Sunday, 29 January 2023

Twenty Five Minutes In Wimborne

In 1994, MLO aka John Tye and Peter Smith released their second album - and second of that year - on Rising High Records, eight tracks of understated beauty called Io.

The opening song, Wimborne, is named after the market town Wimborne Minster in Dorset, in the South West of England. It's a gently transporting, transformative tune, prime material for chillout compilations and mixes. In researching this post, I've found that the Music From Memory label released a MLO compilation in 2021 titled Oumuamua and again featuring the original album version of Wimborne as the opening track. 
 
 
MLO also released the Wimborne Revisited single in 1994 and, as I was a fan of Rising High Records, I bought it at the time without having heard anything by MLO previously. The fact that the line up of remix artists included Wagon Christ aka Luke Vibert probably swung it for me.

The CD contains the album version plus five remixes, clocking in just shy of 80 minutes. The aforementioned Wagon Christ, Spacetime Continuum (Jonah Sharp) and Starfungus (Brian Douglas) all deliver downtempo excursions that don't deviate too far from the original path, whilst MLO themselves offer up a remix that briefly ups the tempo and extends the song to over 16 minutes.

None of that compares to Daniel Pemberton's mix, though. An expansive, meandering mix over twenty five and a half minutes that, on listening, feels considerably less than that. If you're going for a walk, have a stack of tedious chores to do or have a rare opportunity just to relax today, stick this on and it'll take you to a calmer place.

It was lovely to discover via Swiss Adam's excellent series of Sunday half-hour mixes over at Bagging Area that John Tye is still making great music - this time with Pete Fowler - as Seahawks. Although they've been releasing music as Seahawks since 2010, I've only just been catching up to them since last summer.

I haven't been able to find out much about Peter Smith, post-MLO, and Discogs is frequently an unreliable source - there are over one hundred Peter Smiths listed. However, I think that it might be the same Peter Smith that's been a staple member of Band Of Holy Joy since their 2014 album Easy Listening, contributing synths and a multitude of other instruments. 

Daniel Pemberton's career has been much easier to track, building up a sizeable CV as a soundtrack composer for film and television. The jaw-dropping fact that I learned whilst writing this post was that when Daniel released his first album, Bedroom, and delivered his astonishing remix of MLO's Wimborne, he was sixteen years old.

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Ghost Light

Celebrating Sylvia Syms, 6th January 1934 to 27th January 2023.

Not to be confused with American jazz singer aka Sylvia Blagman, Sylvia Syms was born in London, got into the acting profession and built up a hugely impressive body of work in a career spanning more than six decades. 
 
The handful of tributes I've read have inevitably been drawn to Sylvia's bravura performance in 1958 film Ice Cold In Alex, made familiar to a whole new audience in the 1980s when Carlsberg repurposed a clip for a hugely popular ad campaign. There's also mention of her latter performances, particularly as The Queen Mother in Stephen Frears' 2006 film The Queen, appearing with Helen Mirren in the title role.
 
For me though, one of Sylvia Syms' standout performances, mentioned if at all only in passing, was in Doctor Who in 1989. In what subsequently became the final series of the original run, Sylvia appeared as Mrs. Pritchard in the three-part story Ghost Light. Should this ever come up a pub quiz question, the very last scene to be recorded for the original series's 26-year run featured Sylvia Sims and Katherine Schlesinger.
 
Personally, I think it's one of the best Doctor Who stories of either incarnation, with a brilliantly gripping yet frequently oblique story and standout performances not only from the leads Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred, but guest stars including Ian Hogg, Sharon Duce, Carl Forgione and Frank Windsor. Sylvia's realisation of Mrs. Pritchard is sublime, adding a depth and nuance to the character that less skilled actors would have missed.
 
Long suffering readers will recall - possibly with horror - that I've occasionally posted a selection of songs drawing on a particular actor's career in film and TV. Previous victims stars have included Faye Dunaway, Elizabeth Taylor and Juliette Binoche. Today's selection with apologies is a dubious tribute to Sylvia Syms.

Unfortunately, as far as I'm aware, no-one had yet to record and release a song called Ice Cold In Alex and I had to shoehorn in a Ghost Light song, breaking my usually strict rule of 'namesake' songs only. By coincidence, there's another Doctor Who reference in here: Frazer Hines appeared in the show as a hugely popular travelling companion in the late 1960s; his short-lived pop career was arguably less, er, popular.

