Archive for the 70’s Category

Funky Friday – What You Need You Have To Borrow

Posted in 70's, bowie, disco, Funky Friday, pop-lifting, Soul on November 14, 2008 by planetmondo
The King Of Cut And Paste Pop Culture

Popular opinion would have you believe ‘Young Americans’ was a calculated attempt by Bowie to attract the attention of, a so far, apathetic American audience by dropping the glam rags and reinventing himelf as a seventies soul boy. Realistically it was more of a revert to type. Ziggy only lasted 18 months, and snappily suited dance fan rather than outsider-outfits has been Bowie’s default career setting (Mod, Young Americans, The Thin White Duke, Lets Dance, Tin Machine…).

Dig a little deeper and you’ll also find he’d started dabbling with Disco a year earlier – alongside pet projects and helping hands for Lou Reed, Iggy and The Stooges, Mott The Hoople during 1973, Bowie had also found time to write and produce one full album ‘People From Good Homes‘ (recognise that line from a later song) for his backing vocalists The Astronettes which was dressed in a disco trim…

The Astronettes – I Am Divine


During the Young Americans sessions, Luthor Vandross (in pink above and blue below) had become an almost honorary member of the Astronettes – joining them at recording sessions, and for an appearance on the Dick Cavett show

Bowie remodeled one of Vandross’s tunes ‘Funky Music’ as ‘Fascination’ for inclusion on the Young Americans album (with Vandross getting a composer credit)..

Luther Vandross – Funky Music

During his Dick Cavett set, Bowie also covered The Flares ‘Footstompin’, which had been given a seventies style re-riffing by Carlos Alomar. A riff, which one month later became worked up into ‘Fame’ by Bowie and Lennon (with Alomar getting a composer credit for his contribution).

Bowie – Foot Stompin


The Flares – Foot Stompin

As well as having a magpie’s eye for bright ideas and what’s hot – Bowie also clonked out some cracking compositions of his own – an unreleased original being…

David Bowie – After Today

I will get the Bowie-handbrake on soon, it’s just that I’ve been ploughing through the Tony Visconti biog‘ this week, and have just hit the ‘Young Americans’ chapter you see.

However, if you fancy more Bowie business an excellent companion to his mid-seventies period is the excellent Golden Years website

Advertisements

Glamour Ghouls

Posted in 70's, Batman, bowie, Brian Eno, Comics, glam, halloween, Marc Bolan, rock on October 26, 2008 by planetmondo
I found a load of old scraps and cuttings like this in the loft recently

There’s a gallery of grotesques to choose from when you get to glam related rocky horrors…

Alice Cooper – The New York Dolls ‘Frankenstein’ – Iggy’s ‘Death Trip’ and ‘Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell’ – Suzi Q’s ‘Devil Gate Drive’- Bolan’s ‘Mystic Lady’, ‘Demon Queen’ (or his earlier John’s Children tune ‘‘Desdemona’‘ banned because of it’s “lift up your skirt and fly” line)- Bowie’s ‘Width Of A Circle’, ‘Please Mr Gravedigger’, ‘Beauty And The Beast’ – Roxy’s ‘Bogus Man’ or Eno’s ‘Spirit’s Drifting’ and ‘Everything Merges With The Night’ are just a handful of the Halloween themed hits and howlers available from the spangle age..but I thought these few tunes could do with being reanimated as pre-season of the witch friendly..

David Bowie Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps).

An overlooked, underplayed thumper that gets lost in the shadows of ‘Ashes To Ashes’ and ‘Fashion’

Marc Bolan You Scare Me To Death

Hellraiser – a heavier-hitting side of The Sweet

Blockbuster –

Blockbuster could well have been inspired by the Batman bruiser Blockbuster(DC’s answer to The Hulk)

Which brings us back to Bowie who referenced Batman in Uncle Arthur

“Uncle Arthur still reads comics
Uncle Arthur follows Batman”

And that’s ‘doing the loop’

Grotbags A-Go-Go

Posted in 70's, before they were famous, charity shop classics, cream cheese, Funky Friday, northern soul, pop quiz on October 25, 2008 by planetmondo

So, the musical mysteron was …..Carol Lee Scott

Better know as ‘Grotbags’ from the Rod Hull and Emu show.

Carol was something of a cabaret legend before crossing over to TV, working with stars like Max Wall, Arthur Askey, Morecambe & Wise, Ella Fitzgerald and Tommy Cooper – there’s an cabtastic interview with her here – on the Licorice Soul website. I first picked up on this tune via the mighty Licorice Soul Working Mans Soul album, a cracking comp’ of classic cabaret turns.

