What could be better, I ask you: playing through a pile of classic 7 inch vinyl singles, whilst having a few alcoholic beverages, basking in the glory of music? Not much. The only catch here, is that some of these records are less “classic” than others…
Never the less, my mission to listen to my stack of unplayed vinyl singles continues regardless. A side then B side, no skipping, playing the lot – whether hard sought after treasure; charity shop find or gift.
Pour yourself a drink and join me on my latest musical odyssey…
Iggy Pop – “Real Wild Child (Wild One)” / “Little Miss Emperor”
Garbage – “Queer” / “The Very Queer Dub-Bin Version”
Garbage – “When I Grow Up” / “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine”
The Gap Band – “Oops Upside Your Head” / “The Boys Are Back in Town”
Glen Campbell – “Rhinestone Cowboy” / “Lovelight”
Kim Wilde – “The Second Time” / “Lovers on a Beach”
Kim Wilde – “Dancing in the Dark” / “Back Street Driver”
Styx – “Boat on the River” / “Come Sail Away”
The Mama’s and the Papa’s – “Monday Monday” / Got a Feelin'”
Dave Davies – “Death of a Clown” / “Love Me Till the Sun Shines”
Duane Eddy – “Rebel Rouser” / Bobby Day – “Rockin’ Robin” / Chubby Checker – “Pony Time”
Trio – Da Da Da (English Version) / Da Da Da (German Version)
Billy Fury – “Halfway to Paradise” / “Cross My Heart”
The Zombies – “She’s Not There” / “You Make Me Feel Good”
Stevie Wonder – “Yester-me, Yester-you, Yesterday” / “I’d Be a Fool Right Now”
Roy Orbison – “It’s Over” / “Indian Wedding”
Gene Vincent – “She She Little Sheila” / “Hot Dollar”
The Motors – “Forget About You” / “Picturama”
Blondie – “Island of Lost Souls” / “Dragonfly”
T-Rex – “20th Century Boy” / “Free Angel”
Another 20 awesome singles! Great stuff there from Iggy, Blondie, T-Rex, Roy Orbison – plus double Garbage and double Kim Wilde. Crossing the genres and spanning the years, it was another fine night of music.
In February last year, I interviewed Chester based punk/grunge band Ryuko at Pentre Fest. Due to numerous unavoidable issues – not least this blasted pandemic – the piece was unfinished till recently. Not long ago, this post finally appeared on Ever Metal, and I thought I’d republish it here too. Enjoy!
“Grandpa, what’s a gig?”
“Well son, a gig was what we used to call a band playing live music, in front of an audience.”
“What, people watching musicians play their instruments? Crazy!”
“I know it seems like a strange idea to you youngsters, but it used to be a fantastic experience. Actually being able to gather with friends and strangers to enjoy hearing music. It was another world.”
That’s what the situation seems like right now: no gigs, no gatherings for entertainment – the old days sometimes feel like a lifetime ago. At least it seemed a whole different world back in February 2020, before the pandemic, when I caught up with Chester based band Ryuko at Pentre Fest.
The three piece – comprising The Bobfather (guitars/vocals), Captain Andy (bass) and MattMan (drums) were something of an anomaly at the metal-centric Pentre Fest. Not that Ryuko don’t rock out, but their brand of punky, alternative rock was a little different from the other bands on show. I found their style of honest, yet far from pretentious rock’n’roll refreshing and it added a vital tone to the proceedings.
Post gig, I caught up with the band to pose some questions and contemplate the meaning of life.
First off, the cliched yet crucial discussion on influences:
Bob: It’s weird, ‘cos we’ve got influences from all over. If you listen to one of our sets, it has stages: it starts off punky, then it goes alternative rock. Then it goes a little metal/grungy, then back to punk at the end.
Matt: Drop D then back to punk! I’m a huge fan of Motorhead and Metallica, the list goes on, so me being the drummer, I was always doing these thrash beats. To go from that to stepping into this, this was more fun to me. I really enjoy myself when I’m behind the kit with these guys.