I couldn't decide between the two choices for Together (which I think was Sylvia's final film role, released in 2018) so I included them both, topping and tailing the selection. Both very different, it has to be said.

Another tough choice was Absolute Beginners: the film's title track by David Bowie or the 1981 single by The Jam? Weller won out.

Before today, you may not have realised you needed a nearly-ten minute version of Love Story by Andy Williams. From today, you may realise that you don't need a nearly-ten minute version of Love Story by Andy Williams. It's a kitsch keeper for me.
 
Sylvia Syms' CV is such that a twelve song selection could easily accommodate some much-loved (by me) artists such as Tim Bowness, The Jazz Butcher, Soft Cell and Tom Robinson. 
 
And then there's No Time For Tears by The Marvelettes, a pure pop classic that was a mere B-side - a B-side!!! - back in 1965.
 
All in, just over fifty minutes of music as a thank you to a brilliant, beautiful actor.
 
Rest in peace, Sylvia Syms. 
 
Today's selection is also dedicated to Rol, of the wonderful My Top Ten blog.
 
1) Together (Edit): Nine Inch Nails (2020)
2) Lost In The Ghost Light (Giallo): Tim Bowness (2017)
3) Love Story (Where Do I Begin) (Long Version): Andy Williams (1979)
4) Absolute Beginners (Single Version): The Jam (1981)
5) The Human Jungle (Extended Mix By John A. Rivers): The Jazz Butcher (1985)
6) Blue Murder (Album Version By Todd Rundgren): Tom Robinson Band (1978)
7) Original Sin (Dance Version By Nile Rodgers): INXS (1984)
8) Punch And Judy Man: Frazer Hines (1968)
9) Run Wild, Run Free: Claudine Longet (1970)
10) No Time For Tears: The Marvelettes (1965)
11) Where The Heart Is (12" Version By Mike Thorne & Harvey Goldberg) (Early Fade): Soft Cell (1982)
12) Together: William Shatner ft. Lemon Jelly (2004)
 
Ghost Light (A Tribute To Sylvia Syms) (52:24) (Box) (Mega)

Friday, 27 January 2023

Got To Cool This Fire

When I walked into HMV in Bristol to buy the 12" single of I Feel Love by Donna Summer, little did I know that it would blow my 12 year old mind. 
 
Officially, it was to be a present for my older brother. I don't remember whether it was for Christmas or his birthday but this would place the shopping trip somewhere between December 1982 and February 1983. The single in question was the 'Special New Version Remix' by Patrick Cowley which had propelled it back into the UK singles chart, peaking at #22 in the lead up to Christmas. 
 
Of course, I was familiar with the original which hit #1 in July 1977 but the 1982 version demanded to be bought, even if it was for someone else. My brother was heavily into synthpop at the time. I'm not sure I knew or sought his opinion on Donna Summer, but I didn't let the fact that he didn't own a single one of her records deter me.

What blew my mind when I picked the single from the rack was that the sleeve boldly proclaimed that this was the 'Special New Version 15 Min Remix' by Patrick Cowley. You what? Not only that, but flipping the record over revealed that they were understating somewhat: the A-side was a whopping fifteen minutes forty five seconds long! And the B-side featured a 'Megamix Edit' at a mere eight minutes and fifty seconds!! 
 
I think my brother was pleased with the gift but, let's be honest, I borrowed it from him a lot, added both versions to numerous mixtapes that I compiled and, when he left home a few years later, I got my own secondhand copy to add to my growing vinyl collection.
 
After all that hype and build up, you may be disappointed to learn that today's Donna Summer selection doesn't feature I Feel Love. Oops. 
 
What that purchase kick started for me though was an appreciation of Donna Summer's music. Being specific, for me that's really only her 1970s and early 1980s material; the subsequent team up with Musical Youth was cute and the Stock Aitken Waterman years are best hidden in small doses in 1980s pop selections. 
 
Summer's work with Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte is something else though, and they were masters of the long-form, whole-side-of-vinyl extended excursions. Patrick Cowley's Megamix of I Feel Love feels like a brisk run through compared to the likes of Love To Love You Baby, Macarthur Park and Try Me, I Know We Can Make It that all push past the sixteen and seventeen minute mark.
 
Today's selection picks a half dozen album and 12" single versions from 1975 to 1980. The aforementioned Love To Love You Baby and No More Tears (Enough Is Enough), Donna's collaboration with Barbra Streisand, account for more than half the running time; the rest never drop below seven minutes.
 
