Monday, 22 July 2019

A Catholic Education

The run of Teenage Fanclub shows at the end of 2019 where they played their Creation Records albums over 3-nights will live long in my memory. The bands rich back catalogue from 1991-2000 was rolled out in all its glory. Songs were dusted off, from Sidewinder to Near You, with the likes of Tears Are Cool, Discolite and Winter in between. Not to mention some impeccable b-sides, including a sublime and very moving Broken, and rarities from the era.

The shows brought immense joy but they were also tinged by sadness with the news that Gerry Love was leaving the band. It could have been worse, the band could have broken up. Thankfully everything was amicable and everything has gone well since.

Teenage Fanclub have brought long term friend Euros Childs in on keyboards and Dave has gone to bass, they have released a new single and blazed a trail across the world from January through to July.

This is a brand new era for the Fanclub and ahead of the bands Scottish summer shows at Kelvingrove Bandstand, scene of a triumphant show in 2014, and Leith Theatre, I thought I'd take a look back all the way to A Catholic Education their debut LP, released 29-years ago in 1990, recorded 30-years ago in July 1989.

The studio time for A Catholic Education was funded when Raymond McGinley's neighbour passed away and left him a couple of kitchen appliances, including a fridge. They were duly sold to fund recordings of songs Raymond had been writing with his friend Norman Blake following the demise of their band The Boy Hairdressers.

Along with drummer Francis MacDonald, also formerly of The Boy Hairdressers, the trio recruited bassist Gerry Love in May of 1989 and by July Teenage Fanclub began recording after only a few rehearsals.

Blake and McGinley didn't want to hang around with their new band and the  melodic, grungy, and heartfelt songs on A Catholic Education have a rawness, energy, innocence and purity to them that has helped the album age well.

Not many bands capture their developing sound on vinyl, most wait until they are fully formed and polished. Digging into A Catholic Education for the first time in a while, it is evident that the Fanclub were capturing something pretty special.

On songs like the spellbinding Everything Flows there is a sense that everything is coming together, on the title track and Too Involved it sounds like everything could also easily fall apart.

early Teenage Fanclub

The sense of humour and fun that the band clearly display in interviews and onstage to this day is also all over the album, beginning with the instrumental opener Heavy Metal. It's not, it's simply a  jam but it somehow feels like a perfect opener.

And then we have the majestic Everything Flows, the song that this blog takes its name from. The guitars are glorious, sounding as if the band might have been listening to some Neil Young, the lyrics  have a perspective and maturity beyond Norman Blake's (then) 24 years of age.

We get older every day
But you don't change
Or I don't notice you changing

Released as the bands debut single, Everything Flows is a song that generates goosebumps and tingles for fans across the world and remains a staple, often as set closer, in the bands live sets to this day. It drives on, you don't want it to end.  The song is like a fine wine, getting better and more meaningful with age.

Live from Reading - Everything Flows

Catholic Education has the rawness and sense that it could fall apart that I wrote about above, the band crash through riffs, the drumming is ferocious and Blake simply sings You wanna turn your back on everything, You wanna turn your back on everyone, Well I try before the song descends into a fun jam and it's over in under two and a half minutes.

I love the warm guitars in Too Involved, I love the lazy intro to Don't Need A Drum and Raymond riffing along before taking on a solo.

Crticial Mass is an unpolished gem featuring early use of harmonies on the chorus. The guitars are gloriously raw.

When I switched off my feelings is when I lost control
Couldn't say what I was needing
Something I didn't know 

Heavy Metal II is another jam before the band absolutely tear through a reprise of Catholic Education. 

There is a song I had forgotten from the album, Eternal Light. There is a ring of The Byrds in the opening guitars and the song has a loving shambolic flow to it.

Every Picture I Paint is a favourite of mine. I've always loved the guitars, Norman's voice, the way the song hangs together, the band tear through it and the chorus forced home,

It takes a hundred thousand colours just to paint you
And every picture that I paint doesn't capture you

The album ends with Everybody's Fool, another loose romp. The band find a melody and groove with ease and the recording sounds raw, live and spontaneous.

As much as I enjoy A Catholic Education, it barely sets the scene for what was to come from Bandwagonesque onwards and in a way that is what makes it special. For me, A Catholic Education, is a glimpse of a band (a gang) forming, in progress, sounding raw, stoned and/or pissed, live, spontaneous and full of fun.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Where's The Playground Susie

Trust me #3
Where's The Playground Susie? by Glen Campbell

The third in a feature. No words from me, just the song and the lyrics.

Trust me .... and check out Where's The Playground Susie?

The end has come and found us here
With our toys scattered all around us here
The puzzle that we never found an answer for
Still asks us darlin' what all the games were for
And here we stand, in a box of sand

Where's the playground Susie?
You're the one who's supposed to know her way around
If I don't stay around
If I don't stay around

The carousel has stopped us here
It twirled a time or two and then it dropped us here
And still you're not content with something about me
But what merry-go-round can you ride without me?
To take your hand
How would you stand?

Where's the playground Susie?
You're the one who's supposed to know her way around
If I don't stay around
If I don't stay around

Where's the playground Susie?
You're the one who's supposed to know her way around
If I don't stay around
If I don't stay around

Written by Jimmy Webb

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

I Am I Said

The third in the Trust Me series, no musings or description from me. Just the song and the lyrics.
Trust me and check out I Am, I Said by Neil Diamond.

