Thursday, November 15, 2007

Yeah! Phil Baby

I’m so jealous.

Davy H over at The Ghost of Electricity has beaten me to it and gone and posted about uncle Phil, our much-maligned drummer. Well, as promised, I’m going to go ahead and post anyway because Phil deserves as much praise as possible. This is the start of nothing short of a revolution. A complete re-appraisal of a song writing genius that will put him at the forefront of British musical development.

I first encountered Genesis in a bargain bin at Timothy Whites in St.Albans. There I secured a copy of ‘And Then There Were Three’. This was Phil trying to steady a rudderless Genesis for the first time. Yes it was boring and dull, but you could see the beginnings of the ‘Phil Sound’. And who could forget ‘Duke’, ‘Abacab’ and ‘Invisible Touch’? Well I could for one I suppose but sales prove that this was Phil the ambassador, promoting English prog rock to the world.

And then there was Live Aid with Phil jetting across the Atlantic to do his bit for the starving of Africa. Not a self-promotional bone in his body you see. Phil the magnificent.

Phil is, of course, primarily a solo artiste. ‘Face Value’ was famously produced after his split from his wife and it shows in the tortured lyrics throughout the album. This is Phil in his pomp. The album is full of song writing gems. Well there is a couple at least………… well there is one. ‘Hello, I Must Be Going’ continued where the previous one had left off – no hint of laurel resting from our Phil. And ‘No Jacket Required’ is frankly ……………….. hmmmmmmm ……………………….. I can see where this is going now. Perhaps you are all right.

But NO I will not be put off. Phil is brilliant. Now where did I leave my copy of Sussudio …………………………………?


Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight (mp3)

For You Davy:

Genesis - Abacab (mp3)

For you Crash:

Phil Collins - Tomorrow Never Knows (mp3)

Buy everything Phil here

Thursday, November 01, 2007

On A Long Black Leash


It's Contrast Podcast time again which you can find right here. Yet again this rather fine series has produced the goods with the tempting theme of lust. And yet again some more the Vicar has failed to make his own entry. Oh dear.

I will rectify this in the future. I know this is probably just procrastination but I earnestly believe that I really want to change and add my pennysworth to the melting pot. I think that I will go throught the back catalogue of podcasts and make my own choices. There that's a start of sorts. I told you I would act. Don't hold your breath too long though.

Soft Cell - Sex Dwarf (mp3) Buy

Ben Harper - Touch From Your Lust (mp3) Buy

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hello Again
Just popped over to Fileden to notice that my bandwidth has been exceeded. I've been getting more downloads in the last month than I've ever had. Pah - just goes to show that few people ever read my jottings. As if I was ever convinced otherwise.

However resignation aside I will attempt to get this blog up and running again despite a drought of blogging desire the size of - well a very big thing. So I've updated my account to allow more bandwidth, which will be quickly followed by a little domestic housekeeping to get rid of these old links. I think they are well beyond their sell by date. So download now you mp3 leeches 'cos soon they will be gone.

A couple of favourite tunes to get me back into it then:

Scritti Politti - The Word Girl (mp3) Buy

House of Love - Beatles and the Stones (mp3) Buy

Monday, July 30, 2007

On The Eighth Day


Well I did absolutely bugger all of course, apart from posting this rather obvious little ad joiner.

The Beatles - Eight Days A Week (mp3)

Buy The Beatles right here

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Week In Music

Sunday

Sunday is derived from pre-Christian Egyptian astrology.

Well here we are at the end of an eventful weeks posting, and I get the chance to finish on a high. There are many great songs connected with Sunday and I wish I was able to offer all the ones that were on my shortlist. But unfortunately my lack of bandwidth says that this cannot happen.

In 1933 Rezso Seress, the Hungarian composer, wrote 'Gloomy Sunday'; a song that rapidly became known as the 'Hungarian suicide song'. Various people made cover versions - not least Billie Holiday and, of course, the Associates - and it supposedly inspired lots of suicides throughout the world. The claim was not diminished when Seress himself committed suicide in 1968 as did Billy Mackenzie in 1997.

The Associates - Gloomy Sunday (mp3) (buy)

Late 1978, early 1979 saw Blondie riding the crest of a wave. 'Parallel Lines' had hit number one in the album charts. 'Hanging on the Telephone' had been in the top ten, while its follow up 'Heart of Glass' had gone to number one in both the UK and US. How could they equal this? By releasing 'Sunday Girl' to go back to number one. My top ten of 1979 had both hits in it. My friends saw it as infatuation. They were probably right, but it's still a great record.

Blondie - Sunday Girl (mp3) (buy)

In 1990 The Sundays provided something a little different to the shoe gazing wall of sound that filled the indie charts. MBV, Ride, The Jesus and Mary Chain etc were all well and good but with the vocals often removed to the background the jangly sound of The Sundays was very refreshing. They are one of the finest live acts I have seen and Harriet Wheeler was simply gorgeous. So rather aptly I finish with:

The Sundays - Here's Where the Story Ends (mp3) (buy)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Week In Music

Saturday

Saturday is named after the Roman God of agriculture Cronus aka Saturn.

So many choices. After the song drought of Wednesday / Thursday comes a veritable flood. I could of chosen Tom Waits - but I didn't. The Jam - but I didn't. Whigfield (ahem) - but I didn't. The list, while not being exactly endless, is still very long. So it comes down to the following:

Saturday Sun - Nick Drake (mp3)

The Saturday Boy - Billy Bragg (mp3)

On Saturday Afternoons in 1963 - Rickie Lee Jones (mp3)

Buy Nick Drake here, Billy Bragg here and Rickie Lee Jones here.

And apologies for the lateness of this post, I started writing it last night after getting back from an impromptu nights camping in Pembrokeshire, but then fell asleep. It's an age thing!

