Friday, 22 April 2011

The Saints are Coming

I am not a great fan of the pod shuffle. I usually have an idea of what might suit me on the 30 minutes to work. Hangover, cold, heat, stress, hunger, whatever it is, it is not taken into consideration by the pod. The pod offering up some 13 minute drone rock on a bright summer morning is not what I'm after. Despite this, the pod came up absolute trumps the other morning by offering up the original The Saints are Coming by The Skids. It's a remarkably accomplished song.

Stuart Adamson, who went on to form Big Country, would have been only 20 when they released it. Singer Richard Jobson went on to form the rubbish Armoury Show and released all sorts of spoken and written words, went on the telly then made films. It's hard to see how Jobson plus members of Magazine could have failed, but it wasn't great. Magazine, in parts, were.

The Skids got back together again in 2007 to commemorate their 30th anniversary and as a tribute to Stuart Adamson who took his own life in 2001, aged only 43. Here's another tribute from an admirer.

For the T in the Park 2007 gig the reformed Skids were joined by Bruce Watson of Big Country. The Scotsman had this to say of the performance
"This is a sad day - it's closure - but a great day, too," he said, flashing his big letterbox grin for the last time. Jobson often says the band in their heyday never got the credit they deserved. Well, let the records show that yesterday The Skids were brilliant. Betrothed and divine, in fact"

I tend to agree. Judge for yourself.

Song Challenge - A Song that Reminds me of Playing 78's in my Grandparents Front Room

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Song Challenge - A Song that Reminds me of a CD I Lost

Don't let the haircut put you off (his, not mine). An odd video for a majestic song. I fear that Wikipedia might be doing harm to their legacy as when I put 'Walker Brothers' into the search to check the year the song was released it told me "Walker Brothers is a series of pancake houses in the Chicago area". 1966 by the way. My CD resides with an ex girlfriend, although I guess it may not have survived.

Song Challenge - A Song that Reminds me of Birmingham Powerhouse sometime in the Mid 80's

As part of an irregular series based on the Facebook Song Challenge here is A Song that Reminds me of Birmingham Powerhouse sometime in the Mid 80's. The Powerhouse was just off one of the inner ringroads as I remember. Plastic glasses and sticky carpets, and a balcony. We seemed to go every week and it was always full of goths. It was the time of goths. The Mission ruled the world, or seemed to. Looking back it seems like we saw The Pogues every other week.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Song Challenge - A Song from my Childhood and Black Lace's Worst

Peter, my once prolific now sporadic co-blogging cohort is undertaking some kind of 30 day song challenge in Facebook. This entails him posting links to songs that meet a certain daily criteria, as detailed below. Today was day 12 and he treated us to 'a song from a band you hate', which happened to be Angel of Harlem by U2. He went on to point out that he considered this to be their best song, but still considered "their best compares closely to Black Lace's worst"

As a lover of lists, pointless blogging that nobody reads and music, this 30 Day Challenge strikes me as genius. However, I'm changing the rules to suit myself and will be introducing categories such as 'A Song that makes me think of the venue Birmingham Powerhouse sometime in the mid 80's' and others such as 'A Song that sounds great when you are a bit pissed but doesn't when you are sober" etc

In the meantime, and while we wait for Day 15 of Peter's challenge (Staffordian Jangle Punk Boy by The Tenatious No Eff Pip Collective), I shall provide my own answer to Day 29; a song from my childhood.

Peter's Challenge
day 01 - your favorite song
day 02 - your least favorite song
day 03 - a song that makes you happy
day 04 - a song that makes you sad
day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere
day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 - a song that you know all the words to
day 09 - a song that you can dance to
day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep
day 11 - a song from your favorite band
day 12 - a song from a band you hate
day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
day 15 - a song that describes you
day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate
day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 - a song from your favorite album
day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry
day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 - a song that makes you laugh
day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 - a song that you wish you could play
day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 - a song from your childhood
day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year

Grammys 2011 - Go Gospel

Did you know there is a category at The Grammy's for Hawaiian Music Album? Or Comedy Album? Did you know that the word 'Gospel' appears in 7 different categories? Just in case you missed out on the gong for Contemporary R&B Gospel Album you could have a pop at Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album.