Kudos to my sister Carla J Easton who played this song on her LP Radio show recently - a belter! Check out the new online station HERE

L.A.'s fine, the sun shines most the time
And the feeling is 'lay back'
Palm trees grow and rents are low
But you know I keep thinkin' about making my way back

Well I'm New York City born and raised
But nowadays
I'm lost between two shores
L.A.'s fine but it ain't home
New York's home
But it ain't mine no more

I am ... I said
To no-one there
And no-one heard at all
Not even the chair

I am ... I cried
I am ... said I
And I am lost and I can't even say why
Leavin' me lonely still

Did you ever read about a frog
Who dreamed of bein' a king
And then became one
Well except for the names
And a few other changes
If you talk about me
The story is the same one

But I got an emptiness deep inside
And I've tried
But it won't let me go
And I'm not a man who likes to swear
But I never cared
For the sound of being alone

I am ... I said
To no-one there
And no-one heard at all
Not even the chair
I am ... I cried
I am ... said I
And I am lost and I can't
Even say why
I am ... I said
I am ... I cried
I am

Previous - Trust Me
1. Something On Your Mind by Karen Dalton
2. Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells

Friday, 28 June 2019

10 from Kylie

I'm really looking forward to Kylie at Glastonbury this Sunday with her hit packed set due to be broadcast live on BBC1. Oh to be there as Kylie takes a sun soaked crowd on a glorious pop journey through her greatest hits. Her new Step Back In Time collection is out today.

Kylie is a pop princess who I grew up with, from Neighbours, through the Stock, Aitken and Waterman years, indie Kylie, duets with Nick Cave, the second coming in the 00's, several heartbreaks, cancer and becoming a national treasure.

Kylie at T in the Park in 1995 was a dream. I was determined to get to the front of the stage and ducked and dived through the crowd, looking round to find I was leading a conga with one guy saying 'we're following you wee man, keep going'. I still regret not buying a Kylie Kat t-shirt in the style of the Kit Kat logo.

The second time I caught Kylie I was in the second row of the SECC Armadillo. What a night that was! My friend Phil and I spent the afternoon in McChuills and jumped a cab. We sang and danced our hearts out. This was post Spinning Around and Kylie was on the way back up after some years in the wilderness. Gold hot pants that Kylie bought in a charity shop became a national talking point!

The third and final time I caught Kylie was in the SECC and again I was right down the front losing it to her pure pop perfection. What a show she put on!

Of course I fancied Kylie, I still do.I love her songs, I love her attitude, her performances and her personality. I think she will be incredible at Glastonbury.

Here are my top 10 favourite Kylie songs

1. Better The Devil You Know

Pure euphoric pop. Hi NRG with Kylie smouldering in a thin black dress. I love Kylie's hair in this one - stunning. I used to play this song when I DJ'd and by the end I would turn the chorus down to hear the crowd singing. Even if it was the first time people had heard it they would be singing along. The power of pop. Pure pop perfection.

2. Spinning Around
This was a kind of comeback single. Kylie hadn't featured in the UK top 10 since 1994's Confide In Me before the release of this incredible pop gem in the summer of 2000. It was everywhere; Kylie was back, Kylie was everywhere and the world seemed like a brighter and happier place.

3. All The Lovers
Dance, it's all I wanna do, so won't you dance?

What a line to open a song and then you have the chorus;

All the lovers that have gone before, they don't compare to you

How would you feel if Kylie sang that to you?!

It's 2010 and this is a different Kylie; more mature, assured, giving advice rather than doubting herself. The song takes off with a glorious synth solo, the video has Kylie crowdsurfing on top of underwear clad models in downtown LA, sounding breathless, sexy, in control.

4. I Believe In You
A co-write with Jake Shears from the Scissor Sisters (apparently there is a long lost album of co-writes) this is stunning pop that flows superbly, lifting for the chorus. The synths bubble into action and as the beat kicks in. Pop perfection.

I don't believe I'd love somebody just to pass the time

I, I, I believe in you

5. Love At First Sight
Released in 2002, Kylie was riding high on a run of sensational pop singles that started with Spinning Around and took in Kids with Robbie Williams, Can't Get You Out Of My Head and In Your Eyes.

Kylie bopps about in the video, looking sensational. The song grabs you instantly and takes off into Donna Summer at times. It's Kylie pop brilliance.

6. Can't Get You Out Of My Head
WHAT. A. TUNE! Written by pop genius Cathy Dennis, Can't Get You Out Of My Head is an earworm that you can't get rid of. It is a pretty simple song, but it's hook heavy and the hooks are rammed home.

2000 TO 2002 was peak Kylie for me, a pop princess was crowned during this iconic performance at the Brits when the song was mashed with New Order's Blue Monday. CLASS!

7. Some Kind Of Bliss
A co-write with the Manic St Preachers, this single only reached number 27, incredibly low for Kylie, but I love it. It's indie Kylie, it's refreshing that guitars are to the fore and synths are banished, with key strings underpinning the chorus. And Kylie sound very fresh, natural and it is clear that she is enjoying singing it. Another fave Kylie hairstyle of mine.

8. What Do I Have To Do?
Catchy, cheeky, hi energy pop, this comes during the first of Kylie's two current career peaks (in my opinion). Released in 1991, it was the 3rd single in a glorious run of Better The Devil You Know, Step Back In Time, What Do I Have To Do? and Shocked. The Stock, Aitken and Waterman glory years!

Kylie looks fantastic, smouldering on a throne like chair in a blonde wig, tearing up the dancefloor in as a brunette pixie and looking fresh in a pool. The chorus takes a minute to kick in but when it does it is absolutely HUGE and it is repeated for good measure.

