Post by hatter_in_macc on Jun 19, 2015 11:04:23 GMT
Cheers, Sandy. Here we go then... complete with 'Find it' details, in case anyone is interested in searching 'em out!
1. A - Age Of Chance:From Now On, This Will Be Your God
Go on, admit it - how many of you thought that we would be kicking off with a certain Swedish Super (Trouper) Group?!
The funny thing is, a good few of my most-treasured combos don’t make the cut when it comes to all-time fave tunes, and Disc One, Track One is a case in point. It only ever appeared on the seminal C86 mail-order tape that required something like four vouchers carefully cut and kept from the New Musical Express and a stamp to cover the cost of postage, but is worth seeking out - if only to prove that not all indie bands carrying the label were self-conscious and shambling jangle-pop kids. Age of Chance were more about sonic collisions of noise that fused industrial rock, hip-hop and Northern soul. This effort was the closest they got to perfection, although their take on Prince’s Kiss would be a shoe-in for my C.H.U.M.S. Covers-compilation, too...
Of which more anon...!
Find it: N.M.E. C86 cassette.
2. B - Buzzcocks:Moving Away From The Pulsebeat
Buzzcocks, like Age of Chance, are invariably associated with a genre whose characteristics their music didn’t really share. This album-closer is the very antithesis of punk in so far as it clocks in at around seven minutes. And neither is it anything like the power-pop ditties that the band typically produced.
The hypnotic drum and riffing are almost ‘proggy’. Akin to Can, and without an ounce of fat.
Find it: Another Music In A Different Kitchen.
3. C - Elvis Costello & The Attractions:Lipstick Vogue
Another album-track. And this one should have been a single, it really should.
Back in 1978, when Elvis was still fresh and urgent, and yet to vanish up himself with far-too-clever-for-its-own-good wordplay, he produced whip-sharp, spiky stuff like Lipstick Vogue. It isn’t just a spew-fest of vitriol, mind... the blend of ‘60s beat, pop and garage makes this an ideal listen while getting ready for Saturday nights out. Well - it did when I used to have them!
Find it: This Year’s Model.
So, four letters in, and we have had nothing from the last twenty-five years, and no mentions of any of my original C.H.U.M.S. nominations. What can it all mean?
Ah, hang on...
4. D - The Delgados:Pull The Wires From The Wall
Lo-fi exponents from North of the border, whose finest of many fine moments came in the form of this lyrical mood-piece that sounded some thirty years older than it actually was.
I am so fond of The Delgados that I have, on occasions, risked my marriage in standing by their version of Mr Blue Sky - which I think is sublime, but Mrs Macc insists is off-key!
Find it: Peloton.
5. E - Earth, Wind And Fire & The Emotions:Boogie Wonderland
If ever proof were required that you don’t need meaningful lyrics to appreciate a masterpiece, it is all here when you ‘start to dance in Boogie Wonderland’.
EWF were not a disco band, but, in this, produced the best disco song. Ever. They threw in their own horn section, invited along a run-of-the-mill girl soul band and gave them free rein to let rip while throwing shapes as part of an overly busy stage-show. It should have been a recipe for complete disaster. Billions of pairs of feet out on the floor have since confirmed otherwise.
Find it: I Am.
6. F - Aretha Franklin:I Say A Little Prayer
I love songs from my childhood where the lyrics turned out to mean something entirely different from what I had imagined at the time. Glen Campbell’s Wichita Lineman is one, and this, from the ‘Queen of Soul’ - about her man, fighting in Vietnam - is another.
Aretha’s voice from Heaven, the use of a piano and the background vocals are what make the song so great. But, for me, it still overwhelmingly conjurs up thoughts of long hot Summers, eating Ski yoghurt and getting stuck in traffic jams while going on holiday to Devon.
Find it: Aretha Now.
7. G - France Gall:Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son
Sacré bleu! Guilty Pleasure alert!
France Gall was a Parisian ‘yé-yé’ popette, who was tapped up by Luxembourg to represent them in the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest - and duly justified her transfer fee to win with a high, breathy rendition of this catchy number.
Alas for poor, innocent, misguided France, the song had been written by naughty old Serge Gainsbourg and was bound to have a hidden meaning. Not as filthy as some of his later stuff - although its lyrics about manipulating young singers so upset our young heroine that she never performed it again.