Here are a couple of the winners from the 2011 Grammys, ignoring the Lady Gagas and Iron Maidens of this world. If you would like to read more about the winners and losers click here

Gospel Song Winner 'It's What I Do' Kirk Whalum

Winner Rock or Rap Gospel Album, Hello Hurricane by Switchfoot

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Dead Men Walking

Dead Men Walking have been dragging their broken and battered selves throughout the UK on and off since the early 00's. With a rotating line up they somehow manage to re-invent a couple of classics from each of their various heydays without looking sad in any way. The songs stand the test of time, and even though they might be a bit puffy around the jaw and mid-riff the delivery is classy. These are people who have been there and done that and the experience shines through. A supergroup is Kirk Brandon, Mike Peters and Pete Wylie, not Blind Faith or ELP. Throw in Captain Sensible and Slim Jim Phantom from the Stray Cats and you have a Christ that is a Supergroup supergroup. I haven't even mentioned Billy Duffy ......

and one of the finest songs ever written about Thatcherism.....or possibly just ever written.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Sister Rosetta

All roads lead to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, or at least they seem to at the moment. Just before Christmas a friend sent me a link to a baizarre video of a woman playing a guitar on Chorlton railway station in Manchester, in 1963. Then, lo and begold, BBC4 decide to show a documentary entitled The Godmother of Rock n' Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe. According to the BBC "In 2008 the state governor of Pennsylvania declared that henceforth January 11th will be Sister Rosetta Tharpe Day in recognition of her remarkable musical legacy". Her career spanned several decades and saw her performing with Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman, rock and roll stars in the 50' and blues artists in the 60's. Living Blues say "she was the first major gospel singer to tour Europe" and although she suffered a stroke while on tour in 1970 her speech was impaired but her singing wasn't. Apparently she was Johnny Cash's favourite singer, and it's easy to see why.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

CW Stoneking

C.W. Stoneking does not sound like a white Australian. Not when he sings, anyway. Brought up in the Aboriginal community of Pupanya this, according to a comment beneath one of his videos on YouTube, explains how he talks. It doesn't really explain how someone in his late 30's can sing like someone from the late 30's. Somehow he manages to stay out of the cheap retro feel and conjure up something of 'genuine conviction rather than cheap parody' (Uncut).

In an interview with Australian independent music website Soulshine he declared his influences to be "old work songs, old gospel music, jazz, early Caribbean Calypso music out of the 20s and 30s" but went on to say that the inspiration for Jungle Blues actually came from a 50 Cent tune.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Best of 2010

The blog may have been quiet but as its the end of year it is time to roll out my top 3 albums of the year.
I am listening to a lot of music of late but its been difficult getting the time to write about it all, end of year and a moments reflection on what has made up the best album means that I need to find the time.
This time last year it was all about Hockey, NOFX and Mumford and Sons. They were floating my boat. The three albums that I thought were the best of the year, you are going to have to be lenient here, they were all released towards the end of 2009 if this were The Grammy’s we wouldn’t have a problem, it isn’t though so we may have.

OK on to the music. The third best album of the year for me was the Mercury prize winning debut by The XX. I think my wife heard a track and knew it was up my street, like Glasvegas and current squeeze, Mona they have a specific sound that seems to be swimming away from whatever the current crop of indie sounds like. The XX’s album doesn’t have big production, or massively clear vocals, but it supplied clarity from the start.
I loved The XX and when I went from car commute to train commute and heard it for the first time on my iPod I bombarded my wife with texts telling her that THIS was the future of pop music. She had heard it all before and reminded me of my past crimes.
Crimes schmimes. This album is an essential album from this year, perfect songwriting, lovely sparse production that makes you at times have to crane an ear to pick up just what the singer is saying and it won the Mercury Music prize, and anything is better than Paul fucking Weller.

