Sundays here at TVV have been taken up in recent months by the ICA World Cup. I was so thrilled by the level of interest and the amount of interaction via the comments section that I planned, in my head, a variation on the theme for 2023.
But then I got thinking.
This is the year I turn 60 years of age. I’ve a few plans in hand that will see me travelling the globe at various times, to the extent that I won’t always be in a position to keep a check on how votes might or might not be coming in. So, sorry to say, the plans for a variation of the ICAs (it would have been on the basis of Imaginary EPs!), won’t see the light of day…well, for now anyway.
So, I’ve decided that Sundays should be turned over to the pile of 7″ singles that sit here in Villain Towers. I’ve now accumulated so many in recent years, often via second-hand markets in shops or online, that they have outgrown the space that has been set aside for them, and they are kind of crammed.
It’s now become a bit of a chore to go and fish just the one of them out for listening purposes, and what I need to do is pick up a large number in the one visit, as it makes things easier. This has led me to also make a fresh, higher-quality rip with each listen for the purposes of this new series for 2023. Here’s wiki on the one I’m starting off with:-
What You Do to Me is a song recorded by Scottish rock band Teenage Fanclub. The song was released on 27 January 1992 through Creation Records, as the third single from the band’s third studio album, Bandwagonesque. The song was written and sung by vocalist and guitarist Norman Blake.
The song peaked at number 19 on Billboard‘s Modern Rock Tracks chart in the US, and number 31 on the UK Singles Chart.
The 7″ version that sits in the cupboard has a few pops and clicks, but all that does is add to the authenticity.
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – What You Do To Me
It is actually a 4-track EP, with two songs on either side of the vinyl. Here’s what comes on straight after the two minutes that make up the single:-
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – B-Side
It’s one of Gerry Love‘s compositions, and very good it is, too.
Flipping things over to the b-side:-
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Life’s A Gas
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Filler
The former is a fairly faithful take on a T.Rex song, while the latter is a Raymond McGinley number (and very good it is too!) which means the EP gives you songs from all three of the principal songwriters.
But there’s more. After 1:56, Filler seems to come to a complete stop, but there’s then there’s a slight gap before a short (55 seconds) uncredited instrumental kicks off. The fact it’s just an extended drum solo could mean it’s all the work of Brendan O’Hare, in which case you’ve got original material from all four members contained with one compact piece of vinyl
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Hidden Drum Solo
With apologies, if in fact the drum solo is the end of Filler and not a separate song!
I was thinking it was about time again to write up something about Teenage Fanclub. I thought I’d focus in on one of their singles, preferably one not featured before on the blog.
All told, there’s more than thirty to choose from, going back to Everything Flows in 1990, to the most recent which was the digitally released I Left A Light On from earlier this year. So I thought to myself, why not go with the one which provided their highest chart placing, while not knowing what single that would have been. I was almost certain it would be Sparky’s Dream, failing which Radio, or perhaps I Don’t Want Control Of You.
I was so wrong.
Teenage Fanclub only ever cracked the Top 20 of the UK singles chart on one occasion, and that was in July 1997 when their first new song in more than two years crashed in at #17:-
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Ain’t That Enough
The following week, the single dropped to #47 and then the next week it was #72. The good news for the band was that the new album, Songs From Northern Britain, immediately entered at #3, the highest ever chart entry in their career.
This period was certainly the band’s commercial peak, as no single since has made the Top 40, while the next again album, Howdy, their first after leaving Creation Records, stalled at a very disappointing #33 in 2000.
Ain’t That Enough came out on 7″ vinyl and 2 x CD formats. Here’s all you b-sides:-
Kickabout had originally been written and recorded for inclusion on The Beautiful Game, a compilation CD released to commemorate the Euro 96 football tournament, which was played in England (and for which Scotland had qualified). It’s based around a sample of Everybody by American Spring, a 1970s duo consisting of siblings Diane Rovell and Marilyn Wilson. The latter was, at the time the song was originally released, married to Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys.
Broken is a long number at over five minutes in length, with Norman’s vocal not kicking in until almost the three-minute mark. It still manages to be a song that many other bands would have loved as an a-side.
The two bonus tracks on CD2 are covers, of songs by The Velvet Underground and Big Star, respectively. The latter could be accurately described as a Christmas number.
Yesterday featured a song which peaked at #40 in the UK singles charts. Well, whatdyaknow? Its deja vu….
Here’s our much missed friend Tim Badger back on 26 July 2016 with something from ICA #86:-
Ok I’ll keep this one short – this is one of the best pop rock songs ever written. It’s another Gerard Love one and that bluesy slide guitar intro is divine and nearly every band I can think of would kill for it.”
Looking back, you can learn, or be reminded, that Sparky’s Dream was the lead single from the fifth studio album, Grand Prix. It was released on 22 May 1995 as a 7″ single and on 2 x CDs.
Burned is a cover of a Buffalo Springfield song, written by Neil Young and dating from 1966, and was made available on the 7″ and CD1. The latter is where you’ll also find the Raymond McGinley penned For You, and Headstand, another track written by Gerard Love.
I’ve also picked up, along the way, the lead track from CD2.
SWC has given me the green light to offer up some thoughts on two pieces of vinyl that the late and great Tim Badger had kept in two boxes, despite having been thought to have sold off his entire collection a few years earlier. These form the music that he couldn’t bear to part with.
1. The Concept – Teenage Fanclub (12″ single – Creation Records, Cre 111T, 1991)
Tim’s box contains the 12″ version, while a copy of the 7″ sits in a cupboard here in Villain Towers. The 12″ has four songs, two of which can be found on the 7″. There are 75 copies of the 12″ currently on offer via Discogs but just 9 copies of the 7″, so maybe the smaller vinyl is a bit harder to get a hold of. I know I picked mine up many years later as a second-hand purchase as 1991 was a time when money was a wee bit tight from the fact I was doing a daily commute from Glasgow to Edinburgh, the expense of which meant music purchases had to be scaled back, and I kept my money back to buy a copy of Bandwagonesque, on CD, which I know cost £13.49 from Tower Records as it still has the price sticker on it.
I’m thinking that when he bought the single, Tim could well have looked a bit like any of the band members in the picture above, what with their long hair and carefree attitude mirroring that of the majority of their young(ish) audience. I was, as the commute mention above might indicate, already, in my late 20s, at an advanced stage of being part of the suit and tie brigade.
