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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Final Post of the Year. All the Best for 2014

The final post on Soundtrack4Life for 2013 and it's fitting that it's the final day of the year. That means that the book entitled "2013" is soon to be completed, sent off to the publishers and then placed on the bookcase in the library of the memory.

The above quote reminds me of that great Elvis Costello track 'Everyday I Write The Book'.

Anyway, before I get diverted and end up down some other road let me take a moment just to say a huge thank you to you in whatever part of the world you are in for stopping by and reading.

I am constantly amazed that this little blog gets checked out all over Europe - espcially in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America. So, for all you music fans out there I trust that 2014 will be a very good one for you. Whether you buy a CD, get to a show, dance to your favourite mixtape, or spend hours watching and listening to music on You Tube, Spotify or whatever your preference is for accessing the sounds that form your Soundtrack4Life, can I wish you all the best on your journey.

Thanks for being a part of this and I'll see you Down the Road somewhere.

Take care of yourselves and all you love.


Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Bruce Springsteen Songs

Click on the Links to enjoy the music.

1 Born to Run
2 Badlands
3 Thunder Road
4 Racing in the Street
5 The River
6 Backstreets
7 Atlantic City
8 Darkness on the Edge of Town
9 Born in the U.S.A.
10 The Promised Land
11 Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
12 The Ghost of Tom Joad
13 Jungleland
14 Nebraska
15 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
16 Prove It All Night
17 Incident on 57th Street
18 State Trooper
19 The Promise
20 Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
21 I'm on Fire
22 Dancing in the Dark
23 Land of Hope and Dreams
24 Streets of Philadelphia
25 Stolen Car
26 Tunnel of Love
27 Highway Patrolman
28 The Rising
29 Brilliant Disguise
30 Wreck on the Highway
31 New York City Serenade
32 Because the Night
33 Spirit in the Night
34 Adam Raised a Cain
35 Tougher Than the Rest
36 Shut Out the Light
37 No Surrender
38 For You
39 My City of Ruins
40 Youngstown
41 If I Should Fall Behind
42 Meeting Across the River
43 Wrecking Ball
44 Downbound Train
45 Candy's Room
46 This Hard Land
47 Lost in the Flood
48 Growin' Up
49 Johnny 99
50 Death to My Hometown
51 One Step Up
52 I'm Goin' Down
53 Hungry Heart
54 Streets of Fire
55 Independence Day
56 Lucky Town
57 Girls in Their Summer Clothes
58 Loose Ends
59 Reason to Believe
60 You're Missing
61 Point Blank
62 Radio Nowhere
63 She's the One
64 American Skin (41 Shots)
65 Walk Like a Man
66 Glory Days
67 Seeds
68 Your Own Worst Enemy
69 Cadillac Ranch
70 Better Days
71 Jack of All Trades
72 Gypsy Biker
73 Rocky Ground
74 Johnny Bye Bye
75 We Are Alive
76 Roulette
77 Two Faces
78 My Hometown
79 The Ties That Bind
80 Out in the Street
81 Night
82 Drive All Night
83 Lonesome Day
84 Pink Cadillac
85 Fade Away
86 Restless Nights
87 Bobby Jean
88 Devils and Dust
89 Blinded by the Light
90 Back in Your Arms
91 Ramrod
92 Sad Eyes
93 The E Street Shuffle
94 If I Was the Priest
95 All That Heaven Will Allow
96 Long Walk Home
97 County Fair
98 Brothers Under the Bridge
99 American Land
100 Fire

Monday, 30 December 2013

Bruce Springsteen High Hopes (January 2014)

Over the weekend Amazon in the U.S. "accidently" released Springsteen's eighteenth studio album, 'High Hopes', for download. They saw their error but not before it went viral and was uploaded to torrent sites etc. I guess someone has a lot of explaining to do this Monday and probably will be looking for a new job tomorrow morning.

