Blog on the Tracks – Episode 15

Series two of Blood on the Tracks recently released its first episode, and ever reliable I’m back to carry on Blog on the Tracks as if we never left off. So series 2 episode 1 featured AJ Odudu, Ed Gamble, Will Gompertz and musician Jack Savoretti.

What instrument would you be, and what song would you like to appear in? When listening to this a few ideas did come to mind, and one was the violin from Oasis “Whatever” (listen all the way to the end!). However this is something I’ve loved for years, and it’s the bass guitar from Muse’s “Hysteria.”
A song from your collection that you can describe as a work of art – So many choices, even throwing in something as camp as “Bohemian Rhapsody” or as classic rock as Iron Maiden’s 1980s output. But one song I’ve always felt ‘had it all’ is Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android.” It is based on the three movements inspired by The Beatles “Happiness is a Warm Gun” so not 💯 original, but it’s a terrific song and never gets tiresome to listen to.
Shuffle – As before, I’ll pick from my 460 strong Spotify playlist, and today’s play is the Fantastic “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us” by Sparks. This is also one for BOTT host Colin Murray, as under his presentership of MOTD2, highlights of the Manchester derby were played with this as the soundtrack and it was absolutely fantastic.
A song that reminds you of a moment in your life – Not an easy one to pick, as I could go for the first dance song at our wedding (The Fratellis “Whistle for the Choir“), something from the first band I saw live (Iron Maiden), or even from a working holiday I spent in America in 1999 (in which case it would be either Ricky Martin or Britney Spears). Instead, I’ll go back to Glastonbury 1998, the rain was coming down and I skipped England v Colombia on the big screen to watch The Lightning Seeds and The Foo Fighters. Later that evening, and the Dunkirk spirit kicks in. Later that evening I saw Catatonia on the Other Stage, and they opened with a rousing version of “International Velvet.”
1 track on theme of gambling – Some of the best options were chosen on the show, and I’ll keep to my usual no spoilers rule. One line I couldn’t get out of my head was “know you like roll of the roulette wheel”, and the song is “Boys in the Band” by The Libertines. Other than Madonna’s “Gambler” and “The Joker” by The Steve Miller Band, that’s the best I’ve got.
Final: What’s the best song to come out of a result of a reality TV show – Again avoiding spoilers, but the best option was selected on the show, and it seems like a cheat to go for Journey “Don’t stop Believin” which got its resurgence via The X Factor, I was a really big fan of the first series of Popstars and it’s eventual winner was Will Young. He produced several songs that deserve a mention, and apart from the token “mmm mmm mmm”, “Leave Right Now” was really good, and it’s my choice here.
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Blog on the Tracks – Episode 14

I made it, having made a commitment to blog every episode of Blood on the Tracks I’ve finally hit the final episode of series one. Episode 14 featured Happy Mondays dancer Bez, poet Benjamin Zephania, Michaela Cole, and Mike Bubbins.

Song to dance to – Moshing and “slam dancing” definitely counts as dancing in my book, so one from my teenage years, Faith No More “From out of Nowhere.”
A great live song – One of the great live performers of our era, I’ve seen Frank Turner several times (as he’s always on tour) and his “Long Live The Queen” is a beautiful ballad on the album, and played a lot faster as part of his live set. Both sound fantastic, and I don’t think that’s especially common.
Shuffle – A nice modern rock classic to conclude the first series of blogs, Foo Fighters’ “The Pretender“.
A song that makes you raw with emotion – Any number of songs that bring back raw emotion: “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda“, Blur’s “Tender” (as noted in a previous blog), and even the video for Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train.” However many people can interpret the lyrics for Pink Floyd’s “Wish you were Here” to be specific to someone that have lost, and I’ll pick that.
A song from this decade that will be remembered in 25 years – I’ll admit to not being too up with modern chart music, but one artist I do know is Ed Sheeran and “Thinking out Loud” is a modern wedding first dance classic already, and will remain that way for many years.
Final – best song written under 2 minutes – Nice and easy choice of a song I heard when it had a late 1980s revival, “C’mon Everybody” by Eddie Cochran.

Blog on the Tracks – Episode 13

The penultimate episode of the first series featured MP Stella Creasy, Laura Whitmore, Chelcee Grimes and comedian Nish Kumar.

