Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub #15

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:

  1. Jane’s Addiction – “Been Caught Stealing” / “Had a Dad (Demo)”
  2. Boney M – “Ma Baker” / “Still I’m Sad”
  3. Madness – “The Return of the Las Palmas 7” / “That’s the Way to do it”
  4. Bon Jovi – “Livin’ on a Prayer” / “Wild in the Streets”
  5. Rainbow – “Since You Been Gone” / “Bad Girl”
  6. The Zombies – “She’s Not There” / “You Make Me Feel Good”
  7. Ace Frehley – “New York Groove” / “Snow Blind”
  8. Slade – “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” / “Man Who Speaks Evil”
  9. Pink Floyd – “Another Brick in the Wall Part II” / “One of My Turns”
  10. AC/DC – “Whole Lotta Rosie” / “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to be”
  11. Toyah – “Be Proud Be Loud (Be Heard)” / “Laughing with the Fools”
  12. Thin Lizzy – “China Town (Live)” / “Got to Give it up (Live)”
  13. The Stranglers – “Thrown Away” / “Top Secret”
  14. U2 – “All I Want is You” / “Unchained Melody”
  15. Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Commotion” / “Green River”
  16. The Sweet – “Wig-Wam Bam” / “New York Connection”
  17. The Flying Lizards – “Money” / “Money B”
  18. The Beatles – “We Can Work it Out” / “Day Tripper”
  19. Generation X – “Your Generation” / “Day by Day”
  20. Ash – “Angel Interceptor” / “Eternal” / “Give Me Some Truth”
  21. 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!

Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub #11

It’s time for another night of spinning wax and drinking booze, as we endure another Singles Night at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub!

This is all about playing through a never ending pile of old 45 rpm vinyl singles, and making the best of it.  Some of these songs are bona fide classics, some are far from it.

The only rules are: play whatever’s in the pile, in order, A side then B side.  No skipping records – however much you may want to.

Here we go:

  1. Elvis Presley – “Are You Lonesome Tonight” / “I Gotta Know”
  2. Frank Sinatra – “Love’s Been Good To Me” / “A Man Alone”
  3. Marcello Minerbi – “Zorba’s Dance” / “L’Isola Del Sole”
  4. Tom Jones – “Without Love” / “A Man Who Know Too Much”
  5. Chas & Dave – “Rabbit” / “Sideboard Song”
  6. Louis Armstrong – “What a Wonderful World” / “Cabaret”
  7. Bobby Goldsboro – “Honey” / “Danny”
  8. Wonder Dog – “Ruff Mix” / “Living on a Farm”
  9. The Four Tops – “Back to School Again” / The Cast – “Rock-a-Hula-Luau (Summer is Coming)”
  10. Right Said Fred (+others) – “Stick It Out” / “Stick It Out (Aerobic Mix)”
  11. Procul Harum – “A Whiter Shade of Pale” / “Lime Street Blues”
  12. Neil Diamond – “Rainy Day Song” / “Be Mine Tonight”
  13. Spitting Image – “The Chicken Song” / “(I’ve Never Met) A Nice South African”
  14. Carpenters – “Yesterday Once More” / “Road Ode”
  15. Bonnie Tyler – “Holding Out For a Hero” / “Faster Than the Speed of Night”
  16. Boney M – “Ma Baker” / “Still I’m Sad”
  17. The Kinks – “Come Dancing” / “Noise”
  18. Haysi Fantyzee – “John Wayne is Big Leggy” / “The Sabres of Paradise”
  19. Depeche Mode – “People Are People” / “In Your Memory”
  20. Roxy Music – “Avalon” / “Always Unknowing”
  21. The Jam – “Just Who is the 5 O’Clock Hero” / The Great Depression”
  22. Blondie – “Dreaming” / “Sound Asleep”
  23. U2 – “Angel of Harlem” / “A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel”
  24. The Vanilla Fudge – “You Keep Me Hanging On” / “Take Me For a Little While”
  25. Robert Palmer – “Addicted to Love” / “Remember to Remember”
  26. Canned Heat – “Let’s Work Together” / “I’m Her Man”

A real eclectic selection this time, with not much of preferred rock till the end of the session.  Still some great fun songs, a few novelty hits and some easy listening master pieces there.  In my defence this time, a few of those records were given to me (and I’m stupid enough to take them).

If you’re wondering what Wonder Dog is, it’s basically a pop/disco number with a dog barking the melody.  It’s actually not as bad as it seems.

And I quite enjoyed the Four Tops song – I’ve only just found out that it’s from the film “Grease 2”, which is apparently a disaster.  As the first “Grease” film is garbage,  the sequel must be really bad.

