Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Wrong Place Right Time

There are two good reasons to post Wrong Place Right Time by The Fall today. Firstly, I bought I Am Kurious Oranj in King Bee on Saturday. I used to own it on cassette, in fact it was the second Fall album I bought back in 1988 (the first was The Frenz Experiment). The cassette version had more songs on it I think but seeing a pristine vinyl copy for a fiver was too tempting, mainly because Big New Prinz is one of my favourite Fall songs, maybe my number one. The whole of Side A is really good- Prinz, the seven minute Dog Is Life/Jerusalem. I love the dirty bassline of Jerusalem. And the first side closes with Wrong Place Right Time.

This performance of Wrong Place Right Time is from the ballet so you've got The Fall playing live with Brix on tambourine and Michael Clark's dancers flitting about. Somehow, The Fall soundtracking a ballet to commemorate the three hundredth anniversary of William of Orange's ascension to the throne made perfect sense. I like the Brix era Fall- there were tunes to go with the MES vocal delivery.

The second reason is I'm meeting Drew, Fall fan and Across The Kitchen Table blogger, for a few pints tonight while he's in town with work. Right place right time.

I fucked my back up getting out of the car at work on Friday (I know, I know) and then made it worse playing football after school the same day. It's just beginning to feel Ok again after a weekend of hobbling about. A few pints in The Old Cock will probably aid my recovery.

Monday, 30 March 2015


Another 12" single picked up in King Bee on Saturday afternoon, Lush by Orbital. The a-side has Lush 3-1 and 3-2 sequenced without a gap so they run straight into each other, ten minutes of the Hartnoll brothers brilliance bottled and bagged.

The b-side is the Underworld remix, Lush 3- all thirteen minutes of it, a bit tougher and trancier with the bpms pitched up. Enjoy the ride.

Has there ever been a compilation of the cream of Underworld's remixes of other folk? Not to my knowledge. Why not?

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Uncertain Smile

Mrs Swiss is away for the weekend with friends at a cottage in the country- a weekend that started on Friday afternoon and she has craftily managed to get to last until half way through Monday. Yesterday afternoon while child no. 2 was at a danceshow rehearsal, I convinced child no. 1 that we should do  a little record shopping. We went to Soundwaves in Stretford Arndale to pick something up and then popped into the ever excellent King Bee Records in Chorlton. Isaac's tolerance for record shopping is limited so it was a hit and run affair, straight into the dance/house section followed by the 80s indie/alternative rack and then Factory and Related. Didn't get to punk, he lost interest and the shop was pretty full. We left shortly after with a handful of winners. Like this one, the 12" of The The's Uncertain Smile. This video isn't much to look at but the song, the song is first rate, and it uses the full 12" of vinyl space to great effect.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Never Get Out Of The Boat

It feels like spring is finally here- the evenings are lighter, the clocks go forward tonight, the trees have the first signs of blossom, I've got two weeks off work for Easter, the temperature has hit double figures occasionally (I'll ignore the fact that I drove to work through snow on Thursday morning). Springtime brings promise and sunshine and... Balearic records.

The Aloof's first 12" single was this Apocalypse Now! sampling classic Never Get Out Of The Boat. Good advice under the circumstances. You don't need me to describe it for you- just listen to it.

You have probably noticed I've run out of bandwidth for downloads. I could set up a second Boxnet account with a different email address I suppose but haven't got around to it so far. There's more to life than downloads.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Stoney Lane

Stoney Lane by The Fireflies is strange electric psyche-folk, slowburning, smoky and mysterious, with some real subtlety to the playing and vocals. It sounds like the song the band were playing late at night in a stone wall pub, after a weird night out in the English countryside.

Stoney Lane is coming out soon on Moine Dubh, a new label from Andrew Weatherall. 7" vinyl only, via subscription. He knows how to draw us in.

Thursday, 26 March 2015


In 1988 Sonic Youth put out The Whitey Album, not very well disguised as Ciccone Youth and in tribute to Madonna Louise Ciccone. Most of the attention was on the record's cover versions. These had been put out as a single on New Alliance in 1986 and were expanded out for the album. Coming at a time when Sonic Youth were being praised to the heavens for Daydream Nation this was possibly an effective way of defusing some of the hype- some noise, contributions from Mike Watt, jokey covers plus a hip reference to krautrock with the song Two Cool Rock Chicks Listening To Neu! The cover of the album was a photocopied close up of Madonna's face. Madonna apparently gave her blessing to it, remembering the band from her clubbing and Danceteria days. Ciccone Youth did their Madonna thing on Into The Groove(y) and Burnin' Up. Someone on Youtube has done the decent thing and set the music to clips of Desperately Seeking Susan (the only Madonna film that is actually watchable).

