Week 5 - Fri 2nd Oct
Welcome to the RPM Seven Day Soundtrack, week ending Friday 2nd October 2020, as selected from the turntables, Cd players and computer drives of RPM Record Club members. What's caught the ear this week? It's over to.........
"Hello RPMers.......Some of you might have realised that I'm a bit of a film buff. The odd thing is that nearly all of my favourite movies were made before I was born. I've got no time for modern CGI-enhanced blockbusters featuring super-heroes and ever more spectacular chases and explosions. Give me some human interest. However, one of my favourite films of the 21st century so far is one which, if I give a brief synopsis for those who have not seen it, is likely to provoke reactions along the lines of "Bloody hell, I wouldn't waste my time on drivel like that!"
Bear with me... the film is "A Knight's Tale" and here is that synopsis. It stars Heath Ledger as a medieval squire whose master expires by the roadside, allowing the aforementioned squire to assume his identity and train to do battle on the jousting tournament circuit (Was there any such thing? Who cares?) on which he becomes a popular champion, while falling foul of an aristocratic villain played by Rufus Sewell, who does sneering villainy very well. It also stars Paul Bettany as a young Geoffrey Chaucer, who acts as a sort of carnival barker-style promoter for our hero. All of this is set against a musical soundtrack that is largely comprised of 1970s rock music. Oddly enough this anachronism works remarkably well within the context and tone of the film, which is intelligent, witty, funny and highly entertaining. Honest. So, from among the '70s rock numbers in the movie........."
Low Rider by War - "I believe I chose this as a contribution to an "RPM party" theme a few years ago. Always good to hear it again though."
Golden Years by David Bowie - "I'm not the world's greatest Bowie fan, believing his "genius" to have been somewhat over-stated. However, I think this is his best single, from his finest album."
And as a bonus, here's how it's used in the film:
The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy -
"Hi RPM colleagues, here’s hoping that all is good within your own spheres of influence. Here we are, post equinox and sliding into the fourth quarter of the year, I love autumn (actually I love all the seasons) and am hoping for some crisp and blowy days, not too soggy, and clear nights. Choices this week are obviously linked and tend towards the melancholic but start off a bit more upbeat…."
"Here's my 3 for the week. The first two tracks are ones I was reminded of on the radio during the week and the third track is in loving memory of my darling wife Sandra 21.04.47 to 01.10.19 and missed every single day. Make as many memories (and home movies) as you can.......Best wishes to everyone."
"I’ve just revisited the Classic Album programme about Fleetwood Mac and the album Rumours. It reminded me that Buckingham and Nicks were a recording duo before they joined Fleetwood Mac. I’ve never thought to look for any of their albums before now. These tracks are from Crying in the Night recorded 1973 and I like it very much....Take care everyone and stay safe."
Frozen Love written by Buckingham and Nicks
"This last week saw me playing all my Hollies single bee-sides (16 releases between 1963 and 1968 ) thanks to a two hour special on the now free-to-view Sky Arts channel. Some great film of the band playing live back in the day, which I can't remember seeing before, and interesting, non-rancorous interviews with the band members. Pity the BEEB and ITV didn't keep their library!!! A channel to keep an eye on for me........"
My Mind Ain't So Open by Magazine (b-side to 'Shot by both sides' single. Released 20th January 1978 Virgin Records) - "Yet another great beeside from a band which promised so much before losing its way after their initial success. Formed when Howard Devoto left his initial band, The Buzzcocks, to form a more 'progressive' outfit in early 1977. There appears to have been no ill-feeling (or even the usual 'musical differences') involved in the split and, freed by Devoto's self imposed exit, the Buzzcocks commenced recording perhaps the finest run of 'pop' singles by any band since the heyday of Merseybeat. Magazine opened their own account with a single which, despite only achieving (their highest ever) number 41 in the charts, showed a band not afraid to break away from the 'rama-lama' speediness of many concurrent punk recordings. Devoto had met art student John McGeogh in early 1977 and immediately began writing the songs which would form the backbone of Magazine's debut album. The band's initial line up was short lived with Dave Formula and John Doyle stepping in on keyboards and drums in time for their appearance at Doncasters Outlook Club on 10th July 1978, which we attended. Tucked away on the flip of 'Shot....' is this almost 'Beefheart-ian' non album goodie which seems to be both a reproach to himself and his girlfriend about being closed minded, or maybe not!!! In a strange way, I'm always reminded of Del Shannon's 'So long Baby' single when I play this! The band would burn bright but short following McGeogh's departure for the more successful Siouxsie and the Banshees in 1980, with regular changes to the line up being coupled to ever declining sales. Following the release of their 1981 fourth album (Magic, Murder and the Weather) Devoto wound up the band and formed Luxuria, which proved equally unsucessful in commercial terms. Devoto then retired from music to work as a photo archivist until 2002 when he hooked up again with main Buzzcock Pete Shelley for the 'Buzzkunst' album. Magazine reformed in 2006 with Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood (a self confessed Magazine superfan) being offered the position of lead guitarist. He declined, according to Adam Buxton (Radiohead collaborator), because "Jonny was just overwhelmed....... he's the biggest Magazine fan in the world. He was just too shy....... I'm sure he's got all those licks in his locker". After settling on ex-Luxuria guitarist Noko, the band went on to a string of sell out gigs and release several EP's and an album. Cover versions of Magazine songs abound including those by Morrissey, the Mission, Pete Murphy and Ministry whilst 'Shot....' featured in live sets by Mansun, Swedish punkers No Fun At All and, unsurprisingly, Radiohead."
