This might be a first.  A song which featured in the ongoing ‘Great Debut Singles’series also popping up here on a Monday morning.  But the previous appearance was November 2017, so I think it’s OK to hit the repeat button.  Oh, and as I got such a good reaction to the previous post, I’m going with a cut’n’paste effort.  The only difference being that the mp3s on offer are of a significantly higher rip….

Bernie Rhodes knows don’t argue

And with that, the first record issued by The Specials was unleashed on the listening public.

1979 was a fantastic year for music, certainly here in the UK. It was the year that many of the post-punk/new wave bands really came to prominence, and it was the year that sparked the two-tone craze.

I was sixteen years of age and totally unaware of ska. Glasgow had always been a rock sort of town, although things were in the air that would see a gradual softening of the hard elements of the genre and a whole new sound associated with the city would become incredibly influential. But it was a city that was predominantly white in nature, albeit we had an increasing Asian population that had been migrating here in increasing numbers with next to no fuss in terms of assimilation. There was next to no Caribbean population and black people were really few and far between, and as such there was little demand for local radio stations to ever feature a style of music that had originated in those communities. It was also a sound never played on BBC Radio 1 (as I’ll come to a bit later on).

Hearing bands like The Specials, Madness, The Selecter and The Beat was something entirely new and felt exciting because it was so different. And there’s no doubt too that the rude-boy look of the black and white clothing and pork-pie hat was something that was visually appealing to any mid-aged teen. And the stylish and unusual dancing that accompanied the songs whenever any of the acts appeared on Top of the Pops hit a chord with those who were slightly younger and made the whole thing seem fun.

1979 marked my first forays into DJing, if playing records on a single deck at a youth night in the school could be regarded as DJing. The senior pupils were encouraged to help the teachers at these nights, which were basically an effort to provide bored 12-15 year olds with something to do instead of hanging around street corners and picking up bad habits. There were three of us who brought along our own 45s to play while everyone ran around making lots of noise burning up all that excess energy. Very gradually over a matter of weeks, our little corner of the hall began to get a dedicated audience, and it was all driven by the fact they loved to do the Madness dance(s). In two hours of music, you could bet that more than half came through records on the 2-Tone label or its offshoots. And these kids were of an age when playing the same song two or three times in a night didn’t matter.

Gangsters wasn’t aired as much as others, possibly because it wasn’t the easiest to sing-a-long to; nor did it have a nutty dance of its own. But all these years later, I think there’s many who agree it was the best of the early 2-Tone releases, possibly surpassed only later on by Ghost Town by which time the serious side of the various bands were making astute and pertinent political and social observations.

I had no idea that Gangsters was a re-working of Al Capone by Prince Buster, a song originally released in 1964. Indeed, if it wasn’t for Madness, I wouldn’t have had any idea who Prince Buster was. Ska music never featured on any BBC Radio shows that looked back in time at chart rundowns of years gone by. Tamla Motown and soul music was often aired, but I genuinely cannot recall any ska – evidence that big-name DJs and their producers (with the exception, of course, of John Peel) were incredibly conservative with the music they chose to air.

The first 5,000 copies of this single, which came backed with a song by The Selector, came with a plain white sleeve stamped with the title. These sleeves weren’t the most robust, and most of them have deteriorated very badly over the years. If you somehow managed to pick up a copy, all of which were distributed by Rough Trade to the smaller independent record shops, and you’ve managed to take good care of it, then you could probably flog it to a hipster for a few hundred quid.

The vast majority of the 45s were released in what would become the generic 2-Tone sleeve with the immediately identifiable logo, all of which were distributed via Chrysalis records to all stores across the UK and further afield.

Worth noting too that the single was credited to The Special A.K.A. with the band then reverting to the much easier on the tongue The Specials for the string of hit singles and albums that would follow, although they did go back to the original name in 1982 after a number of members left to form Fun Boy Three.

mp3 : Special A.K.A. – Gangsters

Here’s the other side of the single; it’s an instrumental that was recorded prior to vocalist Pauline Black joining the band:-

mp3 : The Selecter – The Selecter

The single spent twelve weeks in the chart from the end of July 1979, peaking at #6 in early September.



The timeline is April 1993.  The Fall are now contracted to Permanent Records, a fairly obscure label that is best known for releasing albums by alumni of the folk scene in the UK., and the days of the big budgets to promote and market new material are seemingly gone forever.

Astonishingly, the first album for the new label, The Infotainment Scan, enters the charts at #9, by far and away the most commercially successful of all the albums to date.  Much of this was down to the almost universally positive press being given to the band, both in terms of acknowledging their legacy and the fact that the new tunes were accessible and catchy, but without ever becoming mundane, predictable or boring.

It wasn’t as if the album had been driven along by a huge hit single in advance of its release, with Why Are People Grudgeful? peaking at #43.  I’ve written previously about this single, and make no apologies (again!) for simply cutting and pasting from the piece written back in October 2019:-

April 1993 saw the release of the 31st single by The Fall. The only previous chart success enjoyed by the band had come via cover versions. There’s A Ghost In My House (as made famous by R. Dean Taylor) had gone Top 30 in 1987 and the following year Victoria (originally by The Kinks) had reached #35.

This time round, Mark E Smith took some drastic action by merging two cover songs into one, and creating a sound that bore little resemblance to the originals. The best and simplest explanation is offered up on a fan site devoted to the band:-

“Why Are People Grudgeful? is a cover version, or to be more accurate, a cover version of two different but related songs. The story behind the original versions is as follows:

“Born in the rural Jamaican village of St. Mary’s in 1936, Lee Perry began his surrealistic musical odyssey in the late ’50s, working with ska man Prince Buster selling records for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd‘s Downbeat Sound System. Called “Little” Perry because of his diminutive stature (Perry stands 4’11”), he was soon producing and recording for Dodd at the centre of the Jamaican music industry, Studio One. After a falling out with Dodd (throughout his career, Perry has a tendency to burn his bridges after he stopped working with someone), Perry went to work at Wirl Records with Joe Gibbs. Perry and Gibbs never really saw eye to eye on anything, and in 1968, Perry left to form his own label, called Upsetter.

Not surprisingly, Perry’s first release on Upsetter was a single entitled People Funny Boy, which was a direct attack upon Gibbs. What is important about the record is that, along with selling extremely well in Jamaica, it was the first Jamaican pop record to use the loping, lazy, bass-driven beat that would soon become identified as the reggae “riddim” and signal the shift from the hyperkinetically upbeat ska to the pulsing, throbbing languor of “roots” reggae.

Joe Gibbs released a reply (using the moniker Sir Gibbs) in a song using the same rhythm called People Grudgeful. MES amalgamated the two songs to help create The Fall’s cover version.”

The UK-based paper Melody Maker went as far as saying it was the most engaging thing Smith had done for a couple of years. It would later be voted in at #11 in the John Peel Festive Fifty of 1993.

mp3 : The Fall – Why Are People Grudgeful?

mp3 : Lee Perry – People Funny Boy
mp3 : Sir Gibbs – People Grudgeful

It was released on 7″, 12″ and CD.  The 12” version of the single was deleted very soon after release, and is one of the harder-to-find and if you’re looking for a copy that’s in good condition, it is one of the more expensive bits of vinyl across the entire back catalogue.

mp3 : The Fall – Glam-Racket
mp3 : The Fall – The Re-Mixer
mp3 : The Fall – Lost In Music

Yup……the latter is a cover of the disco classic as made famous by Sister Sledge. Bonkers and brilliant in equal measures.

Why Are People Grudgeful? was made available on the CD release of The Infotainment Scan, but not the vinyl version.  Glam-Racket and Lost In Music were made available on the vinyl and CD versions of the album. In all three instances, the versions on offer today, taken from the single, have different edits/mixes than can be found on the album.

