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Monday, 30 November 2015

45RPM: #69 Where Were You?/I'll Have To Dance Then (On My Own) - The Mekons (1978)

Hailing from Leeds The Mekons were the first band to release a record on Fast Product (their debut single Never Been In A Riot is an absolute classic!). There was a lot of competition in Leeds at the time because Gang of Four and Delta 5 were also on the go but it was The Mekons, a band that Lester Bangs declared to be "the most revolutionary group in the history of rock ‘n’ roll,” that released their record first.

"Their first three singles were an exciting progression from snotty and noisy to more focused and still sloppy punk rock. The first was “Never Been in a Riot”, an off tune, off time, slacker anthem with the memorable lyric: “I’ve never been in a riot / Never been in a fight / Never been in anything / That turns out right”.  As a direct response to the Clash’s suspect “White Riot”, it embodied post punk’s awareness, not to mention its conflict with punk’s original ideals." (Mike Deane, Pop Matters - see here)

The follow-up Where Were You? is actually a Double A-Side but hardly anyone remembers the other side such is the epicness of the A-Side! 

A-Side: Where Were You?

AA-Side: I'll Have To Dance Then (On My Own)

45RPM: #68 Don't Let Go - Seventeen (1979)

A Quick History Lesson On Seventeen (formerly known as The Toilets and in the future to be known as Alarm Alarm, and then just The Alarm and also "that Welsh band who sound nothing like U2!")

In May 1977 a young lad called Michael Leslie Peters (soon to be known as Mike Peters) is in the audience at the Electric Circus in Manchester to see The Clash on The White Riot Tour. Within weeks he's formed a punk band called The Toilets. He also took on a Punk Rock name W.C. Smith. In the summer of '77 they play their first show in Rhyl, Wales. They have a new drummer Nigel Buckle (soon to be known as Twist but not before being called Des Troy whilst a member of The Toilets) and a rather cool guitarist Dave Kitchingman (soon to be known as Sharp) had also teamed up with the band as their manager. 

October 1977 The Toilets play their biggest gig to date supporting The Clash at Eric's in Liverpool. December 1977 W.C. Smith (soon to be known again as Mike Peters) meets up with neighbour Eddie MacDonald (soon to be known as...wait for it...Eddie MacDonald!) and a month later The Toilets have... erm... gone down the pan and a new alliance of Peters and MacDonald play together for the first time and a new idea is formed - Seventeen. They played their first gig near the end of May in their hometown. The Band consisted of Mike Peters (formerly known as Mike Peters and W.C. Smith before settling back on Mike Peters) on Bass and Vocals, Eddie MacDonald (still called Eddie MacDonald) on Keyboards, Guitars and Vocal, Dave Sharp (formerly known as Chuck Burial when "managing" The Toilets and also Dave Kitchingman) on Guitar, and Nigel Buckle (formerly known as Nigel Buckle and then Des Troy) on the drums.

Now, over on another website when detailing the history they mention that the debut single by Seventeen was released in March 1980 but that actually sounds wrong to me. I am fairly sure that it was late November 1979 that the single was released on Vendetta Records and Discogs and a number of other Record Collecting sites I visited to double check, triple check all have it at 1979.

Throughout 1980 they are busy playing live all over the place with mod bands and even a support to Billy McKenzie and The Associates! But by early January 1981 they've put the suits back on the coat hangers and back into the wardrobe and rename themselves Alarm Alarm (John Peel even mentioned them!) and by summertime they are plain old The AlarmThe Band consisted of Mike Peters (formerly known as Mike Peters and W.C. Smith before settling back on Mike Peters) on Guitar and Vocals, Eddie MacDonald (still called Eddie MacDonald) on Bass and Vocal, Dave Sharp (formerly known as Chuck Burial when "managing" The Toilets and also Dave Kitchingman) on Guitar, and Twist (formerly known as Nigel Buckle and then Des Troy and Nigel Buckle again...and then simply Twist and Nigel was added at a later date obviously due to the fact that it was unhip to have only one name unless you were a Brazilian footballer or you were Bono!) on the Drums.  

