Week 5 - Fri 29 Jan
Once again, it's time for the musical exposé that is the RPM Record Club's Seven Day Soundtrack, week ending Friday 29th January. Laying their turntables bare, it's over to..............
"Hiya.........Hope you're all well. Loving the music each week & the solace of the RPM community, albeit distant. Solitary lockdown feels like groundhog day at times.
Eclectic mixture of music from me, variety is the spice........& all that.
Really enjoy jumping around to funky tracks during video calls with my niece so, 1st thing in the morning, I like to boogie it up a bit...........Take care all. Cheers!."
Edge of Midnight performed by Miley Cyrus and Stevie Nicks - "Heard this Stevie Nicks/Miley Cyrus mash up, quite like it...."
Bonus Track - "........not going to make it a habit but...... rediscovered Ben Harper this week and hugely enjoyed his album "Winter is for Lovers" live on YouTube; stripped back and beautiful so here's "Inland Empire"."
"Three tracks from the same artist this week....... and hopefully one you're not too familiar with............
nick nicely (born Nickolas Laurien during a flight layover in Greenland between London and New York in 1959) has released very few singles and albums since his debut in 1980 but his influence has been acknowledged by XTC/Dukes of Stratosphear, Robin Hitchcock, (The) Bevis Frond and even Robert Wyatt amongst others. Such was the vibe created by his first two singles that Trevor Horn asked if he could produce some of nick's material but his offer was rejected as nick feared losing control of his output. He was then involved in the late eighties/early nineties 'rave' scene, teaming up with Gavin Mills to release tracks under the Freefall, Airtight and Psychotropic identity. In the early 'naughties' he was contacted by cult label Tenth Planet with a view to releasing a compilation of the tracks he had been sitting on (for almost twenty years in some cases) which resulted in the 'Psychotropia' album, released in 2004. Since then it has been re-released on Cherry Red and Sanctuary as an expanded CD. However, nick is on record as saying he doesn't view this as a 'compilation' album, more of 'a studio album that just took a great deal of time to record' and, because of the thematic format of his work, it does hold together extremely well as a single entity. Apparently the album is now viewed as an important milestone in the 'hypnagogic pop movement'.................!!?? 2008 saw nick performing in London live for the first time (wearing a full veil!!) with further sporadic performances in Belgium, Germany and with the occasional UK gig too in the intervening years. Since then there's been a brace of albums, a few solo singles and a number of shared recordings with various left-field artists. For your pleasure, here's (almost) his first three (proper) singles (plus a hidden bonus!!)."
D.C.T. Dreams (initially private pressing on Voxette label mid 1980, re-released on Hansa late 1980).
"The single received some airplay on UK radio but there was no real major exposure due to it being a private pressing. However, the airplay did prompt Hansa to re-release the single in the UK and Europe and they were rewarded with minor chart placings in France and Holland. The track was also selected by eighties mover and shaker 'Stevo' (remember him?) for the ''Some Bizzare Album' compilation but it was pulled at the last moment when it became available again in Britain on Hansa. To me, despite the obvious Lennon/Beatle influence, there's also more than a touch of mid seventies, 'Another Green World era Brian Eno in there too........ and don't forget, this is before Depeche Mode's pretty similar sounding debut single!!!
(My copy from 'Psychotropia' album)"
'Hilly Fields (1892)' (released January 1982, EMI label)
"This obviously 'Strawberry Fields Forever' inspired opus was initially started in December 1980 but, such was nicely's painstaking method of recording that it took until late 1981 before he was satisfied with the result. An early, unfinished demo was supplied to Hansa who decided to pass, but a copy also found its way to an EMI A&R member who promptly signed nicely to the label. Despite the major label involvement, nicely continued to record the single in the tiny Heath Levy and Alvic studios. Roping in 'DCT Dream' keyboard player Jeff Leach, nick added Ian Pearce on drums, Rickman Godlee on cello, and "Kate" on additional vocals....... the 'Kate' in question being assumed to be near neighbour and co-EMI artist Ms Bush for many years, but it was, in fact, EMI sessioneer Kate Jackson. It's also of note that the disc is reputed to be the first time 'scratching' was utilised on a non-rap track, although in this instance it is the sound of two tape spools being reversed and forwarded as opposed to two discs on turntables. When released, the NME described the single as "the best psychedelic record made since the '60s" and made it 'Single of the week', which prompted yours truly to purchase the disc, complete with the scarce picture sleeve. Such is its continuing appeal that there have been several limited re-releases and no less an organ than The Guardian selected the single for their July 2010 playlist of their favourite tunes!
And 'Hilly Fields'? A park in Brockley, south east London (shades of 'Itchycoo Park' methinks!!).
(As a 'hidden' bonus ..... perhaps Tim won't notice, here's both sides on one video)"
'All along the watchtower' (limited white vinyl, picture sleeve, released 31/12/18, Fruits De Mer label).
