Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #14

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

The Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 13th April 2018

It’s been a while since I last attended Bring Your Own Vinyl Night, and boy did I miss it.  It was great to be back in the Queen’s Head pub in Mold with the chaps from Halcyon Dreams and VOD Music to spin some records.

If you’ve missed previous episodes (where HAVE you been?), it works like this:  Each person gets a fifteen minute set to play whatever songs they like, but only on vinyl.  Simple as that.  Throw in some beer and some music based chat and you’re in for a great time.

As it was getting close to Record Store Day, Tom from Halcyon Dreams pitched a challenge for us would-be DJs: our set had to be comprised of artists who would be releasing music on the day.

No problem, I thought.  Here’s how my set went:

Killing Joke – The Wait

To begin, a thunderously loud track from the first Killing Joke album.  A riff so mighty that Metallica covered it for their $5.98 EP, this tune also has an incessant tribal beat under the choppy punk guitar.  A great song from an essential album, in my opinion.  I’ve been a fan of KJ for a long time and they’re still turning out screaming punk/metal/industrial noise to this day.

Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues

Well you can’t go wrong with a bit of Johnny Cash, although I was surprised that this track really seemed to go down well with the pub crowd.  Regular readers will know how big a fan of Johnny Cash I am, he’s just unbeatable.  This classic song was taken from an old compilation I picked up at a record fair, crammed full of great tunes.  I’m glad to say this song seemed very popular!

L7 – Everglade

Another crushing riff, this time from the “Bricks Are Heavy” album from all-girl punk rock grungers L7.  My favourite song from that album, and one of my favourite bands from that era.  I saw the band live a couple of years ago at Download fest, they were amazing.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that girls can’t rock – L7 were the best band of the day.

The Members – Sound of the Suburbs

And finally, an old punk rock classic on 45rpm courtesy of the Members.  This track also seemed popular!  I only have the 7 inch single of this song, so I could do with tracking down some more records by them.  Great fun.

So that wraps up another Bring Your Own Vinyl Night, and what a great night it was! My mixing skills need some sharpening up, but I really enjoyed myself.  Well done Tom and Colin, looking forward to another bash soon.  I know those guys are very busy, but the Vinyl Nights are always a treat.  See you soon!

The Halcyon Dreams blogspot is here.

The Halcyon Dreams mixcloud page is here.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

The VOD music website is here.

PS – Great food in the Queen’s Head too.  £6 for a massive mixed grill!

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #8

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 8th April 2016

Got a record collection?  Want to spin those discs on a nice turntable for an appreciative bunch of vinyl enthusiasts?  The Bring Your Own Vinyl Night is for you!

Held monthly in the Queen’s Head pub in Mold, North Wales, this event goes from strength to strength.  The idea is simple: each participant gets 15 minutes to play whatever records they want.  That’s vinyl only; no CDs, MP3s, cassettes or whatever else.  Just have a beer and enjoy the music.

My pal Adam was back on the decks tonight, and was the first of our crew to step up.  He played a great set of songs from movies, that went something like this:

  • Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better
  • Blue Swede – Hooked On A Feeling
  • George Thorogood & The Destroyers – Bad to the Bone
  • Ry Cooder – All Shook Up
  • Santo & Johnny – Sleepwalk

A special prize if you can name the films these songs are from!  A great set from Adam, I think one of his strongest.  In particular, I thought “Sleepwalk” was an exceptional track.

Then it was my turn:

Suicidal Tendencies – Possessed to Skate

Regular readers will know the story of my Suicidal records.  Here’s a quick recap.  Going back to the height of my skateboarding days in 1988 (or thereabouts), my friend Kelvin Bedford gave me the album “Join the Army” by Suicidal Tendencies.  A few years later, as a broke student, I sold that album and another ST record to my mate Graham.  Now fast forward to the recent past, and although I had the CDs, I was kicking myself for not having the vinyl anymore.  They were easy enough to buy off Discogs.  However, sadly Kel had passed away a couple of years ago, so I thought it would be great to have the copy he originally gave me back.  I contacted Graham, and he gave me the records for free.  What a gentleman!  I bought him a beer or two as a thank you.

