Thursday, December 21, 2006

Those Naughty Corinthians



A woeful two pages is all that Lord Google can manage if you search for "Those Naughty Corinthians". Most of the hits are from my Last.fm charts, a couple from biblical scholars ecumenical ramblings and then some brief discussion on the TVP's list about the long lost (Wigan-based?) turn-of-the-90's fanzine band.

I originally posted the two mp3's I had of this genius group on Duckworth Square and then deleted them a few months back to make some headroom for this occasional mp3 blog. Then the other day I had a nice email from another frustrated Googler asking me where they had gone...so here they are again. In all their ripped to mp3 from a 15 year old cassette GLORY.

Those Naughty Corinthians - Pie

Those Naughty Corinthians - Butter Mountain

These two songs were on the Audacious cassette that featured a local Derby band we were mates with called The Moving Jelly Brothers, and a cracking Pixies cover by the perpetually-on-tour Mega City 4, but it was these two crazy pieces of Lancashire insanity that topped the class.

Both songs feature, what I imagine was, the singers catchphrase of "oooooh YISSSSS!!" at various points, along with some angular guitar parts that were straight out of the Ron Johnson school of "riffs that make no musical sense". Comedy accents have never sounded so good as they do on "Pie" as the singer likens life to a pie and asks the eternal question that has baffled mankind throughout the ages - "ooo is the E numburrrrr?"

"Butter Mountain" seems somewhat more autobiographical as the bragadoccio lyrics tell us how ace he looks in his yellow ski pants...

I've never seen or heard any other tracks by These Naughty fellas (although MusicStack lists a compilation of St. Helens bands on Idea Records with a song of theirs called "Right Off" which I'd dearly love to hear.)

Needless to say if anyone else has any of their other recordings or any kind of biography - get in touch!

YISSSS!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Solex



Quite simply the best Pavement cover version ever..taken from a Solex Peel Session circa 2002, sometimes listening to a whole Solex record can hurt my head because there are just so many ideas and so much going on, but on this track she gets it absolutely 100% perfectly spot on correct. And also very RIGHT. At the same time.

I guarantee that even hardcore Pavement fans will struggle to furrow their indie brow to this one..it just bounces!

Solex - Shady Lane

Well done Elisabeth Esselink!

Official Solex Site (includes shop for buying CD's 'n' stuff)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Best Gig I Ever Done See #4 - Damien Jurado




Damien Jurado
Sheffield 1999


Back at the turn of the millenium when minidisk was the new thang, my ex-flatmate Tom from Reveal Records gave me a couple of the compilations of new releases they had put on minidisk to play in the shop, and track one on the first disk was by an American fella called Damien Jurado. Obviously,with it being at the start, I listened to that song quite a bit (It was "Ohio" from Rehearsals For Departure) and when Tom asked me a few weeks later if I fancied a trip up to Sheffield to see him play I though yeah why not..

The gig was in a pub on the outskirts of Sheffield - don't remember the name, but it might have been The Pheasant, or The Golden Pheasant? Damien was supporting The Handsome Family and it took place in the back room which was laid out with tables and candles..a move that immediately worried me - especially as all the people there seemed to be in their 30's and 40's and drinking wine. Then there was me, Tom and a lad called Grant (famous primarily for being daft enough to rent rooms in his house to serial piss-takers Thatcher & Shepherd) - sat at a table looking uncomfortable by candlelight. Maybe somone else was with us - my memory really is crap at times.

Then Damien got up to sing, sat at the front on a sofa, a much bigger bloke than I expected (not fat exactly - just looked more like a rugby player than a singer-songwriter..), and throughout his set you could hear a pin drop as he played a selection of songs from his first two albums. He loosened up as the gig went on and became more chatty, coming across as a genuinely funny, self-effacing guy. He invited a girl up to sing harmonies on a couple of his songs - one of which stuck in my head for years and I was always frustrated that I couldn't find it on any of his albums. Then eventually I located it on the b-side of the ultra-rare Halo Friendly 7" on Summershine Records. Here it is for your pleasure

Damien Jurado - Ocean Shores '87

It was one of those rare gigs where the artist engaged directly with the audience and performed out of his skin leaving you with that feeling of having witnessed something truly extraordinary.

