Double Nugget, Get This!

Yé-yé-yé!

Sept Heures du Matin is a track originally released in 1967 by French singer Jacqueline Taieb. I’m not too up on how to categorise my French Chanteusses, but I’m pretty certain Sept Heures… is a fine example of what is known as Yé-Yé music, a genre put together by pervy old men looking to exploit the naivety of the young girls in tight-fitting turtlenecks who were singing their double entendre-packed songs. And if all that sounds a bit too Serge Gainsbourg for comfort, well, any experts can correct me if I’m wrong.

jacqueline taieb 2

Sept Heures… reminds me a lot of a tamer version of Dave Berry‘s Don’t Give Me No Lip Child,

Dave BerryDon’t Give Me No Lip Child

but where Dave’s track is a stroppy adolescent huff of a record, Sept Heures… is more feminine. It swings as carefreely as the shining bob atop Jacqueline’s head and I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if you told me that Bob Stanley owned all the 7″ copies of this in existence. It‘s literally a stompin’, snarlin’, finger snappin’ love letter to pop music, nothing you’ve never heard before; a trashy, garagey, walking backbeat underpinning three chords and a midly freaked-out fuzz guitar, but it’s essential listening.

Jacqueline TaiebSept Heures du Matin

Lyrical references to the pill-popping stutter of My G-G-Generation and Elvis’s take on Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti compete with nonsensical lines about looking for her toothbrush and fantasising about Paul McCartney – roughly translated the singer bemoans the fact that it’s 7am, she has an English homework assignment due in that day and (“Mmmmmm! Paul McCartnee! Pour m’aider!“) how she wishes the Beatles bassist were here to help her.

It’s a belter and I’m sure you’ll like it.

jacqueline taieb

à la prochaine….

Alternative Version, Cover Versions, demo, Double Nugget, Dylanish, Get This!, Gone but not forgotten, Hard-to-find, Live!, Most downloaded tracks, Six Of The Best, studio outtakes

P.O.P. B.O. ’14

Somehow, this is the end of the 8th year of this blog. 8 years! I never for a minute thought I’d be down this road for so long, but here I am, slowing down slightly, but still writing whenever the muse takes me. In the past, I used to write loads over the Christmas period and store it all up like a squirrel hiding nuts in trees, so that when I was busy with my real work I could drip-feed my wee articles online at regular intervals when time was of the essence. These days, holidays mean holidays. For the past week or so I’ve done sweet F.A. apart from sit around in my underwear eating cheese until 3 in the afternoon. Occasionally I’ve tidied up a bit, but that’s only after the Applewood smoked or Wensleydale and cranberry has run out.

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It’ll be good to get back to the old routine in January and, along with work, get back to writing about music on a (hopefully) more regular basis. Until then, here’s the annual end of December post.

Around this time of year I employ a team of stat monkeys to sift through everything published on Plain Or Pan over the last 12 months. Numbers are fed into a specially-constructed silver machine, crunched and spat back out. Amongst the stainless steel saliva lie the 25 most listened to and/or downloaded tracks of the year.

Below is that list, a CD-length collection of covers, curios and hard-to-find classics. Download the rar file, sequence as you please and burn away.

 

pop8

Baby HueyListen To Me

The Lovin’ SpoonfulDo You Believe In Magic?

French FriesDanse a la Musique

Oscar BrownThe Snake

Al BrownHere I Am Baby

RadioheadThese Are My Twisted Words

Bob DylanBoots Of Spanish Leather

Ian Dury & the BlockheadsHit Me With Your Rhythm Stick

Michael MarraHamish

Paul WellerFlame-Out

Bo DiddleyShe’s Fine, She’s Mine

Barbara & the BrownsYou Don’t Love Me

Tommy James & the ShondellsCrimson & Clover

LightshipsDo Your Thing

The BeatlesIt’s All Too Much (Much Too Much bootleg version)

Les Negresses VertesZobi la Mouche

Trash Can SinatrasGhosts Of American Astronauts (Live at Fez, NYC 2004)

Eddie FloydI’ve Never Found A Girl

The SmithsThere Is A Light That Never Goes Out (demo)

Curtis Liggins IndicationsWhat It Is

ThemI Can Only Give You Everything

Kim Fowley Bubblegum

A CampBoys Keep Swinging

The SlitsI Heard It Through The Grapevine (demo)

Madness Un Paso Adelante

 

And here’s to health, wealth and happiness to you all for 2015. All the best!