What do I have to do to get the message through
How can I prove I really love you

9. Put Yourself In My Place
It would be easy to place Step Back In Time or Shocked in my top 10, but I'm going for Put Yourself In My Place from 1994. It's a different side to Kylie and I love the way her voice soars when the chorus comes in with the line you know the circle will come around

Kylie had left the Stock, Aitken and Waterman stable that had brought her so much success and signed with indie label DeConstruction. Kylie was now working with the likes of M-People and Brothers in Rythm to widen her artistic credentials.

The video is pretty incredible! Inspired by Barbarella, Minogue floats around in a spaceship shedding her clothes. As an 18-year old this blew my mind!

10. I Should Be So Lucky
It is pure unadulterated pop, simple, catchy and you find yourself singing on first listen ... on every listen. Minogue dancing through her living room and into the bath captivated the world, but the video needed the song with it. What a song; imagination, dreams coming true, lucky in love ....

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Never Ending Mixtape part 37

Welcome to a bonus Never Ending Mixtape for June.

There are songs I have just discovered by the likesThe Rain Parade, Whyte Horses, Jacques Dutronc, Nick Lowe, Townes Van Zandt, Neil Diamond and Paul Westerberg.

Old favourites by the Roses, Lemonheads, the Bunnymen, Charlatans and the Chemical Brothers. And some choice 60's cuts by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (who were incredible in Glasgow at the start of the month), the Rolling Stones the Flying Burrito Brothers and a stunning song by Kle that features on a Brian Wilson tribute album called Caroline Now that I would thoroughly recommend checking out.

You'll need to scroll down to the end of the playlist for the latest additions. Read on to for the full list.

Talking In My Sleep - The Rain Parade
Oh Happy Day (live) - Spiritualized
The Best Of It - Whyte Horses
The Snowfalls - Whyte Horses
She Owns The World - Whyte Horses
Baby Let Me Down - Tommy James and the Shondells
Comes Home Baby - The Charlatans
Live Forever - Oasis
Le responsable - Jacques Dutronc
Oogum Boogum - Alex Chilton
Nowhere To Run - Martha Reeves and The Vandellas
(Love Is Like A) Heatwave - Martha Reeves and The Vandellas
Cruel To Be Kind - Nick Lowe
If I Needed You - Townes Van Zandt
Dyslexic Heart - Paul Westerberg
You Say You Don't Love Me - Buzzcocks
No-one There - Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
It Changes - Amber Arcades
Rushing - Moby
Nothing Ever Lasts Forever - Echo and the Bunnymen
The Cutter - Echo and the Bunnymen
Ten Storey Love Song - Stone Roses
If I Could Talk I'd Tell You - The Lemonheads
Rudderless - The Lemonheads
It's About Time - The Lemonheads
You Can Take It With You - The Lemonheads
Up The Junction - Squeeze
Title Fight - The Charlatans
Pool Hall Richard - The Faces
You Are My Friend - The Rain Parade
Child of the Moon - The Rolling Stones
Hurricane - The Prisoners
Find and Seek - The Prisoners
You Keep Me Hangin' On - The Supremes
Across The Universe - The Beatles
Feel Flows - The Charlatans
Dripping Sun - Kikagaku Moyo
She Said Yeah - The Rolling Stones
I'm Free - The Rolling Stones
Gotta Get Away - The Rolling Stones
Rainbow Eyes - Kle
Life Is Sweet - The Chemical Brothers
Cody Cody - The Flying Burrito Brothers
Christine's Tune - The Flying Burrito Brothers
That's Alright By Me - Gene Clark
I Want You - Bob Dylan
Not Dark Yet - Bob Dylan
Tears - The Chameleons
Life From A Window - The Jam
I Am ... I Said - Neil Diamond

Sunday, 23 June 2019

What would the world have been like without The Beatles?

The Guardian feature on what would the world have been like without The Beatles ahead of the new Yesterday film got me thinking ... what would it have been like?!

Would as many kids have picked up guitars and form garage bands in America and beat bands across the UK?

Would kids have grown their hair into that famed moptop that provoked so much debate and imitation? Think of how the band inspired tailors, designers and artists and of course, The Beatles gave us Beatlemania - a way for millions of teenagers to scream and let go of pent up frustration, urges and to express their feelings.

What would the world have been like without these things?

The platform The Beatles had was worldwide; allowing them to discuss the music they listened to, what books they read and what films they watched.

Everyone wanted a piece of the fab four, sometimes literally as hair was snipped, suits were torn and minds were blown. And money was made! See my previous blog on Seltaeb.

The Beatles kicked down the door for the underground, in part because it was the underground that inspired them. Drugs, art, fashion, music, different sounds and ways of thinking - The Beatles were keen to explore, reflecting and amplifying underground scenes from London all the way to San Francisco and in turn inspiring more kids to think that they could do something. The Beatles even went as far as opening the crazy Apple Corps Ltd to give grants to dreamers.

The Beatles got the world singing, talking about love and peace, thinking about art and experimentation in mind, body and music.

As the 60's progressed and The Beatles developed from Love Me Do to All You Need Is Love you had Harrison endorsing Indian meditation, McCartney discussing drugs in mainstream media and living it up on the London arts scene and Lennon going from Lucy In The Sky to Cold Turkey via Give Peace A Chance, oh and he happened to mention that Christianity will go, it will vanish and shrink.

The Beatles developed from wide eyed amphetamine fuelled cellars in Liverpool and Hamburg to glazed eyed psychedelic experimenters, aided by George Martin and unlimited studio time. All in the glare of the world who fell in love with them.

Indeed, without The Beatles, the world wouldn't have one of the greatest love stories of all, a story continuing to this day through McCartney and Starr and the ever lasting legacy of Lennon and Harrison. The story of friendship, adventure, luck, hard work, fame and music, not all pretty.

