Saturday 28 March 2020

Never Ending Mixtape part 47

Thanks for checking my latest blog. I hope you and your loved ones are well.

Music is really helping me at present. It's power offers me escapism, a chance to switch off, to research, discover or rediscover. And music unites. Even with the country in lockdown music finds a way to bring people together, to share their love, to escape.

There has been no shortage of stripped back online shows and Tim Burgess has been curating Twitter listening parties to bring people together online, with artists and fans sharing memories of classic and much loved albums. Follow #timstwitterlisteningparty

Music offers hope.

I tend to round up some of the music I have been listening to in a monthly blog on my Never Ending Mixtape, but here is a little bonus blog and a list of music added to the Mixtape Playlist.

As always, I hope you find something you enjoy. A full list of the latest additions is below.

Search for Everything Flows Never Ending Mixtape on Spotify or click below..

Re-discovery - The Bends by Radiohead
I re-listened to the whole of The Bends by Radiohead on the 25th anniversary of its release. That very week, my brother and I caught the band at The Garage in Glasgow as the band celebrated a number one record. The Bends is a stunning album and the title track blew me away with powerful guitar riffs and sensational powerful vocals.

New discovery - Golden Streams - The Hidden Cameras
Kind of Flaming Lips-y, Polyphonic Spree-y, psychedelic pop.

Elsewhere enjoy a few gems from BMX Bandits, the majestic Bunnymen, the funk groove of Patti Jo, Marvin and Tammi in love and some brilliant indie guitar from Galaxie 500. And much, much more.

Want You To Know - Camera Obscura
Plimsoll Punks - Alvvays
Coma - Big Thief
Dot To Dot - BMX Bandits
The Sailors Song - BMX Bandits
Your Class - BMX Bandits
Come Clean - BMX Bandits
The Next Girl - BMX Bandits
The Bends - Radiohead
Make Me Believe In You - Patti Jo
The Cutter - Echo and the Bunnymen
Rescue - Echo and the Bunnymen
Keep On Lovin' Me Honey - Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
Baby I Need Your Loving - Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
Good Lovin' Ain't Easy To Come By - Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
oh baby - LCD Soundsystem
Golden Streams - The Hidden Cameras
It's Going To Take Some Time - Carole King
Yoga - The Pastels
Walk It Back - The National
Good Song - Blur
The Width Of A Circle - David Bowie
Sweet Honey Blue - Starry Skies
Stay - Mark W Georgsson
Cath - The Bluebells
The Wagon - Dinosaur Jr
Blue Thunder - Galaxie 500
Ceremony - Galaxie 500
Isn't It A Pity - Galaxie 500

Sunday 22 March 2020

Who Do You Think You Are

Cover version of the month #53

Saint Etienne cover Jigsaw

Back in 1993 I was 17, spending pretty much all my money on either going out or buying records. I've got quite a few Saint Etienne singles on vinyl from this time and looking back at their discography I'm reflecting on what an incredible run of singles they had through the 1990's, particularly in the first half.

In 93 the band released a double a-side single on Heavenly Recordings; Hobart Paving b/w Who Do You Think You Are. I have to admit, I was, and still am, rather captivated by Saint Etienne singer Sarah Cracknell and oh how she smoulders in the video!

Pete Wiggs, Sarah Cracknell and Bob Stanley

I always thought that this was a Saint Etienne song, it was only many years later when I met Duglas T Stewart to record podcast (that you can listen to here) and he selected the q version of the song by a band called Jigsaw back in 1974.

Who Do You Think You Are is pop perfection. Oh my, it really is perfect. The verse flows, builds, there is a bridge and then a glorious sky scraping chorus.

Written by Des Dyer and Clive Scott, the song was first released by the band Candlewick Green in 1973, before Dyer and Scott recorded and released their own version with their band Jigsaw the following year. The song travelled to America that year with the band Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods also recording a version.

As Dyer and Scott wrote the song, I'm going to concentrate on their version with Jigsaw.

The Jigsaw version begins with an upbeat piano riff before a beat and groove kick in. The chorus soars and the vocals are slightly strained to generate that little lift, just perfect. I love the backing vocals coming in towards the end, leaving the lead singer to just keep singing who do you think you are?

The Saint Etienne version adds in a funky drumbeat, changes the piano to keys/synths and Sarah Cracknell's voice is like honey dripped all over it. The strings help the chorus soar and the short instrumental is just pure Saint Etienne, pure pop. The extended bridge to the chorus is outstanding, lifting things ready for the take off.

