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Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Sound of Confusion Is In The Air!





I don't often post Political issues here on my blog, which is normally dedicated to Music, but a couple of songs in the past week have given me concern enough to pen a few thoughts.

A week has passed since the whole EU vote here in the UK and it's still a bit of mystery as to exactly what is going to happen following the result to Leave the EU that was announced on Friday 24th June.

I have been thinking about this whole issue a lot the past week and my head is spinning. Obviously, as one who voted to Remain, I feel that the UK made a bad decision based on the foundation of false promises of the Leave Campaign.

The song above speaks of The Sound of Confusion and that's exactly where we are at this moment in time. Confusion is everywhere, in the Papers, on the Television and the Radio. Social Media is rife with reports of the rise of racist attacks, there are various petitions doing the rounds contesting the result and basically we are all running around like a dog chasing its tail and is never likely to catch it!

The two leading Political Parties haven't helped much in this crisis either and find themselves embroilled in a bitter battle to appoint new leaders. David Cameron had already said he was stepping down and was going to leave the details of the departure from the EU to the new leader of the Tories and of course new Prime Minister and The Labour Party, well they have the appearance of a very badly staged car wreck at present.

The Parliamentary Labour Party have risen up against Jeremy Corbyn and have issued a vote of no confidence in him, despite many members of The Labour Party still supporting him. What is interesting though is that many of The Parliamentary Labour Party have sought his demise right from the very beginning of his Leadership journey and instead of standing firm together against the Government at this very difficult time in our nation's history they have chosen to attack the man they deem as "Unelectable" in order to become the Party that is "Unelectable"! Everyone is saying Corbyn should resign but at present he's standing firm. If he survives and manages to contest the challenge to his Leaderhip and actually wins again I have absolutely no idea where on earth that leaves The Labour Party!

The person that everyone thought would challenge for the Leadership, Angela Eagle, who had in tears declared she was resigning from the Shadow Cabinet on Sunday morning (along with most of the other Shadow Cabinet members in what was clearly a co-ordinated attack upon their leader) is being a bit cagey as to whether she will actually stand now! So the 172 Labour MP's who voted no confidence in their leader seem to have no one who they think could actually defeat Corbyn! They really did think this through didn't they?

The Tories on the other hand seemed to have it all together and Boris Johnson looked as if him and his scruffy mop top were on the way to 10 Downing Street. But wait a minute, Michael Gove who stood alongside Johnson giving the impression of the next Leader and Deputy Leader of the Tory Party, seemed to be acting out a part in the West End Production of Julius Caeser as Brutus when he stuck the knife in the back of ol' Boris and declared that he was basically unfit to be the leader. The Man Who Would Be King then basically had to back track and announce that he was no longer running for the leadership...Bye Bye Boris! So now it's down to Gove and a few others to fight it out among themselves for the position.

If that doesn't sound confusing then this little thing I saw on FB this morning basically states the confusion that possibly all of us are feeling at the moment! I do not know the author Benjamin Timothy Blaine from Adam (but I did message him to ask if I could use his fb post for this blogpost and he said yes) but he does seem to capture what's in our minds at the moment.

"let me get this straight... the leader of the opposition campaigned to stay but secretly wanted to leave, so his party held a non-binding vote to shame him into resigning so someone else could lead the campaign to ignore the result of the non-binding referendum which many people now think was just angry people trying to shame politicians into seeing they'd all done nothing to help them.

Meanwhile, the man who campaigned to leave because he hoped losing would help him win the leadership of his party, accidentally won and ruined any chance of leading because the man who thought he couldn't lose, did - but resigned before actually doing the thing the vote had been about. The man who'd always thought he'd lead next, campaigned so badly that everyone thought he was lying when he said the economy would crash - and he was, but it did, but he's not resigned, but, like the man who lost and the man who won, also now can't become leader. Which means the woman who quietly campaigned to stay but always said she wanted to leave is likely to become leader instead.

Which means she holds the same view as the leader of the opposition but for opposite reasons, but her party's view of this view is the opposite of the opposition's. And the opposition aren't yet opposing anything because the leader isn't listening to his party, who aren't listening to the country, who aren't listening to experts or possibly paying that much attention at all. However, none of their opponents actually want to be the one to do the thing that the vote was about, so there's not yet anything actually on the table to oppose anyway. And if no one ever does do the thing that most people asked them to do, it will be undemocratic and if any one ever does do it, it will be awful." -
Benjamin Timothy Blaine


Still confused? Yep, I thought so!

The other song that's been on my mind is one from 1977 by Punk band The Adverts, The Great British Mistake. Many people seem to feel that the UK has made a huge mistake in deciding to leave the EU, and there seemed to be a lot of regret around a few days after the event when it became clear that many of the "promises" of the Leave campaign were not going to be upheld and infact those who had been at the forefront were now backtracking on those promises on TV and in the newspapers. The one promise that seemed to bite the hardest was the giving of £350 million to the NHS instead of giving it to Brussels, that was all but denied by the leaders of Leave...funny that because they are all saying they never said it yet it was emblazoned on their battle bus for all the world to see!

