Saturday 27 March 2021

79 album reviews

Albums have helped provide glimmers of light, hope and escapism to music fans across the world over the last year. Tim Burgess listening parties on Twitter certainly helped me to escape reality on a number of occasions. Music has that power. I got lost in albums I hadn't listened to in ages, gained even more appreciation for some as I learned of the stories behind the writing and recording and just generally loved listening to a full album and switching off from the news and the world.

With some time on my hands, I looked back through my blog to check on albums I have written about. I thought I would compile them (plus a few EP's) in one blog, largely for my own amusement, but also just in case it helps anyone who visits my blog to discover or rediscover albums that I enjoy.

There is a wide mix of music from my youth, through albums released during the lifetime of the blog; DIY artists from Scotland, real favourite artists and some of my all-time favourite blogs.

One of the other reasons I looked back on my blog was because I realised I hadn't been blogging on albums as much as I used to. I only wrote 5 blogs on albums through 2020, in comparison to 10 in 2019 and 11 in 2018. I have a number of unfinished album features in my drafts folder that I hope to get round to finishing.

Anyway, enough about that. Here is a list of blogs I have written on 76 albums and 3 EP's. 

Take a look and thanks for visiting.

Shadows by Teenage Fanclub, blog from December 2010

Screamadelica by Primal Scream (20-years on), blog from February 2011

Ocean Rain by Echo & The Bunnymen, blog from May 2011

Nevermind by Nirvana, blog from June 2011

Definitely Maybe by Oasis, blog from August 2012

BMX Bandits In Space by BMX Bandits, blog from October 2012

Big Inner by Matthew E White, blog from February 2013

Kingdom Of Wires by Kevin Harper, blog from June 2013

Drop Out by East Village, blog from January 2014

Morning Phase by Beck, blog from February 2014

Rave Tapes by Mogwai, blog from February 2014

Ever Evolving Lounge by Dr Cosmos Tape Lab, blog from July 2014

Psychocandy by The Jesus & Marychain, blog from November 2014

The Second Coming by The Stone Roses, blog from December 2014

Modern Nature by The Charlatans, blog from January 2015

Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance by Belle & Sebastian, blog from January 2015

Sparks To Fire by Flash Talk/Sonny Marvello, blog from January 2015 

Everything Ever Written by Idlewild, blog from February 2015

Natalie Prass by Natalie Prass, blog from February 2015

Matador by Gaz Coombes, blog from February 2015

Beyond The Silver Sea by Dr Cosmos Tape Lab, blog from April 2015

How Many Glasgow by Jad Fair, Tenniscoats & Norman Blake, blog from April 2015

Grand Prix by Teenage Fanclub, blog from May 2015

Destroy Rock n Roll by Mylo, blog from May 2015

Highest Point In Cliff Town by Hooton Tennis Club, blog from August 2015

The Beginning Stages of the Polyphonic Spree, blog from September 2015

Some Friendly by The Charlatans, blog from October 2015

(What's The Story) Morning Glory by Oasis, blog from October 2015

Music Complete by New Order, blog from October 2015

Hotchspotch by kIDD, blog from December 2015

In Search Of Harperfield by Emma Pollock, blog from February 2016

Faults by The Second Hand Marching Band & Benni Hemm Hemm, blog from February 2016

