With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Beans On Toast – The Crescent, York – Tuesday 8th May 2018 May 13, 2018


Having seen Beans On Toast a.k.a Jay McAllister at the Latitude Festival I knew that I would definitely take the opportunity to see him again. So as soon as I heard that he would be playing live in my adopted home city of York I was among the first in line for tickets. This gig at the Crescent was part way through a UK tour. The support for this tour is none other than Dan Lucas a.k.a Boss Caine, one of York’s finest musicians and songwriters. Boss Caine’s set was an understated masterpiece including songs new and old. He opened with “Ghosts and Drunks” an excellent new song, well new to me anyway. Perhaps my favourite was a little ditty about a friend with an addiction problem and how breakfast was with that person. It was called “Morphine And Marmalade” and it needs to be on the next Boss Caine album (are you listening Dan?). “Leaving Victoria” which Dan dedicated to Whispering Bob Harris is in my opinion one of Boss Caine’s finest tunes and it provokes so many emotions in me. While this was a Boss Caine solo acoustic set Dan was joined by a talented trumpeter for a rollicking romp through “Champagne” from his new album. This was a classic Boss Caine set that lined us all up nicely for Beans On Toast.

Beans On Toast has a habit/ tradition of releasing a new album every year on his birthday in December and this tour was to support the tenth anniversary of ‘Standing On A Chair’ his debut album from 2009. What? 2009? That’s not ten years I hear you say. Well Jay pointed out he miscalculated and hadn’t counted 2009 as year zero. But by the time he had realised everything had been booked. But 9th anniversaries are the new in thing aren’t they? As well as an incredible collection of amazing songs Jay provides some incredibly interesting between song stories. He opened with the delightful and very English “Afternoons In The Sunshine”. This was followed in quick succession by “Don’t Believe The Bullshit” and “Fuck The Smoking Ban”. Jay said that he had split the set into couplets of three songs but then he realised that couplet actually meant two not three. Self deprecation is a virtue and Beans On Toast has it in bundles. Incidentally he is now no longer in favour of fucking the smoking ban as he has given the nicotine up. He has a song about that too!

The song “Lizzie’s Cooking” (Lizzie is his partner) came about with an appearance on a German cooking TV show for which no one had told him that he was there to produce a meal from his recipe. Sticking with the culinary theme next up was “Eggs Benedict” which is in fact a song about sex with an older woman. He told a bloody hilarious story about a chant that began at a festival he had played, that chant was ‘get your dick out’. Jay tried that and almost dropped himself in it, but thankfully he lived to play another day and his tackle remained covered at all times! For me “M.D.M. Amazing” is one of my favourite Beans On Toast songs. Incredibly Jay revealed that some of the story in that song is bullshit. No way, surely  not! The magnificent Walker Sisters provided some excellent gymnastics to support the hilarious “Unlikely Gymnast”. “Nanny Mac” and “Major Oak” were poignant, beautiful and thought provoking. For “No Charlie” we were offered the chance to ‘make our own adventure’ and we chose for Jay to perform this brilliant slice of folky, acoustic reggae in a reggae voice. Bloody brilliant! I am a carnivore, but “The Chicken Song” does make you think how cruel meat processing is. Not many people have summed up the Royal Family in a song as well as Beans On Toast captures in “Harry In A Helicopter” about, yes you guessed it, Prince Harry. This was one of those wonderful gigs were I couldn’t stop smiling and singing for ages after leaving! My wonderful wife Catwoman a.k.a. Catherine absolutely loved the show as well! If you haven’t yet experienced a live set by Beans On Toast, you need to change that!

Obligatory public service announcement: all photographs were discovered via Google searches. If you are the photographer I am more than happy to credit them to you. All videos were found on YouTube.

