Friday, August 24, 2007

Cool or Crazy Covers Pt. 1 - Gimme Shelter

A new feature starts today on the Atomic Blog - Cool or crazy covers of classic tracks.

I’m going to kick it off with an absolutely stomping soul rework of The Rolling Stones moody masterpiece

Gimme Shelter - Merrie Clayton .

Merrie is the lung busting session singer featured on Gimme Shelter by the Stones. This is her own super funky version of the song, and she has a tear up with it.

Dirty horns, funky wah guitar, crazy bongo’s – Its all going on here!.

As a Brucie bonus I've also added the super rare Stones demo of Gimme Shelter, (with Keef singing and no backing vox) so you can really see what Merrie brought to the track

Keith Demo- Gimme Shelter.

Merrie Clayton doing Gimme Shelter is available on a tip top compilation here.

But, I first came across it at the superb soul site that is Funky 16 Corners, always worth a check out for rare and rocking Soul nuggets

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Like Syd Barret on Skylab

Industrial Futurism is what Starbase 109 are calling their music, but don't let that clunky phrase put you off.

There’s tip top electro pop tunes - Like a space age Syd Barret singing over Devo and Kraftwerk synthscapes.

There’s extraordinary lyrics about ordinary objects - Dialling tones, Hoovers that don’t work,construction sites, biology lessons.

There’s funny hats.

Beam yourself over to these electric eccentrics, as soon as you can.

This flying saucerful of secrets, may not stay a secret for much longer

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Les Paul - He's a Real Person and He's Still Alive

The phrase "Les Paul" is regularly bounced around like a brand name, but unless you're a guitar player, music anorak or Jazz fan - you may not have realised there is a real life Mr Les Paul.

This 2 minute mini clip is Les in action, and shows all you need to know about modern guitar playing in under 3 minutes - rocking riffs & rythms, cool chords, bouncing bass and shredding lead.

Les Paul is the Leonardo Da Vinci of modern music. He invented multi track recording, but most importantly designed and built the solid body electric guitar as we know it today. Guitars which, as Nik Cohn says in Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom "Came on like space age musical monsters and, immediately, wiped out all of the politeness that had gone before".

Les is a Jazzer rather than a Rocker, and if he'd have known that Jimmy Page's Gibson Les Paul would be wacked with a violin bow, Pete Townsend's would be smashed to smoke and splinters, or seen what Bowie would do to Mick Ronson's - he may well have burnt the blueprint.

Les Paul is 92 and still plays once a week at Iridium Jazz Club in New York.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Following on from my last Punk themed post here’s a couple more leopard skin and safety pin links

I found a great set of Punk pics while browsing Flickr recently.

There’s loads of memorabilia and some fantastically candid home photos of the Bromley Contingent, Chrissie Hynde, Judy Nylon and others taken by Simon Barker (legendary for always wearing an Anarchy shirt) around 76/77. After a bit of research it turns out these photos and more appear in a 9 part Summer of Hate feature which is here at 3AM (you have to browse parts 1 – 9 via page 9)

And on a more local level, another highly recommended website is Southend Punk – You don’t have to have been a punk or even lived in Southend to enjoy this site. It’s such a great document of what was happening in one area of Britain and all over the UK before, during and after the Punk big bang – I guarantee that if you’ve got any sort of interest in the late 70’s early 80’s Punk & New Wave period - Southend Punk will up your High Street.

You could even check out some of my photos of The Damned, and Lords of the New Church live at Crocs in 1983 at Southend Punk – Or have a peep at my Punk Top 50 which appears in the playlist section, while you're there.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Randomiser number 2 - Never Mind The Balearics

Every time an unexpected winner, a long lost favourite or previously unheard nugget shuffles it’s way into play on my mp3 player. I log it in the blog. This time its;

Los Punkrockers – Pretty Vacant.mp3

Imagine if Manuel from Fawlty Towers had gone giddy with the Punky spirit of 77, jacked in his job at the hotel and started a Spanish punk band (perhaps called The Siberian Hamsters) that only played Sex Pistols songs. It wouldn't sound unlike Los Punkrockers.

This cover of Pretty Vacant comes from the album Exitos de Sex Pistols. Which is a complete track for track, straight ahead (no flamenco guitars,castanets or handclaps) rework of The Sex Pistols NMTB.

I haven't found much ‘net news about the band or the album, but the general theory seems to be that it was recorded somewhere in Spain around 1978. I'm guessing that the line up may have included Juanny rotten, and Seneor Vicous (who replaced Glen Matador),

Theres some tip top 'lost in translation' lyrics on it

Pretty Vacant " we’re so pretty oh so pretty … wee Will Carter"

Bodies "she was girl from Bimingham - her name was Colin, childhood express"

It's like Channel 9 version of punk, sort of Holidays in the Scorchio

What a gem - Fill your Doc Martens while you can.

Thanks to Agent Paul Cooper giving me the tip off about this peachy piece of punk obscurity.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It Was 30 Years Ago Today Pt. 1 - Elvis

Instead of adding to the flood of anniversary facts, theories and opinions about Elvis on the ‘net - I’m going let the music speak for itself, by listing 5 tracks (and the albums they come from) which really capture the essence of Elvis for me

Hound Dog - A Golden Celebration

This the version where Elvis bump-and-grinds himself into TV history. Stunning.
Can you imagine how shocking this must have been back in the black and white 50’s?????

Baby What Do You Want Me To Do? - Memories-The '68 Comeback Special

While most musicians of the time were becoming strung out stoners. Elvis was back in black leather.