Find it: Single; various Eurovision compilations.
8. H - Hefner:The Hymn For The Cigarettes/The Hymn For The Alcohol
Two separate tracks here, but both essential components of the same break-up concept album. Hefner were indie urban-folksters, whose lo-fi tales of love, lust, heartbreak and despair could be extremely sad and funny in equal measure.
Best listened to late at night - and preferably accompanied by alcohol... although not, in my case, by cigarettes.
Find it: The Fidelity Wars.
9. I - I, Ludicrous:Preposterous Tales
Apologies in advance for taking the lazy option here - but, having extolled the virtues of this nugget of indie-fanzine legend in ‘Week I’, a cut-and-paste job is called for:
The band was - and, indeed, is (as they're apparently still going) - from South London. A more blokey, less caustic version of The Fall, if you will. Preposterous Tales was released on a giveaway-flexidisc in the mid-to-late '80s, and was basically about a character, Ken McKenzie, spinning a series of unlikely, self-promoting yarns to his mates (who react with increasing disbelief) at their local. Come to think of it, the sound-quality is such that it was probably recorded there, too.
Ken regales stories of having once 'ate six Mars Bars in half an hour', 'gone out with a famous DJ's sister's friend', 'seen The Sex Pistols at The 100 Club' and the like. We must all know someone like him - which makes it all the funnier.
I played the song to Macc Junior on our drive home, early last year, from County's stonking win at Gainsborough - since when it has become our official post-match anthem. When singing along, we change the line about having seen 'the Palace score four goals away from home' to 'the County score five...'. Oh, and I do make sure that we only ever relate to having 'picked some flowers (rather than 'had a shower') with two American girls', too. He's still only ten. And I'm not completely irresponsible...
Find it: Blah, Blah, Blah flexi.
10. J - Joy Division:New Dawn Fades
While JD narrowly missed out to The Jam on my nomination for ‘Week J’, this track is an easy cert for the Macc H.I.S. Setting a guitar in ascent against a descending bass made for an intense and a powerful sound, while the lyrical content, once it eventually came into play, had teens in their trenchcoats hanging on to every melodramatic and personal twist.
And, yeah, I was one of ‘em...
Find it: Unknown Pleasures.
11. K - Kenickie:Come Out 2Nite
Miss The Ronettes first time around? Me too. Mind you, the pop-punk(a) of Lauren Laverne, Marie, Emmy-Kate and token Sleeper-type bloke, Pete, was of some compensation in the ‘90s - combining hand-claps and harmonies a-plenty in this homage to working-class life.
Find it: At The Club.
12. L - Julie London:Cry Me A River
At sixty years of age, the oldest track on the compilation - which, so far as my choice of it is concerned, owes much to Father Macc (RIP) and his passion for ‘50s jazz and pop.
A smoky and sensual number that really needs to be played in a darkened, out-of-town bar, while the last shots of the evening are being lined up... or with headphones on in the bedroom, and no later than 10pm, as I had to settle for when I was eleven.
Find it: Julie Is Her Name.
13. M - My Bloody Valentine: You Made Me Realise
No contest. MBV’s brilliant confection of glide guitar and buried melody, set against sonic soundscapes of reverse reverb and distortion, produced masterpieces - and this single was their finest (although its B-side, Cigarette In Your Bed, would have been good enough to relegate just about any other lead-track going, too).
The live ‘Holocaust’ interpretation is another thing again - by way of a fifteen-minute interlude-section of white noise, guaranteed to make ears bleed!
Find it: EPs, 1988-1991.
1. N - Sheila Nicholls:Fallen For You
Slowing things down a tad momentarily, as we kick off the second disc with - blush - an ‘Our Tune’ for me and Mrs M.
Sheila Nicholls was an Essex girl, who streaked at an Ashes Test before relocating Stateside to enjoy the glitz of LA. On record, however, she was just a waifish girl with a piano. Think Kate Bush, on Man With The Child In His Eyes, and you’re getting close.
Find it: Brief Strop.
2. O - OutKast:Hey Ya!
Forever to be remembered as the Family Macc’s fave singalong-while-travelling holiday tune. As coincidence would have it, this electrofunk-meets-soul classic also topped the US singles chart on the day Macc Junior was born.
