Saturday, 18 September 2021

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun


 Cover version of the month #71 - Cyndi Lauper covers Robert Hazard

I know!!!!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun is a cover version! I've checked and it is true!

Robert Hazard wrote the original and recorded it in 1979! Check it out HERE 

I've not really been able to trace what happened to the song between 1979 and 1983. It's possibly Hazard (now passed away) pressed some copies for a single release and then it came out on his eponymous 1982 album. But somehow Cyndi Lauper, possibly through producer Rick Chertoff, was approached to update the song and reclaim the lyrics from Hazard's original male point of view.

The timing, for the MTV generation, was absolutely perfect. Lauper, singing from a female perspective, rearranged the song to become an anthem of female solidarity.

As a debut single, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, was an absolute gift for Lauper, who, through putting her own stamp on it, completely changed the original meaning behind the song. It's not too bold a statement to say that, in a strange way, Lauper completely rewrote it. Bright, colourful, playful, catchy and bold, this was technicolour pop perfection, a declaration to the world.

Lets go back to the original that I never knew existed!

It's kind of new wave punk, not very good, the pop qualities that Lauper and her team brought out are kind of hidden away. Listening to Hazard's version is like listening to a cover. It's kind of like someone to sound like a cross between The Clash and Blondie by way of Elvis Costello, but not managing it. 

The qualities of the song are there, but the hooks are not emphasised. Hazard is singing to his parents that he's been out all night with girls who just wanna have fun with him. The band tear through it too quickly, missing the fact that the playful backing vocals near the end are a real hook.

Lauper destroys the original, her version is pulsating with energy, with vibrancy and with (ironically) originality. If Hazard was modelling his version on bands/sounds of the time, Lauper and her production team (who deserve immense credit) pull out all the stops to make Girls Just Wanna Have Fun sound like absolutely vital pop music.

Lauper finds the hooks and plays with them, the little section after the second chorus being the first example, but its the after the third chorus that the hooks of the song are hammered home - time after time ... for over 2-minutes.

And in the video, Lauper and her girls are having fun, dancing through the streets of New York City back to Lauper's bedroom for a big party that looks like great fun.

I really enjoy researching songs for this regular feature, this month I'm just blown away that this wasn't written by Lauper, or specifically for her. She just totally makes it her own.

See below for a full list of songs to feature in my cover version of the month blogs. You can also search for Everything Flows Cool Cover Versions for my Spotify playlist or CLICK HERE.

Note - the orginal version of the song isn't on Spotify;

Robert Hazard original

Cyndi Lauper original video

Previous covers of the month

13. Hurt




Some boys take a beautiful girl/And hide her away from the rest of the world/I want to be the one to walk in the sun/Oh girls, they want to have fun.”


Lauper, in her own words says


“I left home at seventeen,” she wrote. “I took a paper bag with a toothbrush, a change of underwear, an apple, and a copy of Yoko Ono’s book Grapefruit.”

"It was originally about how fortunate he was 'cause he was auy 




 female subjects. Lauper found the lyrics to be misogynistic, and took it upon herself to rewrite them from a female perspective, rearranging it into the song heralded today as “an anthem of female solidarity.

"Girls Just Want to Have Fun" is a song written and performed by American musician Robert Hazard who released the single in 1979. It is known as a single by American singer Cyndi Lauper, whose version was released in 1983.[1] It was the first major single released by Lauper as a solo artist and the lead single from her debut studio album She's So Unusual (1983). Lauper's version gained recognition as a feminist anthem and was promoted by a Grammy-winning music video. It has been covered, either as a studio recording or in a live performance, by over 30 other artists.

