NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL JAZF ’93 (Part 2)

Yesterday’s introduction should have given you all the background you need to know.  I’ll just cut straight to the chase.

B1: That Summer Feelin’ – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers

You don’t have to be American to get all the references in this lovely tribute to the warmest of our four seasons, albeit it’s only in the USA that you’ll end up doing many of things the lyrics refer to.    There’s a six minute-plus version that can be found on the 1992 solo album I, Jonathan, but it was the original take, as released on the 1983 band album Jonathan Sings! that JAZF included on one of his tapes.  Looking things up, the 83 album was given a CD reissue in 1993 so I’m guessing that was how it was sourced.

B2: Invisible Man – The Breeders

A second appearance for Kim & co on the tape.  I’m sure I included this as a bit of an in-joke as JAZF hadn’t actually meant to include it on the initial tape it had first appeared, but he’d got so wrapped up in listening to Cannonball that he forgot to press either of the pause or stop buttons and it ran into the next song.  A very happy accident as far as I’m concerned.

B3: Like A Hurricane – Neil Young

I’d avoided the old hippy until now.  Neil Young was associated with the jukebox that was in the corner of the games room in the student union, over which stood permanently the long-haired, combat-jacket wearing crowd who seemed to have it rigged up to churn out early 70s rock classics as if we were stuck on a loop of Bob Harris-fronted editions of The Old Grey Whistle Test.  JAZF told me that a new live album by Neil Young, recorded as part of an MTV Unplugged show, was one of the best albums of 1993 and he kept putting a track from it on each monthly tape.  Turned out, he was right.  He usually is.

B4: Going Out With God – Kinky Machine

London-based indie band of the early 90s, this was the debut single from 1992, released on an indie label, and as with so many throughout history, they signed soon after to a major, MCA; but two albums and a handful of singles in 93/94 sold in minuscule numbers.  I had a soft spot for this track back in the day but it hasn’t aged well and sounds more than a tad indie-by-numbers.

B5: Bizarre Love Triangle – Devine and Statton

In 1990, the singer with Young Marble Giants had teamed up with the guitarist from Ludus, an art-rock band of the late 70s from Manchester.  Their material was released on the Belgian-based Les Disques Du Crépuscule, and this beautifully understated cover version ‎of the New Order song had been issued as a single in 1989. No idea why it took JAZF four years to bring it to my attention….

B6: Lucky Like St Sebastian – Momus

I mentioned Momus a few weeks back on the Scottish songs rundown. This is the opening track on his 1986 album Circus Maximus, a work that focusses on biblical themes and the folklore of Ancient Rome. This would have been included on a tape after a pub conversation in which I would have admitted to knowing very little about Momus. JAZF has often been ahead of the curve, musically speaking.

B7: Hear No Bullshit (On Fire Mix)/Enough Is Enough – Chumawamba/Credit To The Nation

My recollection of this is that JAZF put all three tracks from Enough Is Enough, the June 1993 single recorded by Chumawamba/Credit To The Nation on a tape on the very evening he bought the single and he handed it to me the next morning. I then went out and bought my own copy the next again day. The anti-fascist message of the songs resonated enough that I ended up putting two of them on the end of year compilation.

B8: How – The Cranberries

Everyone in the UK would go nuts for The Cranberries in 1994 on the back of the re-release of the singles Linger and Dreams that brought them the initial chart success. JAZF was already onto them, having picked up debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? that had been released in March 1993, from which he picked out this outstanding piece of music for my entertainment and enjoyment. RIP Dolores.

B9: Fuzzy – Grant Lee Buffalo

The title track from the band’s 1993 debut album, one that slipped under the radar of most folk until Michael Stipe, in an end-of-the-year round-up said it has been his record of the year, The curve etc…..

B10: Birthday (Tommy D Mix) – Sugarcubes

Despite loving Sugarcubes, I didn’t have all that much free money that I could go out and splash out recklessly on the 1992 remix album, It’s It. Besides, I loved the original versions so much that I didn’t really care that some underground DJs had tweaked them, most likely beyond recognition. Got that wrong, didn’t I??

B11: Children of the Revolution – Baby Ford

Another one dating from 1989, its inclusion would have JAZF continuing my education from my ‘lost years’. From recollection, I put it on at the end of the tape as it fitted nicely in terms of the time available and it followed on well from Bjork & co. It’s a very good and interesting dance/electro take on the glam rock smash by T.Rex some 20+ years previous.

Hope you’ve all enjoyed this small diversion and some recollections from a by-gone era.

In the meantime, here, just like yesterday, are all the tracks as a single mix (which goes a little bit beyond 45 mins as I could only source an extended version of the final song)

mp3: Various – Now That’s What I Call JAZF ’93 (side B)

JC

NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL JAZF ’93 (Part 1)

I’ve mentioned on quite a number of occasions that my commuting journeys from Glasgow to Edinburgh between 1990 and 1995 were made bearable from constantly listening to tapes on a Sony Walkman, many of which had been specially curated by Jacques the Kipper.  I was rifling through some old things the other day, for a future feature on t’blog, when I came across a C90 tape in which I had then curated his material, taking all of the stuff he handed over in 1993 and making a ‘best of’ with the title Now That’s What I Call JAZF ’93.

The first part of the title, as you would rightly guess, came from the long-running series of various artists compilation albums which had begun in 1983. The JAZF came from the initials he used as the opening part of any reference he was creating in office correspondence – the Z is superfluous in his full name but you’ve got to admit that it looks cool.

Here’s the first of the two sides of the story. Part 2 comes tomorrow.

It’s just occurred to me that many of my slightly younger blogging colleagues will have, at this point in time, be out in fields having a lot of fun dancing etc. I was drowning out the cackle of fellow train passengers with loud guitars, for the most part.

A1: Eject (Over Zealous Mix) – Senser

A ‘politically charged UK rap rock band’ (in the words of wiki), who burst onto the scene in 1993 with two singles,, of which this was the debut. The following year would see the debut album and the group is still active nowadays.

A2: Supermodel/Superficial – The Voodoo Queens

An Asian-fronted, London-based, riot grrrl act formed by Anjali Bhatia who had recently left Mambo Taxi. The group would release five singles and one album between 1993 and 1995, and this was the debut.

A3: Nirvana – Juliana Hatfield

At the age of 25, she was already a veteran of the music scene having been part of the Blake Babies and The Lemonheads. This tribute to the grunge rockers was lifted the 1992 debut solo album, Hey Babe. The following year, with the formation of the Juliana Hatfield Three, she would gain some minor commercial success in the UK and USA. Still very active as a solo performer in 2020.

A4: Dollar Bill – Screaming Trees

Formed in a small town around 100 miles from Seattle, this rock band, fronted by Mark Lanegan, released seven albums between 1986 and 1996. This is lifted from Sweet Oblivion (1992) which was their best-selling record. It’s fair to say that the stellar rise of Nirvana helped shine a light on Screaming Trees. The frontman, post-break-up of the band, has continued to use his magnificent baritone voice to great effect, collaborating with all sorts of singers and bands, not least a 7-year partnership with Isobel Campbell, formerly of Belle & Sebastian.

A5: Cannonball – The Breeders

Kim Deal stepping out of the shadows of Pixies to great effect. The previous album, Pod (1990), was decent, but Last Splash, from which this was the lead single, was an excellent listen from start to finish.

A6: Everything’s Ruined – Faith No More

Keeping the loud guitars going for a bit, this had been the third successive Top 30 hit in the UK for the long-running San Francisco-formed combo, all taken from immensely successful 1992 album, Angel Dust. I think it was the only track by Faith No More that JAZF actually liked and I found out later that he’d picked it up from its inclusion on a free CD given away with a magazine.

A7: American Guitars – The Auteurs

Well, it just had to fit onto the tape at this point didn’t it?

A8: Highway 61 Revisited – PJ Harvey

In which our Pol covered Bobby Z on her 1993 album, Rid Of Me.

A9: Low Self Opinion – Rollins Band

My, oh my, I’d forgotten just how shouty and angry this is in places. Henry Rollins is a god in the eyes of the hardcore punk cognoscenti and he is, to be fair, a very entertaining and engaging individual, known as much these days for spoken word material as he is for songs such as this single from 1992.

A10: Don’t Worry Babe You’re Not The Only One Awake – The Nectarine No.9

This was my introduction to this relatively new band from Edinburgh, formed and fronted by Davy Henderson whose past groups had been Fire Engines and Win. The band stayed together from 1992-2004, releasing six albums of varying quality, although all of them had at least three or four songs of quality and distinction. This has always been one of my favourites, initially released in 1992 on the album A Sea With Three Stars and later re-recorded for the 1994 album, Guitar Thieves, which was issued by the resurrected Postcard Records.