Artist did a better job than the original writer, reimagined – One song I didn’t really know until a cover was done by Suede for the 1995 Warchild album, and I then learned about its origins and some of the other covers. The song is “Shipbuilding” and rather than the version by Elvis Costello, I much prefer the cover by Robert Wyatt.
Get a lyric tattooed on your chest – So many to choose from, and I could easily refer to the music of my youth and KISS’s “Crazy Crazy Nights” with the line “This is our music, we like it loud.” I’ll go for that, as KISS always allows for decent illustration too.
Shuffle – “Semi Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind. A song I probably heard once and added, and I only remember for the “do do do” chorus. No real opinion on this to be honest.
An artist found solace through their music – That’s a tricky one, as you’re talking about lyrics that really mean something to you, and a second question on lyrics! Once again I can refer to the music of my youth, and I can look at some of the lyrics of the Use Your Illusion era of Guns N’Roses. “Don’t Cry“, “Coma” and “Estranged” were their pinnacle of overblown rockstar antics with expensive videos, long progressive tunes and an ever expanding line up. However lyrically this period was fantastic, and those three songs had some marvelous words.
Favourite ever song by Irish artist – Again a question with plenty to choose from, and one I have cited in the past is “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2. It’s basically between that and some of the output by Stiff Little Fingers, and the fantastic breakthrough album from Snow Patrol, in particular “Chocolate.” I’ll stick with Bono and co though.
Final – song with a big ending, furious finale – No song has a more bombastic ending than “Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen, ok maybe “Cherub Rock” by Smashing Pumpkins, but Van Halen’s ode to the school day crush has Eddie and Alex jamming all the way to the end.

Blog on the Tracks – Episode 12

On to Episode 12, which featured Mo Gilligan, Skin from Skunk Anansie for a repeat appearance, ex footballer Pat Nevin, and actor Jake Wood.

A song that gives you confidence when you need it – This sort of song is actually very personal, and can change from an X Factor rising anthem to something more hypnotic. The way to think in my view is what would your walk on tune be, and as a fan from their first mainstream appearances, it’s hard to look at anything other than Guns N’Roses, and “Welcome to the Jungle.”

A track you like that everyone else would hate – Another category I feel I’ve answered in another episode, but another that is hard to answer as my parents hated rap, so does that make me pick a rap song? However I do recall my sister hating this song, so it’s the only one I can think of now – 1000 Clowns and “Not the Greatest Rapper.”

Shuffle – A choice from The Crow soundtrack, Nine Inch Nails’ cover of Joy Division’s “Dead Souls.”

A song that was given to you by someone else – I’ll probably pick one from my wife, as while I was well aware of The Wonder Stuff I hadn’t really got into their debut album “The Eight Legged Groove Machine” until I met her, and was really beginning and ending my journey with “Hup.” So from the debut it’s “It’s Yer Money I’m After Baby.”

Best drumming ever in a song – I’ll narrow this down to two songs, and pick one from them. The first is the stompingness (is that a word?) of Iron Maiden’s “Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter” and the other is Blur’s unintelligible britpop anthem “Song 2.” Even though Blur get a mention later, it’s Dave Rowntree over Nicko McBrain this time, and I’ll pick Blur.

Final – favourite Blur track – So, Blur again. I said at the start of this venture that I wouldn’t give away spoilers to episodes, but here I feel it’s necessary to lists Colin’s Top 10 Blur songs:

10 For Tomorrow

9 End of a Century

8 The Universal

7 Parklife

6 Song 2

5 There’s no other way

4 Tender

3 Girls and Boys

2 This is a low

1 Chemical World

I’m not nearly as much of a Blur fan as Colin, and there’s some definite omissions in this list, but instead I decided to stake my list of the Top 10 songs by the Manic Street Preachers. This took a lot of well and I may want to edit this daily, but for today it looks like this:

10 – Rewind the Film

9 – Ready for Drowning

8 – Marlon JD

7 – Archives of Pain

6 – PCP

5 – You Love Us

4 – La Tristesse Durera

3 – If you Tolerate this then your Children will be Next

2 – Judge Yr’self

1 – Little Baby Nothing

Blog on the Tracks – episode 11

As we head towards the end of the first series of series one of Blood on the Tracks, I present my choices on episode 11 which featured Justin Hawkins, Pat Cash, Ali Siddiqi and Edith Bowman.