The single was Lauper's breakthrough hit, reaching number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming a worldwide hit throughout late 1983 and early 1984. It remains one of Lauper's signature songs and was a widely popular song during the 1980s. The "Rolling Stone & MTV: '100 Greatest Pop Songs': 1-50", "Rolling Stone: "The 100 Top Music Videos"" and the "VH1: 100 Greatest Videos" lists ranked the song at No. 22, No. 39 and No. 45, respectively.[2][3][4] The song received Grammy Award nominations for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. In 2013, the song was remixed by Yolanda Be Cool, taken from the 30th anniversary reissue of She's So Unusual.[5]

Friday, 17 September 2021

Teenage Fanclub - Glasgow Barrowland - September 2021


Photo by Carla Easton

 Ah Glasgow Barrowland!

I was so excited about returning to this iconic venue that I showed up for doors opening. I've probably not done that since visiting for the first time back in 1993 - also to see Teenage Fanclub. 

Just grabbing a beer and walking round the iconic ballroom listening to background music while watching everyone coming in heightened my senses. I'd missed this kind of thing so much; the sense of anticipation, an occasion, a special night out.


Pretty soon I was catching up with friends - Lorna (my real Teenage Fanclub buddy), Lloyd from Olive Grove Records, John from my hometown of Carluke and loads of people from the Teenage Fanclub Fanclub. 

It was great to see loads of people coming in early for Poster Paints who delivered another impeccable set. Carla sung beautifully and it was brilliant to see her on the Barrowland stage. Number 1 sounded particularly powerful and the response from the crowd was warm and loud. Set closer My Song was glorious, building into a dreamy New Order groove, low bass, synth and the kind of guitar riff you could listen to for days.

Poster Paints play their debut headline show at The Poetry Club in Glasgow on October 7th. Be great to see you there.

Photo by Kat Gollock


Shortly after 9pm Teenage Fanclub walked on to the stage to a huge Barrowland roar and after strapping on their guitars they launched into the double header of About You and Start Again. The band were in excellent form, it's a shame that this little run of shows has come to an end just as they are really getting going. I found myself checking dates for their shows next Spring earlier today.

A run of 3-songs from Endless Arcade really highlighted that the band are on form on record and on stage. Everything Is Falling Apart and Home both allowed the Fannies to stretch out and flow. Dave and Francis were locked in tune all night, allowing their mates to jam on and extend a number of songs. 

Photo by Kat Gollock

Home was outstanding last night, the guitars sounded glorious, I love when the band play like this. Then there as an absolute romp through Warm Embrace, quickly becoming a live favourite for band and audience.

What You Do To Me was particularly euphoric last night, sung gustily on stage and on the famous sprung ballroom floor. It felt so uplifting to be in the Barrowland and singing along with friends and strangers.

Closely followed by Raymond's outstanding Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From, with Norman playing his xylophone to huge cheers.

Back In The Day was another highlight, the band extended it, clearly enjoying playing it live and there was a nice moment afterwards where someone near the front shouted his appreciation to Norman, adding 'that's a corker' raising a smile from Blake.


There were regular smiles on stage and off all night. We were standing just a few rows from the front to Dave's side and you could see the energy being created and enjoyed on stage.

I'm In Love had a real zip to it, while the closing section of The Concept was simply sublime, just absolutely gorgeous.

Raymond's The Fall started the 4-song encore, the outro section sounding particularly dreamy and beautiful, then we had Norman tugging on heartstrings with his stunning The Sun Won't Shine On Me, the guitar riff was heavenly.

Norman then announced they were going to play a cover version by an 80's band ... going on to play Golden Shower by The Boy Hairdressers, his pre Fanclub band with Raymond. 

Ending with Everything Flows, I was really taken with the way Euros added a hammond style riff to the song. He has brought a lot to the band and seems to have quite a free license to add bits to songs, while his harmonies with Norman are so natural and beautiful. Norman waved his guitar in front of his speaker to generate feedback, just lost in the moment, it was so good to see.

It was good to be back!

I must mention the Simply Thrilled Aftershow at McChuills round the corner on High Street. Walking into my favourite bar to the sound of Rocks by Primal Scream was so uplifting. Pretty soon they played Radio and a few people started dancing. The boys got the hint and it was Fanclub tunes until closing with a group of us singing and dancing like the good old days to Baby Lee, I Need Direction and of course - Everything Flows to close. I felt absolutely elated! 


Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Teenage Fanclub at Assembly Rooms

Even though it's complicated

We got time to start again

My last gig was 29th February 2020. Looking back at my blog, I attended 6 gigs in the first couple of months in that year. Gig going was (and will be again) a major part of my life - a reason to catch up with friends, to have a wee night out and visit some of my favourite bars in Glasgow, to watch bands and artists I love, to discover new sounds and to get the buzz from entering venues like The Barrowland and seeing audience and artist become one.

February 2020! 

Then everything changed ...

But enough has been written about that. Lets get bang up to date - Tuesday 14th September 2021 to be precise. 

The sense of anticipation of a gig is still there! The buzz of arranging to meet friends, of sorting someone out with a spare, even thinking about what to wear! 

In addition, there is a strange form of planning that is going to become the norm for a while. I missed 2 gigs that I had tickets for the 2 previous Friday's as I knew that this gig and the Barrowland on Thursday were the ones I really wanted to go to. My friend Lorna decided not to go after giving someone a lift home from John Grant at the Barrowland last week and then they subsequently tested positive. Lorna is negative, but worried. COVID is absolutely everywhere. We're learning to live with it, or we are trying to. It's not going away and it feels like we'll all get it at some point - we need to trust in (and test) the vaccine and our immune systems. It feels like we're living in a giant experiment at times. 

But back to the gig!

The Edinburgh Assembly Rooms is a breathtakingly stunning venue. The chandeliers, the craft work and attention to detail on the ceiling ... everything seemed so grand ... from the entrance and the welcome from the staff, to the well staffed bar and to the huge high ceiling-d room for events. 

My sisters band Poster Paints were supporting and playing their first ever gig! You'll find my blogs on their first couple of singles here and here.


They played beautifully and brilliantly. The sound was absolutely spot on, the audience were warm, responsive and by midway through the set the venue was full.

Simon's guitar looked and sounded sublime as he coaxed gorgeous sounds from it, Sita harmonised beautifully with Carla on some songs and my sisters voice was as good as I have ever heard it.

Playing a 7-song set, Poster Paints won the audience with some stunning songs. Circus Moving On is all kinds of slow dreamy gorgeousness, while closer My Song built slowly and hypnotically into a a kind of shoegazey New Order groove.

My friend Luke captured it on film HERE

Poster Paints play their debut headline show at The Poetry Club in Glasgow on Thursday 7th October.


Next up ... Teenage Fanclub!

The warm guitars of About You kicked things off, all of the band looking happy - the combination of guitars and harmonies sounded particularly blissful after so many months without live music. I found myself leaving my friends to move closer to the stage, closer to the speakers to get lost in the music and the rush of the live experience.

Teenage Fanclub were on form - they always are! If I was relishing being back at a gig then my favourite band were clearly enjoying playing with each other and to their fans again. Home was a bit of a standout for me last night, the glorious jam at the end was lovely and tight but loose, Raymond's guitar playing was exceptional.

Warm Embrace was another highlight, the band tore through it and Francis' drumming was outstanding. The band seemed to really enjoy playing this one. Euros on keys and harmonies, Dave really going for it on bass - they flew through it.

There were plenty of old favourites too - Alcoholiday, a romp through God Knows It's True a spellbinding Verisimilitude with the chiming guitar riff sounding heavenly.

Picture by Lee Skinner

Back In The Day is a real favourite of mine from the new album and I was delighted the band included the song in the set. It could become a staple over the next few years. Euros and Norman harmonising effortlessly.

The Concept still sends warm tingles down my spine - the humour, the harmonies, the pleading 'believe me' urgency in the hook I didn't want to hurt you, oh yeah and the guitars and extended outro. 