The Re-Mixer is a new version of The Mixer that had been on the album Shift-Work back in 1991.

Oh, and for those of you looking to keep up with who is in and who is out of the band at this point in history, it’s MES, Steve Hanley, Craig Scanlon, Simon Wolstencroft and Dave Bush, the same quintet that had been together since August 1991.  But you know that I’m only mentioning this just to set up another crazy change in next week’s edition…..



from last fm

Sheer Taft  were Thomas Taft of Greenock, Scotland and vocalist Ingrid Kudos. They were a dub/leftfield/downtempo dance act signed to Alan McGee’s Creation label, active between 1990-92. They released two singles (‘Cascades’, ‘Atlantis’) and one album (‘Absolutely Sheer’) before disappearing into obscurity… ‘Cascades (Hypnotone Mix)’ is considered a Balearic house classic and continues to appear on various dance/chill out compiations today.

JC adds:-

I know that Sheet Taft have featured in the Bagging Area a few times over the years and that Adam thinks Cascades is superb, describing it as a sunny, druggy, bubbling delight, sent from Greenock to Camden via Ibiza.

I don’t have that particular song, but I do have an edited version of the other single, courtesy of its appearance on the Creation Compilation Cassette given away with Select magazine in April 1992.

mp3: Sheer Taft – Atlantis (edit)

Here’s what Thomas Taft had to say at the time:-

“This was recorded over a year ago, before the Italian thing exploded, and I suppose it’s a kind of Balearic thing – but that’s not a dirty word to me, y’know? ‘Atlantis’ is mean to be tacky, it’s a total pisstake. On the new LP, there’s a track called ‘Explosion Into Dub’ and it’s like Egyptian Reggae – not Jonathan Richman, but more like Jah Wobble. He’s a genius, is Wob. We’ve got old Audrey Wutherspoon (Andy Weatherall) doing a remix of our first single ‘Cascades’, and we’re trying to get Wob to play on it. Make it really dub y’know, really weird and menacing. Music to look worried to…..”



One thing you can never accuse me of being is topical.

Hey Charlie I’m pregnant and living on 9th Street
Right above a dirty bookstore off Euclid Avenue
And I stopped takin dope and I quit drinkin whiskey
And my old man plays the trombone and works out at the track

He says that he loves me even though it’s not his baby
He says that he’ll raise him up like he would his own son
And he gave me a ring that was worn by his mother
And he takes me out dancin every Saturday night

And hey Charlie I think about you everytime I pass a fillin station
On account of all the grease you used to wear in your hair
And I still have that record of Little Anthony and the Imperials
But someone stole my record player now how do you like that?

Hey Charlie I almost went crazy after Mario got busted
I went back to Omaha to live with my folks
But everyone I used to know was either dead or in prison
So I came back to Minneapolis this time I think I’m gonna stay

Hey Charlie I think I’m happy for the first time since my accident
And I wish I had all the money we used to spend on dope
I’d buy me a used car lot and I wouldn’t sell any of em
I’d just drive a different car every day dependin on how I feel

Hey Charlie for chrissakes if you want to know the truth of it
I don’t have a husband he don’t play the trombone
I need to borrow money to pay this lawyer and Charlie hey
I’ll be eligible for parole come Valentine’s day

mp3: Tom Waits – Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis

From the 1977 album, Blue Valentine



An unplanned ICA.  One with a difference.  And in all honesty, one that doesn’t hang perfectly but it might spark off some ideas among all of you out there.

I was loading up Angel Interceptor for yesterday’s posting when I noticed that the hard drive contained many examples of songs called Angel.  There’s even more with the word Angel in the title, and if I was to extend it to that, I’d likely come up with a more than half-decent ICA.  But I’m being strict for today, even to the extent of not allowing the plural to qualify and thus ruling out Ballboy, David Byrne, Flight of The Conchords and The XX.


1. Angel – Massive Attack

The very obvious opener. It’s probably the best known of the ten songs on offer today, It’s also, in my opinion, by far and away the best.  It also works as the opener as it is the first track on the 1998 album, Mezzanine.

2. Angel – The Style Council

It’s time for some Smooth Radio tunes here on TVV.  From the 1987 album, The Cost Of Loving, it’s a cover of a song originally released four years previously by American soul singer, Anita Baker.

3. Angel – Long Fin Killie

Long Fin Killie were a Scottish group from the mid-90s, described on wiki as experimental rock/post-rock.  There were three albums and five EPs between 1994 and 1998 on the London-based Too Pure label, best known for the early work of PJ Harvey,  The band got some prominence in 1995 when Mark E Smith did some guest vocals, with the song Heads of Dead Surfers being voted in at #10 in the Peel Festive Fifty.

Angel is taken from the Hands and Hips EP, released in 1996.

4. Angel – Andre Salvador and The Von Kings

This is a band from Nashville whose debut album was recorded in Brooklyn and given a physical release on the Last Night From Glasgow label in August 2020.  The promotional blurb offers the following:-

“Built around the songs of Tim Cheplick, the album takes inspiration from the likes of Elliot Smith, Camper Van Beethoven and Big Star and delivers something fresh, new and yet altogether comfortable and reassuring.”

It’s an album that I’ve grown increasingly fond of, having been a bit unsure when I first played it. Click here for the bandcamp page where you can have a listen.

5. Angel – The The

Side A closes off with a b-side, from the 12″ release of The Beat(en) Generation back in 1989.  It’s a three-minute-long, piano based track with a spoken vocal in which it sounds as if a sermon of some sort is being delivered.


1. Angel – Happy Mondays

You can find this one on the 1992 album Yes Please, the one recorded at great expense in Barbados with Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club in the producers’ chair trying their very best to make sense of it all.   I say Barbados….that’s certainly true for the music.  Shawn Ryder was so addled throughout that he couldn’t contribute anything, and as such his vocals were added weeks later in a studio in Surrey.

2. Angel – Belly

The second track on Star, the debut album released by Belly in 1993.

Fun fact.  This was the second song called Angel written and recorded by Tanya Donnelly.  The previous effort had been in 1989 on Hunkpapa, with her previous band Throwing Muses.  It was a rare occasion when a Throwing Muses song wasn’t composed by Kristin Hersh.

3. Angel – Everything But The Girl

I was in two minds about placing this here on the ICA or as the closing track given that it fulfilled that purpose on the album Love Not Money.  I’ve instead gone for the edited version, released as a 7″ single, but which barely dented the Top 100 when it was issued in that format in June 1985, but that was the fate which befell just about all of EBTG‘s early singles.

4. Angel – Kevin McDermott Orchestra

A Scottish musician who still does well around these parts on the rare occasions he releases new songs and/or plays live gigs.  He was part of The Suede Crocodiles whose sole single, Stop The Rain, is an absolute classic from 1983 as recalled in this post on the blog in March 2019.

The solo career never quite clicked with me, although I do own a copy of Mother Nature’s Kitchen, an album written and recorded in Glasgow in 1989, and released by the wonderfully named Kevin McDermott Orchestra, on which Robbie McIntosh of the Pretenders and Blair Cowan of Lloyd Cole & The Commotions were among the contributing musicians.

5. Angel – Rosa Mota

Formed in London in the early 90s, Rosa Mota would release two albums and a handful of singles on 13th Hour Recordings, a subsidiary of Mute Records.  As I’ve mentioned before, they came to my attention when Clare Grogan contributed a guest vocal to one of the songs on the second of these albums, Bionic, produced by Steve Albini and released in 1996.  Angel, a string-laden instrumental that also features clarinet, flute and basouki, just felt like the best way to finish off the ICA.




