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AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #42 : CHARLATANS

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JC writes…….I’m delighted that The Robster whose wonderful own blog Is This The Life? continues to educate, inform and entertain on a daily basis¬† has come up with today’s posting.¬† It’s a belter…..with a great piece of artwork too.

The Robster writes……….

This whole Imaginary Compilation has really got my tired old brain working again. I’ll often hear a song by a band I love and think: “Hmmm… I wonder what I’d put on an imaginary compilation…” Yeah, that’s the kind of life I lead, folks. I did vow to leave well alone after my last contribution as I didn’t want to hog things. This is JC’s blog, after all, and I’ve got my own (not that many have noticed…). Trouble is, they just keep coming – and JC being the top bloke he is seems happy to accept them.

So I’ve done a few more and it’s up to my Scottish friend to decide which ones, if any, he sees fit to publish. This one is inspired by me just buying tickets to see The Charlatans for the first time in some 25 years! They’re playing at a brand new venue in Cardiff in December so it was a no-brainer for me. They’ve long been a fave band of mine, although their more recent material has been rather patchy. The latest album, Modern Nature, has taken a while to grow on me, but I’ve become rather fond of it. Really looking forward to the show now. In the meantime, I’ve had a lot of fun trying to put together a career-spanning selection of ten choice cuts from the Charlies catalogue. The ones that didn’t make the final list would have made a fine album in their own right, but this is what I finally ended up with.

Let The Good Times Roll
An Imaginary Compilation by The Charlatans

art

SIDE ONE

1. Weirdo (from ‘Between 10th And 11th’, 1992)

Don’t you just LOOOVE that intro? (JC adds……YEEEESSSSS)

One of the best noises on any record. Weirdo was the lead single from the Charlatans’ second album and was the best thing they’d done up to that point. It slapped me around the face like a wet kipper before cheekily skipping off, enticing me to chase it. I followed it of course and fell for its cheeky charms. It’s still one of my fave tunes by the band.

2. One To Another (from ‘Tellin’ Stories’, 1997)

A remarkable track for numerous reasons. It was the last track to feature keyboard player Rob Collins who was killed in a car crash while the band recorded the Tellin’ Stories album. It really is a career high-point, and one they’ve never really quite topped. It reached number 3 in the UK charts and remains their biggest hit. MrsRobster has just secretly filmed me bopping away to it as I write this. Unforgiveable in my book, but an indication of how One To Another really grabs me. The rare version I’m including here was distributed to US radio stations.

3. Can’t Get Out Of Bed (from ‘Up To Our Hips’, 1994)

The Charlies’ third album marked a shift in styles. The guitars were somewhat louder and there was quite a bit of experimentation involved. Can’t Get Out Of Bed was an obvious single, though typically it really underachieved chart-wise, stalling at #19.

4. Judas (from ‘Wonderland’, 2001)

Now this is just BRILLIANT! ‘Wonderland’ was where the Charlies went funk and Tim Burgess adopted a Curtis Mayfield-type falsetto. The fact Judas was overlooked as a single is a crime, in my opinion, and I’m usually right about these things. It’s one of Tim’s faves too. It has a serious groove, a big phat bassline and some really cool guitar sounds. Wonderland is my favourite Charlatans album, and this is probably the reason why.

5. The Only One I Know [acoustic version] (from ‘Warm Sounds’ EP, 2011)

Probably the band’s most famous song, but done in a completely different way. The Only One I Know was their first hit, hitting the dizzy heights of #9 in 1990. It’s one of those tracks that has become synonymous with the Madchester scene they became part of (though they were at pains to remind us they were actually from Northwich and were formed in the West Midlands!) This acoustic reworking featured on 2011’s Warm Sounds EP and is really rather lovely, throwing a completely new light on the song behind those 90s Madchester vibes.