So many have fallen under their spell, discovering the band through parents, elder siblings or via the media's never ending love affair with them. You could start at The End and work your way back, or through Love Me Do up until The End, or somewhere in between,

My own introduction came via a cassette of my Dad's - 20 Greatest Hits. I discovered pure pop, feedback, chiming guitars, riffs, a touch of psychedelia, nursery rhymes, harmonies and rock n roll. Four guys took on the world and won. I was transfixed and bought loads of books, records and old bootleg cassettes from their time in Germany.

What would the world have been like without The Beatles? Imagine not having the thrill of stomping to their take on Twist and Shout, of singing the na, na, na, na chorus to Hey Jude, of marvelling at the production on Sgt Pepper, the flow of side 2 of Abbey Road, the mind blowing Tomorrow Never Knows, b-sides like Rain and shaking your head and singing yeah, yeah, yeah ...

The world would have been darker, less fun and in 8-years The Beatles produced a stunning catalogue of music that showed the world you could change and develop. The Fab Four did it in front of the eyes of the world

Thankfully we had The Beatles, we have them, we'll always have them.

Read on for loads of top 5 lists of my favourite Beatles songs, moments, albums, solo songs and covers ...

Five favourite Beatles songs
1. Don't Let Me Down 2. Got To Get You Into My Life 3. Tomorrow Never Knows 4. Ticket To Ride
5. I Saw Her Standing There

5 from John (in addition to any above) - I Feel Fine, Rain, Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey, Strawberry Fields Forever, A Day In The Life

5 from Paul - You Never Give Me Your Money, I'll Follow The Sun, I've Just Seen A Face, I've Got A Feeling, I'm Down

5 from George - Something, Things We Said Today, It's All Too Much, Here Comes The Sun, If I Needed Someone

Five faves The Beatles covered - You Really Got A Hold On Me, Twist and Shout, Bad Boy, Money (That's What I Want), Please Mr. Postman

.... just rattle your jewellery

Five favourite Beatles albums
1. Revolver 2. Abbey Road 3. The Beatles (White Album) 4. Let It Be 5. Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Five favourite Beatles moments
1. Shea Stadium 
The Beatles on fire, laughing at the absurdity of it all. I once bought a jacket from Topman because it vaguely resembled a Shea Stadium jacket. Lennon playing keys with his elbow is super cool.

2. When John met Paul
6th July 1957. An iconic photograph of Lennon playing with his band The Quarrymen at a garden fete in Liverpool. A young Paul McCartney was there and was introduced to John via Ivan Vaughan who sometimes played tea chest bass with The Quarrymen. McCartney had the confidence to teach John how to properly tune his guitar and show off playing and singing Eddie Cochrane's Twenty Flight Rock and Gene Vincent's Be Bop A Lula.

3. JFK press conference
The Beatles land on American soil and charm the hysterical American press with their natural humour - Elvis impressions, sheer cheek, super confident, poking fun at themselves and Beatlemania. And the scenes outside are just insane. More info HERE

4. All You Need Is Love worldwide broadcast
The height of the summer of love - 25th June 1967. The Beatles perform All You Need Is Love to a worldwide television audience of 400 million. For a brief moment in time maybe 400 million people believed that was true, simpler and more hopeful times.

5. The rooftop show
On a cold 30th January 1969 The Beatles played together for the last time along with Billy Preston on keyboards. They look and sound fantastic. McCartney in black suit, as confident and as cheery as ever; Lennon in fur coat, those classic round granny glasses,  black trousers and converse; Starr looking cold in his red mac but still managing a stoned grin; Harrison rocking a black fur coat with a red shirt and green trousers. Oh to have been on that roof as they played Get Back, Don't Let Me Down, One After 909, Dig A Pony and I've Got A Feeling - various takes of each.

Five favourite Beatles solo songs
1. Watching The Wheels - John Lennon 2. What Is Life - George Harrison 3. Wah Wah - George Harrison 4. Maybe I'm Amazed - Paul McCartney 5. Instant Karma - John Lennon

Friday, 14 June 2019

Sunshine Of Your Love

Cover version of the month #46

Spanky Wilson covers Cream

Those drums, they really kick, the horns jab hard, again and again, the vocals are so clear, raw, clear and if you don't get tingles down your spine when they rise ....

I'll be with you when the stars start falling

And listen to the way the bass becomes more important through the song as it progresses. Spanky Wilson's cover of Cream's Sunshine Of Your Love is seriously soulful, funky and jazzy. She lets rip and her vocals are jaw droppingly, spine tinglingly good. She is totally 100 percent on it!

Sunshine Of Your Love was originally written and recorded by Cream in 1967, the summer of love. It's slower, heavier and although it is still extremely powerful, for me Spanky Wilson's version blows it out of the water, I could listen to her version 10 times in a row.

I was fortunate to catch her live at The Arches back in the day when she was promoting an album she had recorded with Quantic Soul Orchestra - what a voice. Spanky Wilson's song You is outrageous, I discovered it on a Living In The Streets compilation - wah wah jazz, funky soul and other dirty grooves, I would highly recommend buying a copy.

I think I first came across the song in a Jimi Hendrix documentary when it cuts to him playing Hey Joe on the BBC programme A Happening For Lulu, halfway through he announces he is going to stop playing this rubbish and dedicate a song to the Cream, regardless of what kind of group they may be in, I dedicate this to Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce.

Hendrix and his band then lock into the groove and play an instrumental over the closing credits, with Hendrix at one stage shouting 'they're trying to throw us off the air'  or words to that effect. Try as I might, I can't locate this on YouTube. It is thrilling television, the best I can find is a mini documentary on it, unfortunately not letting the clip run from start to finish.

