Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Is This Any Good?

New Coldplay single from forthcoming Brian Eno-produced album blah given away free as download blah blah mention Radiohead blah traditional business model overturned blah blah Arctic Monkeys blah MySpace blah.

Well hey, they were giving away Johnson's Smooth Orange Juice at Waterloo Station this morning too.

I reckon this sounds like a Roger Waters-dominated/late-era Pink Floyd record for the most part - except for the last forty seconds where it sounds like, erm, Coldplay.

Sorry, didn't go for the orange juice, so can't offer an opinion on that.

Coldplay - 'Violet Hill' (2008)

Monday, April 28, 2008

He Say Yes!

"We were wondering if you'd write the sleevenotes for our next single. We know you don't like us but you'll think of something to say..."
OK, here goes: of all the bands ever called after fictional citrus-fruit buyers, The Man From Delmonte are among the best! Easily.
They are also, incidentally, engagingly eccentric, humane, charming, and brave. Yes, brave! This group has summoned the iron courage to survive both the ludicrous clobber and coiffure of singer Mike West and being saddled with The Worst Name In The History Of Rock! But then, The Man From Delmonte (see!) seem not to worry about such mundane technicalities, preferring instead to soak up and fuel themselves on Pop's indefinable holy spirit. How many bands get that balance right?...
I first met TMFD last Spring in Valencia, Spain. They exuded a self-contained effervescence that separated them from the other, more intense Britbeat combos there gathered. Their sole aim, relentlessly pursued, seemed to be the launching of one another, fully clothed and at every opportunity, into the Med! To my perfectly sensible question - 'do we need another Monkees?' - I never got an answer. A gobful of seaweed, yes, but no answer!...TMFD, are about good times, and they start with themselves...
What's this record like? I, naturally, have no idea but I'll be very surprised if it features a guest timpani solo by Mark Knopfler, an Acid tinge to the mix or even the most fleeting of references to Quantum Physics. It will however, harbour a spunk and a funk, a verve and a nerve, a ring and a swing that will simultaneously confirm The Man From Delmonte's uniqueness and ensure they'll never be as big as Bon Jovi!
All of which makes the disc you're currently holding, in the street jive of their native Greater Manchester, the full (Del) Monte!

Danny Kelly, Jan '89 [original sleevenotes]

I first heard 'Australia Fair' as Track One, Side One of the Manchester North Of England cassette, and promptly rushed out to buy this E.P it's from. The song also worked brilliantly as the opener to a tape I did for my mate Carlos when he went off on a Big Trip since 1) he was indeed going to Australia and 2) he was born in Lancashire (though to his chagrin they changed the county borders soon afterwards, so now he has to say he's from Cheshire). Is this really nearly twenty years old? Lumme. Anyhow, these are very Spring day (and possibly tea-break and HobNob) kinds of songs, so enjoy.

The Man From Delmonte - 'Waiting For Ann' (1989)
The Man From Delmonte - 'Australia Fair' (1989)

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Fine Columbian

Orthodox thinking says... 

Columbia Records didn't know what to do with Aretha Franklin. They knew they had a major talent, but they couldn't find the right musical setting for her, or a sympathetic producer. They wasted her on jazz standards and unexciting blues numbers and worst of all they tried to straighten out her gospel roots. Isn't that like taking the alcohol out of the Jack Daniels? What are you left with? A slightly syrupy malt drink. Only when she got to Atlantic did it all start to fly.

Davy H says...

Hmm, well, kind of. But it's also true that if you're missing pre-Atlantic era Aretha you're missing some pretty good stuff. Just, you know, use your head; be selective.

For Mondo, who I promised some of this to a while back.

Aretha Franklin - 'Land Of Dreams' (1965)
Aretha Franklin - 'Skylark' (1965)
Aretha Franklin - 'Operation Heartbreak' (1961)
Aretha Franklin - 'Running Out Of Fools' (1964)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Actual Red Bulb

We dropped in on the Aged Ps when we were down in Devon. They're OK. They're Aged. Mum's had a stair lift installed and the girls had a right fine time travelling up and down on it. Father's thrown out still more stuff, stripping the house down to its bare bones 'so we won't have to' when they're 'gone'. I went upstairs to the junk room to see if the little wooden desk my Uncle David made I used to do my homework on was still there, and it reassuringly was. I had a look in the drawers to see Dad had chucked all my 6th Form satirical-and-music-review notebooks, my pre-blogdays blogs. But a little red lightbulb rattled around on the wood on its own.

I knew it so well - it was the actual one I told you about here.


Something I would've been playing in dark Westcountry night circa 1980; bin headphones on, red lightbulb burning...

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - 'Statues' (1980)

[Bulb pictured not actual bulb; 'bulb signifying On Air' - courtesy BBC]

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

And finally...

