Week 22 - Fri 28 May
Welcome to the RPM Seven Day Soundtrack, week ending Friday 28th May 2021. Let's drop the metaphorical needle in the groove for another immersive sound experience......
"Going to York through the rain made this song come to mind.....and then a few more from the Oysters............."
"Best wishes to RPM colleagues and I trust everyone is well. This week we slipped the bounds of Norfolk for the first time in 7 months...........
My choices for this week are......"
"Hooray! I've had my second jab... no side effects.
Once again I've had a last-minute change of mind about this week's selections. I had been thinking "Chuck E's in Love," "Brass In Pocket," and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," for my 1979 choices, but instead I'm going for an all-British Two-Tone special.
Why? Call it "post-punk" if you must, but Two-Tone had three essential differences to "punk:"
A. It's musical.
B. It rejected punk nihilism in favour of multi-racial idealism.
C. It produced 3 great British bands- that's at least two more than all of British punk-rock.
So, here are those three bands......."
My Girl by Madness - "No, not the Smokey Robinson song (the lyric of which would not make sense if this May's weather was typical of the month) but a Mike Barson original."
Gangsters by The Specials - "Is it just me that thinks the late John Bradbury was a great drummer?"
Tears of a Clown, performed by The Beat - "This time it is the Smokey Robinson song. Sometimes even Mike Read could be right."
"I have enjoyed my trawl through the '70s, and no doubt will return there at some point, but next week I might come up with some new stuff (May might have been miserable weather-wise but it's been a good month for new releases).
Best wishes as always to all RPMers."
"Everybody knows I love an Italian song especially sung by Andrea Bochelli or Josh Grogan and they know I love my rock music too. Therefore , this week, I’m fusing the two genres with the group Maneskin and tracks from their album Teatro d’Ira. Volume 1."
"Punk: a defence!
Seems like it's come in for a bit of a kicking recently so here's my (extended.... sorry!!) thoughts:
The seventies had started with new levels of cinematic violence thanks to Clint Eastwood asking (and I'm paraphrasing here) 'Do (you) feel lucky?' Well, do you, punk?" and, by 1976, Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro of course) was manically practising in the mirror for his upcoming slaughter with 'you talkin' to me... then who the hell else are you talkin' to?' In between, on the musical front, we were offered up, amongst many delights, ELP's 'Brain Salad Surgery', Yes' 'Relayer, Kansas' 'Leftoverture', Fleetwood Mac's self titled AOR platter, Chicago Vlll, Led Zeppelin 'Physical Graffiti', Jefferson Starship's 'Red Octopus' and John Denvers 'Greatest Hits'!!! I'm certain that all will have their acolytes within RPM members but, surely, it was time for a change? In the US, both the MC5 and The Stooges had released a trio of high energy 'punk' albums between 1969 and 1973 and The New York Dolls weighed in with a couple too, including the prophetically entitled swansong 'Too much, too soon'. Here in the UK, thanks to such bands as The (Social) Deviants and the Edgar Broughton Bands early forays, followed by the 'pub rock' scene, Doctor Feelgood would point the way in 1973 towards a simpler musical formula harking back to the Merseybeat and R&B bands of the mid sixties and their US equivalents, the 'garage/punk' bands. As many young, would be musicians on both sides of the Atlantic were unable (and unwilling) to 'master' the techniques and complexity of the bands mentioned initially above, it was no surprise that they returned to their 'roots' and began to produce, in many cases, a simpler, more naive form of music? Indeed, in 1965, Bob Dylan may have initiated this process, moving from his increasingly dense acoustic material to a return to (his) rock and roll roots with the 'Bringing it all back home' album which bitterly divided the public (especially the more entrenched 'traditionalist' folkies... but not the younger 'hip' kids) in exactly the same way 'punk' would divide, say, 'proggies' and 'folkies' of the early/mid seventies from their younger aspiring musician brothers. A case could be made that Dylan's 'Like a rolling stone' was the first garage/punk single with it's reedy organ sound, forceful delivery and nihilistic lyrics (discuss!!!).Meanwhile, 'This is a chord, this is another, this is a third. Now form a band' was the cryptic message from Sniffin' Glue Issue 1 (January 1977) and many kids did just that, although by 1977 many of the first flush of punk bands were already signed and/or playing live. It's a crude misconception that 'punk' was just shouty, snotty oiks, with no musical talent, playing at 100mph. Hopefully, a couple of my more recent selections would have opened some ears to the delights of, say, Wire (who would intersperse their sometimes complex (!) songs with extended 'one chord' wonders) and not judge all bands against the Clash/Police template. Let's not forget that Strummer was the son of an MBE and committed the 'sins' of a) recording a double album, b) recording a triple album and c) touring with old f*rts The Who.