Again for me this version is much more thrilling than he original. Hendrix is playing for fun and lets his passion and imagination run wild.

It's not that the original is bad (see further down), it's just that, for me anyway, Wilson and Hendrix take the song to higher places. 

Read on for links to all previous cover versions of the month.

Previous covers of the month

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Shakermaker and Oasis at the Cathouse

Noel Gallagher had a clear vision for Oasis and once he had secured a deal with Creation Records he had a very simple plan to back that up - his band would release a single every few months, like his heroes The Jam had when he was younger. And the singles would have great b-sides.

Gallagher was as good, if not better than his word. Oasis would release 10 singles between the April 1994 release of Supersonic and the February 1996 release of Don't Look Back In Anger, a staggering run that took them from pubs to the verge of Maine Road, Loch Lomond and Knebworth.

Shaker Maker was the second single, arriving on 13th June, only 3-months after Supersonic. The band didn't just release regularly, they toured relentlessly, across the UK, Europe, America and beyond.

After catching them at the Tramway for Radio 1 Sound City and the Supersonic tour, I bagged a ticket to see them at the (original) Cathouse in Glasgow for this promo tour.

I arrived early and the sound of the band soundchecking blared out the venue and into the Glasgow sunshine. Along with others we sang along with many tunes known through Radio 1 live performances and tapes given away with the likes of the NME and Select Magazine. We sang the guitar riff to Supersonic - we were super keen!

The Real People supported and I remember the best of Sly and the Family Stone playing before Oasis came on. The place was bouncing although there was plenty of space, they did play two nights and I was there on the Sunday.

Oasis were exceptional. They opened with Shaker Maker and the guitars sounded massive as the band eased into the groove and Liam sang I'd like to buy the world a coke from the New Seekers song that Noel had pinched the melody from.  Noel teased the riff to Cigarettes and Alcohol a couple of times but then played something else, he would regularly ask the crowd 'reckon we're any good?' fully knowing the answer.

I pogo'd like mad down the front and was swept off my feet at times. I remember the chorus for Up In The Sky and the breakdown section sounding incredible. Noel and Liam walked off towards the end of I Am The Walrus leaving the rest of the band to play on. I remember buzzing off the show for the rest of the week, telling everyone I could about this incredible band.

Later on in June 1994 Oasis would play Glastonbury
Liam Gallagher looked and sounded incredible

Shakermaker came out the following day and I knew it off by heart already. I'd got someone to tape the Radio 1 broadcast show I had attended in April and I'm pretty sure I would have taped the video off the Chart Show on a Saturday morning. It had an energy, although it wasn't what I thought the next single would be, I was holding out for Fade Away that I had heard in demo form from a Select Magazine tape.

Shakermaker was a bit of a holding single, keeping the momentum going for the proper breakthrough that would come when Oasis released Live Forever. It worked a treat. The press were falling for the Gallagher brothers and an interview with John Harris for the NME, later to be released as the 7-inch single Wibbling Rivalry, sent them into overdrive. They looked great, swore, took drugs, played great shows, wrote great songs and wanted to be stars.

Shakermaker has it's strengths, but the b-sides were more interesting for me.

Noel's D'Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman is a beauty, balancing dreams with reality and potential regret, talking of having bills to pay and forgetting the simplicity of climbing trees and dreaming.

The town where we're living has made you a man
And all of your dreams are washed away in the sand

Alive is another Noel song where his doubts about being left behind come out, but he also seems to be egging himself on. It's a song I would have loved Oasis to have recorded properly, but the 8-track demo version captures a moment in time with Noel's frustrations and fears coming out in the lyrics, Liam's voice developing and the guitar sound beginning to come through.

The live version of Bring It On Down begins with Liam shouting Good evening Great Britain and is believed to come from a 1993 radio session, although I've never read of this being confirmed anywhere. The power of this song is evident and the band tear through it. Alan McGee wanted this to be Oasis' debut single and you can hear why, with the guitars, lyrics and delivery it's the Sex Pistols updated for 1994.

You're the outcast, you're the underclass
But you don't care, because you're living fast 

Scroll down for the Shakermaker video, the bands Top of the Pops debut playing the song, rare footage of the band performing on Naked City and Noel being interviewed, Glastonbury footage and also rare footage from earlier in 1994 when they played a Sony event at Gleneagles hotel.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Never Ending Mixtape Part 36

Pop genius Brian Wilson

And so my Never Ending Mixtape passes the 1,000 song mark. And, even if I do say so myself, it does so in style with some stupendous tunes.

There are tunes to dance to, get lost in, swoon and melt over, sing to, play air guitar to and fall in love with. Some of these tunes have lived with me for years or decades, others are tunes I have just discovered.

The Nearest Faraway Place is an instrumental by The Beach Boys that will let you drift off into a daydream, Another Boy Like Mine (demo) will hit you hard and you'll fall, Iko Iko is like a playground song full of simplistic joy and Tommy and the Shondells are my new favourite 60's band with Crimson and Clover shooting high into my favourite songs ever list. I must write that down sometime!

Elsewhere we have the Velvets, Glasgow's Sonny Marvello, Love, incredible songwriting and performance by Shuggie Otis, the sensational David Axelrod, a pysh garage gem by Os Mutantes, the sensational First Cut Is The Deepest by PP Arnold and much, much, much more.

Search for Everything Flows Never Ending Mixtape on Spotify or click below. You'll need to scroll right down to get to the latest additions.

