Friday, December 31, 2010

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye....



Thought I better get this done now as the chances of their being any posting tomorrow is zilch...just in from work, couple of hours sleep and then party time...

Just want to wish one and all a Happy New Year....hope you all a have a great time tonight...and all the best for 2011

Monday, December 27, 2010

Just Got Lucky....

After 2 days of over indulgence I found myself back at work today...sitting on the train half asleep I needed something to come on the MP3 player that was going to shake me out of my stupor and then this little gem came on...



Joboxers star shone briefly in the early 80's when they appeared on the scene with the Northern Soul influenced floorstomper Boxerbeat. In the early 80's Subway Sect in between backing Vic Goddard, regularly performed sets with different guest singers at Club Left in London and one of those singers was Dig Wayne formerly of New York rockabilly band Buzz and The Flyers.The club was moved up the road to Ronnie Scotts and with Dig in tow the band evolved into Joboxers.

Fusing Northern Soul,high energy pop, a great horn section and the powerful, raucous vocals of Dig Wayne, Joboxers produced one of the best singles of 1983 in Boxerbeat eventually reaching Number 3 in the Hit Parade. After another couple of hits and a Top 20 album Joboxers took a couple of years to release the follow up but sadly by that time the Great British record buying public had moved on...

The follow up to Boxerbeat is in my opinion even better and is up there as one of the best tracks of the 80's and has stood the test of time remarkably well...Just Got Lucky sounds great played on a mixtape alongside tracks like Geno, Town Called Malice and Rock The Casbah... and does not sound out of place alongside any of them...

Enjoy............

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas....


My first Christmas as a blogger.....just want to wish a Merry Christmas to one and all...a big thank you to all those who have viewed the blog in its short existence and especially to those who have left behind comments...very much appreciated when you are just starting out...

Hope you all have a great Christmas....

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2000 Miles

The Pretenders paean to James Honeyman-Scott, is the one Christmas song that does not sound out of place any other time of the year. A great heartfelt vocal from Chrissie Hynde and quite simply my favourite "Christmas" song. Sublime..


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Favourite Cover Versions.... An Occasional Series...Part 2


New Order's Love Vigilantes has been interpreted in so many different ways - Is it an anti war song, Is the protagonist dead, Was the telegram a mistake. Ultimately each person can take whatever meaning they want from Barney's lyrics but the one thing every New Order fan will take is what a bloody good track it is...Love Vigilantes is simply one of the finest melodies that the band ever produced....the track almost plays as a modern day folk/country song....

Which makes it almost the perfect song to cover for Laura Cantrell...she first came to public attention in 2000 with her debut album Not The Tremblin' Kind which gained her the immediate respect of none other than John Peel who wrote "[It is] my favourite record of the last ten years and possibly my life"....a huge compliment to Laura Cantrell from the great man....

She recorded her version of Love Vigilantes for the Body Of War soundtrack in 2007 and manages to makes the song her own and justifies all the praise heaped on her by Peel...her greatest vocal quality is her absolute restraint and almost conversational style of singing which perfectly suits the song...



Monday, December 20, 2010

Choochtown...


Ed Hammel came to most people's attention in 2000 with his album Choochtown. Based around the characters of Bobby, Chooch, Nancy and Joe Brush the album is as much influenced by the novels of Raymond Chandler and Dashiel Hammett and the comedy of Bill Hicks and Denis Leary as it is by the music of The Clash and Lou Reed.

One man, one guitar and one hell of a noise. Everytime I listen to Choochtown it just makes me smile... the songs concern small time gangsters, low lifes and hustlers with the cast of characters appearing throughout the album in different tracks with the Toddle House bar being the centre of the action...all the time the fondness Hammel has for the characters shines through as does the dark humour that weaves its way through the stories he tells...a very funny and original album...

Where Hammel really excels is on stage...we were fortunate to see him round about 2000 in King Tuts and  it was a mix of rapid fire stand up mixed with Hammel hammering the living daylights out of his heavily amplified acoustic guitar and railing against the intellectual laziness that affects his homeland....simply a great gig by a very talented man....If you get a chance book an evening with Hammel On Trial the next time he makes it over to these shores...

In the meantime buy Choochtown here ....

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Zig Zag Wanderer...


Friday night saw the passing of one of music's true mavericks and one of the most influential musicians of the 60's and 70's Don Van Vliet better known as Captain Beefheart. He was a true original and will be sadly missed. His music was based upon the Rhythm and Blues records that he grew up with but in the hands of Beefheart the music evolved into something quite unorthodox in structure and sound....but no matter how much he deconstructed the blues his love of those old  records always shone through all his recordings...

He will always be best remembered for Trout Mask Replica , the album that earned him a place in musical history, although newcomers to his music may be better of starting with Safe As Milk before venturing into some of his more far out recordings.

There are legions of musicians performing today who owe a huge debt to the music of Captain Beefheart and there is no doubt that his music will be listened to and will continue to be an influence to new bands in the years ahead...

RIP Don...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tracks Of The Year....




Following on from yesterday's post today will be about my fave tracks of 2010...

This was easier than yesterday as there are not a lot of albums that I have listened to all the way through more than a couple of times. I tend to agree with Drew over at Across The Kitchen Table that there is a lot of filler material on most albums these days and with the universal use of mp3 players individual tracks are listened to more than full albums.

There are, of course, exceptions to this such as the John Grant album, Queen Of Denmark , which is an album that should be listened to in its entirety to fully appreciate the beauty of it.... I was not really aware of John Grant's former band The Czars but Queen Of Denmark for me stood out in 2010 for various reasons...Grant's effortless voice,the gorgeous backing from Midlake, Grant's use of humour to address sometimes gloomy subject matters...Everything about this album exudes class...