The final rundown looks like this…

1) Kiki Dee – The Day Will Come Between Sunday And Monday

2) Brotherhood Of Man – Reach Out Your Hand

3) Carol Lee Scott – That Little Bit Of Love

As young Mr Grace used to say “You’ve all done very well” so here is the Tronik shredit of N.F.Porter’s Keep On Keepin’ On

Orig’ version

Funky Friday – Who The Funk Are You?

Posted in 60's, 70's, before they were famous, Funk, Funky Friday, northern soul, pop quiz, Soul on October 24, 2008 by planetmondo
It’s Pop-O-Matic!

Well Pop pickers – it’s something a bit diff’ for this week’s Funky Friday..

Can you work out who’s who on this tricky trio of mystery tunes? Can You do it? Of course you can. The prize of an exclusive ‘Tronik Youth’ shredit of a Northern Soul Classic will go to first past the post(ish)

I ran these three nugg’s past Marmite when I bumped into him on the Fenchurch Flyer earlier this week – he managed a healthy crack at it and was certainly in the right territory for all tracks…so I reckon it’s doable, but will give one clue for starters.

All artists are British

Mystery Track 1

Mystery Track 2

Mystery Track 3

Now, you could go a’Googling for clues – but do you really want to live with the head-a’hanging shame of knowing you’ve had a dodgy ace up your internetty.

Funky Friday – The Ayatolla of Holler*

Posted in 60's, 70's, Cover Versions, Funk, Funky Friday, Remake Remodel, Soul, tom jones on October 17, 2008 by planetmondo

* see also Lord Of The Lungbusters, The Prince Of Wails, The Sultan of Boomei

I remember seeing someone (can’t remember who) that had once duetted with Tom saying how they’d been blown away by the pure blockbusting bellow of his voice and although it projects well on TV ( and it does), not in any way can it capture the raw ear-quaking experience of having ‘the Jones’ belting out his full pelt decibel yell just a few feet away. Which is possibly why in duets like these with CSNY and with EMF – Tom seems to be sharing a stage with giddy gurners and grinners as he lets rip.

So, ladies and gentleman ‘This Is Tom Jones….’

Treat Her Right – with some spectacular frugging and a’flailing

And some early seventies shakedowns including the tricky to track down ‘Sugar Sugar’

‘Venus’

‘Sugar Sugar’

Proud Mary

There’s two more Tom Team Ups here with Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin if your ears can take it.

More Songs About Chocolate and Girls

Posted in 70's, new wave, Punk, Questions and Answers, the undertones on October 14, 2008 by planetmondo


Like John Peel I can remember my first earful of The Undertones ‘Teenage Kicks’. I was off school on a not-strictly-legit’ ‘sickie’ – and applying my trusty ‘convalesence’ technique of staying firmly tucked up in bed until middayish with a pile of comics (Whizzer and Chips, Krazy and anything Marvel or DC), a packet of chocolate digestives and my trusty tranny radio (with mono earplug).

It was during one of these recovery bed-ins that Paul Burnett cranked ‘Teenage Kicks’. Burnett, or his producer, always had healthily punky playlist – Sham 69, The Strangers, Ian Dury album tracks and the Sex Pistols/Tenpole Tudor ‘Rock Around The Clock’ (with it’s discreet effing and jeffing) were all fed to his lunchtime listeners.

However the first Undertones single I paid a few pocket money pence for was the Power-Pop meets Parka-Punk ‘You’ve Got My Number’, heard by way of Radio Luxembourg’s Thursday night New Wave chart rundown.. It’s a sizzling piece of guitar riffery that I still clonk out on my SG today -so after picking up the recent Undertones Anthology (loaded with one full disc of rarities and demos), being the cheeky blogger I am, thought I’d get in touch and fire off a few questions, and Tone me I only got a reply didn’t I ….from Mr Damian O’Neill himself….

Was there one song, album or artist that made you pick up a guitar and go from passive listener to active learner?
Quite a few actually…Van Morrison and Them doing Bob Dylan’s ‘It’s All Over Now Baby Blue’, John Foggerty’s solo on ‘I Put A Spell On You’, Keith Richards piercing guitars on Beggars Banquet, Johnny Thunders on ‘Babylon’, Wilco Johnson.