Not so brief that recap, but now you have the background.  I wanted to play a track off the classic “Join the Army” record, as it was back in my collection, and this had to be it.  Many fun memories of my old skateboarding days always come flooding back with this fast paced punk rock/metal hybrid.  And I still listen to it when I skate nowadays (which isn’t often enough).  “Possessed to Skate”.  RAD.

Iggy & The Stooges – Gimme Danger

The next song is a favourite I was introduced to in my university days.  I was already a fan of the early Stooges albums, but hadn’t heard “Raw Power”.  It’s a superb record, full of barely restrained energy and chaos.  “Gimme Danger” is a the second song on the album, lulling the listener in to a false sense of comfort after lead track “Search and Destroy” decimates your speakers.  “Gimme Danger” still has an air of menace, however – a sense that anything can, and will, go wrong.  Decadent and beautiful, a masterpiece.

Chris Isaak – Wicked Game

And so on to Chris Isaak.  I have the “Wicked Game” album on CD, so I can regularly bask in the warmth of Isaak’s voice and imagine desert roads, truck stops, motels and neon lights.  This version is on a 7″ single that Greeny gave me for Christmas, and I’m so glad I have it.  Timeless Americana that always carries a hint of David Lynch, thanks to the song being included in “Wild at Heart”.  I usually drunkenly sing along to this at 2am.  I’ve also attempted “Wicked Game” at Karaoke a couple of times; I think I got away with it.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Sexy Mexican Maid

One of my favourite RHCP songs ever, you can find this sensual little number on the fantastic “Mother’s Milk” record.  It’s a slow funky groove that deserves to be heard more often, from one of their greatest albums.  “Sexy Mexican Maid” shows the Chili Peppers exploring their sound and developing towards “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”, whilst still happy to languish with their sexually charged lyrics.

So last up was Ben the Swede, who recently moved house and now had access to his full vinyl collection.  The theme was bass, of different types:

  • Level 42 – You Can’t Blame Louis
  • Duran Duran – A View to a Kill
  • ELO – Shine a Little Love

And there you have it: another great night with some great songs and some very cool people.There were some killer tracks from PIL, Perrey & Kingsley, Elvis Costello and more.  You can see the full playlist on the Halcyon Dreams blog here.

Thanks all – looking forward to the next Vinyl Night!

You can listen to this Bring Your Own Vinyl Night (and previous ones, too) on the Mixcloud page here.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

Thanks Graham!

RIP Kelvin Bedford

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #7

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 26th February 2016

Welcome back to the Queen’s Head in Mold, North Wales!  Get yourself a pint and make yourself comfortable, ‘cos you know what time it is.  That’s right, it’s Bring Your Own Vinyl Night again!

Remember the rules: there’s a fifteen minute slot for each person; play whatever you like, so long as it’s vinyl.

Only Greeny and myself made it this time – Adam and Ben the Swede were both unavailable.  No theme for my set this time, just a few songs I really had a yearning to play…

Ennio Morricone – The Ecstasy of Gold

This song is of course from the soundtrack for the classic Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  My version came from an album called “This is Ennio Morricone”.  You don’t need me to tell you how great that film is.  And Morricone’s soundtrack is stylish and ground breaking.  In particular, this track (which plays while Eli Wallach’s character runs frenziedly through a Civil War graveyard) is sheer class.  It builds magnificently and captivates the listener.  A bit over the top, I admit, as the first song in my set – but never let it be said that Platinum Al doesn’t do drama.

Ramones – Surfin’ Bird

If I was going to recommend a Ramones album for a novice to start their education of NYC’s finest, I’d go for “Rocket to Russia”.  I thought that this frenetic cover of the Trashmen’s surf rock gem would be a suitable place to go, after the majesty of the last track.  I love the Ramones and this song was a ton of fun to play.