They played their first show in Prestatyn on the 10th June and 20 days later the second, their set already containing a few songs of note: 

Set List : Shout To The Devil/Marching On/Third Light/Across The Border/Mr. Jones/Up For Murder/Second Generation/Unsafe Building/Sixty Eight Guns. 

Oh, and as to the single, it's a power pop/modpop classic that still sells for funny money on EBay and other Rare Record websites! So here it is for free, the proper original 45RPM of black plastic, courtesy of You Tube being played on a "proper record player" as my mate Ralph would say!

A-Side: Don't Let Go

B-Side: Bank Holiday Weekend

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The S4L Country Album of the Year 2015: Down To Believing - Allison Moorer

There's been some great Country Music  Albums released this year and a number of them could easily have been The S4L Country Album of the Year 2015. Allow me to mention a few in passing  and also deal with one possible glaring omission (click on the links to enjoy the music).

Angels and Alcohol - Alan Jackson, The Blade - Ashley Monroe, Gone Like The Cotton - The Cox Family, Cass County - Don Henley, The Traveling Kind - Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Mr Misunderstood - Eric Church, and Pageant Material - Kacey Musgraves.

Absent from that list and indeed this category is a certain Mr Jason Isbell's Something More Than Free. The reason that it is absent is that it is due for far greater recognition to be revealed at a later date, so don't panic and don't be giving me grief!

The album I've chosen is the eigth studio album by Allison Moorer entitled Down To Believing. It had been a five year wait for a follow up to 2010's Crows Album and it's an album that's been crafted against the backdrop of a relationship split from Steve Earle and her young son's diagnosis with autism. It's an album that implies that there were mistakes made on the journey and diversions on the life's highway but she manages to craft from the pain and regrets etc a powerful bunch of tunes that surely must rank as her finest album to date.

Simon Holland, writing for Folk Radio UK said of the album:

 "It’s a break-up record, recorded in the fall out of the unravelling of her seven-year marriage to Steve Earle. Now living as a single parent, it also comes on the back of their now five-year-old son’s diagnosis with autism. Both of those factors figure large in the record, but if you’re going to write the headlines then you should also be prepared to tell the story and there’s so much to this record. There is passion, anger, there are questions with few answers, but there is defiance, acceptance, a glimmer of reconciliation and a dash of hope. It walks a highly charged emotional line and in doing so delivers a record that confirms Allison’s place amongst the very best of America’s singer songwriters."

I think that's a great summary of the album. 

It's probable that this will not feature highly on the Best of the Year Lists in the Music Press but I'm more than happy to declare it The S4L Country Album of the Year 2015.

  Down To Believing - Allison Moorer
 Entertainment One Music/Proper Records
Produced by Kenny Greenberg
Released 16th March 2015
US Country Chart #26
US Independent Albums Chart #36

Friday, 27 November 2015

The S4L Comeback Album of The Year 2015 - Penetration + The Rezillos

Making a decision as to what would be The S4L Comeback Album of the Year 2015 was actually not too difficult except for the problem that there were two contenders, both of whom had not released an album in 30+ years!

First up there was Resolution by Penetration. It had been 36 years since the last album Coming Up For Air. Having been back playing live since 2002 and only to have released a couple of singles (Our World - 2008, The Feeling - 2010) a brand spanking new album from them was most welcome indeed.

Second up was Zero by The Rezillos. It had been 37 years since their debut studio album Can't Stand The Rezillos was recorded and released in July 1978 on Sire Records, and less than a year later a live album Mission Accomplished...But The Beat Goes On also hit the stores (You can listen to both albums here!). By time the live album came out they had already been split up more than 8 months and had played their final show together in December 1978 (which was recorded for the said album). The band have been playing live again since 2001 and vocalists Faye Fife and Eugene Reynolds, and drummer Angel Paterson are the only remaining original members of the band.  