How did you first become aware of the growing punk scene, and if being Undertone hadn’t worked out, where would you have ended up?
I remember reading Neil Spencer’s review of the Sex Pistols at the Marquee in the NME in early ‘76. People forget how provocative it was then to call your group ‘The Sex Pistols’. We then heard the brilliant ‘New Rose’ by the Damned, followed by Anarchy in the U.K and I also remember cutting out an Observer article from Dec. ‘76 which talked about the English punk scene.

Was there a long term plan with the band – and did you expect to still be going in 2008?
Are you kidding! You couldn’t plan anything in the Undertones as usually someone would quit every couple of weeks/months (except me of course)

No and neither do I expect to be going in 2058

Are you listening to any albums or artists in 2008 that you wouldn’t have expected to (or admitted to) back in the seventies?
Plenty! Joni Mitchell, Fairport Convention, The Incredible String Band, Faust, Can, Brian Eno, Free (are all these people hairy enough for you?)

I can hear The Undertones influence in a ton of other bands from seventies new wavers to noughties US punks – is there anyone you’ve ever heard and recognised an echo of The Undertones tone in?
Supergrass, Blur, Ash, Sigur Ros (only joking)

Any plans for a complete album gig?
No.

Excepting That Petrol Emotion, have you ever been tempted to do an album or selection of acoustic tracks, covers or dance tunes?
No.

What’s the breakdown of an Undertones audience?
Supermodels, wags, A-list celebs and fat baldy old fellas with beer bellies slam dancing at the front.

The first Undertones single I bought was ‘You’ve Got My Number’ which features a blistering riff (and great cover on the B-side too) – do you feel other ‘Tones tunes get overshadowed by ‘Teenage Kicks’?
Absolutely and it’s all John Peel’s fault!

Do you know how often ‘Teenage kicks’ gets aired per day on radio or TV, and if so what’s an average day’s play?
No, maybe you should ask my brother’s accountant!

Given a second chance is there anything you’d do differently – or any advice you’d give to aspiring groups or songwriters?
Well, I wish that I gave my tuppence worth in all those dreaded group meetings I’ve had over the years instead of nodding my head in silent agreement.

What’s your most pinch-yourself rock ‘n’ roll moment?
Just recently, playing on stage again with That Petrol Emotion at the Electric Picnic festival in Ireland….amazing cos I never thought it would happen again.

The Undertones – ‘You’ve Got My Number’

The B-side of ‘Number’ was ‘Lets Talk About Girls’ – a cover of a Chocolate Watch Band tune featured on Lenny Kaye’s legendary Nuggets comp’

The Chocolate Watch Band – Lets Talk About Girls

And it’s against the law do an Undertones post without….

Teenage Kicks (1978 Demo)

A big thank you is due to Ian Peel and Damian O’Neill for their help in putting this together

The Book Of Revelation

Posted in 1977, 70's, books, Punk, Questions and Answers, retromania, Sex Pistols on September 16, 2008 by planetmondo

The Sex Pistols last pre – Bill Grundy ‘Filth and Fury’ interview, was by Barry Cain for Record Mirror – click on the photo to supersize the original article….

If Nick Cohn’s Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom is Ye Olde Testament of Rock, the New (Wave) Testament being Jon Savage’s Englands Dreaming, then Barry Cain’s 77 Sulphate Strip is surely the Dead Sea Scrolls, revived and risen again from the russet coloured copies of his Record Mirror reports, reviews and interviews, and scrapbooked against a lip-smacking-ace-tasting-page-turning-eye-bulging micro dot-to-dot diary of the key moments, movers, groovers and shakers of 1977. The year that groups of grey-faced, straight-laced politicians and hair flare bunches of prog and pop stars went twelve rounds against a fistful of prickly punks. 365 days with more dynamics, dramatics and dualility than any year since pop records began.

After his stretch at Record Mirror, Barry went on to launch Flexipop, one the snappiest music mag’s ever published, I found a few copies in the loft recently and had forgotten how they crackle with facts, fun and features – including a genius parody of The Face’s famous ’82 ‘Hard Times’ cover – ‘Really Hard Times’ starring two turps glugging tramps which perfectly burst The Face’s snoot-nosed, yell and bellow bubble .

So some questions for Barry Cain then….