Angel Interceptor, despite being a #14 hit for Ash, is a sort of forgotten single by many.

The trio (as they were at the time), had enjoyed their first chart success with Girl From Mars in August 1995. The following year, each of Goldfinger and Oh Yeah would go top 10 on either side of debut album 1977 entering the charts at #1.

In many ways, Angel Interceptor was a strange choice for a single, thanks to its loud/quiet/loud nature.

mp3: Ash – Angel Interceptor

It also finds Tim Wheeler at the edge of his comfort zone in terms of vocal delivery, and it has been said that the difficulties involved in the higher-pitched harmonies were a factor in the band looking to recruit a female member for going forward, which they would be with the addition of Charlotte Hatherley as the additional guitarist and backing vocalist.

Two b-sides with this one:-

mp3: Ash – 5am Eternal
mp3: Ash – Gimme Some Truth

The former is an energetic original, largely driven along in the main by the guitars, but with a weird electronic break about halfway through the track with the refrain of ‘dance dance dance’ followed by more guitars before coming to halt at what feels like midway through a verse or chorus.

The latter is a cover of a John Lennon song, originally released in 1971 on the album Imagine, and later as a b-side to a posthumous single in 1982, issued at the time of a new ‘best of’ collection.  As someone who isn’t much of a fan of the late legend, I’m not terribly enamoured by this one.



This will be an occasional series, with the idea being to give the shout-out to the blogger who brought something to my attention or provided the inspiration.

Step forward Khayem of Dubhead fame.

It was back on 7 January in this posting that I first learned that one of my favourite songs by The The had been given the cover treatment back in 2012.

I’d never previously heard of DJ Food.  Here’s last fm:-

DJ Food is a collaborative project between Coldcut/Ninja Tune duo Matt Black and Jonathan More, and second-half PC (born Patrick Carpenter) and Strictly Kev (Kevin Foakes). Although the moniker originally referred only to Black and More’s several-volumed series of stripped-down breaks records designed for deck use (i.e., “food” for DJs), club booking demands for the assumedly proper-named DJ Food dictated the pair make an ongoing project of it. Adding PC and Strictly to spice things up (and differentiate DJ Food from Coldcut when they played the same bill), the quartet released a series of 12″ singles in various combinations starting in 1994 (including “Freedom”/”Consciousness”), with their proper debut full-length, A Recipe for Disaster, appearing the following year.

The quartet also toured Europe, Canada, and America as DJ Food (mainly DJing) and regularly mashed it up side by side on Coldcut’s weekly KISS FM show Solid Steel. PC and Strictly were also hired by Warp Records to compile and mix a series of releases entitled Blech, drawing from the influential experimental techno label’s back catalog. More and Black continued to split their time between DJ Food and Coldcut, as well as the day-to-day operation of their immensely popular Ninja Tune and Ntone labels. DJ Food’s second production album, Kaleidoscope, appeared in April of 2000 to warm reviews.

A year later, the pair inaugurated a Solid Steel CD series with the mix album Now, Listen! The years that followed found More and Black contributing less thanks to their Coldcut obligations, while PC would find success with his Cinematic Orchestra project, so much so that he resigned as a full-time member. Strictly Kev revived the project in 2011 and released The Search Engine in 2012. PC would make an appearance, joining J.G. Thirlwell and The The’s Matt Johnson on the album’s long guest list.

And, as issued on The Search Engine in 2012:-

mp3: DJ Food (feat. Matt Johnston) – GIANT

Thanks, Khayem, for sending over the files for this version, along with a single edit and instrumental version.  Have played them a lot these past few days.



I don’t do end-of-year rundowns.  But if I did, then this single, released in January 2021, would have featured very high up:-

mp3: Mogwai – Ritchie Sacramento

I’ve admitted before that the music of Mogwai often goes right over my head. My taste tends to edge towards the songs with lyrics rather than the noisy and occasionally difficult post-rock instrumental efforts.  Ritchie Sacramento was the second single given a release in advance of As The Love Continues, an album which delivered the first #1 hit for the band some 25 years after forming.

As is increasingly the case, the singles were only given a digital release, and the mp3 comes courtesy of the album.

Later in the year, Mogwai, via bandcamp, released this immense effort:-

mp3: Mogwai – Ritchie Sacramento (The Other Two Remix)

Yup.  It’s Steven and Gillian to the fore. Lots of wee bits of New Order popping up throughout.



Code:Selfish had been another success, both critically and commercially, peaking at #21 in the album charts in April 1992 

Some songs recorded during the London sessions for the album has been kept back for a possible stand-alone single, which was released on 22 June.

mp3: The Fall – Ed’s Babe

It was back in August 2020 that Ed’s Babe featured previously on the blog.  It was quite a lengthy piece, and it does fit in well with what I’ve been doing thus far in the series and so it’s repost time:-

“Despite being another catchy number that had something of a sing-along or at least hummable refrain, Ed’s Babe didn’t come close to cracking the Top 75:-

The line-up at the time, in addition to Mark E Smith, consisted of Craig Scanlon (guitar), Steve Hanley (bass), Dave Bush (keyboards) and Simon Wolstencroft (drums) and the track is credited to Scanlon/Smith. It’s one that wouldn’t have sounded out of place during the Brix-era, being almost pop-orientated with the keyboards at the heart of the things. It’s certainly one of the most danceable of the band’s numbers.

It was released only on 12″ and CD with the former offering up a misprint on the label which perhaps indicates a late change of mind to ensure there was just the requisite number of songs (four) to have it qualify as a single and not the five that appear on the label, albeit just four songs are listed on the reverse of the sleeve. This was the track on the same side as the single:-

mp3: The Fall – Pumpkin Head Xscapes

Another danceable number, quite baggy in sound that certainly wouldn’t have sounded out of place as a tune on an Inspiral Carpets single or album. But it also comes with much use of the vocal being sung through a megaphone and then ends with a spoken outro by someone who isn’t MES which places it firmly in the camp of The Fall and nobody else. This one was written by Scanlon/Smith/Hanley.

Flipping the record over and there’s these two tracks:-

mp3: The Fall – The Knight The Devil and Death
mp3: The Fall – Free Ranger

If I was to play the former to you without any hints or clues, I reckon you’d need probably a thousand tries before coming up with it being a song by The Fall, mainly as there’s no vocal contribution from MES and indeed given that he wasn’t credited with any instruments, other than tapes, for any of the sessions of the songs that made up the sessions for the album Code: Selfish and the various b-sides to the singles, then he may not have contributed to this track, albeit he does get a writing credit (Wolstencroft/Smith/Scanlon).

It’s also a very different sort of tune than normal, with the initial reliance on an acoustic guitar giving it something of a folky sort of feel at times. Although not credited on the sleeve of the 12″, the spoken/sung vocal is the work of Cassell Webb, an American-born singer whose career dates back to the late 60s and has encompassed a wide range of genres. Her husband is a name that should be familiar to Jonny and Echorich (among others) as Craig Leon was a major part of the NYC scene, on the production side, in the late 70s/early 80s, working with the likes of The Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, Richard Hell and Suicide. He was one of the producers of Code: Selfish and his other half was drafted in to provide some backing vocals as well as take the lead on this, rather intriguing track. It’s also down on the label as being track three of the a-side.

The latter is, as the title indicates, a remix of the previous single. It’s not as immediate or powerful as the original, but it remains one the few Fall songs ever given the remix treatment and is well worth a listen for that alone.”

As I said in the opening gambit, Ed’s Babe didn’t trouble the charts, but then again Phonogram hadn’t ever really been bothered by the failure of 45s, seemingly happy to have a band such as The Fall on the label, and enjoying the fact that all three albums thus far, in what was a five-album deal, had sold well.

