Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub #29

Yo! Here we are again, tout le monde – a treat for lovers of music on vinyl! That’s right – another Singles Night at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub, where I play my way through a big ol’ stack of 7″ singles and have a big time knees up whilst I do it.

There are literally dozens of 45 rpm records chez moi: some classic, some crap. I love ’em all. With a few drinkies to ease things along, we’re in for a great evening.

Here’s the latest playlist:

  1. The Mission – “Severina” / “Tomorrow Never Knows”
  2. Joe Fagin – “Back with the Boys Again” / “Get it Right”
  3. Samantha Fox – “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now” / “Dream City”
  4. Samantha Fox – “I Surrender (To the Spirit of the Night”) / “The Best is Yet to Come”
  5. Lacuna Coil – “Our Truth”/ “Without a Reason”
  6. Paul McCartney & The Frog Chorus – ” We All Stand Together” / “We All Stand Together (Humming Version)”
  7. Slade – “7 Year Bitch” / “Leave Them Girls Alone”
  8. Demon – “Wonderland” / “Blackheath”
  9. Sex Pistols – “Silly Thing” / “Who Killed Bambi”
  10. Bad Manners – “Can Can” / “Armchair Disco”
  11. Doctor & The Medics – “Burn” / “Captain Frazer”
  12. 2 in a Room – “Wiggle It” / “Take Me Away”
  13. Slade – “My Oh My” / “Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply”
  14. T’Pau – “China in Your Hand” / “No Sense of Pride”
  15. Belinda Carlisle – “I Get Weak” / “Should I Let You In?”
  16. Madonna – “Crazy for You” / Sammy Hagar – “I’ll Fall in Love Again”
  17. Billy Ocean – “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car” / “Showdown”
  18. Scorpions – “Wind of Change” / “Restless Nights”
  19. Jack Parnell & His Orchestra – “Galloping Home (Theme From Black Beauty” / “Hawaii Five-O”
  20. Then Jericho – “Big Area” / “The Big Sweep”

Wow. From the Sex Pistols to the Frog Chorus – as always, it’s an eclectic night at the Virtual Hot tub on Singles Night! That might not be Paul McCartney’s greatest moment, but to be fair, I loved Rupert the Bear when I was a toddler, so consider me a fan.

Some notes:

The first Sam Fox single is credited as the “Samantha Fox Box”, as it comes in a carboard boxset thing with a poster. The second Sam Fox single is a Limited Edition blue vinyl single, in a gatefold photo pack. Pretty cool, and both from bargain bins.

Also from a bargain bin, the Lacuna Coil single is picture disc – and only cost me £1. Crazy bargain!

Lots of songs I loved in this evening’s playlist: the Pistols easily being my favourite. The worst was that Scorpions song, that was rubbbish.

Variety is the spice of life, and this Singles Night playlist was indeed spicy. Great tracks. More soon!

Rewind Festival Playlist

Rewind Festival 2013 – Playlist

Around this time last year, we visited Rewind Festival to celebrate the stag do of my great pal Jarrod.  A fine crew of chaps were assembled for a weekend of much hilarity and fabulous entertainment.

Set in Henley-on-Thames, Rewind festival offered a feast of musical acts from the 1980’s.

Some of the gang are returning this year, unfortunately I can’t make it due to family commitments.  Never the less, in honour of our 2013 adventure – and as a “bon voyage” to my comrades for this year – I’ve compiled the following playlist.

To compile this playlist, the acts had to have performed over the festival weekend last year.  They also have to actually be in my music collection, in iTunes.  I was quite surprised that there were several acts who performed that I don’t actually possess any recordings of.  No matter – this list consists of what I actually own.

  1. Doctor & the Medics – “Spirit in the Sky”
  2. The Sugarhill Gang – “Rapper’s Delight”
  3. Billy Ocean – “Love Really Hurts Without You”
  4. Nik Kershaw – “Wouldn’t it be Good”
  5. Heaven 17 – “Temptation”
  6. Kim Wilde – “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”
  7. The B-52’s – “Roam”
  8. Belinda Carlisle – “We Want the Same Thing”
  9. Go West – “We Close Our Eyes”
  10. ABC – “The Look of Love”
  11. Pointer Sisters – “Jump (For My Love)”

Short but sweet.

A big shout out to Jaz, Gol, Tone, Baz, Adam, Si, Brendan and of course the one and only Richard Minshull esq.  What a top quality bunch!

And to those of you going this year – hope you have an amazing time!

