Monday’s Long Song

One thing Andrew Weatherall did from the earliest days of his own remixes and productions was scatter clues for you to follow. He worked with One Dove producing their debut album Morning Dove White, a much delayed album and one which was mucked about with by the record company who wanted a pop hit. Fallen came out in 1992, ahead of the album which didn’t appear until autumn 1993, and the eight minute version on the A- Side was this-

Fallen (The Nancy And Lee Mix)

The chugging intro and those huge timbales are heavenly even before the first appearance of Dot’s breathing. After a minute Dot’s speaks, her voice very close up, and says ‘I don’t know why I’m telling you any of this, one thing is don’t ever told anyone I told you this, don’t save me, just forgive me’ and then we have lift off into blissed out ambient- tinged dance music.

After Andrew’s death in February One Dove member Ian Carmichael posted his memories of the making of the album on Facebook-
‘The day Andy Weatherall came to Glasgow to work in my studio, I slept in.
When I arrived, breathless and sweaty and terrified, I was thinking I’ve kept this VIP DJ waiting outside on the doorstep for 20 minutes; he’s going to be so pissed off and I’m the biggest jerk in the world.
He was sitting reading NME. Smiling. Smiling BIG. The reviews of Screamadelica had just come out that day. The NME saved my life.
As friendly and happy as he was, I was still intimidated by him, and his way of working was so unconventional I felt that I was playing catch-up the whole day. His first instruction on the remix was to change the time signature of the track – EVERYTHING had to be reprogrammed. I was a nervous wreck.

And then we started to commit to tape the tracks as he wanted them played – starting with just the rhythmic breaths – and he would add elements in and we’d just record it to tape and build the track up bit by bit. Back then that meant editing a 1/4″ reel to reel.
I had bits of tape all of the floor, around my neck, across the mixing desk – I couldn’t remember what any of them were. I had razor cuts on my fingers and my hands were sweating so much I couldn’t hold the tape. I wouldn’t even get halfway through an edit before Andy would be giving out instructions on the next part of the track. All I could see in front of me were the red LEDs on the tape machine screaming OVERLOAD! I wanted to die.
It was one of the worst days of my life.
And one of the best.’
The Nancy And Lee Mix was named after Sinatra and Hazlewood. I wasn’t particularly familiar with Lee Hazlewood’s work in any depth at that point although I knew his name at least in part from a Thin White Rope e.p. I’d bought in 1988 where the Paisley Underground/ desert blues group covered Some Velvet Morning. My Mum had been a Nancy Sinatra fan and there were some of her records at home- Nancy In London and Boots were both around (I’m sure they still are, she doesn’t throw much away).
Some Velvet Morning is a strange, dark, psychedelic pop song with strings, rattling snares and shifting time signatures, sugar spiked with LSD. Nancy and Lee duet, Nancy as Phaedra playing off against Lee’s baritone. The lyrics suggest an acid trip- ‘some velvet morning when I’m straight/I’m gonna open up your gate’- but Lee said later on he didn’t know what the words meant. He said they were inspired by Greek mythology and that Phaedra had ‘a sad middle, a sad end and by the time she was 17 she was gone. She was a sad- assed broad, the saddest of all the Greek goddesses, so bless her heart, she deserves some notoriety, I’ll put her in a song’. Nancy, recently one of Trump’s biggest and most frequent online critics, said in the 1990s ‘I’ve been singing this song for over 20 years and I still don’t know what the darned thing means’.

Some Velvet Morning

But the clues and references are dropped for you to follow so the names in brackets on a remix send you off on a quest down the rabbit hole to fill in the gaps. Second hand records from the 1960s were easy to get hold of in the early 90s, second hand record shops and charity shops filled with dumped collections and I found a copy of Nancy And Lee without too much much trouble. Nancy’s Greatest Hits as well (with the gatefold sleeve).

Andrew Weatherall would return to Some Velvet Morning in 2003 when Primal Scream recorded a version of it for their Evil Heat album, Kate Moss duetting with Bobby. The 12″ single had a Two Lone Swordsmen remix, Andrew and Keith weirding it out in disco dub style.