Soundgarden – Fresh Tendrils

This song, from the simply fantastic “Superunknown” album, is probably my favourite Soundgarden song ever.  And I’m a bit of a Soundgarden nerd – I’ve collected tons of their stuff.  Rather than play a more obvious, well known song, I decided to go with my top tune.  “Fresh Tendrils” has an epic, classic rock sound that I love.  No idea what Chris is singing about, however.  The version I played was from the “Spoonman” 12″ single (on clear vinyl!).

Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues

Originally I was going to play a Stooges song, but then I remembered that 26th February was Johnny Cash’s birthday.  So I decided to play a song by the Man in Black.  “Folsom Prison Blues” is a legendary track, one of Cash’s best.  And I’ve already stated how big a hero this guy was to me.  The album this came from – “Original Golden Hits Volume 1” – was my Gran’s.  After she passed away, it was given to me.  I’d heard a lot from bands I was into how Cash was an inspiration, so I checked the record out.  I loved it, and my Johnny Cash fandom was born.  The first Cash record I heard, but not the last!

That’s my list for the night.  There were may great songs played through out the evening, though.  Budgie!  Hawkwind!  Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy!  Anthrax!  Check the link below for the complete list.

Wax is back – get spinning those tracks!  Thanks for a great night!

I’d also like to thank my old mate Graham, who turned up with a couple of Suicidal Tendencies records for me.  You see, I’d sold these two exact albums to Graham some twenty years ago, when I was a broke student.  Although I could’ve tracked the records down on eBay, I decided to message Graham and see if he’d sell them back to me (if he still had them).  The reason being that one album, the awesome “Join the Army”, had been given to me when I was 15 by my friend Kelvin Bedford, who I used to skateboard with every day.  Sadly, Kel passed away a couple of years ago.  So it was cool to get that actual copy back in my record collection, as a nice memory.  It even had the same plastic protective sheet over the album – and the selotape strip I patched up the inner sleeve with many, many years ago!  Graham gave me both records for free – so I bought him a pint or two.  Thank you!

The Halcyon Dreams blogspot is here.

The Halcyon Dreams mixcloud page is here.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

Cocktail Time: Blue Hawaiian

IMG_20160213_182122090

It’s that time again!  Time to chill in the Virtual Hot Tub with a refreshing cocktail, letting the week’s stresses flow away.  And what a great cocktail I have to share with you this time!

The Blue Hawaiian is a classic cocktail, simply delicious and full of summer excitement.  There’s plenty of time till summer, so get your kit together and practice making this tipple ready for those warm evenings.  I highly recommend a blender is used for this recipe, rather than just shaking. IMG_20160213_180025383

Blue Hawaiian

  • White rum
  • Blue curacao
  • Coconut cream
  • Pineapple juice
  • Ice

First of all, get that blender prepped and ready.  Pour in 2 measures of the white rum and one measure of the blue curacao (for one person).  Add 3 tablespoons of the coconut milk and a few ice cubes.  Give the mixture a quick 30 second mix in the blender, to get the colour even.

Then pour in the pineapple juice.  The recommended amount is 3 tablespoons, but I would experiment here and add a more if required.  Now give the mixture a full blitz in the blender until it’s frothy, man.

Now you can pour the mixture into your glass, and garnish the hell out of it.  Umbrellas, straws, slices of pineapple – go for it with whatever you can find. IMG_20160213_181643659

The result is a beautifully fruity cocktail that is ideal to sip and chill out with.  I highly recommend some Hawaiian music (on wax, of course) to complete the mood.

Enjoy!

Soundtrack: Hawaiian tunes (see photo); Arthur Lyman’s “Hawaiian Nights”; Les Baxter; Martin Denny; Elvis.

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #5

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 4th December 2015

Unlike the last event, I didn’t have a theme for Bring Your Own Vinyl Night this time around.  Just some tunes I fancied playing.  I hadn’t even decided exactly what they would be till the show was on.

