With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

The Mayhem Monthly Top 20 Song Chart – August 2022 September 25, 2022


Very, very late indeed, but here comes the sixth monthly Mayhem Top 20 Song Chart, this time for August 2022, and it remains as eclectic as most of our previous charts. There are some weird and wonderful strange bedfellows in this list, just like those charts of my youth. The number one for August is the rather splendid Newcastle act, Cat Ryan with their incredible single “Rex Mundi”. They are followed closely by four acts who have not appeared in the song chart before, Trunky Juno, Thrillhouse, Matt James, and Lynx Deluxe. The latter made it into the artist chart for August. Check out Matt James’ new album, ‘Breaking The Fall’, a set of fine songs from a former member of one of my favourite bands, Gene! Politics and passionate, powerful opinions are represented by Captain Ska with “Blood On Your Hands” at number 6, Muse with “Will Of The People” at number 19, and the magnificent current single full of monumental power, passion, and anger from Delilah Bon, “Dead Men Don’t Rape” at number 10. Vaquelin, one of York’s finest bands have appeared in the song chart four months in a row now, their latest single “Broken Window” is at number 20. Classic soul and reggae are represented by Holland and Dozier and Junior Byles. The Streets, Arctic Monkeys, Just Jack, Yungblud, and Pale Waves are all here. Early Italian House Disco music is at number 17 with Silvetti’s “Spring Rain”. Tom Waits is at ten, while classical music gets a look in with the beautiful and haunting piano piece “Metamorphosis No. 4” composed by Philip Glass at number 16. Hannah Robinson has featured in the Mayhem charts a few times and she returns as the voice of J.A.G. on “Fools Lie”. We would love to hear your thoughts on the Mayhem Song Top 20 Chart. Check out the complete list below and click here to access a Spotify playlist of the whole top 20!

1 Rex Mundi – Cat Ryan
2 Oxford English Dictionary – Trunky Juno
3 Cruel Twist Of Fate – Thrillhouse
4 Champione – Matt James
5 Jane Goodall – Lynx Deluxe
6 Blood On Your Hands – Captain Ska
7 Why Can’t We Be Lovers – Holland and Dozier
8 Brexit At Tiffany’s – The Streets
9 Tom Traubert’s Blues (Four Sheets To The Wind In Copenhagen) – Tom Waits
10 Dead Men Don’t Rape – Delilah Bon
11 Curly Locks – Junior Byles
12 Starz In Their Eyes – Just Jack
13 Fools Lie – J.A.G
14 Star Treatment – Arctic Monkeys
15 Tissues – Yungblud
16 Metamorphosis No. 4 – Philip Glass/ Jenny Lin
17 Spring Rain – Silvetti
18 Lies – Pale Waves
19 Will Of The People – Muse
20 Broken Window – Vaquelin

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‘Song Noir – Tom Waits And The Spirit Of Los Angeles’ – Alex Harvey August 27, 2022


Earlier this month I visited one of York’s unique and kind of niche music establishments, the Vinyl Cafe on Micklegate. You can pop in any day for coffee, food, alcohol, and browse and most likely buy some decent vinyl records. However, on the 6th of August, the venue played host to what I felt sounded like an intriguing and interesting book talk by author Alex Harvey. The book, ‘Song Noir – Tom Waits And The Spirit Of Los Angeles’ was a project that Alex started during the lockdown. His day job is a film and TV director who has worked on the Late Show and Panorama to name just a couple. But he is also a huge and obsessive fan of Tom Waits. Being an obsessive Bowie fan I completely understand that! Alex read a number of passages from the book and expanded them with his knowledge, anecdotes, and some of Waits’ songs. The book covers Waits’ life in Los Angeles and the albums he recorded there, from debut ‘Closing Time’ (1973) to ‘Swordfishtrombones’ (1983). It was a turbulent period for LA and Tom Waits. The first album was a little folksy and borders on country rock, which may be how the Eagles came to record Wait’s “Ol’ 55”. I hadn’t really thought about it before but the iconic Waits growl didn’t really appear until the ‘Small Change’ album. That album contains the wonderful “Tom Traubert’s Blues (Four Sheets To The Wind In Copenhagen)” which Alex used to illustrate that part of the book. I also discovered that this is Alex’s favourite Tom Waits song. I always felt that Rod Stewart did quite a creditable version of that song.

