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Friday, 20 October 2017

S4L Radio: Show #11 Playlist

Listen To The Playlist Here:

On The Playlist
Radio Wunderbar - The Carpettes
Taken from their 1977 Debut EP on Small Wonder Records. When they left Small Wonder for a bigger label I thought they went downhill and Beggars Banquet didn't seem to know what to do with them.

 Wunderbar - Tenpole Tudor
Hit single for the wild and whacky Eddie Tenpole Tudor (or Edward Tudor-Pole as he goes by these days I think). Released in 1980 on Stiff Records.

Some Kinda Wonderful - Q-Tips
Another 1980 offering and taken from their one and only Debut Studio album of the Paul Young fronted Q-Tips. It was issued as a single in The Netherlands. They were actually pretty good live. Young of course went on to have a fairly successful solo career.

Wonder - Natalie Merchant
Second Solo single from former lead vocalist of 10,000 Maniacs. I still can't understand how this was not a massive hit. I have included a live TV performance from Letterman on The Playlist.

There She Is - Frank Turner
Taken from his up and coming new album Songbook which is basically a "Best of" and will include a disc of reworkings of a number of his popular songs. This particular track is the only new one on the album. For tracklisting and release dates etc CLICK HERE.

Grace, Too - The Tragically Hip
I put this one on The Playlist as a wee tribute to Gord Downie who passed away on 17th October 2017. Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of Brain Cancer was the cause of his death. The Canadian band were much loved and it shows you the kind of respect that Downie had when the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke so highly of him and the House of Commons in Canada held a moment of silence in memory of him.
Grace, Too was released as a single in 1994 and peaked at #11 on the Canadian Charts. It was the opening track to their album Day For Night that was also released in 1994 and was the band's third #1 album.

She Got The Garden - Paul Heaton + Jacqui Abbott
Taken from their third studio album Crooked Calypso that was released in July this year. The album went to #1.

Southern Gothic - Tyminski
Dan Tyminski, best known for his voice on the movie soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou and as a member of Union Station who back Alison Krauss has released his third Studio Album, Southern Gothic, but for this project he's just going by his surname for some reason or another.
If you want to read more about the album you can do so by Clicking Here.

Sell Me A Diamond - David Crosby
Taken from his latest album (his third album of original material in four years) that was released at the end of September 2017 entitled Sky Trails.

Caroline - Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers
Taken from The Long-Awaited Album released in September 2017 Steve Martin once again unleashes his banjo playing skills. The version on The Playlist is a live TV performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Rewind - The Professionals
From the brand new album What In The World that is scheduled for release at the end of this month. The track features Phil Collen of Def Leppard on guitar. The album does feature Steve Jones on a few tracks but mainly guitar duties are carried out by various guests like Duff McKagen (Guns 'n' Roses), Mick Jones (The Clash, Big Audio Dynamite), Billy Duffy (The Cult) and Marco Pirroni (Adam and The Ants and The Wolfmen). Paul Cook and bassist Paul Myers (ex-Subway Sect) are joined by Tom Spencer (vocals since 2015).

The Queen Is Dead - The Smiths
Remastered and extended with Demos, B-Sides and a live concert from Boston. It is released today (20th October 2017). The version on The Playlist is the unedited version that appears on the Deluxe Version.

Spent The Day In Bed - Morrissey
From the up and coming album Low In High School due in November 2017. Controversy always seems a part of the course when a new Morrissey record is on the cards. He's a bit of a numpty about voicing support for a member of UKIP but as he lives outside the UK these days you can't honestly take him too seriously!

The Obvious Child - Paul Simon
Taken from his album The Rhythm of The Saints that was released in October 1990.

Speak Like A Child - The Style Council
I have to confess to not really being a huge fan of The Style Council. There were a few singles that I liked but on the whole I found them quite drab which was surprising considering that Weller had come from such a great band in The Jam to basically record second rate elevator music (bar a few exceptions of course)! I realise there will be some reading this who will be most upset with what I have just said but hey, you like what you like and if it doesn't appeal too much to me then I hope you respect my decision to not take great delight in everything Mr Weller has done as you do!

The first of three Weather related songs as we draw to a close
Rain - The Cult
The Cult's Love album that was released in 1985 is another of my favourites from that year. A few great singles were released from it and as She Sells Sanctuary is always the one that gets played I thought I'd dig out Rain. The single reached #17 on the UK Chart.