It was interesting yesterday seeing what the reaction to the album was on various fan sites and pages on Facebook. Views seemed to range from totally loving it to a down right loathing of it! The ones holding the latter viewpoint have in my mind gone just a little over the top. Yes there are questions to be asked of it, and yes it is a collection of songs "left over" from previous sessions, and re-recordings of things already released, and shock horror three Cover Versions!! But does that mean that we should totally dismiss it? Personally, I think not!

I read with interest the review of it in the Daily Telegraph by Neil McCormick:

"There’s a lot of great stuff on here, but it doesn’t hold together and doesn’t come close to being one of Springsteen’s great albums."

Even in his assessment of each song he's pretty dismissive of a number of tracks, in particular those that focus on faith. But Bruce has often had many a song regarding faith and response to belief and as someone who was brought up as Catholic he often admits that it's something that's hard to escape. So, just because a person holds such beliefs is right then for us to dismiss him? Not so, if we do then we are not as tolerant as we seem to think we are!

The other thing I'll say in passing regarding Mr McCormick is that he actually rated albums by One Direction and Beyonce better (he gave Springsteen only 3 out 5!), and therefore me and Mr McCormick part ways!

Okay, enough of that, so what do I think of it?

Well I listened to it twice through Saturday night and was actually quite pleased. So, it might not fit together in the sense of telling a story, but I was under the impression it wasn't a Concept Album thus laying waste to the charge that the songs seem like a jumbled mess.

After a couple of listens the tracks I thought the standout are 'High Hopes', yes, it's a re-record of a B-side done for the 'Blood Brothers' EP in 1996 and it's a cover version, but it's actually a great wee tune. Hope is something that flows through a lot of Springsteen's music and in an age when there's a lot of darkness, discouragement, poverty and brokeness around a little light is always a welcome thing. The cover of The Saints' 'Like Fire Would' is another I particulary like. I was surprised when they played this on the Aussie tour earlier this year because it was very unexpected. The studio version sounds brilliant with the E Street Horns adding their magic touch to it. Chris Bailey of The Saints is gonna get a nice windfall due to its inclusion on the album. The new studio version of 'American Skin (41 Shots)' is quite interesting as well but it seems to have lost a bit of the anger and edge of the live version (that's always going to happen, no matter what the song is). The rest of the songs are okay, and I can see that a number of them are going to work well in a live setting ('Heaven's Wall' especially), though 'Harry's Place' is not to my liking at all.

Along with Bruce and the E Street Band on the album is Tom Morello (who appears on eight tracks) and the super-charged re-recording of 'The Ghost of Old Tom Joad' is real quality. Live performances of it were stunning, especially down in Australia earlier in the year. It's no wonder that on off days that Bruce took Tom and the E Street Band into the Studio to record. They sounded great together. Quite a lot of 'High Hopes' was recorded then.

The album ends on a high note with the brilliant cover version of 'Dream Baby Dream' by Suicide. He first played it on the 'Devil's and Dust Tour' back in 2005 and recently released a video of it as a thank you to the fans who had supported the 'Wrecking Ball Tour'.

The album gets 8 out of 10 for me. I know one thing, this album will be played a lot more than 'Working on a Dream' (which I was really disappointed with) and whilst it's not as brilliant as its predecessor, 'Wrecking Ball', I think there's enough on it to please a majority of the fans (though of course you can't please all the people all the time!).

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Goodnight Mudkiss...

Over the past five years one little place of musical refuge I stumbled upon and liked it so much that it became a vital port of call was Mudkiss Fanzine. Each issue was filled with great interviews, the finest reviews of concerts and album releases, excellent photography and spotlights upon some truly creative folk from the world of the arts and litreature.

Just discovered that they are hanging up their hats so I'd like to thank Melanie Smith and all the team from Mudkiss for creating a little something that was way better to read than the NME.

I actually got to do an article for them back in 2009, an interview with Michele Jaffe of Loki the Grump. So I'm happy to have played a little part in their history. It's nice as well because that interview was published in a collected work of their interviews from 2009 and published.