Prolonged rant over........ here's three tracks which, hopefully, will convince some RPM members that 'punk' had its place, if only as an 'effervescent' on the musicians of the period who suddenly found that, at least in the short term, they would have to inject a little more energy into their musical output and that yet another Barnie Torpor styled ballad or ELO type extravaganza would no longer suffice."
Gloria (Part I: In Excelsis Deo / Part II: Gloria (Version)) by Patti Smith (from Horses album, released November 10th 1975. Arista label) - "One of rock music's greatest debut albums, and not just in my opinion either!! An album that was a clarion call for a simpler, but no less literate form of rock and roll. Patti nods back to perhaps garage rock's ultimate anthem, originally released on the b-side to Them's 1964 hit 'Baby please don't go' single which had been covered extensively over the following two to three years by umpteen US garage bands. Mention should be made here of lead guitarist Lenny Kaye's undoubted influence as, three years earlier he had been responsible for the essential 'Nuggets' double album of early psychedelia and garage rock. Smith had been entranced by rock and roll since viewing the Rolling Stones on TV and early exposure to Bob Dylans 'Another side of...' album. After moving to NYC, Smith befriended the notorious 'new wave' photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and, thanks to his prompting, began to perform her free form poetry at various venues before, eventually, transforming that poetry into songs at CBGB's night club in 1975 where she shared a two month residency with the equally literate Tom Verlaine and his band, Television. We caught Patti on her UK debut at the Roundhouse on May 16th 1976...... one of the most memorable gigs we ever attended and we've been lucky enough to see her several times since. Still magical even 46 years later."
What do I get by Buzzcocks (7" non album single released February 3rd 1978. United Artists label. Picture sleeve.) - "May 1963 had seen perhaps Manchester's finest band, The Hollies, make their recording debut with a speedy cover of The Coasters '(Ain't that) Just like me' and start a run of 26 top thirty singles (from their first 30 releases) which continued until 1972. Almost fifteen years after that debut the Buzzcocks showed just how far, lyrically, 'punk' was going to expand the pop music genre with their November 1977 major label debut, 'Orgasm Addict'. Obviously TOTP were never going to play a song with that title but all the 'Cock's trademarks were there. Catchy tune, tick, clever lyrics, tick, high energy, tick, and those trademarks were carried over into their run of magnificent early singles. Here, lyrically, the follow up single is an (anti) love song with Pete Shelley bemoaning the good and bad sides of a relationship with some fine harmonies, all driven along at a faster than usual, for the time, tempo, and this was the formula that cropped up several times on their next few releases. Nine singles (strangely including the Bo Diddley/Can-influenced album track 'Moving away from the Pulsebeat'.... not a hit!) were released in just two years with six hitting the top forty, one reaching No 55 and just two failing ('Orgasm...' and 'Moving...'). Amongst those singles were the classic 'Ever fallen in love (with someone you shouldn't've)', 'Everybody's happy nowadays' and, my fave, 'Love you more' with it's unexpected chilling denouement in the final two lines. Formed by Shelley and Howard Devoto in 1975, the pair travelled to London to see the Sex Pistols after reading a review of the band in the NME. Meeting the band after the gig, they convinced the Pistols to play a gig at Manchester's Lesser Free Trade Hall in June 1976 but the Buzzcocks intended support slot was cancelled at the last moment when two of the band dropped out. However, the Pistols returned in July and the now stable line up did perform and were rewarded with a 'return' gig at the legendary and/or controversial 100 Club Punk Festival in London. Their debut EP, 'Spiral Scratch' was released on their own label (New Hormones) in December making them the first UK punk band to establish an independent label, however, within months of its release, Devoto grew bored and returned to college before forming the excellent Magazine. Declining sales as the seventies ground on saw the Buzzcocks begin to disintegrate with Shelley forming the spin-off Tiller Boys before eventually disbanding (for the first time) in 1981.