After Damien, The Handsome Family came on and damn near ruined it all by being the exact opposite - smug & annoying with unmemorable songs. I only managed to bear a handful of songs before heading for the bar - standing in the carpark in the late summer evening with my pint. I don't think any of us stuck their whole set.

Damien has an excellent new album out called And Now That I'm In Your Shadow on Secretly Canadian. It's somewhat more downbeat than his last couple but is fantastic nonetheless. I got tickets to see him at The Luminaire in Kilburn in December as he does a short UK tour - miss him and miss out!

Buy And Now That I'm In Your Shadow from Amazon

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Best Gig I Ever Done See #3 - The Wedding Present




The Wedding Present
The Duchess Of York, Leeds 1989

I mentioned previously in The Edsel Auctioneer post how the lure of bands like The Wedding Present led me to choose Leeds Poly as my seat of learning at the tail end of the 1980's, and yet again one of my bestest gigs EVER was at the legendary Duchess Of York.

By the autumn of 1989 The Wedding Present were one of the biggest indie bands in the UK (having filled the almighty vacuum created by the demise of The Smiths) and were about to release their major label debut album "Bizarro" on RCA. Having already seen them play some pretty large venues such as Notts Trent Poly and Confetti's, a nightclub in Derby, it's hard to explain how incredible it was to see them in a tiny venue like The Duchess - particularly as we only stumbled upon the gig by accident.

Me and my mate Woody from back home had inexplicably decided to go see Sarah Records also-rans St Christopher play. I don't think I'd even heard them at this point (I'm sure if I had then I wouldn't have gone along - they were pretty ordinary. The singer's voice was like a proto-Coner Oberst doing Larry The Lamb impressions plus he was damn ugly). It must have been a quiet night and the boredom got the better of us.

Upon arriving at The Duchess, we paid our couple of quid and were promptly informed by the guy on the door that The Wedding Present were doing a secret warm-up gig and St Christopher were just the support act.

And so it was we found ourselves a few feet from the stage, packed like Sardines, bouncing around to an all-new Wedding Present set. I mostly remember Grapper grinning like a lunatic through the whole thing, clearly having the time of his life, and then walking back to the bus shivering as the sweat started to freeze in our clothes.

I guess at this point I could bleat on like Old-Man Indiepop about how they were a much better band back then and post something from Bizarro, but whilst I DO still think of the Gedge/Grapper/Gregory/Smith line-up as THE Wedding Present they are still going (albeit David Gedge and the Session Cats) and I ought to give them their due - so it's the latest BBC Session that I'll go for. Four cover versions, all great songs that seem to work well when Gedged. Take it away...er...Terri

Wedding Present 2006 BBC Covers Session

Buy Bizarro at Amazon

Oh and also the following year we saw them play at The Coliseum in Leeds - a much bigger venue where they filmed the live video "*Punk" - another memorable gig if only because they had to leave the lights on for all the cameras and that made it so ludicrously hot that they had to keep throwing water on the crowd. So (as I said I wouldn't do it) here is the obligatory Bizarro track "Bewitched" on YouTube

Look out for the floppy-haired mong who appears shoulder-high in the crowd after 10 seconds - that's me!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ted Chippington - Pull Up

Apologies for posting about Ted AGAIN...but I just got a copy of the SnubTV performance and uploaded it to YouTube.



Also to help plug the 3 gigs Ted is doing at the end of November

Nov 24 2006 Little Civic Wolverhampton
Nov 25 2006 Exeter Hall Oxford
Nov 27 2006 The Criterion Leicester

More details via Ted's MySpace page

Friday, October 06, 2006

Gay Against You



There may be a slight lack of posts over the coming weeks as I'm moving house next week - so to tide things over a quick post about a band that aren't from the late 80's.

Now that the word "gay" seems to have taken on a third meaning for a third generation (has a word ever changed meaning so often?? I can't keep up..I'm still in my 19th century dandy costume here..) the main problem a band called Gay Against You face is the fear they may turn out to be as utterly terrible as Britpop abominations Gay Dad. Luckily for the WORLD...they're not.

