Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Music For Mentalists


Cover by Nick
I have been eating toast and getting slightly miffed about the state of our rather smashing planet recently and wondered just what I could personally do to turn things round and save hamsters and other cute pets from drowning as the sea levels rise like it says on the TV advert.



Concerned about the size of my carbon footprint I immediately gave up doing any drawings using charcoal reducing my carbon footprint to carbon tiptoesprint in a stroke, easy enough. I also stopped joining queues for the barber because I heard that people use charcoal in barber queues..I soon enough realised that I had got muddled information there. I also got rid of any CDs by bands that were carbon copies of other bands, so you can’t say I haven’t thought this through in some detail.



But when it came to green house gases, well I looked it up on t’internet and asked a couple of people at the bus stop who looked like they might have greenhouses and it seems green houses do not actually fart (because they are neither sentient nor do they consume food…duh!) so that’s a lot of hot air in my opinion. As for recycling…well I never have owned a bike so I have not even cycled let alone recycled. So what I have to buy a bicycle learn how to ride it then get rid of it and then buy another bike? In what way does that save the world I ask you? And as for Bottle Banks…well we all know what happens when you go trusting banks now don’t we? Realising that knocking on a door is far more eco-friendly and organic than ringing a doorbell could ever be, I removed the batteries from my doorbell and threw them straight in the bin. (but will I get a No Bell prize for that idea? Will I heck!)



Anyway turns out its not really the little people like you, Frodo and me that are shafting mother earth but its the capitalist corporations and all those rich and powerful people and other such dastardly scoundrels that are the culprits here and they seem to be cocking a deafen to all the reasoned protests from us lot. What a bunch of mentalists! Where they going to spend all their mountains of money once the earth is ruined? By Zeus’ beard and lobster pot, because of the hole in the ozone layer all the Woolworths have already melted away. What next WH Smiths? When will this madness stop? Now if Jack Hargreaves was still alive he would know how to get us out of this fair old pickle we find ourselves in (and How!) but he's not.... so its down to us to sort all this eco illogical malarkey out.



So I thought what could be done to make these power addicted silly billies see the errors of their greedy ways and along with my beezer chum Nick Saloman came up with a blisteringly bold, some might say, gogglingly genius idea. What if we gathered together some of the greatest music and sounds ever created by humankind in all it’s history (which fortunately the two of us had hidden away in the murky depths of our record collections…lucky that) and put it onto a shiny compact disc (shiny enough that a magpie might steal it away if you left it out by an open window)? And maybe one of these illuminatudeetwo types might get to hear said digital testament of the ultimate in human creativity and realise that the world is worth saving after all and tell his mates that it was time to stop cutting down the rainforest to make into football pitches every day?
Well on our end of it I think Nick and I have delivered the goods. Music For Mentalists is in my humble opinion the greatest eighty minutes of anything ever ever ever and then some.
And once you have gone and bought this mighty repository of all human knowledge (sort of) that is now released on the excellent Psychic Circle label from a record emporium or from the world wide web (I am not going to put a link here because links are I understand not so eco friendly as you would think) then you can come back here and get some additional background information on the genius you have beholden with thyne own ear’oles. Prepare for epiphany after epiphany my friends….

1. LAURA HUXLEY Introduction



Laura was the wife of Aldous "Doors Of Perception" Huxley (not to be confused with Larry "Shut That Door" Grayson) and this opening instruction of just how to listen to the album is taken from her stunning Recipes For Living And Loving record on which Mrs. H takes us on a soul searching adventure via two of these recipes, "Rainbow Walk" and "Your Favourite Flower" With her heavy Italian accent she leads the listener through a forest where one can see "squeerals and rarebits" and marvel at the many colourful "flarers" and "treese" before arriving at a rainbow where you settle down to an outro of vaguely classical music and...well thats about the underwhelming strength of it. In the accompaning sleeve notes both Aldous and fellow "theorist of human nature"Christopher Isherwood make startling claims about these recipes, Isherwood saying that "She offers you nothing less than a new life."On first listen their claims seem far fetched and one assumed they either loved her very much and were being polite or were just scared witless of her. "But where is this promised new life?" I cried. I was disappointed to say the least. (As disappointed as when I bought that single by The Specials that time only to get home and find it did not include the Free Nelson Mandala that it mentioned on the sleeve). I felt conned but low and behold within a few days of hearing her recipe my life was transformed and made new. I no longer minded waiting for buses, I no longer thought that puddles were a waste of water and I came to appreciate the marvel that is the simple paper clip. A new life indeed!