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Week In Music

Friday

The name Friday comes from the Anglo-Saxon Frigg - the Goddess of beauty. In Latin languages the name mostly comes from Venus who was no shrinking Violet in the beauty stakes herself.

There are lots of musical choices available for the Friday slot. No surprises there then. It seems like all songwriters spend the working week in a state of increasing gloom until Friday comes along. A few drinks later with the creative juices flowing and the worlds their oyster.

The Easybeats - Friday On My Mind (Mp3) Buy

The Donnas - Friday Fun (mp3) Buy

The Cure - Friday I'm In Love (mp3) Buy

Nouvelle Vague - Friday Night Saturday Morning (mp3) Buy

The Nouvelle Vague I've only included because I can't seem to find my copy of The Specials version. Curses.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Week In Music

ThursdayFrom the old English 'Day of Thunor', the Latin equivilant is 'Jupiter's Day'.

Thursday was until recently a nothing sort of day. Still a day short of when the real action begins on the Friday. However, a few like minded friends and myself have officially designated that Thursday is the new Friday. We have decided that the weekend is in fact far too short and therefore festivities have to take place a day earlier. We now have a few drinks, play golf and generally relax making Friday a far more inviting prospect. By Monday you feel that the weekend has been a fulfilling experience, rather than all over before it really got started.

That doesn't mean, however, that Thursday has been celebrated in song. It is a day that is shamefully neglected. Come on all you songwriters get writing about it because at the moment there is little to include that is worthy. You know you want to - it's the start of the weekend for heavens sake.

The Futureheads - Thursday (mp3)

Buy The Futureheads here because they they are up with the times

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Week In Music

Wednesday

Although in English Wednesday is derived from the Norse God Woden, in the Latin languages the Roman God Mercury is responsible. In German Mittwoch literally means midweek which is perhaps the most apt and contemporary description.

Wednesday is perhaps my least favourite day of the week. You're already knackered but still have two days to go at work. This is, or course, the Monday to Friday contingent. In our service based economy the notion of a family based weekend seems to be diminishing by the day. Saturday and Sunday working is now the norm for many.

In popular culture Wednesday means the start of two days of relative musical paucity. But I will do my best:

Spoon - Sunday Morning, Wednesday Night (mp3)

The Undertones - Wednesday Week (mp3)

The Beatles - She's Leaving Home (mp3) [listen and you'll know]

Buy Spoon here, The Undertones here, and The Beatles right here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Week In Music

Tuesday

The derivation of Tuesday comes from an old English word 'Twisday' which is in itself derived from the Norse God Tyr. This God was the equivalent of the Roman God Mars and, of course, Mars forms the root of Tuesday for all the Latin based languages except Portuguese.

Perhaps this is entirely apt as Tuesday has traditionally been a day of war in my job. Not because of the fact that most of the working week is still to go, but more because I teach some particularly irksome kids!

Some more Tuesday inspired songs then:

Rolling Stones - Ruby Tuesday (mp3)

Dick Gaughan - Ruby Tuesday (mp3)

Elliott Smith - Hooray for Tuesday (live) (mp3)

Primal Scream - Gentle Tuesday (mp3)

Buy The Stones here, Dick Gaughan here, Elliott Smith here, and Primal Scream here.

Much obliged to Absonderpop for the Dick Gaughan and The Rawking Refuses To Stop! for the Elliott Smith

Monday, July 23, 2007

Her Favourite Tipple


Davy H over at The Ghost of Electricity had a recent post which named his wifes favourite Saturday night record. I was going to name a track in a comment about what I suspected Mrs Vicar might suggest as her own favourite. However, I thought it might be better to ask her first ........

Well, I got the understandable 'on the fence' reply about changing tastes and mood etc, but I managed to whittle away until I got the following mixed bag of answers:

1970's

Roxy Music - Virginia Plain (mp3)

A Taste of Honey - Boogie Oogie Oogie (mp3) [Get Down!]

1980's

Steve Winwood - While You See A Chance (mp3)

Wham! - Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (mp3)

Shows you there's no accounting for taste.

Buy Roxy Music right here. A Taste of Honey just here. The rather spiffing Steve Winwood here. And of course Wham! just here.
A Week In Music

Monday

Traditionally, of course, 'Blue Monday' is the beginning of the working week (not for the Tutu Vicar though because he is on holiday - hurrah). Also has been known as 'Black Monday' after the stock market crash in 1987. Monday (for those who don't know) gets its name from the Moon (shock, horror) and a fine name it is therefore. The moon will provide more reasons for posts in forthcoming weeks.

Monday has also been responsible for providing inspiration for many musicians - just a few of which you can find below:

The Bangles - Manic Monday (mp3) (buy)

New Order - Blue Monday (mp3) (buy)

The Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays (mp3) (buy)

Wilco - Monday (mp3) (buy)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bank Robber


Just noticed that today is anniversary of John Dillinger's death in 1934. The supposed 'Robin Hood' of the gangster world of inter-war America, Dillinger met his end when waylaid by FBI agents outside a cinema in Chicago. Some people even have a 'John Dillinger' day in his memory. Bizarre.

The Clash - I Fought The Law (mp3) (buy)

The Special AKA - Gangsters (mp3) (buy and other ska)

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Weekend Washout?


The weekend saw the annual jamboree that is the Welsh Masters of golf. This prestigious competition (one of the big tournaments of the year for the Socialist Golf Society) is always witness to golf of the very highest order. Heavyweights of the sport slugging it out over two rounds in order to win the coveted trophy and bathe in the resultant glory.

The only fly in the ointment was the forecast of miserable weather. A warm up round in Staffordshire on Friday night only led to a thorough soaking and a deep desire to get paralytically pissed. Drunkenness inevitably followed, as did the inevitable hangover the next morning. My thumping head was greeted with ridicule by my unsympathetic comrades (justifiable I might add) who were gleeful that yours truly was out of the equation. The round at Celtic Manor was understandably awful.