Florence: the Jukebox

IMG_6327Forget using your super smart, internet enabled portable phone as a means of playing music.  And forget iPods, too – sadly the swines at Apple have decided to sacrifice their master product, in order to concentrate on their vile mutant phone.  My mate Greeny has a much better music playing machine than any of those.

Greeny has a jukebox.

The jukebox is named Florence.  After Florence and the Machine, as she’s a machine, obviously.  Florence stands proudly in the corner of the lounge, neither dominating the room or sitting back like a wall flower.  But Florence has presence: when the lights are on and the tunes are spinning, you will be drawn magnetically to this wondrous device.

He’s been collecting 7 inch singles since he were a lad, has Greeny.  Now Florence is a treasure trove packed full of delightful vinyl gems.  There’s a wild variety of musical genres in Florence, spanning the decades.  She’s regularly re-stocked and/or has the records switched out and replaced with others, keeping the music selection fresh and entrancing.IMG_6330

Florence holds around 84 records.  Don’t forget that there’s a song on side A and B, so that’s a generous amount of music to enjoy.

It’s a lot of fun gathering around the jukebox in Greeny’s front room, with a few beers and spinning some records.  I would love one of my own, one day – though they cost a few hundred quid, so it’s unlikely.  I’m collecting a few cool 7 inch singles just in case, though…

Here’s a list of the records that are currently stocked inside Florence.  Remember Greeny has to rotate the records, as he has far more than this!  Which songs would you choose to play?

And if you’re interested, this jukebox is a Rowe AMI RI-3.

The tracks:

  • AC/DC – a. Dirt Deeds Done Dirt Cheap/Big Balls b. The Jack
  • Billy Paul – a. Me & Mrs Jones b. Your Song
  • Blind Melon – a. No Rain b. No Bidness/I Wonder
  • Blondie – a. Rapture b. Walk Like Me
  • Blue Swede – a. Hooked On a Feeling b. Never My Love
  • Bob Dylan – a. Subterranean Homesick Blues b. She Belongs To Me
  • Bruce Springsteen – a. 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On) b. Part Man, Part Monkey
  • Catatonia – a. Road Rage b. I’m Cured
  • Chris Isaak – a. Wicked Game b. Cool Cat Walk
  • Crash Test Dummies – a. Afternoons & Coffeespoons b. In the Days of the Caveman (Live)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival – a. Bad Moon Rising b. Lodi
  • DNA feat. Suzanne Vega – a. Tom’s Diner b. Acapella
  • Duran Duran – a. The Wild Boys b. (I’m Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement (1984)
  • Echo & The Bunnymen – a. The Killing Moon b. Do It Clean
  • Elton John – a. Tiny Dancer b. Daniel
  • Elvis Presley – a. Suspicious Minds b. You’ll Think of Me
  • Everything Everything – a. Cough Cough b. A.D.
  • Faith No More – a. I’m Easy b. Be Aggressive
  • Fleetwood Mac – a. Oh Well (Part 1) b. Oh Well (Part 2)
  • Florence & The Machine – a. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) b. Are You Hurting
  • Franz Ferdinand – a. Take Me Out b. Truck Stop
  • Glen Campbell – a. Wichita Lineman b. Back in the Race
  • Guns’n’Roses – a. Patience b. Rocket Queen
  • Huey Lewis & The News – a. The Power of Love b. Do You Believe in Love?
  • Ian Dury & The Blockheads – a. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick b. There Ain’t Half Been
  • Iggy Pop – a. Lust For Life b. Home
  • Jimi Hendrix – a. Purple Haze b. Foxy Lady
  • Joan Jett – a. I Love Rock’n’Roll b. The French Song
  • Johnny Cash – a. A Boy Named Sue b. Folsom Prison Blues
  • Journey – a. Don’t Stop Believin’ b. Natural Thing
  • Julee Cruise – a. Falling b. Twin Peaks Theme
  • Kate Bush – a. Running Up That Hill b. Under The Ivy
  • Katrina & The Waves – a. Walking On Sunshine b. Going Down to Liverpool
  • Kiss – a. God Gave Rock’n’Roll To You II b. Junior’s Gone WIld
  • Led Zeppelin – a. Rock and Roll b. Four Sticks
  • Lemonheads – a. Mrs. Robinson b. Being Around
  • Lenny Kravitz – a. Always On The Run b. Instrumental
  • Live – a. I Alone b. Pain Lies On The Riverbed
  • Lou Reed – a. Walk On The Wild Side b. Perfect Day
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd – a. Freebird b. Sweet Home Alabama/Double Trouble
  • Magazine – a. Shot By Both Sides b. My Mind Ain’t So Open
  • Neil Young – a. My My, Hey Hey b. Hey Hey, My My
  • Nena – a. 99 Red Balloons b. Ich Bleib Im Bett
  • New Order – a. Blue Monday b. Beach Buggy
  • Norman Greenbaum – a. Spirit in the Sky b. Milk Cow
  • Otis Redding – a. (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay b. Respect/Mr. Pitiful
  • Paul Simon – a. You Can Call Me Al b. Gumboots
  • Powder – a. Afrodisiac b. Shave Me
  • Prince – a. When Doves Cry b. 17 Days
  • Propaganda – a. Duel b. Jewel
  • Queen – a. Don’t Stop Me Now b. In Only Seven Days
  • R.E.M. – a. Crush With Eyeliner b. Instrumental
  • Regina Spektor – a. Fidelity b. Music Box
  • Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock – a. It Takes Two b. Instrumental
  • Rolling Stones – a. Gimme Shelter b. Sympathy for the Devil
  • Roxy Music – a. Virginia Plain b. The Numberer
  • Spitting Image – a. The Chicken Song b. (I’ve Never Met) A Nice South African
  • Stealers Wheel – a. Stuck in the Middle b. Jose
  • Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – a. Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) b. Another Journey
  • Stevie Wonder – a. Superstition b. You’ve Got It Bad Girl
  • Stone Temple Pilots – a. Plush b. Sin
  • Super Furry Animals – a. Northern Lites b. Rabid Dog
  • Supergrass – a. Richard III b. Nothing More’s Gonna Get In My Way
  • Talk Talk – a. It’s My Life b. Does Caroline Know
  • The Babys – a. Isn’t It Time b. Give Me Your Love
  • The Beatles – a. Hey Jude b. Revolution
  • The Breeders – a. Cannonball b. Divine Hammer
  • The Buggles – a. Video Killed the Radio Star b. Kid Dynamo
  • The Doors – a. Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) c. Take It As It Comes
  • The Housemartins – a. Happy Hour b. The Mighty Ship
  • The Kinks – a. You Really Got Me b. All Day and All of the Night
  • The Knack – a. My Sharona b. Let Me Out
  • The Mamas & The Papas – a. California Dreamin’ b. Somebody Groovy
  • The Smiths – a. How Soon is Now? b. Well I Wonder
  • The Trashmen – a. Surfin’ Bird b. Liar Liar
  • The Undertones – a. Teenage Kicks b. Emergency Cases
  • The Who – a. Who Are You b. Had Enough
  • Tori Amos – a. Cornflake Girl b. Sister Janet
  • T-Rex – a. Jeepster b. Life’s a Gas
  • U2 – a. Stay (Far Away, So Close) b. I’ve Got You Under My Skin
  • Van Halen – a. Why Can’t This Be Love b. Get Up
  • Vic Reeves & Wonderstuff – a. Dizzy b. Oh Mr. Hairdresser
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs – a. Maps b. Countdown/Miles Away