Some Velvet Morning Disco Heater Dub

Uptown Approach

Some more Andrew Weatherall for your delectation. First is a reader request…

Uptown (Long After The Disco Is Over)

In 2008 Primal Scream released an album called Beautiful Future, an album I bought but have hardly played. I seem to remember Bobby Gillespie saying this was an album which had ‘sugar coated melodies’ or something similar. It came after Riot City Blues which was where I drifted away from the Scream- Country Girl was a pastiche of  pastiche and the rest of the album bar a couple of songs didn’t sink in. Having said that Beautiful Future’s follow up, More Light, five years later was the best Scream album since Evil Heat for me. Looking at the tracklisting for Beautiful Future now I can’t recall much about any of it, there are several collaborations (Josh Homme, Linda Thompson, Lovefoxx), but the bonus/ freebie cover of Urban Guerrilla and the instrumental Time Of The Assassin were both ok. Where Beautiful Future achieves its status is as the source material for one of Andrew Weatherall’s greatest remixes and in 2008 a sign that after a few quieter years he was back in the game. Uptown on the album is a Bobby Gillespie Saturday Night Fever tribute song. In Weatherall’s hands it becomes 21st century gold, a alchemist’s calling card. Opening with dub FX, echoes bouncing around and then Bobby cooing ‘you feel so good you never wanted to leave’, Uptown becomes a disco odyssey, clipped guitar, a sweet melodica line, four on the floor drums and a bassline from the centre of the club. Weatherall builds it over the ensuing nine minutes, layering sound, the riffs and melodies circling, noises ricocheting left and right, Bobby occasionally whispering ‘uptown’ and those melancholic, sweeping strings. At the heart of this disco is the eternal sadness of the hedonist, the realisation that the lights have to come on, the night will be over, the morning will come- the knowledge that chasing the magical moments on the floor cannot last forever but that while they last, they are bliss. Short lived bliss. It’s all in there.

Before his tragic passing just over a week ago Andrew and Nina Walsh had already lined up the second of the monthly Woodleigh Research Facility digital only e.p.s following January’s Into the Cosmic Hole. The second one is called Facility 4: Approach and brings us three more tunes from the end times soundsystem- Fume Homage, The Approach and Servant. The e.p. comes out tomorrow at all the usual digital places. The ghostly noises, the cavernous echo, the steam powered drum machine rhythms, the deep sea bass, the long synth sounds and little arpeggios, the sense of slight dislocation, all lingering on in his absence.

Just What Is It That You Want To Do?

Loaded was the starting point for Andrew Weatherall and in the mainstream it is what he’ll be remembered for I guess. He’d been in the studio before as a remixer- his first named credit was on the Happy Monday’s Hallelujah Club Remix but Loaded is where the story begins. He’d given Primal Scream a positive review of a gig in Exeter at a time when no- one was interested in them. He also raved about their self titled second album, a rock ‘n’ roll, Stooges inspired guitar record that had managed to alienate the fans of their first album without really finding any new ones. In the summer of 1989 I saw Primal Scream touring to promote Ivy Ivy Ivy at a venue in Liverpool called Planet X in front of about thirty people. The Scream gave it their all, Bobby occasionally complaining about the low ceiling. We were right at the front next to Throb and they finished with I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have, Bobby on his knees screaming into the mic. A few months later Weatherall turned I’m Losing More… into Loaded.

Loaded

The first version of Loaded was in Weatherall’s own words ‘too polite’ and Andrew Innes encouraged him to go back and ‘fucking destroy it’. Primal Scream had nothing to lose. At this point Gillespie, Innes and Throb were still unconvinced about acid house despite Alan McGee’s enthusiasm but had met Weatherall at a rave and were happy for him to remix the song. Weatherall set about taking the song to pieces and remaking it.

I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have

Taking the horns from the end section of the original song and Henry Olsen’s rolling bassline Weatherall stitched Peter Fonda’s famous dialogue from The Wild Angels, a 1966 biker film, to the start of the song.

The question, ‘Just what is it that you want to do?’ is asked by Frank Maxwell. Fonda replies with his rallying call- ‘we want to be free, we want to be free, to do what we want to do… and we want to get loaded and we want to have a good time’. The part about riding ‘our machines without being hassled by the man’ was cut. I’ve often thought there should be a version with that part included. Fonda’s declaration had been used before, not least by Psychic TV (Weatherall was a big PTV fan). It sums up the spirit of the times perfectly.

The drumbeat with its massive crash cymbal came from Edie Brickell And The New Bohemians, a bootleg version of their hit What I Am, which in turn had been borrowed from a Soul II Soul record (and that was sampled from elsewhere).

What I Am (Bootleg)

The ‘I don’t want to lose your love’ vocal part, the bit where on a dancefloor or at a gig everyone is singing in unison regardless of their ability to hit the notes, comes from a 1976 song by The Emotions.

