It Suits Me Well – Dave Swarbrick

It Suits Me Well: Dave Swarbrick The Transatlantic Recordings 1976-1983 (Cherry Tree CRTREE017D)

Cherry Red’s value pack of four LPs by the late, great Dave Swarbrick, shoehorned onto two CDs, takes in his masterly recordings from the mid-seventies to the early eighties, and is sure to delight all folkies and fiddlers.

Taken from that ‘difficult’ period when punk ‘n’ funk ‘n’ electronic noodling were cutting a bloody swathe through the music industry, the folkie’s stock was as low as it could possibly get. The music industry’s money men may have underestimated Dave and his folk rebel brothers, however. Dave soldiered on with his fiddle and became a legend in music, a status which seems to have eluded the synth poppers and funkateers of this period.

The simply titled ‘Swarbrick’ opens, with the winding speed ride of ‘The Heilanman/Drowsey Maggie’, suddenly coming to a halt and into ‘Carthy’s March’, and if a violin could smile, it surely did here, in this jolly tune. ‘The White Cockade/Doc Boyd’s Jig/Durham Rangers’ once again shows off that mastery over the bow Dave had in spades, in a seamless medley of tunes that surely threaten to provoke a dance.

‘My Singing Bird’s sweet harp accompaniment beautifully sets off the plaintive fiddle figure, contrasting with the full speed wynd of ‘The Nightingale’. ‘Once I Loved a Maiden Fair’ practically takes the listener back to some Arcadian past, with its gentle picking and interplay with guitar. A trip across the Irish Sea is called for in ‘The Killarney Boys of Pleasure’, a typically winding, interweaving piece of Celtic whimsy.

‘Lady in the Boat/Roisin the Bow/Timor the Tartar’s jolly jig has you reaching for a flagon of ale as your feet start to feel itchy. ‘Byker Hill’, a little more pedestrian, still has life to it, and ‘The Ace and Deuce of Pipering’s apparently simple back-and-forth figure is a delight. ‘Hole in the Wall’s melancholic, even courtly styling provides a contrast to the manic bowing of the LP, neatly turning around with a harsh, contrasting note. ‘Ben Dorian’s sad fiddle bowing, playing over sweet picking, is simply beautiful, but no sooner spun, than the lively ‘Hullichans/Chorus Jig’ bursts in, gleefully disturbing the peace. ‘The 79ths Farewell to Gibraltar’ is appropriately upbeat and hearty, while ‘Arthur McBride/ Snug In The Blanket’ is a simple jig for a cold winter’s night.

‘Swarbrick 2’ opens up with the insistent, jumpy ‘The Athole Highlanders’, and sticking with the Celtic theme, ‘Shannon Bells/Fairy Dance/Miss McLeod’s Reel’, more tunes to test the legs-and stamina- of keen dancers.‘The King of the Fairies’ sawing, wistful fiddle figure leads you to who-knows-where, with ‘Chief O’Neill’s Favourite/Newcastle Hornpipe setting you back on dry land-at least temporarily.

‘Sheebeg and Sheemore’ has an easy, courtly, romantic air, perhaps in preparation for ‘The Rocky Road to Dublin/Sir Philip McHugh’s rougher and readier entertainment, a jig that reaches knuckle-breaking speed toward its end. ‘Planxty Morgan Mawgan’s gossipy, swinging tune with a hint of trickery is welcome here, and is followed by the full-on Gallic dance of ‘The Swallow’s Tail/Rakes of Kildare/Blackthorn Stick’, enlivened by zesty accordion.

‘Sheagh of Rye/The Friar’s Breeches’ is a typically ribald affair, the fiddle winding in and out of the vamping guitar. ‘Derwent Water’s Farewell/The Noble Esquire Dacre’ is the most melancholy offering here, Dave’s fiddle almost weeping its tale of longing out, but our first CD ends happily with the jolly reels of ‘Teribus/Farewell to Aberdeen’.

