Thursday, 16 November 2017


“Suddenly it was like the whole world hated us. Which I was perfectly fine with, it meant we were doing something right.” John Lydon

As public enemy number one – attacked in the streets, arrested, vilified in the press, banned from venues, banned in shops, banned from the radio, bouncing between record labels, heroin addiction, hepatitis, at war with McLaren – 1977 was, to put it mildly, a tumultuous year for the Sex Pistols.

The Sex Pistols 1977: The Bollocks Diaries recounts the events, blow-by-blow, in a hard-back album-sized new book published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Never Mind The Bollocks.

Starting the year with the Grundy, “You dirty fucker”, incident still reverberating from December and Glen Matlock soon replaced by Sid Vicious, and ending flying to the US for a tour that’ll see Rotten, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”, spilt the band two weeks into ’78, there’s rarely a dull moment.

Told through photographs, cuttings, memorabilia and interviews with the band and their entourage, it’s a chaotic tale of no fun. For all the uproar and agitation they caused – deliberately and inadvertently – at the heart of the Sex Pistols was a band, and Lydon in particular, who wanted to make music. The distractions and hullabaloo meant even surviving the year and recording Bollocks was something of an achievement, that it still sounds today like a tremendous “grinding juggernaut” is a minor miracle.

Film and television documentaries, CD box sets, reunion gigs, mugs, lanyards, coffee table books and whatever else might not be “punk”, and the Sex Pistols have been systematically homogenised, but sticking on that near-perfect album and reading through The Bollocks Diaries is a welcome reminder of when – and setting aside all the lasting cultural influence for a moment – the simple act of being in a band was dangerous, thrilling, challenging and a right pain in the bollocks for everyone.

The Sex Pistols 1977: The Bollocks Diaries as told by the Sex Pistols, is published by Cassell Illustrated. Out now.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


Apologies for the late postponement a couple of weeks ago but the fine folk at Fusion have juggled the schedule so, if the good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise, Monkey's Wandering Wireless Show will return to the airwaves this Sunday.

As usual it'll be an hour of great music (mostly but not exclusively from the 60s) interrupted on occasion by a barely coherent Bailey's-soaked gibbon.

If that sounds like your idea of fun then tune in. Hit the link below in time for a 8.30pm lift off. And if you fancy it, sign up to Mixlr beforehand or during to join the chat throughout the show with fellow Fusion comrades.

See ya there.

Saturday, 11 November 2017


Jim Jones & the Righteous Mind, E17, 10 November 2017
If a ten-piece rock and roll gospel group can’t lift yer spirits, especially when it’s The Future Shape of Sound, then the musical component of your soul is sorely malfunctioning. The sight alone – five sleek and stylish ladies and five dapper hatted gentlemen– is heavenly and their testifying, boogie blues for Jesus, with titles such as ‘Joy’ and ‘Rise Up’ soar and keep lifting higher and higher. A corner of East London transformed into a Louisiana chapel. Good God almighty.

It’s been a gradual process, but Jim Jones & the Righteous Mind are becoming sufficiently distanced from their predecessors, the Jim Jones Revue. The bands aren’t a million miles apart, more like neighbouring towns, but their method of attack differs. The Revue would slash and burn, inflict wounds with razor sharp knives; whereas the Righteous Mind bludgeon using a relentless rhythmic assault with sticks and stones. The Revue meshed the MC5’s manifesto with Jerry Lee Lewis’s great balls of fire; the Mind conjure gothic spells, summon witches and dark spirits, boil your blood, shake chicken bones and rabbits’ feet.

Jim Jones, like in all his previous bands, commands every nook and cranny of the stage, the audience, the room and your blackened soul. This is a man calls, “Let me hear you say yeah!” boarding a number 48 bus and passengers respond "YEAH!" automatically. It's a gift. Tracks from recent debut album Super Natural - ‘No Fool’ ‘Aldecide’, ‘Heavy Lounge, Part 1’, ‘Til It’s All Gone’ - with Jim’s throaty demonic howl and chanting Minds, cook up a spicy gumbo stew greedily devoured by the congregation locked in a foot stomping and hand clapping voodoo trance.