Double Nugget, Get This!, Hard-to-find

High Kimpact

Kim Fowley is a throwback to the record industry of old. A wheeler, a dealer, a mover and a shaker, he’s had his fingers in as many musical pies as he could manage at the one time. He’s done it all; manager, writer, producer, artist, promoter, you name it – a great example of a jack of all trades yet master of none.

From the late 1950s onwards he seemed determined to involve himself in as many projects as possible, in the hope that one of them might stick long enough to guarantee himself a financially secure future and his place alongside Andrew Loog Oldham, Phil Spector and Brian Epstein on the Mount Rushmore of pop.

 kym fowley 60s

Fowley might not be as well known or commercially successful as the names above and although he always seemed to be a half-step out of time with the trends of the day, his influence went far and wide.

As The Beatles were clanging their first augmented 7ths off the Cavern Club’s walls, Kim was plying his trade as a West Coast Tin Pan Alley-style in-house writer. His daft novelty pop records credited to fictitious groups like The Hollywood Argyles sold by the bucket-load, even if you’d have trouble whistling them today (Alley Oop and Like, Long Hair, anyone?) His ear for A&R led to The Rivingtons having a hit with Papa Oom Mow Mow, a slice of duh-duh-duh-duh-duh doo-wop so blinkin’ catchy it spawned Surfin’ Bird, a tune that was the catalyst for bringing the brothers Ramone into the same rehearsal room. So, (at a creative stretch) no Kim Fowley, no Ramones.

By the mid 60s, Kim was recording and releasing his own little blasts of garage punk strangeness. Selling less than zero, they quietly found their way back to obscurity before being picked up years later. Fowley’s original material has been oft-bootlegged and deserves to be heard. You’d like it.

kim fowley girls

Animal Man

1968’s Animal Man is the jewel in an off-kilter crown. A Hendrixian squall of strangulated Strats, it riffs along like the snotty-nosed big brother of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, a bass-less, thrilling ramalama. Kim comes across like a proto Iggy, yelping and yowling, barking and burping his way through a list of sexual desires – “I’m a pig! Oink Oink!”, getting pervier and pervier by the second until it fades out in more of that ear-splitting lead guitar.

Bubblegum

Another from 1968, Bubblegum grooves along on organ, restrained percussion and more of that wild guitar. Very of its time. But in a good way. Given that it comes out of the speakers sounding like a tank going into no man’s land, I think this version is the full-fat mono recording.

Underground Lady

66’s Underground Lady is a one chord blues stomp, the kind you’ve heard a million times before, Kim sneering like a young Van Morrison fronting Them, Cuban heels stomping out the beat on the floor below. Young bands like The Strypes would kill for this sound.

The Trip

The Trip famously appeared on the original Nuggets LP. It‘s the claustrophobic, street walkin’, jive talkin’ oral equivalent of being 3 acid tabs to the wind. Itchy, scratchy and faintly unpleasant. It’s an essential listen, obviously.

Following his failed assault on the pop charts, Kim moved into writing and producing, then management. In the 70s he wrote for artists as varied as Alice Cooper, Leon Russell, Kiss and Kriss Kristofferson. He also produced material for Jonathan Richman, although it failed to make the band’s debut LP.

runaways

 

He then recruited 5 disparate female musicians, dressed them head to toe in figure-hugging denim, lycra and the occasional basque, called them The Runaways and set the pulse of every 15 year old mid-Western male racing. The Runaways paved the way for future all-girl acts such as The Bangles, The Go-Gos and Girlschool, proving that for once in his musical life, Kim was a step ahead of the curve.