Bryter Layter by Nick Drake, blog from March 2016

Homemade Lemonade by Ette / Carla J Easton, blog from July 2016

Wildflower by The Avalanches, blog from July 2016

Barbara, Barbara, We Face A Shining Future, blog from July 2016

Here by Teenage Fanclub, blog from September 2016

Teenage Fanclub Have Lost It EP, blog from January 2017

Pacific Ocean Blue by Dennis Wilson, blog from April 2017

Sirens EP by TeenCanteen, blog from April 2017

Friday Night The Eagles Fly by The Bar Dogs, blog from April 2017

Into the Light by Medicine Men, blog from May 2017

BMX Bandits Forever, blog from May 2017

Weather Diaries by Ride, blog from June 2017

Different Days by The Charlatans, blog from June 2017

Songs From Northern Britain by Teenage Fanclub, blog from July 2017

How The West Was Won by Peter Perrett, blog from August 2017

Erratic Cinematic by Gerry Cinnamon, blog from September 2017

There Are No Saints by Siobhan Wilson, blog from September 2017

Returned From Sea by Sister John, blog from September 2017

Peel Sessions by Teenage Fanclub, blog from October 2017

Permo by Spinning Coin, blog from November 2017

The Winter Garden Playtest by Radiophonic Tuckshop, blog from December 2017

Moon Safari by Air, blog from January 2018

Cardinal by Pinegrove, blog from January 2018

Silver Dollar Moment by The Orielles, blog from February 2018

A Northern Soul by The Verve, blog from June 2018

Lush by Snail Mail, blog from July 2018

The Immaculate Collection by Madonna, blog from August 2018

Hope Downs by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, blog from August 2018

Technique by New Order, blog from September 2018

And Nothing Hurt by Spiritualized, blog from September 2018

The Original Memphis Recordings by Primal Scream, blog from October 2018

Impossible Stuff by Carla J Easton, blog from October 2018

The Good Will Out by Embrace, blog from February 2019

Innocence and Despair by Langley Schools Music Project, blog from February 2019

Varshons 2 by The Lemonheads, blog from February 2019

Badbea by Edwyn Collins, blog from March 2019

Morning Dove White by One Dove, blog from March 2019

Music For Megastructures by L Space, blog from April 2019

A Catholic Education by Teenage Fanclub, blog from July 2019

Pii 3 by Stephen Solo, blog from July 2019

Dogrel by Fontaines DC, blog from October 2019

The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips, blog from April 2019

Comes A Time by Mark W Georgsson, blog from September 2020

McCartney by Paul McCartney, blog from October 2020

The Creatures We Were Before We Are Ghosts by The Son(s), blog from November 2020

McCartney II by Paul McCartney, blog from December 2020

The Loves Of Your Life by Hamilton Leithauser, blog from December 2020

Two Sunsets by The Pastels & Tenniscoats, blog from January 2021

Tuesday 23 March 2021

10 from Echo and the Bunnymen


Nothing Lasts Forever, Echo and the Bunnymen's stunning 1997 comeback single was my introduction to this wonderful band. I went to seem at the Barrowland Ballroom in October of that year and in a mist of dry ice, Ian McCulloch (part pop star, part silhouette) was absolutely captivating. I couldn't take my eyes off him. He had that mysterious 'X' factor that certain people do. The real X factor. Whatever 'it' is, McCulloch had it in abundance. 

I bought the Songs To Learn And Sing compilation immediately after that show. What an album! I'd go and see Echo and the Bunnymen whenever they played in Glasgow, I also went to see Mac when he released a solo album and played a show in Borders in Buchanan Street in the afternoon, followed by an intimate show in Tuts at night.

I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly. There was a 2002 show in Manchester supporting New Order at Old Trafford Cricket Ground where The Bunnymen seemed determined to blow New Order off the stage, incredible shows at T in the Park and brilliant nights at the Barrowland. Then their 2011 show at the Royal Concert Hall (blogged on here) was one of the strangest shows I have ever been to. Mac seemed deranged, certainly preoccupied, but there were still moments of wonder.

And when you look back over the career of Echo and the Bunnymen, of Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant, it is sprinkled liberally with moments of wonder. A band bursting with creative energy and ideas, leading to memorable events, singles, albums and performances. 

I did look back, buying the Turquoise Days book to read through the bands vision and adventures, McCulloch's belief in himself and his band was incredible. It was notable that he wanted the Bunnymen to be the best band in the world, not the biggest. He had formed a magical band, they had Bill Drummond (later of The KLF) as their manager, they created their own scene, lived in their own world and for a number of years they could do no wrong. They could have probably moved to stadiums like U2 and Simple Minds, instead they toured the Outer Hebrides, played the Royal Albert Hall and sent their fans on bicycle tours round Liverpool with a map in the shape of a bunny's ears.

Echo and the Bunnymen were beautifully different. Fiercely ambitious, but brilliantly (and stubbornly) independent with it - everything was on their terms. 

Live in Liverpool, 2008

Echo and the Bunnymen mean something to many people across the world. Their legendary 80's line up was impeccable; McCulloch's personality, look and voice wooed girls and boys, Sergeant's guitar playing provoked awe and debate, Les Pattinson on bass is someone I admire more with every passing year, keeping a groove to let guitars and strings flourish and their original drummer Pete De Freitas was super cool. I say original, but in actual fact the band formed with a drum machine called Echo.