Saint Etienne have always demonstrated impeccable taste in music. Bob Stanley has brought out some outstanding compilation albums over the years. The band have already featured in this feature with their transformative cover of Neil Young's Only Love Can Break Your Heart. You can find links to all the previous 52 cover version of the month blogs below.

You'll also find the video of Who Do You Think You Are? alongside appearances on Top of the Pop and The Beat.

Who do you think you are?
You tried to push me a bit too far
And every day sees another scar
Oh tell me who do you think you are
If you want me there
You gotta care, oh tell me

Who do you think you are
Taking advantage of me this way?
Tell me who do you think you are
Hurting me more with the things you say
It's not fair, you don't care
Who do you really think that you are?

Previous covers of the month
13. Hurt

Friday 13 March 2020

10 from BMX Bandits

Ahead of a Record Store Day re-issue of their C86 album, I thought I would blog on my top 10 favourite BMX Bandits songs. Adding to previous blogs on 10 favourites from;
My love for the BMX Bandits goes back to 1991 when I was in 5th year at school. It was a time and age when a crowd of people (myself included) started to get passionately into bands, records, the NME, Melody Maker and mixtapes. What a time to discover bands like the Roses, Charlatans, Fanclub, Nirvana, James and R.E.M.  And there were a few who despite being 15 got into the rave and dance culture that was exploding.

So many (if not all) of the aforementioned bands were quick to highlight their friends and influences. So from Teenage Fanclub I was introduced to the Bandits, The Vaselines and The Pastels. A guy a few years above us was in a local band and he made mix tapes for my friend Grant. So his taste kind of got passed down to a few of us in 5th year.

It's funny how I now know many of the people who are in the bands mentioned above. I still find it weird that they know my name!

BMX Bandits have released some incredible music over the years and I don't think they necessarily receive the credit they deserve. Duglas' songwriting has developed beautifully over the years and he has surrounded himself with loyal friends and brilliant musicians to achieve the sounds in his head.

The last 4 albums; My Chain (2006), Bee Stings (2007), BMX Bandits In Space (2012) and BMX Bandits Forever (2017) - have really seen BMX Bandits flourish. Rachel Allison and Chloe Philip have helped Duglas write for female vocalists, while Stewart has also co-written and worked with with Dr Cosmos Tape Lab, Anton Newcombe, Plectrum and Cineplexx, also (to my great delight) recording Fireworks which was written by my sister.

As much as I love early BMX Bandits, I think this run of albums and the songs included in them is the most interesting period of the bands career. Listening back to My Chain and Bee Stings was a delight, the songs have aged beautifully, I appreciate them more. You just don't know what they will do next.

I have had to leave out early favourites like Kylie's Got A Crush On Us, Little Hands and Gettin' Dirty and more recent songs like Dot To Dot, To A Flame, Take Me To Heaven and I Wanna Fall In Love.

But my top 10 favourite BMX Bandits songs is pretty evenly balanced from across their career, taking in their debut single, b-sides and some of their most recent material.

If you are new to the Bandits you'll discover love, heartbreak, hope and humour in these songs. I hope you find something you enjoy.

Your Class
Oh what a gem of a song from the aforementioned C86 album. The first time I ever heard this was at a live show when it was built around a bass riff, and little else. The vocal melody, lyrics, flow and feel pull the listener in to hear what is going on in Duglas T Stewart's heart and mind.

What you do, what you do
Is breaking my heart in two
But I'll never get too tired of you
Don't say we're through, don't say we're through

The Unforgiven
This song gets me every time. I love the feel of it and it is my favourite vocal from Duglas. I remember speaking to him about the song once and he said he recorded it while he had a cold. I think it was one take and Duglas talked of how he didn't like to record more than two takes, so he kept a natural feel and captured something. I think Duglas and his BMX Bandits captured something very special with this song.

The Sailor's Song
I listened back to this song for the first time in a while as I started writing this blog and found myself listening to it a dozen times over the next day.

Lyrically and melodically brilliant, I also love the way the there is almost an extra line in the verse, in the one noted below, Duglas adds inside and then another line to rhyme with it.

The song ends with the super romantic I could watch you dancing all night

Sometime the medicine don't seem to help
Only your sweet love could bring me back to health
I don't wanna put any pressure you
You could make me feel so good, inside
I want you beside me

You could heal me
Make me feel better
Make me feel better than I did today
You could heal me
Make me feel wanted
Make me feel wanted in a special way

I could watch you dancing all night

Next Girl
The b-side to Kylie's Got A Crush On Us. When I was a teenager I once made a 4-track demo of original songs I had written on side A and cover versions I would perform on side B. This song was included.