I bought Bandwagonesque on the back of the great press Teenage Fanclub were getting, buoyed by the fact that Tower Records were offering the purchaser the opportunity to return the CD and receive a full refund if having listened to it, you weren’t that happy. All of which means The Concept, as the album’s opening song, would be my introduction to the band. I was hooked within the opening 20 seconds, with a tune that sounded like something a very stoned Neil Young would have churned out at his peak with Crazy Horse. It was a long way from what I was anticipating but in a very good way. I laughed out loud at the ironic use of Status Quo in the opening line and the fact the tune could have passed for one of their 45s being played at LP speed on the turntable. I was charmed….
Having said that, I never really totally fell in love with TFC. There were parts of Bandwagonesque that I felt were a bit too shambolic and amateurish, but there was more than enough to make me want to keep the CD. The back catalogue was also a bit too raw in places for my liking, although there was no doubting the quality of Everything Flows and God Knows It’s True, two singles from 1990 issued by Paperhouse Records, which had been the debut single more than a year previously (and whose release had completely passed me by!). In due course, seeing the band in the live setting a few years later increasingly won me over, and over the years I’ve been lucky enough to catch them in some very small and intimate venues across Glasgow and Edinburgh.
I’m thinking that the 12″ version contains the full 6-minute version of the song, but to be on the safe side, I’ll also offer up the 7″ version in its edited form:-
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – The Concept
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – The Concept (7″ single)
And here’s the three b-sides which make up the 12″,
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – What You Do To Me (demo)
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Long Hair
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Robot Love
The first of these is another Norman Blake composition, the middle is by Gerry Love and the latter is a rare all-band effort. It’s an example of why I struggled to really take to the band to begin with, being a tad on the noisy and tuneless side, like a bad Nirvana outtake.
There were a few other tracks recorded during the sessions for Bandwagonesque which found their way out via other methods, including this piece of vinyl that Tim couldn’t part with.
2. Free Again/Bad Seeds (7″ single – K Records, IPU26, 1992)
TFC have never hidden their influences, citing many of them from early days in interviews and churning out cover versions and/or collaborations in due course. The Bandwagonesque sessions also saw them have a stab at a song by Big Star (an early 70s band from Memphis, Tennessee) and another by Beat Happening (an early 80s band from Olympia, Washington). I think it’s fair to say that neither act had really gone beyond cult status in the UK by the time TFC had formed and were recording, but their continued support, and willingness to acknowledge how much of an influence they had been, led to a greater level of interest, particularly for Big Star who would reform again in 1993, who attracted ever-increasing attention and fan numbers, touring extensively until the death of frontman Alex Chilton, at the age of 59, from heart failure.
These tracks sneaked their way out with K Records, an independent record label based in Olympia, Washington whose founder, Calvin Johnson, was part of Beat Happening, one of whose songs was on the release.
Both tracks would also later find their way onto Deep Fried Fanclub, a rarities compilation album by TFC that was issued in 1995 when the band was arguably at the height of their commercial period, with the album Grand Prix going Top 10 in the UK. I’ve long been familiar with Free Again as Jacques the Kipper included it on a C90 tape he put together many many years ago, but Bad Seeds is a new one for me. And it’s a belter, sounding as if the boys are channeling their inner Cramps.
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Free Again
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Bad Seeds
TFC are still going strong, despite the departure of Gerry Love a while back, with him being replaced as a band member by Euros Childs, best known as the frontman of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. I’m far from alone in not being able to bring myself to go see this new inception of the band as Gerry was such an integral part of their sound, and to the credit of the remaining members, they have made it clear they wouldn’t be comfortable having any of his songs performed by a different singer, be that Norman, Raymond or Euros. It just wouldn’t be the same……
I’m just sorry that I can’t personalise the pieces in the same way and you’ll be pleased to learn that SWC will be up next with Parts 3 and 4 of the series, after which I will be boring you silly again. There’s a lot of quality music still to be pulled out of Badger’s Boxes.
Released as a single in November 1990 (It did not chart)
Another day, another record that I was introduced to by OPG. I was a huge Teenage Fanclub fan, I guess I still am, although I admit, that as part of the same pointless space saving exercise that I referred to in Number 41, I sold three of their albums on vinyl for vast amounts of cash. Apparently original Creation Records vinyl releases are worth money, who knew…? As brilliant as ‘Grand Prix’ is, I wouldn’t pay £54 for a slightly battered vinyl copy (but still in good condition and playable) of it but some fool from Cheltenham did exactly that.
Anyway, ‘God Knows It’s True’ was one of the songs that convinced me that I should pick up a guitar and learn how to play it, rather than actually just pretend I could in front of the mirror and say I could to impressionable young ladies in pubs.
I can’t remember exactly where I was when I first heard it, but I know it was on a tape that OPG did for me, which was called ‘Shoplifters Paradise Vol.2’. It was compiled entirely from songs that she had nicked from the shelves of Our Price and then returned a few weeks later when no one was looking.
Anyway, I found myself an old acoustic guitar and found a bloke who could teach me the basics. My plan was to master the acoustic, upgrade to Fender or something cool, form a band and headline Reading (not Glastonbury) before 1995. Easy.
I walked into my first lesson, guitar slung over my shoulder, charity shop shirt unbuttoned down to the pubis bone, like the troubled troubadour I was, and my teacher, Mr Hawkins, looked at me over his half-moon glasses and sighed, loudly. The first words to me were, “You’re not Jim Bloody Morrison”. His second words to me were “If you tell me you want to learn how to play like Kurt Cobain, you can leave right now. I’ll give you your money back.”
Now. I sort of did want to learn how to play like Kurt Cobain, but I said, “No, not at all. I want to learn how to play like this”and thrust a tape with ‘God Knows It’s True’ at the start of it into his delighted hands. He put it on and sighed loudly again. He went to a cupboard and pulled out a piece of vinyl and put that on. It was “The Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum.
“It’s fundamentally the same record” he said (it’s not, clearly) “But, we can work with that”.
Six weeks later I’d mastered the basics, well I knew three chords. Eight weeks later I formed my first band.
I’ve realised that the version of ‘God knows Its True’ that I truly love is the Peel Session version because it in the words of Badger “Rocks, like a bastard” so in fact it’s that version I’ve picked. Both the single and the Peel Session are backed with versions of this
So Far Gone
Oh and I still can’t play ‘God Knows It’s True’ on the guitar.
Album : Bandwagonesque by Teenage Fanclub Review : Q, December 1991 Author : Paul Davies
Creation boss Alan McGee‘s latest rapscallion ruse to lighten the pockets of the record-buying public is a bunch of hirsute Glaswegians with a reputation for storming live shows and a penchant for genteel melodies and feedback-strafed electric guitars.