Their first 4 albums; Crocodiles, Heaven Up Here, Porcupine and Ocean Rain are critically lauded and worshipped by fans, their 5th eponymous LP is almost as good. 

Something had to give, nothing lasts forever. De Freitas left, living the rock star lifestyle, he rejoined but by then things were frayed and McCulloch left after a Japanese tour in March 1988.

Bizarrely, the band wanted to continue without McCulloch. Tragedy struck when Pete de Freitas was killed in a motorbike accident on his way to the first rehearsal with singer Noel Burke. Rather incredibly, an album, Reverberation, was still released under the name Echo and the Bunnymen, the lead single reached number 96 in the UK charts. I've never felt the need to check it out, the Bunnymen without McCulloch?!

Then you have the majestic 1997 comeback, Sergeant, Pattinson and McCulloch reunited, releasing Nothing Lasts Forever, featuring a young Liam Gallagher on backing vocals. The Bunnymen, the real Bunnymen, were back. Including Evergreen, the band have released 7 albums since reforming and they continue to tour regularly. 

If I was to choose what I consider to be the 10 best songs by Echo and the Bunnymen, there would be slight differences to this list. But this is, at the time of writing, 10 of my very favourite Echo and the Bunnymen songs.

If you're new to the band, start with the aforementioned Songs To Learn And Sing. You will learn them and you will sing them. 

Will Sergeant & Ian McCulloch

Nothing Lasts Forever

I'll start with where my love of Echo and the Bunnymen began, their majestic 1997 comeback single Nothing Lasts Forever. I still call it Nothing Ever Lasts Forever!

McCulloch's vocals have a hushed, soulful urgency to them, rising for the bridge to the chorus and then sounding like they are soaring behind the strings as he declares nothing ever lasts forever, nothing ever lasts forever

There is a rich reflective feeling to McCulloch's voice and his lyrics get straight to the point, he doesn't let up as he sings of time running out the door I'm running in

I want it now, I want it now

Not the promises of what tomorrow brings

As comeback singles go, this sets the bar. Check the original video   and the live version from Liverpool in 2001 below.

Lips Like Sugar

The title conjures an image, the lyrics take it further. Everything about this song is super cool; the title, the guitar, the lyrics and McCulloch's vocals.

McCulloch looks like a total star in the video; the lips, the hair, the look, the backdrop as he walks through the city, the way he cradles his microphone ... then it goes a little odd!

But back to the song, after a teasing intro Will Sergeant launches into a riff underpinned by a simple beat that always makes me want to dance. Then McCulloch comes in with his vivid pop poetry.

She floats like a swan

Grace on the water 

Lips like sugar, lips like sugar

Sergeant has a piercing guitar solo and as the song develops McCulloch sounds like he is lost in a dream as he talks of siamese twins and mirror kisses, before launching himself out of his dream and into the chorus. 


The chiming guitar riff is a great intro, leading to the beat and McCulloch singing in a very Lou Reed/Velvets style over a funky bluesy riff. Later on he goes on to repeatedly sing; is this the blues I'm singing?

If I said, I'd lost my way

Would you sympathise, could you sympathise?

I'm jumbled up, maybe I'm losing my touch

I'm jumbled up, maybe I'm losing my touch

But you know I didn't have it anyway

Released away back in 1980, there is still a very timeless quality to Rescue. It grabs your attention, demands your attention and it rewards your attention. 

The breakdown section tips a nod to The Doors before building to the aforementioned is this blues I'm singing outro, McCulloch leading his band superbly and his band rise, playing loosely when allowed but then getting real tight when it matters.

Check the Live at Liverpool version.

Crystal Days

Crystal Days packs a lot into 2 minutes 24 seconds. A classic Sergeant guitar riff is beautifully brief before McCulloch comes in singing looking for hope and I hope it's you

There is heartbreak, pain, misfit ways and crystal days, shadows and golden views. 

The Bunnymen somehow manage to find space for a 40-second instrumental and there is time at the end for McCulloch to hint at his Velvets/Lou Reed influence with a brilliant do do do do do do do section.

Guitar pop perfection, this all sounds effortless. Taken from the Ocean Rain album, Crystal Days is a band at the top of their game.

