• ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN SINGLES : #005

    aka The Vinyl Villain incorporating Sexy Loser

    005 – BIG DRAG – ‚I’m A Lonesome Fugitive’ (Unlean Records, ’79)

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    Hello friends,

    today I have both for you, in fact: a neat song, one I always adored (and will adore) plus this song is being performed by a band I always loved: the mighty Big Drag!

    Their output isn’t big really, there are two singles and an album. But each of the three records is a killer, and that’s for sure. Finding something interesting about Big Drag on the internet gives you a hard time, so what I’ll do is I shamelessly copy and paste what their bassist said in an interview some 27 years ago, a time when the band were at their peak by and large. I say ‘peak’, you know what I mean: obviously they never had a platinum album, but 1994/1995 was when the three records came out, so ….

    Anyway, here’s what Colin Jones had to say back then:

    “They made the little girls dance.” This is what Big Drag bassist Colin Jones suggested be Big Drag’s epitaph, when asked. It fits like a steel condom, too. Ever since they first skulked in from San Antonio a couple of years back, the laconic trio has brought with them hordes of incredibly nubile women, doing up-and-down-and-round-and-round moves that would make Chubby Checker spit green to Big Drag’s garbage-can guitar-pop. “That’s always been my favorite part of Big Drag,” drawls Jones, who started the band in 1991 with singer/guitarist Milton Robichaux and drummer Dillon Phillips, following the demise of Robichaux’s similarly minded Happy Dogs. “Generally, every show we play, the first two or three rows of people in front of the stage are almost all girls. I dunno why, I guess it’s just that danceable beat, that surfy-kinda beat that you can twist to or whatever. (…)”

    In my humble opinion, this pretty much sums up all you need to know about Big Drag: the music will do the rest, promised!

    Now, the song I went for is, as I said, one I always loved: I’m A Lonesome Fugitive’. Made famous by Merle Haggard back in 1966, but written (for Merle) by Liz and Casey Anderson (don’t tell me this series doesn’t have some educational aspects too!).

    I have often wondered why it is that I love this tune so much. I mean, quite obviously I never ran away from the law or similar (which, in rainy Germany, wouldn’t be much romantic in the first place anyway), nor have I ever been much of a desperado. I once tried to be faster on my moped than the blokes from customs when smuggling a carton of cigarettes. Didn’t work out and I had to pay a fortune. Does this make me an outlaw? Probably not. Then again, one doesn’t need an explanation for everything in life, right?

    Alright, San Antonio’s finest, friends, with the B-Side of their Gotta Let Me Go – 7” from 1994:

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    mp3: Big Drag – I’m A Lonesome Fugitive

    Enjoy – and please let me know what you think of it!!

    Dirk

     

     

     

     

     

  • GET SETT GO!

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    The thing is……

    If you like this month’s hourly mix, then I’ll take credit for being such a great DJ.

    If you don’t like it, then you can blame SWC as all the tracks were part of his Top 40 Best of 2022 over at No Badger Required.

    mp3: Various – Get Sett Go!

    Slowly Seperate – Crows (#18)
    Angelica – Wet Leg (#31)
    Trouble – The Big Moon (#22)
    2-HEH-V – DAMEFRISØR (#1)
    Ballerina (Norma) – VEPS (#16)
    New York, Paris & London – HighSchool (#10)
    Earth Worship – Rubblebucket (#25)
    Molly’s Got A Brand New Haircut – Ghostbaby (#37)
    Men On The Menu – Flossing (#3)
    This New Will – Scattered Ashes (#29)
    Second Thought – MEMES (#19)
    New England – Kid Kapichi feat.Bob Vylan (#17)
    Circumference – Working Men’s Club (#8)
    A55  – English Teacher (#13)
    The Hard Part – Album Club (#12)
    Statuette On The Console – Bodega (#23)
    Untethered – PVA (#5)
    Qurantine The Sticks – Yard Act

    A couple of tracks from the NBR rundown have been left off this mix as they have appeared on previous mixes. Quarantine The Sticks has been included instead of The Overload, which was #6 in the rundown.

    The running time is just under 61 minutes.

    JC

  • THE INSANE COST OF SECOND HAND VINYL? (Issue #1)

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    A few days back (last Friday to be precise), something came up on a social media feed with the observation that Where’s Me Jumper? was exactly 31 years old.  The post came with an accompanying poster/advert that said ‘debut single and U.K. Tour – 27.1.92″

    I’ve previously considered including the song in the Cracking Debut Singles series, but had always been of the belief that the first release from Sultans Of Ping F.C. was the 12″ What About Those Sultans EP! on Fantastic Plastic given that was their only release on that label before their next three singles came out on Divine Records. 