Just incase the Leave Campaign lost the vote, a supporter had set up a petition to call for a second referendum due to it being a very close result, the supporters of Remain then took it upon themselves to sign it by the thousands (it's into the millions now)

TV Smith's song that he wrote for The Adverts debut album way back in the late 70s seems oddly prophetic.






 The great British mistake was looking for a way out,
Was getting complacent, not noticing
The pulse was racing.
The mistake was fighting.
The change, was staying the same.
It couldn't adapt so it couldn't survive,
Something had to give.
The people take a downhill slide into the gloom.
Into the darn recesses of their minds.

I swoop over your city like a bird.
I climb the high branches and observe.
Into the mouth, into the soul.
I cast a shadow that swallows you whole.
I swoop, I climb, I cling, I suck,
I swallow you whole.

String out the drip-feed, they're losing their world,
They're losing their hard boys and magazine girls.
Advert illegal, T. V. As outlaw, motive as spell.
They'll see the books burn. They'll be 451,
It's people against things and not against each other.
Out of the pre-pack, into the fear, into themselves.
They're the great British mistake.
The genie's out of the bottle, call in the magician.
They didn't mean to free him, devil behind them,
Devil in the mirror, chained to their right hands.
They're the great British mistake.
They'll have to come to terms now, they'll take it out somehow.
They'll blame it all on something.
The British mistake - when will it be over?
How can they avoid it?

The great British mistake.
The great British mistake.
The great British mistake.


 
I have not posted this today to jump on anyone's head but merely because I found my own thoughts drifting in response to the music to think about these matters.

Our nation is in a confused place at the moment. I have no idea what the road ahead looks like but from what I can gather neither does the Politcal machine here in the UK.

Normal service on the blog will be resumed tomorrow I can promise you that (and hopefully you won't find me going back on my word!).

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 182 - The Real Kids


The Real Kids - The Real Kids
Red Star Records
Produced by The Real Kids and Marty Thau
Released 1977



Tracklisting for Original Album
 A1- All Kindsa Girls
A2- Solid Gold (Thru And Thru)
A3- Rave On
A4- Better Be Good
A5- Taxi Boys
A6- Just Like Darts
B1- She's Alright
B2- My Baby's Book   
B3- Roberta
B4- Do The Boob
B5- My Way
B6- Raggae Raggae


The Real Kids are maybe a band that are quite unknown to many. They have surprisingly been on the go since 1972 in one form or another and word is they are currently planning a new album as a follow-up to their 2014 offering Shake...Outta Control on Ace of Hearts Records.

Now, the band were formed in Boston in 1972. Guitarist, Vocalist and Songwriter John Felice at 15 years of age had actually been in the original line-up of The Modern Lovers with Jonathan Richman. Due to school commitments he did not record the original Modern Lovers Album. He started The Real Kids (originally called The Kids) in 1972 and they made a name for themselves playing live in the Boston area. Boston Rock Storybook says of the band that they played "an aggressive brand of straight-ahead, no-bullshit rock which harkened back to Chuck Berry, had overtones of the British Invasion groups at their mod finest, yet pointed the way towards the Punk to come".

Quite why it took them so long to record and release anything I have no idea but their debut single and debut album in 1977 showed exactly what they were all about. It's a pretty good sound that some would probably call Power Pop or New Wave, they wouldn't be classed as a Punk band though they did have a real attitude to their music that would have been in line with some of the things happening in New York City at the same time with bands like the Ramones (a band that Felice also worked for as a roadie for a short time).

The biggest problem with The Real Kids is that they were not very consistent in releasing material, their second album Outta Place didn't come out until 1982. As for singles they were very few and far between stretched between 1977 - 2014.

Anyway, their standout moment I think is the Debut Album and I hope you enjoy having a listen today.

Just in passing, Red Star Records was founded by former New York Dolls manager Marty Thau. He co-produced the album and is also responsible for signing bands like Suicide and The Fleshtones to the label as well as releasing music from Richard Hell and The Voidoids.


Singles from The Real Kids


Sponge Records (French Release)
1977
Original 1977 version is a little bit different timewise to the eventual release on Red Star Records. This original version of the song did not get a release in the USA until 1993 on the Norton Label.

Red Star Records/Bronze (UK Release)
1978 (I think)


Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Rewind: 1984 - Born In The U.S.A. Tour Kicks Off

On this day in musical history Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band kicked off their Born In The U.S.A. Tour in St. Paul, Minnesota with the first of a three night stand at the St Paul Civic Center. It was the first of a 156 Date Tour.