IMG_6325

St. Patrick’s Day Playlist

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

As a tribute, I have compiled the playlist below to celebrate some of the best Irish music.

Now before anyone gets upset, I know that the artists listed below are a mixture from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (as well as other countries).  I understand that these are two separate countries and mean no offence by creating this list.  This playlist is in honour of St. Patrick’s Day, so admittedly I have bundled them all together.  No disrespect meant to either nation.

Anyway, the only offensive thing about this list is that Van bloody Morrison managed to weasel his way into my music collection.  Still, at least it’s not “Brown Eyed Girl” (piece of crap song)…

  1. Thin Lizzy – “Whiskey in the Jar”
  2. Stiff Little Fingers – “Alternative Ulster”
  3. The Dubliners & The Pogues – “The Irish Rover”
  4. Therapy? – “Screamager”
  5. Flogging Molly – “If I Ever Leave This World Alive”
  6. Ash – “Burn Baby Burn”
  7. Gary Moore with Phil Lynott – “Out in the Fields”
  8. The Undertones – “My Perfect Cousin”
  9. Imelda May – “Sneaky Freak”
  10. The Answer – “Too Far Gone”
  11. The Dubliners – “Seven Drunken Nights”
  12. Van Morrison – “Madame George”
  13. U2 – “Pride (In the Name of Love)”

Chester Rocks 2014

Chester Rocks

Saturday 7th June 2014

Chester Racecourse

I went to the first Chester Rocks festival at the Racecourse back in 2011.  The main reason for this was to see the living legend, Godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop.  With the Stooges, no less.  Performing songs from (one of the greatest albums of all time) “Raw Power”!  That was not to be missed, not when Sir Iggy and pals were playing so close to home.  Also playing on the day were attractions such as Feeder and Leftfield – so a bargain of a day out right on my doorstep.