He’s still going strong, is Kim Fowley. In 2012 he published the first part of his autobiography and just a couple of months ago, at the age of 75, he married his long-term girlfriend. The second part of his story will be written on his death bed and published posthumously. Not your average Joe at all.

Interview, 1977

Kim Fact #1.

When a nervous John Lennon and Yoko Ono appeared at the last minute as special guests at 1969’s Toronto Rock & Roll Revival show, it was Kim’s idea for the audience to greet them by holding aloft their lighters and matches. Thus began a 70’s cliche…

Kim Fact #2

He looks a wee bit like Lou Reed, aye?

Cover Versions, Double Nugget, Hard-to-find, Sampled

Van Go!

Van Morrison has the dubious honour of being the most boring, souless, bum-numbing act I’ve ever had the misfortune to endure live in concert. Sometime in the mid 90s (94? 95? I can’t quite remember) we went to see him at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow. It’s a terrific venue, unlike the vastness of the SECC it’s built for purpose, and everytime I’ve been there I’ve left wishing all my favourite arena-sized acts would play there. Van’s show that night was memorable for two reasons.

Firstly, Van was playing two nights in Glasgow on this tour. Our tickets, bought and paid for months in advance had gone missing in transit. By the time admin had caught up with this fact, the night we’d planned to attend was sold out. We were offered tickets for the next night instead, in prime middle of the house seats. Problem was, this night clashed with the football, and as a season ticket holder at Kilmarnock FC, I was torn between the big match with Rangers at home or the Van Morrison concert, an act I’d never yet seen live. I chose Van.

Secondly, and more crucially, Van had a bloody cheek to bill his show as a ‘Van Morrison‘ concert. His co-vocalist (I’d say backing vocalist, but as it transpired as the night unravelled, backing vocalist would have been a label more suited to Van himself) was Brian Kennedy, a Butlins’ Red Coat version of Marti Pellow, a Mr Darcy of a plank with flowing locks ‘n red suede coat ‘n cheshire cat grin ‘n all. To say Brian loved/loves himself would be a massive understatement. He posed and he preened and whenever Van gave him the nod, which was often, he’d let his Irish tenor’s warble loose on the best bits of Van’s back catalogue. It was criminal. Van seemed content to scowl and scat and hang onto his saxophone for comfort. Housewives’ favourite Brian performed his expensive take on karaoke for nigh on two hours and we all went home thoroughly underwhelmed. To put the tin lid on it, I think Killie secured a rare victory over the lavishly bonused tax dodgers from the Southside.  Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated, as someone once quipped.

Anyway, long before Van was singing about brown eyed-girls or reminding us how much he loved us, he was Ivan Morrison, vocalist in Belfast’s Them.

van them

A Northern Irish equivalent to The Animals or The Troggs, Them played thumping caveman rhythm and blues with a snap and a snarl. On their second LP you’ll find I Can Only Give You Everything.

Them I Can Only Give You Everything;

A feral Van welds his vocal to a nagging fuzzed-up garage punk stomper. It‘s crazed, demented and absolutely magic; a glorious Cuban-heeled clattering racket, the sort of record that makes me want to throw Jaggeresque handclapping poses, grow my hair into a bowlcut and squeeze my fat feet into snooker cue-thin Chelsea boots.

Talking of haircuts, Beck sampled the riff for his own Devil’s Haircut tune, but you probably knew that already. Actually, he may have played the riff live, rather than merely sample it. Either way, Beck built his record around the riff.

I Can Only Give You Everything is everything you need in a record – it’s just over two and a half minutes long but you know how it goes after two and a half seconds. The fuzz guitar riff NEVER changes at all. A Farfisa (?) organ appears during the second verse before leading the inevitable instrumental break and key change halfway through. Throughout, Van sings with a soul and passion much missing in action that mid 90s Glasgow night. The whole thing kicks like a mule.

*Bonus tracks!