Better still though was their version of Robert Palmer's Addicted To Love. The video and vocal were recorded in a karaoke booth for $25- D.I.Y. punk rock in attitude, style and cost. It was also a very effective way of sending up Palmer's video with Kim Gordon singing the song deadpan and dancing with images from the Vietnam War flashing over the top.

This is the standard setter and last word in ironic cover versions. And still sounds great.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

All We Need Is A Drummer

Sometimes we all need a bit of boom-shackalackalack boom-shackalackalack in our lives and Sly Stone is just the man. In this live performance on Soul Train Sly spends a few minutes meeting his adoring fanbase, with Japanese subtitles, and then leads the band through Dance To the Music with a detour into I Want To Take You Higher.

Fact- I first bought a Sly Stone record because they were mentioned in relation to The Stone Roses, in an NME article. Fact- neither band sound remotely like each other.

Here's the studio version, audio only. Life affirming and all that, from 1968 and before the drugs, paranoia and disillusionment with the hippy dream set in.

That drum break's been recycled a few times.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

You'd Rather Sail The Ocean

The Swede posted Weatherall and Farley's remix of That Petrol Emotion's Abandon yesterday. Apart from the odd remix they'd completely dropped off my radar. Big Decision was a hit (of sorts, number 42) in 1987, and massively popular in indie discos/alternative nights. They sort of prefigured the Madchester/indie-dance sound, big guitar chords and drumbeats that you could dance (or lope around) to. With a nod to rap as well. Annoyingly the video here cuts out just before the end.

Live at teatime on a Friday up in Newcastle for The Tube (Big Decision and Swamp) and sounding really good. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you biographical stuff about The Undertones and all that.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Shadow Of The Sun

Moon Duo , as mentioned yesterday, have a new album out, handily titled to fit in with the solar eclipse. Two fuzz guitar chords, a motorik drumbeat, drone organ, a wigged out guitar solo, flat and nasal vocals. It's not easy to do something so familiar and still manage to do something so exhilarating with it. This is the song Weatherall played on the radio- seven minutes of your journey to work well spent this morning.


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Sunday Morning Radio

Weatherall returned to NTS radio last week with a particularly good two hour session. There's some belting drone rock in the first half from the likes of Moon Duo and some kosmiche and reggae chucked in for good measure. Laid back and groovy.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

No Way Out

Warpaint returned with a new song last month although it isn't properly out for a while yet. No Way Out (Redux) opens with some dreamy harmonies, picked guitars and a ton of reverb. When the bass and drums kick in at one minute twenty-something it really takes off, tougher and upfront, but still with that just-woken-up wooziness feeling they do so well. The vocals continue to build and interlock and the rhythm keeps on spiraling, round and round. Hypnotic. There's a live version that is seven minutes plus so I'm hoping the full release with have that one on it because this is much too short.

Good video- nothing wrong with just watching a 12" record revolving is there?

Friday, 20 March 2015

Unconnected Thoughts On Jacking

Timothy J Fairplay gets the e.p. title of the year (so far) award with this forthcoming 12" release on Crimes Of The Future. Recording as Haunted Doorbell along with Matilda Tristam, Unconnected Thoughts On Jacking is four tracks of rave influenced electronic music, a swirling science fiction dream sequence with a drum machine. Snippets to listen to below.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Is This The Way The Future Is Supposed To Feel?

Or just fifteen thousand people standing in a field?

I found this footage online, ten minutes of videotape from the massive Sunrise Energy rave in 1989. It's a fascinating piece of social history, so many people dancing in an aircraft hanger and outdoors in broad daylight. The stars are the crowd- black and white, male and female, all of them dancing- all of them- a mass of colourful clothing and dry ice. At the end a couple of cars are on fire- no-one really seems to notice.

'You want to call your Mother and say ''Mother, I can never come home because I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere, somewhere in a field in Hampshire.''

Away from the utopian dream of a new rave based way of life the two men largely responsible for Sunrise Energy were Tony Colston-Hayter and Paul Staines. Colston-Hayter was a young Tory entrepreneur and named in the papers as 'Acid's Mr Big'. He claims he was an anarcho-capitalist. The Shoom crowd say he was regarded as a Hooray Henry, a 'loud dickhead and a laughing stock'. Last year he was jailed for five and a half years for masterminding the theft of £1.3 million from Barclays by hacking into bank accounts. Paul Staines is the unpleasant right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes. Nice one, top one, sorted.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


That's enough with the Johnny stuff for now.

