Saturday, 28 June 2008


Excuse me but I am drunk while I’m writing this…

A couple of weeks ago I happened upon a wonderful blog called Star Maker Machine which has the simple but brilliant idea of having a weekly theme for contributors to post songs on. They have regular contributors but also encourage outside contributions. Next weeks theme is particularly good: They plan to post 50 songs with the name of an American state in the title (and nobody is sure if there is a song for every state). This immediately got me thinking. I’ve got loads of songs with American states (Idaho, California, Georgia, Arkansas, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi immediately sprang to mind) in the title. After a while I couldn’t get a certain Jonathan Richman song out of my head but alarm bells started ringing. I checked with Wikipedia and sure enough New England is not a state but a region consisting of six states (this, of course, won’t be news to my American readers). Still a bloody good song though.

One thing I particularly like about this song is all my friends and family said “What the f*** did you buy that for?” Always a good sign! I thought it had something and I remain unrepentant.

mp3: The Modern Lovers - New England (Live) (1977)

Sadly, a lovely American girl from Boston I worked with in the 90’s always talked about how great New England was but she had never heard of Jonathan Richman. I always imagined he was a local hero.

Let’s go pre punk…

The comments on my OffBEAT post turned into a bit of a ‘my first live band’ thread so I’ve decided to run with that. My first live band was Daryl Hall and John Oates which may surprise some of you. Most of my interesting, unusual or rare vinyl is from the new wave era so that’s what I usually post, but I started collecting before that and Hall & Oates were one of my early faves. In fact, I think they were the first band that was totally my discovery, completely independent of friends and family.

Anyhow, this discussion led BrotheRay (54) from Dorset to proclaim ‘Gino’, a largely forgotten Hall & Oates song, ‘one of the great seventies singles’ and he may have a point. I’m pretty sure I picked it up for 10p in 1976 (it was released in 1975) and it quickly became a favourite in our house. At the time I used to do impressions of my dad which he knew nothing about (or so I thought but that’s another story) and I found it particularly amusing to have him sing ‘Gino-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no…’ You probably had to be there but, believe me, it was funny at the time. For any other Hall & Oates fans out there the mix on this single is punchier and better than the version that appeared on the 1975 ‘Silver Album’, still their best in my opinion.

mp3: Daryl Hall and John Oates - Gino (The Manager)(SingleVersion) (1975)

Trivia: When I got my USB turntable on Christmas day 2006 this was one of the first singles I ripped.

Friday, 27 June 2008

It's so high...

Just because I don’t post as often as I would like don’t for one minute imagine I’ve run out of old synthpop records. This reached #50 in the summer of 1983.

Matt Fretton supported Eurythmics, Depeche Mode & The Boomtown Rats, released four singles and recorded an unreleased album in the 80s. I loved this at the time so it’s odd that I don’t remember seeing or hearing any of the follow ups. You can hear more at his myspace page.

mp3: Matt Fretton - It's So High (1983)

Friday, 20 June 2008


In these days of CDs and DVDs being given away by newspapers and magazines on a regular basis it’s easy to forget that they used to be expensive and a free cover mount CD was quite a novelty. This is from 1989 and it’s called Offbeat, which was probably the name of the magazine but I can’t remember for sure. It’s a Parlophone sampler featuring five acts of the day and quite an eclectic collection it is too.

1 Marc Almond – Tears Run Rings (Extended Exclusive Mix)
It’s described as the ‘Extended Exclusive Mix’. No idea how exclusive it is now.

2 Goodbye Mr. MacKenzie – Green On Red
Goodbye Mr. MacKenzie are one of those bands I remember hearing about more than hearing if that makes sense. They are probably best known now for featuring Shirley Manson, later of Garbage, as a keyboard player and background vocalist. According to CDDB this is called Green On Red but I believe the correct title is Green Turn Red. Whatever the title it’s a good late 80s indie dance song.

3 The Neighbourhood – Big Long Line
The least interesting song on the CD in my opinion. It sounds a bit Hue and Cry to me.

4 Bliss - Your Love Meant Everything
If memory serves this was a single on an indie label but I’m not sure if this is the original single version. This features a brilliant heartfelt vocal by Rachel Morrison. Bliss was another of those bands that came and went without me really taking any notice but they sound quite interesting now. As much as I love this I think I felt at the time a whole album of this would do my head in.

5 Zeke Manyika - Bible Belt
The pick of the bunch here. If you only download one of these songs make it this brilliant anti apartheid song.

Monday, 9 June 2008

A Monday treat for you

I’ve already featured Fashion singles here and here. This brilliant medley of songs is the final track, in fact I would describe it as the climax, from the debut album Product Perfect.

The final section (The Innocent) was released as a single in its own right in some territories. Play it loud and you will know why.

mp3: Fashion - Big John-Hanoi Annoys Me-The Innocent (1979)
Can this really be nearly 30 year old?

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow…

Back in the early 70s I had a special way of listening to this record. My friend would bring it round, I would take the speakers off the wall, put them on the table and we would stick our heads between them and play it at high volume. It had some great panning stereo effects. Unfortunately, I’ve only managed to track down a mono version but it’s still undeniably great. This is Jon Pertwee ‘singing’ in character as Doctor Who. Jon Pertwee was my doctor; you would never catch him talking in a mockney accent (actually the only thing I have against David Tennant). I’ve had to track down a dodgy internet version of this because my friend Michael had his copy stolen and we’ve both spent years trying to track down a copy. (Somebody who went to Leeds University in the late 70s/early 80s is going to hell.)

mp3: Jon Pertwee - Who Is The Doctor

I recently discovered it’s on this compilation, so I should have a decent copy soon.

Friday, 6 June 2008


One of my favourite singles from 1983. You gotta love Ross Middleton’s vocal – so 80s. Should have been a hit.

mp3: Leisure Process - Anxiety (1983)

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Bonus Thursday post…

I was saving these for a college juke box post that I’ve had in mind for ages but can’t seem to get written. I probably would never have taken any notice of this incarnation of The Pirates if they hadn’t played at Salisbury Tech in 1977 and subsequently got an EP on the juke box. These tracks are great examples of Mick Green’s lead/rhythm guitar style that Wilko Johnson obviously liked so much (the choppy guitar playing on Don’t Munchen It being a particular favourite of mine). Feelgoods fans will love this.

mp3: The Pirates - Don't Munchen It (1977)

mp3: The Pirates - You Don't Own Me (1977)

Songs available here

Just post something…

I keep complaining I haven’t got time for blogging but in reality I’ve just slipped into a can’t be bothered mind set. To get out of this malaise I hereby commit myself to posting something (anything) for at least the next three days to try and rekindle my enthusiasm.

First up, how about some classic jangly melodic new wave power pop punk?

mp3: Manufactured Romance - Time Of My Life (1980)

Nina Spencer Vocals
Nick Medlin Bass
Mark Chapman Guitar
Bob Moore Guitar
Benny Di Massa Drums