You Were Putting Me On

I found this clip recently and it made me smile, Teenage Fanclub back in 1995 or ’96 playing live on The White Room, covering The Byrds 1965 B-side (B-side!) I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better, if push comes to shove my favourite Byrds song.

There’s nothing wrong with this clip at all- Teenage Fanclub in 1995, a band in love with music and the sheer joy of playing, Norman and Gerry sharing the vocals, a group who could out jangle anyone, totally Byrdsy. There’s some frantic tambourine rattling too from roadie Guitar George.

I’l Feel A Whole Lot Better opens with that wonderful chiming Rickenbacker riff by Jim McGuinn and then lifts off, with all the harmonies, the uncertainty of the lyric- ‘Ill probablyfeel a whole lot better when you’re gone’-  and that rocket fuel rhythm section, a perfect slice mid 60s folk rock, all over and done with in two minutes and thirty two seconds. I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better was written and sung by Gene Clark and released as the flipside to Mr Tambourine Man, their first self- written song that sold in its millions.

I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better

In 1989 Dinosaur Jr covered the song, released on a Byrds tribute album called Time Between, an album that also had covers by the likes of the Mock Turtles, Thin White Rope, Miracle Legion, Robyn Hitchcock and The Chills. J Mascis, Lou and Murph go at it fast, ragged and in one take. Gene Clark said this is his favourite cover of the song and I can’t disagree with that. I don’t have a copy of this anymore- I owned the album once but have no idea where it is now. If anyone has an mp3 of this version I’d be more than happy to take a copy off your hands.

 

There’s A Side Of Me Unknown

There’s a lot of Teenage Fanclub on the internet right now and in real life (they’re touring). They’ve become very… comfy. Heartwarming. Fair play to ’em. The songs off Bandwagonesque still do it for me, there’s a bit more crunch and distortion about them. The album sounds like a group on the rise, in a fruitful period where the songs just poured out of them.

I’m a Taurean by the way. Reliable, practical, sensual and independent it says on the web, with an eye for beauty and good with money (ha! My wife would disagree about that last one). Also lazy, stubborn and materialistic. Like, whatever.

Star Sign

Away Again

A quick turn around and I’m off again, with the family this time, down to the Dordogne in South West France for the next couple of weeks, stopping off in the Loire for three nights on the way back. It’s looking good.

I’ll leave you with a couple of songs to speed us on our way and to keep you happy. Rikki Turner’s new band The Hurt released a cracking song a few months back, the moody and epic Berlin. The new one is a cover of Nico’s One More Chance and is a stately throb.

The new Hardway Bros ep Pleasure Cry is one of my records of the year thus far. This song, Argonaut, was written specifically by Sean Johnston to be played on the boat at Croatia’s Electric Elephant Festival. It starts off like Weatherall’s mix of Come Together and then heads off into the sunset putting its arms around you and doing a little dance.

And just so’s there’s some screaming guitars and drawled vocals here’s J Mascis and The Fog covering Teenage Fanclub’s Everything Flows with Mike Watt on bass. It then diverts into Pavement’s Range Life and The Ruts’ In A Rut. Is it any good? Of course it is. It is seven minutes of good.

You Don’t Change Or I Don’t Notice You Changing

I’m not going to move on from this little Alex Chilton inspired run without mentioning Teenage Fanclub. When Bandwagonesque came out in 1991 music journalists were falling over themselves to praise it and then the really clever ones started saying they were just ripping off Big Star. Which led to a thousand indie kids beating a path to the record shop to buy Big Star records. I always thought they sounded as much like Neil Young and Crazy Horse, or a slightly mellower Scottish Dinosaur Jr as much as Big Star. But anyway, Teenage Fanclub have many wonderful songs. I was going to post God Knows It’s True but JC did that recently at the Vinyl Villain so I’ll go with Everything Flows from A Catholic Education instead. The ramshackleness of their early days is a joy to behold. In this song they also nailed a pretty specific feeling in the lyrics.

Everything Flows

She Don’t Even Care

I was going to post this on Monday but got carried away with Jane Weaver so it’s coming up today- plus, as I scraped the ice off the windscreen yesterday morning and tried to unfold my frozen solid gloves, and the car’s temperature gauge read 1 degree last night, it would seem we are well and truly into winter. Some media scaremongers are saying there could be eight inches of snow this weekend. And this Teenage Fanclub song, off 1991’s Bandwagonesque, is gorgeous.

December

Like A Vir…shhh

This Madonna song caused a bit of a stir in the school yards of the mid-80s when it was released- use of the word ‘virgin’ (snigger snigger). Teenage Fanclub covered it in 1991, quite fantastically, smothered in acres of beautiful distortion with sleepy vocals. When JC posted it a good while back at The Vinyl Villain it gained a takedown notice from the DMCA. When he re-posted it much later, he would not even name the song for fear of attracting the attention of the internet police. Sneaky, unnamed and hush hush. You ain’t seen me right.

Like A Secret

Starsign Creation


Early 90s Creation stalwarts Teenage Fanclub perfected that yearning, aching, whistful type of song, West Coast USA via Bellshill. In 1995 they released a cracking 7″ single, Teenage Fanclub Have Lost It which proved they definitely hadn’t. Four songs, one from each of their albums, done acoustically. Not acoustic guitars, stools and tastefulness though- acoustic instruments including shakers, flageolet, treble recorder, wheezy organs and lots of nice analogue hum. All four songs are ace, this one is Star Sign (originally from Bandwagonesque).

‘Hey, there’s a horseshoe on my door
Big deal
And hey, there’s a black cat on the floor