Sunday 30 December 2018


Between 1994 and probably until 2004, I must have spent a high percentage of my lunchtime's visiting HMV on Sauchiehall Street. My first job in Glasgow was along at Charing Cross so I'd skip along at lunchtime to browse and buy. I then moved to 301 St Vincent Street to work in the huge Abbey National building and befriended a couple of other music nuts and Monday lunchtimes would see us religiously head to HMV to check the latest releases.

At the height of Britpop I'd be buying 2 or 3 releases a week, often singles due to the sheer volume being released at that time and also due to the cheap pricing. 7-inch singles tended to be 99p in the first week of release to get a chart position. I even picked up very limited 7-inch vinyl by the likes of Elastica who pressed 500 or 1,000 of some of their first singles. Bargain!

The 90's was the era of the CD and for £1.99 you could pick up a 3 or 4 track CD single/EP. B-sides meant something, Oasis had gems like The Masterplan, Fade Away and Rockin' Chair on them, other bands used it to experiment or play covers.

I don't recall buying many vinyl albums from HMV. I tended to buy them from Missing Records on Oswald Street or when they moved to larger premises on Washington Street. I don't know why, Missing always just felt like more of a vinyl store for me. Although I did buy a lot of 7-inches from HMV.

And it was always HMV for me. Tower Records was an occasional treat, usually after a few drinks in town killing time before a train back to my home town of Carluke, but it was too expensive. And I never really spent much time in Virgin. HMV was conveniently placed close to my work and it just became the place I went to for music.

I still have all my CD's. I must have spent thousands and thousands of pounds on them, so even though they are pretty worthless (in monetary terms), I refuse to throw them out due to the memories and the fact that I spent so much time with them and money on them.

It must have been years since I set foot in an HMV, let alone buy something. In 2004 I changed careers to start working in the voluntary sector and moved out to work at Maggie's first Glasgow centre at the old Western Infirmary, near the foot of Byres Road. So I wasn't in the city centre  that much, I tended to head up to FOPP in Byres Road for releases and around that time I really started buying a lot of older vinyl second hand. I didn't fall in love with as many new bands so I really didn't have a reason to visit HMV.

FOPP were also selling back catalogues of artists like Neil Young for £5 a CD album. They quickly became my record/CD shop of choice for a while.

There would still be the odd venture into the Sauchiehall Street store but then along came the likes of Monorail where you could browse, discover, buy and then grab a beer and/or lunch.

The world was changing and I was older. Where I once religiously bought the music weeklies Melody Maker and NME, listened to the Evening Session and Peel and bought things on the strength of a written review, I was now digging more into Uncut and Mojo magazine and discovering older music, also record shops like Mixed Up Records on Otago Lane - a cracking record shop with a fine selection of second hand records.

I never got into file sharing or Napster. Firstly, they were illegal, secondly, the music world seemed to be against it. I was on the side of the musicians.

So much was changing, along came MySpace and all of a sudden artists seemed fine to have their music out there for everyone to stream and download for free. It helped to break artists like Lily Allen and the Artic Monkeys, but people were still buying physical copies.

I moved out to work in Springburn, so I was in the city centre even less. That was in 2011 and I think I must have rarely set foot in HMV since then. The days of walking up a few lunchtimes a week were long gone, now my record shop of choice was Monorail and I went through a long period of visiting a couple of Monday's a month after work before playing five-a-sides.

My friends and I used to (half) joke that it was impossible to visit Monorail without buying something. I would rarely visit without spending a minimum of £30 on CD's, vinyl or the occasional ticket.

iTunes came along, Spotify, Amazon, Discogs, Bandcamp .... there were more ways than ever to discover and own music. And I haven't even mentioned Ebay! I went through a big Ebay phase, tracking down records I couldn't find in shops.

In some ways the ease of which you could consume music hurt me. A record collection and a knowledge of music really meant something. And I had invested in it! Vinyl, cd's, bootlegs, imports, magazines, books, videos .... now someone could stream, illegally download and view on YouTube. They could read about an artists history, reviews, setlists, access press releases ...

That ease was one of the reasons I refused to explore Spotify for a long, long time. I stuck with iTunes and downloaded legally, I still bought CD's and vinyl on a monthly basis and supported artists by attending countless concerts and buying merchandise at their shows.

Then Spotify, which had been kind of illegal for a while, became legal. I thought I would check it out although I was extremely late to the party. And ... to my horror ... I really fell in love with it.

Now if I am reading a book, let's take Meet Me In The Bathroom, a book about the New York scene from 2001-2011. I can check out a song or artist that is mentioned immediately. My thrill back in the day of FOPP selling back catalogues for a fiver an album was now replaced with the fact I could check out entire back catalogues any time I wanted!

Spotify, for me, is user friendly and for £10 a month I have more music at my fingertips than the teenage me could ever have even dreamed of. A friend and I used to wish we could work at Missing Records and access all their music all day long at work, or even just buy the store. Now I had access to even more music than Missing could ever have held.

I've always loved making mixtapes or cd's and giving them to family and friends. Now I can share mixtapes (playlists) with the world! Speaking of which, I hope you have checked my regular Never Ending Mixtape playlist on Spotify which I add to and blog about monthly.

I do still buy the odd CD and record, but nowhere close to the volume I once did. My peak vinyl/CD buying years were a long time ago. Now, with two kids and a busy job, it is a treat to actually get time to go to a record store. Whereas once upon a time visiting HMV was convenient for me, then FOPP and then Monorail, now it is convenient for me to stream. I'm guilty as charged! Some months I don't buy any physical releases at all, it's my £10 a month for Spotify that keeps me in music.