When I was a teenager, having to deal with my parents complain that they couldn't understand the music I was listening to, I sometimes tried to imagine what the music of the future might sound like, and how it might be so completely unlike anything I'd ever heard that I would feel the same alienation they were experiencing to the lilting melodies of...er... Bogshed.

My point being that I think Gay Against You sound like what I IMAGINED 21st Century music might be. What I can't explain is why I still like it rather than hate it. And I'm not even pretending to like it in order to look DOWN wiv da KIDZ!

Gay Unicorn is probably my favourite song as it best mixes the insanity and catchiness...and of course on a much deeper level it explores the sexuality of the mythical one-horned equine beast...a topic of which the importance can NEVER be underestimated.

Gay Against You - Gay Unicorn

Their live shows are supposed to be a spectacle to behold so hopefully they'll play the Midlands soon and I can judge for myself.

They also just did a session on Tom Ravenscroft's SlashMusic show (the 28th September edition) where they performed their entire live set at breakneck speed to fit the 11 minute slot they were allocated.

They have released the album "Muscle Milk" on Adaadat Records

Buy it HERE

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Susanna & The Magical Orchestra



I have some kind of weird love affair with the cover version (see my earlier Better Beatles post) and thus I always enjoy the postings of Liza on the consistently excellent Copy, Right blog.

Last week I was introduced to the work of Norway's Susanna & The Magical Orchestra and their "Melody Mountain" album of covers. It's pretty much all I've listened to for days..

A beautiful voice and laid-back arrangements that don't seek to change the original melodies, but still manage to add a completely individual touch (compare and contrast with Kathryn Williams' completely ordinary covers album - played too straight for words and Tori Amos' haywire covers album - unrecognisable anti-midas versions that made pure shit from gold).

A great song selection too - Dylan, Joy Division, AC/DC, Depeche Mode - and here is my current favourite..their take on "Crazy, Crazy Nights" by Kiss (watch out for more Kiss-related posts as I relax into my blogging and stop caring who I admit to being a big fan of..)

Susanna & The Magical Orchestra - Crazy, Crazy Nights (NB - mp3 removed as at least 3 sites were remote linking to it without asking..sorry! BUY THE CD - it's great!)

Hear some more tracks on the aforementioned Copy, Right mp3 blog - including the slower than slow version of Leonrd Cohen's "Hallelujah"..

Flash-based Official Site
Ubiquitous MySpace Site

Melody Mountain buy on Amazon

Friday, September 22, 2006

Best Gig I Ever Done See #2 - The Edsel Auctioneer



The Edsel Auctioneer
The Duchess Of York, Leeds 1989



It was Thursday October 5th 1989, I was a wide-eyed student in the first week of my first term, away from home for the first time in a strange big city called Leeds, in a pub called The Duchess Of York...

I'd be lying if I said that my choosing Leeds as a seat of learning wasn't based on the fact that The Wedding Present, Cud & Pale Saints were amongst my favourite bands at the time (and yes my memory has blanked out the likes of Bridewell Taxis, Parachute Men & er...Esmerelda's Kite..OK?)

Also, a few months earlier I'd heard (and loved) a Peel Session by a then unsigned Leeds band called The Edsel Auctioneer. I knew there was some kind of vague Pale Saints connection (turns out they shared a drummer and a live guitarist) and upon my inaugural visit to the legendary Jumbo Records I saw a poster announcing that they were playing at The Duchess the following day.

Obviously being my first week and me being a shy indie loner, I went to the gig alone (It's what Morrissey would have done..)

It was a weird feeling to be at a gig on my own, all excited and trying to look cool with my big floppy fringe, paisley shirt & pint of Tetley, and I suppose that's really why I remember it as one of the best gigs ever. I'm sure the band didn't even play that well, but they looked like they were enjoying it and it was as loud as it was sweaty. One of those magical nights that by definition will only happen the once and you never ever forget.