Bob: When I write the songs, I listen to quite a broad variety of music, so I think that becomes apparent in my songs. I don’t like to write the same song twice. As far as when I started out, I would say when I was a teenager, I first started listening to Nirvana, Carter USM. I also drew influences from a lot of electro – The Prodigy and stuff like that – so sometimes I’d try and work out how to play dance songs on a guitar. And then that would give me the influence to write more interesting songs. I like to try and fuse a bunch of different genres together, make it more interesting.
Andy: I listen to a lot of Neil Young, I think he’s a very diverse artist. He’s done folk, he’s also done electric stuff.
How do you promote yourselves?
Matt: I’m more into social media than these guys are. We’re promoting ourselves on Facebook, we’re gonna make a new YouTube account. That’s kind of going up and down at the moment…
Bob: We don’t know how to work it!
Where does the name Ryuko come from?
Bob: I’m really into anime and all things Japanese, Japanese music… At the time I was watching an anime called Kill la Kill. The main character is called Ryuko Matoi and I just thought it was a really cool name. Some really fun facts: Ryuko is one of the least popular names in Japan. It basically means “rebirth”, start over. So I thought, we’re starting again, it’s a really cool name.
Andy: Well it’s not a cool name in Japan, is it?
Bob: It’s cool to me! I think it’s cool!
Andy: I do wish we’d chosen a name that’s easier to spell and pronounce.
Bob: People can never say it.
Your cover of the Madness classic “Baggy Trousers” tonight was a surprising choice, but great!
Matt: We decided to spruce that up to make it ours. The original is completely different to how I play it, I add extra little bits just to make it more funky.
Do you feel you’ve got the right band dynamic between the three of you?
Bob: We’re pretty good as we are. More people add more complications cos you’ve got to think – are they free; do they drive, are they going to be available…
Matt: I’ve got a son, he’s 9, we discuss upcoming gigs before we agree to it. If I’ve got my son and he comes along with us, if he’s allowed in the venue we play – he’s got his little ear defenders, he just sits in the corner and watches us or plays his game.
Bob: I’ve got three jobs…
Sounds like a positive environment to work in.
It’s got to be positive, if it’s not it just doesn’t work. If no-one’s happy, nothing gets done.
So, what’s next? What are your plans?
Bob: World domination! One step at a time…
Andy: We’ve been working on re-doing our EP, we’ve been recording on and off. Recording, playing as many gigs as we can.
And there you have it: an enjoyable chat with the gentlemen of Ryuko. Make sure you check them out live, as and when we can return to the experience of live music. If grungy, punky alt rock with some metallic crunch is your thing, then Ryuko will be just the antidote you need in these dreary times.
With apologies to Ryuko, who have waited months for this interview to see the light of day.
Check out Ryuko on Bandcamp and Facebook. Plus you can follow this link to listen to the interview on YouTube – yes, you can admire my fantastic interviewing skills for real!
Time to relax and enjoy more of the joys of vinyl! Yes, it’s another Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub, where I spend an evening playing through my stack of 7 inch records. No skipping, no choosing anything out of order – just A then B side and make the most of it.
With the aid of some alcoholic beverages, of course!
In this edition, there’s another eclectic mix of songs from artists of various genres – including some absolute bangers. Let’s go!
Madness – “One Step Beyond” / “Mistakes”
Bad Company – “Rock’n’Roll Fantasy” / ” Crazy Circles”
Rick James – “Dance Wit Me (Part 1)” / “Dance Wit Me (Part 2)”
INXS – “Taste It” / “Light the Planet”
ZZ Top – “Legs” / “Bad Girl”
Landscape – “Einstein A Go-Go” / “New Religion”
Billy Idol – “Mony Mony” / “Shakin’ All Over (Live)”
Fine Young Cannibals – “Johnny Come Home” / “Good Times and Bad”
James Brown – “Living in America” / Vince DiCola – “Farewell”
The Sweet – “Teenage Rampage” / “Own Up, Take a Look at Yourself”
Sham 69 – “Hersham Boys” / “I Don’t Wanna” / “Tell us the Truth”
Judas Priest – “Take On the World” / “Starbreaker”
Madam X – “High in High School” / “Metal in my Veins”
Wings – “Live and Let Die” / “I Lie Around”
The Beach Boys – “Do It Again” / “Wake the World”
The Joan Collins Fan Club – “Leader of the Pack” / “Jacques”
Elton John – “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” / “Jack Rabbit” / “Whenever You’re Ready (We’ll Go Steady Again”
Lee Marvin – “Wand’rin’ Star” / Clint Eastwood – “I Talk to the Trees”
Suzi Quatro – “Can the Can” / “Ain’t You Somethin’ Honey”
Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – “Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus” / “Jane B.”