But enough about me, enough about my history with record shops and buying or listening habits.

HMV looks like it is going to close for good. God bless HMV and all who have sailed in her and God bless the 2,200 staff currently sailing who are set to lose their jobs.

I hope it can revive itself to keep going, but it's not looking good. It's great that vinyl sales continue to rise, but CD and DVD sales are not enough to keep HMV in its prime retail space locations open, nor is their move into the headphone, speakers, t-shirts and accessories market.

Many have shared memories about HMV online, but, very sadly memories are not enough to keep their stores open and relevant. Maybe a knight, or knights, in shining armour will appear and refresh this once great brand to keep it going.  But, for me, the competition is simply too fierce and it looks like it will be R.I.P HMV.

Monday 24 December 2018

Gerry Cinnamon, Barrowland Ballroom, December 2018

Gerry Cinnamon blitzed the world famous Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow last night and he’ll be back to delight his army of fans and do it all over again tonight.

The Barrowland Ballroom was packed long before Cinnamon took to the stage and the pre-show build up was more fun than most bands/artists actual shows. The pre-show setlist pumped out classics from The Temptations, Oasis, Dylan, Bob Marley, Neil Diamond and more, sing-song after sing-song to ensure that the crowd was in fine voice for Gerry taking to the stage. Hands were in the air, people were on shoulders, people had their arms around their mates and strangers and people sang from their hearts with smiles on their faces. As I said, this was pre-show.

The last song on the playlist really got things going though as KC and the Sunshine's Give It Up blasted through the speakers and the crowd chanted Gerry Cinnamon, Cinnamon, Gerry Cinnamon to  the tune. 

Dramatic music took over and Cinnamon took to the stage with the usual twinkle in his eyes and smile on his face. The ovation he received was incredible. Check the video from YouTube below.

I mentioned Oasis earlier in the blog. The way Cinnamon is connecting with people, the way that kids are picking up acoustic guitars to learn his songs, the way people are singing them like terrace anthems, is comparable to the way Oasis and Noel Gallagher connected with kids in the 90's.

I was fortunate to attend the two Oasis Barrowland shows back in December 1994 as an 18-year old and those shows will stay with me for the rest of my life. I looked around the audience last night and saw plenty of young teenagers hanging on to every word from Gerry's mouth in the same way I did as a teenager. I saw the way they went crazy to the songs, singing, jumping, punching the sky - and me and my mate Robbie joined them, lost in the music and the atmosphere, young at heart and feeling euphoric.

Robbie is another person that Cinnamon has encouraged to (re)pick up the guitar, only he is considerably beyond his teens!

What a show! Cinnamon was on fire, bounding around the stage, shouting to the crowd are we in? and then positively answering his own question with a loud yyyyeeeessss and cackling his beautiful laugh that made the whole Barrowland Ballroom know that he was enjoying himself as much as the crowd. Audience and artist were one last night, it was pure and powerful, there was total euphoria, an incredible atmosphere.

Cinnamon played his album in full, including a couple of tracks he rarely plays live and one, War TV, that he said he had never played live before.

Highlights? Well it was all one big euphoric high of a show. The chorus of Lullaby was sung as loud as any I have heard at the Barrowlands in 25-years of shows there (showing my age). Sometimes is a real favourite of mine, the looped guitar riff, beat and run of memories flows superbly.

Fickle McSelfish was a personal highlight for me though. I love the way Gerry sings the chorus with one line answering or expanding the line before it. And I love the line then you pulled on my hair and bit on my lip 'til it bled, f**k the notion of living without you I'd rather be dead

There is a moment in new song Canter where Cinnamon declares here comes the rain and it is euphoric, the place goes mental. And that's after a delightful pause and kiss off in the chorus. Another new song, I think its is called Darker Days, sounds really promising, I look forward to hearing it recorded.

Belter was sensational, it's a song that I've now heard buskers in Buchanan Street playing. It touches people. Cinnamon wears his heart and soul on his sleeve and remains true to his roots and beliefs. That comes across on stage and on record. Cinnamon’s album has been out for a little over a year and for me, and from the reaction last night, it has grown stronger in that time. It’s only 9-songs long yet it goes deep; there are memories, observations, there is humour, social commentary, love, hurt and dreams. He packs a lot in.

Cinnamon was always quick to thank the crowd and a couple of times he raised his glass to declare them his band. We were all certainly backing singers last night.

The encore was superb. Keysies is a real favourite of mine, Gerry really paints a picture with his lyrics and his voice is rich and soulful. A cover of Fairytale In New York was festive and euphoric before the place went crazy for his cover version of Discoland (which will be my next cover version of the month feature).

What better way to end a night at the Barras than with Cinnamon's love letter to the city, Diamonds In  The Mud. Gerry talks of places, of haunts and characteristics, his humour shines through, as does his clear love for the city.

Gerry declared that he just wants to play shows and release music. I'm not the only one looking forward to his next release. I'm pretty sure that there will be something in 2019.

Cinnamon ends the year by playing Edinburgh's Hogmanay party and there are lots of others shows already booked in Europe and across the UK. Look out for festival announcements coming - there are bound to be a few.