In what, for me, stands as one of the all-time best snippets of pop journalism, the N.M.E. described the track as ‘a monumental barney between the Camberwick Green brass band, a cruise-ship cabaret act, a cartoon gospel choir and a sucker MC hiccuping “shake it like a Polaroid pic-chaaa!”, backed up by the cast of an amateur production of The Wizard of Oz... sort of.’
Find it: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
3. P - Prefab Sprout:Faron Young (Truckin’ Mix)
It was always going to take something particularly special to hold off a Pixies track, but such an ingenious fusion of indie, country and rockabilly manages it. With words that (I think!) juxtapose critiques of a relationship and of Country & Western music - jauntily carried along at a drivetime pace - this is perfect pop for grown-ups.
Find it: 12” Single.
4. Q - Queens Of The Stone Age:Feel Good Hit Of The Summer
Stoner rock classic... and with a complete set of lyrics that can neatly fit into a small space!
All together now:
“Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, Marijuana, Ecstasy and Alcohol... C-cocaine.”
Find it: Rated R.
5. R - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas:(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave
More gospel-y and less doo-woppy than The Supremes, Martha’s girls will forever be my fave female Motown combo.
More to the point, this is the only song in the history of pop to which I can do reasonable Karaoke justice! Well, I did so once… no repeat performances are planned at the time of writing.
Find it: Heat Wave.
6. S - Suicide:Dream Baby Dream
Not many punters bought their records at the time, and they were bottled off stage by punks whenever they played live, but Alan Vega and Martin Rev are assured of immortality in my eyes for having wielded their synths to create this electro-classic.
These days, anyone from Arcade Fire to Springsteen can be found falling over themselves to cover it, too. Respect.
Find it: 12” Single.
7. T - The Teardrop Explodes:Treason
Post-punks? Neo-psychedelics? Beat-group scenesters? Who cares, when this song, more than any other, soundtracked my student days and life.
I saw TTE live at close quarters, when my College organised a gig. That the concert went ahead was a close-run thing, mind… and thanks, in part, to yours truly. Julian Cope turned up out of his mind on dope and speed, and his slurred claims at the door that he was “with the band (man)” were not viewed sympathetically by my mate, and ticket-collector for the night, Eugene - who promptly told Copey to “f***ing do one (mate)”. Luckily, I was on hand to recognise the ‘Crucial One’, and he was let in.
You’re welcome, Jules.
Find it: Kilimanjaro.
8. U - The Undertones:Teenage Kicks
Like Treason, this slightly earlier offering was perfectly timed so far as I, and adolescence, was concerned. It is most definitely a peerless pearl of teenage angst. And, arguably, as near to perfect pop as is possible to find.
Find it: Teenage Kicks EP.
9. V - The Vibes:I’m In Pittsburgh (And It’s Rainin’)
Since I am on County Heaven record as naming this as my all-time fave song, I can’t very well fail to include it here - lest what remains of my credibility, 22 letters in, be lost forever!
The Vibes were an incredibly short-lived ‘80s garage-band, who soon broke up and mutated into what became The Purple Things. Their high-octane take on an Outcasts’ tune from twenty years earlier was, meanwhile, a bit of EP-filler, which, were it not for John Peel, would have probably never been heard by anyone beyond the members’ immediate families. Cheers, Peelie.
Find it: The Inner Wardrobes Of Your Mind EP.
10. W - The Wild Swans: No Bleeding
More post-punk from Liverpool, with jangly guitars. What made this band stand out in its brief lifetime, however, was a collection of heart-worn lyrics, delivered with brooding romanticism over a chiming piano.
If a film ever gets to be made about my life, take note, makers: I want this on the soundtrack! That and Dancing Queen, obviously…
Find it: The Peel Sessions.
11. X - X-Ray Spex:Oh Bondage Up Yours!
A blistering single that was, in roughly equal parts, feminist and anti-consumerist - thus bringing something new and different to the table of punk, at which mindless anarchy and gobbing had previously been the main orders of the day.
And then there was Poly Styrene. Wearing a brace on her teeth, and a riot of plastic colours elsewhere, she had no equal as a glorious, and as an inspirational, front-woman. Still sadly missed.
Find it: Single.
