Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Falling out of love with professional football (1-20)

  1. The venal nature of this mid season World Cup
  2. The infernal sponsors 
  3. Ronaldo
  4. The false humility 
  5. The hypocrisy of the pundits 
  6. The relentless alliteration of the over practiced commentators 
  7. The tinkering with the rules for the sake of trying to remain somehow relevant 
  8. The mind-numbing interviews
  9. Referees with names on their shirts
  10. Simon Jordan
  11. Oil States buying up the top tier teams
  12. Hedge funds buying up 2nd tier teams
  13. Film stars buying up smaller teams
  14. PR agencies and player agents just f'in things up
  15. 24/7 coverage with nothing new to say
  16. WAGS
  17. The number of footballers currently on rape/sexual abuse charges
  18. Ticket prices
  19. Racist fans
  20. Clubs hi-jacked by the wealthy outfits...

Friday, 25 November 2022

Honest Playlist - The Guardian

The first single I bought

As previously covered in 13 songs, I actually bought 2 singles the first time I went record buying, both 7’s were by T.Rex one was ‘20th Century Boy’ and the other was ‘Solid Gold Easy Action’. Two fine slabs of glam and a perfect way to start a record collection. Sadly, both were lost in one of my numerous 1980’s house moves.

My karaoke go-to

Despite singing live in bands for years, I don’t really enjoy karaoke. However, ‘Avenues & Alleyways’ by Tony Christie is my nailed on go to track, solely because it was Ray Winstone’s character in “Love, Honour & Obey” choice of Karaoke number. Also, it has got a soaring aspect to it that even I struggle to suppress. 

I did have the distinct pleasure though of once singing in Tokyo Karaoke Club, whilst on holiday with my ex-wife. The song that time? ‘Anarchy in the UK’ of course!

The song I inexplicably know every lyric to

Well, hardly inexplicably, more inevitably. ‘Down in the Tube Station at Midnight’ is lodged well and truly on my mental hard drive. Weller’s classic tale of late-night violence on the London Underground is full of rich imagery and suburban misery. A beautiful prose poem set to a jagged rush post-punk groove. “… they smelt of pubs and Wormwood Scrubs and too many right-wing meetings”. Superb! 

Everyone in my school year knew the full lyrics. One enterprising pupil copied it lock, stock and barrel for his English O- level when challenged to write either an essay or a poem about a train or bus terminus. He got an A pass! 

The last song I streamed

Most probably Walking Home by my own band The Butterfly House. Not for any reasons of vanity I’m just determined to see if I can actually ever receive a single payment from Spotify or iTunes. After 3 years streaming, no luck yet!

The best song to play at a party

Either ‘Get up offa that thing’ by James Brown, ‘Long Shot Kick de Bucket’ by The Pioneers or ‘Al Capone’ by Prince Buster would be my first choices. You can’t really go wrong with the Godfather of Soul or indeed any Ska/BlueBeat. The infectious rhythm of Ska will make any party go! 

The song I’d want for my stadium entrance music

I have absolutely no desire for stadium entrance music, although if contractually obligated then it would most probably be one of the following: Henry Purcell’s Music for the funeral of Queen Mary (The title music from A Clockwork Orange) or The Blue Blue Third by Rip, Rig & Panic 

The songs I want played at my funeral

·       You only live twice - Nancy Sinatra

·       Au fond du Temple Saint – Bizet

·       Jerusalem – William Blake

·       Sweet Soul Music – Arthur Conley

·       Boy about town – The Jam

·       Plus plus….

The song I can’t help singing

I do have a very annoying tendency to sing gibberish songs but I often find myself coming back to ‘Guantanamera’, which is a very annoying earworm. Failing that ‘Bed & Breakfast Man’ by Madness is never too far from my lips.

The song I can’t stand

I’m not a fan of ‘We are the champions’, a ghastly pompous dirge and whilst I am fond of The Beatles, ‘Hey Jude’ bloody annoys me (most probably through too many listens). But neither of those two songs come anywhere near annoying me as much as the trad. folk song ‘Greensleeves’. 

I feel physically repulsed by it. It reminds me, even now, of late Sunday afternoon’s in Langney and the rogue ice cream van heralding the end of the weekend and the impending doom of the school week. Also, apparently it was possibly written by Henry VIII, which is certainly no recommendation. Even writing about it makes me feel sick. 