You can read my review of Rewind Festival 2013 here.

The website for Rewind Festival is here.

Elvis Lives!

What if… Elvis Presley hadn’t died in 1977?

Another great thing about the White Bear in Mancot is that they have live music on Saturday nights.  Whether it’s a full band or a lone artist, there’s usually some entertainment on.  And very good they are too.

One night I witnessed an Elvis tribute night, which was excellent.  Andy Wright was the performer, and he put on a great show.  Two sets of classics from the King, complete with jump suit outfit and giant lit up Elvis back drop.  He had the voice and mannerisms dialled, not being afraid to stay in character with his between song banter.  Brilliant fun.

Another section of the performance intrigued me.  For the encore, Andy sang several songs that Elvis hadn’t actually performed*.  The reason that they hadn’t been covered by the King was that they were, for the most part, songs written after his death.  Thus, we were regaled by songs such as Purple Rain and Folsom Prison Blues.  A fantastic idea – very different and thought provoking. 2013-11-30 22.52.14

It got me thinking.  What if Elvis Presley hadn’t died on August 16th 1977?

What if, in an alternate reality, Elvis had lived on?  Maybe the 1980’s would have been a barren patch creatively.  Perhaps a half hearted come back tour, a residency in Las Vegas.  Perhaps the Elvis show would run to parody and be devoid of both true spectacle and triumph.

Perhaps in the 1990s, Rick Rubin would have decided to record something stripped back, honest and gritty with Elvis?  To put the King back on his throne and return him to his glorious past?  Used contemporary songs to showcase the immense talent that this fallen icon still possessed?  Remind us all why we loved Elvis in the first place, and what a force to be reckoned with he still was?

Something vaguely similar happened in the 90’s with Elvis’ contemporary Johnny Cash.  In another dimension, would the King have recovered his cool in the same way?

This thought led me to create the playlist below.  Twelve songs by newer artists that I think would have been fantastic for Elvis to cover.

Just imagine: Elvis Presley – and his recent Rubin produced comeback album “American Recordings: Long Live the King”.

  1. “Wicked Game” (Chris Isaak)
  2. “American Nightmare” (The Misfits)
  3. “Mama Said” (Metallica)
  4. “Crazy in Love” (Beyonce)
  5. “You Shook Me All Night Long” (AC/DC)
  6. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (U2)
  7. “Blood and Tears” (Danzig)
  8. “When the Going Gets Tough” (Billy OCean)
  9. “Mystify” (INXS)
  10. “Stranger on the Town” (The Damned)
  11. “Mysterious Ways” (U2)
  12. “Hip to be Square” (Huey Lewis & The News)

Some of those choices may not be obvious, if you’re not familiar with the bands.  Take my word for it, Elvis singing Misfits and Danzig songs would be awesome.  Glenn Danzig reminds me of Presley anyway, a lot of the time.  And The King’s voice would be perfect for The Damned and Metallica tracks.

Disagree with my song choices?  Have more ideas for songs for Elvis?  Leave a comment and let me know.

You can visit Andy Wright’s Facebook page here.  Get in touch and book him.

Rewind Festival

Rewind – The 80’s Festival

16th – 18th August 2013

It’s a stag do, and as such promises a weekend of laughter and mirth.  Though some readers may be wondering what I was doing at a festival featuring pop bands from the 1980’s, there was actually quite a lot of music to savour.  Plus the banter was to be unmissable.  Besides, I’ve never been to Download or Castle Donington or whatever it is and it’s probably too late for me now.  Rewind festival is go!

The first day is drive down, queue for two hours to get into the festival (at least we had beers) and then put the tents up.  In the evening there’s a chance to explore the festival village, catch some live music and eat.  And drink more ale.  We drank quite a lot of beer and/or cider and got into the spirit quite nicely.  The mood in the festival village was uplifting, everyone excited for the fun ahead.

One of the main acts I actually wanted to see over the weekend was Doctor & the Medics (don’t ask, I loved “Spirit in the Sky” years ago).  Unfortunately a lack of information meant that I turned up for the last thirty seconds of that penultimate song, not something I was happy about.  They did AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie” for an encore which kind of eased the pain.  A teensy bit.

Blind drunk and weeping at having missed Doctor & the Medics, it was then time to sit around our tents till ridiculous o’clock and drink even more.  I have to say that despite my inebriated state, I contributed many intellectual musings to the conversation, elevating my status as a raconteur and thinker by some degree.

