With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Face Bar Pop-Punk Fun Fest – Sunday 25th July 2010 July 28, 2010


First off let me apologise to all the bands that I didn’t get to see on Sunday, especially the headliners from Brighton, Mimi Soya. Sadly work commitments meant I to leave immediately after a great set by a band you’ve heard about many times before on this blog, Steal The Smile. But more about them later. I saw four bands in the end at a total cost in the region of £100 and a total mileage of 400 miles. So at £25 and 100 miles per band did I get value for money? Overall yes. Did I get value for money from every band? You can judge that by reading below, but can you guess who didn’t provide value for money? Once again at this venue there was hardly anyone in the audience, what is it with promoters? Do they not get that their job title consists of the actual word ‘promote’?

First up were the Mardies. I thought they were pretty good, although some of their songs seemed a little ‘samey’. The clear exception to this rule was the rather excellent “Dancing With Thieves” (I hope I got the title right girls!). My first impression of this all girl band was of Sixpence None The Richer with balls. So overall not a bad performance and their harmonies were immense (4 out of 5)

Next up were Nicotine, which is supposed to be addictive, but this lot were a long way from addictive in my humble opinion. Guys if you are reading this review you might wish to stop now! The two vocalists were really trying the shouty, screamy vocal style, for which you need to have really good vocal styling, clearly they didn’t. It was also bloody difficult to understand anything they said, even when they were speaking. One of the guitarists/ vocalists had a Sandie Shaw thing going on with his feet going bare. If that helped improve his vocals I’m glad I didn’t hear him sing with his shoes on! Some of their guitar work was ok, but for me it felt like the drummer was playing a completely different song in a completely different band. Overall it seemed like their mission was to take the wonderful simplicity of someone like the Ramones (but not the ability) and then complicate the fuck out of it. They finished with a cover version of the Troggs “Wild Thing” which included the worst vocal of the night and probably the worst cover of this great song that I have ever heard and I have heard plenty. Boys, don’t give up the day jobs (1 out of 5)

The third band on was the excellently named the Fortunate. They’re from Basingstoke and have been going for around 18 months. They consist of three guys (bass, guitar and drums) and an excellent female singer who also played keyboards. Their sound is quite crisp and fresh, although for the first song the vocals were way too low in the mix. But after that it was great. The diminutive singer, Natalie, reminded me a little of Clare Grogan off of Altered Images. Overall the fortunate are a very tight band with a great pop sensibility. I would certainly pay to see them again and I purchased their excellent 3 track CD. (5 out of 5)

Finally, as far as my day went anyway, it was the turn of the mighty Steal The Smile, who were once again without Henry who was off on a solo acoustic tour of Grimsby and Scunthorpe. Well ok I made that bit up, he is on holiday in the USA. Oli, Johnny and Luke played well enough for Henry not to be missed on the night. They really are getting tighter as a band and some of their playing seems to intuitively read what one of the others is doing or going to do. Johnny was by far the best drummer from all the four bands I saw at the gig on Sunday. The boys played a five song set which included two relatively new songs; “Always Wrong” and “Two Years Down” both are now available on MySpace and the second is still available on this blog by clicking here. You can also read more of my STS blog posts by clicking here. Obviously I would hand over my cash to see these boys again and sometime soon too. (5 out of 5) Keep on rocking guys!

 

“And all I wanted was a word or a photograph to keep at home” July 27, 2010


What a bummer, no one told us that it wasn’t fancy dress!

Last Friday I had the pleasure of accompanying the wonderful Catwoman to York Races. It was an evening meeting with six races. Obviously we pushed the boat out big style with really expensive tickets and a massive budget for betting. Well ok that was a slight exaggeration; the tickets were a free gift from our good friends Rachel and Andy who had bought them and were then unable to attend. Our betting budget was only massive if you consider £5 per race to be that size. We used a very scientific means of selecting which horses to place our wagers on. You may have used a similar method yourself, let me explain. All you do is pick a name that you like. That’s it, it’s really as simple as that! But science let us down and we won zilch, zero, nada, nothing! Although one of our nags was in front for most of its race, alas it was not there for the most important part, as in where they cross the finish line.