The song I pretend to hate that I secretly like

That’s a tough question because I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to music. I don’t pretend to hate stuff. It either resonates or it grates, It either elevates/inspires me or means nothing. 

I suppose this is the guilty pleasures question. I think we are all old enough now to be confident to say, “I love Miles Davis and Haircut 100 equally” and if you don’t like that, you have the problem not me. I reckon this is the best thing learned from the NME Penman/Morley/Errol years. When they championed Joy Division & Dollar in equal measure. That and never take Coke! 

So, can’t really answer this... And from that perspective the next two answers might be shorter than some. 

The song I tell people is my favourite

Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks (see 13 songs)

My actual favourite song

...

Featuring Andy Franks

Thursday, 24 November 2022

Conspiracy theories - #22

Meet the Methodists...

I grew up on Burgh Island in Devon in the 1960’s. My parents were itinerant hippies and I mistrusted them from my earliest years. The final straw was when they left me at the first Glastonbury Festival in 1970. It took me 4 days to hitch home (aged 13) and them 6 days to realize that I had been missing and made it back. I was grateful when the school holidays ended and I was back as a boarder at St Cyprian’s whereupon I passed my exams and moved to ‘College’ and thence to ‘University’.

It didn’t take the service long to recognise that I was endowed with the right sort of temperament to undertake undercover work. So, back to the Hippy Underground it was. By now punk had blown through and hippies were figures of fun, that didn’t bother me – I just wanted revenge. I took up with a commune in St Pancras. It was all brown rice, sandals and anarcho-hippies. Scritti Politti were in the squat over the road, Skrewdriver (the white power neo-nazi band) were down the street and the ultimate DIY free jazz/punk/dub combo The State Agents were on the corner of the block. 

I took on a nom-de-squat ‘Zed’ and started to ingratiate myself in the Dope ‘n Dole world. I even ended up as a roadie for a couple of the bands. Strewth, they were bad! The Scrits made some steady headway (Peel sessions, touring with Gang of Four and The Mekons) and other bands tried to surf on their coat-tails.

Anyway, I ended up going out on tour with a couple of alright bands ‘The Forgotten Trees’ & ‘The Red Haunt’. Ostensibly to run the merch stand but really to keep tabs on a group of their mutual followers who called themselves ‘Methodists’. They were a hard-core, group of anarcho punks who had no obvious means of financial support but drove from venue to venue in a convoy of 3 Rolls-Royce Camargue’s (called Daisy, Lucy and Stan) and they always stayed at the nearest 5-star hotel to the venue. Meanwhile, the bands and us crew would kip on floors of the kindly local punters. 

After a couple of weeks the tour rolled into Plymouth – the tour was basically 9 days on, 3 days off (in order to allow everyone to get back to the Camden DHSS, sign on, hang around for a couple of days, cash the giro and then head back out to entertain the unwashed masses). This was the one town I wasn’t looking forward to. I was concerned that my parents Larry & Wanda might just rock up to take in the experimental new wave new age dub sounds of the The Haunt (as they were known) – it was just their cup of tea. 

After we’d got the band, the PA, the drums, the amps, the smoke machine (hippies alright!) and the lights on stage. I left the others to it, I mooched off to set up the merch stand. It didn’t take long, as every venue was contractually obligated to provide a trestle table, a chair, some gaffa tape and a bottle of Remy Martin (apparently, I was the only merchman ever to get drinks included on the rider – very undemocratic and decidedly rock ‘n roll – it upset the rest of the crew, but I didn’t care). I laid out the 3 different versions of t-shirt, stuck up some badly produced posters, flung a few badges around, scribbled prices on to bits of paper and then sat down to read this week’s NME and sip some of my richly deserved Brandy.

I was halfway through a genuinely hysterical letter on the letters page from Sam K. Ampong in response to a caustic review of the Tom Robinson Band by Paul Morley in the previous week’s edition. When I realised that it was nearly time the venue opened. No sooner had the front of house manager given the announcement via the FOH PA than the doors opened and a surge of beer, sweat, cigarettes and patchouli permeated the foyer and the punters surged in a second later. 