Norman's The Sun Won't Shine On Me is simply perfect and the chiming guitars and his crystal clear vocals brought me close to happy tears of joy. And then the traditional set closer, the bands debut single, Everything Flows, released way back in the summer of 1990, sounded as perfect as always.

I look forward to doing it all over again on Thursday night at the Barrowland.

I'll never know which way to flow

Set a course that I don't know





Friday, 10 September 2021

Tangled Shoelaces


What a brilliant band name!

Tangled Shoelaces, from Brisbane in Australia, were aged 10-14, centred around siblings Stephen, Lucy and Martin Mackerras, with their friend and neighbour Leigh Nelson on drums.

Forming in 1980, they released one 7-inch single before breaking up in 1984, when the oldest members were still only 18. However, they recorded much more and the label Chapter Music has collected 22 songs labelled as some of the smartest, catchiest, most eccentric teenage pop you'll ever hear, releasing it as Turn My Dial - M Squared Recordings and more, 1981-84.

I was alerted to this release by the good people at Monorail in Glasgow who are extremely friendly and beautifully knowledgeable and passionate about music. Their e-newslettter about this release just leapt out of my screen at me, causing excitement in the good old fashioned way when I would read reviews in the NME and Melody Maker.

The newsletter worked! I missed out on the first pressing, but I've just ordered a second pressing and look forward to receiving it as I've been streaming the album regularly.

So what about the album?

Well, there are some exceptional standouts and, as you might expect for a band so young, some scratchy ideas and demos. There are loads of melodies and playful guitar licks, someone sounding like they figured out how to change the tempo of their drum machine mid-song (Political Jokes), innocent sounding vocals and young voices gelling to create something incredibly compelling. 

Stick with some of the songs that are rougher round the edges, like the title track Turn My Dial and you're rewarded. The first verse is incredibly childlike in melody, voice and instrumentation and then the band just hit the chorus and it's just joyous. 

Baby turn my dial

With your beautiful smile

The Biggest Movie Ever Made is a stunning duet; the band sound like they stumble across a guitar riff and then it sounds like other instruments are playing an entirely different song - but it somehow works!

The break to the chorus is spine tingling, it sounds like they hit a bum synth note or 2 before the synth sound flows in waves as Lucy sings and life is like a movie ...

Stephen's second verse seems to predict social media and people embarrassing themselves on camera. The extended instrumental to close after the second chorus is just sublime, a band in full flight for 1 minute 40 seconds.

My own personal highlight is the single Oceans Away, which sounds absolutely timeless. This should have been a hit single! Indie guitar pop perfection, at times coming on like a younger Australian cousin to New Order with the way the guitar, synths and bass mix.

For an even stronger New Order reference check World, the drum machine, bass riff and melodica sound like Tangled Laces had been listening to Power, Corruption & Lies at a very young age. The way Stephen and Lucy's voices gel is sublime. Glorious!

I need to ask a question

Won't someone give me an answer please

Why oh why was I born at all

You're so big and me so small

Sleeping is pure punk pop brilliance, like Television Personalities, there is a beautiful rawness to the guitars, the backing vocals are delightfully off key, the lyrics sound psychedelic but they are just childish jibberish, I love when Stephen (I think) shouts make believe racing cars. 1 minute and 7 seconds of joy.

There is a fantastic sense of innocence and indeed experimentation across the recordings - no surprise given their age! On songs like Rain Clouds it sounds almost improvised on the spot with whatever instruments they could get their hands on.

Some are 4-track recordings, a few are studio and some were even recorded on to cassette. There is a beautiful sense of freedom, learning, experimentation and fun.

I'm delighted to say that Stephen from the band has agreed to an interview, so look out for that in due course.

For now, check out the beautiful raw, playful, innocent guitar pop of Tangled Shoelaces by streaming / downloading or checking if Monorail (or your fave independent record store near you) have a copy of the vinyl.