Here’s Patti Smith doing Them‘s Gloria, no doubt at the insistence of Lenny Kaye, guitarist in the Patti Smith Group and also the compiler of the terrific Nuggets LP, the Bible of garage rock.

lenny kaye

I like to think that Lenny discovered Them as a wide-eyed teenager and it was this that prompted him to learn guitar. Who knows?

Patti Smith Group Gloria

Jimi Hendrix Experience Gloria

Van Morrison and Them Gloria

Double Nugget, Gone but not forgotten, Hard-to-find

Keep It In The Family

Brother brother brother sang Marvin Gaye on What’s Going On, to all like-minded fellow men and women everywhere. Gathering the clans, uniting everyone, making us (and Marvin) feel part of a bigger thing. Spiritual if not actual family. Family is a big thing in music. Whether it’s monobrowed Mancs or hard-rockin’ hairy Aussies with Scottish roots, there’s plenty of instances where brothers, sisters, cousins, husbands and wives have managed to work harmoniously (or otherwise) in a band. Happy Mondays featured the Ryder brothers. Radiohead the Greenwoods. The Kinks the Davies. The Stooges the Ashetons. Kim and Kelly Deal were half of The Breeders. Karen and Richard Carpenter were able to leave any sibling rivalries at the door and, as The Carpenters create some of the finest easy listening you could ever want to hear.  The Arcade Fire count the matrimonial duo of Win and Regine Butler amongst their ranks. The Beach Boys were a heady mix of brothers, cousins and close friends. The White Stripes? Well, depending on what you read were either some, none or or all of the above. Brother and sister? Husband and wife? 3rd cousins twice removed?  Who knows?

Some bands like to show unity and strength through their familial ties. We are family sang the four sisters in Sister Sledge. Sly & the Family Stone were really Sylvester and the family Stewart. Sly, his brother Freddie, his sister Rose plus assorted cousins…a true family band (with added token honkies, if you hadn’t noticed). Here‘s the little-known Jane Is A Groupee, an (assumingly) biographical tale, given Sly’s penchant for the fairer sex. Sample lyric –

She’s got a thing for guys in the band.

Every musicians’ biggest fan

Claps her hands, but without a doubt, has no idea what the song’s about,

She’s too busy trying to figure out the shortest route to take the drummer home

Fuzz bass, fuzz guitars and drum rolls that sound like they’re playing at the bottom of a deep, deep well, what’s not to like?

Not so prog rockers Family. They were no more related than me to Tina Turner. Spare a thought though for the artists who chose to go it alone in defiant acts of pride/stupidity regardless of the fact that their sibling achieved massive success. Chris Jagger. Mike McCartney. I’m thinking of you. The lesser-known Jagger’s stubbornness to continue his well-worn path of 12 bar blues in ‘intimate’ venues while his more well-known, internationally super-famous brother struts around the larger stadiums of the planet should be commended. The 0ther McCartney is a tad more interesting. Changing his name to Mike McGear and teaming up with poet Roger McGough, (father of Happy Mondays manager Nathan), in 1968 he released a terrific slice of Hendrixian psych rock that (it’s alleged) features Our Paul on production duties and yer actual Jimi on 6 string duties. I’ve blogged So Much In Love before, but have a listen here.

Ronnie Wood’s big brother Arthur formed The Artwoods (gettit?) in the mid 60s and for a few short years carved out a decent career as an in-demand R&B/mod/freakbeat group. Art Wood had that standard gritty white-man-sings-soul voice, and coupled with the much-favoured guitar plus Hammond line-up might have expected his band to have been as popular as The Small Faces in another world. Fate saw that that wouldn’t be the case, which is disappointing as amongst the assortment of standards and expected covers du jour they cut Goodbye Sisters, a terrific piece of mid 60s psych, replete with descending bassline, swirly Hammond and some decent cooing backing vocals. I think you’d like it.

Cover Versions, Double Nugget, Gone but not forgotten

If You Like To Gamble I Tell You I’m Your Man…

You win some, lose some (it’s all the same to me)……………I don’t share your greed, the only card I need is the Ace Of Spades the Jack Of Diamonds. Or depending where you are and who you’re listening to, the Jack O’ Diamonds.

