Wednesday, 27 May 2015

50 years of tunes - 1983 - Tom Waits "Swordfishtrombones"

It took me several attempts over a number of years, more than 15 in fact, to get my head round this album. It was the one the music press always talked about but with hindsight probably isn't the best Waits album to start with. 1999's Mule Variations got me reconsidering Tom then a chance conversation on a football forum led me to Small Change and from there the whole world of Waits opened up. I only got round to picking up a copy of Swordfishtrombones last year but it's become an instant favourite and I can now see what the critics were banging on about all those years ago.

1983 - Tom Waits "Swordfishtrombones"

Released: September 1983
Label: Island
Producer: Tom Waits

Side one:
1. "Underground" – 1:58
2. "Shore Leave" – 4:12
3. "Dave the Butcher" (instrumental) – 2:15
4. "Johnsburg, Illinois" – 1:30
5. "16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought-Six" – 4:30
6. "Town With No Cheer" – 4:22
7. "In the Neighborhood" – 3:04

Side two:
8. "Just Another Sucker on the Vine" (instrumental) – 1:42
9. "Frank's Wild Years" – 1:50
10. "Swordfishtrombone" – 3:00
11. "Down, Down, Down" – 2:10
12. "Soldier's Things" – 3:15
13. "Gin Soaked Boy" – 2:20
14. "Trouble's Braids" – 1:18
15. "Rainbirds" (instrumental) – 3:05

(All tracks composed by Tom Waits)


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

50 years of tunes - 1982 - The Fall "Hex Enduction Hour"

It took me a long time to get into The Fall and I've still only scratched the surface but as far as I can tell this is their magnum opus.

1982 - The Fall "Hex Enduction Hour"

Released: March 1982
Label: Kamera
Producer: Grant Showbiz, Mark E. Smith & Richard Mazda

Side one:
1. "The Classical" (The Fall)
2. "Jawbone and the Air-Rifle" (The Fall)
3. "Hip Priest" (The Fall)
4. "Fortress / Deer Park" (Mark E. Smith, Craig Scanlon, Marc Riley, Karl Burns)
5. "Mere Pseud Mag. Ed." (Smith)
6. "Winter (Hostel-Maxi)" (Smith, Scanlon)

Side two:
1. "Winter 2" (Smith, Scanlon)
2. "Just Step S'ways" (Smith)
3. "Who Makes the Nazis?" (Smith)
4. "Iceland" (Smith, Scanlon, Riley, Steve Hanley)
5. "And This Day" (The Fall)

(All lyrics by Mark E Smith)


Friday, 15 May 2015

Collaborative Top 5 - Carry On Films VOTE

A slight change of tack for the next collaborative top five. I thought it would be nice to work on a subject with a definitive number of options and save all the faffing about with nominations. Everyone loves Carry On films, don't they? I certainly grew up watching these. I loved them then and I still love them now (apart from the last few where things went a little bit awry).

So, simple task - give me your 5 favourite Carry On films in order if you can but out of order if that's too tricky. The vote is open for 31 days during which time I'm going to attempt to watch them all in order.

Carry On Sergeant (1958)
Carry On Nurse (1959)
Carry On Teacher (1959)
Carry On Constable (1960)
Carry On Regardless (1961)
Carry On Cruising (1962)
Carry On Cabby (1963)
Carry On Jack (1963)
Carry On Spying (1964)
Carry On Cleo (1964)
Carry On Cowboy(1965)
Carry On Screaming! (1966)
Carry On Don't Lose Your Head (1966)
Carry On: Follow That Camel (1967)
Carry On Doctor (1968)
Carry On Camping (1969)
Carry On ... Up The Khyber (1969)
Carry On Again, Doctor (1969)
Carry On Up The Jungle (1970)
Carry On Loving(1970)
Carry On Henry (1971)
Carry On At Your Convenience (1971)
Carry On Matron (1972)
Carry On Abroad (1972)
Carry On Girls (1973)
Carry On Dick (1974)
Carry On Behind (1975)
Carry On England (1976)
Carry On Emmanuel (1978)
Carry On Columbus (1992)

Here's a short introduction to the film series, cribbed from Wikipedia, for my overseas readers who might not me as familiar with them as us Brits;

The Carry On series is a long-running British sequence of comedy films, stage shows and television programs produced between 1958 and 1992. There were thirty-one films. Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas were the series' sole producer and director respectively. They mostly employed the same crew and a regular group of actors. The main cast predominantly featured Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor, Peter Butterworth, Hattie Jacques, Terry Scott, Bernard Bresslaw, Barbara Windsor, Jack Douglas and Jim Dale. The Carry Ons comprise the largest number of films of any British series and, next to the James Bond films, are the second-longest continually-running UK film series.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

50 years of tunes - 1981 - The Gun Club "Fire of Love"

Debut album from Jeffrey Lee Pierce fronted original Garage Punks. The Gun Club are one of those bands I was aware of for some time and left me kicking myself when I eventually found out how good they were. A nod to Japandroids who, thanks to their fantastic cover of For The Love Of Ivy, were the catalyst for me finally making the effort to get hold of this album.

