Thursday, 26 August 2010
Been having a dig back through some oldies this month, helped by a mysterious white cat.
1. Ed Bruce – “I’m Gonna Have A Party” (1964)
According to Wikipedia, Ed Bruce is a country music songwriter and singer best known for his 1975 hit “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”. I’ll have to listen to that one in bit but around here he’s best known for a couple of big voiced, string laden singles for Wand including this morose mid-tempo mover where he invites only heartache, blues, misery and memories of you to his party.
2. The Graham Bond Organization – “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolf?” (1965)
Bond, Baker, Bruce and Heckstall-Smith all hurtle headlong into Jimmy Smith’s instrumental desperate to steal the limelight. Bond wins of course, managing to play organ and mellotron simultaneously, and then organ and alto simultaneously. Magick.
3. The Distant Cousins – “Let It Ring” (1965)
I always imagined The Distant Cousins as a groovy moptopped beat combo a la Standells. They weren’t. Raymond L Bloodworth and L Russell Brown actually looked disappointingly square, not that you’d ever have guessed from this infectious and irresistible would-be Merseybeat stomper.
4. Etta James – The Same Rope (1967)
The indomitable Ms James has a message for her wayward lover: “The same rope that pulls you up – sure can hang you”. Consider yourself warned, boy.
5. The Us Too – “The Girl With The Golden Hair” (1967)
Like countless others, Cincinnati band The Us Too served up covers to the local kids at the hop. What those kids made of this moody garage rocker with a wonky organ and a runaway flute is anyone’s guess.
6. Powder – “Gladly” (1968)
I’d forgotten how brilliant Powder were until revisiting their Biff! Bang! Powder compilation the other day. The closest thing the US had to The Who in their pop art pomp.
7. Big Joe Turner – “Two Loves Have I” (1969)
“Two loves have I, and both of them are you”. Big Joe’s ode to his schitzo girlfriend was a big hit around Shoreditch and Old Street back in the halcyon days of 2002. “Shoobie-doo, shoobie-doo”.
8. The Stairs – “Fall Down The Rain” (1992)
9. The Coral – “Two Faces” (2010)
Sounds more like an amalgamation of The Byrds, The Hollies and Buffalo Springfield than even Crosby, Stills and Nash.
10. Pocketbooks – “Sweetness and Light” (2010)
Who or what replaced yuppies? Pocketbooks sound like a bunch of them who, when collecting Joshua and Honeypot from playgroup, pinch their kids’ instruments and tunelessly lisp passages from their novels-in-progress over the backing of toy drums and Bontempi organ. I can find no rational explanation for playing their Flight Paths album at least twenty times this month but I have, and bizarrely love it.
Monday, 23 August 2010
Keith Moon would've been 64 today. There was more chance of him growing up to present Newsnight. Here The Who record "Pictures Of Lily" in early '67. Raise your glass and enjoy, dear boy.
Sunday, 22 August 2010
It’s been scientifically proven it’s not possible to make great music if you have hair stuck above your top lip. The penny seems to have dropped at Shindig! this month who’ve had a smart revamp and the new issue is the most mod friendly for ages: articles/interviews with The Birds, The Remains and The Purple Hearts, an in-depth look at Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush, half a million reviews and barely a moustache in sight. That would be enough in itself but it now comes with a Happening! supplement focusing on current bands and events to keep things moving forward. Plus – there’s more – a 21 track download (Mojo take note) featuring the likes of the Len Price 3, The Fallen Leaves and Race Horses. The best music magazine just got better.
Increasingly available from better stocked newsagents or see shindig-magazine.com, priced £4.95.
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Like The Kinks, I gotta move. Something to do with this new age of austerity I keep hearing about. And a fiscal position. Most of these words are new to me but moving isn’t and having a bit of a life laundry isn’t either. But this time it’s serious. The amount of accumulated “stuff” takes up the best part of a room, and extra rooms cost money. So, it’s got to go. I’m mainly talking albums and CDs (everything must go), books (bar my Beat Generation and Bukowski ones) and DVDs (videos anyone?).