The self-styled Teenage Fannies have mockingly sidestepped the inevitable accusations of plundering rock’s dog-eared back pages with the nod’s as good as a wink LP title, and whilst there is little doubt that TFC have quaffed long and heartily from the fulsome musical goblets of Lennon and McCartney, Neil Young, Roger McGuinn and sundry American guitar delinquents, they are close to arriving at a sound that is recognisably all their own.
Introduced by an awesome barrage of feedback and the deadpan couplet “She wears denim wherever she goes, says she’s gonna get some records by the Status Quo”, the opening song, The Concept, is a thrilling induction into TFC’s melodious grunge guitar free-for-all. Operating in a parallel universe to the blips, bleeps and chemically assisted nirvana of the still raving indie dance scene, TFC have remodelled the whiplash guitar of Jesus And Mary Chain, grafted on their own softly shimmering vocal harmonies and replaced a black-hearted cynicism with a life-affirming brio and some sorely needed humour.
Cocking a snook at those who dissect slivers of plastic in search of coded entreaties to teenage devil worship, Satan is a murderous 80-second wind-up of orchestrated chaos and guitar savagery, with enough garbled vocals to keep the moral majority on overtime until Christmas. Cold compresses are applied to fevered brows on songs like December, Guiding Star and Sidewinder, as TFC slip into an altogether mellower groove with Norman Blake‘s understated lightweight vocals wafting along on clouds of multi-tracked harmonies and eardrum-fondling melodies.
Metal Baby drags a turbo-charged take on glam rock kicking and screaming into the 1990s, Alcoholiday is a loping singalong shuffle and What You Do To Me descends upon a classically Beatlesque melody with the untrammelled gusto of a runaway train on a collision course with an ammunition dump. The obligatory instrumental Is This Music? rounds things off with a celebratory flourish – Motown drumbeats, Rolf Harris-style wibble wobble bass lines and canoodling cross-cutting lead guitars soaring off on the back of a head-spinningly timeless melodic hook.
The sound of pop eating itself it may very well be, but with an aftertaste as good as this, it would be churlish to quibble about the choice of ingredients.
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – The Concept
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – I Don’t Know
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Guiding Star
JC adds : A slightly shorter review than most in this series, it reflects the fact that Teenage Fanclub were something of an unknown quantity when Bandwagoneque hit the shops – I distinctly remember that Tower Records in Glasgow offered a return with no qualms or questions if you bought the CD and didn’t like what you were hearing. It’s a very positive and accurate review, although it is interesting to note that while the band had three main vocalists, Norman Blake was the only one singled out for mention; with hindsight (again!!) the failure to highlight Gerry Love is a serious oversight, especially given that he was the composer of the three songs mentioned in the lead-in to the praise given to Norman.
Every summer, Glasgow plays hosts to a series of outdoor gigs at a fabulous amphitheatre style venue in one of our many parks.
Summer Nights at The Bandstand is now in its sixth year, and as you’ll see from the poster above, it has again attracted an eclectic mix of performers. The tickets for each show aren’t cheap, coming in at around £50 each, but then again, it is something of a unique location with a limited capacity of 2,500. I’ve limited myself to going along to one event each year (with one exception as someone game me a freebie in 2016) , previously catching Teenage Fanclub (2014), Roddy Frame (2015), Super Furry Animals (2016), Lloyd Cole (2016) and Pixies (2017). None of the acts in 2018 were of much appeal but it was quite the opposite in 2019 and I really had a dilemma, deciding in the end to go, tonight as it happens, to see The National, mainly on the basis that this was a very small venue for an act of their stature and that Mrs Villain, having not come to any of the previous gigs at the venue, was most likely to come along.
A lot of folk I know went along to see Teenage Fanclub this year. I gave it a miss on the basis that I’m not quite sure if the band will ever be the same now that Gerry Love has taken his leave given that so many of their best songs were written and sung by him, added to the fact that they have always been a band whose charm lies in the harmonies they generate on stage. There was also the fact that just a few months ago, at one of the last gigs in Glasgow with Gerry aboard in late 2018, (for which they also had a guest appearance from original drummer Brendan O’Hare), I went home thinking I hadn’t ever seen the band in such fine form, and maybe it was best to let things lie with those particular memories.
The solution to being Love-less has been to take move Dave McGowan, a long-standing live band member, away from keyboards and onto bass guitar while adding the charming and talented Euros Childs (of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci fame) to play keyboards and add sing harmonies. The reviews of the shows the new-look band played in Australia, New Zealand , the USA and across Europe earlier this year were fairly positive, with not too much being made of Gerry’s absence, although some fans did lament that his songs weren’t featuring.
The Glasgow show was always going to be something of a litmus test. It’s interesting that, unlike all other home shows they have over the years, there were no immediate reviews the day after in any of the Scottish newspapers – either the critics weren’t given tickets or they didn’t want to go on record with anything negative about a band that is, to all intent and purposes, a national treasure.
The comments on the TFC Facebook page the morning after the gig were incredibly complimentary, as you’d expect. There was, however, one interesting observation:-
“I’m just guessing here, but I don’t think their decision not to play Gerry’s songs since he’s left has anything to do with ill feelings, but it’s a practical consideration, since he’s not there to sing them and they can afford to choose from a wealth of songs from their catalogue. If I’m right, it’s still a shame, since so many of Gerry’s songs are so important in their canon and the prospect of them never playing them again is frankly quite grim…..”
Someone else said they were good, but different and expressed “…a fear they’re on the cusp of Norman Blake and his band.”
On balance, I’m fairly relaxed about having not gone along as I would likely having come away thinking I’d seen a good but not great show. It really is rather sad to think that, as things stand, these standout songs will never be played live again:-
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Guiding Star
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Sparky’s Dream
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Ain’t That Enough
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – I Need Direction
JC writes………I had intended to post something about the sorts of tunes that I might play at the next Simply Thrilled evening until I came across a wonderful piece of writing from Hugh Haggerty, one of the real driving forces behind the club. I told him that I intended to steal it and repost it….it’s his reflections on Teenage Fanclub, written in appreciation of them perform three entirely different sets on consecutive nights in Glasgow, drawing solely on the material from the years they were on Creation Records.