The Game

If I was writing a blog on what I consider to be the 10 best Bunnymen songs then it is very unlikely The Game would feature, but it's a real favourite of mine. It flows superbly and I particularly love the line,

Everybody's got their own good reason

Why their favourite season, is their favourite season

Opening with organ/keys over a beat, Will Sergeant then comes in with his electric guitar and McCulloch sounds totally on it, singing of tinsel tears and midnight trains.

Do It Clean

This was the last song to be added to my 10 favourites, narrowly pipping Seven Seas. I had a list that contained a number of songs including Rust, Seven Seas, Silver, The Back Of Love, Never Stop and the more recent Think I Need It To which I really like.

In the end I opted to include Do It Clean as it's got a real pure psychedelic garage nuggets style energy that I always enjoy, especially live when the band often stretch it out and go into jams of other songs they love. This is a trick that The Bunnymen do regularly to this day, check the brilliant segue from Nothing Lasts Forever into Walk On The Wild Side from their 2008 T in the Park show HERE (last song in, starts at 12-minutes).

 Originally released on the US version of debut album Crocodiles, the band thought highly enough of the song to include it on the 1985 Songs To Learn And Sing compilation.

Where am I going, where have I been?

Where are you going, where have you been?

Do It Clean sounds fresh, full of energy with a raw edge and intensity, check this early live version where the band extend it to include All You Need Is Love. Imagine getting into this band upon release of their debut album, what a ride you would have been on! I'd have loved to have seen the band at this stage.

The Cutter

If push came to shove this might be my favourite Bunnymen song. Opening with some outrageous guitar riff from Will Sergeant with some kind of harmoniser effect, McCulloch is in, quickly leading us to the chorus

Conquering myself until

I see another hurdle approaching

Say you can, say you will

Not just another drop in the ocean

After a second verse and another run through the chorus the song is sent towards the heaven thanks to an absolutely beautiful burst of strings at 1-minute 48 seconds. 

Am I the happy loss? Will I still recoil?

When the skin is lost, am I the worthy cross?

Will I still be soiled, when the dirt is off?

This is almost like a second chorus, the real chorus, it is spell binding, a band in majestic form, brimming with the confidence to create something as good and ambitious as this. Ian Broudie deserves a lot of credit for his work as producer on this gem. L Shankar provides the incredible cloud bursting strings.

Bring On The Dancing Horses

Bring On The Dancing Horses has a kind of shimmering quality to it, helped by synths that are constantly at play underneath the bass groove and beats.

When you read the lyrics you might wonder what it's all about, but then you hear it and it somehow all makes perfect sense. Lush, dreamy, sublime, cinematic, post punk psychedelia, Bring On The Dancing Horses is the sound of a band lost in their own world and capturing a piece of it to display on Planet Earth.

Bring on the dancing horses, wherever they may roam

Shiver and say the words of every lie you've heard

First I'm gonna make it, then I'm gonna break it, til it falls apart

Hating all the faking and shaking while I'm breaking, your brittle heart

The Killing Moon

Described by its author as the greatest song ever written, The Killing Moon is a single lifted from the 1984 Ocean Rain album. 

There is no doubt that it's a special song, one that came to McCulloch in a dream, so much so that he jokingly credits God with a co-write as he woke up with the lyrics fate up against your will, through the thick and thin, you will wait until, you give yourself to him

McCulloch is at his poetic best, imagery pours out of him; blue moon, starlit nights, your lips a magic world and your sky all hung with jewels. 

Musically, Les Pattinson on bass, Pete de Freitas on drums and Will Sergeant on guitar, are on fire, aided by glorious strings, conjuring a cinematic feel to match McCulloch's poetry. 

Official video

Ocean Rain

Ocean Rain might be the most beautiful song that Echo and the Bunnymen have written and recorded. Backed by a 35-piece orchestra, McCulloch delivers a perfect performance, telling of a broken heart / depression, trying to get back , with Will Sergeants guitar sounding like it is crying at times, offering hope at others.

The Bunnymen self-produced the Ocean Rain album (with a little help) and they get the performance and production absolutely spot on. This is a devastatingly beautiful song, delivered with heartfelt soul. The instrumental section with lush strings and Sergeant's impeccable guitar solo is just sublime. 

