A Good Friday

Today is Good Friday. Many people will get today off work and Monday is a bank holiday so that means a four day weekend for most. I’m not back in work until Tuesday. I’ve got a ticket for Weatherall and Johnston’s A Love From Outer Space night at The Refuge tonight. All good.

Here are two good songs, one from The Woodentops and their Hypno Beat Live album, recorded in Los Angeles in 1986 and released in 1987, and the other from Dinosaur Jr and their 2016 album Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not, J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph showing that re-unions can work.

Good Thing (Live)

Good To Know

 

Sherwood

Tuesday brings a pair of Adrian Sherwood mixes for your listening pleasure. The first is his dub mix of Monkey Mafia’s after hours classic from 1998, their cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song As Long As I Can See The Light. Echo, delay, melodica, the full Sherwood dubbed out business. A lovely way to start the day.

As Long As I Can See The Light (Adrian Sherwood Dub Lighting)

My own personal Woodentops revival continues- the band haven’t been far away from my stereo for most of 2018. Sherwood remixed several of Rolo and co’s songs. This is my favourite, vocals up front, crunchy guitars dropped in and out and frenetic pace maintained.

Love Affair With Everyday Living (Adrian Sherwood Mix)

Monday’s Long Song

Monday’s long song this week comes from The Woodentops and an unreleased version of their song Give It Time, a single and album track in 1986 but constructed and mixed by Arthur Baker in ’85. Clocking in at 7 minutes 34 it’s not actually that long I suppose but most of Rolo’s songs were around the 3 minute mark, rapid strumming and double time percussion making everything feel pretty quick. This one takes things more gently, Baker finding the space and a slower tempo. Those acoustic guitars are still there and some extended percussive sections. Lovely stuff from a band with a back catalogue full of the same.

Give It Time (Arthur Baker Mix)

People often lament The Woodentops failure to ‘make it’. Rolo said the following at his Facebook page recently in response to a comment that they deserved to have been more successful…

‘Back then I could not have been more busy. So many people before my eyes, insane huge crowds and banging indoor venues. More planes than trains and endless miles, the pressure was intense and I lost it many a time. I wasn’t always a happiness machine. Usually but not always. I never actually began a band with the intention of being in the charts, I wanted to do something and just hoped some people might enjoy as much as I. All the ambition was directed at trying to get the band tight and convincing like the music I listen too. I wanted to add something to the sound of the town. So when it got to risking your life literally, to get to a tv station on the other side of Europe in continuous heavy rain in the fast lane, I noted that moment. Death by self promotion! Also by not being part of any scene, coming up with totally different ideas for more songs that intentionally didn’t sound like ones we already had, we are hard to promote so we never would be a typical chart act. We fell into them for a bit sure. Mainly though it was international alternative charts which I would prefer to be in. I know we have songs out there that have influenced or been included in new musical movements, excerpts in films and tv, mentions in books and all sorts. David Bowie bought all the records we made and loved them and told me so. So I feel success came our way. I’m a happy chappy and alive. So I’m saying it’s cool if we didn’t or haven’t headlined Wembley stadium. We play too fast for there anyway. You wouldn’t be able to hear a thing’.

All of which made me smile.

Good Thing

I was playing some records at the weekend, some newly acquired ones and pulling out some older ones. I discovered that my 12″ copy of Come Together by Primal Scream, the one with the Andrew Weatherall and Terry Farley mixes, is pretty knackered. The sleeve is worn but the disc is worse- the condition is such that if you found it in a charity shop for a couple of quid you’d think twice about whether it was worth it. I’ll have to replace it. I suppose it is 28 years old and has been played a lot, often at parties and similar, when maybe I’m not best minded to be as careful as I should be.

On the other hand I pulled out a pair of 7″ singles by The Woodentops from 1986 that looked like they were made and bought yesterday. The first was the 7″ Good Thing single, backed with Travelling Man, a perfect pair of songs, in beautiful and pristine condition.

Good Thing

The other was the double 7″ pack, two discs in a gatefold sleeve, with different sides playing at either 33 rpm or 45, just to confuse me. Disc 1 is Everyday Living and Why and Disc 2 Move Me and Well Well Well. Here are Rolo and co playing Everyday Living at Roskilde in 1987, demonstrating well why they struck a chord with both indie and dance. They had something a little different and flirted with success. I don’t know if they deserved to be huge, they were probably a bit to idiosyncratic to be massive but they were a cracking band.

And until last night I hadn’t ever seen this video, a promo for Give It Time, off 1986’s Giant album.

Why Why Why

Back to it this morning- early start, work clothes, motorway etc etc. It’s all a bit of a shock after two weeks off.

This Leo Mas and Fabrice version of The Woodentops’ Why Why Why is one way to ease the pain and lessen the blow. Eight minutes of sun dappled groove.

Why Why Why (Balearic Militant Dub)

Why

Adrian Sherwood did a superb remix of Why Why Why by The Woodentops, dancefloor and dub friendly. It was on The Woodentops Imaginary Compilation Album series over at The Vinyl Villain at the start of April. Rolo McGinty’s group usually get referred to as indie-dance pioneers and that seems to be true enough, although their indie-dance sound doesn’t really sound anything like what the phrase ‘indie dance’ summons up. They crossed over to the Balearic scene in the mid-to-late 80s, the fast acoustic guitars and experimental nature of Why Why Why moving feet and minds. This Tony Johns and Dave Boreham version sounds really fresh.

Why Why Why (Balearic re-edit)

>Woodentop

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Why Why Why by The Woodentops took frenetic, acoustic guitar led indie rock into the acid house scene in the mid-to-late 80s, epitomising the anything goes attitude coming out of the clubs. This was generally a good thing, although as Mr Weatherall pointed out in the Primal Scream documentary a couple of weeks ago ‘ I went from dancing to Throbbing Gristle to dancing to Chris Rea’. This is a live version taken from the Balearic Beats compilation and is well worth several minutes of your time.