There was a bit of a different look for The E Street Band as the tour kicked off. Steve Van Zandt was off to pastures new and in his place Nils Lofgren! Wow, now that was a great choice! Also, hang on to your hats, there was a woman in the band! Patti Scialfa on backing vocals and percussion and as time moved on she also played guitar and of course ended up marrying Mr Springsteen...some jobs have their perks! During Rosalita when he's introducing the band he said, "that’s right folks, it’s not a mirage.....right here on stage with the E Street Band is a gi-gi-gi-gi....woman....Miss Patti Scialfa from the streets of Asbury Park!"

Eight songs from the new album Born In The U.S.A. were played - the only absent songs were Cover Me (debut performance was Night 3 at St. Paul), Darlington County which would debut on Night 2 at St. Paul, Downbound Train also played Night 3 at St. Paul, and I'm Goin' Down - which finally got a debut 17th August at the Brendan Byrne Arena in New Jersey.

The video for Dancing in the Dark was also filmed at the show and that's why it turns up twice on the bootleg copies of the show. 

One of the things I really love about this show is Springsteen is unafraid to do things a little different. I'm sure folks who went to the show were not expecting after the first three songs that they would get three on the bounce from the excellent Nebraska album and there would also be another two songs from the album.

In the 30 song set (31 if you include Dancing in the Dark played twice) it was loaded with the usual suspects from Springsteen's impressive catalogue Thunder Road, Prove It All Night, The River, Backstreets, Rosalita, Jungleland, Born To Run and of course the Detroit Medley to finish it all off. Prior to that they had played a cover of Rolling Stones Street Fighting Man (a song that featured on many of the shows but did have a few nights off).

 


Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 181 - Gang of Four


Entertainment! - Gang of Four
EMI
Produced by Gang of Four, Rob Warr and Rick Walton
Released 25th September 1979
UK Album Chart #45



Tracklist for Original Album Release
 A1 - Ether   
A2 - Natural's Not In It
A3 - Not Great Men   
A4 - Damaged Goods
A5 - Return The Gift
A6 - Guns Before Butter
B1 - I Found That Essence Rare
B2 - Glass
B3 - Contract
B4  - At Home (He's A Tourist)
B5 - 5.45   
B6 - Love Like Anthrax

Gang of Four
    Hugo Burnham – drums, vocals
    Dave Allen – bass guitar, vocals
    Andy Gill – guitar, vocals
    Jon King – vocals, melodica

The Debut Album from Leeds based Gang of Four is another little gem of a record that I haven't played in awhile and it's funny how some of the themes of the album are still particularly relevent today: Exploitation, Social and Political Conflict, Alientation, The Media and Challenging Concepts of Love.

The album contains re-recordings of two tracks from their Debut EP: Damaged Goods and Love Like Anthrax (the links here are for the original versions on Fast Records).

The single At Home He's A Tourist did make it onto the charts and they were offered a spot on Top of the Pops with the proviso that they changed the lyric "And the rubbers you hide in your top left pocket" to "And the rubbish you hide in your top left pocket" as the former would clearly cause some offence! The band point blank refused and their appearance was cancelled. The record was also banned by the BBC but on the John Peel Show in January 1979 they had recorded an early version of the song and the "offensive" word "rubbers" was not used but the actual product name "Durex" - which obviously would have caused some concern when they signed to EMI and no doubt would have faced some legal action by using a trademarked product hence the more common term "rubbers".

Whatever the situation though this caused some conflict between the band and the label and the company threw in their lot supporting a new band called Duran Duran and after their second album Solid Gold (released in 1981), Gang of Four were dropped.

Single from Entertainment!
At Home He's A Tourist / It's Her Factory
EMI
UK Chart #58

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Soundtrack4Life Concert Series: Robyn Hitchcock

Robyn Hitchcock is probably best known for his time with The Soft Boys and for his work with Venus 3 and the many records he released with his band The Egyptians. The two shows below are just him on his own with a guitar.

One is a longer show from a couple of years ago in Austria where he was playing with Gallon Drunk and the second one is a shorter performance filmed during SXSW in 2013 at a Bike Shop of all places.

He's quirky, funny and most of all he writes some spectacular songs.

Enjoy


Live at Chelsea
Austria
24th March 2014 
 

Live at Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop
Austin Texas
13th March 2013

Tracklist
The Abyss
Be Still
Olé! Tarantula
Sometimes A Blonde
I Love You
End of Time

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 180 - The Soft Boys

Underwater Moonlight - The Soft Boys
Armageddon
Produced by Pat Collier and Spaceward
Released 28th June 1980


A1     I Wanna Destroy You    
A2     Kingdom Of Love    
A3     Positive Vibrations    
A4     I Got The Hots    
A5     Insanely Jealous    
B1     Tonight    
B2     You'll Have To Go Sideways    
B3     Old Pervert    
B4     Queen Of Eyes    
B5     Underwater Moonlight

The Soft Boys
    Robyn Hitchcock – guitar, vocals, rhythm bass (A5)
    Kimberley Rew – guitar, vocals, bass (B2), synthesiser (B2)
    Matthew Seligman – bass
    Morris Windsor – drums, vocals

