Week 20 - Fri 14 May
Welcome to the RPM Record Club Seven Day Soundtrack, week ending Friday 14th May 2021. What's caught the ears of RPMers this week? Over to.......
"I see that the Tories seem to want to restrict voting rights to prevent non-existent fraud. An idea straight out of the Republican Party playbook, but whereas in the American case it can be seen as the desperation of right-wingers trying to fend off a natural and growing Democrat majority, surely British Conservatives do not need to engage in such skulduggery in a system which is already skewed to their advantage?
This week I have reached 1977 and have been listening to New York bands of the era such as Blondie, Television, Talking Heads, and Ramones (I know I called them a cartoon rock band, but I like cartoons. Tex Avery was a genius! Joey Ramone not so much... but it must take an actor of considerable intelligence to play so convincingly dumb).
Then I changed my mind completely, having watched the Emmylou-fest on BBC4 last Friday........
Best wishes as always to you and all RPMers, "
Pancho and Lefty performed by Emmylou Harris and The Hot Band - "A Townes van Zandt song from Emmylou's 1977 "Luxury Liner" album. I believe I played the 1983 hit version of this song by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson in an RPM club meeting some years ago. Emmylou's version is equally fine."
Easy by The Commodores - "Lionel Richie's best song, and you've got to love that guitar break."
Watching The Detectives by Elvis Costello and The Attractions - "His first album had been made with the American group Clover, but this single introduced his new British backing group with whom he worked over the next few years."
"These just sprang to mind............"
"Hi y'all........Hope everyone's keeping well. Mixture this week; 2 tracks to (belatedly) thank Piers; he also helped me move & checked on my house when I was away, much appreciated. Tenuous name links......"
Hunstanton Pier by Deaf Havana - "...........an homage to Hunstanton pier by West Norfolk band Deaf Havana. Always fun to kitesurf at Hunny, Old and New, Heacham and Branny. Hunstanton pier was before my time."
Unbelievable by EMF - "3rd track is EMF on the Word; so 90's it hurts - the hair, the shorts, the dance moves, the hats........"
Bonus track - "......could be pushing it with a bonus 2 weeks running, but I checked out some of the Cure's gigs from 2019 after including them last week and had a renewed admiration for Robert Smith's ace awkwardness and how well they perform live 40 years on, love 'em. Here they are after being rightly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.."
Just Like Heaven by The Cure -
"Take care and stay safe everyone. Cheers!"
"Last week I mentioned Eno's 'sky saw' guitar sound so I thought, "this week why not take a look at some of his work?" Here's three from Mr Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno."
Seven Deadly Finns by Brian Eno (7" single released March 22nd 1974. Island Records) - "A stand alone debut single sandwiched between his first two solo albums, this surely had an influence on the Buzzcocks, Damned and Devo to name but three!! Backing musicians are The Winkies, a US power pop band signed to Chrysalis who we had seen at Sheffield's Black Swan prior to their stint behind Eno on his debut solo tour. Such were Brian's apres gig, ahem, 'exertions' that they led to a collapsed lung, hospitalization and the curtailment of the tour after just six dates. We had been lucky enough to catch the Eno tour at Sheffield City Hall on February 15th (did any RPM'ers see him at Norwich St Andrews on the 23rd I wonder?) where assorted Velvet Underground fans, glam rockers and 'scream-agers' were treated to what was, in effect, a punk gig two years before punks 'year zero'. Sue and I fitted most comfortably into the first group whilst the vast majority of the audience were clearly in the latter two!!! We had seen Bowie do a similar gig at Doncaster's Top Rank in September 1972, just prior to his metamorphosis into Ziggy so, when we caught the Pistols on their first tour it all seemed slightly familiar. However, in between those two gigs and the Pistols we had also attended the decidedly strange Fripp and Eno 'No Pussyfooting' event at the London Palladium............. a gig that Sue will never ever forget, for all the wrong reasons!! Here's a shorter, different mix of 'SDF', still retaining the 'gonzoid' solo and some of the finest yodelling in rock music history, which is taken from a Dutch TV show, one of the very few live appearances Eno did to promote the single."