The next morning saw two things. Firstly my fellow gladiators in a pathetically sorry state after three or four bottles of red wine too many; and secondly the rain pissing it down outside. The course for day two was closed. Damn what do we do? Head for the sun was the answer. So off we scooted down the M4 to Reading. Yes a 100 mile journey only to walk straight into a thunderstorm on the 4th hole. The funniest sight of the weekend was leading a group of panicked golfers hot footing it to the clubhouse to escape imminent death. Although I didn't witness it one of our merry throng even threw himself to the floor after one particularly close bolt of lightning.

The weather is crap. I hate all this rain. It felt like the tournament was being ruined because of it. But the golfers of the SGS were not to be beaten and are made of stern stuff, and the award for the Welsh Masters golfer for 2007 was greeted with universal acclaim. Once again the Socialist Golf Society had prevailed. Golf was the winner but the weather is still shit.

Placebo - English Summer Rain (mp3)

The Pixies - Stormy Weather (mp3)

Buy Placebo here and The Pixies right here

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I Missed Again


The sceptics among you will automatically believe (from the title that is) that the Vicar has gone completely doo lally and admitted to a secret past of Phil Collins albums amongst the varied detritus of his past (maybe or maybe not). But the reality is shamefully in the present. Yet again I have failed in my task of getting on the contrast podcast and I am peeved. This is, of course, completely my fault as yet again I spend the entire week 'umming' and 'aahhing' over a choice of track only to lose out due to my own procrastination. So this week I try to make amends by offering a track now. Yes too late to be on the podcast but not too late to purge my soul.

The topic this week was of course 1967. And many fine choices there were - which you can download right here. Just a reminder then:

Playlist:

(00:29) Jefferson Airplane - Somebody to love

Ross from Just gimme indie rock

(03:33) Erma Franklin - Piece of my heart

Michael from The Yank Sizzler

(07:00) Dusty Springfield - The look of love

Linda from Speed of Dark

(11:18) The Turtles - Happy together

Natalie from Mini-Obs

(14:51) The Impressions - We’re a winner

Ally from dustysevens

(17:12) Kaleidoscope - Dive into yesterday

ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away

(22:43) Louie Prima - I wanna be like you

Crash from Pretending life is like a song

(27:34) The Stooges - Search and Destroy

FiL from Pogoagogo

(34:03) Green Day - 86

Andy from Circles of Concrete

(37:13) Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take 5

Marcy from Lost in your inbox

(43:07) John Coltrane - Everytime we say goodbye

Alex from Totally True Tales from Texas

(48:39) R.E.M. - Femme fatale

Kristi from Are you embarassed easily?

(51:47) The House of Love - The Beatles and The Stones

Tom from Better in the Dark

(56:20) Prince - Alphabet street

Greg from Broken Dial

(59:06) The Adult Net - Incense and Peppermints

SAS Radio

(01:02:15) Chris Coco with Nick Cave - Sunday Morning

Matthew from Song by Toad

My own choice is 'All Along the Watchtower' from Bob Dylan's 1967 album John Wesley Harding. And, of course some of the cover versions that have come since.

Bob Dylan - All Along The Watchtower (mp3) Buy

Patti Smith - All Along The Watchtower (mp3) Buy

U2 - All Along The Watchtower (mp3) Buy

Jimi Hendrix - All Along The Watchtower (mp3) Buy

And a video version by Neil Young as well you lucky things:


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Feel That Kick Drum


Sometimes, when I have had a tipple too many, the Tutu vicar gets his feet tapping to a funky beat. Inevitably this ends with shaming glances from other members of my family who are acutely embarrassed by my antics. The last time I got 'dancing feet', for instance, my daughter was red faced as I was shown up in front of her young friends. Of course, rarely does this affect me because I am usually in a state of alcohol induced oblivion.

Anyhow, back to the matter in hand and 'the kickdrum'. My choice of said funky beat usually revolves around records that are either:

(a) disco classics from the 1970's

or

(b) house / trance tracks that have that thumping back beat

So I present to you my choices from option (b)

1. FC Kahuna - Nothing Is Wrong (mp3) - kickdrum at 0:00. A suburb beat right from the off, but just listen when the bass line hook starts at 0:15 (Buy)

2. Chemical Brothers - It Began In Afrika (mp3) - kickdrum at 0:33 (Buy)

3. FC Kahuna - Growler (mp3) - kickdrum at 0:16

4. Leftfield - Space Shanty (mp3) - kickdrum at 1:39 (Buy)

5. Underworld - Cowgirl (mp3) - kickdrum at 1:44 (Buy)

If you have any sense of rhythm I defy you to not tap your feet / nod your head at the times mentioned above. Best of all find a party, drink copious amounts of Stella, red wine or a tipple of your choice and watch with glee as the your friends and family dis-own you completely. Play the game - go on.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I Can See Clearly Now


Who remembers the days when the majority of TV was monochrome? I recall that the early part of my youth was spent watching black and white, and being amazed when I went round to a mates house to watch colour broadcasts. At some point my parents rented a TV from Grenada Rentals and I got to share the delights that my friends were enjoying. I think it was when I was about 7 or 8 years old - so about 1972ish. Certainly a good 4 or 5 years after the first UK colour broadcast at Wimbledon in 1967.

Who also thinks though, that we lost something at the same time? Just as the talkie meant that the art of visual narrative was partly lost to cinema, the rise of colour (particularly on TV) led to the parallel decline of lighting techniques. As soon as I introduce the idea of monochromatic photography or cinematography to my students, it is met with almost universal ridicule. Even modern movies like Schindlers List or La Haine are distrusted. Or course this only fuels my desire to educate them. Foreign language films, black and white, musicals - they are all fair game.

I was bowled over when I first saw an HD broadcast and I like the idea of realism as well as anybody, but black and white is still good. Its just that at Wimbledon colour looks so much better.

