Monday 30 August 2021

Tainted Love

Cover version of the month #70 - Soft Cell cover Gloria Jones

Tainted Love is a song that instantly reminds me of McChuills, my favourite pub in Glasgow. I was something of a regular circa 2001-2010 and at the end of a Friday or Saturday night Tainted Love would often be one of the last songs played, causing those remaining to dance on the small stage or occasionally on tables.

McChuills would play the original version by Gloria Jones, released back in 1965 as the b-side of My Bad Boy's Comin' Home, an obscure single that failed to chart on either side of the Atlantic.

However, as anyone with the faintest of interest in Northern Soul will know, British DJ's obsessed with Motown and soul music would soon be taking trips to America and scouring record shops and warehouses for singles - bringing them home and playing them at clubs like the Wigan Casino. Ian Levine was perhaps the most famous, coming home from trips to Miami and New Orleans with boxes of records. Levine and others would often cover the label of their records, so fans and other DJ's couldn't try and track down their own copies.

However, in the case of Tainted Love, it was the DJ Richard Searling who bought a copy of the single in 1973, flipped to the b-side and played it in Va Va's in Bolton and then at the Casino.

It's not hard to hear why Searling and the northern soul crowd fell so hard for Tainted Love; the blast of horns from the very start ushers in a constant walking bassline, a driving Motown beat and a hard rhythm guitar, handclaps and soaring vocals with cool backing vocals. 

From the Michael Ochs archive

The lyrics, written by Ed Cobb, tell the tale of a girl looking to get away from an old love that has become tainted. They are written in an incredibly open and graphic way. 

Sometimes I feel I've got to, run away, 

I've got to, get away from the pain you drive into the heart of me

What an opening couple of lines! Cobb, through Jones voice, tells of how the love was going nowhere, the lights been lost and the realisation is causing sleepless nights. The lyrics, throughout the song, are sheer poetry.

Then the chorus, another couple of incredible lines to open it;

Once I ran to you (I ran)

Now I run from you (Now I run)

The tainted love you're giving

I gave you all a girl can give you

Take my tears and that's not nearly all, tainted love, tainted love

The second verse just emphasises the first, the second chorus sounds more definite and then there is glorious bridge into another chorus.

I know you will hurt me so

If I do not pack my bags and go

The song begins to fade at only 2 minutes 10 seconds with Jones voice at its best. Jones rerecorded Tainted Love in 1976 following the love displayed to the song through the northern soul scene, but it is a poor version in comparison to the original, the kick, the urgency, the hurt and the soul (the very essence of the song) just isn't there.

A few years down the line, in 1981, Marc Almond and David Ball, otherwise known as Soft Cell, recorded Tainted Love and it was released as their second single on Sire/Warner Bros. The duo reached number 1 after a theatrical front man performance by Almond on Top of the Pop pushed the song towards the top.

It's amazing how Soft Cell deconstruct the song. They keep the structure but remove horns, guitar, bass and drums, replacing them with synths and drum machines.

Originally written by a man, it's now sung by a man, it's interesting to hear it from a male perspective, with Almond singing I gave you all a boy could give you , even more so as Almond was openly gay - not something that was very common in 1981. So it added another dimension to the song that comes across in the video as Almond sings touch me baby tainted love towards the end, his eyes mirroring his suggestive vocals.

The Soft Cell version is a bold and brilliant cover version, but for me the original is unsurpassed, it has a zip and energy that can't be replicated or bettered.

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

Gloria Jones 1965 original

Soft Cell video

Soft Cell Top of the Pops

Previous covers of the month

13. Hurt

Sunday 22 August 2021

Teenage Kicks

Trust me #28

The Undertones began playing Teenage Kicks, written by guitarist John O'Neill, in 1977, recording it as a demo in early 1978. The tape was sent to a number of record companies and to John Peel at the BBC.

