Friday, May 29, 2009

Funky Friday - Home Taping Is Killing Music

Smash Hits November 1980 Crossword- how many can you get ?
(click on the pic for a big version)

I'm over at JC's place this coming Monday as part of his 'Merry Month Of May' season, where I'll be spinning up some eighties flavours. So as a warm up thought it may be appropriate to crack a few forgotten scraps from that decade in the blog.

If you can remember the eighties, then you weren't really there. Oh no that's the sixties isn't it. Strange to think though, that we're now further away from the pre-Live Aid eighties, than they were from the sixties.

So if the title of this post rings any bells for you, it's possible you'll also remember Ye Other Olde Names from the post-punk, pre-hip hop period that have since dropped out of circulation and right off of the retro-radar. Names like - Stevo, Steve Dagger, Gary Barnacle (and his sax/trumpet), Pino Palladino (and his fretless bass), Zeuss B Held, Rusty Egan.

Travelling back to that time perhaps you were a reader of New Sounds New Styles, The Face, Zig Zag, SFX. Or wore some long forgotten fashion fad, Tukka Boots, Kung Fu slippers (popular during the summer of 83), even an item with a Japanese flag (which became something of a style icon for several months) repeat printed across it.

If any of the above apply, you'll know that Gary Numan had the most hopelessly devoted (Tubeway) army of fans that would shamelessly ape the exact angle of his tilted Trilby, double red belts or copy and clone his electric blue rinse - as seen in this picture disc
(I never really rated Gazza at the time apart from Are Friends and Cars, but he doesn't sound too bad listening back)

Gary Numan - Music for Chameleons

Or how a fourties Latin look (zoot suits, key chains and kipper ties) and fifties fashions (creepers, bowling shirts and bum-freezer jackets) were hugely popular and onsale alongside contemporary clobber at trendy markets and vintage boutiqes...
(Yes I did buy a vintage suit and gambler arm bands, but was to embarrased to wear either out and about)

Blue Rondo A La Turk - Klacto Vee Sedstein

And that bongo a-go-go rimshot percussion was all over everything from Jazz Funk and Adam and The Ants, to Spandau and Haircut 100 12-inchers, and of course those sun, sea and piracy lovers - Bow Wow Wow
(Who could resist using school rulers for drum sticks, and tapping out the intro to Ant Music )

Bow Wow Wow - W.O.R.K. (N.O. Nah No No My Daddy Don't) (12")

Ad from The Face May 1983

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Do You Remember Your First Time?

Your first musical post that is - and what the trigger, tune or track was that got you fired up enough to start blogging and cataloging the collection ?

One number did it for me. An instrumental obscurity, that randomly dropped into play by a group, who, ironically, have rarely popped up on my player since, and have never been captured on the blog - apart from my first ever MP3 post that is..

So who was it? Soft Cell, that's who.

Given this, The Cell, seem well overdue for another punt on the PM blog. Tarred forever with the Tainted Love brush, it's too easy to forget what a rabid and devoted following they developed, that they were too shadowy and almost sleazy to sit comfortably alongside other eighties glossy Top of the Poppers. Or what quality pop they produced.

Kings of the 80s 12-inch format. Insecure Me (B-side to Bedsitter) is tick-list of all that the Softies do best

Galloping arpeggios
Grubby glamour
Seedy nightlife
Oh dear, I've overdone the gin (again)
I'm an outsider but a survivor
A proto-rap from Cindy Ecstasy

Soft Cell - Insecure Me (12")

Friday, May 22, 2009

Funky Friday - Funkenstein

It's a bank holiday special today with a guest blogger onboard - blogger my neighbour, you could say - as choosing the tunes is Agent Cooper,who, lives just a few doors away from Cloudbase Mondo. When he's not DJing,making his own artwork or collecting somethingorother, Coop's busies himself with his latest creation the Patchwork Of Flesh blog - artwork submissions inspired by Frankenstein - why not pop on over and have peep

Let's start things off with a prime slice of western bop from one of rock 'n' roll's most influencial guitar swingers Link Wray.

"The Swag" was the flip side to Link's classic "Rumble" released in 1958 and in my humble opinion a much better tune than the a-side.
I first came across "The Swag" as the opening theme to John Waters trash masterpiece "Pink Flamingos" on a ropey old VHS from my local video shop in Romford.

Link Wray - The Swag

"Zig Zag News" is a storming mid-'60s workout from L.A's The Sound Sandwich originally released on Viva Records. It starts out pretty mellow before freaking out and speeding up at about the minute mark into something completely different. You can find it on Sundazed's brilliant "Ain't It Hard" comp.

