So this is probabaly a rather leftfield choice and a difficult album to kick proceedings off with as parts of it sound rather odd 70 years after it’s release, but odd in a rather brilliant way. Voice of the Xtabay is the first studio album by Peruvian soprano Yma Sumac, released in 1950 by Capitol Records and produced and composed by Les Baxter, along with Moisés Vivanco (whom she later married I believe, then divorced when he sired twins with another partner then remarried and subsequently divorced) and John Rose. Sumac sings magnificently on the album, accompanied by ethnic percussion and musical variations influenced by the music of Peru.
Sumac’s vocal range of 5 octaves (some say 4 1/2) is quite startling at times, particularly when in the high register, the control she has over that voice is amazing as she moves from baritone to whistle register.
The more I listen th this album, and others of hers, the more I like them. I’ve only very recently discovered her work and amd very pleased that I did so.
I was asked to provide music for a work thing next week relating to Black History Month. Essentially a 3 hour (ish) playlist that can be put on shuffle while people mill about not knowing what is going on. While creating this playlist I stumbled accross the original version of ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ by the group ‘Baby Charles’. I didn’t know it was a cover version and had always assumed it was an original song by the Artic Monkeys. I was talking to Dave about it last night and he was quite suprised too. I should point out at this juncture that as a white middle aged male I was the perfect choice to create a Black History Month playlist.
Some of you may have issues with the above paragraph as, having looked it up this morning, it turns out that I was talking complete bollocks and the Baby Charles track is a cover of the Artic Monkeys and the song was written by Alex Turner. Oh well, I’m right more than 95% of the time so I’m OK with that. I left the track in the playlist because I quite liked it. Here is that playlist just in case you were curious.
I received a yellow vinyl version of Fongola by KoKoKo! a couple of weeks ago via my Rough Trade subscription and I didn’t get to play it more than once before I headed to Hong Kong and then the festival. It was coincidence, a useful one, that they were playing as to receive a new album and get to see the band shortly after is pretty cool.
A wind of change is blowing over the cultural landscape of Kinshasa.
An amazing alternative scene is thriving far for the occidental fantasies of “world music”…
It is explosive and vibrant. These sounds are emanating from the ghetto and downtown clubs of the Congolese capital in between the government-imposed power cuts. The artists actually bring something alive in the chaos of the 3rd biggest african city. They have strong new ideas with DIY constructed instruments and a powerful and unique drive. This movement is more expressive, lively, spontaneous and direct compared to most big cities’ scenes, like London, Berlin etc… It’s raw, free and open creatively more like NYC in the 70s and 80s or Berlin in the 90s if it has to be compared to artistic movements. It’s inventing everything from nothing and it’s happening now and you can experience it through the recordings, the videos and KOKOKO!‘s incredible live shows.
The above is from the BlueDot write up. So it was a lively and energetic performance and I really enjoyed it. I’m listening to the album again now and it does benefit from better production than the live show (which is to be expected) and I am recognising some of the tracks having heard them live.
It does actually take a lot for me to not like something, it has to be exceptionally bad in my view, but this isn’t. Though there is a little repetitivness, in the repetiton of the band name in many of the songs for example, it isn’t a problem at all and even though I have no idea what the subject matter of each song is, they all seem to have a sense of joy about them.
Here we are, back in 1976, a year in which I celebrated my 9th Birthday and also the year that Apple Computer Company was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the CN tower in Toronto, Canada is completed and is the tallest free standing structure in the world. The first commercial Concorde flights take off during January of 1976 as a regular passenger service began. “Rocky”, “Taxi Driver” and “All the Presidents Men” are in the cinema and on TV we have new episodes of “The Six Million Dollar Man”, “Kojak” and “M*A*S*H” from the U.S and home grown shows such as “The Old Grey Whistle Test”, “Are You Being Served?”, “Superstars”,“The Tomorrow People”, “Tiswas”, “Jim’ll Fix It”, “Space: 1999” and “The Sweeney”. I never liked Jim’ll Fix It, even from an early age Jimmy Saville creeped me out, but Superstars, won every year by Kevin Keegan, was great.