A few obviously underage fans headed in my direction to buy The Haunt’s most popular t-shirt “Where did I leave my revolver?”. Other older fans preferred to get their hands on the logo crest version. Unsurprisingly nobody was interested in The Forgotten Trees rather limp “Shape-shifter” offering, featuring as it did a rather dull graphic image of a triangle, a square, a circle and an X. What was that all about? Anyway, a steady stream of sales, a few swigs of Remy and before I knew it the 5-minute bell. The FOH manager came by and signalled time to shut up shop until the interval. 

I was just about to hide the cashbox under the table when Wanda strode up to me. She didn’t recognise me (it had been 7/8 years) and the skinny brown haired foppish prep-school boy I had been had turned into a 6ft 2in dude with rather a severe bleached flattop, wearing a bikers jacket, 501’s and a white Bundeswher vest. Annoyingly, just the sort of look Kirk bloody Brandon would borrow a few months later.

Wanda looked the same as ever, long red & purple dreads, a loose fitting, boob revealing top and flared crimson cords that had seen better days. Her battered moccasins surely couldn’t have been the same ones she had had when she had left me on Worthy Farm – although I suspected they must be. 

“How much for a revolver t-shirt?”. She asked.

I pointed at the very prominent price list. “15 Quid”. I snapped, my by now ingrained Cockney accent betraying no hint of my Devonian heritage. Not a glimmer from Wanda.

“What a rip-off!”. She offered, “Made in an Indian sweat-shop no doubt. I thought The Haunt had values!”

“Actually it’s made in Bolton by a local artisans collective”, I lied, having no idea where they’d come from. 

“Oh”, she took a half-step back and purposefully bent forward to open her bag. It was a move I’d seen a hundred times on this tour already. The flash of nipple for a discount move.

“Any chance of a discount?”

“No Wanda”.

Her head jolted. “What did you say?”

“No wonder artisan collectives are going under”. I replied deadpan.

She de-flustered as quick as a flash and handed three fivers over.

“Large?” I asked, spitefully.

She flushed, “Medium actually, I like things loose but not that loose”.

No reply from me. I gave her the t-shirt, pocketed the money and carried on closing down. She stared at me for a while and then headed over to a small group of much older anarcho-punks. 

I recognised the man she put her arms around. It was Paddy Neat, a nasty piece of work. Paddy Neat, a career criminal. Paddy Neat, who remarkably had never once spent a day in jail. Paddy Neat, the head of The Methodists. Paddy Neat, the man my ex-mother was obviously now sleeping with. Paddy Fuckin Neat!

 

Taken from: "Notes from a rather unconvincing source" - John Zéro - 

To be published sometime in 2023

 

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

6 Strings - Gretsch 6120EC

The Gretsch Eddie Cochran G6120 EC is a thing of rare beauty that plan as well as it looks. Whilst, as I"ve said before, I'm not Rockin', this guitar is too good to ignore.

Gretsch honours the legacy of rock 'n roll/rockabilly pioneer Eddie Cochran with this signature hollow body model, based on the distinctively modified guitar that ignited Cochran's highly influential and all too brief career.

Check out the rather excellent Darrel Higham talking in a far more knowledgeable way, than I could ever do, about this excellent guitar!






Monday, 21 November 2022

13 Songs – 13

 Northern Sky – Nick Drake

I once spent a most wonderful afternoon driving from Peterborough to Tanworth-in-Arden (having stopped off for a whistle-stop press pass at a Web-offset printer in Kidderminster). The reason for heading to Kidderminster was to oversee the printing of Match magazine. The reason to then divert from my journey home to North London (where, as part of the NL liberal media elite I was a leading member of the sinister Wokerati movement that controls every aspect of British life, I personally oversaw a huge influx of Tofu and illegal immigrants into the UK), was to visit the hometown and final resting place of singer-songwriter Nick Drake.

Drake’s ashes are buried in a beautiful spot under an Oak Tree in the graveyard of the Church of St Mary Magdelene, in Tanworth-in-Arden. On the occasion of my visit, the sun was dipping and a light purple (lilac?) mist was settling in the vale beyond the graveyard. His grave itself had a few handwritten notes and a single rose, a couple of dead roll-ups, a spent joint and an empty bottle of pale ale. The comparison between this and the hedonistic overload of Jim Morrison’s tomb at Pere Lachaise was noticeable, so fundamentally understated, so utterly English. The inscription on the reverse reading, ‘Now we rise, now we are everywhere’. It was a remarkably tranquil late afternoon by the time I left. 

