Wednesday, 27 May 2015

50 years of tunes - 1983 - Tom Waits "Swordfishtrombones"

It took me several attempts over a number of years, more than 15 in fact, to get my head round this album. It was the one the music press always talked about but with hindsight probably isn't the best Waits album to start with. 1999's Mule Variations got me reconsidering Tom then a chance conversation on a football forum led me to Small Change and from there the whole world of Waits opened up. I only got round to picking up a copy of Swordfishtrombones last year but it's become an instant favourite and I can now see what the critics were banging on about all those years ago.

1983 - Tom Waits "Swordfishtrombones"

Released: September 1983
Label: Island
Producer: Tom Waits

Side one:
1. "Underground" – 1:58
2. "Shore Leave" – 4:12
3. "Dave the Butcher" (instrumental) – 2:15
4. "Johnsburg, Illinois" – 1:30
5. "16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought-Six" – 4:30
6. "Town With No Cheer" – 4:22
7. "In the Neighborhood" – 3:04

Side two:
8. "Just Another Sucker on the Vine" (instrumental) – 1:42
9. "Frank's Wild Years" – 1:50
10. "Swordfishtrombone" – 3:00
11. "Down, Down, Down" – 2:10
12. "Soldier's Things" – 3:15
13. "Gin Soaked Boy" – 2:20
14. "Trouble's Braids" – 1:18
15. "Rainbirds" (instrumental) – 3:05

(All tracks composed by Tom Waits)


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

50 years of tunes - 1982 - The Fall "Hex Enduction Hour"

It took me a long time to get into The Fall and I've still only scratched the surface but as far as I can tell this is their magnum opus.

1982 - The Fall "Hex Enduction Hour"

Released: March 1982
Label: Kamera
Producer: Grant Showbiz, Mark E. Smith & Richard Mazda

Side one:
1. "The Classical" (The Fall)
2. "Jawbone and the Air-Rifle" (The Fall)
3. "Hip Priest" (The Fall)
4. "Fortress / Deer Park" (Mark E. Smith, Craig Scanlon, Marc Riley, Karl Burns)
5. "Mere Pseud Mag. Ed." (Smith)
6. "Winter (Hostel-Maxi)" (Smith, Scanlon)

Side two:
1. "Winter 2" (Smith, Scanlon)
2. "Just Step S'ways" (Smith)
3. "Who Makes the Nazis?" (Smith)
4. "Iceland" (Smith, Scanlon, Riley, Steve Hanley)
5. "And This Day" (The Fall)

(All lyrics by Mark E Smith)


Friday, 15 May 2015

Collaborative Top 5 - Carry On Films VOTE

A slight change of tack for the next collaborative top five. I thought it would be nice to work on a subject with a definitive number of options and save all the faffing about with nominations. Everyone loves Carry On films, don't they? I certainly grew up watching these. I loved them then and I still love them now (apart from the last few where things went a little bit awry).

So, simple task - give me your 5 favourite Carry On films in order if you can but out of order if that's too tricky. The vote is open for 31 days during which time I'm going to attempt to watch them all in order.

Carry On Sergeant (1958)
Carry On Nurse (1959)
Carry On Teacher (1959)
Carry On Constable (1960)
Carry On Regardless (1961)
Carry On Cruising (1962)
Carry On Cabby (1963)
Carry On Jack (1963)
Carry On Spying (1964)
Carry On Cleo (1964)
Carry On Cowboy(1965)
Carry On Screaming! (1966)
Carry On Don't Lose Your Head (1966)
Carry On: Follow That Camel (1967)
Carry On Doctor (1968)
Carry On Camping (1969)
Carry On ... Up The Khyber (1969)
Carry On Again, Doctor (1969)
Carry On Up The Jungle (1970)
Carry On Loving(1970)
Carry On Henry (1971)
Carry On At Your Convenience (1971)
Carry On Matron (1972)
Carry On Abroad (1972)
Carry On Girls (1973)
Carry On Dick (1974)
Carry On Behind (1975)
Carry On England (1976)
Carry On Emmanuel (1978)
Carry On Columbus (1992)

Here's a short introduction to the film series, cribbed from Wikipedia, for my overseas readers who might not me as familiar with them as us Brits;

The Carry On series is a long-running British sequence of comedy films, stage shows and television programs produced between 1958 and 1992. There were thirty-one films. Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas were the series' sole producer and director respectively. They mostly employed the same crew and a regular group of actors. The main cast predominantly featured Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor, Peter Butterworth, Hattie Jacques, Terry Scott, Bernard Bresslaw, Barbara Windsor, Jack Douglas and Jim Dale. The Carry Ons comprise the largest number of films of any British series and, next to the James Bond films, are the second-longest continually-running UK film series.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

50 years of tunes - 1981 - The Gun Club "Fire of Love"

Debut album from Jeffrey Lee Pierce fronted original Garage Punks. The Gun Club are one of those bands I was aware of for some time and left me kicking myself when I eventually found out how good they were. A nod to Japandroids who, thanks to their fantastic cover of For The Love Of Ivy, were the catalyst for me finally making the effort to get hold of this album.