"Thanks to the positive reviews (but minimal sales) nicely was encouraged by EMI to follow up 'Hilly Fields (1892)'. He returned to Heath Levy and Alvic to record 'On the coast' but, despite EMI's enthusiastic response to the disc at A&R meetings, nick decided that he was dissatisfied with the recording and requested EMI to cancel any planned release of the single. This led to EMI losing interest in nicely and his subsequent withdrawal from 'mainstream' music until his emergence in the 'acid house' era. On his return to active recording he signed to FdM and recorded this superb double sider. Here, in the same way that Hendrix re-imagined Dylan's apocalyptic tale, nick disguises the song for over a minute thanks to the dreamy mellotron intro and some serious 'wig-out' guitar. How different the entire recording is from the better known versions; you can hear how nick uses several different vocal styles, which are much more mature and less 'Beatle-ish'. For yet another 'different' treatment, I'd recommend Brewer and Shipley's almost choral arrangement found on their 1969 'Weeds' album..... well worth seeking out!!"
"This week's stop press. - When will we be delivered from this nightmare?
100,000 deaths and counting today (Tuesday pm) , so let's assume 110,000 by the end of January. There were 76000 reported deaths up to New Years Eve so that's around a 50% increase in ONE MONTH!!!!
Today (Wednesday) a respected Cambridge scientist on TV has said the 100.000 (certified covid deaths) was actually reached on the 7th January according to the ONS!!!!
Boris is 'deeply sorry' and accepts 'full responsibility'!!!!
As usual............ stay safe everyone, keep the music flowing and let's all look forward to better days to come."
"Hi ya all.....hope you are all keeping well . Here’s my 3 of the week."
"Hi Everyone. Every Saturday I look forward to your excellent selections and comments; they are a real tonic. Keep 'em comin'! Here are my three for this week."
It Wasn't For You by Titus Groan - "Another band that was part of the 'Penny Concerts' tour in November 1970. This was a promotional ploy by Dawn Records and The Red Bus Company to showcase some of their acts and encourage punters, prior to the forthcoming decimalisation of our currency, by charging just one 'old penny' admission. Other acts on the bill were Demon Fuzz, Heron and Comus. Bargain!!! One of my most memorable concert experiences ever......"
Twilight Zone by Quintessence - "Talking of memorable concerts, one that was truly magical took place in Norwich Cathedral on Friday 7th April 1972: Quintessence with Ash Ram Singers and Gentle Sound of Light. It was one of those gigs that stays with you for days - almost to the point where you don't want to go to another gig too soon afterwards in case you break the spell!"
Forever Now by The Psychedelic Furs - "It might look as if a theme is developing here....but, sadly, no. The Psychedelic Furs were a band that I never got to see, much to my eternal regret...."
"Greetings to all as always. While I would not go so far as the American album compiler who entitled a record "Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth," it must be admitted that a lot of it is a real (and not a guilty) pleasure. Hence this week's selections."
Sugar Sugar Candy Girl by The Archies - "Oh come on- you love it really."
Pleasant Valley Sunday by The Monkees - "Does Mike Nesmith look bored to you?"
Simon Says by The 1910 Fruitgum Company - "Complete with gurning."
"My Tracks for this week's RPM.......Unusually I haven’t been listening to as much this week as I normally would......"
Arvo Pärt - Da Pacem Domine - "Jayne and I were driving to Fakenham to do some shopping when this came on the car radio and immediately the world became more bearable. I have never heard a track by Arvo Pärt that I have disliked…."
Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands by Bob Dylan - "One that is ever with me."
"Here's three Motown tracks....."
Walk Away Renee by The Four Tops -
Destination Anywhere performed by the Marvelettes -
River Deep Mountain High performed by the Supremes and the Four Tops -
"Good wishes to RMP collaborators. We’ve all got over 80 minutes daily extra light since the solstice so that’s a good thing isn’t it? And some woodland and garden birds have started to sing too. My three tracks this week aren’t particularly relevant to those observations but somehow seemed appropriate."
The Light at the End of The Tunnel (is the Light of an Oncoming Train) by Half Man Half Biscuit -
Finishing with a Burns Night Special....over to......
"Here's 3 for Burns Night."
Somewhere in my Heart by Aztec Camera - "One of my favourite guitar solos."
"Here's my Burns Night tunes."
"A change of plan this week, caused by listening to the Byrds conjoined with the fact it was Burns Night last Monday. Here's some suitable tunes. Part 3 of my folk faves next week....."
Skye Boat Song performed by Richard Durrant - "This is found on Richard's Stringhenge album, beautifully played on tenor guitar which, I think, breathes a freshness back into a tune which has almost become a Scottish cliché."
Wild Mountain Thyme performed by The Byrds - "I was giving Fifth Dimension, my fave Byrds album an airing on Monday, and this is the second track......which got me thinking about the Burns Night theme. Why was an American psych band playing a Scottish folk song, anyway........or was that the trippy point of it?......I was not quite 2 at the time, so have no idea!"
Battle Set (Battle of the Somme / The Bugle Horn / Atholl Highlanders) - "The tune Atholl Highlanders came to mind to round things off; it was one of the first tunes I learnt to play on mandolin, possibly from hearing it played by Dave Swarbrick of Fairport Convention. But to go with the Scottish theme, here's the mighty Wolfstone playing it preceded by two other tunes. They were a great band blending Scottish folk with original writing and heavy rock. Jackie, I and our friend (another) Tim who played with me in the band Folklaw, went to see them at the long-gone Boat Race pub venue in Cambridge, possibly around about 1994.......and it was brilliant...........and also complete with the bagpipes."