Oh, and the bands name......... not a reference to any battery powered device of pleasure (honest!!), merely the combination of a newspaper headline regarding the excitement (buzz) in the 'Rock Follies' TV show ("It's the Buzz, man") coupled with the Northern slang for friend or mate (as in the greeting 'Alright cock??)."
The Day the World Turned Day-glo by X-Ray Spex - (7" single and 'Germfree Adolescents' album track. Released March 1978. EMI International label) - "Here's a group which could only have existed in the era of punk, such was it's individuality. Over forty years before we started worrying about plastic micro-particles in the sea (and everywhere else apparently), Poly Styrene served up a wonderful song warning us of the dangers of mass consumerism, the overuse of man made fibres and, err, 'plastic' food (a' la 'Wimpy' burgers). In an age where it was important to have inflatable pigs, fox head masks, Persian on-stage carpets and convoys of forty foot equipment trucks, punk returned us (for a brief period) to Trannies, motorway cafes, sweaty gigs and lyrics that its target audience could relate to, along with those of us who were bored with the bloated monstrosity of many of the 'popular' bands of the period. 'Germfree ....' homed in on the everyday life of many thanks to songs such as 'Identity' and 'Art-I-Ficial (body image), 'Warrior in Woolworths' (boring jobs and gang membership), 'Oh Bondage, up yours' (feminism) and, with its warning about the dangers of unrestrained scientific advances, the self explanatory 'Genetic Engineering'. No 'Topographic Oceans', multi fold out H R Geiger sleeves or iron on t-shirt patches here, just great songs, Polly's 'distinctive' vocals and attitude and, as a bonus, a real change to the usual 'band' sound thanks to the saxophone being used as a lead instrument. Initially, Laura Logic was featured on sax but, following an early review in Sounds which highlighted Logics contributions, the fifteen year old was unceremoniously sacked from the band. However, she had transcribed her sax parts and, after a short stint by John Glynn, Rudi Thompson proved a more than adequate replacement. There was just one full UK tour before Poly, suffering from nervous exhaustion, decided to call it a day and, although there were a couple of reformations and new releases, Poly called a final halt in 1996. Both Poly and Laura had joined the Hari Krishna movement and had released a 'solo' album each but any hopes of further releases were dashed when Poly died of cancer in 2011."
"So, if you haven't already listened to these particular bands, hopefully a place can be found for some of 'punks' more imaginative bands on your playlists........ try Wire (again), The Ruts 'The Crack' album, Television's 'Marquee Moon' and the Gang of Four's 'Entertainment' to mention just four, none of whom sported a mohican (I can never remember seeing one until the 'post-punk' bands such as Exploited and Chaos UK began to emerge) or played every song at 100mph.......... although the Ramones managed 23 songs in less than forty minutes when we saw them on their debut UK tour with support band Talking Head for a bargain 60p!!!
And finally, on 27th September 1976, Sue and I caught the 21 bus to Donny to see The Sex Pistols, a band we had noticed advertised in London's Time Out mag when we went to see Patti Smith at the Roundhouse. Since then they had slightly upset the entire adult viewing audience of TV's well known grumpiest Lanc, Bill Grundy, and were causing mayhem at virtually every gig they played (allegedly). So, when we entered an almost deserted Outlook, we noticed Johnny and Steve sitting at a table and decided to start up a conversation. Ignoring the fact that, even then, I was pretty elderly (29!!), talk quickly got round to 'musical influences' and it was a nice surprise when the Small Faces, the Who, Sheffield's finest... Dave Berry and American garage bands cropped up in the chat. The band, when they played, were excellent and there was no trouble at all amongst the sixty or so gig-goers. Waiting in the taxi rank later, we were sat next to a 'typical' Donny seventies type lad...... brown striped suit, kipper tie, flowered shirt, platform shoes and central parted long wavy hair. There's me and Sue in jeans, t-shirt and jackets (about as 'punk' as we could go!!) thinking 'Jeez, look at this guy. Where's he been for the last six months?' Again we started a conversation and, after a few minutes, he asked 'Where've you been?' 'To see the Pistols' I answered, thinking he wouldn't even have a clue what I was on about. 'Thought so', he said. 'Thought I saw an old, bald guy down the front... musta bin you!!' Talk about gutted!!!!