Saturday 22 December 2018

Never Ending Mixtape part 30

Welcome to the latest additions to my Never Ending Mixtape playlist on Spotify. I've listened to a lot of music since the last update, so there is actually more on the playlist, but I'll save some of them for the next blog.

We begin with an epic from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, we have (relative) newbies from J Mascis and Bill Ryder-Jones, we travel back with The Creation, Love, Flying Burrito Brothers and Gene Clark, we have some beautiful indie guitar songs, new discoveries like Sam Evian (pictured below), and plenty of older tunes I have enjoyed discovering.

Check the sublime instrumental by The Byrds and the blissful Should I Take You Home by Sunny and the Sunliners, while The Pastels tune with Make Up is absolutely stunning.

You can search for the playlist on Spotify by typing in Everything Flows Never Ending Mixtape. Play from the start, the middle or scroll towards the end for the latest additions. Or do what I love to do - press shuffle and enjoy.

There She Goes, My Beautiful World - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
On The Roof - The Feelies
O My Soul - Big Star
Elastic Days - J Mascis
One - Carole King
Recover - Bill Ryder-Jones
Home and Dry - Tracyanne and Danny
Hey! How Does Everybody Know - Arthur Russell
Try And Stop Me - The Creation
Older Guys - Flying Burrito Brothers
Easy Come, Easy Go - Grant McLennan
Dying Day - Orange Juice
Near You - Teenage Fanclub
Sugarcube - Yo La Tengo
Tiny Spark - Brendan Benson
Love Lots Of Lovin' - Lee Dorsey
Now It's On - Grandaddy
Easy - Mesadorm
Tell Me When It's Over - The Dream Syndicate
On Her Own - Gene Clark
Stranger in a Strange Land (instrumental) - The Byrds
I Really Love You - Dee Dee Sharp
Should I Take You Home - Sunny and the Sunliners
I'm Begging You - Chicago Pete
Heartaches - Art Neville
Nowhere Near - Yo La Tengo
Need You - Sam Evian
The Train - Los Brincos
One Step Ahead - Aretha Franklin
That's How Heartaches Are Made - Baby Washington
Gather 'Round - Love
Handle With Care - Traveling Wilbur's
End Of The Line - Traveling Wilbur's
Silver Lining - Rilo Kiley
Beat Control - Tilly and the Wall
Do the Whirlwind - Architecture in Helsinki
Crawl Babies - The Pastels
Rough Riders (Make Up Remix) - The Pastels and Make Up

Saturday 15 December 2018

Paul McCartney at the Hydro

Beatlemania is a alive and well if last night in Glasgow is anything go to. Scotland's largest indoor arena was packed by fans of all ages and fans from across the globe, eager to witness 76-year old Paul McCartney romp through 3-hours of hits with the odd surprise thrown in for good measure. 39-songs!

McCartney was in sparkling form from the off. The huge Glasgow ovation that greeted him seemed to inspire him and his fabulous band. McCartney had a gleam in his eyes and a wide smile on his face as he launched into the timeless pop of A Hard Days Night, a Lennon number. Well they are all Lennon and McCartney songs, they are our songs.

Sir Paul and his band skirted effortlessly through his back catalogue; we had lesser known numbers like Junior's Farm from his Wings days sandwiched between the opener of A Hard Days Night and Can't Buy Me Love. We had new numbers like Fuh You and I was surprised that was the melody I woke up with in my head this morning.

And I mentioned surprises. We had Lennon's Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite over any of his own Pepper gems other than the title track, Macca stepping on to a platform in front of the stage and being raised to the roof to play Blackbird and Here Today in memory of John.

And we did have the odd (for me) forgettable moment. My Valentine, dedicated to wife Nancy in the crowd and then in the encore McCartney's seasonal offering Wonderful Christmas Time. Only memorable for the children's choir and the fake snow confetti falling from the ceiling.

But make no mistake, this was a wonderful 3-hours. I'll move on to my personal highlights.

Firstly there was the fact that my brother had managed to get us tickets 4 rows from the front, centre stage. We were in with some of Macca's staunchest fans from his fanclub, people from Canada, from Japan, people in Sgt Pepper costumes, people in retro t-shirts, people in new merchandise and people just completely in love with the man and his music.

Then there was Paul himself. He looks fantastic. He had a super cool navy jacket on to start off and I made a silent pact with myself to try and look that sharp if I make it to 76!

And McCartney was clearly enjoying himself, switching between bass and guitar, running to behind his piano, fingers dancing effortlessly over keys or frets. His guitar playing was top drawer.

His long serving band were magical. Drummer Abe Laboriel Jr beat his kit as if his life depended on it, he was incredible to watch. Guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray flanked McCartney and the three of them gelled with ease, while Paul 'Wix' Wickens was superb on keysand accordion. All helped with backing vocals.

Before I get to my personal song highlights (many!) I have to mention McCartney's personality. I've mentioned the twinkle in his eye, his smiles, but he was full of stories of watching Hendrix (there was a nice nod to him with an instrumental take on Foxy Lady) , there was the story of the Quarrymen recording for a fiver then all taking it in turns to have the demo acetate of In Spite Of All The Danger for 1-week, only for the drummer to then keep it for 20-years and sell it back to McCartney for a much, much higher price. And lovely memories of The Beatles and Linda.

McCartney was warm, charming, cheesey and someone who just loves to show off. In that sense he hasn't changed a bit since the early days of The Beatles. The others quickly tired of Beatlemania, it was McCartney who kept them together and drove projects like Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, Let It Be and Abbey Road. It was McCartney who hit the road playing Universities in the 70's and just kept on going. He loves to play, needs to play and will always write and sing.