On my way home the first song that came on was ‘Northern Sky’, a wave of pure contentment washed over me. I’d heard the song before but hadn’t listened. There was a purity about this song, that I hadn’t sensed, I hadn’t absorbed – it lifted me to a different place. Some songs that I love I play a lot, some that I love I almost try and ignore, until I really need it. It was only some 15 years or so later that I really needed this song. I was in love, with an English Girl but stuck. This song came on and we just knew…

I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons, knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you're here
Brighten my northern sky

I've been a long time that I'm waiting
Been a long that I'm blown
I've been a long time that I've wandered
Through the people I have known
Oh, if you would and you could
Straighten my new mind's eye

Would you love me for my money?
Would you love me for my head?
Would you love me through the winter?
Would you love me 'til I'm dead?
Oh, if you would and you could
Come blow your horn on high

I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons, knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you're here
Brighten my northern sky

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Nick Drake

Northern Sky lyrics © O/B/O Capasso, Reservoir Media Management Inc

Sunday, 20 November 2022

13 Songs – 12

Medway Wheelers – The Buff Medways

To be fair if I was choosing my favourite tunes (and not just 13 songs to write about) I could have very easily chosen 13 songs just from the Medway towns. Any one of the following bands could have barged their way into this Baker’s Dozen (making it a Barker’s Dozen perhaps?): The Prisoners, The Solarflares, The Prime Movers, The Daggermen, Thee Headcoatees, Thee Headcoats, CTMF, Musicians of the British Empire, The Len Price3, The Galileo 7, The Milkshakes, JTQ, Theatre Royal, The Long Weekend, The Pop Rivets, The Masonics, The Wildebeests, The Chatham Singers, William Loveday Intention, Graham Day & The Gaolers, The Dentists, Planet, Thee Mighty Caesars, Holly Golightly, Billy Childish, Groovy Uncle, The Delmonas etc etc.

However, I settled on The Buff Medways and this track in particular because near the end of his life my Dad surprised me by saying, apropos of me mentioning this track, that he used to be in The Buff Medways. I was surprised, to say the least. I didn’t have him down as being a member of Billy Childish’s Mod/Punk combo. It was only when I repeated his claim that he stared at me with his black eyes smiling and said, “No, the Medway Wheelers”! He had indeed ridden with them after the war and when he passed on I even found a club pin badge to underline the point. 

Anyway, the thought of him thrashing away in the background in a Townsendesque fashion tickles me to this day. The song itself is a fantastic example of Childish’s innate ability to conjure up a time/place lyrically and musically juxtaposed but at the same time, so fundamentally right. His songs just fit! The notion of some sort of wilful amateurism is not borne out by the end result.

Medway Wheelers… Len Ganley… Clovelly… a cuppa tea…

Saturday, 19 November 2022

13 Songs – 11

You’re my kind of climate – Rip, Rig & Panic

One of the more memorable gigs of my life was The Pop Group playing the CND rally at Trafalgar Sq, a rain-soaked, Tiger Beer fuelled, dancing in the streets, smash the system kind of gig. It was also the last time they played (until some 35 years later). Gareth Sager, guitarist and co-driver even left his other oppo Mark Stewart on stage before the end (to perform a sublime version of ‘Jerusalem’ that William Blake could never have imagined even in his wildest fever dreams. Stewart grooving along with the core of what would become The Maffia. Sager disappearing into the south Soho night. 

A few months later, Sager appeared on the front cover of the NME, fronting the wild beat ensemble ‘Rip, Rig & Panic’. Their first album was a splurge of wild improvisation, studio high jinks, jump ‘n jive rumblings and the sublime, ‘The Blue Blue Third’ piano piece – as if Eric Satie was being played somewhere near General Kurtz’s HQ. It was a remarkable collection and sent me off in search of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane & Pharaoh Sanders. The IPC scribes complained that they couldn’t imagine their postman whistling any of those ‘tunes’.

