Carry On Controversy (The Queen is Dead Again)

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Morrissey & Smiths Triology

It’s been an interesting second half of the year for Morrissey fans. Firstly there was the England Is Mine biopic. Not the worst film I’ve seen this year but it stands the same chance of ending up in my best of 2017 list as Morrissey deciding to serve up a platter of halal meat at his next birthday bash followed by a tray of Chicken McNuggets.

More recently there’s been the super-dooper deluxe re-release of The Queen is Dead which I decided to fork out for despite already owning it firstly as a cassette then as an LP and then CD, as well as owning the four B-sides featured on the second disc here.

There are three versions on this package of the title track. Obviously the original from the 1986 album, a demo without the opening sample but with added instrumental interplay with Rourke’s powerhouse bass sharking round some Johnny Marr guitar that call to mind Lou Reed’s choogling style. There’s also a version performed in Boston which sounds like the band have been snorting line after line of the only sulph in the world that hasn’t been cut to fuck. Very unlikely in the case of Morrissey I know. Its breakneck speed even made me think of punk.

The original kicks off with a snippet of the jingoistic Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty lifted from The L-Shaped Room, one of those early ’60s kitchen sink dramas that Morrissey so adores. Me too.

Of course you really know the party is getting started when someone strikes up Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty. Fun and frivolity surely beckon.

Well, maybe not. The lead character, who’s pregnant, collapses during it, hence the song trailing off unexpectedly.

Cue a slow ooze of feedback and Mike Joyce’s furious tribal drumbeat, those thundering tom-tom thumps sounding like they want a square go. Maybe the whole song does. And by the time Andy Rourke’s muscular bassline joins in and Johnny Marr adds some ninja guitar lines you know this would pulverise just about any potential opponent.

Listening to the song now makes me wish I could hear it fresh for the first time again. It must have been thrilling wondering where Morrissey was going to go with these lyrics – and at this point he was undoubtedly penning some of the most imaginative, unpredictable lyrical content I have ever come across (apart from the six minute didactic dirge that had given his last album its title). Here on the Queen he surpasses himself, mixing surreal Joe Orton-esque fantasy with music hall comedy; Carry On comedy with Hubert Selby Jr’s subversive Last Exit to Brooklyn.

Johnny Marr is at the top of his game too, supplying some amazingly inventive guitar to those idiosyncratic words and making it sound utterly effortless.

Here, I’ll air what might be seen as a controversial viewpoint myself. A controversial musical viewpoint that is regarding the best guitar work heard on a record accompanying Morrissey’s voice. For a long time now I’ve cited Vini Reilly’s contribution to Suedehead but when Marr launches into a wah-wah frenzy here I do at least raise an eyebrow at this opinion.

Smiths - The Queen is Dead Deluxe Edition Tracklisting

By turns emotionally charged and exhilarating, absurdist and adventurous, th entire album remains a very special listen. Granted, no matter how many painstaking tweaks and tinkering go into any remastering, I’ll never truly love Frankly, Mr Shankly and Vicar in a Tutu. After all his pessimism and past provocations, though, it was pleasing to hear Morrissey giving way just occasionally to some carefree kicks, even if those two tracks ensure for me that the album just misses out on belonging in the absolute classics category along with The Velvet Underground and Nico, Berlin, Never Mind the Bollocks and Loveless.

Am I glad that I got my hands on a copy?

Hell yeah. Johnny’s glimmering guitar on a demo of Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others is a joy; the remastered Boy With the Boy with the Thorn in His Side sparkles beautifully as does I Know It’s Over. Listening to the latter pulsing ballad with my Sennhausers on instantly re-ignited my infatuation with this devastating tale of unrequited love. And I did play it over and over and over and over again. Morrissey’s finest ever vocal performance I reckon and a melancholic masterpiece.

Oh, and the demo of Never Had No One Ever with the jazzy trumpet prompted a very different response. It made me laugh. And Morrissey too towards the end of the track.

And at least two of those remastered B-sides, Asleep and Unloveable, are as good as any A-side singles I’ve heard in 2017.

The soundboard recording of the 1986 Boston show is of a pretty high quality too albeit I’ll likely only listen to it sporadically at best. I think too that ditching the British racing green and pink artwork is a mistake but I’m already hoping that my own favourite Smiths album Strangeways receives the same kind of treatment ASAP. Go on Rhino. Re-issue! Re-package! Re-package!