His energy and enthusiasm is infectious. As is his vast cannon of pop and the Glasgow crowd lapped it up.

My highlights;  an unexpected blast through Got To Get You Into My Life, a powerful blast of Let Me Roll It, the beautiful guitar riff and raw natural I've Got A Feeling, the section where the band all moved to the front of the stage to play the aforementioned Quarrymen song, the pop perfection of From Me To You, the modern Macca delight of Dance Tonight, the stunning Eleanor Rigby and newly Fuh You was fun.

There is more.....

Something was sensational. Stripped back on a ukulele at the start before the band came in. The section you're asking me how my love grows, I don't know, I don't know was performed perfectly on stage and off, the crowd were in love.

Macca was off on a sensational run of songs. Band On The Run was joyous, so playful, so melodic, so classically McCartney. The backing films shown on the screen were superb, Macca assembling his gang for the cover shoot, elsewhere we had Paul looking super cool on his farm in Campbeltown with little Mary wrapped in his jacket, rare Beatles footage and lots of psychedelic art.

Live And Let Die was epic. Indoor fireworks and fire blasted from the front of the stage and 4 rows back my brother and I could feel the heat! And then we had the sing song of the night, a sing song to end all sing songs, we had Hey Jude. It was magical, every single person in the arena was singing and McCartney took time to conduct the crowd.

Phew, it was far from over! McCartney and his band came back on waving flags.

Birthday, Sgt Peppers and Helter Skelter were powerful blasts of rock. Helter Skelter in particular was a real highlight, the on screen graphics really took the crowd on a trip.

And we ended perfectly with Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight and The End.

What a show. This was my third time seeing Sir Paul. I sincerely hope there is a 4th.

Tuesday 11 December 2018

2018 albums of the year

2018 has been a good year for music, I've probably listened to more than ever - thanks to falling for Spotify (I know, I know!!!), lots of traveling with work and generally just making more time to stick my headphones and get lost in an album, or trawling through Spotify to discover new music.

And Nothing Hurts by Spiritualized probably wins the title of my favourite album of 2018. Jason Pierce's ability to find a melody, to layer sounds, to let things flow ... is sublime. Rumours are that it might be his last. Everything about it is beautiful - playing, production, feel, artwork and packaging.

Elsewhere I fell for 2 Australian artists; Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are a 5-piece playing with urgency, passion and raw energy, while Courtney Barnett is uniquely brilliant, sounding like she is lost in her own little world while viewing ours.

The Orielles are a young band that released their debut on Heavenly Recordings, Gruff Rhys continues to melt my heart with his beautiful voice, Robyn has produced another wonderful LP with real depth to it, my sister Carla has had an exceptional year and is developing at a fast rate of knots, while Primal Scream have dug what may prove to be a career defining album out of the back of guitarist Andrew Innes' cupboard!

So here are 14 songs from 14 albums I've enjoyed through 2018. I hope you enjoy this podcast.

A Perfect Miracle - Spiritualized from the album And Nothing Hurts
Talking Straight - Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever from the album Hope Downs
Need A Little Time - Courtney Barnett from the album Tell Me How You Really Feel
Dreamers On The Run - Carla J Easton from the album Impossible Stuff
Selfies In The Sunset - Gruff Rhys and Lily Cole from the album Babelsberg
Ever Again - Robyn from the album Honey
Blue Flowers - L Space from the album Kipple Arcadia
Let Your Dog Tooth Grow - The Orielles from the album Silver Dollar Moment
Heatwave - Snail Mail from the album Lush
Big Jet Plane - Primal Scream from the album The Original Memphis Recordings
Love You So Bad - Ezra Furman from the album Transangelic Exodus
Loving You - Starry Skies from the album Be Kind
And Then There's You - Bill Ryder-Jones from the album Yawn
Lake Zurich - Gorillaz from the album The Now Now

Thursday 6 December 2018

James and The Charlatans, Glasgow Hydro

It’s been a long time since I left work and immediately headed out to a gig. Too long. Last night I skipped through the streets of Glasgow towards hip and happening Finnieston after leaving work at 6pm, headphones on, feeling like a teenager, giddy with the excitement and the anticipation of two of my favourite bands playing together.

The roads shimmered in the lights from cars and street lights and the buildings looked incredible in the night sky. Always remember to look up in Glasgow.

My teenage-esque giddiness was quite apt, as it was a 15-year old that I discovered both these bands through school common room mixtape. I remember only having enough money in Missing Records on Oswald Street to either by Goldmother by James or Out of Time by R.E.M. I chose James and never regretted it. I thought back to that moment on the walk to the Hydro and again when they played 3-tracks off that album during their sensational set.

And it was as a 15-year old that I fell for The Charlatans and their frontman Tim Burgess in particular. He seemed effortlessly cool, brilliant hair, great style and in his own little creative world. Between 10th and 11th was out and songs from that album would mix with songs from their debut as mixtapes were swapped. Along with Teenage Fanclub, The Charlatans are the band I have seen the most – well over 30-times, possibly approaching 40. In fact, maybe I have seen them more than Teenage Fanclub!

The Charlatans kicked off the night. The Hydro looked a little quiet when they came on stage, but I think that was largely due to the weather, traffic and train cancellations. They bravely opened with Totally Eclipsing from their recent EP before really getting into the groove with Let The Good Times Be Never Ending. Burgess patrolled the stage, urging the crowd on, hands in the air, conducting crowd and band. The place had filled and band and audience quickly became one.