Crystalised by The XX

My second favourite album of the year was also nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, and this was also released towards the end of 2009, Biffy Clyro’s fifth studio album, Only Revolutions.
As I write this a Biffy Clyro song sits at number one in the singles chart, their original is at number 25, they are headlining a major festival next year and in Only Revolutions they have a platinum selling album. 2010, well it has been a good year for Biffy Clyro and the overnight success has only took 10 years.
So Only Revolutions, a magnificent polished album that moved away, for me at least, from the confused sound of Puzzle, to return more towards the sound they produced on Vertigo of Bliss, but a more professional developed and finer version.
Many of Horror, the song X factor winner Matt Cardle is cuurently sitting pretty with is one of many stand out tracks on this album and if tomorrows pop idols were looking to cover any of them they could take their pick of the exquisite God and Satan, Mountains or Bubbles.
So many stand out tracks on this album and any song could be a single. We had the pleasure of seeing them twice this year at an enormous festival and a tiny club and both times it was fantastic and to hear the songs that make up this album was a joy and a pleasure.

God and Satan by Biffy Clyro

My favourite album of the year though is the fantastic Revolution by Miranda Lambert. Its an album that just keeps getting played and played. I have to say pretty much solidly for the past 6 months I have listened to nothing but mainstream country music. Brad Paisley without a doubt has been my favourite artist of this year, the album though goes to Miranda.
This isn’t some obscure album though, this is a huge selling album in the states and every track tells you why, clever, funny, beautiful, some tugging at the heartstrings, some kicking you in the balls. Miranda Lambert isn’t Taylor Swift, she is Taylor Swifts crazy aunt.
The stand out track for me on the album is the US country number 1, The House That Built Me. A stunning stunning single, and with Dead Flowers, Airstream Song and Virginia Bluebell she continues in a similar vein musically if not lyrically.

The House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert gets down and dirty when she needs to on songs like Somewhere Trouble Don't Go, but she is a girl that likes to keep the mood light, from Only Prettier, to the cover of Time to Get a Gun.
Lambert is the main songwriter but she gets a little help on this album from Blake Shelton her fiancĂ©, Julie Miller, Ashley Monroe and Natalie Hemby. The most surprising addition to the album and least country song on this album is her version of John Prine’s That's the Way That The World Goes 'Round. A song that Lambert definitely makes her own.
All in all, easily my favourite album of the year and one that you really need to hear.

