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Friday 30 September 2011

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 28

Or rockabilly songs from Ctel part two. Long Tall Texans (and don't they look fine?) also recorded this song, Gotta Go, a bit of a good 'un. It's a cover of a song by The G-Men, a new one to me. There's a Youtube link here, worth having a look at. Sun's out, and tonight the alcohol must be cold...

If My Heart Is At War, Its Soldiers Are Bleeding

Despite the review of a fairly disastrous gig over at Spools Paradise, when I listen to this Echo And the Bunnymen song I can think it's the best song in the world, double guitar solo and everything.

My Kingdom removed by DMCA

Thursday 29 September 2011

Man Ray Style

The Rayographs are an all girl three-piece from London who I heard on Weatherall's recent 6 Mix excursion. While in town last weekend, negotiating record shops with I.T. in his wheelchair (not always easy) I found a 7" from two years ago in Piccadilly Records. They have a spooky, psychedelic/bluesy sound. There's several of their songs you should look out for- Francis, Space Of The Halls, Yellow Hair, all of which shimmer with a drop of the dark stuff. This is from their debut single.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Fa Fa Fa Fa, Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Faa

Talking Heads, so normal looking they were deeply odd, hit the pop culture consciousness with this song- Psycho Killer. I've been listening to this song for two and a half decades. It's got multiple vocal hooks, David Byrne's from-the-point-of-view-of-a-serial-killer lyrics, some scratchy, choppy guitar work from Byrne and Jerry Harrison, Chris Frantz's no nonsense drumming but really it's all about Tina Weymouth's bass. How come it hasn't been sampled more often?

This version kicks, and is from a 1977 radio session, released on the The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads album. Dum dum dum dum dum dum, dum du dum...

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Sten Guns In Knightsbridge

One more Clash cover? Oh go on then. Here Edwyn Collins tackles year zero manifesto 1977- Joe claiming no Elvis, Beatles or Rolling Stones while Mick recycles a Kinks riff. Edwyn takes his acoustic guitar to it and adds some hard won wisdom.

She Was An American Girl

I don't really buy into the whole guilty pleasures thing- a good song is a good song no matter who wrote/played/sings it. Hence, as Drew pointed out a long time ago, Push The Button by Sugababes is just a great tune regardless. I don't usually go for U.S. AM/FM radio rock, but there's nothing at all wrong with Tom Petty's American Girl, sheer joy from start to finish. And we all know where Julian Casablancas nicked the riff for Last Nite from.

Monday 26 September 2011

It's Always Tease, Tease, Tease

Another Clash cover comes in via the wonders of the internet, this time from Ctel whose Acid Ted blog is a standard setter for dance music blogs. This is Should I Stay Or Should I Go? as done by Brighton based three piece rockabilly band Long Tall Texans, formed in 1985 and still treading the boards today. I should've saved this for Friday night but luckily Ctel sent another song by them as well.

Out Of The Loft

Pete Astor has featured at Bagging Area before as head honcho of 80s indie bands The Loft and The Weather Prophets and 90s/00s ambienty act Ellis Island Sound. As well as becoming a lecturer in Popular Studies he's got a new album out called Songbox- 2 cds, one of new songs and the other cover versions of his songs by others. It comes in a very nice cardboard box. Pete's an underrated songwriter but a good one, as this swinging, bluesy song demonstrates, and the woodwind instruments make this as good a way as any to start the working week.

Sunday 25 September 2011

I Save Coupons For Packets Of Tea

Drew sent me this, a valuable addition to the Clash cover versions series that's been dominating this blog for the last week or so- Greg Dulli's Afghan Whigs covering Lost In The Supermarket. This song is a real gem in The Clash's back catalogue, written by Joe and sung by Mick, after Joe got severely disorientated in The International, 471-473 Kings Road, beneath the World's End Estate. Not there now I suspect. Or it's a Waitrose. Some day I'm going to go to London and spend a day doing a Clash walking tour of these places. The Afghan Whigs turn in a pretty good cover here and I like it, well worth your time and attention. I have friends in Leicester who often drive the length and breadth of the country to see Greg Dulli or The Afghan Whigs- although H, who is one of the Leicester lot says he wouldn't walk to the bottom of his road to watch them.