I binned two thirds of my books three years ago and haven’t missed them. Been quite liberating in a way. It only meant re-buying a few when I wanted to read them again. Getting shot of the records is tougher but the pragmatic part of my brain says if I fancy listening to Beggar’s Banquet or Otis Blue then it only takes a couple of clicks on the internet and hey presto. Yeah, it’s not the same: running your finger along the spines, stopping, pulling an album from the shelf, turning over the cover, dropping the record out the inner sleeve, realizing it’s always facing the wrong side you want, spinning it over, placing it on the turntable without leaving finger prints, lifting the arm and plonking it on the edge of the vinyl, the little thud, the crackle, the pop, and Keith Richards cranking up and we’re off. Ah, you can’t put a price on that.
Well, actually you can. About 50p if you’re lucky. One unfortunate side affect of having a clear out is the demoralizing and depressing act of taking piles of your life to second hand shops and dealing with the emotional retards that work there. I’ve some sympathy: queues of numpties getting the royal arse because they’re offered tuppance for their complete collection of Kaiser Chiefs CDs would test the patience of the kindest soul, but a touch of humanity and understanding wouldn’t go a miss rather than being made to feel you’re begging a toothless crack ridden prostitute for a hand job.
Some bits and bobs are going on eBay every few days (advanced search > by seller > markfayre) but it’s such a torturous teeth-pulling exercise it only scratches the surface. So, if you’re missing any volumes from Pebbles or Rubbles collections, if you’re looking for Seeds or Curtis Mayfield reissues, if you’re desperate for '80s James Brown compilations, Primal Scream promos, or you want my Beggar’s Banquet – let me know, otherwise the charity shops of London Town get ‘em.
Sunday, 15 August 2010
Sunday, 8 August 2010
Not only is Double Breasted a well put together and attractively designed fanzine, it also manages to make the mod scene look like a forward thinking, intelligent and vibrant place to be.
The usual fanzine fayre of club, gig and record reviews are supplemented by interesting more left-field articles. I’d never heard the word “maven” until Neil Lee’s piece and Richard Searle informs me there are skateboarding mods (yes, really). Cristina Alonso’s guide to Barcelona should see EasyJet’s profits rise, Mace also does his bit for air travel with flying to the States on record buying trips, and Claudia Elliott and Jonathan Marsh suggest further reading.
Lots more to discover within its 36 glossy A5 pages. Three quid includes P&P. Find them on Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
I’ve today finished reading two memoirs recounting the 1970s: Nick Kent’s Apathy For The Devil and Vic Templar’s Taking Candy From A Dog. The titles alone suggest two very different beasts. Kent’s is an triple pronged cautionary tale of rock and roll, journalism and drug addiction; the likes of which only seem to happen to other people: flying to America to hang out with David Bowie and Iggy Pop, taking massive lines of heroin and cocaine for breakfast with Keith Richards, and playing in an early incarnation of the Sex Pistols. None of these things happened to me. Templar’s is the everyday heartwarming story of football heroes, boyhood dreams and loving families: travelling to Pontins and Westward Ho! for holidays, eating Count Dracula ice lollies with your sister, and creating major sporting events in the back garden. All of these things happened to me.
Written through the eyes of a frequently bemused and incredulous child/teenager, with the chapters interspersed by the savvy interruptions of a sock monkey, it sounds twee, cheesy and to be avoided but it’s far from it - Taking Candy From A Dog is one of the funniest books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Wonderfully told with keen detail and dry wit, some of the dialogue had tears of laughter streaming down my face. I’ve said before I’m no fan of nostalgia, mainly because of the implication things were better in the past when often it’s the brain’s useful capability to filter out most of the shit, but Templar skillfully manages to plant little seeds that nudge the memory to recall much more than “do you remember Spangles?” I thought of so many things about my own childhood and family and uncles and Grandparents that otherwise would have been lost forever.
If there was any justice Taking Candy From A Dog would fly off tables in Waterstones and you’d see people smiling to themselves on the tube in the mornings. It's a shame there’s more chance of a line off Keith Richards.
Taking Candy From A Dog by Vic Templar is published by Blackheath Books, priced £10. www.blackheathbooks.org.uk
Apathy For The Devil by Nick Kent is published by Faber, priced £12.99