A11: Don’t Shoot My Dog – Terrorvision

At this point in time, Terrorvision weren’t sure of the market they were chasing. They weren’t pure rock enough for the purists and they weren’t pop enough for the radio stations to pick up on. All that would change in future years with a dozen hit singles between 1994 and 2001. This was from debut album, Formaldehyde, released in the summer of 93. Again, I’m sure it originated from a magazine CD to begin with.

Side B of this tape will be posted tomorrow. I promise that it’s substantially different in substance and style with barely an electric guitar to be heard (as can be evidenced from the photo of the tape and the track listings above!!).

In the meantime, here’s everything from today as a single mix

mp3: Various – Now That’s What I Call JAZF ’93 (side A)

JC

FROM THE BIG BOX OF CASSETTE TAPES : CREATION TAPE

Given away with the April 1992 edition of Select Magazine, one that came with Kurt Cobain on the cover. Otherwise, it was an issue packed with t-shirt bands such as James, Carter USM and Senseless Things.

 

Eleven songs all told, and , as normal with Select, there were a couple of pages devoted to providing some more details about each of them, with a band member or solo performer quoted in a short interview style.

The wider selling point was was that three of the tracks were ‘exclusive unreleased’, three were demos, one was a remix and the other four were edits.  It was also given an official catalogue number by the label – C-RE 128.

NB : Tape and songs were previously featured on this blog back in February 2014.

A1: Boo Radleys – Lazy Day (version)
A2: Swervedriver – Son of Mustang Ford (demo version)
A3: Teenage Fanclub – Kylie’s Got A Crush On Us (unreleased – recorded live at a soundcheck)
A4: Silverfish – Vitriola (demo version)
A5: Love Corporation – Gimme Some Love (remix)

B1: Ride – Time Of Her Time (live version)
B2: mk – Play The World (edit)
B3: The Telescopes – You Set My Soul (unreleased)
B4: Slowdive – Shine (edit)
B5: Sheer Taft – Atlantis (edit)
B6: Bill Drummond – The Manager’s Speech (edit)

Copies can be found on Discogs for £1.99 (plus P&P) mostly from European-based sellers.  It would likely all add up to not far short a fiver all told.

Regular readers will know that Bill Drummond is a hero of mine and someone I have long reckoned is a bonafide genius.

Here are the words from the magazine which accompanied The Manager’s Speech:-

It is 1986 and Bill Drummond, former manager of Echo & The Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes and Strawberry Switchblade, has just quit his post as Head of A&R at Korova. The label’s last signing is Brilliant, soon to be produced by SAW and featuring Jimmy Cauty.

Drummond signs to Creation for an album, modestly titled ‘Bill Drummond – The Man’, awash with anarchic Country & Western and infamous for the track ‘Julian Cope Is Dead’. He releases a 12-inch single, ‘King Of Joy’ and Creation want a video and B-side. He elects to make a ten-minute promotional clip of himself pushing a street-cleaner’s dustcart through a park, a gold disc stuck on the front, a guitar in the bin, “spontaneously pontificating” on the subject of pop stardom.  The opening section appears on the Select tape.

BILL DRUMMOND: “I did it cos it was cheap and we needed a B-side. It’s a sort of layman’s eye-view of the pop business. The view of some guy you meet in a pub, or a cab driver, and you make the terrible mistake of letting him know you’re in the music business and he starts giving you his theory about it – ‘Fuckin’ Duran Duran, eh?…..’ It was kind of cynical but I really felt I had a future as an artist rather than someone behind the scenes”.

A year later Drummond and Cauty release their first single as The JAMMS. Shortly after they mutate into The KLF.

I’ve tracked down said clip.

 

JC

 

THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (6)

June 1990.  My first birthday spent with Rachel.  She tried to book a last-minute trip to Italia 90 to take in Scotland v Brazil but there was just no room at the inn.  We ended up heading to Albufeira in Portugal where we watched a number of matches in various pubs that were packed with tourists from all parts of Europe – lots of great memories.

We weren’t the type to go clubbing as we felt ancient, but thinking on it now, we weren’t….it was just that the pure dance music of the era wasn’t our scene.  We were, however, enjoying some of the stuff that had a bit of an indie-bent to it, and many of the tracks that have been featured in previous editions of this feature, soundtracked that first happy summer together. As you’ll find out, June 1990 itself was a far from vintage month for new singles.

It began with EnglandNewOrder at the top of the pile.  It ended with Luciana Pavarotti battling for the #1 spot as folks rushed to buy his version of Nessun Dorma that had soundtracked the BBC coverage of the World Cup.  Football and music were now interlinked in a way that I hadn’t ever really experienced – interesting to note that the other #1 in the month of June 1990 was Sacrifice by Elton John who was one of the few pop superstars to have previously linked his fame with a love of the great game, having invested in his local and unfashionable club at Watford in the mid 70s and become its chair.

But’s that’s enough of the all-our-yesterdays stuff from me. Here’s the music.

Touched By The Hand of Cicciolina – Pop Will Eat Itself

See….I wasn’t bullshitting about the omnipresence of football and music in the month of June 1990.  PWEI had released eight singles prior to this, with only Can U Dig It ever scraping into the Top 40.  But they came to greater prominence with this magnificent celebration of Italia 90, combining a house tune, sampled football commentary and a lyric that paid homage to Italy’s best-known hardcore porn star.  The single came complete with a cheeky sticker on the sleeve that declared it the “unofficial World Cup Theme”.  Entered the charts on 3 June at #28, stayed in that position the following week and then dropped out quickly as soon as the tournament was over.

It’s still an incredible sounding piece of music.

Lazyitis – One Armed Boxer – Happy Mondays with Karl Denver

A single that had bummed on its initial release in May 1989 now re-entered the chart at #46 in June 1990, illustrating the huge interest in everything that was coming out of Madchester. Composed by a stellar and unusual cast – credits are rightly given to Lennon/McCartney, David Essex and Sly & The Family Stone as well as those who performed on the song.

Shall We Take A Trip – Northside

A third entry for Factory Records in the singles chart this week – possibly for the first and only time.  The debut single from Manchester band Northside hung about the lower end of the charts for a month or so, entering at #53 on 3June and rising to #50 the following week.  It’s a fairly impressive effort given that the single was banned by the BBC thanks to the drugs references.

I’ll mention in passing the appearance of an initial slow burner that eventually seemed to take over the nation.  Unknown American rapper MC Hammer sneaked into the charts at #66 on 3 June 1990.  Nobody was really paying too much attention – there was football to be watched.  Three weeks later, his infectiously catchy (i.e., annoying) U Can’t Touch This, propelled by a promo video dominated by a crazy dance and crazy trousers, went Top 20 where it stayed for a further 12 weeks.  There was barely a singles chart over the next year and a bit that didn’t have an MC Hammer song in the Top 75.

The chart of 10 June 1990 had plenty of new entries, but for the most part they should, mainly in the interests of good taste, also be skipped over:-

Step By Step – New Kids On The Block(#2)
Oops Up -Snap! (#13)
Nessun Dorma – Luciana Pavarotti (#22)
Whose Law (Is It Anyway) – Guru Josh (#32)
Thinking Of You – Maureen (#38)
Mona – Craig McLachlan and Check 1-2 (#44)
Move Away Jimmy Blue – Del Amitri (#54)
Love Is – Alannah Myles (#61)
Jack’s Heroes – The Pogues and The Dubliners (#64)
Ways Of Love – Claytown Troupe (#70)
Time – Kim Wilde (#73)
Chapel of Love – London Boys (#75)

Just typing out that list illustrates just how much money was spent by record labels on stuff that had no chance of ever recouping its cost. Utter madness.

There was one other new entry in the chart. Which sort of illustrated the point.

Won’t Stop Loving You – A Certain Ratio

ACR, had left Factory Records to sign with A&M in 1987. The major label obviously felt they had a success story on their hands but the Good Together album and the three singles lifted from it in 1989, had sold dismally.

They did, however, get their name into the singles chart in June 1990 with a new single, which benefitted from the fact that it had been remixed by a bloke whose band were at #1 in the charts. Yup, the friendship with Barney Sumner sort of paid off, and after entering at #69, the single climbed to the dizzy heights of #55. ACR were dropped soon afterwards by the label.