I think it's a real perfect guitar pop song. I love the flow and the chorus, especially when it is sung twice in a row, leading to a cracking guitar solo.

Did you ever look back when you'd stopped crying
If you ever said no, would you be lying?
If you ever said so, would you be trying for me?

Witchi Tai To
I try to concentrate on original songs when I write about my top 10 favourites from a band, but I really have to include this cover version that was tucked away on a 4-track CD single.

I have blogged on this song before HERE where you can also find an interview with Duglas.

What more can I say? This is simply stunning. I love when BMX Bandits play it live. You can check a version from their Oran Mor 25th anniversary show HERE

Come Clean
Brilliant guitar pop that builds to the refrain I love you so much inside. I love the lyrics. They are simple, yet clever.

Sometimes you feel so self conscious
And embarrassed by the way that you look
But girl I don't just love your cover
I'm in love with the whole of your book

And It's You
What a gorgeous playful melody, I love when the band just let it flow. It's like a little lullaby.

And it's you
And it's me
It's a complicated story like the best ones can be

Razorblades and Honey
What a dirty groove! Recorded with Anton Newcombe from Brian Jonestown Massacre. I hope Duglas and Anton get together again as this is sensational.

Right now you think you're something
Pretty soon you're gonna be nothing

Serious Drugs
What a stunning song. Sung by Joe McAlinden originally and then Norman Blake on the single, this is the kind of song that led to Stewart being labelled a bedsit Bacharach. Melodic, melancholic, reflective and beautiful with real depth, covering depression with someone longing for love.

I've included the demo version below.

I said I don't think I can take it much longer
She said maybe your tablet should be stronger
Get some serious drugs

The debut single by BMX Bandits is glorious uplifting ramshackle pop.

Check out a live version from the BBC Quay sessions in 2018.

I'm so happy that love has come around for Duglas.

I'm so happy that love has come around
I'm so happy about the girl I've found
I feel like someone's favourite meal
No sweetener, no additives, the flavour is real

Never Ending Mixtape part 46

A recent discovery - Let's Take Some Drugs And Drive Around by The Silos

Welcome to the latest additions to my Never Ending Mixtape on Spotify; approaching 1,400 songs and over 91 hours of music.

We have some classic Stones and Velvet Underground, I dive back into the 1990's with The Bluetones, The Cardigans and The Black Crowes. There are new discoveries (for me)- check the amazing Let's Take Some Drugs And Drive Around by The Silos, Iceblink Luck by Cocteau Twins and At First Sight by The Stems.

And we have a couple of gems from Beth Orton, including a remix with Andrew Weatherall all over it. How sad that he was taken from this earth far too soon.

There is much, much more - pure pop from Jigsaw, a children's choir singing The Beach Boys and the timeless Buffalo Stance by Neneh Cherry.

You'll find the full list of additions below. Search for Everything Flows Never Ending Mixtape on Spotify or click below.

Blue Flowers - L-Space
Lots of Colourful Lights at All Times of Day - L-Space
Let's Take Some Drugs And Drive Around - The Silos
Apology Accepted - The Go-Betweens
No Fear of Hellfire - Nap Eyes
Twice As Hard - The Black Crowes
Jealous Again - The Black Crowes
By Your Side - The Black Crowes
Let's Spend The Night Together - The Rolling Stones
Tumbling Dice - The Rolling Stones
Coming Down Again - The Rolling Stones
A Parting Gesture - The Bluetones
Slight Return - The Bluetones
Bluetonic - The Bluetones
Hallelujah (club mix) - Happy Mondays
Who Do You Think You Are - Jigsaw
More News From Nowhere - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
The Red Telephone - Love
Into My Arms - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Sunday Morning - The Velvet Underground
I'm Waiting For The Man - The Velvet Underground
Here She Comes Now - The Velvet Underground
Beginning To See The Light - The Velvet Underground
Good Vibrations - The Langley Schools Project
Iceblink Luck - Cocteau Twins
At First Sight - The Stems
Waking Up - Elastica
We're Not Gonna Take It - The Who
Costa Rita - Euros Childs
Buffalo Stance - Neneh Cherry
Rise and Shine - The Cardigans
Street Tuff (Scar Mix) - Double Trouble
Shame Shame Shame - Shirley and Company
Molly's Lips - Eugenius
Anywhere (Two Lone Swordsmen Remix) - Beth Orton
Call Me The Breeze - Beth Orton
Do Anything You Wanna Do - Eddie and the Hot Rods
Keep On Keepin' On - Nolan Porter
Tougher Than The Rest - Camera Obscura

Monday 9 March 2020


Trust me #10 - Sometimes by James

When Sometimes by James came out I bought it on 12-inch vinyl and on CD. My Mum then heard me playing it and then asked if I could buy her the cassette single for the car. So our household had it on 3 formats.