The Sound Sandwich - Zig Zag News

A slab of 1980's garage rifferama next from The Fuzztones, "She's Wicked" has a brilliant intro and one of the greatest dumb-ass riffs ever put on wax with a hint of early B52s in the keyboard sound at times. I bought this on 12" in 1986 and it sounds as good today as it did the first time I played it. A stone cold classic, this is the John Peel session version and not the original release.

The Fuzztones - She's Wicked

Some artists stay fairly underground and never get the success they deserve, perhaps they are happier that way - it didn't do Kurt Cobain any favours.
Greg Cartwright has been in three absolutely fantastic bands: Compulsive Gamblers, Oblivians and Reigning Sound and has written songs that would have made him a household name in the sixties when songwriting and passion got you a long way. It's a pretty big statement to make but I reckon he is making the best music on the planet right now, a soulful blend of garage, R&B and country. It's not easy to chose one song so what you've got is one of Reigning Sound's very best in two versions.
"If You Can't Give Me Anything" was first released on the "Too Much Guitar" LP on In The Red in 2004 as a ragged, stomping garage number with pleading yelped vocals and a wailing mouth organ.

Reigning Sound - If You Can't Give Me Everything (Too Much Guitar version)

A much more Gram Parsons sounding country rock/ soul verion was released a year later on "Home For Orphans" on Sympathy For The Record Industry.
Two very different interpretations of the same song show just how good Greg's songs are.

Reigning Sound - If You Can't Give Me Everything (Home For Orphans version)

Thanks to the Mondo man for the letting me share a few tunes with you. If you are of an artistic bent or like monster movies, pop over to my Frankenstein art project blog A Patchwork of Flesh - check out the gallery and then follow the lead of Mr Mondo and create a piece of monstrous art yourself.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Keep On Holding On

I'm sure you can do your own jokes for this pic'

Remember Sharon Tandy from Friday's post? Well she's back doing a Dusty-meets-Cher shakedown 'Hold On' (keep 'em peeled for a young DLT intro'ing the clip)

Sharon Tandy - Hold On

A heavier, wah-guitar, stomper versh of Hold On was later nailed by Ipsissimus, (a name I find almost impossible to pronounce) - and used as the opener on this mix o' mine..

Ipsissimus - Hold On

Friday, May 15, 2009

Funky Friday - Eurovisions

For continental readers who may not be aware of the event - 'The Eurovision Song Contest' takes place in Moscow this weekend. It's an annual jamboree of performers and composers from most European nations (including Russia and Israel!?) competing to win this annual pageant of popular song - where highlights traditionally include..

Norway scoring 'Nil Points'

Britain's entry being harmless but hopeless

Someone with a moustache (male or female) pulling a pained face for the duration of some gabbled ballad

An act (usu:Scandanavian) of hi-randomness

It's an occasion with a history of hammy-camp and candyfloss, that's become diluted down to a parade of same-sounding, over-glossed production line pop. It wasn't always this way. Abba are probably Eurovision's most perfect-pop offspring.

So what's the point of my ramblings? Well simply - they don't write Eurovision winners like they used to (and if we're honest the didn't write many of them back then either), however here's a handful of songs that to these ears would have made pitch perfect 'A Song For Europe' entries (circa sometime in the seventies).

Sharon Tandy - Two Can Make It Together
Sounding like the sort of song accompanied by a Young Generation style duo vamping a hand-holding, wide-eyed, heavy-headed nodding routine - think: the blonde half of Guys and Dolls.

The Playthings - Stop What You're Doing
A Cheeky soul shuffler that would have to be sung by a girl with auburn Farah Fawcett flicks, wearing some sort of ripply-chiffon evening dress (perhaps red), and holding one of those mic's that looked like silver sponge finger - think:Tina Charles meets Baccara.

Barbara Jean English - I'm Living A Lie
Uptempo, pacy and anthemic - isn't that the template for a successful Eurovish sound. Should be sung by someone with a souly-but-sober look - think:Helen Shapiro meets Helen Reddy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Give Us A Clouseau

Matt from Worksopp wrote in last week - asking do I have 'Joe Loss's version of 'Shot In The Dark'? Yes Matt, I do. It's on the Mondo iBlock, and now on the blog..

Joe Loss Orchestra - A Shot In The Dark

'A Shot In The Dark' is Henry Mancini's theme from the second Pink Panther film, although it's perhaps better known as a musical motif used during the Inspector sequences of the Pink Panther cartoon show. Joe Loss's take is a big-band, twang-o-ramic swinger starring a guitar-a-go-go freak out from legendary sixties session man Big Jim Sullivan(Tom Jones's guitarist and aka Lord Sitar)

And as a bonus here's Hugo Montenegro's version of Our Man Flint, a versh that almost made the recent the 'Spy' post, but was pipped by Herbie Mann's flutey tootings..