Then we had what could easily be described as the holy trinity; One To Another, North Country Boy and Tellin’ Stories from the LP with the same name as the latter. One To Another soared, the energy from that song is incredible. North Country Boy swaggered and sparkled as cheekily as it did upon release and the crowd lapped it up. Tellin’ Stories was beautiful, melancholic and then in your face.

Different Days and Plastic Machinery fitted effortlessly into the set, the latter was the best I have heard it – classic Charlatans with Burgess singing of how at times it is good to be rejected.

And then the Hydro erupted as the band fired up and into The Only One I Know and several thousand middle aged men endulged in a spot of Bez/Dad dancing and reached for the sky singing everyone’s been burned before, everybody knows the pain.

I wasn’t expecting Impossible and it sounded all the better for being a surprise. Nor was I expecting the falsetto funk of You’re So Pretty which grooved superbly before Weirdo took things higher. I wasn’t sure if the band would end with traditional set closer Sproston Green but I was glad they did. The moment the lights turned green set my heart on fire and they slowly but surely built the groove before leading the crowd on a song and dance for a good 10-minutes. The band and Burgess were in brilliant form.

After a quick trip to the bar we were back down the front for James. The 8-piece band entered to a huge ovation and they wasted no time in highlighting they are not and never will be a heritage act by tearing into 2-songs from their 15th album Living In Extraordinary Times that was released this year.

They then took things up a notch with a glorious Waltzing Along and a rip roaring Tomorrow. The band were on fire, they tore into it and the energy they radiated was exceptional.

James don't play Sit Down that often these days, so it was a real treat toes and hear them playing it. It is HUGE and the crowd sang along with all their heart and soul.

Stutter was another song where the band were really on fire, Tim Booth vibed off his band and they responded in return. Out To Get You was tender, beautiful and soulful before the band delivered a stunning version of Just Like Fred Astaire. I'd forgotten about this particular song but I have listened to it a couple of times today after last night.

Leviathan is a particular highlight on the new album for me and the band played it superbly with Booth advising and lecturing f**king love, before they drop the bomb make sure you get enough.

Booth was absolutely sensational last night, dancing his heart out, patrolling the stage, in the audience, standing up on the barriers and generally inspiring every single person in the venue, on stage and off.

As a young teenager I loved How Was It For You for the huge chorus and the way it flows and I felt like a teenager again as I danced and sang my heart out.

The band always seem to find something extra in Sound, its a special song that allows the band to play and explore, Booth again was utterly mesmerising. The opening synth riff from Come Home was embraced warmly and it sounded huge.

I imagine that James could have played for hours, but there was a curfew and we had time for 3-songs in the encore. Many Faces from their new album was beautiful and the crowd sang along with Booth and after he had finished causing him to smile widely and wildly.

Then he was down at the crowd right where we were standing to sing on of my favourite James songs, the brilliant Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) before finishing with yet another of my favourites, the truly soulfully beautiful Sometimes.

Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul

I haven't felt so good after a gig in a long, long time. Both bands were in incredible form, I would say that is the best that I have seen James and i have been going to see them for over 20-years.

James have announced a new tour with a Scottish date in Edinburgh. I suspect many of those at the Hydro last night will be trying to get tickets. Better be quick tomorrow.

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Jumpin' Jack Flash

Called supernatural Delta Blues by way of swinging London by Rolling Stone magazine, Jumpin' Jack Flash was released by The Rolling Stones 50-years ago back in 1968.

It still sounds absolutely incredible. The guitars crash and collide, sounding raw and vital, the beat kicks in and so does Jagger.

I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
And I howled at the morning driving rain
But it's all right, now, in fact it's  gas
But it's all right, I'm Jumpin' Jack Flash
It's a gas, gas, gas

The line in the second verse I was schooled with a strap right across my back is brilliant, the riffing and grooving is relentless and the whole song and performance just oozes cool.

Here are the Stones getting it on in Texas in 1972 and click here for the original. 

How on earth do you even dare to cover so thrilling?!

Well it has been covered well over 1,000 times! However, if you are someone called Ananda Shankar you turn it into a largely instrumental psychedelic sitar infused jam with soaring backing vocals for the hooks. This version was released on an album of covers back in 1970. I first heard this a long, long time ago in one of my best friends bedrooms. We'd meet up on Friday and Saturday nights and play each other the latest records/cd's we'd bought and discuss the music news from the NME and Melody Maker - simpler times!

Reddy had stumbled across a David Holmes mix/compilation and this was on it. It blew our minds and was yet further evidence of Holmes impeccable taste and crate digging credentials.

It is very different, yet it keeps the groove you can feel the energy from the song, just like the Stones. With a song like this I don't think you could contain the energy from the lyrics and groove.


Previous covers of the month

Saturday 17 November 2018

Teenage Fanclub Camden night 3

The last 3 weeks have seen a flurry of postings on the Teenage Fanclub Fanclub Facebook page. Outpourings of love for a special band playing their Creation Records albums - Bandwagonesque, Thirteen, Grand Prix, Songs from Northern Britain and Howdy! in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London.

There were also outpourings of disbelief and grief - were these really the last shows that Gerry Love would be playing with the band?

We'll have to wait and see, but if they were then fellow Fanclub fan Chris Donnelly was there to witness what might have been the last one.

