Back in May 2008, my dear friend ctel from the fantastic Acid Ted blogspot, came in and hi-jacked TVV while I was away sunning myself on holiday. To be fair, I asked him to look after the shop while I was gone, and he did so in his own distinctive and entertaining style with a short series called Confessions On The Dance Floor.

One of the songs he featured was the Andrew Weatherall mix of an early St Etienne single, which itself was a cover of a Neil Young track from days of old. Here’s what ctel said:-

After all the good taste that is 45 45s @ 45, some more of those dirty little musical secrets we all have. None of that post-modern “guilty pleasures” nonsense.

Next up, Neil Young. Yeah, you were lauded in the sixties. Can’t you stop now. Your whingy voice irritates me. But we all have to pretend that he’s a genius.

The only track worth anything to me is “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”. The third track on Neil Young’s album After the Gold Rush. The song was supposedly written for Graham Nash after Nash’s split from Joni Mitchell. Released as a single in October 1970, it became Young’s first top 40 hit as a solo artist, peaking at number thirty three in the U.S. Musically, the song consists of the same three chords; D, G, A; repeated until the end.

Actually, I don’t like Neil’s verison. The only version worth a damn is by St Etienne. In 1990, Saint Etienne recorded a cover version of the song, included on their debut album Foxbase Alpha. According to Wikipedia “This cover is relatively faithful to the original but is arranged in 4/4 (as opposed to the original’s waltz time), with a driving piano-bass-drum section.” Whatever. What is important is that the genius that is Andrew Weatherall later remixed the song to further emphasise the dub bassline.

Get some Vera’s, spark up and listen

This was their debut single and it features Moira Lambert on vocals as it pre-dates Sarah Cracknell joining the band. And although I’ve loved plenty of St Etienne releases over the years, I don’t think they ever surpassed this piece of magic:-

mp3 : St Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart
mp3 : St Etienne – Filthy (featuring Q-Tee)
mp3 : St Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart (a mix of two halves by Andrew Weatherall)

Oh and I know fine well that this is the 1991 re-issue of the single….I was never hip enough to buy it first time around….but then again my purchase did help it become the bands first Top 40 hit. Oh and another thing – while they are now known as Saint Etienne, you can see from the cover of the CD single that they were St Etienne in those days….

Allez les vertes.


3 thoughts on “A REPEAT OF A REPEAT……

  1. I love Fox Base Alpha a great deal. It’s one of my ‘comfort music’ albums and this cover is a real high point. Andrew Wetherall’s remix isn’t on the record but I recall many an indie night where it looked large.

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