Legend has it that Peel burst into tears upon hearing the song, not only playing it on his show, but offering to pay to send the band into a studio, in June 1978, to record it properly. Released on Belfast label Good Vibrations (check the film), Peel played the song again, Seymour Stein from Sire Records heard it and promptly (after his A&R man watched the band on their local turf) signed the band for £10,000. By October 78 the band were playing it on Top of the Pops - VIDEO

Picture by Larry Doherty

Peel often noted the song as his ultimate favourite (and he had heard a lot of songs!), even having the lyrics inscribed on his gravestone.

Quite a story ... quite a song!

Lets get into the song. It really is power punk pop perfection. Slamming into a ferocious guitar riff, The Undertones roar through verse-chorus-verse-chorus in under a minute, beginning with the incredible line a teenage dream's so hard to beat.

Teenage lust, desire and innocence pour out of the song. Fergal Sharkey delivers an exceptional vocal performance, audibly shaking with intensity at times and I still love the way he yells alright after the second chorus, into a short 15-second instrumental - just the same driving power chords.

Then the band just rip through the song again leading into another short instrumental followed by one more chorus. It's all over in under 2 and a half minutes. It's electrifying pop, the energy is infectious, the way the band just rip through the song is sensational, even on first listen you'll be singing a-long.

Teenage Kicks is simply sensational and must surely be one of the best debut singles of all time.

You can listen to all the songs I've featured in my Trust Me series in a playlist by searching for Everything Flows Trust Me on Spotify or by CLICKING HERE

You can also read about the previous songs I've written about by clicking on the links below, underneath the lyrics.

A teenage dream's so hard to beat

Every time she walks down the street

Another girl in the neighbourhood

Wish she was mine, she looks so good

I wanna hold her, wanna hold her tight

Get teenage kicks right through the night

I'm gonna call her on the telephone

Have her over cause I'm all alone

I need excitement, oh I need it bad

And it's the best I've ever had

I wanna hold her, wanna hold her tight

Get teenage kicks right through the night

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
10. Sometimes by James
11. I Walk The Earth by King Biscuit Time
12. Didn't Know What I Was In For by Better Oblivion Community Centre
13. When My Boy Walks Down The Street by The Magnetic Fields
14. The Man Don't Give A F**k by Super Furry Animals
15. All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun by Jeff Buckley and Liz Fraser
16. Are You Lookin' by The Tymes
17. A Real Hero by College & Electric Youth
18. Feelings Gone by Callum Easter
19. Sunday Morning by The Velvet Underground
20. Did I Say by Teenage Fanclub
21. Don't Look Back by Teenage Fanclub
23. Belfast by Orbital
24. Clouds by The Jayhawks
25. Dreaming Of You by The Coral
26. Everlasting Love by The Love Affair
27. As Long As I've Got You by The Charmels

Monday 16 August 2021

Introducing - Brontës


Kristen AM Brodie Photography

Back at the start of July my friend Steven posted a video on his Facebook page saying that his daughter Eva had formed a band. Steven has impeccable taste in music (a real mod and northern soul fanatic) so I clicked to watch the video (see end of blog) he had linked.

And I was impressed! Brontës looked great and sounded superb, playing two original songs; First Hand Arrogance and Down To You, sandwiching a cover version of Shakira's SheWolf in between!

I found myself replaying the performance a couple of times, realising how much I was missing getting out and about in Glasgow to hear guitars and watch cool young bands. They just looked in the zone, locked into grooves, cool vocals, but also having that edge of this - this is us. They weren't trying too hard, like many bands do.

First Hand Arrogance has real tight groove, allowing the two guitars to drive things along over the top of it, in a kind of punk Chic style, going all rock for the chorus in a quite delicious way over a come and get it, first hand arrogance hook.

Down To You starts of really playful; musically and melodically, reminding me a little bit of early Vampire Weekend, but the vocals are just beautifully dreamy, the duelling guitars work so well - one all scratchy punk funk, the other picking out a kind of dancey riff. 