Guest blog by Chris Donnelly.

If I Could Find The Words To Say…

The last night of any Teenage Fanclub tour is usually one that the fans who will be attending look forward to for weeks. The current Creation Years tour really got people buzzing when it was announced. Plenty bought season tickets for the three gigs in the venues nearest their town, several decided to follow it around, some mixed and matched on the venues and loads decided to go to the one which resonated most – usually night two the Grand Prix/Songs From Northern Britain night. For the diehards, however, these were to be gigs to be savoured. Rarely, or never, played songs would all be getting dusted down and played again or for the first time. Vinyl reissues and a tour to follow. What could possibly go wrong? Well, how long have you got?

Firstly, and I appreciate this is a more personal one for me, the proposed site of the Glasgow gigs, the ABC, was destroyed in the School of Art fire. This meant that the original dates had to be rescheduled and shifted back a day. I was stuffed as I was double booked for night two. I couldn’t make any of the other second night gigs anywhere which meant that my TFC holy grail song, Mount Everest, was going to be played and I wouldn’t be hearing it*. I was covered for night 3 as I had booked a ticket for the last night of the tour in London. My misfortune on night two actually was a benefit to a lot more people given the much higher capacity at the Barras.

Secondly, and far more importantly, in late August the band announced a February 2019 tour of Japan and Australia. Good news, eh? Well, not quite. The next paragraph of the announcement stated that “Gerard Love will not be in the band for these dates, or any other shows beyond those we are playing this year. His last show will be November 15th…after that London show Gerry will be separating from the band, and Teenage Fanclub will be continuing without him”. It was a horribly worded and, in my opinion, disrespectful statement which raised more questions than answers and more statements were released over the next few days to try put a more diplomatic spin on the events. 

My night 3 ticket was no longer for just the last night of the tour, it was also for Gerry’s last night in the band. Like most people who will read this, I am a huge fan of the band. However, like anyone, I have favourites and I am proudly in the Gerry camp. For me, and many others, this was particularly devastating news.

Murray has covered off the Barras gigs in this blog so I’ll move on to November 15th at Electric Ballroom Camden. 

I was horribly conflicted about the gig. I was looking forward to it but I also had this horrible sinking feeling about it. I genuinely expected to cry. I thought Broken would be the one which would tip me. The words really hit home that night with the crowd singing along. Amazingly – to me- I held it together and there was one song left. 

Broken - Electric Ballroom, Camden, November 2018

Would they let Gerry sing the last one? The answer, of course, was no. Norman announced Everything Flows which was belted out at full pelt complete with an endearingly shambolic (copyright any TFC gig review) ending as Brendan and Norman swapped instruments, Brendan sang Sidewinder until he couldn’t remember any more words and then it was done. A superb ending to a brilliant gig. Gerry bolted from the stage to the exit door as if he was chasing the last bus to Hyndland. It was then that it hit home with the crowd that he was offski and it was an end of an era. “Gerry, Gerry, Gerry” rang out from all areas of the packed venue but all to no avail. He was gone. No fuss, no fanfare, no speech. Just away. He remains, as long time TFC gig goer Neil McAllister says, as cool as f**k.

Everything Flows - Gerry's last time?

I’m not sure yet how I feel about the band going on without him. At this time, I swither on whether I will ever go see them again. No doubt if they announce a date at the Barras, my Ticketmaster account will get battered again. I need to see them but I know it will never be the same. Whether Gerry will ever do a Nigel Tufnell and reappear from the side of the stage, only he and the band will know. One thing’s for sure: it won’t be in Japan. 

My hope is that after this hiatus, they sort it out and he can be back in his normal place. For me, stage left for the foreseeable future is an empty space.

The closer from Howdy! Summed up my feelings from the night. 

If I never see you again, you will stay in my mind

And that will be true for every other member of the Fanclub community.

*thanks to Terje Lynnebakken @terjely for recording the song in full at the Barrowlands for me.

Everything Flows - Camden, November 2018

Sunday 11 November 2018


Last week I was driving to work and McAlmont and Butler's Yes suddenly came blaring out of my stereo. What a slice of pure euphoric pop! Released in May 1995, this was Bernard Butler's first musical offering to the world since his departure from Suede in 1994 during the tense recordings of their second album, the dark Dog Man Star.

It is safe to say that Suede made a huge impression on the UK indie scene, so much so that they blew over into the mainstream. Their first 4 singles (previously blogged about here) were exceptional slices of guitar pop, full of hooks and riffs, but also full of intrigue and intelligence. Singer Brett Anderson and guitarist and co-singwriter Bernard Butler looked and sounded incredible and were quickly christened as the 90's Morrissey and Marr, making front covers, Top of the Pops, the Brits and gaining the stamp of approval from David Bowie.

Butler was a whirlwind on guitar, pacing around stages and studios looking like he was having the time of his life by wringing, shaking and hammering on his guitar for all he was worth. Anderson shaked, shimmied and looked like a classic front man from the off. What a duo, brilliantly backed by a super tight rhythm section of Matt Osman and Simon Gilbert. Girls ... and boys swooned.

They had a frantic 3-years of activity following the release of debut single The Drowners, it is little wonder there was tension in the band from all the writing, recording, touring and promo.

Butler left and went quiet. I think there were rumours of him joining various bands at times, but he surfaced with Yes and a partnership with singer David McAlmont. The two met in the Jazz Cafe in Camden and Butler was soon playing his new friend his first positive piece of music since leaving Suede.