And, as I mentioned Del:
So Long Baby by Del Shannon (single a-side, released November 1961. London American label) - "I'm sure you all know and love this one!!?? I am a big fan of Dels, I purchased many of his singles on the day of release, and this one was no different. My purchase must have helped this 'punk before there was punk' stormer into the UK charts on the 7th December 1961, after which it continued to climb to number 10 in mid January '62. Not a bad effort following on from his chart topping 'Runaway' and 'Hat's off to Larry' (number 7) in 1961. Del achieved seven UK top tenners with eight single releases by early 1963.... but, the 18th April 1963 would see Del topping the bill at the Royal Albert Hall where the support acts would include the Beatles. Del immediately saw the way things were going, gained permission from Lennon to record a cover of their latest single 'From me to you', rushed back to America and released his version which actually outsold the Beatles initial release in the US at that time*. Things would, of course, change dramatically in the next few months!!!"
(* Del hit number 77 with his version, the Beatles topped out at that time with a number 116 placing.)
Under Heavy Manners by Robert Fripp (from 'God save the Queen/Under heavy manners' LP, released January 1980. E.G.Records) -
"An album of two parts (as reflected in the title), here's the world's greatest living guitarist (well, in my opinion!) completing his 'duo-ogy' of Frippertronics and Discotronics, combined here on this album due to Brian Eno's increasing presence in ambient (i.e. Frippertronics) recordings with Cluster and his delving into 'dance' style music with 'Low' era Bowie and Talking Heads. Here's Fripps cogent explanation of both styles; "There are two categories of Frippertronics: pure and applied. Applied Frippertronics is where Frippertronics is used with other instruments as an alternative to traditional orchestration and arrangement, natural or synthesised. Pure Frippertronics is used alone and itself has two categories: ambient Frippertronics, in Brian Eno's sense of music as ignorable as it is listenable, and imperative Frippertronics where the music demands attention to validate its procession.…Discotronics is defined as that musical experience resulting at the interstice of Frippertronics and disco…" Simple, yeah??
Anyway, here's Fripp, 'Busta' Jones and Paul Duskin all topped off by an unhinged David Byrne on vocals. The lyrics, courtesy of Fripp, are all 'isms' relating to politics and religion and the music's tension escalates until, after 5 minutes, Fripp commands 'STOP', followed on the album by 'Continue' as the second track begins. An acquired taste and, honestly, not my favourite album, but a great track in isolation.
"Tonight I had time on my hands, enough for a bit of a ramble about Bob this week, (Someone had to do it!), and a clip of me and some buddies that you may chuck out if you like….
I am sure that nobody will disagree when I say that Bob Dylan has spent most of the last 60 years making music and that from the very first of his recordings, his lyrics were poetic, innovative, and hugely influential. Through the 1960s as his style changed, by ‘Highway 61’, & ‘Blonde on Blonde’ the songs, always iconic, had become more like highly crafted art objects. Each line with a seemingly uncontrived, guileless, presence of its own. Songs appeared to be created from material almost like lines of written ‘objet trouvé’, that had randomly fallen onto the page. Ever more creative, he embraced other genres, and ignored label dictated market convention. As each, eagerly awaited new Dylan album was released there was no predictability to what might be heard. His vocal style, easily recognised, sometimes, bordered on self-pastiche but his lyrics deliberately defied stereotype. Some of Dylan's records of that era are simply perfect. Others merely seminal. By the mid 1970s, when he seemed to be slowing down, he produced a few, like ‘New Morning’ and in particular ’Planet Waves’, each of which, I admit contains a couple of great tracks ‘If Not For You’ and ‘The Man In Me’, ‘Forever Young’, ‘On A Night Like This’ and have stood the test of time). But upon first listening, to me, they were both apparently less innovative than earlier works. Utilising instrumentation which harked back to the looming ‘Positively Fourth Street’, and the lines...