A packed first disc means the second disc 2 has to finish off the second LP, with the sliding reel, ‘Bonaparte’s Retreat’, followed by the rambunctious march, ‘Shepherd’s Hey’, the sweet, agreeable ‘Lord Inchiquin, and the heartfelt lament of ‘The Coulin’.

We pass on to the third LP, ‘Smiddyburn’, and its opening pair, ‘Wat ye Wha I Met the Streen/The Ribbons of the Redhead’, a slice of folk rock with the first appearance of electric guitar accompaniment on this swinging piece. ‘Sir Charles Coote/Smiths’ nimble picking will have some of us wondering if Dave had six fingers on each hand, such is the intensity of the work on this faintly nautical piece. ‘I Have a Wife of my Own/Lady Mary Haye’s Scotch Measure’s literal take and frantic bowing shows off the sort of skills that surely made Ashley Hutchings say that Dave was ‘the most influential British fiddle player bar none’.

‘Wishing/The Victor’s Return/The Gravel Walk’s reprise of the folk rock sound of Dave’s Alma Mater, Fairport Convention is more than welcome, rounded out by electric guitar and military drum. ‘When The Battle Is Over’s plaintive picked chords evoke, to a world-weary beat, the sadness and hopelessness of war. ‘Sword Dance/The Young Black Cow’ continues the folk-rock theme, Dave’s fiddle screeching out like the clashing blades of the former title, tempered by the sweet melody of the latter. ‘Sean O’Dwyer of the Glen/The Hag with the Money/Sleepy Maggie’s beautiful candlelight piano opening raises goose bumps, then into a characteristic, leaping reel. The collection’s only vocal performance is the final track, ‘It Suits Me Well’, a tale of the resignation many feel in their daily round.

‘Flittin’ opens with ‘The Bride’s March/The Kelman’s Pertition/Shew Me the Way to Wallingford/Sword Dance, the former an ironically funereal affair, contrasting with the lively ‘Pertition. ‘Parthenia/Pittengardener’s Rant’ begins with a light touch of piano and fiddle neatly complementing each other in this chamber piece, followed by the sort of rambunctious march that belongs to another world entirely. ‘Grey Daylight/The Hawk/The Ten Pound Fiddle’ brings together another finger-breaking reel and a slow march. ‘Jamaica/With All of my Heart’s courtly opening with piano accompaniment contrasts well with the rollicking tune it accompanies. ‘Nathaniel Gow’s Lament on the Occasion of the Death of his Brother/Rory of the Hills’ needs little in the way of explanation, and ‘The Rakes of Sollohad’s’ jaunty picking livens up the latter part of this LP. ‘Dr Isaac’s Maggot/Cupid’s Garden’ makes good use of piano, a braced tune with a wandering fiddle figure that resolves itself beautifully. Our closing track, ‘Boadicea’ is, by turns, dignified and comradely, a fitting closer to this masterly LP and this whole collection.

If you’re not so familiar with folk music, you’re missing out on the simple joys of tales well told and music played with a skill that borders on the devilish. Make room in your collection for this man and his many friends.

BUY NOW!

Scenester
18/1/17

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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Jeff Monk LP Reviews October 2016

Elvis Presley

Way Down In The Jungle Room (RCA/Legacy)

This two disc compilation is comprised of a mix of tracks – original album versions and outtakes-culled from The King Of Rock’n’Roll’s 1976 outing “From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee” and the studio side of the final album recorded while he was alive, 1977’s “Moody Blue”. The obvious question fans will have is “Do I need to buy this?” and from this critics’ perspective the answer would be definitely be positive, with some warnings attached. These songs were recorded at the Memphis lair known as “Graceland” where The King was holing up on such a regular basis during these years (he died in 1977) that he thought it wise to bring the late night shenanigans, rampant prescription drug use and obsequious hangers’ on under one comfortable roof in his actual home.