Jack O’ Diamonds is a classic of its kind. A song about cards, gambling and losing. Which is one and the same I suppose. It was often sung as a lament on the lost highways, biways and plantations of the southern states whenever one unlucky gambler lost his lot playing Coon Can, an arguably politically incorrectly named version of a card game that we nowadays would call Rummy. Like most songs of its ilk, it has ancient roots, some stretching back to the Highlands of Scotland, others stretching less far back to the American Civil War. In 1926, Blind Lemon Jefferson was the first to cut a recording of it. You may never have heard it before, but you’ll know exactly how it sounds – deep southern blues with a petted lip and rudimentary knife-as-slide guitar, coated in what sounds like a thousand eggs frying outside Aldo’s chip shop on a Friday night. It’s quite possibly the oldest record I’ll ever put on here. It’s amazing that it exists at all, a fact highlighted by the eerie, ghostly state in which it is preserved.

Since 1926, it’s taken on a life of its own. Jack O’ Diamonds has been recorded a gazillion times by every two-bit country bluegrass and blues singer that ever lived. And the rest. Lonnie Donegan, the King Of Skiffle, released his version in 1957. A heady mix of hiccuping vocals, frantically scrubbed acoustic guitars and some fine Scotty Moore a-like electric pickin’, it sows the seeds for all future DIY punk aesthetists everywhere. Old tea chest and string as upright bass guitar. Washboard as rhythm section. School choir harmonies. It’s terrific! Without Lonnie Donegan, The Beatles might never have happened, Western pop music as we know it would be very different and we’d all be listening to Mongolian jazz. Probably. But you knew that already. Anyway, if you have the time, you might want to read this.

The best version of Jack O’ Diamonds is, to these ears, the 1966 version by The Daily Flash. Little-known outside of Seattle, The Daily Flash were a fantastic garage-punk band. All wailing harmonicas, fuzz bass and obligatory ear-bleeding guitar solo, their version sounds nothing like the other two. The rhythm underpinning it all brings to mind the rattle and roll rumble of the coal-laden Hunterston Power Station train as it thunders past my house in the wee small hours most nights. Terrifying, yes. Noisy, yes. And guaranteed to keep you awake just the same as that bloody train.

Cover Versions, demo, Double Nugget, Dylanish, elliott smith, Get This!, Gone but not forgotten, Hard-to-find, Kraut-y, Most downloaded tracks, New! Now!, Peel Sessions, Sampled, Six Of The Best, Studio master tapes, studio outtakes

I Got 5 Years Stuck On My Eyes

I got 5 years, what a surprise!Five Years‘, Bowie’s opening track on the Ziggy album ends with that afore-mentioned refrain. But you knew that already. You might also know that Plain Or Pan has now been going for 5 years. Or you might not. Either way, thanks for visiting time and time again. Whether you’re one of the few who choose to ‘follow this blog’ or you’re one of those misguided creeps who ended up here via Google after searching for ‘Teenage Fanny‘ and got the Bellshill Beach Boys instead, those visits (and the numbers they register behind the scenes in the Plain Or Pan office) are what keeps me a-writin’ and researchin’. Not as often as I’d like to, but as someone commented some time ago, “One good post a week is better than 7 posts of shite.” I might be paraphrasing there, but you get the idea.

As is now customary at this time of year, my team of office monkeys gather up all statistical information made available to them and compile a couple of CDs worth of the year’s most popular downloaded tracks and painstakingly create a groovy cover that goes with it. This is not a quick process. Hours are spent refining and re-refining running orders. At least 14 different covers are produced before a carefully-selected random sample of Plain Or Pan’s target audience (that’s you, that is) choose the cover that speaks most to them. This year is slightly different. The office monkeys have gone on strike (they mumbled something about pensions) and time is at a premium (ie, I don’t have any). The tracks, 2 CDs worth are here. The artwork, not your normal CD cover, more of an image that you can use as cover art in iTunes or however you listen to music on your computer, is there, above this paragraph (right click, save as etc etc). The tracklist? I don’t have one. This year you can choose your own running order from the following:

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John Barry – Midnight Cowboy

King Creosote – Home In A Sentence

The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (Rare Italian pressing)

Gruff Rhys – Shark Ridden Waters, which samples….