 

Isaac Gracie – The Crescent, York – Monday 16th April 2018 April 17, 2018


Another school night, another gig at the fabulous Crescent in York. Tonight was another excellent show from Northern Radar this time headlined by Isaac Gracie. But before I give you my opinion of Mr Gracie how about a big hand for the most amazing support act Matt Maltese. He has an album coming out in June and after seeing him play live that is a very, very exciting prospect. He is like a lounge version of Rufus Wainwright who wears his politics on his sleeve in 72 point bold font. “As The World Caves In” is an incredible song and a very worthy single, a copy of which I bought on the night. Matt’s between song bonhomie and sardonic wit is wonderfully original. I think perhaps that “Guilty” was my favourite highlight, but there were many, so that might change if you ask me again. I would unreservedly pay to see Mr Maltese again.

It would be somewhat of a cliché to say that I have seen the future of rock ‘n’ roll, let’s face it Jon Landau said that about Bruce Springsteen in 1974. However I have seen a very bright future for British music in the shape of Isaac Gracie. Twenty One year old Gracie is a former chorister with the Ealing Abbey Choir. He first came to the attention of the music industry after “Last Words” a song recorded on GarageBand in his bedroom was unleashed into the world in 2015. His songs are far more mature than his years and on top of that he comes across as wonderfully affable and self-deprecating on stage. For me he has all the finest qualities of a young Jeff Buckley. I had the privilege of seeing Buckley at the Reading Festival many, many years ago and Gracie has the same qualities in his songs, performance, raw talent, passion and demeanour. Check out his cover of Radiohead’s “No Surprises” and the Arctic Monkeys “Fluorescent Adolescent” on YouTube and see the ghost of Buckley made real. My wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman doesn’t come to many gigs with me, but she was blown away by this one.

His first album is a truly accomplished début “Terrified”, “Last Words”, “Reverie”, “Running On Empty” and “Silhouettes Of You” all feel like classic songs that have been with you your whole life and Isaac played all of them tonight. There was not a single dud song in his set, my particular highlights were “All In My Mind” and the haunting song of sadness that is “Darkness Of The Day”. “Was our love a work of art, before the painting fell apart”, is that not one of the best lyrical couplets ever written? It is almost 46 years since I attended my first gig and there have been hundreds since then, but this is without doubt one of the finest shows that I have ever seen. If Isaac Gracie does not become a world straddling star then there is something horribly wrong with this planet.

 

Kim Wilde – Barbican, York – Sunday 15th April 2018 April 16, 2018


Tonight I had the pleasure of seeing Kim Wilde perform live. It was the first time I had seen a this fabulous artist who let’s face it is a part of UK Pop’s aristocracy. Before I tell you what I thought of her show let me say a few words about the talented support act Lawrence Hill. He is an engaging performer who has some excellent songs of his own. He also played a George Ezra cover and a very smartly done cover of the 1993 Robin S chart smash “Show Me Love”. I think it is always tough for a support act on a tour like this with many of the audience only there to see the headliner. But he certainly had the vast majority of the audience with him. His looping skills are also a cut above many. Definitely a singer songwriter to look out for.

Cover art by Scarlett Wilde

Kim Wilde is touring off the back of ‘Here Come The Aliens’ her first album in nearly five years and her first UK top 30 album for more than 25 years. I have listened to the new album quite a few times before this show and what is so great is that Kim is not just treading the 80s revival circuit. ‘Here Come The Aliens’ is a classy pop album and as good if not better than much of her competition in the pop arena. I believe that Kim set the template back in 1981 for the more modern female pop singer, she was a massive success before Madonna, Kylie and the Spice Girls.

Photo by Catherine Adamson

She has an excellent band, including two drummers, her brother Ricky on guitar and her niece Scarlett Wilde (Ricky’s daughter) on backing vocal duties. Kim rightly described them as a great rock band, which is exactly what they are. I should also mention Kim’s stage costume which was stunning, apparently she cleaned it in the bath the day before! They played some choice cuts from the new record; “1969”, “Pop Don’t Stop” and “Yours ‘Til The End” were particular highlights for me and my wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman. Kim also gave as a hard-hitting version of her cover of the Supremes “You Keep Me Hanging On” which really showcased just how good her band are. She played a softer take on one of the Gibb Brothers finest songs and previously a hit for Yvonne Elliman, “If I Can’t Have You”.

