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BONUS POSTING : SONGS OF UNBRIDLED JOY

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It takes a lot to get my mate Jacques the Kipper really excited. Even at the football, when I’ll be ranting, raving and close to foaming at the mouth as a result of one or more of the ineptitude of our players, the niggardly tactics of our opposition or the uselessness of the match officials (especially every lino over on the Railway Stand side), the best you’ll get out of him is a half-growled ‘C’mon’ – and even then it is usually stifled halfway through for fear of drawing attention to himself.

It’s the same with music. If he hears something good, he’ll casually mention it in conversation some time later. He’s a regular use of social media but it tends to be observational more than anything else.

So you can imagine my surprise when, at just after 8am on Thursday 10 March, at a time when he’d be walking to his office in Edinburgh and as I was making my way to the train station in Glasgow, the following text arrived:-

iPod. So much fun this morning. Bela Lugosi’s Dead followed by Pass the Duchy (what a great record that is in retrospect) then Public Service Broadcasting followed by some old school soul from Bettye Swann.

That sort of emotion is almost unheard of. I of course replied (in a state of shock mind you) and he further articulated:-

Never a big Bauhaus fan much to my friends at the time disgust. But BL is some record and I must have danced to it a million times. Interesting to reassess PtD – amusing retrospect how popular it was given it’s a bunch of kids taking drugs. But as a reggae tune I think it stands the test of time.

For those readers who perhaps have no idea of what he’s talking about, click here.

So here your folks, JtK’s songs of unbridled joy, courtesy of a shuffling machine:-

mp3 : Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead
mp3 : Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie
mp3 : Public Service Broadcasting – Inform, Educate, Entertain (live)
mp3 : Bettye Swann – Kiss My Love Goodbye

Talking of shuffling, tune in next week to WYCRA as there’s a few guest postings due to be featured, including yours truly.

REMEMBERING BAUHAUS

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Bauhaus are one of the many bands of the early 80s era who could lay claim to having a say in the ‘invention’ of goth rock. It’s fair to say that most folk will recall the name of only one member of the four-piece, that of singer Peter Murphy. And yet, the fact is he only became part of the band when the others approached him, not because of his vocal talents, but simply because he had the right look.

There’s no disputing that Murphy was one of those blokes who it was impossible for even the most hetro and red-blooded male to deny was good-looking. Certainly, there were plenty of us who tried hard to capture the image, be it the impeccably prepared hair, the sharp as a razor cheekbones, or the piercing eyes made all the more memorable by the clever application of make-up.

Bauhaus never quite made it the way so many expected them to. I was surprised to find out that of the 11 singles and 4 EPs released at their peak between 1980 and 1983, only two of them actually cracked the Top 40, and one of these was a cover of Ziggy Stardust (indeed, this was their biggest success hitting #15 in 1982).

There are, in my opinion, two tracks that have more than stood the test of time and I’ve dug the bits of vinyl out of the cupboard.  Possibly the greatest nine-minute long single of all time:-

mp3 : Bauhaus – Bela Legosi’s Dead

I don’t have the original 1979 release but one from a couple of year later that has this fascinating little number on the b-side:-

mp3 : Bauhaus – Boys/Dark Entries (demo)

A close second in my personal Bauhaus chart is this:-

mp3 : Bauhaus – Kick In The Eye

The song had in fact been issued as a single in 1981 but had stalled at #59. On the back of the Ziggy success, the record label gave it a re-release on the Searching for Satori EP, but still public wouldn’t bite and it only reached a disappointing #45. And yet…..I could have sworn it was a huge hit…it was one of those songs that inevitably filled the floor of any student disco I was at. Here’s yer other tracks which by turn are surprising (ie not the sort of song you’d associate with miserable goths) and weird (ie unlistenable shite…..but feel free to differ)

mp3 : Bauhaus – Harry
mp3 : Bauhaus – Earwax

Oh and I forgot…..I’m also quite fond of giving this a listen every now and again, but I’ve only got a copy via a CD compilation:-

mp3 : Bauhaus – Lagartija Nick

Enjoy!!

PENSIONER POP

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As has been widely reported this past week, 66 year old David Bowie has made the twelve-strong shortlist for the 2013 Mercury Prize.  It would therefore seem, as far as the critics and others who make up the Mercury judging panel that his latest LP, The Next Day, is one of the best 12 albums released in the UK this past year.

I can’t say whether this is the case, although I strongly suspect not.  I’m more inclined to think that his inclusion is more to do with giving a high media profile to this year’s award than the merits of what was his 26th studio LP.  The reason that I can’t say for sure is that I’ve given the LP a total bodyswerve, as I have all his new material ever since the travesty that was Tin Machine in the late 80s and early 90s.  If any of you have remained loyal and faithful to his output in recent years, please let me know if in fact the latest LP is worth investing in….after all, I’m going to be bombarded with it on displays any time I venture into any High Street music store between now and the awards ceremony at the end of October.

Bowie is a performer who I’ve long felt ran his course in the mid 80s.  Just about all of his albums from the 70s  have more than stood the test of time  – it should also be recognised just how prolific he was in that decade with an an album in every year except 1978 – but then again there had been two absolute classics in 1977 in the shape of Low and Heroes.  I also remain fond of parts of Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) from 1980.  The worldwide phenomena of Let’s Dance in 1983 was truly something to behold with the production and sound capturing the popular music of the era quite perfectly, albeit it was a long long way away from the music I was listening to.  It’s a recod which made Bowie the #1 box office attraction for a few years – the royalties from the classic rock stations playing the hit singles from that era must still be mega given how often I stumbled upon them during my recent few weeks in Canada.

My admiration for Bowie began to fall away around the time of Live Aid.  Many have said that he was one of the outstanding performers that day but I was disturbed by the fact that out of all his back catalogue he chose to perform Heroes and in a way that seemed congratulatory to all the rock stars who had shown up that day in London and Philadelphia.

What I find interesting about his career, which now spans a jaw-dropping 46 years, is that so many modern musicians cite him as a huge influence and have covered his songs, either in concert or as b-sides or album tracks.  But almost inevitably, these covers are of songs from the 60s and 70s with scant regard to the later material.  And instead of me posting some great songs from the 70s which I’m sure are well-known to all readers of this blog, I thought I’d share some of the covers I’ve most enjoyed:-

mp3 : Black Box Recorder – Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide

mp3 : Vivian Girls – John, I’m Only Dancing

mp3 : Billy Mackenzie – Secret Life of Arabia

mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Sound & Vision

mp3 : Bauhaus – Ziggy Stardust

Actually, the only reason I’ve included that FF cover is that the dooh-doohs at the start are supplied by Girls Aloud…..very bizarre!

And here’s a cracking acoustic C&W version from Mr Bowie himself:-

mp3 : David Bowie – Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (live and acoustic)

Enjoy.