I've been listening to Joy Division recently, not just the singles but Unknown Pleasures and Closer. I find I have to be in the right place, to be receptive, to listen to them. Closer especially. It's difficult to listen to Closer and not dwell on the fact that, particularly with the lyrics, the man singing the songs killed himself in the few months between finishing recording it and it being released.

Both albums are masterpieces musically, a band punching its way out of punk, with the assistance and oversight of production genius Martin Hannett. But specifically I've been listening to Peter Hook's basslines, which are in a class of their own. Entirely self-taught, he wrote more killer basslines than the rest of the post-punk bassists combined. Hooky borrowed and stole and then made something new. His look was cribbed from Paul Simonon's extra long strap and his sound from seeing The Stranglers and then buying the same amp set up as Jean Jacques Burnel. The playing developed from his and Bernard's discovery of how to play together. Unable to hear himself above Bernard's riffing in the early days with poor equipment, he played the higher notes and gained a completely distinctive style. I think it also came from being self-taught and not having served any kind of apprenticeship in standard blues-rock bands. There are no walking basslines, no follow-the-guitarist-just-playing-the root-notes stuff. The basslines in many Joy Division songs are the songs, the lead instrument, the melody.

Digital is a thrilling descending and ascending three note riff. Isolation has a fast two note riff with two alternating high and low ones after the main phrase, set against Bernard's toy synth and goes straight to heart of it, Closer's most instant song. The bass notes to Disorder, the opener on Unknown Pleasures, set the tone of the whole record. Shadowplay's bass riff is genuinely threatening, tense, menacing. A Means To An End is repetitive, circling heavy-disco before it grinds to an unsettling halt. Peter Hook- I salute you.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Three Johnnies

Tuesday brings three Johnny songs, none of which I own in any format and all suggested by friends in the comments boxes. Simon went for Lucille #1 by Prefab Sprout and Echorich concurred. It's from that moment in the mid 80s when some of the indie heroes went all sophisticated and adult. This performance is from the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1985.

Very nice. I had the Steve McQueen album on cassette but never replaced it after the tape died out.

Johnny #2 is from Drew and his almost annual pilgrimage to see Stiff Little Fingers at this time of year. Simon loves this one too. SLF do a rip-roaring cover of Bob Marley's Johnny Was. This version from a 1999 tour is seven minutes long and causes punk pandemonium.

Thirdly, Ctel, chronicler of all things dance music related at Acid Ted, requested Motorhead or Hawkwind doing Lost Johnny. The internet is sharply divided into those who favour Motorhead's fast and angry version and those who go for the earlier, trippier and heavier Hawkwind one. Out of the two I prefer Hawkwind's stoner rock, distorted bass and reverb-laden vocals. Lemmy it should be noted played bass and sang on both.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Johnny We're Sorry

Another day, another Johnny.

Top Johnny in a Google search is Johnny Depp, as I said last week when I started this. I have no real strong opinion on him. He seems alright. His previous girlfriends include Winona Ryder, Kate Moss and Vanessa Paradis. Vanessa is best known here for her 1988 hit Joe Le Taxi and her gap toothed smile. And pictured above last year seems to have opted out of the aging process, despite smoking.

Fine Young Cannibals' Johnny left home and headed for the big city which sadly didn't live up to his expectations. The verses are Johnny's ('what is wrong in my life if I must get drunk every night?'). The chorus is his parents ('we're worried, won't you come on home'). Pop songs in 1984 didn't shy away from real life stuff and despite the uptempo pop-ska the song is defiantly gritty. The bouncy guitar and bass,  piano riff and trumpet are very good and there's a great little shift from the verse to the chorus. The guitar, bass and rubber legged dance moves were provided David Steele and Andy Cox (both formerly of The Beat, who recruited singer Roland Gift from a support band). Roland had one of the most distinctive voices and faces of the mid 80s and moved into films- Sammy And Rosie Get Laid sticks in my memory but I haven't seen it for donkeys.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed is one of the highlights of Joe Strummer's Mescaleros years (and his entire solo career too), a beautifully crafted song with a chugging guitar riff, acoustic and electric, and some great vocal/backing vocal combinations. Uplifting.

