Burning Badgers Vinyl 5:
Lost EPs : #1 – Do Do Do EP – Snuff (1996) (Deceptive Record BLUFF033)
There used to be a pub in Maidstone called the Tut N Shive, which despite being a ridiculous name for a pub, was actually quite a good night out. I first discovered it when I left my usual Friday night haunt The Minstrel to get some chips. I was also looking for a lass I knew, Maya, who for some reason, hadn’t been in the pub that night, despite telling me that she definitely, without question would be. As I walked to the chip shop I heard the strains of ‘Today’ by Smashing Pumpkins blaring out of this pub. The pub used to be called ‘The Barrel’ and was always one of the townie pubs that people who can walk and clap at the same time avoided in case they were burnt at the stake for being a witch.
It turns out the pub had been given a makeover and a new name, the ridiculously named Tut N Shive as I mentioned before, I was drawn to it like a cartoon bear towards a picnic basket. I wandered in and had that strange feeling that I was cheating on a lover, because this was new, exciting and different but it felt wrong. All my friends were back in The Minstrel, and yet here I was sullying myself silly on a dancefloor surrounded by (beautiful) females who I had never ever seen before, listening to music that not only did I like, but was being played by an actual DJ, not just a tape that the landlord had shoved on and you couldn’t hear and people were dancing and having a great time.
About an hour or so later, I staggered back to The Minstrel, without chips, slightly sweatier than before, and a little bit more refreshed, but feeling ever so guilty. On the way home I confided in John, also known as The Love Monster (why? maybe next week). I told him all about the Tut N Shive, the dancefloor, the beautiful people, the music, the slightly cheaper, less watered-down beer that wasn’t Fosters but something called ‘Red Stripe’ from Jamaica. He looked at me, “But we always go to the Minstrel” he said. Silence. All the way home.
The next week, John very reluctantly agrees to come with me to ‘get some chips’ and as we walk down the hill, towards the Tut N Shive, we hear it, the opening strains of ‘Soul Limbo’ by Booker T and the MGs blaring out. John (a huge cricket fan)* looks and me and just grins and we tear into the Tut as we now call it. We never look back and ignore the strained calls from The Ministrel for us to return.
*JC adds….this is an important element of the story; Soul Limbo has, for as long as I can remember, been the theme tune for the coverage of cricket on the BBC
All of which bobbing about brings us to this weeks record pulled from Badger’s Box and like last week I have picked up five records that were released as EP’s and have in the last twenty-five years or so vanished from the public attention.
Badger loved an EP, he also loved cricket, and would tell everyone who was listening why Craig Kieswetter’s 98 not out at Taunton in the 2015 20/20 championship was the greatest single innings of cricket he had ever witnessed. It was pretty brilliant, taking Somerset from 16 for 3 to within two runs of an unlikely victory over West Country rivals Gloucestershire. Sadly the 11th batsmen threw his wicket away and hundreds of fans left disappointed for Kieswetter and he traipsed dejectedly from the crease back to the pavilion, cheered off as a hero but ultimately still a loser.
What Badger didn’t like what stupid dumb ass punk rock with shouty vocals, trombones and drums that sound like they were recorded at the same time as the drummer was being attacked by a hungry bear. Which brings us nicely to Snuff because the first EP I picked out of the box was their 1996 ‘Do Do Do’ EP and the only reason that Badger owned it was because it has a stupid dumb ass punk rock version of ‘Soul Limbo’ on it, complete with trombones, shouty vocals and drums that sound like they were recorded at the same time as the drummer was being attacked by a hungry bear.
This is track 3 of a four-track ‘Covers’ EP that was released on Deceptive Records but for obvious reasons its one that got all the radio play (edited of course). It’s a stunning version of a great song, but in this day and age of rock star cricketers like Ben Stokes, I think we should start a campaign for this to be the new theme for Test Match Special on the BBC. I don’t think of Booker T and the MGs anymore when I think of this song I think of Snuff and that is the measure of a great cover version.
(JC interjects….Craig Kieswetter, Ben Stokes, Test Match Special….I fear we may have lost some, if not all, of our German and American readers. Indeed, many, if not all, of our Scottish readers too).
I love Snuff, I’ve been a big fan ever since the released an EP called Flibbiddydibbiddydob which consisted largely of TV themes and commercials. I love the fact that behind all of their shouty punk rock, they employ a bloke (admittedly the singer’s brother) to play a trombone in the background. They don’t just do the ‘comedy cover versions’ though, (although they are very good at them), their first album ‘Snuff Said…’ released in 1989 is a bonafide punk rock classic, although I accept I might be in a minority in thinking that.
Here are the other three tracks on the ‘Do Do Do’ EP
Standing In the Shadows Of Love – Originally by The Four Tops
This was the lead track and Snuff had a habit covering Four Tops songs, they famously (well in my life anyway) covered ‘Reach Out’ on the aforementioned ‘Flibbiddyibbiddybob’ EP. Again it’s a terrifically shouty couple of minutes with added trombone in all the right places.
I Will Survive – Originally by Gloria Gaynor
I had to do a lot of in depth research on the original, as I’d never heard it before. Gloria Gaynor it turns out was a street cleaner from Hebden Bridge who used to sing this song whilst sweeping the streets of her town on a Sunday morning. A passing music mogul happened to hear her warbling one morning as he did the walk of shame with his pants in his hands and thought it sounded like a good song. He gave it to Snuff to mangle beyond all sanity, with added trombone. Of course, you can’t believe everything that you read on Wikipedia.
It Must Be Boring Being in Snuff – Originally by Wat Tyler
Wat Tyler were another band in that punk rock scene in the early nineties. They got into trouble once or twice for taking the piss out of more famous bands. When Madonna released her ‘naughty coffee table book, ‘Sex’’, Wat Tyler released a similar one called ‘Sexless’ which featured the band in provocative poses, that were almost an exact replica of those in Madonnas book. Which when you consider that Wat Tyler were mostly fat blokes with beards in their late thirties, was a touch of genius (this is genuinely true).
Before that they released the ‘I’m forever blowing Bubbles’ EP. Which featured a hand-drawn cover of a certain dead singer giving oral relief to a chimp. Charming (but also 100% true).
It also contained a wonderful version of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ that I must dig out sometime. I mean that genuinely, far far better than the original, and that one member of Snuff, and two members of Wat Tyler and (I think) one member of Leatherface later went on to form Guns N Wankers with middling commercial success.