NEW TIP - if you go to filter at the top and type in Out on the Floor and click play, it should play the songs in the order below.

Read on for the full list of 30-songs that have been added.

Out on the Floor - Dobie Gray
Sidewinder - Teenage Fanclub
Alone Again Or - Love
Who Loves The Sun? - The Velvet Underground
Outdoor Miner - Wire
Fire Went Out - Sonny Marvello
My Little Red Book - Love
Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys
God Only Knows - The Beach Boys
The Nearest Faraway Place - The Beach Boys
Love and Mercy - Brian Wilson
All I Wanna Do - The Beach Boys
Another Boy Like Mine (demo) - Ellie Greenwich
Strawberry Letter 23 - Shuggie Otis
Holy Thursday - David Axelrod
A Minha Menina - Os Mutantes
The First Cut Is The Deepest - PP Arnold
Tighten Up Pt 1 - Archie Bell and the Drells
Sinnerman - Nina Simone
Iko Iko - The Dixie Cups
Friday On My Mind - The Easybeats
I Was Made To Love Her - Stevie Wonder
Runaway - Del Shannon
Crimson and Clover - Tommy James and the Shondells
This Will Be Our Year - The Zombies
You're Gonna Miss Me - The 13th Floor Elevators
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - Ennio Morricone
The Ecstasy Of Gold - Ennio Morriconne
Out In The Streets - The Shangri-Las
Draggin' The Line - Tommy James and the Shondells

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Crimson and Clover

Trust me #2
Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and The Shondells

The second in a new feature. No description or musings from me. Just the song and the lyrics.

Trust me and check out... Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and The Shondells

Now I don't hardly know her

But I think I could love her

Crimson and clover
Well if she come walkin' over

Now I been waitin' to show her

Crimson and clover, over and over
Yeah, my mind's such a sweet thing

I wanna do everything, what a beautiful feeling

Crimson and clover, over and over
Crimson and clover, over and over

Crimson and clover, over and over

Crimson and clover, over and over
Crimson and clover, over and over

Crimson and clover, over and over

Crimson and clover, over and over

Crimson and Clover lyrics © Emi Longitude Music, Emi Longitude Music Co., Emi Music Publishing

Sunday, 26 May 2019

26th May 1999 - The Treble

I can recall May 1999 like it was yesterday, even though it was 20-years ago. I think of it regularly; the football, friendships, music, girls, the adventure, a more innocent time. I was 23 and having the time of my life.

But I'll start by going back a little further. To the beginning of my love affair with Manchester United Football Club. Growing up in the West of Scotland, my parents shielded me a little from the Old Firm. Motherwell was my local team and my Dad took me to some games, but we were also fortunate that my Aunt and Uncle had moved to Ellon, just outside Aberdeen. This coincided with a time when Aberdeen Football Club were sweeping all before them, led by Alex Ferguson, with the spine of Leighton, McLeish and Miller and starlets like Strachan, Black and Weir.

We ventured north regularly to visit my Uncle Murray, Aunt Mary, cousins Tom and Katy and also our Great Aunt Ina who was also up there and to the great delight of me and my brother we went to see Aberdeen play and train. I distinctly remember Aberdeen playing Dundee United and my favourite player Gordon Strachan was on the bench and the Dons support chanted bring on the wee man, bring on the wee man.

Aberdeen won the Cup Winners Cup in 1983, beating the famous Real Madrid in the final. Amazingly, this incredible team still trained in a public park in Aberdeen - Seaton Park.

It was here that as a youngster I experienced Fergie's hairdryer close at hand as he barked and swore at Willie Miller as the team set off on runs round the park with Miller lagging behind. My dad smiled. It was amazing to see these players up close and personal and we got our picture with my hero Gordon Strachan.

As we drove out of Seaton Park one time my Dad asked my brother and I to look behind us. It was the Aberdeen team bus and Fergie was sitting in the front to the side of the driver. He recognised us and smiled, waving back every time we waved at him.

I don't know why, but most kids had a favourite English team. Most supported Liverpool through their strong Scottish contingent of players like Dalglish, but I had fallen for Manchester United and in particular their swashbuckling captain Bryan Robson.

Old school Adidas

So I was delighted when my favourite player Gordon Strachan signed for them in 1984. United became my team. I fell for the club, the history, the Babes, Busby, Best, Charlton, Law and the 1984/85 team with young Norman Whiteside, Jesper Olsen, Robson - the leader and Mark Hughes.

I became United daft and had the home, away and third tops that year. The 3rd top, the blue one with the hoops was my favourite. Scottish football was virtually abandoned, if asked, I was a Manchester United supporter and that's the way it has been ever since.

Possibly my fave United top

But anyway, if you're reading this, you're probably reading it because it is about 1999. So let's fast forward to 1998 and I was down in Manchester with my girlfriend at the time, trying to buy a ticket for United v Leeds but not having any luck. However luck did come my way during a stadium tour when the guide told me that there was a Glasgow Manchester United Supporters Club that ran a bus to every single home game. I was stunned!

It was true, I joined the branch. My first trip on the bus was to see United wallop Wimbledon 5-1 with goals from Beckham, Giggs, Yorke and Cole (2). It was brilliant to meet fellow United supporters who shared my passion and I was amazed to learn about Jim Haw the Branch Chair following United home, away and in Europe. And branch secretary (and exiled Mancunian) Dave Sharkey encouraged me to bring a mixtape after learning of my love of music. Driving towards Old Trafford in the sunshine with Regret by New Order blasting out felt like a dream.

I put my name down for every game and by Christmas I was a regular. I was living my dreams, travelling to Manchester every other week to watch incredible football, I was making new friends, listening to great music, drinking beer and generally having the time of my life.

