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The past few weeks have been a celebration of some of the best blogs and bloggers out there but I wanted to extend the concept by one more day in an effort to persuade someone to return to his keyboard.

This is the bloke who almost single-handedly got me started on this adventure all those years ago.  I had just been removed from what was regarded by quite a few folk as a high-pressure and high-profile job – at the time I was incredibly bitter but looking back it was one of the best things to ever happen to me as it led to so many unexpected and new opportunities coming my way.  One of the first was having a bit more free time and I found myself scouring the internet searching out what was at the time a huge explosion of music blogs.

One of these was the work of someone who lived and worked in Glasgow. It was called Let’s Kiss and Make Up and it was a combination of quality writing, photography and tunes.  After a few weeks of stalking the author, I plucked up the courage to send him an e-mail asking for advice on how best to set up a blog. A few weeks later, as a bit of a thank you, I left a 12″ single for him at his place of work, but without warning him I was going to do so. The e-mail exchanges increased but then out of the blue his blog disappeared.

A few weeks later I got an e-mail saying that he had ‘killed’ the blog for personal reasons but was starting again, this time calling it And Before The First Kiss.  We made tentative plans to hook up but before either of us knew it, I was off to Canada to work for a few months.  This delayed us meeting in the flesh until January 2008, a full 15 months after we had first been in contact by e-mail.  We hit it off immediately….to a level way beyond what either of us dare hoped for….and we are now the closest of friends having shared many a great night out at many a great venue in Glasgow.

He’s someone who claims he is only capable of writing at his best when he is unhappy or troubled….and as he sets very high standards and is currently very happy with his lot, then you’ll understand why his own blog has been on an extended vacation since June 2013.  But he has very kindly penned something for this blog, and I’m delighted to again offer the opportunity to enjoy the words and thoughts of Comrade Colin:-

“When our mutual friend asked me to come out of retirement, for a brief moment, and scribble a few words over at his place he said I had a ‘blank page’. Oh how he cruelly mocks me. You see, I used to keep a music blog (of sorts) but have been rather distant for some time now (I note that, indeed, June 2013 was the last update. Oh dear.). It’s the usual excuses of life, work and family; too many distractions and other things to attend to. It’s a familiar story. Also, I suppose, the 140 character ‘thing’ happened and I just got a bit lazy. For me, a post would always usually begin with a photograph I’d taken. At other times, it might be something I’d read in the newspaper, a conversation I’d had with a friend or an ‘encounter’ on public transport. Not usually the music, oddly enough. The words would come out of the ether and sometimes reflect upon what the photograph was presenting (to my mind, at least) or what the song was about, but not always. I wasn’t entirely sure to be honest. But, I enjoyed the challenge and made time for it. I built ‘blogging’ into my routine and would always be thinking ‘what comes next?’ Anyway, that was then. I don’t really have much else to say right now. I mean, the bottom line is I used to write a music blog but now I don’t. Motivation and enthusiasm are vital in keeping you going and I was found severely lacking. I lost the habit too easily, too quickly, with a few false endings and bumpy starts along the way. This is why the heroic day-to-day efforts of JC are to be applauded. It’s a tough gig, for sure. That’s what The Rolling Stones say at least.

itseasybeingyou

This photograph was taken on February 11th, 2007 at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. It was a writing day for me. Back then, the Mitchell was one of my regular haunts (working, but away from the office). I noticed this adorable couple (or are they brother and sister?) and I was struck by how comfortable they seemed with each other, within themselves; cups of sweet tea and good books surrounding them. As soon as I took the photograph I immediately thought of this song. To this day I’m still not sure why but there you go. But one thing I do know: I miss The Delgados an awful lot.”

The Delgados – ‘Reasons for Silence (Ed’s Song)’

Thanks Comrade.   I hope you’re inspired enough to either get things going again over at your own place or else become a regular contributor here.

This post is dedicated to another dear mate of mine…..one who just never ever ‘got’ the type of music I enjoy so much….he was so mainstream it was scary.  RC would have been 50 years old today if leukaemia hadn’t cruelly claimed him a few years back….there’s rarely a day goes by that I don’t think of him.

MY FRIENDS ELECTRIC (16)

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Keeping It Peel - October 25th

JUST BECAUSE……

http://keepingitpeel.wordpress.com/

and in particular:-

http://keepingitpeel.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/john-peel-10-years-gone/

mp3 : Arab Strap – The First Big Peel Thing (Peel Session)
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Lover’s Town (Peel Session)
mp3 : Cinerama – Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) (Peel Session)
mp3 : The Delgados – No Danger (Peel Session)
mp3 : Half Man Half Biscuit – Mr Cave’s A Window Cleaner Now (Peel Session)
mp3 : Madness _ Bed & Breakfast Man (Peel Session)
mp3 : The Smiths – Rusholme Ruffians (Peel Session)
mp3 : T.Rex – Ride A White Swan (Peel Session)
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Hello Tiger (Peel Session)
mp3 : Wire – I Am The Fly (Peel Session)

 