Two bands - one shining a light, the other flicking it off – making a believer in the Church of Rock ‘n’ Roll outta me.
The Future Shape of Sound, E17, 10 November 2017

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


The latest Heavy Soul collection brings together acts from its own label and other combos loosely inhabiting the edges of the Mod universe.

Originality isn’t the name of the game but those expecting Rickenbacker bashing and songs about kids looking for a direction will be disappointed or delighted to hear next to nothing along those lines. The bands fall broadly into two camps: shiny, blue-eyed soul popsters and slightly down at the Cuban heel, grubby beat merchants.

The abysmally named Cow redeem themselves by kicking off proceedings with ‘Hit Me Inside’, a gloriously sunny northern soul style gem to warm the heart. The Sha La Las sing from a similar hymn sheet to Stone Foundation with the mellow soul groove of ‘Leave The Hurtin’ Inside’; less gloss and polish than their more illustrious peers which is no bad thing. Aunt Nelly pounds her funky organ to bring back BritPop memories of the Charlatans and Kula Shaker mixed with Marsha Hunt on ‘Move On’ while King Mojo’s recruitment of Graham Day on production duties is an indication of where they’re coming from (stylistically that is; geographically they’re from North Yorkshire) and the rollicking ‘Glad!’, with the ol’ blues harp accompaniment, adds to their feverish R&B. Four songs in, all using Hammond organ, all very good.

The continental flair of French Boutik’s ‘Le Casse’ is no less a treat and a fine entry point for those unfamiliar with 2016’s Front Pop. As for The Deep 6, it’s not the song so much as the recording quality that lets ‘Don’t Worry About Me’ down. Some bands suit a cheap, recorded-in-the-shed-on-a-4-track lo-fi sound whereas The Deep 6’s Freddie & the Dreamers/Herman’s Hermits pop could do with a more punchier production. Even without knowing anything about The Lost Boys it’s apparent these are a product of a later generation than the rest of side one. ‘China In The Sink’ isn’t a political observation on assertive state capitalism driven by Beijing but a fusing of Oasis and Arctic Monkeys influences.

Side two is more beaty and Logan’s Close more (early to mid-period) Beatles than anyone else here with ‘Listen To Your Mother’, who, I guess, should know. The Pacers caveman stomp their way to ‘A&E’ and The See No Evils get their jangles out for ‘The Love Has Gone Away’. The Beatpack head to the Ealing Club/Eel Pie Island for ‘I’ll Dance’ and The Mourning After follow a similar route with the maraca shaking noise of ‘Cross My Heart’. Best of this bruising bunch is The Chessmen who, despite choosing a title (‘Cunning Linguist’) amusing to only 15-year-old boys, hurtle through their punky adrenaline-soaked romp spouting indecipherable gibberish at unsuspecting passers-by. The Galileo 7’s broadly pop-psych ‘Cold Hearted Stowaway’, is the hardest track to pin down due to not wearing its influences so obviously; perhaps no coincidence it’s the strongest track on side two and among the best tracks the band have done so far.

Listeners will pick their favourites - there’s nothing I particularly dislike here, no tracks requiring a leap from the settee to skip - and while the majority of the bands seem comfortable occupying their own little niche a few offer more ambition. The personnel across the volume is peppered with familiar names from bands stretching back to the 80s and 90s (The Prisoners, Makin’ Time, The Threads, The Clique, The Mystreated etc), reflecting an aging scene, so it’s a pity Heavy Soul’s prodigious young talent, the prolific Paul Orwell, is conspicuous by only providing the artwork.

A short version of this review appears in the current issue of Shindig! magazine. I Know That I Got A Heavy Soul Volume 3 is available on LP and CD (with six extra tracks) from Heavy Soul Records.

Monday, 6 November 2017


Wow, look at these. Short and silent film rushes from Swingin’ London: The West End, Carnaby Street, King’s Road.

These have recently been made available by The Kinolibrary, an independent agency specialising in archive footage from around the world. How brilliant everyone and everything looks. See for yourself.