Favourite film based on songs in it – I’ll refer to one from my teenage years here, when gothic revenge film The Crow was released in 1994, all of the press was on how it’s main star Brandon Lee died during the making of it in a stunt gone wrong. The official soundtrack however was absolutely fantastic, and a great glimpse of the metal scene of that time, and my choice from it is Nine Inch Nails’ cover of Joy Division’s “Dead Souls.”
A song based on vocal range – This is a bit of an off key choice, excuse the pun, as the vocalist only really displays one vocal range, but it is so distinctive and different that apart from the nonsensical lyrics, his voice is the best thing about “Mmm mmm mmm” by the Crash Test Dummies.
Shuffle – From the main Spotify playlist, the selection is this early 1990s rocker “Boneyard” by The Little Angels.
A song or album that help you through bad times – Thankfully I don’t have that many bad times, but one album I usually go to when I need a pick me up, and I’m usually a bit worse for wear sobriety-wise, is Marilyn Manson’s 1998 album “Mechanical Animals.” Not everyone’s favourite album by Marilyn, but I love it. My choice is “Coma White.”
Favourite slice of pure female pop – I first heard this on a music channel when I was in Poland, so I always assumed she was European, but it turned out she was actually Australian and this is Lenka with “The Show.”
Final – two or more musicians teamed up for one day and produced something magic – Back in 1995 a bunch of musicians submitted a song to an album that would become “Help” and raise money for Warchild. The final song on the album was a band calling themselves the Smokin Mojo Filters, which comprised Paul Weller, Paul McCartney and Noel Gallagher, who did this version of The Beatles “Come Together.”

Blog on the Tracks – Episode 10

Up to episode 10 and into double figures, just as series two of Blood on the Tracks gets announced. Did this blog go some way to getting that recommission? Well let’s hope so, and I’m looking forward to more episodes and blogging about those too. Anyway series one, episode ten featured Rou Reynolds, Ben Earle, Levi Roots and Ellis James.
A song you love I’d never guess you owned – I have not really talked much about dub on this blog, but one song that has terrific memories of university, and would probably be a Desert Island Disc is “Little Britain” by Dreadzone. Look at post clubbing Monday nights in the mid 1990s watching Nationwide Football League highlights back at people’s houses, this was the theme tune, and is an absolute cracker.
Perfect reggae song – I deliberately picked a dub song above so I could pick a reggae song here, again another genre I’ve not had a massive exposure to, but I did get the pleasure to see Jimmy Cliff in 2008 at Glastonbury, so I’ll pick one his best “You can do it if you really want.”
Shuffle – As ever from the (now 427 strong) playlist, The Magic Numbers with “Forever Lost.”
Best male and female vocal Harmony – Actually plenty to choose from here, and I’ll admit to actually really liking Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman’s cover of “Something Stupid.” However I’ll pick something more original, and go for the brooding excellence and dark sexual nature of Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue, “Where the Wild Roses Grow.”
Tracks that are better on live albums than originals – Well this is not necessarily from an album, perhaps a collection of Glastonbury festival’s greatest performances, but this version of “One Way” by The Levellers from their Glastonbury 1994 headline set is far better than the recorded version from the album “Levelling the Land.”
Final – song makes you cry – This may have been one I’ve cited before, but Blur’s “Tender” will forever remind me of my friend Vicky Sutherland, who passed away in December 1999. She loved Blur and Shed Seven, and this song was out at the time (third year university) that I knew her for such a short time of her young life.

Blog on the Tracks – Episode 9

Episode 9 – Lindsay Ell, Alan Johnson, Russell Kane, Kate Richardson-Walsh
Dysfunctional band who should not have worked but did – The Libertines remain one of the most disfunctional of our time, and yet have an incredible body of work to draw from. This is from their greatest period of disfunction and almost poetically describing it “Can’t Stand Me Now.”
Best political track – Having just seen the mighty Stiff Little Fingers last night, it’s hard to look beyond their work. So I’ll pick one of their most politically driven tracks, and one of my favourite songs by them “Wasted Life.”
Shuffle – As usual from my Spotify playlist, and this one is a bit more retro, “Love Her Madly” by The Doors.
Romantic song – A hard one to answer as I feel I have done already, but last time I went for Al Green and this time I’ll pick one of the most beautiful love songs ever written, as certified by Frank Sinatra and sung by Elvis Presley, “Something” by The Beatles.
A record Lindsay would love (born 1989) – I recall when I heard this question for the first time, and my understanding of it was something that came out post 1989, that Lindsay would have been old enough to appreciate. Well every kid loves a great guitar song right? At the time I thought “La Tristesse Durera” by Manic Street Preachers, and I still do.
Final – favourite Beatles song for book of your life – Another Beatles song, “In My Life” and “A Day in the Life” are too obvious, but having spent the first few years of my post-university career trying to get my first break, I’ll forever my Dad singing “Paperback Writer” so that will be my choice.