When you look at it on paper, there is only a couple of verses, but they way they are repeated throughout as the song builds leads to them becoming like a long chorus. McCulloch sounds broken and gentle at the start, but by the end of the song he is in full flight with the strings and guitar, sounding defiant - he will get through the storm. Listen to the way he lifts his voice to sing the waves at 4-minutes 20 seconds, it is euphoric, by the end of the song we're all going to get through it.

Check the incredible live version from The Tube in 1984 with Mac introducing it as 'a slowy'. 

Live in Liverpool 2001

Live on The Tube

All at sea again

And now my hurricanes, have brought down this ocean rain

To bathe me again

My ship's a sail, can you hear its tender frame

Screaming from beneath the waves, screaming from beneath the waves

All hands on deck at dawn, sailing to sadder shores

Your port in my heavy storms

Harbours the blackest thoughts

Thursday 18 March 2021

Podcast with Starry Skies

On 29th February 2020 I attended my last gig. It was one that I put on upstairs in the intimate setting of The Doublet Bar, a crowdfunder for the band Starry Skies, to help them record their album Do It With Love

No-one in the crowd or on the makeshift stage could have known how the month ahead would change lives and the world so dramatically. It was the last show the band played to the last audience and for many in the room, they haven't had the joy of live music since.

The show was warm, friendly and glowing with love. Months down the line I was really pleased to receive my vinyl copy of the album and discover that Warren and his band had managed to capture that warm glow on vinyl. You can order a copy from the Starry Skies bandcamp page.

As you'll learn from the podcast, the songs are from the heart and they have struck a chord with people.

I really enjoyed catching up with Warren and Heather to find out what they have been up to over the last year. Have they been writing? What did they have to cancel? What do they have planned? What was it like releasing an album during a pandemic?

You can visit the main website for my podcast HERE where you can stream it directly, or find links to other platforms including Spotify where you can stream. And here is my blog on The Doublet show.

<iframe style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;" src="" seamless><a href="">Do It With Love by Starry Skies</a></iframe>

Wednesday 17 March 2021

Tim Burgess Super Hero

Tim Burgess has been a hero of mine since I discovered The Charlatans back in 1991. I was 15 and songs like White Shirt, The Only One I Know and Sproston Green were doing the rounds on mix tapes, leading into Weirdo and Chewing Gum Weekend as the year ran into 1992.

Alongside Teenage Fanclub, The Charlatans are the band I have seen the most. Including Tim's solo shows, it must be well over 40 times through the years. Later this year I should be catching Tim play King Tuts and also the Strathaven Hotel as part of the FRETS concerts.

I guess the reasons why Tim is a hero to me have changed through the years. To begin with, it was the hair, the songs, his band, his movement on stage and just the fact he was super cool. They are all still there! 

As time progressed I appreciated how prolific Tim is, how infectious his energy is, how he pours himself into projects and how he makes friends everywhere. Burgess always had to be creating, whether it was with The Charlatans, writing and recording solo albums, his books, his record label, his own coffee (!) and Tim Peaks Diner at festivals. 

Tim always wears his heart on his sleeve, his love of music and life shines clearly for all to see. He wins friends wherever he goes.

Back in 2016 I had the great pleasure of walking down Rose Street with Tim and his great friend Nick Fraser. It was glorious sunshine and I'd just been to FOPP to get my copy of Vinyl Adventures signed. I'd met Nick a number of times when The Charlatans played Glasgow and it was great to walk n talk music, kids and records. Tim gave me an extra signed copy of the book and album to droplift into a local British Heart Foundation store which was great, it created a real buzz on social media the next day. It's a lovely memory to have.

Over the last year Tim has become a bit of a hero to many more music fans across the world thanks to #timstwitterlisteningparties Bringing artists and fans together to listen to albums simultaneously, sharing love and memories on Twitter. In addition he has supported #brokenrecord , campaigned to save venues and this week Tim became a patron for the Music Venue Trust, a charity acting to protect, secure and improve Grassroots Music across the UK.

In my eyes, Tim's gone from being a hero of mine, to being a bit of a super hero. His super powers? Well if everyone had Tim's super powers the world would be a better place. In fact, tune into one of his listening parties and you'll enjoy seeing people worldwide being friendly, warm, loving, supportive and appreciative of music, the arts, friendship and the community Tim has created.

