Double Double Good

2019 is going to be a year of 30th celebrations marking three decades since various albums and singles were released that shaped popular music and culture. By 1989 things were starting to happen for Happy Mondays. Bummed, their masterpiece, came out in November 1988 and sold slowly but steadily. From it’s Central Station Design cover to the nude on the inner sleeve, from Martin Hannett’s echo and delay drenched production to Shaun William Ryder’s stream-of-consciousness lyrics, Bummed looked and sounded like no other record (although plenty of other records would soon be released that were inspired by Bummed).

The penultimate song is Do It Better and at only two minutes twenty-nine seconds it’s the shortest song on the album. Musically it is miles from late 80s indie, Mark Day playing chords that other guitarists wouldn’t even consider and Paul Davis’ tinny keyboard swirling around over some drums that sound like they were recorded in a different room through an open door. Over this unholy stew Shaun chants ‘On one, in one, did one, do one, have one, in one, have one, come on’ before letting loose with…

‘Swapped the dog for a cold cold ride
It was deformed on the in but deformed on the outside
Stuck a piece of crack in a butcher’s hand
Demanded he give me my cat back
Don’t purchase me coz I won’t work
I gave away my oil and the seeds in my boots
There was a boom in the room as the papers marched in
He built himself together then sat down’

There’s a second equally surreal verse before he goes back to the ‘on one’ chant but this time extending it – ‘have one, have two, have three… good good good good, good good good good, good good good good, double double good, double double good’. Before being called Do It Better, the song’s working title was E.
Do It Better

Do It Better was a live favourite, a monstrous, circling stomp. Thirty years ago today the group went into Maida Vale studios to record a session for John Peel, putting down versions of Do It Better, Mad Cyril and Tart Tart (broadcast a week later, 28th February 1989). For some reason, despite buying every Mondays single during this period I never bought the Peel Session and don’t have an mp3 of it either. It’s thirty seconds longer with Shaun’s tambourine shaking away and the keyboards leading the groove. Double good.

A Double

In past years on music blogs October 25th was Keeping It Peel Day (October 25th being the day he died in 2004), a day to celebrate the life and music of the man. I remember this largely because October 25th is also my wife’s birthday.

This photograph/meme was doing the rounds a couple of weeks ago and I love it. In the spirit of the meme and for Keeping It Peel Day- Peel supported and loved both bands- I offer you a Joy Division song recorded by New Order in 1998 for a Peel Session.

Isolation

Isolation contains one of Ian Curtis’ most distressing lyrics. The second verse has for a long time seemed to me like where he knew he was moving towards the place he ended up in on 18th May 1980.

‘Mother I tried please believe me,
I’m doing the best that I can.
I’m ashamed of the things I’ve been put through,
I’m ashamed of the person I am’

Musically Isolation is immense, Stephen’s urgent electronic drums, Hooky’s driving bass and Bernard’s keyboards which bring a bit of light into the shade. The second half of the song receives a real shot of adrenaline when the ‘real’ kit and hi-hat come in, propelling it onward. On Closer, Joy Division’s second album, it is a breath of fresh air, a few minutes of aural relief following the claustrophobic, intense and unsettling opener Atrocity Exhibition. If you can ignore the content of the lyrics. The New Order version above is well worth your time, an update and upgrade, a merged musical version of Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald, both black and pink.

And happy birthday to Mrs Swiss (Lou), a fan of The Breakfast Club and Molly Ringwald’s dancing.

Four Eleven Forty Four

The last day of August is always depressing- the end of summer, end of school holidays, changing seasons, nights drawing in, all that stuff. We need something heroic and valedictory to see us through- and Pete Wylie is the answer I think. I was going to post Sinful, his 1987 single, a real fists in the air, all together now moment, but while looking for that I found this one (also a single from 1987).

Fourelevenfortyfour

Otherwise known as 4-11-44, a love song and one of those songs that can convince you Wylie is some kind of genius. The roots of the phrase 4-11-44 are in the African American community of the USA in the 19th century. 4, 11 and 44 were popular numbers chosen when gambling on illegal lotteries,a three number gig that rarely came up and would therefore give a large payout. According to Urban Dictionary and at least one other source, the numbers are slang for the penis, particularly among Black Britons.

Oh go on then, here’s Sinful as performed on Top Of The Pops back in ’87, presented by Peel and Long, with Josie Jones (sadly no longer with us)  and 3 dancers dressed as nuns (which brought a complaint from Mary Whitehouse). We need more of this type of thing.

 

An Exciting Tale Of Defiance, Fury And Romance

Someone asked me if I had digital copies of these three songs. I do. So here they are. Sabres of Paradise in session for John Peel, March 13th 1993, recorded at the Sabres basecamp and not released anywhere officially. These rips came from the much missed Ripped In Glasgow website. The audio quality is much better than rips from radio to cassette to mp3 sound like you’d think they should be. The three tunes are all excellent and the recording session dates from after the Haunted Dancehall album so are pretty much the last thing the band did before Weatherall moved on to Two Lone Swordsmen.

Stanshall’s Lament

Blackfriar’s Sunday

Duke On Berwick

Keeping It Peel

Today is the tenth anniversary of the death of John Peel. Webbie (from Football and Music) organises this internet event annually, paying tribute to Peel and his life and the music he loved. This track isn’t from an actual Peel Session but it has John introducing the song on the radio,a bit of waffle in those familiar tones, and then Sheet Taft (Glasgow based, Creation Records, post-acid house outfit) and the long, languid, dubby and somewhat trippy Kali.

Kali

Last Rose Of Summer

Yesterday was lovely, largely. The sun shone all day, in the morning I had a great cycle ride round High Legh and through Tatton Park. Later on we wandered round Knutsford town centre, poking around a few pricey antique shops, went for a cup of tea and some cake, sat in the sun for a bit. Some idiots* in Leicester town centre spoilt it a little but you can’t have everything. The late September sun was making me wonder whether this would be the last really nice day of the year, as a sunny day at this time of year always does.

Then this song was linked to somewhere by someone- Last Rose Of Summer by North Lanarkshire’s Delgados. A beautiful, fragile and quietly-noisy song. The Delgados made a bunch of fine records and were named after Pedro Delgado, Tour De France winner in 1988 and the 1985 and 89 Vueltas. No bandwidth so no download. This was from a Peel Session.

* Those idiots would be, in no particular order 1) Referee Mark Clattenburg 2) United’s panicky, under equipped defence 3) Leicester’s thug-in-chief Vardy 4) Dutch ‘genius’ Louis van Gaal who has splurged £160 million quid without noticing we have a somewhat leaky back four.

Red Pullover

Clothing in song titles part three: recommended today by C from the wonderful Sun Dried Sparrows. This red pullover would look pretty good with yesterday’s denim jacket, although personally I can’t wear a polo neck- very irritating on the throat.

Red Pullover was a 7″ single by The Gynaecologists, released in 1980 and played by John Peel (and this sounds exactly like what Peel would play). C said she remembered Peel playing it on his radio show, thrity four years ago- isn’t it funny, the things we remember? I can’t find any reference to anything else they recorded and very little info about the band other than the song on Youtube and this on 45Cat. I’d never heard of it before but I’m glad C mentioned it because I really like it even if it’s a little disturbing- rudimentary drum machine on factory setting, some minimal instrumentation and quite haunting spoken vocals in a regional accent, Teeside possibly, in a typed out, folded half sleeve, probably put out in a pretty small run. A long lost, very obscure record. Maybe having made one 7″ single they achieved their ambitions and did nothing again which would be very 1980, post punk in ethos.