I'll be listening to Donna at the Disco on my commute this morning. If you happen to be in Gloucester and spot a middle aged man with headphones doing some crazy/sad shuffling as he's walking, that's probably me.

1) On The Radio (Special Re-Mixed Version By Giorgio Moroder) (1979)
2) With Your Love (12" Version By Giorgio Moroder & Pete Bellotte) (1978)
3) No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) (12" Version By Gary Klein): Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer (1979)
4) Love To Love You Baby (Album Version By Pete Bellotte) (1975)
5) Walk Away (12" Version By Giorgio Moroder, Pete Bellotte & Harold Faltermeyer) (1980)
6) Last Dance (Full Length Version By Giorgio Moroder & Pete Bellotte) (1978)

Got To Cool This Fire (58:55) (Box) (Mega)

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Hear Those Jukebox Jumpin'

I was introduced to the music of Richard Wayne Penniman aka Little Richard at a very early age via my parents' (admittedly meagre) record collection. 
 
Dad doesn't listen to a lot of music these days and has long since got rid of his vinyl records, but back when i was knee high to a grasshopper, I became familiar with Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis. Chuck Berry (his favourite) and of course Little Richard. 

It's simplistic to say that Little Richard courted controversy throughout his career: from a strikingly effeminate stage persona, all pancake and bouffant, both proclaiming himself as one of the first gay music stars to come out and later denouncing homosexuality and transgender identity on several occasions, not to mention his history of substance abuse and voyeurism off stage. And Richard's complicated relationship with faith is a whole other story in itself.
 
My Dad was ignorant of all that, though, probably still is to a large extent. All that really mattered back when I was a kid was putting the vinyl on the turntable, placing the needle on the record and the sonic blast that would erupt from the speakers a second or two later.

Many, many years later I bought The Very Best Of Little Richard for a few quid: 2 CDs, 50 songs, over 120 minutes of rock 'n' roll gold. Today's selection whittles it down to an even dozen, edging a few seconds over half an hour.

You won't find Little Richard's monster hit Tutti Frutti here, but - for this listener at least - there is one cracker after another from the 1950s, culminating in Every Hour, which I think is the B-side of his very first single, Taxi Blues, way back in 1951. An incredible and inspirational body of work.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

1) I Brought It All On Myself (1955)
2) All Around The World (1956)
3) Thinkin' 'Bout My Mother (1958)
4) Heeby-Jeebies (1956)
5) I Love My Baby (1957)
6) Shake A Hand (1958)
7) Wonderin' (1958)
8) Long Tall Sally (1956)
9) Lonesome And Blue (1958)
10) Kansas City (1958)
11) Baby (1957)
12) Every Hour (1951)

Hear Those Jukebox Jumpin' (30:05) (Box) (Mega)

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

All Their Promises Come So Easy

In July 1991, The Psychedelic Furs released what would prove to be their first and only album of new material in the 1990s...and 2000s...and 2010s. In fact, it was something of a surprise and delight when in July 2020, they released a further album, Made Of Rain.

World Outside is a far better album than history suggests, tucking it away as the last gasp of a band struggling to keep up with the changing times and sounds. The two singles accompanying the album - Until She Comes and Don't Be A Girl - are cracking, even if the latter does come across like Happy Mondays' more snarky older cousins.
 
The 12" single of Don't Be A Girl came with a trio of remixes by Youth, including the Dancehall On Fire mix, which I featured on a 1993 cassette compilation. If you didn't know of the original song or the band, you'd be hard pressed to identify the remix as a Furs song but it remains one of my favourite songs touched by the hand of Martin Glover aka Youth.

I thought I'd posted at least one side of a cassette of The Psychedelic Furs from the early 1990s but apparently not. It's that or a recreated set list from one of the three times I've seen them live in concert. Either way, watch this space, the Furs are coming back (fairly) soon.


Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Anyone For Tennis?

This is the second time I've posted about Tennis aka married couple Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley. The first time was last August, when I discovered YouTube series What's In My Bag? via an entertaining episode with Matt Berry. One of his picks was Need Your Love from Tennis' 2020 album Swimmer, a satisfying slice of pop that evoked the 1970s but also sounded very now.

Sixth album Pollen is out on 10th February and it promises to be another much needed burst of sunshine, this time transporting the listener back to the 1980s. Second single Let's Make A Mistake Tonight came out earlier this month and it's another dose of pop perfection.