I thought I'd find out a little more ahead of their first ever gig, taking place at King Tuts this Thursday with Spyres - who I also intend to feature in a future blog.

How did the band form? How did you get to know each other?

Yana and Amelia started the band after finishing college in 2019. Erin, Jon and Eva joined a little bit later. We're from different places out and around Glasgow and we met through college / university / going out.

How did you start creating music? Does anyone take lead on writing? Or do you jam ideas?

We all study music and wanted to be in a band. We take turns writing lyrics but jam the music together.

Kristen AM Brodie Photography

Do you take influences from any bands? What do you all listen to?

We get a lot of influences spanning different genres, including Foals, Bombay Bicycle Club, Donna Summer, Mazzy Star, James Brown, Massive Attack and our all time favourite - Pitbull.

You're about to play King Tuts, is this your first ever gig? How are you feeling about it?

Yeah, it's out first gig as a band and we're really excited and a bit nervous to play to a crowd, but we can't wait to get out there and cut our teeth.

You launched Brontës with a recording of a live session performance. What gave you that idea?

We share a studio with Weekend Debt and Stoned Immaculate and Crowded Flat use the space to record their sessions. We were asked to record one and thought it was a different way to launch our sound and see the reaction we got ... which was overwhelmingly positive.

And this prompted Last Night From Glasgow to sign you up. Will you be releasing anything soon?

It was a total shock to be signed as quick as we were and we're so thankful to LNFG for picking us up and giving us the opportunity. We're in the studio soon and should hopefully have a single out in the near future.

So much is changing, but do you have any more shows planned? Or anything else for the rest of the year.

We have a couple of shows coming up towards the end of the year, so keep an eye out and make sure to come along. We'll be spending a lot of time in the studio writing new material and recording.

CLICK HERE to watch the Brontës Crowded Flat session if you don't see the video below.

Saturday 14 August 2021

Never Ending Mixtape part 63


Welcome to a list of the latest additions to my Never Ending Mixtape, my Spotify playlist where I add songs as I listen to them and write a catch up blog every month.

This month we have new wave pop, an outrageous cover of Otis Redding's classic, the quite incredible Scott Walker (an artist whose catalogue I have yet to fully explore), we have plenty of soul, electronica, The Beatles in a psychedelic groove, an Amy Winehouse demo and The Stones cutting loose with the brilliant Jigsaw Puzzle. Plus loads more to explore.

As always I hope you rediscover an old favourite or something new to fall for. There are 2,155 songs at the time of writing to explore. Dig in. Thanks very much if you follow the playlist.

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

Mannequin - Wire

Birds - Electrelane

You Make Me Weak At The Knees - Electrelane

To The East - Electrelane

You Made Me Like It - The 1990's

You're Supposed To Be My Friend - The 1990's

See You At The Lights - The 1990's

The Old Man's Back Again - Scott Walker

Dock Of The Bay - Peggy Lee

Burning - The Whitest Boy Alive

Gentle On My Mind - John Hartford

Message Personnel (Arab Strap remix) - Dot Allison

Time Doesn't Matter - Margie Day

Sunday Morning - Margo Guryan

It's Not Easy - Ofege

James Brown - Nancy Dupree

7 AM - Jacqueline Taieb

Inspiration Information - Shuggie Otis

The Seed - Cody Chestnut

Heart of Gold - Charles Bradley

This Time (I'm Gonna Try It My Way) - DJ Shadow

Drop - Cornelius

One Too Many Mornings - Chemical Brothers

See Those Eyes - Altered Images

Atomic - Blondie

Happy Place - Saint PHNX

Tears Dry On Their Own - Amy Winehouse

Love Is A Losing Game (demo) - Amy Winehouse

Get On Top - Tim Buckley

Bra- Cymande

No Dark Things - Echo and the Bunnymen

It's All Too Much - The Beatles

Jigsaw Puzzle - The Rolling Stones

rom com 2004 - Soccer Mommy

Friday 6 August 2021

10 from The Jesus and Mary Chain

When I was in 5th year of high school a friend in the year above tried to get me into The Jesus and Mary Chain by playing me something on his walkman / personal stereo. For those a little younger than me, this was a little cassette player you could carry around with headphones! 