2. LINDA JARDIM Energy In Northampton

The big bearded genius that is Alan Moore lives in Northampton and he believes it to be a strange and mystical place of great importance and not just some crap middle england town. But even he would be stunned to discover that back in the eighties the Northampton Development Corporation would come up with the innovative idea of putting out a single to encourage new businesses to locate themselves in Northampton. Better still they considered the best encouragement would be a song about Aliens involved in some galatic war who arrive at Earth and realise that Northampton is so the place to be. And musically it is suitably prog epic as befitting the subject matter. Well it convinced me straight off and if I had a business do not doubt for one moment that I wouldn't now be writing these very words from my home in Northampton.
(Linda Jarman later was one of the singers on Buggles' Video Killed The Radio Star and one can only wish it had been her taking over from Jon Anderson in Yes (or Yuggles as that short lived line up are known as) instead of poor old Trevor- can't really sing- Horn.)


3. BALSARA & HIS SINGING SITARS These Boots Are Made For Walking




Balsara & His Singing Sitars is a exercise in how to play a sitar like it really shouldn’t be played over a third rate beat combo backing and still deliver up some of the most exuberant and joyful music ever heard. How Balsara does this is a mystery no one but he has ever penetrated but the life affirming, unchained creativity to be witnessed here is a rare and precious beast to be celebrated with every fibre of your thankful being.


4. REGINALD BOSANQUET Dance With Me


Ah dear old Reginald Bosanquet possibly (but not probably) the greatest newsreader that ever lived. Not since Jack Hargreaves has a man delivered up such pearls of wisdom in such a tanked up style. For his one and only musical outing (the b side of his lone single is an instrumental because Reggie was obviously not up for doing more that one track) he looks away from the world of news and turns his sultry and slightly unfocused gaze towards the ladies (you lucky, lucky ladies). Avoiding the obvious Barry White clichés, he plumps for his own unique vocal stylings that defy any normal conventions. So much so that one has to wonder if he had ever heard music before or knew that such a thing as music even existed before entering the recording studio that fateful day. He makes it sound as if he's squeezing out every devil may care seductive line by way of the Heimlich Manoeuvre while being orally pleasured by an all too willing harem of beautiful women. It is a tinderstick dry delivery with a very moist result (well for the ladies anyhow) over vaguely funky music imbued with the spirit of the karma sutra being urgently put through a paper shredder. Such then is the consummate skill of the man, the myth and the legend that is Reggie Bosanquet.

5. THE CADBURY’S SINGERS Come Into The Warm

A promotion single for hot chocolate. Come into the warm, the Cadbury's Singers purr breathless in voices so seductive that you might believe that once lured into this so called warm they are then going to strip you naked and smear you said drinking chocolate just so they can then slowly lick it back off , rather than just hand you a steaming beverage in a mug. As if we are going to fall for this....I should cocoa, as the guvner, Mike Reid would put it.

6. DAVID McCALLUM Communication



David McCallum’s role as Russian agent Illya Kuryakin in the sixties spy show The Man From Uncle was bumped up from occasional to co-star within two episodes of the show’s premier after teenage girls all over America went absolutely steaming monkey apeshit for his boyish good looks and mop of blonde hair. As his fan mail turned into daily mountains of hormonal adoration the Blonde Fifth Beatle, as the press now dubbed him, entered the studios in 1966 to record a single. Communication is a perfect piece of mid sixties orchestral schlock pop replete with an suitably epic and twisting arrangement and female backing singers playing the part of his female legion of the utterly smitten. They beg him to tell them how they can get a date with him. "How can we get through to you?" they plea breathlessly throughout as they throw themselves at him with love blind teenage hearts swooning in their still developing breasts. But McCullum is no Burt line ‘em up and lay ‘em down Ward, but a deeper more philosophising sort of guy. Sitting astride his motorcycle like the Fonz crossed with Siddatha he’s not ready for dating because first he has to find not only himself but also it seems the very secrets of life itself. The girls sing but David just talks back possibly to give his words more gravitas but probably because he was not much of a singer. (His later albums are strictly instrumental affairs, with McCullum in his orchestra leader role…though I also have an album of him narrating Lassie Come Home) He needs to "find myself before it's too late" even if it is "through the gates of Hell". But he does reassure them that if he ever does succeed in his quest for self knowledge that he will come back and be up for dating (which should bring everything he thinks he’s learnt about the mysteries of life crashing down around his ears three or four dates in, I reckon). But until then he really has to go. "So would you girls mind stepping off my motorcycle?" he asks politely at the close and then he is gone, roaring off on the path of enlightenment and out of our lives forever. (Well until Saphire and Steel anyway)


