Not Chariots, but Fields

I hear that the people of Scotland have decided to stick with us.  Fair enough.  To acknowledge the event, here’s a favourite of mine from way back in 1983.  I went to see Big Country play in Southampton when they were at the height of their fame.  I don’t remember much about the gig, except that it featured Stuart Adamson stopping mid-tune to have a go at some gormless oik in or near the front row.  The net result was that the hapless fool was invited up on stage, Adamson’s guitar was hung round his neck and he was left to continue the set by himself.  Thus, the whole audience was left in no doubt that he was simply an idiot.  I suspect he was subsequently ejected from the venue, egg still dripping from his face.

This is a lovely song with a distinctly Scottish sound.  For me, it also has a definite punctum, at 1:57.  Sadly, Stuart Adamson took his own life aged just 43.

I’ve really enjoyed listening to this again, so tomorrow I’m sticking with SA in his previous band.


There’s the Rub

I think Wishbone Ash was actually the first band to be surgically implanted in my consciousness when I was a timid 11-year old trying to settle down in a new bed, trying to keep warm under double-folded blankets with the bed pushed right up against the radiator pipes to steal as much heat as possible.  I remember the senior boy at the time went by the name of Chris ‘Dinger’ Bell, and Wishbone Ash were his band, so we were to enjoy their oeuvre as long as he was on duty.  He seemed to be on duty every night.  The funny thing was that after Bell and his contemporaries (peers?) left, so did all mention of the band.  They didn’t seem to catch on and hang around, unlike Genesis, ELP, Yes, Pink Floyd, Supertramp and so on.  And so it is that I haven’t really heard anything by this most enigmatic of bands since the mid seventies.  I say enigmatic; there’s probably plenty of information about them out there, but I just haven’t bothered to look.  Aside from this terrific record, the only thing I remember about them was their album There’s the Rub.  The album cover had a picture of a bloke rubbing a cricket ball on his trousers to give it a shine.  What became of the band or the cricketer, I have no idea.

Having listened to this several times in the past 24 hours, I kind of feel the need to check out there other material.  Like some demented, nostalgic old fart, I rather like the memories it invokes.  Thanks, Dinger, wherever you are.

As today is a big day in Scotland, tomorrow I’ll bring you a band who made a guitar sound a bit like bagpipes.  Bonkers, eh?


Wake up you sleepy head

Back in my school days, one of my house mates used to play Hunky Dory.  Every day in the day-room, if I remember rightly, so it was impossible to escape its influence.  As soon as I hear this particular song, I am transported back to that same day-room and to a memory of the ginger-haired lad by the name of Glen Miller.  Miller (we always referred to each other by our surnames) was a bit of a maverick, so it seemed normal that he should be big on Bowie.  I wish I knew what he went on to do with his life.  As for Miller, I’m sure he’s done okay.

I suppose, technically, this was pre-Thin White Duke era Bowie, so apologies to anyone who feels misled and let down.  I’m sure you can forgive me, however, because it’s a superb tune.

As I’ve been thinking about school again, I have to follow this with one more act often played by the senior boys in the dorm’ as we drifted off to sleep.  Another dusting of Ash.

It’s the Weekend

It’s official.  I’m getting old and tired.  Having had the tune as an earworm all day, this page was all set up to enable me to complete my post when I had to step out (read: leave my desk) to put my son to bed.  Next thing I knew it was gone midnight and everything was shut down and hibernating, so after another glass of water I turned in for the night.

Anyway, being so old is great.  It means I can come up with offerings like this and young(er) people can shake their heads in amazement.  Hi Simon!

I must have been exposed to this back in the late nineties when I had a phase of listening to Danny Rampling’s show on Radio 1 on a Saturday night, back when Radio 1 was still credible.  I know nothing about Joey Negro.

Now, if you’re wondering about yesterday’s connection with Chaka (and, frankly, why wouldn’t you be?), well, Chaka, Chaka, Chaka, Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan is the sister of Taka Boom.  Oh, to have such a bonkers name!

I don’t think I’ve featured the Thin White Duke yet.  I heard my favourite Bowie track on the radio yesterday, so before I forget…

Oh well, whatever…

I fell asleep yesterday evening, and woke at 2.30am, by which time I couldn’t do much more than fetch myself a drink of water.  Apologies to those of you (if any) waiting on each new entry.

This needs no introduction.

It’s difficult not to like this.  Introduction.  Riff.  Drumming.  Shouty stuff.  The Punctum (you know, the sound at 1:25/1:29/2:38/2:43).  Guitar solo.  Bass line.  It’s all there.

