MY FAVOURITE PRIMAL SCREAM MOMENT

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While I do enjoy some of the upbeat stuff if I told I was only allowed to keep one piece of music by Primal Scream then it would be this-

mp3 : Primal Scream – Star

And I haven’t chosen it simply for its political message, powerful though it is. Oh and I should mention that this lyric and the sentiments would have received a big thumbs-up from Bobby Gillespie‘s father – who was a hugely respected trade union official here in Glasgow back in the days when that was a position that really meant something.

Actually, the lyric does have one huge glaring error that was remarked upon widely at the time. Tributes are paid to the ‘late’ Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King…..but Rosa Parks was very much alive when the single was released in June 1997.

Nope, my sole reason for loving this above any other Primal Scream song single is down to its laidback and gorgeous tune. Surely no-one can fail to be moved by the wonderful playing of the mellotron by the late Augustus Pablo and the subtle and understated use of the horn section. Bloody marvellous.

It the second single to be lifted from the LP Vanishing Point and it climbed to a very respectable #16 in the UK charts. And here’s the other tracks that appeared on the CD single.

mp3 : Primal Scream – Jesus
mp3 : Primal Scream – Rebel Dub
mp3 : Primal Scream – How Does It Feel To Belong

As you can imagine, I’m quite fond of the Rebel Dub version of the single……

Incidentally, the cover is a photo taken of Bobby Hutton outside Oakland Police Department on 23 May 1967. Within 12 months he would be dead, before his 18th birthday, after an ‘altercation’ with said police department.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Hutton

 

NEXT YEAR’S NOSTALGIA FEST (Part 1 of 48)

CD86_(album)

1986 was an important year in the history of the genre that has become known as indie-pop, characterised by the release of C86, a 22-song cassette compilation from the NME consisting of what were largely up and coming UK bands who were making guitar-based pop music that was a throwback to the Postcard and early Rough Trade era at the start of the decade.

It was a time when music was being made on the cheap and in a rough and ready fashion which harked back to the punk/new wave era, and it was no real surprise that the biggest music paper in the country focussed on what it hoped would the next new wave of music on the tenth anniversary of the birth of punk.

C86 did not generate any huge amount of commercial success with the vast majority of the bands involved never really getting beyond cult status. But there was something of a timeless quality tabout a number of the songs, and indeed of other contemporary songs which weren’t included on the cassette.

In 2006, CD86 was released to mark the 20th anniversary of C86. It consisted of 48 tracks, compiled by Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne, complete with a short essay in which he extolled the virtues of the movement with the statement:-

“It was the beginning of indie music. It’s hard to remember how underground guitar music and fanzines were in the mid-’80s. DIY ethics and any residual punk attitudes were in isolated pockets around the country, and the C86 comp and gigs brought them together”.

While I beg to differ about it being the birth of indie music (what had I spent my late teen and early 20s dancing to if it wasn’t indie?), I won’t disagree that the songs of the era have a certain charm and so, for the new Sunday series now that the Moz singles feature has again come to an end, I’m going to look at all 48 songs on the CD 86 compilation and where possible also feature the b-side if the song had been a 45.

Interestingly enough, the CD86 compilation only featured 3 of the original 22 songs which had been on C86, while seven of the 22 acts were omitted altogether – Stump, Bogshed, A Witness, Miaow. The McKenzies, Fuzzbox and The Shrubs – in his essay Bob Stanley offers the opinion that some groups on the NME compilation were genuinely dire and he specifically mentions The McKenzies, A Witness and Stump.

It is the case that each of C86 and CD86 opened with the same song by the one band that emerged from the movement to really experience worldwide fame and fortune over an extended period….just a pity for the genre that they made their fame and fortune from a totally different style of music!!

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mp3 : Primal Scream – Velocity Girl

Clocking in at some 80 seconds in length, this just about perfectly encapsulates what the C86 movement was all about.  The production was a long way removed from the slick and glossy material that was then dominating the charts, the band sounded as if they had only just got together for a bet or a laugh (or both) and the singer wasn’t blessed with the most natural of voices – but somehow it all came together in a way that was enchanting and entrancing.

Strangely enough, Velocity Girl was the b-side of the second ever Primal Scream single released on Creation Records back in 1986, but thanks to its inclusion on various compilation LPs over the year has become far better known than its a-side:-

mp3 : Primal Scream – Crystal Crescent

Tune in on the next 47 Sundays for the rest of the series…..

 

THREE CRACKING BITS OF MUSIC ON THIS ’45’

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This, the second single lifted from what turned out to be the final ever LP released on Creation Records, is a mighty fine piece of music.