That was the “rock” (as in “Chester Rocks”) day.  The previous day had seen a pop theme with McFly, The Saturdays, Sugababes and some geezer called Taio Cruz (is that how you spell it?  How the flip do you say it??!).  Our rock day saw glorious weather and a fun day out, and the consensus was that this event would be a great annual fixture, should we see more of the same in the future.

Alas, Chester is a city (small C) with no culture.  No cinema, no theatre, few options for live music.  Culture, in Chester, is thousands of drunken, vomiting Hollyoaks wannabes watching horses run round a field.  And so, alas, Chester opted to jettison the “rock” for the far more lucrative teeny bopper pop market.  Chasing the dollar won out, though Rocks was retained as a (somewhat inappropriate) name. CR1

This year, I was lucky enough to be offered a couple of free tickets for the Saturday, and happily snapped them up.  Although none of the bands were favourites, it was a chance to enjoy a day out and see some live music.  So why not?

The featured acts – three big name bands, plus local support – were all on the big main stage on the field.  Quite an impressive place for the smaller bands to play.  The only negative was looking to be the weather – a thunder storm that morning with more forecast for that evening.

The first band I caught were local Chester band The Suns.  I’d never seen them before, but had heard some good words in advance.  I was expecting some friendly, straight forward Indie, but they were very different.  Taking to the stage in black suits, with a vocalist with a massive beard, they actually sounded more like a rockabilly band.  Oh wait – I get it!  Sun Records – The Suns?  Bloody marvellous!  The rumours are true, The Suns are fantastic.  Full of swagger and charm, they’re like The Hives if they’d been formed in 1956 by Elvis, Cash and Perkins.  Catch them soon.  Band of the day and no mistake.

Next up were The Fallows, another local band.  Coincidently, I had seen this band before at my previous visit to Chester Rocks.  Back in 2011, Shaun Ryder had disgraced himself with an incompetent, puked-up set of utter shit.  I wandered off to see a Battle of the Bands in another area, where I found The Fallows making Ryder look like a lager chimp.  Four years later and The Fallows are on this huge main stage.  They’re still great.  The singer has obviously been to Indie School, where he majored in Richard Ashcroft; but fair does he’s got the balls to superstar it up, way up there.  There are hints of U2 and The Verve, and the rumbling bass helps make this set another success. CR2

Purge are next.  Never heard of ’em, but they had to be on soon, judging by the number of punters wearing their t-shirts.  They brought the whole fan club.  Hailing from Manchester,   these guys are more of an early RHCP/Primus hybrid.  Bring the funk!  Good fun, these boys have tons of confidence and are worth keeping an eye on.

Before Purge’s set began, we had a fine example of the type of punter Chester Rocks attracts.  Purge fans were waving a huge, home made blanket banner – and a group behind who had their view obscured were unhappy.  So riled were they, they barged in and grabbed the banner down and made off with it, in an eruption of petulant self-righteousness.  Obviously they don’t go to gigs much.  Can’t see?  Move.  It’s a big fucking field.

The main bands of the evening were The Hoosiers, The Feeling and Razorlight.  Can’t say I’m familiar with any of them.  It’s light weight, inoffensive Indie pop – though it all seems to blur into one another.  A couple of songs I recognised from DFS adverts.  They’re all enjoyable and nice enough.  I don’t really want to say a bad word about any of the bands, as despite the rain, it’s a jolly day.  I won’t be buying their music, but for a free evenings entertainment I ain’t complaining.

Just think how cool it could have been though.  From Iggy Pop to Hollyoaks.  Where next?

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.

New Year – New Playlist: Part 2

Remember the alphabetical musical playlist game?  Part One was posted a few weeks back, here’s Part Two.

The idea was to take turns playing a song from my iTunes collection, in alphabetical order by artist.  You can read the first instalment here.

Below is the next session, N to U.  The final few are still to be chosen…

  • Al: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – “Straight to You”
  • Ness: Nirvana – “Heart Shaped Box”
  • Al: Ozzy Osbourne – “No More Tears”
  • Ness: The Offspring – “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)”
  • Al: Public Enemy – “Harder Than You Think”
  • Ness: Pearl Jam – “Alive”
  • Al: Queens of the Stone Age – “Make It Wit Chu”
  • Ness: Queen – “Who Wants to Live Forever”
  • Al: Ramones – “I Believe in Miracles”
  • Ness: R.E.M. – “Nightswimming”
  • Al: Senseless Things – “Homophobic Asshole”
  • Ness: System of a Down – “Chop Suey!”
  • Al: Turbonegro – “The Age of Pamparius”
  • Ness: Tenacious D – “Tribute”
  • Al: Urge Overkill – “Jaywalkin'”
  • Ness: U2 – “One”

So I know it’s not New Year any more, but this list needs finishing off.  Final part soon…