    I was intrigued enough to look on Discogs where the information is that What About Those Sultans was a mail order only release, with its A-side made up of three demos dating from April 1990 and the B-side consisting of two cover versions.  It would seem to have been something of an unofficial release, which means that I shouldn’t have baulked at the idea of Where’s Me Jumper? featuring as part of one of my long-running series.

    The song, and it’s accompanying b-sides were highlighted preciously on TVV, back in April 2016 as one of the small number of records I owned on 10″ vinyl.  I didn’t buy said record back in 1991, so my copy is second-hand.

    I’ve just checked my Discogs history, and it cost me £2 as part of a larger batch of seventeen second-hand records bought at the same time in July 2011 at a cost of £32.25 plus £12 for postage and packaging, which when you add it all up means it was around £2.60 per item.  The cheapest single was £1, while the two most expensive were £3.50.

    Given I was on Discogs, I decided to take a look at what the going rate is for Where’s Me Jumper? on vinyl in 2023.

    There are two copies of the 7″ version up for sale.  An Italian retailer is asking for 45 euros plus shipping, while a UK retailer wants £60 (which includes shipping) for what is described as Near Mint in terms of the vinyl and the sleeve.

    There are four copies of the 12″ version on offer, from sellers located in France, Italy and the UK.  The range is £25 to 58 euro, (all of them are plus postage), with varying descriptions of the quality of the vinyl and sleeve.

    There are also four copies of the 10″ listed on Discogs, all from folk in the UK.  The asking prices are, in ascending order, £40, £45, £50 and £59.99, none of which include shipping.

    The thing is, while I would be happy enough to be described as a ‘record collector’, I don’t buy (and have never bought) anything with the idea that it might increase in value.

    It’s always been about wanting a particular record and being happy enough to pay a price that I think is reasonable and fair.  I’m also someone who, certainly for the time being, doesn’t want to sell anything from the collection, albeit as I get older and with the recognition that I’ve no family to pass the heirlooms on to, that may change at some point, although ideally it would find its way to someone else younger who is prepared to keep and look after it.

    I’m genuinely gobsmacked at the asking price for Where’s Me Jumper?  Even the CD version is going for silly money, with the lowest UK price being £9.

    All of which has inspired me to begin this new series looking to see if second hand vinyl has really rocketed in recent years, based on what I have paid for things in the past on Discogs.

    Here’s the full list of the seventeen purchases from July 2011, complete with what is being asked for today, comparing it with the same condition of vinyl and sleeve as described when I made the purchase, and from a UK seller as that was the location of the 2011 purchases. Where there is more than one option in 2023, I’ve gone with the lowest asking price.

    Yello – The Rhythm Devine (7″)   2011 cost £1. 2023 price £4.
    Fire Engines – Big Gold Dream (12″) 2011 cost £2.  2023 price £3.99.
    Blood Uncles – Let’s Go Crazy (7″)   2011 cost £1.50. 2023 £1.25.
    Billy Bragg – She’s Got A New Spell (7″)   2011 cost £1.50.  2023 price £6.50.
    Revenge – Slave + Amsterdam (7″) 2011 cost £1.50.  2023 price £4.
    The Monochrome Set – The Monochrome Set (7″) 2011 cost £3.50.  2023 price £10.
    Primitives – Way Behind Me (7″) 2011 cost £1.50.  2023 price £0.85.
    Various – The Fred EP (7″) 2011 cost £3.50.  2023 price £1.90.
    Red Guitars – Good Technology (7″) 2011 cost £2.50.  2023 price £2.99.
    Martin Stephenson & Daintees – Slow Lovin’ (7″) 2011 cost £1.50.  2023 price £2.49.
    Alan Rankine – The World Begins To Look Her Age (7″) 2011 cost £1.50.  2023 price £1.99.
    Camper Van Beethoven – Life Is Grand (7″) 2011 cost £2.  2023 price £2.25
    Devo – (I Can’t Get Me No) Satisfaction (7″) 2011 cost £2.  2023 price £2.49.
    Kiss AMC – A Bit Of…. (7″) 2011 cost £1.  2023 price £0.40
    Sultans of Ping F.C – Where’s Me Jumper? (10″) 2011 cost £2.  2023 price £50
    Martin Stephenson & Daintees – Crocodile Cryer (12″) 2011 cost £1.50.  2023 price £1.29.
    Champion Doug Veitch – Margarita (12″) 2011 cost £2.50. 2023 price £2

    That means six items of vinyl are actually available for less than I paid in 2011, although none of them, price wise, are ridiculously cheaper.  Another five haven’t gone up by much in price (less than £1 in each instance).  The other six have at least doubled, and stupidly so in the case of The Sultans Of Ping F.C.