Thursday, 2 November 2017


Clockwise from top: Paul Weller (Style Council), Zoot (The Z), Tim Burgess (Charlatans), Paul Orwell
Jerry Dammers (The Special AKA), Simone Marie Butler (Primal Scream), Jazzie B (Soul II Soul), The Lucid Dream
Musicians, your help is required. Not in this case to enrich our culture and lives with your creativity and artistic flair but to add support to the NHS1000Musicians campaign. The project has been run with a series of NHS fundraisers and aims to promote the wider issues around the NHS.

Initiated by music journalist Lois Wilson, whose contributions to Mojo I always gravitate to first, the premise is simple: musicians take a photo of themselves with a sign in support of the NHS. It can be something personal or something simple like #OurNHS. The plan is to get 1000 musicians taking part and is currently 200 from reaching the target. You don’t need to be a household name like Paul Weller, Jerry Dammers, the Lucid Dream or Tara from Five Thirty, only a musician of any kind with a wish to publicly demonstrate your support of the NHS.

There will be the cynical and sceptical amongst you but to my mind any small thing to keep the NHS in the public eye and to demonstrate solidarity with its workers can only be a good thing.

The Twitter account to send pictures to is @NHS1000Maestros or, if not on The Twitter, I can pass them on. Please feel free to share this post. Thank you.
Rachel Jean Harris, Mick Talbot (Merton Parkas), Cabbage, Diane Shaw
Richard Hawley (Longpigs), Vic Godard (Subway Sect), Tara Milton (Five Thirty), Rhys Webb (Horrors)
Johnny Marr (Electronic), Edgar Summertyme (The Stairs), Katie Pooh Stick, Debbie Smith (Echobelly)

Sunday, 29 October 2017


1.  Roy Milton – ‘Big Fat Mama’ (1947)
Roy wants a big fat mama, big and round, who can really go to town, a fine butterbowl, plenty mama to hold, who knows just what to do. I dare say he didn’t go short of offers after this.

2.  Gladys Knight & the Pips – ‘In My Heart I Know It’s Right’ (1966)
Of yes! Unreleased uptempo Gladys from 1966! That’s gotta be right!

3.  Eddie Gale – ‘Black Rhythm Happening’ (1969)
Imagine if the kids who lived Sesame Street joined forces with the Black Panthers and called on trumpeter Eddie Gale to lead the party.

4.  Hugh Masekela – ‘Gettin’ It On’ (1969)
Slipping and a’sliding funk bomb. If ya can’t get on this groove you’re beyond help my friend.

5.  PP Arnold – ‘Born’ (1970)
Languishing in the vaults all this time, PP Arnold’s The Turning Tide album was released this month and sounds fresh as a daisy. Written and produced Barry Gibb, ‘Born’ steps out of church with a Stonesy swagger.

6.  Leroy Hutson – ‘Could This Be Love’ (1974)
Out now on Acid Jazz, the double LP Anthology 1972-84 offers a superb introduction into the slick soul moves of The Man, Leroy Hutson.

7.  Girls At Our Best! – ‘Getting Nowhere Fast’ (1980)
“I am pretty smart, I don't do what they want me to/ I don't and nor do you, that's what the general public do”. Proper old post-punk indie classic.

8.  Manic Street Preachers – ‘No Surface All Feeling’ (1996)
With nothing to promote it’s been a quiet period for the Manics so thought their Q Awards show last week might be a little lacklustre but far from going through the motions they played a blinder with Nicky Wire is fine spirits (usually a gage to Manics performances). Could quibble with song choices but hearing this, and ‘Everything Must Go’, always brings a lump to the throat and ‘A Song For Departure’ from Lifeblood was a welcome surprise. Oh, and Sleaford Mods were tremendous fun.

9.  The Solar Flares – ‘Moonshine of Your Love’ (2004)
The two special shows by the Solar Flares this month highlighted how unjustly they fell through the gaps – particularly the second half of their tenure. ‘Moonshine of Your Love’ from the overlooked Laughing Suns mixes pulsating Deep Purplesque rock, sci-fi theme tunes and Memphis-style horns.

10.  The Lovely Eggs – ‘I Shouldn’t Have Said That’ (2017)
Holly and David Egg’s style of apology is to batter the ears with a two-minutes of gobbing, gobby fuzz mayhem.  You are forgiven.