Tangled Shoelaces Bandcamp 




Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Songs of Gerard

 


My love for Teenage Fanclub has generated many friendships and conversations over the years. Recently I started one with Juan Marioni from one of my favourite city's in the world - Buenos Aires in Argentina. My wife and I were very fortunate to spend a month living in the Palermo Viejo district of the city back in 2008 for the last month of a year travelling around the world. It really is a wonderful city; music, art, dancing, wine, steak, football ... oh to go travelling again.

Juan has recently started recording and releasing a series of EP's where he covers songs from each of Teenage Fanclub's 3 songwriters. Back in June he released Songs of Raymond  , which I missed upon release, and he's just let his Songs of Gerard EP fly out into the world.

I still marvel that my favourite band has touched people around the world through their music. So I thought I'd catch up with Juan to find out how he discovered the band and what led him to record his EP's in celebration of McGinley, Love and Blake.

It's interesting hearing the songs being performed by Juan, my personal highlight from the Gerry EP was Shock and Awe, a lovely nod to Lightships in the intro and the lyrics really stood out as I listened with the latest news from Afghanistan flickering silently on the TV across the room.

Wake me when the conflict is over

I aim for a peaceful life

Shake me when this madness is no more

I favour a peaceful life


Meanwhile, Raymond's Genius Envy is covered with more than a nod to Bob Dylan and I love how Juan harmonises with himself, then drops in a couple of very apt Beatles  in the outro. Apt, as the song contains an absolute classic McGinley line.

So what if you see other people

I only get jealous when I listen to The Beatles

Juan has still to select and record the songs for his Songs of Norman EP. Keep an eye on his Bandcamp page.

Interview

How are you? How are things in Argentina?

I'm fine thank you, hope you're OK. Argentina is always a troubled country ... so we are in the same situation as usual. With the pandemic, we didn't reach the point to choose who would get a ventilator. The vaccination is a little bit slow but it's on its way.

Can you remember the first time you heard Teenage Fanclub?

I don't remember the first time, but I remember the day I thought 'this is special'. I remember walking on a really nice sunny, kind of spring day (or maybe Autumn). One of those days when you feel happy to be alive! I think it was 1991/2. Bandwagonesque was out, so I estimate the year with that date in mind. I was in my hometown, Buenos Aires, walking the streets of the Palermo neighbourhood, going back home after a session with my therapist, listening to Bandwagonesque that was recorded on to a cassette tape. Something 'hot me' that day and I think that I was listening to Sidewinder at that point. I think the first song I ever heard was The Concept, but I also recall seeing a clip on MTV of God Knows It's True and that song blew my mind! So those were the first memories of my first impressions.

Why did you fall in love with the band?

The sound and the production were what I liked first. Those airy vocals sung in 2 or 3 part harmony. And in the back those noisy but at the same time intelligent guitars, the blend of classic and modern sound. Also the songwriting reminded me of music I like - sixties style.

Have you seen them live? What kind of venues do they play in Argentina?

Sadly I have never seen them live.

What other Scottish bands do you enjoy listening to?

One of my favourite bands is Belle and Sebastian and I also like Primal Scream a lot. Parallel TFC bands Lightships. Primary 5, Nice Man, Jonny, JAMC, Donovan, New Mendicants (half Scottish). I also recently discovered Kevin Robertson.

What made you decide to do your Songs of ... EP's?

I like to record at home and now in the pandemic, I have more time. I bought a new computer and I was thinking of making a thematic record ... maybe a 60's garage rock selection ... well ... finally I thought 'why not do covers of one of my all-time favourite bands?' At first I thought about recording a selection of songs but then I realised that each composer deserves an EP. Selecting and recording the songs made me appreciate their songwriting even more.

You cheekily throw in excerpts from other songs - some great Beatles sections (appropriately) in your version of Genius Envy and a Lightships riff in one of your Gerry songs. Did you plan that, or fall into it?

It was inspiration, purely spontaneous. Those ideas came to me in an instant, while I was in the process of recording the songs.