Here’s the impressionistic three track promo featuring The Queen, The Boy With the Boy with the Thorn in His Side and Panic directed by Derek Jarman:


Morrissey has also made the headlines this year, especially in the wake of some comments made regarding the Manchester bombing.

Keeping your fingers crossed that this arch contrarian won’t stray into some controversy or other is as daft as hoping that the next series of Game of Thrones might cut out the brutality.

Reviews of his forthcoming album Low in High School haven’t been too enthusiastic. In Uncut Stephen Trousse gave it 5/10 and banged on about his politics as much as his music while Mojo‘s Pat Gilbert awarded it B+ for music but C- for attitude. Yes, marked on his attitude.

I’ll let you make your own mind about recent Morrissey controversies but I do suspect if Bigmouth hadn’t struck again, these reviews would have been much more favourable. The first taster for the new album was definitely promising.

This is Spent the Day in Bed:


Recorded at La Fabrique Studios in France and at Ennio Morricone’s Forum Studios in Rome, Low in High School comes out on November 17 via BMG.

Morrissey will tour the UK and Ireland early next year including a date at the Hydro in Glasgow on February 17.

Jacky's Only Happy When She's Up On The Stage

New single Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up On The Stage is out today, the cover being a (cropped) photo by Miron Zownir. Which I like a lot but which Twitter doesn’t.

What the story behind the picture is I have no idea although I do know that it was taken in New York in the 1980s and that the sign says SOHO IS FULL OF SHIT.

Here is Morrissey performing the track live for BBC 6 Music:


For more on the album: http://morrisseyofficial.com/

 

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Fab 5 Freddie Told Me Everybody’s Fly

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Jean-Michel Basquiat - Two Heads

Over the weekend I’ll be spending some time in London where one highlight of the trip should be the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition Boom For Real at the Barbican.

Back in the 1980s I remember reading a copy of Art Monthly magazine, the cover reproducing a painting by Hans Haacke titled Taking Stock that acted as a conceptual critique of the involvement of Saatchi and Saatchi in the international art world, the Saatchis at the time being the favoured PR company of the Tory Party. This was Haacke’s favoured modus operandi, investigating the links between the art world and capitalist corporations. A key to the work was necessary to understand it fully.

The artist might be making valid points but I doubt that Taking Stock changed the opinion of a single person who viewed it and could Haacke not just have written an essay on the subject instead?

Much more satisfying was an article focussing on New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, a self-taught painter still only in his early 20s, who’d started out as a graffiti artist, using the tag Samo on the streets of SoHo and the East Village. Fiercely creative, his improvisatory work was bold and vividly coloured. It engaged the eye and mind rigorously with a mixture of hieroglyphics, tribal art, bits of mysterious text and logos while referencing a diverse range of sources such as Gray’s Anatomy and Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketchbooks.

Jean-Michel Basquiat's Hollywood Africans (1983)

For me, the NYC of this era conjures up images of scuzzy lo-fi movies like Abel Ferrara’s Driller Killer and Susan Seidelman’s Smithereens; early rap, no wave and punk funk; and graffiti art by the likes of Kenny Scharf, Futura 2000, Keith Haring, Fab 5 Freddy and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

A member of the Brooklyn based graffiti collective the Fabulous 5, Freddy also rapped while Jean-Michel co-founded his own ‘noise’ band Gray. Both became regular guests on Glen O’Brien’s live cable show TV Party where they would meet many other talented young artists from varying fields and make connections.

The city had transformed itself into a cultural melting pot where ‘high’ and ‘low’ art, uptown and downtown increasingly collided. The burgeoning graffiti scene was moving from subway train to art gallery, just as other underground movements manoeuvred themselves overground.

Fab 5 Freddy's SoupCans

Early in 1981, Jean-Michel and Freddy took part in the New York/New Wave exhibition at PS. 1. Later dubbed ‘The Armory Show of the ’80s’, this mammoth show embraced art, music, fashion, photography and cartoons. A few months later Jean-Michel was shown at the seminal Beyond Words graffiti show at the Mudd Club in Lower Manhattan, an exhibition co-curated by Futura 2000 (who went on to colloborate with The Clash) and Fab 5 Freddy, the venue being a favoured hangout for a variety of artists from Robert Mapplethorpe to Madonna, Kathy Acker to Klaus Nomi.