What a team! A midfield of Beckham, Keane, Scholes and Giggs, Jaap Stam in defence, Yorke, Cole, Ole, Teddy, Schmeichel, and then the less heralded Neville Brothers, May, Berg, Johnson, the ever dependable Irwin, Butt, Blomqvist, the emerging Wesley Brown ... there were goals galore... a both ends.

The 2-0 home win against Inter in the quarter final was one of the best atmospheres I have experienced at Old Trafford. I was up in Tier 3 of the North Stand and people were falling over seats when the second goal went in, I was worried someone might go over the edge. It's pretty steep up there!

The semi final came quickly, too quickly for tickets to be posted to Dave Sharkey, so the bus left a little early and we literally drove up to the ticket office at the front of Old Trafford. Changed days! We pulled up next to what we thought was another supporters bus, but it was the Juventus bus! What a laugh as we flicked fingers, banged on windows and one lad popped a moon, the Juve players gave as good and we laughed with them. It wouldn't happen these days and if it had it would have been all over social media.

Juve were sensational. I was low down in k-stand and marvelled at Zidane bossing the game even with a bandaged knee. He always seemed to have space and time. United clung on and we were somehow still in it.

Planning for Barcelona began immediately after United had displayed incredible determination and spirit, led by Roy Keane, to come from behind and win 3-2 in Turin.

Some lucky members of the branch got tickets, I remember some crying with relief when they picked them up before the Spurs game to win the league. The rest of us that planned on going either booked independent travel or decided to book via a company called Millwest who promised flights, 2-nights accommodation and a ticket for something like £200 (from memory). I went with that option along with many others including a guy called Phil who also started travelling on the supporters bus that year. We'd become great friends, bonding over music, football and fashion.

Full steam ahead Barcelona
Although the flight didn't leave on time!

On Monday 24th May 1999 it is safe to say that I was extremely excited. I'd planned to stay with my friends Phil and Mary at their flat in Victoria Road in the southside of Glasgow that night. Phil would then be driving me, Gary and Richard down to Manchester Airport first thing on Tuesday morning for our flight to Barcelona.

Phil is originally from Cheshire and has an enthusiastic lust for life that brings a smile to the faces of anyone he comes into contact with. His passion for United, for music, for his family, his profession (dentist) and life in general is loud (sometimes very) and proud. We met going down to see United on the Glasgow Manchester United Supporters Club bus and bonded over football, music and fashion and remain great friends to this day.

Anyway, back in 1999 I didn't have a mobile phone. I don't recall many people having them at that stage. I was back home from work and the phone went. It was Phil.

Phil - Guess what?

Me - What?

Phil - I've got us 2 tickets for the final!!!!

Me - WTF?

After the glorious semi-final victory over Juventus in Turin, Phil and I (along with many others) had signed up for flights, hotel and tickets with a company from Manchester called Millwest. As time progressed they wanted an extra £50, another extra £50 and then another extra £50 on top of the initial cost to secure tickets. We were all rather suspicious. Although we paid!

Phil explained that a lady had come into his practice that very afternoon (Phil in 1999 had not long moved to Glasgow after graduating in dentistry and was working in Hamilton, where he is now a partner) and they had got talking and Phil in his usual enthusiastic manner, probably even more enthusiastic than normal given that he was heading to Barcelona, told the lady everything about the final and the ticket fiasco.

To Phil's utter astonishment the lady told him that her son had two tickets for the final but could no longer go. I think he was going through a divorce. He lived in Kilmarnock and was involved with Kilmarnock FC, would Phil like them?!

My jaw hit the floor as Phil told me all this. He was leaving Hamilton to drive to Kilmarnock and told me to get the train to Glasgow and wait with Mary for his return.

Me - Drive carefully!

I headed to Glasgow and jumped a cab out to Phil's flat and waited with Mary. We heard a key turn in the lock and Phil entered with a wild gleam in his eyes.

In what seemed like slow motion Phil pulled two beautiful tickets from his pocket and I ran to him and we jumped about like schoolkids. It was a magical moment. I slept with my ticket under my pillow.

26th May 1999 - my ticket by fate, signed by Sir Alex

Do you believe in fate?

I do.

The next morning a convoy of cars departed branch secretary Dave Sharkey's house in East Kilbride to head to Manchester. Dave, an exiled Mancunian was bristling with pride. My mate Tel literally came in from the hospital where his wife had given birth to their son. He was allowed to go! What a wife! I don't think Tel slept until he got back home!

Exiled Manc and lover of northern soul Gary took one look at Phil's beat up Fiesta and uttered a line from Star Wars 'you came in that thing, your braver than I thought.'

There were a few hairy moments on the drive to Manchester but we got there. I don't think Phil would have cared if he left the Fiesta there, we were on the way.

Well, we should have been.

There was no-one at Millwest at the airport to meet us with the promised tickets for the game. We were told there would be someone to meet us in Barcelona. Phil and I had decided to keep quiet that we had secured two as we really felt for our friends.

The flight was delayed, at one stage there was a rumour that Millwest hadn't even booked a flight.

I'm not sure what happened as I did what I did regularly as a 23 year old. I went to the bar and got drunk and had a laugh, hoping that things would sort themselves out.

Glasgow Reds hoping for a flight

Miraculously, they did. We were put on flights to Barcelona and then bussed out to Salou, arriving at some ungodly hour but still finding a bar open. There had been no-one from Millwest at Barcelona airport or at the hotel.

I remember sitting outside the bar with some hardcore United fans talking about Millwest and one of them told the others not to worry as Millwest offices were getting firebombed. Sure enough, they were!