It was an interesting year in music for me as, being only 9, I would mostly only hear what was on the radio and, for the most part, that would be 45’s, which were somewhat at odds with the albums from this year that I have in my top 50. The top selling 45’s of 1976 were:
Save Your Kisses for Me
Brotherhood of Man
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Elton John and Kiki Dee
A Little Bit More
If You Leave Me Now
I Love to Love (But My Baby Loves to Dance)
The Roussos Phenomenon EP
December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)
The Four Seasons
Under the Moon of Love
You to Me Are Everything
The Real Thing
Forever and Ever
Young Hearts Run Free
The Combine Harvester (Brand New Key)
When Forever Has Gone
Can’t Get By Without You
The Real Thing
You Make Me Feel Like Dancing
The number 1 selling 45 by Brotherhood of Man was this years Eurovision Song Contest winner and was truly horrible. As it’s listed I Think it wise to take this opportunity to include a video of The Combine Harvester (Brand New Key) by The Wurzels as it is one of the greatest songs ever put to vinyl:
Now let’s begin the actual top 50 albums of 1976 according to me.
Seed of Memory
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
Rock and Roll Heart
No Heavy Petting
War In Babylon
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers
King Tubby & Yabby You
King Tubby’s Prophesy of Dub
Patti Smith Group
The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein
Fela Kuti & Africa 70
Man In The Hills
Gimme Back My Bullets
Fela & Africa 70
24. Abba – Arrival. Now I know there will be people out there amongst my vast readership of up to 3 people who will be suprised by this at number 25, however, despite what one might think of ABBA there is no denying that they were massive and this is the source album for Dancing Queen, Knowing Me, Knowing You and Money, Money, Money, which I can’t deny enjoying as a 9 year old listening to the radio.
23. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – The Roaring Silence. We had this at home and I was always intrigued by the cover. I didn’t know at the time that there was a Springsteen cover on it, because I had no clue as to who Springsteen was, but Blinded by the Light is the best track on the album by far.
22. Emmylou Harris – Elite Hotel. This would never have been anywhere near a top 10,000 had I not picked it up for £1 or so at a used record store this year. It won a Grammy or something like that I think, but I’d never paid any attention to her really. Here version of The Beatles Here, There and Everywhere is quite lovely.
21. Blondie – Blondie. It’s not Parallel Lines, but the pre-cursor to it and contains tracks that are much rougher but are a clear indicator, in hindsight, as to what was to come.
20. Rush – 2112. This album has probably slowly slipped out of favour with me over the years, from top 3 all the way down to where it is now at 20. There are a number of reasons for this, such as familiarity, age, the fact that it’s all bollocks really. I do still love it but just don’t feel about it now the way I did when I was a kid.
19. The Upsetters – Super Ape. It’s only recently that I’ve really started listening to Dub & Reggae and its an adventure with there being so much to discover. This album is relatively new to me but I absolutely love it, it’s Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry of course so no surprise there, the guy is a genius of the genre.
18/17 AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap/ High Voltage. Two classic AC/DC albums from the Bon Scott era. Not much to choose between them really but I did anyway.
16. Joan Armatrading – Joan Armatrading. This is a fantastic album and it’s easy to forget the impact and importance she had in British music, in 1976, Robin Denselow wrote in The Guardian that the album “showed that we now have a black artist in Britain with the same sort of vocal range, originality (in fact even greater originality in terms of musical influences) and lyrical sensitivity” as Joni Mitchell.
15. Genesis – Wind and Wuthering. There were 2 albums released in 1976, both post Peter Gabriel and while I like them both this one falls slightly short of the other, although, it is, in many ways much fuller musically. So on another day I may well switch them around depending on my mood.
14. Electric Light Orchestra – A New World Record. Jeff Lynne is a great song writer and it is on this album that I think he really found his feet. Songs like Telephone Line and Livin’ Thing still stand up to scrutiny all these years later.
13. Wings – At The Speed Of Sound. My favourite Wings album and one of two that I owned as a kid, the other being the live album ‘Over America’ which we had on two cassettes, one was mine and the other was my brothers. I think this album was a high point in McCartneys post-Beatles career.
12. Ted Nugent – Free For All. Another album that I had as a kid and it wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought it would be like Cat Scratch Fever but it isn’t at all, which turned out to be a good thing as it is much, much better.
11. Genesis – A Trick Of The Tail. The second appearance by Genesis and, in my opinion, the better of the two albums released in 1976.
