Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 11

It’s Friday night and it’s that time again, for our weekly rockabilly rave-up. Carl Perkins (he was there before Elvis music fans) invites you to a party, and for this bank holiday weekend, including our pre-40th trip to Edinburgh, I think we should all get Dixie Fried. Have a great weekend.

14 Dixie Fried.wma

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The Stone Roses ‘What The World Is Waiting For’

And they were, wern’t they?

The Stone Roses were a massive band for me- right age, right time, right part of the country. I’ve shied away from writing about them because a) there can’t be anyone who has even a passing interest in them who hasn’t got everything they’ve done, b) the whole world knows their story and I’m not sure I can add much to it, and c) their importance seems to fade each year and I’ve listened to them so much I can’t even hear them any more, it’s become almost musical wallpaper.

But they were massive for me. I first heard them when a hipper friend taped me the Sally Cinnamon 12″, and a year or two later on I saw them play. This was just before the first album came out, and they blew me away. It’s still the gig I judge other gigs against. I only knew a couple of the songs they played but the set knocked my head off, along with their arrogant cool, haircuts, trousers and the all the rest of it. Stunning. From that point on me and them fell perfectly into place and The Roses trajectory from the first album through to Spike Island (much better than people would have you believe, though there was a lot of sitting around in the afternoon) was close to perfect. Thousands of other people my age could say the same. Blackpool, Ally Pally, arrest for chucking paint around, blowing the sound on the Late Show, Fools Gold on TOTP along with Happy Mondays, photos on top of a Swiss mountain for the end of year NME- everything. Wonderful.

The other side of it is they really should have stopped there, and preserved the legend. We all know The Second Coming is better than the reviews at the time said, but then maybe it’s not as good as the fans have since said. Guitar overload, Ian audibly not interested, a fair few below par songs. John Squire was asked what he’d change if he had the chance to do that record again- ‘The cover was too dark’ he said, and then muttered ‘do it again over my dead body’. It doesn’t sound like anyone enjoyed it. Sure, the NME ‘Gotcha’ cover was exciting, and Love Spreads was great, but after the album was released they collapsed slowly. Reni left. The tour nights at the Apollo were stunning, but it already felt like nostalgia. The song they recorded for Help said it all- given the challenge of recording a song in a day they turned in a poor cover of one of their own songs (Love Spreads), with super-heavy guitar, flat vocals and an embarrassing piano bit. Totally dysfunctional. Arguments, remixes of Begging You (very un-Roses) , Squire left, the others slagged him off rotten, Reading Festival atrocity exhibition. The end.

Even after that they and others have continued to ruin the legacy. Middling to poor solo careers. The Seahorses (one good song). Two Squire solo albums, proving never mind about Ian, John really couldn’t sing. The highlights of Ian Brown’s solo career, to these ears, would fill a 6 track e.p. at best, including the track he did with UNKLE. And despite his best cosmic-love, stoner philosophy he’s still over a decade later got steam coming out of ears about John leaving. Reni? The Rub? Only Mani escaped with dignity intact and re-energised Primal Scream. Beneath all of that Silvertone have pillaged the back catalogue and sucked it dry, cheapening the whole thing further, re-releasing the album and singles multiple times. Last year’s twentieth anniversary box-set setting a new low, with a lemon-shaped USB stick of the first lp. I didn’t buy it. In fact, the only thing they’ve done which continues to earn respect is avoid reforming, which would be the real, living end.

So, despite their enormous influence on me- they changed everything, including the music I listened to, the width of my trousers and cut of my hair, or should that be cut of my trousers and width of my hair?- I have real mixed feelings about them these days, but occasionally when I hear Waterfall, or Adored, or Elephant Stone, or Standing Here, or chance upon the video of them on TOTP or The Late Show, or hear the opening chimes of Sally Cinnamon, or the last 6 minutes of Fools Gold, or this, the cool-as-Christmas flipside to Fools Gold, and close my eyes it can be good again. Cheers lads.

02 What the world is waiting for.wma

Wild Billy Childish and The Buff Medways ‘The Poets Dream’

It’s not all garage rock round Billy Childish’s way, no sir. This is the quite lovely ballad The Poet’s Dream, electric guitar but finger picked rather than three chord strum, great melody and aching singing, with Billy celebrating his muse. It’s a song for lovers, as Dicky Ashcroft once observed, far less successfully.

Speaking of muses (and not that godawful band from Devon) Nick Cave had a verse in There She Goes, My Beautiful World that goes ‘I look at you and you look at me, deep in our hearts we know it, that you weren’t much of a muse,but then I’m weren’t much of a poet’, which always makes me laugh. Billy Childish isn’t a Nick Cave fan so I doubt he’d be that pleased to be linked in this way, but then he doesn’t do the internet either so I shouldn’t think he’ll be reading this. But if you are Billy, say hello.

09 The Poets Dream.wma

Gorillaz ‘Stylo’ Live On Later

Just found this- Gorillaz playing Stylo live on Later earlier this week. I heard the album a few weeks ago and wasn’t that taken with it, however this is superb. Have a look on Youtube for the visuals, almost everyone dressed as sailors. This version features Bobby Womack and Mos Def doing the vocals as on the record, but more excitingly for The Clash fans, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon playing live together for the first time since 1983. And if anyone can carry off a peaked sailor’s cap it’s Paul Simonon.

