Monday, December 24, 2007

Chuck Berry

Not a christmas song, shock. For I'm sure, dear listener you are struggling to find ANY christmas-related mp3 blog fayre...

Instead, a song to cheer up even the most humbuggy of yuletide-deniers (of which I am one I'm said to report) - I found this stunning instrumental track in my parents old stash of 7" singles (which believe me, is NOT the treasure trove I wish it was).
It's the b-side to Chuck's big hit "No Particular Place To Go", but it's definitely the proverbial hidden gem.

Essentially just a standard boogie, but Chuck lets loose and sounds he doesn't know what he's going to be playing in the next bar. There are endless flubs and missed notes, but play it nice and loud and you can picture the beaming (and probably a little bit merry on magic booze) smiles. It's the sound of people enjoying themselves.

About 1:18 Chuck accidentally writes Rocket From The Crypt's "On A Rope" and from about 1:40 until about 2:05 he plays pretty much the same note for 16 bars. That they ever make it through 2:50 to the end is a little christmas miracle in itself.

And of course Liverpool is where the second messiah was born yeah?

Chuck Berry - Liverpool Drive

Monday, October 08, 2007

Captain Beefheart

Ha...and they said that Captain Beefheart had no sense of timing.

Found in a random folder on Soulseek, I can't decide if I love or loathe this. At least there's some humour to it.

Captain Beefheart - Well [remix].mp3

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Eight Things...frankosonically speaking

OK, because Mr Hibbett didn't think I would respond, I decided I would do the honourable thing and have a go at "Eight Things You Didn't Know About Me". I appreciate it's taken me a couple of weeks but it's SO HARD! And also as this is meant to be the music blog I need to try and keep it music related and finish with a tenuous link to a choice mp3. SO here goes…

1) The first band I ever became obsessed with was Kiss, when at the age of 10 a lad at school gave me a copy of the "What Makes The World Go Round" 7" single signed by Paul Stanley. I still have it and it is blatantly not signed by Paul Stanley - he just did some scribble on the front and lied to me.

2) As a result of this pre-pubescent love for Heavy Metal I got a subscription to Kerrang for my birthday. Following on from that I was thrilled to learn that my sister's friend Colin was related to Rocky "Wrekkless" Shades of Wrathchild. Things took an even weirder turn when, on holiday with my parents in Menorca in 1984, it transpired that Rocky "Wrekkless" Shades was staying in the same hotel as us. My mum told him I was a fan and he was very nice to me. His hair was massive!

3) Round at my mate Benny's house in the mid-1980's we used to play on the ZX Spectrum, drink Soda Stream (which was state of the art drink-making at the time) and listen to records. Most popular choices were New Order's "The Beach" on the b-side of the Blue Monday 12" and Billy Idol's first solo album. I recently bought the remaster on CD and despite the fact they left off Congo Man for some insane reason - it's still a fucking great album - shut up!

4) My mum once played football on the park with Billy Fury and his band when they were playing at Matlock Pavilion. These days she is in a Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Society and they have won international competitions. I like the bit about Billy Fury better.

5) I still get occasional performance royalties for the tracks I played guitar on the White Town album that EMI released in 1997. The last one was £8.07 for radio plays in Switzerland. I don't think I've ever got into double figures.

6) With the event of tracking tools like LastFM it's fascinating to look back over my listening habits for the past 18 months or so. Then I got to wondering as to which record I have probably listened to the most over the course of my entire life. My internal LastFM mind memory churned the calculation for a few days and I have come to the conclusion that it is almost certainly "Misplaced Childhood" by Marillion. I don't think I could be any less cool at this precise moment in time, but bear with me.

Prog Rock has never been cool, and especially not the kind of second-hand early-Genesis prog that Marillion dished up in the early 1980's. Yet Misplaced Childhood is still a fantastic concept album and one I have come back to time and again from the first time I heard it in 1985, through every phase of my musical awakening. It's a lyrical tour-de-force and musically astonishing, managing to contain two top 10 singles in amongst the more intricate pieces, transient passages and recurring motifs.