Which is why it was a bolt out of the blue when the label decided that The Fall should be dropped with immediate effect.

It all stemmed back to November 1992 when The Fall were in the studio recording another album. Executives made a request to hear some demos on the basis that with an economic recession having a big impact on the profitability of the music industry, it was critical to assess the commercial value of any upcoming releases before making a full commitment. MES was, to put it mildly, unhappy at the interference, pointing out that the signed deal allowed The Fall to simply present a finished product to the label at the end of the process, in the same way as it had been with every other label they had been part of since the last 70s.

There was a stand-off.  MES took legal advice and was prepared to go to court.  Phonogram made a number of increasing offers to settle, but MES kept turning them down. In the end, he accepted a six-figure sum to tear up the contract, leaving MES free to choose where he went next.

As it turned out, no other major label was interested, perhaps on account of the Phonogram execs suggesting he was a difficult person to do business with (i.e. control).  In the end, the band signed to Permanent Records, a small London-label, established in 1990 and which relied somewhat on folk singer John Martyn for sales and exposure.  It was going to be a strange fit.



from all music:-

Combining swirling psychedelic rock with hardcore hip-hop rhythms, the Shamen were one of the first alternative bands to appeal to dance clubs as much as indie rockers. Comprised of Colin Angus, Peter Stephenson, Keith McKenzie, and Derek McKenzie, the Scottish quartet had its roots in the early-’80s neo-psychedelic group Alone Again Or. The Shamen officially formed in 1986 and released their first album, Drop, the following year. Drop was filled with varying guitar textures, recalling many late-’60s rock groups. After the record’s release, Angus immersed himself in the emerging acid house/hip-hop club scene, which prompted the departure of Derek McKenzie; he was replaced with William Sinnott, who helped reshape the band’s sound into a dense, rhythmic pulse that relied heavily on samples, drum machines, and loud guitars. The band debuted their revamped sound in 1988 with a stage show that featured sexually explicit visuals along with impassioned political rhetoric. During 1988, Peter Stephenson and Keith McKenzie departed, leaving Angus and Sinnott to perform as a duo.

With their 1989 album In Gorbachev We Trust, the Shamen expanded their following in Britain and began attracting American listeners. The duo continued to concentrate on dance music throughout 1989, adding rappers to their live shows. Just as the band was heading toward mainstream acceptance, Will Sinnott drowned off the coast of the Canary Islands on May 23, 1991. With the Sinnott family’s encouragement, Angus continued the Shamen and the group did indeed begin to score hits, particularly in the U.K. where they amassed five Top 20 singles between 1991 and 1992; “Move Any Mountain (Progen 91)” managed to make it into the American Top 40 at the end of 1991, as well. However, the Shamen fell out of favor during 1993 and their 1994 album Different Drum failed to gain much of an audience. Nevertheless, the group continued to record, releasing Axis Mutatis in 1995, Hempton Manor in 1996, and UV in 1998.

JC adds:-

It’s quite a bizarre and indeed misleading bio on the all music site, given it doesn’t mention the impact and influence of Richard West (aka Mr C) who joined the group in 1990 and took over as lead vocalist in the period when The Shamen enjoyed huge commercial success, with four Top Ten hits in 1992, including a #1 smash with Ebenezer Goode, all from the 1992 album, Boss Drum.

I thought I’d offer up something from the short period when Will Sinnott and Mr C were both in the group.  The original version of this song was on the album En-tact, released on 1 November 1990.

mp3: The Shamen – Possible Worlds (Peel Session)

Recorded on 12 February 1991 and broadcast just over five weeks later on 23 March.  It was re-broadcast again in early June 1991 as a tribute following the death of Will Sinnott.



Before dealing with the scheduled business of the day, I really want to say a huge thanks to everyone who dropped by yesterday and left behind such wonderfully encouraging words via the comments section.

As I scrolled down through all the responses late last night, it increasingly felt as if I’d written some sort of editorial which had generated an unprecedented amount of ‘Readers Letters’.  I ended up with a big stupid grin on my face for the simple fact that it merely confirmed everything I’ve always felt about the sense of community and togetherness that is out there.

A couple of apologies.

I really should have given a shout-out yesterday to Post Punk Monk as his blog has been on the go for well over a decade, and in terms of analytical content he hits heights that I can only aspire to.  My bad.

I also want to say sorry if anyone got any sense that the piece was on the back of me having negative thoughts and looking to pack up my tent.

It actually was more my response to the shock/surprise/regret that a number of very talented and dedicated bloggers have called it a day in recent times, and I just wanted to reflect on how the times, they are a changing.  Rest assured, I’m well motivated to keep things going just now.

Now, where was I?

Oh yes……the couple of previous occasions when The Corn Dollies have featured were met with real indifference, except from Friend of Rachel Worth, a real old acquaintance of this small corner of t’internet. This time round, I’ll try to offer up something of a bio, as well as the chance to listen to the A-sides of the first five of their six singles.  The info out there is quite scant, and as you’ll see from the fact that I’ve has to use a sleeve of one of the singles, I couldn’t even source a decent image of them.

The Corn Dollies were from London, and were around between 1987 and 1991. The three original members, Steve Musham (voice/guitar), Tim Sales (guitar), and Jack Hoser (drums) were joined by Californian bass player Steve Ridder, and in July 1987 released their first single, Forever Steven, produced by Robert Forster of The Go-Betweens, on their own Farm Label. It got a fair amount of critical acclaim, seemingly being named as ‘single of the Week’ in two of the UK’s weekly music papers, Sounds and Record Mirror.

This helped them land a deal with Medium Cool Records, home to The Raw Herbs, The Waltones and The Siddeleys, all doyens of the UK indie scene in the later half of the 80s.  Label boss, Andy Wake, convinced the rest of the band that Juno Podmore, a violinist brought in for a particular recording session, should join on a full-time basis.

They debuted the new label with Be Small Again, which was followed up by a re-release of Forever Steven, both of them making dents in the UK indie chart.

Three more singles on Medium Cool would follow during 1988 and 1989, with work continuing in the background on a debut LP.  Sadly, the sudden collapse of its distributor saw Medium Cool go to the wall, and The Corn Dollies moved to Midnight Music, with the label able to rescue and issue the self-titled debut album

1990 was spent recording a follow-up album, Wrecked, for which much of the promotional efforts were centred around a UK tour in which they provided support to Ian McCulloch.  The second album was quite different sounding from the earlier material and very little in common with the music being made by the bands whom they had emerged alongside back in the Medium Cool days.  Work did get underway in 1991 on a planned third album, based largely on the fact that although not doing well in the UK, there were some hints of a fanbase in France and Spain, but at some point Steve Ridder made the decision to return home to America and the rest of the band called it a day. The aptly named third album, Past Caring, was quietly shelved.

mp3: The Corn Dollies – Forever Steven (July 87)
mp3: The Corn Dollies – Be Small Again (October 87)
mp3: The Corn Dollies – Shake (July 88)
mp3: The Corn Dollies – Map Of The World (October 1988)
mp3: The Corn Dollies – Nothing Of You (April 1989)

Here’s the promo for the final single, released in January 1991.

As I’ve said before, I reckon Steve Musham could do a great impression of Lloyd Cole on any talent show, and the music of the first three singles is reminiscent in places of early R.E.M. and their ilk.  Things change with from Map of The World onwards, and is the sound of a band looking to find a new identity just as guitar music is about to go out of fashion and baggy is peering its head around the corner.

In many ways, this is the blog sort of returning to its roots.  All the mp3s are from 7″ or 12″ singles, sourced over the years from second-hand markets and of songs not really that widely available, albeit the vinyl itself, should you be inclined, remains cheap to pick up via Discogs.