Saturday’s music begins with the Sugarhill Gang, not an obvious choice for an 80’s festival but one I was looking forward to.  Hip hop gained international exposure in the 80’s so this was a different, yet very apt act.  Their set includes a run through of hip hop classics (some not their own) that gets the party started in good style.  It’s a raucous start to the day – if Sugarhill Gang are the openers, then we’re in for a treat.

The Blow Monkeys are next – and they do indeed blow the good vibe set by their predecessors.  Insipid eighties pop of the worst kind, their music is forgettable – and should be forgotten.  They leave with a petulant comment about Chesney Hawkes.  At least he had one good song, Blow Monkeys – you have none.

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel‘s set is peppered with irony – or is it just bad luck?  We get the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” despite the looming rain clouds.  And a song that Steve promises audiences sing along to all over the world – that no-one’s ever heard.  Still, “Mr Soft” and the glorious “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)” offer more highlights.  Let’s just forget that Harley is a 1970’s act.

For some bizarre reason, Billy Ocean is on in the late afternoon.  He could’ve headlined the night.  Hit after hit, performed perfectly with a voice that sounds fresh and energetic.  Billy knows his craft and leads the audience through sing-a-longs one after the other.  It’s amazing how much quality material he has.  As one of my festival buddies commented, previously I would’ve worn a Billy Ocean t-shirt with a hint of irony – now I’d wear one with pride.  Awesome.

Then it was time to go back to the tent for a few cheap cans of lager, which meant that I missed Then Jericho (“A trainwreck” was how one pal described it).  No loss there.  Expensive festival booze encouraged us to enjoy more of our beer stash so I also missed Chesney Hawkes, though we could hear THAT song at the tent – and it was great.

Flying Pickets were also unfortunately ignored, unlike Ches I couldn’t hear them at all.  On the walk back to the festival arena I heard the Journey bloke singing the one good song in their repertoire.

It should be said that the atmosphere at Rewind was great.  The fun of it all was most obviously demonstrated by the fancy dress outfits that were worn by brave festival goers.  Some of my favourites were security guards with Hannibal Lecter (Lecter was a puppet); aliens from “V”; He-Man and the Honey Monster.

Back in the thick of it, and it was time for Heaven 17.  I’ve seen them before and knew they could do a solid job.  Amazing to think that I’ve now seen Heaven 17 more than I’ve seen Metallica.  Great 80’s pop that is, essentially, anthemic dance music.  “Temptation” is another obvious highlight of the day.

Nik Kershaw was my cue to go get some food.  But before I left, I checked out a few of Nik’s songs.  He looks like a healthier Charles Bukowski and delivers a set that is actually really good, loaded with more hits than I remembered.  Great stuff – made me regret leaving early to get a burrito.

Happily fed and with a new bottle of beer, it’s off to see Kim Wilde.  WOW.  Again, I’m surprised just how many great songs Kim has.  I thought she would be good, but Kim really impresses.  What’s more, she’s gorgeous – all twelve of our stag do party falling in love with her.  “Kids in America” is a delight in a set of real gems.

Finally we have the B-52s, a band I actually consider myself quite a fan of.  At least, I know most of their songs tonight.  Starting with “Planet Claire” we are off to the strange sci-fi New Wave world of the B-52s, with a mid set appearance for (my favourite) “Roam”.  Awesome vocals from Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson lift this and many other songs, till we reach our destination with “Love Shack” and finally “Rock Lobster”.  There’s even some dude head to toe in a foam rubber lobster outfit down the front.  Crazy.

That’s it.  We hang around and enjoy the festival atmos, watching Camp Cooks (hilarious) and the rodeo bull ride (er…).  Then it’s back to the campsite for another night’s chatting utter comedy gold around the tents.  A great days entertainment, the only odd thing about the Saturday line up is the running order.  Billy Ocean should’ve been top of the bill, with Kim Wilde and the B-52s on before him.

That was to be the end of my Rewind adventure, as due to family commitments I had to return home the next morning (thanks for lift, Adam) and miss all the Sunday fun.  Which meant that I missed Go West, the Pointer Sisters, ABC and Belinda Carlisle

Perhaps not seeing Belinda Carlisle isn’t the disaster it first appeared to be.  Can you imagine the consequences of Belinda and myself actually being in the same place at the same time?  And the obvious chemistry that would’ve brought us together?  No, better to leave it without our meeting.  There are families involved, there are children to consider.  It would have been a catastrophe in the making.

http://www.rewindfestival.com/