“Every day I look in a different face”
Don’t we all? Looking in the mirror it reflects back all the new creases that my face seems to have picked up overnight, and I see the aggressive campaign that the grey in my hair is waging against the brown. (Spoiler: The grey hair is winning) I have to sigh and accept that I’m getting older, a fact that’s made all the more solid with the thought that popped into my head about the three nights of sheer guitar pop bliss I’m about to attend at the legendary Barras.
My first Teenage Fanclub gig at the Barrowlands was nearly thirty years ago.
Ten seems cheeky, twenty seems statesman like but thirty? That’s a lifetime. Could I ever have imagined as an awkward, skinny eighteen year old who babbled a lot of gibberish that I’d be right back at the same place but this time an awkward, fat forty-five year old babbling exactly the same gibberish but with the seasoned tone of man with aggressive grey hair.
Why have I come back? Well that’s obvious, Teenage Fanclub have been a hugely rewarding band to grow up with. The melodies have never left them, from those shambolic riffs and scattershot drums of ‘A Catholic Education’ to the pastoral multi-layered joy that is ‘Here’ and the constant beauty of all those glorious albums in-between, it’s a soundtrack for the musically eloquent who still have a sense of humour and dress well.
Since that freezing cold night in December 1991 (Why did Gerry want to assassinate December anyway, does he hate Christmas?) I’ve had the fortune to have met people that would become impossibly precious to me and I see some under the star strewn turquoise and cream ceiling each night. I shall spare their blushes and not name them but it doesn’t go without saying that each night of the band’s residency is made all the more special because of them.
Needless to say the gigs are an utter delight with so many highlights and here’s some of mine.
Brendan’s Back! I have a feeling of sorrow for those poor people who climbed aboard after Mr. O’Hare left the band, his Keith Moonesque tub-battery notwithstanding the high jinks and banter was solid gold entertainment. Never a dull moment with Brendan and it was no different for these gigs. My favourite moment being him walking onstage shrouded in a red cape only to drop it to shake the maracas for the intro to Sparky’s Dream. With perfect timing both musically and comedically.
‘Thirteen’ The album they were lambasted for getting it’s day in the sun. So much of this album has aged beautifully. Of course ‘Radio’ and ‘Norman 3’ still light the room up but ‘Fear of Flying’ (Given even more depth due to recent events), ‘Escher’, ‘Ret Liv Dead’ and the dreamy ‘Gene Clark’ all sounded magnificent. Extra credit for the always superb ‘Tears Are Cool’ and the utter joy of hearing ‘Get Funky’ live.
Norman and Raymond’s harmonies on ‘Say No’. A song that was merely ok in the past seems to come completely to life when live and the two voices lift it to a higher plain.
Gerry. Nuff said really, the man was born cool.
Paul Quinn’s drum THUNDER! I always thought Quinny’s (As the crowd were chanting) drums were really efficient and tight but watching the man up close I realise when he hits a drum they feel it in Australia! The recordings don’t do the man justice, he really batters those tubs and his fills are raptor-like. Hats off to the drummer man.
Norman being the most charming bastard ever made. Effervescent and smiling throughout, he gives the impression of a man who loves his job. And as such you can’t help feeling warm and fuzzy too.
Raymond being a guitar hero. Again having the fortune to watch the man at work up close pulls into focus how much he’s doing at any one time. From scuzzy guitar freak-outs to squealing solos the man does it without breaking a sweat. A total professional. (The solo during ‘I Need Direction’ is like a robust hug from a dear friend you’ve not seen in years)
Francis’ backing vocals. Tucked away at the back sat behind a keyboard with no spotlight Francis joins his voice with the three songwriters at the front and it’s alchemy, never showy but crystal clear harmonising. Wonderful and ridiculously multi-talented. Playing everything from drums to guitar, keyboards and even setting up the metronome for ‘If I Never See You Again’ He even stopped it at the right time, what a guy.
Speaking of multi-talented what about Dave McGowan? With effortless grace he plays bloody everything whilst showing Brendan which button to press to make the whooshing noise on ‘Take The Long Way round’
The B-sides set. Every one of them belters! Two favourite moments were hearing ‘Long Hair’ which catapulted me back to being the aforementioned awkward teen but the stand out moment must be ‘Broken’ in which a hushed choir of perfectly formed voices sang ‘Your heart has been broken again, it’s broken’ over and over, even after the song finished. Shimmering and frankly stunning, it was a moment of beauty that could only come from the combination of Teenage Fanclub, their fans and Glasgow’s most beloved venue.
The sheer joy that this band give is one of the reasons we do Simply Thrilled. I walked away from the gigs right beside my brother in arms Robert and we were both deeply affected by the music and the way it was embraced. We want to capture a little of that magic, those voices, and many more, we want to light up people’s faces when their favourite Scottish song suddenly bursts from the speakers. We love this music, so should you.
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – December
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Tears Are Cool
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Say No
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Start Again
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – I Need Direction
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Long Hair
There’s enough been praise heaped on Teenage Fanclub over the years within this little corner of the internet that I don’t feel I can add anything fresh or new.
The debut single was on Paperhouse Records back in 1990. There were just 1500 copies pressed on 7” vinyl although it, and its b-sides, would become more readily available the following year when it was issued as a CD single. It didn’t make the mainstream charts nor hit #1 in the indie charts in a year dominated by a handful of bands – Happy Mondays, Stone Roses and The Charlatans held down the top spot for a combined 32 weeks – but it did set down an incredible marker for a career that is still going strong all these years later.
Worth mentioning that you can expect to pay £90-£100 for a mint copy of the vinyl if you so desire. For that price you could also pick up a 5 x vinyl LP box set of 50 Song Memoir by Magnetic Fields. You can determine what is the better value.
Is it the best ever TFC single? That all depends on what day of the week and time of day it is. It can be….but so too can Sparky’s Dream, God Knows It’s True, Ain’t That Enough, Star Sign and I Don’t Want Control Of You.
I’m very proud of the high level of social interaction generated by this little corner of the internet. The decade and a bit since TVV got off the ground has generated tens of thousands of comments and e-mails along with numerous guest contributions. It still humbles me that so many people are willing to contribute to the blog, especially when they do so in response to me asking for something specific.
Today is one of those really special occasions when I’m presented with something that goes well beyond my wildest dreams. It stems from a posting on Facebook by Andrea Peviani, the author of the Conventional Records blog, in which he expressed his joy at seeing one of his favourite bands play a live gig some 170 km from his home town of Lodi, Italy. I asked him if he wanted to offer up a review of the gig and to my delight he said ‘yes’.