Like Penetration, The Rezillos have only released a few singles since reforming (2009's No.1 Boy, 2011's Out of This World and a live version of Top of the Pops in 2012) so a full length Second Studio album after 37 years is well worth the wait.

It seemed a shame to give one the honour and exclude the other so they both share the distinction of being The S4L Comeback Album of the Year 2015.

 Resolution - Penetration
Produced by Robert Blamire
Released 9th October 2015

 Zero - The Rezillos
Metropolis Records
Released 16th March 2015 

Update 22/12/15: You Tube seem to have removed the Full Album which they themselves had uploaded (they seem to be doing this with a lot of albums these days). Apologies. So here's a couple of tracks from the album.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

The S4L Live Album of the Year 2015: Brendan Byrne Arena, New Jersey 05/08/84 - Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

There were a few live albums this year that stood out for me and each one had it's merits. First there was The Boys first official Live Album 'Undercover - Live in China'. A great little 13 song set at a "secret show" due to a government ban on their tour (not for any outrageousness on the band's part. Read more about it here). Old classics mixed with four newer tracks featured on The S4L Comeback Album of the Year 2014 - Punk Rock Menopause.

Second one I really liked was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's Live In Paris. It contains a recording of the Specter At The Feast album played in sequence and a selection of tracks gleaned from their other recordings. Not that I pay a lot of attention to reviews but I did disagree with a review on Louder Than War that said the album sounded like U2! It's only in the past couple of years that I've really sat down and listened to BRMC and it was really the Specter At The Feast album that made a huge impression on me.

A third Live album, and again very different from the previous two that I thought was quite exceptional was Aquostic! Live At The Roundhouse by Status Quo. In conjunction with BBC Radio 2 the band had put on their first ever Acoustic Show at The Roundhouse, London back in October of 2014 to celebrate the release of their Aquostic (Stripped Bare) album. The BBC were on hand to record and film the concert which was then shown on tv and broadcast on the radio. A riviting show that was loaded with track after track of Quo classics performed like you've never heard them before.

The album I picked as The S4L Live Album of the Year 2015 was not one that was released to the shops and therefore was not a huge seller that got lots of publicity. It is part of the Live Springsteen Archives - and this year there were a couple of others that I could easily have picked as the best one. From the Devil's and Dust Tour in 2005 at Columbus was a real cracker with Bruce out on his own reimagining some of his finest tunes as well as playing tracks from the then latest album. The excellent Nassau Coliseum show from New Year's Eve 1980 on The River Tour was also another consideration. And lastly there was the New Year's Eve show from the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Philadelphia on the Born To Run Tour that was also a consideration.

The one I ended up going with is what was the first of ten nights at the Brendan Byrne Arena and his first shows in New Jersey since 1981 where he had opened the Meadowlands with a six night stand.

What you get is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at their finest thundering out a 29 song set over 3 hours and 16 minutes that is a clear demonstration that they were one of the best live acts in the world at the time. It's full of humour, passion, intensity and Springsteen telling stories of growing up and family and a band totally on fire.

  Brendan Byrne Arena, New Jersey 05/08/84 - Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band
 Bruce Springsteen Live Archives
Released May 2015





Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The S4L Blues Album of the Year 2015: Don't Lose This - Pop Staples

There's been a couple of really great Blues albums that I've really enjoyed this year: A Fool To Care by Boz Scaggs, Born to Play Guitar by Buddy Guy, and the recent Battle Scars by Walter Trout to name but a few.

The album I've chosen for The S4L Blues Album of the Year is one that was years in the making and only saw the light of day fifteen years after the passing of the artist concerned. So for the past fifteen years I'm fairly sure that Heaven's Halls have been filled with the sound of Pops Staples voice singing an even greater song whilst here on earth we got to hear his weathered blues/gospel for one last time.

