Clean Up Your Messes

Since the invention of the camera phone (how quaint that sounds) everyone is now a photographer and that’s obviously good news which results in some great pictures and the sharing of them. But being a photographer, a professional one, is a special skill that comes down to a bit more than just pointing your iPhone at something funny/beautiful/brilliant and clicking the shutter. Paul Husband is a Mancunian photographer I’m in touch with via social media and very good he is too. On Saturday night he went to a big gig at Victoria Warehouse headlined by Primal Scream with support from Black Grape, Badly Drawn Boy and a whole host of smaller, local bands. I was at my brother’s wedding on Saturday night but Paul went and asked me if I wanted to share some of his photos. I’m more than happy to oblige- this one above of Kermit caught my eye. And so did these…

Reviews of the performance have been good, Black Grape reportedly upstaging Bobby Gillespie’s group. Here, have a song from their debut album with characteristically great Shaun Ryder lyrics.

In The Name Of The Father

Lift Going Up

A couple of weeks ago I posted 808 State and Bjork’s Ooops off 1991’s Ex:el album. Ctel then posted a recent remix of In Yer Face from the same album so I went back and listened to the whole thing for the first time in ages. 1991 has been all over the internet in the last few days, mainly because September 1991 saw the release of Screamadelica, Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque, Nirvana’s Nevermind and A Tribe Called Qwest’s Low End Theory amongst others. Not a bad month all things considered. In November My Bloody Valentine put out Loveless. Ex:el came out in May so pre-empted the autumn rush but what a good album it is. Both Bjork songs are superb, In Yer Face is techno heaven, then there’s the Bernard Sumner sung Spanish Heart, Cubik, Olympic and the spooky Nefertiti. It also uses the Willy Wonka Gene Wilder sample- ‘we are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams’. Tucked away inside Ex:el is this, Lift, a wonderful, uplifting, updating of Kraftwerk with rave drums.


Capricorn Constellation

In the comment box on my Sabres Of Paradise live post on Monday reader and occasional commenter Niv mentioned going to the Herbal Tea Party night’s in Manchester, saying that they were the first time he heard David Holmes’ remix of Smokebelch and Capricorn’s 20Hz, ‘Seminal moments in my life!’ said Niv and who are we to disagree.

20Hz came out in 1993, the work of Dutch artist Hans Weekhout. It is a massive tribal techno record, melodic too, perfect for strobe lit, dry ice filled dancefloors. Hands in the air.


Low Blood Sugar

Yesterday’s Sabres live set led to a reader called KevM asking if any of Weatherall’s Blood Sugar sets were online. I think I’ve got some as mp3s on another hard drive but haven’t been able to check but instead I had a look on the net and found this…

If you go here there are several more, all from between 1998 and 2000. Deep and dark, subterranean minimal dub techno. Lots of hiss, echo and flutter. Slow and low. Rhythm and Sound. Head nodding, feet shuffling.

Blood Sugar was also an alias for Weatherall and producer Dave Harrow. They put out a double pack on red and white vinyl called Levels which I have downstairs but don’t have a rip of currently. In 1995 a 12″ came out where Blood Sugar remixed Soma’s Percy X. Breakbeat driven techno.

-3 (Emissions 1)

-3 (Emissions 2)

Crossed Swords

In 1994 Andrew Weatherall put together a live band version of Sabres Of Paradise who played several sets around the country, Weatherall standing at the back twiddling knobs and smoking while Gary Burns, Jagz Kooner and Phil Mossman dealt with the live bass, keys, guitars and percussion. Until now no recordings of these live sets have existed on the interwebs.  Herbal Tea Party have found and uploaded a recording of Sabres Of Paradise playing live in 1994 at one of their nights in Manchester. The motherlode. The first half hour is Andrew Weatherall playing a down tempo, laid back set. Then Sabres join in and work their way through Bubble And Slide II, Tow Truck, Theme and a pounding, bent out of shape Smokebelch. Those of you who are Weatherall/Sabres fans will understand the excitement this recording causes.

Backside Of The Moon

The Aubrey Mixes: The Ultraworld Excursions was a remix album of The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, released in December 1991 and deleted on the same day, offering alternate mixes of seven of the tracks. All work just as well as the original ones, this one in particular being an expansive Sunday morning treat.

