Thursday, August 7, 2014

Honey Coated Beehive...

From the age of about ten onwards music became a huge part of my life after hearing bands like The Specials, Blondie, The Jam and Adam And The Ants for the first time. At eleven I was wearing a pork pie hat, skinny tie, sta press trousers, Harrington jacket and sporting a rather fetching crew cut. By twelve I was going to a local under 18's disco with a white stripe across the bridge of my nose and wearing the Adam Ant gold and black jacket that he famously wore. How I didn't get a kicking walking down the streets of Lanarkshire I will never know !!

For the next two or three years I would have been listening to great bands like Dexys, Style Council, EATB, The Smiths, until life changed musically late '84, when one winter night listening to the great man himself between ten and midnight, at fifteen years old, I heard for the first time the glorious noisefest that was "Upside Down". Much as I still love all the other bands mentioned here I was just at the right age and in the right place for The Mary Chain. Being from the same town just seemed to cement the thought that this was the band for me. Suddenly I found new friends at school who were also talking about The Mary Chain and as we entered '85 with the prospect of an album we had our own wee gang where we shared our love of all the early Creation bands and the twee, shambling bands that were emerging from Glasgow at the time.

Fast forward to the fag end of '85 and fourteen tracks of sugar coated noise appeared in the shape of the unique and classic "Psychocandy". The influence that this album had on us spotty, angst ridden sixteen year old boys cannot be overstated. Even today it's influence can be heard on any number of bands, perfect pop songs drenched in feedback that although hugely influenced by the likes of the Velvets, Iggy, Spector, Beach Boys, stood out massively from all the dross that was clogging up the charts in the mid 80's. The feedback never overwhelms the pop tunes under it, it seems somehow to complement the melodies that the Reid brothers put together so beautifully. At the time the music was sometimes overshadowed by the "riots" at their legendary live shows but there is no getting away from the fact that The Jesus and Mary chain recorded an album of perfect pop songs that still sounds fresh today and would be in my Top 10 albums of all time. It would be almost impossible for me to single out individual tracks from "Psychocandy" but outside of the singles my favourite track on the album would have to be the majestic "The Hardest Walk".

No idea what it will be like but can't wait until November to see them perform the album in it's entirety, over 27 years since I first saw them live.

Fingers crossed that this and the other nine postings over the next few weeks will complement the Top Ten rundown posted recently by George and the forthcoming rundown by Charity Chic and hopefully by Walter.

The Hardest Walk


  1. Good post Scott and I'm amazed you managed to get through your teenage years in Lanarkshire in one piece! I've never been a huge fan of TJMC and therefore they will not be featuring in my top 10 of all time.
    However I'm sure we will agree on more than we disagree on. Looking forward to hearing the others

  2. As CC says very good post, and like you this was my band. Pissed all over The Smiths for me. I blame JAMC for my tinnitus, as I played psychocandy at full volume for about a year on my red Sony Walkman, well them and Acid House.
    Thought about the gig but have never really been into seeing bands do the nostalgia thing and decided against it. I will remember them as the completely dysfunctional early 20s siblings I saw. I hope it will be really good, however I don't think there will be the same sense of danger that there was back then.

  3. CC - although I went through the Nutty boy phase and the Adam Ant phase fortunately I didn't go down the New Romantic phase. That may have led to trouble in the wild streets of E.K. Looking forward to your ten, in particular whether we go for the same Springsteen album...
    Drew - Love The Smiths still but The Mary Chain were the ones for me. I quite like the nostalgia thing but have no idea how this will go, but agree that the sense of danger will be lacking. But hopefully they can still put on a good live show.

  4. Can we have some photos of the younger Scott please, dressed up as described? Great to see anothe Top Ten on the go, I love these things. Excellent description of the album, I'll be playing it again thanks to you

  5. George - I'm sure those pictures must be there somewhere in the great big box of pics in the loft. Maybe one day I will look them out and put them on the blog. I have seven definites for the Top 10, the other three may change before I get round to posting.

  6. Got my tickets for Manchester in November and I'm looking forward to seeing it. Top band, great post.

  7. Thanks Adam. No idea what to expect but can't wait to see them again. Hope Manchester is every bit as good as Glasgow in November.