Between 1998-1999 Roebuck "Pop" Staples recorded a bunch of songs that were supposed to be for a final album by The Staples Singers, Mavis Staples said:
"It was meant to be our last work, but my sisters and I decided to let Pops sing, to let him have this one. ... One day, Pops told me, ‘Mavis, bring that record up here, I want to hear it.’ I brought it up to the bedroom and he listened. When it was over, Pops told me, ‘Mavis, don’t lose this here.’ I said, ‘OK, Pops, I won’t lose it.’ And he just smiled. It was a moment I’ll never forget. He had this glow after listening to it; he loved it. So I kept it.

    I always said I was going to get it out there because Pops told me not to lose it. When he said, ‘Don’t lose this,’ that meant: ‘Let it be heard.’"
Mavis teamed up with Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) with whom she had already worked on a couple of fantastic albums (You Are Not Alone and One True Vine) and he added newer production to the 16 year old tapes. Tweedy's son Spencer played drums on the record and Jeff played bass.
Will Hermes of Rolling Stone gave it a Four Star Review. Tshepo Mokoena of The Guardian also spoke very warmly of the album.

So what you get are 10 beautiful tracks brimming over with gospel, R&B, and the Blues, particular highlights for me were Somebody Was Watching, Friendship, The Lady's Letter, Will the Circle Be Unbroken and an absolutely jaw dropping rendition of Bob Dylan's Gotta Serve Somebody.

Don't Lose This - Pop Staples
dBPM Records/Anti Records
Produced by Jeff Tweedy
Released 17th February 2015
Independent Albums Chart #16

Don't Lose This

The S4L Metal Album of the Year 2015: The Awakening - P.O.D.

Starting to get together my favourite Albums of the Year and what's clear is that I've been listening to lots of different styles of music throughout the year. I refuse to be a musical snob and only focus on one particular style of music. I've often found that when I've been so narrow minded with regard to music I have missed out on hearing other great things. The way I look at it is if the music is something that I like (no matter the artist) then I'm happy to listen. I understand that others don't adopt such a policy but it's something I would encourage.

First out of the bag is the Metal Album of the Year. I don't listen to loads of metal but there were a few things this year that struck me as being worthwhile spending time playing: All That Remains album The Order of Things was pretty sharp, especially the track This Probably Won't End Well. Blessthefall's To Those Left Behind was another I really liked as was Shinedown's Threat to Survival.

But the one I've gone for as my favourite of the year is by a band who I have loved for more than twenty years - P.O.D. (Payable On Death) Over  23 years they have released some great albums (Snuff the Punk, Brown, Fundamental Elements of Southtown, Satellite, Testify, and When Angels and Serpents Dance) and fantastic singles (Southtown, Rock the Party, School of Hard Knocks, Alive, Sleeping Awake, Lights Out, and Addicted being just a few of them).

The Awakening by San Diego Metalists P.O.D. is their ninth studio album and in what is a first for them it's a concept album! P.O.D. don't really have the same kind of draw as they did back when Satellite album hit the big time for them but it hasn't stopped them from still looking for ways to expand their horizons. With Howard Benson back at the controls for the fifth album they have certainly done something very different and it does seem to work well. I won't say much about the songs because the video below of the band discussing the album track by track does that better than I could.  One thing I do like about the album that I will say is that there is a great sense of hope weaving through this album even amid the darkness of some of the themes of the story created by the concept.

The album was deemed a commercial failure after dropping off the charts after only a week but a lot of that has to be down to the inability of the record label to give sufficient promotion to it. Regardless of that I really loved it and am happy to declare it The S4L Metal Album of the Year for 2015.

