The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Johnny Marr and Billy Duffy were mates from Wythenshawe, south Manchester before either of them got famous. Billy, a few years older, sold Johnny his first amp and gave him a pink shirt stuffed in the back of the amp that Johnny had been pestering him about. Marr formed The Smiths (Duffy having introduced him a couple of years earlier to Morrissey at a Patti Smith gig at the Apollo). Duffy became guitar-slinger in The Cult. The picture above shows the pair reunited in 1990 backstage at a Depeche Mode gig at a baseball stadium in L.A. Electronic were about to play support, despite not having worked out how all the songs went. The pair recorded a cover version of Ennio Morricone’s famous spaghetti western theme in 1992 for an NME cassette celebrating the music paper’s 40th birthday, the two duelling it out over a drum machine.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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Breaking Rocks In The Hot Sun

Today, from 11 til 2, I shall be manning the book stall at Park Road Nursery’s summer fair. Not exactly breaking rocks I know. And the weather forecast for M33 is for heavy rain and not hot sun. Last year the big sellers on the stall were various celebrity autobiographies in hardback (prices ranged from 30p to 50p depending on my judgement), a book on pond care and a dvd boxed set of five Steven Seagal films. But that was very much just the tip of the iceberg. The Quakers, Park Road, Sale- pop in if you’re free, say hello and leave with some quality literature.

I Fought The Law is one of the great rock ‘n’ roll songs, written by Sonny Curtis and The Crickets. I’m not sure The Bobby Fuller Four’s version has been bettered- as Paul Simonon pointed out, it’s the way those guitar chords are so ‘light and feathery’. I played this at a mate’s wedding and it went down a storm. Bobby Fuller met a very sticky end, found dead in his car with foul play suspected though the verdict was suicide.

I Fought The Law

The Clash’s version is superb- from Topper’s opening salvo through to Joe’s impassioned delivery. The breakdown on the line ‘robbing people with a -dum, dum, blum, blum, blum, blum- six gun’ is especially thrilling. This live version is The Clash at their most black-clad glorious. Best bit- when the three man front line step up to the mics in sync to bawl out the opening line.

It’s been covered endlessly, the 60s girl group version by The She Trinity being one of my favourites (‘He fought the law and the law won’). Most recently Johnny Marr has been encoring with it and doing it very well too. As evidenced here in San Francisco, along with fellow former Wythenshawe resident Billy Duffy.