Thats The Way The World Goes Round by Miranda Lambert

Friday, 17 December 2010

The Creepshow Live at Moho Live, Manchester

Kev it seems lords it up with the Chilean glitterati at Massive Attack gigs, over priced, it certainly seems by all accounts. Me, I have been to very few gigs this year, Leeds Festival, Biffy Clyro in Vegas and Neil Diamond. Last week saw an additional band added to that very small list and that was Canadian Psychobilly band The Creepshow and the Manchester date on their current European tour.
I haven’t been to Manchester to see a band since around 2000 and that band was Hefner. I heard gunshot that night, so ten years between gigs would be about right. In the meantime Manchester made itself easy on the eye, put in trams and made me feel that it was safe to walk the street without someone looking like a member of N-Dubz trying to mug me.
Our hotel was conveniently next door to the venue therefore limiting the chances of mugging even more.
So we took the short walk to Moho Live, a smallish venue near Afflecks Palace, small but really quite nice, not the cavernous room we last saw The Creepshow at The Asylum in Birmingham. Link to that review is over on the right there. Moho Live is more in keeping as a venue for the type of bands that play there.
The bar was a little pricey, not the average wage costing that Kev had at “Trip hop pioneers Massive Attack”, more that average wage of a paperboy. £6 a double tequila and coke. I tried singles and it was then that I realised that the measures my good lady wife serve at home are more generous than the 1 6th of a gill served in Manchester. Enough drink talk though.
When we walked in a three piece band were playing, Hyperjax. Vocalist/guitarist, vocalist/upright bass and a drummer. Playing punk infused rockabilly, erring at times towards very very early Billy Childish. They were it has to be said, excellent. They were energetic, raw and I suspect, if I knew what it meant, visceral. They were marvellous, a good mixture of original material and I think the odd cover. Their biography tells me that they have been doing this some time and in all likelihood I think we will be returning to Manchester in the New Year to see them supporting European Psychobilly band, Mad Sin. I liked Hyperjax a lot and their place on this bill was definitely welcome.
That brings me neatly to second support band, the London band Buster Shuffle. Buster Shuffle were only on this bill by virtue of them having a stand up bass. Their cockernee knees up love a duck chas n dave madness sound was extremely grating. They sound like a band that would be first on in a tent at Glastonbury and was as far removed from the other bands on this bill as you could get. Just thinking back to their set makes me swear massively. Jamie Cullum seemed like Black Flag in comparison.
We had to consume a lot more tequila to get over the shock of that performance. One T-shirt purchase later and finding a vantage point for the sub 5ft members of the party, The Creepshow came on and (excuse the expression) ripped Moho Live a new arsehole.
The Creepshow have just recently released their third album, They All Fall Down on Hellcat records, the follow up to Run For Your Life and Sell Your Soul. The latter album has had a more punk leaning but still maintains its Psychobilly roots.
Their set was raced through at pace drawing from all three albums but definitely highlighting the new fantastic material, notable favourite for me is Hellbound. Certainly a contender for a single. But the breadth of material from Rue Morgue Radio, to Hellbound, Cherry Hill, Zombies Ate Her Brain, You'll Come Crawlin and all points inbetween.
Vocal duties on the whole carried out by the petite Sarah Blackwood but ably assisted by Sickboy and The Reverend McGinty.
A really excellent night on the whole playing to an audience made up of punks, psychobilly and rockabilly people and everyone was into The Creepshow, a far cry from the Birmingham gig.
Towards the end Reverend McGinty made a comment about the Birmingham gig and we spoke about it at the end of the night, we both agreed Birmingham’s The Asylum is a shit venue, but Moho Live is definitely worth a visit to the north.
As for The Creepshow, excellent, really excellent.

Cherry Hill by The Creepshow

Friday, 19 November 2010

Massive Attack, Santiago, Chile, November 18th 2010

For the first time in a long time I actually got to see some live music yesterday. A couple of free tickets saw me trundle along to a large concrete shed that calls itself Espacio Riesco. It’s one of those inhuman structures favoured the world over by artists too big for a city centre theatre abut not big enough for a stadium. It suited the headline band for cold detachment, but more of that later.

After donkeys years of gig going in the UK I am well used to overpaying for a drink at a venue, but 2000 pesos for a tin of beer? Even at the annual fondas (celebrating Chilean independence in a field with several thousand other people) they only have enough nerve to charge you 1000 pesos. I guess this should be understandable as ticket prices for this gig were far and away above the pockets of an average Chilean worker. I suppose you might argue that the working class in the UK might also not be attending such events, but the class divide in Chile rules supreme.

Our freebie ticket should have cost us 26.400 pesos (£34.50). For this we were fenced off halfway back. In order to secure an anywhere near decent view of proceedings it would have cost us 36.000 pesos (£50). To put this into perspective, the minimum wage is 172.000 pesos. The moneyed folk who coughed up £76 got to sit up on a scaffolding platform on what looked like seating borrowed from an airport departure gate. They had their own bar and didn’t have to wait to pay for overpriced beverages.

The relatively large space reserved for the mixing desks and fat blokes in combat shorts employed to twiddle knobs in the dark, was placed squarely in the middle of the cheap seats. This meant that when this area filled with hangers-on prior to Massive Attack taking the stage, a large majority of those behind now couldn’t see a thing. Calls for these people (who had the benefit of standing on flight cases) to move to the side or sit down were ignored.

