Sunday, 20 February 2011

Funky Is As Funky Does

Records used to have a mystique that has all but disappeared with compression, up then downloading and instant online information on any song that has ever been recorded.

I can't imagine the one up-manship of finding a rare unheard of '45 or album track exists anymore. This I first heard on a mid 80s Chess Best Of. It took me 5 years or so to track down the original Cadet '45 and now you, dear reader, just have to click that mouse to listen to the single which differs from the Youtube album version.

Every second of the song has just a funk about it, building and building with each instrument trying to tear away into a new groove.

I'm still not uploading my original It's Grimm Up North mind.

I'm Not Going Lie To Myself So Please Don't Talk About My Age

If anything is going to knock some sense into my alcohol addled head it's Dr Phibes & The House of Wax Equations. Same again next weekend? Go on then.

Oh and here's the source material all uploaded by some kind soul. Bit to scary for the boy on a Sunday afternoon. Obviously when I was his age the Second World war was in full "swing" or so my brother and I believed having a dad who had been in the Med in 44/45, Uncle Ray in the Baltic convoys with two other uncles killed in Italy. That, the Action Men, Sunday afternoon war films and comics were enough to fool any child into thinking that the dirty hun were going to come over the garden wall at any moment.

Me and my dad were actually in more danger from my brother who decided that a 4 year old me being able to tree climb higher than him was an afront to his dignity, pushing me out of the tree, knocking me out and running in to our post first heart attack dad shouting "Dad! Dad! I've just killed Edmund!". Tell that to kids today and they'll have you on the list before you can say "it was doll without a willy".

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Looks like I picked the wrong year to start a blog

Ed's a busy boy. Valentine's day spent away from home - damn those card shops. Kids missing me loads and me missing the kids. They sleep now. Ah well.....

Friday, 11 February 2011

You Do The Walk

I was reminded of Moviedrome the other day whilst watching The Limey. "Here's a film" I thought "that would sit nicely in a Sunday night Moviedrome bill."

What, that terrible Mockney gangster film? Yes, that wonderfully stylistic revenge piece. If The Limey was a song then I'd only be able to comment on the lyrics. The actual film itself I'm completely wrapped up in like a Motown 45 unaware that there are drums, bass, tambourine, piano all playing separate parts. But Terrence Stamp is a Marvin Gaye vocal. The look. Harrington jacket, dark polo shirt, black 501s with turn ups and what may be brothel creepers or may be DM shoes. He's not very clever. An armed robber with at least three prison terms behind him, you can tell...

Just look at his walk.

Does he walk like a camel? It's no cock sure swagger, its the walk of a man who serves rather than commands. Everything you need to know about the character can be picked up in that walk.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Singing In A Band. Talking To The Man(TM)

My cousin was diagnosed with cancer three weeks ago and is going through the first heavy, five day dose of chemotherapy. It's in his chest but not in his brain. He's 34 and built like an out house with a lust for life despite supporting Millwall. He lost his sister to Leukaemia when she was 11, she'd been sick for some years. I can't think what he, his mum and dad are going through. Absolutely fucking horrible.

I'm no expert, on anything, but I believe hope comes from many things and if someone wishes to believe in something "up there" far be it from me to point, laugh, mock or vilify their beliefs. Extremists, they're all arseholes no matter what side they follow.

Parades where I'm from are small collections of shops that haven't really changed since the 1970s when the new estate was built. This isn't about a small parade of shops. Damn funky though.

The Crown Of The Despot Shines

Kingdoms by Ultramarine featuring Robert Wyatt. The music on offer from Paul Hammond and Ian Cooper was a beautiful, bucolic take on Electronica. Gently knead in Robert Wyatt's plaintive take on Ernest Jones' Chartist Poem ,Song of the Lower Classes and you have a timeless piece of pop.

Song of the Lower Classes

We plow and sow, we're so very, very low,
That we delve in the dirty clay;
Till we bless the plain with the golden grain,
And the vale with the fragrant hay.
Our place we know, we're so very, very low,
'Tis down at the landlord's feet;
We're not too low the grain to grow,
But too low the bread to eat.

Down, down we go, we're so very, very ow,
To the hell of the deep-sunk mines;
But we gather the proudest gems that glow,
When the crown of the despot shines;
And when'er he lacks, upon our backs
Fresh loads he deigns to lay:
We're far too low to vote the tax
But not too low to pay.

