Monthly Archives: February 2019

Blog on the Tracks – episode 5

I actually know where I was when I listened to this episode, but the airport bus to Dublin airport is not that interesting, so here is episode 5 which featured DJs Scott Mills and Annie Mac, Paul Sinha, and John Niven.

Track you can say “I was there from the beginning” – I was legitimately there for the beginning of Littlehampton’s Cutting Edge band, who went on to be known as Delirious? They had a few songs in the top twenty in the late 1990s, and “Gravity” remains one of the stand out tracks.
Greatest segway of two tracks – One example I remembered from a 1990s indie night club was mixing “Popcorn” by Hot Butter into The Power Rangers Theme. I’ll spare that though, and go for a couple of rockers. “Walk” by Pantera and “Twist of Cain” by Danzig.
Shuffle – Audioslave with “Like a Stone“, no complaints about that.
Best trivia from your collection – the Manic Street Preachers (yes them again) had originally recorded “Little Baby Nothing” as a duet between James Dean Bradfield and Kylie Minogue. PWL refused her permission to do the song, and she was replaced by former porn star Tracy Lords, who Richie later described as the “most intelligent American we ever met”.
Songs you love by someone with troubles – It’s hard to look beyond Michael Jackson, where there was clear mental and physical troubles with him, and it’s sad that at the time we brushed this off as his eccentricities. Let’s go for a Jacko classic “Billie Jean“.
Final, one last song for the party – I can recall two end of party songs that were out of context but were so good I can remember them over 20 years later. Special dibs to South Park’s “Kyle’s Mum’s a Bitch” but a student night on the dancefloor once concluded with this forgotten 1990s classic “Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe” by Whale.
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Blog on the Tracks – episode 4

In the next episode of this blog, and the last of the pilot series of episodes, episode four featured guests Jeremy Vine, Steve Davis, Simon Day, and Ana Matronic.

Most rock and roll story and music to accompany it – Not sure if there is a great rock and roll story from my life, so I’ll pick the story about the poor kid who wore the T-shirt with the abbreviation of Van Halen’s 1991 album “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and was arrested for it, and the band stepped up to defend him. Echoes of Never Mind the Bollocks, but it’s a great story and from that album “Poundcake.”
What if Elvis didn’t die, what track between 1977-2018 would he cover – Such a wide array of songs to pick from in that period, and it’s easy to look at the rock and roll revival songs from the late 1970s from bands like The Stray Cats, but the one I’ll opt for is the cover of a cover – I’d love to have heard his cover of David Bowie’s version of “China Girl“. Also special dibs to Ed Sheeran for “Thinking out Loud“.
Eurovision song – The easy answer here is to look for a winner that stood out, or one of the more recent wacky entries. For me, the year after Lordi saw the level of guitar bands step up and 2007’s “The Worrying Kind” by Swedish entry The Ark. Was a real stand out. Special dibs also to “Alcohol is Free” by Koza Nostra and Agathon for the 2013 Greek entry too.
Shuffle – The remix of “Sexual Healing” by Kygo appeared in a sponsored advert so many times I added it to my playlist. It’s not something I go backwards often, but it’s a nice listen.
Unlikely duets – There are so many options for this section, and it is too easy to fall back on Elton John and Kiki Dee or even Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue, but even though this only gets seen at Christmas and is marked by Bing’s passing a short time later, the mix of David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “Little Drummer Boy” fits the brief of a duet, and an unlikely one.
Final – best last song on an album – This won’t be the first time I’ll reference the Manic Street Preachers, or Richie’s masterpiece The Holy Bible, but P.C.P. remains one of their truly great songs, and it’s such a shame it’s not one of the live staples these days.

Blog on the Tracks – Episode 3

Time for episode three of the pilot series, an episode which featured Erasure’s Andy Bell, Liz Kershaw, Kimberly Wyatt and David Arnold.

 

Best track with no guitars, electronic – I picked Telstar by The Tornados for the last episode, so in an effort to avoid repetition, I’ll go for something from a completely different era and style. This may bend the rules, but I’ll pick Eric B and Rakim’s “Paid in Full” which is purely electronic, mostly scratching and sampling (in this Coldcut remix), and to my memory and knowledge doesn’t feature any guitars.

 

Best siblings – Well the Carpenters are yet to appear, and the Gallaghers seem too obvious, which narrows it down somewhat. While the genius of the Greenwood brothers from Radiohead cannot be denied, the Gibb brothers are even more important. Disco mostly sucked, but “Saturday Night Fever” remains an all time classic.

 

Who plays you in film of your life, which song plays over the end credits – The similarity to Seth Rogen has been made several times, so let’s go with the Zack and Miri era actor. As for the song, not an easy one but I’d like something generally optimistic by someone prone to not be positive all of the time. I’ll opt for Captain Sensible’s unlikely top ten hit “Happy Talk.”

 

Shuffle – “Mercy” by Duffy. I’ll definitely take this northern soul inspired tune, if only to revive her career which showed so much promise with her first album.

 

Cover better than the original – A much discussed and debated topic, and I’ve been able to narrow it down to three. Missing out on my final choice is the cover of “You Can’t Hurry Love” by Phil Collins, one of the best videos of the 1980s, and Julian Casablancas’ cover of Lou Reed’s “White Light White Heat” for the TV series Vinyl. I’m going for Shonen Knife’s cover of The Carpenters cover of “Top of the World” from the album “If I was a Carpenter“.

 

Final – sexiest song ever written – Very easy to go obvious here with soul songs, so I’ll stick with a lesser chosen soul song with a gospel twinge, the Reverend Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” just oozes love. “Whether times are good or bad, happy or sad” should be in the wedding vows.