For anyone still uninitiated, the night is hosted in the Queen’s Head pub in Mold, North Wales.  There are two turntables and each participant gets to play 15 minutes of whatever music they want, vinyl only.

I had myself a couple of beers and rattled out this selection:

Motorhead – Ace of Spades

When you buy your first Motorhead album, you know you’ve entered the world of grown up music.  Big, nasty unapologetic rocking grown up music.  A song that never gets old, I was introduced to “Ace of Spades” when the band performed it on the classic “University Challenge” episode of The Young Ones.  It’s just a non-stop, joyous racket that simply will not stop or slow down for anyone.  Absolute perfection.  I played this in memory of drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, who sadly passed away recently.

The Vapors – Turning Japanese

A New Wave/Punk Rock classic, I was donated the brilliant “Turning Japanese” by a friend.  Thank you, Simon.  It was supposed to be part of a tribute set that I’m still working on.  It was going to be hard to follow up the adrenaline rush of the previous song, The Vapors pulled it off here though.  A great power pop song that kept the pace of the set nicely.

Dinosaur Jr. – Freak Scene

A slight fast forward to the late 1980’s for this next track.  The first track on Dinosaur Jr.’s album “Bug”, this track nicely covers the appeal of early American alternative rock.  Born out of punk and hardcore, with one foot in old Black Sabbath and one in jangly pop; Dinosaur Jr. constantly delight.  Reminds me of my skateboarding youth.

Beastie Boys – Sabotage

I couldn’t decide which track to play last, so I let the audience choose the album.  The Beastie Boys “Ill Communication” won hands down, and I chose “Sabotage” as the track to play.  Another unrelenting monster of a song, “Sabotage” has a funky groove delivered with a rocking style.  Again, a song I never tire of.  Plus the Spike Jonze video, with it’s 70’s cop show homage, is a work of genius.  It’s been over twenty years and I still want to dress up and play Sabotage Cops for a day.

My buddy Adam strode up to the decks next, and delivered another fine set.  It went something like this:

  • Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure
  • The Blasters – I’m Shakin’
  • Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
  • DJ Kool – Let Me Clear My Throat

Four top songs from Adam there, the Queen track was a load of fun and had me doing my world renowned Freddie Mercury impression.  It was nice to hear a modern song on vinyl too, with the Ronson/Mars number.

Great night, great songs – well done all on another fine evening’s entertainment.  I’m currently stumped what to play next time.  I’ll work on it.

The Halcyon Dreams blog is here, where you can find listed (very helpfully) all of the songs played on the night.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

Seasonal drink: Snowball

If you’re still in a party mood – and who isn’t, with New Year’s Eve on the way? – here’s a recipe for a seasonal cocktail that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.  The festive season may be coming to an end, but this tipple is still a top recommendation.

The Snowball is well known, and can be made to your particular taste.  You may know the ingredients already, so consider this a reminder of a winter classic.

Why not pull up a chair at the Virtual Tiki Bar and ask Veronica, our Virtual Bar Attendant, to concoct one of these for you?  Made just how you like it. IMG_2740

Snowball

  • Advocaat
  • Vodka
  • Lime juice (cordial)
  • Lemonade
  • Ice

The amounts required for this drink depend on the drinker’s taste, and the size of glass used.  Experiment and adjust to your preference.

Add ice at first, then pour a small amount of lime cordial.  Throw in a shot of vodka – this can be substituted by brandy, if desired.

Pour in a big old dose of the Advocaat, then top up with lemonade.  Veronica was a bit sketchy on the measures, so just play around.  Mix with a stirrer and enjoy.

Drink responsibly!

Soundtrack: Christmas with the Rat Pack, or Ultra Lounge Christmas Cocktails (Vol I and II).