I only listened briefly, as whatever song I listened to sounded like feedback over someone banging metal bins together. I'm not sure what it was, although I suspect it might well have been Upside Down, the bands 1984 debut single which quickly made a mark on the music scene thanks to extreme use of feedback over the top of blurred bubblegum pop vocal melodies.

I wasn't ready for Upside Down and neither was the (lack of) sound capabilities of my friends walkman! Thankfully I tried them again the following year upon release of Honey's Dead and fell for edgy cool like Reverence mixed with acoustic bliss like Almost Gold and there was the pop perfection of Far Gone And Out.

I can't explain

Exactly what I'm doing

Standing In The Rain

The Jesus and Mary Chain had something. Early on that was hidden behind feedback, shyness, shades and loads of alcohol that meant no-one knew what to expect at live shows, resulting in most being 15-minutes or under with a number turning into violence, most notably the now infamous North London Polytechnic show in 1985.

Brothers Jim and William Reid are the heart of The Jesus and Mary Chain. Hailing from East Kilbride on the outskirts of Glasgow, they had been fantasising about forming a band for years. Sibling rivalry meant that at one point they each had their own fantasy band, but finally they brought their songs together, recruited a friend Douglas Hart on bass guitar and formed a fierce bond with Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream who came across their demos on the flip side of a Syd Barrett compilation tape that a friend had passed on.

Gillespie would replace original drummer Murray Dalglish to form the classic Mary Chain line-up. He played drums standing up like Moe Tucker from The Velvet Underground, Douglas Hart played a two string bass guitar, while the Reid brothers worked their magic. They were a proper gang, in their own world. I would have loved to have seen the band at this point, visually cool, shambolic drunken shows but with that kind of edge that makes a band special.

With Alan McGee as their manager, the Mary Chain were a blur of activity; singles, shows, tours, press, controversy and the aforementioned Psychocandy debut LP in 1985.

Second LP Darklands, released in 1987 was almost entirely the Reid brothers who had learned a great deal since bursting on to the scene in 1984. Feedback was banished for melodies, a drum machine was used (Gillespie had left to focus on Primal Scream) and the album dripped with quality like the title track, Happy When It Rains, April Skies and About You.

The Mary Chain were prolific; Automatic was released in 1989, the aforementioned Honey's Dead in 1992, followed by Stoned and Dethroned in 1994. By 1998's Munki album, the relationship between the Reid brothers had deteriorated to the extent that each would go in with the rest of the band to record their own songs, but their sibling wouldn't be there.

2017's Damage and Joy brought new songs, together with some of Jim's work under the name Freeheat and also songs from the brilliant Sister Vanilla album Little Pop Rock (the Reid brothers with their sister Linda) that I blogged on HERE.

Quite what the Reid brothers will do next is anyone's guess. However, they are taking my own personal favourite album of theirs, Darklands, out on tour ... finally, after numerous postponements due to the pandemic. I can't wait to see them at the Barrowland.

JAMC have an extensive back catalogue that includes some brilliant b-sides. The digital editions of their albums are expanded with all kinds of b-sides, demos and session tracks. This is the first time I've written a 10 from blog and discovered a song I hadn't heard before that I included in the blog.

So here, at the time of writing, are 10 of my favourite songs by The Jesus and Mary Chain. About You, Girlfriend, The Two Of Us and I Love Rock n Roll are other real favourites.

Sometimes Always

I've mentioned Sometimes Always a number of times in the blog, notably on my 10 from Hope Sandoval feature you can check HERE. What more can I say?! It's one of my all-time favourite songs, guitar pop perfection. The contrast between Hope's dreamy clear vocal and Jim's velvets-y drawl is just so cool.