The story got weirder the following day when the bloke in the next room told me their bass player was at the art college with him. One year later and I was sharing a house with both of them, not quite so awestruck when I realised he wasn't actually a pop star - just someone who got up every day after Neighbours, told the most ludicrously far-fetched stories about children in the jungle being raised by Gazelles and ate all my food when I wasn't looking. Hi Phil!

Here's that first Peel Session in full

Birdpoo's excellent Edsel Auctioneer Mini-site with full discography

The Edsel Auctioneer on Amazon

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ted Chippington - update


Further to my post about Ted Chippington a couple of weeks back it's now been confirmed that he's BACK (and now he's a Reverend apparently..) with a few support slots on the new Nightingales tour!

Oct 7 2006 The Junction, Bristol
Oct 8 2006 Joiners ,Southampton
Oct 9 2006 Cavern Club, Exeter

Sadly I won't make any of these as they're way down south, so fingers crossed for some more dates soon

He's now also got a MySpace here

A 4 CD boxset of Ted's collected work is still due to come out but no scheduled date yet.

Also, cheers chief to Tom at the (always excellent) IndieMP3 blog for the link

Friday, September 15, 2006

Frank Sinatra - Watertown



For an artist who established himself in the 1950's, it might seem that I'm being wilfully obscure by choosing the 1970 concept album "Watertown" as my favourite Frank Sinatra record, but bear with me..

Apparently it only sold a few 100,000 copies and was universally panned by the critics at the time. Lord Google doesn't offer much in the way of positive reviews either with most people retrospectively dismissing it as Frank's failed attempt at a Rock Opera and/or a desperate ploy to appeal to a younger audience.

It seems that even Sinatra himself lost interest in it (a planned TV Special based around the story was canned) - so what's to like about it?

Well, this is the guy who INVENTED the concept album and I've always preferred his sad collections (Only The Lonely, Where Are You? In The Wee Small Hours etc) rather than the swing records (Songs For Swingin Lovers, Swing Easy, Swing Along With Me..) or the tenuously themed ones (Come Fly With Me..all the songs are about foreign places geddit? Moonlight Sinatra...all the songs have the word MOON in the title..genius!). Within that illustrious canon, Watertown is quite possibly his saddest album EVER.

Also the music was penned by original member of the Four Seasons, Bob Gaudio who's songwriting pedigree can't be argued with ("The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore", "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" to name but a few).

Upon first listen it's the story of a man who has been deserted by his wife and left to bring up their two kids alone. Pretty much every song is addressed directly to the absent partner and the simplistic style of lyric reads like a series of letters. As the story develops, the Father receives news that she is coming back to them, but ultimately he's left stranded at the Railway Station as it becomes apparent that she was never aboard the train and won't ever return.

Admittedly I have listened to this album far too much and I started to think about the bits of the story that didn't add up.

Firstly, she has not only abandoned him but also the two kids - I know this DOES happen but is not exactly common behaviour amongst women. Secondly, he mentions that her Mother still comes by to help with the children and along with other friends they encourage him to move on and find a new love. Surely any Mother would concentrate on getting her wayward Daughter back on track and try to orchestrate a reconciliation? But he's not ready to move on, he's not over her and he can't understand why nobody sees this. Lastly I just don't get why she would say that she is coming back and then just not turn up, breaking his heart a second time. Then it dawned on me..

She's not coming back because she's dead.

The story would have you believe that she is just a troubled soul that couldn't settle and had to leave, but I'm convinced that the subtext is that she's actually passed away. At this point you begin to hear the songs as the painful wailing grief of a broken man - continually writing letters to a much loved deceased partner, refusing to accept that their perfect life has been torn apart - until eventually his state of mental collapse leads him to hallucinate that she has actually written back to him and promised to return...(he even admits in "The Train" that he never sent any of his letters, they're all still piled in the drawer..classic behaviour for a grieving widower)

OK..so the liner notes of the CD play it straight and stick with the simple interpretation that she has just upped & left him, but that's from the writers - I'm sure Frank knew the REAL meaning. The track "Goodbye (She Quietly Says)" is the part of the song cycle that is meant to explain why she left - but it doesn't offer any answers - "Good-bye, said so easily, Good-bye, said so quietly" - is as much explanation as he can muster. Even "Lady Day" the bonus track that they added to the reissue hints at the fact that the girl is dead - "Her morning came too fast too soon and died before the afternoon".

