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BONUS POSTING : THE £20 CHALLENGE (Week Five)

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SWC writes…..

Badger was sort of right last week, I do have this habit of winding people up. Most of the stuff I say is completely true though. I am sucker for inane little facts, snippets of information and nuggets of knowledge that make your socks roll up and down your legs and shout ‘Golly’. So you can imagine how happy I was when I found out earlier today that the red waxy stuff that adorns Edam cheese was invented by the grandfather of Huey Lewis from Huey Lewis and the News fame. Almost as happens as I was when I found out that the Afrikaans word for an ‘elephants trunk’ is ‘slurp’ and that octopuses have beaks. That’s how happy.

I was less happy when I found out that Mrs Badger was to pick this week’s charity shop CD. This is not because she has bad taste in music, as shown by our own recent experiment with our wives iPods over at our own blog (both better and miles more eclectic than ours). Rather it is because she is bound to make it difficult for me. So it was with some fear when Mrs SWC and I turned up at Badger Towers last Sunday for lunch, the CD was going to be presented to me after the trifle (actually it was a very nice trifle). Also just to set the record straight, The Badgers and the SWCs often have lunch together, it’s a fairly regular thing, we don’t just get together to give each other CDs bought from various branches of Scope.

After the trifle, whilst the tea is being made and the dishwasher loaded by Badger – who is looking resplendent in his favourite frilly pinny – Mrs Badger pops a bag containing the CD on the sofa beside me and immediately starts talking to my wife and our daughter about things like ‘pretty dresses’. It is a very clever move. She told me earlier that Badger has no idea what it is, because he ‘was bound to tell me, after one or two glasses of wine’ (true he would).

I leave the CD where it is, my hand twitching slightly, the CD appears to be sinking into the sofa, seemingly burning a hole in the bag. I’m rubbish at poker. I grab the bag and peek inside.

It is ‘Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits’ it cost £2 from the Whipton branch of Scope in Exeter.

Now it is about now that I should confess a few things. Firstly, ‘The Graduate’ starring Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman is one of my favourite films, and its soundtrack is a musical masterpiece. It’s largely because Anne Bancroft looks wonderful in every scene in that film and that bit where Hoffman goes ‘Mrs Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me, aren’t you?’ is one of cinemas finest minutes.

‘Sound of Silence’ is one of the finest records ever recorded and despite being nearly 50 years old it has aged excellently (and if you disagree then the door is over there). These two famous tracks come from the soundtrack and are also featured on the Greatest Hits CD.

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Sound of Silence
mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Mrs Robinson

Let’s talk cover versions for a second if I may, I’ll come back to the confessions later

Now despite ‘Sound of Silence’ being nearly half a century old, it has rarely been covered but a few months back the unintentionally hilarious act Disturbed decided that the world needed a nu metal version of it. I haven’t got it but I played it on You Tube just a moment ago and a massive piece of sick arrived in the back of my mouth. It is as awful as it sounds.

‘Mrs Robinson’ has been covered as we know, by the Lemonheads, which isn’t bad to be honest.

mp3 :  The Lemonheads – Mrs Robinson

Another track on the CD ‘Cecilia’ has been butchered by well-known arsehole and Chelsea Fan Suggs. He took an already awful song and made it fucking awful.

Here’s the original if you want it. It sucks massively though

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Cecilia

Second confession. I rarely buy Greatest Hits CDs largely because they often are just record companies flogging a long dead horse. There are four exceptions to this rule, Buffalo Tom’s ‘A Sides’ (which The Robster will agree with), Super Furry Animals ‘Songbook Vol. 1’ (which everyone should agree with). ’21 Singles’ by the Jesus and Mary Chain’ and ‘Straw Donkeys’ by Carter USM (ditto). Every other Greatest Hits compilation is a rip off. I may add ‘Melting Pot’ the Charlatans one to that good list in the near future.

Now despite only costing £2, this Greatest Hits CD is a rip off, it contains a number of live tracks that are ruined by polite applause included ‘Homeward Bound’ one of S&G’s better tracks. Seriously if you want to listen to Simon and Garfunkel go and buy the ‘Sounds of Silence’, ‘The Graduate’ and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ albums. All three are excellent; don’t waste your cash on one of the several million compilations.

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Homeward Bound (with added clearly piped in ‘polite applause’)

Third Confession – Paul Simon, despite nowadays being a domestic violence sympathiser, was at the time – one natty mofo. On the cover of this CD he has a zapatista moustache (kind of) and a white beret. Only a real rock star could wear a white beret on an album cover. Would you see Thom Yorke or Morrissey or Kanye West wearing a white beret on an album sleeve – no you would not, because they are just shallow fawns toking on fashions crack pipe (possibly). Simon also appears to be holding a golden acorn which is probably symbolic of something.