I lost all interest in the band after the follow-up album didn't grab me, but I've recently discovered that Fish has been regularly blogging for years and the archive is available via his website. Boy has he had his fair share of relationship & business problems - the poor bloke has been through the mill but he's still so optimistic about life it's a joy to read sometimes (at the moment he is about to release a new album having been jilted a couple of weeks before his wedding day!).

So yeah, number 6 - I like bad prog.

7) I never had guitar lessons but learned via a square flexidisc called "Play In A Day The Billy Bragg Way". In all honesty it took me a little bit longer than a day.

8) Fittingly at number 8 - I once rented Eminem's film Eight Mile on DVD from Blockbuster, got home, put it in the player and then made some dinner. An hour or so later switched the TV on settled down with a plate of food to watch the film - then got confused when it finished after half an hour. Turns out that it was an autoplay disc rather than one that continuously loops the title menu and I managed to skip the first hour without even noticing. It really didn't make ANY difference to the plot, or my enjoyment of the film. They could have just made it a 30 minute TV show and saved themselves millions.

So that's my eight things - and the tenuous mp3 link is going to be a live version of Marillion's Sugar Mice (In The Rain), which isn't fom Misplaced Childhood but is my favourite song from Clutching At Straws. This live version comes from the Curtain Call boxset and benefits from a less polished sound than the studio take (plus the audience clapping somewhat out of time). Fish really sounds like he means every word of this "stuck in a hotel miles away from your loved ones" ballad. Anyone brave enough to download this, I warn you in advance there is a VERY 80's guitar solo at 2:12 but keep listening as the post-song monologue is one that puts Bono to shame...

Marillion - Sugar Mice (In The Rain) - Live In Milan 1988

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tony Wilson RIP

The web is slowly filling with obits for Tony Wilson so I won't wax lyrical. Suffice to say that I grew up listening to Factory Records and thinking that Tony Wilson was the lord of absolutely everything.

The temptation to post something miserable was quite considerable, but instead here are the original 12" & 7" mixes of New Order's Temptation - possibly one of the most joyous songs ever recorded, and a particular favourite of mine since the day my late friend Mr Pyle lent me his copy and sent me home telling me that if I listened to it, it would change my life. Not sure it changed my life but it certainly taught me to dance like a twat.

Apparently the 12" and 7" versions are extracts from the same REALLY long version rather than edits of the same piece, so to experience the whole thing you queue the 12" version and then the 7" version.

I suggest you play it nice and loud right now and do le dance du twat pour Tony Wilson.

New Order - Temptation [Original 12" Mix] FAC63
New Order - Temptation [Original 7" Mix] FAC63

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Plans And Apologies

Yup I know that blogging youtube videos is lazy and not MAN'S blogging but sometimes we have to make exceptions.

I'm like everyone else - when you see an embedded clip with someone telling you that you simply MUST see it ROFL LMAO etc, you hesitate, you sigh, you begrudgingly click and 99% of the time it's a cat falling off a handbag and you end up hating yourself.

But my friends - I'm here to tell you that this is different. You may not ROFL, you may not LMAO, you may only vaguely LOL, but it's not idle speculation when I say Plans & Apologies are the best band you will see this week (OK...when I say that, I'm kind of hoping you watched a lot of the shit on at Glastonbury at the weekend and that might stack the odds in P&A's favour..)

They could be and should be MASSIVE - but they're wise beyond their years when it comes to the current state of the "industry" and continue to plough their own, deeply sexy, furrow. To get an idea read the increasingly bizarre bloggings at If you like the songs behind the videos below, then they have quite literally LOADS of mp3's to download from the same website.

Anyway they have employed two amazing young film makers to put together a video for each side of their upcoming single on Exercise 1 Recordings (released jointly on their own Pandaz Pop Records)

MeeToo is directed by Darius Powell. Animation by Darius Powell and Glenn Millington.

And if that animation has left you frustrated to know what these handsome young boys look like then they are revealed in all their butch glory in the next one - probably one of the few political songs that doesn't make me wince & manages to be pure pop at the same time.