Bee Gees – “Tragedy” / “Until”
And there you have it! A great collection of tunes and a fun night. My favourite Bond theme, plus a load of class artists including The Beach Boys, Elton John, Billy Idol, Bad Company, Madness, James Brown and more.
No idea who Madam X are, that was a 20p find and I bought it on the strength of the cover. Turned out to be dodgy 80s metal, unsurprisingly. It was quite good.
Bonus points to any reader who can tell me: who was the Joan Collins Fan Club?
Stay tuned for more Singles Nights soon – I’ve still got a heck of a lot of vinyl to play through…
NB: The Fine Young Cannibals track was inside an Alarm sleeve. I thought I’d picked up “Spirit of ’76” for 20p in a charity shop, but no such luck: it was FYC instead. Such are the perils I encounter. On a happy note though, the FYC tune was a belter.
Best years of my life? 15/16 years old, skateboarding all day and hanging around with my friends. It was the late 1980s, and the days of the 180 Boneless, No Comply and learning to Ollie. Back when kickflips were the raddest trick in the car park – except we called them “Ollie kickflips” back then.
This was also the time when I started to really veer off the obvious track as far as music was concerned. Skate videos and Thrasher magazine began to open up a whole new world of music. Sometimes these bands would enter the mainstream a couple of years later; sometimes they never did.
I remember hearing a great song on a Vision video. I had no idea what the song was called, but worked out from the credits that it was most likely performed by the Descendents. I recorded the song onto cassette off the TV as there was no other way to hear it. A few months later, on a skate buying trip to Manchester, I stumbled across a record shop that stocked a few records by the band. I had to buy one: taking a gamble on “All” as it featured a song called “Coolidge”, which fitted the lyrics of the track I loved. I was so stoked when I got home, played the vinyl and heard the song I was hoping for! Great album, all in all.
This practice of researching and hunting became a big feature of my relationship with music ever since.
Skating all day, then listening to music in the evening was a big part of my teenage years. This playlist is designed to reflect those days: music I enjoyed back then and became the soundtrack to that time.
Some songs featured in skate videos (McRad, Odd Man Out). Some were checked out after I saw them advertised or reviewed in Thrasher (The Cult, Misfits). Others were just part of the current soundscape, and are forever linked with those halcyon days.
Here’s the playlist I made, split into a two CD format:
McRad – “Weakness”
Odd Man Out – “Four Thirty One”
Descendents – “Coolidge”
Sex Pistols – “Holidays in the Sun”
Devo – “That’s Good”
Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”
Motorhead – “Killed by Death”
Faith No More – “We Care a Lot”
Misfits – “Astro Zombies”
Hard-Ons – “Don’t Wanna See You Cry”
The Stupids – “Skid Row”
Beastie Boys – “She’s On It”
Circle Jerks – “Wild in the Streets”
Spermbirds – “Something to Prove”
Dead Kennedys – “California Uber Alles”
Suicidal Tendencies – “Possessed to Skate”
Generation X – “One Hundred Punks”
The Cult – “Wildflower”
The Damned – “Love Song”
Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Higher Ground”
Fishbone – “Freddie’s Dead”
Iggy Pop – “Cold Metal”
GBH – “Too Much”
Mudhoney – “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More”
Ramones – “I Just Wanna Have Something To Do”
The Stranglers – “Peaches”
Bad Brains – “Soul Craft”
Gang Green – “Church of Fun”
Metallica – “The Thing That Should Not Be”
Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Purple Haze”
Rolling Stones – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Jesus Jones – “Never Enough”
The Skids – “Into the Valley”
Fugazi – “Blueprint”
Some of the above tracks I owned on vinyl or cassette back in the day; some I found in later years. There are still plenty of other bands from skate videos that I either still haven’t tracked down, or as I didn’t own them at the time I’ve omitted for now.