The Awakening - P.O.D.
Produced by Howard Benson
Released 21st August 2015
US Chart #75

    Sonny Sandoval - vocals
    Marcos Curiel - guitar
    Traa Daniels - bass
    Wuv Bernardo - drums, percussion

Additional musicians
    Lou Koller (Sick of It All) - guest vocals on RevoluciΓ³n
    Maria Brink (In This Moment) - guest vocals on Criminal Conversations

The Awakening Album

P.O.D. Talk About The Awakening Track By Track

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Music is the Doctor #29 P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S.

The 29th Edition of Music is the Doctor and today we are getting down to the nitty gritty of life with all it's Problems - fear, anxiety, OCD, various disorders, cutting, hopelessness, depression, unemployment, broken hearts, get the picture! It sounds a bit of a downer but haven't you ever been so glad to find in a song someone who perfectly captured what you are going through at that precise moment in your life? I know I have and so I send this one out to one and all and hope that you might find yourself in any of these songs and realise that you are not alone in your struggles.

On The Playlist

Problems - Sex Pistols
"Too many problems
Oh why am I here
I need to be me
'Cos you're all too clear
And I can see
There's something wrong with you
But what do you expect me to do?
At least I gotta know what I wanna be
Don't come to me if you need pity
Are you lonely you got no one
You get your body in suspension
That's no problem, problem
Problem, the problem is you

They know a doctor
Gonna take you away
They take you away
And throw away the key
They don't want you
And they don't want me
You got a problem
The problem is you
Problem, what you gonna do
Problem, I'll leave it back, I have a
Problem, you got a problem."

(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding - Nick Lowe.
"As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin' for light in the darkness of insanity.
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?"

Till My Head Falls Off - They Might Be Giants.
"Hitting every pocket on my shirt, pants and overcoat
And I'm hitting them again but I don't know where I put my notes
Clearing my throat, and gripping the lectern I smile and face my audience
Clearing his throat and smiling with his hands on the bathroom sink

And when I lean my head against the frosted shower stall
I see stuff through the glass that I don't recognize at all

And I'm not done
And I won't be till my head falls off
Though it may not be a long way off"

Anxious - The Housemartins.
"I really thought I'd have my tongue ties if I stood up to shout
But all they did was listen without their ears
And I thought I'd be beheaded if I stuck my neck out
But they just gave me a hanky for my tears"

Therapy - All Time Low.
"Give me therapy.
I'm a walking travesty
But I'm smiling at everything.
You were never a friend to me
And you can take back your misery."

Outsider - Ramones.
"Everybody tried to push me
Push me around
Everybody tried to put me
Try to put me down"

A Sense of Belonging - Television Personalities.
"Once there was confidence but now there is fear
Once there was laughter but now only tears
Once there were reasons for our optimism
But now we're all drowning in a sea of cynicism"

War Inside My Head - Dream Theater.
"Hearing voices from miles away
Saying things never said
Seeing shadows in the light of the day
Waging a war inside my head"

Pretty Paracetamol - Fischer Z.
"Pretty paracetamol you soothe my aching brow,
I need you when my heard is spinning round,
I multiply myself by two in the mirror on the wall,
But it don't help me, no it don't help me,
First impressions often lie,
They always fool the naked eye."

My Life's A Jigsaw - Purple Hearts
"My life's a jigsaw one piece is missing
My life's a jigsaw I keep on wishing
My life's a jigsaw what am I here for
My  life is a jigsaw"

Panic Attack - The Vaccines
 "You know simply optimistic
and altogether overcome with self-destructive irritation
I resented everyone
I was always well-adjusted
but I'm going down a rabbit hole
further and further and further out of control

And now I'm feeling dizzy
And I'm giving up
I shut my eyes, the room went black
Panic attack"

Numb - Linkin Park.
"I've become so numb, I can't feel you there,
Become so tired, so much more aware
I'm becoming this, all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you."