Tim has all these qualities and more. Tim is someone who has the skills to bring people together and make people feel good. Easier said than done, especially over the last year.

This comes across as a bit of a fanboy post, but my intention was to say thanks. It's 30-years since I first heard The Charlatans. I'm so fortunate that they are still releasing music I love, still playing shows where I can forget about everything for a couple of hours to dance and sing my heart out and there are all the other things I've mentioned above. 

Well done to the Music Venue Trust for reaching out to Tim, a perfect match, a perfect patron.

Cheers Tim, keep on keepin' on, keep on keepin' strong.

CLICK HERE for The Charlatans playing Can't Get Out Of Bed live with Tim in his Superman t-shirt.

Thursday 11 March 2021

Lost In Music

Cover version of the month #65
The Fall cover Sister Sledge

I recently read Renegade, Mark E Smith's autobiography. I'm not a huge fan of the band by any means, but I did take some time to try a little bit more of their back catalogue as a result of reading the book.

And I discovered a number of cover versions that they have recorded, including an outrageous version of Lost In Music by Sister Sledge from their monumental 1979 album We Are Family.

Written by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic, this sublime slice of disco house heaven was produced during a period where the duo could literally do no wrong. Everything they touched turned to gold. Check what they were involved with in the late 70's with Chic and Sister Sledge, it is just insane, then through to working with Bowie, Diana Ross and Madonna (among others) in the 80's.

Lost In Music is utterly stunning pop music. The song stretches out to 4 minutes 40 seconds, allowing Rodgers and Edwards to pull every kind of trick they have learned to create something magical. 

What are their tricks? Well there is a teasing 30-second intro, then we're straight into a double chorus that you can sing after only one listen. And there are plenty of other opportunities through the rest of the song to do just that.

The vocals and production are crystal clear, the stabbing piano/keys sounds instantly familiar and Rodgers just grooves along in his unique style, somehow playing lead and rhythm guitar simultaneously.

I've been in a club when this song has come on, if played at the precise moment, then there is nothing better, the crowd are lost in music and singing-a-long, meaning and believing every sing word they sing. It is absolutely perfect for a club.

We're lost in music, feel so alive

I quit my nine to five

We're lost in music

Rodgers & Edwards captured the NYC disco and club scene perfectly in so many of their finely crafted songs. No wonder, if you read Rodgers autobiography it sounds like he pretty much lived in some of the clubs! He certainly lived for clubbing, lived for music. He still lives for music. I've caught his Nile Rodgers and Chic shows a couple of times and I think they may well be the most uplifting shows I have ever experienced.

In 1993 The Fall decided to cover Lost In Music. They rip through it, with Mark E Smith adding his own little twist by declaring I'm Lost In Music. That simple shift from we're to I'm just personalises the song.

I'm no expert on Smith and The Fall, but I know how prolific he was and from what I have heard and read, he was lost in his own world, his own music, his own vision and dreams for The Fall.

Smith snaps, snarls and drawls his way through the song. When he half sings, half shouts I'm so alive, he actually sounds like he couldn't give a flying f**k. When he sings caught in a trap, no looking back it sounds like he is resigned to recording the cover version, rather than enjoying it.

Yet I'm strangely drawn to it. It's got a raw punk edge, it is a strange and brave song to cover. Why did they cover it? I haven't been able to track that down.

Anyway, I enjoy it and it is cover version of the month #65. Check the original, a sublime re-edit by Dimtri From Paris, the cover by The Fall and also a live version.

Lost In Music by Sister Sledge

Lost In Music, Dimitri From Paris extended re-edit

Lost In Music by The Fall

Lost In Music by The Fall, live on The Beat

And after posting this blog Duglas T Stewart of the BMX Bandits kindly tipped me off on this very atmospheric version by Anita Lane

Click (or search for) Everything Flows cool cover versions on Spotify for a playlist of the covers I have blogged about and read on for a full list and links to previous cover of the month blogs. 

Previous covers of the month

13. Hurt

Tuesday 9 March 2021

Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From


Raymond McGinley, Teenage Fanclub

Trust Me #22

After blogging on Norman Blake's Did I Say in January and Gerard Love's Don't Look Back in February, it is the turn of Raymond McGinley to feature in my Trust Me series.