James were riding high on the back of the Goldmother (1990) and Seven (1992) album, resulting in them being invited to tour with Neil Young. On return they went into the studio with Brian Eno, a producer they had wanted to work with as far back as their debut LP Stutter (1986).

The partnership worked, resulting in not only the Laid (1993) album, but also the double album Wah Wah (1994) that came from free form jams with Tim Booth adding vocals later on.

 Sometimes is such a beautiful song. For me it captures the band and Booth jamming; free flowing lyrics over a driving and somewhat ferocious acoustic guitar lead to a head over heels romantic chorus.

The song allows a 7-piece band like James to open up and go with the flow, and oh how they go with the flow. Check these incredible live videos, firstly BBC footage from Glastonbury and secondly fan footage from a concert in Athen where the crowd just keep singing the chorus, Tim Booth join in, then he starts dancing and the band come in with some synth and it turns into a little rave for one glorious minute. Spine tingling.

Read on for the full lyrics and links to other songs in the Trust Me series.

There's a storm outside
And the gap between crack and thunder
Crack and thunder
Is closing in
Is closing in

The rain floods gutters
And makes a great sound on concrete
On a flat roof, there's a boy
Leaning against a wall of rain
Aerial held high
Calling come on thunder
Come on thunder

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

It's a monsoon
And the rain lifts lids off cars
Spinning buses like toys
Stripping them to chrome
Across the bay, the waves are turning into something else
Picking up fishing boats and spewing them on the shore

The boy's hit
Lit up against the sky
Like a sign
Like a neon sign

Then he crumples
Drops into the gutter
Cut strings
Legs twitching

The flood swells his clothes
Delivers him on
Delivers him on

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

There's four new colours in the rainbow
An old man's taking polaroids
But all he catches
Is endless rain, endless rain

He says "Listen"
Takes my head
Puts my ear to his
And I swear I can hear the sea

Sometimes (sometimes) I look in your eyes, I can see your soul (I can reach your soul)
Sometimes (sometimes) I look in your eyes, I can see your soul (I can touch your soul)
Sometimes (sometimes) I look in your eyes, I can see your soul (I can hear your soul)
Sometimes (sometimes) I look in your eyes, I can see your soul 

Previous Trust Me blogs

1. Something On Your Mind by Karen Dalton
1A. Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells
2. I Am, I Said  by Neil Diamond
3. Where's The Playground Susie?   by Glen Campbell
4. If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lighfoot
5. Gimme Some Truth by John Lennon
6. Gone With The Wind Is My Love by Rita and the Tiaras
7. In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evans
8. The Music Box by Ruth Copeland
9. The Ship Song by Nick Cave

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Starry Skies at The Doublet

On a cold and wet afternoon, on Saturday 29th February, hearts were warmed and melted by the Starry Skies in the intimate setting of The Doublet bar in the West End of Glasgow.

You can read about the background to the show in my interview with Starry Skies leader Warren McIntyre from last month. 

Warren is a real charmer and he began the afternoon by playing two songs on his own, leaning against the wall with just his acoustic guitar for company. You could have heard a pin drop as Warren's tender vocals and gentle melodies set the tone for the afternoon.

Joined by 3 string players and an electric guitarist, the Starry Skies put on a real treat for the crowd. Loving You was absolutely sublime, the way Warren's voice gelled with Heather (violin), Jen (cello) and Sophie (viola) was utterly gorgeous.

I think I can safely say that everyone in the room was pretty spellbound, lost in the music being conjured up within touching distance from many seats.

I'll Be There For You is a gem of a song and the upbeat Love Come Back To You closed a brilliant first set that mixed some of Warren's earliest songwriting efforts with songs from the Starry Skies Ask The Animals and Be Kind albums.

After a short break we had a two song set from one of Warren's friends who was over from Sweden. It was that kind of afternoon - friendly and welcoming.

The Starry Skies then introduced Sweet Honey Blue which will be their next single along with other songs from their next album that should be out in August.

The audience were captivated by Warren's lyrics and voice, by the harmonies, the melodies and the strings. It was a very special show, with an excellent audience sing-a-long before the afternoon ended with a stunning cover version of Warren's favourite ever song, Georgia On My Mind by Ray Charles.

The Starry Skies will be playing a full band show at the CCA in Glasgow on Saturday 22nd August to launch their new album Do It With Love. FACEBOOK EVENT