THIS CAPTURED MY ATTENTION……

I was copying the text from the C88 booklet for last Saturday’s posting on Holidaymakers, when my gaze was attracted to words elsewhere on the same page:-

Hailing from Nottingham, Fat Tulips announced themselves on a shared flexi, where ‘You Opened My Eyes’ – ringing guitars courtesy of Mark D and lilting vocals care of Sarah C – shared space with a Rosehips cover of ‘Ask Johnny Dee’

The C88 song from Fat Tulips was the very one featured on the flexi, and given that Ask Johnny Dee is one of my all time favourite singles of the period, I really had to track down this cover:-

mp3 : Fat Tulips – You Opened Up My Eyes
mp3 : Rosehips – Ask Johnny Dee

You couldn’t really ask for anything more derivative of what many associate with C86/87/88 than these two totally DIY, fragile and near amateurish pieces of music…everyone involved sounds as if they are on the very edge of their abilities, concentrating hard to make sure nothing falls apart before the final notes are struck or sung.

The booklet goes on to offer a reminder that Fat Tulips, after a number of line-up changes, would release a single which paid homage(?) to a pixie-like and gorgeous pop star of the early 80s:-

mp3 : Fat Tulips – Where’s Clare Grogan Now?

There’s an excellent website devoted to Fat Tulips – they seem to have been a band who enjoyed what they did without ever getting hung about fame or fortune.   Click here for more.

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #194 : GREGORY ISAACS

A GUEST POSTING by THE SWEDE
from UNTHOUGHT OF SOMEHOW blog

In a career spanning over 40 years, Gregory Isaacs was a highly prolific recording artist – you’ll be on pretty safe ground picking up absolutely anything by him, up to and including the ‘Night Nurse’ LP released on Island in 1982. Thereafter, his prodigious output continued, but, with the exception of one or two stand-out moments, the quality was never quite the same. It was a long and painful decline, exacerbated by ill-health and drug dependency issues until lung cancer claimed his life in 2010, aged just 59. Here are ten choice cuts from the glory years of The Cool Ruler. If you enjoy these, I encourage you to dig deeper.

1) Love is Overdue (1974)

Covered by Keith Richards in 2015. I love you Keef, I really do, but some tunes should just remain untouched. Gregory’s original was produced by Alvin Ranglin and released on Ranglin’s own GG record label.

2) All I Have Is Love (1974)

Released as a split 7″ with Pat Kelly‘s ‘Summertime’ in Jamaica in 1974. When this beauty finally saw the light of day in the UK the following year, it was bafflingly relegated to the b-side of the inferior ‘Help Us Get Over‘. Produced by Phill Pratt.

3) Ba Da (1975)

Produced by Winston Holness, aka Niney the Observer. Sparse, dubby and mysterious. You’ll find nothing else quite like this in Gregory’s catalogue.

4) Mr Cop (1976)

Produced at the Black Ark by the great Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, ‘Mr Cop’ shows Isaacs calling for overzealous police to cease their harassment of weed smoking dreads. ‘…we’re just sipping a cup and having some fun and it’s better than in the streets bashing guns…’ Hopes for a longstanding musical partnership between The Cool Ruler and The Upsetter came to nothing – this song was their only meaningful collaboration.

5) Hand Cuff (1978)

Self-produced, socially aware standout from the ‘Mr Isaacs’ LP, featuring an all-star cast including the engineering prowess of Ossie Hibbert, The Heptones on backing vocals and musical accompaniment from The Revolutionaries. ‘…hey mister Babylon, take the cuff from off the bredren’s hand…’

6) Poor and Clean (1979)

Initially released as a single in Jamaica and subsequently on the 1980 ‘Lonely Lover’ LP in the UK. Features contributions from Sly & Robbie, Gladdy Anderson and Errol ‘Flabba’ Holt.

7) Soon Forward (1979)

Sublime title track of Gregory’s second Front Line Records LP. A Sly & Robbie production.

8) Once Ago (1981)

Closing cut on the excellent ‘More Gregory’ LP.

9) What a Feeling (1981)

A terrific single, released only in Jamaica and belatedly added to the CD reissue of ‘More Gregory’ in 2002. ‘…liquor a sip, herb a smoke and the dancehall tight…’

10) Cool Down the Pace (1982)

From the ‘Night Nurse’ LP, Gregory’s commercial peak. The title track was released as a single and later famously later covered by Simply Red (credit where it’s due, Mick Hucknall was a massive reggae fan who helped establish the crucial Blood and Fire label in 1993). The lilting ‘Cool Down the Pace’ was also pulled from the album as a single.
Another LP, ‘Out Deh’, followed on Island in 1983. It was a weak effort and from then on, despite releasing dozens of further albums for a bewildering variety of labels, The Cool Ruler never hit quite such creative heights again.