Martina Topley Bird was first up (she has the same haircut as Arsenal defensive midfielder Alexandre Song). Initially I worried for her, wondering how a half empty concrete box full of disinterested, posh, Massive Attack fans might take to her quirkiness. I needn’t have worried. Despite a slow start she soon won the audience over, particularly with her use of the KT Tunstall schtick of singing a bit then looping it back to be used as backing vocals. She has a fine, sometimes childlike voice, and although the songs sometimes don’t immediately grab you, her voice certainly does. She made a brave stab at introducing songs in Spanish and the crowd loved her all the more for it. In fact, the crowd was so appreciative at some points during the evening that I did begin to wonder if they had ever heard music before. “What is this noise you make by pushing air out of your open mouth while simultaneously striking that stringed object?”

Topley Bird finished her set with a howl of feedback, which was quickly turned down by one of the view-obscuring knob-twiddlers, lest it cause one of the wealthy punters on the orange chairs to choke on their 800 pesos mouthful of cerveza.

Thievery Corporation were up next. They initially struck me as having Jeff Lynne and Frank Zappa as their horn section. The bass player looked like he wouldn’t be out of place in a metal band and the guitarist/sitar player was a chubby little fella in combats. Behind them were two others on a raised platform (it’s the kind of band that need those blokes at the back with headphones who sometimes raise their hands in the air), a percussionist and a variety of singers. It was all a bit Transglobal Underground for me, and although they did seem to play a longer set than Springsteen on Red Bull (available for about 4 quid on the night), which really sagged in the middle, they did have some great moments. A double act of rastas (wearing hats that I haven’t seen since It Aint Alf Hot Mum) prowled the stage relentlessly, although the highlight for me was the performance of a tall, thin lady who came on intermittently and sang in what sounded like Portuguese, although could have been something else. With the Metallica reject pounding away on the bass, and the chubby fella chink chink ing the reggie riffs, she sashayed around in a giant hat that looked like it had been designed for a plant to grow up.

Finally, and after a brief interlude where a couple of posh kids threatened to slit the throat of a 4 ft security guard (presumably with a razor sharp platinum card), Massive Attack took the stage. I had been primed for a tremendous entrance, but they just ambled on. There was a bit of dry ice, although not even enough to fill the back of a transit van. I can say this from experience, having once filled a transit van with dry ice. As a backdrop they had an electronic board that was not unlike something you might have seen on an Open University TV program on computers in about 1982, presented by someone who looked like the bass player out of Thievery Corporation. The crowd lapped up whatever it was they played first, Horace Andy came on for the second, and by the third we had made our way to the exit. The babysitter knocks off at 1am you see.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Birmingham, so much to answer for.

Kev tasked me with writing something about music from Birmingham. I however wanted to shoe horn the phrase "celebrity lezzas" into this post to capitalise on popbitchs claims and drive traffic here, lets hope this cynical stab works, back to the blog... Since my last post and now I have been to Leeds Festival (attempted to write something approaching a review, it was too big a task so in a nutshell, The Walkmen, The King Blues, NOFX and Biffy Clyro were all fantastic, The Drums, not so). I also have been to Las Vegas and celebrated my 40th birthday, seeing Biffy Clyro in a small club whilst I was there. None of these however are related in the slightest to Birmingham.

Birmingham and it surrounds famously spawned the likes of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Slade. Slade weren’t though. Slade were Black Country and in Noddy’s case, Walsall. Zeppelin were in a loose way and Sabbath definitely were, but lets not be picky here. Lets not linger on the most famous sons, lets move away from Aston and West Brom and dip our toe into the murky waters of Birmingham Canal, like a Cliff Richard driven speedboat from Take Me High.

Cliff paid homage to God’s City in his 1973 film Take Me High, his last film and as I write Sir Cliff celebrates his 70th birthday. In Take Me High like the dead horse he has been flogging since Daddy’s Home so he sells the locals the Brum burger. Alliteration it seems were key or it may have been a totally different story and ended up being a Lincoln Burger. Take Me High is a pretty good film if my memory serves me well. I think Channel 4 were doing one of those seasons where rock stars give that acting lark a stab and therefore trotted out the excellent That’ll Be The Day, Slade In Flame and Take Me High. I suspect this all predated Spice World.