Additional personnel
    Gerry Hale – violin (A5, B5)
    Andy King – sitar (A3)

***********

Underwater Moonlight was the second album from The Soft Boys. It was not a huge seller, didn't make the charts and a large portion of sales were copies that were exported to other lands. But, like some albums that gain a status they never had when first released Underwater Moonlight is now highly regarded as an album that was born out of time. The world was not quite ready for an album that drew heavily upon breathtaking harmonies of The Byrds, 60's Garage Rock and the majestic surrealism of Syd Barrett. Many bands like R.E.M., The Replacements, The Pixies and even The Stone Roses clearly must have been listening to this particular album as it's influence is all over their early singles and albums.

They had formed in 1976 and for some odd reason I had assumed there were more albums than the two studio ones from 1979 and 1980 (but there has been a number of compilations) and one more album Nextdoorland which came out in 2002 after they reunited in 2001, sadly they broke up again in 2003. The first album was A Can of Bees in 1979. The band split in 1980 and three years later in following the break up Invisible Hits appeared that contained some lost songs and demos from sessions for the first two albums. There was also a number of singles and EP's released between 1977-2002.

Kimberly Rew went on to form Katrina and the Waves, he had actually been part of The Waves prior to joining The Soft Boys (this was something I actually was unaware of). 

Robyn Hitchcock went on to have a fruitful solo career (more than 20 albums) and also was part of a project called Venus 3 with Peter Buck of R.E.M., Scott McCaughey of Young Fresh Fellows and Bill Rieflin of Ministry and at the time also drummer for R.E.M.

Hitchcock's latest album, released in 2014, The Man Upstairs is a wee gem of an album, five original songs and five cover versions all done as only Hitchcock could do them.

I Wanna Destroy You was released as a single and it is also a song that has been covered by a number of bands down through the years: Sham 69, Uncle TupeloThe Circle Jerks, Sharon Van Etten, Pascal Briggs, to name just a few.

It's actually really good hearing this album again, it must be easily twenty years since I last heard it!

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Monday, 27 June 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 179 - The Motors

1 - The Motors
Virgin
Produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange
Released October 1977
UK Chart #46



The Motors were a band formed in London in 1977 by former Ducks Deluxe members Nick Garvey and Andy McMaster together with guitarist Rob Hendry (who was replaced in May 1977 by Bram Tchaikovsky) and drummer Ricky Slaughter (cousin of Knox from The Vibrators). Their biggest success was with the McMaster penned song Airport, a #4 UK hit single in 1978. Forget About You had reached #13 whilst their debut single Dancing the Night Away (which I think was their best) only got to #42.

Prior to the formation of The Motors Nick Garvey had been in a band called The Snakes with Robert Gotobed who would go on to form Wire after the band broke up after releasing one single.

Obviously due to the connections that Garvey and McMaster had from their days in Ducks Deluxe they were able to go from writing and recording demos in January 1977 to playing their debut show in March 1977 at The Marquee and followed that a few days later with their debut John Peel Session. By May 1977 they had signed with Virgin Records.

Between 1977 -1980 they released three albums (though the third album, Tenement Steps, was really just Garvey and McMaster backed by various session musicians). Bram Tchaikovsky left the band in 1978 following their show at Reading Festival and went solo.

The Third album did not chart in the UK but in the US crept into the lower reaches of the Billboard Chart (#174). After a series of singles from the album all failed to chart The Motors finally disbanded in 1982.

 Approved By The Motors - The Motors
Virgin
Produced by Andy McMaster, Nick Garvey, Peter Ker
Released May 1978
UK Chart #60



Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Sunday, 26 June 2016

45RPM: #93 Chelsea Girl - Simple Minds

Chelsea Girl / Garden of Hate - Simple Minds
Zoom
Produced by John Leckie
Released June 1979



A-Side: Chelsea Girl


Chelsea Girl was the second single from Simple Minds and was the follow up to Life in a Day. There's a pretty good Demo version of it floating around as well that some think is superior to the version released on the single.

The Single was also featured on the debut album Life in a Day.

It did not chart.


B-Side: Garden of Hate

Chelsea Girl
Old Grey Whistle Test 1979

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 178 - Dr. Ralph Stanley

 Ralph Edmund Stanley
25th February 1927 - 23rd June 2016
The Founding Father of Bluegrass


I only heard the news yesterday that Dr. Ralph Stanley had passed away, aged 89 from Skin Cancer. That happened on the 23rd June and yesterday I saw a tribute written by Mark Guarino on The Guardian website that I thought was quite good.

Dr Ralph Stanley had been making music since the 1940s along with his brother Carter. They recorded many singles (on 78rpm Discs) and also albums from 1958 onwards often under the banner of The Stanley Brothers and The Clinch Mountain Boys. In 1966 Carter passed away and Ralph took the helm.