The Icicle Works - Love is a Wonderful Colour (mp3)

Tom Macrae - Bright Lights (mp3)

Buy The Icicle Works here and Tom Macrae here

Monday, July 02, 2007

Know Your Rights


The Date - 02/07/1964. The place - The White house. The fact - The Civil Rights Act was signed by Lyndon B. Johnson, was passed into law and segregation became illegal throughout schools and other public places in the USA. And given the outrages that had been going on in the southern states throughout the previous 100 years it was not a moment too soon. In fact although 2nd July was the date the bill passed through the senate, it passed through the House of Representatives on the same day the Vicar came into this world five months earlier.

So the Act brought to end the Jim Crow laws and the Democrats were seen as the party of liberation. Although, of course, it was not as simple as that as the Kennedy / Johnson administration were in many ways merely reacting to the inevitable urge of reform that had been gathering pace since the Montgomery Bus Boycott 10 years earlier. Plus, of course, the Civil Rights Act was just the beginning of a struggle to enforce the law through voter registration schemes and employer education. Only a year later the Los Angeles suburb of Watts was to descend into riots emphasising the problems the US was still to face with Black Civil Rights.

But the Act was passed. An important Act. And Martin Luther King had been proved right when he had forecast in 1963 "How Long? Not Long".

The Untouchables - Free Yourself (mp3)

The Clash - Know Your Rights (mp3)

Buy The Untouchables here and The Clash here

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Happy Birthday To You

A double birthday celebration today and a big hug and kisses to all my fellow members of the blogosphere. Tutu Vicar is back after a bit of layoff and itching to get posting. Thankyou for all of you that regularly dropped by only to see Asia once again at the top of the blogpile. Oh the shame of it - but I hope to banish the AOR scoundrels to the bottom before too long.

I noticed that today in 1979 saw the release of the original Sony Walkman. Not exactly the digital revolution I hear you cry, but it was the beginning of the musical portability. Without the Walkman the mp3 player would never have been born despite the evolution that occured over many years involving the CD Walkman and the Minidisc Walkman. Lord sakes we wouldn't even have had Cliff Richard and 'Wired for Sound'.

Daft Punk - Digital Love (mp3)

Also today Debbie Harry enjoys her 62nd birthday. Holy shit sixty two! It is easy to forget, of course, that she was already in her 30's by the time that Blondie were in their pomp. Didn't stop a wet dream or two though (not of course by the Vicar - far too mucky).There aren't many times when I get stumped trying to choose a song for the blog because of the sheer depth of choice on the album. Happy Birthday Deborah.

Blondie - Hanging on the Telephone (mp3)

Buy Daft Punk here and Blondie here

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dark Days - Part Two


Unfortuately I have no excuses. Well, saying that there might be a tiny excuse as my first girlfriend was into Asia. For a spotty faced teenager, even dumbing down to this extent could be entertained for the promise of some late night fumblings. And dumbing down is surely the end result of listening to this kind of twaddle. Fortunately, the album released in 1982 left my ownership many, many years ago but the emotional scarring is still there.

Just to remind those too young or too disinterested, Asia were yet another supergroup. The principal players were Steve Howe and Greg Downes who both came from Yes, John Wetton from King Crimson, and Carl Palmer from of course - Emerson, Lake and Palmer. And they were shit. And they still are shit judging from the information I found out indicating that they are reformed and touring. In fact, just to prove that there is synergy in this world I found out here that the support group on their US tour are none other than The Alan Parsons Project! Now that is scary.

Just so all you disgruntled fans can't complain too much, I have a full list of UK dates . But for the sane ones amongst us pick the one closest to you and make sure you're out of town. Treat yourself, you know you deserve it.

December 1st - Falmouth Pavilion December 2nd - Bournemouth BIC Pavilion December 4th - Liverpool Academy December 5th - Perth Concert Halls (Scotland) December 6th - Glasgow Academy (Scotland) December 7th - Ebbw Vale Leisure Centre (Wales)December 8th - Frome Cheese & Grain December 10th - Newcastle Academy December 11th - Nottingham Rock City December 12th - Oxford Zodiac Club (Academy) December 13th - Manchester Academy December 14th - Wolverhampton Civic December 16th - London Shepherds Bush

If you really fancy it here is their most famous song:

Asia - Heat of the Moment (mp3)

which you can buy right here


And for everybody else some alternatives from 1982:

Kate Bush - There Goes A Tenner (mp3) Buy

ABC - Poison Arrow (mp3) Buy

Heaven 17 - Let Me Go (mp3) Buy

Human League - Being Boiled (mp3) Buy

Monday, May 28, 2007

Feel the Force

Thirty years seems to fly by extremely quickly. There I was one moment queueing for ages outside the Odeon waiting to catch up with the latest craze. And the very next I'm a middle aged (but twinkle-eyed) sloth reading about who their favourite Star Wars character is based on six films (as outlined in this months 'Empire'). Yes, my Dad was right and life does seem to pass by in an instant (rather like the hyperspace button on the 'Millenium Falcon'). In 1977, the world was still excited by the prospect of space travel. The Apollo missions of 1968-1972 were still a fresh (if rather costly) memory and it seemed only a matter of time before mankind would embark on another feat of exploration. After all the shuttle programme was well into its design phase and hopefully this would realise the ambition of cheaper space travel.

I think that Star Wars series has provided more let-downs than highlights over the years (Empire Strikes Back versus all the rest), although the franchise has provided a share of amusement in places. It seems that only 'Lord of the Rings' has the kind of marketing muscle to offer any alternative - and that is a sobering thought. I have all sorts of misgivings about the injustices of the 'Hollywood system' against any other kind of cinema. Injustices that appear to injure the rights of less mainstream directors in the USA, or any director in another country, to make truly thought-provoking films. Indeed, Star Wars and perhaps Jaws before it seemed to sound the death knell for truly artistic film making in Hollywood. Not that either were bad films - Jaws is in fact one of my favourites - but they provided a blue print for change. The rise of the blockbuster saw a parallel decline in films that made you think. Strangely, while Star Wars was investing a new form of conservatism into film a revolution was occuring in music. The Pistols has released 'God Save the Queen' and punk was upsetting 'middle england'. Punk rock filth was causing middle-class fury and it appeared that Britain and perhaps the world would never be the same again.