SIDE TWO

1. Indian Rope (debut single, 1990)

A few months before that first hit, the Charlatans announced their arrival with Indian Rope, an ambitious debut that relied heavily on Rob Collins’ funky organ sound. It hinted at something a little different to the rest of the scene at the time. Sure, the Inspiral Carpets were an obvious comparison, but Indian Rope suggested the Charlies were more about the groove. It still sounds good nearly 26 years later.

2. Let The Good Times Be Never Ending (from ‘Modern Nature’, 2015)

Although the last few albums have not really excited me in the way their previous works had, their latest effort – the first since the death of drummer Jon Brookes – has survived my initial scepticism owing to tunes like this. It’s a warm-sounding record that seems to subtly make the point that the Charlatans are far from finished.

3. As I Watch You In Disbelief (from ‘Up At The Lake’, 2005)

Can’t understand why this was never a single. Up At The Lake had some really good songs on it and this was always one of my faves. I love the bit when Tim shouts. It’s not something he does, so it was something of a surprise to hear him let go on this track.

4. Here Comes A Soul Saver [BBC session] (recorded for Mark Radcliffe, 1995)

There are so many good tracks on the Charlatans’ self-titled fourth album it was difficult to choose one which represents it. It’s regarded as one of their best records and rightly so. Here Comes A Soul Saver is a stormer, and this BBC session version has a bit of extra edge to it that comes with the live setting.

5. Sproston Green (from ‘Some Friendly’, 1990)

It’s not a Charlatans gig if it doesn’t end with Sproston Green. The closing track on the debut album has remained a firm favourite of fans all this time, and live it still thrills. Although it wasn’t put out as a single in the UK, it did get a US release and it’s the 12″ version I’m using to round off my Charlatans comp.

mp3 : The Charlatans – Weirdo
mp3 : The Charlatans – One To Another (swab radio mix)
mp3 : The Charlatans – Can’t Get Out Of Bed
mp3 : The Charlatans – Judas
mp3 : The Charlatans – The Only One I Know (acoustic version)
mp3 : The Charlatans – Indian Rope
mp3 : The Charlatans – Let The Good Times Be Never Ending (radio edit)
mp3 : The Charlatans – As I Watch You In Disbelief
mp3 : The Charlatans – Here Comes A Soul Saver (Mark Radcliffe Session)
mp3 : The Charlatans – Sproston Green (12″ edit)

The Charlatans show in Cardiff looks like being my last gig of the year. It could be a hell of a one to go out on.

The Robster

MOST OF THE TIME YOU ARE HAPPY…

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My intention this week is to feature songs by bands that I have a lot of time for but without ever at any time becoming the sort of fan who rushed out and bought loads of their singles and albums. All of them have a superb discography and are worthy of a feature in the ‘Imaginary Compilation Album’ series except that I can’t claim to have enough knowledge to do justice to any such feature.

I’m starting things off with The Charlatans, a band that has been making music, mostly of a very high quality, for quarter of a century during which they have had more than the fair share of adversity and tragedy to overcome.

The sustained popularity of the band can be evidenced by the fact that all twelve studio albums have gone Top 40, including three hitting #1 and a further two reaching #2. They have also cracked the Top 30 of the singles charts on seventeen occasions, including this #19 effort back in February 1992:-

mp3 : The Charlatans – Weirdo

One of the few words in the dictionary where the rule of thumb (i before the e except after c) doesn’t apply.

I’m very fond of this particular track. The keyboards of the late Rob Collins are a joy to behold and it is a superb dance number. The other tracks on the CD single aren’t shabby either:-

mp3 : The Charlatans – Theme From ‘The Wish’
mp3 : The Charlatans – Weirdo (alternate take)
mp3 : The Charlatans – Sproston Green (U.S. Version)

I’ll surely one day get round to posting a review of Telling Stories, the excellent and hugely enjoyable autobiography of lead singer Tim Burgess. It’ll be another good excuse to post more stuff by this very talented group of musicians.

Enjoy