In all the years he had been playing Bluegrass he had seen it's popularity wane many times but somehow or other it always seemed to bounce back into the public conciousness particulary when the film O Brother, Where Art Thou was released. One of the main songs on the Soundtrack was one that went right back to when Ralph was a young boy and his Daddy used to sing it - I'm a Man of Constant Sorrow. The Stanley Brothers recorded the song as a B-side to their 1951 single The Lonesome River for Columbia Records

Also on the Soundtrack was a song that Ralph had already recorded for three different projects and it's the song he ended up winning a Grammy in 2002 for The Best Country Vocal with - O Death. Just like I'm a Man of Constant Sorrow it's a song that dates back into the 1920s! It is also a song that he often finished his performances with.

The Lyrics of the song are pretty powerful and worth printing in full:


O, Death
O, Death
O, Death
Won't you spare me over another year
Well what is this that I can't see
With ice cold hands takin' hold of me
Well I am Death, none can excel
I'll open the door to Heaven or Hell
Whoa, Death someone would pray
Could you wait to call me another day
The children prayed, the preacher preached
Time and mercy is out of your reach
I'll fix your feet til you can't walk
I'll lock your jaw til you can't talk
I'll close your eyes so you can't see
This very hour, come and go with me
I'm Death I come to take the soul
Leave the body and leave it cold
To draw up the flesh off of the frame
Dirt and worm both have a claim

O, Death
O, Death
Won't you spare me over another
My mother came to my bed
Placed a cold towel upon my head
My head is warm my feet are cold
Death is a-movin' upon my soul
Oh, Death how you're treatin' me
You've close my eyes so I can't see
Well you're hurtin' my body
You make me cold
You run my life right outta my soul

Oh Death please consider my age
Please don't take me at this stage
My wealth is all at your command
If you will move your icy hand
The old, the young, the rich or poor
All alike to me you know
No wealth, no land, no silver no gold
Nothing satisfies me but your soul

O, Death
O, Death
Won't you spare me over til another year
Won't you spare me over til another year
Won't you spare me over til another year


The Complete Mercury Recordings
Recorded between 1953 & 1958.


The Stanley Brothers: 
Carter Stanley (vocals, guitar) and Ralph Stanley (vocals, banjo).

Other Personnel: 
Bill Lowe, Curley Lambert (vocals, mandolin); 
Ralph Mayo (vocals, fiddle); John Shuffler, 
George Shuffler (vocals); 
Charlie Cline (guitar); 
Roy Wiggins (steel guitar); 
Darrell "Pee Wee" Lambert, Jimmy Williams , Bill Napier (mandolin); Chubby Wise, Joe Meadows, Howard Forrester, Art Stamper, Benny Martin (fiddle). 

There is such a large amount of music that has sprung from Ralph Stanley down through the years. He rarely strayed from Bluegrass and Country and was even insturmental in the rise of Bluegrass Gospel gaining an audience.

There are loads of full albums by Ralph Stanley,  and The Stanley Brothers  on You Tube that are worth checking out. Just type in "Ralph Stanley Full Album".



Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Soundtrack4Life Concert Series: James Brown


Next in The Soundtrack4Life Concert Series is a real cracker. Filmed in 1968 at The Olympia in Paris it's in Black and White and features James Brown. Hope you enjoy this.



Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 177 - James Brown and The Famous Flames

Live At The Apollo - James Brown and The Famous Flames
King
Produced by James Brown
Released May 1963
Billboard Top Pop Chart #2




2004 Deluxe Edition with Bonus Tracks

I wanted to end this week of looking at some Live Albums with One of the Greatest Live Albums I think. I would totally disagree with the NME and their 50 Greatest Live Albums Ever which saw this classic James Brown album at only #37... and they had Jay-Z at #7!... What is the world coming to?

There's a few things I love about this album. First, the fact that James Brown believed in making this album even when his record label scoffed at the whole idea. He paid for it out of his own pocket. I wonder who had egg on their faces when on release it was a huge seller and spent 66 weeks on the charts!

Secondly, I love the legacy this album has.  In 2003, the album was ranked #25 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2004, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to The National Recording Registry. That's not bad for an album that was deemed "unprofitable" by his label King Records.

Thirdly, I love it for the music, which is of course the most important reason. Recorded at The Apollo Theater in Harlem on 24th October 1962 and featuring The Famous Flames who had also sung backing on many of his singles from 1956 right through until 1968.

The Famous Flames by the way were actually a band that James Brown was a member of and he emerged as the lead vocalist in time for their debut single release Please, Please, Please in 1956 (on Federal which was a subsidiary of King Records). They consisted of Bobby Byrd (who had founded the group in 1953), Lloyd Stallworth and Bobby Bennett. One of the greatest TV performances ever of  Please, Please, Please by James Brown is from the TAMI show in the Sixties, man I could watch that clip all day it's so magnificent (it was also used in the film The Commitments).