Ultimately who would have thought that after another thirty years the majority of punks would be forgotten, Strummer and Vicious would be dead, and thirty-five years after Gene Cernan had been the last human to walk on the moon (alledgedly), no other human would have left the earths orbit? But still the legend of 'Star Wars' lives on - what a bizarre world we live on.

Here to make me feel better are a few tasty morsels from 1977 that hopefully will provide inspiration for another thirty years. Somehow I think that 'Star Wars' will outlive them all.

Talking Heads - Psycho Killer (mp3) Buy

Donna Summer - I Feel Love (mp3) (Patrick Cowley Mix) Buy

David Bowie - Heroes (mp3) Buy

The Stranglers - No More Heroes (mp3) Buy

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dark Days - Part One

Its confession time at 'The World Won't Listen' as a routeway through to my musical soul is opened. Ever since my Dire Straits post a while back I have recieved a degree of ribbing from some quarters about my musical convictions. Not that I'm complaining mind, as the pointed remarks are genuinely deserved. You can't go posting music by Dire Straits without much soul searching. Now Davy H over at The Ghost of Electricity has gone and posted an entry about the 'Wizard of Oz' inspired Toto. Hmmm, just where is all this going I wonder. Will we soon have Matthew at Song, by Toad posting Dollar? How about JC our very own Vinyl Villain revealing that number eight in his 'Great Unacknowledged Albums' series is Shakin Stevens and 'This Ole House'? Or Crash at Pretending Life is Like a Song waxing lyrical about the neo-marxist hidden messages inside 'Agadoo'?

Whatever the outcome I've decided to lay all the cards on the table and come clean. Over the next few postings I will reveal the results of a dark quest into the inner sanctum of my record collection both past and present. Namely the albums that shame me. The ones that continue to gather dust but should have been thrown out years ago. The ones that were thrown out, but their memory still clouds my soul. It will be a hard quest but a necessary one because afterwards I will be exorcised and my demons released.

So to begin:

The Alan Parsons Project - The Turn of a Friendly Card


Just what was I thinking? And to make things even worse I actually possessed three other albums at one point. I first listened to this lot when my brother got the 'Pyramid' album back in the late seventies. They were prog rock and Parsons had infamously engineered Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' in 1973. Remember readers that this was the height of New Wave and Mr Vicar was deeply immersed in The Cure, Magazine, and The Jam. Somehow I was under the false illusion that I needed to widen my musical horizons by listening to Alan Parsons. I think in retrospect I must have been possessed as there seems to be no other plausible explanation for my foolhardiness. In fact, there may well be some credence to this statement. Parsons used to get all sorts of 'artistes' to work as guests on his albums. They included the likes of Colin "brokenhearted" Blunstone, Arthur Lee, Steve Harley and John Miles. Perhaps they were all under his spell. Needless to say that the aforesaid albums have all been consigned to the album scrapheap and are probably propping up some corner of a charity shop as I write. There I feel better already, but only by degrees as there is worse to come. Oh yes far worse!

Visit your local record fair and buy them if you dare my friends - the demons may get you as well. But as an antidote I also post something far more appetizing to your souls. The Cure and one of their greatest albums - 'Seventeen Seconds'. Released in the same year, 1980, to provided some sort of synergy.

The Cure - Play For Today (mp3)

The Cure - In Your House (mp3)

Buy The Cure right here. And if you want to make the same mistakes as the Tutu Vicar buy Alan Parsons here

Monday, May 14, 2007

Busy Bee



Busy, busy busy. Sorry to all about my absence over the last couple of weeks. The pressures of coursework from students means that this time of year is always hard. My time is taken by others I'm afraid. Still, I hope to make amends (by degrees) over the coming weeks, even though there is much to do before calm returns to Vicar Towers at the end of June. So a few offerings to keep my dwindling band of followers happy:

Elvis Costello - Welcome to the Working Week (mp3) buy

Grinderman - Honey Bee (Lets Fly To Mars) (mp3) buy

Billy Bragg - The Busy Girl Buys Beauty (mp3) buy

Monday, April 30, 2007

Heartbreaker

Disconsolation. Misery. Abject despair. If your a football fan then you will recognise these feelings. For some fans these days come around more often than those of other supporters, but ultimately all will suffer the slings and arrows of faithful devotion. And this is the time of year when it happens more often than any other. The pain of relegation. The disappointment of finishing one place outside of the play off positions. A play off final defeat. Either at the match or watching on television the misery is writ large on the faces of the supporters. Why do we do it? Just what is the point? The latest failure - after the majority of the season perched proudly at the top of Unibond Premier Division AFC Telford Utd are defeated at home by Burscough who take the title (and automatic promotion) in the process. Oh God why?

Roxy Music - In Every Dream Home a Heartache (mp3) (I still luv ya Bryan)

Squeeze - Another Nail In My Heart (mp3)

And the answer. Well I suppose everybody has their own agenda, but if you listen to Billy Mackenzie ('If there's a cure for this, then I don't want it') I think you'll get the idea.

Associates - Love Hangover (mp3)

Buy Roxy here, Squeeze here and Associates here.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Architecture and Morality


The past week or two has seen the nations press in a state of frenzy (perhaps slightly overstated) over the comments made by Bryan Ferry to the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. For those who have been living in a bubble, the controversy surrounds his appreciation of the architecture of Albert Speer and the films of Leni Riefenstahl. The moral outrage has resulted in calls for M & S (that bastion of conservative middle class England) to rid themselves of the modelling contract with Ferry as an 'olive branch' to the people that he has insulted. For instance, Victoria Coren, writing in the Observer said that, 'they should drop the lame-brained Geordie ponce.'