And oh how positive it is, McAlmont wrote a verse but couldn't come up with a second, so Butler just told him to repeat the first with the duo hoping to commit something that could be held up as a classic single like those they loved from the 60's.

The official video, the full version has another minute on the end

McAlmont's lyrics match the positive surge of Butler's music. The strings soar and instantly sound euphoric, Butler's guitar crashes and provides a constant rhythm throughout, while seemingly simultaneously chiming and riffing.

The lyrics could easily be McAlmont's interpretation of whatever Butler told him about leaving Suede. The title, the simple Yes, is pure positivity, Butler has recovered from the dark post Suede months, he does look better and he does feel alright.

David McAlmont's vocal is exceptional and after a quick 1st verse that sounds like McAlmont relaying a conversation they are into the sky scraping chorus. The about me, about me, about me line that McAlmont yelps out is the perfect bridge into the chorus. Then they do it again for good measure, only they take it even higher and it sounds even better.

They hit the second chorus at 2-minutes and then repeat it again before leading to a stunning build up to a full on 2-minute climax. They take it higher, Butler's guitar is relentless, the strings are thrilling and McAlmont takes his vocals up a gear or three, the drums crash and pound and it all combines to sound fresh and vital, even 23-years down the line. It is timeless pop - epic, euphoric, sublime and soulful.

The song ends with it gradually breaking and slowing down into applause. I like to think that they simply couldn't keep the pace up or put anymore into it. They have played and sung their hearts out.

Enjoy the live version from Later with Jools below - look at Butler on guitar! And here is a link to the full, near 5-minute single version.

So you wanna know me now
How I've been
You Can't help someone recover
After what you did
So tell me am I looking better?
Have you forgot
Whatever it was that you couldn't stand 
About me, about me, about me?

Because yes I do feel better
Yes I do I feel alright
I feel well enough to tell you what you can do with what you got
To offer

Monday 5 November 2018

Never Ending Mixtape Part 29

Welcome to the latest additions to my Never Ending Mixtape playlist on Spotify. There is a double dose as a hefty amount of songs are added to take the total songs up to over 750. I missed blogging on my additions last month due to a bit of a Teenage Fanclub fixation, so here we go ....

As always, search for Everything Flows Never Ending Mixtape on Spotify, or CLICK HERE,  scroll to the end for the latest additions that are listed below, play from the start, anywhere in between, or click on shuffle.

Thanks to those of you that follow the playlist and thanks for checking it out.

Autobahn 66 - Primal Scream
In the Year 2525 - Zager and Evans
Here Comes My Baby - The Tremeloes
The Mighty Quinn - Manfredd Mann
Do You Believe In Magic? - The Lovin' Spoonful
Summer in the City - The Lovin' Spoonful
I Think We're Alone Now - Tommy James and The Shondells
(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone - The Monkees
Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) - The Monkees
She Hangs Out - The Monkees
Is It A Dream? - Miaoux Miaoux
24-Hour Party People - Happy Mondays
Hallelujah (Oakenfold club mix) Happy Mondays
1979 - Smashing Pumpkins
Vanishing Point - New Order
The Killing Moon - Echo and the Bunnymen
Rust - Echo and the Bunnymen
Sometimes - Jesus and Mary Chain
Don't Come Down - Jesus and Mary Chain
Why'd You Want Me - Jesus and Mary Chain
New York City - Jesus and Mary Chain
El Presidente - Drugstore
Slippin' and Slidin' (Peepin' and Hedin') - Little Richard
All Things Must Pass - George Harrison
Duffed Up - Primal Scream
If The Move Kill 'Em (12 inch disco mix) - Primal Scream
Not Enough - J Mascis
Wide Awake - J Mascis
All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem
Losing My Edge - LCD Soundsystem
Bang Your Drum - Dead Man Fall
On The Roof - The Feelies
Don't Falter - Mint Royale w/ Lauren Laverne
You Got The Love (Now Voyager mix) - The Source and Candi Staton
Behold the Miracle - Jad Fair and Teenage Fanclub
Call Me - Emmitt Long
Don't Take My Mind - Bettye Swann
Grunewald - Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe
You're A Big Girl Now (take 2) - Bob Dylan
Why Did You Take Your Love Away From Me - James Brown
Love Slipped Through My Fingers - Ohio Players
Purples - Sebastian Piano
My Heart Needs A Break - Linda Jones
Indian Summer - Beat Happening
Tangled Up In Blue (take 3, remake 3) - Bob Dylan
My Little Girl - Bobby Garrett

Wednesday 31 October 2018

Teenage Fanclub Barrowland night 3

One of my favourite Teenage Fanclub songs (definitely top 5) is an old b-side called Broken, released as a b-side to Ain't That Enough back in 1997. It never used to be in my top 5 until the band played it many years ago when they did a b-sides and rarities night at Oran Mor in Glasgow. I fell for it big time and since then it is a song I have returned to many, many times.

It was the penultimate song of their 3-nights at the Barrowland Ballroom and it was truly, truly beautiful. I have experienced some incredible moments in the Barras and this was up there. Starting with Norman on acoustic, the band gradually joined him, playing the same fragile riff over and over before Norman started singing your heart has been broken again, it's broken, it's broken.