Never Too Late - Three Days Grace.
 "No one will ever see
This side reflected
And if there's something wrong
Who would have guessed it
And I have left alone
Everything that I own
To make you feel like
It's not too late
It's never too late"

Migraine - Twenty One Pilots.
"I am not as fine as I seem, pardon,
Me for yelling, I'm telling you green gardens,
Are not what's growing in my psyche, it's a different me"

Look Away - Thousand Foot Krutch
 "I will not look away this time,
take all these cuts and make them shine.
And all this pain I've held inside,
so I can find my way home again.

I will not look away this time,
take all these cuts and make them shine,
Don't wanna be perfect just alright."

Paranoid - The Dickies
"All day long I think of things but nothing seems to satisfy
Think I'll lose my mind if I don't find something to pacify.
Can you help me occupy my brain?"

Insomnia - Feeder.
"Reading magazines and counting sheep to pass the time away
Hoping that tomorrow's gonna bring a smile BACK home again
Images of palm tree's swaying in the wind on South beach
Takes me back to better days, Summer days the everglades in June
My brain, my poor brain
My brain, my poor brain" 

West One (Shine On Me) - The Ruts.
"Out in the dark and on my own (shine on me)
I'm stranded here with no way home (shine on me)"

More Than Useless - Relient K.
"Whats the purpose? It feels worthless
So unwanted like I've lost all my value
I can't find it, not in the least bit
and I'm just scared, so scared that I'll fail you

And sometimes I think that I'm not any good at all
And sometimes I wonder why, why I'm even here at all
But then you assure me
I'm a little more than useless
And when I think that I can't do this
You promise me that I'll get through this
And do something right
Do something right for once"

The Unexplained - The Alarm.
Lyrics by Mike Peters
"Sometimes there isn’t an answer
Sometimes there isn’t a reason
Sometimes there’s no explanation
For the unexplained

Sometimes no one is guilty
Sometimes no one’s to blame
Sometimes no one can be found
For the unexplained

Sometimes there is no cure
Sometimes there is no healing
For the unexplained

Sometimes you get given somethings
You not did wish for
It wasn’t in the contract
For the unexplained

Sometimes this is not life
Sometimes this is not living
For the unexplained
For the unexplained"


Monday, 23 November 2015

Home Alone EP - Dave Hause (2015)

Home Alone EP - Dave Hause
Rise Records
Released 18th April 2015

Side A
Home Alone
We Could Be Kings (Acoustic Demo)
Side B
Kinda Homelss
Autism Vaccine Blues (Acoustic Demo)

This was originally released as 7" for Record Store Day 2015 in April but was only put up on You Tube and Spotify over the weekend.

It contains two Demos from the Devour sessions recorded in 2013 and two new songs as well.

If you haven't heard Devour before then take a listen. Such an amazing album.

45RPM: #67 American Squirm - Nick Lowe (1978)

Between October - December 1978 (not totally sure of the date as some sites just have October, others have 24th November and others still 1st December! - the November one seems reasonable to me but honestly I have no idea!) Nick Lowe released his third single for Radar Records. He previously released three singles and an EP for Stiff Records before jumping ship with Jake Riviera to the new label. He had the first release on the label with I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass which reached #7 in the charts, follow-up Little Hitler didn't trouble the charts and neither for that matter did American Squirm which is a real shame because whilst it is a pretty decent track it would have been worth buying for the B-Side alone! American Squirm was not included on the UK release of the album Jesus of Cool but did feature on the US release.

Don't you just love it when you've bought a single and you flip it over to hear what the B-Side is like (around the time of the whole Punk/New Wave scene the emphasis on good B-Sides really came to the fore) only to be blown off your feet because it is actually way more superior to the A-Side? The B-Side of American Squirm did just that! Credited to Nick Lowe and His Sound it is remarkable because the band playing is actually Elvis Costello and The Attractions performing a song that Nick Lowe had written and released in 1974 with his band Brinsley Schwarz.

I do not say this lightly and I will say it loudly with great confidence:

"(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding is quite possibily The Greatest B-Side Ever to have been released!"