So in keeping with this being a music blog and all that I thought I would round-up a few horse related songs for your listening and viewing pleasure;

White Horses” – Jacky

Wild Horses” – Rolling Stones

A Horse With No Name” – America

Chestnut Mare” – Byrds

Crazy Horses” – Osmonds

Theme From The Adventures Of Black Beauty

It was clear that our jockey didn’t have the experience needed, nor indeed a big enough horse!

Madness point to the winning post, but clearly none of our horses followed their directions

Apparently at many lengthy sporting events these days such as horse racing and Formula 1 there is often a musical act to close the day. It was Madness, the original Nutty Boys, who closed the show for us on Friday. I am so glad that Rachel and Andy didn’t give us tickets for Saturday as that held the delights of some former X Factor finalists and Lee Ryan off of Blue. The merest thought fills me with dread! Anyway, on to Madness, sadly I can only report that they were very professional, probably very entertaining and they played most of the hits. They even played “The Prince” a firm favourite of my good mate Jes Hyde, who was quite envious of me as he has been a big fan of the Suggs and the boys for many years. Why would I give such an excellent band a lukewarm review? well largely because the sound was bloody awful. I would go so far as to say that it was one of the lowest volume and poorest quality sound mixes I have ever heard at an outdoor gig. So let’s remember Madness in their prime to make up for it.

 

“Got your lipstick mark still on your coffee cup” July 18, 2010


In spite of popular opinion it was now clear that Gary was even shorter than Mark. But now at least he’ll be able to stand on Robbie’s Rudebox

I’m not a big Robbie Williams fan as any regular readers will know, but I couldn’t let the news of him rejoining Take That go without a mention. So rather than simply just mention it I thought I’d have some fun with it. Back in my school days at Bishopshalt in the early 70s myself and a friend (stand up Chris Skinner!) often made up short paragraphs using song titles and some simple words to link them. So that is something I have done here to represent an imaginary conversation between Robbie and Take That. The twist is that Robbie is only allowed to speak using his own hits and Take That with theirs, titles are all in CAPS. Let me know what you think. By my count there should be 20 Robbie songs and 14 from Take That, I’d love to see your versions as well

After Robbie had left the band the cheap arse tattoos didn’t seem such a good idea, for a period they were known as TAKE THA, what a bummer!

Robbie said to Take That “I was MISUNDERSTOOD and I said SOMETHIN’ STUPID. I want to make SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL with you so shine a LOVELIGHT on my RUDEBOX and let’s get SEXED UP.”

The Take That boys replied “SURE, BABE let’s have some PATIENCE and PRAY that you can SHINE and RELIGHT MY FIRE. Let’s sit down and write A MILLION LOVE SONGS, IT ONLY TAKES A MINUTE doesn’t it?

The boys were upset that Robbie hadn’t mentioned his sex change to them before he rejoined

“Ok let’s get some ADVERTISING SPACE” said Robbie. “We’ll have some LAZY DAYS TRIPPING with the KIDS. I’ll be OLD BEFORE I DIE and go to meet the ANGELS. I’ll give up my FREEDOM and be STRONG and I won’t COME UNDONE. I FEEL NO REGRETS so let’s go on the RADIO and become the SUPREME ROCK DJs of the MILLENNIUM

Take That finished by saying “NEVER FORGET that EVERYTHING CHANGES and you’re BACK FOR GOOD. COULD IT BE MAGIC? We don’t know, but it is our GREATEST DAY so let’s go and RULE THE WORLD

Robbie would remain eternally grateful that the rest of the boys had rescued his drowning career

Let me close with a conspiracy theory, because I know you love them! The lyrics to Back For Good were written by Gary Barlow. The question is though were they written about Robbie, especially the line about a lipstick mark on a coffee cup. Was Gary having an affair with a cross dressing Robbie? I think the world needs to know. (Please note that this last part is complete garbage that I just made up for fun, but even with this statement I suspect someone out there might actually believe it!)

