Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Chas Jankel

The brilliant Chas Jankel had the uncanny ability to supply just the right arrangement for Ian Dury’s unique voice. He’s also made some fine solo records. His first album included Ai No Corrida, a song that impressed Quincy Jones so much he covered it on his album The Dude.

109 is from his 1981 album Chasanova. I read earlier this year that this album was going to be re-issued but it hasn’t happened yet. The b-side, also from the album, is 3,000,000 Synths and can be heard on Chas’s Myspace page.

Chas will soon be touring the UK with The Blockheads to celebrate the 30th anniversary of New Boots and Panties.

mp3: Chas Jankel - 109

Buy Chas Jankel here.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Happy Birthday Grace…

Bit of a change from the usual new wave/post punk/electro stuff today. You have to remember I’m getting on a bit and I started collecting records before punk/new wave. The first band I started collecting was Jefferson Airplane and it’s various spin-offs. Today is Grace Slick’s 68th(!!!) birthday.

To celebrate I have posted four song. Not necessarily her best (I’m not getting in to that argument), just songs that I’ve enjoyed for the last 30+ years.

mp3: Jefferson Airplane - Two heads (1967) (Buy)
Grace at her sneering best from the psychedelic classic After Bathing At Baxter’s.

mp3: Grace Slick - Come Again? Toucan (1973) (Buy)
Grace’s first solo album Manhole was once described by Charles Shaar Murray in a JA article as one of the worst albums he’s ever heard, so it was with some trepidation that I played this track from it when I bought the Flight Log compilation. It’s not up there with her classics but it’s better that the stuff the Airplane were churning out in the early 70s. I still haven’t heard the rest of the album.

mp3: Jefferson Starship – Hyperdrive (1974) (Buy)
This is just fantastic. Pure hippie space rock almost proggy nonsense. My favourite Grace Slick song. Really.

mp3: Grace Slick – Dreams (1980) (Buy)
I didn’t particularly like this almost hit from 1980 at the time, considering too MOR. It’s probably my age, but now I think it’s great, almost magical which I think was the idea of the production. This is the slightly longer album version.

This is the first time I have used Mediafire for my files. Let me know if you have problems.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Love Cascade

Leisure Process seem to be largely forgotten now despite achieving moderate success in the early eighties. Singer Ross Middleton came from Positive Noise (songs still available here) and saxophone player Gary Barnacle seemingly played on every early 80’s record that featured a session sax player.

mp3: Leisure Process – Love Cascade (1982)

I started writing this post under the assumption that this was their most well known song and was a chart hit. Apparently they had no UK chart entries, which really conflicts with my memory. It’s a Martin Rushent production with one eye on the pop chart and the other on the dance floor, which should be recommendation enough.

They recorded a Peel session which was broadcast on 22nd March 1982 and I recorded it but I don’t have anything to play it on at the moment. There will be more Leisure Process posts in the future including the Peel session if I can find a working cassette deck.

Even better than the sum of it’s parts…

If I had bought the 7-inch version of Love Action back in 1981 I doubt if I would listened to it’s b-side Hard Times more than a couple of times. It was an ok instrumental but I think the novelty would soon have worn off. However, combine it with Love Action (probably the League’s best ever single) as they did on the 12-inch version and it takes on a whole new dimension. Ten minutes of aural pleasure. I’m glad I didn’t live next door to me in 1981 because I used to play this a lot and loud, particularly the shrieking synths leading to the Love Action intro.

mp3: The Human League - Hard Times/Love Action (Original 12-inch Version 1981)

Buy Human League music here.

Production by Martin Rushent who had the midas touch at the time. More from him in the next post.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

An unlikely Stiff record…

…well I always thought so. I mean, you don’t expect Motown mimicry when you think of Stiff, do you? And very good it is too. I don’t know much about The Sapphires (a name like that is not google friendly) but I have good memories of this record. I used to hear it on my car radio driving to work on my first proper job after four years working for the Ministry of Defence (if I told you what I was doing I’d have to kill you ;) ). There were actually two versions of this song at the time. The other was a man whose name escapes me who sang “Baby I Must Be A Magician” in a jazzier way. I think it’s obvious which one I preferred.

Any Motown fan will know this as a Smokey Robinson composition which was a US hit for The Marvelettes in 1968. This version is more in the style of The Supremes. As a treat I’ve included the Sapphires and Marvelettes versions for you to compare.

mp3: The Sapphires – My Baby Must Be A Magician (1983)

mp3: The Marvelettes - My Baby Must Be A Magician (1968)
That’s Melvin Franklin of The Temptations on the intro.

Buy The Sapphires version here.