Now I am not not going to make some apologist stance for Bryan Ferry. His comments, although probably meant in sincerity, were completely ill conceived. To go on about a facet of the Nazi regime, that was an intrinsic part of the way that Hitler and Goebbels intoxicated 1930's Germany with lies and deceipt was plain stupid. Especially without putting the thoughts into context. I'm sure most people realise that the iconography goes hand in hand with the political beliefs. But to say that nobody can admire the works of Speer or Riefenstahl for their 'quality' is equally misguided. Speers work was revolutionary. Riefenstahls films before the Nazi stuff were also very good. If we are going to argue that to admire their work is off-limits, then we should be equally severe with Wagner, Ezra Pound or W.B. Yeats.

The Nazis were evil. Hopefully, the vast majority of the worlds population know that. And of course we should never forget it. I hope that Bryan Ferry has not got any sympathy for them because I have long admired his work. But the debate, much like that over Joy Division, leaves a sour taste in the mouth. It just shows you how the shadow of some long dead tyrant like Hitler can linger very long.

Songs for today:

Belle and Sebastian - The Boy Done Wrong Again (mp3) Buy

Heaven 17 - We Dont Need This (Fascist Groove Thang) (mp3) Buy

OMD - Joan of Arc (mp3) Buy (from Architecture & Morality of course)

Monday, April 23, 2007

They Were Not Always Shit (honest)

First an apology for not posting sooner. Very, very busy at the moment. All manner of shit going down.

So now to the matter in hand and of course I expect to be ridiculed and lampooned unmercilessly. Yes it is Dire Straits. Yes I bought this album (from a little record shop in Hitchin I remember where I was very impressed that the shop owner knew the serial numbers to every record). And yes I still like it to this day. Unlike later efforts where Knopfler et al left all sense behind and embraced Americana with welcome arms, this has an honest simplicity. It is a million miles away from 'Money for Nothing'. You can tell it was made on a budget but not really because of the lack of production. In fact it is the lack of rock histrionics that sets it apart from the rock cliches that punk was trying to rid the charts of in the late seventies.

Disagree with me if you must, but this album is a gem.

Dire Straits - Southbound Again (mp3)

Dire Straits - Wild West End (mp3)

Buy Dire Straits here (buy any of the others at your peril)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Kings and Queens

Contrast Podcast has the theme of royalty for this week but, despite being an interesting topic to add my own contribution, I managed to somehow miss the deadline. You can find the link right here or look at the blogroll. This oversight is, of course, nothing new as I rarely seem to get round to doing the necessary thinking/recording/sending etc. I see this as a sign of either old age or laziness or stupidity. Probably all three. Anyway I thought I'd take the opportunity of adding my own recommendations to the already fine list below:

Playlist:

(00:58) The Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen
Heather from
I am fuel, you are friends

(04:44) Gruff Rhys - The court of King Arthur
Ross from
Just gimme indie rock

(08:25) The Battle of Land & Sea - Saltwater Queen
ZB from
So the wind won’t blow it all away

(12:00) Echobelly - King of the kerb
Crash from
Pretending life is like a song

(16:14) Bishop Allen - Queen of the rummage sale
Kate from
The Glorious Hum

(20:14) The King’s Consort - Nulla in mundo pax sincera
Cindy from
Adzuki bean stash

(27:03) House of Fools - Live and learn
Andy from
Circles of Concrete

(32:00) Elliot Smith - King’s crossing
Spoodles from
Robot Hand is the Future

(35:15) The Jesus Lizard - Queen for a day
Bob from
Gimme Tinnitus

(37:48) Reverend Horton Heat - King
Tom from
Other people’s toys

(41:00) Helicopter Helicopter - Talented socialites
Chip from
Atomic Ned

(44:22) Bitch & Animal - Drag king bar
Axydlbaaxr

(49:31) Okkervil River - A King and a Queen
The Duke of Straw from
The Late Greats

(52:57) The Kings - This beat goes on/switchin’ to glide
Natalie from
Mini-Obs

(59:07) Soft Machine - Kings and Queens
Mark from
Cinema du Lyon

(01:04:37) Richard Thompson - King of bohemia
Colin from
and before the first kiss

(01:09:05) Mary Lee’s Corvette - Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
Jarrod from
Living in fear is no good to anyone

And to that list you can enjoy a right royal knees up by listening to:

Wilco - Casino Queen (mp3) buy

David Bowie - Queen Bitch (mp3) buy

UB40 - King (mp3) buy

Queens of the Stone Age - Feel Good Hit of the Summer (mp3) buy

Prince - I Would Die 4 U (mp3) buy

Monday, April 16, 2007

And on the seventh day......



And so creation was over. Well it was for the record label which drew to close with 'Guerilla' by the Super Furry Animals. A shame for all concerned really as the label had nurtured and promoted the fortunes of many a good band/artist since the early eighties. I suppose the end of label that many considered to be the greatest of 'the independents' was inevitable. By getting into bed with Sony Alan McGee had set the ball of destruction rolling to its ultimate conclusion.


Still, at least the last genuine on Creation was a good one. Full of experimentation it marked a sea change for the Super Furries. Perhaps the winds of change move in opposite directions ...?


Super Furry Animals - Do or Die (mp3)


Super Furry Animals - Northern Lites (mp3)


Purchase some rather fine SFA here - and stay tuned for more Creation stuff in due course

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Face of Youth Keeps Turning West
The spectre of Ian Curtis, and the legacy of both Joy Division and New Order dwells long in some places. No more so than in the early work of The Beloved. I've blathered on about this band before and without wishing to repeat myself think that they were super-duper. Yes they lost their way later on, but for a couple of years produced almost perfect pop records. And now, of course, Jon Marsh has made his way as a very successful DJ - see here.