Mel Gibson's...Iraq! is directed by
James Sharpe

I promise to get back to old-bloke reminiscing about late 80's indie soon...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Chet Baker

I've been meaning to post about this track since the beginning of time - The Chet Baker Quartet's recording of Tom Adair & Matt Dennis's extraordinarily self-pitying "Everything Happens To Me" from the Legendary Barclay Sessions recorded in Paris November 1955.

A month before this was recorded, Chet's pianist, Dick Twardzik died of a heroin overdose and the rest of the quartet went home traumatised to the US. Chet carried on recording with local musicians and cut some amazing tracks.

One of my favourite ever Jazz vocal recordings - the majority of the Paris recordings were instrumental but Chet didn't even pick up the trumpet for this one. It's quite probable tht he'd sold the instrument for smack, but wait until 2:27 and see if it gets you like it gets me when Chet "sings" the trumpet solo. If that's not musical perfection I don't know what is.

There are other things that I love about this take - the way Chet hits the notes so perfectly on the line "but now I just can't fool this head that thinks for me" around the 1:37 mark - the delicate syncopation at 2:12 where it sounds as if the pianist has stopped to light a cigarette, and of course the line "everytime I play an ace, my partner always trumps..." still makes me giggle like a schoolboy (I know it shouldn't..i'm trying to be a jazz afficionado here.)

Chet Baker Quartet - Everything Happens To Me

Not bad for a smack head eh? I'm still astounded that people with such heavy habits could record music as subtle and beautiful as this - up next on Frankosonic it's the Babyshambles..what?

Chet Baker In Paris (The Legendary Barclay Sessions 1955-1956) - Buy at Amazon

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Family Cat -> Jack Adaptor

Having spent the last month or so rediscovering what a fine band The Family Cat were, I was going to post their second Peel Session (as it's the only one of the three they recorded that I haven't seen blogged in the wild) but I ended up following the trail to MODERN TIMES and found that the singer Fred is still recording and releasing music as one half of a band called Jack Adaptor.

Despite the fact their website seems to throw annoying javascript stack overflow errors (or maybe this part of the "experience" and I just don’t get it?) you can navigate your way to the music page to hear some mp3 samples, but it's one song in particular (not on the website) that I've become enamoured of which you can download here:

Jack Adaptor - Everyone Talked About Us

Fred's voice hasn't changed a bit and neither has his way with words

Parkkeeper's coming to close the gates at dusk
I'm sitting in my car which is 90% rust
Doing crosswords in Russian just to pass the time
I've got an active mind and it likes to remind me that you were mine

It's a sweet super sad song about a failed relationship, but not the bitter immediate aftermath. It's that moment where enough time has passed for you to look back and remember the good times, but with the perspective to realise why & how it went wrong. You know it shouldn't still hurt but it does.

I must have listened to this song on repeat for hours. It's MY kind of song.

Half-time Round-up

Whilst I've not exactly been setting the world of speed-blogging alive, I am still on the case and have a couple of new posts planned this week. Honest I do.

Big excitement for me personally on the blog front though when I received a comment on my Better Beatles post from a "JeanpSmith" - who it turns out was the original vocalist from The Better Beatles and she hints that the full Better Beatles session (they recorded an albums-worth) getting a release soon!

As I said at the time, info on the band was scarce (YOU try googling them..) but armed with a name I quickly found a great post on Crud Crud which contains a little more of the history and a longer comment from Jean explaining the origins of the band.

I never really intended to just blog old stuff, but I'm a sucker for reminiscing - and I don't like passing judgement on new stuff until I have the benefit of hindsight. Baggy has served me well in that respect. Nonetheless it seems that I've had a pretty good hit rate when it comes to digging up the past.

A comment on my inaugural Seymores post alerted me to Dave Fera's new band Big Blue Marble. Great stuff that retains a lot of the melody and melancholy of The Seymores

Since my first Ted Chippington post, he's come out of retirement, done a load of gigs, been on TV and released a boxset of his work! Last week I got a nice package through from Ted with recordings of a couple of the latest gigs and a little note signed "cheers chief"...priceless

Dave Howard Singers have also apparently just re-released their back catalogue (including various mixes of Yon Yonson) and Dave is still recording new music. Check his Myspace and snazzy new official site

A kindly soul sent me a copy of some more amazing stuff by Those Naughty Corinithians after my post thereof. It's just served to make me wish I knew a bit more about them though..