IT’S COVERS WEEK ON T(n)VV : DAY 5

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John-Peel

Lots of bands used John Peel sessions to record cover versions.  Many of these would later appear on b-sides under license from the BBC but in recent years there’s been a trend towards some of the bands most frequently invited into the studio to release all such material on CD album or within boxsets – The Fall, The Wedding Present, PJ Harvey and Magazine all spring to mind.  As do this lot:-

mp3 : The Delgados – Mr Blue Sky

mp3 : The Delgados – California Uber Alles

mp3 : The Delgados – Matthew and Son

mp3 : The Delgados – Last Rose of Summer

Stewart Henderson used the sleeve notes of the CD release to explain:-

The next session was scheduled to coincide with the release of ‘Hate’ and was recorded on 15 September 2002. This on was going to be a departure from previous sessions because we had decided to do four cover versions – we would choose three and John would be allowed to pick the fourth. John’s choice was ‘Last Rose of Summer’ by a Jamaican vocal group called The Symbols (also known as The Masters). This was a really enjoyable session to do although we all had individual problems with the songs that were chosen – Alun hated’Mr Blue Sky’ from the beginning and it took us forever to work out the outro; Paul had a nightmare doing the drums on ‘California Uber Alles’ and ‘Matthew and Son’ was a pain in the arse for me to play but overall the versions came out really well (for Alun’s sins we ended all our ‘Hate’ shows with ‘Mr Blue Sky’)

Oh and I’m with Alun Woodward on this.  I really hate the song Mr Blue Sky…..ok, I hate the original ELP version…The Delgados make it more than listenable.  And it’s a really good take on the Dead Kennedys classis as well.

Enjoy.

IN PRAISE OF EMMA POLLOCK

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emma-pollock_8

Last Friday night I was lucky enough to find myself on the guest list for an event that was part of the 2013 Spree Festival in Paisley, some ten miles south-west of Glasgow.  It was a night put together by Chemikal Underground Records and featured a line-up of Emma Pollock, Miaoux Miaoux and RM Hubbert with all three acts being backed by the talented Cairn String Quartet.  It was an exceptional night in front of a hugely appreciative and attentive audience inside a Spiegeltent (nobody talked while the acts performed – a real rarity) and I’d be hard pushed to say which of the three I most enjoyed – if a gun was held to my head then I’d probably go for the incredibly danceable Miaoux Miaoux whose performance was the most surprising.

But it was great to see Emma Pollock back on a stage again and to hear some new material which hopefully means she will soon be coaxed back into a studio in the not too distant future.  For those of you not in the know, Emma was one-quarter of The Delgados and post break-up has released two excellent LPs full of pop, indie and folk influences as well as involving herself in a number of side-projects with all sorts of talented Scottish musicians.  In addition to her own short set last Friday we were treated to a duet with RM Hubbert, or Hubby as he is being increasingly better known in the music world.

Here’s some examples of Emma’s marvellous songs:-

mp3 : The Delgados – Pull The Wires From The Walls (Peel Session)

mp3 : Emma Pollock – Adrenaline

And while I’m here, there’s a song on which she collaborated with David Gedge:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Ears

But prepare to be blown away by the duet with Hubby which brought down the roof on the Spiegeltent:-

mp3 : RM Hubbert & Emma Pollock – Half Light (live at the Aberfeldy Distillery)

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Parts 36-40)

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Back on 8 October 2011, I started a series called ‘Saturday’s Scottish Single’.  The aim was to feature one 45 or CD single by a Scottish singer or band with the proviso that the 45 or CD single was in the collection. I had got to Part 60-something and as far as Kid Canaveral when the rug was pulled out from under TVV.

I’ll catch up soon enough by featuring 5 or more at a time from the archives..

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(36) Copy Haho – Bookshelf  b/w Desert Belle : I Fly Spitfire Records 7″ (2006)

 A four-piece outfit originally from the town of Stonehaven which is just a couple of train stops south of Aberdeen in the north-east of Scotland. I saw Copy Haho as a support act at King Tut’s a few years ago and was impressed enough to buy a bit of vinyl on the night. Turns out it was their debut 7″ limited run of 500 which came out in 2006. Since then I’ve picked up a further two singles that were released in 2008 and 2009 but not their debut LP which was released in 2011

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(37) Danny Wilson – The Second Summer Of Love b/w Growing Emotional b/w I’ll Be Waiting : Virgin 12″ single (1989)

Read more about Danny Wilson here

 

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(38) David Byrne – Big Blue Plymouth (Eyes Wide Open) (extended version)  b/w Leg Bells  b/w Light Bath : Sire Records 12″ single  (1981)

Read more about David Byrne here

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(39) Deacon Blue – Real Gone Kid (extended version) b/w Little Lincoln b/w Real Gone Kid (7″ version) : CBS 12″  (1988)

It is very easy to forget just how massive Deacon Blue were in Glasgow at the tail end of the 80s. The city that had just. for the first time in a generation, re-gained a sense of pride in its very existence thanks to a series of arts and cultural events that had culminated in Glasgow, to the sheer disbelief of millions of folk who only associated it with crime and grime, having been declared European City of Culture 1990.  Many of the city’s inhabitants now swaggered around awash in self-belief and confidence, feelings which Deacon Blue more than any other locally based band captured and ran with.   

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(40) The Delgados –  No Danger (kids choir) b/w The Choices You’ve Made: Chemikal Underground 7″(2000)

Read more about The Delgados here

2013 Update…..

I just want to add that The Delgados, thanks to them establishing and maintaining Chemikal Underground all that stems from that, are probably the most important and influential music act to have emerged from Scotland over the past 25 years

Parts 41-45 next Saturday…..