The Cyrkle – It Doesn’t Matter Anymore

Midlake – Branches

Elliott Smith – Alameda

Peter Salett – Sunshine

Mott The Hoople – Walking With A Mountain

Primal Scream – Jailbird (Kris Needs’ Toxic Trio Stay free mix)

Primal Scream & PP Arnold – Understanding (Small Faces cover)

Ride – Like A Daydream

The Wildebeests – That Man (Small Faces cover)

Dion – The Dolphins (Tim Buckley cover)

Darondo – Didn’t I

Edwin Starr – Movin’ On Up (Primal Scream cover)

Shellac – My Black Ass

The Rivingtons – Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow (the building blocks of Surfin Bird)

The Survivors – Pamela Jean (Brian Wilson recording)

The Heavy – How You Like Me Now? which heavily ‘borrows’ from…

Dyke & The Blazers – Let A Woman Be A Woman (Let A Man Be A Man)

The La’s – Come In Come Out (John Leckie mix)

The Girlfriends – My One And Only Jimmy Boy

The Whyte Boots – Nightmare

James Brown & the Famous Flames –I’ll Go Crazy

The Jim Jones Revue – Hey Hey Hey Hey, cover of….

Little Richard – Hey Hey Hey Hey (false start take)

Suede – The Wild Ones (unedited version)

Lee Dorsey – Holy Cow

Fern Kinney – Groove Me

Aretha Franklin – Rock Steady (alt mix)

Jackson 5 –  I Want You Back (Michael’s isolated vocal – dynamite!!!)

Reparta & the Delrons – Shoes (the inspiration for The Smiths’ A Rush And A Push…)

Dusty Springfield – Spooky

She & Him – Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want (Smiths cover)

John Barry – The Girl With The Sun In Her Hair

A fairly representative selection of what Plain Or Pan is all about, you might agree. In other words, a right rum bag of forgotten classics and demos and cover versions and alternative takes and studio outtakes and the rest of it. Outdated Music For Outdated People right enough.

Missed any of these legendary compilations?

Here‘s the first 2 years, 2007 & 2008

Here‘s 2009’s

Here‘s 2010’s

Download ’til yer heart’s content!

Cover Versions, Double Nugget, Gone but not forgotten, Hard-to-find, Live!

Brown Sugar, How Come You Taste So Good?

There’s only one thing good about Hallowe’en and that’s tablet. I despise Hallowe’en. Really properly hate it. I think it dates back to the times when I was a wee boy and I was sent out every year as a one-man band – my Dad’s old guitar (it was old then, it’s ancient now), a coathanger fashioned into a half-arsed harmonica harness, two cardboard cymbals between the knees and a massive big bass drum hanging off my skinny shoulders right down to my backside. Oh, and a couple of bells strapped round my ankles for added effect. “Who…what….are you meant to be?” they’d always ask and I’d mumble the answer while stuffing monkey nuts into a poly bag already full of monkey nuts. Then I’d shamble off to the next house sounding like the Eastenders theme falling down the stairs. With bells on.

Can I not just be a skeleton next year Dad?

We’ll see son, we’ll see…

Not that I’m scarred for life or anything. I’ve just spent the last couple of hours in classic grumpy old man fashion, hanging cheap orange and black Poundland tat from the outside walls of my garage and front door. An inflatable bat here, a plastic pumpkin there. Tat, tat and more tat. At least the kids’ll like it though. Hang some of that junk to your wall and it’s an open invitation to all and sundry. I expect literally hundreds of the wee grubbers round here tomorrow night, with their rubbish jokes and shop-bought costumes (there’ll be no one-man bands, I can guarantee you that), rattling my letterbox just as The One Show kicks off. “Oany tablet mister?”

Heres 2 version of a vaguely Hallowe’en themed double whammy (thanks to Big Stuff for the inspiration).