The main floor den was labeled “The Jungle Room” due to its awkward use of faux fur cushions and rugs, period-cool wood paneling and endangered animal knick-knacks littering the room. The band at this time was basically The Kings’ stage band and included capable players like Ronnie Tutt, James Burton, Jerry Scheff, Tony Brown, David Briggs, Chip Young and John Wilkinson. Presley was, at this stage of his career, using his big tenor and warbled vibrato to utmost effect. This was his comfort zone and the songs he chose to sing were the kind of numbers that benefitted from this brand of heroic delivery. Tracks like “He’ll Have To Go”, “Hurt” and “She Thinks I Still Care” will have you reaching for that special moments Bic lighter to raise high and wave toward the disc player. Eventually the bold crescendo of these songs grows tiring, and it seems like Presley is a bit too comfortable in this exaggerated wheelhouse. Tracks like the disco-challenged “Moody Blue”, the country soul gem “Way Down” and the smooth “Solitaire” reconciles the vibe in a way that made Presley and his band unique.

The outtakes disc offers different versions of the songs on the first disc with scattered inclusions of Elvis’ TCB crew overheard off microphone laughing at their leaders’ inane jokes and weird commentaries about shooting both dogs and telephones that ruin recording takes.

The 24 page booklet puts some historical context into the mix and details session dates, songwriters and track participants well enough to add some meat to the bone as it were. Shortly after these recordings Presley’s health took it’s final nosedive and he fell from the throne to the floor. Too bad, as the best tracks here reveal an artist that had some kind of grasp of what he could sing well and not be completely embarrassed by the results.

(16 tracks CD1/17 tracks CD2)

Jeff Monk

Long serving music writer and hermit from the frozen center of Canada JM spends his days creating a pleasant environment for world class ballet dancers while a looping soundtrack of loud rock and roll music boils continuously in his head. This is something that can't be fixed. At your service. Now buy him a cigar and exit.

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Patrick Macnee – Obituary

Mrs Peel We’re Needed!

The sad passing of Patrick Macnee, the star of the legendary cult TV show The Avengers has no doubt left fans of the show in mourning. According to reports Patrick Macnee died peacefully on Thursday at his home in Rancho Mirage, California with his family by his bedside.

Patrick Macnee died at the age of 93 and was arguably most famous for his brilliant portrayal of the quintessential English eccentric secret agent John Steed in the ‘’Spy-Fi’’ television series in the 1960s. However, Macnee made over 150 appearances in television and film, which spanned across 5 decades and he also had a distinguished military career as a seaman in the Royal Navy during World War II.

Patrick Macnee became indelibly linked with the character John Steed as Macnee came across as a well-spoken, witty, and charming old school English gentlemen much like his alter ego in The Avengers. For fans of the series Macnee and John Steed were almost inseparable, and he acknowledged this in 1967 when he said in an interview that ‘’I know the part of Steed was created for me, and it was developed from my own background and personality, but I am still a long way from being typecast’’.

However, fact and fiction often get blurred in these scenarios, and need to be separated in order to get a clearer picture of Patrick Macnee’s life prior to his most famous role.  Macnee was born in London in 1922 and was raised in Berkshire by a wealthy and somewhat aristocratic family. Despite this seemingly privileged lifestyle there lay family dysfunctionality, which came in the form of his eccentric father and lesbian mother. His father Daniel Macnee trained and bred horses, but his extra-curricular activities included heavy drinking and gambling, which saw him whittle away the family fortune. The young Macnee was then raised by his newly divorced mother Dorothea Mary and her lover.  Macnee would later attend Summer Fields School in Oxford followed by a stint at Eton College, and it was at Eton that he developed a burgeoning taste for life in the performing arts.

It appeared that Macnee’s acting career took the traditional route of theatre, television and films. However, it seems that Macnee’s early foray into television did not run smoothly and he landed peripheral and unsatisfying roles in films such as Pygmalion in 1938. His role as an extra in this film set the immediate template for his acting career, which stagnated to some extent and was cut short altogether with the onset of World War II.