I wish Melanie all the best for her future endevours as she turns her hand toward her real passion of photography (which if you checkout the Mudkiss Fanzine Website you'll see what a good eye she has!).

(Melanie Smith from the Mudkiss Flickr Page)

So it's with a little bit of sadness that I say "Goodnight Mudkiss".

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Soundtrack4Life Festive Fifty 2013: Part Three 15-1

This Festive Fifty is indeed an eclectic bunch of tunes and the Top 15 is no exception. I don't feel the need to explain any of the choices as they were the things that moved me, I hope in some small way you might find something among the whole 50 that thrills you a little.

If I could make one comment though regarding the #1 song that I chose then I'll say this: For the past two years on this blog I have followed from afar The Wrecking Ball Tour by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and each show I posted about excited me more and more about the possibility of catching at least one show in person. To my delight he returned to Glasgow in June and my wife lovingly purchased tickets as a 50th Birthday present and it was one of the musical highlights of the year for me. 'Thunder Road' was the final song of a set that lasted almost three and a half hours and the intimacy of the song done acoustically was mesmerising. Personally I didn't get what some folks were complaining about on the various Bruce forums about his ending the shows in this way because it was like the song that crowned the whole set for me. Even watching the video again of it sends chills down my spine and warms my heart with great memories of a brilliant night of rock and roll music.

Hope you have enjoyed it. Hopefully we can do it all again in 2014.

15. Say Hello - Jelly (From 'Troubadour, Wizard, The Queen and the Machine').
14. If I Only Could - The Godfathers (From 'Jukebox Fury').
13. Bo Diddley Special - Eric Burdon (From ''Til Your River Runs Dry').
12. It Ain't Over - The 45's (From the Single 'It Ain't Over/Devil of a Woman').
11. Talk About the Good Times - Elvis Presley (From 'Elvis at Stax').
10. Walk Us Uptown - Elvis Costello and the Roots (From 'Wise Up Ghost and Other Songs').
09. I Will Steal You Back - Jimmy Eat World (From 'Damage').
08. Lose The Reason - The Primitives (From the 7" Single 'Lose The Reason').
07. Cakewalk - Tankus the Henge (From 'The Last Days Are Coming').
06. Soulmates to Strangers - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (From 'Unvarnished').
05. Fortunate Son - John Fogerty with Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters (From 'Wrote A Song For Everyone').
04. Smiling Culture - Ruts DC (From 'Rhythm Collision Volume 2').
03. Rosalita - Ian Prowse (From the single 'Rosalita/Cecilia').
02. This Hard Land (Acoustic) - Bruce Springsteen (From 'Wrecking Kilkenny Bootleg 28/07/13).
01. Thunder Road (Acoustic) - Bruce Springsteen (From 'Wrecking Glasgow Bootleg 18/06/13').

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Soundtrack4Life Festive Fifty 2013: Part Two 30-16

The next block of music that made me move my feet, contemplate the meaning of life, and cause me to smile in wonder is a real eclectic bunch of tunes. From Punk to Pop and Country to Gospel, it throws up some gems that have been given the reissue treatment via Boxsets and Anniversary Editions. There's a number of cover versions that span the Old Black Gospel Churches to the New York Bowery Disctrict via The Midlands! It's music originally from the 1950's, diving into the late 70's, the 80's and 90's are represented as is the current year. A few surprises included as well (hey, it's Christmas Day after all and who doesn't like surprises?).

30. A Dollar Short of Happy - Nick Lowe (From 'Quality Street').
29. Handyman Blues - Billy Bragg (From 'Tooth and Nail').
28. Brickfield Nights - The Boys (From 'Alternative Chartbusters Deluxe Version').
27. The Highway - Holly Williams (From 'The Highway').
26. He's On The Beach - Kirsty MacColl (From 'A New England - The Very Best of Kirsty MacColl').
25. World Leader Pretend - R.E.M. (From 'Green 25th Anniversary').
24. Far Far Away - The Wonder Stuff (From 'Oh No It's...The Wonder Stuff 2CD Edition).
23. Road To Nowhere - Jars of Clay (From 'Eastside Manor Sessions').
22. Amazing Grace - Aaron Neville (From 'The Best of Aaron Neville Gospel').
21. The Only One - The Letter Black (From 'Rebuild').
20. Long Time Gone - Billie Joe and Norah (From 'Foreverly').
19. Dream Baby Dream - Bruce Springsteen (From forthcoming album 'High Hopes').
18. Gates of the West - The Clash (From 'Sound System').
17. Getting Away From It - Electronic (From 'Electronic Deluxe Edition').
16. Make It Back - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (From 'Unvarnished').