Blog on the Tracks – Episode 2

Ok I introduced the drill in the previous blog, and so here is the second episode of BBC Radio 2’s Blood on the Tracks with my answers in place

Episode two was another of the pilot episodes, and featured Fleur East, Kriss Akabusi, Shaun Ryder and Russell Kane.
Favourite Manchester song – I remember thinking at the time that there are so many options, that it is practically impossible to choose. However at the time, one song stuck in my head and I’ll opt for it now. Not the greatest Manchester band, but a song I still love almost 20 years on, “Catch the Sun” by Doves.
What album put on just you and a drink – I would want something relatively mellow for this sort of mood. and the time I can recall music and a drink was watching the Treme brass band in New Orleans. Could I recommend some trad jazz? No, I’ll pick instead a band I originally support Jake Bugg at Brixton a few years ago, and then saw them in smaller gigs in following months. They were Honey Honey, and the song is “Angel of Death“.
Greatest protest song – So many options from the 1960s to pick from, heck you could even go for Band Aid. I’ll opt for one artist who made the protest song an art form, Bob Marley “Get Up Stand Up” which not only had the message there in the title, but also preached a message of appreciating what you have right now.
Shuffle – As described last time, I’ll do this from my near 400 song Spotify playlist. Appearing this time is a band called The Flys and “Got You Where I Want You“. This is one of those songs I barely remember the first time I heard it, but it’s a nice and inoffensive listen.
Best song about outer space, planets and the moon – I’ll pick an instrumental here, and something you really have to understand the concept of where the world was in the era of space travel and exploration, and so my pick is The Tornados and “Telstar“.
One track about someone or something you’d rather forget – Like many people, I’ve had a bad break up soundtracked and that relationship in particular was illustrated by the first album by The Killers. I’ll never rekindle my love for this album completely, but this song remains an absolute cracker : “Mr Brightside.”

Blog on the Tracks – Intro and Episode One

It’s been a while since I last posted a blog, but while content ideas have not been short (just look at the state of UK politics, Tottenham’s form and some great 2018 albums by Suede and the Manics) one idea did come to me whilst ploughing through a podcast series.

Now I am an avid podcast listener and one series I recently really enjoyed was Blood on the Tracks from BBC Radio 2. Hosted by Colin Murray, the format follows closely to his sports quiz Fighting Talk, but taking the subject of music instead.

A podcast around music, with a focus on competition and all about learning new ideas and new stuff to listen to? I couldn’t resist but make this my way of participating.

Having listened to the podcasts at the time of release, I went back and redownloaded them all, made a note of the questions and will make some effort to answer them myself.

So a few disclaimers: I’m only blogging on the questions posed by Colin, not the answers (because of spoilers) and also I reserve the right to change my mind on an answer later, and publish said changed mind as an edit.

Ok, episode one was originally part of a pilot series of episodes and featured Skin from Skunk Anansie, Jimmy White, Josh Widdecombe and Martin Bashir.

A musical hello to your collection – this was the first question posed, and am the owner of a relatively eclectic collection of music. I do own the majority of albums by Blur, Manic Street Preachers, The Beatles and The Clash – and I am not ashamed of owning compilations either. As a lot of my music owes its influence to the rhythm and blues rock of the 1960s, I’ll opt for a Rolling Stones classic “Jumpin’ Jack Flash“. In this song you can hear the music that influenced the other R&B bands like The Who, as well as later 1970s bands like the New York Dolls, Ramones, Queen and Aerosmith, who carried their own influence upon their peers.

A slice of Britpop still in your collection – If you count Britpop as starting with the release of Suede’s debut and Blur’s magnificent “Modern Life is Rubbish” in 1993, to a peak in 1995 and concluding with the melancholic albums released by Radiohead, Spiritualized and The Verve in 1998, there is plenty to choose from. For me though, Britpop’s success was in its crossover appeal to the masses and one song did that before anything else, Blur’s “Girls and Boys“.

Favourite female vocal ever – Again no spoilers, but this may be the first mention of many for Nina Simone. For me, I want to pick one of my favourite female vocalists, in fact one of my favourite vocalists full stop. Debbie Harry had and continues to have it all, and her best vocal performance has to be “Heart of Glass“. Ok the purists hate this disco number, and you could argue she’s better on “Fade Away and Radiate” or even octaves lower on “Denis” or “Sunday Girl”, but this song carries her pissed off nature with a fantastic vocal performance.

Shuffle – This round involves contestants randomly shuffling a song from their device. I’ve not used an Apple audio device in about 10 years, and these days use Spotify. One playlist I’ve built consists of 393 songs (at the time of writing) so I’ll just do a random shuffle from that for this blog. And I’ll be honest about what I got. For this entry, I got Sopranos theme “Woke up this Morning” by Alabama 3.

What makes you dance solo – Truth be told, I have danced solo to a few songs in public, mostly when I was about 17 in indie and rock clubs, and an era that will forever stick in my mind are The Levellers first three albums, and in particular from the first album “Weapon Called The Word”, the song “World Freakshow“.

Final – Best 30 seconds opening to a song – So many options to choose from here, in fact an almost infinite list of options, but when I sat and thought about this the one that really cool to mind is The Beatles “I Feel Fine“. It’s a pretty standard Beatles song throughout, but it’s opening with a deliberate inclusion of feedback on George Harrison’s guitar is a masterstroke, and his riff is terrific (NPI).

So that’s episode 1 (unofficially), and there are 14 episodes to review. I’ll post my second episode in a few days and until then, here’s the whole show.