The chart of 17 June was similar to that of the previous week. The new entrants included Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bruce Dickinson, and Magnum (an indication that some sort of hard rock festival was in the offing). It also saw Bob Geldof‘s appropriately titled Great Song of Indifference enter at #43 only to fall out of the charts altogether the following week.*

 

* CORRECTION :  I hadn’t spotted that Bob Geldof’s single in fact climbed the charts in the filling weeks and went on to be a Top 20 hit.  Happy to put the record straight…in my defence, I’ll just say that I can’t recall the song at all…

 

Two songs worth mentioning. The first of which saw a third chart single (#46) in 1990 for the biggest rap act on the planet, while the second saw a song enter at #67, a full 34 years after it had been a #1 hit:-

Brothers Gonna Work It Out -Public Enemy
Paint It Black – The Rolling Stones

The Stones single had been re-issued on the back of it being the title tune to the hit TV series Tour Of Duty.

The new chart of 24 June was just as depressing in terms of the majority of new singles. Indeed, the whole thing was pretty stagnant with only the aforementioned MC Hammer being a new song inside the top 20, with the others all hovering around the previous week’s positions.

These four, however, are rare rays of light, entering respectively at #40, #48 #49, and #75

She Comes In The Fall – Inspiral Carpets
Put The Message In The Box – World Party
Dangerous Sex – Tack Head
Anyway That You Want Me – Spiritualized

This was Tack Head‘s only ever brush with the singles chart.

The cover of a Troggs song was the debut single from Jason Pierce‘s new band following the break-up of Spaceman 3.  And one of SWC’s favourite songs of all time.

I bet these facts are making a few of you shake your heads and wondering where the time has gone.

JC
(aged exactly 57 years)

 

FROM THE BIG BOX OF CASSETTE TAPES : RADIO DAZE

This one is for my good pal Jonny the Friendly Lawyer.

Today should have seen myself and Rachel boarding a plane to head over to Los Angeles to be the guests of him and his wife, Goldie.  There were all sorts of plans in place, including a Flaming Lips gig and dinner in a restaurant highly recommended by SWC.  Oh, and I would have celebrated my 57th birthday over there.

But for now, it’s all very much on hold.

A recent posting highlighted some Peel Session versions of songs by PJ Harvey, and in it I recalled that I had first heard Water courtesy of a cassette giveaway with a music magazine.

I also mentioned all the other acts that had been included on the cassette and it was that fact which prompted Jonny to say ‘sounds like a hell of a cassette’.

Radio Daze was given away with the May 1992 edition of Vox Magazine.  I was never really one for keeping old music papers or mags, so it has long been part of a landfill just outside of Glasgow. The cover looked like this:-

Given there was an ‘exclusive’ story on The Jam and a feature on The Cure, I’d likely have bought it notwithstanding the tape offered up these:-

A1: The Cure – 10:15 Saturday Night (broadcast 11 December 1978)
A2: Madness – The Prince (broadcast 27 August 1979)
A3: Happy Mondays – Mad Cyril (broadcast 27 February 1989)
A4: Babes In Toyland – Catatonic (broadcast 29 September 1990)
A5: Buzzcocks – What Do I Get? (broadcast 19 September 1977)
A6: Chicken Shack – I’d Rather Go Blind (broadcast 22 June 1969)
A7: The Undertones – Love Parade (broadcast 7 December 1982)
A8: Billy Bragg – A13 (broadcast 3 August 1983)

B1: Syd Barrett – Gigolo Aunt (broadcast 14 March 1970)
B2: The Only Ones – The Beast (broadcast 14 April 1978)
B3: The Fall – Return (broadcast 15 February 1992)
B4: PJ Harvey – Water (broadcast 3 November 1991)
B5: Inspiral Carpets – Beast Inside (broadcast 5 June 1990)
B6: The Birthday Party – Big Jesus Trash Can (broadcast 10 December 1981)
B7: The Damned – Neat Neat Neat (broadcast 10 December 1976)

Copies of the tape can be found on Discogs from as little as 99p each, although someone in the USA is asking for $30 to part with his copy.

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #253 : ‘GREEN’

An anti-ICA, of a sort, for Earth Day, sorta

A Guest Posting by Hybrid Soc Prof

Your ‘Struggling to get the boys out of bed’ Michigan Correspondent

JC writes…..

This arrived in my Inbox on 21 April. If I had been able to get my shit together at that time, it would have been posted on Wednesday 22 April. It’s still a great read, even if the late appearance takes away from some of the impact of HSP’s excellent words. Over, without further delay, to our man in Michigan.

HSP

In honor of the politically ambiguous event that is Earth Day, an anti-ICA where the anti-part is like the anti- in the anti-folk of early-80s New York… sure as heck sounded like folk, it’s just that it wasn’t done by folksters.

Basically, I searched my hard drive for the word Green. Then I tossed out all the album titles with the word, all the band names with the word, all the songs where the word was a root rather than stand-alone (all those versions of Greensleeves, POOF!)… and I still had too many. So-o-o, I reduced the list to songs that started with the word Green and got a manageable number.

I then played with different combinations, permutations, sonic themes and trajectories and ended up with these. It ends with my favorite of the bunch.

About Earth Day, my area of expertise is political ecology/critical environmental sociology. I was raised hiking, camping, canoeing, rafting, recycling, worried about extinction, population, consumption, resource inefficiency, pollution, acid rain, nuclear energy/war/winter, solid waste, litter, and – after we moved out of low income neighborhoods in smog-filled cities – with an organic garden and massive compost pile in the backyard. We were pretty active in Earth Day 1970 – I was 8.

By the time I wrote my undergraduate thesis on acid rain and freshwater fish, however, I’d studied pesticides, deforestation, desertification, the ecological devastation of war from Southeast Asia to Central America, and the anti-toxics campaigns soon to combine with struggles against environmental racism as what we now call the environmental justice movement. Of course, at that point, Reagan was dismantling the environmental state in all its legislative, administrative and bureaucratic manifestations. I’d thought environmentalism was about sublime nature – as America wrote in the song, Horse with No Name, “plants and birds and rocks and things”… I’d thought it was about ecological science and rational, expert-led, science-based policy. I’d though that no reasonable person could oppose what some European scholars later named ecological modernization.

By my second year of grad school, however, I’d read enough histories of the idea of nature, enough environmental history, enough research into the history of environmentalism to understand why elite “environmental” concerns with population, landscape preservation, resource efficiencies, environmental health and consumption were seen by some folks on the left and right as bourgeois concerns the implementation of which would hurt and disenfranchise working people, small businesses and small farms… much less the people of the global south, particularly land-poor low income women. Legitimate critiques of technocratic blindness to social justice and refusal of democratic participation in program implementation abound.

Like a lot of environmentalists, I find wilderness, mountains, plains, oceans and wildlife sublime. I marvel at and am in awe of them. Put I’m privileged to do so. Similarly, I’m physically and spiritually rejuvenated when I spend time in such places, where such beings still reside. Moreover, I think resource efficiency – extractive and in consumption – is inordinately important for all manner of reasons, including not despoiling landscapes, polluting neighborhoods and eliminating species. On top of that, who in their right mind wants to live in a polluted, litter-strewn, toxic terrain watching people of all ages die young? And who is affronted by the fact that all negative environmental consequences disproportionately effect lower income – especially lower income historically oppressed minority – populations?

But the thing is once you’ve made it to the last paragraph – and I know this is less of an insight for our European readers than it is for Romantic Americans who tend to think North and South America were pristine and Edenic, barely populated much less modified by “natural” peoples living lightly on the land – it should be clear that environmentalism is far less about Nature and Science – defined by gov’t and universities – and far more about health and justice – broadly defined.

Environmentalism, then, isn’t about pierced and tattooed, patchouli-drenched, long-haired, unshaven, bicycle-riding, vegan, recycling-obsessed, squatters younger than 28 fighting to save the planet – as most of my students, and pretty much all of their parents – think, it is and has always been about quality of life. The question is, of course, quality of life for whom and how many, and that’s not a technical question, it’s a social one… connected to the pandemic.

Thanks to all here for improving my quality of my life.

Side A
Green Jeans – The Fabulous Fleerekkers
Green Sea – Blue Stingrays
Green Onions – Booker T and the MGs
Green on Red – The Serfers
Green Fuz – Green Fuz

Side B
Green River – Creedence Clearwater Revival
The Green Manalishi – Arthur Brown
Green Machine – Hawkwind
Green Light – Sonic Youth
Green Shirt – Elvis Costello & the Attractions

HSP

45 45s @ 45: SWC STYLE (Part 38) + AN ISOLATION ICA FOR SEVEN-YEAR OLDS

A GUEST SERIES….WITH A VERY SPECIAL GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Last week my daughter received her next set of home school work. Each fortnight the children in her class get given a Project. Two weeks ago we designed a rocket out of cardboard boxes and plastics bottle tops. The time before that the children had a competition to build the strongest bridge out of Lego. The school give prizes for the ones with the most imagination and innovation. This time the Project is to write your own review of your favourite book or TV Programmes or Piece of Music. The blurb states that it needs to look like one of the reviews you will read in a magazine or a website and points will be again be given for imagination.