Next up 15-1

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Soundtrack4Life Festive Fifty 2013: Part One - 50-31

Over the next couple of posts I will be sharing with you the Soundtrack4Life Festive Fifty for 2013. Not all the songs are necessarily from this year as some older songs have appeared on a Soundtrack or a new Compilation. but these are the songs that made a real impression and there's not a Daft Punk song on the list!!

Click on the links to enjoy the music.

50. Life on Bleeker Street - Willie Nile (From 'American Ride').
49.  Careful - Television (From the 'CBGB's Soundtrack').
48. Landslide of Love - Transvision Vamp (From 'Velveteen Re-Presents').
47. Blue Collar Jane - The Strypes (From 'Snapshot').
46. When You Get to Asheville - Steve Martin and Edie Brickell (From 'Love Has Come For You').
45. Running Scared - Roy Orbison (From 'Dream Baby 3CD Set').
44. We Want the Airwaves - The Ramones (From 'The Sire Years 1976-1981').
43. Still Into You - Paramore (From 'Now').
42. Ballad of the Lower East Side - Michael Monroe (From 'Horns and Halos').
41. They Don't Know - Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs (From 'Under the Covers Vol. 3').
40. Many Rivers to Cross - Jimmy Cliff (From 'The KCRW Session').
39. Gun Control - The International Swingers.
38. I Believe That Jesus Brought Us Together - The Horrible Crowes (From 'Live at the Troubador').
37. We Shall Not Overcome - Frank Turner (From 'Tape Deck Heart').
36. Springsteen/Born To Run - Eric Church (From 'Caught in the Act (Live)').
35. Rose Tattoo - Dropkick Murphy's and Bruce Springsteen (From 'Rose Tattoo EP').
34. When The Music's Over - The Doors (From 'The Doors Infinite Boxset').
33. The Stars Are Out Tonight - David Bowie (From 'The Next Day').
32. From This Valley - The Civil Wars (From 'T he Civil Wars').
31. Someone's Looking At You - Boomtown Rats (From 'Back To Boomtown').

Next up 30-16

Monday, 23 December 2013

Soundtrack4Life Interviews Joe Silva

It's a great pleasure to be able to post this little interview with one of my musical buddies, Joe Silva. Joe was one time drummer of the the 80's band The Threats and is now establishing himself as a solo artist. He's toured the UK supporting Mike Peters and has played at The Gathering in Wales on the same bill as The Alarm.

Click on the links to enjoy the music and visit the sites.

 Picture by Andy Labrow.

Doug: It's been a busy year for you, what's been your highlight or highlights?

Joe at Abbey Road Studios, London (Pic from Joe Silva)

Joe: Recording at Abbey Road Studios, Touring the USA with my 'Blue Acoustic Tour' that included performing in my home state of Rhode Island with B.B. King, playing a breast-cancer benefit with Billy Squier in Massachusetts, and sitting in with Foo Fighters' drummer Taylor Hawkins' band on drums in Los Angeles while he sat on the stage and cheered me on......and I could go on. It was another very special year for me.

 Joe's book is available from Amazon.

Doug: Having just published your first book, and your wife being a writer as well is there a battle to see who can come up first with the second book?

Joe: My wife and I don't compete on who will publish the next book... I think that both of us understand that anything worth doing is worth doing right, which takes time. It would be a mistake to rush a literary work just to get it out there quicker, as you know... Kim is thinking about a follow-up to 'Life at the End of the Tunnel' (a story about losing a loved-one to cancer in real-time) with the story told the eyes of her children.