 

“Then you take my mind and you play with it all night” July 15, 2010


Wiley, was that beard drawn on by Etch-A-Sketch?

So if illegal free downloading is killing music, what is legal free downloading to it? Just ask UK Grime Star aka the Godfather of Grime aka Richard Cowie. Last Thursday he gave away 203 unreleased songs, it was such a big giveaway with such a big response that it caused a temporary meltdown on his web forum. But the fans seem to have loved it. Personally I think it’s a brilliant idea, although I suspect that his record company and management might not be so pleased. read the Wiley story in the Guardian by clicking here. This of course is in the same week that Prince gave away his new album for free with UK tabloid the Daily Mirror. Before you ask yes I did lower my standards and buy the tabloid simply to get a hold of the purple one’s new album, 20Ten. It’s actually rather good, especially as it just cost me the price of a tabloid and of course the shame of buying said tabloid. As for giving the album away free I’m sure Prince was paid a more than princely sum by the Mirror. Incidentally the Daily Mirror gave the album a five-star rating, hmmmmmmm I wonder why that was?

This year also sees the 5oth birthday of the Etch-A-Sketch. So why is that in a music blog I hear you ask? Well simply because a number of artists have created some excellent art on them including some music related works including Elvis and the Beatles which you can see below. Click here to read the Guardian story on this topic. The most well-known of these artists are Americans George Vlosich and Geoff Gagliardi. It’s quite amazing that this toy is that old and has hardly changed at all in that time.

Finally for today’s post I have to wish a very happy birthday to one of my favourite female singers of all time, the supremely talented Millie Jackson, she is 66 today. The first song of hers I ever owned was “My Man A Sweet Man” which I brought on 7 inch vinyl when I was about 12 years old. The song was quite a hit on the Northern Soul circuit in the UK. Later I really got into her albums, especially ‘Caught Up’ and ‘Still Caught Up’ If these had been recorded by a rock act they would have been even more highly acclaimed concept albums. The stories revolve around affairs and break-ups. I have seen her live just once, back in 1978 at the Victoria Apollo in London with my good mate Glen Voisey. If you’re reading this do you remember that show?

As a teenager I used to find this quite a sexy and alluring picture, now that's an admission isn't it?

Millie is short for Mildred and I definitely prefer Millie, obviously no disrespect for any Mildreds reading this of course. Her first really big hit in the US was “Hurts So Good” in 1973 and was featured in the blaxploitation movie ‘Cleopatra Jones’. There was also a great reggae cover of the song from Susan Cadogan in 1975. The ‘Caught Up’ album came out in 1974 and featured Millie’s superb cover of Luther Ingram’s “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Wanna Be Right” which became a million selling single and earned a grammy nomination too. In 1979 she recorded an album of duets with Isaac Hayes, ‘Royal Rappins’ which for me was ok but a long way from classic. She also recorded a hit duet with Elton John in 1985, the song was “Act Of War“. She has covered songs by artists as diverse as Merle Haggard (“If You’re Not Back In Love By Monday“), Boney M (“Never Change Lovers In The Middle Of The Night“) and Exile (“Kiss You All Over“). Unsurprisingly this is the first and possibly last mention of Boney M in  this blog.

This one too 😉

Millie was also a forerunner in the early days of rap, which was nothing like todays rap, but more like talking in the rhythm of the song and was normally a featured part of an album or song. One of the classic Millie raps was “Logs And Thangs“. She now has her own record label, Weird Wreckuds and was a radio presenter for many years in Atlanta. Some her album covers often appear in the worst ever covers lists, notably ‘Back To The Shit”. But forget the album covers, for me Millie always will be one of the greatest soul voices the world has ever seen. I hope you had a great birthday Millie!