The Sun and the Rain - Madness
This one was the 14th single of Madness to enter the Top Ten in the UK.

Sun - Aztec Camera
Taken from the final Aztec Camera album Frestonia before Roddy Frame decided to trade under his own name. It's an album I still love very much and it was sad to see the band fizzle out, though it's great seeing Roddy out there still writing and playing.

Look Back In Anger - David Bowie
Originally released as the first single in the USA from the album the Lodger and recently reissued as part of the Box Set A New Career In Town (1976-1982). Also part of the set are Low, Heroes, "Heroes" EP, Stage (both Original and a 2017 version), Lodger (both remastered version and a 2017 Tony Visconti mix), Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) and a disc of Singles, B-Sides and other odds and ends.

The Parting Shot
Long Walk Home - Bruce Springsteen
Wasn't actually released as a proper single but was issued as a Promo CD for European Radio stations. It first appeared on the 2007 Magic album.

I want to dedicate this one to all of my friends in the USA who daily are having to live under a Government and a President who have lost sight of what it means to be an American (and a human being) and are constantly blurring the lines of what the Stars and Stripes stand for:

"Your flag flyin' over the courthouse
Means certain things are set in stone.
Who we are, what we'll do and what we won't
It's gonna be a long walk home"

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Revisiting Fisherman's Blues - The Waterboys (October 1988)

Fisherman's Blues - The Waterboys
Produced by Mike Scott, Bob Johnston, and John Dunford
Released October 1988
UK Chart #13
US Chart #76

Side 1

Side 2

Listen To The Album Here:


The cover displays a number of the contributors. From left to right, back to front, are: Jake Kennedy (crew), Colin Blakey, Pat McCarthy (recording engineer), Jimmy Hickey (crew), John Dunford (co-producer), Trevor Hutchinson, Fran Breen, Anthony Thistlethwaite, Mike Scott, and Steve Wickham.
On The Record
    Mike Scott — vocals, guitar, piano, hammond organ, drums, bouzouki
    Anthony Thistlethwaite — saxophone, mandolin, harmonica, Hammond organ
    Steve Wickham — violin
    Trevor Hutchinson — bass guitar, double bass
    Roddy Lorimer — trumpet
    Kevin Wilkinson — drums
    Peter McKinney — drums
    Dave Ruffy — drums
    Colin Blakey — piano, flute, border horn
    Fran Breen — drums
    Vinnie Kilduff — guitar
    Noel Bridgeman — tambourine, congas
    Jay Dee Daugherty — drums
    MΓ‘irtΓ­n O'Connor — accordion
    Alec Finn — bouzouki
    Charlie Lennon — violin
    Brendan O'Regan — bouzouki
    TomΓ‘s Mac Eoin — vocals
    Paraig Stevens — bells
    Jenny Haan — vocals
    Ruth Nolan — vocals
    Rachel Nolan — vocals
    The Abergavenny Male Voice Choir — vocals
    Tomas McKeowen - spoken voice

The Album was issued on Vinyl, CD and Cassette.
There have also been Vinyl Reissues in both 2000 (as a Limited Edition in Clear Vinyl) and 2015.
In 2006 there was a Remastered CD version of the album released that contained a Bonus Disc (this was reissued again in August 2017 as a Collectors Edition).

In 2013 a 25th Anniversary version of the album was released as  Fisherman's Box in a Deluxe Version (6CDs) and a Super Deluxe Version (7CD's and Fisherman's Blues Vinyl).

Singles On Fisherman's Blues
Released on 7", 12" and as a CD Single

B-Side: Lost Highway
Released 1988 (7" was released in January of 1989)*
UK Chart #32

*was also reissued in May 1991 (reaching #75 on the UK Chart) and the 12" and CD Single included a BBC recorded Live version of Medicine Bow.

Released on 7", 12", Mini CD Single and Cassette

Released June 1989
UK Chart #51


Following on from the minimal success that came their way via This Is The Sea the follow-up couldn't have been more different! Blending the sounds of Traditional Irish and Scottish music with touches of Rock and Roll and Country music was seen by some to be a huge departure but it actually worked out pretty good. It provided The Waterboys with their biggest hit album in the UK and was also their first to enter the American Billboard Chart.