Fourth Confession – The song ‘The Boxer’ is utterly wonderful. No, no, Stay with me. I listened to this CD in full on my way to work on Monday morning – I had an hour’s drive so bunged it on. Now maybe it was a combination of Devon’s rolling hills and the beautiful sunshine but the bit where the thunderclaps drums kick in just after the vocals go ‘Lie la lie’ for the first time sent shivers down my spine and despite it being an obvious Dylan rip off – it’s a beautiful thing.

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – The Boxer

Bringing it back to facts and inane pieces of information. There is a bridge in Bickleigh, Devon which goes over the fast flowing River Exe that legend has it was the inspiration for S&G’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’. They stayed in the nearby cottage and spied the fast flowing river and the rest is POP HISTORY. Another lesser known fact is that I once saw a yellow Mark II Ford Capri stuck in a tree near the same bridge. At least one fact in this paragraph is not actually true. All three in the opening one are.

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water

Here is the skinny

Bought from Scope, Whipton

you can google Scope to find out more about their ongoing brilliant work in providing disabled people with the same opportunities as the rest of us.

Price £2.

Money Left £11

Weeks Left 5

Oh, before I go and just because here is an ode to the lovely Anne.

mp3 : Mega City Four – Anne Bancroft

SWC

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES

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Many of you will know that my football team is Raith Rovers.  We’re not the most fashionable or successful of clubs and indeed since 1988 when I first started going along (as a result of my best mate playing the first of what would be more than 300 games in nine years) the Rovers have spent only three seasons in the top flight of Scottish football.  There’s also been cup wins in that period while the 95/96 season unbelievably saw us qualify for European football where, after beating teams from the Faroe Islands and Iceland, we came against the might of Bayern Munich and lost 4-1 over the two legs…but with the memory of talking a 1-0 lead into half time at the game over in the Olympic Stadium in Munich.  Bayern, incidentally, went on to win the UEFA Cup that season with Rovers being the team that got the best aggregate score in any round.

But as any true football or indeed sports fan knows, winning isn’t the be all and end all.  It’s about going along, enjoying a good day out with mates and cheering your team on through thick and thin, and hopefully seeing your team play well and giving you a sense of satisfaction and pleasure.  There’s been loads of such times watching the Rovers all these years but as you can imagine there’s also been some really lousy, frustrating and boring days out too.

The season ended just 48 hours ago.  The team lost a play-off match in their efforts to get back to the top league for the first time since 1997. I wasn’t at the game as I had a long-standing commitment to look after some friends from Ireland who were visiting Glasgow for the very first time – friends who have over the years done so much for me and my family in the wake of my brother’s death some six years ago.  Some things are more important than football (but not many!!)

The fact we were in the play-offs was a huge surprise.  In a ten-team league, we had probably the 8th biggest budget and so were expected to be fighting things at the bottom.  Over 36 games, we put together a more than decent record which saw us rack up 18 wins and 8 draws and finish miles ahead of the teams in 5th place and below.  The significance of that achievement was that it clinched a play-off place and a chance, over up to six games, to go up.  As I said, that dream is over but what it did do was give all of us a chance to dream.  It also provided some amazing memories that will last forever (especially as they can be relived nowadays on YouTube etc).

All this was done by a team that was largely put together over the course of a season by a manager/coach who only joined us this time last year.  Ray McKinnon has done a great job and it’s no surprise that other clubs would be interested in having him at their helm.  It just so happens that the club he grew up supporting, Dundee United, have had a miserable season having been relegated and their chairman sees Ray as the answer to their problems.

The news today is that Raith Rovers, despite wanting to keep our manager who is under contract, have agreed to given Ray permission to speak to Dundee United and indeed have already agreed a suitable compensation package.  It’s only a matter of time before the Rovers are back looking for a new manager…..

It’s a sad feeling but one which one day, given the over-achievement of the past season, was likely to happen at some point or another.  All of which gives me the opportunity to post up a wonderful pop song which, after all, is the supposed point of this blog:-

mp3 : The Lemonheads – It’s A Shame About Ray

Good luck in the new job gaffer.  No doubt you’ll get a decent reception when you bring your team to Stark’s Park for two league games next season.

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #21 : THE LEMONHEADS

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Another fine guest contribution today, this time courtesy of Jen whose long-time love for The Lemonheads comes through nice’n’clear.  She’s gone for a chronological approach that demonstrates how much the band’s sound changed and evolved in a little over a decade and she’s also included a fair proportion of cover versions, none of which are the song that got them the commercial breakthrough here in the UK:-

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM – THE LEMONHEADS

1. So I Fucked Up…[Laughing All The Way To The Cleaners 7” EP, 1986]

Punk was still new in Northern California in 1986, the year the Lemonheads put out their first record. Both singers here, and that great relief of shrugging off your potential and embracing your god given destiny.