And finally since I posted the BOB Peel Session, Richard from the band contacted me to say they were also resurrecting plans to release a BOB retrospective due to renewed interest from the weird wide web. Official website on the way and some unreleased tunes on their new BOB Myspace. Richard also has some great solo stuff on his own Captain Black Myspace which is well worth a listen if you loved BOB.

Thanks to everyone who has left comments and got in touch so far, it really does make it all worthwhile! Keep it coming..

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sheila Chandra

Coming home from the pub on a Friday night, one week in 1994, it's hard to put into words how much this woman fried my brain.

Sheila Chandra was appearing on Later With Jools Holland (with, I imagine, Ocean Colour Scene...they were ALWAYS on) as the token world music act. She stood alone in the spotlight and for 3 minutes did nothing but make weird noises with her mouth that were somewhere between a human impersonation of a tabla and the triple-tonguing exercises my old brass teacher used to insist we all did.

I bought her album "The Zen Kiss" and found that there were two versions of the Speaking In Tongues track, Parts III & IV (the first two parts were on the previous album "Weaving My Ancestor's Voices") along with some other less interesting synth-based wailing. I wish she'd stuck more to the tongue-based stuff..

Sheila Chandra - Speaking In Tongues III

Alas in researching her all these years later for the purposes of BLOG - it seems she had a track featured in the Lord Of The Rings so there are probably internet geek sites all over the shop debating her relevance to Frodo & that elf shit, but the goblin-lovers can forget it - I heard her first!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Mike Read

One of my earliest childhood memories is being sat in the bath while my mum sang "The Ugly Duckling" to me. I don't think there was any deep significance to the choice of song, it was probably the only one she could remember all the words to - and besides - I liked it.

I also remember her buying a copy of it on 7" so that I could listen to it at my leisure. It wasn't until I dug out the single recently that I realised quite how differently Mike Read approached the song to my mum.

I'm pretty sure she missed out all the cockney rhyming slang and I'm equally sure that parts of the Mike Read version left my infant brain completely baffled - and to a certain extent they still do.

He starts off trying to do a proper crooning job but quickly falls into proto-Frank Butcher mode. By the end of it - it's like he's talking a different language.


Maybe this is what bath time for Ricky Butcher was ACTUALLY like?

Watch out for the quacking guitar effect on wah-wah in the "all through the wintertime" section...tres subtle

Mike Read - The Ugly Duckling

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ted Chippington - News

My original Ted Chippington post has been by far the most downloaded of my occasional ramblings on here (possibly because someone included the link on Ted's Wikipedia entry?). So, as there is a fair bit of Ted news going down at the moment, I thought I'd offer a quick round-up and a brief excerpt from his Leicester gig at the back end of last year.

First up, Stewart Lee is doing a piece about Ted on BBC2's The Culture Show on Saturday 3rd Febraury at 7.20pm where they will presumably be plugging both Ted's gig at The Bull & Gate, Kentish Town and also the Tedstock benefit gig at London's Bloomsbury Theatre on 5 February in order to raise money to fund the release of "Walking Down The Road - A History Of Ted Chippington" 4 CD boxset retrospective available now from Big Print Records at gigs or via mail order to

Tedstock will include performances from Stewart Lee and Richard Herring, who will also be performing together as Lee and Herring for the first time in seven years, as well as Kevin Eldon, Simon Munnery, Simon Amstell, Phill Jupitus, Josie Long and Robin Ince.

Stewart Lee's new piece in The Guardian about Ted is HERE

As if that wasn't excitement enough - someone has also posted Ted's legendary appearance on BBC's Pebble Mill At One back in 1986 doing "She Loves You" and being interviewed by a smug idiot in a neck brace.

From Ted's Leicester gig last year - a tender new song about world politics and a tale of life in Torquay.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Later Works Of...Lou Reed

Everyone knows Lou Reed - the seminal fathers of all things indie rock The Velvet Underground, and then his early solo albums like Transformer & Berlin that regularly make those Mojo-esque "best albums of all time" polls, but I've always been fascinated by the part of his career between the glam-junkie era and then re-invented "thank god I've finally become hip again" New York era when he was just an embarassing middle-aged bloke with a guitar and a mullet.