Macnee was enlisted into the Royal Navy in 1942 and the carnage that he witnessed in WWII, including the death of close friends prompted him to famously resist using a gun in The Avengers, despite protestations from the producers of the show. Once he completed his military service he won a scholarship to study at the Webber Douglas School of Dramatic Art. He subsequently resumed his acting career and appeared in minor roles in films such as The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), and as young Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol (1951), and the musical comedy Les Girls (1957).

Perhaps it was these more minor roles, which led Macnee to try his acting luck in the United States and then Canada with the Old Vic Troupe. However Macnee landed only small and somewhat inconsequential roles in television and films. When Macnee returned to the UK he landed a role as a producer on the Winston Churchill themed documentary The Valiant Years in 1960 and within a year his acting career would be relaunched in spectacular fashion when he was cast as John Steed in The Avengers.

When Macnee was cast as Steed in The Avengers in 1961 he was in a supporting role as the show initially focused on Dr David Keel played by Ian Hendry. It would be fair to say that The Avengers in 1961 bared little resemblance to what the show eventually became famous and much loved for. As a viewing spectacle these early episodes of The Avengers were plodding, staid and devoid of any sense of  real irony or subtle humour. It was the irony, innuendo and wit that characterised the series in the mid to late 1960s so splendidly. But what sent The Avengers into a whole new spear of popularity in 1962 was Macnee assuming the lead role after the departure of Ian Hendry, and pairing his alter ego Steed with a succession of assertive, independent and intelligent female assistants.

It was a stroke of genius on the part of the producers to team Steed up on an equal footing with a female, who more often than not came to his rescue when he was in trouble. The succession of actresses to assume the joint lead role included Honor Blackman, Dame Diana Rigg, and Linda Thorson. The Avengers became very popular when Steed was paired with Cathy Gale played by Blackman; however the show became a runaway success when Steed was paired with the delectable Mrs Emma Peel (Dame Diana Rigg) in 1965.

John Steed and Emma Peel became arguably one of the most identifiable and charismatic double acts ever seen on television. Both characters had chemistry between them that was magical and utterly irresistable to watch. The witty dialogue and innuendo, which was playful, light hearted and often flirtatious was part of the appeal for viewers as more often than not there was the suggestion of romance between the two characters

They were indeed a match made in television heaven as viewers were treated to fantastical story lines and surreal visuals that were stunningly brought to life when colour episodes were introduced in 1967. Macnee was also a style icon in his own right and his alter ego Steed was always impeccably dressed in Saville Row and Pierre Cardin designed 3-piece suits, beautifully tailored shirts and a cravat or tie. Part of the allure for fans of The Avengers was the stunning clothes worn by Steed and his female assistants. His immaculately tailored suits and his legendary bowler hats and umbrellas set this dandy far apart from everyone else in the sartorial stakes.

Macnee and Rigg became so famous in their roles that they must have been in danger of being type cast. It must have been almost impossible for viewers at the time to digest the news that Rigg was standing down from her role as Emma Peel in October 1967. Her final appearance in Forget-Me-Not coincided with the introduction of Steed’s latest sidekick Tara King played by Linda Thorson.

The tear jerking final episode sees Emma Peel say an emotional goodbye to Steed with the quip ‘’always keep your bowler hat on in times of stress’’, which added a comic and poignant finale to one of television’s greatest ever double acts. Emma then gets into her car with her bowler hatted husband Peter (who bears a remarkable resemblance to the on looking and bemused Steed) and glances back at Steed with a wry smile on her face, and it is this final knowing glance at Steed and then her husband, which confirms that her ideal man all along was someone who was the mirror image of Steed.

The Avengers would continue until 1969 and Linda Thorson as Tara King had the unenviable task of trying to fill the massive void left by Diana Rigg. The relationship between Steed and his new cohort was even more flirtatious, suggestive and innuendo laden than ever before, but sadly for Linda Thorson her character was a little subservient and often came across as vulnerable and silly, which undermined the character and was the antithesis of her predecessor. However, by 1969 the show ran into financial difficulty when it lost the backing from ABC in America. The producers reluctantly decided that The Avengers could not continue and the so called last ever episode Bizarre was screened in May 1969.