 

Obviously Kim was never going to do a show without many of her biggest hits and there were many “Cambodia”, “You Came”, “Chequered Love”, “View From A Bridge” and even her 1987 duet with Junior Giscombe “Another Step (Closer To You)” with Scarlett taking the Giscombe parts on with passion and soul. You can probably guess what the closing number was, it was indeed the magnificent “Kids In America“. Most of us in the audience had been on our feet dancing from quite early on, but “Kids In America” had almost everyone up and singing along. Kim comes across as a self-deprecating, caring and frankly lovely person. I have no doubt that I will be seeing Kim Wilde in concert again some day. If you haven’t then you really ought to, it was a great night out!

 

 

Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Crescent, York – Tuesday 15th August August 15, 2017


Having really loved Hurray For The Riff Raff‘s album ‘The Navigator’ on first hearing it earlier this year I was hoping to get the chance to see them live. Well that chance came around at a fabulous little venue, the Crescent, in my adopted home city of York. Were Hurray For The Riff Raff good? Well you will just have to read on to find out, but first let me tell you about the rather splendid support act, Alex Golisti. He played a great acoustic set including some of his own songs, one of which was an old banjo tune that he played on the guitar and had written his own lyrics for. He has a voice that at times shows similarities with both Tom Waits and George Ezra. He plays a style that evokes bluegrass and roots music with a modern twist. On top of all that he has a great self-deprecating sense of humour.

I was accompanied by my beautiful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman this evening as she enjoyed ‘The navigator’ too. We were both very excited to be here and from the opening salvo of “Life To Save” and “Nothing’s Gonna Change That Girl” we were not disappointed. The energy shown by Alynda Lee Segarra and indeed the whole band never let up for the whole night. There were plenty of highlights notably for me the haunting rendition of “Fourteen Floors” with Alynda on keyboard. Then just when you think it couldn’t get better the band hit us with one of Segarra’s excellent protest songs, “Pa’ lante”. It has vision, power, heart, soul, deep emotion and an uplifting message. I understand that it is Spanish slang and that it means to “go ahead” or “go for it”. Alynda is very proud of her Puerto Rican roots and that shows on the current album and in her stage performance. The encore included a rousing cover of Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” which had absolutely everyone on their feet. This is a band on top form and one who were really enjoying themselves. I will definitely be seeing them again! This was another great show from Please Please You, thank you Joe Coates.

 

My 1,000th Post – The bonus disc a.k.a Post 1,001 January 23, 2017


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A big thank you to all of you who took part in my 1,000th post, you can click here to read it again.This post, my 1,001st, is in effect a bonus disc of that original post. It includes all the outtakes from those of you who either changed your mind or could not make up your mind. As with cheap reissues that include bonus discs I don’t intend to say much about any of these songs. But if you wish to say something about your song that never made it feel free to add a comment. The people who have contributed to this post are; my beautiful wife Catherine (a.k.a. Catwoman), Katie Jane Hardy, Karen McPoland, Carl Rogers, Paul Terry, Rachael Baines- Holmes and me. One song from everyone, except for Karen who has two. Can you guess who chose which song? Incidentally I was very pleased to see two tracks from Ziggy Stardust in this collection!

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This is it, my 1,000th blog post! January 22, 2017


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Well blow me down with a feather, knock me down with an empty washing up liquid container, hit me on the head with a silk handkerchief or spank me with  a lollystick! This is my 1,000th post on this blog. It has taken eight years, but wow I am amazed that I have got this far with it. As a special offer to my blog followers and Facebook friends I opened this post up to you. I asked you to send me one song or artist and those songs and artists would form the content of this post. I did promise to say something nice about your choice and I will certainly try to stand by that, even if you have sent me a song that you know I do not really like, actually there were very few of those.  So here we go and there is no particular order or sequence to this by the way.