These then are the tracks that merited the most repeat plays this year and are my personal faves of 2010...

Paul Weller - No Tears To Cry
Arcade Fire - Modern Man
Edwyn Collins - Losing Sleep
Gorillaz - Stylo

And finally...this is my fave track of 2010....

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's That Time Of Year Again.....


It's that time of year again where blokes of a certain age have an insatiable urge to share with others their favourite albums, songs, gigs etc of the year and I am more than happy to join many other bloggers in this task for the first time....

Most of my posts since starting this blog on Halloween have been about bands that I grew up with that may have slipped from view, bands that should have been more successful than they were and to try and re-ignite memories or introduce the music to fresh ears....However I do still try and stay in touch as much as possible with new stuff coming out and this is my contribution to what excited me in 2010...

My own personal fave records of the year included :

Edwyn Collins, Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, Alasdair Roberts, KORT, Jenny and Johnny, John Grant's gorgeous Queen Of Denmark, Conor O'Brien's beguiling debut as Villagers, and Twin Shadow's 80's influenced but very modern sounding Forget....

Other musical highlights include Springsteen's The Promise, the expanded reissue of R.E.M.'s Fables..., Galaxie 500's deluxe edition of On Fire and the one essential purchase this Christmas, Coals To Newcastle. Every home should have one...here's hoping in a couple of weeks that mine does....

Gigs of 2010 were The Wedding Present's Bizarro gig at the QMU, Phonemenal Handclap Band at The Captain's Rest, Sir Paul at Hampden and best gig of the year for me was The Primitives at Stereo.The gig, including encores only lasted about an hour but it was one hour of sheer pop perfection. Not sure if it's just an age thing but I find my attention span getting shorter and some gigs these days tend to lag a bit in the middle but there was no time time for lag with this one, you barely had time to draw breath between tracks...I have a feeling they may have listened a few times to It's Alive over the years....


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Favourite Cover Versions.... An Occasional Series...Part 1



If you are going to do a  cover version of  a track it's always best to do something a bit different with the song otherwise what's the point...

Hailing from Leeds, Age Of Chance released a couple of decent singles in the mid 80's before releasing the track that most people remember them for...Originally recorded for a Peel session while the original was still in the chart, Kiss successfully merged a mix of punk, hip hop, northern soul and indie rock into one of the finest covers that I have heard....

At the time I remember seeing and hearing the track everywhere so it was a bit of a shock to realize that the song did not break the Top 40 although it did make it to Number 2 in 1986's Festive 50. The visuals for Age Of Chance were of huge importance also, with the sleeve of Don't Get Mad... being rightly cited as one of the best album covers of all time...

Bursting forth from a giant poster of the original artist this is a great performance from the BBC with the Age Of Chance's very own Mo Tucker baging away on the drums....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Saw Two Shooting Stars Last Night....



Today's posting was supposed to be a review of Billy Bragg's gig at The Arches last night. However along with thousands of others I endured an 11 hour journey home from work so did not make the gig. The only positive was that I had a message left on my phone when I did get back letting me know that the gig had been canceled anyway so Billy will just have to wait for another day.

For some unknown reason I have not seen Billy Bragg perform live for about 20 years or so. I saw him a few times in the late 80's and always enjoyed seeing him perform his tunes and the between song banter that was a major point in going to see him. So for that reason and  with the current CONLib "government" in the process of continuing Thatcher's programme of dismantling the country step by step I was very much looking forward to seeing him.

We need artists like Billy Bragg probably more than at any time in the last 30 years, not necessarily aligning themselves with any one political party - like all the fools that were taken in by Blair - and although pop stars cannot change the world they can bring information to the attention of the masses through their support of worthy causes such as student tuition fees.

Roll on next year when Bragg returns....


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Something old, something new....


Two blisteringly cold nights in Glasgow and two gigs....

First up Leeds' finest, the Wedding Present at the QMU for the 21st anniversary of Bizarro. Gedge and co warmed the crowd up with a few classics before the main event including a rare outing for 2nd single Once More which still sounded immense 24 years after its initial release. There was also surprise cover of the theme from Cheers.

I must say I am a big fan of these events where a band play one of their classic albums from start to finish and this one did not disappoint. The Weddoes are the only band I have seen do this twice after George Best a few years ago at the same venue. And this was every bit as good with the band in terrific form, Gedge thrashing his guitar as if his life depended upon it. There was so much intensity, energy and sheer joy of playing these songs that every person who braved the weather (-13) would have left the West End of Glasgow very happy indeed on Thursday night, apart from perhaps the fan who did not get to hear Flying Saucer. Personal faves were No, Kennedy and the full nine minutes plus of Take Me. Pop over to fellow blogger Drew at Across The Kitchen Table for his take on the gig.



From a band I have seen numerous times to a band I have only seen once before and that was as a support act. There are various bloggers out there who are much bigger fans of Frightened Rabbit than myself but having enjoyed them earlier in the summer at the Snow Patrol gig at Bellahouston I thought I would go along to The Barrowlands and see for myself what all the fuss was about. The band seemed very humbled to be finally headlining at the venue they have always dreamed of playing at and for the most part did not disappoint. Not having seen them in the early days I would have liked to have heard a few more tracks from Singing The Greys. Only Be Less Rude got an airing and to me they seemed to be going through the motions a bit when the played it as if they felt they had to. There is no doubt that Scott Hutchison can sing and the band have some great tunes like Swim Until You Can't See Land, Old Old Fashioned, The Loneliness And The Scream and highlight of the evening pour moi, Keep Yourself Warm. All in all I did enjoy the gig but am yet to be fully convinced.