Weekend for sunny mornings, YMGs when it rains.

My favourite track from lo-fi pioneering, deliciously cheap beat-box using, £1,000 recording Rough Trade Rough 8.

Young Marble Giants - 'Music For Evenings' (1980)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Something More From Weekend

Their second single in fact, and even harder to get hold of than the first. Probably. Though the songs did turn up on the Archive CD.

This was on rotation play at my house in the spring of 1983 as I toiled unhappily over endless, endless revision for my boring bastard 'A' Levels. Thank Christ I don't ever have to do that again.

Lovely sleeve and label, lovely tiny songs, both equally deserving of a-side status.

Weekend - 'Past Meets Present' (1982)
Weekend - 'Midnight Slows' (1982)

Track one is, I think, my first ever re-post here, but I figure I'm getting old enough to be repeating myself occasionally now, and it's not exactly Robbie bloody Williams' bloody 'Angels' in the over-played stakes is it?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Listen, Listen

It's thirty years to the day that Sandy Denny died, aged just 31, after a massive brain haemorrhage triggered by a fall, collapsing at a friend's house just a mile or so down the road from where I live. She was a SW London girl, of proud Scottish ancestry - grew up in Wimbledon (that's her parents house in the Village on the cover of Unhalfbricking), went to school in Kingston, is buried at Putney Vale Cemetery (but we've done that - perhaps I'll get down there again later today).

The web's chock-full of Sandy fan and 'tribute' sites of varying quality (can I point you to this good one though, especially as Philip's been kind enough to comment here in the past?) and you know where to look for the biographical stuff if you want it, so I won't rehash it all here. This is a fine read, if you can find it.

Really I just wanted to post this, the opening track of the first Fairport album she played on, and possibly the greatest of her songs that is not 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes'.

Such sad resonance in the spare lyric (about Mary Queen Of Scots' last day), the inexorable processional of Richard Thompson's guitar, that clear, crisp vocal...

How often she has gazed from castle windows all
And watched the daylight passing within her captive wall
With no-one to heed her call.
The evening hour is fading within the dwindling sun
And in a lonely moment those embers will be gone
And the last of all the young birds flown.

Her days of precious freedom forfeited long before
To live such fruitless years behind a guarded door
But those days will last no more.

Tomorrow at this hour she will be far away
Much farther than these islands
Or the lonely Fotheringay.

Fairport Convention - 'Fotheringay' (1968)

[You should own this, at the very least]

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Watch Russell Harty vaporise!

Saturday Night With Cousin Pete

These are in tribute to my cousin Pete who occasionally babysat me at my Auntie Flo's house on a Saturday night when I was 7 or 8 years old.

To me Pete inhabited a noisy, exotic and rather dangerous-looking world of Brut aftershave and soap-on-a-roap, platform boots, Slade, Mott, Sweet, football pools he did with my Uncle Les and (whisper it) girlfriends, one of which I once caught him snogging enthusiastically when I came downstairs for a glass of water.

He often played me his records and they frightened me to death.

When Pete got older he had his very own mobile disco - imagine it! a mobile disco!! lights and everything!!! And a van!!! And loads and loads of singles in those hardwood black boxes with chrome latches on.

I heard recently his son DJs, but it'll be all laptops and mp3s now and where's the romance in that, eh?

Tchh. Young people today.

Mott The Hoople - 'All The Young Dudes' (1972)
Mott The Hoople - 'Roll Away The Stone' (1973)

[There should be some Slade here too, but I haven't got any].

Back East

Well we did have sunshine, and we did get our ice creams, crabbing and ride on the zoo train in. We even flew the kite on the beach, and can there be a finer thing than flying a kite on a beach? There cannot. Thanks hugely for all your best wishes, they must have brought us good fortune. It's a mess of gales and rain down there today.

I know the sea in this is a mettafer and all, but it seems kind of appropriate.

See you later for that Sat Nite Post.

Trembling Blue Stars - 'Say Goodbye To The Sea II' (2007)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gone West

This is the small Devon town I grew up in, and this is where we are heading today for a week's break from Da Smoke.

I am hoping for some sunshine, sea air and home-made Devonshire ice cream with a gurt dollop of clotted cream on top and our girlies are hoping to catch shorecrabs with bacon-baited fishing lines from the stone steps of the harbour in the evenings (we will put them in a bucket and admire them for a bit before returning them to the water to catch them again the next day, probably).

If it rains we might go and see the rillas and rangatangs and ride on the little train through the jungle here.

I don't know how I will cope for a week without teh internets and you, but I will try. The pub lunches may help.

With luck and a following wind I shall be back here postin' next Saturday nite.

I really am missing you already...x

The Bible - 'Honey Be Good' (1988)
Roddy Frame -'Shore Song' (2006)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Fromage

I confess I am inordinately fond of this.