So, my daughter has compiled her own ICA featuring her favourite ten songs in the world (well sort of). Please bear in mind she is seven and a half and she wants to read all the comments that are left, so if you do comment please be kind. What follows are genuinely her own words (apart from the bits on italics, that was me and doesn’t appear in the school bit), she wrote this in her book and I have typed it and JC has published it (for which we are very grateful indeed). She has promised to draw him a picture to say thank you.

Oh one last thing, we will be sharing this with her school teachers and class mates so please if you decide to comment, be nice or kind. Thank You.

————-

My Ten Favourite Songs by Mini SWC

Last Christmas my daddy bought Alexa for a present to himself. Alexa is great she tells you jokes like “Whats Green and goes up and down?” A sprout in a lift. She sets alarms and tells me when my dinner is ready. She will also play music if you ask her, whatever music you want, it has all the songs in the world on it. My daddy plays lots of music and most of it is boring and a word that mummy uses to describe it that I can’t remember (the word used is ‘morose’ – swc). So he has let me have my own playlist – which I have called Rainbow Magic after the stories (Sorry, me again, Rainbow Magic are a bunch of stories by an author called Daisy Meadows which are fundamentally the same story rewritten 187 times each one with a slight tweak on the last one, a bit like the ongoing adventures of SWC and OPG you might say – swc) and I play music from it every day. It is a brilliant playlist much better than what Daddy listens to.

Side One

My favourite track in all the world is ‘Shake It Off’ by Taylor Swift. I want to be like Taylor Swift when I grow up. I want to dance around like she does and I dance like her in the lounge when I am supposed to be doing Joe Wicks PE, because Taylor Swift is better. All Joe Wicks does is talk about himself whilst jumping up and down. It is a very happy song and one that has handclaps and I always feel happy when I dance to it. Daddy also has this CD in his car (bought from Dr Barnados in Torquay for 50p shut up, it’s a great record – swc) and we listen to it on the way to school. I was really sad when Glastonbury was cancelled this year because Taylor Swift was playing last and that means she is the best popstar in the world. She is certainly better than all the boy popstars. Taylor Swift says that music is stronger than the coronavirus and that we should all stick together, boys don’t think that they just want to play football and be smelly. I give this song 185 out of 10.
(Shake It Off – Taylor Swift)

Another song I really like is in French and I don’t know who it is by. I like it because it is all about sausages which the man singing says in the first few words of it. This song is groovy and cool. Daddy says it is quite old and that the man singing it is really famous in France. I have never been to France but I would like to go because I want to go up the Eiffel Tower and eat a croissant by the river. I have been learning French and can ask for a drink of water if I need one. This is one of my mummy’s favourite songs as well. It’s also the best song to play musical statutes too.(the song is Le Responsable by Jacques Dutronc and she is right about the sausages – swc)

I like another song that is French and that I can’t remember the name of. But this one is the best song in the world for jumping about on Space Hoppers too. Space Hoppers are like big balloons that you can sit on and have races in the garden on. I have a blue Space Hopper and Mummy and Daddy have an orange one, but mine is the fastest and bounciest.
(She means Ca Plane Pour Moi by Plastic Bertranda song that was played at my wedding and did indeed involve Space Hoppers – swc)

My daddy keeps putting music on my playlist to try and catch me out but I can always tell what songs he has put on there, because they are mostly rubbish and I delete them. I just tell Alexa to delete it and she does. One that I have kept is Bird Is the Word (This one is Surfin’ Bird by the Trashmen and its another bonafide classic – swc). I really like the bit near the end of this where the singer sounds like he has a fish in his mouth and he doesn’t like it.
(Surfin’ Bird – The Trashmen)

Another one that daddy put on my playlist that I like is the song about Monsters coming over the hill. I like it a lot. I like to hide behind the sofa in the lounge and sing “Whats that hiding behind the sofa – is it a monster” and then jump out on mummy and daddy and scare them. This song is really fun and makes me think of cartoons like Scooby Doo.
(Monster – The Automatic)

Side Two

My favourite TV programme is Horrible Histories (ditto – swc) and at Christmas Daddy took me to the cinema to see the movie of it (which I totally recommend – swc). It was all about the Romans and the Celts. The Celts used to build houses out of their poo and the Romans made the roads all straight and stole lots of money from people. In the film the Romans and the Celts have a big battle in somewhere called Watling Street. Daddy says he grew up near Watling Street, although I’m not sure it was in the time of the Romans, like he says. I like going to the cinema because I get to eat Maltesers and popcorn.
(The Battle of Watling Street – Kate Nash)

At school a few months ago before the lockdown came and I couldn’t see my friends anymore we had to do a play. In the play I was a sheep and I had to do a dance with my friends. The song we danced to was ‘I like to Move It Move It’. I like to listen to this song because it reminds me of my friends especially M (name removed – swc) and it reminds me that one day there won’t be a virus and we can do plays at school again.
(I like to Move It – Reel 2 Reel)

My mummys favourite song in all the world is all about dreams – I don’t know who sings it but it is a very happy song and it has no boring guitars on it and no shouting. We played this song really loud on Christmas morning this year as we unwrapped presents. I was allowed to jump off the sofa as it was Christmas it was fun I also had chocolate for breakfast (which is why she jumped off the sofa – swc). Mummy has better taste in music than daddy.
(Dreamer – Livin Joy)

One of my favourite foods is jam sandwiches. I had jam sandwiches for lunch today. I don’t like orange jam though like Paddington (she means marmalade – swc). After lunch I helped to make some scones with mummy while daddy painted the bench on the patio. Mummy got cross with him because he spilt brown paint on the bricks. This song mentions jam and that makes me like it.
(Pump Up The Jam – Technotronic)

I love to read books I have a lot of books, apart from Daisy Meadows my favourite writer is Roald Dahl his books are really funny and have really funny characters in them. I like Mr Twit because he reminds me of my daddy when he doesn’t shave for a week. I also love Mr Wonka and if I also think about finding a Golden Ticket inside one of my chocolate bars. I like chocolate almost as much as jam sandwiches and pasta. There is a song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that my daddy used to play to me when I was really little, like four or something, that I like to listen to when I am feeling sad because it makes me smile.
(Pure Imagination – Gene Wilder )

———-

I think I am slightly biased, but I think that might just be the greatest ICA ever written. Thank you for reading. Take care out there. Stay Safe.

SWC (aided and abetted by mini SWC)

WHERE ARE YOU GOING NEXT?

There’s been a lot of reading on t’blog in recent weeks….and there’s a few more lengthy ones in the pipeline.

Not today though.

mp3: Various – Predictably Unpredictable

I put this together up for listening to while out walking and where I could reimagine myself in Manhattan heading over the bridge in the direction of Brooklyn (and back).

TRACKLIST

Eye Know – De La Soul
Rapture – Blondie
This Is Radio Clash – The Clash
Love My Way – The Psychedelic Furs
Fast Boys and Factory Girls – Port Sulphur
I Love A Man In Uniform – Gang of Four
Spellbound – Siouxsie & The Banshees
Honey Bee (Let’s Fly To Mars) – Grinderman
The Lost Art of Keeping A Secret – QotSA
I’m Scum – IDLES
Sign ‘O’ The Times – Prince
Torch – Soft Cell
Bodega Birth – Bodega
I Want Candy – Bow Wow Wow
Life During Wartime (live) – Talking Heads
How I Wrote ‘Elastic Man’ – The Fall

As ever, it’s an hour in length.

Enjoy.

JC

THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (5)

 

Part 5 of this monthly feature should, if I wasn’t incompetent, feature and tell the stories of all the new singles to chart in the month of May 1990.  The thing is, I stopped a week early last month, mistakingly putting in 7, 14, 21 and 28 April as the date of entry when in fact that was the last date of the chart week.  The piece has subsequently been corrected to ensure with dates of 1, 8, 15 and 22 April now been applied, but this means that the chart announced on 29 April has had to carry over to this piece.

