Sunday 26 November 2023

The Charlatans at the Barrowland Ballroom

The Charlatans playing the Barrowland Ballroom is always a memorable night. Make it a Saturday, induct them into the Barrowland Hall of Fame, have them play a greatest hits set and you'll make it truly special.

Last night was exceptional. The Barrowland roar echo'd through the venue as the band walked on stage to a superb northern soul tune that I'll be trying to discover the name of today. Tim Burgess wore a smile as wide as the Clyde as he captured the moment for his Twitter (X) followers.

And we were off, the band effortlessly shifting into gear with the groove of With No Shoes, then sliding into the pure pop rush of Can't Get Out Of Bed, the sunshine Stones-y Just When You're Thinking Things Over and then the powerful emotional hit of One To Another!


We were pretty close to the front, but at the start of One To Another I grabbed my mate Robbie and we danced through to the first few rows. We punched the air, we sang our hearts out, we pogo'd, threw our arms round strangers to bounce along and generally rolled back 30-years to feel like we were 18 again.

 A Glasgow crowd will always be 100% behind The Charlatans, but this opening blast of favourites and hits was a surefire way to win hearts and minds.

Tim Burgess was singing, dancing, conducting and generally having the time of his life as his friends and band-mates dove headlong into the deliciously dirty groove of Toothache, before the euphoric Come Home Baby.

Robbie and I were parched from singing and dancing, so we tried to get to a bar for a drink as the band eased things with the gorgeous And If I Fall. But there were a lot of thirsty Charlatans fans! So we just went straight back into the mix. 

Just as well! If the band were giving us (and them!) a breather, it wasn't for long! Mark Collins guitar for Jesus Hairdo sounded sublime. And it was time for another move to the front for Then, before North Country Boy threatened to lift the roof of the place.

Somehow Robbie's mate Graham found us as we'd lost him after One To Another. And he had beers for us! We gulped them down in no time!

The Charlatans were playing and sounding in peak form. The opening instrumental for Tellin' Stories was spine tinglingly sensational, while the extended instrumental for Let The Good Times Be Never Ending allowed Burgess to step back and admire his friends whipping up a storm. What a band! 

Was it as this point Tim introduced them? Anyway, at one point he did. Peter Salisbury on drums, Martin Blunt on bass, Mark Collins on guitar and Tony Rogers on keyboards and hammond. 

Each member got the roar they richly deserved.

Then we were off again. Weirdo sounded huge! Just Lookin' was like a burst of warm sunshine and then The Only One I Know had the famous sprung dancefloor absolutely bouncing. 2,000 pairs of hands were raised to the sky, 2,000 voices sang the chorus.

Everyone has been burned before

Everybody knows the pain

And 2,000 pairs of feet danced and jumped to the grooves and beats. Check the joy on peoples faces in the video below.

Impossible gave us a chance to come up for air, before the band raced through How High to leave everyone breathless and grinning. 

Billy Coyle from famous The Barrowland venue crew team came on stage to induct The Charlatans to the Barrowland Hall of Fame on the occasion of their 14th time playing. I've been to a good chunk of those 14 nights and this must be up with the very best of them. It may have been their best. Does it mean more all those years down the line?

It meant a lot to Tim and the band. It meant a lot to the fans.

Oh! Vanity kicked off the encore, a stomping and driving Motown beat and a young bagpiper joining Tony Rogers for the playful riff. I Don't Want To See The Sights was outstanding, Mark Collins guitar was particularly stunning. The sound throughout the show was spot on, but this did seem to stand out a little, even among all the hits. What a groove.

The lights went green and the band worked up Sproston Green before exploding into life. What a night. What a show. What a band! A 20-song set that left everyone beautifully tired and happy.

The Charlatans play again tonight. I think they should seriously consider an annual weekender at the Barrowland ... starting next year.

Good idea?

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Like A Ship (Without A Sail)

Trust me #62
Like A Ship (Without A Sail) by Pastor TL Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir

I discovered this wonderful gospel soul song last year after leaving a Spotify playlist playing on. When that happens, algorithms kick in and play recommended songs based on your taste. I totally get the criticism that Spotify receives, but (in a sign of age) this is largely how I discover music these days!