Critics were divided on it some declaring it not to be too brilliant others shouting from the rooftops that it was the best album they had made. Two years in the making and you never really grasped how much went into it until you see the Fisherman's Box (mentioned above) that was released in 2013 - over 100 songs were recorded (85 of which were unreleased)! A quick note on this: to me this is exactly how you put together a Box Set. Too many record labels usually just remaster the album, add a few B-Sides and maybe throw in a live recording from somewhere or other and presume that is enough to make some sales. The Fisherman's Box though breaks that mould by taking us on a chronological journey starting in Dublin January 1986 and ending up (via California in December 1986) at the studios in Dublin and Galway between 30th March - 2nd June 1988.

It's an ambitious album that saw the use of many different musicians over the two year period. Back in 1986 my friend Dave Ruffy was playing drums for them and the band were featured on the 100th Episode of The Tube opening with Fisherman's Blues.

One of the great things about the Fisherman's Blues album was their cover of Van Morrison's Sweet Thing (originaly released on 1968's Astral Weeks). This, and their rendition of Morrison's And The Healing Has Begun (that they played live linking with The Thrill Is Gone) sent me back to listening to the music of Van the Man. I always like albums or cover versions that do that because you end up discovering a lot more gems that you were unaware of before.

It's probably my second favourite album from Mike Scott and The Waterboys (it would take something very mind-blowing to unseat This Is The Sea!).

Apologies for not spending more time on the album as I feel quite limited when it comes to the Traditional Irish and Scottish music scenes that I honestly cannot speak of what I know so little of. But regardless of that, it's not my words that really matter because it's the music that should really do the talking and if it you listen to the album today I'm sure you'll hear all you need to satisfy your musical thirst.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Revisiting Tunnel of Love - Bruce Springsteen (1987)

Tunnel of Love - Bruce Springsteen
Produced by Bruce Springsteen, Chuck Plotkin and Jon Landau
Released 9th October 1987
US Chart #1
UK Chart #1
Canadian Chart #1
Italian Chart #1
Norwegian Chart #1
Spanish Chart #1
Swedish Chart #1 

Listen To The Album Here:

Side 1

Side 2
    Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, backing vocals, guitar, mandolin, bass guitar, keyboards, harmonica, percussion, drum machines
    Roy Bittan – piano on "Brilliant Disguise", synthesizers on "Tunnel of Love"
    Clarence Clemons – backing vocals on "When You're Alone"
    Danny Federici – organ on "Tougher Than the Rest", "Spare Parts", "Two Faces", and "Brilliant Disguise"
    Nils Lofgren – guitar solo on "Tunnel of Love", backing vocals on "When You're Alone"
    Patti Scialfa – backing vocals on "Tunnel of Love", "One Step Up" and "When You're Alone"
    Garry Tallent – bass guitar on "Spare Parts"
    Max Weinberg – drums on "All That Heaven Will Allow", "Two Faces" and "When You're Alone"; percussion on "Tougher Than the Rest", "Spare Parts", "Walk Like a Man", "Tunnel of Love", and "Brilliant Disguise"
    James Wood – harmonica on "Spare Parts"

Singles/EPs on and Connected to Tunnel of Love
(Click on the Links Below to Watch Promo Videos and listen to Audio Tracks)

B-Side: Lucky Man

Released September 1987
US Chart #5
UK Chart #20

Was also released as a Postcard Picture Disc in the UK and 12".

Released November 1987
US Chart #9
UK Chart #45

A-Side: One Step Up

B-Side: Roulette

Released February 1988 (US Release and in Parts of Europe)
US Chart #13
Dutch Chart #44

There was also a two 12" versions featuring different tracks
Featured Roulette and Be True (Live)

Roulette and Born To Run (Acoustic Live)
Released June 1988 (UK)
UK Chart #13

Side 1
Tougher Than The Rest (Live)
Be True (Live)

Side 2
Released August 1988 (US and Parts of Europe)
Did Not Chart

Spare Parts was released on two 12" Discs in the UK and also on 7" (this had Spare Parts on the A-Side and Spare Parts - Live on the B-Side)



The second 12"
Spare Parts

Spare Parts (Live)
Chimes of Freedom (Live
Released August 1988
UK Chart #32

US Promo CD
1. All That Heaven Will Allow
2. One Step Up
3. Roulette
4. Be True
5. Pink Cadillac


Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the release of Tunnel of Love by Bruce Springsteen.

