What was the first album on an independent record label to enter the UK top 20? If you had asked me to guess this I am pretty confident that I would have got it wrong. But according to a recent piece in Vive Le Rock magazine it was Stiff Little Fingers with their début album ‘Inflammable Material‘. It reached number 14 in 1979. So now feel free to enjoy a few tracks from that classic album from one of Northern Ireland’s finest bands. Including an excellent cover version of Bob Marley’s “Johnny Was”
Have you ever heard of Milky Edwards and the Chamberlings? No? Nor had I until recently. They (if indeed they are a they) come across as a classic ‘lost’ Motown band, perhaps in the mold of the Four Tops. From what I have discovered on-line Milky Edwards first appeared on YouTube last year with a video showing a record playing a cover version of some classic early 70s rock with the supposed album cover propped up behind. The album cover is very reminiscent of a 1960s Supremes album cover (see below).
It never really took off until the links were posted last month on David Bowie’s Facebook page. Why were they published on Bowie’s page? Well largely because the cover versions were all taken from the Ziggy Stardust album. The songs published so far are; “Starman”, “Moonage Daydream” and “Soul Love“. Mark Ronson and Tom Jones have denied any involvement in the recordings as have Bowie’s camp. But for me I would be very surprised if Bowie himself has played no part in this. I also believe that it is a wonderful hoax. There is even a website with the strap-line ‘rediscover the music of Milky Edwards, click here to see it. What do you think of all this? Have any of you got the inside track on these recordings? Personally I bloody love these tracks!
Catwoman and me have a friend called Jo Bagshaw is a truly creative designer of some really superb jewellery. She designed the jewellery for our wedding in September 2011; including an excellent pair of cufflinks which take pride of place in my collection. It was through Jo that we came to be at a gig by the abundantly talented Lisbee Stainton on Friday night. Jo knows Lisbee as she has recently designed some fabulous jewellery pieces based on the award-winning angel wings/ guitar logo used by Lisbee. Click here to reach Jo’s website.
So how was the gig? Well first I have never been to such a packed house at the Basement in City Screen. It is a very small venue but there must have been more than 50 people there. There were two support acts starting with Lauren Varley who played a set of her own songs, including “Mr Cold Feet” and she also added two superb covers one of Johnny Cash and the second an inspirational and soulful version of “House Of The Rising Sun“. Lauren is York based and I would definitely go and see her again. Great voice, great songs and smart and brave choices for cover songs. Click here to hear more of her and click here to find her on Facebook.
The second of the support acts was Aimee J Ryan. When she said that she did ‘go on a bit’ between songs she was right! Aimee has some good songs but her sound didn’t seem to be very clear. This was surprising given that the vocal sound quality for both Lauren Varley and Lisbee Stainton was crystal clear. But she definitely has talent so click here to check her out on Facebook.
So now we get to Lisbee, from who we were expecting great things. It would be fair to say that she met our expectations. She not only has some excellent self penned songs, she plays guitar well and is a very accomplished singer. Her rapport with the audience is far better than some more established artists that I have seen playing live. She opened by walking straight into the audience from the dressing room to provide many of us with percussion instruments. I used mine throughout the show.
She also had us singing some multi part harmonies, well I say singing but…… at least we tried! I really loved “Girl On An Unmade Bed” along with a couple of new songs which may, hopefully, find their way on to her next album. Her band is also incredibly talented. I believe that Lisbee has the talent for greater success and if you get a chance to see her take it, you will not be disappointed. Click here to find Lisbee’s official website and make sure you check out the video for the wonderful song “Sidekick” which she also played on Friday. You can also find her on Facebook by clicking here. If you have been to any of the gigs on Lisbee’s tour I would love to hear from you.
I think I am seriously ill, I must be, otherwise why would I like this years official single recorded for Comic Relief? It’s a great cover version of Blondie’s “One Way Or Another” with a few lines of the Undertones‘ “Teenage Kicks” thrown in for free. Why would liking this make me think I am seriously ill I can hear you shout. “WHY DOES LIKING THIS COVER OF BLONDIE’S ONE WAY OR ANOTHER MAKE YOU THINK YOU’RE SERIOUSLY ILL?” (that was you shouting by the way).
Well I am sad to say that the act that has covered it is none other than those X Factor Pop Muppets One Direction or Wand Erection as I now prefer to call them. Their version doesn’t come close to surpassing the original, but it is far better than I would have expected and more importantly it is for a good cause. Click here to make your donation for Red Nose Day 2013. It is released on Sunday 17th February and they will be performing it at the Brits this Wednesday. Enjoy both versions of the song while I go and lie down for a restful nap and hopefully to recover from this abominable blight on my previously great music taste!
