Monday, 28 October 2013


1.  The Moontrekkers – “Night of the Vampire” (1961)
When North London kids The Raiders auditioned for Joe Meek he was less than impressed with 16 year old singer Rod Stewart. Duly dumped, the now instrumental band were rewarded by creeping into the Top 50 with their first single, complete with Meek screams and a ban from the BBC for being “unsuitable for people of a nervous disposition”.

2.  The Vontastics – “Lady Love” (1966)
Do The Vontastics really sing “She’s a man and I love her so” in the first twenty seconds of this Impressions-style 45? No matter how many times I listen (and it’s a lot) that’s what I always hear.

3.  MC5 – “Looking At You” (1968)
Completed in 2002 but prevented a full release by Wayne Kramer, David C. Thomas and Laurel Legler’s documentary film MC5: A True Testimonial sneaked its way onto YouTube last week. There’s so much to admire about the MC5: their attitude, style, politics, wilful anti-establishment stance but what comes across most vividly from the bountiful footage is what an untouchable force they were as a live act. The original single version of “Looking At You” is the best studio capture of their sound.

4.  Bob Seger System – “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” (1968)
Was sent this song the other day and told it had my name all over it. How right they were.  Foot stomping, hand clapping, organ propelled Detroit garage rock. Tamer than the MC5 but then what isn’t? 

5.  The Eddy Jacobs Exchange – “Pull My Coat” (1969)
Funky just isn’t a strong enough word for this tough JBs style bomb.

6.  Leon Thomas – “Bag’s Groove” (1970)
There’s nothing Leon likes more than to break out into a prolonged bout of scat singing. A couple of tracks on The Leon Thomas Album break the ten minute barrier so first ease yourself in gently with this more manageable three minutes of shoo-be-doo-be-doo-wop gibberish set to a swinging groove.

7.  Bob Dylan – “Spanish Is The Loving Tongue” (1970)
This previously unreleased take from the recent Another Self Portrait finds Bobby gently crooning and tinkering the ivories. The ten volumes of his Bootleg Series alone wipe the floor with everyone else.

8.  The Kinks – “Nobody’s Fool (Demo Version)” (1972)
Written by Ray Davies and used as the title music for the second series of TV drama Budgie, starring Adam Faith as the consistently unlucky charismatic rogue/unscrupulous bastard title character (“I’ve bleedin’ stood for it again, ain’t I?”). The telly version was released as a single by a studio concoction christened Cold Turkey (thought by many – incorrectly - to be The Kinks under alias). Ray’s demo can now be found on the new deluxe edition of Muswell Hillbillies.

9.  Robyn Hitchcock – “Brenda’s Iron Sledge” (1981)
I’m unfashionably late to the Hitchcock party but what a wonderful discovery Black Snake Diamond Role is. If you like Syd Barrett, fill your boots. 

10.  Morrissey and Siouxsie – “Interlude” (1994)
I usually hate the early chapters of autobiographies but Morrissey’s incredible purple prose, turn of phrase and eye for detail about growing up in dark and brutal Manchester in the 60s and 70s makes the first 100 pages of his the exception. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


Jukebox 7"s co-host Long John spins a round vinyl thing.
Friday’s inaugural Jukebox 7’s night went down pretty in the Elixir Bar up from Euston. The non-purist musical melting pot worked and the good sized mixed crowd cottoned on to what was happening, illustrated by the requests I received: The Ramones, MGMT, “some northern soul”, Joy Division, Curtis Mayfield and The Vaccines. All of which could’ve been played and some of which was.

Initially the plan was for the night to run monthly but to preserve the vibe of Friday night, and to ensure its constantly keep it fresh, promoters Long John and Louie Markey have decided that a more sporadic time scale between parties will benefit all future editions of the Jukebox 7"s series. A wise move. I was lucky enough to spin a couple of sets alongside fellow DJs John, Louie and Miles. This’ll give a flavour of the night.
The Impressions – Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey) (1969)
The Poets – She Blew A Good Thing (1966)
Mouse & The Traps – Cryin’ Inside (1968)
The Horrors – Count In Fives (2006)
The Byrds – Feel A Whole Lot Better (1965)
The Hollies – Look Through Any Window (1965)
The Higher State – Potentially (Everyone Is Your Enemy) (2013)
Bob Dylan – Subterranean Homesick Blues (1965)
Mark Markham and his Jesters – Malboro Country (1966)
Eddy Jacobs Exchange – Pull My Coat (1969)
Five Thirty – 13th Disciple (1991)
James Brown – Hot Pants (1971)
Rufus Thomas – Turn Your Damper Down (1969)
Dave Berry – Don’t Give Me No Lip Child (1964)
Brian Auger and the Trinity – Tiger (1968)
Camera Obscura – Let’s Get Out Of This Country (2006)
Teenage Fanclub – I Don’t Want Control Of You (1997)

