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A LAZY STROLL DOWN MEMORY LANE : 45 45s AT 45 (30)

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MONDAY 14 APRIL 2008

(and reposted on 11 October 2014  as part of the Scottish singles series)

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We now move into the middle third of the most self-indulgent chart run-down of 2008, and coming in at #30 will be a band probably not all that familiar to some of you.

The Trash Can Sinatras were formed in the late 80s, in a town called Irvine, which is around 25 miles or so south-west of Glasgow.

Much of the initial attention was focussed on singer Frank Reader, simply for the fact that his elder sister, Eddi Reader had enjoyed a fair bit of attention and fame, firstly as a backing vocalist with Gang Of Four, and later as the singer with Fairground Attraction who enjoyed a #1 hit with Perfect in 1988.

I suppose I first noticed the band for the simple reason that they were signed to Go! Disc Records which was the home of Billy Bragg and The Beautiful South, leading me to think the Trashies would be have some sort of political bent. I saw their debut 12” EP on sale in a record shop in Edinburgh and bought it on spec for £2. It was only then that I discovered the band were in fact more aligned with the other reasons that label boss Andy MacDonald signed acts – they wrote and sang gloriously catchy pop songs that were full of clever lyrics that demanded close listening.

In due course, I bought two follow-up EPs as well as the debut LP, all of which appeared in 1990. They were a band on heavy rotation, but I wasn’t really giving music too much close attention, as it was a time when I had not long met the now Mrs Villain and there were far more important and pressing things on my mind …….such as sorting out the divorce from the first wife…..

One day, I went to see the Trashies live in concert and came away rather underwhelemed. It was 1993 before the band released any new material, but the comeback single, like the gig a few years earlier, didn’t do much for me. And with that, I stopped taking an interest in the band.

However, I never stopped loving that debut EP, which still astounds me all these years later. I mentioned earlier about the catchy pop songs with clever lyrics…check this out:-

Always at the foot of the photograph – that’s me there
Snug as a thug in a mugshot pose
Owner of this corner and not much more

Still these days I’m better placed to get my just rewards
I’ll pound out a tune and very soon
I’ll have too much to say and a dead stupid name

Though I ought to be learning I feel like a veteran
Of “Oh I like your poetry but I hate your poems”
Calendars crumble I’m knee deep in numbers
Turned 21, I’ve twist, I’m bust and wrong again

Rubbing shoulders with the sheets till two
Looking at my watch and I’m half-past caring
In the lap of luxury it comes to mind
Is this headboard hard? Am I a lap behind?

But to face doom in a sock-stenched room all by myself
Is the kind of fate I never contemplate
Lots of people would cry though none spring to mind

Though I ought to be learning I feel like a veteran
Of “Oh I like your poetry but I hate your poems”
Calendars crumble I’m knee deep in numbers
Turned 21, I’ve twist, I’m bust and wrong again

Know what it’s like
To sigh at the sight of the first quarter of life?
Ever stopped to think and found out nothing was there?

They laugh to see such fun
Playing Blind Man’s Bluff all by myself
And they’re chanting a line from a nursery rhyme
“Ba Ba Bleary Eyes – Have you any idea?”

The calendar’s cluttered with days that are numbered..

Now have a listen:-

mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – Obscurity Knocks

It was a song that struck a chord with me. Just a short time earlier, I had been in a rather unhappy marriage. I had a job, but it was far from fulfilling. I did seem to know what it was like to have sighed at the first quarter of life. And I wasn’t sure if I had any real idea….

Thankfully, things changed for the better in the early 90s…..oh and there will be further chapters about my life this countdown continues.

I still have the EP in the collection, and here’s the other tracks:-

mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – The Best Man’s Fall
mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – Drunken Chorus
mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – Who’s He?

Tune in next week for something you might not have expected at #29…..

ANOTHER WEEK OF REPEAT POSTS : HORSIN’ AROUND/BACK TO NATURE

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(Two posts from same day – 12 June 2007 – over on the old blog)

I’m sure I’m not the first blogger of my age to mention how lucky today’s kids are in terms of what they can watch on TV.

In my day, it was three terrestrial channels – BBC1, BBC2 and Scottish Television – and quite frankly, most of the shows aimed at those aged under 12 were crap. Except for Tom & Jerry.

Nowadays, with all sorts of specialised channels on satellite TV, there is a wider choice, and while much of it is probably just as crap, at least they can watch something different all the time.

I just remember every single school holiday being marked on BBC1 with a re-run of two black-and-white TV series. One was called Belle & Sebastian. The other was The White Horses. The former had a really creepy theme tune that was sung in a foreign language, the latter had a theme tune that was ace.

Here’s an abridged extract from wikipedia:-

The White Horses is a 1965 television series co-produced by RTS of Yugoslavia and BR-TV of Germany. It follows the adventures of a teenage girl (played by Helga Anders) who visits a farm, run by her Uncle Dimitri (played by Helmuth Schneider), where white Lipizzaner horses are raised. It is called Počitnice v Lipici in Slovenian and Ferien in Lipizza in German. The series was a cult hit with children and comprised 13 episodes, filmed in black and white.

A dubbed version was broadcast in the United Kingdom in 1968 and repeated for many years afterwards (the dubbed soundtrack has since been lost). The theme tune, credited to “Jacky”, was sung by Jackie Lee. It became a top 10 hit in the UK charts in April 1968. Jackie Lee also had a hit with the theme tune to Rupert (The Bear) in 1970/71.

And guess what:-

mp3 : Jackie Lee – White Horses

And how about a couple of my favourite bands doing cover versions:-

mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – White Horses
mp3 : The Wedding Present – White Horses

The former is on the b-side of the 12″ single Circling The Circumference, while the latter can now be found on the recently released Peel Sessions boxset.