Johnny Appleseed was an American pioneer who travelled the west scattering apple seeds. Nurseries and orchards grew up in his wake. He has become a symbolic hero of conservation, kindness and generosity. Johnny was respected by the Native Americans because of his respect for all living things, including insects. Hence the line about bees in Joe's song- 'if you're after getting the honey, don't go killing all the bees'. Joe also brings in Martin Luther King and a Buick 49 and the question of whether there is a soul. We don't know, he concludes.

Johnny Appleseed

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Johnny Comes Marching Home

At the end of Protex Blue on The Cash's debut lp Mick Jones shouts out 'Johnny, Johnny!' Written by Mick before the band even formed Protex Blue is a homage to pub toilet condom vending machines, done and dusted in one minute and forty five seconds. Rubber Johnny.

On their second album, Give 'Em Enough Rope, Joe Strummer gets his Johnny song in, the trad. arr update English Civil War. A song that refers to the rise of the National Front and the right-wing generally, Johnny is coming 'by bus and underground'. Strummer always stressed it was a folk song, a version of a American Civil War song called When Johnny Comes Maching Home, sung by the soldiers of the south. On a US tour they tried a slowed down, acoustic take and got booed by the audience. While we're here Give 'Em Enough Rope is, I think, the worst/least good Clash album, with too many half baked songs, some silly posturing and an FM rock sheen added by Sandy Pearlman. Having said that, it's also got Safe European Home and Stay Free, so it's not all bad.

Here they perform live in 1979 on a yoof TV show called Alright Now and everyone seems to be having a really good time.

In between the first and second albums came the mighty White Man (In Hammersmith Palais) single. The b-side to their reggae influenced, state of the nation address was The Prisoner, a breathless, thrilling, careering three minutes romp with a wild, distorted guitar solo from Mick. The lyrics cram in two Johnny's, both music related at the start of the second verse...

'Johnny Too Bad meets Johnny Be Good in the Charring Cross Road'

Johnny Be Good is (obviously) from Chuck Berry's song. Johnny Too Bad is from an obscure Jamaican rocksteady group The Slickers, released in 1971 and on the magnificent The Harder They Come soundtrack, a Clash favourite. Johnny Too Bad is a rude boy- 'walking down the road with a pistol in your waist Johnny you're too bad'. I've posted it before, a long time ago.

The rest of Mick's lyrics on The Prisoner are hilarious (in a good way) and packed full of Clashery- Camden Town, Coronation Street, the Germans and the French jamming themselves down the tube to re-enact the Second World War, rude boys being rude, drug addiction and jumping the train to stardom. There's a cracking live version in the Rude Boy film and also this breakneck, amphetamine fuelled performance in Munich in 1977 (along with Janie Jones and Garageland).

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 165

The Friday night series that (just about) refuses to die. Imelda May has a song about Johnny. Johnny got a boom boom. Have a good Friday night- the bar is open if you want a drink.

Johnny Don't Point That Gun At Me

Johnny also showed his face in New Order's epic 1987 song 1963. Having recorded one of their highest high points in True Faith, a song destined to put them into the charts, New Order put 1963 on the b-side in what must be one of the strongest singles of the 1980s. And so 1963 got a bit overlooked. It was released in its own right in 1995 and got a video too (with Jane Horrocks in it). As a purist I don't quite count that release as a 'proper' New Order single. Although I like Jane Horrocks and the video.

In the song Bernard's lyrics start out 'It was January, 1963,when Johnny came home, with a gift for me'. Events take a turn for the worse. Soon enough Johnny changes from being 'so very kind, so very nice'. He comes home with another wife and eventually Bernard sings'Johnny, don't point that gun at me' and a shooting occurs. Producer Stephen Hague has called the song 'the only song about domestic violence you can dance too'. Bernard has suggested that the song is, like yesterday's post, about John F Kennedy. Accordingly, in the song JFK arranges for a hitman to kill Jackie so that he can 'do one with M. Monroe'. Lee Harvey Oswald shoots JFK by mistake, leading to Jack Ruby bumping off Oswald for doing such a bad job and causing Marilyn to commit suicide. Barney has his chronology askew here- Marilyn actually died a year earlier and JFK was shot in November '63 not January. But then I've never been sure Bernard was being entirely reliable in this explanation of the song.

The 1995 version of 1963 was re-worked by Arthur Baker (and isn't nearly as good as the magnificent 1987 version but I don't have the original on the hard drive at the moment so you'll have to put up with it).

