Monday 10 April 2023

Take The Skinheads Bowling

 Trust Me #52

Take The Skinheads Bowling by Camper Van Beethoven

As a debut single, Take The Skinheads Bowling by Camper Van Beethoven has to be right up there!

I seem to remember having a bootleg of Teenage Fanclub performing this song. Possibly from a King Tuts show. I probably heard the original on a mixtape around 1991/2 when I was 15/16. It swiftly became a real favourite.

Take The Skinheads Bowling is only 2 minutes 32 seconds long, but it packs a lot in! Opening with a fast paced chiming rhythm guitar groove, the vocals come in and sound beautifully stretched, urgent at times, almost spoken word at times.

Everything rides on the groove. Random (purposefully)  lyrics, the brilliant I had a dream last night hook, the backing vocals - just to hammer the hooks home, and of course the chorus.

I love the way David Lowery mixes his vocals. At times it is almost spoken word, then in the next line he really strains his voice. The ongoing contrast in styles keeps listeners on their toes and I think it has helped the song still feel remarkably fresh almost 40-years on from release in 1985.

The example in the first verse is the contrast from; and he increases the number of clocks by exactly one to everybody's coming home for lunch these days.

Speaking about the lyrics, Lowery has previously said; "The lyrics were purposefully structured so that it would be devoid of meaning. Each subsequent line would undermine any sort of meaning established by the last line." 

Backing vocals are introduced in the second verse to delightful effect, adding to the sense of fun and pop catchiness. At one point Lowery sings there's not a line that goes here that rhymes with anything, before my favourite line (and surely something we've all said at one point) I had a dream last night but I forget what it was.

All the while, the urgent rhythm propels the song along. Take The Skinheads Bowling is a song I rarely play just the once. It's so funny, fresh, unique, cool and catchy that I just have to play it again.

If you've never heard it before, then I really hope you enjoy it. If you have heard it, I know you'll love a reason to revisit. Let me know if you play it more than once!

Camper Van Beethoven original

Teenage Fanclub cover version

A list of all previous songs I've blogged about in my Trust Me feature are listed below, along with links to each blog. Take The Skinheads Bowling joins them.

I've also collated them all into a playlist on Spotify that you can find by searching for Everything Flows - Trust Me , or you can CLICK HERE

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 Love Affair
27. Walk Away Renee by The Left Banke
28. Teenage Kicks by The Undertones
29. Shaky Ground by Sneeze
29. Rill Rill by Sleigh Bells
30. I Can Feel Your Love by Felice Taylor
31. The State We're In by The Chemical Brothers w/ Beth Orton
32. Sunshine After The Rain by Ellie Greenwich
33. Losing My Edge by LCD Soundsystem
34. Mondo 77 by Looper
35. Les Fleurs by Minnie Riperton
36. Rat Trap by The Boomtown Rats
37. How High by The Charlatans
38. I Can't Let Go by Evie Sands
39. Pop Song 89 by R.E.M.
40. Summertime Clothes by Animal Collective
41. There She Goes by The Las
42. We're Going To Be Friends by White Stripes
43. Autumn Sweater by Yo La Tengo
44. Sister Rena by Lomond Campbell
45. Revolution by The Beatles
46. Lazarus by The Boo Radleys
47. Wrote For Luck by Happy Mondays
48. American Trilogy by The Delgados
49. Loser by Beck 
50. Silent Sigh by Badly Drawn Boy
51. Comedy by Shack

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