THE SWEDE

 

THE GRINDERMAN SINGLES (2)

The second Grinderman single is an absolute hoot.

It’s garage-rock with a tune and lyric The Cramps would have been proud of which opens with a middle-aged Lothario singing about his face and body failing him and how he’s reduced to self-love. He then goes on to explain how this state of being has come about, namely that he has been reduced to doing a range of demeaning things in an effort to persuade a woman to have sex with him.

He’s tried changing the sheets on his bed, combing his hair to hide the bald patches and sucking in his gut, all to no avail. He tries poetry, DIY repairs and even petting a revolting pet that she dotes on, but still with no progress towards his goal. In the end, he comes to the conclusion to he ain’t going to get any and it’s given him the blues.

mp3 : Grinderman – No Pussy Blues

All of this could have made for an uncomfortable listen, a song filled withy bitterness and bile, full of misogyny and sexist language; but in the hands of a happily married in real-life composer, it becomes something hilarious and as memorable as any of the weepy ballads that had brought Nick Cave to the attention of a wider public.

The b-side turned out to be a track originally considered for inclusion on what would become the debut Grinderman album but left off at a late stage.

mp3 : Grinderman – Chain of Flowers

As time would demonstrate this was the lightest and softest song that would be recorded under the Grinderman badge – it really should have been kept back for the next Bad Seeds album.

JC

THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF PAUL HAIG (Part 3)

The first essential single of the solo era. Released on 12″ vinyl on the dance-orientated Interference imprint of his Belgian label, this was Paul Haig making a fabulous synth-driven pop song, with perfect backing vocals from Giles and Samantha of Hey! Elastica who were featured just a few weeks back in the Saturday series.

mp3 : Paul Haig – Blue For You
mp3 : Paul Haig – Blue For You (version)

It seemed really exotic to go into a Glasgow record shop to purchase a piece of vinyl pressed up in Belgium that featured musicians from Edinburgh. I still play this record on a regular basis these days.

Paul would later perform Blue For You in a very rare live TV performance. The backing vocals in this instance are from session singers:-

The song would later be re-recorded for Paul’s debut LP, but this early version is the definitive version.

JC

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #134 : HOLIDAYMAKERS

I’ve one song by this lot, courtesy of it being in the Cherry Red C88 box set that was released in June 2017. Here’s the words from the booklet:-

The short-lived Holidaymakers, part of an Edinburgh scene spawned by the likes of the Shop Assistants and Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes were Adrian Smith (vocals/guitar), Neil Craig (guitar), Mark Cunningham (bass) and Richard Guy (drums). The jangly ‘Everyday’ graced the first Whoosh flexi (sharing honours with The Nivens’ ‘Let Loose Of My Knee’) and was followed by the majestic ‘Cininatti’, (Whoosh 004, 1988) two minutes or so of chiming guitars and assured, smouldering vocals that equalled Paul Simpson in The Wild Swans at his best. Alas, there was just one further release, 1989’s ‘Skyrider’, on the Gay Cowboy Recording Organisation, before the band rode off into the sunset.

mp3 : Holidaymakers – Cincinnati

Cincinnati is a good song, but the vocal delivery is nothing like that of Paul Simpson and this the description in the booklet is a bit misleading. I lived in Edinburgh from mid 85-mid 88, but it was a time I didn’t take much to do with music and I certainly have no recollection of Holidaymakers. Indeed, I can’t even recall seeing the sleeve in any record shops, despite me still spending many a lunchtime browsing those indie stores which weren’t too far from my city centre office.

I have managed to track down the b-side of the single:-

mp3 : Holidaymakers – Seventh Valley Girl

JC

ARTICLE 58

I was checking something up in the Simon Goddard book when my eye was drawn to something he’s included in one of the appendices, ‘Related Releases – A Selection of supplementary titles recorded during the years Postcard was active’

It was his reference to a single by a band whose name vaguely rang a bell.