A few more months pass, a number of Rip, Rig & Panic gigs are attended (featuring a nutty Irish support band who smash their heads with beer trays and are called Pogue Mahone). A new LP is released, presaged by a stunning new 12” single, ”You’re my kind of climate”. It was/is the most joyous of tracks and leaps along with the true spirit of a different freer time. It became a stone-cold party, club, warehouse, discotheque, shebeen, dive bar classic. Even now it reminds me of ripped 501’s, Thunderbird Wine, checked shirts without sleeves, Paloma Picasso red lipstick and a girl with a platinum blonde flat-top…

You're my kind of climate
Swinging lost paradise
Your touch, your smell
Well you can tell
I ain't talking about heaven or hell
You're my kind of climate
Swinging lost paradise
Met a Mexican in the kitchen
Said rule your life by the dice

You've got a crazy disposition
And you always challenge tradition
Better to travel than ever arrive
Being together side by side
Lost in a catacomb loneliness
It's a crime of passion
A deep repression
Legacies whisper in my blood
The heat within rising

You're my kind of climate
Swinging lost paradise
Your touch, your smell
Well you can tell
I ain't talking about heaven or hell
You're my kind of climate
Swinging lost paradise
Met a Mexican in the kitchen
Said rule your life by the dice

I know you've got a butterfly heart
And when you fly we're never apart
Better to travel than ever arrive
Being together side by side
It's a mortal sin to be killed of love
And if it die I won't cry
Lose all fear of the unknown
Never ever worry about being alone

You're my kind of climate
Swinging lost paradise
Your touch, your smell
Well you can tell
I ain't talking about heaven or hell
You're my kind of climate
Swinging lost paradise
Met a Mexican in the kitchen
Said rule your life by the dice.

 

Words/Music: Sager, Springer, Oliver, Smith

Friday, 18 November 2022

13 Songs – 10


Night & Day – Everything but the girl

I was brought up in a Richard Burton reading ‘Under Milk Wood’, a Bizet’s ‘Au fond du temple saint’ and most importantly a Frank Sinatra singing anything household. The Chairman of the Board was never too far away from Mum’s turntable. And even though she was convinced he was vocally at his peak in his Columbia years, his phrasing was deemed unsurpassable throughout his whole career. However, I was never quite sure how he fitted into my expanding musical world. I mean ok The Pistols covered ‘My Way’ but that was shit. Joe Strummer never referenced him, nor did Weller or Pete Shelley. True Ian Curtis was urged to listen to him by Tony Wilson but overall Ol’ Blue Eyes was nowhere near the centre of the radar…

… Punk begat New Wave, New Wave split into Post-Punk, Mod, 2-tone/Ska, the hits and genre splits kept coming. All the while, staunch indie label Cherry Red had picked up two interesting solo artists, one male and one female, both of whom happen to be going to study at Hull University. The label hit on the idea of getting them to record a couple of tracks together as a way of cross promoting each other. So, Ben Watt & Tracey proceeded to record ‘Feeling Dizzy’ b/w ‘On my mind’. Their mix of folky pop with subtle jazz guitar was a good blend. Legend has it that they had a spare 15 minutes at the recording session, so they conjured up a minimalist version of the Cole Porter classic that Frank Sinatra had made his own ‘Night & Day’. The two originals were now a double B-side and a new A-side was ready to storm the charts.

Everything but the girl’s version took the sound of Sinatra from big band to bedsit and it worked a treat. The moment I heard it I was hooked, their almost forlorn rendition brought my musical worlds together (not for the first or last time) and ever since, I’ve held this version close to my heart. The fact that I even ended up buying a 1962 Gretsch Clipper (like Ben’s), in an effort to get that student digs jazz guitar sound is testimony a) to the songs enduring influence on me and b) to my misplaced sense of my own ability.

It's influence also shines through in my 2019 musical project The Butterfly House – ‘From the Wish Tower…’ to such an extent that I managed to shoehorn the part line “…traffic’s boom” into the very heavily EBTG influenced ‘Jazz Song’. (Still available here and via I-tunes, Spotify etc).