In the 10 years between his last critically acclaimed album Street Hassle and the aforementioned "return to form" of New York, Reed released six studio albums that pretty much bombed or were ignored by the critics - punk had happened, dance music was the new thing and 80's studio techniques meant that even when Lou did come up with the goods it was suffocated by synthetic drum sounds and reverb (qv. The Blue Mask is widely regarded as one Reed's better 80's records but sounds incredibly dated to these ears)

1979's The Bells was the first album from this dark period and only contained 9 songs, maybe an indication of just how dry Reed's well was running. Each of the first 8 tracks is accompanied by a lame brass arrangement and takes in every R&B cliché going (particularly on the, presumably sarcastic, Disco Mystic). There is absolutely zero creative spark and no trace of the "good" Lou in sight.

Then something happens when we reach the albums closer and title track..

Don Cherry lets rip on free-jazz trumpet and Lou sets forth with a whispered string of consciousness lyric. It's almost like a rock version of Coltrane's Om. 8 minutes later and the horrors of the preceding tracks are forgotten, wiped away by a tidal wave of the avant garde. I probably love this song more because of it's carefully placed existence at the far end of such a bad album than anything else. It's typical of Lou Reed's stubborness and desire to annoy, yet, unlike Metal Machine Music it bears more than a couple of listens (and yes I have listened to MMM several times in it's entirety)

Lou Reed - The Bells

Just as the first Velvet's album married the sonic assault of European Son with the tender whimsy of Sunday Morning there are two sides to Reed's genius. "Tell It To Your Heart - again the last track and a hidden gem on 1986's Mistrial (where it was again obliterated by the sheen of the 80's studio veneer and preceded by songs of considerably lower quality) was reworked and included more recently on the Animal Serenade live set. Even the fat crooning sad clown from Anthony & The Johnsons can't ruin it for me. It's one of the most beautiful songs that Lou Reed has ever written.

Lou Reed - Tell It To Your Heart (live)

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Colorblind James Experience

OK - this is my first request - my chum Steve over at the Domino Rally emailed me yesterday saying he had a hankering to hear this track and did I have it?

Boy do I have it. I first heard this track at John Pyle's house Christmas 1987 on Peel's Festive 50 of that year, a magical time where we were discovering all sorts of crazy music existed. It made number 47 sandwiched between MARRS "Pump Up The Volume" and The Gun Club's "Breaking Hands".

I can't think what else to say about it - stupidly catchy riff and stupidly catchy spoken word chorus bit.

Colorblind James Experience - Considering A Move To Memphis

Interestingly this is one of 13 tracks in my library that contain the word "Memphis". Can you guess what they are?

Never considered a move there myself but Al Green's church & Gracelands make it sound a good trip. One day...

Colorblind James Experience on Wikipedia

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Happy New Year etc - two things have cheered me up no end this week - firstly someone sent me a copy of some more stuff by Those Naughty Corinithians after my heartfelt plea in the post below. 3 demos and 4 live tracks including such masterpieces as "I Hate Cats", "Give US A Clue" (about the quiz show..obviously), "Eddie The Eagle", "The Weather Is Shit" & "Greater Manchester Buses Are Rubbish". And yisssss - pretty much every song contains the word "YISSSS!"

Secondly Tom over at the Indie MP3 blog posted up the second two Peel Sessions by the band BOB. I'd not heard these for a while and after downloading them it became pretty clear that they were the same mp3's that I'd made from my old cassette copies and set free via Soulseek a couple of years back. A victory for file sharing I think. Anyway - I told Tom I'd post the missing 1st Peel Session (and in my opinion the best one) to mark my deepest joy.

BOB #1 Peel Session 18 Jan 1988

BOB were one of those bands that were always a pleasure to listen to, everything they did was pure pop and, OK, some of it might sound a bit twee now but both band and listener had smiles on their faces - particularly during the indiepop anthem "Brian Wilson's Bed" featured on their debut flexi and also on this session in a full band version.