1981 - The Gun Club "Fire of Love"

Released: August 1981
Label: Ruby
Producer: Chris Desjardins, Tito Larriva

Side one:
1. "Sex Beat"
2. "Preaching the Blues" (Robert Johnson; arranged by Jeffrey Lee Pierce)
3. "Promise Me"
4. "She's Like Heroin to Me"
5. "For the Love of Ivy" (Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Kid Congo Powers)
6. "Fire Spirit"

Side two:
1. "Ghost on the Highway"
2. "Jack on Fire"
3. "Black Train"
4. "Cool Drink of Water" (Tommy Johnson; traditional, arranged by Jeffrey Lee Pierce)
5. "Goodbye Johnny"

(All songs composed by Jeffrey Lee Pierce; except where indicated)


Friday, 8 May 2015

Collaborative Top 5 - Songs About Weather - RESULT

Here's the moment you've all been waiting for. The results of the inaugural collaborative top five. I've learned a lot from doing this but am mainly relieved I got enough people interested to provide a clear winner. Thanks for everyone who voted and everyone who nominated too.

1. Blur "This Is A Low" - My lack of lyric attention led me to think this was tentative but a pal on The Facebook pointed out to me it's about the shipping forecast and a low pressure weather front hitting Britain. Bit embarrassed I liked the song so much and had missed the link completely. Either way it is a fine song and possibly my favourite tune by Blur.

2. The Doors "Riders on the Storm" - I'm not a Doors fan, as one of my pals was slightly shocked to discover down the pub the other day, but even I realise this is a cracking song. The stormy intro sounds making this the most obviously weather related tune on the list.

3. The Beta Band "Dry The Rain" - I love this song too, not sure The Beta Band ever bettered it.

4. Bill Withers "Ain't No Sunshine" - A song that's so familiar it's hard to remember a time it didn't exist. Produced by Booker T Jones and featuring many of the famous Stax session musicians (though it was released by LA label Sussex).

5= Creedance Clearwater Revival "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" - Really pleased this made the cut as it's the only one of my choices to do so. Further proof that John Fogerty is an amazing writer of songs.

5= Pixies "Stormy Weather" - Appropriate, considering the "Blur controversy" that I couldn't separate the 5th placed tunes and it's my favourite band that benefits. I didn't even vote for them!

My personal top five is here. Nick Drake didn't get much love beyond my vote, Rain by Quo looked a dead cert for a top five spot early on but dropped away and if you only check out one of these give the Irma Thomas tune a spin, it's gorgeous.

1. Nick Drake "Saturday Sun" -
2. Creedance Clearwater Revival "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" -
3. Status Quo "Rain" -
4. Irma Thomas "It's Raining" -
5. Ramones "California Sun" -

And five songs (in no particular order) I've enjoyed and didn't know before we started this;

The Prisoners "Hurricane" -
Half Man Half Biscuit "When The Evening Sun Goes Down" -
Rush "Vapor Trail" -
Fats Domino "Let The Four Winds Blow" -
Roddy Frame "Forty Days of Rain" -

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

50 years of tunes - 1980 - Dexy's Midnight Runners "Searching For The Young Soul Rebels"

At least one regular reader won't be pleased to see this here but it's a brilliant album in my opinion and hands down the best thing that came out in 1980. I'm a sucker for brass and this album has buckets full of it as well as a really great Northern Soul vibe. Geno is one of my very favourite songs but this album is strong from start to finish.

1980 - Dexy's Midnight Runners "Searching For The Young Soul Rebels"

Released: July 1980
Label: EMI
Producer: Pete Wingfield

Side one:
1. "Burn It Down" (Kevin Rowland)
2. "Tell Me When My Light Turns Green" (Rowland)
3. "The Teams That Meet in Caffs" (Kevin Archer)
4. "I'm Just Looking" (Rowland, Geoffrey Blythe, Peter Saunders)
5. "Geno" (Rowland, Archer)

Side two:
6. "Seven Days Too Long" (J.R. Bailey, Vernon Harrell)
7. "I Couldn't Help It If I Tried" (Rowland, Jim Paterson)
8. "Thankfully Not Living in Yorkshire It Doesn't Apply" (Rowland, Saunders)
9. "Keep It" (Archer, Blythe)
10. "Love Part One" (Rowland)
11. "There, There, My Dear" (Rowland, Archer)


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

50 years of tunes - 1979 - Stiff Little Fingers "Inflammable Material"

I feel like I've written about this album a lot. Rightly so though as it's undoubtedly one of my favourite albums and one that doesn't get mentioned as much as I think it deserves. Stiff Little Fingers are a fantastic live band and Jake Burns a great songwriter who found the perfect balance between pop catchiness and punk energy.