Gorillaz_-_Stylo_ft_Mos_Def_Bobby_Womack_Live.mp3

Siouxsie ‘Into A Swan’ (Weatherall Remix)

We havn’t had any Weatherall for well over a week here at Bagging Area, and to be honest between all the pro-Weatherall blogs there can’t be much left to post, but here’s a remix from 2007. Punk-goth Queen Siouxsie Sioux’s Into A Swan, from her first solo album Mantaray, which was pretty good if memory serves. Weatherall takes Siouxsie for a spin round the dancefloor, fairly successfully, though this may not top anyone’s list of favourite Weatherall remixes.

Someone asked me recently, Siouxsie or Debbie Harry? and I answered Siouxsie without even thinking about it. Maybe that’s just me. She’s a bit scary though.

Into A Swan (Weatherall Remix).wma

Sister Vanilla ‘Jamcolas’

When The Jesus And Mary Chain split up live on stage in 1999 it seemed pretty terminal. William went off and recorded some of the most uncommercial, unfocussed and downright unlistenable stuff any record label has ever put out as Lazycame. I’ve got the album and it’s awful. I’ve got a 7″ which has got a good track on it. Jim took Ben Lurie from The Mary Chain and formed Freeheat, who released some stuff in America, but it was a bit uninspired. Jim had a brief stab at a solo career as well, with a good single called Dead End Kids (remind me and I’ll post it at some point). In 2007 they unexpectedly reformed playing Coachella (with Scarlett Johansson guesting) and a few gigs afterwards, but new material has been thin on the ground. A new song was aired on a US tv show and popped up in an episode of Heroes. Typically, they claimed the secret to the reformation was ‘Jim doesn’t drink anymore, and William doesn’t drink on stage’.

In between the split and the reformation, in early 2007, a Sister Vanilla album, Little Pop Rock, came out to a few reviews but little fanfare which was surprising as it was a Mary Chain album in all but name. Sister Vanilla is fronted by the Reid’s sister Linda, and she has the Mary Chain drawl down to a t. The Mary Chain are all over the album- the songs are co-written by Jim and William, Jim, Ben Lurie and William produced it, Jim sings on many of the tracks with Linda and plays guitar, William’s instruments are all over it. The lyrics reference the Mary Chain (the title of this song for one, another goes ‘Honey’s Dead, Psychocandy, I listen to them all of the time’). Several of the songs were recorded by earlier Reid projects (Two Of Us by Freeheat, Can’t Stop The Rock by Jim as the b-side to his Secret For A Song solo single, K To Be Lost was the best/only Lazycame song). Some of the songs feature William’s distinctive misanthropic worldview (‘I’ve had money and drugs and fame, I pissed my money all down the drain, I pissed my mother, I pissed my friend’ etc etc, sung with a sweet snarl by Linda). It’s a really good little album and well worth looking out for.

Here’s a taster- Jamcolas- fuzzy, snarly, warm, narcotic but alive, honey and candy- you know the drill.

02 Jamcolas.wma

The Modfather ‘Andromeda’ (Richard Hawley Remix)

The naysayers (and I’m pointing this finger partly at my friend Mr A.N. of Ealing) have always had Weller down as an arch-conservative, songs carved from traditional oak, a meat-and-two-veg man, and granted his mid 90s renaissance contained some duff albums, as did his dadrocking, Later with Jools Holland presence, and Gallagher brother association tendencies, but from The Jam onwards he’s never really stood still and at least once changed so much he shed thousands of fans.

The jump from In The City to Sound Affects to The Gift contains more stylistic leaps than most bands will ever make (certainly the ones you see tramping round today), and the quantum shift into The Style Council was too mind-bending for many. One of the things that was most disappointing about the Modfather’s return in the 90s was his seeming dismissal of the Style Council. Bagging Area thinks the early Style Council singles and some of the album tracks are the equal of The Jam’s. Similarly the move from Mod-pop to soul to modern jazz to house The Style Council made is unlikely to repeated by, say, The Editors or (insert current band’s name here). His first two solo albums (Paul Weller and Wild Wood) contain ideas aplenty, before the rot began to set in with Stanley Road. Even then, he was churning out top singles like Hung Up, and being remixed by Portishead and Brendan Lynch (his Kosmos remix is fantastic).

Last week his latest album Wake Up The Nation was released, following 2008’s 22 Dreams, which had a crack at every leftfield musical style you can think of. Wake Up The Nation is a blast, 16 songs in under 40 minutes, fizzing and crackling, jagged riffs, loud funky drums, noise, energy and abandon. I’m sure some people are only just getting over January’s single with very non-mod Kevin Shields 7 & 3 Is The Strikers Name. The double cd edition of the new album contains this- Richard Hawley’s remix of Andromeda, sounding like neither Weller nor Hawley, but like a lost underground psyche classic, The Walker Brothers freaking out while My Bloody Valentine fall down the stairs behind them. Something even the non-believers can enjoy. All of which makes it more of a shame he never properly released the Weatherall remix of Heliocentric- but that’s another story.

Acknowledgements and thanks to Phil Spector at the wonderful Plain Or Pan blog, whose review last week convinced me to get the double cd, which this remix is taken from.

2-05 Andromeda (Richard Hawley Remix.mp3