Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #15

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

The Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 22nd June 2018

The mixed grill on my plate was a massive meal, and I tucked in with ravenous glee.  For I knew that I would need my strength tonight; this would be Vinyl Night unlike any previous.  Tonight, I would test the mettle of all of us in attendance.

Otherwise, it was business as usual for Bring Your Own Vinyl Night at the Queen’s Head in Mold.  Beers, goods company and the opportunity to play whatever you liked during a fifteen minute set.  Vinyl only, mind!

Although I don’t always run with a theme, this evening I had a definite plan.  Ever since I’ve first attended one of these events, put on by the brilliant Halcyon Dreams and VOD Music, there was one song n my collection I really wanted to play.  It would inform the rest of my set and provide a connection between all the songs.  I decided to leave that track till last, and put together a collection of songs to accompany it.

The question was: How would my star track be received by the audience?

The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun

To start the set, a classic Beatles song written by George Harrison and needing no introduction.  Of course it’s from “Abbey Road”, and I love it as it instantly makes me think of summer days, sitting in the sun on the beach.  It’s a perfect song; beautifully written and with such an uplifting feel.

Nancy Sinatra + Lee Hazlewood – Summer Wine

Next up was this gem; a duet between Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood.  I have the album with this track on it, however this version was a 45rpm single that my friend Colin lent to me for the event.  “Summer Wine” reminds me in some ways of a Bond theme, it has a little of that drama, but somewhat more relaxed.  A wonderful song that brings back memories of holidays abroad and cocktails.

Black Sabbath – Laguna Sunrise

A brief interlude on side 2 of the absolutely essential “Volume 4 album”, here’s yet another tune that demonstrates just how versatile Black Sabbath were.  A beautiful relaxing instrumental that effortlessly conjures up an appropriate image, this shows perfectly the genius of Tony Iommi.  As good as any song you’ve ever heard.

The Cult – Sun King

After that, the tempo was raised with a full on turbo charge rocker from my old faves, The Cult.  This was the 7″ single version, edited down from the album track.  One of my preferred songs on the massively successful “Sonic Temple” album from 1989.  With a title referencing French King Louis XIV, this is a great fun fists-in-the air macho rocker that reeks of burning up desert highways in a hot rod.

Johnny Griggs/Simon May – When You Go Away (Eldorado Theme – Instrumental)

Could you tell what the theme was, reader?  All leading up to this final cut, I wanted to play songs related to summer and sunny days.  I used to be a huge fan of hyper naff BBC soap Eldorado when I was a student – so bad it was good, and the Spanish setting used to cheer me up on dreary wet days.  Sadly that amazing programme was canned, but I found the single in a Woolworths bargain bin (for 29p, I think) back in the day.  Along with my VHS cassette of “The Best of Eldorado”, that’s all the merch from this class show that I have.  I played the instrumental B-side here, but cocked up by playing it on 33rpm at the very start.  Years of planning, bollocksed. 

So there you have it – my summer sun themed set.  Although I was ridiculed for the Eldorado song – and quite rightly too – I loved playing it.  I managed to ruin my cool reputation with one song, though.

Never mind – as she was leaving, one old dear told me she enjoyed my set very much.  I’ll take that as a win.

She must have been an Eldorado fan as well.

Nice one Halcyon Dreams and VOD Music, yet another great Vinyl Night – more soon please.

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.

Classic Albums

The first in an ongoing series, where I will be discussing some of the best records ever made.  These are the “classics” of my record collection, that no-one should be without.

1. The Cult – “Love”

Released in 1985, The Cult’s album Love still sounds fantastic to this day.  It’s a potent cocktail of resurrected blues-rock riffs, screaming psychedelia and murky atmosphere that transcended music of the time.  Listening to it now, it seems unbelievable that the record was created in the mid eighties.  And yet it has enough power – and melodic charm – to still sound great.

In late 1988 I had become obsessed with Electric, the full-on rock monster that the Cult had released a year earlier.  A friend lent me a copy of Love, promising that the songs contained therein were the best the band had recorded.  cult-love

At this point I had explored some rock, metal and punk.  Love was to be a bridge between these genres in many ways.  Happily it was (what would become) “alternative” rock – though it worshipped at the altar of Hendrix, The Doors and Led Zeppelin, it was birthed from the fire of punk rock.

Opening track “Nirvana” kicks things off in blazing style.  It has a fast pace and contains a euphoric instrumental section.  Both “Big Neon Glitter” and the title track “Love” offer up the Big Zep riffs and allow guitarist Billy Duffy to add a psychedelic shimmer.  Then “Brother Wolf, Sister Moon” provides a quieter moment.  If the earlier tracks were ideal for blasting out the windows of a 1970 Dodge Challenger, this track is more singer Ian Astbury sitting on a pony surveying the prairie.  As the song ends, rumbling clouds herald the next track: “Rain”.  One of the best songs the Cult have ever recorded, “Rain” has a truly classic riff that is instantly recognisable and never forgotten.

Side Two (!) opens with “Phoenix”.  This track, unashamedly adorned with Hendrix inspired acid rock guitar, hints at the heavier sounds to come in later chapters of the bands story.  “Hollow Man” provides more driving bass (Jamie Stewart) and a simpler, melodic lead guitar.  Astbury has the chance to really shine on ballad “Revolution”, with a calmer moment that harks back to the bands Goth post-punk phase.

Next we have the mother of all Cult songs – “She Sells Sanctuary”.  A vaguely Eastern sounding intro leads into a stomping rhythm as the song grabs the listener and drags them along for the sheer hell of it.  This song became an instant favourite and still has an impact all these years later.  Final track, “Black Angel”, is a sombre Velvet Underground do Spaghetti Western affair that again adds some darkness to the proceedings.

The band received a lot of criticism for having a somewhat “hippie-ish” element to their sound, and look, on this album.  There are a few moments where the “peace and love” vibe wear a bit thin (see “Revolution”), however the overall sound of the record retains a dark edge to it – more decadent than naive.

The Cult would go on to fully embrace their heavy rock interests with Electric.  But for a kid who had never heard Zeppelin or Hendrix, Love was a monumental discovery.  Put it on and listen to it now, this record has a magic that is of it’s time and yet speaks of the past and future.

The Cult – Love

  1. Nirvana
  2. Big Neon Glitter
  3. Love
  4. Brother Wolf, Sister Moon
  5. Rain
  6. Phoenix
  7. Hollow Man
  8. Revolution
  9. She Sells Sanctuary
  10. Black Angel

Best tracks: Rain, She Sells Sanctuary, Nirvana, Brother Wolf, Sister Moon

Other cool points: great cover!

Buy this Classic Album here.