Arguably the highpoint of all this artistic cross-pollination was Blondie’s American #1 single Rapture with Freddy and Jean-Michel both making cameo appearances in the promo – that’s Freddy in the background creating some graffiti while Jean-Michel is the DJ that Debbie Harry gets chatting to around the two-minute mark. He was actually standing in for Grandmaster Flash who couldn’t make the shoot.

And who was the first person to buy a Basquiat?

Debbie Harry, that’s who.

 
I have read a coupla eejits online writing off Rapture as another example of ‘whitey’ stealing black culture and dumbing down the content but, firstly, this fails to point out that this kind of thing was a two-way street. A number of hiphop related acts repeatedly sampled acts like Kraftwerk, Queen and The Incredible Bongo Band. Or, as another example, look at how Fab 5 Freddy reappropriated Andy Warhol’s soup cans for a massive mural on a subway train.

As for dumbing down, well, Debbie’s rap certainly doesn’t take itself very seriously and could even be called spectacularly daft but in the days before the release of The Message, rap wasn’t exactly socially conscious and thought-provoking, the average track consisting mainly of egotistical boasting together with a few ‘throw your hands up in the air’ or ‘Lemme hear you say paaaaaarrrrrty’ chants and some overused sample (and if in doubt chuck in a little Good Times seemed to be the motto of many on the scene).

And finally some more NYC music from the era. This is Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force with Planet Rock, a track that sampled Kraftwerk’s Trans-Europe Express and Numbers very imaginatively:


The Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition continues in London until 28 Jan 2018. For more information click here.

If you fancy having a gander at the recent BBC documentary Basquiat – Rage to Riches head here. You have seventeen days left to view it if you pay your license or know your way round a good proxy site.

The three images used in this post are Untitled (Two Heads on Gold) & Hollywood Africans by Jean-Michel Basquiat, both from 1982, and Fab 5 Freddy’s Soup Cans of 1980.

The Group That Should’ve Written Star Wars

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seven-by-seven 77 logo (2016)

Hawkwind – Quark, Strangeness and Charm (Charisma)

Me and science fiction have never been the closest of buddies. Yes, I have enjoyed a number of sci-fi films over the years from Metropolis through to Blade Runner 2049 (a Hollywood sequel definitely worth seeing, whatever next?) If I ever had to appear on Mastermind, though, sci-fi would not be my specialist subject, believe me. In fact, I only finally got round to watching Star Wars for the first time a few months ago, aged 55.

Hawkwind – Quark, Strangeness and Charm album cover

As 1977 dawned and punk increasingly made an impact on British music, Hawkwind seemed pretty much irrelevant to me. Past their sell by date psychedelic crusaders whose following consisted mainly of acid casualties and the kind of space cadets who might have seriously struggled to distinguish between New Year and New York.

Lemmy had been sacked and their dancer Stacia left to settle down to family life.

‘What did you do before you got married, Mummy?’

‘Well darling, I used to paint my body with luminescent blue paint and dance naked with Hawkwind.’

According to Ian Abrahams in his book Hawkwind: Sonic Assassins, Robert Calvert wasn’t making any effort to get the new generation on his side despite privately appreciating some of the music. He dismissed The Clash as ‘The most orthodox band I’ve ever heard. They just play three-minute pop songs and throw in a few slogans’ and he slagged them off for not playing enough benefits.

Which is ironic as Joe Strummer’s initial thoughts on the idea of covering Police and Thieves was to do it like Hawkwind. Famously, the pre-Pistols John Lydon had been a big Hawkwind fan and Robert Calvert was by this point on friendly terms with the younger man and surely, while I’m at it, the single Quark, Strangeness and Charm betrays a definite punk/new wave influence?

Calvert really seems to have missed a trick by declining to publically embrace punk. Doing so certainly hadn’t harmed Marc Bolan’s career.

And – speaking of Bolan – one afternoon, just over forty years ago, I came home from school and switched on the TV to watch Marc where the great man introduced the band as ‘The group that should’ve written Star Wars and didn’t.’


Doesn’t Marc look very relaxed in that clip? I suspect a few glasses of champers may have been quaffed on the day. Funnily enough, I only discovered a few years ago that when he called Hawkwind ‘my best friends’ he was totally fibbing but, hey, this is showbiz and they shared the same management.

The truth is that guitarist Dave Brock didn’t even bother turning up at the Granada studios for the recording as he’d maintained a grudge against Bolan since the early 1970s after they’d taken a dislike to one another at a party. He wasn’t very keen on miming the song either.