The only bit of Bobby Gillespie that made it onto the record is the vocal part at 3.09 where he sings ‘we’re gonna get deep down, deep down, woo hey!’ in response to Frank Maxwell’s repeated question. Gillespie’s vocal is from a cover of a Robert Johnson song, Terraplane Blues, presumably something the Scream had recorded but never released. There’s an ‘ah yeah’ bit at about five minutes which sounds like Bobby, some ace slide guitar and acoustic guitar, some lovely Italo house piano and Innes’ crunchy guitar parts that make the breakdown before we are launched back in.

The song was pressed up onto acetate and then some promos for DJs and as summer turned into autumn people began to notice the impact it had on dance floors. The rhythms evoke Sympathy For The Devil, the shuffling groove, and crowds in clubs began to chant the ‘woo woo’ part spontaneously. Loads of people have described their reactions to being told this monster rave anthem was the work of Primal Scream, the disbelief, the shaking of heads and then the wide eyed joy of becoming a believer. Members of Primal Scream have recounted being phoned by Weatherall and others in the small hours excitedly describing the effect Loaded was having on a floor right there and then. It was finally given its full released in February 1990, Creation finding themselves with a hit on their hands. Loaded reached number sixteen in the UK and propelled the band into the Top of The Pops studios where Gillespie wriggled with his maracas, black leather and long hair, feet seemingly glued to the spot. Ride’s Mark Gardener was drafted in to mime on the keyboards, Throb is resplendent in teddy boy red and Innes pulls all the moves, Les Paul, hippy shirt and long curls. For a song that has such deep roots, that sent thousands of indie kids hurtling to the dance floor and still raises the roof when played at parties, it’s an odd TV performance that doesn’t quite nail it. And of course, the man who made it is nowhere to be seen.

Lord Sabre

I could probably go on posting Andrew Weatherall related music all week and into next but I’ll make this the last one for the time being, a third celebration of his life and music following his passing earlier this week. The further I go into the remixes he did in the early 90s the more of them I recall that I didn’t write about yesterday- West India Company, Word Of Mouth, Deep Joy, That Petrol Emotion all spring to mind. The mid 90s Two Lone Swordsmen period is so full of music and remixes that it would take years to go through it all and then there are the ones done under other names from that time- Rude Solo, Lino Squares, Basic Units, the wondrous deep house recorded with David Harrow as Deanne Day, his partnership with Harrow as Blood Sugar, the beautifully chilled piano dub of the Planet 4 Folk Quartet track (also with David Harrow). There’s also all the minimal techno, dub and electronic weirdness released on the various Emissions labels in the 90s from people such as Blue, Conemelt, Turbulent Force, Alex Handley, Technova (David Harrow again) and Bionic.

Released on Emissions Audio Output in 1996 Hardly Breathe is fifteen minutes of sumptuous deep house, bass to shake your speakers and a breathy vocal from ‘Deanne’.

Hardly Breathe

In the same year Weatherall went back to the BBC and recorded his second Essential Mix. The first was a groundbreaking charge through Weatherall’s record box three years earlier, opening with Killing Joke and Sabres and taking in Brother Love Dubs, Smokebelch, Plastikman, LFO, Black Dog and Innersphere along the way, two hours of techno that was taped and shared and re-taped. In 1996 his second Essential Mix was possibly even better, a journey into the heart of the Two Lone Swordsmen sound- minimal, bass led, crisp machine drums, on the button, Andrew re-working the material including four of his own records as he plays it. Two hours of the art of the DJ.

Jumping forward to 2009 and a mix he did for Fact Magazine which I listened to endlessly at that time and plundered for posts at Bagging Area in its early days. Fact Mix 85 skips from genre to genre in an effortless manner, playing post- punk, rockabilly, Stockholm Monsters, Durutti Column, Mogwai and Pete Wylie. The tracklist is here. Earlier on in 2009 he did a 6 Music show where he’d played Wayne Walker’s All I Can Do Is Cry (also on Fact Mix 85), a song that I heard for the first time there and that then became the subject of the first ever piece of blogging I did (a guest slot at The Vinyl Villain).

Fact Mix 85

This one is more recent, the man playing at Terraforma near Milan in Italy, a Music’s Not For Everyone style set and is the best fifty two minutes of audio/visual fun you’ll have today. Songs from Fujiya Miyagi, The Dream Syndicate, Moon Duo, AMOR, played a field full of dancing Italians half his age.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/248061647

In 2003 Primal Scream released a greatest hits called Dirty Hits, a version of their history that opened with Loaded, Weatherall’s mangling of the Scream’s I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have, with steals from Peter Fonda, Edie Brickell and The Emotions. Loaded, in a piece of timing that is remarkable, came out thirty years ago yesterday. Anyway, the sleeve notes to Dirty Hits were written by Andrew Weatherall and conclude thus…

‘Feeling humble, having served… now carry me home.’