Last year voted the 21st Most Balearic Song Of All Time by So there.

Postscript: because I love you (you know you want to)...

Double - 'Captain Of Her Heart' (1986)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Some Days Only One Song Will Do

 Weekend - 'The View From Her Room' (1982)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Blogger Erraticism Likely

Er, that's erraticism, begone now you naughty Googler boys.

adj. 1. Having no fixed or regular course; wandering 2. Lacking consistency, regularity, or uniformity 3. Deviating from the customary course in conduct or opinion; eccentric.

Why? Why because these are the school Easter holidays of course, that this year are - Hey! - Not At Easter! and I am Off Work this fortnight for the most part and doing Family Things, which today meant a lie in, warmed-up pizza for lunch, a bit of noodling, the playpark at 4pm.

And when I tried to log-on earlier, the girlies were on Club Penguin so, sorry, no tunes for you then. This is a pattern set to continue.

Still, Mrs H is on a Girl's Nite Out tonight and I have drunk a bottle of wine, cooked myself a dhal, watched Monster House with small people, tucked them up, made a coffee, poured a Drambuie, shoved on some Tom.

This, in fact.

Tom Waits - 'Kentucky Avenue' (1978)

Which is not unlike Monster House actually. Suburban Gothic, all that.

I do hope you weren't under the impression that this was a Professional Enterprise of some kind.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Meanwhile (also Stiff)...

Sorry about the DLT...

It's Friday Night And I Need A Stiff One

Wreckless Eric - '(I'd Go The) Whole Wide World' (1978)

Produced by Nick Lowe; Ian Dury on drums.

Your round!

[Vinyl rip by Dr Al x]

Friday Nugget

I know it's certain not to last, but right now in London it's a spectacularly sunny and unfeasibly warm blue-skied Friday and only this little Nugget'll do.

Another band from Los Angeles was The Parade. For the most part, the group was composed of aspiring actors who were more intent on furthering their careers in TV than they were in music. The exception was leader Jerry Riopell, who wrote, arranged and produced their music, and who maintained visibility in the 1970s with solo albums and performances. Because the group didn't tour, and because their completed album was never released, not many people outside of California heard their music (sleeve notes, 'Nuggets Volume Three; Pop')

I might add that this is seriously the best sunny 60s pop record you've never heard and easily as good as anything from the same period by The Lovin' Spoonful, The Turtles or even The Beach Boys. It was covered in the UK by Herman's Hermits*, but then you can't have everything.

*er..actually it wasn't - see comments

The Parade - 'Sunshine Girl' (1967)

[get it here]

Thursday, April 03, 2008


All I know about Hackamore Brick is all it says on the sleeve notes of the Nuggets LP this track is from...

While Hackamore Brick's 'Got A Gal Named Wilma' dates from 1971, it easily could pass as a 1960s artifact. Among the more obscure groups present, their only LP aroused some attention from Richard Meltzer's rave review in 'Rolling Stone', when he likened their sound to that of the Zombies. Says Richard, "Live, they were more guitar heavy, and had a sound that was like an early 60s psychedelic band. The fact that they couldn't find a regular drummer probably prevented them from playing much outside of Brooklyn".

I like this song very much; it has a special place in my heart because I put it on the mix tape I gave to Mrs H when we first got together. Everything else on the cassette was contemporary stuff, but this is what she liked best.

Hackamore Brick - 'Got A Gal Named Wilma' (1971)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Yeah, so, anyway...

Couple of days off and I feel like I been away for weeks (I must have this).

Simon's done four posts at last count, JC's put up the Best Pop EP Of The Early 80s (??), Jon's on a bootleg Beatles trip, Ally's finally revealed the pesky answers to her pesky quiz before departing, quite rightly, on (what I hope was) a magnificent bender and Tutu Vicar...oh, Tutu Vicar still hasn't posted owt (post something Tutu Vicar, do).

I have been mostly lacking inspiration, waking on dark mornings and drinking tea, not necessarily in that order.

Has that clocks-going-forward thing fecked you up at all? Has me. I'm not tired at bedtime and I don't want to get up at rise time. There was solace yesterday evening when I crossed Waterloo Bridge in sunshine and smelt heady blossom in suburban streets on the way back from the station. No lambs gambolled through meadows in my vision, but I did get downwind of the brewery and the yeastsmell was ripe. Happy days.

Can we call this a miscellaneous post? No overriding theme?

I wanna play blog tennis with Suzy P....

. another 12" single lost track from the Style Council 1984 for Jim...

The Style Council - 'Spring, Summer, Autumn' (1984)

..and crow about finding this on CD in the Notting Hill Housing Trust charity shop on Saturday for a quid...

A quid!

Prefab Sprout - 'Doo Wop In Harlem' (1990)

Life eh? A miscellaneous post; no overriding theme.