Drink of the Week: Monkey Wrench

Better hurry and mix this drink while you can – it’s an ideal summer refresher and there ain’t much summer left…

The Monkey Wrench is a popular warm weather tipple here at the Virtual Hot Tub.  Ask Veronica, the Virtual Barmaid, to throw one of these together for you – and join me in the tub for a soak. IMG_3137

Monkey Wrench

  • White rum
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Lemonade
  • Ice

Crush the ice and add to a tall glass.  Add two measures of white rum, then pour in the grapefruit juice.  Finally top up with lemonade and give it a stir.

Grapefruit juice can be a little sharp, but don’t worry if you’re not a fan – the lemonade can take the edge off.  Experiment with the quantities to achieve a taste you like.

Enjoy!

Soundtrack: “Monkey Wrench” by Foo Fighters.

Drink of the Week #2

Shirley Temple

Are you being good after indulging during Christmas?  Have you sworn off alcohol for a while, maybe even the whole of January?  If you have, but you’re after something more than a cup of tea, this one’s for you.

The Shirley Temple is a non-alcoholic cocktail, or mocktail, if you will.  The legend is that it was concocted in a Hollywood hotel for the then child star, and of course is alcohol free.  It’s a great drink to enjoy if you’re staying off the booze – the ritual of mixing a drink makes it seem special.  Plus it’s easy to make.

Shirley Temple IMG_2583

  • Grenadine
  • Sprite or 7Up
  • Ice

Pour a small measure of grenadine syrup into a glass.  Think of it as if you were making a cordial drink: the grenadine is the cordial which you will add to.  Of course you can experiment with the amount of grenadine to achieve the taste you like.  Add ice and pour in the Sprite/7Up.

Don’t forget – you could use diet versions of the Sprite or 7Up if you want a slightly healthier version…

Grenadine is easily available in supermarkets.  It’s not expensive and is a common ingredient in many other cocktails, so useful to have in your cupboard.

Soundtrack: The Aquabats! – “Hi-Five Soup!”

Cheeky Vimto

It’s time for a tipple at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub.  This one’s an old classic – I’m sure you’ve tried it, if not – enjoy!

Cheeky Vimto

  • 1 measure ruby port
  • Blue WKD
IMG_2003

Cheeky Vimto

Really simple to make: pour one measure of port into a large tumbler.  Top up with WKD of the blue variety.

You will create a drink that looks, smells and tastes just like a fizzy Vimto – but with a hidden punch.

Play around with the amount of WKD you add – but the colour should be a dark purple, not translucent at all.

It’s been a long while since I was introduced to the Cheeky Vimto, and it became a favourite for a while.  It was the Vodka/Redbull of it’s day.  I have fond memories of introducing this drink to several weary travellers when we got home from Amsterdam on Baz Coppack’s stag do.

Well worth re-discovering.

Soundtrack: Stereophonics

By the way, I say “W-K-D” (the initials) not “Wicked”.  I hate the word “wicked” when used in that way.  You do not sound cool if you say, “Hey, that’s wicked!”.  You sound like a pretend cockney who thinks they’re a “geezer”.

Say “rad” or “killer” instead and avoid looking like a chimp.

Surf Rider

Surf Rider cocktail

Surf Rider cocktail

We’re back at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub, following a short break due to technical problems.  And it’s time for another cocktail recipe straight from the Virtual Tiki Bar.  This is one I discovered recently and has become a firm favourite.

Surf Rider

  • 3 measures vodka
  • 1 measure vermouth 
  • Lemon juice 
  • Orange juice
  • Grenadine 
  • Ice

Start with four or five ice cubes in your cocktail shaker.  Add the vodka, then add a liberal dash of lemon juice.  Pour in your grenadine – the recipe recommends 1/2 teaspoon but I would go for more.  Be a devil.  Then top off with fresh orange juice and shake.

The result is a refreshing summer drink, not too dissimilar to a Love on the Rocks, but not as sickly sweet.

Soundtrack: The Ventures, the Beach Boys

Drink responsibly.