What do you think of Endless Arcade?

I think it's a good album, it gets better with every listen. It was surprising when I first heard it because there were some new directions in their style. Of course I miss the presence of Gerry. I think it is great that they keep going on making new music.

When can we expect your Songs of Norman EP? Have you recorded it yet?

I haven't started it yet, I don't know what songs I will select but I have candidates. I think that the production will be in the same acoustic vibe as the other two. And you can expect the same dedication that I put into the Raymond and Gerry EP's.

Lastly, what music are you listening to at present?

I've been listening to Teenage Fanclub a lot. I've been producing 2 albums for Argentinian musicians/bands - Gaspar Tessi and Piloto de Juguetes, so I've been listening to their music all day. Also a lot of power pop, garage rock, psychobilly, rockabilly and sixties music - some quite obscure compilations. Bands recently - XTC, Dukes of Strathosphear, Those Pretty Wrongs, Beach Boys, Love , Magnetic Fields, Matthew Sweet, Pernice Brothers ...




Thursday, 2 September 2021

Never Saw It Coming

 

Photo by Kat Gollock

Poster Paints, my sister Carla's new band with her friend Simon, have just released their second single, Never Saw It Coming, to kick off a busy 6-weeks during which they'll play 3 shows with Teenage Fanclub in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow - at the famous Glasgow Barrowland. They then play their first headline show at The Poetry Club on Thursday 7th October.

Never Saw It Coming begins with a fuzzy distorted guitar riff over beats, then a jangly reverb lead guitar line comes over the top as Carla begins to sing - words and melodies simply pouring out of her, only slowing when she gets to the hook/chorus.

I can't believe you're gone

I never saw it coming

And then the word and melodies come flowing again ...

so, so, so

so here we go again another day for new beginnings

with a final end to the race I fought and lost in constant winning

when we said our goodbyes I forgot to say that I was sorry

There is plenty of space in the arrangement, playing and production, everything seems so beautifully unrushed and dreamy, particularly the middle section which has loving splash of psychedelia/dream pop... dare I say shoegaze?

You've got to pull yourself together

I've got have it all

I love the whole feel to the song, the guitars are sublime, layered perfectly and Carla's vocals are stunning. 

Simon and Carla have an incredible collection of songs from lockdown and they are still writing. I look forward to hearing what they release next.

Here are Carla's original lyrics. You can see from the working title where some of the influences might come from. A limited edition cassette single is being released tomorrow (3rd September) via Poster Paints Bandcamp page.

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Anything Goes & Everything Flows DJ mix 4

 

Photo by Gered Mankowitz

In memory of Charlie Watts, this months Anything Goes & Everything Flows DJ mix kicks off with the outstanding Happy from The Stones epic Exile On Main Street album. Blasting out one of my favourite Stones songs led me to creating a rock n roll  style mix, the kind of tunes that would blast out in McChuills on High Street. A lot of the artists that feature in this mix have record sleeves adorning the walls in my favourite pub.

This mix would soundtrack a great night! Raw guitars, dirty grooves, cool hooks, vocals, soul and attitude dripping out of each and every song.

Enjoy. You can find this mix on Spotify by searching for Everything Flows DJ mix 4 

or by CLICKING HERE

Tracklist

Happy - Rolling Stones

Have Love Will Travel - The Sonics

Green Onions - Booker T and the M.G.'s

Baby, Please Don't Go - Them

Subterranean Homesick Blues - Bob Dylan

Louie Louie - The Kingsmen

Crosstown Traffic - Jimi Hendrix

Wild Thing - The Troggs

I Wanna Be Your Dog - The Stooges

My Generation - The Who

My Little Red Book - Love

I'm Waiting For The Man - The Velvet Underground

L.A. Woman - The Doors

Roadrunner - The Modern Lovers

The Jean Genie - David Bowie

Personality Crisis - New York Dolls

Tin Soldier - Small Faces

Till The End Of The Day - The Kinks