Take Me High

Cliff aside the city that gave us Fuzzbox also gave us The Nightingales, Robert Lloyd lead singer and constant of The Nightengales is a Cannock lad, but lets not let geography get in the way after all if that was the case we may have to stop PWEI, The Wonderstuff and Neds Atomic Dustbin being claimed as sons of the second city.
Robert Lloyd from the ashes of The Nightingales formed the utterly fantastic but massively overlooked New Four Seasons, I briefly loved this band as a spotty teen. John Peel played a track that I recorded late one night and I think I wore that tape out. At the time I hadn’t heard or heard of The Nightingales and I didn’t really care. Andy Lloyd of that self same band, Wikipedia tells me he is a member of Birmingham mainstays, Little Red Schoolhouse. Little Red Schoolhouse I can pin down as a band that have been going at least 20 years, if Wikipedia is to be believed as I saw them once in the Sir Colin Campbell pub in Coventry, supporting a Telford based band. Little Red Schoolhouse were I am sure excellent, banks mild has clouded my memory of their performance and the name of the Telford band that supported them. I think it was the band that later became PTR. Halcyon days.

Something Nice by Robert Lloyd and The New Four Seasons

Another son of Birmingham and a band that had a lasting impression on me was the band Mighty Mighty. I bought their album, Sharks at the back end of the 80’s. (I have a memory of being in Birmingham Virgin Megastore queing up to buy Sharks and seeing Miles Hunt in front of me clutching a copy of eight legged groove machine on the day of its release. This may not actually have happened). The purchase of Sharks and importantly an address to write to Mighty Mighty on the back meant I had a clear opportunity within the price of a cheap day return to stalk a band. I need to make this clear, I didn’t. Moseley wasn’t on a train route. Sharks though contained so many great great songs, Law, Maisonnette and the superb, Biddy Baxter. You really should listen to the latter (not that it can be found on Youtube). You really should listen to Law as well, its what the term, “stomping bassline” was created for.

Law by Mighty Mighty

Lawrence, (slaps head remembering the name of the Telford band who supported Little Red Schoolhouse) Lawrence who was Felt, who was Denim, who was Go Kart Mozart was from Birmingham and now it seems, again according to Wikipedia, resides in a place I pass by twice a day, Water Orton. Go Kart Mozart release records on Lawrences own label, West Midlands Records. The sound of young Brum. (I added that). Felt, Lawrences first notable incarnation were signed to Creation and first came to my attention from the super cheap Creation compilation and soundtrack for the live shows, Doing It For The Kids. I own 2 copies of this 1988 album, both jump in different places. Felt perform in my opinion their best track in Ballad Of The Band. An excellent track it is too, Lawrence didn’t really better it.

Ballad Of The Band by Felt

Materially speaking Lawrence went on to form Denim after Felt’s dissolution. Denim had more of a glam rock edge, but a lot of bands were doing that then. Their impact on me was a single single. My loss is Water Ortons gain.

Middle Of The Road by Denim

Finally we can’t leave Birmingham without mentioning one of the citys best sons, not Musical Youth, Duran Duran, the Moody Blues or wizard, not The Twang, The Editors, The Streets or Ocean Colour Scene. Dexy’s are the best export the city has produced and undo all that UB40, the aforementioned OCS and The Twang have subjected me to.

Dexy’s Midnight Runners formed within the B postcode and the mish mash of sounds that make up their albums reflected their home city. I dont care much for Come On Eileen, not to say it isn’t one of the greatest pop songs ever written. My favourite is a twelve minute soul screamer found on Don’t Stand Me Down. This Is What She’s Like is as paranoid as it gets. Rowland is a very honest man to allow this to go on any album and at over 12 minutes, you may tire a little. You shouldn’t though as it takes you places that a full LP will take you, like NOFX’s Decline, its more a sum of its parts. Dexy’s finest hour not bettered in my opinion until the reformation song and anger inducing track, Manhood. I think I once had a brief conversation with my co-blogger about this track once and he swore.