April ended with Madonna still sitting on top of the pile for a fourth successive week with Vogue.  Here’s the new entries worth drawing attention to

A Dream’s A Dream – Soul II Soul

Soul II Soul had enjoyed a stellar year in 1989 – the album Club Classics Vol.1 had gone triple platinum on the UK and double platinum in the USA, not to mention the incredible sales right across Europe. It would go on to spend 60 weeks in the album charts in the UK. The year had ended with a number of personnel changes among the collective, particularly on the vocal side of things, but Jazzie B was adamant that the replacements would be every bit as stylish, classy and popular.

A Dream’s A Dream was the first of the new material and it entered the charts at #8 on 29 April. Jazzy’s prediction was a tad wide of the mark as that was the peak position for the single and its follow-up, Missing, stalled at #22 on its release some six months later. The parent album, Vol II: 1990 – A New Decade while far from a flop, had less than one-third of the sales of the debut. It’s fair to say that the collective’s popularity would decline with each passing year in the decade.

I’ll mention in passing that a previous hero and later racist released his fifth solo single around this time and it entered the chart on 29 April at #13. It’s a pity he’s now persona non grata around these parts as November Spawned A Monster is a very fine 45

Looking all the way down to #41, and you will see this:-

Soon – My Bloody Valentine

It must have been a bit of a sore one for MBV and Creation Records that the media buzz didn’t quite translate to mainstream chart success. A few more sales and Soon might well have cracked the Top 40 and possibly led to Kevin Shields & co. being invited onto Top of The Pops. Now, THAT would have certainly become a legendary and much-repeated clip. The single spent two more weeks in the Top 100 before dropping out. It would take until the following year for MBV to hit the higher echelons of the singles chart for the one and only time (To Here Knows When – #29, Feb 1991)

Stepping Stone – The Farm

The Farm, from Liverpool, had been recording and touring since 1984, although their output till this point in time had been four singles on four different and small independent labels. Nobody really took them too seriously, but then they began to be lumped in with the baggy sound that was coming out of nearby Manchester and their t-shirts became fashionable, out of which, they began to sell music in increasing quantities as will be shown in a future posting within this series.

Hippychick – Soho

Soho comprised of sisters Jacqui and Pauline Cuff, together with producer Timothy London. Formed in 1988, nobody had paid too much attention to the release of any of their material, even this, their fifth single, a dance-infused number that sampled one of the best and most popular tunes recorded by The Smiths. It sold only enough copies to reach #68. Later that year, it became very popular in the clubs of big cities in America, leading to it being ‘re-discovered’ over here and re-released in January 1991 when it went Top 10.

And so, at last, we reach May 1990. The month that saw me settle into a daily commute between Glasgow and Edinburgh with the routine involving lots of cassette tapes and a Sony Walkman. It was over these pieces of plastic that myself and Jacques the Kipper truly formed a friendship that remains just as strong today.

The first chart of May 1990, announced on Sunday 6 May, is not the finest. Adamski took over at the top from Madonna and Killer would hold that position for the entire month. The Top 20 is packed with things that have become the staple of Smooth Radio stations – Paula Abdul, Alannah Myles, New Kids on The Block, Heart, En Vogue, Natalie Cole and Phil Collins. Somehow or other, this managed to be a new entry at #20

Circlesquare – The Wonder Stuff

The Stuffies were another who had burst through in 1989, enjoying three Top 40 hits, two of which had been lifted from Top 5 album, Hup. The introduction of Martin Bell to play fiddle and banjo had changed the sound from fast and frantic indie-style guitar to something that wouldn’t have sounded out of place at folk festivals, albeit folk festivals in which the audience would be charged up on amphetamines. Circlesquare was the third single lifted from the album….the band hitched its wagon to what was happening elsewhere in the UK indie music scene with this remix for the 12″

Circlesquare (Paranoia Mix) – The Wonder Stuff

Maybe a little dated some 30 years on, but it was a welcome burst of energy back then. Other indie bands, such as Soup Dragons, were also paying attention….

The next new entry worth drawing attention to came in at #35.

How Was It For You? – James

James, in 1990, was another band more famous for t-shirts than chart hits. How Was It For You was their biggest success to date, with previous singles such as Sit Down and Come Home not cracking the Top 75. It would be 1991 when their world turned upside down (although a couple more minor hits will feature before this ongoing look at 1990 comes to an end)

Keep On – Cabaret Voltaire

As with The Cramps a few months ago, I had to rub my eyes in disbelief that Cabaret Voltaire had seen a 45 graze the middle section of the singles chart, with this coming in at #55. It was their highest ever success, albeit a later single in 1990 did reach #61. But that’s for another time.

There were 23 new entries into the singles chart in the first week of May 1990, an indication that record labels of all shapes and sizes had that time of the year marked down as one to pay particular attention to. The rest of the month was a bit quieter.

It’s My Life – Talk Talk

This proved to be a big hit for Talk Talk at the third time of asking. It had reached #46 when originally released in 1984 and #93 the following year when the record label misjudged the public’s appetite for it. It was chosen to promote the release of a ‘best of’ compilation and decent amounts of radio play saw it come into the charts on Sunday 13 May at #46. It would go on to enjoy a nine-week stay, peaking at #13, just one of four occasions that Talk Talk would make the Top 30.

The Desperate Hours – Marc Almond

I’ve previously had an in-depth look at the singular career of Marc Almond, and pointed out that he tended not to enjoy chart success unless he was covering someone else’s song. His previous effort, A Lover Spurned had managed to make the Top 30 – this flamenco style follow-up came in at #49 climbed three places and then disappeared from view.

Doin’ The Do – Betty Boo

The first chart solo sighting of the 20-year old Alison Clarkson, aka Betty Boo. Her vocal on Hey DJ – I Can’t Dance (To That Music You’re Playing) by The Beatmasters, a top 10 hit in late 89, had catapulted her to fame and she was tipped for big things as a solo performer. The record label did it the right way…no huge hype and instead justlet the pop music speak for itself. In at #58, from where it climbed all the way to #7, and the week it finally dropped out of the charts some three months later, the follow-up was released along similar lines, meaning a total of 22 successive weeks in the Top 75 and constant radio play. Boomania indeed….

Express Yourself – N.W.A.

One viewing of the excellent film-bio Straight Outta Compton will demonstrate that N.W.A. weren’t really ever going to worry about their profile in the UK. The fact that their 45s were wholly unsuitable for radio play was never a real factor. Express Yourself had originally been released to little fanfare in September 1989 but it would go on to crack the Top 30 at the second time of asking, having entered the charts initially at #42 on 20 May 1990. Can’t ever recall hearing it on daytime radio, but I’m sure one or more of the ‘wacky’ Radio 1 DJs would have picked up on it.

World In Motion – EnglandNewOrder

Italia 90 was looming. Football wasn’t yet a sport that was being embraced by the middle-classes – the tragedies of Heysel and Hillsborough still saw it as something that appealed only to the hooligan element in society. England reaching the semi-finals of the tournament went a long way to changing attitudes. It’s worth remembering that long before the tournament kicked-off, the best ever pop song by a football team had conquered the charts. This crashed in at #2 on Sunday 27 May…it went to #1 the following week and created history for Factory Records and New Order. It spent eight weeks in the Top 10. Things were never ever the same again.

And I just realised that the charts in May 1990 had two songs featuring the phrase ‘express yourself’…..

Chad Jackson – Hear The Drummer (Get Wicked)

A true one-hit-wonder for DJ and mixer, Chad Jackson. Something of a cash-in and novelty style effort, it entered the charts at the end of May 1990 at #12 and would peak at #3. It would likely have been a #1 hit if it hadn’t been for EnglandNewOrder.

The Only One I Know – The Charlatans

Seriously? 30 years?? If it hadn’t been for the fact that Indian Rope had come and gone without any clamour whatsoever, this would go down in history as one of THE greatest debut singles in the entire history of pop music. In at #24, it peaked at #9 in one of the weeks that EnglandNewOrder were at #1. And, to my utter disbelief, the first time I’ve ever posted the actual single to the blog.

As ever, I hope this has stirred a few memories for y’all.  There’ll be more reminiscing this time next month,

JC
(aged 56 years and 11 months)

 

WELCOME TO THE NEW MONTH

Here’s 60 minutes and 30 seconds of stuff to get your May Day off to a decent start. I’d like to think that there is something on offer for everyone:-

TRACKLIST

[10 Good Reasons For Modern Drugs] – The Twilight Sad
Still In Love Song – The Stills
Dreams Never End – New Order
Musette and Drums – Cocteau Twins
PDA – Interpol
When It All Comes Down – Miaow
Chili Town – Hinds
Another Girl, Another Planet – The Only Ones
Ever Fallen In Love? – Buzzcocks
No More Heroes – The Stranglers
Sing It Back – Moloko
Kool Thing – Sonic Youth
Splashing Along – Jesse Garon & The Desperados
Morning Is Broken – Lloyd Cole
Don’t Swallow The Cap – The National
No Bulbs 3 – The Fall

mp3 : Various – The Merry Month of May

Perfect for listening to as you take your daily hour of fresh air exercise.