Doug: You've just opened a shop as well? What's that all about?

Joe: When I'm not touring, I can be found at our new shop, Pea Poddery, which is a paint-your-own pottery studio in my home town. We have been open for three weeks and have been swamped with customers. It is great to see folks of all ages putting their electronics away and becoming creative. Kim and I decided that we wanted to start a business that would enrich the lives of people, so we came up with ideas (Kim had the initial idea of a pottery studio), studied the demographics and decided that there would be a real want for this type of shop in our area, and so far it has been extremely successful.

 Doug: Have you begun work on a follow-up album to 'Blue' yet and can we expect that in 2014?
Joe: All of the songs for my follow-up CD 'Blue' have been recorded, and we are now in mix-down stage. Anton Fig (Late Show w/ David Letterman drummer) is producing this CD, as he did for 'Blue'. It will be released in 2014, and includes a version of David Bowie's 'Starman' that Ace Frehley of the band KISS plays lead guitar on.

Doug: Will the New England Patriots get to another Super Bowl this season?
Joe: Regarding The Patriots, of course I am hoping that they make another Super Bowl appearance, but the team is getting hit with injury after injury, which complicates the big-picture predictions... Your team, The Broncos, are looking good this year!

Doug: Do you still get to play drums at all these days or are you just focusing on the guitar and singing?
Joe: I do still play drums whenever I can (my first love)... When I play shows in New England, I perform with my full band, and will get behind the drum kit for at least half of the show. When I tour far away places, I tend to perform acoustically, as being on the road is becoming more and more expensive when traveling with a full entourage.

Doug: There was some talk about you getting into local politics as well at some point, is that still on the cards?
Joe: I haven't ruled out a run for Mayor in my hometown as of yet next year, but I may opt to back another candidate who would be willing to adopt my plans for the town so I may continue to perform and make a positive impact globally.

Doug: What are your hopes for 2014?

 Joe: Hopes for 2014 include another tour in the UK, Ireland and USA. Of course, I hope that we as humans progress more toward curing diseases and finding solutions that lead to sustainable peace on our planet as we face another new year, and make life less about the newest electronic gadgets or purely selfish gains. I also hope that all of my friends remain well throughout 2014, which includes you. 

 Find out more about Joe from his Website.

Some Music From Joe.
Didn't Mean It Like This (Promo Video).
Blue (Promo Video).
Celluloid Heroes (Live 2012).
Happy Christmas (War is Over).
Letters From War (Live at King Tuts 2012).

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Dave Higgs R.I.P.

Eddie and The Hot Rods posted this message on their Facebook earlier today:

"Sad news today folks,original guitarist and founder member Dave Higgs sadly passed away this morning after losing his fight with cancer, Dave was a huge influence on many people and regarded as one of the finest rythm players around. RIP"

Dave Higgs was a founding member of one of the really brilliant groups from Southend. Dr Feelgood of course were the known band from that area, but even they have a connection to Eddie and the Hot Rods (besides coming from the same neck of the woods) - Lee Brilleaux was once in a band with Dave Higgs called The Fix.

In 1975 Higgs joined together with Vocalist Barrie Masters, Bassist Rob Steel and Drummer Steve Nicol to form Eddie and the Hot Rods. Building a solid live reputation they were signed by Island Records in November that year. The first two singles ('Writing on the Wall' and 'Wolly Bully') failed to chart and it was not long before they began to see some small success coming their way.

Their third release was the magnificent 'Live at The Marquee EP'. It would reach #43 in the charts and even got them a Top of The Pops performing 'Get Out of Denver'.

The debut album hit the charts but stalled at #43 whilst the title track was released as a single and would break into the top forty peaking at #34.