12. Y - Yeah Yeah Noh:Bias Binding
Now, if only Faron Young had recorded a song called ‘Prefab Sprout’… sigh.
No matter, though. Not when our penultimate letter fronts the name of a refreshingly anti-style DIY band, whose bedsit-psychedelia, laced with sardonic words, made for ‘perfect unpop’.
Find it: Cottage Industry EP.
13. Z - Frank Zappa:Bobby Brown (Goes Down)
Let us end with a funny song - although, concerned as it is with an all-American boy who drifts into S&M debauchery, this is quite naughty, too!
By far and away the most amusing thing about the track was that it was very successful in Europe (having been banned over here and in the States) - leading continental kids in 1979 to sing it wherever they went. Said youngsters included exchange pupils at my school, for whom I was asked by teachers to provide rough French and German translations, just so as to point out the errors of their ways…
Blimey! Although there are not many songs I'm familiar with in that lot, what a comprehensive piece that is. I really like the 'find it' info too.
You've seriously raised the bar there in terms of presentation, Maccy!
Absolutely brilliant, mate.
Oh, and I never knew of Kasabian's 'Too much too young' cover. It's not bad, and although you can never top Brad's clean, crisp drum patterns, they've even included the obligatory rim shots too (calm down, Sandy, it's a drumming technique! ). Thanks for including that, I may never have heard it otherwise!
Interesting selection, Maccy. Thanks for sharing. Some a bit punky for my taste but some classic old songs as well as quite a few that I've had to discover on YouTube. I noticed the Vibes track was posted by a Charliespliff. Another pseudonym?
Post by hatter_in_macc on Jun 22, 2015 10:45:17 GMT
As if, archie...
Thanks for the kind comments, gents - and glad that you liked the Kasabian track, gazza. Teenage Maccette hadn't heard of it, either - despite being an avid Kasabian fan... which momentarily enhanced my street cred in time for Father's Day!
Post by Epworth Hatter on Jun 22, 2015 12:32:12 GMT
Excellent stuff, macc. You can see where Teenage Maccette gets here interest(and talent) in music journalism. An impressive array of genre on show, too.
Glad to see the Pixies at least sneak in on the bonus covers disc - a quality cover it is too. What do you make of their cover of Neil Young's Winterlong? (B side of Dig for Fire and, not surprisingly, on the Complete 'B' Sides). It just gets the nod, for me, as their best cover song.
Didn't know cud had done a cover of Sexy Thing - it's made my day listening to that just now, especially the madcap ending
Risking the ire of Mrs Macc is not something I take lightly, but I'm with you on Mr Blue Sky!
A really enjoyable and edifying read. Thanks.
"I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots." Einstein
Post by another_ruined_saturday on Jun 22, 2015 19:05:13 GMT
had never heard that yachts cover of 'there's a ghost in my house' before either. thanks for the education! it's pretty good, but i still prefer MES ranting it because the fall's version sounds closer to r dean taylor's brilliantly bonkers original, which i've been enjoying regularly on a 'gold' station we keep having on at work.
...on youtube over the last half hour i've gone from the yachts to the original, to the fall's version, then various live fall including their great 'victoria' cover. have actually had to stop myself buying some...
Post by hatter_in_macc on Jun 23, 2015 8:55:57 GMT
I really was spoiled for choice when it came to selecting an 'F-track' for the covers-compilation, exile - simply because The Mighty Fall have performed so many takes on the works of others over the years!
In the end, I plumped for Mr Pharmacist - but could easily have picked either of the two you mention. Or Jungle Rock, Lost in Music, The Legend of Xanadu, together with several obscurities that time had forgotten beyond their previous lives.
In fact, there is probably enough material to put together an A-Z of Fall covers - 'X' is already spoken for, if I bend the rules a little and use '... Xanadu'! - so, watch this space...
Post by hatter_in_macc on Jul 13, 2015 15:06:03 GMT
Well, by now, you've probably given up watching this space due to the time-lag - and I'll have to confess to cheating a tad here and there - but I've finally managed an A-Z of covers by The Mighty Fall.
So, without further ado, ladies and gents (but primarily, I'm guessing, eppers and exile...):
A - African Man (Iggy Pop). Find it: Are You Missing Winner? (as Ibis-Afro Man).