Millie goes for the Royal Flush, but did she get to number 1 or number 2?

 

“There’s a world outside your window and it’s a world of dread and fear” July 13, 2010


To paraphrase the words of the Beatles, “it was 25 years ago today that Mr Geldof got the bands to play!” Yes folks 25 years ago this very day (July 13th 2010) the event that was Live Aid took place featuring most of the great and good in music at that time. Looking back on it now it was a fantastic achievement engineered by Bob Geldof. I watched the whole of the live broadcast on the BBC which kicked off at midday with Status Quo performing “Rocking All Over The World”. It really launched a couple of acts into the stratosphere for me, notably U2 and Queen, although Freddie and the boys were close to it anyway. In my opinion there were some obvious disappointments as well; Bob Dylan’s performance, no Jacko appearance, no Prince appearance, Simon Le Bon’s vocals and Spandau Ballet’s suits.

Phil Collins played on both sides of the Atlantic having flown to the USA in Concorde. Sting performed with Dire Straits. Mick Jagger performed with Tina Turner. Paul McCartney’s microphone failed to work and David Bowie gave up one his songs to allow a short documentary to be shown, which helped raise even more money. The total raised was around £150 million toward famine relief in Africa, especially Ethiopia. The Wembley leg of the concert was attended by 72,000 people and the Philadelphia leg by 99,000 people. Click on Wembley or Philadelphia in the previous sentence for the set lists at each show. But more than 2 billion people watched it around the world! In a strange little incident at the Wembley gig the helicopters carrying the artists were allowed to land at a London Transport Bowling Club near the stadium. The interesting thing here is that there was a wedding reception being held there at the time. So the happy couple might have been inconvenienced but they did have a string of music superstars appearing in their wedding pictures!

Will anything like this ever happen again? Well there was Live 8, but that was small by comparison. Live Aid was a tremendous event that was very much of its time and to me it seems like a lifetime ago. Will it need to happen again? I think it will for the sake of Africa and other parts of the Third World. But for now enjoy some of the finest Live Aid moments below, including the heartbreaking CBC video introduced by David Bowie and soundtracked by the Cars “Drive”

 

“See that girl she does something to my chemistry” July 12, 2010


These two music deaths almost passed me by, they certainly didn’t seem to get much in the way of column inches in the UK press. But on July 6th Harvey Fuqua died of a heart attack aged 80 and on July 10th Sugar Minott died aged just 54, the cause of his death has not yet been announced but he was diagnosed with a heart condition in 2009. So I won’t let their passing go unmarked in my blog!

Harvey Fuqua in the Moonglows along with a very young Marvin Gaye

Harvey Fuqua first came to prominence in a group called the Moonglows along with a certain Mr Marvin Gaye. He had quite a musical pedigree. His Uncle, Charlie Fuqua was a member of the Ink Spots and he was also married to Berry Gordy’s sister Gwen. he was responsible for bringing the Spinners (aka the Detroit Spinners and the Motown Spinners in the UK) and Johnny Bristol to Motown. He went on to produce quite a few hits with Bristol. He worked closely with Marvin Gaye and it was Fuqua’s idea that Marvin record a series of duets with Tammi Terrell. He was the producer on Gaye’s first post Motown album ‘Midnight Love’ which featured the classic “Sexual Healing” In the late 70s Harvey discovered the late, great Disco artist Sylvester and produced two of his biggest hits; “Dance (Disco Heat)” and “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” My favourite Slyvester cut though is “Was It Something That I Said?” Mr Fuqua had such a rich musical history and career he will be sadly missed. Click on the song title to hear a great duet he did with the wonderful Etta James, called “If I Can’t Have You” (which incidentally is not the same as the Yvonne Elliman song of the same name from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

Harvey Fuqua with Stella Ragland and Smokey Robinson

Lincoln Barrington Minott began his career as a member of the African Brothers in 1969. Here they are with “Hold Tight” from 1970. He went on to record with top Jamaican producers; Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd and Rupie Edwards. He relocated to the UK from Jamaica in 1980 and had his biggest UK chart success with  a cover of an old Michael Jackson song “Good Thing Going” which reached number 4 in 1981. He recorded hundreds of tracks during his career. In 2006 he appeared on the Easy Stars album of Radiohead covers, titled ‘Radiodread’. He provided guest vocals on the track “Exit Music (For A Film)” Click on the song title for one of my favourite Minott songs, “Lovers Rock“. So like Mr Fuqua the music industry has lost another very talented man.