Aretha Franklin – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1967)
Nolan Porter – If I Could Only Be Sure (1972)
The Kinks – She’s Got Everything (1968)
The Clash – Tommy Gun (1978)
The Ramones – Sheena Is A Punk Rocker (1977)
Manic Street Preachers – Motown Junk (1991)
The Libertines – What A Waster (2002)
The Isley Brothers – This Old Heart Of Mine (1966)
Marjorie Black – One More Hurt (1965)
Darrow Fletcher – The Pain Gets A Little Deeper (1965)
Rufus Lumley – I’m Standing (1966)
Ray Scott and the Scotsmen – Right Now (1966)
Gary Criss – My Baby Left Me (1965)
Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames – Green Onions (1964)
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


Here's something for the diary if you fancy a night of drinking and merriment in ye olde London Town to a pile of dusty old (and maybe a few new) 7 inch records. The plan - such as there is one - is to mix it up with a bit of this, that and the other. It'll be pretty random and varied. Soul, psych, punk, funk, indie, rhythm & blues etc. Might work, might not, but should be good fun with plenty of surprises.

It's being put on by partner in crime and EyePlug scribe Long John and Louie Markey and I'll be one of the guest DJs on the opening night alongside Miles Macleod. I’ve already packed a box including The Action, James Brown, Big Maybelle, The Buzzcocks and Baby Strange. The trick is gonna be to play them in something resembling a logical order.

Come and join us. Friday 18th October 2013 at the Elixir Bar, 162 Eversholt Street, Camden, NW1, 8pm until 3am. Admission a deep sea diver.

Sunday, 6 October 2013


Keeping with this week’s Gene Clark theme, here – two years after recording “Gene Clark” on their Thirteen album - Teenage Fanclub perform a faithful cover of “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better” on Channel 4's The White Room. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


Gene Clark did go it alone but it was his refusal to fly which contributed to his departure from The Byrds, less than a year after “Mr Tambourine Man” catapulted the band to number 1 on the singles chart and had them heralded as America’s Beatles.

Jack and Paul Kendall’s new film The Byrd Who Flew Alone doesn’t make it entirely clear whether Clark walked completely voluntary or was pushed but when a panic stricken Gene suddenly got off a plane about to fly to New York his band colleagues weren’t in any hurry to offer much sympathy or persuade him to stay. David Crosby admits it would’ve been impossible to find five more completely different human beings, and when Clark – as their lead singer and main songwriter – was allegedly presented with a cheque for $47,000 and bought a Porsche whilst the others received $4,000 and caught buses it did nothing to bring the band closer together.

Forever grounded, Clark would never achieve those heights again despite a host of figures – including a very likeable David Crosby - now cueing up to declare him and prolific songwriter and genius. “He sang from his heart and he had great songs. Why didn’t it work? That’s the question,” says Chris Hillman. Using archive footage (some never seen before) and new interviews with the three original surviving Byrds, family, friends, record company owners and musicians, the Kendall’s attempt to find out.

His final manager, Saul Davis, states Gene should be regarded and remembered as at least the equal to Gram Parsons and the Father of Americana. Parsons though had the misfortune/good business sense to die at arguably his musical peak and leave a tidy back catalogue whereas Clark soldiered on through a fragmented career of folk, rock and roll and country, never quite able to find a neat fit in the music industry nor cope with the pressures (and pleasures) brought by fame. Carla Olson feels Gene was ahead of his time but Sid Griffin repeatedly claims Gene kept missing the ship leaving the harbour, in particular in the early 70s - the age of the singer/songwriter - a period which was should’ve been tailor made to suit Clark’s sensitive talent and ethereal qualities.    

Two Gene Clark’s emerge. The first is the relaxed poet, living a quiet family life in the woods near Mendocino, and the second is the boozy nightmare stomping around LA forever burning bridges. Not suited to taking any kind of drug, he took most of them: from booze and joints in the Byrds; to Martinis and LSD with Doug Dillard; cocaine; and eventually heroin. Whenever success came (or rather when the big money came like it did when Tom Petty covered “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better”) it would bring out the worst in him.

We hear A&M Records released him as he wasn’t prepared to do much promotion for his stunning second solo LP White Light (1971) yet blamed Asylum boss David Geffen for not doing enough to get behind what is now considered by many his masterpiece – 1974’s No Other – launching himself across a restaurant table to grab him Geffen around the throat. Punching the lights out of one of the most powerful men in Hollywood wasn't the wisest career move.

From there on his career remained mostly in the shadows unless reunited with whichever former Byrd was doing the rounds but he kept plugging away through the hard times – including the removal of much of his stomach - until his death in 1991 from a bleeding ulcer, aged 46. The film does a fine job in giving equal measure to all aspects of his career and ends with a captivating and poignant home-video performance of “I Shall Be Released”. I was already a fan but The Byrd Who Flew Alone has reignited my admiration for Gene Clark and is a worthy tribute to the man and his music.

The Byrd Who Flew Alone: The Triumphs and Tragedy of Gene Clark is released via Four Sun Productions on 1st November 2013.