Buy The Marvelettes version here.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Metrophase - In Black

It’s a funny thing, blogging; sometimes you get a song in your head and you just have to post it. I promise after this I will lighten up a bit for my next few posts.

This is one of those lovely old independent releases with a xerox sleeve and even a xeroxed lyric sheet insert. The record label is plain white except for rubber stamped song titles, a 33RPM stamp and a partial date stamp (6 JUL 197?)

I bought this and many other indie releases from this period from a local market stall, which was the only place I could get them without travelling 20 miles. Many of these records were bought unheard (see my last Punilux post) based on how interesting they looked. In this case it was the fact that Steev Burgess is credited with playing synthesiser and rhythm machine. I hoped I was buying a record in the style of Gary Numan or John Foxx. In general terms it probably is part of that genre but in a much more primitive and even bleaker form.

Metrophase were a mainly studio project for Steev Burgess. As far as I know they only played live twice. The Phase One EP on their own Neolondon label features three tracks: In Black, Neobeauty and Cold Rebellion. In Black features Nikki Mapp on bass + acoustic guitar and Epic on piano, AKA Nikki Sudden and Epic Soundtracks from Swell Maps.

mp3: Metrophase – In Black (1979)

If you want a copy of this record Vinyl Tap have one for £18.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Do you have fantasies?

Good, now I’ve got your attention! It’s the opening refrain from Person to Person by French coldwave band The (Hypothetical) Prophets. The song takes the form of a series of personal ads.

As the opening verse puts it:

Paper mates, blind dates, hedonistics, romantics, bi-sexuals, anti-socials, unattractives, independents, lonely hearts and no starters all can find ideal partners through the person to person to personal announcements.

If you are wondering how these can possibly fit into a song just right-click and save the link below.

Don’t know much about this band apart from the fact they consisted of Bernard Szajner and Karel Beer, who went under the pseudonyms Joseph Weil and Norman D Landing. I have to say no-one sounds French on this record, which is surprising since it is mostly spoken, and the humour and choice of place names seems very English (Elektra, Dorking and Maureen, Bognor). Draw your own conclusions.

mp3: The (Hypothetical) Prophets - Person To Person (Colour Supplementary Version)

Monday, 8 October 2007

Engine of Excess

Back to normality today: another Punishment of Luxury single. This was in fact my first Punilux single and I think the main reason I bought it was because I liked the band name. I had certainly never heard their music. My first thought when I heard the opening bars of Engine of Excess was ‘Hawkwind’. This may go some way to explaining why the music press seemed to hate them so much. That was certainly not a cool name to drop in 1979, although I’m sure I’ve read since then that John Lydon was a Hawkwind fan which even now seems to be important to certain journo types, so maybe it’s ok now.

This was their first United Artists release following the excellent Puppet Life on the Small Wonder label.

Back in the day I played the b-side Jellyfish at least as much as the a-side with it’s strange vocal and John Noakes impression at the end, so I’ve included that too.

mp3: Punishment of Luxury - Engine of Excess

mp3: Punishment of Luxury – Jellyfish

Saturday, 6 October 2007

We woz robbed...

Little bit of a self indulgent post today - hope you don’t mind too much.

Today is carnival day in the small town where I grew up. That was quite a big deal when I was a kid, something the whole town seemed to get involved in either as participants or spectators. That’s me on the right (circa 1975) in my homemade Planet of the Apes costume. The other ape is another Michael who now lives in Torquay and is a regular reader of this blog (you’ll find it much easier when you get your broadband connection, Mike). The certificate I’m holding is for 2nd prize for our age group. 1st prize went to a girl dressed as a witch. Can you believe it? We put so much effort into making these costumes and we’re beaten by a girl in a black dress and a pointy hat (who, incidentally, wore the same costume the previous year). I know I should be over it by now but that sense of injustice still lingers.

The other big thing for us kids was the fair would come to town for three days, so there actually something to do at night. My dad would give me 50p spending money (that was ten bob in his language) and that would last all night. I loved the noise and lights and smell of the fair. The music was supplied by a record player suspended on bungee cords to avoid picking up vibrations. This is one of the records that immediately brings back the smell of generators, candy floss, toffee apples etc. It’s 70’s, kitsch and great loud.

mp3: 5000 Volts - I'm On Fire

Normal service will be resumed for the next post.

Monday, 1 October 2007


It’s not often that a new month comes along and one of your musical heroes has an appropriate song so I make no apologies for posting this. I have been a Bill Nelson fan since 1976 when I discovered Be Bop Deluxe and the more observant among you will have noticed that the name of this blog is ‘adapted’ from a Be Bop Deluxe compilation CD (Raiding The Divine Archive).

October Man is from his brilliant 1982 album The Love That Whirls.