 

Night and day you are the one
Only you beneath the moon and under the sun
Whether near to me or far
No matter, darling, where you are
I think of you night and day
Day and night

Why is it so
That this longing for you follows wherever I go
In the roaring traffic's boom
In the silence of my lonely room
I think of you night and day

Night and day, deep in the heart of me
There's an oh such a hungry yearning burning inside of me
And this torment won't be through
'Til you let me spend my life making love to you
Day and night, night and day

Night and day, deep in the heart of me
There's an oh such a hungry yearning burning inside of me
And this torment won't be through
'Til you let me spend my life making love to you
Day and night (night and day)

This torment won't be through (night and day)
Until I spend my life with you (night and day)
Day and night (night and day)
Day and night (night and day)
Day and night (night and day)
Day and night

Source: Musixmatch

Songwritersחוטר מיכל / Porter,cole

Night and Day lyrics © Wb Music Corp., Touch Music

Thursday, 17 November 2022

13 Songs – 9


20th Century Boy – T.Rex

The first record I ever bought (from the aforementioned Boots). In fact I bought it and ‘Solid Gold Easy Action’ both by T.Rex at the same time. I’d previously had a Top of the Pops Compilation LP but this was my first proper record purchase. The dark blue sleeve and label complete with red Marc image had swayed me. I was actually more of a Slade fan in those very formative years but their dull red polydor bags looked quite corporate whereas the T.Rex records looked somehow cool. 

Ironically in those far-flung pre-picture sleeve days, the company sleeves and logos could create a very disconcerting pre-conceived image of the artist. In fact, one of the reasons, I stayed clear of David Bowie in those days was the horrible orange RCA labels and even worse the drab Deram stuff (noticeably Laughing Gnome).

Sleeves aside, T.Rex were still just about at the top of their game and the sound of basic glam guitar combined with Marc’s semi-slurred utterances did the trick. The lyrics, well they were y’know… just words but that was ok. I’d got my first 7” singles and I was of course now officially a 20thCentury Boy

Oww!
(Ahh)

Friends say it's fine, friends say it's good
Everybody says it's just like Robin Hood
Yeah!
I move like a cat, charge like a ram
Sting like a bee, babe, I wanna be your man, hey!

Well, it's plain to see you were meant for me, yeah
I'm your boy, your 20th century toy
Yeah!

Friends say it's fine, my friends say it's good
Everybody says it's just like Robin Hood
Fly like a plane, drive like a car
Bawl like a hound, babe, I wanna be your man, hoo!

Well, it's plain to see you were meant for me
And I'm your toy, your 20th century boy

20th century toy, I wanna be your boy-ah
20th century toy, I wanna be your boy
20th century toy, I wanna be your boy
20th century toy, I wanna be your boy

Friends say it's fine, friends say it's good
Everybody says it's just like Robin Hood, nah, nah
Move like a cat, charge like a ram
Sting like a bee
Oh, oh, babe, I wanna be your man
And, um, and, oh, oh

Well it's plain to see you were meant for me
And I'm your toy, your 20th century boy

20th century toy, I wanna be your boy
20th century toy, I wanna be your boy
20th century toy, I wanna be your toy
20th century boy-ah, I wanna be your toy

Yeah-ah
Ah, oh, oh, yeah
My friends say it's fine, they say it's good
I don't believe it's like Robin Hood
I'm like a car, I drive like a plane
I wanna hang your head in the falling rain
Ah, oh yeah
Wow!

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Marc Bolan

20th Century Boy lyrics © Spirit Catalogue Holdings S.a.r.l., Spirit Catalog Holdings, S.a.r.l., Spirit Catalogue Holdings, S.a.r.l., Spirit Catalog Holdings S.a.r.l.

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

13 Songs – 8

Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding

For a young mod growing up on the edge of the country, in a decidedly analogue world, keen to explore the whole gamut of music that resided in “the broad church” (© Eddie Pillar) that is/was Modernism. The only way to listen to new sounds was to either nick records from various unattended record collections at house parties, scour the numerous 2nd hand stores of a seaside town with a ridiculously high percentage of old age pensioners or more honestly to head down to Max Records and hope and pray that the buyers had at last cottoned on to the burgeoning scene. 