10. Bob Marley – Rastaman Vibration. The eighth studio album by the Bob Marley and the Wailers, the album was a great success in the US, becoming the first Bob Marley release to reach the top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart (peaking at number 8). Marley is only credited as writer on one of the songs having named family and friends as the writers to avoid contractual disputes with his publishing company.
9. The Eagles – Hotel California. It was, of course, a huge album and that can’t be ignored, but I may be guilty of including it so highly just because it was. Overall, as a complete album, I don’t think it works that well but it does have several really good tracks.
8. Led Zeppelin – Presence. Though not considered to be their greatest work I’ve always been really fond of it and find it quite an achievement considering it was recorded in 18 days and Robert Plant had to sing from a wheelchair as he was recovering from a car accident.
7. Queen – A Day At The Races. This was the period that I thought Queen were at their most relevant, from the self titled debut to 1978’s Jazz, they had a run of 7 albums that showed development and growth and then, well, they became a pop act and I lost almost all interest in them.
6. Joni Mitchell – Hejira. An album of great writing that asks many questions but provides few answers, concentrating instead on the search, the journey for answers rather than any conclusions. Mitchell rarely disappoints and despite much criticism of her move to a more jazzy sound, backed by the fretless bass of Jaco Pastorius, time has taught us that her musical direction decisions are superior to those of reviewers.
5. Stevie Wonder –Songs In The Key Of Life. At this point in his career Wonder was overflowing with creativity and this can be seen in the e.p that was included with the double LP just to get all his songs in. Considered by many to be the greatest album ever, including Elton John and George Michael, it isn’t perfect, but it’s approaching it.
4. Steely Dan – The Royal Scam. The fifth studio album by Steely Dan, featuring more prominent guitar work than the previous album, Katy Lied, which had been the first without founding guitarist Jeff Baxter. Steely Dan never made a bad album, just different degrees of excellence.
3. The Ramones – The Ramones. Historical significance does play rather a large part in the Ramones being up here at number 3 as it influenced so very much that I like that came after it. Clocking in at less than 30 minutes it isn’t long, but it’s impact is still felt.
2. David Bowie – Station To Station. Blending funk and krautrock, romantic balladry and occultism, this album has been described as “simultaneously one of Bowie’s most accessible albums and his most impenetrable”. It was the pre-cursor to the ‘Berlin Trilogy’ and already pointed towards those three albums.
1 Bob Dylan – Desire. I used to have 2 Bob Dylan albums, the other one was (Live) ‘At Budokan’, so ‘Desire’ was played a lot, well, when you consider I probably had 60 or 70 albums at the time the choices were somewhat limited, certainly compared to today. The repeated listening count is off the scale so the songs on this album are carved into my bones and, even though I know it is not the best Dylan album, it’s the best Dylan album.
Written February 22nd 2015 – Sometime in the 80’s (I think it was 1987) I saw Bob Dylan at the NEC in Birmingham. It was a little odd as the support act, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, did a long set that lasted about an hour and a half and then Dylan came on with the Heartbreakers as his backing band and did about an hour. At the time I was a bit disappointed, but I have subsequently managed to get a bootleg recording of the gig and it is a much better gig than I remember it being. I think that one of the reasons is that I was listening to ‘Desire’ a lot at the time and they didn’t play a single track from it, so it was my own expectations that were at fault more than anything.
And that is my top albums of 1976, feel free to disagree with me, because I disagree with myself most of the time.
I have been playing some 45’s this evening, it’s more effort than chucking an album on but I rather enjoyed it anyway, it’s like a mixtape of sorts I suppose. Some of the 45’s were picked up in a couple of job lots and I’ve just found time to play them, they all play fine, which is good.
Before playing anything I had to make some adjustments to the equipment. The family decided they would put a record on while I was at work. I’d left it set at 45 rpm and they put on a 33 1/3, Damn by Kendrick Lamar to be exact, and couldn’t figure out why it sounded so odd. In an attempt to fix it they pressed the Loudness button and the Muting button on the amp, adjusted the Balance and the Bass. when that didn’t work they messed about with the settings at the back of the tone arm and took the weight off accidentally and couldn’t figure out how to get it back on. It took me 15 minutes to put it right, mostly because it took me ages to spot the muting button was pressed in.
