Monday, 23 March 2015

From Inside The Pod Revisited #8

I was feeling on the up-side when I compiled this podcast three years ago. This was a time when quite a few music blogs were shut down, yet I was still going and decided to get busy. To be honest, my site was nowhere near popular enough to worry the powers-that-be.

'Rollin'' was one of my favourite podcasts at the time and it remains a particularly good 'un. As usual the article that follows is as it originally appeared.

Pod 27: Rollin'
(first published 2 March 2012)

I suppose I'm on a bit of a roll at the moment. Dunno why. Maybe it's because the time for blogs like this is numbered. The Feds are cranking up the pressure (while the record companies are cranking up the prices of their recently-deceased stars' records. And if you believe, as Sony would have it, that it was an "employee error", then quite frankly you deserve to be treated like the idiots they clearly think we all are...) and good music sites are biting the dust one-by-one. I have loads more to share with you so perhaps that's why I'm churning these out at the rate I am - get them out there while I can.

Whatever, Pod 27 sees a return to the random mix format. No theme, no concept, just a half-hour of great tunes. Enjoy.

1. The Godfathers I Want Everything [1986, Hit By Hit]
One of my favourite songs of all-time this. It has swagger, energy and loud guitars, all built around a basic 12-bar rock 'n' roll structure. What more do you need?

2. Richard Hawley Some Candy Talking [2006, b-side of Hotel Room]
I met Richard Hawley around, ooooh, 17 years ago when he was lead guitarist with the Longpigs. I managed an after-show chat with him and his bandmates in (of all places) Barnstaple. A jolly nice chap he was too. Since then, he has forged a career as a  much respected solo artist, and collaborated with Pulp, Elbow, Arctic Monkeys and All Saints (!). This cover of the Jesus & Mary Chain's 'Some Candy Talking' is a perfect showcase for his wonderfully resonant baritone voice.

3. Young Marble Giants Choci Loni [1980, Colossal Youth]
Very few acts can ever claim to have released just one album which has since become hailed as highly influential, even rising to 'classic' status. The La's are one, the Sex Pistols another. Cardiff's Young Marble Giants are not talked about in the same breath as those other luminaries perhaps, but they can count Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Belle & Sebastian and R.E.M. among those who gained enormous inspiration from their only official album 'Colossal Youth'. And I defy anyone to tell me The xx are not indebted to them also. It's so obvious, isn't it?

4. Steel Pulse Handsworth Revolution [1978, Handsworth Revolution]
One of British reggae's finest moments came in 1978 with the release of Steel Pulse's debut album. The Birmingham outfit have gone on to become one of the most successful British bands in the US, but for me (and most fans), it is 'Handsworth Revolution' that marks their zenith.

5. Luke Haines Gorgeous George [2011, 9½ Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970's & Early 80's]
Eccentric, maverick, genius - just a few words used over the years to describe Luke Haines, former frontman of the Auteurs and Black Box Recorder. There's no doubting, whatever your viewpoint, that the subject matter of his second solo record is perhaps more than a tad off-the-wall. If you are not British, you probably won't get it. If you are but did not grow up in the 1970s and tune in avidly every Saturday lunchtime to watch the wrestling on World Of Sport, you won't get it either. References to Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks, Rollerball Rocco et al are strewn across the record, though oddly this track is named after legendary American wrester 'Gorgeous' George Wagner who fought between 1932 and 1962.

6. Cardiacs Dive [1988, A Little Man And A House & The Whole World Window]
Talking of eccentrics... Though Cardiacs may remain unheard of in many quarters, they remain hugely influential. At their peak, their blend of punk, jazz and prog-rock accentuated their utterly bizarre image. This track is taken from one of my all-time top LPs. Can't believe its 24 years old this year! See a live version of 'Dive' here.
(2015 update: 'A Little Man And A House...' is 27 years old now!)

7. Lucy Wainwright Roche Wild Mountain Thyme [2007, 8 Songs]
Daughter of Louden, half-sister of Rufus and Martha, Lucy is the latest of the Wainwright clan to grace the world with her musical abilities. She certainly has the family touch - her releases so far have not been far short of wonderful. This beautiful take on the traditional Irish folk ballad appears on her debut mini-album from a few years back.

8. Clearlake I Hang On every Word You Say [2001, Lido]
While he could never be on a par with Luke Haines or Tim Smith, Clearlake's Jason Pegg might still be justifiably tagged mildly eccentric (he actually contributed a track to the recent Tim Smith benefit album 'Leader Of The Starry Skies'). The band seems to be on hiatus currently; their fourth album has been on ice for a few years in spite of being finished. This track remains a big fave of mine from their debut.

9. Yank Rachell's Tennessee Jug Busters Get Your Morning Exercise [(1963) 1998,   Mandolin Blues]
A sort of blues supergroup featuring guitarist Sleepy John Estes (after nearly 20 years out of the public eye and at one point presumed dead), harmonica pioneer Hammie Nixon and mandolin player Yank Rachell. The classic album 'Mandolin Blues' was recorded in two informal sessions in the early 60s, during which the foot-stompin' became so enthusiastic, it dislodged plaster from the ceiling in the apartment below!

10. Calexico Love Will Tear Us Apart [2005, Sweetheart 2005: Love Songs]
Considering they've been together fifteen-plus years, released a number of critically-acclaimed albums and had their music featured in all kinds of ads and movie soundtracks, it's a mystery how most people I know still have never heard of Calexico. Their interpretation of the oft-covered Joy Division classic is probably my favourite.

Roll with it right here.

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