Like A Ship (Without A Sail) by Pastor TL Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir came on and it absolutely blew me away. I played it 3 times in a row and made a mental note to feature it in my Trust Me series.

Actually, I did more than that. I opened a draft blog, stuck the title in and left it. I didn't want to forget about this gem! 

And now I have finally got round to writing about it!

Thomas Lee Barrett is a preacher in Chicago and during the 1970's he recorded a number of gospel albums. Barrett was extremely fortunate that this congregation included top drawer musicians like Richard Evans (of Rotary Connection), Phil Upchurch, Charles Pittman and Philip Bailey (of Earth Wind and Fire). Many played on his records.

Barrett released the album Like A Ship (Wihtout A Sail) in 1971. I really do recommend checking it out. 

The title song is astonishing. The piano riff, the bass, the beats and heavy percussion create a real cool funk groove from the off. Then the choir kicks in, their voices soar heavenly. Pastor TL Barrett sings in between them, with a deep, rich and soulful voice.

The contrast in the call and response between Barrett and his choir is what makes this song and recording so memorable. The feel and the mood created by the choir really is spine tingling

I sail for pleasure, (I sail for pleasure)

But I found pain (but I found pain)

I look for sunshine, yes i did (I look for sunshine)

But I found rain (but I found rain)

And then I look for my friends

(I look for my friends)

They all walked away

(But they walked away)

The little shift in gear towards the choir singing on their own at 2-minutes 45 seconds creates goosebumps every time I hear it. Wow! And then it slows and the groove kicks back in as the call and response vocals return.

Like A Ship (Without A Sail) is added to my Trust Me playlist; search for Everything Flows - Trust Me on Spotify , or CLICK HERE Check below for all previous blogs in my Trust Me series.

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
52. Take The Skinheads Bowling by Camper Van Beethoven
53. Freakscene by Dinosaur Jr
54. Thank You For Being You by The Pastels
55. I Think I'm In Love by Spiritualized
56. Chestnut Mare by The Byrds
57. Cannonball by The Breeders
58. Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan
59. You Make Me Weak At The Knees by Electrelane
60. Lucky by Radiohead
61. Strange Currencies by R.E.M.
61. I Am The Cosmos by Chris Bell

Saturday 18 November 2023


Cover version of the month #92
Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse covers The Zutons

Amy Winehouse teaming up with Mark Ronson to cover Valerie by The Zutons must be the one of the most successful cover versions of the 21st century.

Released in October 2007, almost exactly a year after Winehouse's phenomenal second album Back To Black, Valerie was very arguably the only music of note that Amy recorded after her breakthrough. 

Peaking at number 2 in the charts, but spending 19 weeks inside the top 20, Ronson and Winehouse sold well over 300,000 copies of the single in just a couple of months. 

The song was everywhere; radio, TV, becoming a favourite of wedding bands, in commercials .... with the royalties ensuring The Zutons Dave McCabe, who originally wrote the song, could buy a house. Indeed, McCabe can still pretty much live off the royalties.

The Zutons released Valerie as a single in June 2006 and it reached a peak of number 9 in the charts. The bands Tired Of Hanging Around album reached number 2. They were doing well and I remember catching them play the Barrowland around this time. They looked like a real gang; McCabe - the curly haired frontman, Abi Harding on saxaphone, Russell Pritchard on bass (now playing with Noel Gallager's High Flying Birds) and friends. The Zutons came out of a Liverpool scene that the NME lazily labelled scallydelica. 

A love of Love and getting stoned seemed to shine out of Liverpool bands. I used to enjoy reading all the interviews with the likes of The Coral. It sounded like they just sat around listening to music or playing music all day long. And that came out in the music being released on Liverpool label Deltasonic - set up by Alan Wills, who used to drum with Shack.

The Basement, The Coral, The Zutons, The Little Flames and others were all bands kicking around the Liverpool scene and the gig circuit across the country. Of course, The Coral and The Zutons broke through.

I have found it really interesting to revisit The Zutons original version of Valerie for this blog as I'm much more familiar with the Winehouse and Ronson version these days. 