Anyway, here is the pile of records that were played today. I made a spotify playlist of them, because I do that sort of thing, it’s here:
Haven’t played ‘Music for Chameleons’ by Gary Numan for a long time, the intro could easily be by Japan (Pino Palladino on bass seems to be the reason why). The B-Side (Noise Noise) features Theresa Bazar of Dollar on Vocals, it also has David Van Day listed as providing ‘Helpful Hints’, I think that can be translated as being a pain in the arse. Why Gary? Why? I didn’t play the B-side.
Looking at what I chose to play I think it fair to say that I am the DJ that nobody would ever hire twice!
One of the shelves holding my records collapsed, it was not a very strong shelf and it was holding rather a lot of albums, so it was not entirely unexpected, it was just a matter of time. Nothing fell out, the whole shelf just dropped and rested on the 7″ singles beneath, but it did mean I had to re-arrange everything and in doing so I was surprised by how many David Bowie singles I had. I knew I had several but this was more than I thought:
And in list form they are:
A Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
B Because You’re Young
A Dancing In The Street (Clearmountain Mix)
B Dancing In The Street (Instrumental)
A Modern Love
B Modern Love (Live Version)
A Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
B Giorgio Moroder – Paul’s Theme (Jogging Chase)
A Fashion (Edited Version)
B Scream Like A Baby
A Ashes To Ashes
B Move On
A John, I’m Only Dancing (Again) (1975)
B John, I’m Only Dancing (1972)
A Breaking Glass
B1 Art Decade
B2 Ziggy Stardust
A Absolute Beginners
B Absolute Beginners (Dub Mix)
A Wild Is The Wind
B Golden Years
A David Bowie / Pat Metheny Group – This Is Not America
B Pat Metheny Group – This Is Not America (Instrumental)
A Beauty And The Beast
B Sense Of Doubt
A Blue Jean
B Dancing With The Big Boys
A China Girl – 4:11
B Shake It – 3:49
B Tumble And Twirl
A White Light/White Heat
B Cracked Actor
A Let’s Dance
B Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
Hmmmmmm, now then, what if all those lovely B-Sides were put together to form an entirely new Bowie album? Ridiculous, why would anybody do that? Why? Because I love that sort of thing that’s why.
Let’s see, some rules, if the track is both an A-side and a B-Side then choose one of the A-Sides in it’s place. If it isn’t on Spotify then it doesn’t get in and no live versions. There, enough rules, this album is going to be called:
Just add water and stir
(“I’m an instant star. Just add water and stir” – David Bowie, 1975)
Well, I reckon that’s a pretty bloody good album. Party because it makes no sense and yet, for that reason, it does.
I received an e-mail a few days ago telling me that the new Bjork single, The Gate, had been released a couple of days early with a download code, i went to apple music instead and there it was. And there it is below:
I was hoping for something more accessible than recent releases and I think that’s what this is. It is a beautiful song, spread out over 7 minutes with really interesting layering of vocals and use of instrumentation.
I’ve probably listened to it 30 or 40 times now and love it, which bodes well for the new album that is ‘coming soon’ though exactly when that is remains a bit of a mystery.
Yesterday I replaced my missing copy of ‘Outlandos D’Amour’ by The Police. The album was released in November of 1978 but I already had the single that preceded it, namely ‘Can’t Stand Losing You’, which received short shrift from the BBC due to its subject matter and the picture sleeve which featured an image of Stuart Copeland standing on a block of ice with a noose around his neck, waiting for the ice to melt. I had it on blue vinyl if I remember correctly. I then bought ‘Roxanne, which the BBC didn’t like either as it dealt with prostitution, and ‘So Lonely’ after the album was released, and then later I bought the actual album. I also had their debut single, ‘Fall Out’, but I couldn’t say whether it was the original 1977 release or the re-issue from 1979. It’s a decent track, with a different guitarist, Henry Padovani.
I was very big on The Police for about 2 years, although when you are eleven or twelve years old, two years seems a much longer time, in the same way that the school summer holidays felt like they lasted forever. It all ended for me with the release of their 3rd album, ‘Zenyatta Mondatta’, which just didn’t seem to work for me. There was nothing particularly wrong with it as such, but tracks like ‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me’ and ‘De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da’ were missing that heavier, indie (for the time period) and punk feel and they didn’t quite grab me in the same way. I have all their studio albums and they are all decent, but the first two are the ones that appeal to me the most.