Thursday, 12 March 2015

And Now Harry's Walked Away With Johnny's Wife

Yesterday's Goodbye Johnny post started me thinking about the appearance of Johnny in songs. He crops up quite often- it's a good lyrical name, sounds youthful and rebellious (see Marlon Brando in The Wild One- 'What ya rebelling against Johnny?' he gets asked. 'Whaddya got?' he snarls back), it scans well and sings well.

Johnny is the victim in The Wedding Present's 1989 masterpiece Kennedy. Harry walks away with his wife. Maybe he'd eaten too much apple pie. I've never fully understood the lyrics to this song. The Kennedy in the title is (presumably) John F Kennedy, another Johnny, but the 35th President of the USA didn't lose his wife to a man called Harry. Confusing.

The guitars on Kennedy are superb, frenetic and trebly and rushing their way through the song. And the breakdown with the bass riff is hairs-standing-up-on-the-back-of-the-neck stuff.


Wednesday, 11 March 2015


I couldn't think of a Paul Simonon post-Clash dub remix (Havana 3am to the best of my knowledge weren't remixed by anyone, nor were The Good, The Bad And The Queen) and can't think of a post-Clash Topper one either (my knowledge of Topper's post-Clash musical output is less sound admittedly) so after Monday and Tuesday's post-Clash dub remix posts I'll have to change tack.

Primal Scream released Goodbye Johnny as a single in 2013 and it came with a Weatherall remix, a drawn out, dark and moody affair. Not my favourite of Weatherall's recent remix work but its got its moments. In fact it isn't too far from the Two Lone Swordsmen remix of Stuka from a long time ago.

The top search return for Johnny on Google is Johnny Depp. Which gives me an excuse to post a picture of  his ex, 90s indie pin up Winona Ryder.

Goodbye Johnny (Andrew Weatherall's Nyabinghi Noir Mix)

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Come On And Dim The Lights

Following yesterday's dub of a post-Clash Joe Strummer today we have a dub house remix of Mick and Big Audio Dynamite II. By The Orb no less. This is a long, bubbling version of The Globe which also manages to recycle Mick's most famous Clash riff at around five and a half minutes.

The Globe (By The Orb)

Monday, 9 March 2015

Distance No Object

Yalla Yalla is one my favourite solo Joe Strummer songs and the one that really marked his return in the late 90s, said that he was back with something to say and a good band around him. The 12" had a Richard Norris dub mix, a dub of an already pretty dubby song. Joe's lyrics on Yalla Yalla are classic Strummer, finding romance in unlikely places and mixing up the personal, the political, the musical and London.

Yalla Yalla (Norro's King Dub)

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Belgian Beats

Let's not do that old chestnut about famous Belgians. This (above) is Eddy Merckx. And this (below) is Geoffroy Mugwump. The song is off an e.p. Belgian producer Mugwump put out last September and is a total joy- squelchy bass, piano house.

Share Of Thee Grail

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Be My Spiderwoman I'll Be Your Spiderman

I got a late offer of a ticket for The Charlatans last night and took it, having deliberated for a second or two. They played Albert Hall, an old Methodist Chapel on Peter Street in town, a stunning venue as this picture I borrowed from the band's page shows- stained glass windows, a proper balcony, a good size, enough bar staff and really good sound.

I first saw The Charlatans in 1989 at Liverpool Poly and have seen them three or four times since. With twenty five years behind them they've got a proper greatest hits set, sprinkled with songs from the new lp (Modern Nature), none of which sounded out of place, especially So Oh (played early on) and Come Home Baby (played near the end). The organ is out the front, on stage and soundwise, especially on the groovers like opener Forever and wiggy Weirdo. Mark Collins guitar playing dominates on some of the 90s songs, How High  and a raucous North Country Boy (a song that always hits me- a friend bought me the 7" when Isaac was born and I always associate the two). But behind the organ and guitar is the much under-appreciated bass playing of Martin Blunt, pushing everything on, 60s mod style. Tellin' Stories is wonderful, a singalong cut through with sadness. The Only One I Know causes mass dancing. Set closer Just When You're Thinking Things Over is glorious and ragged and One To Another, with those huge multi-tracked pianos, pounding rhythm and stream of consciousness lyrics, sounds more and more like it was written for us, y'know for me and you.