The song is deceptively simple on paper. There are no more lyrics, they are just repeated like the riff. But the combination of the playing, melody, lyrics, feel and performance of the song is magical. Even more so tonight. Norman and the band gradually fade out and as they faded you could hear the whole of the Barrowland Ballroom singing just as gently, as hushed and as considerate as Norman;

My heart has been broken again
It's broken, it's broken

It was a spine tingling Barrowland moment, kind of difficult to describe, just trust me on this one! My favourite band, playing one of my favourite songs in my favourite venue. Quite a few people seemed to get some dust in their eyes, possibly even some of the band.

And so I'm back home beginning to wonder what I will do tomorrow night. I've seen Teenage Fanclub 4-nights out of 6!

Tonight was the turn of Howdy! and some b-sides and rarities. The second set will cause me to go up in my loft tomorrow to dig out all my old CD singles. I had forgotten about some including a Gerry Love song called Getting Real which is outstanding! I thought it was a cover tonight! In fact it is so good, check it out! It was even better live.

Highlights from Howdy! were Gerry's impeccable Near You, Raymond was outstanding tonight with The Sun Shines From You being my favourite of his, while I'll plump for Norman's If I Never See You Again as my own highlight from his songs from this album.

Norman was beaming all night, a smile was never far from his face. Brendan appeared regularly to assist the band and as always generated smiles and laughter. Paul Quinn was fantastic on drums whilst Francis contributes so much, his backing vocals/harmonies were superb tonight, and of course the ever reliable and supremely talented musician Dave McGowan played all manner of instruments.

The second set of the night was probably my favourite though. The band seemed relaxed and in great spirits as they opened with Norman's sublime Did I Say. Raymond's My Life was another I didn't remember, while Long Hair is one of my favourite Fanclub songs - power punk pop. It sounded sensational with Dave joining Norman and Raymond on electric guitars.

Norman's Some People Try To F**k With You was outstanding and Gerry and Norman singing together on He'd Be A Diamond always caused a nice shiver down my spine.

The aforementioned Broken was magical and a romp through The Flying Burrito Brothers Older Guys closed the night and what may be Gerry Love's final Glasgow show with Teenage Fanclub.

Despite the odd shout from the crowd for a speech, I don't think anyone was really expecting the band or Gerry to make a big deal of it. They've said their piece. Lets just enjoy the amazing music, the memories and also look to the future.

My take - I doubt very much that was the last time I will see Gerry with the band in Glasgow again. I certainly hope not! But the band are off on tour and hopefully Gerry might release some new music.

Now, could I get a ticket for a Manchester or London show....

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Teenage Fanclub Barrowland Ballroom night 2

Pic by Tony Docherty 

There is no doubt, in what I must do
Nothing is greater, than to be with you

Phew, I'm just in from the Barrowland Ballroom following a peerless performance by Teenage Fanclub who flew though their Grand Prix and Songs from Northern Britain albums.

Paul Quinn replaced Brendan O'Hare on drums (as per the recordings) and it was a classic 4-piece line-up that took to the stage and burst through Raymond's About You to a huge cheer.

O'Hare was never far from the action, walking on to the stage draped in a red cloak at the start of Gerry's much loved Sparky's Dream, appearing with a little percussion instrument to kick off the song. At other times he checked up on the band with a clipboard, or stood beside Dave to play percussion. His humour and energy is infectious and at one point he joked that everyone should look at him cause that's what its all about :-)

Grand Prix has such a superb run of songs, we had Norman's beautiful Mellow Doubt, followed by the stunning Gerry Love penned Don't Look Back. We were being spoilt.

Neil Jung was simply stunning. There was soul, power and real feeling to Norman's guitar and voice. He then excelled in delivering a gorgeous version of Tears which tugged on the heart strings.

The way Norman and Gerry's songwriting developed on Grand Prix was exceptional. Love's energetic Discolite was sublime and Going Places caused hearts to melt, it was exquisite.

It wasn't only Brendan that supplied the humour as Norman regularly had to battle to tune his guitar (just like the old days) or check which fret he should place his capo on.

McGinley's songwriting was also developing, Verisimilitude received a fantastic response from the crowd, while with Say No was one of his own highlights from the night.

Hardcore Ballad was superb. The band riffing and ripping it up to leave Norman alone with his acoustic to sing from the bottom of his heart. It was a stunning end to the set, really beautiful and heartfelt.

And love is easy to define
What mine is yours, and yours is mine
Through the pain, through the pain

Last summer I blogged about Songs from Northern Britain HERE and stated that I had come to the conclusion that it was the best Teenage Fanclub album. I stand by that. My favourite album will probably always be Bandwagonesque cause I discovered that LP and the band when I was 15, a really special time. But song for song and the way all 3 songwriters have developed, SFNB is peerless.

The performance at the Barrowland was exceptional. The way Blake and Love combined their vocals was utterly joyful, the way Raymond shredded his guitar on Can't Feel My Soul was exhilarating, the sky scraping choruses of Ain't That Enough, I Don't Want Control Of You, Take The Long Way Round and Speed of Light made me feel like a teenager, completely lost in the music and the wonder of the sound that 4 friends can create with guitars, bass, drums and a little imagination, and the escapism sought in Planets, Winter and Mount Everest sounded ever more appealing. And then you have the gorgeous Your Love Is The Place I Come From with the usual cheers for Norman on xylophone.

I described the first night at the Barrowland as majestic, well tonight was peerless. Special mention to Dave McGowan and Francis MacDonald (Brendan gets his above) - two incredibly talented musicians who were phenomenal in helping the band sound superb.