Disappointingly not the full version.

This is What She’s Like by Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

Manhood by Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Birmingham, the home of Napalm Death, the home of The Beat, but also thankfully the home of Novak. Novak really deserve their own article.

Rapunzel by Novak

Thursday, 30 September 2010

AC/DC - The Covers

This actually started out as a post on Mark Kozelek and The Red House Painters but, after hearing his version of AC/DC's If You Want Blood it just blossomed into a whole piece on covers. Having squirmed my way through too many bad rock versions, pub bands and fuzzy upper-lipped teens on out of tune guitars on YouTube, I decided to introduce the winners in each of my self-imposed categories. So, the categories for AC/DC covers are
  • The Quality Cover
  • The Bemusing Why-Did-They-Do-It Children's Cover
  • The That's Not Bad but I Wouldn't Admit it Cover
  • The Bluegrass Cover
  • The Elvis Cover
  • The Toe-Curling, Butt -Tightening, Embarrassed to Even Watch, Dad-at-a-Disco Cover
  • Those Crazy Foreigners Cover
The Quality Cover is the one mentioned in the opening sentence, Mark Kozelek.

On to The Bemusing Why-Did-They-Do-It Children's Cover by The Wiggles (who probably get more airtime in our house than AC/DC themselves).

The That's Not Bad but I Wouldn't Admit it Cover. Keep your eye out for the decent fiddle player also on backing vocals.

They are probably too obvious to even include here but I couldn't really fail to mention the kings of the bluegrass metal covers circuit - Hayseed Dixie, not only a tremendous play on words, but also a tremendous play on words. That makes them clear winners in The Bluegrass Cover category.

On we rock to The Elvis Cover, a personal favourite.

I feel like our reader (not a typo) deserves an explanation here. It's not often that a music video can induce in the viewer a feeling of wanting the world to open up and swallow them. This video makes you feel like a rubber-necker straining to see the accident. It arouses the feelings you have when faced with the spectacle of something so horrible that you are gripped by some unexplained fascination, unable to avert your horrified gaze - it's the Toe-Curling, Butt -Tightening, Embarrassed to Even Watch, Dad-at-a-Disco Cover, so without further ado, ladies and gents, here's Sealion Dion for your ultimate pleasure.

So, to wrap up we've got the Those Crazy Foreigners Cover, which, even though they might be crazy and they are definitely foreigners, is a lovely bit of film. Judging from another clip on TouYoub they might be called Vopli Vidopliassova.

1987 - A Year in Music

It seems like my choices for the best of 1987 are split fairly evenly between the things I was actually listening to at the time, and that year's offerings I would come to discover later in life. Two 'later' discoveries, Tom Waits and Los Lobos, are still around. Los Lobos particularly have had a long and varied career, and continue to put out good records. Tom Waits, an acquired taste, tends to bounce from borderline genius to borderline unlistenable. Scratch that, just unlistenable.

Echo and the Bunnymen were one of those mainstream 'alternative' bands I was so keen to like in the late to mid 80's. They didn't really float my boat in the way that The Cult did, but they scratched a certain itch. 'Love Removal Machine' on the other hand, blew my head off. I bought it on a Saturday afternoon in Birmingham and couldn't wait to get home and play it. It doesn't seem to have completely stood the test of time with my taste buds that well, if that makes sense, but hats off to even calling a song Love Removal Machine. It was quite so apparent to me at the time quite how much Ian Asbury wanted to be Jim Morrison.

The final track, listed on YouTube as 'Bono-Sweet Fire of Love', is actually from the first Robbie Robertson (of The Band) solo album, notable for the appearance of Peter Gabriel, Garth Hudson and Rick Danko, Maria McKee and others. Daniel Lanois was the dots that joined it all together. The album spawned the hit 'Somewhere Down the Crazy River'.