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LET’S GO TO THE OTHER EXTREME TODAY

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I’ve subjected you to a couple of songs these past two days that have extended out to ridiculous amounts of time.  I’ll make it up to y’all by delving into the i-tunes and finding some really short stuff with the qualification that they need to be full songs and not just extracts. Oh and they also need to be of quality:-

mp3 : Half Man Half Biscuit – Vatican Broadside
mp3 : Violent Femmes – Old Mother Reagan

Both clock in at just 30 seconds.

mp3 : Wire – Brazil

You’ll need your full powers of concentration to get through its 40 seconds.

mp3 : Elastica – Annie
mp3 : Talulah Gosh – Break Your Face
mp3 : The Style Council – Mick’s Blessings
mp3 : Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Let Her Go Into The Darkness
mp3 : The Vaccines – Wrecking Bar (Ra Ra Ra)

All at less than 80 seconds.

Enjoy.

AND HERE WAS ME THINKING IT WAS ACTUALLY A CHART HIT….

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If you thought yesterday’s ten minutes plus was an epic, you ain’t seen (or heard) nothing yet.

Unlike Marquee Moon, I can clearly recall hearing Chase by Giorgio Moroder getting played on Radio 1 back in 1979. It was, again, something quite distinctive and catchy, and seemed to be a very strange choice of music for a film theme which, to mt ears back in those days, seemed to be the reserve of classical composers only.

Giorgio Moroder had come to the attention of the wider public over the previous year thanks to his collaborations with Donna Summer who had taken the unofficial title of Queen of Disco thanks to string of hits, the best known of which was I Feel Love. It was something akin to that very track that Alan Parker, the director of Midnight Express, wanted to have appear throughout the film, and so he approached Moroder to ask if he’d compose something for him. And while most of us had the Italian pigeon-holed as a disco hit maker, those in the know were aware that he’d been making music since as far back as 1965 and was a real talent capable of turning his hand to most things.

The piece of music composed in line with Parker’s wishes was, to give its full title, Chase (Theme From Midnight Express), released as a single in  early 1979 on the back of the popular and critical response to the film which picked up a number of awards across the world, despite some saying that the portrayal of Turkey and the people who lived there bordered on racism.

Chase was released in 7″ and 12″ format and played at 45 rpm.  The former lasted 3:30 while the latter lasted 8:26 and was identical to the LP version.  However, a later single-sided version was issued to play at 33 1/3 rpm, which allowed the music to stretch out to a shade over 13 minutes.

Now as the title of the post indicates, I was sure this was a chart hit but it peaked at just #48 in March 1979.  It certainly got a lot of air play at the time but this didn’t lead to any huge amount of sales.  Here’s the full monty:-

mp3 : Giorgio Moroder – Chase

Enjoy

 

AND HERE WAS ME ALWAYS THINKING IT WAS JUST A CULT HIT….

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I don’t think I ever heard Marquee Moon by Television until around 1983 when it was played at one of the downstairs alt-disco at Strathclyde Students Union.  I recall it being one that the cool kids got up and danced to as well as some of the longer-haired hippy types who normally hung around in the hope of some Lynard Skynard or Blue Oyster Cult to which they could play along on air guitar.  That it attracted such a diverse group of dancers was of interest and of course it sounded great blasting out of the speakers.

I know I didn’t ever own a copy of the song until the late 90s when I bought a CD copy of the album of the same name.  It was a song up until then I’d only ever had on a hissy compilation C90 tape that a mate had put together for me back in the mid 80s and I was delighted at long last to have a decent quality copy to enjoy.

It came up on random shuffle the other day and prompted the idea of a posting.  That’s when my little bit of background research revealed that it had come out as a 7″ single in April 1977, entered the charts at #35, dropped out to #41 the week after, climbed back in again to #30 in week three before falling down to #40 and then totally out of the Top 50 after five weeks.  At just a shade under ten minutes in length, it was cut into two parts for the 7″ single and radio play – Part 1 being 3:13 and Part 2 being 6:45.  I’m thinking my hippy colleagues at the student union, if they owned a copy of the 7″, played Part 2 to death…..

In fact the original issue of the single was in 12″ format, which would have been one of the first of its type as it was around ’77 that the 12″ singles, primarily to extend disco numbers, really took off.  Wiki explains that the first 25,000 copies were on 12″ with a stereo version of the song on one side and a mono version on the other and only later copies were made as 7″ singles.

It’s an extraordinary piece of music and it’s quite hard to get your head around the fact that it’s almost 40 years old. It’s a song as the dance floor of the early 80s indicated is one that the post-punks and the guitar purists would like to each claim as their own and there’s not too many tunes out there can do that.  What is clear is that it had a huge influence on the playing and recording of many emerging bands and artists, not least Talking Heads and Elvis Costello

mp3 : Television – Marquee Moon

That’s the full 10:40 version for you folks.

Enjoy.

 

 

BONUS POSTING : A FEW SONGS

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Just under five weeks till I take the trip aross the Atlantic to meet up with some Canadian buddies.  Preparing for the trip with a few new 1-hour compilations for the plane journey. This one, coming in at spot on 59 minutes, was compiled yesterday.

mp3 : Various – Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon

Done so with a touch of a hangover…..but then again it’s not every weekend your football team wins its derby match and stays top of the league.