First up was suggested by a man who is exactly one year older than me, Vijay Ragoonanan. His choice is the first one that I received and it is a pretty classy one too. It’s “Train In Vain” by one of my favourite bands, the Clash. It was their first top 30 hit in the US and was largely called “Train In Vain” to avoid confusion with the Ben E King classic “Stand By Me” as the common refrain throughout the song is ‘stand by me’

Next up are three songs from the same family Caron Godbold Darbyshire Williams, John Williams and their wonderful daughter (who is also my Odd Daughter) Amelia. Caron chose “High” from the Lighthouse Family which was hers and John’s first dance song at their wedding. This remains the band’s most successful song, it reached the top ten in eleven countries, including number one in Australia back in 1998. John chose the timeless Don McLean song “American Pie”.  McLean has spoken very infrequently about the meaning of the song other than to confirm that the day the music died refers to the death of Buddy Holly in a plane crash on February 3rd 1959. However many people have speculated that it summarises much of America’s relatively recent history along with some related music history, for example ‘the quartet practised in the park’ is believed by many to refer to the Beatles. Amelia’s offering was One Direction with “History”. One Direction are one of the handful of acts that have remained a success long after their reality TV star burned out. This song gives a co writing credit to band members Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne along with Julian Bunetta, John Ryan, Wayne Hector and Ed Drewett. Released at the end of 2015 it currently sits as the final single from the group now that they all appear to have gone their own way. It made it to number 6 in the UK and only hit 65 in the USA.

Sam Claypole has the next song and it’s American crooner Barry Manilow with “Could It Be Magic”. The lyrics were written by Adrienne Anderson and the music by Bazza himself. As with most Manilow songs the production is damned good. It was produced by Barry along with Ron Dante. It has been covered by many acts, notably by Take That and Donna Summer. My favourite version of the song is Donna Summer’s and I don’t really like the bombastic over production on the Take That cover.

The next offering is from someone who I went to school with back in the 1970s, Susan Norris. She has given us the sublime UK number one from 1968 by Fleetwood Mac, “Albatross”. This remains the band’s only UK number one, albeit with a very different incarnation of the group from the mega selling troupe that straddled the globe with ‘Rumours’ in the late 70s. Did you know that “Albatross” allegedly influenced a Beatles song? Apparently it was a strong influence on “Sun King” from 1969’s ‘Abbey Road’ album.

Top bloke Andy Copeland has selected the next track, I work with Andy and he sees me as some kind of old cockney geezer and provided me with the nickname Albert! Anyway as a result Andy proposed anything from Chas ‘n’ Dave, so in order not to disappoint I will treat you to “The Sideboard Song” from those cheeky London chappies. The song just missed out on a top 50 UK chart placing peaking at number 55 in 1979. It was taken from their very cockney titled album ‘Don’t Give A Monkey’s’

Someone else that I work with has the next song in the list and it is in my opinion an all time rock classic. Adrian Caines thank you for bring us Rush with “Spirit Of Radio”. Interestingly this is the only act that will feature twice on this list, more from them later. The song was released in 1980 and comes from what I believe is their seventh studio album ‘Permanent Waves’. It is still the band’s biggest UK hit having peaked at number thirteen. The song has been covered by the Catherine Wheel and sampled by Saint Etienne.

Simon Pattinson, a tireless promoter of new (and often local) music brings us York band Faux Pas who launched their first EP at Fibbers in York a few weeks ago. They have already performed at the Leeds Festival and have had some airplay on Radio 1. This teenage 4-piece have a very bright future I reckon, what do you think? The song is “I Hate Dancing”.