    Removing that one item as it skews things so much, then the cost today of obtaining the other sixteen records adds up to £48.39, in comparison to £30.25.  Which equates to an increase of 60%……..and that’s not taking into consideration that posting and packaging would be a lot more expensive, even if by some way of magic they could all be obtained from and sent out by the one seller.

    Here’s the 10″ A-side of the valuable piece of vinyl (that has now been given its own ill-fitting plastic sleeve as additional protection):-

    mp3 : The Sultans Of Ping F.C. – Where’s Me Jumper?

    And your two fun-filled b-sides.

    mp3 : The Sultans Of Ping F.C. – I Said I Am I Said
    mp3 : The Sultans Of Ping F.C. – Turnip Fish

    I think this series might provoke some surprise and outrage…….

    JC

  • THE GIRL WHO RUNS THE BEAT HOTEL

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    This is just the third individual appearance on TVV by Biff Bang Pow!

    The debut came in August 2015 as the 25th act to be featured in the still-running Saturday’s Scottish Song series.  As I said at the time, some might argue that Biff Bang Pow! were a London band given that was where they were formed, but as they centred around Alan McGhee I decided they merited a place in the series.  It was also the case in August 2015 that the TVV collection contained just one song by the band, courtesy of She Paints being included on the Doing It For The Kids compilation issued by Creation Records.

    The most recent appearance was in January 2021, in response to a request from someone I reckon might be the blog’s only reader in Chile.  Ozzy, (or Osvaldo to give him his ‘proper’ name) had e-mailed me asking if I could upload something by Biff Bang Pow! as he’d enjoyed hearing the song Hug Me Honey when he tuned into an online station based in Switzerland. I was happy to do so and revealed that my collection had expanded to five songs in the intervening period since August 2015.

    That’s all changed in recent weeks, thanks to my patronage of Last Night From Glasgow, as I received an advance copy of an album about to be reissued after many years of being out of print.

    The Girl Who Runs The Beat Hotel was originally released by Creation in March 1987.  It was the band’s second album.  There’s an interesting review/description of it over at the Trouser Press website:-

    Poorly produced with thin, shrill sound, The Girl Who Runs the Beat Hotel reveals much stronger, more attractive songwriting. “Someone Stole My Wheels” and “The Happiest Girl in the World” are convincing period pieces colored in with, respectively, prominent organ and female vocals; “Five Minutes in the Life of Greenwood Goulding” uses crazy backwards guitars. Strangely, McGee’s vocals suggest Robert Smith on “Love’s Going Out of Fashion” and Lloyd Cole on “He Don’t Need That Girl.” The melodies and varied arrangements are stylishly appropriate, but the botched mix prevents them from being fully appreciated. The 12-inch of “Love’s Going Out of Fashion” avoids that sonic pothole and includes three atmospheric non-LP tracks.

    The LNFG reissue, hopefully, will resolve some of the issues raised in the above review as it has been remastered by the very skilful and talented Paul McGeechan whose name has been mentioned a few times round these parts.  It’s also an expanded version of the album, with four additional tracks that had previously appeared as b-sides from the same period.

    I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable a listen the album proved to be.  As much as Alan McGhee would hate anyone to say it, there’s an awful lot of the spiky and tuneful pop sounds of the likes of Josef K, Orange Juice and The Bluebells threatening to break out amidst the artful or psychedelia 60s influenced songs that I was anticipating from what little I knew of their material beforehand. The album arrived as part of the subscription I have with LNFG and it wouldn’t, in normal circumstances, have been something I’d likely have made as a speculative purchase.  I had fully expected that, after one listen, it would have found its way onto the shelf almost in an ‘out of sight’ fashion, but a few weeks on it’s still sitting close to the turntable readily available to be given further spins.

    I haven’t quite got round to doing any vinyl rips as yet, so here’s a couple of unmastered tracks, that were also released as singles back in the day:-

    mp3 : Biff Bang Pow! – Love’s Going Out Of Fashion
    mp3 : Biff Bang Pow! – Someone Stole My Wheels

    And here’s the one song I previously knew from the album, courtesy of it being included within the box set Make More Noise – Women In Independent UK Music 1977-1987. The vocals on this one are handled by Christine Wanless (who also co-wrote the song) despite her never seemingly ever being acknowledged as being part of the band.

    mp3: Biff Bang Pow! – If I Die

    The Girl Who Runs The Beat Motel does come highly recommended.  I’m not sure when the official release date is, but you can pre-order from LNFG by clicking here.