In 1977 they added former Kursaal Flyer Graeme Douglas on guitar and they somehow got caught up in the whole Punk/New Wave scene and released a few really classic (in my honest opinion) singles starting with 'I Might Be Lying', backed with one of the best B-sides ever in 'Ignore Them'. That failed to break into the Top Forty reaching only #44.

The big breakthrough was just around the corner:

The single put out under the name The Rods would go all the way to #9 in the UK Singles Chart.

The album would reach #27 and contain another two excellent singles (both released in 1978 - 'Quit This Town' and 'Life on the Line'). 'Quit This Town' would infact be their final chart single.

Dave would go on to record two more albums with the band ('Thriller' and 'Fish 'n' Chips') and departed in 1981. The classic line up - Higgs, Masters, Nicol and Gray -  would be revived in 1992 for a tour after which Higgs left the band again.

Reading about his passing led me to stick the 'Teenage Depression' album on for the first time in ages and it was great to be reminded what a great band they were and are, but also to be reminded of Dave's guitar work for the band.

It's a sad loss and we trust that his family and close friends will find much comfort in knowing how much Dave meant to a lot of others. Hope they find strength in this valley.

Friday, 20 December 2013

A Christmas Greeting from Soundtrack4Life

Click on the Links to enjoy the Christmas Music.

Can we take this opportunity to wish all of our readers from around the world A Very Merry Christmas. It is a constant amazement that so many drop by day by day to see what has been posted. We hope to continue in the New Year providing a little music sanctuary you can call your own whatever your taste in music.

So, if you are Driving Home For Christmas, or  you end up spending Christmas at the Airport, or if in your hearts you are pleading with someone to Please Come Home For Christmas, we hope that you will enjoy safe travels and Have Yourselves A Very Merry Christmas.

If your Christmas is a Blue one, we hope that more colours will explode to make it brighter. If it is a Lonely one, we hope that somehow you'll find some friends to share in its joys.

You might be a believer in Father Christmas, or you might believe that Christmas Night is a Holy Night, or you may think it's all about the presents under the tree or about The Gifts Given, whatever it is we trust that you will know the joy of giving and receiving.

Whether your Christmas music is Ska, Country, Rock and Roll, Reggae, Indie PopTraditional, Classical, Metal, Hip-Hop, Punk, Religious or non-Religious, we wish you well in the dance.

Happy Birthday Billy Bragg

Happy Birthday to the Bard of Barking, born on this day in 1957.

No One Knows Nothing Anymore
Handyman Blues
Greetings to the New Brunette
I Ain't Got No Home In This World Anymore
There Will Be A Reckoning
Waiting For The Great Leap Forward

Set List
"Handyman Blues"
"I Ain't Got No Home"
"No One Knows Nothing Anymore"


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Ruts DC: Segs and Ruffy Interview

Roland Gent Interviews Segs and Ruffy of The Ruts DC. Well worth a listen, and loaded with great music from the band as well. This could be the best 40 odd minutes of your day. 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Damned, Theatre of Hate and Ruts DC - Roundhouse London 13th December 2013

This looked like it had all the possibilites of being an amazing gig. Very grateful to You Tube user epidemic271 for posting a whole stack of videos from the show. So click on the link and enjoy the music.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Ruts DC and The Damned - Edinburgh HMV Picture House 7th December 2013

On what would have been the 60th birthday of Ruts lead vocalist Malcom Owen the Ruts DC were laying the smackdown on stage in Edinburgh supporting The Damned.

(Picture by Fangs Mandatory)

Ruts DC Setlist (not in order)
Mighty Soldier
Smiling Culture/SUS
It Was Cold
No Time To Kill
One Step
Jah War
West One
Love in Vain/Poilce and Thieves
Starring at the Rude Boys
Babylon's Burning
In A Rut

I have to say that Segs is sounding in fine voice and I actually think he sounds better now than he did back in the 80's. It's funny that he says he never wanted to be a frontman but I'll tell you, he's perfectly suited for it. Ruffy on the drums is still one of the best in my honest opionion and he plays with such a sense of grace and style.