*

‘Even this doggerel that flows from my pen has just been written by another twenty telepathic men…’

No, that’s not me (and any telepathic twins). This is a lyric from Spirit of the Age, a chilling Robert Calvert poem set to music and the longest – and possibly best – track on the Quark album.

Here it is.


And if you’re wondering about my thoughts on Star Wars and why I’d never seen it until this year. Well, when it came out I was sixteen and very adult in my own head at least and didn’t remotely fancy paying good money to see a blockbuster featuring badly designed robots and furry animal thingies in lead roles. Nope, that money was instead likely spent on buying records by the likes of XTC, The Stranglers and Wire.

A few months ago, though, I watched a documentary Elstree 1976 which focussed on a number of the minor actors and extras who’d appeared in the movie. The main reason for seeking this out being that I’d did a number of stints as an extra myself decades ago. Not on anything as grand as Star Wars mind you.

Anyway, seeing Elstree 1976 did persuade me to finally give Star Wars a go. Even if I didn’t rate the movie myself I could at least maybe gain an insight into the mindset of the kind of uber-fan who turns up at a convention and voluntarily queues for half an hour to get their mitts on a signed photo of someone who’d only ever been briefly glimpsed in a couple of scenes. Maybe even behind a mask or helmet.

Perhaps inevitably, the film bored me at times and I truly cannot begin to understand why it ever became such a global phenomenon. The plot was predictable, the acting and dialogue often mediocre at best and I suspect if Ed Wood had still been making movies at the time, even he might have been slightly embarrassed by the scene in the intergalactic boozer.

Star Wars? It might actually have been better if Hawkwind had written it.

PowerPop Saturday

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When I was young, I never needed anyone. And makin’ love was just for fun. Those days are gone.

So sang Eric Carmen on his big breakup hit All By Myself, a parent pleasing couple of minutes during Top of the Pops. Huge in the mid ’70s, the song signalled the man as a major contender whose career was about to go stellar.

At the time I despised the song thinking it was maudlin balladeering at its worst although those days are gone too and I’ve developed a sneaking admiration for its grandiose piano, George Harrison guitars and Carmen’s soaring vocal delivery.

You may well disagree but it is a good tune and stands the test of time and I can back this up with proof – it ‘borrows’ heavily from Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, composed in the early days of the twentieth century.

Before all this, Carmen was the singer in The Raspberries, a powerpop combo from Cleveland that also tasted success in the States and were tipped for very big things.

Incessantly catchy and with a great punchy guitar riff and exquisite harmonies, the first thirty seconds of Go All the Way sounds like Steve Marriot fronting Big Star as do the final thirty seconds, which is surely no bad thing. The in-between bits are pretty damned good too.

Here it is, three and a half minutes of powerpop gorgeosity:


According to Wikipedia, young people like myself though didn’t get the chance to hear Go All the Way at the time of its release in Britain because the BBC banned their wholesome DJs from playing it due to its suggestive title. Well, they wouldn’t want us corrupted by listening to a pop song, would they?

The Raspberries continued on a high in America. In 1974, their single Overnight Sensation charted in the Billboard top twenty and Rolling Stone raved about their Starting Over album. And maybe even better, when they played L.A.’s Whisky a Go Go, Keith Moon jammed with them.

They broke up, though, after playing a show in Pennsylvania in the spring of 1975 and Eric decided that he actually did want to go forward all by himself.

PowerPop Raspberries & The Knack

And now for a song that in 1979 became the fastest selling American single since I Want to Hold Your Hand in the Beatlemania days of 1964. This came on the jukebox in one of my locals a while back and my pal was more than a little surprised when I admitted that I was a big fan of The Knack’s finest moment.

‘The Knack? The Cack, more like.’

Admittedly this was a band that were never going to be deemed remotely cool with their identikit American ‘new wave’ skinny ties and suits and lack of charisma. Apparently George W. Bush is a fan too which doen’t retrospectively help but then again, David Cameron likes The Smiths and The Jam.

I know very little about The Knack other than My Sharona was written about a girl that that singer Doug Fieger had a major crush on. Luckily she wasn’t called Elizabeth or Lesley or even Sharon or Rhona. Just imagine Muh muh muh muh muh my Rhona. Would just not have been as good, would it?

Here’s a tip if you want to impress any female you might have a crush on yourself. Write a song about her that goes to #1 and stays there for six weeks, selling more copies than any other single in America in the year of its release. This certainly worked for Doug and the pair soon started dating but separated after four years. Sharona rose to the top herself. In the real estate business anyway, selling mansions to the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio.