Macnee would eventually reprise his role as the much loved John Steed in The New Avengers in 1976, and this time he was assisted by Purdey (Joanna Lumley) and Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt). Although the show was very popular with viewers it failed to recapture the magic and humour of the original series. Although there was chemistry between the three characters it rather felt like the show should never have been resurrected as The Avengers was a quintessentially 1960s show, and all the avant-garde ideas of the original Avengers was sadly never repeated in the latter carnation of the show, and the series came to an end in 1977 after a run of 26 episodes.

Macnee’s other significant acting roles included parts in Battlestar Galactica (1979), This is Spinal Tap (1984), A View to a Kill (1985) and Around the World in 80 Days (1989). However, Patrick Macnee will forever be remembered for his brilliant portrayal of the bowler hatted and umbrella wielding eccentric British secret agent John Steed, in one of the most influential television series ever made in the UK. The Avengers enduring popularity ultimately lay in the casting of a pair of fabulous characters in John Steed and Emma Peel. The brilliant portrayal of the eccentric, stylish, witty and lovable spy John Steed will keep the memory of Patrick Macnee alive in the hearts and minds of fans of The Avengers for many more years to come.

Long John

Charming Chap and a new sharp force for Eyeplug, being a toppermost writer with a keen appreciation for things of quality and distinction. A well known face on the London ‘Mod’ Scene but with an open mind and heart. Got a strange interest in Pirates? One to watch out for!

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Vic Godard – 30 Odd Years (Part 1)

Vic Godard has been called ‘The Greatest Living Englishman’ by  6 Musics’ Marc Riley (amongst others) and this motley, angular and diverse collection of ‘30 Odd Years’ via Vic’s newish imprint GNU inc mastered by Mike Coe is a worthy collection for lovers and indeed new comers to the world of Vic Godard and Subway Sect and testifies to the sheer depth of talent and songcraft from this ‘Bard of Barnes’ and ‘Maestro of Mortlake’. This double CD covers 23 tracks from the early punk years through the multiple influences and soundscapes (some often hard to decipher) and seemingly out of step with the times in which each set of songs were born. Vic is a true original, unaffected by the more vulgar and shallow, vain, loud, brash and distorted rock ‘n’ roll trappings, always spurred on by his inspirational references of Tom Verlaine, Lou Reed, Richard Hell, The ‘Rat’ Pack and even a hint of Bowie. Vic Godard charms, entertains, makes us click our fingers and refuses to step the instep. The real English eccentric gentleman art-punk kitchen sink poet cometh and delivers a template of honest integerity of sorts for all of the indie lables, scenes, and sounds that happily followed in his wake. Credit, merit and respect due and Vic still happily does the rounds and delivers in a first class of his own mode today!

DISC ONE

01 Intro With Paul Reekie

The intro sees a short Paul Reekie talkover which is a noble, apt and moving way to start proceedings as this Scottish poet, writer, musician and counter culture legend, left us prematurely aged only 48 in 2010. He lived on the margins and was a true classic literary outsider.

‘I fell totally into that thing Vic Godard said ‘We oppose All Rock N Roll’, Avoid all these cliches’ – Lawrence, Felt (Mojo Magazine, May 2012)
‘Whenever Godard adopted a style it became a genre and when it became a genre… he did something else’ – The Daily Telegraph, London

02 Don’t Split It

Up goes the pace and a dry, tense riff, thundering echoing drums, pivotal bass wrestle yearning vocals that warn of ‘not knowing about tomorrow’ with a bluesy harmonica and stabbing keyboards polish the claustrophobia.

03 Nobodies Scared

60s undergound legends LOVE are revisited in this riffy garagey punk fuzz force with thumping bass, dead-beat drums and snarls of ‘nobody cares and nobodies scared’, the future seems bleak!

04 Parrallel Lines

Echoing vocals with crashing cymbals, choppy guitars underpin ‘class war will never change history’ blurred lines and the fear of being lied too seem to frame the song. Simmering frustration threatens to explode.