PS:

A huge thanks to everyone for dropping in and leaving comments in these trying times.  There may have been some comments that have inadvertently failed to appear, having initially found their way into the ‘Spam’ folder.  I normally filter this out every couple of weeks, thinking on it as a task akin to cleaning a swimming pool (not enjoyable, but essential).

To my horror, there were over 1,000 comments in the Spam folder, seemingly generated from one source and linked to some sort of cure for coronavirus.  I couldn’t face trying to wade through it all to find stuff that shouldn’t have been in there and so just trashed the lot. Sorry if some wise words from one or more readers were caught up in all this.

One other thing to mention – there have been a number of very welcome guest contributions fired over via e-mail.  Feel free to keep them coming, but I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to post all of then immediately.

Thanks folks. Stay safe. and take care, and in the words of The Twilight Sad, it won’t be like this all the time.

JC

AN ICA WITH A DIFFERENCE (#253)

JC writes…..

ICAs 249-252 are in the bag and scheduled for the next few weeks. I have a rule of thumb of only posting one per week so that the details can be properly enjoyed. But, given we are living in strange and unprecedented circumstances, I’m breaking those rules as what follows is timely as well as enjoyable. It will, in due course be provided with a catalogue number of ICA 253.

COUNTING THE DAYS
An Imaginary Compilation Album for troubled times

A guest posting by Jonny the Friendly Lawyer

It’s hard to be patient these days, waiting for the lockdowns to lift and wondering what’s going to happen. Being home all the time I completely lose track of the calendar, waking up without remembering what day it is. It got me thinking that a days-of-the-week ICA might be in order as a reminder—and a distraction.

Being me, of course I had to invent ridiculous rules about what songs could qualify. This time I decided to limit it to songs with titles consisting solely of, and not just including, the name of a particular day. So, no Blue Monday, Wednesday Week, Friday I’m In Love, Sunday Papers, and so on. Poor old David Bowie gets shunted aside despite lots of possibilities—no Love You ‘Till Tuesday, Thursday’s Child, Friday on my Mind or Drive-in Saturday. (‘Sunday’ from the Heathen LP is eligible but I had other ideas.)

I bent the rules slightly when it came to the weekend. Why not? In some respects we’re living an extended weekend. An enforced weekend? Or house arrest. Whatever—everyone prefers weekends to weekdays as a rule, don’t they?

Right, off we go:

Monday – The Jam. I ran into a quandary straight away. Wilco have a terrific song titled ‘Monday’ on their second album, Being There. But The Jam’s tune, with its D minor chorus, is a little less buoyant and more consistent with the feeling of starting a new work week. To quote a former colleague, “Mondays are awful.” Off 1980’s Sound Affects.

Tuesday – Yaz. Or Yazoo to folks overseas. Kind of a melancholy little tune. I’m impressed by how well this song has held up since its release back in 1982. Just vocals, synths and a drum machine—doesn’t sound current by any means but it’s still appealing.

Wednesday – Drive-By Truckers. DBT’s are one of the more lyrically compelling bands in the Americana shoebox they’ve been dumped in. “There was something in the envelope she passed him/That weighed more to him than paper and some ink” is a great opening line to what could be an entry in the Some Songs Are Good Short Stories series. From 2006’s A Blessing And A Curse, when the band featured Jason Isbell.

Thursday – Morphine. I was glad when Hybrid Soc Prof included this tune in his excellent Morphine ICA. Such a unique band: 2-string slide bass, baritone sax and a jazz kit, with the much-missed Mark Sandman’s good-natured croon over the top. A great little story that Tom Waits might have written.

Friday – Joe Jackson. Here’s my hero Graham Maby driving this fine tune along with an irresistible bass line. Back when it came out my sister wrote the lyrics down and substituted her name for Gilly’s. My dad found it and freaked out, which amused both of us. Perhaps more than it should have. This is from Jackson’s second album, I’m The Man, released in October 1979, the same year as his stellar debut Look Sharp!

Friday Night, Saturday Morning – The Specials. Another quandary. Nouvelle Vague’s cover version of this tune is superb. But I chose the original because I heard Tracey Ullman talking about it on the radio. She was being interviewed for Steve Jones’s program (Jonesy’s Jukebox) and said that it was a dead accurate account. In particular she recalled how she and her friends would drop their bags in the middle of the floor and dance in a circle around them to avoid them being stolen. A b-side to the 1981 single ‘Ghost Town’.

Saturday Afternoon – Luke Haines. Mr. Haines fell off my radar after the Auteurs until JC’s long-running series. This is one pulled from that strange trip.

Saturday Nite – Blitzen Trapper. Many eligible songs to choose from again, but I love this one most. Blitzen Trapper are an amazing band with loads of great albums that no one ever seems to have ever heard. This comes from 2008’s Furr, which I strongly recommend to the TVV crowd. The title track alone is worth the price of admission.

Sunday Morning – No Doubt. Okay, I know I might get some stick for bypassing the Velvets’ song of the same name. That and the many excellent covers of it by the likes of Beck, the Feelies, OMD, James, Belle & Sebastian, and countless others. But I went with the No Doubt single anyway NOT because they’re from California, and NOT because the beginning sounds like The Jam’s ‘Dreams of Children’, and NOT EVEN because the Specials’ Terry Hall appears in the video. Nope, my love for this song comes down to the very last moments, when Gwen Stefani sings the title in lead and harmony as the tune resolves to an E major chord. It’s one of the most musically satisfying song endings I know.

Sunday Afternoon – The 88. Kind of doubt anyone except maybe Linear Tracking Brian is familiar with this band. They were part of the early 00’s LA power-pop revival that included Baby Lemonade, the Wondermints and the Sugarplastic. I have a special fondness for the band because they were kind to Sam the Friendly Artist when he was a kid, even letting him strum their guitars before a show at the Troubadour. Just as the Wondermints went on to back up Brian Wilson and Baby Lemonade became Arthur Lee’s latter-day version of Love, the 88 toured behind the Kinks’ Ray Davies. From 2003’s Kind of Light.

Sunday Evening – Clearlake. Am I the only person who loves Clearlake? Pretty sure they’ve never featured on this site. Don’t know anyone that knows them, either. This Brighton band released 3 great albums in the 00’s and then disappeared without a trace. This moody track, from their 2001 debut Lido, calls an end to a weary week. So we can start it all over again.

JTFL

THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (4)

 

I have thought long and hard in recent days about what to do with the blog.  The extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in got me wondering about making it that bit more relevant to what’s happening out there, using this platform for the occasional comment or observation about politicians (there would be criticism), community spirit (there would praise), those most directly affected by tragedy (there would be sympathy) and some reflections on the state of the world when it all comes to pass (there would be much head-scratching).

But I came to the conclusion that there’s enough of that sort of stuff out there already and that TVV should remain a place where folk can come to escape from it all for a few minutes or for as long as they wished.  I hope you’re all OK with that, but if any of you do want to get something off your chest, then feel free to drop me a line with a guest posting.   As you know, they are never turned down…..

So, where was I?

April 1990. The month that my life changed forever as I moved in with Rachel, the two of us deciding to make a real go of things having walked out on the folk we were married to. A number of our close friends were sure it wouldn’t last and that one or both of us would go crawling back full of apologies to look to mend the broken relationships. Thirty years on and we are still together.

Moving in with Rachel meant that I went back to live in Glasgow, making a daily commute by train to Edinburgh. The Sony Walkman proved to be my saviour, that and the mixtapes that Jacques the Kipper was putting together for me containing a mix of the new, the fairly recent and the old classics, all accompanied by a series of cryptic clues from which I had a week to come up with the names of the songs together with the singer/band involved. To be fair, I was setting him similar challenges and, as a result, both of our knowledge bases would increase over the successive months and years.

So who and what were rockin’ the charts 30 years ago this months?

The month began with Snap! holding down the #1 spot for a second successive week, but the remainder of the month belonged to Madonna with Vogue giving her a seventh #1 in five years.

Here’s a few notable songs that made the rundown throughout the month, albeit it’s all stacked at the beginning with very little at the tail end.

