Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Distant Relation

Elsa Lanchester as the Bride of Frankenstein, 1935
Its been a long time, I shouldn't have left you, without a strong mix to step to. I started on several different ideas at different times, but all ended up abandoned. These things just don't always come together easily or at all for that matter.  You know how it is, events conspire against you.  This mix, is in part a compilation of several of the previous aborted attempts, but it's not a grotesque Frankenstein monster built from random spares.  Nah, it's more like his bride-looks fetching, moves well, and has a lovely white stripe in its hair.  I'm not a young man anymore.  

1. A Distant Relation- John Cooper Clarke- Fades in nicely with a casual groove and an allusion to Sly's "Family Affair" then Pete Shelley's guitar feedback (or is it Bill Nelson) sneaks up and knocks you right on the head.  "A family affair, we break ornaments and get them repaired". This song can be found on Clarke's 1980 album Snap, Crackle & Bop.  Below the always elegant, sartorially at least, John Cooper Clarke reads a poem called Twat.

2. The Street Parade- The Clash- "Disappear and fade into the street parade".  Too often the Clash get dismissed as rock traditionalists by people who either don't have ears and/or don't really know the band's output as they were not only wildly experimental but successfully so, which might explain why some people miss it, as the experimentation was usually well integrated into their sound.  This is from 1981's Sandinista, a triple record set that keeps on giving.

3. Nobody Knows- Brute Force- Former member of the Tokens Stephen Friedland recorded under the name Brute Force.  This song, a Chiffon cover, was an Apple records rarity, and a great one at that, it gets in your head and stays there, sing along.  

Brute Force

4.  I Just Sing- The Troggs- Now here's an anthemic tune I can get behind.  From 1966, wow, what a monster sound! Perfect lyric about the healing balm of music. Go reread Bang's James Taylor Marked For Death for an inspired bit of prose about the Troggs. The amiable chaps are pictured below.

'Ello, we're the Troggs

5. Do Anything You Wanna Do- Eddie & the Hotrods- "You'll get so lonely, maybe its better that way".  Speak on it.  I'm a sucker for handclaps and great pop songs. Another anthem- if we're not careful Bono Vox might turn up and start parading around with a flag. The singers mugging in the clip below diminishes the appeal of this one a bit, but I'm including it anyway, I like the way the guitarist and the bass player look.

6.  A Town Named Squaresville- Thee Headcoats-  A definite highlight of Childish's sprawling discography.  Fuck 'em all squares on both sides.

7. I Couldn't Get High- The Fugs- Written by the Fugs drummer Ken Weaver who betrays his Texas upbringing (born on Galveston Island, raised in El Campo) with this tenacious tale of his relentless pursuit of higher states of consciousness.

The Fugs hang out at the playground

8. Tugboat- Galaxie 500- Someone's been reading my mail. In the video they blow stuff up real good!

9. I'm Not Living Here- The Ballroom-  Some people are shits and the Ballroom are calling them out on it, nicely.  "I think you're a phony!"

10. Dogs Are Everywhere- Pulp- I'm in the minority here but I strongly prefer 80's Pulp to 90's.  This one is from 1986.  In addition to dogs being everywhere, I gotta add that all the monkeys aren't in the zoo, everyday I see quite a few.

11. The Pictures On My Wall- Echo & The Bunnymen- The video for this one has been removed, so here's a TV performance of "Villiers Terrace".

12. Tiny Girls- Iggy Pop- "But she sings of greed like a young banshee, and she wants for this and she wants for that".  Iggy doesn't even need a shirt and this bitch wants a house, dishwasher, jewelry and God knows what else! I like the use of saxophone in rock & roll music and feel there should be more of it, people who make these decisions please take note.

Debbie & Jim

13.  Olive Oil- Happy Mondays- 1987, listen to that bass and them guitars, nice stuff, right? John Cale produced.  I don't ever have a clue what this guy is singing about so I'm just treating it as a Popeye reference.

14. A Song From Under the Floorboards- Magazine- The opening line of this song gets quoted a lot and for good reason.  But the real meat of the song for me comes later with these lines "Used to make phantoms I could later chase, Images of all that could be desired, then I got tired of counting all of these blessings, and then I just got tired". Being able to relate to that sucks actually, but there you go.

The story about Magazine's "Shot By Both Sides" going down in the charts after they appeared on Top of the Pops cracks me up.  I guess Devoto is a bit hard on the eyes and I think he was dressed up like a fucking mime, always a bad move.

15. Seven Languages- Camper Van Beethoven- This sounds like a standard, it should be one.  Straight outta Santa Cruz.  The line about thinking he saw something in a cloud but on second thought not, reminds me of one of my favorite Peanuts strips.  The only scan I could find of it is hard to read, here's how it goes:

Lucy Van Pelt: Aren't the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton. I could just lie here all day and watch them drift by. If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud's formations. What do you think you see, Linus?
Linus Van Pelt: Well, those clouds up there look to me look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean. [points up] That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor. And that group of clouds over there... [points] me the impression of the Stoning of Stephen. I can see the Apostle Paul standing there to one side.
Lucy Van Pelt: Uh huh. That's very good. What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?
Charlie Brown: Well... I was going to say I saw a duckie and a horsie, but I changed my mind.

16. Even Dogs in the Wild- Associates- Finger snaps or something resembling them are always welcome.  The Associates are an acquired taste, I don't like a lot of their stuff, but I like this one quite a bit.

Billy MacKenzie looking cute

17. TV- Flying Lizards- I wasn't expecting to find a video for this!  Pretty neat, pretty good.  I think you're very, very, very, very..........

18. I'd Like to Walk Around In Your Mind- Vashti Bunyan-  Maybe some other time Vashti.

19. Song From the Bottom of A Well- Kevin Ayers-Sounds like nobody would have wanted to walk around in Kevin Ayer's mind circa 1971.

20. Do I Have to Do This All Over Again- The Monkees- Peter is my least favorite Monkee, he just seems flavorless to me, maybe it's cause they made him play the dum-dum part.  Anyway he did do some great stuff including writing this song for the HEAD soundtrack.  Full disclosure my favorite Monkees in order are as follows: Michael Nesmith (natch, the dry humored Texan, easily the best songwriter in the group, great singer), Mickey Dolenz (what a voice and very funny, looked rather monkeyish to boot),  Davy Jones (don't hate on Davy the boy could dance and was funny in the context of the show), Peter Tork (Peter wrote a couple of good tunes and had the right look).  I wanted to put the clip from HEAD with the aforementioned song, but the powers that be have removed it, so here's a bit of Peter from HEAD.

21. She Divines Water- Camper Van Beethoven- There's a little sample of Michael Stipe at the end of the song, its from a live bootleg Stipe saying "I wrote this next song to myself" or something like that, I think its how he used to preface "The One I Love" in concert.  The sample seems more prominent on the vinyl, here it fades really quickly. But you can hear it in the fan video below, which is sort of interesting too, as the person who made it seems to think the song's "world famous actress in a pink limousine" is Jayne Mansfield, and also includes footage from the Prisoner and of Marilyn Monroe.

22. Our Love Will Still Be There- The Troggs- As Lester Bangs points out, the flip side of the Troggs horny cavemen songs was their eternal romantic side illustrated here and still played a la cavemen.  The Troggs partake in some wacky phone hijinks below.

23. Vaya Con Dios- Chuck Berry- From Berry's last album for Chess records. A really nice take on this great song.  Les Paul and Mary Ford's best selling version below.


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