XTRMNTR had caught out a lot of folk. It was a full-on, in your face aggressive and angry record which didn’t make for easy listening. It had received a huge thumbs-up from the critics who almost universally lauded Primal Scream for having the balls to do something so brash and unexpected while the band had a large enough loyal following to take the LP into the Top 3. But unsurprisingly, the singles lifted from the LP never really got much in the way of radio play and all three of them stalled outside the Top 20.

Things weren’t helped in the case of Kill All Hippies as the band released it in the exact same format as the version which opened the album which means it doesn’t really take off for over a minute which really was commercial suicide when it comes to radio play which, back in 2000, was still very important as the digital internet age in terms of music consumption was really still around the corner.

mp3 : Primal Scream – Kill All Hippies

The second track is a Massive Attack remix of one of the gentler and easier listening tracks on the album. The original version of Exterminator is great but this remix is just stunning…especially when listened to through an expensive set of headphones. There’s just so much going on.

mp3 : Primal Scream – Exterminator (Massive Attack remix)

The single as a whole was dedicated to Curtis Mayfield who had died just a few weeks earlier. The third song was especially written by Primal Scream as a tribute to him and it is funky as fuck:-

mp3 : Primal Scream – The Revenge Of The Hammond Connection

If you’re not dancing around the room having played that last track there is something seriously wrong with you.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 94) (take two)

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This should have appeared last week…..but I forgot to transfer the text over from a word doc.  Apologies.

I’ve reached the stage of this incredibly long-running alphabetical series where it is time to feature Primal Scream. So many great things to choose from but I thought I’d go with something a bit different and one probably not so well-known to readers from overseas.

The summer of 1996 was to feature a major football tournament.  It was the European Nations Championship, conveniently shortened to Euro 96, and the host nation was England.  Being just over the border, there was huge interest in whether Scotland could also make it through the qualifying stages which we did reasonably comfortably, although it has to be said we did have an easy group (Russia, Greece, Finland, Faroe Islands and San Marino) as well as some half-decent players at the time.

It was inevitable however, that having qualified with a bit of ease that the footballing gods would deal us a cruel hand in the actual tournament which is why we ended up drawn against Holland, Switzerland and the hosts.

The fact we were playing such an important match against our oldest and deadliest rivals created all sorts of interest and in the tournament not to mention weird spin-offs. One of these was the release of a very unofficial single by Primal Scream.

It was a collaboration with the Scottish author Irvine Welsh who just three years earlier had shot to fame and infamy with the publication of his debut novel Trainspotting, as well as the team at the English-based On-U Sound, a record label best-known for dance and dub releases.  The end result is everything as crazy, imaginative and offensive as you’d imagine.

Is it any good though?

Well….as a huge fan of much of what Irvine Welsh has written over the years, I’m prepared to say that this is a tremendous release.  As with any bit of writing by Welsh, it is OTT and then some.  There’s a fair bit of black humour mixed in with some excellent social observation and commentary although it will not be to everyone’s taste. And again, as  with any bit of writing by Welsh, there’s loads of gratuitous swearing, so be warned when you click on the mp3s.

The full title of the release was Primal Scream, Irvine Welsh and On-U Sound present….The Big Man and the Scream Team meet the Barmy Army Uptown.  There were two musical versions made available along with a spoken word track featuring Welsh alone.

mp3 : Primal Scream et al – Full Strength Fortified Dub
mp3 : Primal Scream et al – Electric Soup dub
mp3 : Irvine Welsh – A Jake Supreme

Released by Creation Records on 3 June 1996 on the eve of the tournament, this reached #17 in the UK charts despite, to the best of my knowledge, never receiving a single airing on radio….such was the pulling power of the Scream and Welsh.

As to the tournament itself…….Scotland didn’t disappoint by doing what we always do and that is being eliminated in the most ridiculous of ways. We drew with Holland and then lost that important game to England – a match in which the decisive and brilliant second goal by Paul Gascoigne came a few seconds after we had contrived to miss a penalty.

In the final matches, played on the date of my 33rd birthday,  Scotland beat Switzerland 1-0 but had to rely on England pulling off the most unlikely result of a four-goal win over Holland. Unbelievably, they were within 12 minutes of pulling off that very feat when Holland scored to make it 4-1 meaning Scotland were eliminated on the rule of having scored less goals over the three matches than the Dutch.

It was very cruel way to bow out – and our hope of a re-match in the final against England was cruelly dashed!

But such is the way of being a fan of Scotland. At least we don’t have the torture of the upcoming World Cup to distract us.

Enjoy

 

FROM THE SOUTH-WEST CORRESPONDENT….P DIDDLING

Chinese fontThe Robster chose the letter P

Difficult. Is one way to describe the letter P. So many decent bands begin with P. I’ve discounted Portishead, Placebo, Pure Morning (although I truly recommend you seek out ‘Scum’ from their debut album), Pop Will Eat Itself, Procul Harum and the Pixies, to name but six. I also was tempted to talk about Panjabi MC, as I have a great story about him at a wedding in Chennai, but I would definitely get sued. Anyway, there is only one place to start when talking about bands beginning with P.