ARTICLE 58 – ‘Event To Come’ b/w ‘Echoes’/’Lost & Found’ (1981)

Bouncy single by Hamilton band released on Josef K manager Allan Campbell’s label. The only non-Postcard release to credit Alan Horne, here ‘co-producer’ with Malcolm Ross. Recorded at Emblem Sound, Strathaven (B-side ‘Echoes; recorded by Wilf Smarties). Article 58’s drummer was Steve Lironi*, later to join Altered Images

*and later to break my heart by marrying Clare Grogan.

Anyways, as I said Article 58 rang a bell and it turns out that I actually have a copy of the song that was the a-side, courtesy of its inclusion on a compilation album issued some 15 years ago by German based Marina Records.  It’s my mistake in not picking up they were Scottish as they would have featured many moons ago on a Saturday.

mp3 : Article 58 – Event To Come

A fast and frantic sounding piece of music with great guitar work from the emerging Douglas MacIntyre who, almost 40 years later remains a mainstay of the Glasgow music scene thanks to his playing with many bands and his running of Creeping Bent Records.  He’s been responsible for one of my favourite records of 2018

Going back to Article 58, the a-side of the single certainly gives a nod to Josef K……

The back of the sleeve provides a fair bit of detail.

Event To Come and Lost & Found were recorded at the same session with Ross and Horne given credit for production. The band consisted of Gerry McLaughlin (vocals), Douglas McIntyre (guitar), Ewan McLennan (bass) and Stephen Lironi (drums), although Robert McCormack is credited as the drummer on Echoes, which presumably was an earlier demo track recorded at the Edinburgh studio of Wilf Smarties  (who himself would go on to have a very successful career in writing and production in later years)

It got my interest piqued and after a bit of effort, I’ve tracked down the b-sides:-

mp3 : Article 58 – Echoes
mp3 : Article 58 – Lost & Found

Both well worth a listen, with a touch of the guitar sounds of PiL/Magazine in there; once again it’s an example of a band forming for one single before dissolving, although in this instance two of its members would go onto achieve much elsewhere.

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #193 : ARCTIC MONKEYS

A GUEST CONTRIBUTION by TIM BADGER

SWC is sat next to me in the office to ensure ‘fair play’. KT has just disappeared off to her desk and has switched on her iPod. She has been given orders to email through from song eight – so that there is some sort of tension. SWC is fully expecting this ICA to be utter torment for me.

I’ll recap – we had a little experiment, KT wrote an ICA on the Manics chosen by SWC’s ipod. He then wrote on Mercury Rev, chosen by my iPod and now its my turn, and KT’s iPod is doing the choosing. KT’s ipod is full of chart rubbish that she pretends not to love…

“I just haven’t found the time to delete ‘Superstar’ by Jamelia or ‘Hello’ by Lionel Ritchie or everything by the 1975.” is what she usually claims.

I am worried to be honest. When the iPod gets to the 11th song that is the artist/band that the ICA is on. I sit and pray that it’s not Kylie.

About two hours or so later an email arrives from KT – It turns out she forgot to let me know what songs came on as she was ‘busy’. So she has pressed back and tells me that Track Eight Was ‘Erase/Rewind by the Cardigans (tough), Track Nine was something by a band called Riley and the Restless (tougher as they are from Teignmouth and only have a couple of tracks on their soundcloud page – I’d still recommend them to you though if you are a fan of Johnny Cash). Track Ten was ‘Around My Head’ by Cage the Elephant (tougher still) and then I take a deep breath.

Track Eleven was ‘Cornerstone’ by Arctic Monkeys. I punch the air in delight and grin at SWC as her reads the email. He presses ‘reply’ on the email and types a solitary word. “Bastard”.

We did add a rule when writing these ICA’s – no more than 4 singles on the album, and it must contain at least one B Side, remix or cover version, it can contain more if you want it to. I may be slightly hoisted by my own petard here, as I own no Arctic Monkeys cover versions (actually I own, one a live version of a Beatles song, but it is rubbish, so we’ll ignore that) and I’m fairly sure that they’ve never been remixed. But then again four of their six albums are masterpieces so I’ll be alright I think.

So, here goes, An Imaginary Compilation Album on Arctic Monkeys.

Side One

Chun Li’s Spinning Bird Kick (B Side to I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor)

Chun Li as all you geeks will recall was a (the first?) female character from Street Fighter whose special move was the aforementioned spinning bird kick. I’ve started with this because I think firstly it underlines the Monkeys knack for a tune (this an instrumental was nominated for a Grammy) and secondly because I think it also underlines the bands ability to get this spot on because if everything in the world was set to music, being kicked in the face by a spinning Japanese warrior (or was she an undercover agent, I never quite followed her back story) would undoubtedly sound exactly like this.