And trust me, Raymond's Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From is a beautiful song that could melt the coldest of hearts.

One of the things I love and appreciate about Raymond's songwriting is his heart on sleeve honesty and directness. His songs regularly start with him confessing directly to the listener. Check back through his Fanclub songs to see how many start with I ...

This time McGinley starts as if he is singing to someone with the beautiful lines your sadness don't lie, your feelings can't hide, initially just him with his acoustic guitar, pouring his heart out. It takes until the bridge to the chorus for Raymond to directly talk about his feelings with the staggering lyric I, I disappear when you're not here, in my life

Into the chorus and Raymond has realised that he is in a much better place when he is with his love; when I'm on my own I'm lost in space, my freedoms a delusion, your love is the place where I come from.

In under 90 seconds McGinley has told us so much! Listening back to this song so many times over the course of a week to prepare for this blog has led to me having a new found appreciation for the song and the author. It is absolutely outstanding songwriting and the way it is delivered with real feeling in the vocals, playing and production leads to a song that is spine tinglingly good.

Listen to the little crack in Raymond's voice in away as he sings I can't slip away .... goosebumps. And listen to Norman's beautiful harmonies. Stunning.

After the delivery of the chorus, there is a second verse that leads to a glorious instrumental with the band crashing beautifully together as Raymond coaxes stunning sounds from his electric guitar.

The instrumental lifts the song into a final double run of the chorus where Raymond and Norman's voices gel effortlessly together, while little flourishes of impeccable guitar playing continue throughout and the song just flows with ease. McGinley has a real knack for finding a hook / refrain and running with it. 

Live, this is a long term fan favourite and set staple. A favourite not only because of the genius songwriting, feel and delivery, but for Norman playing his glockenspiel to huge cheers. You can check a couple of examples in the videos from Benicassim 2004 and the bands Electric Ballroom show from 2018.

Read on for some comments from the Teenage Fanclub Fanclub on the song.

Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From album version

Benicassim 2004 

Electric Ballroom 2018 

You can find a playlist of songs in my Trust Me series by searching for Everything Flows Trust Me on Spotify, or CLICK HERE

The Teenage Fanclub Fanclub on Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From

Kevin Robertson

To be lost in a void when you're without the love of your life, then the joy when together. True melancholy. On the face of it, it seems a straightforward song, but it's never easy to find that true emotion in both the music and the lyrics. Raymond and the lads get it spot on here.

Gerry Weir

That bit live when Norman goes for the glock and you know it's coming. That bit!

A well known fact, but in Nick Hornby's book 31 Songs, the only artist with two entries is our beloved Fannies, this being one of them.

Paul Quinn

A  *****  song.

Valterri Virtanen

It's my favourite of all of their songs. Special mention to the electric guitar playing during the last chorus.

Frank Livingston

A genius song.

Glyn Trevor

Masterpiece ...

Matt Moir

Always the xylophone.

Lauren Bacall

The absence of an intro to this song reveals a tiny touch that I always really like with Raymond's songs. Right at the beginning, in the silence just before Raymond sings Your sadness don't lie , there is a tiny audible intake of breath.

The inclusion of this sound on the record suits the song's initial simplicity. It's just Raymond strumming along on his guitar as he sings. At the beginning, it could be an acoustic song, but it isn't, so then everything else happens.

A live favourite and rightly so, but I always feel slightly sorry for Raymond being upstaged by a glock.

Your sadness don't lie

Your feelings can't hide

You always know why

But your reasons are sly

You never deny

What you feel inside

I, I disappear, when you're not here

In my life

I can't slip away when I see your face

I lose my confusion

Your love is the place where I come from

When I'm on my own I'm lost in space

My freedoms a delusion

Your love is the place where I come from

My sadness don't lie

My feelings can't hide

I just can't deny

What I feel inside

I can't slip away when I see your face

I lose my confusion

Your love is the place where I come from

When I'm on my own I'm lost in space

My freedoms a delusion

Your love is the place where I come from

I can't slip away when I see your face

I lose my confusion

Your love is the place where I come from

When I'm on my own I'm lost in space

My freedoms a delusion

Your love is the place where I come from

Written by Raymond McGinley

Saturday 6 March 2021

Better The Devil You Know

The good people at Into Creative are currently raising funds and awareness for Tiny Changes, the mental health charity set up in memory and celebration of Scott Hutchison.

