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BETTER LUCK SECOND TIME AROUND

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Back in 1986, the demo tape from The House Of Love led to the band getting a deal with Creation Records. The first single was Shine On, a cracking bit of indie-pop, almost goth-like, which really should have taken the charts by storm when it was released in May 87.

mp3 : The House of Love – Shine on (Creation Records)

Three years later, and despite a lack of commercial success, the band were considered worthy of a punt from Fontana Records based on the really well-received debut LP and so a lucrative deal was inked.  However, the devil was in the detail of the contract and the band and label were soon at loggerheads on what sort of sounds should be getting recorded and released. The tensions weren’t helped by the fact that the first two singles for the new label stalled at #41 and then by founder member and lead guitarist Terry Bickers deciding he’d had enough.

The solution? Take the re-recorded version of the debut single and try again. This time it got to #20, by far the best performing 45 in the band’s initial six-year career.

mp3 : The House Of Love – Shine On (Fontana Records)

A tad more polished and therefore more acceptable to those who determined what could and should get onto the playtime lists of daytime Radio 1 and the various commercial stations. And while the original is rightly acknowledged as the ‘better’ version, only the very worst music snob would say they were appalled by the remix and begrudge the band the long overdue chart success.

The remix was released across a multitude of formats (a very common thing for bands on Fontana as those of you following the James singles series will be aware), but I’ve only got one of the 12″ singles in the collection and here’s the b-sides from that:-

mp3 : The House Of Love – Allergy
mp3 : The House Of Love – Scratched Inside

Enjoy

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN

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I’ve never hid my love for cover versions so you can imagine that I was quite excited to read that Kevin Rowland was working on an album’s worth of them and that the project was being bankrolled by Alan McGhee and Creation Records.

This was back in 1999 and the LP was going to be released more than eleven years after the debut solo record, a period in which the former Dexy’s frontman had dealt with all sorts of issues in his personal life and battled with addiction issues.   What was there not to look forward to?

The thing is, I never did buy the album having been put off by the near-universal mauling it received from critics and fans alike.  I remember one mate of mine telling me had bought it on the day of release from his usual record shop and the owner warning him it was actually worse than the reviews had indicted….so much so the owner offered my mate a 24-hour trial of the CD with a no quibbles, money-back back guarantee if he was proved right.  My mate got his cash back….which I suppose is ironic given now that it is one of those CDs that is quite hard to track down and sells for upwards of £30-£40 on the internet.

I don’t think the value is anything to do with the quality of the songs, but more the fact that Dexy’s Midnight Runners have had a brilliantly received comeback in recent times and many folk are keen to plug the gap in their collection.

I’ve read variously that the LP is pompous, bizarre, schmaltzy rubbish, a tragic mistake,  self-pitying, self-indulgent and laughable.  But equally, there are more than a few folk willing to stand up and count it as something very special using words like inspired, passionate, provocative, emotionally honest, sublime and utterly unique, with many arguing that it was the controversial cover of Kevin in drag which led to such a negative reaction

I can base my own reaction only on the second-hand single that I picked up the other week:-

mp3 : Kevin Rowland – Concrete and Clay

It’s rather awful….it’s musically very dull and akin to the sort of bloke who entertains folks drinking in bars on holiday on the Costa del Sol or the Canaries with his mixture of bad jokes and less than average singing.

Here’s the instrumentals which were on the CD single:-

mp3 : Kevin Rowland – Concrete and Clay (instrumental)
mp3 : Kevin Rowland – I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top (instrumental)

Enjoy??

 

 

 

AFTER MENTIONING HIM YESTERDAY

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richard-hawley

I really have tried but Richard Hawley just doesn’t do it for me.

Jacques the Kipper is a big fan and I’ve usually been smitten by just about everything he’s brought to my attention over what is a friendship stretching back quarter of a century but not on this occasion. I can’t really even explain why. Anyime I’ve read his interviews in the press I’ve found myself agreeing with many of his views and sentiments and let’s face it, the types of songs he writes and performs really should be right up my alley.

I’ve even seen him live, albeit unexpectedly as he was the support act for Tindersticks at a London gig back in October 2003 at a time when his critical acclaim was beginning to grow and a couple of years before the release of Coles Corner got him on the shortlist for the Mercury Prize and brought to the wider attention of the music-buying public. He was OK, although there was one track which stood out for me, and which remains the one song of his I remain fond of:-

mp3 : Richard Hawley – Something Is……

It’s the opening track of the 2001 LP Late Night Final.

