A MAGICAL AND WONDROUS MOMENT IN POP MUSIC HISTORY

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Click on the mp3 below and have a listen. Said moment happens at the nineteen seconds mark when the strings so unexpectedly kick in.

mp3 : Fire Engines – Candyskin

Candyskin was released in May 1981 and was the second single to be released by Fire Engines. It came out on Pop Aural Records, the Edinburgh-based label which provided so much of the storyline for the superb Big Gold Dream documentary as reviewed earlier this year. Frontman Davy Henderson is one of the stars of said documentary, regaling the audience with hilarious and often hard-to-believe yet true tales of the life and times of a would-be pop star in Scotland’s capital in those dark and dangerous days when punks were sneered at and regarded with outright hostility just for the crime of looking and sounding different from the norm.

I was completely unaware of Candyskin till September 1983 when I finally moved out of the family home and into a student flat at the beginning of my third year at University. This noisy, abrasive and unconventional single was owned by a flatmate and it was one of his all-time favourites…….it didn’t take me long to understand and appreciate why. About 19 seconds…….

The b-side is another crazy sounding piece of music, the title of became the name of one of the short-lived bands to come out of the C86 movement as mentioned in Part 25 of the just completed series:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – Meat Whiplash

The single would be voted in at #58 in John Peel’s Festive Fifty for 1981. You might be wondering why this could be but in those days the great man read out the names of those songs that were voted in at 60-51 just before the end of the rundown. That was the year that Fire Engines recorded two Peel Sessions, the first of which included this take on one of the most popular political songs of the era:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – We Don’t Need This Fascist Groove Thang

The second session offered up this:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – Candyskin (Peel Session)

Enjoy

TWO GREAT COVERS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE

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I’ll often defend Franz Ferdinand if anyone ever has a go at them. For one thing, their 2004 self-titled debut LP remains an excellent and consistent piece of work which deservedly made them not just media darlings but hugely popular with the record-buying public.

But the other thing that I loved about them at that time was their decision to record and release a limited edition 7″ single with Fire Engines, a great Scottish band from the 80s that I have been known to rave about over at the old blog.

It would have been quite easy for Franz Ferdinand to have simply paid lip service to the debt they owed Fire Engines for the spiky guitar sound that they do so well. But instead, they chose to bring a long overlooked act to the wider attention of the public with this particular collaboration which saw a hugely popular FF song covered by FE, and a much-neglected and wonderful FE song given the FF treatment:-

mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Get Up And Use Me
mp3 : Fire Engines – Jacqueline

The single was never intended for general sale, but was available to buy at two gigs in December 1994 when Fire Engines opened for Franz Ferdinand. Sadly, it was a gesture not appreciated by the mob as this review from the time indicates:-

At the first of two hometown gigs to cap their annus mirabilis, they invited their favourite Scottish pop band of yore, The Fire Engines, to reform once more for the occasion. The Edinburgh post-punkers’ set flew right over most of the crowd members’ heads, so plastic beer glasses flew over the band members’ heads.

After a customarily pithy set, dedicated to John Peel “and anyone else who’s dead”, The Fire Engines departed to a chorus of boos, but to the core faithful, the spiky fuzz of Get Up And Use Me, the madly danceable New Things In Cartons and the almost conventionally melodic Meat Whiplash were still a buzz 25 years on.

The thing is, knowing how frontman Davey Henderson’s mind works, he’d have been rather pleased to have got such a reaction from such a mainstream audience….I don’t think he could have coped with being cheered off stage.  I was quite sad and disappointed that I couldn’t get a ticket as I’d have willingly risked injury going down the front and dancing away to the old guys and just as sadly, missing the gig meant I couldn’t get my hands on the tour single.  But then again I wouldn’t have enjoyed the thrill and excitement of seeing a copy for just £3 in a charity shop.

Oh and here’s yer originals:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – Get Up And Use Me
mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Jacqueline

That’s why they only work when they need the money.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 46-50)

Back on 8 October 2011, I started a series called ‘Saturday’s Scottish Single’.  The aim was to feature one 45 or CD single by a Scottish singer or band with the proviso that the 45 or CD single was in the collection. I had got to Part 60-something and as far as Kid Canaveral when the rug was pulled out from under TVV.

I’ll catch up soon enough by featuring 5 or more at a time from the archives..

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(46) Endgames – We Feel Good (Future’s Looking Fine)  b/w Darkness : Mercury Records 7″ (1982)

Read more about Endgames here.

 

(47) Finley Quaye – Your Love Gets Sweeter (The Abbey Road Version) b/w Your Love Gets Sweeter (Album Version) b/w  Everybody Knows b/w Le Saint Des Delinquents : Epic Records : CD Single (1998)

Read more about Finley Quaye here

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(48) Fire Engines –  Big Gold Dream b/w New Thing In Cartons b/w Sympathetic Anaesthetic :  Pop Aural 12″ single (1981)

Read more about Fire Engines here

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(49) Foil – Reviver Gene b/w Sedate Me 13th Hour Recordings CD single (1997)

This is where I get pissed off that the old blog was so unceremoniously removed.  While I can get sight of, and cut’n’paste maybe around one-third of the old posts, it turns out that the ones that mean so much are the ones I can’t track down.  So it is with the original words that accompanied the posting on 14 January 2013.  Words penned by Hugh Duggie, the fromt man of Foil and a dear friend of Jacques the Kipper.

Instead you’ll need to make do with this:-

Foil were a guitar-pop band from West Lothian, Scotland; Their original lineup featured vocalist/guitarist Hugh Duggie, guitarist Colin McInally, bassist Shug Anderson, and drummer Jim Anderson. The group played its first gig at London’s Underworld in February 1996 and were immediately signed by 13th Hour, releasing the single “Reviver Gene” in July; however, the song did not really receive much airplay until its re-release in November 1997. The group’s debut album, Spread It All Around, was released in January 1998. In mid-2000, Foil issued follow-up LP Never Get Hip and broke up not long afterwards.

PS : It’s the November re-release that’s been posted. Cracking indie-rock single that has huge American influences…

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(50) Franz Ferdinand – Darts Of Pleasure b/w Van Tango b/w  Shopping For Blood : Domino CD single (2003)

I still love this debut single.  The b-sides are also hugely enjoyable and less commercial than the stuff that brought them success.

Parts  51-55 next Saturday…..