Cornerstone (From ‘Humbug’)

People say that ‘Humbug’ was patchy (it sounds way too much like the Queens of the Stone Age to be honest), but I think it’s one of the four masterpieces that I mention up top (the two that aren’t are the second album and the most recent one in case we are playing Arctic Monkeys poker at all). ‘Cornerstone’ is lovely as well, an obvious album highlight, which stood out at the very first listen. It shows off what Alex Turner is famous for, subtle and intricate songcraft. The song is packed with vivid lyrics and observation about various watering holes and females who remind Turner of someone, we never find out who, but the song is so beautiful we don’t really care.

The Hellcat Spanged Shalala (From Suck It and See)

After ‘Humbug’ the band abandoned trying to be a South Yorkshire version of the Queens of the Stone Age and returned to making beautifully wistful guitar pop and it suited them down to the ground – and you know what – I think right now, ‘Suck It and See’ is my favourite of their albums, is it their best – not sure – but I personally don’t think that they have ever sounded as confident and as sparkling as they do in this song. It’s marvellous.

Despair in the Departure Lounge (From Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?)

In between the release of the first Arctic Monkeys album and the recording of the second album, the record company wanted the band to release a third single. This was supposed to be ‘The View from the Afternoon’ but instead of doing the easy thing and just releasing the band decided to release an EP of five tracks and immediately disqualified themselves from the charts, that they called it ‘Who the Fuck are Arctic Monkeys’ didn’t help either. That EP is full of gems, every track is wonderful, but this is the highlight. A beautiful exploration of what it means to pine after someone or something.

I Wanna Be Yours (From AM)

The poignant side of the Monkeys I don’t think has ever been in doubt, but their most poignant moment ever, isn’t even down to them. ‘AM’ their fifth album closes with ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ which is a John Cooper Clarke poem from around 1985 that has been tweaked ever so slightly by Alex Turner. He then gives it a simple, beautiful, heartfelt delivery and when he tells us that “I wanna be your Ford Cortina/ And I will never rust,” it is utterly mesmerising.

Side Two – which is very first album heavy

I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor (From Whatever People Say I Am…)

When the Sun Goes Down (From Whatever People Say I Am…)

These two tracks sum up everything about the band when they first burst onto the scene. They are both essential listening and frankly without them this ICA would be useless. I’ve written about the first song before in some depth but I don’t think I have ever waxed lyrical about ‘When the Sun Goes Down’.

It is quite astonishing, both lyrically and musically. A bleak ode to prostitutes in Turner’s native Sheffield and their scummy pimps or customers. It’s astonishing in a number of ways – firstly the way that the tone changes after the line “He’s a scumbag don’t you know’ is breathtakingly mature for a band who are releasing just their second single. Then we are astonished again near the end when the scummy man arrives the prostitute becomes happy because as Turner tells us, sagely, “she must be fucking freezing, scantily clad beneath the clear night sky”. I mean that is some tragically beautiful poetry there.

She’s Thunderstorms (From Suck it and See)

This is the opening track of ‘Suck It and See’ – and was apparently actually writing during an ‘apocalyptic’ thunderstorm in New York. Although I think it’s more about the tempestuous and captivating nature of the female of the species than thunder, lightning and heavy rain.

Arabella (From ‘AM’)

I was going to mention an old blog that I use to read that hated the Arctic Monkeys with a passion and claimed that they were just peddling out the same old shit time after time, album after album. I was going to mention that he clearly could not have listened to ‘AM’ because that is so much different to all of their other albums – clearly influenced by hip hop and 70’s rock music and it contains ‘Arabella’ which is the best song ever written about a gator skin boot wearing female.

The View From the Afternoon (From Whatever…)

Lyrically, this is incredible. It’s visual trip through a town on a (presumably) Friday night. It’s full of characters, the girls at the fancy dress party in the limo, the gambler at the fruit machine, the lads with pool cues, the drunk sending text messages…It is just remarkable song and hope fully a fitting end to this ICA.

TIM

JC adds.……I’ll provide the cover version:-

mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – Put Your Dukes Up, John

A b-side on Leave Before The Lights Come On single, it’s their take on a 2005 single by The Little Flames…..one of whose members was…..Miles Kane.