I’m not sure if it is possible to try too hard to like someone’s music but I do genuinely feel that I’ve approached Richard Hawley’s work with an open mind but have just felt underwhelmed on each occasion. Maybe the solution lies in the hands of any reader who is a big fan of his….why not suggest what would be the ideal 10-track compilation LP from him and maybe I can try it that way? I’m actually flying out on holiday this coming Sunday and will be putting together some new playlists to enjoy under the Caribbean sun and I’m prepared to try one more time.

Over to you folks.

THE MOZ SINGLES (38)

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Just over ten years ago (11th October 2004 to be precise) Morrissey released his 27th solo single. It was called Let Me Kiss You and was the third lifted from the LP You Are The Quarry.

Also on the 11th October 2009, Nancy Sinatra released her version of Let Me Kiss You, also on the Attack label that was Morrissey’s home at the time.

Both singles charted. Morrissey’s reached #8 (giving him a third successive Top 10 placing for the first time since 1989). Nancy Sinatra’s version hit #46, but was her first appearance in the UK charts in well over 30 years.

The fact of the matter is that Morrissey, along with his sidekick Alan Whyte, originally wrote the song for Nancy Sinatra to record and then, understandably, decided it was such a strong track that it should be included on his own LP. It really is one of the best ballads the great man has done during the solo years:-

mp3 : Morrissey – Let Me Kiss You

One of the reasons the single did so well, despite being the third lifted taken from You Are The Quarry, is again down to the inclusion of previously unreleased tracks that could easily have fitted on the LP:-

mp3 : Morrissey – Don’t Make Fun Of Daddy’s Voice
mp3 : Morrissey – Friday Mourning
mp3 : Morrissey – I Am Two People

Trying to be objective however, only Friday Mourning, with its great lyric, fine arrangement (once you get past the first few seconds where it sounds like a late 80s Elton John tune) and heartfelt Morrissey delivery is a truly special song, with the other two tracks being let down somewhat by dull tunes – but this is in the context of all the other songs that Morrissey had released in 2004. They still are a million times better than most of the content of the late 90s LPs.

The rather fetching cover photo (how does he still get such a quiff at his age?) was taken by Hamish Brown, who has worked with some major league pop and sports stars in his time….

Oh and Nancy’s version.

 

Well, it isn’t all that different really from the great man’s:-

mp3 : Nancy Sinatra – Let Me Kiss You

And to round things off here’s Nancy’s b-side:-

mp3 : Nancy Sinatra – Bossman

Trivia fact. The harmonica on Bossman is played by Richard Hawley.

Enjoy

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 118)

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From wiki:-

Urusei Yatsura (うる星やつら) is a comedic manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi and serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from 1978 to 1987. Its 374 individual chapters were published in 34 tankōbon volumes. It is the story of Ataru Moroboshi, and the alien Lum, who believes she is Ataru’s wife after he accidentally proposes to her. The series makes heavy use of Japanese mythology, culture and puns. The series was adapted into an anime TV series produced by Kitty Films and broadcast on Fuji Television affiliates from 1981 to 1986 with 195 episodes. Eleven OVAs and six theatrical movies followed, and the series was released on VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc in Japan.

(oops wrong extract!!!)

Urusei Yatsura were a Glaswegian alternative rock, indie rock band.

Founding members Fergus Lawrie and Graham Kemp met in the summer of 1993, whilst attending the University of Glasgow. They recruited Elaine Graham as bassist, and the line-up was completed with the subsequent addition of Elaine’s brother, Ian Graham, on drums. They took their band name from the manga Urusei Yatsura, written by Rumiko Takahashi, and contributed their first recording, Guitars Are Boring, to a compilation album released by the Kazoo Club. This was based in Glasgow, and run at one point by the future Franz Ferdinand singer Alex Kapranos. This record in turn brought them to the attention of the BBC Radio DJ John Peel, who brought them in to do a session.

Over the years they released three albums: We Are Urusei Yatsura (1996), Slain By Urusei Yatsura (1998) and Everybody Loves Urusei Yatsura (2000). Albums in America and Japan were released under the name of Yatsura for legal reasons. The band had one Top 40 hit single, 1997’s “Hello Tiger”, which reached #40 in the UK Singles Chart. Other singles released by the band include “Strategic Hamlets” and “Slain By Elf”.