The story behind “Burma Shave” is fascinating, in that it came out of Tom Waits’ memory of car journeys as a child and seeing the regular advertising hoardings for Burma Shave, a brand of shaving cream. In the song, Waits uses the name as a destination and therefore reimagines it as a town. ‘Blue Valentine’ from 1978 was the first Tom Waits album that I ever owned, it was given to me as part of a bundle of maybe 40 albums from an old guy (he was perhaps only 45, but I was just 19) that I bought my first mobile DJ rig from. I listened to it and my first thought was that this is absolutely bloody awful. However, I did keep it and dug it out a couple of years later and grew to love it when I played it again. Had I matured, no maybe I was just in the right mood for it by then. But the key thing that I learned from Alex talking about the book and actually reading it myself was about Waits’ relationship with Rickie Lee Jones. Tom’s friend Chuck E. Weiss fell for Jones first before Waits made his move. A number of songs on ‘Blue Velvet’ refer to the relationship with Rickie Lee Jones, especially “Red Shoes By The Drug Store”. Alex recommended checking out Jones’ autobiography ‘Last Chance Texaco’ which I plan to do. Weiss is the subject of Jones’ huge 1979 hit “Chuck E.’s in Love”.

“Heartattack And Vine” from 1980 is a series of songs that has Waits wrestling with his demons. Apparently, his therapist’s telephone number is scrawled on the album cover, I did not know that! On the album cover Waits is also wearing a tie and one lyric refers to someone who hangs themself with a tie. I learned so many things from listening to Alex speak about Tom Waits with a deep passion for the man and his music, even little nuggets that Homer Simpson was a real artist. How the hell did I not know that? What Alex Harvey does so well in the book is bring together so many of the things that influenced Tom Waits, especially the film noir genre from the mid-20th Century. Waits also drew inspiration from Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski to name just a couple. But the life that Tom Waits lived in LA plays a very big part in his songs and how they developed over that period from 1973 to 1983. I loved the description of Waits’ experience of supporting Frank Zappa, you will need to read the book for that one. It took me just a couple of days to read my signed copy of the book and I loved it. I would recommend it to anyone who loves music, specifically Tom Waits, or those that just like a great biography. Go and buy this book, you will not regret it. Click here to buy it from Amazon US and here to buy it from Amazon UK.

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“A startling glance at the future and past” September 7, 2017

Filed under: Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 12:15 pm
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Tom Waits has a song called “The Fall of Troy”, and a post-hardcore band called The Fall of Troy (not sure if they are named after the Tom Waits song) have a song called “Tom Waits.”

the-fall-of-troy

 

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.

 

Roadhouse 01 – Allan Rayman March 2, 2017

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:53 pm
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Those splendid folk at Subba Cultcha recently gave me the opportunity to review the new album from an artist that I must confess I had not heard of before, but I am glad I found him. His name is Allan Rayman and the album is called ‘Roadhouse 01’. Click here to read my review.

 

“You can make all the moves, you can aim all the spotlights” – my 999th post! January 19, 2017


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So after nearly eight years of blogging I am approaching my 1,000th post on here. This one you are reading is post 999. But for post 1,000 I made a little offer to my Facebook friends, I asked them to name one song (or one artist) that they wanted me to include in post 1,000. So before I get there I would like to extend that offer to any of you in the blogosphere that would like their song added and receive a name check. I promise to try to say something nice about your song choice! Just message me or add a comment.

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Anyway now for post 999, I went through a whole range of ideas for this one; songs about or related to the emergency services was a favourite until I thought of doing a sum. So what follows is a list of twenty songs with numbers in their title. If you add all those numbers together they total 999. Trust me they do, I used a spreadsheet 🙂 I hope you enjoy them and that you exercise your brain with a bit of mental arithmetic while you do!

 

 

“The trial was a pig circus, he never had a chance” February 3, 2016


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The other day I decided to take a quick count of all the artists in my album collection where I have at least 10 albums by a single artist. I included CDs, LPs and cassettes (although the only non compilation cassettes that I have are David Bowie bootlegs). Oh and while I’m on bootleg recordings obviously I have included them whether they are live, studio outtakes or simply unreleased stuff. I have not included digital recordings. I was surprised to find that there are 4o artists where I have at least ten releases by them. The list is below, (artist followed by the number of albums) there are no real surprises for me, are you surprised at any on this list? Have you ever done anything similar? I have also added a song from each of the top ten artists 🙂

David Bowie 141
Bob Dylan 30
Johnny Nash 26
Bruce Springsteen 26
Beatles 25
Neil Young 25
Elton John 19
Bob Marley 19
U2 19
Rod Stewart 18
Pink Floyd 17
REM 17
Elvis Costello 15
The Eels 15
Prince 15
Paul Weller 15
Ryan Adams 14
Led Zeppelin 14
Madonna 14
The Clash 13
Elvis Presley 13
Radiohead 13
Kate Bush 12
Oasis 12
Lou Reed 12
Stevie Wonder 12
Morrissey 11
Tom Waits 11
ZZ Top 11
Jeff Buckley 10
Julian Cope 10
Johnny Cash 10
Michael Jackson 10
John Lennon 10
Manic Street Preachers 10
Kylie Minogue 10
Iggy Pop 10
Rolling Stones 10
Frank Turner 10
The Who 10