And who is that good looking gal on the cover of the single?

Well, apparently that is Sharona (Alperin).

The only other Knack related story I know is that Quentin Tarantino wanted to use My Sharona in the middle section of Pulp Fiction when some rednecks take Marsellus and Butch hostage in the basement of a pawnshop, intending to do things to them that the pair really don’t want done to them.

Talking to Movieline magazine, Quentin claimed of the song: ‘It’s got a good butt-fucking beat to it.’

Something I personally hadn’t equated with it previously.

Sadly, he couldn’t secure the rights to the track, which was used instead on 1994’s Reality Bites, a Generation X romcom directed by Ben Stiller which is worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.

Anyway, here is My Sharona.


More PowerPop again next week, folks.

 

Sometimes x 2

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This week I’ve been pondering on some of the world’s greatest mysteries.

Could Stonehange have been built in Wales and somehow transported all the way to Wiltshire? Could Jack the Ripper actually have been a woman, thus throwing the police completely off the trail? And perhaps most puzzling of all, why when people like Ed Sheeran seem to manage the task effortlessly has someone with Davy Henderson’s talent never been propelled into stardom.

Just think, Sheeran could release a track of himself humming tunelessly in the shower and it would likely sell more in a couple of hours than Davy’s combined sales for Fire Engines, Win, The Nectarine No.9 and The Sexual Objects.

Yes, we all know the music business is unfair but that is just an outrageous fucking travesty, the kind of thing that would probably ensure that I would go through life bitter and twisted if I was in Davy’s position. Actually I maybe go through life like that anyway.

On the plus side, despite the lack of fame and fortune, Davy has obviously still made an impact over the years. The Fire Engines were namechecked on Losing My Edge; they shared a single with Franz Ferdinand in 2004 while Win supplied McEwan’s Lager with the music for the best advert ever produced in Scotland (shame the lager was honking, mind). Davy has also recently been named a cult hero by The Guardian and he featured prominently in Grant McPhee’s must-see documentary Big Gold Dream.

Fire Engines + collage

And that music! From the manic panic of Get Up and Use Me I was hooked. Sets only lasting fifteen minutes max? Who cares, they never felt that short. By the time of the pounding hyperpop of Win’s You’ve Got the Power I believed a breakthrough was inevitable. The song was released three times and each of those times I predicted a hit. In his 10/10 review of the album Freaky Trigger, NME‘s Stuart Macone proclaimed: ‘These are the ten best songs Salvador Dali never wrote.’ Henderson’s masterpiece, though, arguably came in 1995 with The Nectarine No. 9’s Saint Jack, which absolutely confirmed his status of pop alchemist.

Much of the best music in the world this year will come out on labels from major metropolises such as London and New York but only a tiny minority of that music where be anywhere near as good as the latest release from a wee label based in ‘the twin outposts of Crail and Achaphubuil’. Available now on Triassic Tusk, here are The Sexual Objects and Sometimes:

 
The SOBs will be sharing a bill with Vic Godard & Subway Sect and The Secret Goldfish in Edinburgh’s Wee Red Bar on October 20 and the following night the same acts will be stepping onto the stage of Glasgow’s Admiral Bar.

For more on The Sexual Objects, click here.

Here’s a remix of Sometimes from the finest Scottish act to have emerged so far in the 21st century. Compare and contrast if you like but, most importantly, enjoy. This is Boards of Canada’s superb, mesmerizing take on the song:

 
For more on Boards of Canada, click here.

And finally that TV advert I mentioned earlier. I think this is based on a Greek myth but I’m not sure which as my lack of knowledge in that area has always been my Achilles elbow. Boom boom.

Marc & Mickey, Beep & David & Henry (& the Nearest I Get to a Rock ‘n’ Roll Claim to Fame)

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Marc Bolan - Evening Times 16 09 1977

As you likely know, T.Rex frontman Marc Bolan died exactly forty years ago today. BBC 4 marked the occasion with Cosmic Dancer, an hour long documentary on the great man with contributions from some of the people who knew him best including second wife Gloria Jones, ex-John’s Children bandmate Andy Ellison and former publicist BP Fallon (more on him later).

My favourite description of Marc, though, came via another former publicist Keith Altham, who spoke of him being ‘a rainbow of contradictions’. Cosmic Dancer is definitely worth a watch and I found the sections on his time with John’s Children, and the recording of Zinc Alloy particularly interesting. I did think though that some mention of his old mucker Davy Jones might have been made.