Some of you may recall my Christmas advent calendar posts in recent years; these included UK Christmas number ones, Cover versions and an ABC of Motown. This year I have gone for something slightly different but one that sticks with a Christmas tradition at least. I will be making a series of posts influenced by the items in the song “The 12 Days Of Christmas”. I recognise that this won’t mirror the 12 days strictly according to dates as I am starting today, 13th December.
You know the first line of the song I’m sure. But here it is anyway “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree”. So what can I give you musically that relates to that line? Well two songs actually, first “I Think I Love You” from the Partridge Family. This song was a number one in the USA and Canada in 1970 and only managed number 18 in the UK. The song featured in the TV show ‘The Partridge Family’ in the same year, but only David Cassidy and Shirley Jones from the show performed on the recording.
The song was written by Tony Romeo who wrote a number of other hits in the 60s and 70s, including Lou Christie’s “I’m Gonna Make You Mine”. “I Think I Love You” has been covered by a diverse group of artists that include; Perry Como, Voice Of The Beehive and Less Than Jake. David Cassidy’s daughter Katie also covered the song when she was just 15.
The second song for the first day of Christmas comes from another music TV series, this time the Monkees. The song “Apples, Peaches, Bananas And Pears” was featured in the show but only found commercial release on the compilation ‘Missing Links’ from 1987. Monkee Mickey Dolenz was the lead vocalist on the song. It was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. They wrote a number of other Monkees songs including “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone” which was originally recorded by Paul Revere and the Raiders and later covered by the Sex Pistols. The pair also wrote the following Monkees classics; “Last Train To Clarksville”, “Valleri” and the “(Theme From) The Monkees”.
So now you can enjoy the two songs from the first day of Christmas and I dedicate them to my own true love, Catherine a.k.a Catwoman. Incidentally did you know that the Partridge in the UK is becoming an endangered species with a fall in numbers of around 30% in the five years to 2010.
Matt Cardle has been dropped by Columbia Records and Marcus Collins may follow very soon. In terms of sales they have been the least successful winner and loser respectively. Am I surprised? Not in the slightest. Am I pleased? Only if this is a portent for the death of the X Factor and shows like it.
Of course those conspiracy lovers may say Matt Cardle (or Matt Curdle as I like to call him) was dropped after his comments suggesting that 9/11 was an ‘inside job’. I can’t see that myself, however my theory about Marcus Collins is that if he does get dropped it will be for his awful cover version of the White Stripes classic, “Seven Nation Army“. So as a means of redressing the balance here are Jack and Meg with the original of the song. Enjoy!
This post just contains some random bits of news of the good, bad and ugly variety. Starting with someone I haven’t posted about for a while Ms. Lily Allen. Lily recently had her traditional pre-nuptial event, the Hen Night on May 20th. Maybe that was to make sure she had a great night before the end of the world. But wait a minute it was supposed to end yesterday and clearly it hasn’t! Anyway she had a very special guest at her Hen Do, none other than Gordon ‘F-Word’ Ramsay. Who gave her and her friends some cookery lessons. I know someone else who would probably love that; Catwoman. Regular readers may know that Catwoman and I will be getting all matrimonial in September and our respective Hen and Stag nights will be in August at top-secret locations so there will be no tabloid interference!
Now for some rather terrible news. Geri Halliwell is back in the studio recording a new album. Now I’ve thought about this quite seriously for a moment and maybe, just maybe, the portent for the end of the world wasn’t earthquakes but a new Geri Halliwell album. What do you think? Anyway the album will apparently be called ‘Putting On The Bling’ and will feature a cover of the old standard “Putting On The Ritz”. Oh boy I can hardly wait I am so overcome with disinterest.
Corey Taylor off of Slipknot has been invited to speak at Oxford University. Now for me that is either an inspired choice or a big mistake, but I’m looking forward to it. Corey says that he expects to swear and sweat a lot. So perhaps you wouldn’t want to be sitting at the front! I wonder if he’ll do it in full stage mask or not?
Paul McCartney has announced that he will be releasing a covers album consisting of pre-rock songs that were admired by his Dad. He said that he has wanted to do it for ages but decided to wait after ‘Rod Stewart went mad on covers’ with his American Songbook series. McCartney has also said that the new Foo Fighters album has inspired him to record a heavy rock album, of original songs not covers! Rod Stewart is also recording a new album with Jeff Beck which along with some covers will also have some new material.