Two picture related points- firstly, yes, I was very pleased to find a photo of The Clash in the supermarket. Sad I know. And B), he likes a fag does Greg Dulli. Do a google image search and see if you can find one where he isn't smoking.

Black And Blues

Jim Reid, ex-Mary Chain frontman, has got a new song up on here on Soundcloud called Black And Blues. It's a Jim Reid song, you know what it'll sound like. I like it. Jim's comment about it is 'What I've been wasting my time with lately'.

The Mary Chain's five studio albums are soon to be re-released as triple packs, 2 cds with all the extras you'd expect and a dvd of videos, tv appearances and so on. A couple of these might be tempting if Rhino hadn't put out a box of rarities a couple of years back and double cd best of last year, and the whole set of albums were re-mastered and re-released not too long before that. The Smiths soon to be released boxset features their albums (and singles on the big box set, in both vinyl and cd format) re-mastered (because the originals sounded awful didn't they?), and depending on which format you buy would set you back £50 or £300. It's all a long way from 7" and 12" singles for a quid or two in the mid 1980s and junk shop clothes.

Saturday 24 September 2011

If You Can Play On A Fiddle, How About An British Jig And Reel

Jimdoes, a reader who helpfully tipped me off about Arcade Fire's cover of Guns Of Brixton, also let me have this- Josh Rouse covering Straight To Hell. Josh Rouse is a name I know but I don't think I've heard much, if anything, by him. This is an acoustic guitar and voice cover of Joe's song, the centrepiece to the Combat Rock album. It's great that readers Jimdoes and Dirk have contributed to this series- thanks chaps. We'll have enough Clash covers for a decent homemade cd soon.

Darling You've Got To Let Me Know

Same song as last night but a totally different approach. Dirk from Sexy Loser blog (link down on the right) emailed me recently and kindly supplied me with this cover of Should I Stay Or Should I Go?, a new one to me, by Jamaica's The Jolly Boys. It's a ramshackle thing of joy this cover version, guaranteed to put a smile on your face. The Jolly Boys have been going for sixty years and as Dirk says in his email 'that's really something'. They don't look too shabby either.

Friday 23 September 2011

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 27

A rockabilly addition to the recent series of cover versions of Clash songs, with a couple more Clash covers to come over the weekend. This cover of Mick's Should I Stay Or Should I Go? came on a compilation called Psychobilly Box and is by The Tailgators. Is it any good? You'll have to judge for yourselves but I think the couple in the picture above may have deserved a better cover version to accompany their portrait. Enjoy your weekend.

Back In The Day

I've had an uneasy relationship with Damon Albarn from the off, starting with splashing his desert boots at a trough urinal in Liverpool when Blur toured to support their debut single She's So High. While quite liking some Blur singles I rarely bought them, and Damon seemed a prickly, arrogant, off-putting figure for much of the 90s. I like some of Gorillaz records but got tired of the cartoon characters thing. In fact thinking about it, some Gorillaz songs are top notch and I loved the two recent ones but I only bought the first two albums long after they came out. The Good, The Bad And the Queen appeared to be a different kettle of fish and appealed to me much more. It brought Bagging Area hero Paul Simonon out of musical retirement and to good effect, and Damon seemed a bit humbler and less overbearing. The music, described somewhere as 'Dickensian dub' was more up my alley, and the whole project was both out of step with the times and reflecting the times (references to war, drinking, city life etc). He was criticised for underusing Tony Allen's drumming but it wasn't really an afrobeat album was it? Recently I read a reappraisal of the album so I went back to it and was struck by the number of good tunes on it- the title track, Kingdom Of Doom, Three Changes, Herculean, Green Fields... As someone mentioned on a comment thread, it is a London album but also a great record for listening to driving around English towns late at night. This song was the B-side to the Herculean single.

Thursday 22 September 2011

A Knife, A Fork, A Bottle, A Cork

Ooh, that Dillinger, what is he like?
Caution- contains drugs subtext.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Michael, Mike, Peter and Bill

It's been announced tonight that R.E.M. have split up. Not earth shattering news maybe but still... Their music meant a massive amount to me for a long time, particularly the IRS albums and the first few on Warners, not so much in recent years but still...