I know a lot of people who point toward Tunnel of Love as their favourite Bruce Springsteen album, and just as many who like it but are not crazy about it in the same way as they are about say Born To Run or Darkness on the Edge of Town. I think that just shows that Bruce's music connects with people in different ways and it would be very boring if we were all the same and liked exactly the same things!

The album is regarded as a Solo record despite the fact that pretty much all the members of the E Street Band feature on the album but they don't all feature on every track (see Personnel list above to see which members played on what specific tracks). It wouldn't be until The Rising in 2002 that the band would all record an album together (though there had been an odd track or two here and there).

One of the things that is quite clear with Bruce Springsteen is that he never makes the same album twice. Tunnel of Love is not Born In The U.S.A. Mark 2. It stands apart as an album in which we caught a glimpse into the actual mind and heart of Springsteen in a way we had never done so on previous recordings. There's a very personal element to it that caused many to wonder just what on earth was going on inside The Boss.

In his Autobiography Born To Run (just recently published in Paperback after a very successful Hardback Edition last year) he devotes Chapter 51 to the Tunnel of Love. Here we find a few things that were going on inside his head and heart.
"After Born in the USA, I'd had enough of the big time for a while and looked forward to something less." (P348 Paperback Edition)

"My first full record about men and women in love would be a pretty rough affair. Filled with inner turmoil, I wrote to make sense of my feelings." (P349)

"I had a left-field hit with Brilliant Disguise, the song that sits thematically at the record's center. Trust is a fragile thing. It requires allowing others to see as much of ourselves as we have the courage to reveal. But Brilliant Disguise postulates that when you drop one mask, you find another behind it until you begin to doubt your own feelings about who you are. The twin issues of love and identity form the core of Tunnel of Love, but time is Tunnel's unofficial subtext." (P349)

In his Anthology of Lyrics, Songs, he would speak of the striking change of pace, mood and emotional landscape on Tunnel of Love as  being his desire to reintroduce himself as a "songwriter". Or as Gavin Martin put it in The Ultimate Music Guide Springsteen put out by the makers of Uncut magazine, "it was time to strip away the protection of the band and get personal."

The critics were all very welcoming of the album and all pointed to the focus on relationships that the album possessed. Steve Pond, writing for Rolling Stone summed it up nicely:

 "On Tunnel of Love, Springsteen is writing about the promises people make to each other and the way they renege on those promises, about the romantic dreams we're brought up with and the internal demons that stifle those dreams. The battleground has moved from the streets to the sheets, but the battle hasn't changed significantly."

My personal favourites on the album are Tougher Than The Rest, Spare Parts, Brilliant Disguise and Walk Like A Man. If you were twisting my arm trying to get what I think is the best song on it well I'd have to go with Spare Parts (of course everyone has a different one to me and that's fine).

Some of the songs are not easy to listen to, Walk Like A Man reminds me of my own father seeing me get married and since his passing those words at the end of the song are like some kind of daily challenge!:

"Now I'll do what I can
I'll walk like a man
And I'll keep on walkin'."

There's an honesty to the record that Springsteen brings that just shows you can have everything but if "I Ain't Got You", then you have very little! It shows that relationships can be messy, and that there is pain, abandonment (sometimes), deceit, failure, pleasure and faithfulness - a picture of what our lives are often like within our own relationships. I think that's why a lot of people connect with Tunnel of Love because they see a lot of themselves in it.

Happy Birthday To The Tunnel!

"Then the lights go out and it's just the three of us, yeah
You, me and all that stuff we're so scared of
Gotta ride down baby into this tunnel of love"

What The Fans Say
I asked the folk of a Springsteen Group on Facebook called Brucebook for some of their thoughts/memories around and about the Tunnel of Love
Here's what a few of them had to say:

  "Even though it was considered a solo album, many ESB members played on my faves; Nils solo on TOL and Roy's organ outro on 2 Faces.." - Christian Griffin (USA)

 "Two Faces... the sleeper song of the album... Done in an even better form than the album, solo during the Devils and Dust tour, with Bruce on piano *vocalising* the synth parts at the end in a falsetto wail... such a dark, brooding lyric. Haunting stuff." - Scott Johnson (Perth, Australia)