The single disappointment on ‘Outlandos D’amour’ is ‘Be My Girl Sally’, which would be great without the Andy Summers poem thing on it. It’s a one-time funny story and doesn’t fare well from repeated listening, although as a pre-teen I found in hilarious, only becoming rather irked by it several years later. Here it is, and if it’s the first time you’ve read it then you might not see what I mean, but after triple digits listening, well, it’s worth lifting the needle for and skipping to the next track:
I just read that, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I even like the instrumental (of sorts) ‘Masoko Tango’ although at the time it was to me the second worst track on the album. I’ve revised that opinion over time and like it a lot now.
At some point I owned the ‘Six Pack’, which was a collection of seven-inch singles released in 1980. The pack, which came in a PVC folder contained the first five A&M singles by the band, namely “Roxanne”, “Can’t Stand Losing You”, “So Lonely”, “Message in a Bottle” and “Walking on the Moon”, plus a mono version of “The Bed’s Too Big Without You”, which was previously unreleased. Apparently the records in the pack were all produced on blue vinyl in picture covers with specially adapted labels which featured the heads of the band, rather than the original “A&M” logo and each single was accompanied by a special picture card. I seem to remember mine had no picture cards, and possibly not picture sleeves either, the memory is hazy in truth.
The album was a great début, despite the one drawback, it’s an 8.25/10
Attempting to discuss a genre of music that you are, for the most part, unfamiliar with, is difficult. In my case the genre is Rap or Hip-Hop and derivatives thereof. I just don’t know enough about it in order to put forward a case for something being good or not. The only thing I am able to really comment on, and it is perhaps this that is most important anyway, is whether I like it or not.
When I replaced my broken turntable with a new one a couple of years ago and dragged down all my old vinyl from the attic I also began buying vinyl again. I was in the local record store with my 14 year old son and offered to buy him an album and the first one he found that he wanted was Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city. Now my son is a kid from the mean streets of a rather quiet rural village in Warwickshire, England, so the reason for his choice initially eluded me, but I bought it for him anyway (and it is now nominally mine as he has nothing to play it on). I now realise that he made the choice because he was 14 and being 14 now just isn’t the same as it was when I was 14. There is so much more access and availability now than there used to be. Where I would discover music via Sounds, NME or Melody Maker (and before those, Smash Hits), or by listening to John Peel or ‘The Friday Rock Show’ with Tommy Vance, nowadays it is everywhere, in so much more media. There are current songs in TV shows, where that didn’t used to be the case, Playstation Games have soundtracks such as FIFA, Fight Night or NBA2k and in those instances you listen to that music over and over again and you almost can’t help but like it after so much repeated listening. Then there is Grand Theft Auto V where Kendrick Lamar features no less than 5 times in one guise or another, which is a fabulous marketing tool for any musician. With streaming media services it’s so easy to listen to more of an artist’s catalogue without any extra expense, whether you subscribe or not as Youtube carries a lot of music that it probably shouldn’t.
So here I am, with a Kendrick Lamar album which, until yesterday, I had never listened to and today, I do rather like it. The Pitchfork review says this “the miracle of this album is how it ties straightforward rap thrills– dazzling lyrical virtuosity, slick quotables, pulverizing beats, star turns from guest rappers– directly to its narrative.” Honestly, I have no idea if this is correct or not, but assume it is or they wouldn’t have said it. Metacritic rates the album at 91, which is an extremely high rating, so the evidence suggests that it’s pretty damn good, and I concur, even to me, who is clearly not the target audience.
I like the spoken interruptions, the beats, the melodies and the lyrics. It is, despite the negative connotations that have befallen this tag down the years, a concept album. I’ve listened to it several times now and it’s not ‘y sort of thing’ but I can and do appreciate the quality of it, and over time I may just come to realise that it may very well be ‘My sort of thing’,who knows? I certainly like ‘Good Kid’ and ‘Bitch, don’t kill my vibe’, so perhaps there’s hope for me yet.
Here are the 5 singles taken from the album in video form:
I’m giving it 8/10 but may revise in the future (the very near future as the more I listen the more I like it).
Well, here’s a whole mix tape fully formed, based around the end of the 70’s and the beginning of the 80’s.
Volume 2: Side 1
Poptones – Public Image Ltd.