R.A.F by Brian Eno and Snatch (7" single b-side to 'Kings Lead Hat'* released January 1978, Island Records, credited to Brian Eno and Snatch) - "Having initiated the glam era with Roxy Music, 'pre-punked' punk and steered rock to include 'ambient' sounds, here's Eno with NYC punk expatriates Judy Nylon and Patti Palladin, aka 'Snatch', who had washed up in London in 1974 and, in Judy's case, had already recorded with both Brian Eno and John Cale in that same year. Their own recording career amounts to just three and a half singles (this being the 'half') and a compilation album, but it was Judy's innovative 'cut up' methods of recording which influenced Eno on this track. This has a pure funk base (pun intended) with Percy Jones on fretless bass but the rest is basically thanks to Judy and the 'found sounds' from the PLF's hijacking of Lufthansa Flight 181 and the shooting of industrialist Hans Schleyer, carried out in an effort to secure the release of members of the Baader Meinhof/Red Army Faction imprisoned in Germany. This single points directly to Eno' s groundbreaking work with Talking Heads the following year and, especially, David Byrne's 'Life in the bush of ghosts' album."
* 'Kings Lead Hat', of course, being an anagram of Talking Heads!!!
Sky Saw by Brian Eno (taken from 'Another Green World' album released September 1975. Island Records) - "And here's the 'sky saw' guitar sound I mentioned last week. If I was going to recommend just one Eno album to the uninitiated, 'AGW' would be that album. An album which, in its own way, seems to encompass many of the differing types of music Eno would produce. There's the doo wop humour of 'I'll come running', the 'fractured pop' of 'Golden Hours', the exotic 'Zawinul/Lava' and the ambient 'Becalmed'................... and then there's 'Sky Saw' too!!!! Featured on this track are Paul Rudolph, Percy Jones (again), Phil Collins, Rod Melvin and John Cale, with Eno adding minimalist vocals and some of the fiercest guitar sounds around. 'AGW' is regularly listed amongst the best ever albums in polls from countries as varied as France, Germany, Greece, Mexico, Singapore and Israel, with the NME placing it at number 41 in their 'All Time Top 100 Albums'. High praise indeed."
"I loved this statement last week from Coldplay's Chris Martin about having to 'confront' his ego :
"Last year was quite an eye opener, I was like, 'Who am I without Wembley Stadium saying, 'you're awesome'? I'm trying in my life right now to not attach too much to being a pop star. I'm trying not to get my self worth from external validation." And then, after having his new release played by a 'local' DJ in the international space station (as you do if you're an ego free multi platinum millionaire rock star), he went on to say "Right now we aren't able to play for anybody on Earth, so we thought we'd just play for you. It's like our one-man concert. We've been trying to imagine what music might sound like on other planets, and try to imagine being those other acts, so we're not thinking of ourselves as being the band Coldplay from England," And to think Joe Meek did just that in February 1960 from his Holland Park kitchen!!!
Here's this week's..
Bonus Track (I hope!!) - ....... from Joe and the Blue Men, released on CD via Sheffield's premier label (RPM!!) in 1992. Enjoy the trip!!! Stay safe!!!"
"I have recently been prompted into some hi-fi time travel, whilst thinking about all those great tracks from the 70s which have lately been presented to us by Phillip. (ta!) Being a bit of a copy cat, I thought that I should take this opportunity to join in the fun, and also manage to throw back to another recent meme in these page.
For me the middle of the decade was a pretty turbulent time. When life took a not too unexpected turn onto a rather more rocky road, there were a few small mercies! Having 'crash tested' my first marriage, (to destruction), and, on the rebound, by means of a subsequent, disastrously misjudged relationship, also terminally damaged a previously, very good, friendship. Luckily the lingering whiff of cankerous ‘punk’ decaying in studios across the UK, didn’t prove too difficult to ignore, and, 1977 was a year of fabulous releases and a preponderance of great live gigs. As we all know, good tunes can lift our spirits. I was saved, yet again, by audial Armco.
In August, as I cycled to work, the morning mists burned away. I peddled home and the sun was still shining. By the end of the summer, I had bought a 12string guitar. I knew I was going to be OK. At about this time of year in 1977, this song was in my head everywhere I went. Although it wasn’t the best track on the then recently released ‘Thunderbyrds’ album, sometimes a single representative song is enough to bring back those long buried emotions! From that opening lick, my mood always brightened....... (it still does!)."
Bonus Track - "To be true to the spirit of RPM I should really be advocating that we should all listen to the whole album, track by track but it is 2021 and that’s not what we do here.........But, if you can be bothered, do! This may take you to the whole album, track by track........."