Instead, this is a basic playlist to represent my late 80s skateboarding days, boiled down to the bare essentials. I hope you enjoy and these bring back some memories.
And this sin’t an exhaustive list: how Anthrax and Run DMC didn’t get included is baffling. Maybe I can expand with some more for a Part 2…
Hey folks! How’s isolation going? These are strange times indeed. I hope all of you are safe and well.
I don’t know about you, but spinning wax is a great way to spend a long evening whilst in lockdown. As regular readers will know, I often play through my stack of recently acquired 7 inch vinyl as a way to unwind. With a few wee drinkie-poohs, of course.
What happens with Singles Night is this: I have a pile of records, all 7″ singles, that I haven’t played yet. I play them all in order, A side then B side. Then I list them here, in case anyone out there is as sad as me and thinks that lists like this are fascinating.
Here we go with the latest batch:
Jane’s Addiction – “Been Caught Stealing” / “Had a Dad (Demo)”
Boney M – “Ma Baker” / “Still I’m Sad”
Madness – “The Return of the Las Palmas 7” / “That’s the Way to do it”
Bon Jovi – “Livin’ on a Prayer” / “Wild in the Streets”
Rainbow – “Since You Been Gone” / “Bad Girl”
The Zombies – “She’s Not There” / “You Make Me Feel Good”
Ace Frehley – “New York Groove” / “Snow Blind”
Slade – “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” / “Man Who Speaks Evil”
Pink Floyd – “Another Brick in the Wall Part II” / “One of My Turns”
AC/DC – “Whole Lotta Rosie” / “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to be”
Toyah – “Be Proud Be Loud (Be Heard)” / “Laughing with the Fools”
Thin Lizzy – “China Town (Live)” / “Got to Give it up (Live)”
The Beatles – “We Can Work it Out” / “Day Tripper”
Generation X – “Your Generation” / “Day by Day”
Ash – “Angel Interceptor” / “Eternal” / “Give Me Some Truth”
Marc Bolan & T-Rex – “Teenage Dream” / “Satisfaction Pony”
Well that was one of the best – and rockingest – Singles Nights ever. I doubt we’ll see that amount of awesome rock again in a hurry. Don’t forget, readers – I don’t choose the songs to play, it’s just whatever’s next in the pile.
Jane’s Addiction are one of my favourite bands ever. Plus there were classic tracks from Rainbow, AC/DC, Pink Floyd and Thin Lizzy. My favourite U2 song and one of my favourite Beatles songs. Some punk, some new wave, and a more recent tune from Ash.
A special mention to Slade’s “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”, which was UK Number 1 when I was born.
A great selection. I’ll see you soon for another Singles Night!
Here’s another review I wrote for Ever Metal, which I can share with you now. This album was also one of my Top 10 of 2019…
Speedealer – Blue Days Black Nights
Rise Up and Fall Records
Release date: ?
Running time: 30 mins
Review by: Alun Jones
Curse you, Speedealer! I had pretty much decided on my Top 10 albums for 2019, and then these guys turn up with this rocket fuelled bruiser of a record. The year had started off slowly, to be honest – but great new music has been arriving at a rapid pace recently. And just when I was about to bed down for a long winter nap, Speedealer turned everything up to 11 and ruined my plans.
The album is called “Blue Days, Black Nights”. It’s fast, crazy, adrenaline pumped rock’n’roll and it never stops pounding home the righteous sounds till it’s brief-but-beautiful 30 minute lifespan is over. At which point, I tend to just start again from the beginning.
The first song is called “Never New” and it smashes in, steals your whiskey and is gone in under a minute and a half. That’s reckless by anyone’s standards.
It ain’t all super-fast punk’n’roll though, there’s many a change of pace to be heard. “Rheumatism” and “War Nicht Genug” both feature riffs that are heavy and brutal. Elsewhere, in “Sold Out”, the band unleash a tortured performance of a song that would be a blues rocker, but is far too dense and violent for that phrase to fit snugly.