What follows is one of the most enjoyable postings I’ve ever had the honour of sharing with you. I’ll open with the words in Andrea’s e-mail before going straight into his memories of the occasion.
I know one month is a long time… but here I am with my contribution about Teenage Fanclub’s only Italian date!
I hope it’s not too senseless to publish a review about this particular European concert while they’ve already been to Japan, Australia and now they’ve begun the U.S. leg of their tour…
Anyway I had a story to tell, and despite my laziness (and some other minor issues with my home wi-fi…) I’ve completed it.
I thought that some pictures might enhance the visual understanding of what I was talking about. I hope they’re not too many!
Sorry as usual about my poor English… Please edit wherever you find mistakes or words that can be replaced with better expressions.
Thank you about your patience and kindness: when you wrote that comment on Facebook I felt honoured and stimulated… It’s been hard, but now I’m glad you asked!
Best wishes for a great springtime with lots of good records and concerts.
A Teenage Fanclub concert in Italy is a precious thing. Last time they came over here was in 2005 and I think there weren’t many other occasions in the years before. For me it was the first time: I remember them since their beginnings and became a fan with Bandwagonesque. Then in the next 10 years I always listened to their records but not with the same passion, and in the early 00s I almost ignored them. It was only in these last 10 years that I completed my collection of their albums, buying all of them whenever I found them used and cheap. Maybe not all of them are masterpieces; anyway, you’re never disappointed. Always the same simple elements, but nobody can put them together with the same freshness and craftsmanship.
Bologna is one of the most rock’n’roll places in Italy (Skank Bloc Bologna anyone?), about 200 Km. south of Milan, so it’s the ideal place to gather people coming from every region of our long and narrow peninsula. But it was the unusual venue that deserves some explanation to non-Italian readers. Bologna’s Teatro Antoniano is the mythical place of the “Zecchino d’Oro”. Let me seek help from Wikipedia:
Zecchino d’Oro (Italian pronunciation: [dzekˈkiːno ˈdɔːro; tsek-]; meaning “Golden Sequin”) is an international children’s song festival that has taken place every year since 1959. It is broadcast by Rai 1. It was started by Cino Tortorella, and the first two festivals were held in Milan. In 1961, the festival was taken up by the Antoniano Institute and moved to Bologna. In 2009, Cino Tortorella left Zecchino d’Oro. In 1963, Mariele Ventre, a conductor and director of young performers, created the Piccolo Coro dell’Antoniano Children’s Choir (called Piccolo Coro “Mariele Ventre” dell’Antoniano after her death in 1995, and directed by Sabrina Simoni). From 1976 the festival took on an international perspective – each year seven Italian songs and seven foreign songs are sung by children and voted for by a children’s jury. The winning song is rewarded with the Zecchino d’Oro award.
The golden age of the Zecchino d’Oro was in the 60s and the 70s; this means that for people born in those decades there’s a canon of dozens of children songs whose verses we all can sing from start to end. Shared memories that merge with our love for the songs of Teenage Fanclub. A blurred line between pre-teenage and post-teenage music fandom.
Actually the venue was not in the same part of the building where they broadcast the TV Festival every year… the Antoniano Theater is a quite normal theater, so it was a seated situation, not quite right for an indie gig. I was in the second row. Gorgeous view, but unfortunately a poor sound, nobody could really understand why…
Before Teenage Fanclub, we were entertained by a short exhibition by one George Borowski. A heart warming revelation. He may be “just one of their roadies”, but he added some more intimate magic to the evening. A very talented guitar player, he played some fine acoustic songs and connected with the audience with some humble and funny talks about his love for music, supporting his daughter and her band Mora. George said something about the preciousness and value of the time we were investing in that particular evening, going there and listening to this music. Maybe a little too sentimental… but then this small band from Scotland get on stage, play Start Again and the heart fills with gratitude. We’re here. They’re here. Here.
Every song is kinda classic, those from the 90s AND the ones from last year’s album. Unfortunately only two songs from Bandwagonesque, but I’ve seen on Setlists.com that it’s been the same in the whole tour… The core of the concert are their recent tunes and cuts from Grand Prix and Songs from Northern Britain. The presence of Teenage Fanclub on stage is their main strength and weakness. They are far beyond understatement. Sometimes it’s awkward to look at them while they’re fiddling with guitars between songs. Then they start a new song, and everything flows effortlessly, their aged nerds image becomes impossibly cool and you’re reflecting your best self in the perfect songs of this perfect band.
Raymond McGinley was suffering from a bad cold: the amp behind him was covered with rows of paper towels and during the concert he went on exposing the used ones… We all stay seated but you can feel the climax coming: I’m In Love,Star Sign… then it’s The Concept and the whole theater rushes towards the stage. Norman Blake has a wide smile on his face and Gerard Love and Raymond also respond to the deep affection of their crowd. Singing along to that chorus and that guitar coda was something I never want to end; indeed was one of those moments I will keep forever in a corner of your soul.
The first two encores cool down a bit of the atmosphere: of course it was great that they played that Bevis Frond song, but I can’t help thinking what they could have done to me if they played What You Do To Me. We went into orbit again with Sparky’s Dream, and of course Everything Flows is the perfect ending, another of those transcendental live moments.
After the concert you can feel the sense of harmony and happiness spread all around. A true miracle then happens before my eyes…..
Marco Sanchioni (a friend and a cult Italian indie musician, since late 80s with his band A Number Two, then later as a solo artist) is handed a set list from the stage – and given how few times Teenage Fanclub play in Italy you can realise how significant it is for him to have this piece of paper; then he looks at the disappointed girl standing beside him and he decides to give the set list to her. I had to immortalize the moment (and the setlist), as an evidence of the “Spirit of Mariele” (the unforgettable director of the Piccolo Coro dell’Antoniano) floating in the air.
Marco Sanchioni and The Gift of the Holy Setlist
The day after the show, Marco was posting on Facebook using the the hashtag I had come up with – #marielesantasubito(Sanctify Mariele now); he also told a long tale of how there had been a second miracle that had blessed him. He had somehow lost his smartphone under the seats at the theatre – all his new songs for his next record were on the smartphone and he was worried; but a man from the theatre had been in contact to say it had been found it, and now Marco was heading back to Bologna to bring it home; it was as if, again, the Spirit of Mariele was protecting everything in the surroundings…
(Saint?) Mariele Ventre
That was the next day. But let us return to the events after Teenage Fanclub had ended the set.
