Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Swede's Biggest Hit

This album too is 45 
I've nicked the idea for today's post from the magnificent Swede. I won't even pretend that I put an ounce of original thought into today's 250 word offering.
I couldn't even be arsed to come up with a different way of holding the sleeve up for the photo shoot; it's basically an original high quality Swede garment with the designer label ripped out and my own (inferior) brand stitched poorly into the back of the neck - the kind that'll make you itch like a man on a fuzzy tree.

So, the Sweet. What can I say about them that I haven't bored you all to death with a  million times before? Suffice it to say that The Sweet's Biggest Hits was the first album I bought with my own money. And in 1972 that was a whole hill of beans, well £2.18 anyway. And I played it ten times a day. Minimum. Why wouldn't I? Unlike singles which needed flipping over every three minutes (a bit like pancakes) RCA Victor SF 8316 (I still remember the catalogue number) would play for nearly twenty whole minutes before I had to drag myself off the bed and put the needle on the other side.

And I love the way it's called Biggest. It stops at Wig Wam Bam: less than four weeks after its release they would put out Blockbuster (#1), closely followed by Hell Raiser (#2) and Ballroom Blitz (#2). Now they were big: combined sales of those three singles alone was in excess of 1,000,000 copies (and that's just the UK): monster big.
Anyway, I'll be keeping an eye on Swede Towers and see if I can't recycle some more of his ideas and cut and paste them over here. Keep 'em peeled.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

It's driving me insane

The irrepressible Johnny Vaughan has been playing the sh*t out of Kasabian's latest single God Bless This Acid House.  But every time it comes charging out of the speakers, all I can hear is Juke Box Jive by the Rubettes. Seriously. I really think the next time the jesters from Leicester play it on whatever TV show passes for Top of the Pops these days, they should all sport matching white berets; you never know, if could catch on. Well, maybe not in Leicester.
As infectious 45s go, it's almost up there with a cracking little debut single Dean Jackson on BBC Radio Nottingham has had on constant rotation all Summer. 24 Hours a Day by the Shades is a three minute montage of every pop record ever released, from (and including) Rock Around the Clock. Again, when I hear it I can pick out so many nods and winks to classic singles and artists of yore, not least the ghost of Billy Haley whose DNA is still trapped in its rock and roll amber. And it's driving me insane. See what you think:

The Shades: 24 Hours a Day

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Rich pickings


Thank you to Charity Chic for making me delve back into my Charlie Rich collection. He was so much more than the Silver Fox. A bit like yours truly...

The late (and rather great) Charlie Rich had at least three careers: as a session musician he was a regular at Sun studios c.1957/58  when Elvis et al were banging out the hits. But Rich realised, maybe he was told, he didn't have the rock and roll chops to ride that particular train; though I for one would have to disagree, just take a listen to Whirlwind from the first disc on The Essential Charlie Rich Collection. Instead he used his not inconsiderable songwriting talents to supply the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash with quality material.

Rich spent much of the sixties on the periphery, playing more jazzy stuff - he was a fine pianist as well as being a huge vocal talent - and even turned out a couple of mod influenced hits: Mohair Sam and Big Boss Man can still be heard in any venue wherever you see a row of Lambrettas parked outside.

But it was in the early seventies when he was re-energised by country (just country, hold the western). In 1973 his hit album Behind Closed Doors spawned two absolutely colossal singles: The Most Beautiful Girl and, of course, the majestic title track. Rich suddenly found himself with gold discs coming out of his ears, very popular and, I guess, very rich.

However, he couldn't sustain this level of success and found himself once more in the wilderness. Though he would go on to make one more beautiful album: In 1992 he recorded and released one of his finest collection of songs, Pictures and Paintings. It's tinged with jazz & gospel and is sung from the heart. It's reflective. It's almost sorrowful. It's beautiful. And it's where you'll find this:

Charlie Rich: Feel Like Going Home


Charlie Rich (1932-1995)

Friday, 14 July 2017

Triangular


Acute 
I've joined a club. They wanted me to join a little while ago, but I hesitated; you see I'm wary of clubs. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm not a joiner-inner (if that makes sense?). But, if you're not careful, clubs get taken over by odious little men. Odious little men with chips on their shoulders who turn nice little gatherings into cliques. To say they usually sport beards wouldn't be fair; but it's a truism. And they usually have a northern connection - Leeds, often.

Obtuse
But I digress. the good folk at Carrington Triangle don't do cliquey. They couldn't be any more inclusive if they tried. Just ask the 557 members who signed on the dotted before me. In fact, why don't you have a word with Paul Carbuncle  - Paul straddles that line between folk & punk,  snarling & sincere, Carrington & Dublin. Like the rest of us, he sings for his supper - a veggie curry during the half time interval when glasses are re-filled and parish notices are read out.

Looking at the who's who in their illustrious guest book reveals a plethora of superb artists who have trod the boards at the Gladstone Hotel - home to the Triangle. I'd be very surprised if Chris Sherburn and Denny Bartley hadn't played there at least once. If they haven't, I may have to put a polite request in to see if we can secure their services in the not too distant. Here they both are together with Emily Sanders - a natural trio, if not a triangle.

The Auld Triangle

  

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Still playing at 45

45 ('Red') Acrylic on Canvas

I was playing around with my brushes this afternoon; not sure Bubbles or Kandinsky would have approved, but, hey, it's just a bit of fun.