2. Hate Your Friends [Hate Your Friends, 1987]

Seventeen and speeding around the San Francisco suburbs with my friends. No sleep for a week, sitting around the living room staring at each other, these lyrics will speak to you.

3. Ride With Me [Lovey, 1990]

Alone. Driving. Loud.

4. Different Drum [Favorite Spanish Dishes, CD EP, 1991]

This is the record where the Lemonheads became a pop band. Dando kept Ronstadt’s POV, singing about a “boy” instead of changing the lyrics to “girl.” It’s hard to remember how bad-ass that was in 1991.

5. Skulls [Favorite Spanish Dishes, CD EP, 1991]

If you take a violent, funny Misfits song (so any Misfits song) and cover it slow and acoustic, the song becomes an amazing sad classic. It’s a good trick. It works every time, as many bands have discovered since Dando.

6. Alison’s Starting To Happen [It’s A Shame About Ray, 1992]

Is Dando more idiot, or more savant? Is it an act, an accident, a joke on us?

7. Frank Mills [It’s A Shame About Ray, 1992]

From the 1968 “Hair” soundtrack. This song was a gift, for us kids hanging out in the park. No school. No work. Lots of characters.

8. The Great Big No [Come On Feel, 1993]

My favorite of the big pop songs.

9. He’s On The Beach [Big Gay Heart, CD EP, 1994]

Kirsty MacColl song about her friend that disappeared in the early 80’s. She started getting beach postcards from Australia. The Lemonheads crush this tune, sending it galloping through the streets of Boston.

10. Hospital [Car Button Cloth, 1996]

Is he trying? Is he not trying? Is he finger-painting with melted crayons? Who calls an album car button cloth? Dando was a sun-slapped gorgeous boy running through the sprinklers with terminal cancer, singing about the cherry flavor of his medicine. He knows rock and roll is for the ugly. He will destroy his own beauty.

Bonus Track: Pin Yr Heart [The Outdoor Type, CD Single, 1997]

As the curtain falls on his first act, he covers Nikki Sudden. Right?

mp3 : The Lemonheads – So I Fucked Up
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Hate Your Friends
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Ride With Me
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Different Drum
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Skulls
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Alison’s Starting To Happen
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Frank Mills
mp3 : The Lemonheads – The Great Big No
mp3 : The Lemonheads – He’s On The Beach
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Hospital

mp3 : The Lemonheads – Pin Yr Heart

Enjoy.

THE FICKLENESS OF MUSIC CONSUMERS

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It took a long time for Lemonheads to become overnight sensations and then they were gone in what seemed like a blink of an eye.

It was back in 1986 when the band formed in Boston, with the principal talent being Evan Dando who was guitarist, co-vocalist and main songwriter. Four albums into their career and they were hardly known outside college radio in the USA, so Dando upped sticks and moved to Australia where he hooked up with two other musicians, wrote some songs and recorded an album and a cover version or two. It was said cover version – Mrs Robinson – that brought them some fame, certainly in Australia and the UK, and all of a sudden in 1992 the media went crazy for the handsome Mr Dando.

The fifth LP, It’s A Shame About Ray, saw the band add ‘The’ before their name and the album took off after its re-release with a new inclusion of the hit cover.  By 1993 the band were spending a fair bit of time in Europe, particularly the UK, and seemed set to really crack things when a new song, Into Your Arms was a Top 20 hit at the end of the tear with the sixth LP Come On Feel The Lemonheads going Top 5. It also helped that Dando had formed froendships with the members of Oasis who could do no wrong at this point in time.

The next single, in early 1994 was seen by all concerned as the one to propel The Lemonheads into the stratosphere:-

mp3 : The Lemonheads – It’s About Time

A tuneful and catchy radio-friendly number that surely would find favour with the record buying public.

Except, it didn’t stalling at a lowly #57.

The summer of 1994 wasn’t kind to Evan Dando as his often referred to drug habit – he’d been upfront enough about it before to mention it interviews and to even write songs about it (including one which appears on this CD single) – really took its toll and led to shows being cancelled and a media backlash. One of the world’s most beautiful people of 1993 was all but forgotten by the end of 1994. And it took him until 1996, a full three years after the last album, to get new material out. But his ship had sailed…

Here’s the other tracks on the CD single of the hoped for big hit:-

mp3 : The Lemonheads – Rick James Acoustic Style
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Down About It (acoustic)
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Big Gay Heart (acoustic)

Enjoy