We're low, we're low -- we're very, very low --
And yet from our fingers glide
The silken floss and the robes that glow
Round the limbs of the sons of pride;
And what we get, and what we give,
We know, and we know our share;
We're not too low the cloth to weave,
But too low the cloth to wear.

We're low, we're low, we're very, very low,
And yet when the trumpets ring,
The thrust of a poor man's arm will go
Through the heart of the proudest king.
We're low, we're low -- mere rabble, we know --
We're only the rank and the file;
We're not too low to kill the foe,
But too low to share the spoil.

Notes to the People, 1852

The wonderful Wyatt had previous in Electronica - seek out Pigs, In There? if you haven't heard.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

I'm Going To Take You On A Journey To Venus And Back

I'm no huge fan of ACR's early work but their album MCR hit a note and then some around these parts. We were crossing from raves to clubs with Nottingham being the usual Saturday night haunt. The Garage became Kool Kat and then the Garage again first with Graham Park and then Alistair "Is A Mixer Genius" Whitehead. From there it was a short skip to Venus which really was the best club in the country until the over zealous door policy, probably put in place to keep ravers out, became too much of a pain. The last night featured an Underworld set, not that I saw it as I bailed into the back of Ad's camper van after downing several pints and a bottle of 20/20 - not your usual clubing fair.

Many records sound-tracked the to and fro of a Saturday in Notts. MCR and in particular Good Together picked us right up. Featuring Shaun Ryder on backing vocals and Bernard Sumner in the chair, a wasted sample eases you into a euphoric builder with a proper pop song behind it. The soprano sax still doesn't grate after all these years which is rare. No idea whether it was actually played in the club. Now, where's me inhaler............

'course you should always try before you buy

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A Wigan Classic?

I wouldn't have known it was a Wigan number until I searched Youtube, being only twelve when they knocked down the Casino and thirteen when I started to get into Soul. Larry over at Funky 16 Corners covered James Coit's storming political piece earlier last year.

Why am I posting something that's already been well covered?

Haisie was working for John Manship, one of the leading Northern dealers back in the 80s, and I gave him a list of ten or twelve songs I was after. All but one were either Jazz or R&B, the runt of the litter being Black Power. I agreed £4 for it back in '86 but was more than a little miffed when Haisie handed over a 7" with a cream label sporting the title and artist in black felt tip pen. "That's not a proper record!" said I. "It's this or nothing" he countered as I handed over the cash and sulked out of the shop feeling more than a little diddled. What a rotter.

As any fool can see from the Youtube clip, the record label should be red with proper printing and not some off white number with hand writing. What a dummy.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Guitar, Bass, Drums & Voice

 I should use Google. I'm Allowed comes from Buffalo Tom's 93 album Red Letter Day. Post grunge and Bill's dad was unhappy that there wasn't enough guitars on the album. That last bit is a fact remembered rather than a googled memory.

Now what I really like about the recording of this song is the lack of a string section. If the band had been British, signed to Creation and three or four years younger then there would have been an almighty string section all over this pushing it from alt-rock ballad into wannabe anthem. Instead a bit more guitar does the work of nine string sessionaires earning by the hour.

They do, however, walk a fine line with the minor chords at the beginning suggesting more than a hint of some Irish band that shall remain bigger than their cheesus. Also reminds me of Eric Matthew's Fanfare which, rightly so, has been covered by many a blog over the years.

To The Sound Of The World Of Twist You Leant Over and Gave Me A Kiss

I don't have a top ten list of songs in this form or that form. Favourite mid-tempo number, favourite ballad, favourite skiffle number. I don't alphabetize my record collection and have given away my CD collection to GG Lover who was very happy to take off my hands a bunch of 2nd division early 90s indie & dance. I no longer forage and I no longer store. But I'll never get rid of me World Of Twist.

I saw them once at Leicester University. I think it was 91. Baggy was on it's arse and the scene that celebrates itself was unappealing to me. World of Twist had glamour, Northern Soul, Acid House, Hawkwind, Roxy Music, MC Shells & Tony Ogden. They had two singles, The Storm & Sons of the Stage,  that cocked a snook to the shambolic Mega City Four & Senseless Things in favour of that driving rhythm and mad eyed glare. I first heard them on Mark Radcliffe's Out On Blue Six and was literally blown away by The Storm (not an intended pun but I'm leaving it there despite the smell). I ran into Mark a few years later and, as he was an early champion of the band, asked what had happened to them. Alas, the old story was suggested when it comes to Rock & Roll with a hand gesture that I'll leave out there for your own imagination.

This is from a gig in Sheffield filmed for ITV.