On my first time revisiting The Zutons version, I thought it sounded a little slow. But it improved after a couple of listens, after I reacquainted myself with the original; jangling guitars, a raspy soulful vocal, strong backbeat and stabbing horns.

However, I do prefer the Ronson and Winehouse version. The beat feels more urgent, the groove is cooler, Winehouse sings effortlessly and the production (as you would expect with Ronson) is absolutely top class. 

Winehouse plays with the vocals, accentuating words and phrases. Her voice crackles, soars, goes a little deeper and then goes beautifully clear. What a singer, what a sad, sad loss.

Ronson deserves a tonne of credit for his arrangement; the horns, bass groove, percussion - it really is sublime. Ronson produced Amy's iconic Back To Black album and you wonder what delights the two of them could have conjured up if they had worked together again. We'll never know.

The Zutons original and the Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse cover version are added to my Everything Flows Cool Cover Versions playlist on Spotify which also features all of the songs below. Search for the title or CLICK HERE

Valerie - The Zutons official video

Valerie - Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse

Valerie (live) - Amy Winehouse

Previous covers of the month blogs

13. Hurt
39. ABBA-esque
40. Jumpin' Jack Flash
64. Lola
82. Drop
87. Indian Rope Man + bonus Strawberry Fields Forever + This Wheels On Fire

Monday 13 November 2023

Carla J Easton at Mono

My sister Carla doesn't really do things by halves. It's part of her charm, part of what makes Carla, Carla. She goes all in. Sometimes, it might feel like she has taken on too much, but her work ethic, creative nature and desire to leave a mark tend to mean things work out in her favour.

Carla is mentoring a young teenage band called The Cords. So she wanted an to put on an all-ages show. And she wanted it to be accessible for people with disabilities or impairments. Somewhere people could feel safe to be themselves.

I was proud to see someone standing nearby me with a white mobility cane. And I was delighted to see so many young kids catching live music from Carla and her band, The Cords and Curlew. Who knows what impact that will have on them - will they be encouraged to pick up a keyboard, guitar or pester their parents into buying a drum kit? I hope so!

Mono was the venue of choice and Noel (manager) and his team were incredibly supportive of Carla's idea for an all-ages show. As someone who has put on a number of gigs over the years, I did worry about who would buy a ticket for a Sunday afternoon matinee show!

I needn't have. Mono was packed out. The atmosphere was friendly, supportive and inclusive. Kids bought bracelets from The Cords, overdosed on Haribo and wandered about blowing bubbles. 

Adults bought pin badges, records and CD's, and sampled the many beers (non-alcoholic for those of us driving) that Mono has to offer.

Kids sat at the front while adults stood around them, admiring the old keyboard that Curlew played and the way she looped and layered her voice and melodies. How did she do that? 

The Cords were brilliant. Carla has been telling me so much about them. She mentors them through a course at Rig Arts in Inverclyde. Eva (15 on guitar and vocals) and Grace (17 on drums) are young teenagers who are mining C86, the Glasgow School and Sarah Records for influences. I look forward to seeing them again and hope they can record some songs soon to capture their youthful innocence and energy. Their set generated enough applause to demand an encore of The Vaselines Monster Puss. Ones to watch for sure.

The Cords

On to the main act! Carla and her regular band of dreamers on the run extended to being a 9-piece band at times; veering from pure pop, to gorgeous ballads and string laden gems. 

Title track Sugar Honey opened the show with a sugary rush to match the haribo fuelled kids sitting at the front of the stage. Melodies poured off the stage as Carla and co played Tempt Me and Be OK from the new album with the beats, layers and complex arrangements played beautifully.

Then there was a run of 'non-hits' as Carla said. The New Order fronted by Carly Rae Jepsen pop delight of Get Lost and the super powerful blast of Weirdo.

Man of the Minch joined the band to play violin on Impossible Stuff which was absolutely gorgeous, the little jam at the end was outstanding. Things were slowed down for beautiful ballad The Girl From Before, the melodies flowing out effortlessly. 