05 Different Story (B side to Ambition 7 inch)

Vic’s vocal lines bobs and weaves through a bouncing piano phrase and already the songcraft here sees more space and texture with some pretty nifty whistling! *(my old man R.I.P was also a Postie for a while in South London and told me with a straight face that they put chemicals in emulsion paint to make you whistle).

06 Double Negative

‘The only thing I’ve got to say is Double Negative’ retorts Vic as he struggles with seeking the positives of life.

07 Vetical Integration

Acoustic strumming in the vein of The Who or the Kinks sets up a snakes and ladders of wilderness woes with a blues harp making an appearance in this toe tapper of a tune.

08 Empty Shell

Chimes and chops and interplay into empty spaces, logs on the fire of lonliness, a soulful cry not unlike a lost Velvets classic with a sensitive and wonderfully honest atmosphere with the emotion restrained but able to raise a forlorn lump in anyones throat.

09 Make Me Sad

Pretty picked guitars, charming smart bass runs, jazzy swinging licks entomb these feelings of being let down again with ‘money only being good when it’s all been spent’ with soaring harmonies, well thought out piano melodies, this really is an over-looked radio friendly classic in the making. One day future generations well learn to discover, cherish and embrace tracks like these if there is any justice. It really merits a wider audience as this is what ‘pop’ music can really achieve.

10 Stop That Girl

Are we in a French New Wave Movie? Accordians tickle a fabulous bass line that builds with smooth cool backing vocals that layer fab textures entwined into this offbeat tale of a love triangle like no other! A twist and a meander and another instant pop classic!

11 Stamp of A Vamp

Smokey 40s style swinging jazz in an effortless nod to sophistication and suave ‘rat pack’ leanings, trawling through boho, London streets with a glorious lead vocal perofrmance from the man himself and bold brass, perky piano, haughty harmonies that sit perfectly in the mix in this darkly upbeat ‘blind to reflection’ tale of romance that is not what it seems.

12 Hey What’s Your Name?

Love is a mystery, rumours abound, swinging romantic hearts are broken, tears are shed, strangers pass like ships in the fog ready to collide in a quirky jazz-bop kitchen sink frenzy.

13 Crazy Crazy

Another fine jazzy hip rave-up that make fingers pop, hips move to the brass volleys, this dancer bounces and bops and breaks into killer licks and is a real solid good time charlie of a track, well stroked drums and rolling piano motives stack up too a flapper of a frenzy!

14 Spring is Grey

Cinematic soundscape for an alternative James Bond will a Scott Walker type balad with on-the-continent easy style female backing vocals that hint at French Pop with a killer keyboard hook superb production values that never lose that loving feeling! Warm, emotive and stunning stuff!

15 Crazy Crazy

Another fine jazzy rave up that make fingers pop, hips move to the brass volleys, this dancer bounces and bops and breaks into killer licks and is a real solid good time charlie of a track, well stroked drums and rolling piano motives stack up too a flapper of a frenzy!

15 T.R.O.U.B.L.E

Troubled romance is in the air, daydreams escape to pastures anew, being kept on your toes spelt out clearly a la title! Curls of brass and vibes pinpoint the hooks with a perfect rhythm section that builds the atmosphere wherein danger lurks! Another cracker!

16 Stayin’ Outta View

Intrumental surf like twanging, brooding bass and drums with flute pops, brass loops with a lost spy TV movie theme springing to mind. Clandestine meetings in dark corners? Simply splendid! One for the DJs turntables methinks!

17 Ice On A Volcano

What’s not to like? Big band dynamics give way to a clinging to vanity and image story, of keeping up appearances, fuelled with frustration and dispair in a hot/cold world, a clever mesh of styles play out here, with a 60s swing meeting modern poptones head on with added soulful inflections, the beefy brass swells add an off-kilter angular cherry on the cake! Toppermost!

18 Malicious Love

A spikey end of romance snarl with a twisted backdrop, posike anger darting into the menacing throbbing rolling bass yet with a craftily blended Northern Soul type uplift, metrocentric hisses through slightly grinding teeth set this stomp heading to the dark river’s edge.