    JC

  • PET SHOP BOY SINGLES (Part Two)

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    My huge thanks to those of you who gave such warm welcomes to this new series.   Just to clarify on the Bobby Orlando releases that I mentioned last week but didn’t feature, the 45s will consist only of those had UK releases AND are mentioned on the PSB official website.

    Part Two covers October 1985 – September 1986 and the four singles lifted from debut album Please, itself released in March 1986.

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    West End Girls was released on 28th October 1985 and went to #1 in the UK in January. It was subsequently #1 in USA, Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand and Norway.

    7″

    mp3: Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
    mp3: Pet Shop Boys – A Man Could Get Arrested

    Strangely enough, the 12″ contained a shorter version of A Man Could Get Arrested alongside a near 7-minute dance mix of West End Girls.  I’ve long thought this particular b-side is decent enough but has more than a few similarities to Opportunities, which suggests the duo were still trying to find their feet, musically.

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    Love Comes Quickly was released on 24th February 1986.  After the success of West End Girls, hopes here high of achieving something similar.  It only reached #19 while New Zealand and Spain were the only countries where it went Top 10. 

    7″

    mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Love Comes Quickly
    mp3: Pet Shop Boys – That’s My Impression

    This b-side was, as it turned out, ahead of the curve as it offered up a sign of Pet Shop Boys as a club/dance act.  It’s certainly the first time you could link their sound with that of New Order. The song was certainly more than good enough to be included on the debut album, but didn’t make the cut, which I think was a mistake.

    A month later, debut album Please entered the chart at #3.  It was the highest new entry that week, and the only two albums above it were Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits (which had been kicking around the top of the album charts for almost a year) and Hits 4, one of those compilation albums that sold in the millions back in the 80s.  

    Fun fact 1.  West End Girls was included on Hits 4, which meant the song was on records sitting at #1 and #3 on the album chart.

    Fun fact 2.  Please would spend 37 weeks on the album chart.  But it never got higher than its first week position of #3.

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    A new version of Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money) was released on 19th May 1986. It was a slightly edited version of that included on Please.   It reached #11 in the UK.

    7″

    mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money)
    mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Was That What It Was

    Another quality b-side, if perhaps a bit PSB by numbers, but far superior to what many others were offering as a-sides.

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    On 22nd September 1986, a re-recorded version of Suburbia was released.  It reached #8 in the UK.  I won’t say any more as the single was feature on the blog just two weeks ago.  If you want to read more about the release, as well as listening to/downloading the tracks, just click here.

    JC

     

  • SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #340: TEENCANTEEN

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    I’ve written previously in the present tense about TeenCanteen.   Now that they are that no longer together as a group, I’ll reproduce those words today in the past tense.

    TeenCanteen, aside from having a tremendous name, made tremendous old-fashioned pop music that made you want to just dance and sing along. The band consisted of Carla Easton (lead vocals/keyboards), Sita Pieracinni (vocals/bass), Amanda Williams (vocals/guitar) and Deborah Smith (vocals/drums). Note right away the emphasis on all four members contributing on vocals as that was central to their sound, not just on record but in the live setting.

    My mate Aldo was quick to pick up on the group back in 2013 just as they were beginning t9o make a name for themselves across the Glasgow scene.  It took me until late 2014 to catch them at a small venue on the south side of Glasgow not too far from my home, and I found myself highly impressed.

    The group was tipped by many for big things.  A debut single via cassette had been followed by a debut single on vinyl, before the then new label, Last Night From Glasgow, released their debut album, Say It All With A Kiss, in 2016 to immense acclaim. In the meantime, Carla Easton, using the name Ette, had written, recorded and released a solo album, Homemade Lemonade, a record which was given an even bigger critical acclaim than that of her band.

    In early 2017, TeenCanteen’s profile was growing, and the band were at the heart of putting together a number of multi-band shows for worthy and charitable causes in the city, while also releasing a 10″ EP, from which this is the lead track.

    Out of the blue came the news that the group was taking a break.  It had been a meteoric rise and perhaps it was a good idea to take stock.  Only problem is that six years down the line, TeenCanteen still haven’t got back together, albeit Last Night From Glasgow, in 2021, did provide a vinyl release for a series of demos that had been in the vaults.

    In the meantime, Carla J Easton, as she was now known, released two further excellent solo albums in 2018 and 2020, while a couple of years she joined forces with Simon Liddell (ex-Frightened Rabbit) to form Poster Paints whose debut album was released last October.  It would appear, therefore, that TeenCanteen will be no more, although nothing formal has ever been announced.

    Here’s the a-side of the 7″ single released in 2014:-

    mp3: TeenCanteen – You’re Still Mine

    JC