Getting hold of the Mod Revival stuff was pretty straightforward (esp. ‘local’ bands like Teenbeats and The Lambrettas). However, even seminal albums like ‘Small Faces’, ‘My Generation’ & ‘Something Else’ were noticeable by their absence from any of the five record shops in town (Max Records, Silver Disc, Boots, Woolies & WH Smiths – for the record). A few Motown releases started to creep into Max, with The Supremes being very well represented. However, Chess & Stax artists were barely visible and anything more underground or ‘Northern’, not a chance.

One day though, after a morning coffee in The Spartan. I headed down Grove Road into Max Records to be confronted almost immediately with a new record in the soul section. Otis Redding’s greatest hits. Now whilst compilation and especially best of releases are often sneered at, in those days it was either Best of’s or nowt! Despite the fact it was a double album, it was priced as a single. So, I slipped over the cash, ran to the bus stop and was back in my bedroom 30 minutes later listening to RESPECT, Mr Pitiful, Satisfaction (so much better than that Rolling Stones nonsense!) on and on until the final track – (Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay.

I was transported… the beauty of the whole production, the imagery and the melancholy (oh the sweet eternal melancholy) of Otis’s delivery. From the first listen to this very day, the song is seared into my soul. It’s got the lot! No more to say…

Sittin' in the mornin' sun
I'll be sittin' when the evenin' comes
Watching the ships roll in
Then I watch 'em roll away again, yeah

I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watchin' the tide roll away, ooh
I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time

I left my home in Georgia
Headed for the Frisco Bay
'Cause I've had nothin' to live for
It look like nothin's gonna come my way

So I'm just gon' sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watchin' the tide roll away, ooh
I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay, wastin' time

Look like nothin's gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can't do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I'll remain the same, yes

Sittin' here restin' my bones
And this loneliness won't leave me alone, listen
Two thousand miles, I roam
Just to make this dock my home

Now I'm just gon' sit, at the dock of the bay
Watchin' the tide roll away, ooh yeah
Sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Otis Redding / Steve Cropper

(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

 

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

13 Songs – 7

Marquee Moon – Television

The hotel limousine pulls out into traffic underneath another bright, cerulean at best, New Amsterdam sky. The journey ahead will take me to JFK, the East River disappearing in the rear-view mirror and Manhattan glistening in the back seat of my mind. On my Walkman the sound of twin guitars Verlaine & Lloyd interweave with the hum of accompanying traffic as New York disappears in a long fade.

The yellow taxi pulls out into traffic underneath another bright, cerulean at best, New Amsterdam sky. The journey ahead will take me to JFK, the East River disappearing in the rear-view mirror and Manhattan glistening in the back seat of my mind. On my I-pod the sound of twin guitars Verlaine & Lloyd interweave with the hum of accompanying congestion as New York disappears in a long, long fade.

The private hire taxi pulls out into traffic underneath another bright, cerulean at best, New Amsterdam sky. The journey ahead will take me to JFK, the East River disappearing in the rear-view mirror and Manhattan glistening in the back seat of my mind. On my I-phone the sound of twin guitars Verlaine & Lloyd interweave with the hum of accompanying gridlock as New York disappears in a long, long, long fade.

Every time I leave NYC, the same song…

I remember
Ooh, how the darkness doubled
I recall
Lightning struck itself

I was listening
Listening to the rain
I was hearing
Hearing something else

Life in the hive puckered up my night
A kiss of death, the embrace of life
Ooh, there I stand neath the Marquee Moon
Just waiting

I spoke to a man
Down at the tracks
And I ask him
How he don't go mad
He said, "look here, junior, don't you be so happy
And for heaven's sake, don't you be so sad"

Life in the hive puckered up my night
The kiss of death, the embrace of life
Ooh, there I stand 'neath the Marquee Moon
Hesitating

Well, the Cadillac
It pulled out of the graveyard
Pulled up to me
All they said, "get in, get in"
Then the Cadillac
It puttered back into the graveyard
Me, I got out again

Life in the hive puckered up my night
A kiss of death, the embrace of life
Ooh, there I stand neath the Marquee Moon
But I ain't waiting, uh-uh

I remember
How the darkness doubled
I recall
Lightning struck itself

I was listening
Listening to the rain
I was hearing
Hearing something else

 

 


 

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

13 Songs – 6

 Mumbles – Johnny Bachelor

I think we’ve pretty much established that when push comes to shove, I’m a Modernist. Taking into account- my initial introduction to music was Punk/New Wave, the truth of the matter is that when I analyse the breadth of my interests after everything I’ve listened to. My musical lineage begins late 50’s (1959 in fact) with A kind of blue. And whilst I do back track to Satie, Williams, Bartok, Charlie Parker, Slim Gaillard, the Birth of the Cool. I have mainly taken a pretty modernist perspective, especially when absorbing myself in the aural subtleties of the Modern Jazz Quartet. 

