Cover Versions, Get This!, Gone but not forgotten, Hard-to-find

Be Fancy Free To Call The Tune You Sing

moondog

That’s Moondog, the blind composer, poet and inventor of all sorts of weird ‘n wacky instruments. For twenty or so years he lived on the streets of New York, sometimes dressed head to toe in full-on Viking garb, earning himself the title ‘The Viking of 6th Avenue‘. Moondog always composed his musique concrète from the street sounds of daily Big Apple life, turning honking traffic horns and street corner spats into snaking, rhythmic pieces of music. The most cult of cult figures, he makes Yoko Ono come across like Will.I.Am by comparison.

Moondog Do Your Thing:

1978’s H’art Songs featured Do Your Thing, a childish, reedy-vocalled, piano-led baroquish, sunshine piece of pop that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on The Kinks’ We Are The Village Green Preservation Society LP.

As a one-off curio, it’s a nice wee song. And while I can’t vouch for the rest of Moondog’s output, I suspect it’s perhaps not as accessible as Do Your Thing. One person who might know is Gerry Love, who’s Lightships project first brought Do Your Thing to my attention.

lightships blurred

Lightships Do Your Thing:

Lightships‘ version comes vibrating out of the haze towards you, shimmering softly in the July heat like a frisbee forever floating, edges morphing out of shape under the glare of the midday sun with three chords, double-tracked whispered vocals and a tinkling glockenspiel with its arm wrapped around a twanging guitar for comfort. It calls to mind the hissing of summer lawns, the far-off laughs of children and melted tarmac on the pavement. Your hayfevered eyes and nose might be flowing uncontrollably like a mountain stream but this record will surely cure you. I could listen to it forever.

One of the high points of a ridiculously brilliant project, Gerry Love’s transcendent cover of Do Your Thing first appeared a couple of years ago on the b-side (the b-side!!) of the Sweetness In Her Spark single, tucked away for the ears of only trainspotters and completists. The true sound of summer, now is the time to liberate it.

 

demo, Get This!

Love Songs

It starts slow and understated, and remains so for 15 spine-tingling minutes. Vintage synths hold down eee-long-gated chords as a nylon-stringed acoustic guitar picks out little arpeggios underneath. A wee chiming bit of pitched percussion tinkles away in the foreground, announcing itself like a far-off ice cream van shimmering in the haze. There’s a faint whiff of 1970s BBC library music, of the sort you might hear while the girl played noughts and crosses with the clown as you waited impatiently for something to happen through the arched window. A beautiful wee melodica pops up now and again, backed by the same guitar arpeggios, this time chiming away on a clean electric guitar. Then a polite banjo, picking out that same melody. By the time the flutes flutter in, your world has turned beige and tan and orange, you’ve styled yourself a side parting and the beginnings of a moustache have appeared on your top lip. An Open University degree beckons…

gerard love lightships Gerard Love. Happy to take a back seat when there’s a clarinet around.

Motorhead it ain’t. It’s called All I Have To Do Is Sit And Wait and it’s from a five year old, buried-in-time and long-since forgotten about project of Teenage Fanclub’s Gerard Love. Made to accompany a film about a place called Abbey View, it’s designed to be listened to on the bus from Dunfermline to Abbey View, a journey that takes 18 minutes and 43 seconds, the exact length of the original pice of music. You can find out more about it here. Somehow, I only have it in a slightly edited form, but I’m sure you get the idea. Music for a long summers day, or a short bus journey, if the driver put his foot down a wee bit, or skipped a stop or two, he’d have you in Abbey View before the edited version has faded away.

gerardlove

Of course, this was all a precursor to Love’s excellent Lightships album from last year. It’s just that no-one had really heard it until it sneaked out online for 5 minutes then sneaked itself back in again. Grab it quick.

Above is the aforementioned Lightships doing University Avenue from their Fear And Doubt EP.  Sprung from the same DNA as the above track, with added singing, it‘s a beauty. Stop The Clocks, sings Gerry. Aye, stop the clocks indeed. Sit down, relax, play on repeat. And if you haven’t heard Lightships……………….

lighships fear and doubt ep