Blog on the Tracks – Episode 8

Well over half way now, and this is Episode 8 which featured Gizzi Erskine, Linford Christie, Hugh Cornwell and Fleur East.

Who do you most obsess over – Am I obsessed with the Manic Street Preachers? I own every studio album, singles purely for B-sides, the B-sides collection, picture discs, special editions, and I have seen them countless times and now drag the wife along. Ok maybe it’s an obsession, but here’s one of my absolute favourites “Little Baby Nothing.”
At your house, what record do you put on for guests – I do actually have an album that I have put on for a guest who was a bit upset at the time, it’s uplifting, captivating and background at the same time. “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” by The Flaming Lips, and this is “In the Morning of the Magicians.”
Shuffle – “Liquidator” by Harry J Allstars, not only a ska classic but probably the best football run out song, but that’s from a Spurs fan too.
Best basslines – There are many options here, and I’ve decided to go with a slightly ambiguous bassline, as I’ve never really been sure if it’s played on Krist’s bass or by Kurt Cobain’s bottom strings. Anyway it’s Nirvana’s “Lounge Act.”
A song two men and two women minimum – Again a few options here including Abba and Fleetwood Mac, but with plenty of members to choose from there’s the Arcade Fire. Choosing a debut album and current live classic here “Power Out.”
Final – favourite record by someone who did something else – So many options here of songs by someone who did something before: WWF Superstars with “Slam Jam“, Sam Fox “Touch Me” and all of those popstars who were in EastEnders, and even afterwards, any number of people who went on to make records after appearing in Big Brother. However I’ll pick something which featured a member who was previously in Coronation Street, and someone who went on to a career which kind of involved inventing MTV – Davy Jones and Michael Nesmith respectively, who were both in the Monkees. Here’s “Daydream Believer.”

Blog on the Tracks – Episode 7

This is episode 7 which featured Stuart Murdoch from Belle and Sebastian, Alex Edelman, Steve Bunce and Ana Matronic from Scissor Sisters.

 

 

 

Which song references alcohol – So many to pick from for this section, from the obvious “Cigarettes and Alcohol” by Oasis, to the less obvious “Milk and Alcohol” by Dr Feelgood, and taking in all of the songs in between about more specific drinks. Well I’ll go for something literally alternative, Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping.” First saw them supporting the Levellers in 1993, they produced some fantastic music before they had this massive hit which ultimately ruined them, but it’s still a cracker.

 

 

 

New York song – Again so many to choose from here, and I was tempted by “New York” by the Sex Pistols, but instead I’ll pick this early 2000s cracker (another cracker?) from The Strokes’ debut “New York City Cops.

 

 

 

Shuffle – A man who will get a lot of coverage in 2019, and nice to get a bit of 1970s Elton John. “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.

 

 

 

An album or song that means something to you – This is an episode that I may draw upon for future songs as there are a lot of broad topics! In my last year of university I was good friends with Vicky Sutherland who died just before the millennium, and one of her two music loves (the other may appear another time!) was Shed Seven. Especially for her, this is “Chasing Rainbows.”

 

 

 

Final – an exceptional story for naming a band – I’ll pick up one of my all time favourite bands here, who I learned in a book I read when I was about 12 that they took their name from the two bands who made them – Hollywood Rose and the LA Guns, to form Guns N’ Roses. What I recall is that members from the two bands formed the effective supergroup, and created a rock legacy. This is the classic “Paradise City.”

 

 

 

After relistening to this episode I feel I may have missed a question here, so I may relisten to this episode and update this in the future!

San Francisco Top 5 Playlist

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This morning i find myself in San Francisco attending RSA Conference for the fifth time. Whilst I spend the morning recovering from what I realised was a bad combination of jetlag and alcohol, I’ve decided to pick out my top five San Francisco songs. As follows:

 

Arctic Monkeys – Fake Tales of San Francisco – A more recent song, and one of the standouts from their debut

 

The Bee Gees – Massachusetts– an absolute classic

 

Belle & Sebastian – Piazza New York Catcher – I first heard this from the Juno soundtrack, and it’s such a simple song that works perfectly

 

Dead Kennedys – California Uber Alles – Whilst not a pure SF song, it is a SF band singing about the state’s politics (and one that could be a contender for Blog on the Tracks’ best protest song)

 

Scott McKenzie – San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in your Hair) – well it had to be here right?