Now you’ll have to excuse me because I’ve got something in my eye again.

Audrey Witherspoon

I mentioned the remixes Andrew Weatherall made his name with yesterday. In the early 90s remix culture became the big thing, record companies throwing thousands of pounds at club DJs to stick dance beats underneath a song. Weatherall’s remixes never took the easy road, were never formulaic. In most cases the remixes were better than the source material and he was still producing superb remixes until recently.

Primal Scream have put out several Best Of/ Greatest Hits, one only last year. The one they haven’t released and would be the contender for the best Best Of would be the one that compiled Weatherall’s work for the group. The AW/PS compilation wold start with Loaded, a remix so groundbreaking and gigantic it created an entire scene and gave the Scream a career. Andrew’s remix of Come Together is monumental. I once said here that there are days when I think it is the single greatest record ever made and I don’t see any reason to argue with myself.

‘Today on this programme you will hear gospel and rhythm and blues and jazz. All these are just labels, we know that music is music’

The rest of Screamadelica that Andrew produced would be on this Primal Scream Best Of too- Inner Flight, Shine Like Stars, Don’t Fight It Feel It (and the amazing Scat Mix where Denise Johnson’s voice is chopped up and scattered over the track) and the Jah Wobble bass of Higher Than The Sun (A Dub Symphony In Two Parts). Then this, ten glorious minutes of slow groove, horn driven spaced out house, from the Dixie Narco e.p.

Screamadelica

His knob- twiddling on the other two songs on the Dixie Narco e.p. brought two other classics Stone My Soul and their cover of Dennis Wilson’s Carry Me Home, one of the very best things Bobby Gillespie and co ever did. Primal Scream’s follow up was their Rolling Stones record. Weatherall produced remixes of Jailbird. Trainspotting from Vanishing Point. The far out Two Lone Swordsmen remix of Stuka. The pair of productions he did on Evil Heat- the gliding shimmer of Autobahn 66 and the mutant funk of A Scanner Darkly. The fifteen minute remix of Uptown, a signpost in 2009 that Weatherall was back at the remix peak. The remix and dub version of 2013. That’s the Primal Scream Best Of.

In the early 90s his remixes broke genres, chucking in the kitchen sink, its plumbing, the work surface and all the white goods too. His dub remix of Saint Etienne was a moment of clarity for me, the doorway to another world, the two halves glued together by the sample ‘the DJ, eases a spliff from his lyrical lips and smilingly orders ”cease!” ‘

Only Love Can Break Your Heart (A Mix Of Two Halves)

Andrew’s remixes from this period are full of little moments to raise a smile, samples from obscure places, huge basslines, sudden changes in pace or tempo, piano breakdowns and thumping rhythms. Almost every single one is worth seeking out and almost every single one has been posted here at some point. In no particular order- S’Express’ Find ‘Em, Fool ‘Em, Forget ‘Em, The Drum by The Impossibles, a mad pair of remixes of Flowered Up’s Weekender, the magnificent The World According To… for Sly And Lovechild, his work for One Dove (that produced some career high remixes in the shape of Squire Black Dove Rides Out and the Guitar Paradise version of White Love and his production work on the most beautiful and most lost of the lost albums of the 1990s Morning Dove White), his remix of My Bloody Valentine’s Soon, on its own a justification of remix culture and two reworkings of The Orb’s Perpetual Dawn that take his and The Orb’s dub roots into pounding new places. Roots music.

Perpetual Dawn Ultrabass I

Perpetual Dawn Ultrabass II

Add to all these his remixes of Jah Wobble, three versions of Visions Of You, spread over twenty five minutes of vinyl and two remixes of Bomba that have to be heard to be believed. Decades after first hearing this one I found the source of the madcap intro (Miles Davis) when it had been there in the title all along.

Bomba (Miles Away)

His remixes of The Grid’s Floatation are also sublime. As a fan of The Stone Roses the moment when he drops John Squire’s guitar part from Waterfall into the ending of the track brought things together for me perfectly.