Now, on the front of Mr Grohl’s drum kit, it looks like it says Chaka.  I have a rather tasty little single in my collection to connect with that rather nicely.

Time warp, anyone?

I think this dates from a couple of years ago (2012?), but it could just have easily come from 1972 or thereabouts.  I’ve just watched the recording from Jules Holland’s show and discovered that they also look like they come from the same period.  Maybe it’s nothing new, but it’s like a breath of fresh nostalgic air, if there could be such a thing (oxymoron, anyone?) and I think it’s one of the best tracks of recent years.  I’m sure there’s a big slice of Pink Floyd in there, although I can’t think which song, but it is both familiar and strange.  I know I’ll enjoy listening to it in another 40 years, should I live that long.

My only gripe is the band name.  It sounds like one of those select-a-name jobs.  You know, you can imagine them sat in the pub supping on warm, flat bitter: “Right chaps, let’s think of an adjective, then let’s think of an obscurish animal.  Put the two together and…  Bingo! Recalcitrant Platypus?  No?!  Try another.  Okay, Genial Gnu?  No!  Fake Capercaillie?” And so on, and so on.  Probably.

Never mind, it’s a fabulous tune.

[strokes chin] Hmm, Never Mind, you say…? [/strokes chin]


I’m open to persuasion

This takes me straight back to school.  In fact, it takes me back to coming home from school on the coach.  Goose bumps erupted on my arms as soon as Ms Armatrading opens her mouth.  This is a really strange song, or so it seems to me.  The structure is very odd, I think, but perhaps that’s what makes it so memorable.  I bet it would be difficult to sing properly.  Beautiful.

Something much more recent tomorrow, although it’s straight out of the seventies.  I’m going Antipodean.

Not Made in Taiwan

Here’s another band with a much bigger collection of brilliant songs than you might imagine.  Having decided on today’s entry, I went on to realise that there are several of their recordings that could easily make an appearance later in the year.  Proper catchy, quirky, quality pop tunes, so it’s something of a mystery that they never really became massive.  How many people would recognise Tim Wheeler if they happened to bump into him in the Co-Op?  I probably wouldn’t, but I’d recognise his voice and his songs.  This is the first track that came to mind when the thought of Keith Richards smoking took me to Ash:

The video’s a bit naff.  Sorry about that.  Oh, and the title of my post stems from the fact that one of their tunes, Kung Fu, has the line “Oh Daniel San made in Taiwan”.

I started the day with other plans, but late this morning a genuine top-ten favourite of mine came to mind after hearing the artist on the radio.  A woman called Joan.


This lot probably should have called it a day back in the late seventies, but they insist on hanging on and banging on while enjoying the benefits of their respective bus passes.  I don’t think I’ve ever bought one of their records, but a good mate of mine gave me their last decent single (Miss You) when he left school, so that’s about the limit of my connection with Jagger et al.  I’ve never understood the obsession of fans wanting to pay ridiculous sums of money to go and watch Mick, Keith and Co do their thing in some massive stadium, nor do I really understand why the band members themselves want to continue to perform.  I think I’d rather go out and ride me bike.  Having said all that, a couple of years ago, they only went and released this monster:

I think you need to see the two options, but either way, this is an absolutely stonking tune.  Is it okay for an old git to us the term stonking?  No matter.  Stonking it is.  Now, boys (ha ha!) go and have a lie down and don’t bother me again.

In the interests of balance, I’d better go with a slightly younger generation for my next choice, so across the Irish sea it is, to a band who sound as though they may disapprove of (one of) Keith Richards’ vices.


What do you want from me?

Here’s another song I bought as a CD single back during that phase I was going through in the late nineties.  I don’t think I can recall anything else by this band, but this is a top pop tune, the words of which meant a great deal to me at the time, finding myself single as I did at the beginning of 1997.  I’m not sure what the band was about – it featured Peter Hook from New Order (you’ll probably recognise his bass playing) – or how long the duo survived, but I’m glad they made this record.

I heard someone doing a rather nice cover of a David Bowie record (Five Years, since you ask) earlier, so I got to thinking about how Bowie come back into the limelight with a brilliant tune a year or so ago, as did the band which delivered my next choice.  They’ve been on my mind for a few days, so I’ll have to acknowledge that they probably deserve a slot.  It’s just a bunch of old men who should have hung up their guitars and stuff ages ago.  Thankfully, they didn’t, as tomorrow will show.