Never mess with Texas, goes the old saying. And these Texan boys do not fanny about AT ALL on this fine collection of tunes. Instead, “Blue Days Black Nights” will drag you along like an out of control stag party: full of booze-filled fun, ridiculous antics and dangerous detours. I’m deducting half a point for the terrible cover art, otherwise this one’s a killer.
FUN FACT: Speedealer used to be called REO Speedealer – which let’s face it, is a much better name – until REO Speedwagon got wind of it and issued a cease and desist. Anyone with a sense of humour would surely take that name as an homage, right? You’d think the miserable old bastards would’ve enjoyed being put back on the map.
What’s that? Ever Metal’s lawyers are on the phone? Court order from who? Oops…
And lo, it was time for another Singles Night at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub. Join me yet again, as I play through my stack of freshly acquired 7″ vinyl singles – A side then B side – on a musical odyssey that will thrill and amaze.
You may want a few drinks as well.
Here’s the playlist this time:
Elvis Presley – “Love Me Tender” / “Anyway You Want Me (That’s How I Will Be)”
Small Faces – “Lazy Sunday” / “Rollin’ Over”
Boney M – “Painter Man” / “He Was a Steppenwolf”
Beastie Boys – “She’s On It” / “Slow and Low”
Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction – “Backseat Education” / “Whore of Babylon”
Madness – “Baggy Trousers” / “The Business”
The Osmonds – “Crazy Horses” / “That’s My Girl”
Ian Dury & The Blockheads – “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” / “There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards”
The Jam – “When You’re Young” / “Smithers-Jones”
Kim Carnes – “Bette Davis Eyes” / “Miss You Tonite”
Toyah – “Brave New World” / “Warrior Rock”
The Who – “You Better You Bet” / “The Quiet One”
Suzi Quatro – “The Wild One” / “Shake My Sugar”
Madness – “Night Boat to Cairo” / “Deceives the Eye” / “The Young and the Old” / “Don’t Quote Me On That”
Bon Jovi – “You Give Love a Bad Name” / “Let It Rock”
Freddie Mercury – “Love Kills” / Giorgio Moroder – “Rotwang’s Party (Robot Dance)”
Siouxsie & The Banshees – “Dear Prudence” / “Tattoo”
The Kinks – “Good Day” / “Too Hot”
Bob Marley & The Wailers – “No Woman, No Cry” / “Kinky Reggae”
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – “Geno” / “Breakin’ Down the Walls of Heartache”
Toy Dolls – “Nellie the Elephant” / “Fisticuffs in Frederick Street”
Rainbow – “All Night Long” / “Weiss Heim”
The Motors – “Forget About You” / “Picturama”
Angelic Upstarts – “Never ‘Ad Nothin'” / “Nowhere Left to Hide”
Wow. That was a spectacular evening’s music. Just look at the quality tunes in that list! I think the Zodiac Mindwarp track was my favourite, but there are loads of legendary artists and great songs there.
Don’t laugh at the Osmonds track – that song is amazing. I’m more embarrassed about the Bon Jovi number – but what the hell, it was fun.
And Nellie the Elephant by Toy Dolls was just superb – took me right back to my childhood, the day after hearing that song on Top of the Pops. A school playground classic, along with “Baggy Trousers”.
All of the records are in a random order, so there’s no guessing what might appear next in the queue. But that turned out to be one of the best nights of music listening in a long while, with a wide variety of genres represented.
Come in, number 9! Yes, it’s another night of spinning 45s and boozing – a ritual I like to call Singles Night. Because I play 7″ singles, obviously. There’s an ever growing stack of 45 rpm singles and I need to deal with them. This is the latest session.
Starting off with Elvis, as is now tradition, what other wonders will we hear?
