Thursday 8 October 2015

Some Friendly - 25th anniversary

I still remember the first time I heard anything from Some Friendly, the debut album by The Charlatans, who went on to be one of my favourite bands, a band I have seen more times than any other.

It was in the 5th year common room, a year after the album had come out and I was 15. White Shirt, a rush of pure pop perfection, nestled next to Mersey Paradise on a compilation tape made by Martin Callan. Martin was a cool guy, very good at football and he also played bass in a couple of bands.

Sproston Green, Flower and The Only One I Know were also on the tape that I had for ages (wish I still did) alongside tunes from the likes of The Roses, The Carpets and The Mondays.

Today is the 25th anniversary of the release of Some Friendly and tonight Tim Burgess is holding a Twitter listening party. Everyone sticks on the album at 8pm and Tim tweets his memories and feelings about each song.

Tim has embraced social media brilliantly and he has held listening parties before. This one has been scheduled for a while and momentum has been building with people tweeting Tim from all around the world to let him know where they will be listening - including Antartica!

As this unfortunately clashes with a rather important Scottish football match, I thought I would have my own private listening party and write a blog with (roughly) tweet size comments on each song from the debut album by a band that have been helping to soundtrack my life ever since Martin Callan passed on that mix-tape to me.

You're Not Very Well
As openers go, this is not a bad introduction to the band. The hammond and bass are prominent, the band locked in a groove and capable of moving a gear or two for the chorus. Burgess sounding cool and confident.

White Shirt
As I said in my intro, this is a rush of pure pop. White Shirt remains one of my favourite Charlatans songs, the flow, feel, beat and melody get me every time.

And someone said to me
You've taken this too far
But I can't be asked to change

The Only One I Know
This still causes a mass outbreak of pogo-ing and dancing at Charlatans shows to this day. Timeless. The groove, the rises, the funky instrumental breakdown, the melody and lyrics - this remains a perfect Charlatans song. The chorus is incredible - hurtful and seeking comfort.

Everyone has been burned before
Everybody knows the pain

Dreamy and psychedelic, beautiful lyrics. Check that bass groove holding it all together, no wonder Martin Callan liked the band so much!

A boy with a stronger emotion
Has nothing on me I've got this one 

Listen to that bass again, letting the hammond swirl, the beat drive and Burgess croon. The lyrics find Burgess defiant.

You're furious, I'm glorious
You never hurt me that much

109 pt 2
More dreaminess and psychedelia, a beautiful instrumental showing a different side to the band.

Polar Bear
A funky instrumental leads us into the song with Burgess speaking in code (?) and again talking of a girl and a love gone/going wrong. The closing section tips a nod to Hey Bulldog by The Beatles.

Live is a bag of revels
And I'm looking for the orange one
She's gone
And not for the first time

Believe You Me
More evidence of how tight The Charlatans were right from the off, another brilliant groove and Rob going for it on the hammond.

Slow, groovy, yet with a cold and bitter kiss off. A brilliant song. Flower remains a favourite amongst Charlatans die-hards that I have got to know through gigs, the old fan forum and social media.

She got what she deserved
I told her I am of my time

Starts like a 90's cousin of The Doors and the instrumental section continues in that vein. Ends with Burgess urging us to think about it, think about it.

Sproston Green
Exceptional. Traditional set closer, it is like a religious experience for Charlatans fans. The build up and then the explosive start and soaring chorus. Extended instrumental groove out. A band on top form.

Sproston Green generates an incredible reaction to this day

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