This is Pretty Persuasion from the semi-legendary bootleg 'Live at Tyrones' in 1981, when as Peter Buck says on their website they were 'four nineteen year olds trying to change the world'.

Visions Of Scum

S.C.U.M. are a South London bunch- gloomy, gothic, a bit electronic, a bit rock. Kind of like The Horrors (the bassist is brother of a Horror), they sound like they look. They've got a new album out- Again Into Eyes- and this song was their debut single back in 2008 and is very good, if you like that kind of thing.

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Sons Of Stone

Another selection from Andrew Weatherall's record box, via his 6 Mix show last Sunday night. The People's Temple might look like they're from Bolton but Lansing, Michigan not Lancashire is home. They've made a psychedelic garage record that ticks all the right influences (Love, Spacemen 3, the Velvets, 13th Floor Elevators, Link Wray, a thousand Nuggets style bands) but they've also managed to make an album that actually sounds like it was recorded in the mid-to-late 60s. Cool and groovy.

I'll Declare My Intent To Race Again

There are people I know who don't 'get' Richard Hawley- 'country and rockabilly from Sheffield, so what?' they say. One of them got into Coles Corner a few years back, so I lent him the first three albums (the mini album debut, Late Night Final and Lowedges). He didn't like them. Eh? Bagging Area likes Richard Hawley, his sincere devotion to it, his northerness, his dress sense, and especially those first three records; lower budget maybe but the songs are great. Run For Me from Lowedges was a stately guitar led tribute to motorcycle racing, open armed and wide eyed but with a side helping of melancholy. The version of Run For Me here was recorded for a BBC 6 Music show, a re-working of the song- just piano with some pedal steel guitar coming in half way through and Hawley's rich vocals.

Monday 19 September 2011

Keep Warm

Mr. Weatherall returned to the controls at BBC 6 Mix last night and played his usual eclectic selection, including a couple of his own forthcoming remixes, one a techno/rockabilly/glam remix for Soft Rocks and another for The Horrors. Amongst it all he played a song by Warm Digits, a duo who've released their debut album Keep Warm With...The Warm Digits on Newcastle's Distraction Records, and very good it is too. The album's over at emusic and other digital outlets or you can order the double vinyl from the band website or Distraction. Piccadilly Records, fine record emporium that it is, made my eyebrows raise slightly wanting £22 for the record. It's less from the band site. Weatherall describes Warm Digits as 'machine funk kraut-a-delia' and I can't come up with a better label, but suffice to say they were very good, a bit like a less head-splitting Fuck Buttons.

All The Cops In The Doughnut Shop

Summer 1986. Mexico World Cup. Long summer holiday. Teenage boy. Bangles video for Walk Like An Egyptian on TV at friend's house. Susanna Hoffs.

Sunday 18 September 2011

Yes Partial

Sifting through my cds the other night I came across this- Rhythm And Sound. I don't know why it caught my attention because the cardboard digi-sleeve is black and grey, with grey text, not remotely eye-catching. I'm glad it did though because I'd forgotten how good it is. Rhythm And Sound is the name of the dub/reggae output of Berlin's Basic Channel, who as Basic Channel defined minimal German dub-techno in the 1990s with a series of 12" records. The Rhythm And Sound reggae and dub oriented stuff was compiled on one cd, released in 2001 with a new track as opener- No Partial. This is high quality modern dub- deep, dark, digital dub, a little unsettling, with plenty of hiss and massive bass. Not much point listening to this on that little cd player or docking bay you keep in the kitchen for doing the washing up to- this needs to be played on the big stereo in the front room, or on headphones where it might keep you awake for a while.

We Were Born Within An Hour Of Each Other

I like a bit of Nick Cave every now and then but I sometimes think I'd be happy never to hear one of his piano ballads again. Apart from this one- his cover of Pulp's Disco 2000. Nick Cave takes Jarvis' tale of school day crushes, lost love, growing up and the turn of the millennium, and slows it right down. Yes, there's piano, yes, it's a ballad, but it works a treat. This was released as a B-side to Pulp's Bad Cover Version single, which presumably was someone's idea of a joke.