77 Sulphate Strip is one of only a handful of rock books I’ve read without any acknowledgment or nod to The Beatles – it’s like they never existed. Was this the mood at the time?
No. The Beatles meant everything to me and most my mates throughout the sixties. They were my teenage idols and helped take the sting out of those years. There’s an unsubtle homage in the names of the characters in Streatham Locarno at the beginning of Strip. I stopped dancing to The Beatles after Rubber Soul because that’s when they started inviting me back to their place – via the Pye Black Box in my bedroom – where I could listen to their darkest thoughts. They changed the way I thought, simple as that. And thank you, for your very kind words. They mean so much. Incidentally, one of the ‘Hard Times’ tramps in the picture is my dad who will be 91 this year and was, I guess, my fifth Beatle. I was an only child and my parents (my mum is 81) have had four dogs all dying tragically and leaving my mum and dad desperate and bewildered. The last one, Bobby, a cute black poodle, died a week ago in my dad’s arms, and it’s eating them both alive. I buried Bobby in my back garden alongside the previous two and that nearly fucking killed me. I felt like some canine-killing version of Fred West.

Sorry to veer off the path , it’s just worrying me right now.
Pray, continue.

How did you go from being part of a Motown loving Boot Boy and Suede head set to becoming Record Mirror journalist?
Pure genius! If you came from a council estate in London at the time, you became either a straight, a skinhead or, if you took a lot of hallucinatory drugs, a working class hippy. It got interesting when the skinheads got into hallucinatory drugs in the late sixties, but that’s another tale. It was rare to stay on at school after 16 but I went to a grammar and emerged, at 18, with two low grade A Levels. I always kept my school friends and my flats’ friends far apart. As a result, I became, around 15, two people – schoolboy and coolboy. Two heads are better than one and after a bit of luck and a lot of graft, I went from trainee court reporter to indentured journalist on a local paper to entertainments’ editor to Record Mirror. That’s a Yellowbrick Road a lot less travelled these days.

Your first meeting with Rotten reads like a snake charmer being hypnotised by the snake – have you met any other performers with a similar charisma?
Malcolm McLaren. He and Rotten both possess the ability to paint stark pictures with barrages of meticulously chosen words that give delight and hurt not. They’re in a class of their own. Joe Strummer was a little boy lost who dug his way out of his nightmare with remarkable songs and a hunk of devotion that swept me away. Paul Weller was hopelessly devoted to rue, the secret behind his genius. Hugh Cornwell and Jean Jacques-Burnel were deepsea divers in the psyche and there was nowt more challenging than a Stranglers interview. The Damned had collective charisma – they were the commie punk band. Who else? Barry White, Bob Marley, Paul McCartney? Heaps of charisma. But not a patch on Malcolm and Johnny.

In 77 the Pistols were possibly the most hated band in history. It wasn’t just the older generation or other youth movements that were anti-Punk, but politicians, musicians, record exec’s, DJs and almost everyone who wasn’t directly involved with the Pistols (or Punk) that seemed to despise them. Do you think it’s possible we’ll ever see such international outrage caused by a single rock act again?
Impossible. Music has popped its cork. It’s no longer the force of nature it was (what an old git). Outside the X Factor comfort zone, records just don’t sell that much anymore. That’s why TOTP was dumped. That’s why Smash Hits, RM, Sounds, Melody Maker all fell by the wayside. How many generations to go before music is just a bowl of cherries? Before life gets in the way? Before its portability and a few billion options make it futile, obvious, an easy lay? I give it twenty years, tops. My kids’ kids will give the odd flying fuck for a stunning song. Their kids? Different world. Different ballgame. Different tune.

For a movement that was all momentum and ‘of the moment’, Punk styles, sounds, designs and influences are still with us and everywhere from US metal to Top Shop clobber. What do you think has kept Punk (and New Wave) enduring without dating?
Punk was all about bright minds in bondage who wanted to fuck off out of old Durham Town. Sleepy time girls and the boys of summer dancing to a ’77 beat. Punk’s callous, disruptive demands – an anathema to Joe Public – could dislodge reality in exciting minds and create innovation. Originality breeds contempt and contempt breeds originality. It was a vicious circle that has continued to spin unabated like a flaming Catherine wheel shooting flames in every direction. And you didn’t need a voice like Sinatra’s to make the punters sway. Lapsed punks haunt the corridors of power.

I loved the piece about your mum and dad and the pub scene with the piano players, costermongers and comedians having a sing-a-long. Do you think the real seventies get overlooked with all the novelty nostalgia and ‘Abbafication’ of that decade?
I don’t think there ever was a real seventies. It was the itsy-bitsy-no-focus post Beatles decade kicking off with dross, glam, Philly, dross, New York disco, dross and ABBA. It welcomed punk with open arms, shook hands with high-street ska, gave birth to the New Romantics and invented Freddie Mercury. If you were in your late twenties in 1970 the next ten years meant fuck all really. You wouldn’t get it. The seventies had to be ‘Abbafied’ because the sixties were too sad.