45 ('Not Red') Acrylic on Canvas

Saturday, 8 July 2017

STRFKR


This track appeared on the latest Father's Day playlist from James - we've moved on from CD compilations (well, he has, not sure I ever will).
STRFKR (that's right, they've taken the vowels out - just like the Stones) make some rather beautiful noises. 'Never Ever' came out as a single (remember them?) last year and has got Summer writ large all over it. A perfect backdrop to days like today.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Fall

The ability to put one foot in front of the other is a skill, seemingly, some of my friends are fast losing (not that I can talk). I heard today that Vaughan suffered the ignominy of tripping over a discarded water bottle and, before you could say Evian, was being admitted to Lincoln County Hospital with mild concussion. He was discharged when he was able to count backwards from ten and promised doctors he'd look where he was going next time. Man up Vaughan.

This follows a very nasty fall my friend Adele had last week. Drink may have been taken and, yes, 'Liverpool Sandals' may or may not have played their part too, but Adele was also was rushed into hospital after she went arse over apex and smashed her face into the pavement. Ouch. Get well soon Adele x.

Neil Finn - Fall at Your Feet

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Tank Top

Can you look cool in a sleeveless Fairisle sweater? More to the point, can Paul McCartney? Let's face it, Macca's never been the most sartorial of Beatles. Could it be his choice of gansey was the reason why Magical Mystery Tour tanked? Answers on a postcard.
And even when he was sitting atop an actual tank he never really looked that convincing.

'Where the bloody hell's Ringo? He should be doing this!'


PS - 7.7.17

As a footnote to the piece, I really wanted to add this song by Ben Lane. I picked up his album a couple of years ago in a coffee shop in Scarborough, so I'm guessing Ben is a Scarborian. If he stumbles across this blog at anytime I'm sure he'll either confirm or deny. Either way, it's a very Macca type tune that, despite the annoying click-track, is the sort of thing he would have put out on a Wings B-side.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

New

The last time I bought a new guitar I think at least three Beatles were still kicking a ball. It felt really good walking into Dave Mann's this morning knowing I'd be walking out with something new and shiny. Coincidentally it was the same guitar emporium where I'd bought its predecessor all those years ago; also on a Saturday morning, if memory serves.
I had the guitar in my sights within ten minutes of crossing the threshold and agreed a price a handful of minutes later. I bet it was was no more than twenty minutes after entering the shop with a dream in my head and a burning hole in my pocket that I was leaving with a gig bag over my shoulder and a much slimmer wallet.

Guitar: Dave Mann Music
Sofa: Ikea
Cushions: Next

Friday, 30 June 2017

A little bit of Monica (records I expect to hear at weddings)

When we RSVP'd Jim and Debs' recent wedding there was a lovely little question at the bottom of the ornate invitation card: what two records would we like Dave Double Decks to play at the evening do?
Well, that's easy: Blockbuster and Staying Out For The Summer. Songs that would drag me away from the buffet (maybe even the bar) and get me throwing a few shapes. As it happened I heard one and not the other; then again I was sidetracked for part of the evening. Don't ask.

Dave was on form. All the staples were there - you know the tunes I'm talking about - Whigfield's Saturday Night, Macarena, Come On EileenBlame It On The Boogie, Hi Ho Silver Lining*. Songs with actions, songs where pointing is obligatory.
But they all pale into insignificance compared to this little nugget. Mmm Bop is probably the best three minute pop song you can ever play at a wedding. Or any party. I can't put my finger on why. It's just perfect. And, as you can see from the video below, one of the reasons it works is because it still sounds brilliant with just three voices and one acoustic guitar. A true sign of a great song.

Hanson - Mmm Bop


* I'm guessing he played Hi Ho Silver Lining. I was out of earshot of the dance floor for a while. But he would have been lynched had he not, I'm sure.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Always room for a couple of beers

It's late Sunday afternoon and I'm feeling a little tired and a little reflective. But nothing too heavy - especially after the excesses of last night.
I have James to thank for pointing me in the direction of this; it's cheesy for sure, but as a metaphor for life it probably hits the N on the H. I think if I was starting out all over again I would love someone to sit me down and show me this film.
Remember, no matter how full your life is, there's always room for a couple of beers with friends.


Friday, 23 June 2017

White Wedding (Red Tights)

Jim and Debs are tying the knot tomorrow. Great idea to have your wedding in Bristol the same weekend as Glastonbury - we can't wait to hit the M5 tomorrow morning. Cheers Jim Lad.

And I know you said you didn't want presents, you just wanted ca$h. Sorry Jim, no can do. You'll have a toaster and like it - like any other newly weds.

Anyway, I got it in red: it'll match yer tights.



Monday, 19 June 2017

She's Having a Baby

It's taken a little over two weeks. OK, nearly three. Whatever; I've written my first song since making the move south earlier this month. And it's upbeat. Really upbeat!
The inspiration? My friend Em: she's having a baby. I've watched her bump grow every day over the last few months. She's gonna make a great mum. We go for a walk every lunchtime; I hold her hand when we cross the road (after looking right and left and right again) - I just want her to be safe.
I'll probably play 'She's Having a Baby' for her next week before I leave to take up my new position. I'm moving on to pastures new, but the next time I see Em the song will be redundant.