Saturday 17 September 2011

No Need For The Black Maria

Guns Of Brixton- three times, as The Fugees didn't say. A reader called jimdoes has been in touch and kindly sent me two more Clash covers, including this version of Paul Simonon's Guns Of Brixton by Arcade Fire. Taken from an appearance on BBC2's The Culture Show it's a brooding, slow building version, but well worth your time. Jimdoes would like me to point you in the direction of his internet radio station

I loved the first Arcade Fire album, it seemed so different and otherwordly. Then they became superstars.

Stepping Out In Style

I've read a couple of references to this recently and have taken it as a sign it should be posted, and it follows on from the Friday night Mancabilly post. In 1997 Edwyn Collins recorded a super shimmering seventies disco tribute for his album I'm Not Following You and cajoled Mark E Smith into providing vocals. It is quite superb. Even Ctel might agree, despite liking neither disco nor Mark E Smith.

Friday 16 September 2011

Friday Night Is Mancabilly Night

A swerve a few miles north of here towards Prestwich for tonight's rockabilly record- The Fall's barnstorming cover of White Lightning, written by The Big Bopper and a 1959 hit for George Jones. It's as rockabilly as creepers, quiffs, snarling and rolled up sleeves. Whatever your tipple is tonight, take care- white lightning'll make your eyes bug out and your face turn blue.

This Is No Game Played By A Man Living In White Houses

We haven't had a great deal from Mr. Weatherall here recently so let's correct that with this post- a Weatherall remix of Radioactive Man's Fed-Ex To Munchen. Radioactive Man is/was Keith Tenniswood, the non-Weatherall half of Two Lone Swordsmen. Keith's second album Booby Trap was a full on electro album released in 2003. Closing track Fed-Ex To Munchen had some lovely throbbing synths and the enigmatic vocals of Lali Puna's Valerie Trebeljahr. For the remix Weatherall kept the vox, removed the synths and added live sounding double bass and one fingered keyboard playing, for a late-night, after hours, jazz club kind of feel. At the time I almost wore out my copy of the vinyl and this remix still sounds really good eight years later.

Thursday 15 September 2011

Go Easy, Step Lightly, Stay Free

After drawing a blank with Ctel's suggestion of The Pickets cover of Should I Stay Or Should I Go (I did find a youtube clip, see the comments box for Joy Zipper's Hitsville UK, but no mp3), and deciding against posting The Tailgators psychobilly cover of Mick's most indecisive moment, I've settled for this- Pete Wylie ('part time rock star, full time legend') covering Stay Free live and in concert. Possibly the only time The Clash and Chicory Tip are brought together in the intro to a song. Stay Free is, of course, Mick Jones' love letter to his best mate, his childhood and teenage years, and Sarf London- 'at weekends, dahn Streatham, on a bus'.

Apologies to Mick Jones- I've included a picture of The Clash which he isn't on. He might be used to that by now I suppose.

You See He Feels Like Ivan

Cover version of Guns Of Brixton returns, in fine reggae style. This is very good- Jimmy Cliff with Tim Armstrong from Rancid producing, a taster for a forthcoming album. Jimmy's voice sounds great still, the acoustic guitars swing and there's some lovely trombone.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Knocked 'Em Dead In Two Minutes Fifty Nine

New York boy-girl wooze merchants Joy Zipper take The Clash's Hitsville UK, Mick Jones' tribute to the nascent UK indie scene, and smother it in many layers of fuzz, over six very narcotic minutes. An odd choice of cover version maybe but they get away with it. I decided Hitsville UK wouldn't survive the cut in my Sandinista Parlour Game post, a decision I took some flak for and might reverse if you asked me now.

A request- if anyone out there has a copy of The Pistoleros rockabilly cover of Bankrobber, I'm just over here.

It's The Best Years Of Your Life They Want To Steal

The National, Amerindie darlings, cover one of The Clash's finest moments- Clampdown. Slowed down, half whispered-half sung vocals, acoustic guitars and finger picking. It doesn't really match the subject matter (kicking over the walls, causing governments to fall, you wearing blue and brown and working for the clampdown) but it's a good attempt at doing something different and it works pretty well.

I like The National in small doses but I lose interest over a whole album. Some of their songs, Apartment Story say or Mr November, I've listened to loads but I can't get into the whole thing, and I'm not sure why.