I’ve been reflecting recently on the fact that the golden age of music blogs has long gone.  I’ve probably been quite lucky to have been around when the industry regarded them as being a significant player in promoting musicians, particularly those who were emerging and on the cusp of a breakthrough.   There seemed to be hundreds of new blogs being every month, many of them being far more enjoyable, informative and entertaining than most of the established music papers and magazines.

I got things going on 30 September 2006, with The Vinyl Villain being hosted on Blogger until 24 July 2013 when it was torn down by Google for too many violations of the terms and conditions (i.e – the big labels didn’t like that I posted mp3s).  Later that day, I launched The New Vinyl Villain on WordPress and have done my best to ensure, with the help of many guest contributors, to post something at least once a day.

As time moved on, a real sense of community began to develop around TVV, which most came to the fore back in 2010 and 2011 when I lost, in fairly quick succession, a young brother and my best friend.  Other bloggers, and in particular Ctel (aka Acid Ted), stepped in to keep things ticking over while I took short breaks, and the various postings and comments offered up proved to be a huge help in getting me through tough times.

There was also the instance when we came up with the idea of Paul Haig Day, inspired by the fact that the singer and his management were appalled that postings and songs were being taken down by Blogger and being offered the opportunity to post some new and previously unreleased material.  From recollection, some 50+ bloggers all joined in on a given day and devoted their sites to a piece of music in which Paul Haig had been involved, to my great surprise and delight.

Things have been changing a great deal in recent years for all sorts of reasons, one of which being that blogging has been surpassed by other forms of social media and on-line content. There’s also the fact that the personal circumstances of individual bloggers have changed in many instances, with the increased demands from family and/or work circumstances meaning the required time is no longer there to devote to hobbies. Others have, understandably, got a bit tired and bored with things and chose to just give up the ghost, albeit they remain very active across other social media outlets or indeed as regular commentators across those music blogs still on the go.  I know of at least one blogger who decided that it was too much work to post on a regular basis and has kept his sanity by reducing the posts to one per week….although to give credit to Craig (Plain or Pan), he did get busy writing his first ever book with the possibility of a follow-up coming soon.

It is also the case that a number of bloggers have, sadly, succumbed to illness and have passed away over the years.  In many instances, their efforts can still be enjoyed as the blogs can still be accessed, but in other situations the consequential lack of activity has seen the on-line hosts remove the entire body of work.

It was as recently as 2017 that a number of us got together in Glasgow over a memorable weekend to celebrate and commemorate all that is wonderful about music blogs and to cement what had, for the most part, been on-line friendships.  Dirk (Sexy Loser) and Walter (A Few Good Times In My Life) came over from Germany. Adam (Bagging Area) drove up from Manchester.  Brian (Linear Tracking Lives) did the unthinkable and flew over from Seattle.  A number of others sent their best wishes, saddened by the fact that personal circumstances made it impossible to be there over that particular weekend.  The Scottish contingent was represented by yours truly, along with CC aka Stevie (Charity Chic Music) and Drew (Across The Kitchen Table) Colin, Aldo and Carlo, three friends who have been regular contributors to TVV over the years. Indeed, Colin was a former blogger, the individual more than any other who had been instrumental in helping me get TVV started.

Of the seven active bloggers who got together just over four years ago, three are no longer posting on their own sites, while a fourth has gone on the record a few weeks ago as saying he had given serious thoughts to packing it in.  Over the years I’ve come very close to wrapping it up, but always pulled back in by the fact that so many folk offer up such amazing and fascinating guest contributions that I feel compelled to keep going.

Music blogs require time, energy and resources, both in terms of those who write things up and those who read them.  It’s never a quick fix with just a handful of words, phrases and clichés.   The number of people who will permit themselves the indulgence of being involved in a blog, whether as a producer or consumer, has dropped dramatically in recent years. My stats show that the number of visitors to TVV peaked in 2016.  The figures for 2021 were the lowest in a full year in more than a decade.

But do you know something?  I really don’t care.  It never has been about the number of hits or the amount of feedback through the comments section or via e-mails, albeit it is nice to know, occasionally, that you have some sort of receptive audience out there.  It really is very much about that sense of community I referred to earlier, one that I’ve been lucky enough to have been part of it for so many years and which shows no sense whatsoever of dissipating.

To be fair, I might be slightly exaggerating the demise of music blogs. Folk such as Rol (My Top Ten), The Swede (Unthought of, Though, Somehow), Echorich (The Never Ending Search For The Perfect Beat) and Mike (Manic Pop Thrills) still continue to delight after many years, while a number of folk have started things up in recent years, such as Khayem (Dubhed), and of course SWC who is entertaining us in his unique and whimsical way at No Badger Required.

I know that not every bit of writing and every song featured on TVV will find favour with everyone, and that’s as it should be.  I think I’ve got a fairly eclectic taste in music which I try and reflect here on a daily basis, but I fully accept there are some singers/groups for whom I have a real love that leave some, and often many, of you shaking your heads in disbelief.  Equally, there are loads of singers/groups who aren’t featured because I have no fondness for them, but I hope such gaps can be covered by guest contributions….none of which will ever be turned down, although there may be instances where there is a delay from the date of submission to it being published…..especially if it’s an ICA as I limit those lengthy posts to one per week.

I know I’ve rambled a fair bit today, veering all over the place.  I’m not even sure of what I set out to achieve when I started typing things up, except to offer up a sort of general love letter to everyone who gives freely of their time to support TVV and indeed all the other fantastic and wonderful music blogs out there.  It is almost certain that the number of sites of this nature will diminish in the weeks and months ahead of us.  Some writers will be able to let everyone know in advance of their plans to bring things to a halt, while others will simply just make a snap decision to give it up, not returning to their blogs to close things off.

Me?  I’m going to keep things going just now.  I’ve just renewed my fees for the domain name for another year, and sorted out payment to box to ensure the music files can be hosted and downloaded should any of you wish.

But there will come a time when I will think that I’ve said all I really want to say.  Part of me thinks I should bow out in June 2023 when I turn 60 years of age, but if I find I still have an energy, desire and passion for all of this, then it’s likely that I’ll be boring you rigid for a while beyond that.

In the meantime…..thanks for indulging me.  Again.

mp3: New Order – State of The Nation (7″ edit)

Yup.  From the original vinyl.



There’s every chance Kenickie have featured on the blog before as part of one or more posts in which multiple bands were mentioned, but if the index is accurate, they have never had a post devoted solely to their activities.

Formed in Sunderland in the north-east of England in 1994, the band would release two albums and nine singles/EPs before calling it a day in 1998.

Laura Gofton, Emma Jackson and Marie Nixon had become friends during their schooldays, but it was when Gofton was at City of Sunderland College that she suggested the three of them, along with her older brother Peter, form a band. The girls were all aged sixteen and Peter was eighteen. All of them took stage names – Lauren Laverne, Emmy-Kate Montrose, Marie du Santiago and Johnny X. The name of their band was taken from a character in the film Grease.

The debut EP, Catsuit City, came out on Slampt Records, an indie label based in Newcastle, another city in the north-east of England. It was enough for Alan McGee to offer a contract with Creation Records, but the band turned him down. Instead, for their second EP, Skillex, they went for a one-off with Fierce Panda, a then fairly new London-based indie label. Skillex was issued just after the band had supported The Ramones at a gig in London and the female members had just completed their A-Levels.

They were attracting a lot of media attention, with a number of musicians singing their praises. The decision was taken to become the first band to sign with EMI Disc, an imprint of the major label that had been launched by Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs of Saint Etienne. The first couple of singles for the new label stalled outside the Top 40, but there was better luck in January 1997 when In Your Car reached #24 and got the band on Top of The Pops. The follow-up single, Nightlife, also went into the Top 30 while debut album, At The Club, entered the Top 10 on the week of its release in May 1997.