Given the band name, a casual internet search will throw up all sorts of musical red herrings: Jack Tennis, Tennis Pagan, Hooton Tennis Club (remember them?) and the official Tennis website does little more than advertise merch, tour dates and social media links. YouTube is a reliable treasure trove though, not limited to Tennis' own channel. 
 
Tennis sound pretty good live too, as this 2020 performance "In The Void" of How To Forgive demonstrates.
 
They can also do a good turn at stripped down indie guitar tunes too. 2014 single Bad Girls retains echoes of their second album Young & Old, which was produced by The Black Keys' Patrick Carney.

In fact, it was The Black Keys that first introduced me to Tennis back in 2014, with their compilation CD The Black Keys And Friends, given away free with Mojo magazine. This currently remains the sole song in my collection by Tennis. Taken from Young & Old, here's a gripping live performance of It All Feels The Same for the eTown online radio show from March 2013.

Coming back to the present and forthcoming album Pollen, Tennis' lead single was released in December, another should-have-been massive tune called One Night With The Valet. It's lush, cascading sound and cheesy-but-cool video belie the fact that the song is over and done in under two minutes.

Tennis have been releasing music since 2010 so I have a bit of catching up to do but the back catalogue shopping starts now.

Monday, 23 January 2023

What I'd Pay To Give You A Minute Of This

On Friday, Björk released a remix of Ovule, the third single from current album Fossora. The original version (and video) came out last September to coincide with the album release. For the remix, Björk teams up with Nuxxe label founders, Shygirl and Sega Bodega aka Blane Muise and Salvador Navarrete. 

The album version is very much what you'd expect from latter day Björk, lush strings and skittering beats, vocals dancing around but not married to the song. The remix retains elements of the strings but drops in more beats and more structure with a 'chorus' from Shygirl that ties the whole song

What I'd pay to give you a minute of this  
All I feel is bliss when I think of you  
 
I love it. You can view, stream or buy Ovule (Sega Bodega Remix ft. Shygirl) and Fossora from all the usual places. Pay a visit to Bandcamp and you'll find them both along with Björk's back catalogue; I'd also recommend stopping by the Nuxxe label page.
 

Sunday, 22 January 2023

Been Losing Long Enough To Know

Woke up this morningWith a funny funny feelin'And that feelin'Was an unusual feelin' Inna my bone yeahIt inna my bloodInna my toesComing up to my brain Went to the doctorTo check out what's matterI Went to the doctorTo find out the matter Doctor said, "Son,You have a Reggaemylitis"I said, "What"Doctor said, "Son,You have a Reggaemylitis"
 
I've been prescribed an hour of reggae and dub, twice daily, for the next week.  

Apologies to Peter Tosh for pinching the lyrics to Reggaemylitis and then not having the common decency to include the song in today's selection. Reparations are due.

1) Walking In The Sun: Candy McKenzie (1977)
2) Workshop (Red, Gold And Green): Burning Spear (1976)
3) Monkey Spanner: Dave & Ansel Collins (1971)
4) I Don't Want to See You Cry: Ken Boothe (1976)
5) Jah Love Light: Horace Andy (1980)
6) Time After Time: Sylvia Tella (1981)
7) Cool Dub: King Tubby ft. U-Roy (1975)
8) What Colour?: Carroll Thompson (1981)
9) Soulful I: The Upsetters (1969)
10) Chant Down Babylon: Freddie McGregor (1978)
11) Wiseman Dub: The Roots Radics ft. Gladstone Anderson (1982)
12) No More Will I Roam: Dennis Brown (1975)
13) The Way I Feel About You: Marcia Griffiths (1979)
14) Pick The Beam: Yabby You (1977)
15) Feel No Way: Janet Kay (1980)
16) Drum And Bass Line (Live @ Notting Hill Carnival, London): Aswad (1983)

Been Losing Long Enough To Know (58:23) (Box) (Mega)

Saturday, 21 January 2023

You Don't Know What You've Got 'Til It's Gone

Side 2 of a Fluke mixtape, compiled 8th May 1997. 
 
As mentioned when I previously posted Side 1, this is the second volume of Fluke cassettes, somewhat confusingly titled (Singles), with volume one being (Mixes). Both compilations are similar in that they're a bit of a free-for-all of single (re)mixes, album tracks and remixes for other artists.

Unlike Side 1, which only featured one Fluke single, Side 2 justifies the cassette compilation title slightly more, with four. There's an alternative remix of Philly from the 12" single, plus Bullet and Atom Bomb, which respectively reached #23 and #20 in the UK chart, the highest placing of any of their singles.