Floatation (Sonic Swing Mix)

There are so many more. The speaker shattering thump of Fini Tribe’s 101. His long tribal workout of Papua New Guinea. The sweet smell of didgeridoo on Galliano’s meandering Skunk Funk. Indie, ambient, house, dub, everything from the fringes of music’s past, ready to sample and plunder to make something new, with a sense of possibility and openness. This would all be mere nostalgia were it not for Weatherall’s continual left turns and about turns in the following years. His remixes from the last decade, again almost all posted here at some point, are of a similar high standard but he rarely if ever repeats himself. There are similarities in tone and palette but always with an eye looking forward and perpetual motion. The remix of MBV’s Soon and his remix of Fuck Buttons Sweet Love For Planet Earth seem somehow linked to me, the manipulation of noise and the intense melodies found within over crunching dance floor rhythms. I’ve not even begun to touch on his remixes with Sabres of Paradise, the treasure that lies within Sabres own records (Sabresonic, Haunted Dancehall, Theme, Wilmot, oh man, Wilmot- we were at Cream once waiting for ages for Weatherall to arrive and eventually word came through that he was delayed, wasn’t going to make it. Resident DJ and owner Darren Hughes played on and dropped Wilmot, unheard by us at that point, the whole back room skanking to those wandering horns).

Then there was Two Lone Swordsmen whose remixes were harder, purer somehow, more focused, less obvious. It took time sometimes for them to reveal themselves. The TLS albums from The Fifth Mission onward, the stoned hip hop grooves of A Virus With Shoes, the double album of juddering bass and London machine funk of Tiny Reminders, Swimming Not Skimming. My favourite of the TLS albums from this period has become Stay Down. Released on Warp from its cover art, a painting of a pair of deep sea divers, to its memorable song titles (try Hope We Never Surface, Light The Last Flare, Spine Bubbles, Mr Paris’ Monsters and As Worldly Pleasures Wave Goodbye for starters- that last one has just made me gulp) it is a self contained mini- masterpiece. Stay Down is an abstract album of short tracks, weird, rhythmic, minimal ambient music, sounding like it has been submerged and then recovered from the deep, humanised analogue IDM. Never standing still, always moving forward.

Light The Last Flare

Monday’s Long Song

Primal Scream’s best record of the last decade is a remix. In 2008 they released an album called Beautiful Future, a record which seemed a bit unessential. It followed Riot City Blues and its corny hit single Country Girl. Throb had left the group ‘on sabbatical’ and this would be the first Primal Scream record without him on it. It turned out to be Mani’s last album with the band- by the time More Light came out he’d gone back to The Roses. The tracklist doesn’t suggest there’s much here to go back to- Zombie Man, Suicide Bomber, Necro Hex Blues. But there was a release that came out afterwards that showed that the raw ingredients could still be remixed into magic.

Uptown (Long After The Disco is Over) (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

From the smooth echo on Bobby’s voice and the dub FX in the intro, the four on the floor drums, and the melodica line, Weatherall constructs a disco odyssey, layering sounds. The bass hits at one minute forty and the shimmering, reverb heavy guitar stabs build. A synth arpegio works its magic. Swooping happy/sad strings. Breakdowns. More melodica. Bobby cooing ‘you feel so good you never wanted to leave’. Tom toms. More strings. The disco ball throws lights around the room as the track builds and peaks, the room spinning now as the dancers twirl and writhe, in this ecstatic disco of the mind. Fade, echoes and noise, bliss. Fuck yeah.

 

Here She Comes Again

rimal Scream’s 1986 B-side Velocity Girl is a perfect piece of guitar pop- bright, spindly, quickly strummed guitars rushing all over the place and Bobby Gillespie’s tribute to the girl with ‘vodka in her veins’. The song is short, just eighty eight seconds long, but has had a huge influence. It was a cornerstone of C86 and on hearing it John Squire went away and rethought how he played guitar and wrote songs (Made Of Stone being one obvious result).

Primal Scream are about to release another best of compilation and unlike 2003’s Dirty Hits which took Loaded as the starting point the new singles album , called somewhat depressingly Maximum Rock & Roll, goes back to their roots with Velocity Girl, Gentle Tuesday, Imperial and Ivy Ivy Ivy all included this time around. Velocity Girl is to be put out as a 7″ single too so if you missed out first time around, time to get down the record shop and pick a copy up. Douglas Hart has made a video for Velocity Girl, combining footage of Edie Sedgwick with Bobby miming to camera in 2019 (I think I would have been happy with more Edie and less Bobby or at least Edie and a 1986 Bobby). Velocity Girl, it goes without saying, is a fucking fantastic song.

In July 1986 Primal Scream did a session for Janice Long and recorded this version of Velocity Girl, a version which has an extra verse that just about takes it to the two minute mark.

Velocity Girl (Janice Long Session)