The Clash – Nationwide 1980

I’m sharing this video for two reasons. I love the footage and today marks the 34th anniversary since original broadcast. It’s footage of The Clash in Scotland during the 16 Tons Tour, though there’s some brief information about how The Clash formed. There’s a slight error though – the narrator of the video implies that Topper Headon joined The Clash in 1976. He wasn’t a member of The Clash until 1977. It’s a bit misleading if you’re not familiar with Clash history. Anyway, I just love seeing stuff like this, especially the pre-show material.  I’m nineteen years old with absolutely no chance of ever experiencing The Clash live, so I always love watching videos like this. I find even the footage of the young fans talking fascinating: it’s all glimpses to an era I’ve absolutely no experience of. The highlight of the whole video is the fan who states they’ve got no ticket, before the footage then cuts to Joe Strummer helping fans in via the window (which was a common occurrence at Clash gigs). Footage like that always reminds me why I’m so passionate about this band. I think this video is a delightful relic to be honest with you!

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Soft Cell – Torch

A very underrated duo. Tainted Love is a classic but Soft Cell have so many better songs in my opinion. One of these being their hit single Torch. Torch – which reached #2 in the UK singles chart in 1982 – was the biggest hit self penned hit Soft Cell had. Well deserved too – the song is fantastic. Torch was a non-album single though it features on remastered deluxe editions of both Non Stop Erotic Cabaret and the remix album Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing. What I absolutely adore about Torch is the feeling of authenticity it has. Everytime I listen to it I can just picture what those seedy clubs in London would have looked at. It’s incredibly effective in that regard. Lyrically, I think Torch is about feeling a deep connection to a musical performance. The irresistible arrangement is what makes Torch special for me though. I just love the saxophone and I love how very uncluttered the whole song sounds. It’s incredibly danceable without having to do t0o much. Very effortless stuff indeed. The 7″ of Torch is really good but the extended version (which clocks in at nearly nine minutes) is far superior. Just an excellent song from a duo that really deserve more praise.

Video Killed The Radio Star: Joe Strummer

I’ve been having a very Clash oriented today. I re-watched some of my Clash DVDs, but I also watched something new: The Joe Strummer edition of Video Killed The Radio Star. It’s a show that airs on Sky 1 and it focuses on the creation of music videos. That there’s even a Joe Strummer edition of this show was surprising to me. Stranger still, this 30 minute program doesn’t  even focus on The Clash. It focuses on two topics: Joe Strummer’s work with The Pogues and their involvement with the film Straight To Hell. As a Pogues fan it was very interesting hearing Shane McGowan talk at length about Joe. Archival interview footage of Joe talking about The Pogues was also included. I hadn’t seen some of the interview footage before so that was a treat.  I’m not exactly sure why they focused on these two lesser known areas of Joe Strummer’s work but it makes a refreshing change. This period of Joe’s life tends to get overlooked so it’s nice to see a documentary piece that focuses squarely on that. I’d recommend it to any Clash/Pogues fan. . I haven’t got a Youtube link to the documentary so instead I’ve posted a link to Joe and The Pogues doing I Fought The Law. It’s one of my favourite Strummer performances so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  As far as I know, the documentary will be repeated on Sky Arts over the next few days so keep your eye out!

A Trip To The Market

ImageToday was a Sunday with a difference. I went to St Georges Market, situated in Belfast city center. I had a great time. The atmosphere was great, there was a brilliant variety of stalls and the food was delicious. I had my first paella today and it was divine. Almost as divine as my trip to the vinyl stall.

It was the only record stall there, but it had such a good selection I didn’t need another stall. On display, I found a mint condition original pressing of Sandinista! by The Clash. I simply couldn’t refuse – even the original sticker was intact. It looks, quite simply, perfect. I bought it and it’s now set to became a most treasured item in my ever-growing Clash collection.

Sandinista! aside I also found a few other gems. There were a few New Order vinyls, but the one I settled on in the end was the 12″ of Confusion. Again, the condition was simply marvelous. The other vinyl I bought was Disco by Pet Shop Boys. It was perfect looking also – all the vinyls at the stall looked great really. Disco was one Pet Shop Boys vinyl I was particularly keen to get so I was delighted to find it this early. My next vinyl record trip will be on Tuesday where I’m going to Ballymena. I’ve never been there before, so it’ll certainly be something different. Very much looking forward to that!

My New Vinyl Endeavour

This is a post I’d never expect I’d ever write. I’m a heavy CD buyer, but I’ve never collected vinyl. That is, until about two weeks ago. My dad was looking at his music collection and in doing so, he unearthed his old vinyls, which he hadn’t seen in goodness knows how long. Me and Dad have a fairly similar music taste so a lot of albums I love were discovered. Tango In The Night by Fleetwood Mac, Graceland by Paul Simon and Songs From The Big Chair by Tears For Fears being just three examples. Needless to say, I was in my element.

They were just three vinyls in a larger batch he gave to me. The 12″ of Blue Monday has become a particularly prized item in my music collection. It got me thinking though because a few months ago a family friend kindly gave me about a dozen Madonna vinyls. And I have a very limited amount of vinyls myself that I bought in a now closed down vintage store here in Belfast about two years ago. I’ve no turntable so I’ve not been able to hear any of it. And I’ve always wanted one to.  Getting this influx of records has made me finally bite the bullet: at long last, I’m going to get a turntable and start a vinyl collection!

