July 2020

Willie Nelson – Always on my mind

A lifetime ago a close friend and me were having a heart to heart, chatting through a love lost and a love that wasn’t over but soon would be- the type of chat that strips away any male testosterone and ego; the type of chat that you remember years after the event and the love affairs.

As we came to the realistations that we had to move on, and face the pain, Ryan Adam’s cover of Always on my mind started playing – an almost straight cover of Nelson’s original version.

Though there have been hundreds of covers, and hundreds of days, the opening bars of Nelson’s Always takes me right back to that moment, that chat, and that love affair. Unlike the song I regret noting, but like the song there are memories, and people, that I often find hard to move from my mind.

Abba – If it wasn’t for the nights

The recent end-to-end trek through the Abba albums continues; Voulez-Vous currently running a close second to Arrival as my favourite Abba long-player.

This may or may not be the first time I’ve heard ‘If it wasn’t for the nights’ – whatever- but it’s certainly the first time it’s struck a chord. What an absolute blinder of a bass line and overall disco production – is this where the Scissor Sisters good time manefesto comes from?

Ian Brown – Kiss Ya lips

When I was really into The Secret I used to listen to Reign on repeat, often believing it was possible for me to levitate.

I may be able to, who knows.

Reign or not, levitate or not, I wish I had the swagger of Brown on this one – my favourite of any of his output.

Me and I – Abba

Abba’s 7th long-player and the speed of my conversion to king fan-boy sees no rest.

Kicking off like Shakin Steven’s ‘Breaking Up My Heart’ then moving into a glorious Tame Impala vocoder chorus, ‘Me and I’ steals the ‘ones I’d never heard before’ on Super Trooper.

What a kick-ass, georgio-Moroder sounding pop dance floor belter.

The Last of The Fallen Angels – Phase IV

Sounding like a mix up of Tricky’s call and response vocal lines with Martina, Daddy G’s mumbling lines, and Nelle Hoopers production, this one from these local lock downers seems to sum up some of the mixed emotions floating around during Covid.

You’re my constant as time goes by.

Yesterday – The Beatles

As part of my research into The Animals, I go searching for articles by Keith Altham, which leads to interviews with Keith Richards and thereafter Paul McCartney.

I find the later McCartney interviews to be heartbreakingly sad in places, especially the moments when he talks about missing his mum, John and Linda; macca offering a contrary insight to the general pretence that time heals.

Perhaps the pain of losing someone important never truly leaves

A walk with a friend brings the news that an ex has just given birth and though I try to do the typical lad thing and look non plusesed, it hurts more than it should- time doesn’t seem to have healed me much.

Yesterday may never been my favourite Beatles track (you’re gonna lose that girl) but today it helps reset my mindset; if not because it proves that time heals- rather that it reminds me to make today count

Now I long for yesterday 

Street games – Blackbyrds

Obsessed with I May Destroy You, I blasted through the show in about 6 days; not ‘binge’ by modern day standards – but certainly ‘binge’ within the context of my desire to limit my TV time.

Episode 7 brings up this funky little number which took me a while to track down; partly as I couldn’t tell if it was actually from the 70s or if it a modern day throw-back peice.

Don’t walk, funk.

Syl Johnson – Is it because I’m black

Popping up in the background of the recent Wu Tang Clan documentary, Syl Johnson’s funk/blues/rn’b track clicks in to my subsciocous with the words ‘I wanna be somebody so bad’; a heart ache so deep, with a pronouncement so rich, it sounds like it’s come straight from Nina Simone.

Neneh Cherry – Sassy

I reconnect my BBC Iplayer, meaning I finally get round to watching the last season of Car Share – including the humourous tribute to Neneh Cherry and Buffalo Stance.

Playing Buffalo Stance on repeat for a few days I then finally decide to listen Cherry’s 1992 follow-up album; the opener proving to be an absolute banger.

Erasure – Oh L’Amour

A review of the new Erasure album gets my digging through my old Erasure greatest hits – bringing back memories of both my sister’s cassette tapes and a night club in Stirling which used to play the duo on repeat.

Though ‘Sometimes’ always takes the place as my favourite Bell/Clarke song, Oh L’Amour makes a close second – the ‘what’s a boy in love supposed to do?’ tag feeling like the closest way to describe the obsessesiveness of a one-way relationship.

Suede – The Wild Ones

Watching The Insatibale Ones helped me remember how much I loved early Suede – too young to notice their impact on culture, I fell in love with the chiming guitars of their debut.

Though over 40, I’ve worn my hair down for most of the month in tribute to their asthetic – and before it all gets cut off and I can no longer feel like I could be in the band.

I’ve set my alarm on ‘random’ this month – though I was gutted to find that my favourite of their tunes was a one from Coming Up; an album I wrote off as being mid-phase tosh.

Rocketman – Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)

With the cinemas still playing very little original pieces I end up going to see Rocketman again – it just gets better with every watch.

I have the Rocketman soundtrack on repeat for the rest of the month… (mostly Crocodile Rock; but I’ve posted that scene previously)

Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance

Neneh gets mentioned in passing several times this month – most noticeably on the above car share programme and a podcast which stars 3d.

I‘d love to be 3d.

Buffalo Stance keeps me company in various green tea making momentswith each play helping me feel cool enough to believe that one day I could actually be 3d.

Rolling Stones – Scarlet

I was sceptical as hell when I heard there was a Stones featuring Jimmy Page track about to be released. I thought Page and Richards never got on!?

Anyway, as always, I was proved completley wrong.

What a great little, scratchy, track.

Nina Simone – For a while

I’d never claim to be a mastermind about Nina Simone, but I would put her down as a specialist subject.

Saying that, I’d never heard this particular live version of For a while… a track which stops me dead when it’s played on her Empress Live! album

She may be my favourite ever (excluding 3d, Brian Wilson and Prince and Marvin of course…)

Days go by with no particular feeling, until I remember you’ve gone.

It’s so good I hunt out other live versions. This one breaks my heart…

KLF – Last Train To Trancentral.

I listen to the BBC KLF satire podcast as I pass the time painting the garden fence.

There’s something about the KLF’s approach to art which kicks me out of a couple of days worth of apathy that’s been lying around – picking me right up and slapping with me with motivation to dedicate to a couple of personal projects.

The K Foundation’s burining of a million pounds remains the greatest moment of art in my life; their band remains the closest to total art and their music remains kick-ass.

KLF – The White Room

My obsession with punk-terroist-artists gets completley out of hand by the end of the month (Jenny Holzer, K-Foundation, 3d) and I end up buying a £100 brick from the K-Foundation and playing The White Room on repeat.

The art provides a total burst of motivation to commit to large projects, but my mum would go nuts if she knew about the brick…

Kate Bush – Running up That Hill

Perhaps influenced by Holzer and the KLF I start the new season of POSE, totally inspired by characters who themselves are walking peices of art.

A pivotal scene in episode one is back-lit by Running Up That Hill providing a new lense to look at the majesty of Kate Bush.

Elton – Funeral for a Friend/ Love Lies

The Elton love-in finishes this month with regular repeats of Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies.

I remember liking Sacrifice when it came out but this was the track, played to me one night when I was working in an off-licence, which really made see in Elton in a way I hadn’t appreciated he was.

Genius from start to finish, but the ‘ooh ohh ohh’ harmonies starting at 9.33, may be one of my favourite moments in pop.