19 Same Mistakes

The Piano shuffles inside a few Country slides into circular matra of repetition and dismay at being stuck in the endless rut! Steep learning curves unleash deep drifting backing vocals that hide the breakdowns and changes. Vic manages to stand firm and win out the day! This could easily have been the final whistle?

20 Won’t Turn back

Sheer Northern Soul Style with a stirring string section lift offset with a clever fuzzy guitar and a nod to Motown with whoops and builds, this is a peachy classic of a tune, a triumph of will power and biting back!

21 No Love Now

An explosive shuffling almost Cajun tinted whirlwind, with a 60s freakbeat trick of a track that melds to the poetic words that speak of feeling shut out, over-looked,  and out of step – a strangely fitting way to round off and end Disc One’s buried treasures that knit together a mighty journey of songcraft and style from one of England’s true underground giants.

Vile Evils are Vile Evils…

So that’s Disc One – Part One of our 2 part review and we give this and the Monochrome Set LP a full score draw as our recent favourite releases. This band in all its forms and with all of its incarnations have been central and key in so many other peoples lives. Also in the pipeline, is Vic and producer-buddy Edwyn Collins will be putting out a collection of Northern Soul tracks called 1979 to delight us even more! Yes, Vic really is there… Part Two – Disc Two will follow very shortly!

Credits (where they are due)

Subway Sect: Bob Ward, Paul Myers, Rob Symmons, Colin Scott, Steve Spartan Atkinson, Johnny Britton, Chris Bostock, Dave Collard, Rob Marche,
Sean McCluskey, Becca Gillieron, Sophie Politowicz, Leigh Curtis, Paul Trigger Williams, Mark Laff, Gary Ainge, Kevin Younger, Mark Braby & Paul Cook
The Black Arabs & Paul and Terry Chimes, Pete Thomas & Jumping Jive, Working Week
The Bitter Springs: Simon Rivers, Dan Ashkenazy, Nick Brown, Paul Wizard Baker, Paul McGrath & Phil Martin
Mates Mates: Andrew Ribas Escandon, Andriu Luc Ma, Luca Ferran Font, Fim Jorbel Errapicas, Erra & Pau Orri Comerma, Pau
The Sexual Objects: Davy Henderson, Douglas Macintyre, Graham Wann, Ian Holford & Simon Smeeton

Vic Godard & Subway Sect

Albums

  • What’s the Matter Boy? (1980), Oddball/MCA
  • Songs For Sale (1982), London
  • Long Term Side-Effect (1998), Tugboat
  • We Come As Aliens (2010), Overground
Compilations
  • A Retrospective (1977-81) (1985), Rough Trade
  • Twenty Odd Years – The Story of… (1999), Motion
  • Singles Anthology (2005), Motion

Singles

  • “Split Up the Money” (1980), Oddball/MCA
  • ‘Stop That Girl’ (1981), Rough Trade
  • ‘Hey Now (I’m in Love)’ (1982), London
  • ‘Johnny Thunders’ (1992), Rough Trade
  • ‘Won’t Turn Back’ (1993), Postcard
  • ‘No Love Now’ (1996), Garcia
  • ‘Place We Used to Love’ (1999), Creeping Bent

Vic Godard

Albums

  • T.R.O.U.B.L.E. (1986), Rough Trade
  • End of the Surrey People (1993), Postcard
  • In T.R.O.U.B.L.E. Again (2002), Tugboat

Singles

  • ‘Stamp On a Vamp’ (1981), Club Left
  • ‘Holiday Hymn’ (1985), El

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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Super Plastic City by The Monochrome Set

Super Plastic City the brand new LP from The Monochrome Set is co-produced by BID and Jon Clayton at One Cat Studios and is published via Cherry Red Songs and sees BID in a post serious illness and recovering nicely, BID penning yet another insightful collection of tonal gems that sit wonderfully together in a moving, wry, witty, intelligent set of stylish songs like a mini novel. Themes of alienation, illness,  recovery, longing, confusion, lost hidden love, the search for peace and quiet, green pastures the great outdoors and the increasing claustrophobic shallow and  suffocating plastic-city-scapes full of  breaking news, mono thinking media, and chaos serve to blend into a snapshot that has the modern times perfectly measured according to The Monochrome Set. Back up Organs by Jon Claydon add tactile textures with Patrick Dawes keeping our toes tapping, hips hipstering and shoulders shrugging with persuasive Percussion tops off the toppings nicely.