And so as he stands alone on the platform at the end - awash with the realisation that none of it is true, you can almost hear the thud as he slumps to the ground in cruel despair, his world sharply coming back into focus.

So what if it has a few rock orchestrations here and there, it's a masterpiece & Frank Sinatra's voice could express more emotion in one phrase than a million Chris Martin's trying REALLY HARD to sound emotional over the course of a really LONG song.

The opening verse of "Michael & Peter" still brings a tear to my eye each time I hear it, and the track "I Would Be In Love Anyway" is another howl of bereavement - "Though you'll never be with me, and there are no words to say, I'll still be in love anyway".

RIP The Voice.

Frank Sinatra - Michael And Peter (intro)
Frank Sinatra - I Would Be In Love Anyway

Wikepedia entry for Watertown
Buy Watertown on Amazon

Friday, September 08, 2006

Best Gig I Ever Done See #1 - Man Or Astroman?



Man Or Astroman?
The NarrowBoat, Nottingham Sunday 4th September 1994


I had an idea to try and document some of the best gigs I ever saw, so that my tired & frail memory can concentrate on some of the more important things in life (like where I left my car keys). I was reminded of this stunning idea when I stumbled across some footage of the mighty Man Or AstroMan? on the old YouTube from 1994. The gig here is in Edinburgh, but it's so EXACTLY how I remember the gig that I'm pretty sure it must have been the same "Your Weight On The Moon" tour where I saw them in Nottingham at The Narrowboat (now flattened and probably a car park or something)

I have to admit to only owning ONE of their records - a cute 5" vinyl single, which I bought primarily for novelty value (in fact I own three 5" vinyl singles - the others being by Big Black and the Edsel Auctioneer)..because if I'm honest their recorded music doesn't really bear repeated listening chez Frankie. Live however, I would go and see them play every week if i could..

The two things that set Man Or Astroman apart in the world of the Surf Guitar Instrumental Combo are their stunning live shows and their rather daft attempts to pretend to be NOT OF THIS EARTH.

So anyway - the gig - the upstairs room of The Narrowboat was small and rammed - I didn't quite know what to expect, but they blew me away. Projectors showed Sci-Fi movies while the band played, and there were backing tape audio samples between songs..the members hid behind silly names like Birdstuff, Coco The Electronic Monkey Wizard, Dexter X & Starcrunch and they just didn't stop moving around the whole time. At one point Coco put a hollowed-out TV Monitor on his head like a spaceman's helmet and ran out into the audience, dancing round like...er...a nutter from another planet..

Anyway - watch the film cos it catches it better than I can ever describe (watch out for the keyboard players brutal extension of the Jery Lee Lewis technique towards the end..)



Also on YouTube there is a hilarious interview with the band from 1998 when they went on tour claiming to be Alpha Clones of the original members.
Straight faces are kept almost throughout..



Man Or Astro_Man? Official Site
Destroy All Astromen (live CD) on Amazon

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steven Jesse Bernstein



Camden Market in the early 90's, I bought a bootleg video of the last ever Big Black gig. Filmed in a power station, the footage started with the support act - a weird looking tattooed fella ranting at the audience. Kind of like Derby Market Place on a Saturday night, except he wasn't asking for money. He was reciting poetry.

Someone once claimed that the blond haired kid at the front of the stage was Kurt Cobain. Could be true but is probably just apocrypha. They have two things in common though...both great artists and they both committed suicide.

A couple of years after I saw this footage, I heard his album "The Prison". It was on Sub-Pop, had a 60's looking sleeve & was produced by legend of the Pacific North-West Steve Fisk. It was achingly cool before I'd even heard it. Unsurprisingly it was not a happy record...well the lyrics weren't but Fisk's score was incredible & coupled with Bernstein's hypnotic delivery, I think I can safely say this is one of my favourite records of all time.

"No No Man Pt.1" is the opening track and pretty much sets the scene for what to expect over the next 54 minutes. I'm not altogether that big on poetry but if you can't listen to a piece like "Face" and not be moved then you are either clinically dead or Tony Blair.