1981 - The Gun Club "Fire of Love"

Released: August 1981
Label: Ruby
Producer: Chris Desjardins, Tito Larriva

Side one:
1. "Sex Beat"
2. "Preaching the Blues" (Robert Johnson; arranged by Jeffrey Lee Pierce)
3. "Promise Me"
4. "She's Like Heroin to Me"
5. "For the Love of Ivy" (Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Kid Congo Powers)
6. "Fire Spirit"

Side two:
1. "Ghost on the Highway"
2. "Jack on Fire"
3. "Black Train"
4. "Cool Drink of Water" (Tommy Johnson; traditional, arranged by Jeffrey Lee Pierce)
5. "Goodbye Johnny"

(All songs composed by Jeffrey Lee Pierce; except where indicated)


Friday, 8 May 2015

Collaborative Top 5 - Songs About Weather - RESULT

Here's the moment you've all been waiting for. The results of the inaugural collaborative top five. I've learned a lot from doing this but am mainly relieved I got enough people interested to provide a clear winner. Thanks for everyone who voted and everyone who nominated too.

1. Blur "This Is A Low" - My lack of lyric attention led me to think this was tentative but a pal on The Facebook pointed out to me it's about the shipping forecast and a low pressure weather front hitting Britain. Bit embarrassed I liked the song so much and had missed the link completely. Either way it is a fine song and possibly my favourite tune by Blur.

2. The Doors "Riders on the Storm" - I'm not a Doors fan, as one of my pals was slightly shocked to discover down the pub the other day, but even I realise this is a cracking song. The stormy intro sounds making this the most obviously weather related tune on the list.

3. The Beta Band "Dry The Rain" - I love this song too, not sure The Beta Band ever bettered it.

4. Bill Withers "Ain't No Sunshine" - A song that's so familiar it's hard to remember a time it didn't exist. Produced by Booker T Jones and featuring many of the famous Stax session musicians (though it was released by LA label Sussex).

5= Creedance Clearwater Revival "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" - Really pleased this made the cut as it's the only one of my choices to do so. Further proof that John Fogerty is an amazing writer of songs.

5= Pixies "Stormy Weather" - Appropriate, considering the "Blur controversy" that I couldn't separate the 5th placed tunes and it's my favourite band that benefits. I didn't even vote for them!

My personal top five is here. Nick Drake didn't get much love beyond my vote, Rain by Quo looked a dead cert for a top five spot early on but dropped away and if you only check out one of these give the Irma Thomas tune a spin, it's gorgeous.

1. Nick Drake "Saturday Sun" -
2. Creedance Clearwater Revival "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" -
3. Status Quo "Rain" -
4. Irma Thomas "It's Raining" -
5. Ramones "California Sun" -

And five songs (in no particular order) I've enjoyed and didn't know before we started this;

The Prisoners "Hurricane" -
Half Man Half Biscuit "When The Evening Sun Goes Down" -
Rush "Vapor Trail" -
Fats Domino "Let The Four Winds Blow" -
Roddy Frame "Forty Days of Rain" -

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

50 years of tunes - 1980 - Dexy's Midnight Runners "Searching For The Young Soul Rebels"

At least one regular reader won't be pleased to see this here but it's a brilliant album in my opinion and hands down the best thing that came out in 1980. I'm a sucker for brass and this album has buckets full of it as well as a really great Northern Soul vibe. Geno is one of my very favourite songs but this album is strong from start to finish.

1980 - Dexy's Midnight Runners "Searching For The Young Soul Rebels"

Released: July 1980
Label: EMI
Producer: Pete Wingfield

Side one:
1. "Burn It Down" (Kevin Rowland)
2. "Tell Me When My Light Turns Green" (Rowland)
3. "The Teams That Meet in Caffs" (Kevin Archer)
4. "I'm Just Looking" (Rowland, Geoffrey Blythe, Peter Saunders)
5. "Geno" (Rowland, Archer)

Side two:
6. "Seven Days Too Long" (J.R. Bailey, Vernon Harrell)
7. "I Couldn't Help It If I Tried" (Rowland, Jim Paterson)
8. "Thankfully Not Living in Yorkshire It Doesn't Apply" (Rowland, Saunders)
9. "Keep It" (Archer, Blythe)
10. "Love Part One" (Rowland)
11. "There, There, My Dear" (Rowland, Archer)