‘Super Plastic City’ kicks off proceedings with an instantly familiar, classic TMS feel, with a nice chanted set up signature tune with a vibrant bright and catchy guitar hook-set by Lester Square sounder cleaner and sharper than ever, that leans gently against BIDs warm reedy tones that seem to have effortlessly embedded sincere eccentricity and good manners. Mood shifts are fast and subtle and are underpinned by the magical Andy Warren (Bass) and Steve Brummell (Drums) crisp skin-work  driving, rolling, framing and restraining at just the right moments. It all feels much less laboured and more organic. With couplets like ‘cracking the words like whips, listen to the past coming-out of my lips,’ BID continues to move with the times yet fondly references the passing of time.

‘The Time I’ve Spent Doing Nothing’ bemoans lost opportunities and has a Monkees style feel, that jauntily deals with frittering of time, half forgotten daydreams and missed love. The band interplay is simply awe inspiring with a clear, clean yet finely balanced production of sounds that blend seamlessly.

‘If I Could Be Woebegone’ keeps the springy pace as is as uplifting a song as I have heard for years, but in a really moving way, a desire for inner peace and a cast iron will seem to decorate this tale of potential gloom and doom that instead simply gets defeated. Such a positive ditty! This will wet your eyes and make you grin at the same time like a great British Black and White Comedy from the 40s. This one even had my 2 young sons dancing around the room like March Hares!

‘Lefty’ deals with recovery, conflicts of strange inner voices and staring at ceilings until familiar pastures win over in the end. Floating, fleeting, glimpses of un-certainty all conflict  and weave this tale together.

‘I Dream Of Spring’ slowly builds with scenes, sounds and sensations of re-discovery of the everyday, things that are often taken for granted have gained a new premium in BID’s springtime. Lovely combined melodies with the band stretching time and place.

‘Strange Young Alien’ seems to recall teenage type torment via ‘Cherry Soda Wonderlands’ and religious figures that hide in shadows with driving dreams of guitars and stardom that beckons yet seems to be submerged under deep blue waters, from colliding other worlds. The longest ditty on this collection it twists, stutters, trawls and twangs, it’s the longest song here but earns it’s place.

‘Handed-Down Memory’ recalls lost personal data of the most intimate kind, emotive, poetic and lush guitar work, re-learning from faded hues.

‘Isn’t It A Wonderful Life’ a rhythmically rolling would be sunshine-popper that mixes moods beautifully recalling hints of The Free Design, The Association, Scott Walker yet remains wonderfully Monochrome.

‘Dark Red Rose’ instills golden harmonies and expertly picked out notes from the get-go building to references of hidden love and dark secrets in a space-age-jazz setting. Stylish and deep.

‘Turn It Off ’ deals deftly with rolling non-stop media images, breaking news about breaking news, a claustrophobic tugging of the heart-strings and consciousness into all directions until the far away troubles deliver constant fatigue and the need to escape to the great outdoors, greener pastures, and much gentler more simple times. Once again the entire ensemble selflessly serve the needs of the songs. Something that newer bands should study in depth.

Rotten Ralph’s Custard Carnival’ has a slight proud Byrds’ 60’s influence, but is a jolly, jaunty refrain about growing old disgracefully, BID smirks ‘Oh you were like Jesus, now you look like Ghandi!’ Lester provides fetching fretwork, Andy walks his baselines in and out of Steve’s solid tempo and rounds off the LP of the year by a mile! We give this most recent TMS offering toppermost marks and doff our black berets.

Super Plastic City is released on November 5th and is available here.

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Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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