Cover Versions, Hard-to-find

Never Mind The Bollocks

So, the dust has settled on RSD ’16. That’s ‘S‘ for ‘Shop‘, by the way. ‘Store‘?!? Pfffffttt. Not in my house. I celebrated this year’s event not in the queue at my local record shop (we have a decent one in our town, but I wasn’t planning on getting into a scrum at half 7 in the morning), but rather up Goat Fell on the island of Arran. It’s classed as a large hill, I believe, not even Munro status, but let me tell you – I might’ve scrambled my way up a hill, but I came down a mountain. My legs are still aching as I type. At the top there are sensational views of the west of Scotland and beyond; in one 360° sweep you could see Bute and the mouth of the River Clyde, the two Cumbrae islands, the Mull Of Kintyre (no mist rolling in from the sea on this clear day) and there, on the horizon beyond Ailsa Craig, the east coast of Ireland, faint as a bookies’ pencil line on last week’s National betting slip, but there in front of the naked eye all the same. Arran’s jagged peaks below us made us feel as though we were on top of the world, perhaps the same feeling you might’ve experienced when you landed your grubby mitts on whatever slab of black plastic you were desperate to part upwards of £15 for yesterday. I dunno, but I’m pretty sure my experience just felt a lot more cleaner and honest.

arran sunsetArran from the ferry home last night.

I’m not really a fan of RSD. I’m all for the promotion of record shops and music and buying records and all that, but I find the whole thing a ridiculous cash-in by everyone involved. Why would you pay silly money for a reissued Associates 7″ when you can pick an original copy up on eBay for 75p? I don’t get it. But I’m a total music snob – I love exclusivity and uniqueness, so I do kinda get it when bands release one-off tracks especially for the day. Last week I picked up Paul Weller‘s Flame-Out (from RSD ’14) for 99p. Couldn’t get it for love nor money two years ago, but there it was, sad and unloved (and still shrink-wrapped), some unscrupulous scalper’s failed pension plan cast adrift on eBay for eagle-eyed digital crate diggers like myself.

s'express promo

Maybe in a couple of years I’ll be able to pick up a mint copy of Primal Scream‘s offering for this year, a surprisingly good take on, of all things, S’Express’s Mantra For A State Of Mind. The original is terrific; end of the century disco music, all rinky dink Italo house piano, sugar coated in bleeps and whooshes and carried along on a wave of hysterical female backing vocals. If you listen very carefully you’ll hear the sound of Bobby G and co taking notes as they prepare to record Don’t Fight it, Feel It. How has no-one noticed this until now?

S’ExpressMantra For A State Of Mind (Elevation Mix, Parts 1 & 2)

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Primal Scream slow things down rather a lot. Their version sounds like something they might’ve done 25 years ago and comes across like S’Express on Benylin. It’s got Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce on guitar duties and that very same hysterical lassie that S’Express used to beef up the original version. It‘s bloody magic, truth be told.

Primal ScreamMantra For A State Of Mind

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If you had the chance to talk to Bobby, he’d probably fix you straight in the eye and tell you straight-faced that their version was a punkrockdoowoppsychedelicatrippedoutcidhousepartycomedowngroove or other such bollocks, Little Richard jamming with Sun Ra and produced by Lee Perry, StonesWhoPistolsClash-influenced with, y’know, added bongos. But you know and I know that Bobby is now one big lanky streak of a caricatured stupidity, about as current as that Grand National bookies’ line I was talking about earlier. Primal Scream nowadays are a total irrelevance, with record sales as flimsy as Bobby’s fringe. Apart from Kasabian fans, who still likes them? If they made more records in the vein of Mantra, though, Primal Scream would still be hot property.

Right. I’m off to seek out that Radiohead 12″ from RSD ’12. I hope I get it before you.