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Archive for August, 2012

Gnarls Barkley – Crazy (2006)

August 27, 2012 Leave a comment

The best record of the century so far and it will take some beating even with 88 years to go …..

I’d been a fan of Cee-Lo Green since he started with Goodie Mob in the early/mid 1990s but this was a bolt from the blue. A wonderful collaboration with the multi-talented Danger Mouse who, up to that point, was famous/notorious for a killer bootleg mash-up of Jay-Z’s The Black Album and The Beatles’ White Album called, unsurprisingly, The Grey Album.

A simple, killer, bassline and a fantastic melody; but it is the soaring vocal that elevates the song into the pop stratosphere – life affirming stuff that helps you have some idea what it might have felt like when a classic Four Tops or Supremes track was released in the late 1960s.

The original track then one of the greatest live performances you will ever see from Roskilde (who doesn’t wish they were there?). Even that might be topped by an unbelievable studio version featuring Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse.

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Goodie Mob (featuring Big Rube) – Blood (1996)

August 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Just loved mid 1990s hip hop; Wu-Tang Clan and all their offshoots ruled the world but Goodie Mob, Outkast, Mobb Deep, Gang Starr, Gravediggaz, etc, were right up there.

This track is taken from the Red Hot Organization‘s seminal “America is Dying Slowly” (AIDS) compilation. The whole LP is terrific but the Goodie Mob track is the stand out.

Goodie Mob is where the remarkable Cee-Lo Green first started and all the Goodie Mob LPs are well worth checking out.

Brooding beats, minimal piano, and socially conscious lyrics with none of the crap that often disfigures the all too traditional hip hop track ….

Typically, it is Cee-Lo’s verse that hits the mark ….

I try to make sense outta nonsense each and every day
I got to cos things is kinda crazy round the way
Each word that I say may cut you like a knife
And totally influence and change somebody life
Who me? I’m 19, and best to have seen
What I already seen
Life taught me a lot
That you ain’t gotta carry no gun to get shot
Ain’t gotta be no jacker for offense from the high
A liquor store on every corner that you walk by
I watch my niggas die for no reasons
In my neighbourhood ain’t nothin changed but the seasons
Them crackers don’t give a fuck, then again why should they
They evil from their head to they toes so how could they
You could say, the biggest problem in the black community is lack of unity
I love you but I ain’t gon’ let you pray for me
So if you must she’d blood so be it
The end is comin I can see it
Yeah, the end is comin I can see it…..
It’s in the blood

Find the track here …

Thunderclap Newman – Something In The Air (1969)

August 26, 2012 1 comment

Wonderful, evocative, pop classic from the late 1960s. Posted today as it was Number One in the UK at the time of the Neil Armstrong’s moon landing in July 1969 ….

Thunderclap Newman was a shortlived band created by Pete Townshend as a vehicle for performing songs written by former Who roadie and drummer/singer John ‘Speedy’ Keen, who had written “Armenia City in the Sky”, the first track on The Who Sell Out.

Townshend also recruited General Post Office engineer and jazz pianist Andy ‘Thunderclap’ Newman (a friend from art college), and 15-year-old Glaswegian Jimmy McCulloch. Keen played the drums and sang the lead. Townshend produced the single, arranged the strings, and played bass under the pseudonym Bijou Drains. Originally titled Revolution but later renamed to avoid confusion with the Beatles’ 1968 song of that name.

Great footage in this video though sound quality is a bit tinny.

Inspiral Carpets – Saturn V (1993)

August 25, 2012 Leave a comment

The end of yet another era.

The death of Neil Armstrong was announced this evening.

One of my very earliest memories was watching the moon landing on TV in the middle of the night in July 1969. Still have some of the newspapers from the period ….

Earlier this week I was watching the “For All Mankind” DVD (details here) which documents the various Apollo missions. This after remembering that Brian Eno had composed a wonderful soundtrack for the documentary, the highlight of which I previously posted here.

For me, The Inspiral Carpets were always a Division 2 type band but, with Saturn V, they hit their peak. Superb keyboards build to a wonderful solo around 2:45 onwards ….

The original track, then the original video for those prepared to endure a 15 second advert and, finally, live on The Word!

Squeeze – Up The Junction (1979)

August 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Quite simply, one of the best records ever made.

I remember buying this on 7″ single when it came out in early summer 1979; I loved it then and have come to love it even more over the years.

Wonderful melody and some of the best lyrics ever committed to vinyl. It starts with:

I never thought it would happen
With me and the girl from clapham
Out on a windy common
That night I ain’t forgotten
When she dealt out the rations
With some or other passions
I said you are a lady
Perhaps she said I may be …

But ends here …

And now she’s two years older
Her mother’s with a soldier
She left me when my drinking
Became a proper stinging
The devil came and took me
From bar to street to bookie
No more nights by the telly
No more nights nappies smelling

Alone here in the kitchen
I feel there’s something missing
I’d beg for some forgiveness
But begging’s not my business
And she won’t write a letter
Although I always tell her
And so it’s my assumption
I’m really up the junction

The original track; then the original video; then, an early appearance on Top of the Pops, and; then a wonderful acoustic version many years later featuring Difford and Tillbrook.

Teenage Fanclub – Star Sign (1991)

August 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Perfect indiepop by Scotland’s finest who lit up the early 1990s with a series of superb LPs.

“Star Sign” was released in 1991 from the classic Bandwagonesque LP.

For me, this was Teenage Fanclub at their finest with classic guitars and melody, a bassline to kill for and timless, droll, downbeat lyrics …

Hey, there’s a horseshoe on my door …. big deal.
And say, there’s a black cat on the floor …. big deal.

If these things make your day
Well if these things change your day

Well do you know where you belong?
And is your star sign ever wrong?

If these things change your day
Well if these things make your day
Seen it all before, seen it all before
Given time these things will change

Hey, there’s a side of me unknown …. big deal.
And say, should this unknown force be shown ….. big deal

The single version and accompanying video, then the LP version with the extended intro.

 

 

 

Buzzcocks – Breakdown (1977)

August 24, 2012 1 comment

Another killer track from the seminal Spiral Scratch EP which remains one of the founding documents of UK punk rock. I’ve previously posted the all time classic “Boredom” (here) but wanted to post this track to further showcase the genius of early Buzzcocks.

Spiral Scratch was released in January 1977 after being recorded in late 1976.

Still featuring Howard Devoto (later of Magazine, check here for an example) on vocals, Breakdown is simply relentless. Guitar and drums on this just never stop!

Two versions: the original from the Spiral Scratch EP overlaid against some remarkable footage from the Manchester Free Trade Hall and then an even earlier version from the wonderful Time’s Up bootleg LP.

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