David Burr requested Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia with “Unity Hymn” which I have struggled to share with you as I can’t find a link that will play you any more than 30 seconds of this classy song. If you have a link feel free to share it. I have listened to the track on Spotify where it is credited to Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia (featuring John Hiseman, Peter Lemer, Malcolm Macfarlane, Paul Westwood, Anna Gracey Hiseman and the London Gospel Singers). I have added a link to a whole show from 1991 though. Barbara is a very experienced and skilled jazz saxophonist who has been playing professionally for many years. She received an MBE in 1996 and in the early part of this century she had to retire from playing for a while due to Parkinson’s Disease, but she is back now and is a permanent member of Colosseum for whom her husband Jon Hiseman is the drummer.

Among the liveliest of my Facebook friends is Katie Jane Hardy and she has chosen “Ain’t It Fun” by the Dead Boys. Originally fronted by Stiv Bators this band from Cleveland, Ohio were around at the first flush of punk from 1976 to 1979. Stiv sadly died in 1990 after being run over by a taxi, although the band did get back together in 2004 and 2005. “Ain’t It Fun” comes from their 1978 album ‘We Have Come For Your Children’.

Someone else that I went to school with in the 70s, Jane Price, selected the next song and it is a 70s classic; “Heart Of Gold” from Ole Shakey himself, Neil Young.  Taken from the album ‘Harvest’ in 1972 it is so far Neil’s only US number one single. Backing vocals on the track are courtesy of James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.

I would like you to thank Shaun Flannery for the next song, it is “Angels” by Robbie Williams, who as Shaun pointed out to me is a Brits Icon winner, personally that just proves to me how meaningless the Brits actually are. Now many of my regular readers know that I am not a big Robbie fan and one of my least favourite songs ever is “Angels” (along with John Lennon’s “Imagine”). But I did say I would try to be nice. The song was co written by Robbie, Guy Chambers and Ray Heffernan. In 2005 a UK poll voted it the most popular song that was requested at funerals in the UK, I’m not quite sure what that says about it. Robbie has had seven solo UK number one hits in the UK, although “Angels” only made it to number four back in 1997.

I used to work with our next contributor and we have also been to a few gigs together too, Simon Hernaman has chosen “Rockwrok” by the John Foxx incarnation of Ultravox. It was released in 1977 and was taken from their ‘Ha! Ha! Ha!’ album. The B -Side of the single was an alternate version of “Hiroshima Mon Amour” from the one on the ‘Ha! Ha! Ha!’ album

Karen McPoland struggled to choose just one song, in fact she offered me three and asked me to choose. A couple of you gave me an initial choice and then changed your mind, so who knows, perhaps they might all appear on a future post, 1,001 perhaps? Anyway I chose the Eels from Karen’s list with “The Look You Give That Guy”. The Eels were formed in 1995 by Mark Oliver Everett also known as E or Mr E. His father Hugh was a physicist who was one of the first people to propose the potential existence of multiple universes or the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics. The song is taken from their 2009 album ‘Hombre Lobo’ and was a big hit in Belgium.

My good friend and regular Reading Festival buddy wanted the Glass Animals to be included, so obviously they will be. They originate from Oxford where they formed in 2012. They have played a number of festivals around the world and released their second album ‘How To Be A Human Being’ last year. I have chosen “Youth” from that album.

Someone else that I used to work with many years ago picked the next song and it’s a bit of a Prog classic from Yes, thank your Graeme Card. It comes from ‘Yessongs’ which was the band’s first live album. The track originally appeared on the studio album ‘Close To The Edge’.

Jon Reeton is next up with “No Bravery” from James Blunt. I was never a big fan of Blunt, but I have great respect for his deftness at self-deprecation. I think he has an incredible sense of humour, but his music doesn’t do too much for me. However Jon pointed out how meaningful the lyrics are even now and I find it hard to disagree with that. The song was written by Blunt with Sacha Skarbek and can be found on his debut album ‘Back To Bedlam’ from 2005.