It was proving to be catchy and infectious music, seemingly celebrating life as happy-go-lucky late teens, made by a group of close-knit, street-wise, articulate and intelligent friends. The blend of pop with an indie-twinge maybe wasn’t ground-breaking by any stretch of the imagination but the songs, on closer inspection, often had a dark edge to them with lyrics reflecting on the fact that nights out didn’t always go as planned and that being a teenager brings its own set of unique and what feel like unsolvable problems. They must have been something of a godsend to teen fans of a certain temperament, in much the same way as Soft Cell had been to the likes of me when some fifteen years or so previously.

It all burned and crashed rather quickly. The later singles weren’t big hits, and the increasing pressures placed on them by the label and management saw the band respond with a number of new songs which were critical of the music industry and the way girl groups were packaged and marketed. The second album, Get In, was released in September 1998 and reached #32. The band, having undertaken the promotional tour for the record, came to the view that it was no longer any fun and called it a day before the year was out.

Lauren Laverne has enjoyed an incredibly successful career and profile post-Kenickie, primarily as a radio DJ and television presenter, but also as a writer and author. She hosts the breakfast show daily on BBC 6 Music and also currently presents Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4, a music/chat show that is a mainstay of broadcasting here in the UK, having first aired in 1942.

Emmy-Kate Montrose and Marie du Santiago have forged careers in academia, while Johnny X is still part of the music industry as a performer and a lecturer at a college in the south of England.

Here’s a small selection of Kenickie tunes to either reminisce over or to use as a way of introducing yourself to the band:-

mp3: Kenickie – How Was I Made (from Skillex EP)
mp3: Kenickie – Punka (debut single for EMI Disc)
mp3: Kenickie – In Your Car (first Top 30 single)
mp3: Kenickie – Come Out 2 Nite (from the album At The Club)
mp3: Kenickie – Nightlife (second Top 30 single)
mp3: Kenickie – Stay In The Sun (the final single)
mp3: Kenickie – Run Me Over (from the album Get In)



JC writes….

It’s been over two months since that last ICA, which represents as big a gap as there has ever been in all the years the series has been running. I’ve a couple of efforts in the pipeline, but I’m genuinely delighted that it is returning with a very welcome guest posting from Echorich, offering up some thoughts, views and opinions on the band from who he has taken his nom de plume.

Here he is, with an absolute belter of an offering.

Let me start by making a confession. I am a coward. I am a coward when it comes to Echo And The Bunnymen – the only band that mattered and still matters, to me. The reason I proclaim myself a coward is that I could never have written an ICA of The Bunnymen from their “Imperial Period.” I wouldn’t have just second guessed myself, which I have on most every ICA I have contributed, but third, fourth and fifth guessed my choices, at the least. I am too close to the work of their first four, uncompromising albums. Crocodiles awakened me. Heaven Up Here stirred my being. I am Porcupine’s great defender. Ocean Rain is imbedded deep in my Soul.

Coming down from the lofty heights of Ocean Rain, was a filled with wrong turns and tumbling. The “Grey Album” saw the band searching for a direction, looking for one more path that might lead them to their deserved success and a way to keep things together. But the cracks were too deep and the choices made weren’t the right choices. Pete DeFreitas was gone, then back, but not really there for that last album, and then Ian McCulloch made the decision to leave.

After a decade of the band trying to continue without The Mouth, solo albums, the death of DeFreitas, Les Pattison becoming a ship builder and then McCulloch and Will Sergeant burying the hatchet and recording together again as Electrafixion, Les was brought back into the equation and McCulloch gave in to a return to being Echo And The Bunnymen.

The now 25 years since these three remaining Bunnymen decided to return to the studio as a unit and record has seen some highs – critically, some lows – musically and a body of work that has pretty much doubled what came before it. They have bowled over critics on their return, made a dubious World Cup song with The Spice Girls, experimented with different producers and plowed a path all their own from album to album. Without Pete to anchor the sound, but with an intelligent understanding that the past is the past, Echo And The Bunnymen, for me have acquitted themselves well and at times with touches of brilliance during their reformation.

It is this Echo And The Bunnymen that I want to put focus to here. Since reforming/recording in 1996/97, The Bunnymen have released 6 studio albums and a combined 15 proper singles and EPs. At the core of Echo And The Bunnymen in reformation are McCulloch and Sergeant. Les Pattison was involved in the initial recordings of Evergreen’s follow up, What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?, but only appears on the final track Fools Like Us as he once again felt a music career was no longer for him and he wanted to focus on the health of his ailing mother. Ever since, the rhythm section of Echo And The Bunnymen has been a somewhat revolving door. But throughout the years, recording sessions and many tours, The Bunnymen have managed to release some still vital, as well as mature music that has added to their legacy.

1. Scratch The Past – Bonus Track from Japanese release of Flowers, 2001

The Bunnymen released Flowers, co-produced with Pete Coleman who is a staple of the Liverpool Post Punk scene, most notably as a producer for Icicle Works and Wah!, in 2001. The album is a bit of a love letter to 60s Psychedelia, with songs that reference The Velvet Underground and even some early Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett sounds. It’s a bit of a tradition to add bonus tracks to the Japanese releases of albums and Flowers has Mable Towers and the final track Scratch The Past. Scratch The Past has a bit of a boogie and is a mid-tempo Rocker. Sergeant seems in a state of joy with pedal effects and switching guitars to layer the sound. Ceri James adds some electric piano and hammond organ to play up the idea of being from the past. McCulloch’s lyrics have a bit of fun with some Rock Jockism but it’s just cover for a track that’s more about attempting to recapture the magic of the past.

2. Hurracaine – Nothing Lasts Forever B-Side 1997.

Nothing Lasts Forever was released in a few different formats, including a 2 CD Single set with different B-SIdes on each. Hurracaine (not sure how the atrocious spelling got past everyone) Is like bridge between the old and the new for me. It opens like a track I might have expected post Ocean Rain but pre Grey Album. In fact, it could have easily sat on the B-Side of Bring On The Dancing Horses nicely. Will’s liquid guitar sound is on full display, sounding like it’s bobbing up and down in the waves of the sea. There’s a distinct Doors-y quality to the track with some fantastic keyboards from Adam Peters. Ian is in full voice and presence though the track.

3. Altamont – Evergreen – 1997

Altamont, for me, is one of the real stand out track on Evergreen. There is just enough reference to their past in the music, but there’s a feel of being current and accomplished, of the moment that runs throughout the track. I remember thinking that Noel Gallagher wished he could create such melody and chaos as Will does towards the end of Altamont.

4. An Eternity Turns – Flowers – 2001

An Eternity Turns is a bit of Terrace Anthem – Bunnymen style. You can’t help joining in on the chorus, it’s infectious. The track also manages to capture some of the live magic that the band have always been able to capture, taking a track on a sort of road trip from start to finish. As the track build to the ending, it goes off the rails as only a Bunnymen song can before it lands hard.

5. Lovers On The Run – Meteorites – 2014

Youth was behind the desk for Echo And The Bunnymen’s most recent album of new material, Meteorites. He has become a very sympathetic producer for artists that were his contemporaries in the 80s. Meteorites is a bit of dark and dense album, but it’s full of challenging, confident songs. Lovers On The Run was the pre-release “single.” I’m not really sure it existed as a single except as a promo really. It is a typical Wall of Bunnymen sound, with Ian’s aging vocal assisted with a good deal of echo, and Will somehow finding it possible to play numerous guitars for songs and make it all sound easy.