Of course, I’ll need to be limited with my vinyl. I’ve got around about 500 CDs, and there’s just no way I can possibly replicate that on vinyl. It’s just not financially feasible. So I’ve set myself some limitations. For now, I’m only going to collect Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, The Clash/Joe Strummer and Factory Records vinyls (New Order, Joy Division etc). Amazingly, it doesn’t seem too difficult to do. I’ve discovered a great shop in Belfast city centre (situated in Wellington Place) called Dragon Records. I’ve already bought about six vinyls from there. For Factory Records and The Clash/Joe Strummer, they’ll be my main source. I’ve actually already bought some Clash/Joe Strummer and New Order records from there. I’m going to a few other places in the next couple of days too. I’m looking forward to seeing how this new found hobby progresses!

Katy B – I Like You

So, I finally received my copy of the deluxe edition of Katy B’s new album Little Red on Thursday. I listened to it for the first time yesterday. Katy B is one of my favourite contemporary female artists so I had high expectations for her new album. I’m not sure if it was quite as good as her debut but it was still very solid dance-pop nonetheless. My favourite track from it (so far) is I Like You. Like many of Katy B’s songs, there’s a vague 90s tinge to I Like You. Some of the synths are evocative of that decade I think. At first, the song is relatively (though thoroughly enjoyable) straightforward dance-pop.  Near the three minute mark though the song takes on a decidedly more edgier sound. It’s harder than Katy B usually sounds but I loved the new direction the song took. It really came as a surprise. I Like You, much like in general, isn’t particularly groundbreaking. It won’t change your life, but as far as modern pop music goes, it’s some of the most enjoyable stuff you’ll find. Recommended.

Fleetwood Mac – Ricky

I’ve been listening to this very unusual song a lot over the past few days. Ricky is the B-side to Little Lies, which was released in 1987. I’ve always maintained that Buckingham-Nicks era Fleetwood Mac were more musically adventurous than they get credit for. Ricky underlines that point (as if Tusk wasn’t proof enough). It’s definitely the most experimental song from their Tango In The Night period. So much so that I’m not even sure how well this would fit on Tango In The Night. I think it’s best left as a B-side. Everything about this song is strange, from the arrangement to the vocals. Christine McVie is borderline unrecognizable here, but her voice blends so well with Lindsey’s. There isn’t much in the way of lyrics but the few there are, are continuously repeated throughout. It makes the song feel like it’s longer than what it actually is. That minor qualm aside, I’m really developing a strange liking for this curious little B-side!

Electronic – Disappointed

Boy, have I rediscovered my love for this song over the past few days. About two years ago this was pretty much my all time favourite song. I played it to death, then played it some more. It’s so gorgeous that I’m always a bit gutted (disappointed?) that Neil Tennant wrote this song for Electronic didn’t keep it for Pet Shop Boys instead. It’s the Pet Shop Boys classic that never was.

There’s so many reasons I love this song. Firstly Neil’s vocals –  are utterly beautiful here (and the harmonies are stunning). Then, there’s the lyrics. They have a certain degree of optimism for once – happy love songs aren’t something Neil Tennant has written a lot of. It makes for refreshing listening. The song has a beautiful arrangement too, with plenty of synth strings, house pianos and brilliant guitar playing from Johnny Marr. The whole song just sounds so damn euphoric. Disappointed  became Electronic’s highest charting single on the UK charts, although it doesn’t seem to be remembered nearly as much as Getting Away With It. In fact, Disappointed isn’t even on any of Electronic’s three studio albums. It was featured in the film Cool World and as such could be found on the film’s soundtrack, but not any any Electronic release until 2006’s Get The Message – The Best of Electronic. I think the song is highly underrated. In my opinion – it’s one of the best songs of either Bernard Sumner’s, Johnny Marr’s or Neil Tennant’s careers.

Bryan Ferry – Kiss and Tell

I’m in a rather 80s mood today (yes, even more so than usual) which prompted me to listen to the Bright Lights, Big City soundtrack. I really enjoy the movie – anything that has both Michael J. Fox and Kiefer Sutherland gets two thumbs up from me. The soundtrack is terrific too. It’s one of my favorite movie soundtracks ever really. One of my most favorite songs being Bryan Ferry’s Kiss and Tell. The song just epitomizes the character of Tad Allagash (Kiefer Sutherland’s character) in Bright Lights, Big City I think.

I have to own up now: I’m not actually a fan of Roxy Music. They’re one of those bands I think I really should like but I just don’t connect with them. Maybe I just need to give them more time. Kiss And Tell though I love. I can listen to it repeat quite easily (and I’ve done that). It’s Bryan Ferry’s seventh solo album Beta Noire and was released as the second single from the album in 1988. The song was written in response to Jerry Hall (once Bryan Ferry’s girlfriend) who had written a tell-all book which had contained some less than complimentary things about him. It’s got a very slick and moody feel which makes for addictive listening. It’s mysterious and very alluring. It really ought to have been a bigger hit – it only reached #41 in the UK singles chart. An excellent song and it may just be enough to entice me to give more Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry material a listen!