Segs and Ruffy are joined by Leigh on Guitar (and he does a great job of bringing to life those great riffs first played by Paul Fox, whilst adding his own particular touches) and Molara who does a great job on vocals especially when she lets it rip during 'Jah Wars'.

Right from the opening song 'Mighty Soldier' you get the feeling that this is going to be a special night. The crowd are really into it (I think some who turned up later will be annoyed that they missed this) and are bouncing along to each one. The band play a mixture of old and new, both Ruts and Ruts DC material and it's actually the older material that has been reimagined that I find the most gripping. 'Smiling Culture/SUS' - is truly epic and adds weight to the fact that 30 odd years on from when SUS was first written that there are still lots of troubles with the Police. Also 'No Time To Kill' sounds perfectly sublime tonight.

The most moving part of the set for me was 'Love in Vain' coupled with the Ruts DC tribute to Junior Murvin, 'Police and Thieves'. Have to say that it brough a wee tear to the eye remembering that 'Love in Vain' was one of the last songs Malcom ever penned.

The set ends with a real blast as 'Society' is pulled from the vaults and once again Segs does a great job of remembering how all those words fit into such a blisteringly fast song! The final number is of course the very first thing they ever put on record, 'In A Rut' and it's a perfect way to end their night coming full circle to where it all began for them.

What about The Damned? Well, here's their setlist for the night:

Now, whilst I quite liked some of their performance tonight I have to say I found it a little too polished for my liking. I actually sat down up by the Merch Table when they were on and just listened. 

Stand out songs from the set for me were 'Don't Cry Wolf', 'Plan 9 Channel 7 ', and 'Sick of Being Sick'.

After the show I got to hang out for a while with Segs and Ruffy which was really nice. It was a good old reunion of South London lads.

They've got a few more dates on the Tour culminating in a big show at the London Roundhouse on Friday 13th. Make sure you turn up early for the Ruts DC set, you wouldn't want to miss the best band of the night now, would you?

Stiff Records - The Early Years Part Two 1977

BUY 10
A-Side: Neat Neat Neat.

Released on 18th February 1977, the 2nd single from The Damned coincided with the release of the very first British Punk album, and the debut LP for Stiff Records - 'Damned Damned Damned' (SEEZ 1). The single didn't reach the charts but the album did get to a respecatble #36 on the Chart.

BUY 11
A-Side: Less Than Zero.

The debut single from Elvis Costello came out 25th March 1977 and would also appear on his debut album 'My Aim is True' (SEEZ 3) - released two months later.

The song was also involved in Costello's infamous performance on Saturday Night Live on December 17, 1977. Following pressure from his record company to play the song on the show, Costello began to play the song, but he stopped after only a few bars, saying that "there's no reason to do this song here." He then launched into an unannounced performance of 'Radio Radio', a song he had promised not to play. As a result, he was banned from the show until 1989.

BUY 12
A-Side: England's Glory.
B-Side: Dream Tobacco.

'England’s Glory' (BUY 12) was Max Wall’s first single, released at the princely age of 69.  He’d spent the 30s and 40s working the music hall circuit and, by the 70s, was enjoying quite a renaissance.  John Cleese openly acknowledged Wall as an influence on him and the Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks.  He found a new, younger audience when he joined Mott The Hoople’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus tour.  And he won rave reviews for his forays into straight acting, with The Guardian declaring “Max Wall makes Olivier look like an amateur.”
A true eccentric, Wall played King Bruno the Questionable in Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky.  And right up until his death in 1990 he never owned a telephone, preferring instead to attend his local phone booth at 1.00pm every weekday should he receive an incoming call.
'England’s Glory' - written by Ian Dury, one of his ‘list’ songs à la Reasons To Be Cheerful - was Stiff’s first venture away from punk and pub rock.  The first physical evidence that this record label could do something other than surf a musical wave or try and break new acts.  It was the single that first defined Stiff as a variety act in itself.  But for all this, it failed to sell in spectacular fashion, the label’s first true stiff.  But it was revived soon after to appear on a compilation album, the appropriate titled, Hits Greatest Stiffs.