Check the video 

April Skies

I just love the groove to this. The Mary Chain sound super cool, William Reid's guitars chime at times, they soar at others. This reached number 8 in the charts in 1985, the Mary Chain had kicked in the doors.

Hey honey what you trying to say

As I stand here don't you walk away

And the world comes tumbling down

Check the video

Why'd You Want Me - alternate version

The b-side to Far Gone And Out in 1992, Why'd You Want Me has William Reid on lead vocals and also conjuring brilliant little guitar riffs. The lyrics are almost classical Mary Chain, mentioning sin, the blues, drink, drugs, night, light and asking that simple question - why do you want me babe?

If I was writing a blog on the 10 songs I consider to be the Mary Chain's best then this wouldn't feature. But I love it's purity and simplicity, it's a real favourite.

Live on The Beat, London 1993

Some Candy Talking

Everything about this is super cool. Released as an EP in 1986, the song would later end up on the CD version of Psychocandy. It highlights how prolific the Reid brothers were. Some Candy Talking is like transporting The Velvet Underground into the mid 80's. That good, that cool.

There has long been debate about whether this is about sex or drugs. For me it sounds and reads like it is definitely about the chase of a thrill as a teenager - sex.

Check the video

But it's too much for a young heart to take

Cause hearts are the easiest things you could break


Quite a lot happened between the release of Psychocandy in 1985 and Darklands (the album) in 1987. The Reid brothers became a lot more confident in their songwriting and musical ability. William Reid was heavily involved in the production. Perhaps the biggest change was that Bobby Gillespie was no longer the drummer, he'd been replaced by a drum machine.

Strange as that sounds, it worked out well for all parties. Darklands is my favourite Mary Chain album. I also consider it to be their best. The title track, the opening song on the album, at 5 minutes 29 seconds long, leaves the Mary Chain loads of time and space to create something truly magical.

It's so unrushed, William picks a riff and occasional big chord comes crashing in. Jim is all poetic, there are the pop du, du, du, du, du duuuu bits, it's got that Mary Chain cool, but this time it's majestic with it.

And I awake from dreams

To a scary world of screams

And heaven I think, is too close to hell

Check the official video

Something I Can't Have

I only discovered this song when going through the JAMC catalogue for this feature. What a song! The Mary Chain at their rip roaring best; sounding cool, in a total groove, guitars blasting, flowing vocal melodies. Check them blasting through it on Later with Jools

This was tucked away on the 1993 Sound of Speed EP and the subsequent compilation album of b-sides and rarities of the same name. By 93 the band had released 13 singles and 6 E.P's in addition to their albums, so they had plenty of material.

This has very quickly become a real favourite. 

And we could kiss with tongues

I've got no place to go

Check the video

Just Like Honey

I mean, come on, this is just so perfect. The drums half-inched from The Ronettes, just the right amount of distortion, the way the riff kicks in for the instrumental, Jim Reid singing I'll be your plastic toy, the way Karen Parker's vocals come in for the prolonged just like honey refrain and outro.

Memorably used in the closing scene in Lost In Translation, Scarlett Johansson would later go on to perform it with the Mary Chain at their comeback show in Coachella.

Official video

Live on The Tube 1985

Coachella 2007 with Scarlett Johansson

Head On

Head On is classic Mary Chain guitar pop with influences from the fuzzed up 50's style guitar riff through to the 80's drum machine and synth bass that drive and underpin the song. The song drips with Mary Chain cool; references to death, the stars and the sky, there is a guitar solo, breakdown, a build up, hey yay ay ays and yeah yeah yeahs. The song could easily last well under 3-minutes, but Jesus and Mary Chain realise they are the zone and take it on to over 4-minutes.

 There is a pre chorus and chorus that flow superbly.