View from side stage

Angus Munro then took to the stage with his saxophone for some glorious pop. One Week and Weekend Lover sounded huge. Carla then introduced You Made Us, her love letter to Glasgow, written in Queens Park during a lockdown while gazing across to the huge pink People Make Glasgow sign. 

The tale of neighbours, community, friendship, anonymity and love for Glasgow poured out of Carla's soul. It's quickly become a real favourite of mine.

Gorgeous dreamy Sleepyhead was sublime, before a triple blast of glorious noisy pop as the band became a 9-piece; Attack Of The Glam Soul Cheerleaders was an outrageous stomp. Blooming 4U was defiant, euphoric and triumphant and the closing Wanting What I Can't Have was like the little sister of Primal Scream's Loaded.

A brilliant set. A brilliant day. A brilliant effort by all to bring it all together and make it happen.

You can order Carla's Sugar Honey album from Bandcamp.

Or opt for a special dib dab cherry and orange version from the good folk at Monorail.

The Easton clan 

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Never Ending Mixtape part 86

Welcome to part 86 of my Never Ending Mixtape.

I last reported on additions back in September when we reached song number 3,473. There are now 3,644! That's what I get for missing a month!

So there are loads of goodies for you to delve into if you are one of the 336 people following the playlist. If you're new, then I recommend visiting and hitting shuffle. Who knows where the playlist will take you!

What has been added?

Well, almost 200 songs! Ending with a string of songs by Sly & The Family Stone as I'm currently reading Sly's outstanding autobiography.

You get new music from David Holmes - I'm really looking forward to his new album Blind On A Galloping Horse coming out this week on Heavenly Recordings.

You get Cat Power, R.E.M. , Stevie Nicks, Four Tops, Stereolab, Willie Hutch, Blondie, Baby Huey, Dot Allison, Cornershop, Gil Scott Heron, Sonny & Cher, Laura Nyro, The Staple Singers and much, much more.

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

Monday 6 November 2023

Teenage Fanclub at the Tramway

Last night I added The Tramway to the list of Glasgow venues that I've seen Teenage Fanclub in. It's always a thrill when the band play somewhere different.

Ahead of the tour, Raymond McGinley said; "Following our most recent album Endless Arcade we did a UK / Europe tour in support of that. While it felt great to be properly back on the road again post-pandemic, we realised that for many of the venues we’d been playing those same places over and over for more than thirty years. We thought that next time we should try to do something a bit different. As part of that tour we played a couple of seated venues and enjoyed the experience. We got the feeling that the audience did too. So, for the tour this year in October and November we decided to put together a run of dates in seated venues, for the dual purpose of both playing shows in a theatre environment and in venues that are mostly places we haven’t played before. For both band and audience this tour should be an enjoyably novel experience.”

Raymond knows his fans!

And it was an extremely enjoyable experience. 

After a narrow escape on the train where I was heading to Pollockshaws East rather than Pollockshields East, I met my friend Lorna outside the venue shortly after doors opened. After grabbing a new mug and a beer, the doors to the theatre swung open and we headed in to nab good seats.

We opted for the end row 3, directly up from where Raymond was due to stand. It was great to see loads of people we knew around us, or on their way to seats. 

The venue had exposed brickwork to the sides and a huge screen behind the stage, which was pretty much floor level with the crowd then elevated above the band. I was immediately reminded of The Beatles playing in Twickenham Studios at the start of the Get Back documentary. That kind of vibe. It was like dropping in on a band rehearsal.

Sweet Baboo (Stephen Black) played a short acoustic set in support. Heartfelt stories were told to introduce several songs with Goodbye (about a neighbours dog he walked during lockdown) being a particular favourite of mine.

Black has stood in for Dave McGowan on bass a few times, so it was great that the band invited him out on tour. Baboo is promoting his latest album The Wreckage, that came out in early 2024. It's safe to say that his humour, melodies and storytelling won him new fans.

At 9pm Norman Blake, Raymond McGinley, Francis Macdonald, Dave McGowan, Euros Childs and Stephen Black strolled on to the stage. For the next 90-minutes, the six piece Fanclub delighted the crowd with songs from new album Nothing Lasts Forever and songs from across their career, culminating in set closer Everything Flows, their glorious debut single.