"Although my family is firmly rooted on the east coast, I didn’t discover Bruce until I went to college in Texas (!) and was introduced to his music by a Texas-born boyfriend via Nebraska. TOL was the first Bruce tape I bought on my own and the storytelling and emotions in those songs, from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, all of it raw and real, just blew me away. The short, to the point dedication in the liner notes got me, too, especially when that boyfriend and I broke up. TOL is the album that made me a Bruce fan for life. From Ain’t Got You and All That Heaven Will Allow to Valentine’s Day, and everything in between (One Step Up is an absolute favorite), that album does it for me every time I listen." - Lorraine Scaduto Bachand (USA)

"Tunnel of Love signifies a change in Bruce. The album cover with his dressed up look caught my eye. The songs were so personal. I felt like these songs really open a window into Bruce’s heart vs what we had heard before had been a window in Bruce’s home. When your’re alone, two faces and brilliant disguise all gave this window to me." - Deirdre Brownlow

"After listening to Bruce casually for years, even going to a few concerts with my fan-boyfriend-then-husband, my own true fandom didn’t click until TOL. The lyrics are, in my opinion, the most consistently poetically beautiful he has ever written, and the melodies are simple and lovely. It touches me every time I listen, and I often listen all the way through." - Carol Hempfling Pratt (USA)

"It is often compared to Dylan's Blood On The Tracks as a great "breakup" album." - John J. Kelly (USA)

"I think Tunnel of Love is the first album Bruce wrote that really connected at the core with women. It just deals with so many raw emotions and very personal feelings, women could relate to it on a different level than his other albums. For me, personally, it came at a very important time. I had been a fan since seeing him in 1978 on the Darkness tour. But I was in a relationship with someone at that point and I thought I had found my forever love. Unfortunately, right after Tunnel came out, we broke up. I was heartbroken in that way that it physically hurts and some days, the only thing that got me through was going for long walks, holding my Sony Walkman and playing that Tunnel cassette over and over, particularly One Step Up. I could literally listen to that song 50 times a day. I would love someday to see him do it live but I can't imagine the emotions it would bring out in me." - Janet Graham (USA)

"My friend and I each got our copy on release day put it in our Walkmans, tuned out the world as we listened when we were done looked at each other and said "He is getting divorced" You could just feel his pain and angst and the changes that were about to take place." - Cindy Sabathie Fahy (USA)

"My three year old sang every word, thirty years later Bruce still in our lives, that's beyond brilliant." - Ken Burton (USA)

"Remember the concert at Sheffield for the Tunnel of Love tour as though it were yesterday. Bruce threw red roses 🌹 to those at the front of the stage... we were in the side stands (Bramhall Lane FC) .... lovely summer day." -  Liz Lovell (UK)

"I remember buying the album upon its release day , listened to it till the tape wore out . Then going to see Bruce in the RDS, Dublin ( his first of many gigs there) lying in the grass on a beautiful sunny day waiting for the concert to begin . It was an amazing concert , to hear the songs played live in comparison to the tinny sound from a tape deck . The memories still live long . I loved the album then and I love it even more as an adult. One of his finest albums." - Clodagh Byrne (USA)

"Saw the concert in Chapel Hill. As soon as Bruce and Patti started to sing together (to each other), it was obvious things were rockin!" - Sharrie Watson Reardon (USA)

"TOL came out in Oct 1987. It was the Fall of my Senior Year of college up in Brunswick, Maine. My college roommates and I played the CD constantly til we graduated. Just an incredible record. I finally got to see it live in Worcester, Ma on Opening Night of that tour. Unforgettable year!" - David Mazzella (USA)

"My favorite tour! And my 2nd favorite Bruce album to “Darkness.” " - Larry Adelman (USA)

"I found Tunnel of Love this year (2017) after having read Bruce's autobiography. I decided to start listening to the albums one by one. After being with my spouse for over 40 years, the lyrics of this album described the inner thoughts of being in the partnership called marriage." - Betsy Waterman Gubbels (USA)

"My first chance to see a live show, in Barcelona, I missed the one in 1981 for the River tour. I could enjoy it from the first line, stuck on the stage from the very beginning to the end Nobody could move me away!!. Still remember that august night." - Rosa Maria Garcia Alba (Spain)

Tunnel of Love Bonus


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