 

Wolf Gang – York City Screen Basement 16th November 2010 November 17, 2010


Having received the regular newsletter from Man Is Slapped recently I found that for the first time in ages I was able to attend one of his gigs. This would be the second time I have seen him at the York City Screen Basement, but more of him later. When I arrived I was greeted by the wonderful sound of Tom Waits playing over the house PA, including the fabulous “Hoist That Rag”. That just made me feel that this was set to be a good night and for once my instincts weren’t wrong, it was a great night.

First up were Detronik. Imagine a large serving of 80s Sheffield electro a la Human League and a couple of spoonfuls of the Stone Roses and Madchester at it’s 90s peak. Are you there? Well that’s how these guys made me feel. They were bloody good and if they were around in the 80s they would have cleaned up completely. I really loved their set, especially closing number “Death To The Disco”. Check out the band on MySpace and the original lineup on YouTube.

Man Is Slapped

Man Is Slapped was the second of three acts and this will be the third time I have seen him play. If you put down what he does on paper (or perhaps in a blog post) you would surely think that this shouldn’t work. But it does work and it works so very well. He played a few new songs from his new EP; Socially Inept which as a fan I obviously purchased. He also di his usual thing of sampling his own sound and vocals in order to provide backing for his songs. Is there anyone else about that can actually do this? Even if there are I doubt that they would be better than Mr Slapped. he even expanded his sound on a couple of songs by using a guitar. Perhaps the next EP will be ‘Man Is Slapped Goes Punk’? He also played a brief electro interlude advertising his web presence and CD for sale. He should be much, much bigger, make it so dear readers! Check him out on MySpace here and also on YouTube here.

Wolf Gang - but this is clearly not a lion and it's clearly not in a cage!

Finally it was the turn of the headliners, I must confess that until tonight I had never heard them and whilst Detronik and Man Is Slapped were excellent I think Wolf Gang surpassed them. They were truly stupendous and excellent band, especially the drummer. The vocalist was also very, very good. The blurb on the gig poster suggests that they go some way to mashing together Talking Heads and Empire Of The Sun. I wouldn’t disagree with this but I would also add that there was an element of early Simple Minds in there too, back in the days when Jim Kerr‘s boys were actually good. I would certainly pay to see this band again and if they’re playing near you it would be foolish and negligent of you to miss them. The next couple of weeks will see them play Glasgow, Sheffield, Brighton, Birmingham, Southampton, London, Bristol and Manchester. I hope they play at the Reading Festival next year. They finished their set with their new single “Lions In Cages” which is released on 22nd November, buy it and make them a happy band. Then they will then be just like me for I went home a happy man! Check them out on MySpace by clicking here and their own website by clicking here and then enjoy a couple more Wolf Gang videos below;

 

“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

 

“Like a puppet thing, when I pull the string, you’re the dancer” May 31, 2010

Filed under: News,Obituary — justwilliam1959 @ 7:12 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Jimmy Helms possibly RIP

I have been buying Mojo Magazine for many issues now, in fact since issue number one and I am so middle-aged that I now subscribe. The writing is excellent and challenges many preconceptions you may have about some artists or music. Anyway enough of that, I was reading the new issue (edited by Tom Waits no less) when I chanced upon a brief obituary for the great Jimmy Helms. If that is correct then it completely passed me by. I have also Googled him only to find no information about his demise. Wikipedia certainly has no mention of it, but then that doesn’t really mean much. So if anyone out there knows whether or not this is true then please let me know. If it is then I for one will be quite sad for a number of reasons. Jimmy had (or hopefully still has) a great voice and also if he is no longer with us why was that not in the news anywhere apart from Mojo? Clearly I’m not the only one who is perplexed, click here for more.

He was born in Florida in 1944 but had his biggest early successes in the UK. His first big break came with the UK top ten single “Gonna Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse” in 1973. He had a significant resurgence in the late 80s and 90s as part of Londonbeat even reaching the top of the US charts with “I’ve Been Thinking About You” in 1990. Jimmy if you are gone you will be sadly missed and either way Mojo or Q or someone should publish a piece on you very soon. In the meantime enjoy a few more of Jimmy’s highlights.

 

 
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