Outside the Antoniano everybody is joyful and cheerful.. I meet my almost namesake Andrea Pavan, an absolutely amazing friend whose enthusiasm is always contagious. I join him and a few other friends with the mission of meeting Norman and the others.
The night is not too cold, the company is wonderful… but time moves on and nobody is coming out of the theater. Pavan is scrolling on his iPad literally THOUSANDS of pictures he took over the years: name ANY cult hero from the British and American indie scenes of the last 30 years, he’s got a photograph with them. He’s looking to show us a specific one he took with Norman some years before at a summer festival, while he was involved in some other parallel project.
The roadies start loading the gear on the tour bus. We give a big cheer to George Borowski (for us now The Big Borowski) and he’s even sweeter on the pavement than on stage. He says we can rest assured that Norman and the others will board on this bus… he just doesn’t know when.
He thanks us for the time we spent coming to the show and for waiting to meet the guys.
(In the following weeks we connect with George on Facebook and the young but incredibly knowledgeable Monica Mazzoli has an on-line chat with him about the first song he had played in his acoustic set. She knew it had been an obscure gem she liked from a compilation of the post-punk era, “Perfect Unpop: Peel Show Hits & Long Lost Lo-Fi Favourites Vol. 1 1976-1980”. George then revealed it was a tune he had written in 1978!)
Raymond is the first to come out, but he looks quite tired and ill,; he gives us a half sleepy smile, mutters ‘Hi’ and goes onto on the bus. Gerard is even more awkward, slipping in without a word. It’s embarrassingly late, but Norman hasn’t yet come out… but we are beyond the point of no return, nobody can quit now.
Chiara Busico and Delia Burza have sore feet, but they’ve been stalking major indie stars all over the world, so they just sit down on some doorsteps. Finally he appears, a bottle of beer in one hand and his smartphone pressed to his ear. The situation is so insane that there’s nothing strange anymore with six people staring from a small distance at a guy talking (probably) to his wife thousands of miles away in a foreign country.
When Norman comes over he’s really nice and easy. Pavan has finally found THAT picture and proudly shows it to him, and he seems to remember what Andrea is recollecting. He kindly strikes a pose for pictures with each of us and all together, then he waves goodbye (some of us will see him very soon at Barcelona’s Primavera Festival).
We are six very different people, of different ages. We are serious about our musical passions, connected by similar tastes and similar experiences. We come from various parts of Italy: Bologna, Roma, Firenze, Torino, even Lodi… But tonight we are all just teenagers rejuvenated by the place where our childhood heritage lies and by these Scottish pals that you instantly feel familiar with.
Norman & Andrea Pavan show Norman & Andrea Pavan
Norman & Me
Those raw but warm pictures are memories of this simple but unforgettable night: precious visual souvenirs that I’d like to match with some solid recordings of this band at the peak of its power. I think the moment has come for a live album in their discography (maybe any other date from this tour but this one!). I have a good title: The Name of This Band is Teenage Fanclub.
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Start Again
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Don’t Look Back
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Star Sign
The rather wonderful picture for today’s piece was taken by Mike from Manic Pop Thrills during a performance back in 2014 by BMX Bandits at a now-closed tiny pub in Glasgow called the Bowler’s Bar. It was part of an event, curated by Adam Ross of Randolph’s Leap, which itself was part of an extended music/arts festival associated with Glasgow hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Click here for gig review.
I’ve waxed lyrically before about the regal status in Scottish indie-pop that has rightly been bestowed upon Duglas T Stewart. Thought I’d throw up a few of the covers versions his band have recorded over the years, along with some of the originals (you’ll hopefully understand why I balked at the last of them).
mp3 : Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – After I Made Love To You
mp3 : BMX Bandits – After I Made Love To You
mp3 : Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – That Summer Feeling
mp3 : BMX Bandits – That Summer Feeling
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Kylie’s Got A Crush On Us
mp3 : BMX Bandits – Kylie’s Got A Crush On Us
A few months back, Teenage Fanclub surprisingly announced that the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh was to be the sole Scottish date on the short UK tour to support the impending release of Here, the band’s tenth studio LP but just their second in the last eleven years. This is a band who can instantly sell out some of the largest venues in Scotland and who, whenever appearing on an outdoor stage at a festival, will attract numbers in the many thousands no matter who is on at the same time elsewhere in the field. And yet, this 600-capacity basement venue is where we find ourselves packed into on a sticky September evening.
Now let me make it quite clear from the outset; this particular has long been a favourite location of mine. It is just the right side of intimate and offers options to stand downstairs or up above on a balcony. It’s more or less a square shape and the sight lines to the stage, other than at the very back, aren’t affected by unsightly pillars. It also, especially since a major refurbishment some six years ago after a devastating fire, has an excellent sound system.
But it is a venue that is always, without fail, incredibly stifling thanks to its basement location in an old stone church that seems to just absorb the heat. And when it sells out, there is next to nothing left in the way of breathing room. This is all fine and dandy when it is a young band attracting a young and predominantly thin audience where there will always seem to be a little bit of leeway. But the average age, and the ever-increasing average waist/dress size of a more mature audience such as would be typical at a TFC gig was always going to generate ridiculous amounts of bodyheat.
I got there in time to catch the support. I don’t like using this place to knock or criticise new and emerging bands as they collectively always have more talent than 10,000 maniacal bloggers called Jim could ever conjure up. So I’ll simply say that the four-piece band from Glasgow who opened proceedings weren’t my cup of tea but there were others were quite taken by them. The 45-minutes were endured but with the consolation that I had got there early enough to bag a great spot from which to watch the main attraction.
TFC bounded on at the stupidly early time of 8.30pm as there was a curfew of 10pm – I’m told this might have to do with the venue often doubling up a dance club in the late evenings/early mornings rather than the crazy licensing laws in the capital on the 49 weeks of the year that the Festival and Fringe aren’t hanging around.
TFC bounded on (yes, they really did with all sorts of energy, enthusiasm and smiles) and went straight into Start Again to huge acclaim at the end of which Norman thanked everyone for coming along and said that the show was going to feature songs from every album except one (which in the end turned out to be The King). In keeping with the democratic nature of the live shows, they then went into Don’t Look Back followed by About You, thus allowing Gerry and Raymond to take lead vocals and in doing so ensured the show hit a high spot from the outset.
And over the next 90 minutes, it rarely deviated from that level with no alarms and no surprises.