6. Watchtower – Nothing Lasts Forever B-Side – 1997

Of all The Bunnymen songs released since they “returned,” Nothing Lasts Forever is seen, pretty unanimously as their best. It, for me, is certainly a special song, but it doesn’t even rate in my top 20 Echo And The Bunnymen tracks. What I feel is important about the song, is the quality of the tracks chosen as B-sides for the various formats that were released.
Watchtower is a big track. There are things about it that bring me back to the latter part of The Bunnymen Mach 1. It has a power and confidence in sound and performance that is just effortless. They even managed to get Mike Lee to try his hand at jazz drums – a nod to the fact that Ian, Will and Les knew the track would have just killed if Pete had played on it.

7. Scissors In The Sand – Siberia – 2005

Hugh Jones behind the boards once again and Will and Ian sounding fully realized once again. Scissors In The Sand is built from the same DNA as Heaven Up Here, Over The Wall, All My Colours (Zimbo). Ian sneers though the lyrics with that knowing presence of old. All the while Jones’ production doesn’t attempt to transport them back 25 years, but he give Mac and Will the opportunity to dig deep inside themselves and reveal what’s never really ever gone away.

8. November – Think I Need It Too B-Side – 2009

Recorded during sessions for The Bunnymen’s 2009 album The Fountain. It’s an album I struggle with sometimes because I hear a clear attempt at mainstream radio play in a few of the songs. November accompanies the lead off single and sound miles more like a Bunnymen song that the A-side. It reminds me more of the sound Ian and Will were going after as Electrafixion. The opening bass and guitar set the stage and as the curtain draws, we are treated to a true rarity of female singers sychopated vocalizing. The layers of guitar buzz and saw through the track. Ian has a mature swagger in his vocal attack. Truly satisfying stuff.

9. Too Young To Kneel – Evergreen – 1997

Evergreen is an album full of fantastic songs played by artists who knew they had found the flint to make a real spark for a second time. The Bunnymen were always Post Punk’s “Psychedelicists”, it’s Doorsian troubadours, it’s Garage Punk fan boys. Too Young To Kneel celebrates all of that and brings it full circle for two men who were now on brink of 40. WIll’s guitar is a clash of liquid and buzz saw. Ian sings as an ageless troubadour full of questions for his audience and not at all worried about supplying any of the answers. Also one of my favorite lines from Ian – “…I heard they found Death on Mars.”

10. Get In The Car – What Are You Going To Do With Your Life – 1999

The Bunnymen’s return was just that, a return, not a “reforming.” The chemistry to make music was easy to distill once again. Evergreen was the proof of that. 1999’s follow up What Are You Going To Do With Your Life was, maybe, just a bit less immediate, less finding the spark as much as maintaining the flame. Over all the album filled with song that reflect the artists’ age and experiences. In fact the album only include one fairly upbeat track in Lost On You. I feel its a beautiful album filled with pathos and logos, while not losing any of the Bunnymen’s ethos.

Get In The Car is, for me, the albums most intimate and revealing song. Featuring contribution from Fun Lovin’ Criminals, there is also an important contribution of English Horn that sets the tone and feel for the track from it’s opening notes. This is The Bunnymen’s road song, their trip down a Route 66 of the mind, a look back through the side view mirror as the motor forward. There’s a cheeky use of the ‘na-na, na, na, na’ as heard on Nothing Last Forever but this time it’s a Fun Lovin’ Criminal and not the not so fun loving Liam Gallagher behind it.




From this very blog in December 2016:-

In which the band finally, and deservedly, hit the Top 20.

Jimmy Jimmy is one of the finest of all the post-punk singles. It was written by John O’Neill, although many folk probably thought it was all down to singer Feargal Sharkey as he is the one pictured on the front of the sleeve holding a trophy he had won a teenager.

mp3 : The Undertones – Jimmy Jimmy

Seemingly, the song, with its sad ending, wasn’t based on anyone or on any sort of true story.

The b-side is just one of the most fun records ever made:-

mp3 : The Undertones – Mars Bars

Composed by Damien O’Neill and Michael Bradley, it’s an ode to the band’s staple diet of that era…with the chorus and some other of thre lyrics drawing inspiration from the TV ads which promoted the chocolate confectionary.  OK, it’s more or less the same tune as Jimmy Jimmy, but when it’s this good, does it really matter?

The single spent ten weeks in the chart from the end of April 1979, including a four-week run in the Top 20 without managing to climb any higher than #16.



It’s been four weeks since the previous edition of this series.  We had reached December 1990 in terms of the singles, but the post also covered the fact that The Fall did not release 45s or EPs in 1991, although the album Shift-Work came out in April.

The tail end of the year found the band recording new material in Glasgow – and no, I didn’t ever bump into MES or any of the band during their time here – before re-convening in early 1992 in London.

Dave Bush, having helped out on keyboards during the live shows in the wake of the departure of Marcia Schofield, was now made a permanent member of the band.  No replacement guitarist was brought in for Martin Bramah, meaning that The Fall were now back to being a five-piece, although Craig Leon and Simon Rogers, both of whom were involved in the production of the new album, also added keyboards.

The new dynamics inevitably brought a change in sound, with the first fruits of the labour being heard in a single released on 2 March 1992:-

mp3: The Fall – Free Range

I’ve written before about Free Range.  It’s co-written by MES and Simon Wolstencroft, and the funky way it drives forward is one of the reasons it is up there among my all-time favourites of songs by The Fall. Here’s what I said back in November 2014:-

It’s an absolute belter of a tune and while the lyric might appear somewhat nonsensical it is packed with all sorts of imagery and references from history and philosophy with a message of concern about the ever-increasing rightwards shift of politics across Europe as the free market system took an ever-increasing stranglehold on society  – events which Mark E Smith thought would inevitably lead to warfare on a scale of that such as 1914-18 and 1939-45.

Free Range reached #40 in the UK singles chart, the highest position for any non-cover version single.  Little did any of us know that this achievement would never be bettered.

It was released on 7″, 7″ limited edition, 12″ and CD. There were three other tracks to be found across the releases:-

mp3: The Fall – Everything Hurtz
mp3: The Fall – Return
mp3: The Fall – Dangerous

All three songs are tremendous listens. MES, naturally, is involved in the writing of all of them, with Steve Hanley bringing his skills to Everything Hurtz and Return, while Dangerous marks the writing debut of Dave Bush.  Collectively, it is difficult to name a more accessible Fall single than these four songs, and while some fans of the more ragged and disjointed band era might sigh and wish for something less polished, I reckon most casual listeners might be more prepared to give this the thumbs-up.

One final thing to mention, while all four songs would be part of the Code:Selfish album that would be released just three weeks later, the versions on the single all have slightly different edits/mixes.



Shambolics are from Kirkcaldy, the town in which my football team, Raith Rovers play our home matches at Stark’s Park.

A few years ago, one of the young folk working at the football club noticed that a new indie band from the town were beginning to attract a bit of attention, and he got in touch to find out if they were fans of the Rovers.  On finding out that they were, the idea was hatched to try and forge a link.  Seizing upon the name of one of the band’s songs, the club decided to adapt it slightly and use it as a rallying call for season 2019/20:-

mp3: Shambolics – My Time Is Now

#ourtimeisnow became the rallying cry for the supporters.  The song was used as part of the promotional efforts to push season tickets and the band members came along to matches to take part in promotional activities.  And as match day announcer, in charge of the music played in the build-up to kick-off, my role was to include My Time Is Now on a regular basis.

As if by magic, the whole thing worked with Rovers clinching the league title and promotion at the end of what proved to be a COVID-shortened season.  Shambolics now feature most weeks in the selected tunes, and while My Time Is Now still a popular choice among supporters, this season has seen the inclusion of some of the band’s new material.