And the way I feel tonight
I could die and I wouldn't mind
And there's something going on inside

Makes you wanna fell, makes you wanna try
Makes you wanna blow the stars from the sky
I can't stand up, I can't cool down
I can't get my head off the ground

In the video William Reid wears a Love t-shirt and Jim Reid clings to his mic stand as they mime to the song - looking super cool. Jesus and Mary Chain released many impeccable singles through their career and Head On is one of their best, certainly one of my favourites.

Official video

Far Gone And Out

So yeah, I did mention this song early in the blog and yeah, it is in my top 10. As a kid getting into alternative guitar pop music this just seemed so perfect, so right, so cool. Like it could have been made in a garage, but it's just got that little bit more of a pop tinge to it, in all the right ways. They hey, hey, heys, the beats, the guitars going full on fuzz overdrive at all the right times. I love lines like I'm television sick and I'm television crazy and the line about taking thoughts to the railway station. Most of all I just love how this comes across as the sound of a band having fun.

I can't explain, exactly what I'm doing, standing in the rain

Don't do it for fun, do it if you feel it, kiss it on the tongue

Check the video

Happy When It Rains

The Reid brothers get everything absolutely spot on here. Structurally perfect, sounding cool, brilliant imagery, all the classic Mary Chain stuff is there - rain, honey, gold, pain, darkest.

I love the don't know why, don't know why, things vaporise and rise to the sky line, just effortless. And the plug into her electric cool line.

The way things lift with the and we tried so hard break into the chorus which has shimmering guitar and Jim Reid singing about being happy when it rains, happy when it pours ... it's spine tingling to hear a band in this kind of form, totally on it.

When it breaks to And I'm happy when it rains at 2 minutes 39 seconds it sounds like Jim is defiantly happy, leading to a short breakdown instrumental before going back to the refrain.

Simply sublime.

Official video

The Roxy 1987

Previous 10 from blogs (all at the time of writing)

1. The Vaselines

2. The Lemonheads

3. The Pastels

4. Primal Scream

5. BMX Bandits 

6. Belle and Sebastian 

7. The Charlatans 

8. Hope Sandoval 

9. Edwyn Collins 

10. New Order 

11. Carla J Easton 

12. Stone Roses

13. Echo and the Bunnymen

14. Oasis 


Tuesday 3 August 2021

Anything Goes & Everything Flows DJ mix 3


Welcome to my 3rd DJ mix / playlist where, over 60-minutes (slightly over in this case) I try and create the vibe I used to love in bars like McChuills and The Variety Bar in Glasgow back in the early 00's. 'Back in the day' I'd often prefer staying in bars like this to going clubbing. The mix of music was more eclectic, you could mix more easily with other people, chat, dance, have a beer. The atmosphere in those bars was always so friendly and welcoming. The DJ style was very much anything goes and everything flows. I hope this is the kind of mix that, if played in McChuills or The Variety, would get people dancing, or coming up to ask me who the song was by if they hadn't heard it before.

From the coolness personified of Suicide and ESG, to bands and songs that did indeed soundtrack my nights out in the early 00's - Basement Jaxx, Groove Armada, a gem of an Air remix, Mylo and Royksopp. Throw in a couple of songs I've recently discovered by Charlotte Gainsbourg and DBFC, plus electro pop perfection by Eurythmics, a euphoric tune by Caribou, a real groove from Underworld and an undisputed classic by Massive Attack - this is quite a mix!

You can find it by searching Everything Flows DJ mix 3 on Spotify or CLICK HERE

Dream Baby Dream - Suicide

Dance - ESG

Jus 1 Kiss - Basement Jaxx

If Everybody Looked The Same - Groove Armada

Love Is A Stranger - Eurythmics

Kelly Watch The Stars (Moog Cookbook remix) - Air

Deadly Valentine - Charlotte Gainsbourg

Autonomic - DBFC

Never Come Back - Caribou

In My Arms - Mylo

Eple - Royksopp

Jumbo - Underworld

Unfinished Sympathy - Massive Attack