Step On – Happy Mondays

Yup, it’s now thirty years since the song most associated with Shaun, Bez & co was unleashed on the listening public. It entered the charts on 7 April at #14, and climbed to #5 the following week, which proved to be its peak position. It took a really long time, however, for the song to fall out of the charts. There was an initial 11-week run in the Top 75 before it briefly disappeared from view at the end of June. It re-entered the Top 100 in early July and over the next six months, could often be found lounging around the 80-99 mark. All told, it would spend 27 weeks in the official chart (which was a Top 100 by the this time) across six separate spells. Not bad for a song that was originally intended only for inclusion on a tribute album for their American label, and was recorded only to get Tony Wilson to stop moaning at them. I think it’s fair to describe it as a bona-fide classic.

Real Real Real – Jesus Jones

JJ had hit the crossbar a few times in 1989, with three singles stalling just outside the Top 40. The music press continued to big them up and Food Records never gave up on them, cleverly associating them indirectly with the baggy/Manchester movement but distancing them just far enough to argue they were an electro band that incorporated elements of indie-pop. This was their breakthrough hit, entering at #26 on 7 April after which it edged its way up the charts for the next five weeks to peak at #19. America would eventually go nuts for the band – I have to be honest and say they never really did it for me.

Beatles and The Stones – House of Love

The second chart hit of 1990 for The House of Love. It entered it #43 on 7 April and a couple of weeks later it had crept up to #36. This proved to be the last time they would get their name mentioned during the Top 40 rundown on Radio 1 and/or Top of the Pops.

911 is a Joke – Public Enemy

As mentioned in an earlier posting in this series, Welcome to The Terrordome had taken Public Enemy into the Top 20 despite very little mainstream airplay. The formula didn’t quite work out for the follow-up single which entered at #50 on 7 April and only got as high as #41 a couple of weeks later. A similar fate awaited their third and fourth singles of 1990, although there was the consolation of the album Fear of A Black Planet, also released in April 1990, entering the UK charts at #4, which was an incredible achievement for a hip-hop album in those days.

Pro-Gen – The Shamen

The Shamen had a low-key arrival into the UK charts, with Pro-Gen entering at #55 on 7 April and dropping like a stone immediately. All but two of their subsequent fourteen singles over the next six years would go Top 40.

Like A Daydream – Ride (from the Play EP)

The growth in popularity of Ride continued, with their second EP entering the charts at #32 on 14 April, a very substantial improvement on the #71 peak of the debut some three months previously. I’m guessing this would be have been played quite a lot in an Our Price record store down in the Gillingham area of England…….but they were still some 12 months away from their commercial peak.

Love Child – Goodbye Mr Mackenzie

The Rattler had been a slow-burning hit single in 1989 for the Edinburgh-based combo and hopes were high that 1990 would bring more mainstream success. They were, to some extent, the victims of politics and bickering at their major label home, finding themselves shunted off Capitol Records and onto Parlophone (both, at the time, being part of the larger EMI conglomerate) with unrealistic expectations place on them. Love Child came in at #52 on 21 April and then disappeared from view, and when its follow-up 45 also bombed two months later, the label decided not to release an already recorded album and dropped the band. It was the beginning of the end, although one of the band, Shirley Manson, would find fame and fortune a few years later (with the highlight being a chance meeting with this blog’s favourite and most friendly lawyer)

Left Us To Burn – Martin Stephenson & The Daintees

No singles of note made their entry into the Top 75 on 28 April, so I’ve gone a little deeper to mention this 45, a more than sideways swipe at Margaret Thatcher for the way her policies had decimated so many working-class communities, including those in the north-east of England where Martin Stephenson and The Daintees had grown up. It entered at #85, continuing the run of undeserved flop singles. Little did any of us know that Thatcher’s reign was soon to come to an end……………………

JC
(aged 56 years and 10 months)

 

FROM OUR HUNGARIAN CORRESPONDENT….SIX YEARS AGO TODAY

Greetings to everyone, my name is Laslo Friop and I live in Budapest in the suburb of Erzsebetarvos and I would like to thank Mr JC for allowing me to compile todays piece for the Vinyl Villain.

I met JC on a trip to Glasgow a few years ago and he taught me all about its quality food and music. I have tried with limited success to get fish battered and chocolate that has been fried in Hungary it does not happen. Also the radio stations refuse to play Arab Strap or Mogwai, I did manage to get some Orange Juice though but it did not go down that well, it was too commercial and there was no gypsy punks. After just one hour with the JC I can now say that Glasgow is my sixth favourite city in Scotland after Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy, Cardiff, Dumbarton, and Stranraer. Since that afternoon at the train station I have followed this blog space with passion. I love to read about early 80s bands that for years were banned from Hungary for not being communist enough. Particularly Billy Bragg and The Redskins. They would have been very happy behind the Iron Curtain.

Anyway today I would like to talk you about revolution and the inspiration of a generation through music, in fact the inspiring of a generation by one band. For years in Hungary, music was terrible, under the Russians it was largely frowned upon to listen to anything Western, I think that the Beatles were not encouraged, and anyone caught listening to progressive rock from the 1970s usually disappeared to the Saltmines of Debrecen. They did this so that you could not grow your hair and say ‘Woah Man’ a lot.

Then as the West became more acceptable the Iron Grip loosened and the free republic commenced. It wasn’t all good but in one strange day back 1999 one band changed our lives for ever. It is a well known fact that David Hasslehoff singlehandedly brought the Berlin Wall to it knees.

Yet in Hungary on that day in 1999, a lesser known musical phenomenon occurred.

In September in what is now known as ‘Victory Square’ in Budapest the crowds had started to form to chant anti-government slogans and chants, the police had been heavy handed and we screamed at them ‘Ez mind össze képtelenség’ which roughly translated into Hungarian means ‘We will be free, we will win’. At that point the skies opened and the clouds burst and it rained. Those of you who have been to Budapest will know that this happens a lot, but at that moment we felt defeated, ruined by unemployment and now the weather. All we wanted was to have the same choices as our neighbours in Austria had, and not go the same way as other neighbours Romania had gone.

Now Western Radio and music has started to become relatively popular in Hungary around this time. We were massive fans of the reggae star Pato Banton and for many the arrival of Eminem was a crucial point in our history. Or ‘Nem ez nem volt’ as we like say when we discuss Eminem. So it was not unusual to hear Western songs on the radio or being churned out from the many cafes and shops. Now as the rain pelted down on our tear stained cheeks, one song, ‘Why Does It Always Rain on Me’ by the Scottish Band Travis came on. On hearing this Hungarians found solidarity and together we rose and defied the weather, we defied the police and we defied the government. After that day, Travis became the Number One band in all of Hungary, they were so popular they even had a brand of goulash named after them, people would go into restaurants and say ‘ez a teljes lószart’ and the workers would know that you were one of them. Their songs became synonymous with the protest movement in Hungary, ‘All I want to do is rock’ became the theme to our campaign to become more western, ‘Tied to the 90s’ became an ironic song about not returning to the days of communism with its cheeky ‘Remember the 80s…’ lyric and ‘Turn’ and ‘Sing’ remain anthems for the working parties in Hungary even today.

Travis are heroes in Hungary, their concerts here are sold out mega gigs and their singer Fran Healy has recently been awarded the highest ever accolade possible for a Non Hungarian the prestigious ‘Hatalmas Hazugság’. Very few people have been awarded this in Hungary.

I hope you enjoyed reading this piece, I hope my English has not been too crazy, I used Google Translate and hope that if you translate the Hungarian bits back to English you will get some idea what this band means to us. I would post their tracks but I think you will already own most of them. So instead I post tracks by two of my favourite bands, the Jesus and Mary Chain and The Stone Roses. Bands that I was lucky enough to see live in Austria at festivals. They have never played Hungary to the best of my knowledge.

mp3 : April Skies
mp3 : Fools Gold

I bid you farewell I will leave you with a good luck phrase in Hungarian

‘Mindez igaz, hogy minden szemetet. Kérlek, bocsáss meg, a normál szolgáltatás folytatódik a jövő héten’

Laslo

THE END OF AN ERA?? WELL, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN!

This one is a tad self-indulgent.

I graduated from university on Friday 5 July 1985.   I started work on Monday 8 July 1985 – it was a time in history when, without the help of the old-school tie, it was difficult to land a job that was compatible with your degree and so when I was asked, following what I recall being my fourth job interview, to join a local council in Edinburgh at the earliest opportunity, any plans for a few weeks of down time were put to the side.  It’s a decision I’ve never regretted.