There’s just no way to find fault with a set that relied most heavily on Grand Prix and Songs From Northern Britain, their two biggest selling and most enduring works in which they really nailed the trick of killer choruses via warm harmonies and great melodies. The four new songs were aired at really appropriate times being wrapped around an achingly beautiful Ain’t That Enough mid-set; they closed with Sparky’s Dream and The Concept , and yup, it was the full 8 minute version of the latter that could have gone on for twice as long and still not bored anyone.
And then they came back for a three-song encore : I Need Direction, Can’t Feel My Soul and Everything Flows.
No wonder all 600 of us exited back up the narrow staircase and out into what was now a drizzly yet still hot evening wearing the widest of grins and using one-word descriptions like amazing, stunning, incredible, awesome, wonderful, astonishing, extraordinary, stupendous, phenomenal and outstanding.
Or perhaps it was best articulated by a complete stranger who came up to me as I waited on the friends who were generously giving me a run home and so letting me avoid the misery of engineering works on the railway line back to Glasgow – ‘that was fuckin’ magic big man – no wonder we’re all smiling like we’re on ecstasy!’
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Sparky’s Dream
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – I Need Direction
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Ain’t That Enough
Just two guys Mucking Around 2016 – Part 2 : An ICA written Live
Yet again we find ourselves sat outside SWC’s house waiting for track ten to finish. Track Ten is ‘Bulletproof’ by La Roux, one of the tracks off of SWC’s safelist, although I have no idea why, it’s a perfectly good record. The music on the way home had been pretty good, some Cornershop, followed by Drugstore, Idlewild, Julian Cope and FKA Twigs. SWC has been slightly grumpy since he had Elbow chosen for him by his own iPod. Its not that he minds Elbow, its just that he finds them slightly uninspiring. Track 11 starts, its Teenage Fanclub.
Immediately SWC looks at me and says “I’ll give you ten quid, if you swap.” I give it some serious consideration, but then I say “No, thanks” and smile. He swears at me and then suddenly out of nowhere he says “I suppose it’s for the best, because you get tell the tale of when you sang this song to that girl you fancied.” This song, track 11, is ‘Tears Are Cool’ from the ‘Thirteen’ album and I once did indeed sing it to a girl I fancied. I’d forgotten I’d told him that. “You told me on the trip to Crewe, it came on the iPod. We almost swerved into the path of that Fiesta because we were laughing so much” he says picking up on my blank look. “I may not include this song”I say and with that we get out of the car.
I spend the next day listening to Teenage Fanclub, and have nearly decided on my ICA, when I bump into SWC at the local Spar Shop. We have a chat and he tells me that he had written the Elbow ICA, but had done it live, letting the iPod pick all the tracks for him – apart from the first one, which was already decided as it was the 11th track. He then says “You should do the Teenage Fanclub one the same way”. I reluctantly agree – largely because I’d left the window open in the car and it has started to absolutely roar it down. When I get back in I realise that of course, this means that I have to start my ICA with ‘Tears Are Cool’ and that means telling this story, or it means SWC telling it for me. Sigh…
Tears Are Cool – Taken from Thirteen
So, there’s this girl, we’ll call her Aerosmith Girl, actually let’s call her Sally, and she was lovely. I had a massive thing for her in the early to mid nineties. She drunk in my local pub – where I lived at the time. I ignored the fact that she loved Aerosmith because she was so lovely.
Anyway, one night in the pub, I saw her crying, sitting there on her own, crying. I went over and spoke to her, turns out her cat had died (to be honest, she should have just stayed in – the attention seeker) anyway, after about five minutes, I said “its ok Tears Are Cool” – taking it from the song that Teenage Fanclub had released on their most recent album.
On Saturday night it was Open Mic night, when a few people turned up with acoustic guitars, played for fifteen minutes and then sodded off to claim two free pints. That night, for the time ever, I got up to play – I mumbled my way through an acoustic version of a Levellers song and then something in my head went “This ones for Sally” and I looked straight at her and did a little fist pump. I know. Sorry.
Then I sang ‘Tears Are Cool’. When I finished she wasn’t even sitting where she was when I started it. Twenty minutes later I saw her outside eating chips with a bloke called Gavin. Chips. Gavin. I’d sang my heart out in there and she fucked off and bought some chips. I never sang in that pub again. Come to think of it I don’t think I’ve ever sung live again.
Anyway – lets go on with the ICA, the next nine songs picked by the ipod will make up the ICA – I have 68 Teenage Fanclub songs, so here goes….
God Knows Its True – Peel Session 12”
What a place to start! The Peel Session version of this is exquisite, full on proper guitar onslaught. There is an argument that this is their finest moment, certainly the Peel Session version is I think heavier than the 12” version. It wonderful
Radio – From Thirteen
Another single, we are doing well here. Thirteen was not the breakthrough that the response to ‘Bandwagonesque’ had suggested but its every bit its equal and in ‘Radio’ was a song as clean cut and ready for the erm, radio, as they ever record. Its simply wonderful.
Starsign – From 12” single
Another single! I’m not making this up folks, my iPod has a habit of doing this. Some of you will remember wives week on WYCRA when the first three songs where by three of my favourite bands – anyway, ‘Starsign’ is again, wonderful, even if it does sound more like Swervedriver than the band would ever admit.
Everything Flows – From ‘A Catholic Education’
Wow. What an A Side – if you ignore the nonsense around “Tears Are Cool” then tracks two to five are as about as much fun as you can have without taking your clothes and finding a pot of fromage frais in the fridge. At the same time. Side Two will be a let down folks. Face it.
Don’t Look Back – From ‘Grand Prix’
‘Grand Prix’ is my favourite Teenage Fanclub album – and sorry I refuse to call them ‘The Fannies’ – just because. The musical template is pretty similar to the rest of their stuff, but its this album that is lyrically wonderful – especially the ones that Gerard Love wrote for some reason. ‘Don’t Look Back’ is one of those tracks and as it happens its one of my favourite tracks. I love the line ‘I’d steal a car/to drive you home’ its wonderfully soppy.
Start Again – From ‘Songs from Northern Britain’
This was one of the standout tracks from ‘Songs From Northern Britain’. This was a song I remember owning of 12” – long since vanished from the Badger household I’m afraid. It had a tremendous B Side if I remember (perhaps with Jad Fair?) but the single is excellent but I think we all know that. It’s a musical road trip full of jangley guitars and Beach Boys style harmonies. I always found the line ‘I don’t know if you can hear me’ as sung in this somewhat ironic and the public inevitably ignored it.