Spooky was first recorded by Classics IV, a band from Florida featuring a singing drummer and harmonies to rival the Wilson family. They were so laid back and chilled out they make Fleetwood Mac seem like Sonic Youth in comparison. Indeed, they practically invented the whole ‘soft rock’ genre. Gads. Spooky is almost garage band in presentation, but if you listen closely to the clipped guitar and polite vibraphone you just know they were heading in a different direction entirely. Indeed, by the time you’ve picked up on the lack of fuzz bass and the singing drummer’s vocal inflections (groovy, baby), it’s clear they’d bought a one-way ticket to mid-70s elevator muzak central, sax solos ‘n all. And it was only 1968.

Dusty Springfield hid her version away on the b-side of 1970’s How Can I Be Sure. Picked up since by hip samplers and happenin’ film soundtrack compilers, it’s been rightly placed amongst the canon of her best work. Dusty practically breathes the vocal across the top like a butterfly on a breeze as her fingers click in time to the coolest Fender Rhodes this side of Ronnie Scott’s in 1972. Even more cocktail lounge than the Classics IV version, it had, for a brief two and a half groovy minutes there made me forget the reason I was posting it in the first place.

There’s no tablet, by the way. I ate it all. Every last tooth-melting soft ‘n sugary bit of it. Right at this minute I am, as someone once sang, shakin’ all over. What’re ye goin’ as?

Bonus Track of sorts

REM did Spooky now and again in concert. Here they are in Hamburg a couple of years ago:

Cover Versions, Double Nugget, Hard-to-find

Double Nugget

If you’re looking for musical hereos that are a wee bit more left field than your average common or garden Lennon or McCartney, you could do worse than become obsessed with the music and ideals of XTC and their resident genius Andy Partridge. One such obsessed fan is Irishman Thomas Walsh who recently found minor fame recording a concept album about cricket as one half of the Duckworth Lewis Method (along wth fellow countryman Neil ‘Divine Comedy‘ Hannon). Look them up via Mojo or Word. Both magazines fell over themselves in a race to see who could bestow the more ridiculous superlatives upon this unlikely duo and, while the music is pleasant enough, the underlying smugness of Neil Hannon gets in the way of a good listen for me.

Sweat Sweat Sweat

I much prefer Walsh’s other group, Pugwash. Inspired by stories of Andy Partridge’s refusal to tour with XTC and hearing how Partridge was happiest when recording in his shed,  Walsh used the compensation money he received from a childhood  accident to build a shed/recording studio in his back garden. The music that followed was a heady mix of melodic sunshine garage pop (think Beach Boys, Zombies, early Bee Gees) and through a combination of patience and luck the songs found their way to Andy Partridge, who released them on his own Ape House label. Now there’s a happy ending! In 2008, Pugwash released At The Sea, a single that despite being co-written by Andy Partridge and utilising his talents on guitar, mellotron and anything else lying around the studio, failed (not unsurprisingly) to set the heather on fire. On the b-side was this, a faithful cover of the Idle Race‘s ‘On With The Show‘.

Brummies The Idle Race often pop up on Nuggets’y compilations (Imposters of Life’s Magazine? Days of the Broken Arrows? Ring any bells?) and are famous as the band where Jeff Lynne (ELO, future Threatles-not-Beatles producer) learned his big hairy-faced chops in the late 60s. ‘On With the Show‘ appeared on their debut album (Birthday Party, above) and is very derivative of its time -a descending piano chord sequence, harmonies a-gogo, some light phasing (all the rage in 1968) and enough melody and craft packed in to two minutes and twenty two seconds. You’ll like it.

Fact: Mark E Smith is a big Idle Race fan. According to Wikipedia at any rate.

*Bonus Track!