Urusei Yatsura split in June 2001, leaving Kemp to work on solo material and the other band members to form Projekt A-ko. In 2011, Lawrie formed the three piece band Angel of Everyone Murder with Sarah Glass and Lea Cummings on bass, and released a self-titled double album on Kovorox Sound. The release featured six drone compositions of 15-20 minutes each, made with self modified guitars he called HALO guitars. In 2012, Angel of Everyone Murder 2 was released.

I’ve a number of their releases in the collection. I thought however, it would be just as well sharing the one that so nearly got them fame. Released on 2 x CD singles, it’s a belter of a 45 with equally enjoyable b-sides (and there’s no doubt Alex Kapranos and the rest of Franz Ferdinand were paying attention) while the two other songs from the Peel Session occasionally hint at a slightly more expirimental side of the band:-

mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Hello Tiger
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Vanilla Starlet
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Vent Axia
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Hello Tiger (Peel Session)
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Dice, Nae Dice (Peel Session)
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Everybody Hang Out (Peel Session)

Enjoy

A LETTER TO ALL TVV READERS

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Dear Friend

I am respectfully asking that you take a few moments to have a read over this very distinguished list of songs:-

Cattle and Cane
Man O’Sand to Girl O’Sea
Bachelor Kisses
Part Company
Spring Rain
Head Full of Steam
Right Here
Cut It Out
I Just Get Caught Out
Bye Bye Pride
Streets of Your Town
Was There Anything I Could Do?
Love Goes On!

The songs have a few things in common:-

- every one of them was a single released by The Go-Betweens in the UK between 1983 and 1989
– every one of them was a flop with the best performing stalling at #80
– every one of them is a fantastic and timeless piece of music that shows no sign of dating
– every one of them is 80s indie-pop at its best

Sometimes I just don’t get it.

Yours

JC
————–

mp3 : The Go-Betweens – Spring Rain
mp3 : The Go-Betweens – The Life At Hand
mp3 : The Go-Betweens – Little Joe

This was the first single (and rather wonderful b-sides) lifted from the 1986 LP Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express, arguably the band’s most consistent album in terms of quality. Nearly 30 years on and I am still bemused as to why neither Spring Rain nor Head Full Of Steam, the other single lifted from the album, didn’t get the band an appearance on Top of The Pops.

Oh and while I’m here, I’m asking for your indulgence to post another non-single from the album on the basis that there are times when I hear it and think is my favourite ever Go-Betweens song:-

mp3 : The Go-Betweens – The Wrong Road

The addition of cello, violins and viola take this way out of indie-pop territory and into something quite epic.

Enjoy

THREE CRACKING BITS OF MUSIC ON THIS ’45’

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This, the second single lifted from what turned out to be the final ever LP released on Creation Records, is a mighty fine piece of music.

XTRMNTR had caught out a lot of folk. It was a full-on, in your face aggressive and angry record which didn’t make for easy listening. It had received a huge thumbs-up from the critics who almost universally lauded Primal Scream for having the balls to do something so brash and unexpected while the band had a large enough loyal following to take the LP into the Top 3. But unsurprisingly, the singles lifted from the LP never really got much in the way of radio play and all three of them stalled outside the Top 20.

Things weren’t helped in the case of Kill All Hippies as the band released it in the exact same format as the version which opened the album which means it doesn’t really take off for over a minute which really was commercial suicide when it comes to radio play which, back in 2000, was still very important as the digital internet age in terms of music consumption was really still around the corner.

mp3 : Primal Scream – Kill All Hippies

The second track is a Massive Attack remix of one of the gentler and easier listening tracks on the album. The original version of Exterminator is great but this remix is just stunning…especially when listened to through an expensive set of headphones. There’s just so much going on.

mp3 : Primal Scream – Exterminator (Massive Attack remix)

The single as a whole was dedicated to Curtis Mayfield who had died just a few weeks earlier. The third song was especially written by Primal Scream as a tribute to him and it is funky as fuck:-

mp3 : Primal Scream – The Revenge Of The Hammond Connection

If you’re not dancing around the room having played that last track there is something seriously wrong with you.

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