That lineage heads through Mod/beat/garage/psychedelic bands of the sixties, skips the early 70’s (although Bluebeat, ska, reggae, soul & funk fill the void) on through Punk-Mod-Acid Jazz-Britpop-Indie etc to today.

The glaring hole in my musical education was Blues, Rockin’ stuff, Country & indeed Western music. Whilst I suspect the majority C’n W will forever pass me by, I don’t mind Hank Williams & some of the Louvin Bros stuff. Rockin’ tunes have however seeped into my internal setlist, not least due to the influence of some of my dearest friends. The old Mod/Rockabilly/SussPunks demarcation line was pretty blurred by 1980… The Jodimars, followed by Booker T & The MG’s followed by The Monochrome Set.

Tales of old rockin’ numbers being recorded using a letter box as percussion and a one-string guitar ran amok. Singles were picked up from second-hand shops, car boot sales and late night party sleight of hand. One such record was ‘Mumbles’ by Johnny Bachelor, a clatter of amazing punk-diddley guitar and somewhat sardonic vocals – what a song! Everything about it, speaks of one-take recording, industrial quantities of reverb, cigarette smoke clogging the studio, a guitarist waiting to be cut loose and a singer sharing a tale about his girl. Lyrically nothing special, musically primitive, collectively - astonishing! 

 

Now I know a girl named Mumbles…

Monday, 7 November 2022

13 Songs – 5

Inner city life – Goldie/Metalheadz

The weekend before I got married in 1996, I was in Notting Hill. In a house I’d never been in before or since. It was gone midnight, the room dark, the smoke thick, the music loud with the sensi & my senses clamouring to control proceedings. I’d been in the party for the best part(y) of the last 5 hours, having trundled deliriously from Norman & Joey Jay’s Good Times Sound System on the corner West Row and Southern Row, where I had danced and drank copious amounts of Red Stripe. However, now I was somewhere else completely… 

I like dance music, rare groove, jazz, soul & funk especially. I’d given House Music a swerve (which was a mistake that I later remedied) and as for Drum ‘n Bass, well to be fair I couldn’t make head nor tail of it. I could feel my verse-chorus-verse-chorus-middle 8 pop sensibilities begin to re-emerge after being banished by the four Jazzmen of the Apocalypse in the 80’s (Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and John Coltrane). 

I had pretty much embraced the by now established electronic sounds (from a listening perspective), especially when New Order and even more crucially ACR embraced electro sounds – that ultimately pointed me to the essential Kraftwerk. However, this sounded different, like music from a land I didn’t recognise, music from a decade that I hadn’t been invited to, quite simply music not made for me.

I sat on a sofa, nursing a can of Stella, a joint, a new acquaintance and a sense of accelerating bewilderment. A few of my friends were hanging out at the party too – this was sort of a second stag night (2 of 3) and I was slipping lower into the sofa, deeper into the night. 

And then, it happened. It was as if the DJ had realised he’d been playing his whole set at 33rpm, when it should have been 45rpm – all of a sudden boom! There it was Drum n’ Bass, right up in my face and I loved it. Off the sofa, on the dancefloor, never to sit back down again! 

Inner-city life

Inner-city pressure
Inner-city life
Inner-city pressure taking over me
But I won't let go
I won't let go
Your love

Inner-city life

Come to me
In those open arms is where I wanna be
Livin' free
I need to be
I need to be your love

Livin' free
I long to be
I long to be your love

Inner-city life
Inner-city pressure


Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Clifford Joseph Price / Clifford Price / Diane Charlemagne / Diane Charlemange / Rob Playford

Inner City Life lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC, Downtown Music Publishing, Peermusic Publishing