Beaver

After the horses earlier in the day, Mrs Villain insisted that I put up her favourite song about animals:-

mp3 : Primus – Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver

Oh and no apologies to any passing perverts who chanced by thinking it was something completely different.

Enjoy

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 112)

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The Trash Can Sinatras were formed in the late 80s, in a town called Irvine, which is around 25 miles or so south-west of Glasgow.

Much of the initial attention was focussed on singer Frank Reader, simply for the fact that his elder sister, Eddi Reader had enjoyed a fair bit of attention and fame, firstly as a backing vocalist with Gang Of Four, and later as the singer with Fairground Attraction who enjoyed a #1 hit with Perfect in 1988.

I suppose I first noticed the band for the simple reason that they were signed to Go! Disc Records which was the home of Billy Bragg and The Beautiful South, leading me to think the Trashies would be have some sort of political bent. I saw their debut 12” EP on sale in a record shop in Edinburgh and bought it on spec for £2. It was only then that I discovered the band were in fact more aligned with the other reasons that label boss Andy MacDonald signed acts – they wrote and sang gloriously catchy pop songs that were full of clever lyrics that demanded close listening.

In due course, I bought two follow-up EPs as well as the debut LP, all of which appeared in 1990. They were a band on heavy rotation, but it was a period when I wasn’t really giving music too much close attention, as it was a time when I had not long met the now Mrs Villain and there were far more important and pressing things on my mind …….such as sorting out the divorce from the first wife…..

The band remained very active up until 1996, releasing three LPs and ten singles without ever making any great commercial breakthrough although they had good size fanbases in the likes of Japan and the USA where there was a market for the idea of catchy pop songs with clever lyrics.

This wasn’t enough for Universal Music who, having bought over Go Discs! in 1996, took the decision to drop the Trashies.  It would be another nine years before the next LP but Weightlifting proved to be an absolute masterpiece of beautifully bitter-sweet pop melodies which reflected the difficulties the band had endured in the preceeding years.

In The Music was the next LP, released in 2009 and yet another excellent LP for those of us who nowadays are just as  happy to sit and listen to our bands rather than work up a sweat down the moshpit all of the time.

I’ve most of the singles and EPs that the band have released over the years and although it was a tough choice I’m going with the debut EP…and thought I’d re-produce the lyric…it’s one that takes me back to a very awkward and uncertain period in my life when I could quite easily have been destined for eternal life in bedsit hell:-

Always at the foot of the photograph – that’s me there
Snug as a thug in a mugshot pose
Owner of this corner and not much more

Still these days I’m better placed to get my just rewards
I’ll pound out a tune and very soon
I’ll have too much to say and a dead stupid name

Though I ought to be learning I feel like a veteran
Of “Oh I like your poetry but I hate your poems”
Calendars crumble I’m knee deep in numbers
Turned 21, I’ve twist, I’m bust and wrong again

Rubbing shoulders with the sheets till two
Looking at my watch and I’m half-past caring
In the lap of luxury it comes to mind
Is this headboard hard? Am I a lap behind?

But to face doom in a sock-stenched room all by myself
Is the kind of fate I never contemplate
Lots of people would cry though none spring to mind

Though I ought to be learning I feel like a veteran
Of “Oh I like your poetry but I hate your poems”
Calendars crumble I’m knee deep in numbers
Turned 21, I’ve twist, I’m bust and wrong again

Know what it’s like
To sigh at the sight of the first quarter of life?
Ever stopped to think and found out nothing was there?

They laugh to see such fun
Playing Blind Man’s Bluff all by myself
And they’re chanting a line from a nursery rhyme
“Ba Ba Bleary Eyes – Have you any idea?”

The calendar’s cluttered with days that are numbered..

Now have a listen:-

mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – Obscurity Knocks

Here’s the other tracks:-

mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – The Best Man’s Fall
mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – Drunken Chorus
mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – Who’s He?

Enjoy

 

IT’S COVERS WEEK ON T(n)VV : DAY 4

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S-WC outlined all sorts of reasons why cover versions are recorded.  As he mentioned, sometimes it can be for a tribute album.  From wiki:-

The Smiths Is Dead is a tribute album to the 1980s’ English alternative rock band The Smiths, released in 1996. It was compiled by the French cultural magazine Les Inrockuptibles and released to celebrate the 10th anniversary of 1986’s The Queen Is Dead. The album was released at the height of the Britpop phenomenon and contained covers by many popular Britpop acts such as The Boo Radleys, Supergrass, Bis and Placebo.

It’s very much a mixed bag and I think it’s accurate to say that none of the covers improve at all on the originals, but that would have been a near impossibility to begin with. The other biggest problems are that too many of the tracks fail to digress all that much from how The Smiths themselves recorded the songs or that the band asked to do the cover do so in a way that even Morrissey’s backing band would have been embarassed by the efforts.  However, an honourable mention must go to Boo Radleys for what is a hugely different take on the title track…..one that too me many years to really appreciate but nowadays is the only one I have on the i-pod :-

mp3 : Boo Radleys – The Queen Is Dead
mp3 : The High Llamas – Frankly, Mr. Shankly
mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – I Know It’s Over
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Never Had No One Ever
mp3 : The Frank & Walters – Cemetry Gates
mp3  : Placebo – Bigmouth Strikes Again
mp3 : Bis – The Boy with the Thorn in His Side
mp3 : Therapy? – Vicar in a Tutu
mp3 : The Divine Comedy – There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
mp3 : Supergrass – Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others

Enjoy.