There were smiles and laughs - especially as one brave heckler shouted ELTON at Blake as he sat behind the piano for Self-Sedation. Blake took it in typical good form, joking he needed more elaborate glasses. And then when one brave soul jogged across the front of the band to go to the toilet it caused hysterics for Norman and Raymond - especially cause the guy was dressed like he was out for a run!

The sound was excellent throughout; guitars gelling, heavenly harmonies and all kinds of heart tugging moments. A double dose of Alcoholiday and Did I Say early on was worth the admission money alone, while Raymond's beautiful Only With You was an unexpected treat.

New songs - Tired Of Being Alone (set opener), Foreign Land, I Left A Light On, Falling Into The Sun, Self-Sedation and See The Light were all played, fitting effortlessly in alongside older cuts. There was an extra zip to them in a live setting, especially the first couple, the guitars sounded a little more raw and urgent.

I was gutted they didn't play album closer I Will Love You. I do hope that makes an appearance in the live set at some point. But then, with 30+ years of songs to choose from, you can't get everything!

I Don't Want Control Of You is always on the setlist and it always succeeds in lifting and moving me. I'm In Love is another song that has extra zip and zest in the live setting, while My Uptight Life was as poignant as ever.

Stephen Black played acoustic guitar, keyboard, percussion and saxaphone through the set. I thought his acoustic guitar in particular added a lot to some songs. Just that extra little layer.

Dave was super solid on bass, while Euros harmonising with Norman is a delight. 

Back In The Day is a recent favourite of mine and it sounded sublime in the encore, the chorus seemed to go on and on, the band looked like they were really enjoying it. 

Closing with Everything Flows, Teenage Fanclub left everyone feeling a warm glow that the band continue to radiate. I'll be back for more on Tuesday in Edinburgh.

I do like to stand with a beer at gigs, but do you know what, I loved this show. The Tramway was set up perfectly, can't have been a bad seat in the house.

Thursday 2 November 2023

Now and Then

Now and Then, the 'last' Beatles song, was released earlier today. 

The song, like Free As A Bird and Real Love from the Anthology Series in 1995, stems from a John Lennon demo. Back in 1995, the technology didn't exist to isolate John's vocal from the piano. 

That was then, this is now. John, Paul, George and Ringo are united once again, to complete the song, continue The Beatles story and help with yet more Beatles remasters and reissues (of the Red and Blue compilation albums).

Personally, I'll never tire of reading about The Beatles, or listening to their brilliant music that wowed (and changed) the world, or hearing their musings and philosophies on life. Give Peace A Chance, All You Need Is Love, We All Shine On .... important then, more so now.

The Beatles story is wonderful and this is another chapter of the most incredible book that takes in; friendship, music, death, love, travel, children, creative souls, mind-blowing success, mind-bending drugs, break-ups, make-ups, reflection ... and four characters that developed through the years, four people we all fell for. It's been quite the journey ... a long and winding road.

Now, with Paul and Ringo in their 80's, this really is likely to be the last time The Beatles create and release a new song. Their legacy will last forever and I'm sure that someone somewhere is working up an ABBA experience style series of shows  ... but lets focus on the new song.

The piano is haunting, and Lennon's voice hits hard, it gripped me immediately. Paul comes in, subtly at first, then your hear his voice coming in stronger, then Ringo's drums seem harder and Paul's bass is there, the strings are sublime and everything builds quite beautifully.

Paul sounds older, his voice still gelling with Lennon in the 70's. George's slide guitar from the 90's is there, the strings swirl and after the second chorus there is a gorgeous dreamy instrumental with classic Beatle aaahhh's and oooohhh's.

I know it's true

It's all because of you

And if I make it through

It's all because

Of you

There was a surge of optimism in mid-90's Britain when The Beatles last released new music. Britpop was at its 1995 peak and Labour were riding towards government. The Tories were on their way out and the nation was ready to party - things could only get better.

We could sure use a surge of optimism and change right now!

Official audio

Peter Jackson's Now and Then film