Sunday, 16 February 2014

50 songs to take to my grave - #1: Velvet Roof

You can't control what happens when you die, but I sure as hell want one last pop at it. I shall be leaving a playlist for my funeral/wake and will insist of my loved ones that it is played. Loudly. Whether anyone sticks around to hear it or not!

My weekend posts for the foreseeable will feature one of those to make the list (as it stands at the moment).  Starting off is a track I've loved since I heard that scratchy guitar intro for the very first time some 22 years ago: Velvet Roof by Buffalo Tom.

Some records take a while to creep up on you. Some records immediately slap you in the face screaming "I'm so fucking great! You must love me!" I'm a sucker for a good, catchy single. The first time I heard 'Velvet Roof' by Buffalo Tom, I loved it. It was probably its sheer energy and unashamed "jumpaboutability" (a new word I've just invented! Use it lots!!!)

I knew about Buffalo Tom through a friend who was a good few years younger than me, but who had incredibly good taste. (He was into Nirvana long before 99.9% of people who have ever claimed to be Nirvana fans had even heard of them.) When 'Velvet Roof' came out I was still working for Our Price (RIP), but preferred to buy my singles from the local indie stores (even after staff discount, Our Price was still more expensive!). I picked up the 12" from Sound 'n' Vision in Barnstaple for a couple of quid.  Turned out to be one of the best buys I ever made.  It's staccato guitar intro was (is) fitful yet infuriatingly addictive, a repeated A-chord punctuated by a couple of suspended notes around it. By the time the rest of the band sparked up four bars in, I was already away on a runaway three-and-a-bit minute ride into indie heaven.  

A startlingly simple lyric ("Here she comes across the street/But I'm already there downstairs to meet with her") sends the song into irresistible singalong mode, and from that point in, I still can't stop myself. And then, just when you think it can't get any better, in strides the harmonica solo! Whenever I hear this song, I want to be in Buffalo Tom as they (we) play it live! It remains one of my favourite tracks of all-time and when it is played at my funeral, I expect you all to jump around on my grave to it.



  1. I had that same friend that introduced to me to Nirvana, Screaming Trees and Tad !!!
    As a consequence we travelled the country seeking out these bands to watch and Buffalo Tom were also on our radar. I too get that rush with the intro . I was excited to watch them at Reading 92 after running from our tent to catch Therapy who were first on that morning. It was a bit windy but the tunes sailed out nicely. I will be interested to see what else is on your playlist.

    1. You'll also be interested in my forthcoming account of Reading '92 by the sounds of it....

  2. bugger I was posting this next week - swc.

  3. Thanks, hadn't heard this for years... grabbed me instantly.