Remember, punk's not dead........... It always smelled funny!!!
"Hi RPMers........hope you all are well. Enjoying your picks. Here’s my 3 of the week. "
"On with the choices…..I first came across Gail Ann Dorsey when she was one of the singers with the ‘Charlie Watts Big Band’, (If I remember rightly, Mick Hucknell was a backing singer!) and a few weeks later, after she had performed an impressive ‘solo’ set on ‘The Tube’, I bought her album ‘corporate world’.
She is also a great guitarist, keyboard and reed player, but when Nathan East, at the time one of the most highly rated bass players in the world, couldn’t make a gig, and recommended GAD as a stand-in, her ability to play bass was noticed, and it is this that has made her famous. Sad to say that her solo career got overshadowed by the work she has done with other folks who employed her to make them sound good..... and she has!
But as I’ve been in Yorkshire this week, (and you know what they say about that place), this was the obvious track to play. In a way two tracks in one!"
Haul Me Up by Richard Thomson - "Next a track, perfect for driving on a motorway…which, instead, we listened to, as we dragged ourselves along the A17!"
"I very nearly chose a bird based tune by Peter Green as a third track but as GAD inorporates two... to be fair, instead I have included a clip, shot by Jayne, while we walked along the cliff top at Bempton, which I posted to YouTube. This is just a few seconds of a spectacular display which occurs every spring.
For a sense of scale look out for the people on the cliff path as, from this, it isn’t really obvious, that the birds have a 2metre wing span! Turn offf the sound and hum 'Albatross' as you watch. (Only if you feel like it... )"
"Just back from a break in the Isle of Wight. Got severely rained on during Sunday night but otherwise a very good break.
Here are my no-frills submissions for the week - see if you can spot the link."
"3 punk ladies this week......"
Metal Postcard by Siouxsie & The Banshees - "Celebrating her 64th birthday this week."
"Hi everyone. Hope you're keeping well. Really enjoyed last week's selections & Tim's reminder re Bob Dylan's 80th birthday (same age as my dad!). Tracks that resonated with me this week......."
The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra by Anna von Hausswolff -
She Rides an Air of Malevolence by Earth - "Spoiler; kinda lengthy and takes a little while to get going, but it spoke to me...."
"Take care & happy Bank Holiday weekend everybody. Cheers!"
"Hi RPMers, hope all is well with you and yours. Here's a sample of what I've been listening to this week."
Leaping Beauties For Rudy by East Of Eden - ".......you may want to leap forward to 1:48 if you find the intro a bit hard to take...."
Own Them Control Them by Misty In Roots - "Just purchased the 'Earth' LP (from which this track is taken) from Ebay although I bought the single, which I still have, when it came out in the eighties. Great band, still going strong. Saw them in 1991 at The Waterfront but, sadly, haven't been able to catch them since!"
Till The End Of The Day by The Kinks - "Classic! (Or should that be Klassic?)"
"An odd bunch of tunes this week.........but it's what I listened to, so there."
Time by Pink Floyd - "I'm not doing this as a punk "wind-up".......the Sex Pistols having famously worn a t-shirt that said "I hate Pink Floyd".....but I really did listen to Dark Side of the Moon all the way through this week and still think it's a perfect album........plus the coincidence with the punk wars thing that has briefly flared in the Seven Day Soundtrack this week and last week is obviously hilarious.........."
Into The Garden by Jon Boden - "From his newly released LP, Last Mile Home, a lovely piece of bucolic melancholia.........."
Frankie and Albert performed by Nora Brown - "Another new banjo-ist find for me; superbly mature musician-head on young shoulders."
'Til Next Time..........