Six Of The Best is a semi-regular feature that pokes, prods and persuades your favourite bands, bards and barometers of hip opinion to tell us six of the best tracks they’ve ever heard. The tracks could be mainstream million-sellers or they could be obfuscatingly obscure, it doesn’t matter. The only criteria set is that, aye, they must be Six of the Best. Think of it like a mini, groovier version of Desert Island Discs…
Number 3 in a series:
Gerry Love is the bass player in Teenage Fanclub, easily one of my favourite bands ever. When the name ‘Teenage Fanclub‘ is mentioned, I always make a point of saying to no-one in particular that I’ve seen them live at least once a year since 1990. This year will be my 22nd year of Teenage Fanclub gig-going and at a conservative guess, I must’ve seen them close to 50 times by now. I never tire of them. Sometimes they’re hot (Motherwell in 2009, picture below) and sometimes they’re hotter (the Grand Ole Opry, 1994 (?) and the Monday night of those ‘3 nights at Oran Mor‘ a couple of years ago spring to mind). I’ve seen then play live dressed as Elvis, I’ve seen them play the cold, vast enormostages supporting Neil Young and Pixies. I’ve seen them in long hair. I’ve seen them in short hair. I’ve seen them in grey hair and, no doubt, I’ll still be going to see them when they’ve nae hair. I should’ve seen them playing Orange Juice’s Greatest Hits with Edwyn Collins and I never saw them back Alex Chilton at the 13th Note, but I’ve just about got over those misdemenours. The only place I’ve still to see Teenage Fanclub play live is in my living room. Which they’ll be doing next week (once I’ve cashed in that EuroMillions cheque).
Gruff Rhys once said that he never ever needed to listen to the Velvet Underground again because he had listened to them that much their music was now embedded firmly in his brain. My brain is similarly soaked with the sparkling sounds of the Teenage Fanclub. Being one of the chief songwriters in the band, Gerry has written his fair share of those sparkling sounds. Indeed you could easily make up a Best of Teenage Fanclub compilation that featured only his songs – Sparky’s Dream, Radio, Going Places, Don’t Look Back, Sometimes I Don’t Need To Believe In Anything, Shock and Awe, Starsign, Fallen Leaves, Near You, Time Stops. I could go on, but Ain’t That Enough? Ouch! (I think that one was a Norman one in any case). You could call it Love Songs if you wanted to. Ouch again.
Not Gerry. But he does share a likeness with potty-mouthed Christian Dailly.
Gerry very kindly emailed me his thoughts on 6 of his favourite tracks. Some were new to me (the Dion and Darondo tracks ), others I hadn’t heard in a long time. Rather impressively he included You Tube links as well, although some of the videos won’t play here, you’ll have to view them on You Tube itself. I also asked him to tell me one of his best – the song he was most proud of having written. His words follow at the bottom of his chosen tracks, which you could argue mirror perfectly the music of Teenage Fanclub – coated in wistful melody, warm harmonies, weird fancy-pants chords and the sound of sunshine itself. Over to you Gerry…..
Here is a list of 6 songs that I currently like. It would change every day, but these 6 are songs I go back to time and time again.
1. It’s All Too Much – The Beatles
The Beatles had more than their fair share of groundbreaking productions, but this is by far my favourite. Possibly George Harrison’s finest Beatles moment. Love the bass clarinet, and Ringo’s drum fills are outstanding.
Trainspotters ahoy! I’ve included the mono version of It’s All Too Much in the download below.
2. The Dolphins – Dion
Beautifully orchestrated crystal clear production of the Fred Neil classic. There are simply not enough harps and celestas on records these days. Dion’s voice is so effortless and amazing.
Heads up! – I wrote a whole post on the brilliance of The Dolphins last year – catch up here.
3. Something On Your Mind – Karen Dalton
The first time I heard this it reminded me a little of of Bill Callahan. Such a great song and a great understated arrangement, and Karen Dalton’s voice just melts your heart.
4. Didn’t I – Darondo
Loose, fragile, sweet soul from the Bay Area.
5. Aguas de Marco – Elis and Tom
The definitive version of the song once named as the “all-time best Brazilian song”, featuring Elis Regina and bossa nova genius Tom Jobim. Don’t know if it’s my favourite Brazilian song, but I love it.
6. I’ll Keep It With Mine – Fairport Convention
The thing I love about this, apart from Sandy Denny’s vocal, is that it seems to start from nothing, like it almost didn’t happen; as if someone just picked up the guitar for a little strum, and might have put it down again had the others not tentatively joined in. In the course of the next five minutes it builds and builds to become, in my opinion, one of the most life-affirming performances committed to vinyl. An amazing group.
Every Six Of the Best compilation comes in a handy RAR download file. Get Gerry Love’s here.
Gerry Love – One Of His Best:
The song of mine I’m most satisfied with is “Don’t Look Back” from the Grand Prix LP. I really couldn’t explain why, but I’m always quite happy to play that one. I guess it was the first “proper song” I felt I had written; everything before felt like some type of experiment. I like the intro, Raymond plays some really nice stuff and Paul’s drum part was really good.
I still find it easy to sing and when we play it live, it always seems to get a good reception – maybe that’s why I like it.
I came up with the original spark in Hawaii, of all places. Sounds quite ridiculous now; that I was ever in Hawaii, but I think I have photographs to prove it! We were only there for a few days, stopping off, on tour, between Australia and the USA. Although the idea originated in Hawaii, the song was mostly written in Lanarkshire.
Hawaii, eh! Who knew?
A couple of years ago, Teenage Fanclub stuck a couple of podcasts on their website, one compiled by Norman and one compiled by Gerry. Both podcasts featured an assortment of curious and obscurities and disappeared faster than the sad cases who arrive at Plain Or Pan after googling ‘Teenage Fanny‘ and don’t find exactly what they were looking for, so if you missed out, here‘s Gerry’s for the moment.
‘I’ll Keep It With Mine‘ is a Bob Dylan song. He wrote it for Nico, who he was more than slightly infatuated with. But you knew that already. Here‘s one of Bob’s studio run-throughs, understated, under-rehearsed and full of that Thin Wild Mercury sound he was after in the mid 60s. And here‘s Nico’s version from her 1967 Chelsea Girl album.
Coming next in this series –
Six Of the Best from Trashcan Sinatras’ John Douglas.