Our Man Flint

PS there's more Joe Loss here if you fancy it..

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Girl With The Stars In Her Eyes & The Man Who Fell To Earth

Stardate 1968 - Ken Pitt, David Bowie's manager of the time, had become aware of sizeable hit 'Comme d'Habitude' doing brisk business in France. Anticipating that an English language version could provide Bowie with a much needed breakthrough, got him to refit the lyrics and demo the song.However Pitt had been pipped to the rights by Paul Anka who had recently rescripted for the song for Sinatra as 'My Way'.

Bowie's recording titled 'Even A Fool Learns To Love' remains unreleased, although some years later Bowie responsed to the incident by writing his own 'My Way' inspired torch tune - 'Life On Mars'.

Given this then, it's not too much of a stretch to see how the song became a cover in the Streisand songbook - where she pretty much sticks to the script, but on the moments she does wander off on a warble (2:20 onwards) - it works.

Barbra Streisand - Life On Mars

If you were wondering where's Captain Kirk (geddit) during Friday's post - he's here, public speaking Pulp's anthem for the average into a pulse-pumping peasant's revolt.

William Shatner - Common People

PS this could be Call Me A Philistine Part 2 - as I prefer Bill's version to the Pulp original

Friday, May 8, 2009

Funky Friday - Warp Factor Funk Mr Sulu

I am very tempted with new Star Trek film. But I'm not a Trekkie. Alright I had a mad buzz for the show when the BBC aired their five year mission of interplanetery hullabaloos during the seventies (or repeated them during school holidays) even going so far as tucking my school trousers into zip-up boots trying to replicate that 'Enterprise' look - but I loved all things space-shaped back then.

And some supplementary material may have been collected while sprouting from tot-to-teen - Annuals (73-78), fold-out poster mag's, Letraset Action Transfers,View Master reels, an Airfix-style model, and Mego action figures (Kirk and Scotty) - but I'm over it now. See!

*Remembers he has the communicator tone for txt messages on his phone - reacts with this style of a face then faints..*

The Geoff Love Orchestra - Star Trek
Scanners indicate an easy-listening orchestra giving the opening theme a disco dressage

Nichelle Nichols - Feeling Good
Proto-blue toother, Uhuru takes almost one full minute to get up to soul speed, but it's well worth the wait

Leonard Nimoy - The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins
Bones to Bridge. Jim, that song of Spock's isn't actually as excruciating as we'd expected - although the video could cause some sort of a reaction I guess

*Cue offstage screams of 'Cap'n,I canna take any more '*

Kirk to Enterprise. Beam down The Beasties Boys...

Communicator Beeps

PS did you know Chekov's hairstyle was based on a Beatle cut

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Big Brassy Beehive Of A Ballad

That's what I'm all of a buzz for today...

Think Of You Baby - Liz Christian

PS - that's not Liz Christian in the pic - couldn't find one of her. So Martin Parr 'Union Hotel Manchester 1976' it is then.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Funky Friday - Come Spy With Me

Midnight. A private members club on the Rue Saint-Vincent, Montmartre. In an empty Louis XVI style drawing room, a selection of spirits in cut crystal decanters have been arranged with miltary precision and placed on polished silver tray to the left hand side of a Belote table. To the right stands a single glass and a Roberts transistor radio concealing a reel-to-reel recorder.

Welcome Agent Blogger - please, fix yourself a drink and take a seat. The paperwork and 'special items' required for your new assigment 'The Omega Affair' have been prepared and primed in advance of your acceptance. In a briefcase below your chair you will find ....

A selection of continental passports - check
Walther PPK (with silencer) - check
Large LED downcount device - check
Camera cuff-links - check
The latest Interpol reports and microfiches on 'Omega'- check
One Bulgari watch with piano-wire pullout - check
A fountian pen Laser/communicator - check
Swiss bank account details - check
Bugging and tracking systems - check
Poisoned stamps and cigarettes - check

Our man in Trieste 'Chester Moonlight ' will collect you at the airport and provide a pre-briefing. SCORPIO agents will no doubt attempt TO intercept any communications. So keep channel D open but scrambled.

This message will self destruct after the following tunes.....

Henry Mancini - A Shot In The Dark

Herbie Mann - Our Man Flint.

Randy's Allstars - Mission Impossible

Hugo Montenegro - The Man From Uncle

Agent Blogger will return in ...'And They Call Her 'Code Zodiac' '