on the attack on the pop charts. Listening to Holiday 80, which is as excellent a release as the Sounds critic indicates, it really is hard to imagine what would unfold in the months ahead:-

mp3 : The Human League – Marianne
mp3 : The Human League – Dancevision
mp3 : The Human League – Being Boiled
mp3 : The Human League – Rock’n’Roll/Nightclubbing

But 37 years ago???? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

JC

PS : This is an apt posting as I’m off to Lanzarote for a few days with Mrs V.  The rest of the week will be guest postings of a far higher quality than the rubbish that’s been here in recent times.

THE NEW ORDER SINGLES (Part 5)

I’ll let Discogs state the facts:-

Blue Monday :  New Order’s 5th single. A milestone, both by musical standards and by design standards. Sold over 1 million copies globally. But because at the time of release, Factory weren’t part of the BPI, there are no reliable figures nor certifications or awards.

Initial editions were released in March 1983 with die-cut cover and cut outs and a thick silver inner sleeve, designed by Peter Saville.

Cover variations: Die-cut with cut-outs, die-cut without cut-outs, plain printed.
Inner sleeve variations: Thick glossy silver, thin matte silver, thick glossy black or thin matte black.
All bear the colour code, spelling “FAC 73 Blue Monday And The Beach New Order”.

There is a common misconception that Factory lost money on the release due to the design. The sleeve did cost so much that it actually denied Factory an extra profit of just under 1 UK Pence on each copy sold. But demand and production cost and timings meant that the sleeve became progressively more simple with each repressing.

Peaked at #9 in the UK Single charts and at #1 in the UK Indie Charts.

Blue Monday 1988: New Order’s 16th single, released in March 1988. Produced by Quincy Jones with the actual remix done by John Potoker. After New Order signed to Qwest in the US, Quincy Jones saw an opportunity for their groundbreaking track to have a legitimate single release and a shot at radio airplay. In the UK it was released as 7″, 12″, CD-Single and as CD-V, featuring an alternate 7″ mix.

Also reissued in 1995 with new remixes.

 

But quite frankly, nothing beats the original.  I reckon I’ve probably, over the years, danced to this track more than any other.

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

mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 1988 (single mix)
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 1988 (12″ mix)

mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 95 (Hardfloor mix)
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 95 (Manuella mix)
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 95 (Andrea mix)
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 95 (Plutone mix)
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 95 (Brain mix)
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 95 (Starwash mix)
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 95 (Hardfloor Dub)

Re these mixes of Blue Monday 95 – some were for the UK market and others for Europe and also Australia.  I’m guessing it’s all to do with whatever styles of clubs were most in fashion in whic part of the world.  There’s elements of trance, dub, techno, ambient, acid and house all to be found. A word of warning – they do get a tad wearisome rather quickly….but there will be folk out there who enjoy some and maybe even all of them.

Oh and for completeness sake:-

mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday  (So Hot Mix by 808 State)

This was done in 1988 to appeal to the Acid House market.

Took me ages to pull this post together…..I had no idea so many mixes had been commercially released.

JC

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #100 : FIZZBOMBS

As featured in the CD86 series back in June 2015:-

The Fizzbombs were a short-lived four piece from Edinburgh consisting of Katy McCullars (lead vocal), Margarita Vasquez-Ponte (guitar/vocals), Angus McPake (drums) and Ann Donald (bass). This fabulous little number was released as a single on Nardonik Records in 1987:-

mp3 : The Fizzbombs – Sign On The Line

It was the band’s only release with that line-up. They would release an EP in 1988 by which time Katy had moved on and Margarita was on lead vocal duties after which Fizzbombs were no more.

However, Margarita was a mainstay in other Edinburgh-based indie bands of the time, most notably Rote Kapelle and Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes (of which Angus was also a member), the latter having a career that saw eight singles/EPs and two LPs between 1986 and 1990 without ever coming close to any commercial success. Katy, a mentioned a few weeks back, would be part of The Secret Goldfish and Fake Eyelashes among many other great contributions to the indie scene in Scotland.

JC

TEN DAYS OF TWEE (10) : SPRING BOUTIQUE

Spring Boutique were from The Philippines and consisted of Lorelie Landavora (vocals), Anthony Agarpao (guitar) Precious Agarpao (guitar), Basil James Silva (drums) and Caleb Domingo (bass). They released their their debut album via Philippine indiepop label, Dorothy and later on via the Japanese label Quince Records in 2003.  It’s an album that contains the perfect way to end this mini-series.

mp3 : Spring Boutique – So Twee

JC

TEN DAYS OF TWEE (9) : VERY TRULY YOURS

Twee might be best associated with the 80s and 90s, but in all truth it never went away, which to me is a good things.

One of the more recent examples of the genre are Very Truly Yours who hail from Chicago. Formed by Kristine Capua (vocals), Lisle Mitnik (guitar), Dan Hyatt (bass), and Andy Rogers (drums) in 2008 they soon began to get attention from appearances on various low-budget compilations. Katie Watkins later joined on keyboards.

From what I can gather, there then followed a split single and then a self-funded EP in 2009, an album in 2010 and a 7″ single in 2011.

Kristine and Lisle also have recorded solo projects and more recently have hooked up for an electronica band called Tiny Fireflies. I’m assuming therefore that Very Truly Yours are no more, but I’m willing to be corrected.

mp3 : Very Truly Yours – Popsong ’91 (from 2009 split single)
mp3 : Very Truly Yours – Reminders (from 2009 EP)
mp3 : Very Truly Yours – Things You Used To Say (from 2010 LP)
mp3 : Very Truly Yours – Girls Tell You Secrets (2011 single)

JC

PS

https://thesoundofbeingok.wordpress.com

It’s worth dropping by……

TEN DAYS OF TWEE (8) : GRAB GRAB THE HADDOCK

It’s well-known that, following the demise of Marine Girls, fame, fortune and an extended career in the music industry would come to Tracey Thorn. What’s maybe not so well-known is what happened next to her bandmates, Alice and Jane Fox.

They stayed with Cherry Red Records, forming the unlikely named Grab Grab The Haddock, who also included Lester Noel and Steve Galloway. A three-track EP, entitled Three Songs by Grab Grab The Haddock was released in 1984 while the following year saw one more EP, entitled Four More Songs by Grab Grab The Haddock.

mp3 : Grab Grab The Haddock – Nothing You Say… (1984)
mp3 : Grab Grab The Haddock – For All We Know (1985)

The first of the songs was written by Steve Galloway while Jane Fox was responsible for the other two tracks.

There was one more EP in 1986, entitled Four More Songs by Grab Grab The Haddock, with writing duties this time falling mainly to Lester Noel, who wrote two of its songs, with one each for Jane and Steve.

The band called it a day shortly afterwards. Lester Noel enjoyed some later success as part of Beats International, the band formed by Norman Cook after the demise of The Housemartins, and who enjoyed a #1 in 1989 with Dub Be Good To Me.

JC