I’ll wager you’ve heard of Wild Beasts. They’ve been on Later with Jools Holland a few times. Lake District indie rock group with a neat line in guitar riffs ‘n textures and an irritating habit of singing everything in ridiculous falsetto. I kinda like them, even though a) they want so badly to be Orange Juice and b) that singer is fucking annoying. I’ll wager you’ve not heard of The Wildebeests. I know next to nothing about them. If you can fill in the blanks, get in touch.  I heard a track on a Shindig magazine compilation and was taken aback with it’s totally blatant Who-isms. Won’t Get Fooled Again keyboard riff? Aye! Crashing, windmilling Townshend power chords? Oh aye! Moonesque thumps ‘n bumps? Oh aye aye! Layered Goods Gone vocals? Aye ‘n aye again!, That Man is the sort of record Noel Gallagher would shave his eyebrow off to be able to make. Which makes it good, obviously.

Update!

As pointed out by regular reader Garwood Pickjon in the comments below, That Man is in fact a cover of a mid 60s Small Faces record (hear here). I’ve got the record in my collection and everything, but it never clicked when listening to The Wildbeests version. The old antennae needs retuning to digital I think – it reaches me in May this year. Any other mistakes/errors, please let me know. I’m off to eat Humble Pie. No pun intended. Unless you get it. In which case, good pun, eh?

Garwood, your prize is in the post…..

Wildbeests. Not Wild Beasts.

Cover Versions, demo, Double Nugget, elliott smith, Get This!, Gone but not forgotten, Hard-to-find, Kraut-y, Most downloaded tracks, Peel Sessions, Sampled, Studio master tapes, studio outtakes

Four Play

Amazingly or not, ye olde Plain Or Pan is now 4 years young. This year saw the double-whammy milestones of reaching one million visitors and, on a personal level, having my writing recognised to the extent that I was invited to interview Sandie Shaw in advance of her appearing at the summer’s Vintage At Goodwood festival. My interview was subsequently published in the hardback Annual that festival goers could buy at the event. Which was nice.

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As has been something of a tradition at the start of a year, I’ve put together a compilation of the most downloaded tracks over the past year – 2 CDs worth of covers, curios and hard-to-find classics. I like to think of it as a potted representation of what Plain Or Pan is about.

Tracklist Disc 1:

Jackson 5 I Want You Back acapella

Dean Carter Jailhouse Rock

Frankie Valli Queen Jane Approximately

Chris Bell I Am The Cosmos

Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson I Am The Cosmos

Scott Walker Black Sheep Boy

Tim Buckley Dolphins

Sandie Shaw I Don’t Owe You Anything

Big Maybelle 96 Tears

Patti Jo Make Me Believe In You

Curtis Mayfield (Don’t Worry) If There’s Hell Below We’re all Gonna Go (takes 1& 2)

Brinkley & ParkerDon’t Get Fooled By The Pander Man

Sly Stone Time For Livin’ (early version)

Maggie Thrett Soupy

Sheila and B. Devotion Spacer

Happy Mondays Staying Alive

Aretha Franklin / Duane Allman The Weight

Funkadelic Maggot Brain (alt mix)

 

 

Tracklist Disc 2:

Spiritualized Can’t Help Falling In Love

Serge Gainsbourg Melody

Stone Roses Something’s Burning (demo)

Can I’m So Green

Alex Chilton My Baby Just Cares For Me

Elliott Smith I’ll Be Back

The Czars Where the Boys Are

Peter Fonda November Night

Beach Boys Never Learn Not To Love

Charles Manson Cease To Exist

Wedding Present Happy Birthday (Peel Session)

Penny Peeps Model Village

The Stairs Woman Gone And Say Goodbye

Kinks Sittin’ On My Sofa

Ramones Judy Is A Punk (1975 demo)

Capsula Run Run Run

White Stripes Party Of Special Things To Do

13th Floor Elevators Slip Inside This House

Jake Holmes Dazed & Confused

White Antelope Silver Dagger

Arcade Fire Poupee de Cire, Poupee de Son

The Velvelettes Needle In A Haystack acapella

Each disc comes packaged as one big downloadable .rar file, complete with artwork.

If you’re new here, welcome and happy downloading! If you’re a regular here, you may have some or all of these tracks already, so why not download anyway and burn a CD for someone who might appreciate it?