Side 2 starts off with another single, Joni, Fluke's wonderful tribute to Ms. Mitchell, sampling Big Yellow Taxi. This is the slightly more polished version from their debut album The Techno Rose Of Blighty.
 
Top Of The World and Wobbler are highlights from follow up albums, Six Wheels On My Wagon (1993) and Oto (1995), both of which sold respectively but just missed out on cracking the Top 40 UK albums.

The final track is a remix of an obscure Tears For Fears song, the B-side to Advice For The Young At Heart, released in March 1990 and peaking at #36. In February 1991, a pair of Fluke remixes of Johnny Panic And The Bible Of Dreams were released as a single in their own right. Tears For Fears were not explicitly labelled as the artist on the sleeve or label, although a peek at the small print credits would have given the game away. This wasn't an unusual practice in the early 1990s and although it's success as a single was limited - 2 weeks in the UK chart at #70 then #72 - it was another excellent calling card by Fluke.

Jon Fugler, Mike Bryant and Mike Tournier called it a day as Fluke in the early 2000s, apart from a one-off live performance in 2009. A hugely underrated and underappreciated act in my opinion, Fluke didn't enjoy the same level of acclaim as, say, The Chemical Brothers or Underworld, but in their singles, albums and remixes they perfectly captured that feeling of optimism, togetherness and unbridled, bouncy joy of the 1990s. 

1) Joni (Album Version): Fluke (1991)
2) Atom Bomb (Atomix 5): Fluke (1993) 
3) Top Of The World: Fluke (1993)
4) Bullet (Bitten): Fluke (1995)
5) Wobbler: Fluke (1995)
6) Philly (Jamoeba Mix): Fluke (1990)
7) Johnny Panic And The Bible Of Dreams (Mix One By Fluke): Tears For Fears ft. Biti Strauchn (1991)

1990: Philly EP: 6
1991: Johnny Panic And The Bible Of Dreams EP: 7
1991: The Techno Rose Of Blighty: 1
1993: Six Wheels On My Wagon: 3
1995: Bullet EP: 4
1995: Oto: 5
1996: Atom Bomb EP: 2

Side Two (46:05) (Box) (Mega)
Side One here

Friday, 20 January 2023

Another Kick Up The Eighties

Side 2 of a cassette compilation, recorded 22nd January 1990 and looking back on the 1980s.
 
Whereas Side 1 was firmly rooted in the first half of the decade, Side 2 is split 50/50, slightly favouring 1986 to 1989 and 7" and 12" single versions. A few songs have appeared previously, others albeit in different versions/remixes, whilst some I'm surprised to find haven't featured before now. Incredibly, this is the first time that Faith No More have been on this blog, full stop. Introduce Yourself, indeed.
 
I realise I could have waited a couple of days to post this on the 33rd anniversary of originally recording this compilation but I saw that I'd previously uploaded Side 1 on a Friday and I decided to do the same here. Let's face it, Side 2 is definitely more Friday than Sunday listening!
 
This one's for Dave. Fourteen years and still miss you lots.

1) Burning Down The House (Album Version): Talking Heads (1983)
2) House (Flashback Mix): The Psychedelic Furs (1989)
3) How Soon Is Now? (Single Edit): The Smiths (1985)
4) Spellbound (Album Version): Siouxsie & The Banshees (1981)
5) We Care A Lot (Album Version): Faith No More (1987)
6) River Euphrates (Single Version): Pixies (1988)
7) Never Let Me Down Again (Tsangarides Mix): Depeche Mode (1987)
8) All We Ever Wanted Was Everything: Bauhaus (1982)
9) Deus (10" Remix): The Sugarcubes (1988)
10) Kiss (Leeds v. The Bronx) (Remix By DJ Chakk) (Cover of Prince): Age Of Chance (1986)
11) Perfect Blue (Album Version): Lloyd Cole & The Commotions (1985)
 
1981: Juju: 4 
1982: The Sky's Gone Out: 8
1983: Speaking In Tongues: 1
1985: Easy Pieces: 11
1985: How Soon Is Now? (7" single): 3 
1986: Kiss (Jack-Knife Remixes) (limited edition 12" single): 10
1987: Introduce Yourself: 5
1987: Never Let Me Down Again (limited edition 12" single): 7
1988: Deus (limited edition 10" single): 9
1988: Gigantic / River Euphrates (12" single): 6
1989: House (12" single): 2
 
Side Two (45:45) (Box) (Mega)
Side One here