I Like French Ones

Someone, somewhere posted Flowered Up’s single It’s On the other day and it reminded me of its release back in summer 1990. The band had got some music press coverage, references to them being the London answer to Happy Mondays (whatever the question was). ITV’s Saturday morning music programme The Chart Show had an indie chart segment, once every 3 weeks (switching between the dance chart and the metal chart). The programme trailed Flowered Up’s appearance later on so we settled down on our rented sofa in our student house and waited for this up and coming band we hadn’t heard yet.

It sounded really weird, all over the place. Vocals sometimes rose up in the mix and sometimes the instruments sounded like they’d been stretched out and a strange whooshing noise dominated. It was miles away from Step On.

It turned out the video tape that Heavenly had sent over to ITV was faulty, the band’s first TV appearance screwed up. I don’t know if it affected the sales of the single. It’s On was released in a variety of formats, 7″s and 12″s, as labels did back then to fleece the fans out of their cash by getting them to buy multiple copies for that extra B-side. It’s On is a good song, the rhythm lurching from one foot to the other, enough to disconcert at the indie-disco. There aren’t many good songs led by pan pipes and keyboards, and then there’s Liam Maher’s stream-of-consciousness lyrical drawl- ‘I like French ones, big French ones’. The extended version, It’s On- Sonia, seems to exist in different versions as well, across multiple formats. This is the seven minutes plus version.

It’s On- Sonia

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Joe Maher

It’s been reported that Joe Maher of Flowered Up has died. Joe was guitarist and younger brother of singer Liam Maher (who died in 2009). Flowered Up left behind a small but brightly coloured, e-fuelled back catalogue including this cover version of a Right Said Fred song (done for a Heavenly Records ep) which I’ve always liked. RIP Joe.

Don’t Talk Just Kiss

Topper Is A Little Bit Partial

To answer my own question from this morning, yes Topper Headon did have a connection with Flowered Up- he played congas and percussion with them at a gig in 89 or 90. Their It’s On single also borrowed lyrics from Joe Strummer (the bit in Rude Boy where he plays something akin to Let the Good Times Roll on piano).

To tie in another Bagging Area repeat offender Andrew Weatherall provided two remixes of Flowered Up’s epic 1992 Weekender single. Long and wobbly with loads of loops, vocal samples, time shifting parts, echo, acidic squiggles, Weekender getting bent all over the place. Here, have ’em both.

Weekender (Weatherall’s Weekender A Audrey Is A Little Bit Partial Mix)

Weekender (Weatherall’s Weekender B Audrey Is A Little Bit More Partial)

>Weekender

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I’m sure this isn’t a unique or original thought but aren’t all these long weekends nice? Especially combined with this early summer weather. Friday felt like Saturday, which gave Saturday an extra something. Now it’s Sunday night and we’re not ironing work shirts and school uniforms, and making sandwiches and lunchboxes, and mentally preparing for the working week, and all those other things that give Sunday night a depressing edge. Maybe the north European Protestant work ethic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and we should be more Mediterranean with bank holidays every week or two.

In the spirit of celebrating the weekend I’m posting Flowered Up’s mighty Weekender, the full 12″ mix, all twelve minutes and fifty five seconds of it, with it’s celebration of the weekend and gimlet-eyed realism, Quadrophenia samples and Liam Maher’s hard won e-culture wisdom.

Dad ‘You’re barmy you are staying out all hours!’
Phil Daniels ‘Ah well, don’t worry I ain’t gonna turn into a pumpkin am I?’

11 Weekender [12′ Version][Version].wma#2#2

Some say this was Flowered Up’s only moment of greatness. Not true though- It’s On was good as well. Especially when it got national TV exposure on The Chart Show and the audio on the tape was all mangled. Sounded very weird. And then there’s the pair of Weatherall remixes of Weekender (Audrey Is A Little Bit Partial).

Phil Daniels ‘You can take that mail and that franking machine and all that other rubbish I have to go about with and you can stuff it right up your arse!’