Steven Jesse Bernstein - No No Man (Part 1)

Great interview with Steve Fisk about the making of "The Prison"

Steven Jesse Bernstein - The Prison on Amazon
Steven Jesse Bernstein official MySpace page (seriously..)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Ogurusu Norihide



Dragging myself briefly into the 21st Century...

Japanese acoustic laptop folk is not a genre I claim to know a great deal about but a couple of years back I came across the music of Ogurusu Norihide and fell in love with the gentle melodies and glitchy under-stated beats. It's all instrumental stuff - mostly acoustic guitars with a bit of piano & synth but there is something quite pastoral and almost English about what he is doing - and the numerology of his track titles is always likely to appeal to me!

Ogurusu has released a couple of CD's on American label Carpark Records and done gigs in the US & Sweden (which appears to be the home of EVERYTHING cool at the moment) as well as his native Japan. Not sure if he's ever played in the UK, but I'd love to see him over here one day.

Ogurusu Norihide - 4-46

Ogurusu Norihide Website (in Japanese & English) with more mp3 samples
Carpark Records of Washington DC

Ogurusu Norihide - Modern on Amazon
Ogurusu Norihide - Humour on Amazon

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dave Howard Singers



There was once a music TV program in the UK called "The Chart Show", back when there were only 4 channels (we're talking the late-80's..yes i am that old..). It basically covered the UK music charts, but each week it would dedicate a section of the show to a rotating specialist chart (Dance, Metal & Indie). So every 3 weeks, indie kids country-wide would tune in to see what crazy sights & sounds awaited. I first heard (and saw) tons of stuff this way..The Sugarcubes, Talulah Gosh, Foetus, Big Black...it didn't seem to matter how lo-fi and home-made the video was, it would get at least 5 seconds of screen-time as the chart counted down. Then they would choose one, maybe two videos to show in full.

The Dave Howard Singers appeared one Saturday morning, a stocky short-haired Canadian fella stomping round a lumber mill repetitively chanting this insanely catchy tune about Yon Yonson from Wisconsin, as he nodded his head furiously towards the camera. I wish I had a copy of the video - but Lord Youtube is not being kind to me today..

So just because this takes me back to being a kid when the indie chart really WAS independent musicians and independent labels, selling independent records in independent record shops...

Dave Howard Singers - Yon Yonson

Archived history of The Dave Howard Singers (plus interview)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Carmina Burana (and Sandy Bull)



My mum has always fancied herself as an amateur opera singer, so I spent a long time avoiding any classical stuff that was even remotely choral. It wasn't until I left home that I got into Carl Orff's cantata "Carmina Burana" via my housemate Jim who used to play it quite regularly and very loudly (regardless of whether i was trying to sleep or not)

"In Trutina" was the piece that got me - probably the quietest passage and then this gorgeous vocal melody soars from beneath the strings. It didn't matter that I had no idea what she was singing, she just sounded sort of sad but sexy. Years later when I looked up the libretto - turns out I wasn't far wrong!


I am suspended in wavering balance
between love and chastity,
but I choose what is before me
For the yoke is sweeter after all
and so I take it upon myself.


The dirty mare..

Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra - In Trutina

I guess EVERYONE knows Carmina Burana from the opening movement "O Fortuna" which was used as the main theme in The Omen and also an Old Spice advert if I remember rightly..so just to be populist I'll post the quite astonishing banjo rendition by Sandy Bull (who deserves a separate blog entry in his own right for being a crazy jazz genius). I can thoroughly recommend his 1963 LP "Fantasias For Guitar And Banjo" from which this is taken. The novelty value of this track is blown away by the 22 minute opener "Blend" (which I won't post for bandwidth/disk space reasons!)

Sandy Bull - Carmina Burana Fantasy

Sandy Bull - Re-Inventions: Best Of The Vanguard Years
Carmina Burana - Berliner Philharmonic (conducted by Simon Rattle)

Folk Roots interview with Sandy Bull
More about Carl Orff's Carmina Burana on Wikipedia

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Ted Chippington

Super Ted

The first thing that struck you about Ted Chippington's stand-up routine was the way people would give a cheer, a few seconds into a gag (more often than not his signature joke "Can you tell me how far it is to the Railway Station from here mate?") in much the same way that (I imagine) Robbie Williams gets a cheer when his band strike up the opening bars of "Angels".