Tuesday 13 September 2011

When They Kick Out Your Front Door

Cover versions, it's often been noted, need to do something different with the song. It's interesting that when people have a go at covering The Clash a common approach is to strip back, slow down, get the acoustic guitars out and hold it all in a bit. There's not many wanting to take on the Clash at their own game.

Nouvelle Vague are a French covers outfit who make bossa nova, easy listening and chanson versions of punk and new wave songs. The first time you hear one of them, your ears prick up, and you think 'that's not bad'. After a while though, the novelty wears a bit thin and you can guess exactly what the cover versions sound like just looking at the tracklist. Here they cover Paul Simonon's Guns Of Brixton, stripping all the menace and machismo out of it. Despite missing that bassline and a certain amount of swagger, I quite like it.

Monday 12 September 2011

Harmful Elements In The Air

Let's start the week with Siouxsie. 1978's number 7 hit Hong Kong Garden managed to sound icily cool while being about a Chinese takeaway in Chislehurst. Paul Morley wrote 'Its Oriental authenticity, its flickering eroticism, its simple beauty pushed it deep into the charts'. If I ever write anything like that, feel free to tell me to delete the post. In fact, the whole blog. The song survives Morley's description.

Edit. Grammar (possessive apostrophe) corrected. Thanks to DavyH. Apologies to Paul Morley.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Say Kids!

Say Kids What Time Is It? was Coldcut's first record and more or less invented cut-and-paste, sample based music making. It's still an astonishingly inventive record, filled with the possibilities that new technology and a decent record collection presented them with. After this came Pump Up The Volume and Theme From S'Express. The future is now twenty four years old.

Sign On You Crazy Diamond

...was a line in a Half Man Half Biscuit song. Not that that's what's here today. I'm not a fan of Pink Floyd. Most of this is irrational (or rational) prejudice formed in the 1980s. I watched The Wall and hated it. The sleeves are pretentious. The music always seemed pretentious too, too 6th form, pseudo profound. Their fans are... well, Pink Floyd fans. Roger Waters seems totally disagreeable. I don't like Dave Gilmore's face. And so on. In the late 80s as a student in Liverpool there was a pub we frequented, The Brookhouse on Smithdown Road, and each night as the bell was rung for last orders someone always (and I mean always) put on Money. It ruined every last pint I had. I still get chills at the sound of those cash registers.

However, as as been noted here several times, I do like The Orb. It's a circle I can't square. This came on a magazine cd recently, The Orb covering Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Part Two). It's The Orb, so y'know, maybe Floyd can't be all bad. Can't believe I just typed that.

Saturday 10 September 2011

I'm As Healthy As A Horse

After Iggy Pop's flawless, numbed out Berlin/Bowie 1977 pair of albums he made some shockers. But before the rot really set in 1979's New Values (the first solo album made without Bowie) had some pearls on it- the Kraftwerky The Endless Sea, Five Foot One, I'm Bored ('I'm bored' Iggy sings, 'I'm the chairman of the bored') and the title track. Co-written with ex-Stooge Scott Thruston it's short, sweet, and direct with a staccato guitar riff, clattering drums and some typically self-referencing and funny lyrics- as well as being healthy as a horse Iggy's got a hard ass pair of shoulders and a love you can't imagine. There's some trouble in there as well- both in the lyric ('I'm looking for one new value, but nothing comes my way') and the playing (a guitar solo that really needed trimming) but all in all it's good 'un and no mistake.

Folk Star

Ex-Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg has had a hit-and-miss solo career with hidden gems surrounded by duff moments, and albums which got rid of large proportions of his fan base followed by albums that hit form but no-one bought. In 2004 he released Folker, then his fifth album in two years. It had it's quota of less than average songs and a few really bright moments. The final song was this one, where Paul rhymes 'folk star' with 'red plastic guitar' and wryly shoots at his public image. Cack-handed guitar playing and rough production complete a minor gem. This song is then followed by several minutes of silence and then, ooh, a secret track, the name of which I don't know. To be honest the hidden track thing always annoyed me, so I don't blame you if you press Next or Fast Forward after the end of Folk Star. I don't know what's going on with that jacket either.

Friday 9 September 2011

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 26

I'm not going to make any attempt to describe tonight's rockabilly song- it's enough to say that if you like rockabilly, rock 'n' roll, or just music, then get it here tonight. The Embers' I Walked All Night is brain frazzlingly good.