BUY 13
B-Side: Quickstep.

This is probably one of my favourite singles of the early Stiff Records catalogue.

The Adverts had been on the go since 1976 and their first big break came when they got a deal with Stiff and in April this classic Punk single was released.

" I wonder what we’ll play for you tonight
Something heavy or something light
Something to set your soul alight
I wonder how we’ll answer when you say
‘We don’t like you – go away
Come back when you’ve learnt to play"

The Adverts went out on tour with label mates The Damned and Stiff, as was their forte came up with a classic tour poster:

BUY 14
A-Side: Alison.

The second single from Elvis Costello didn't even dent the chart and yet it is, in my honest opinion, one of his finest.

BUY 15
A-Side: Red Shoes.
B-Side: Mystery Dance.

'Red Shoes' is another that for some strange reason totally escaped the charts and yet Elvis found himself on Top of the Pops performing it!

BUY 16
This Side: Whole Wide World.
That Side: Semaphore Signals.

This little ditty is easily in my Top Ten Favourite Singles ever released. Released in August 1977 as a single but it had appeared first on the Stiff Album 'A Bunch of Stiffs' (SEEZ 2). The reasoning from Stiff behind this was that Eric had gone fishing and it had taken them 2 weeks to track him down to get into the studio to record a b-side!
Nick Lowe features on Guitar and Bass on This Side as does drummer Steve Goulding of Graham Parker and the Rumour. On That Side featured Ian Dury on Drums!
The song itself was written by Eric after he had fallen out with his girlfriend.

BUY 17

Stiff Records demonstrated their craftiness with the release of the debut single by former Kilburn and the High Roads frontman Ian Dury. Two months after it was released it was deleted after 19,000 copies were sold. "We're a record company not a museum", they expalined. What they didn't tell anyone was that they immediately planned to release it in France and soon shops in the UK were loaded with boxes of the single!

BUY 18
A-Side: Problem Child.

Issued in September 28 1977, 'Problem Child' was a preview of the up and coming second album 'Music For Pleasure' produced by Pink Floyd's Nick Mason! The single failed again to reach the charts. The single also featured new guitarist Lu Edmonds.

BUY 19
A-Side: Suffice to Say.

Liverpool based band who got signed to Stiff after their debut performance at Eric's in Liverpool supporting Elvis Costello.

BUY 20 
B-Side: Blame It On Cain (Live)/Mystery Dance (Live).

Stiff's first Top 20 single in the UK and of course Elvis Costello's first hit single after three previous attempts. The single spent 11 weeks on the chart.

BUY 21

Originally recorded by Tony Orlando in the 60's, the final Stiff single by Nick Lowe failed to make any impression on the charts.

BUY 22
A-Side: Police Car.
B-Side: On Parole.

Former Pink Fairie Larry Wallis' debut solo single. At the time he was an in house producer for Stiff Records. On the single he is backed by two members of Eddie and the Hot Rods - Paul Gray on Bass and Steve Nicol on Drums.
Both songs here are probably better known by the cover versions: Motorhead doing 'On Parole' and The Members doing 'Police Car'. But I've always had a soft spot for Larry's version.

 BUY 23

My favourite Ian Dury single. Gene Vincent was one of Dury's musical heroes and it is said that the death of the rock and roll legend in 1971 forced Dury to start taking his position in Kilburn and the High Roads more seriously.

BUY 24
D-Side: Don't Cry Wolf.
D-Side: One Way Love.

Issued on 11th December 1977 this was the final single of The Damned for Stiff and for the line-up that featured Brian James and Lu Edmonds. The band would split in 1978 and would then get back together again in 1979 where they would enjoy far greater chart success than their first couple of years of output.

The first 5,000 copies of the single were in Pink Vinyl, though I have to say I can't ever recall seeing a black vinyl one apart from in pictures!

There are a number of other releases from 1977 that do not have the BUY catalogue numbers and I will have a look at some of them in the next post.

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