A little bit of reggae next with “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)” by Dawn Penn, thank you to Carl Rogers for this one. The song reached number three in the UK charts in 1994. Penn first recorded a song with this title in 1967 and it was based on a track by US R & B singer Willie Cobbs which in turn was heavily influenced by a Bo Diddley song. That is why the 1994 release from Dawn Penn credits both Cobbs and Diddley as writers.

Paul Terry offered me two choices and I wonder if he might be surprised that I chose Justin Bieber from the two? Anyway while I can’t say I am a Belieber I do like some of his more recent stuff. Especially “Love Yourself” which was written by Ed Sheerhan along with Benjamin Levin (a.k.a. Benny Blanco) and Bieber. It spent six weeks at number one in the UK chart.

Suzi Stacey my online witchy sister has picked a Rolling Stones classic “Mothers Little Helper”. Obviously this is not a drug related song, well ok it definitely is. Don’t do drugs kids otherwise you might live as long as Keith Richards. Hang on that sounds like a good thing though right? OK I sound like I’m high now, just enjoy the song ok.

I told you that there would be another entry from Canadian rockers Rush and I wasn’t lying. This time it is “Tom Sawyer” chosen by my mate Andy Golborne. It was the opening track on their 1981 album ‘Moving Pictures’. VH1 named it the 19th Greatest Hard Rock song of all time in 2009.

Now we have a track from the late, great Gary Moore which also features the late, great Phil Lynott. Thank you for Jacqui Parkin for choosing this one, I think it is a true classic. The song made it to number 8 in the UK singles chart in 1979. It was written by Moore and Lynott. Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey also plays on the track.

The next song is very much one of my favourites as it was the first dance after marrying my beautiful wife Catherine. In fact this is Catherine (a.k.a. Catwoman)’s choice. It is the truly sublime “Into My Arms” by Nick Cave. Just listen to it, is there anyone out there that doesn’t like this song? It is also the only song that I know that includes a reference to an ‘interventionist God’.

Sara Hayes has chosen the 25th song which spookily has the number 25 in the title, it s Edwin Starr with “25 Miles” a fabulous slice of Motown genius. It reached number 6 in the US chart and 36 in the UK chart when issued as a single in 1969. It was written by Johnny Bristol, Harvey Fuqua and Edwin Starr. This song was also a big hit on the Northern Soul scene in the UK.

Rachael Baines-Holmes picked the next song and it is a slice of punky class; the Dead Kennedys with “Holiday In Cambodia”. It was written by the band’s front man Jello Biafra and John Greenway and it was the second single to be released by the group when it came out in 1980. It followed “California Über Alles”. Both songs were included on the album ‘Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables’.

So there you have it twenty-six songs provided by a selection of my friends. Thank you for being a part of this and for reading my blog and putting up with all the puns and shit that I post on Facebook. Finally though I will leave you with my selection. I have said loads about it on previous blog posts and it is without doubt my favourite song of all time. “No Woman No Cry” Bob Marley and the Wailers taken from the ‘Live At The Lyceum’ album from 1975

 

“Let me get the story straight you never gave me a break” November 16, 2016


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Regular readers will know that I am a fan of classic British punk band and now old men like me The Damned. In fact I even saw them play live recently. Anyway did you know that there is a link between Vanian, Sensible and the boys and Aussie legend Nick Cave? Well there is!

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Are you familiar with the Damned’s 1985 album ‘Phantasmagoria’? Yes I know it was  their major label debut (thank you MCA), but did you know that Nick Cave’s future wife Susie Black was on the cover? Well she was indeed! That was another ‘With Just A Hint Of Mayhem’ public service announcement. Obviously I took another opportunity to play Nick Cave’s magnificent “Into My Arms” for my beautiful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman. In case you didn’t know, that is our song 🙂

 

 

 
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