The Search For Cherry Red – Jonathan Fire*Eater
The Drowners – Suede
I Was A Teenage Armchair Honved Fan – Half Man Half Biscuit
California Uber Alles – Dead Kennedys
Tears In Your Cup – Cats On Fire
What Do You Want From Me? – Monaco
Milkshake – Kelis
Hanging With Howard Marks – Super Furry Animals
King Kunta – Kendrick Lamar
Plenty – The Woodentops
Israel – Siouxie & The Banshees
This Corrosion  – Sisters Of Mercy
Geno – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Rattlesnakes – Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
Electricity – OMD
Hand In Glove – The Smiths

Enjoy. And download till your heart is full….

(Please note, just in case there’s kids around, there’s fair bit of swearing on the Kendrick Lamar track)

TWO SONGS TO KICK-START YOUR MONDAY

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Warning. They’re not for everyone. I won’t be offended if you jog on and come back tomorrow.

mp3 : The Fall – Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul
mp3 : The Fall – Fantastic Life

The two sides of a single from early 1981 and the first ever release on Kamera Records.

Bloody marvellous…..although I didn’t think that at the time. Took me a few more years to ‘get’ The Fall.

B&S ON SUNDAYS (14)

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I’ve spent the last three Sundays bemoaning the horrendous drop in quality of the Belle and Sebastian singles/EPs in comparison to what they were producing back when they first appeared on the scene.  Parts 11-13 of this series took in the singles from The Life Pursuit, the LP released in 2006.  Part 14 is going to attempt to wrap up the past decade.

The reason for this is primarily that while singles have been released (as such), they’ve mostly been digital downloads and the idea behind this series was as much to draw attention to b-sides as anything else.

The tour to promote The Life Pursuit was an exhausting one. The first show of the year was in Glasgow on 15 January.  The last was in September in Dublin after almost 90 gigs across the globe, taking in Europe, USA, Australia and Japan, including all sorts of appearances at many of the summer festivals.  It would be four years before the band resurfaced, with the release, in September 2010, of the LP Belle and Sebastian Write About Love, again on Rough Trade. (although in the intervening period, a very welcome release in the shape of  The BBC Sessions, a compilation of unreleased recordings recorded between 1996 and 2001, kept fans happy).

The new album wasn’t preceded by any single. In the end, three tracks could be found outwith the album with Write About Love and I Want The World To Stop issued as digital downloads in October 2010 and February 2011. Then in July 2011, a very low-key and nowadays difficult to find EP was issued on 12″ vinyl by Rough Trade with these four tracks:-

Come On Sister (Tony Doogan Mix)
I Didn’t See It Coming (Richard X Remix)
I Didn’t See It Coming (Cold Cave Remix)
Blue Eyes Of A Millionaire

The last of these was the only new track (although it had been available as a bonus track for those who had bought the download of the album):-

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Blue Eyes Of A Millionaire

It’s a rather lovely little number and a real step up on the b-sides of the modern era.

The next few years were dominated by Stuart Murdoch dedicating himself to God Help The Girl and it wasn’t till January 2015 that new Belle and Sebastian material emerged. By this time, one of the key members, Mick Cooke, whose trumpet playing on the records and in the live setting really helped make things special, had departed the band to spend more time with his young family and do some film composing.

The new material was another LP, Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance, which was released on Matador Records. No singles were officially lifted from it although three tracks – The Party Line, Nobody’s Empire and Allie – had digital/promo releases. All of the available songs were made commercially available to fans, although you had to shell out for a limited edition, quadruple LP to get some otherwise unavailable extended mixes and these bonus tracks:-

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Born To Act
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Two Birds
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Piggy In The Middle
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – A Politician’s Silence

These would have made a marvellously diverse and entertaining 4-track EP almost up there with some of the really early material, albeit the songs demonstrate just how much Belle and Sebastian have evolved over the best part of 20 years.

And that seems a good way to draw this particular mini-series to an end.  Hope it’s been enjoyable for everyone somewhere along the line.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #37 : THE BLUEBELLS

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The Bluebells were somewhat unfortunate from a critical point of view to be making jangly pop music in Glasgow at the same time as Aztec Camera and Orange Juice in that there was never the same sort of love for them as the Postcard acts.

However, in terms of the record-buying public they were much more succesful than Edwyn & co, landing three Top 40 hit singles in 1984. They enjoyed a very unexpected success many years after they broke up when, in 1993, Young at Heart was used to great effect in a car advert. The song was re-released and quite incredibly spent four weeks at #1.

The individual members of the band have long been an important part of the music scene in Glasgow and across Scotland. It’s not uncommon to bump into one or more of them at a gig or exhibition, particularly something which links back to the 80s, and they are always happy to talk to fans.

They have reformed on an on-off basis in recent years, playing as support act to Edwyn Collins back in 2009 as he made his comeback after illness and then again as part of a festival celebrating Glasgow hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Here’s one of their catchiest songs:-

mp3 : The Bluebells – Cath (extended version)

It was a flop on its original release in 1983, but reached #38 the following year.

Enjoy

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