Hang On – From ‘Thirteen’
A strange thing happened in 1993, Teenage Fanclub were on the cusp of superstardom, they were loved by the press and their fanbase was growing. So for some reason they decided to embrace grunge but were in all honesty to brilliant to do it. They couldn’t do it. ‘Hang On’ starts a bit like something by an American Grunge band – its sounds a bit like Pavement as it happens – before it slides into white noise and strings. Its ace but feels uncomfortable getting there.
About You – From ‘Grand Prix’
Has there ever been a band so democratic in its songwritng duties as Teenage Fanclub? This one was written by Raymond McGinley and it’s a catchy as a cold. Its another one of my favourite tracks. ‘About You’ is sung by all three of the bands songwriters and seriously you’ll be singing it for weeks after playing it. The fact that this was overlooked as a single for (the not quite as good) ‘Mellow Doubt’ staggered me then and still staggers me now.
Sparkys Dream – From ‘Grand Prix’
Ok I’ll keep this one short – this is one of the best pop rock songs ever written. Its another Gerard Love one and that bluesy slide guitar intro is divine and nearly every band I can think would kill for it. One I definitely would have included anyway. Decent end to a decent album that.
Last week saw much of the UK bask in warm, glorious sunshine and record temperatures. Here in Glasgow it wasn’t quite like that although it seemed pleasant enough and the dry spell was very welcome after what had been a largely damp, dreich and often cold May and June.
The thing is, I didn’t notice it all that much as the good weather coincided with a great deal of sadness in as much as I was at two funerals in the space of 48 hours. The first of them was for a talented young man in his early 20s who was killed in a road accident and the second was for a wonderful lady who wasn’t that far off her 100th birthday but whose latter years were ruined by the onset of various illnesses including dementia.
All the while, the world was coming to terms with the latest of what are increasingly scary terrorist attacks in Tunisia just as we are getting our heads around the horror of the attack on a black church by an extremist in South Carolina in the USA.
I don’t know how the rest of you cope with trauma and adversity but you won’t be surprised to learn that I try to do so through music. And this past few days instead of relying on the shuffle feature of the iPod as I normally do when I’m on my way to work I’ve found myself searching out songs that make me smile and which can form a perfect soundtrack to a normal summer. Here’s four that have stood out:-
mp3 : The Sundays – Summertime
Harriet Wheeler and the boys have made more important and indeed essential indietracks but this single from 1997 is a real standout for me partly as it is a perfect love song but mainly because it is so full of warmth and vitality that it is impossible not to smile and sigh as you listen.
mp3 : The Magic Numbers – Forever Lost
A hit single from the summer of 2005. It doesn’t seem as if was as long as ten years ago. A bittersweet break-up song clothed in a ridiculously upbeat and zestful tune. The Magic Numbers never bettered this, their debut single.
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Sparky’s Dream
No way is this 20 years old. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyy.
I’ve said before that I can be a bit ambivalent about Teenage Fanclub but the thing is, when they’re good, they tend to be exceptionally good. It’s impossible to listen to this and not do a wee imaginary dance in your head as you stare at your fellow commuters.
mp3 : Cats On Fire – I Am The White-Mantled King
I don’t know all that much about pop music and Finland. But I do know that Cats On Fire have been doing tremendous things for well over a decade now and ought to be better known and more appreciated than they are. If they are new to you, then you could do worse than head over to somewhere like youtube and watch some of their wonderful promo videos. This is the opening track to the 2007 LP The Province Complains, a record that every fan of intelligently crafted indie pop should own.
Coming up tomorrow…..something else that cheered me up in the middle of last week.
This bit of music sounds as if the makers should come from deep in the heart of Texas, but in fact The Rockingbirds were a London-based outfit formed in 1990.
mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Gradually Learning
They were first signed to Heavenly Records but no mainstream success came from any of their four singles/EPs or their 1992 self-titled debut LP. Some of the band left after this initial burst of activity, but a new line-up inked a deal with Cooking Vinyl and an LP was recorded with Edwyn Collins at the producers desk. But still The Rockingbirds remained too square-dance to be hip and by 1995, they called it a day.
However, there was a very brief reformation in 2008 to play a show celebrating the 18th birthday of their first label and then some more gigs in 2009 to support the re-release of a remastered and extended version of the debut LP.
One of the band members was Andy Hackett who has long been a sidekick of the afore-mentioned Edwyn playing on his records and being part of the various tour bands.
Here’s the other tracks on the CD single:-
mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Where I Belong
mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Love Has Gone And Made A Mess Of Me
mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Gradually Learning (full version)
While here’s another of those early singles on Heavenly – a tribute to a very talented singer-songwriter from Boston who featured just yesterday on T(n)VV:-
mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Jonathan Jonathan
mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Time Drives The Truck
mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Older Guys
The last of these tracks is a cover version of a song by The Flying Burrito Brothers and was co-written by Gram Parsons. It was also covered, in 1993, by Teenage Fanclub and featured as one of the b-sides to Norman 3:-
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Older Guys
Here’s an update on The Rockingbirds as provided by the man who is sitting on the horse on the sleeve of Gradually Learning:-
“Hi, Andy from The Rockingbirds here, just to add we’re still going strong and are currently finishing our 4th album provisionally titled ‘More Rockingbirds’ as we speak. We also released an album called ‘The Return of the Rockingbirds’ a couple of years ago, which like all of our albums is still available.”
I’m off to track down a copy….and hopefully the band will take to the road later on in the year to promote the upcoming 4th album.
I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that Teenage Fanclub are a bit hit and miss with me but this particular 45 is one I’ve adored for nigh on 25 years now and I still think it is one of their all time greats:-
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – God Knows It’s True
I reckon this was the first time I ever heard the band and again it was thanks to it appearing on a compilation tape put together by Jacques the Kipper. It’s quite incredible to realise this single came out as far back as November 1990. It was the last thing they released on the Paperhouse label before the switch to Creation Records and the deserved commercial success from Bandwagonesque onwards.
I was delighted a few years ago to pick up a mint condition copy of the 12″ for just £3 and to discover that the other tracks consist of a cracking b-side that could easily have been released as a single and a couple of instrumentals which demonstrate the boys liked to listen to bit of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr just as much as the west coast Americana that they claimed were the biggest influences:-
I really don’t think that I need to provide any background to the 107th artist featured in this long running series.
This is the April 1991 CD release of a belter of a tune originally issued in a limted edition of 1500 x 7″ singles…….and if you’re lucky enough to own the vinyl then you could expect to get up to £100 if you put it on the market.