1979 - Stiff Little Fingers "Inflammable Material"

Released: February 1979
Label: Rough Trade
Producer: Geoff Travis, Mayo Thompson and Doug Bennett

Side one:
1. "Suspect Device"
2. "State of Emergency" (Burns)
3. "Here We Are Nowhere" (Henry Cluney)
4. "Wasted Life" (Burns)
5. "No More of That" (Cluney)
6. "Barbed Wire Love"
7. "White Noise"
8. "Breakout" (Burns)

Side two:
9. "Law and Order"
10. "Rough Trade"
11. "Johnny Was" (Bob Marley)
12. "Alternative Ulster"
13. "Closed Groove"

(All tracks composed by Jake Burns and Gordon Ogilvie except where indicated)


Friday, 24 April 2015

Chop's Gigs - March 2015

Oops! Normally get these round up links to my gig blog done a little earlier in the month but I guess I got distracted by songs about weather. For some reason all the bands I saw this month had purple light shows.

Hookworms at The Oval Space on Saturday 21st March 2015 - I wasn't expecting a lively crowd, I had my specs on instead of my contacts, but I couldn't resist getting involved with the lively element of the crowd. I love a bouncy gig and once I was down the front I was set for the rest of the night. Radio Tokyo kicked in with an even quicker drum beat and things got really lively. It was a nice crowd though, no aggressive moshing just a bunch of kids (and an old bloke wearing specs) having some fun.

Sleater-Kinney at The Roundhouse on Monday 23rd March 2015 - With my impeccable sense of timing I didn't get into Sleater-Kinney until shortly after The Woods was released and shortly before they announced they were going on an indefinite hiatus. I loved The Woods and used the last 10 years to get the rest of their back catalogue. They were firmly established at the top of my list of bands I wanted to see live when out of the blue they released the Bury Our Friends single.

Bo Ningen at the Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen on Tuesday 31st March 2015 - Bo Ningen were amazing the last time I saw them and tonight is no different. It's a brilliant set, frantic and intense from the start, the band are so tight live they must be one of the very best bands currently touring.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

50 years of tunes - 1978 - Wire "Chairs Missing"

I'm a fairly recent convert to Wire having decided I needed to explore deeper than a nineties compilation after hearing their excellent 2013 album Change Becomes Us. Their first three albums are superb but Chairs Missing, their second, is my favourite which built on the minimalist punk of their debut but wasn't quite as challenging as their later releases. Coincidentally, if all went to plan, I should have seen them live last week for the first time.

1978 - Wire "Chairs Missing"

Released: August 1978
Label: Harvest
Producer: Mike Thorne

Side one:
1. "Practice Makes Perfect" (Bruce Gilbert, Colin Newman)
2. "French Film Blurred" (Graham Lewis, Newman)
3. "Another the Letter" (Gilbert, Newman)
4. "Men 2nd" (Lewis)
5. "Marooned" (Gilbert, Lewis, Newman)
6. "Sand in My Joints" (Lewis)
7. "Being Sucked in Again" (Newman)
8. "Heartbeat" (Newman)

Side two:
9. "Mercy" (Lewis, Newman)
10. "Outdoor Miner" (Lewis, Newman)
11. "I Am the Fly" (Lewis, Newman)
12. "I Feel Mysterious Today" (Lewis, Newman)
13. "From the Nursery" (Lewis, Newman)
14. "Used To" (Gilbert, Lewis)
15. "Too Late" (Gilbert)


Friday, 17 April 2015

Collaborative Top 5 - Songs About Weather - The Vote

The nominations are in and, flippin' heck, there's quite a few.

True to form I didn't really think this through very clearly so with a list that's just shy of 140 songs I'm not convinced I'm going to get a clear top five but let's give it a go.

Leave a comment on this post, or send me tweet via @Chops_Top_Fives with the following information;

Your top five songs ordered from 1 to 5 OR your top five songs unordered (I don't mind which as long as you let me know.

If you put them in order your number 1 pick will receive more points and your number 5 less. If you choose unordered all songs will score equally.

If you already picked a top five and want to stick with those selections then that's fine too but take a look through the list. It's epic and there might be some great tunes you've forgotten.

Right, go - VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!