(Absolutely! Albums is what it's all about. 7DS is a snapshot of what you've listened to during the week and certainly isn't a replacement for album listening. Tim)
"McGuinn once told the story that he had become confused when driving on the LA Freeway with the radio on, when the DJ played ‘American Girl......because he couldn’t remember having recorded it! That was because, at that time, he hadn’t! But…….he did exactly that, just a couple of days later. As a result, the first time I ever heard the Tom Petty song ‘American Girl’, it was the version recorded by Roger McGuinn, and which, in my opinion, was by far the best track on the entire ‘Thunderbyrds’ album despite having some pretty tough competition.
I have managed to catch McGuinn live a few times and, and it is true that, on that promo tour, at the Hammersmith Odeon, with Gene Clarke and Chris Hillman, his especially bright eyes, and cheery disposition, as can be seen here, were enough to light up any venue."
"That summer the then unknown Tom Petty also made a very short UK tour, during which he played a small hall in Aylesbury. It was a long hitch from Norwich, via Oxford. I only just got to the half empty hall in time to be drawn down to stand in front of the stage, mesmerised by Mike Campbell’s picking technique!"
"This week as I’m getting my email ready on the 13th, I thought I would pick artists who had their birthdays on that date. Enjoy more freedom next week everyone but be just as careful out there. Cheers "
"Was reading that the Brickmakers in Norwich is re-opening soon.......prob the only proper live music pub left in Norwich now. Brought back memories of a great night there watching the Quireboys..........."
Sweet Mary Anne by The Quireboys -
"Hi All, here's what I've been listening to this week...."
And If You Should See Dave by The Stranglers - "The Stranglers own tribute to their amazing keyboard player, Dave Greenfield, who succumbed to Covid last year. Very moving, especially the line 'and this is where your solo would go'."
West Livity by Misty in Roots - "From their 1985 LP 'Musi-O-Tunya' which translates as 'The Smoke That Thunders' and refers to one of the great wonders of Africa. (Our history and geography books use the name 'Victoria Falls')."
The Man Who Shrunk The World By Serpent Power - "Not to be confused with the sixties Californian psychedelic band 'The Serpent Power'. This one is the side project of various members of The Coral (among others) and hail from Merseyside..."
"Best wishes to RPM comrades. As the days lengthen the energies strengthen."
Shannon Frisk Arrivals by Teyr -
"Here's my 3 for the week. Pushed for time so no time for frills I'm afraid
but hope that everybody is doing ok."
"Hi ya all, hope you are well . Record Store Day is fast approaching.....there are some great albums on the list to be snatched up ! Here’s my 3 tunes...Cheers."
"I have listened to a lot of Richard Thompson this week, relating the early albums back to his comments in his recent memoir......so, not a diverse mix of music, but hopefully enjoyable. I've certainly enjoyed revisiting the Richard and Linda Thompson era LPs, anyway............"
Beat The Retreat by Richard and Linda Thompson - "Previously, we've had tracks from Henry the Human Fly and I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight..........getting to 3rd album Hokey Pokey, I'm afraid this one doesn't do it for me, although it seems to be thought of quite favourably by RT fans. I actually don't think it a strong set of songs and I find the double entendre of the title track outdated and not amusing...........moving swiftly on......
Pour Down Like Silver, album 4, however is a different kettle of fish.........having read some online retrospective reviews, it seems to be thought of by some as a bit too sparse musically and depressive thematically.........however, I think it's great........for precisely those reasons. Beat The Retreat, in my view, is a masterclass in minimalist song writing; using only a few chords and only 7 lines of lyric with a repeating format to lend weight to the songs meaning, the listener is left to draw their own conclusions on the outcome of this relationship breakdown. Superb."
"In his memoir Richard is quite dismissive of the albums following Pour Down Like Silver.......which is a shame really. The follow up to Pour Down.. is First Light, and this album is not that strong, I would agree. His and Linda's next set of songs is pretty good, though. Entitled Sunnyvista, this LP seems to get overlooked...........it's pretty upbeat and rocks out a bit and I found myself playing this LP quite a few times. This next song stuck in my head, probably due to the catchy melodeon line supplied by John Kirkpatrick."
You're Going To Need Somebody by Richard and Linda Thompson -
"The last album Richard and Linda recorded together was Shoot Out The Lights. I think this is a bit of a classic.........there's so many good songs. Wall of Death has always been a particular favourite and continues RTs use of using circus and showground imagery as a metaphor for life's ups and downs (Walking on a Wire, Great Velerio....)"
Bonus Track - "............well, not wanting to get left out of the bonus track bonanza (!!!), I've also continued listening to Yasmin Williams. My fave tune this week is from her Unwind album."
"oh.....And if you want to learn more about Yasmin's guitar gear, look no further.....when you have a bit of time to spare, that is."
Til Next Time..........