Backside Of The Moon (Under Water Deep Space)

Wedding Bells

My brother (the next one down from me in age, there are five of us pus two sisters) is getting married today in Manchester Cathedral, the building behind Joy Division in the picture. He lives in the centre of town so it is his local church. Good luck to the pair of you Z and C, may you be very happy together.

Back in 1987 LL Cool J released the single I Need Love. For hip hop loving B Boys like my brother I think this was the moment they parted company with Cool James. Have the intervening twenty nine years been kind to the song?


If you want a much earthier, slinkier and more streetsmart rap love song you could do worse than Method Man and Mary J Blige’s 1995 hit I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need To Get By, a reworking of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s from 1968. Headnodding beats and Method Man’s delivery (‘I got mad love to give’) matched by Mary J Blige’s chorus. Does this still sound good in 2016?

Yes it does.

Autumn Leaves

My diary tells me it is now officially autumn. This Coldcut track remixed by the Irresistible Force and produced by Mixmaster Morris is a wonderful sprawling piece of ambient house (some use the phrase chill out but I can’t bring myself to do it). At first it doesn’t sound that autumnal but as it unwinds and the vocal comes in, the sense of seasons changing and the sun diminishing becomes overpowering.

Autumn Leaves (Irresistible Force Mix)

Go Easy Step Lightly

Back to back Clash.
JC’s continuing series of Imaginary Compilation Albums threw up his ten track Clash compilation a good while ago. I did a spin off, alternative version which drew solely from non-single releases and nothing that JC had included in his ICA as a companion piece (which I should have submitted there rather than posted here). Some time later following my B.A.D. ICA at The Vinyl Villain  I speculated about a Mick Jones sings The Clash ICA. Driving home recently listening to the extras discs from Sound System I was thinking that The Clash could have several other ICA’s- a Clash In Dub ICA, The Clash cover versions ICA, a Sandinista! ICA (controversial maybe, many people feeling like Joe did that the thirty six songs should be left exactly as they are, warts and all). There may be others which just goes to demonstrate the band’s quality, range and depth. The whole set could then be compiled in a massive Clash ICA box with trinkets and booklets.

The Sound System Extras pack is three discs, discs one and two covering non album releases and some unreleased bits (see yesterday). The third disc has various demos and finishes with six songs live from The Lyceum in London, December 1979. There are two gloriously spiky runs through City Of The Dead and Jail Guitar Doors, Cheapskates (not the greatest Clash song perhaps), English Civil War and then two absolute smashes. The first, Stay Free, is Mick’s love letter to best mate Robin Banks and their time growing up in South London- the breakdown and Paul’s bassline re-entry is every bit as good as it should be. The second is their breakneck cover of The Bobby Fuller Four song. Topper’s drumming is breathtaking, the guitars squeal and spit, and then there are three way Joe/Mick/Paul vocals on I Fought The Law. On fire.

Stay Free (Live at the Lyceum)

I Fought The Law (Live at the Lyceum)

Midnight To Stevens

The Clash recorded and released a huge number of songs during their time together. In the space of just two years they put out London Calling (a double) and Sandinista! (a triple), Bankrobber as a single plus B-sides for the album based singles and found time to write and record Ellen Foley’s solo album. There really doesn’t seem to have been much left gathering dust unreleased and what there was has been bootlegged and compiled since they split. The Clash On Broadway boxed set included Mick’s lovely cover of Every Little Bit Hurts and the more recent Sound System included two Combat Rock outtakes- the Beautiful People Are Ugly Too and Idle In Kangaroo Court, neither of which sound like it was a difficult decision to leave them off in the first place. Both boxed sets included the unedited version of Straight To Hell (pretty essential all told). Sound System had a magnificent extended version of Ghetto Defendant with much more Allen Ginsberg than made the final cut on Combat Rock and an extended version of Sean Flynn. The real treasure of the unreleased Clash songs is Midnight To Stevens, a tribute to the maverick dj and producer who created the atmosphere for the recording of London Calling and inspired that album. The song has a great Joe lyric, searching for and finding Guy in a pub coupled with a ringing Mick guitar line. It’s heartfelt and true.

Midnight To Stevens