The original album only lasts 31 minutes and 31 seconds and Brown demonstrates what an incredible showman he was even back then as he raises the temperature through out the set and yet manages some sweeter, quieter moments only to burst into some of the finest R&B, Soul and Funk that you've ever heard.

They don't really make Live Albums like this anymore...maybe because there are so few artists around that can cause such an incredible stir in such a short space of time. I was so blown away listening to it again last night that I ended up playing it twice in a row, because it's that darn good!

Oh, and one last thing about the album that I totally love is MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer citing Live at the Apollo as the inspiration to Kick Out the Jams:

"Our whole thing was based on James Brown. We listened to Live at the Apollo endlessly on acid. We would listen to that in the van in the early days of 8-tracks on the way to the gigs to get us up for the gig. If you played in a band in Detroit in the days before The MC5, everybody did 'Please, Please, Please' and 'I Go Crazy.' These were standards. We modeled The MC5's performance on those records. Everything we did was on a gut level about sweat and energy. It was anti-refinement. That's what we were consciously going for."

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Friday, 24 June 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 176 - Simple Minds

Live In The City of Light - Simple Minds
Virgin
Produced by Bruce Lampcov
Released 11th May 1987
UK Charts #1


Tracklist for Original LP Release
Side 1
A1 - Ghost Dancing    
A2 - Big Sleep    
A3 - Waterfront    
A4 - Promised You A Miracle 
Side 2   
B1 - Someone Somewhere In Summertime    
B2 - Oh Jungleland    
B3 - Alive And Kicking 
Side 3   
C1 - Don't You Forget About Me    
C2 - Once Upon A Time    
C3 - Book Of Brilliant Things    
C4 - East At Easter  
Side 4  
D1 - Sanctify Yourself    
D2 - Love Song - Sun City - Dance To The Music (Medley)    
D3 - New Gold Dream 

Recorded live at Le Zenith, Paris in August 1986 except 'Someone Somewhere In Summertime', recorded live at Sydney Entertainment Centre, Australia in October 1986. The album was a record of the tour that followed the Once Upon A Time album and all the success that brought them. It was their first live album and their 8th album release.

Sometimes admitting to liking Simple Minds is a bit like going to a Rock Music Anonymous Meeting, "Hi, my name's Doug and I like Simple Minds!" You are bound to get a few nods of respect for standing up and saying it and maybe a few mumblings of "oh no, not another one of those! There's actually a separate meeting down the hall for you folk!" So you stumble off down the hall to Room 202 and you are greeted by the sad sight of people just like you struggling through life because you just happen to like Jim Kerr and co! What's worse about this group though is that the minute you admit to liking the Once Upon a Time album the mutterings from among the gathered can be heard quite clearly, "Oh really? Well there's no hope for that man!"

Why such an attitude exists I do not know. I have been a fan of Simple Minds going right back to the start with Life In A Day and although there are periods in their musical journey that have not appealed to me I've never point blank come out and said that I hated them or anything like that. As the years have passed even some of the things I maybe didn't like so much when they came out originally I have come to appreciate, and Once Upon A Time is actually an album I've always loved despite it's somewhat over production and pop sensibilities.

Their success (especially in America) of course came on the back  of the Don't You Forget About Me single that was taken from The Breakfast Club Soundtrack. Whilst not necessarily my favourite Simple Minds song by a large margin I can see the appeal. The problem with the song though is it's a bit like a weight around their necks just like Pretty in Pink is to The Psychedelic Furs - people expect to hear it every show they go to!

Only five songs from Once Upon A Time made it onto the Live in the City of Light album (Ghost Dancing, Oh Jungleland, Alive and Kicking, Once Upon A Time and Sanctify Yourself) and I do really like the album but it does have a problem, and it's one of my pet peeves, sometimes the band are just a little bit over indulgent in their stretching out of a number of songs. To me it seems totally unnecessary and can, depending on the mood listening to it, just make want to skip to the next track!


Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Rewind: Good Stuff - The B-52's (1992)



Good Stuff (Promo Video)
US Chart #28
UK Chart #21


Good Stuff was the 6th Studio Album from The B-52's and the first (and only) without Cindy Wilson (she took some time out in 1990 and would rejoin the band some years later). It would also be the last Studio Album from the band for 16 years until Funplex appeared in 2008!

A couple of compilation albums would be released and a few new songs appeared here and there in that time period.

I had felt that The B-52's had gained some new momentum with the release of the brilliant Cosmic Thing album in 1989 and was hoping it was to continue with this one but whilst the band didn't really stop playing shows etc the recording process did dry up (apart from a couple of singles) which is a real shame I think as on Good Stuff they had found a new funky edge to their sound courtesy no doubt to the presence of Nile Rodgers.