In the early period they received regular criticism from the music press for clinging to New Order's coat tails, especially in the bass lines and the production values. But more often than not they won their detractors over with some fine lyrics and, at times, frenzied guitars. Despite the hundreds of CD's on my shelves I still reckon that stuff by The Beloved is the most regularly played. Do people agree with me though? Do they heck. Despite all my best efforts, my pleas for recognition fall on deaf ears from the majority of my friends. I just don't understand. Horses for courses I suppose.

But I keep trying .....

The Beloved - This Means War (mp3)

The Beloved - If Only (mp3)

The Beloved - A Kiss Goodbye (mp3)

So come along, dust off your credit cards and buy The Beloved here. 'Happiness' for only £4.97 is the bargain of the century. Also checkout the free downloads on the Jon Marsh website here

Oh, and while your at it buy the amazing novel by Toni Morrison - 'Beloved' here - probably one the greatest reads you'll ever have

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Very Small World in the Middle of a Crowd


I've had 'best of' CD of The Ruts called 'Something That I Said' for a number of years but havn't played it in ages. Then I saw a review of the Clinton Heylin history of Punk and Grunge called 'Babylon's Burning' and decided to buy it. You can buy it too from here. Naturally this made me want to revisit the album and just as before I'm amazed by how much The Ruts achieved in such a short time.

Beginning in 1978 it was less than two years before lead singer Malcolm Owen died of a heroin overdose aged only 26. Other members of the band were Paul Fox on guitar, Vince Segs on bass and Dave Ruffy on drums. They had a really hard edge that attracted a similarly hard edged clientelle to their gigs, in particular the skin-heads of the late punk era. But because the band put forward a strong anti-racist stance this did not sit well with some of the fans and often the gigs would degenerate into violence. Some have said that this was a contributory factor in Owen's addiction although hard to prove.

There is little doubt that Owen had one of the finest punk voices of the era. His loss was at a time when The Clash were disappearing off to the States and was felt all the worse for that. Unlike the Pistols and the rest of the McLaren posse they dressed like the majority of the punk scene, and just seemed plain ordinary working class lads. After the death of Owen the band continued for three more years, but having the front man taken away left them in an unenviable position and they were unable to create the same success.

The Ruts - In A Rut (mp3)

The Ruts - Jah War (mp3)

The Ruts - Staring at the Rude Boys (mp3)

If you havn't heard The Ruts then take a listen and if you like what you hear then buy the albums here. A measly £6.98 for 'The Crack/Grin and Bear It' is a steal. If you have heard them take another listen and do the same.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Happy Birthday


I'm not sure how I feel about the blogging world acting as some kind of confessional or as a 'virtual shoulder' to cry on. For a start it kind of goes against the grain. I'm not exactly the 'cry on your shoulder' type, but I suppose dealing with a lot of unknown faces helps, so here goes.

Mrs Vicar and I had a lovely daughter who died. Her name was Beth. It was a long time ago, but the memory does not diminish. She would have been eleven today. She was only a year and a half old when she died and she was very sick, so in many ways she was released from a lot of torment. But there is still hardly a day goes by when I do not think of her. These days I mostly laugh at the memories rather than shed a tear so it is not a tortuous thing at all, in fact it's a celebration. Beth these are for you:

Paul Weller - Sunflower (mp3) buy

Van Morrison - Sweet Thing (mp3) buy

The House of Love - Shine On (mp3) buy

Tori Amos - Cornflake Girl (mp3) buy

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

DIY Monday


Spent the the whole of yesterday in the garden with Mrs Vicar and the vicarlets. We had looked out of the kitchen on Easter Sunday to realise that the garden was looking a little... well - crepuscular for want of a better expression. The conifer trees that went down the side and blocked the sunlight would have to go. So we set to work and started lopping and sawing with abandon. Only to realise, of course, that we would have to get up all the trunks and roots. But we managed it, hurrah, and now I ache. Oh god I ache - serves me right I guess for biting off a little more than I could chew.

Tracks for today are therefore:

Wilco - Forget the Flowers (mp3) buy

Pulp - Trees (mp3) buy

Ray LaMontagne - You Can Bring Me Flowers (mp3) buy

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The World's Most Flexible Record Label
Ahh, Stiff Records. I remember them with affection. Suddenly at the end of the seventies, to be really cool you had to be signed to a minor label. And, of course, these were the days when minor labels were really a minor label, not a phantasm, an illusion if you will of the kind of small scale label that exists in today's music industry. The media conglomerates still play this game of trying to convince you that the latest bright young things are 'superior' because they belong to the 'sweaty bollocks' label or something similar. And behind the label, skulking like some lardy monster is 'the major' with its corporate bosses chewing on a cigar, and drinking a brandy after their latest business deal. Sickening.

Back in the seventies it was different. The fatcats were still there, but there were also the true independents and one of them was Stiff. Rather famously, of course, Stiff had their "If it ain't Stiff it ain't worth a fuck" slogan, and this provocative stance increased the 'dangerous' feel of the label to spotty faced teenagers like myself. And then there were the artists themselves. Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello were there for a short time, while Ian Dury and Madness were there for much longer. In fact the single sales of Madness really kept the label afloat until its eventual demise in 1986, although it had already teamed up with the semi-independent Island records in 1983. Yes, it was the 'golden age' of the independents and Mr Vicar the cynic believes it is an age we will never see again.

Lene Lovich - Lucky Number (mp3) buy

Ian Dury & the Blockheads - Inbetweenies (mp3) buy

Elvis Costello - Less Than Zero (mp3) buy

The Damned - Neat Neat Neat (mp3) buy

Friday, April 06, 2007

Bristol-Hop

For many people the nearest they ever get to Bristol is hurtling past on the M4 or M5. I, however, regard Bristol with rather more fondness. For a start I lived in Gloucestershire for a few years and Bristol was a short drive down the motorway. Apart from Gloucester Guildhall Arts Centre (and at a pinch the Leisure Centre) Bristol was the best place to go and see any bands. The gig by The Sundays (fuck, what year was that?) was just about the very finest that I have seen.