Today, Friday 27 March 2020, I will enjoy my last day of paid employment, after my application for early retirement through voluntary redundancy was accepted.

It’s been an incredibly strange and frustrating end to my career as I’ve mostly been working from home these past two weeks, taking part in regular conference calls with my fellow managers, doing our best to keep things ticking over and trying to keep staff morale as high as is possible in such challenging and uncertain times.

From a selfish point of view, the planned night out has, of course, been cancelled but I’ve undertaken to go back in for one last time when this all eventually calms down and to do my very best to have a leaving do that will be legendary.

I have no intention to work for a living in the future, and the plan, eventually,  is to devote as much time as possible to travel, music, Raith Rovers and golf. Oh, and I have good intentions about trying to pass my driving test!

EXCEPT………..in such challenging times everyone had to be less selfish and so I’ve offered to stay on, free of charge on a voluntary basis, to continue to help and support my colleagues as we implement business contingency plans, including, eventually, preparing for how best to get going when there is some sort of return to normality.

I did think about changing the intended piece of music that has long been scheduled for today, but will stick with the latest one-hour mix tape, with most of the song titles having some sort of link to the past 35 years.  The opener is one that myself and Jacques once danced to at the Xmas Party that we organised jointly on behalf of our colleagues – the one piece of music we decided should clear the floor for a couple of minutes.

I’m happy to say that I have had many more good than bad days during my career and have made a number of lifelong friends along the way.  I’ve been lucky that way.

mp3 : Various – The End of an Era

Tracklist

Pixies – Debaser
The Wedding Present – What Did Your Last Servant Die Of?
The Rakes – Work Work Work (Pub Club Sleep)
The Clash – Career Opportunities
Idlewild – You Held The World In Your Arms
Fun Boy Three – It Ain’t What You Do
R.E.M. – Finest Worksong
Buzzcocks – Everybody’s Happy Nowadays
The Jam – Just Who Is The 5 O’Clock Hero?
Le Tigre – Deceptacon
Magazine – Model Worker
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – Patio Song
Electronic – Getting Away With It
The Fall – Fantastic Life
International Teachers of Pop – The Age of The Train
Stereolab – Ping Pong
Lloyd Cole – Don’t Look Back (original mix)
Otoboke Beaver – 6 Days Working Week Is a Pain
PJ Harvey – Big Exit (edit)
Young Marble Giants – Final Day

A new life beckons.  Eventually.

JC

THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (3)

 

The third month of the new feature. The charts of March 1990 had Beats International at the top for a while, but from the aspect of singles making their entry during the month, one act kind of stands out….and they are actually up first.

Elephant Stone – Stone Roses

Three months after Fool’s Gold had given Stone Roses a first major hit, a re-issued Elephant Stone matched the achievement with a #8 placing on the week of entry, 3 March 1990.  Rather surprisingly, it dropped down two places immediately after, eventually slipping out of the Top 75 altogether after six weeks.

A Lover Spurned – Marc Almond

In at #32 on 3 March and managed to crawl its up three more places the following week. A very rare instance of a Marc Almond-penned single cracking the top end of the charts. This was his 14th such single and only his third to reach the Top 40, with his other hits all being covers.

Love Shack – B52s

A band that had enjoyed minimal success prior to this over the previous 12 years, with just a 1986 re-release of a double-A single consisting of Rock Lobster/ Planet Clare selling in any sort of numbers. Tailor-made for radio with its catchy and shout-along chorus, it was no surprise that after entering the charts on 3 March at #33 it hung around for almost three months, peaking at #2 for three weeks, kept off the top spot initially by Beats International and then by German dance-act Snap, whose song The Power would first enter the charts later in the month and enjoy two weeks at the very top in late March/early April.

Loaded – Primal Scream (single version)

A band that had been regarded as something of a joke throughout the late 80s. This was something completely different. It’s an example of a song that actually didn’t do all that much sales-wise but whose influence would prove to be so much greater. It came in at #47 on 3 March and just over a month later it reached its peak of #16. It was out of the charts by the time the summer arrived, but it proved to be a massive hit in the clubs all year long, setting the tone for the huge sales of the album Screamadelica when it hit the shops some seven months later.

De-Luxe – Lush (from the Mad Love EP)

I didn’t think I was going to be able to salvage any new entries from the chaert of 10 March until my eyes got all the way down to #55. The debut EP disappeared as quickly as it had come in as would be the case throughout Lush’s career. Eight times they made the Top 75, not once did any of the singles stay longer than three weeks – even the big hits from the mid-90s which developed the habit of coming in high on the week of release (Single Girl : #21, Ladykillers : #22, 500 (Shake Baby Shake): #21) before crashing and burning.

Strawberry Fields Forever – Candy Flip

One–hit wonders with this debut effort, with the follow-up stalling at #60 and two further efforts not cracking the Top 75. In at #18 on 17 March and it eventually got as high as #3. The duo of by Danny Spencer (vocals, keyboards) and Ric Peet (keyboards) named themselves after candyflipping, the name given to the taking of ecstasy and LSD at the same time. It’s no surprise that they turned their attention to a rave/acid house take on the Beatles song

Made of Stone – The Stone Roses

The cash-in continues. At least Elephant Stone hadn’t been on the debut album so there perhaps were legitimate reasons for its re-issue so that folk could own and enjoy it.  Made of Stone had bombed exactly 12 months later with a placement of #90. This time around, it came in on 17 March at #20, which proved to be its peak as it dropped down immediately.  Silvertone Records weren’t quite finished mind you…..

This Is How It Feels – Inspiral Carpets

Having been linked into the Manchester/baggy movement, it was no real surprise that Inspiral Carpets were next to come off the conveyer belt as far as the charts were concerned. This Is How It Feels is an almighty piece of music, one that I featured just yesterday on the songs as short stories series. It’s a disgrace that the sentiments from the song are just as applicable today as they were 30 years ago. Entered the charts at #22, got up to #14 a couple of weeks later and was only ever bettered, performance-wise, by Dragging Me Down two years later.

Chime – Orbital

Further evidence that dance music from the clubs and the fields where the raves were happening was crossing over into the mainstream. Orbital, consisting of brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll, took their name from the M25, the orbital motorway that circles Greater London and which was central to the rave scene and party network in the South East of England during the early days of acid house. Chime was the debut single and its appearance in the charts, initially at #28 on 24 March led to an invite to appear on Top of The Pops during which the brothers wore t-shirts making a protest about the impending introduction of the Poll Tax in England, a measure that had, on its earlier introduction in Scotland, created civil unrest, as it would also do in England later that very same week of the TOTP appearance (the director avoided any close-up shots of the brothers, concentrating instead on the audience….the single climbed to #17 the following week)

Orbital would prove to be one of the biggest, most important and influential dance acts to emerge out of the UK at any point in history – but that’s really for friends of this blog to highlight rather than me.

Your Love Takes Me Higher – The Beloved

The success of Hello, as covered in the first entry of this series, led to the label opting for a re-release of a single that had flopped in February 1990. An absolute belter of a track, one that found favour with the ravers and the indie-kids alike in terms of dancing, it didn’t transfer to sales as it came in at #40 on 24 March, going up one place the next week and then disappearing.

Pictures Of You – The Cure

The 18th successive single to go Top 50; there would be a further eight such successes before the release of Gone, which stalled at #60 just before Xmas 1996. It’s actually quite astonishing that Pictures Of You charted as well as it did, coming in at #28 on 31 March and inching its way up to #24 a couple of weeks later as it had been around for the best part of 12 months as a track on the Disintegration LP. Fans of The Cure again demonstrating brand loyalty, and even today the second hand market for many of their singles is a healthy one in terms of the price they fetch.

She Bangs The Drums – The Stone Roses

First released in July 89 when it made #36, a fairly decent showing for an underground band with no track record of success, Silvertone decided to re-issue She Bangs The Drums just two weeks after the re-release of Made of Stone. It meant that the chart of the final week of March 1990 had two Stone Roses 45s inside the Top 50. World domination beckoned, didn’t it?

Cobra Bora (Call The Cops Mix) – 808 State (from The Extended Pleasure of Dance EP)

Between November 1989 and March 1991, 808 State would release six singles/EPs, all of which, with the exception of The Extended Pleasure of Dance EP, went Top 10. I’d love to have been able to give you a reason but I can, in all honesty, say that I didn’t even know this EP existed until typing these words out. When I later go and track down a copy, it’ll be the first time I’ll have ever heard it.

Hope some of these bring back good memories.

JC
(aged 56 years and 9 months)