Only The Strong Survive - The Memphis Record

Soul, Gospel, Raw Blues, Bacharach tunes, – Its all here. Elvis goes Northern Soul on this track

I Didn’t Make It On Playing Guitar - Essential Elvis Vol.4: a Hundred Years from Now

Undubbed, and unedited. Elvis and the band tear it up live in the studio, without the usual choir of angels backing vocals or sugary strings.

I've Got A Feelin' In My Body - Essential Elvis Vol 5 Rhythm and Country

Elvis in full funk mode. And there’s country, folk and acoustic - all recorded at Stax studios. He may be a bit wobbly on a couple of tracks. But, Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues, and For Ol’ Times Sake are his best ballads ever.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Randomizer number 1 - A Track Could Get Lost

Following on from the random ramble in my last post, (which was prompted by the track below suddenly being dusted off, cued up and cranked by my Creative Zen player while in shuffle mode) I’ve decided that every time an unexpected winner, a long lost favourite or previously unheard nugget shuffles it’s way into play on my mp3 player. I’m going to log it in the blog.

The first one up is

Soft Cell - A Man Could Get Lost (Instrumental version)

I hadn’t heard this track for at least 20 years, had completely forgotten about it , and didn’t even know it was 1 of the 10,000 tracks on my player until shuffle threw this non stop nugget into the spotlight yesterday

What a winner!! It’s packed full of fat analogue 80’s synths and drums, fizzing, whizzing and clapping away, there's thumping riffs and glossy pop hooks, wrapped in a shadowy, sleazy darkness that Soft Cell did so well. But, the most amazing thing is how clubby and contemporary it sounds. I can’t believe it’s over 25 years old, it’s got such a trendy sparkle that it could be a Tronik Youth
or Mylo remix

How come bootleg remixers, and TV advertisers have let this elctro cracker of track slip through the net

If you’ve got A Man Could Get Lost somewhere spin it up today, if you haven’t treat yourself and download it.

A Man Could Get Lost is available on Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing here

And there’s great feature on the recording of Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing by Mike Thorne here

The Random Button That Changed The World

Who would have thought that one tiny button could have changed the world, the way we listen to, buy and collect music. Who is the anonymous boffin that when they were developing CD players, snapped their fingers and decided (in a Jeff Goldblum voice) “what we need is a randomizer”?

When CD’s were first hyped in the 80’s, all the puff n' promo was about the shiny new Tonka toy technology which was virtually indestructible. Unlike dusty ol’ vinyl, You could cover CD’s in jam (but why would you want to?) and they would still deliver perfect sound. You could gauge them with 6 inch nails (would you do this to vinyl??) and they could still carry on playing. They should last forever -(they wouldn't, and definitely not if you looked after them like that.)

When I got my first Sony CD player in 1986 the new digitized sound was ok - It was louder, the cosy hissy clicks had gone, and I didn't have to get up to turn anything over. But the one thing that totally changed the way I listened to music was the random/shuffle button .

No more mentally cueing up what was coming next on the album. Suddenly everything was non linear and out of context. All my ol’ favourites and not so favourites were randomly popping up like fireworks and going off all over the place. A couple of years laterI got my first multi disc CD player, and was in random mix up meltdown.

But it seems it wasn’t just me that had a buzz for shuffling . Apple achieved global domination and branding, by merging the principal of multi disc CD players, with the random/shuffle button and distilling it into the iPod. Which in turn changed the way people, buy, store and listen to music. Randomizing is so popular that Apple managed to redefine it again with the iPod shuffle. And now Radio stations like Jack FM in the states, that are based around randomizing instead of heavily formatted, playlisted shows are becoming big news. They’re even coming over here, Jack FM is being trialled in Oxford right now.
Whoever it was that came up with the "random" button , should have patented it. They would have made Bill Gates or tetra pack type fortune by now if they had.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Electronic Tagging

I haven't been on the Blog lately as I’ve been mad busy with compiling, mixing, and even DJ’ing for the past few weeks, but will be filling in the blanks and dropping some links to these things soon

Me ol mate Marmite
has jump started me into action by tagging me, here are the rules:

Let others know who tagged you. (See above)

Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
Those who are tagged should post these rules and 8 random facts.

Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

Random Fact 1
My last foreign holiday was Belgium - where there's loads of luscious food. Cakes, waffles, pancakes, ice cream, chocolate, frittes the best beer ever – you can’t beat the Belgians for top trough.

RF 2
If I could go anywhere for my next one it would be Bora Bora

RF 3
My First James Bond film was Live and Let Die

RF 4
My first 18 (X) film was Saturday Night Fever, I was 12 at the time and had to wear platforms to get in.
I've been playing guitar for 26 years - but only learnt a scale 2 years ago, and my telecaster is always tuned to open G

RF 6
I've got a great idea for a film, and a sitcom. But will probably never get round to doing anything with either

RF 7
I wish someone would bring back these foody bits - Glees, Puffa Puffa Rice, Frys 5 centre chocolate, Buttersnap, Midnight Mint Choc Ice, Lord Toffingham Ice Lolly, The toffee n' mallow one in Black Magic, the Cracknel in quality St.

RF 8
My biggest regret is swapping an original Westwood & McLaren top for a frilly shirt. I would love to still own this great bit of gear for all sorts of reasons. It was an orange and red version of the one in the pic at the top. I bought in 1981 it from Worlds End in Kings Road for £30 while still at school (my part time Co –Op job earned me £15 a week), but swapped if for a frilly shirt while at art college. It would be worth a fortune now, and the frilly shirt would be worth less than it was then. How Gutted?