They have been together since 2016 and within a couple of years had been snapped up by Alan McGee for the new label he had just launched, Creation 23.  As a band whose blueprint for growth was based on building up a fanbase through constant gigging, their hopes and aspirations were temporarily put on hold by the COVID outbreak.  They have been playing live again, and new songs have been released in 2021, including this indie anthem:-

mp3: Shambolics – Dreams, Schemes & Young Teams

Most of the regular readers of TVV will reckon that Shambolics aren’t doing anything we haven’t heard before, and I wouldn’t argue with anyone making that point.  The thing is, they aren’t aiming to capture the attention of the 40-somethings who hang around here. Everything they do is geared towards the young folk who are hopefully as consumed by music as we wall were back in our teens and 20s when you’re of an age when you fully believe that the music you’re listening to cannot possibly ever be bettered, and is much superior to anything that has come in the past.

You can hear more of what they do over at Spotify, if streaming is your style.  Click here.

2022 will see the band attempt to make up for lost time.  Friday 28 January will see them play their biggest ever headline show at SWG3 in Glasgow. Prior to that, they will be opening for Cast in Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle, when the Britpop veterans take their, delayed, All Change 25th Anniversary tour out on the road.



The traffic to the blog slows up over the Festive period, and it’s therefore something of an opportunity to take a bit of a breather.

Over a period of 26 days, I’ll be posting a single never previously featured on its own before – it might have sneaked in as part of an ICA or within a piece looking at various tracks – with the idea of an edited cut’n’paste from somewhere (most likely wiki) and then all the songs from either the vinyl or CD.

Z is for Zorbing released by Stornoway as a single in July 2009

It really is incredible how quickly the way music is consumed these days.  Back in 2009, streaming didn’t exist, but there were a proliferation of websites and mediums through which unsigned bands could look to grab someone’s attention.

Stornoway had a brand of indie folk that was quite fashionable towards the end of the first decade of the 21st Century.  Two of its members – Brian Briggs (vocals, guitar), and Jon Ouin (bass) had met as students at Oxford University, and in due course they would be joined by brothers Oli and Rob Steadman on bass and drums, respectively.  Their debut single, as you can see from the picture at the top of the posting, was self-released with the contact info being via myspace and an e-mail address.

mp3: Stornoway – Zorbing
mp3: Stornoway – On The Rocks

In this instance, it worked. Stornoway came to the attention of a DJ at the local BBC radio station in Oxford, and from there things kind of snowballed, and by January 2010 they had signed a deal with 4AD Records who would release the debut album Beachcomber’s Windowsill in May 2010. The album was basically self-produced by the band and the record label was happy enough not to insist on the songs going through some sort of slick re-recording process.

The debut album did reasonable well in reaching #14. Zorbing was re-released by 4AD in June 2010, but it barely dented the charts at #74. It proved, however, to be the only single by Stornoway to breach the Top 75, but then again, such was the state of the music industry throughout the 2010s that the sales of physical singles were becoming increasingly irrelevant.

The band stuck around till 2016, releasing two more albums, Tales From Terra Firma (2013) and Bonxie (2015).

And with that, this extended break for the blog comes to its end. Tomorrow will see the return of the long-running Scottish songs series, while Mark E Smith and pals are back on Sunday, before things get back to full normality on Monday. There’s even some ICAs coming down the pipeline.



The traffic to the blog slows up over the Festive period, and it’s therefore something of an opportunity to take a bit of a breather. Unchanged: The traffic to the blog slows up over the Festive period, and it’s therefore something of an opportunity to take a bit of a breather.

Over a period of 26 days, I’ll be posting a single never previously featured on its own before – it might have sneaked in as part of an ICA or within a piece looking at various tracks – with the idea of an edited cut’n’paste from somewhere (most likely wiki) and then all the songs from either the vinyl or CD. Unchanged: Over a period of 26 days, I’ll be posting a single never previously featured on its own before – it might have sneaked in as part of an ICA or within a piece looking at various tracks – with the idea of an edited cut’n’paste from somewhere (most likely wiki) and then all the songs from either the vinyl or CD.

Y is for Your New Cuckoo released by The Cardigans as a single in August 1997.

Your New Cuckoo was the third single lifted from the album First Band On The Moon. The fact that it appeared a full year after the album had been released verifies that the record company was really keen to cash in on the new found fame and success of The Cardigans. Added: It really is incredible how quickly the way music is consumed these days. Back in 2009, streaming didn’t exist, but there were a proliferation of websites and mediums through which unsigned bands could look to grab someone’s attention.

The band had been enjoying some minor success in the UK, always on the end of critical acclaim for their brand of intelligent and upbeat Scandi-pop, but the move to the major label Mercury Records in 1996 had upped the ante in terms of expectations. Their first release for the new label was the single Lovefool, which reached #21 in the singles chart in September 1996.

Its follow-up was Been It, which stalled at a disappointing #56. Meanwhile, the album First Band On The Moon had entered the charts at #18 but had dropped out altogether after just four weeks, an indication that nothing was selling much beyond the established fanbase.

Towards the end of 1996, a new film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet became a box office smash. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, it was a modern take on the Shakespeare play, and it came with a pop-based soundtrack, with one of the tracks being Lovefool by The Cardigans. Cue some new interest in the band……

Lovefool was re-released in May 1997, entering at #4 and eventually reaching #2, and in many people’s eyes, making an overnight sensation out of the band. There was a minor spin-off in that First Band On The Moon came back into the album charts for a couple of months, and to help further with its marketing and promotion, the decision was taken to belatedly release a third single:-

mp3: The Cardigans – Your New Cuckoo (radio edit)

It’s about thirty seconds shorter than the album version, and the majority of the edit comes towards the end with the flute outro more or less removed as it was likely deemed to be too quirky for radio.

Your New Cuckoo was issued on 2xCD format and generated enough sales to enter the charts at #35 before disappearing almost immediately. At this stage, it was still fair to say that nothing was selling much beyond the established fanbase….although that would all change when the band went for a harder, more rock orientated sound by the time they released their next album…..

Here’s the extra pieces of music on CD1….it’s just a couple of remixes, neither of which sound anything like the original track!

mp3: The Cardigans – Your New Cuckoo (Hyper Disco Mix)
mp3: The Cardigans – Your New Cuckoo (Super Stereo Mix)



The traffic to the blog slows up over the Festive period, and it’s therefore something of an opportunity to take a bit of a breather.

Over a period of 26 days, I’ll be posting a single never previously featured on its own before – it might have sneaked in as part of an ICA or within a piece looking at various tracks – with the idea of an edited cut’n’paste from somewhere (most likely wiki) and then all the songs from either the vinyl or CD.

X is for X Offender released by Blondie as a single in June 1976.

This is mostly adapted from wiki:-

X Offender is the debut single by Blondie. Written by Gary Valentine and Debbie Harry for the band’s self-titled debut album, it was released as the album’s lead single on Private Stock in June 1976.

The title of the song was originally “Sex Offender”. Bassist Gary Valentine originally wrote the song about an 18-year-old boy being arrested for having sex with his younger girlfriend. Debbie Harry changed the lyrics so that the song was about a prostitute being attracted to the police officer that had arrested her.

Private Stock insisted that the name of the single be changed to X Offender because they were nervous about the original title. It was released in mid-1976 with the B-side being In the Sun. Due to limited copies of the single being released and the subsequent popularity of the band, a copy of the original UK Private Stock single (catalogue number PVT 90)  is a sought-after rarity. The last copy to go on Discogs was in March 2019, and the seller was able to get £240. One of the reasons is that the mixes of both songs on the single are different from those on the Blondie album but then again, both were made available as bonus tracks on a 2001 CD re-release of the album whih is where these come from:-

mp3: Blondie – X Offender (single version)
mp3: Blondie – In The Sun (single version)