Good Stuff - The B-52's
Reprise
Produced by Nile Rodgers, Ross Titelman and Don Was
Released 23rd June 1992
US Chart #16
UK Chart #8

Tracklist
1) Tell It Like It T-I-Is
2) Hot Pants Explosion
3) Good Stuff
4) Revolution Earth
5) Dreamland
6) Is That You Mo-Dean?
7) The World's Green Laughter
8) Vision of a Kiss
9) Breezin'
10) Bad Influence

Personnel
Band
    Kate Pierson – vocals, keyboards
    Fred Schneider – vocals
    Keith Strickland – guitars, keyboards, vocals

Additional personnel
    Tawatha Agee – background vocals
    Zachary Alford – drums
    Nicholas Brown – bass
    Sterling Campbell – drums
    Lenny Castro – percussion
    Michelle Cobbs – background vocals
    John Fischer – vocals
    Richard Hilton – keyboards, piano
    James "Hutch" Hutchinson – bass on 2, 10
    Pat Irwin – guitar, keyboards, piano, Hammond organ
    Curtis King – background vocals
    Stephen "Doc" Kupka – baritone saxophone
    Sara Lee – bass on 5
    David McMurray – flute, saxophone
    Mo-Dean Intergalactic Choir – vocals
    Justin Masse – keyboards
    Jeff Porcaro – drums
    Gregory Purnhagen – vocals
    Nile Rodgers – guitar
    Tim Rollins – piano
    Amy Shulman – harp
    Lee Thornburg – trumpet
    Fonzi Thornton – background vocals
    Scott Totten – guitar
    Don Was – guitar
    Brenda White-King – background vocals
    Tracy Wormworth – bass on 1, 3, 4, 7

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 175 - Mods Mayday '79


Mods Mayday '79 - Various Artists
Bridge House Records
Released 21st September 1979

Original Tracklist
 A1–Secret Affair - Time For Action    
A2–Secret Affair - Let Your Heart Dance  
A3–Beggar - Don't Throw Your Life Away    
A4–Small Hours - Hanging In The Balance    
A5–The Mods - Tonight Is The Night    
A6–The Mods - Let Me Be The One    
A7–Squire  - B-A-B-Y Baby Love    
A8–Small Hours - Midnight To Six    
B1–Beggar - Broadway Show    
B2–Beggar - All Night    
B3–The Mods - Love Only Me    
B4–Squire - Walking Down The King's Road    
B5–Squire  - Live Without Her Love    
B6–Secret Affair - I'm Not Free (But I'm Cheap)    
B7–Small Hours - End Of The Night
This is an album that really gets the old memories flowing as I can remember so clearly the terrible battles that were going on between the Punks and The Mods at the time. There was quite a number of shows at various venues around London that combined Punk and Mod bands on the same bill - this was not always a good idea and rarely went off without an incident or five!

Infact, one such battle took place a few days before this particular album was recorded and it was between Forest Hill Punks and Forest Hill Mods. It was on General Election Day, the day that Thatcher came to power! Thinking back I couldn't tell you if either side won as there was a lot of blood spilled that day on both sides! I always found it quite bizzare though because many of The Mods had been Punks only weeks before! That was a different age and thank goodness some of us have grown up from our youthful tribalism!

I have to admit there were a number of the bands from The Mod Revival in the late 70s that I actually really liked (and I don't mean just The Jam because I had been listening to them and buying their records since 1977). I really liked Secret Affair (not many Punks would confess that but it doesn't bother me), mainly because I had liked their previous band the New Hearts with Ian Page and Dave Cairns and was happy to see that they hadn't totally given up after the band seemed to fizzle out after only two singles. I absolutely loved The Chords as well right from the first night I had seen them at The Wellington at Waterloo. Long Tall Shorty, Back To Zero, Teenbeats, Purple Hearts and a few others as well caught my attention.

"OK, this song's for all Mods everywhere! It's a song called Time for Action" - and so opens the original album from 1979 on Bridge House Records.  Ah yes, Time For Action, that rallying call to Mods everywhere to rise up and declare "We hate the Punk Elite", well thirty seven years later I think it is safe to say that most Mods and Punks totally misunderstood that lyric and took it as a cause to fight each other when the truth of the matter is that the Punks would have hated the "Punk Elite" as well for it was they who determined the attitude a Punk should have, what a Punk should wear, what a Punk should listen to etc...so much for old Johnny Rotten singing "I Wanna Be Me!" Punks weren't allowed to be themselves but were all conformed to what the likes of McLaren and Co. were telling them!
  
The album was recorded on the 7th May 1979 at The Bridge House in Canning Town. What I didn't really know at the time of release was that the first two songs on the album were actually the two final songs of the Secret Affair set that night in Canning Town.

It's funny because for years I've thought this album could have been so much better if there was just more than the three songs from the five bands represented: Secret Affair, Beggar, The Mods, Squire and Small Hours. The Merton Parkas would have been on it but I'm guessing that Beggars Banquet didn't grant permission to Bridge House Records to make use of anything from their set. 