A-Side: American Squirm

B-Side: (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding - Credited as Nick Lowe and His Sound (But it's Elvis Costello on the Vocal and The Attractions as backing band!)

45RPM: #66 Union City Blue - Blondie (1979)

Union City Blue, the fourteenth single by Blondie was released on this day (23rd November) in 1979 on Chrysalis. It was the second single to be released from their fourth album Eat To The Beat (their 2nd #1 album in the UK) and the follow-up to their #2 hit single Dreaming. It reached #13 in the UK Chart and wasn't released as a single in the US (who chose The Hardest Part as the second single).

The song was written by Debbie Harry whilst she was filming the movie Union City.

In 1995 it was reissued on CD and Vinyl and that release contained five different Remixes of the song (which personally I have no time for at all as they distract from the absolute quality of the song I think and therefore will not post them here - check them out on You Tube for yourself).

Union City Blue is my favourite Blondie track.

 A-Side: Union City Blue

B-Side: Living In The Real World

45RPM: #65 She's Not There - U.K. Subs (1979)

On this day in 1979 (23rd November) U.K. Subs released their Third single for Gem and it was the band's first cover version (She's Not There was recorded by the Zombies in 1964), recorded at Alvic and Kingsway studios. It was Nicky Garratt's first attempt at production, apart from Victim which was again produced by John McCoy. The single contained four tracks and clocked in at five minutes and forty six seconds! .

Victim is a reworking of an early song, No Rules, which appears on the complete Roxy recording Live Kicks.
Kicks was also re-recorded for the second album, Brand New Age.

The band made their fourth Top Of The Pops appearance (see video below) with Paul Slack singing and Charlie on second guitar (though I can never remember seeing Charlie play guitar live back then!). The record entered the UK top 40 chart on 1st December 1979, staying in the charts for 7 weeks and peaking at number 36.

A-Side: She's Not There (R. Argent)
             Kicks (Harper, Garratt).

B-Side: Victim (Garratt, Harper)
             The Same Thing (Harper, Slack).

 Line Up
Vocals: Charlie Harper/ Paul Slack (She's Not There)
Guitar: Nicky Garratt
Bass: Paul Slack
Drums: Pete Davies

I am indebted to UK Subs Time and Matter for the information here. Apologies for not mentioning it before!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Rewind: 1968 The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society - The Kinks

The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society - The Kinks
Pye (UK) Reprise (US)
Produced by Ray Davies
Released 22nd November 1968
Did Not Chart!

The Kinks
    Ray Davies – lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, harmonica, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, accordion, oboe, flute
    Dave Davies – lead guitar, backup vocals, lead vocals on "Wicked Annabella"
    Pete Quaife – bass, backup vocals
    Mick Avory – drums, percussion

Additional musicians
    Nicky Hopkins – keyboards, mellotron
    Rasa Davies – backing vocals

Rob Webb writing for the BBC in 2004 said, "In 1968 The Kinks released The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, an album curiously closer in spirit to that year's new sitcom hit, Dad's Army, than to the more familiar rock 'n' roll preoccupations of the day. While his contemporaries were revolting in style or getting mystic, Ray Davies spent much of the summer putting together a concept album steeped in nostalgia for an 'Olde England' of corner shops, custard pies and steam trains; an album which seemed to draw as much on the prewar music-hall of Max Miller as it did the blues. While the rock mainstream embraced Satanism and free love, Davies sang about preserving virginity and Sunday School. The Kinks' latest heroes were, apparently, Desperate Dan and Mrs Mopp, rather than Abraham, Martin or John. It was seriously out of step with prevailing trends."

Released on the same day in 1968 as The White Album by The Beatles and there were two very different reactions to both albums. The Beatles album was massive worldwide, The Kinks album made no impact upon the charts in the UK or anywhere else for that matter! It is considered to be one of their most influential and important works and yet at the time it was not the case. Critics praised the album (Read Paul Williams review for Rolling Stone, the album was released in America in January 1969), the public ignored it, and Davies -- surveying the scene-- asserted that it wasn't created for public consumption.