Atmosphere – Joy Division
A Forest – The Cure
Israel – Siouxsie And The Banshees
No More Heroes – The Stranglers
Tin Soldiers – Stiff Little Fingers
Down In The Tube Station At Midnight – The Jam
Totally Wired – The Fall
New Rose – The Damned
2-4-6-8 Motorway – Tom Robinson Band
God Save The Queen – Sex Pistols
Stranglehold – UK Subs
Into The Valley – Skids
Radio, Radio – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Volume 2: Side 2
Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick – Ian Dury, The Blockheads
Ghost Town – The Specials
One Step Beyond… – Madness
Mirror in the Bathroom – The Beat
Missing Words – The Selecter
Echo Beach – Martha & The Muffins
Roxanne – The Police
Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag (12″ verison) – Pigbag
Is She Really Going Out With Him? – Joe Jackson
Food For Thought – UB40
Geno – Dexys Midnight Runners
Milk And Alcohol – Dr. Feelgood
Denis – Blondie
Special Brew – Bad Manners
Police & Thieves – Junior Murvin
Motorhead – Motörhead
This is an addition to the other load of these I’ve done. The premise was:
‘Now! that’s what I call Music’ is not really my thing, however, I started making up my own, going backwards from the first Now! released in 1983 and have been rather enjoying it. Full of guilty pleasures? sure. Showing my age? sure. worth sharing? Yeah, I think so, the first is numbered 0 and they will go -1, -2 etc. as we move further and further back from 1983, I ended up somewhere in the 1970’s but might keep on going a bit longer.
I’m actually in 1977, the next one, when/if I get to it will be the end of 76 into early 77.
The Stranglers: Strange Little Girl: 3 Minutes 34 Seconds: 1981
Well, I do love The Stranglers, and it was either this or ‘Golden Brown’ to finish off this mix tape, purely on the basis of length I had to go for ‘Strangle Little Girl’. I’m glad this one is done, it’s taken ages!
1. The Smiths – This Charming Man
The first time I saw the Smiths was on regional TV, it was a feature on them but was somehow rather tongue in cheek, as in, ‘look at this bunch of weirdos’. With Morrisey and his NHS hearing aid and glasses, waving daffodils around, I can see why, but I liked them straight away. They were different, and I like different.
2. Primal Scream – Ivy Ivy Ivy
It’s only just the 80’s but so what. I saw Primal Scream at the Assembly in Leamington Spa a couple of years ago when they performed the whole of Screamadelica and it was amazing. So they are in, had to be really.
3.The Stone Roses – Sally Cinnamon
The band hated the video that accompanies this track, they thought it cheap and, I believe, trashed the record company offices having seen it. This was early on in the life of The Stone Roses, 1987, and it was they’re second single.
4. Orange Juice – Rip It Up
Perhaps quite inexplicably in the context of this mix tape, jump back five years and you have this track, which to my mind fits quite nicely, but perhaps not everybody would agree.
5. Talking Heads – Burning Down The House
and right away here’s another addition, again from 1983, which was in my head as I recently bought a couple of Talking Heads vinyl albums, the one that this track was taken from isn’t one of them, but it will be, one of these days.
6.Tom Tom Club – Wordy Rappinghood
Honestly, I’ve no idea, I just always liked this track even though there was something about it that suggested I shouldn’t, but I did anyway. I’m sure I saw an official video for this once, when it was released, but I can’t seem to find it (33 years later!).
7. Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now
So things are, perhaps, getting a bit random at this point, but when I listen to the tracks back all together they seem to work for me, although maybe because I was there when they were new. I have mentioned before that I saw the Thompson Twins live, as a support act, and they put on quite an upbeat and lively show, I enjoyed it, though back in 1983 I probably didn’t appreciate it. They put out a lot of good pop songs but weren’t a success with the critics, which is a shame as they clearly had the knack of writing a good hook. In 1991, long after they had faded from the scene, they released a single “Come Inside” under the name ‘Feedback Max’, it reached No. 7 in the US Dance Chart and No. 1 in the UK Dance Chart. However, once it was discovered that the Thompson Twins were behind the record, sales dropped and the album it was taken from never had a UK release. Just goes to show that it isn’t all about the music.
8. ABC – Poison Arrow
‘The Lexicon Of Love’ is an incredibly good album, good songwriting, great production, and this single from it is a highlight. I really wasn’t listening to this sort of thing back in 1982, but even then I just couldn’t help but like it.
