It was as recently as last September that I featured The Corn Dollies and their rather excellent debut single Forever Steven courtesy of it being part of the C87 boxset that was issued by Cherry Red Records.  I did comment that the b-side, Be Small Again, was a track that paid more than a nodding debt to Lloyd Cole and The Commotions, and also made reference, via the commentary in the C87 booklet that a later single, Shake, was another that seemed to do the same.

I picked up a second-hand copy of said 7″ single…..

mp3 : The Corn Dollies – Shake

Can’t be denied can it?  Not just the tune but the vocal delivery is almost as if lead singer Steve Musham was auditioning for a part on Stars In Their Eyes…..

Here’s the b-side to that particular single. It could almost pass as a cover version:-

mp3 : The Corn Dollies – Climbing Stairs

Enjoyable stuff nevertheless……



The idea of this particular series is to pick out bands that were part of the C87 triple-CD set issued by Cherry Red Records last year, with the proviso that they had to be making their debut on this blog.

It’s a bit of a cheat this week as it’s turn of The Corn Dollies who were previously part of this post back in January 2014, but as it was a cover version I’m prepared to be flexible to enable a first appearance with one of their own tunes.

Track 24 on CD 2.

mp3 : The Corn Dollies – Forever Steven

Here’s what the info booklet says:-

THE CORN DOLLIES came out of the traps with their Byrds-styled, Robert Forster-produced debut single, ‘Forever Steven’, released on their own Farm label before being snapped up and re-released by Medium Cool after the Manchester label unleashed their second single ‘Be Small Again’. With their chiming guitar sound overlaid with strong harmonies, The Corn Dollies followed with ‘Shake’ which revealed a debt to Lloyd Cole, but toughened up for the more robust sound of singles ‘Map Of The World’ and ‘Nothing Of You’. The band’s debut album ‘Wrecked’ appeared on Midnight Music in 1989, in the wake of an eponymous compilation circulated to capitalise on the band’s popularity in France and Spain. After the baggy-influenced ‘Joyrider!’, the band split in 1990.

The band were a five-piece from London, consisting of Steve Musham (vocals and guitar), Tim Sales (guitar), Steve Ridder (bass), Jack Hoser (drums), and Jono Podmore (violin). They provided support to a solo tour undertaken by Ian McCulloch in 1990, so some of you may actually have caught them live on occasion.

I’ve also fished out the second 45 referred to in the booklet, and it too pays more than a nod to the sound of the Commotions.  It’s enjoyable enough but not a patch on the splendid debut.

mp3 : The Corn Dollies – Be Small Again




This is one of my own….but it was inspired by an idea and contribution from a reader.

Just the other week I featured the cover of Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) by The Wedding Present.  A comment from The Robster informed me that this was the band’s second take on that particular song as it had first been aired on an LP called Alvin Lives (In Leeds) : Anti Poll Tax Trax which, as the title suggests, was aimed at raising funds to help those campaigning against a particularly unpopular piece of government legislation.

Released in 1990, it consists of 12 indie acts doing cover versions.  As is often the case with a record like this, the output it is a bit hit and miss but what is quite astonishing is the sheer cheesiness of some of the choices:-


Lush – Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep
Five Thirty – My Sweet Lord
Cud – Bohemian Rhapsody
The Popguns – Bye Bye Baby
Crocodile Ride – I Feel Love
Robyn Hitchcock – Kung Fu Fighting
Corn Dollies – Le Freak
The Wedding Present – Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)
The Close Lobsters – Float On
14 Iced Bears – Summer Nights
The Siddeleys – Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)
The Perfect Disaster – Wanderin’ Star

It’s a bunch of huge hits from the 70s and  I kind of got the feeling that having been asked to be part of what was a worthy cause and then told they had to come up with a cover of a well-known record from the 70s, most of them then tried to think what could be the most ridiculous departure from the norm.

Special mention must be made of Cud.  They’ve taken one of the sacred cows of pomp rock and ripped the total pish out of it.  All the words and a semblance of the tune do appear to be in place but they bash the whole thing out in a little under three minutes:-

mp3 : Cud – Bohemian Rhapsody

Anyone can see (and hear), nothing really matters to them.

Elsewhere, the song taken on by Lush is more akin to a nursery rhyme but yet somehow in their hands it works as indie-pop with meaningless lyrics while Robyn Hitchock and his mates become human beatboxes on a crazy take of a novelty song:-:-

mp3 : Lush – Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep
mp3 : Robyn Hitchcock – Kung Fu Fighting

As you’d expect, the Weddoes do their usual fine job (and it is marginally different than the version recorded with Steve Albini and made available on the 3 Songs EP) while  I was also quite taken by some parts of Le Freak in which The Corn Dollies occasionally do a fine tribute to Gang Of Four:-

mp3 : The Corn Dollies – Le Freak

There were a few disappointments, none more so than The Close Lobsters whose take on what I’ve thought was always an appalling song somehow made me long for the original although the biggest waste of vinyl has to go to Five Thirty for what is a pointless re-tread of the George Harrison hit.

When this LP was mentioned in the comments, my dear mate Dirk from Sexy Loser professed his love for this track:-

mp3 : The Siddeleys – Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)

It’s one that didn’t jump out on first hearing but I’ve persisted and now fallen for its charms.

In summary, Alvin Lives (In Leeds) is, like so many other projects of this nature, a mixed-bag, but I was delighted to have been given the opportunity to learn about it after all these years.  Hope those of you who aren’t familiar with the versions featured today will appreciate them.

Thanks Robster.