Anyway, I digress. What I really want to talk about is trip-hop, or at least the Bristol version of it which became known as 'Bristol-hop' or 'The Bristol Sound'. I suppose the sound really came out of the acid-jazz stuff that had been around since the late eighties - bands like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, or Arrested Development spring to mind. But suddenly everybody was talking about the trippy, spliff induced songs of Massive Attack, Portishead and Tricky. They became the darlings of the music press and for a while it was impossible to remove them from the covers of 'Select', 'NME', 'Q' etc (well a slight exaggeration perhaps while grunge and brit-pop were fighting their wars). The atmospheric and dreamlike sound was quite clearly an extension of the changes taking place in the culture of the place. The docklands area was thriving and Bristol was becoming a much more 'cultural' place to live and work.

In the mid nineties, the three key albums of the movement were released. Massive Attack - 'Protection', Portishead - 'Dummy' and Tricky - 'Maxinquaye'. All were lauded and applauded and Bristol seemed to be the centre of the trip-hop world. The albums released afterwards though never seemed to reach the heights demonstrated in this burst of creativity and the 'Bristol Sound' was never fully realised. Mind, you only have to listen to the likes of Morcheeba or Moloko to understand their importance at the time. Not that I'm saying that either of these bands are that important - but you get the drift I hope....

Massive Attack - Inertia Creeps (mp3) buy

Tricky - Black Steel (mp3) buy

Portishead - Cowboys (mp3) buy

Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man - Tom the Model (mp3) buy
Bandwidth now sorted - thanks for your patience

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Away Day with Tutu Vicar


One of my favourite pastimes when visiting friends is to hunt through their record collections. This is, of course, a trawl through their lives and the records found therein contain a wealth of memories both happy and sad. Down in Cheltenham for the weekend I discovered these little gems. Hunky Dory is my favourite Bowie album and The Bewlay Brothers is my favourite track from it. You could make a case for just about any of the tracks on the album though. It is a perfect late night record.

David Bowie - The Bewlay Brothers (mp3)

I have been to this house hundreds of times and been to lots of parties. The Remix album of Kraftwerk is a party favourite. And the Jimi Hendrix is just for you Les.

Kraftwerk - Pocket Calculator (mp3)
Jimi Hendrix - Red House (mp3)

Please visit www.adrianspaintings.com for more of the type of image you can see above. The tracks you see today are his!

Buy Bowie here and Kraftwerk here and Hendrix here

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dylanesque. Part Three.


What makes a good cover version? Ask twenty people this question and you'll get a variety of replies - but there must be some kind of science to it. So what type of covers can you get? -

1. Well established (successful?) band/artist covering a big band/artist song

2. New band covering old (successful) song

3. Old band covering unsuccessful song

Have you fallen asleep yet?

4. New band covering less well known song by established artist (maybe a 'b' side)

5. Same working of song

6. Radical reworking of song


Well you get the general idea. It could go on forever almost. But I won't. Not today at least. But we seem to inherently know when a cover is a good attempt or a bad one. And it could be any one of the permutations above. Anyway here are a couple more for you to peruse over. Make your own mind up.........

Cowboy Junkies - If You Gotta Go, Go Now (mp3)

Marc Carroll - Gates of Eden (mp3)

Buy Cowboy Junkies. Buy Marc Carroll.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dylanesque. Part 2.


Its late. I'm tired. Mrs Vicar got a new job today. We celebrated. And I'm pissed.


Howard Devoto/Luxuria - She's Your Lover Now (mp3) Buy

The Specials - Maggie's Farm (mp3) Buy

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dylanesque. Part One.


Mr Toad from Song, By Toad has done a series of Dylan covers today and as promised last week (I'm not copying honest) I'm going to attempt to do the same. Dylan is probably the most covered artist ever (do you think there are any figures available to prove this one way or another? Or is this just too anal for consideration?) but considering his vast output perhaps this is none too surprising. As most people are aware Bryan Ferry has just completed his regular covers album, with mixed reception it has to be said, this time only covering Mr Zimmerman. I'm certain there will be numerous artists trying their hand with his output for years to come. Here are a couple right now:

The Waterboys - Girl from the North Country (mp3)

I suspect that Mr Toad will disagree with this choice given his posting today (see link above) but I think this is a worthy version, but without the pathos added by Mark Everett. I think the Eels treatment is better by a short head.

Echo and the Bunnymen - It's All Over Now Baby Blue (mp3)

I'm just a sucker for Macca whatever he sings.

Buy the Waterboys here and the Bunnymen here and Dylan here

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bob

For my last post in acoustic week I have to keep the floor open to his holiness, Robert Zimmerman. I have to say I've never been the greatest Dylan fan there ever was - particularly with the electric stuff. (Yes I would have been there at the Newport Folk Festival jeering and booing with the best of them). And try as I might I have never really liked 'Blonde on Blonde' or 'Blood on the Tracks' despite the plaudits coming from the music press - and all my friends - and family. But I would be foolish indeed not to realise his impact on the music industry over more than four decades. He is a giant, a leviathan, a behemoth of modern recording, and as such needs just recognition. And anyway I might as well blow the entire bandwidth in one go.

Bob Dylan - A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (mp3)

Bob Dylan - It Ain't Me Babe (mp3)

Buy his Bobness here and look out for other Dylan inspired moments next week.

By the way Crash from Pretending Life Is Like A Song has asked me to send all you in blogland his rather plaintive cries of sorrow for not posting today. There was a rather catastrophic hardware failure in the West Midlands rendering his best laid plans redundant. Service will be resumed on monday.