9. OMD – Enola Gay
This track should most definitely be filed under the category “People Are Stupid” as, when released, it was banned by the BBC. It is, of course, a song about the Hiroshima bombing but listeners assumed it was some sort of gay anthem. The track was banned from being played on popular BBC1 program Swap Shop for fear that it would serve as a corrupting sexual influence on children.
Also, check out the dancing in the video, it’s godawfull bad!
10. Gary Numan – I Die You Die
Well I’ve been waiting for a place to fit Gary Numan in to this mix tape and I think this is probably the best place. I could have gone Side 1 after or before Kraftwerk, but it seemed too obvious. So here we are, from Numan’s second (or 4th depending on how you are counting) studio album and a number 6 single in the UK, back when you had to sell crap loads to get into the charts.
11. Visage – Fade To Grey
I hated the video for this, it was pompous and pretentious, but the song, well, it was either just good or I heard it so many times that it burrowed into my subconscious and decided to set up home there.
12. David Bowie/Giorgio Moroder – Cat People
There are a lot of Bowie singles that I could have chosen but this one has always resonated with me for some reason. It may well not be the best choice, actually, it probably isn’t, but I’ve chosen it now and that’s that.
13. Martha & The Muffins – Echo Beach
Loved this when it was released and still love it now. It is probably the only track of theirs that most people know, but the album it’s taken from is pretty good, and they’ve made a few albums since.
Wiki: Echo Beach, as mentioned in the song, does not refer to a real beach but is rather a symbolic notion of somewhere the narrator would rather be, somewhere ‘far away in time’. In reality, the song was created while Gane was working checking wallpaper for printing faults. He found the work rather dull and his mind drifted to times he would like to live over again. One such time was an evening spent at Sunnyside Beach on the shoreline of Lake Ontario in Toronto in summer. In 1977, Echo Beach was a reference made to a faded time and place gone in the lyrics of the song “Hiroshima Mon Amour” by the band Ultravox.
I made a trip up into the attic this afternoon as I decided, for no good reason, that I wanted to make an old fashion mix tape, on an actual cassette. I know, that makes little sense really, but sometimes I get ideas in my head and just follow them through. It would appear that a bird made it’s nest in the attic, right on top of my old double cassette player, so I had to move that and pick bits of straw and twigs out of the deck, I also grabbed a few old cassettes that were in a nearby box (I have a load more somewhere up there but didn’t feel like looking for them). Here it is, although i was still cleaning it at this point before and after:
It’s the top bit, the amp was already there. After some faffing about I got it all plugged in and working and immediately realised that my plan was destined to fail, the left hand tape was knackered and that’s the one that records, so I thought I’d see what was on some of the old tapes I brought down with me by using the right hand tape player. It is also semi knackered and only plays if I hold my finger on the play button. I did just this just to find out what was on one of the tapes.
It took a while but I found myself writing down the artist and track title as I slowly worked my way through it, and half way through side B this happened:
It would appear that I had been recording over a ‘Best of UB40’ album, or something like that, and the second half was just UB40, in the phase where I liked nothing they did. Hence the rather large notation in the photograph above.
Ah well, no matter, my finger was getting tired from constantly holding down the play button anyway. I decided to finish the mix tape, not actually of course, but here, using only tracks that I definitely owned at the time and could have added to the tape, so here is what it turned out to be, followed by the whole thing on Spotify should anybody ever like to have a proper listen.
Knock Me Down – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Jupiter And Teardrop – Grant Lee Buffalo
Holy Love – Julian Cope
The One I Love – R.E.M.
High – The Cure
Sooner Or Later – World Party
A Girl Called Johnny – The Waterboys
Allison Road – Gin Blossoms
4th Of July – Aimee Mann
Central Reservation – Beth Orton
Beside You – Iggy Pop
Long Time Gone – Galliano
Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out – Freak Power
Zombie – The Cranberries
My Favourite Game – The Cardigans
Jeremy – Pearl Jam
Weak – Skunk Anansie
Epic – Faith No More
Ready To Go – Republica
Waking Up – Elastica
There are two songs missing, as they aren’t available on Spotify, ‘Inside’ by Stiltskin and ’20th Century’ by Brad.