Caining It – Barry with beard and Buzzcocks

Malcolm McLaren once said “I have brought you many things in my time” which included breaking Punk, World Music and Hip Hop, but equally there’s a trail of broken relationships and bad blood.” What’s your take on him – genius or jinx?
Genius. I mentioned in the book that Malcolm asked me to ‘ghost’ write his autobiography in 1979. I got to know him as well as anyone after countless interview sessions in my living room over a three-month period. He made me dance all night and still beg for more. He’s the Brian Clough of pop who should’ve managed England. Knowing Malcolm, I think love got in the way – he’s an incurable romantic. But we should all be thankful he turned the world dayglo.

In the book, the music press seem just as hardcore and heavy living as the bands – almost like The Sweeney with press passes rather than police badges. Were there a few juicy nuggets, tear ups and tales you couldn’t include?.
Yes.

If you could beam back to 1977 and take someone aside for a word of advice – who would it be, and what would you say?
It would be me, I’m afraid, and I’d say, ‘Don’t get married, keep your finger on your trigger and put all your money on Man Utd winning the FA Cup, Red Rum winning the Grand National and The Minstrel winning the Derby’. Oh, and to Sid Vicious I’d say, ‘Go for it’.

The Damned, The Buzzcocks, The Stranglers, The Wolfmen (Marco from The Models and Adam and The Ants new band), Carbon Silicon (Tony James and Mick Jones) have all released new albums over the last few years. Have you heard any of the original Punk players’ new songs?
I saw Hugh Cornwell play live a year or so back – great show at Scala – and downloaded his impressive Hoover Dam album, but that’s about it. I don’t listen to much music these days and when I do it tends to be through headphones attached to my laptop as I write. Usually, it’s Michael McDonald’s tribute to Motown, which is just wonderful, interspersed with Steely Dan. I’m a dude. Hey dude, don’t make it bad. Just let it out and let it in.

You were involved with Flexipop, are there any plans for an 80s sequel to 77 SS using Flexipop as source material?
Writing it now. Starts in 1978 when I resigned from Record Mirror, teamed up with then PR guru now PR mogul, Alan Edwards, running a punk PR company out of a Covent Garden squat, discovered I wasn’t cut out for a career as a publicist, became a freelance writer and spent the next two years travelling the world with rock stars, doing big, fat, hairy interviews. It ends 20 years later with the death of pop. Don’t worry, there’s not much to tell after ’84. I launched Flexipop together with my ex-partner Tim Lott (now, of course, a hugely successful novelist) in 1980, and after three bizzarre years I found myself alone, publishing mainly one shot poster mags on pop’s latest flames which I continued to do for the next decade and a half. Got myself a family, a house, a Porsche. Cost myself contacts, desire, drive. Naturally, I blamed everyone but myself for those sad losses – complacency is a cancer of the spirit. But if you catch it early, the prognosis is good. Life can be groovy again Oh, and there’s a few twists and a fucking shitload of watusis. The book should be available this time next year, if anyone has any money by then….

If you were a Record Mirror reporter in 2008 – what would get you picking up your pen and pad, and who would you be trying to interview or avoid?
The song Distant Dreamer made popular by Duffy, who rocked my boat when I saw her perform it at Glastonbury. The version by MC Almont & Butler is a work of art. Pop music at its finest. I think Leona Lewis has an incredible voice. I’d love to interview her. And Duffy. Shit, I sound like an old perve. Who else? Paul Weller, for old times’ sake; Eminem., for Pete’s sake; Alex from Big Brother, for fucksake. That’s five cracking interviews.
Never avoided an interview in my life.

And finally, are there two tunes one Pop, one Punk that sum up 1977 for you?
Anarchy In The UK and Anarchy In The UK.

Anarchy In The UK – from the Filth and Fury

Anarchy In The UK – Early version, slightly rowdier than the single, but possibly my fave take.

Anarchy In The UK (EMI rejected 7″ Single Version) with alt.solos

Anarchy In The UK – Los Punkrockers – yes it’s those crazy punko latinos again.

Beam back to summer of 77 by clicking on the pic’


77 Sulphate Strip MySpace site