The album was the last one that featured the original quartet as Pete Quaife left the band early 1969 before work began on Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). They had basically spent the better part of two years recording the album and added the finishing touches in October 1968.

Original European 12-song version
Side one
    "The Village Green Preservation Society"
    "Do You Remember Walter?"
    "Picture Book"
    "Johnny Thunder"

Side two
    "Village Green"
    "Mr. Songbird"
    "Wicked Annabella"
    "Phenomenal Cat"
    "People Take Pictures Of Each Other"

This 12-song version was the original track listing intended for the European market. It was released in France, Sweden and Norway in October 1968, New Zealand in December 1968 and Italy in January 1969. However, before its release in the U.K, Ray and Pye had it withdrawn before it was manufactured and a re-sequenced version, expanded to 15 songs. Apart from sequencing, this early version differs by the absence of "Last of the Steam-Powered Trains", "Big Sky", "Sitting by the Riverside", "Animal Farm" and "All of My Friends Were There", and the inclusion of "Mr. Songbird" and "Days" (the latter a #12 UK hit single released in June 1968). The stereo mixes of "Do You Remember Walter" and "People Take Pictures Of Each Other" featured slightly different parts from the mono mixes. This version is extremely rare to find.

The 1998 CD version of the album contained a Stereo Mix of 12 songs from the album and also a mono mix of Days. The 2004 3CD Special Deluxe Edition had a number of bonus tracks including three Stereo Mixes from the withdrawn 12 track edition and a disc of alternate and unreleased versions of songs.

Over the years there has been a major rethink about the album and as I said before many now declare it as their finest work. In Rolling Stone Magazine it was ranked at #255 in their 500 Greatest Albums of All TimePete Townshend of The Who later said that "For me, Village Green Preservation Society was Ray's masterwork. It's his Sgt. Pepper, it's what makes him the definitive pop poet laureate."

45RPM: #64 You're Ready Now - Slaughter and the Dogs (1979)

Wayne Barrett disbanded Slaughter and the Dogs in early 1979 after the release of the It's Alright EP, and a new single was released under the name the Studio Sweethearts in June called I Believe. But by November Slaughter and the Dogs were back together again with Wayne Barrett back on vocals for one more shot on DJM Records who were distributed by Pye Records.

The single, released 9th November, was a cover of an old Frankie Valli solo hit from 1966 You're Ready Now backed by a Roxy Club Classic Runaway (which would be the opening track on The Roxy London WC2 album released in 1977 on Harvest EMI). It had hit record written all over it but it was not to be!

By the end of the year Barrett had gone again and Ed Garrity (formerly of Ed Banger and the Nosebleeds) had replaced him and the band changed their name to Slaughter.

A-Side: You're Ready Now

B-Side: Runaway

Saturday, 21 November 2015

45RPM: #63 Just Another Teenage Anthem - New Hearts (1977)

On 21st November 1977 New Hearts released their Debut Single on CBS - Just Another Teenage Anthem backed by Blood on the Knife. The single was produced by Kenny Laguna. It did not chart.

New Hearts were:
Ian Pain (Page) - vocals
Dave Cairns - guitar
John Hearty - bass
Matt MacIntyre - drums

The band supported The Jam on their Modern World Tour throughout November and December of 1977. The band would only go on to record one more single (Plain Jane / My Young Teacher) that was released in June 1978.

The band was folded by Ian Page and Dave Cairns shortly after being dropped by CBS in 1978 and by February 1979 they were up and running with a new band called Secret Affair.

An album of Demos that they recorded at CBS was released in 2009 entitled New Hearts - A Secret Affair - The CBS Sessions 1977-1978.

A-Side: Just Another Teenage Anthem

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