It wouldn't be until Sanctuary released the expanded version (that did include The Merton Parkas) that this finally came true. You can hear the expanded version below. Whereas on the original release the bands only had three songs each Squire kick off with six songs, Beggar have five, The Mods still have their original three, Small Hours - six songs, The Merton Parkas have a short set of six songs and Secret Affair carry the whole album really (as they did on the original release) with a very strong 14 song set (though two of the songs played in the Encore had already been played during their normal set). But listening to the expanded album I find myself just wanting to listen to the Secret Affair Set! I think that mainly has to do with the fact that whilst there were elements of the other bands that were pleasing to the ear hearing the originally released three songs seemed enough!

I wasn't really that fond of Squire, Beggar, or The Mods but did like Small Hours and managed to see them a few times live. As for The Merton Parkas, well they were nice enough blokes but musically they were not as appealing as say The Chords, Purple Hearts, Long Tall Shorty or Secret Affair. I was pleased though to see Mick Talbot move on from the Parkas and get some success alongside Paul Weller in The Style Council.

There will probably be a few of my old Mod mates pulling out what little hair they have regarding some of the things I've said here but it's better to be honest isn't it and admit that we don't all like the same things (it would be a boring world if we did)!

This is probably not the best live album on the planet (although it made a big splash for many Mods) and I include it today merely because for some reason it came to mind last night and I had a little listen to it for the first time in maybe twenty years and I enjoyed hearing the original release, especially the Secret Affair tracks.


Disc One
Tracklist
1. It's A Mod Mod World (Squire)
2. The Face Of Youth Today (Squire)
3. I've Got You On My Mind (Squire)
4. B-A-B-Y Baby Love (Squire)
5. Walking Down The King's Road (Squire)
6. Live Without Her Love (Squire)
7. Don't Throw Your Life Away (Beggar)
8. All Night (Beggar)
9. Broadway Show (Beggar)
10. Friday Night (Beggar)
11. Doing Alright As I Am (Beggar)
12. Tonight's The Night (The Mods)
13. Let Me Be The One (The Mods)
14. Love Only Me (The Mods)
15. Underground (Small Hours)
16. The Mess (Small Hours)
17. Can't Do Without You (Small Hours)
18. Midnight To Six (Small Hours)
19. Hanging In The Balance (Small Hours)
20. End Of The Night (Small Hours)

Disc Two
Tracklist
1. Tears Of A Clown (Merton Parkas)
2. When Will It Be (Merton Parkas)
3. Plastic Smile (Merton Parkas)
4. I Don't Want To Know You (Merton Parkas)
5. Silent People (Merton Parkas)
6. What'd I Say (Merton Parkas)
7. Days Of Change (Secret Affair)
8. Glory Boys (Secret Affair)
9. Shake And Shout (Secret Affair)
10. Get Ready (Secret Affair)
11. My World (Secret Affair)
12. Sorry Wrong Number (Secret Affair)
13. Going To A Go-Go (Secret Affair)
14. Don't Look Down (Secret Affair)
15. Time For Action (Secret Affair)
16. Let Your Heart Dance (Secret Affair)
17. I'm Not Free (But I'm Cheap) (Secret Affair)
18. Time For Action (Encore) (Secret Affair)
19. Let Your Heart Dance (Encore) (Secret Affair) 

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Music is the Doctor: EU Referendum

Music is the Doctor makes a surprise return to tackle the issue at the heart of the EU Referendum vote tomorrow. I avoided songs like 'LEAVE my Kitten Alone' (Elvis Costello and others) so as not to upset the cat lovers! I also avoided 'LEAVING makes the Rain Fall' by Roy Orbison because that could be considered negative campaigning!
I also made a decision not to use 'STAY Where You Are' by The Olympics (an old Doo Wop song if you are interested) because The Olympics is a sporting event that takes place on a different day and we should never confuse Sports and Politics!
And with great purpose I avoided like the black plague using 'Making Your Mind Up' by Bucks Fizz because...well, Bucks Fizz are just not cool!

I should make it clear from the start that none of the songs used in the playlist are either in favour for an Exit nor are they supportive of Remaining. I just thought it would be fun to bring some songs together that might inspire you to go out tomorrow and vote (I have done so already as I use a Postal Vote).



On the Playlist
Should I Stay or Should I Go? - The Clash
Don't Leave Me This Way - The Communards
Stay - Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs
 Leaving Here - Motörhead
Everybody Leaves in the End - The Temper Trap
I Will Stay - We Are The Fallen
Stay Together - Suede
Leave or Stay - The Cars
Leave in Silence - Depeche Mode 
Stay Inside - The Cigarettes
Please Stay - Elvis Costello
Leaving Babylon - Bad Brains
Move On In and Stay - Ray Price
Leave the Capitol - The Fall
The In Crowd - Cheap Trick
Take It or Leave It - Madness
Let's Stay Together - Al Green
Safe European Home - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros


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