T. Rex were absolutely massive in Britain in the early 1970s and Marc Bolan instantly became the nation’s biggest star when Hot Love knocked Mungo Jerry’s Baby Jump off the top of the charts in the Spring of 1971.

When these Glam Rock pioneers blazed in to Glasgow a few months later to play a packed out Green’s Playhouse they required a police escort just to get past a frenzied crowd and into the venue. T. Rex were experiencing Beatles style adoration and BP Fallon coined the term ‘T.Rextasy’ to describe the mass hysteria spreading across the country like wild-fire.

And here I have to say that when talking heads appear on TV to tell us all how grey the 1970s, I have to laugh. In fact, it makes me almost glad I’m middle-aged because, as a ten year old, I lived in a world of T.Rex and David Bowie and all the other androgynised peacocks with their swashbuckling stomps and glittery garbs while today bores like Ed Sheeran and Adele rule the airwaves.

From the Ringo Starr directed Born to Boogie, this is Telegram Sam, a British #1 back in 1972.

 
And here’s that little Rock ‘n’ Roll claim to Fame of mine. When Born to Boogie was given a limited re-release around selected British cinemas in 2005, it was accompanied by a short film called All Over Brazil. Which I wrote. The film had already screened at a number of festivals around the globe including some biggies like Berlin and the British Pavilion at Cannes but this was somehow a bigger thrill. Kind of like supporting T.Rex.

Okay, not quite but the nearest I could ever hope to get to it.

I did also get to know Mickey Finn when I lived on the south coast for a time in the 1980s but that’s another story although since this blog likes to talk about Scottish music, I’ll just mention that he was pretty keen to find out more about what was happening in Glasgow at the time with bands like Simple Minds and Orange Juice on the rise.

And now for a tribute within a tribute.

Listening for the first time to David Holmes’ Late Night Tales compilation, I was knocked out by just how mesmerizing the tribute to BP Fallon’s old pal Henry McCullough sounded.

Fallon is one of those remarkable figures in the business whose influence weaves right through music from the sixties to the present day, with connections to everyone from Led Zeppelin to My Bloody Valentine, Iggy Pop to Jack White. He mimed bass guitar with John Lennon when the former moptop visited the Top Of The Pops studios to perform Instant Karma, he managed Johnny Thunders for a time, interviewed Morrissey at London’s ICA and was (nick)name-checked by Marc Bolan as ‘Purple browed Beep’ in the lyrics of Telegram Sam. Beep really is a guy with countless rock ‘n’ roll claims to fame.

Recorded in one take, here are David Holmes and BP Fallon with Henry McCullough:

 
For more on Marc: https://www.facebook.com/marcbolan/

And for more on Beep: http://www.bpfallon.com/

Goodbye, Holger Czukay

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Can: Animal Waves (Virgin)

I can’t claim to planned this series of my favourite 49 tracks (plus 1 bonus) from 1977 too much in advance but have always known that something from Saw Delight by Can would be included somewhere along the line.

With the recent death of Holger Czukay, it seems appropriate to post this now rather than leaving it till later.

As I’ve written before on here, I pretty missed out on Krautrock during my youth, mistakenly believing that the music was some form of German prog. I did, though, love I Want More when the song entered the charts in the second half of 1976.

Then punk exploded and by the time Can arrived in Glasgow to play Strathclyde Uni in March 1977, they had been forgotten. Filed under irrelevant. Which in hindsight was a mistake. A pretty big fucking mistake when you listen to music like this. My favourite version of Animal Waves is the edited one on Anthology but here’s a much longer version of the song that has never been officially released:


‘I have just turned 46,’ Holger Czukay told the NME back in 1984, while discussing a bathchair in the corner of his kitchen. ‘Still too young to marry! Ha ha. When I’m 80 I will get married and this bathchair will be the present to my wife!’

Unfortunately, Holger never did reach the 80 mark, dying earlier this week aged 79. He did though marry although I’m not sure if his wife Ursula ever received the chair as a wedding gift.

Sadly she died just a few months ago and with Holger’s Can bandmate Jaki Liebezeit passing away too back in January this really has been a horrible year for Can and their fans.

Also from Saw Delight, here’s Don’t Say No which obviously shares a very big resemblance to Moonshake:


RIP Holger Czukay (24 March 1938 – 5 September 2017)

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