Elvis Presley – “Always On My Mind” / “Separate Ways”
Albert King – “The Very Thought of You” / “I Get Evil”
Queen – “Los Palabras De Amor (The Words of Love” / “Cool Cat”
ABBA – “The Winner Takes It All” / “Elaine”
Gerry Rafferty – “Baker Street” / “Big Change in the Weather”
Bryan Ferry – “The Price of Love” / “Shame, Shame, Shame” / “Heart On My Sleeve” / “Its Only Love”
The Steve Miller Band – “Abracadabra” / “Never Say No”
The Rolling Stones – “The Last Time” / “Play with Fire”
Kenny Rogers & The First Edition – “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” / “Girl Get Ahold of Yourself”
Donovan & Jeff Beck Group – “Barabajagal” / “Trudi”
The Kyriakos – “More Greek Themes: Syneeta Platia” / “Mia Fora Monaha Ftani” / “Moraxia” / “Iliachtida”
Boney M – “Rasputin” / “Never Change Lovers in the Middle of the Night”
Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass – “The Lonely Bull” / “Acapulco 1922”
Yardbirds – “For Your Love” / “Got to Hurry”
Billie Jo Spears – “Blanket on the Ground” / “Come on Home”
Tony Bennett – “(I Left My Heart) In San Francisco” / “Candy Kisses”
Geordie – “She’s a Teaser” / “We’re Alright Now”
Neil – “Hole in My Shoe” / “Hurdy Gurdy Mushroom Man”
Talk Talk – “Life’s What You Make It” / “Life’s What You Make It (Live)”
The Art of Noise featuring Duane Eddy – “Peter Gunn” / “Something Always Happens”
The B-52’s – “Roam” / “Whammy Kiss (Live)” / “Dance This Mess Around (Live)”
Bobby Vinton – “Blue Velvet” / “Blue on Blue”
Wow, another eclectic bunch of tracks there! Points of particular interest include Geordie, who feature (of course) the legendary Brian Johnson in his pre-AC/DC days. And yes, that is Neil, alias Nigel Planer, from the Young Ones.
Several genres covered there and a fine evening’s listen. More soon!
I had another great night recently, playing a load of old 7″ singles. What happens is, I acquire these singles from record fairs, charity shops or maybe contributions from friends – and I spend an evening playing through the pile. The’re stacked in order of how long I’ve had them – oldest near the top – and not organised in any way.
So I get a few drinkies down me and play the records in the order they reveal themselves. Which can be fun – no skipping, play whatever’s next in the pile.
This system always means that no matter how many cool songs I play, there’s always a few dodgy tracks in there too. But then let’s just call those less aspirational songs “guilty pleasures”, and enjoy them for what they are.
Last time, I claimed that the rest of the stack of 45 rpm magic wouldn’t reach as high a standard. I was wrong. Here’s the playlist, which includes some absolute monsters…
Elvis Presley – “Young and Beautiful” / “True Love” / “Lover Doll” / “Love Me Tender”
AC/DC – “Whole Lotta Rosie” / “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place To Be”
W.A.S.P. – “Mean Man” / “Locomotive Breath”
The Beatles – “Can’t Buy Me Love” / “You Can’t Do That”
Anthrax – “Anti-Social” / “Parasite”
The Hawaiian Islanders – “Hawaiian War Chant” / “Song of the Islands” / “One, Two, Three, Four” / “On the Beach at Waikiki” / “Sweet Leilani” / “Aloha Oe”
Johnny Cash – “It Ain’t Me Babe” / “Understand Your Man” / “Five Feet High and Rising” / “I Walk the Line”
Stiff Little Fingers – “At the Edge” / “Silly Encores, Autumn 1979”
Spagna – “Call Me” / “Girl, It’s Not the End of the World”
Tenpole Tudor – “The Swords of a Thousand Men” / “Love and Food”
The Rolling Stones – “It’s All Over Now” / “Good Times, Bad Times”
Belinda Carlisle – “Vision of You” / “Leave a Light On For Me (Kamikazee Mix)”
Salt-n-Pepa – “Push It (US Remix)” / “I Am Down” / “Tramp”
Fat Boys – “The Twist (Yo, Twist)” / “The Twist (Buffapella)”
Siouxsie & the Banshees – “The Staircase (Mystery)” / “20th Century Boy”
Fantastic stack of singles! Some absolute classics with a couple of cheesy horror stories. Any playlist that includes AC/DC and the Beatles can’t be half bad. I’ll be doing some more of these singles nights soon, stay tuned!