Also you would leave the show, ever so slightly disappointed if you didn't hear your favourite variation of the "walking down the road the other day" gag. And this was long before Newman & Baddiel told us Comedy was the new Rock'n'Roll...

In between the stand-up he would self-consciously boogie over to his cassette player, press play, and then deliver his interpretation of a rock'n'roll classic over the cheesy backing track. A sort of twisted West Midlands karaoke in monotone.

I think these were always my two favourite tunes of his - the anti-version of Dion's "The Wanderer" and a heartbreakingly sad (but at the same time hilarious) rendition of Alvin Stardust's "I Feel Like Buddy Holly"

Ted Chippington - The Wanderer
Ted Chippington - I Feel Like Buddy Holly

Half the fun of a Ted gig was his interaction with the audiences who were generally either baffled, overly aggressive or laughing so hard they were in physical pain.

Rather than slip out of character, Ted would deal with hecklers using the same deadpan technique that was winding them up so much in the first place.

Ted Chippington - The Front-End Of An Ass
Ted Chippington - I'm Ted Chippington

There is a rumour going round that Ted might be forced out of retirement to do some more shows in 2007 to promote a boxset of his work which is supposedly being planned on the back of The Nightingales reunion. Personally I can't wait. A forgotten comic genius.

Rockin With Rita Video (with Fuzzbox & The Nightingales)
Ted Chippington on Wikipedia

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Better Beatles



The Beatles? Commonly held to be the best pop band the planet has ever produced? So what could be better than The Beatles?

The Better Beatles of course. Again a band I know nothing about, except Lord Google tells me they came from Omaha and released one 7" single on Woodgrain Records in 1980.

In the mid 90's John Peel did a couple of shows on Radio 1 dedicated solely to cover versions and that's where I first heard their mental yet brilliant version of Penny Lane (and indeed the version of Penny Lane here is ripped from that tape - the version of I'm Down was ripped from a streaming radio show on the web).

Rather than try to match the melody of the originals, these versions reinvent the tunes with nagging hooks, chanted vocals and rudimentary keyboard riffs until they are almost MORE catchy than the Fab Four could have ever hoped for. You can imagine that Lennon would have loved them but Macca just doesn't get it and looks on disapprovingly..

I have a vague memory that Peel mentioned there were other similar releases from the same ensemble under names such as The Better Rolling Stones etc. I'd love to track down more of this stuff..

Covering The Beatles is generally asking for trouble - doing them BETTER is a tall order. So with brave abandon the challenge was met. In victory here are the Better Beatles.

Better Beatles - Penny Lane
Better Beatles - I'm Down

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Seymores



So here we have The Seymores - a band I know almost NOTHING about.

The first time I heard their album "Treat Her Like A Showcat" I was sleeping on the floor of a one room apartment in the Mexican neighbourhood of West Hollywood, Los Angeles. That doesn't sound even slightly true but I assure you it is. The songs were poppy enough to catch my attention yet weird enough to keep me interested and I managed to take home with me a bad quality cassette copy.

I listened to it non-stop for weeks and I still maintain that there isn't a bad song on the album. I eventually got a copy on CD along with the "1000lb Grr'lla EP" (which duplicates some of the tracks from this album and includes a forgettable Joy Division cover). I've still never heard their debut album "Piedmont", but the reviews I've read talk about it being over-produced and not altogether that good. I'm pretty sure they split up not long after "Treat Her Like A Showcat" came out.

The real struggle for me is to decide which tracks to post. They are all great - and they could have been huge. Most bands operating in similar sounds these days seem to think it's enough to have a couple of good songs and then an album full of mediocre filler. The Seymores shit great songs when they go to the toilet.

Seymores - Buses Are Running
Seymores - First Lady of Delaware
Seymores - Sicker Than You

The Seymores - Treat Her Like A Showcat at Amazon