The late, great Sugar Minott

 

“Hey Andy, are you goofing on Elvis?” July 11, 2010


What a bummer, I missed the train again!

I was reading the news earlier today and I discovered a fantastic longstanding tradition that I had never previously heard of and yet it appears to have started more than 30 years ago. It is the annual Amtrak Mooning in Laguna Niguel in Orange County California. It took place this weekend and started as some kind of bet in a bar. A drinker in the Mugs Away Bar which is opposite the Amtrak rail line offered to buy a drink for anyone who would go out and moon at the next train. One drinker took the challenge and it has grown since then to a point where thousands of people take part every year. Many people even travel on the Amtrak on that day especially to see it.

Don't look now but there's a crack on the track!

Here is a video of the Amtrak Moon event from 2005

I think this whole idea is bloody hilarious and maybe we should kick something off like it in the UK, maybe on the platform at Baker Street Station or a bridge over the main east coast rail line in York. Who would be up for that?We already have the Annual Naked Bike Ride in York in June, maybe we can combine it with a rail mooning event.

What I don't get is why there are so many clothes on a naked bike ride

Strangely I was considering a train related post having visited the National Railway Museum in York yesterday with some friends and their two children. So when I saw the Amtrak mooning story on the Beeb I thought I’d combine the two. So here are a few songs relating to trains or mooning. If anyone knows of a song that actually combines trains and mooning then please let me know.

The Train Songshttps://justwilliam1959.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1701&action=edit&message=10

Runaway Train” – Roseanne Cash. She is the eldest daughter of the late, great Johnny Cash. Her first, self titled album, was recorded largely in Germany. It was released in 1978 although not in the USA

Downtown Train” – Rod Stewart. Rod has recently turned down the opportunity to tour again with the remaining members of the Faces and his place is taken by Mick Hucknall of Simply Red. Now I just don’t get that, do you? Glen Matlock off of the Sex Pistols replaces the late, great Ronnie Lane.When speaking of his divorces Rod was allegedly quoted as saying “Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her a house.”

Long Train Runnin‘” – Doobie Brothers. The fledgling Doobie Brothers were called Pud until a friend noted their fondness for smoking doobies (marijuana cigarettes to those of you who were bypassed by drug culture). So not real brothers at all!

Chattanooga Choo Choo” – Glenn Miller Orchestra. Mr Miller was born just two months before my wonderful Nan, Rosie Lavinia Schofield in March 1904. She died aged 93 back in 1998. Glen Miller was recorded as missing presumed dead on 15th December 1944 after his plane ditched into the English Channel

The Moon Songs

Blue Moon” – Marcels. The group who formed in 1959, were named by Fred Johnson’s (who sang bass)Priscilla, after a popular hair style of the day (the Marcell wave)

Under The Moon Of Love” – Curtis Lee. Curtis had a US hit with this song and “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” in 1961, both were produced by Phil Spector and both were covered in the 70s by UK band Showaddywaddy who had a UK number one with “Under The Moon Of Love” in 1976

The Whole Of The Moon” – Waterboys. This song was a minor UK hit in 1985, its progress was hampered by singer Mike Scott’s refusal to appear on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops where he would have had to lip sync the song.

Man On The Moon” – REM, The song is about US comic performer Andy Kaufman. This video is a live performance at a Rock The Vote show and has Michael Stipe duetting with Bruce Springsteen

 

 
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