“I hate myself for loving you,
And the weakness that it showed,
But you were just a painted face,
On a trip down suicide road!”
Might have been reclaimed, rejected lyrics from ‘Desolation Row’. BD had already used the title ‘Freewheeling’, an otherwise quite appropriate title for either album. And then, in a burst of creativity, came ‘Blood on the Tracks’ and ‘Desire’. Iconic masterworks which displayed a new maturity and masterful lyric craft, and superb musicianship and soaring musicality.. Proof that he was still relevant, and the establishment of a patten hat he was to repeat for the next 30 years. I don’t believe that it is hyperbole to state that Dylan has produced some of the most culturally important musical artefacts of my generation. Few, if any performers are as important as Bob Dylan, and none more so . But….. A handful of BDs releases are appalling. Dark tarnish on an otherwise pristine catalogue. A desperate waste of both plastic, and recording staffs’ studio time. His Christmas albums are awful. His covers unlistenable. I still can’t make up my mind about ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’, (his 40th studio album!), but it has spurred me to listen to ‘Planet Waves’, in its entirety, for the first time in 30 years! I first heard it when it came out in 1974, and it did take a while to grow on me, but it is a beautiful, understated album. It has some great songs on it, including ‘Forever Young’ and this….."
An Aside….(otherwise known as a bonus track!!!....Tim)
This was shot few years ago, when I was busking with some friends, on Swanage Railway Station during a Swanage Blues Festival. Until now it has taken place a couple of times each year, on the last weekend in March and the first weekend in October for the last 12 years or so. We, the players, always had fun, We love busking. We always drew a good crowd. We all love to play for dancers. There is a is symbiotic interaction between dancers and the rhythm players. There is no Swanage Blues Festival this weekend. The first that Jayne and I have missed for ten years or so. So a little flavour of Swanage before the lockdown. I hope you enjoy it….
Search And Destroy by Iggy Pop and the Stooges -
"Hi every one.....hope you are all well. Here’s my 3 favs of the week . Looking forward to hearing your tunes...."
To Hell With Good Intentions by Mclusky
When the Rainbow Comes by World Party
Scutum and Scorpius by Thee Oh Sees
"Hi to all RPMers. I hope you are all safe and well. Here's a selection of what I've been listening to this week...."
Matadjem Yinmixan by Tinariwen - "I first encountered Tinariwen at Cambridge Folk Festival (the scene of many 'firsts') back in 2005. Since then I've seen a few other acts and bought various albums that fall into the convenient category of 'Desert Blues'. Well.... 'desert' because a great deal of the music comes from the vast area of the south Sahara that includes most of northern Mali; 'blues' because of the intensity of emotion in the music....."
Walk Away Renee performed by The Four Tops - "This is my favourite cover version of the Left Banke classic. Check out the Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes version as well....
"The 3 tunes sticking around the most in my head this week were........"
Chew Your Bones by Smoke Fairies - "This week I've revisited a few releases from earlier this year, Darkness Brings The Wonders Home by Smoke Fairies being a favourite. Love this track,"
Flaming by Pink Floyd - "Started reading Inside Out, Nick Mason's personal memoir of Pink Floyd.....and a very interesting read it is as well from the humorous, self deprecating drummer who comes across as somehow finding himself in one of the worlds most famous bands by mere chance and a happy set of unplanned circumstances. First two albums and the Cre/ation early years Cd have therefore been played a lot....and Flaming the song I kept finding myself humming the most......this is the BBC session found on Cre/ation."
She Fell Away by Mark McDowell and Friends - "Still playing all my Mark McDowell downloads, his brand of psych folk complimenting nicely the early Floyd. I realised that so far all the tracks chosen from Mr McDowell have been instrumentals which actually is only a small part of his output........so here's a song....with words.......found on the Mark McDowell EP. "