Imagine the scene if you will, it 1994, it’s the Reading Festival and a relatively drunk S-WC (evening meal vodka and a falafel burger, the food of a king) and his mate who we shall called Chris (as that is his name) are hitting on two wee Scottish girls from ‘the twee village of Blairgowrie’(their words).

It is Saturday evening and we are trying to talk the two girls into coming to see Madder Rose with us, as Chris really likes them and besides we want to catch Compulsion and Elastica who were on before them. They say no, they want to see Primal Scream, the problem is on before Primal Scream is Ice Cube who no really likes but they are willing to put up with that in order to get a good spot. Personally I’m not fussed either way, as long as I see Compulsion I don’t care. Also the girls were nicer to look at that Chris, so I was probably swaying in that direction.

We consume more vodka and I think I manage to eat a doughnut to soak up the alcohol, in 1994 eating wasn’t cheating. The two girls by the way had drunk way more than us and were absolutely far more sober than either me or Chris. In the end in ways that only girls can they ‘persuaded’ us to watch Primal Scream with them, we caught Compulsion first (who were great) missed Elastica and hot footed it over to Primal Scream. I should point out that the persuasion was not as seedy as I have made it sound, I think they produced another half bottle of vodka and that swung it.

End result, Primal Scream in 1994, was the best live performance I have ever seen, perhaps it was the drink, the company and the atmosphere but standing in a field at 1030pm listening to ‘Higher Than The Sun’just about does it for me. The four of us woke up the next morning in the same tent (clothed, you filthy minded buggers, although I do remember being disappointed) with two of us having the mother of all hangovers, but it was really worth it. I have to say I have never listened to Madder Rose since that festival.

mp3 : Primal Scream – Come Together (Farley mix)

Since then I have seen Primal Scream live more than any band, they are pretty much the only band I would now travel to see outside of the South West to see live and they just get better and better live. I saw them at a place called the Eden Project a few years back now, down in Cornwall, they played ‘Screamadelica’ in full and it was truly amazing. I love their energy, their passion, and in Bobby Gillespie they have a frontman who will I think go on for ever. For those who haven’t heard it, ‘Screamadelica’ is the greatest record ever made. Period. No arguments. Forget what is written about ‘The Queen is Dead’ or ‘Pet Sounds’, they don’t even come close.

A couple of years ago I went to a wedding it was pretty dull, until the party afterwards. I was sat at the bar recovering after having a boring conversation with some bloke who drove buses in Chester. Which took up the ENTIRE MEAL. Everything I spoke about he managed successfully to bring in buses to the equation. What do you think about David Cameron’s view on Syria? Well funny you should say that, in Chester on the buses we use engine parts made in Syria…that kind of thing.

Anyway, at the bar there was a couple of blokes who didn’t fit in, they looked cool and out-of-place. I kind of nodded at them and we did the how do you know the bride and groom thing. Turns out they were related, or one of them was. They were in a band, and that band was Public Service Broadcasting. One of the two (and I have to be careful as they use pseudonyms) said we have a mantra we aim to teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future. What they do is trawl through old film archives, and use snippets of voices and then set them to music. It sounds weird but it really works. If you have a long musical memory then you might remember Paul Hardcastle tried something similar with the song ‘19’ and perhaps even Big Audio Dynamites ‘E=MC2’ but PSB do it excellently and without the feel of a gimmick. They had me the minute they told me their mantra and I hadn’t heard them. When I did what I got was the sound of 1930s announcements set to a whirl of indie guitars and electronica and I was gobsmacked at what they had done. The problem is and I never told them, is what are they going to do next?

mp3 : Public Service Broadcasting – Spitfire

Finally an oldie but a goldie, a record that is in my top ten tracks of all time. Probably, I keep changing it. I post it as an advert really, because right now on Amazon every Pavement album is available on download for £2.99 and if that is not an excuse to buy them all then I don’t know what is.

Whenever I move house – which isn’t that often these days, but I have stretched the rules to whenever I stay in a hotel, the first song I listen to in that house, room, suite whatever is ‘Summer Babe’ by Pavement. I don’t have a reason, when I moved into students halls for the first time I plugged my stereo in and the first record out of the box was ‘Slanted and Enchanted’ and I put in on and turned it up. Within ten minutes, my new neighbour had knocked on the door and asked me if I fancied a beer and that he loved Pavement and did I have anything by the Wedding Present. After that it just stuck. These days I normally listen to it on tinny speakers on the laptop but I have this feeling that one day the person in the room next door will knock and say ‘is that pavement?

mp3 : Pavement – Summer Babe (winter version)

Next week – R. but lets have some more letters please

S-WC