Unmuddied

In which The Orb remix The Grid, 1993. Ambient with a drum machine pattering away. Thwup whoosh thwup.

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19 Julio

Sleep deprivation on a bus traveling backwards through Europe (me travelling backwards, almost everyone else claimed they had to face forwards or they would be sick). It causes strange things to happen. I dozed off briefly and was woken with Shaun Ryder intoning ¬†two lines from Black Grape’s Reverend Black Grape…

‘You do ¬†nothing but socialise and become a menace
Put on your Reeboks man, go and play fucking tennis’

This rang around my head for a good while. Then, at about two thirty a.m. we stopped at a service station somewhere in The Netherlands. One of the kids emerged from the top deck, rubbing her eyes, and disappeared into the toilet. When she came out she said ‘Sir, are we in Argentina?’

I have no idea.

Reverend Black Grape

Oh Ma Corazon

Some kind soul has uploaded The Clash’s 1979 song Spanish Bombs onto Youtube alongside newsreel footage from the Spanish Civil War. Their most folk-punk moment (English Civil war excepted maybe), this song is a sublime piece of Strummer-Jones songwriting and playing. It’s all about the ratatattat drumming and the multi-tracked acoustic guitars and Joe’s timeshifting lyrics- jumping back and forth between the days of ’39, Federico Lorca dead and gone, and the ETA bombings of discos and casinos, all as imagined by Joe while flying in on a DC10 tonight. There’s also a theory that in this song, during the chorus, Joe is bidding farewell to ex-girlfriend Paloma (Palmolive of the Slits).

!No Pasaran!

I started May by wittering on about a Spanish Civil War themed mix tape and which songs might go onto it. Thanks to everyone who made suggestions about other songs- Drew, Davy H, Helen and Suggestedformaturereaders. Thus, I can start June with a better, more expansive Spanish Civil War mixtape.

Durutti Column- Sketch For Summer
Manic Street Preachers- If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next
The Clash- Spanish Bombs
The Pogues- Lorca’s Noveno
Billy Bragg- Jarama Valley (available here from The International Brigades website)
Leonard Cohen- Take This Waltz (based on Lorca’s words)
O’Luge and Kornertrone Allstars- Spanish Bombs (cover of The Clash song)
Christy Moore- Viva La Quinta Brigada
The Stone Roses- Guernica
Maxine Peake and Urban Roots- speech by Dolores Ibarruri (aka La Pasionaria, from the Billy Bragg cd linked above)

Can we make a case for Jonathan Richman’s Pablo Picasso on the grounds that Picasso painted Guernica? Reckon so.

Viva La Quinta Brigada

The photo of the militiawoman in heels with a pistol was taken by Gerda Taro, Robert Capo’s partner. Between them they covered the war and helped invent photo journalism. Gerda was killed during the war, run over by a tank accidentally. Stunning picture isn’t?

They Shall Not Pass

I was thinking, following Sunday’s post, about whether I could put together a Spanish Civil War themed mixtape. Stick with me, these are the things that sometimes occupy my mind when driving. I’ve got this far-

1. Durutti Column- Sketch For Summer (it could be any Durutti track really, but this one’s my favourite unless anyone can think of a more appropriate one. Durutti was an anarchist-syndicalist leader during the war, as I’m sure you knew)
2. Manic Street Preachers- If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next (see Sunday’s post)
3. The Clash- Spanish Bombs (obviously)
4. The Pogues- Lorca’s Noveno (posted here a long while back, the song tells of the murder of poet Federico Garcia Lorca by the Francoist Falange)

And that’s it. A fairly short mixtape unless anyone’s got any other suggestions.
I wondered about ABBA’s Fernando but I’m not convinced it’s about Spain.

This could go on actually if we don’t have a rule about the same song featuring in different versions- a dub cover of The Clash’s Spanish Bombs by O’ Luge and Kornerstrone Allstars from a dub tribute album to The Clash called Shatter The Hotel (a line from Spanish Bombs).

Spanish Bombs

If I Can Shoot Rabbits

There aren’t very many number one songs about the Spanish Civil War.

There’s a copy of this poster in the Manchester Peoples’ History Museum, worth a visit if you’re kicking your heels this weekend and in the North West of England.

I’ve never shot a rabbit incidentally.

If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

>Redskin Rock

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Furthermore, here’s The Redskins, funked up leftwing punks, who wanted to ‘walk like The Clash, talk like The Supremes’ with their single Unionize. This was released on their own label CNT, which as everyone surely knows is the name of the anarcho syndicalist union who helped prop up The Popular Front government in Spain in the 1930s (despite being anarcho syndicalists, and therefore being against government and believing that the workers should rule themselves for their own benefit) and who armed the workers in the defence of Spanish cities against Franco’s military fascist coup.

Sorry to be a history bore. The music’s worth it.