Tim Burgess, blonde hair and black leggings (!), is all smiles all night, waving to the balcony and raising hands and fists to the crowd and sings his heart out. The reception this band get is amazing, for a group who could easily have been washed up and finished several times during the last two and a half decades. The last song of the night at the end of the encore is Sproston Green. I have no end of love for this song- I saw them play it at the Royal Court in Liverpool in 1990. It took the roof of then and it does now, the tension building intro and then the explosion of organ, guitar, bass and drums. A mini psych-classic and proof that even right back at the start there was a bit more to this band.

Same Old Show

Basement Jaxx, on the whole, I can take or leave. But they have pulled it off on some occasions, this song being one of them. Same Old Show, from their 1999 debut album Remedy, samples the vocal phrase 'it's just the same old show' from the Selecter's On My Radio and is great for bouncing around the kitchen to.

Same Old Show

Friday, 6 March 2015

One Step Beyond

One Step Beyond was the B-side to Prince Buster's 1964 single Al Capone and has the staccato ska-ska-ska guitar sound from which the entire genre got its name. Well, that's one theory anyway. Prince Buster's original is ace, the horn line snaking about, impossibly jiggy.

In 1979 Madness, newly signed to Stiff having left 2 Tone, released it with an extended spoken intro by Chas Smash. Suggs does not appear on the record at all but when I hear it, it's him I think of first. I found this mp3 on the net where someone has put the two versions together, compare and contrast style, Prince Buster first and Madness second.

One Step Beyond/One Step Beyond

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Bodysnatcher Ska

One of the definitive aspects of the ska revival. and this was as obvious to twelve year olds as anyone, was the line ups consisted of black and white and men and women. Smartly dressed, short hair, accessible, fom the street- these were not hoary old, long haired, male rock stars. Dig the new breed.

The Bodysnatchers were formed in the wake of seeing The Specials, an all female group. Many of the band were novices and, unable to play ska at the speed required, slowed it down to a rocksteady tempo. They released two singles on 2 Tone. Singer Rhoda Dakar later sang with The Special AKA and still tours today, playing ska. Let's Do Rocksteady was their first single, a cover of a Dandy Livingstone tune.

Let's Do Rocksteady

Please note- I do  not own this signed photo, I found it on the internet.
Also, I've just realised I posted this song back in 2012. Ska revival revival.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Special Ska

No-one needs me to tell them how great The Specials were, the spearhead of the 2 Tone and ska revival, led by Jerry Dammers vision and organ playing, Terry hall's downcast vocals and presence, Neville Staples energy... in fact they seemed like a band with anything up to seven leaders. Which maybe is they they burned so brightly but so briefly.

Too Hot (live in Chicago 1980)

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Ska Selection

More ska revival today this time with Coventry's other 2 Tone band The Selector. Pauline Black still tours a version of the band (again like with The Beat for a while there were two reformed Selectors were on the road, the other led by songwriter Neol Davies. Pauline won the right to the name). Pauline wrote a very well received autobiography recently but I haven't read it. This song is the only one on the hard drive currently, all the way from 1979.

Too Much Pressure

On My Radio is my favourite of theirs, three minutes of utter delight with a ton of hooks and totally infectious. There are so many great TV appearances and videos of all these bands from this time. They understood the power of image and audience identification with it.

'I bought my baby a red radio...'

Monday, 2 March 2015

Uptown Top Ranking

The Beat were a blast on Saturday night. You'd have to be a proper sourpuss not to find some enjoyment in ska played live and fronted by someone as irrepressible and happy as Ranking Roger (with son Ranking Junior on co-vocals). They played all songs you'd want The Beat to play, a few new ones, a full on dub version of Mirror In The Bathroom to follow the usual one and a cover of Rock The Casbah. As we'd walked up the ramp to the Waterside Roger was outside having a smoke. He met me in the eye and said Hello. Fifteen minutes later he was bouncing around on stage to the delight of the middle aged of Sale. A good night for babysitters.

In 1982 Roger recorded some vocals for a different, unreleased version of Rock The Casbah. Mick Jones intended it to go on his idea of what became Combat Rock but was over-ruled. It's been available on bootlegs ever since.

Rock The Casbah (Ranking Roger version)

They encored with Save It For Later, a minor classic of the early 80s and proof that it wasn't all ska, ska, ska.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Water Pressure

I have an internet friend in New York called Henry Terepka who is in a band called Zula. They are releasing an ep this month (March. It's March already). Water Pressure is inspired by the internet sending all its stuff through undersea cables, mangling their analogue instruments with the digital world. Compressed vocals and skittering beats. Underwater, digital, psychedelia. Interesting and rather good.