It was a very, very long day and I didn't get much sleep after having a Mrs Robinson moment with a 36-year old blonde from Manchester. Quite a day and night!

The next day we all met up in a bar for breakfast and briefly hung around the pool to discuss tactics as, not that we were surprised by this stage, there was no Millwest bus to take us there.

Despite challenges, we were within reach of Barcelona and the Champions League final. How were we going to get there though? Would everyone get a ticket?

The morning of the final

We walked to the train station in stifling heat. The trains were mobbed and we weren't allowed on at the station. My instincts kicked in and I dived into a hotel and got them to book 3 taxi's from Salou to Barcelona. They were £100 each but no-one cared, we had come this far.

The taxis all got split up. We decided to get dropped off at the ground, we'd had enough stress of getting there. We found a lovely tapas bar and bunkered in with some locals before walking to the ground.

Phil and I were pretty wrecked by the time we wandered round the ground in the blazing sunshine. Things were not as organised back then as they are now.

We wandered through the Bayern fans singing 'Jankers got a little prick, little prick, little prick' a song we made up on the spot. These days we would probably have been lifted, but we were young, drunk and harmless. The Bayern fans just laughed.

We couldn't believe we were there ... in Barcelona ... about to watch our team play in a Champions League final. I think we may have been a little hysterical.

We got into the ground early and the Bayern end was already pretty full. United pretty much took over the rest of the stadium over the next couple of hours. Before then we were treated to impressive choreographed chants from Bayern, we met others from the branch who had bought tickets on the black market and watched the full build up with beers. It felt like a beautiful dream.

Meeting fellow members from the Glasgow branch who managed to get tickets
To this day some say the beer was alcohol free ...

United end prior to kick off
Freddie Mercury's Barcelona blasted out

The sun went down and the teams came out. It was on.

For some reason Phil's ticket was a section along from mine. There was a section for odd numbers and a section for even. Either that or we were drunk. But we didn't sit or stand next to each other for the game - weird.

Bayern scored, United didn't click. Keane and Scholes were missing and the midfield of Beckham, Butt, Giggs and Blomvquist seemed a little disjointed. Bayern should have been out of sight, hitting the post, the bar, pulling saves from Schmeichel.

They thought they had won it. You could tell from the cheers after their substitutions. They took off Lothar Matthaus, their captain.

Sheringham came on and I can remember him fluffing something on the wing. But United were getting more of the ball, their energy levels seemed higher. But we were not breaking through and I looked across at the clock opposite me and 90-minutes were up.

It was hot, but I had my United bar scarf on, I clung to it and prayed. All around me people were starting to get a little anxious and the mood was changing as some chanted about winning two world wars.

Then United got a corner.

Everyone seemed to go quiet for a minute and then explode into action. We had a chance, Schmeichel was coming up.

Sheringham scored. The place went mental.

Before I knew it we had another corner and everyone seemed to know we were going to win at this point.

Ole scored....

And Solskjaer has won it - Getty Images

There was overwhelming emotion - relief, joy, happiness, elation. Strangers hugged, sang and danced. Bayern were out on their feet, some couldn't get up.

The whistle blew.

I ran into the aisle looking for Phil and he was running towards me. We hugged, eyes ablaze with tears of joy, we climbed over a wall and got down to the very front of the section we were in.

The celebrations seemed to go on for ages. Time was no issue, we could have stayed there all night singing and dancing, celebrating with the players who must have done 3 or 4 laps of the United support. Keane and Scholes came out to huge cheers. All the players got their own turn with the trophy in front of the main United support behind the goals. Sit Down by James was played 2 or 3 times.

If I hadn't seen such riches I could live with being poor

Armed with a disposeable camera, my mate Phil caught the elation at the end
And I caught him

It was magical. I wish I could go back in time and watch the younger me for a few hours from the final whistle.

Ferguson was hoisted on the shoulders of young Wes Brown and reserve keeper Raymond van der Gouw right in front of us and I thought back to seeing Fergie back when I was a youngster. What a journey I had been on with this great man, what a journey he had taken everyone on, what a journey he had taken the club on. He had a vision. Football eh? Bloody hell.

The treble was concluded on the birthday of the late Sir Matt Busby the man who built the traditions of Manchester United, believing in youth and attacking football to give the workers around Old Trafford something to be proud of. Ferguson shared those beliefs.

I vaguely remember walking out the ground in a daze, United fans in absolute harmony.

My next memory is of somehow bumping into other Glasgow branch members in a bar, god knows how, again fate must have played a hand.

There were some Bayern fans there and a couple of them handed out cigars to United fans which I thought was a very touching and classy gesture. Cigars they must have been close to lighting.

Richard Ashcroft from The Verve was outside the bar looking super cool. Someone handed him a scarf and he tied it round his tiny waist. I wondered when he was going to stop pulling the knot!

We jumped a bus to La Rambla and after a couple of cans from somewhere we settled down to sleep along with other United supporters who had no chance of getting back to their hotel that night. But then my Mrs Robinson ran over to say she had found a taxi to take us to Salou and we jumped in and sped off into the night.

We got back to the hotel and our friend Tel was waiting up for us. Thankfully he had got a ticket and we hoarsely talked until we passed out from exhaustion.

United had done it, football, bloody hell.

We had another long day on 27th May at Barcelona airport, drinking and singing. We got up the road and my friends came up at night to watch the game all over again as my Mum had recorded it for me.

It was so special. 20-years ago.

Thank you to Sir Alex, all the players and staff and to all the wonderful supporters who made it such an incredible experience.