Into Creative asked musical friends to cover songs from their youth that mean something to them, pairing them up with visual artists to create a video to accompany the song.

It's a great idea. I've certainly taken solace in music, programmes and films from my youth over the last year, and I know many others who have too.

Into Creative asked my sister Carla J Easton to get involved and she went all the way back to 1990 (when she was 5!) to choose Kylie's euphoric pop dancefloor smash Better The Devil You Know.

Carla has written a beautiful blog on growing up with Kylie in our family home and I thought I would write my own thoughts down to help raise awareness and funds.

Kylie is an artist whose songs have filled the Easton household since she burst on to the scene with I Should Be So Lucky. I fell for her cheeky charm and pure pop in a big way. Her 1990/91 period was incredible; Better The Devil You Know, Shocked, What Do I Have To Do and Step Back In Time was a sensational run of pop electro.

I don't think Kylie hit that kind of high again through the 90's, although I continued to follow her career as she developed, Put Yourself In My Place and Some Kind Of Bliss (indie Kylie) are favourites of mine.

Then at the turn of century Kylie hit new highs with Spinning Around, Can't Get You Out Of My Head, Love At First Sight, I Believe In You, All The Lovers, Get Outta My Way (a crazily low chart position) through to Dancing and Stop Me From Falling.

I have fond memories of my sister coming round to watch Kylie's Glastonbury set with champagne! What a pop star! Kylie's setlist, her performance and the love on display at Glastonbury was spine tingling. She deserved every second of that acclaim. 

So yeah, I've grown up fancying Kylie and loving her music. She is my pop princess, I've been to see her live on a number of occasions and I've always had amazing nights. A post COVID Kylie pop concert at the Hydro would be a dream to lift the blues. A night of singing and dancing.

And I guess that takes me back to Carla's cover and the project it is part of. A lot of people have the lockdown blues, some are coping with them, others are really struggling. Dark clouds are hanging over a lot of heads and they maybe aren't easy to shake due to the lack of social contact or lack of things we can actually do to lift our spirits.

Make sure you do reach out to family, friends or charities if you are struggling.

Check Carla's cover of Kylie below with accompanying visuals by Kris Boyle.

You can download it for FREE from Bandcamp.

And if you can, please make a donation to Tiny Changes via the Into Creative Just Giving page.

Never Ending Mixtape Part 58


Welcome to the latest additions to my Never Ending Mixtape playlist on Spotify. Now approaching 1,900 songs, 123 hours 46 minutes of music, nearly 200 followers.

This month sees pure independent guitar pop from Shop Assistants, some classic and incredible Oasis b-sides, a few gems from Carole King's Writer album, a few from The Bangles, and then we have Love, Superstar, Teenage Fanclub's new single, Nick Drake, The Beastie Boys and The Stones at their majestic best.

Search for Everything Flows Never Ending Mixtape on Spotify or click HERE

I hope you find something you haven't heard before that you fall for or that you rediscover an old favourite if you dive in. Let me know if you do. I'm on Twitter @murrayeaston 

Poor Boy - Nick Drake

Cath - The Bluebells

Divine Thing - Soup Dragons

Talking In My Sleep - The Bangles

Manic Monday - The Bangles

7 and 7 is - Love

In Your Room - The Bangles

I'm More Inclined - Teenage Fanclub

Superstar - Superstar

Victoria - The Fall

Empire State Of Mind - Jay Z and Alicia Keys

You're Gonna Miss Me - Turntable Orchestra

Summer Babe - Pavement

Favor - Julien Baker

Freaky Hijiki - Beastie Boys

Goin' Back - Carole King

To Love - Carole King

Eventually - Carole King

Can't You Be Real - Carole King

You Ain't Going Nowhere (take 2) - Bob Dylan

Exploration - The Karminsky Experience

Electricity - OMD

You're The One - The Vogues

Acquiesce - Oasis

Round Are Way - Oasis

The Masterplan - Oasis

Before I Wake - Shop Assistants

All That Ever Mattered - Shop Assistants

Train From Kansas City - Shop Assistants

Moonlight Mile - The Rolling Stones

Lantern - The Brian Jonestown Massacre

Take Me Home - Peter Perrett

Seasons (Waiting On You) - Future Islands