7. MICKEY KATZ K’nock Around The Clock



Back in 1959 Mickey Katz brought the vitally missing kosher element into the burgeoning roll n’ roll scene with storming success on his thrilling The Most Mishige album. As he explains in his sleeve notes " K’nock Around The Clock is music with a real borscht beat, it’s haib zach music which translated means, makes you want to shake your plaitzas and go! go! go!" I couldn’t agree more with this eloquent assessment of this impossibly fine track…now where did I put my plaitzas?

8. SWINGIN’ THOM The Weakling In Thom McCann Shoes


Oh how we long for those long lost days of innocence before advertising became just a toothless empty seduction when advertisers could make wonderfully extravagant claims with impunity and imbue their products with almost mystical abilities to improve your life beyond all hope and reason just by buying them. . Those halcyon days when employing the right washing up liquid would make the opposite sex your love puppets or using a certain brand of creosote to treat your garden fence was for all intent and purpose just like wielding Excalibur itself. From the aural evidence found here, it appears wearing Thom McCann Shoes was akin to being bitten by a radioactive spider or being rocketed to earth as an infant. But now we can only look back in hunger at those bygone years, when the simple act of using Cherry Blossom Shoe Polish or eating Spangles would be almost guaranteed to make fame, fortune, super powers and a lifetime of all you can eat hedonistic blonde buffets, yours for the taking.

9. RUSTY GOFFE The Music Man




Where do you start with Rusty Goffe? For that matter where do you finish? The short answer is when it comes to the Goffemiester General is you don’t even try. Goffe is Goffe it is as simple, and as effective, as that. Who can forget the triple whammy of Goffe, Wyngarde and Blessed in the Flash Gordon film? Not me for one (though lord help me I sometimes late at night wish I could) The sleeve notes to his EP say he is the master of thirty two musical instruments (so just like Jason Falkner only a bit taller) so it is a bold and innovative move, on his part to mostly showcase the instruments he hasn’t quite mastered on his stunning version of The Music Man. But then that’s typical of Goffe: always at the cutting edge, always ten feet tall.


10. ROSEBUD Arnold Layne



Only the French would come up with the idea that the world needed an album of Pink Floyd disco covers and only they would then populate said album with such obscure tracks from the Floyd back catalogue as Free Four, Summer 68 and Main Theme from More, without a second thought. Their groove driven version of Interstellar Overdrive is a particularly baffling treat but it is the cover of Syd Barrett’s Arnold Layne that wins the highly inappropriate award overall. I have a friend who’s a big Floyd fan with a normally inexhaustible sense of humour and he sat stone faced through both sides of this platter, occasionally shaking his head in disbelief and muttering "this isn’t right" to himself. Unfortunately the album must have flopped sales wise and so the world was cheated out of Rosebud going on to the discofication of the cannons of Yes, early Genesis and maybe even Van Der Graaf Generator. Damn shame that.

11. MARTIN HARVEY It’s A Leicester Fiesta


Another day and another middle England town to sing the praises of in a jaunty song. It’s a Leicester Fiesta indeed and Martin Harvey understands intuitively what a fiesta Leicester really is. No need for him to go down the Northampton intergalactic war/aliens route when he can in all confidence let the many facets of this veritable Eden of a town speak for itself. According to this sanely catchy ditty you can go shopping in the shops (quite a revelation that) and then after that maybe visit a discotheque and then…..oh..um… that’s about everything Leicester has to offer it appears. Inexplicably the words "blood", "stone" and "from" are entirely absent from Harvey’s otherwise majestic lyrics.

12. AL HIRT The Monkees Theme


It is an immutable law of the universe that even though to many The Beatles were the greatest and most important band ever, for every single song they recorded there is a superior cover version in existence out there somewhere as Cathy Berberian’s operatic version of I Want To Hold Your Hand further down the page will testify. The Monkees on the other hand, well there has never since time itself began been a cover of one of their recording that has come close to beating the original….except of course for trumpeter Al Hurt’s big band rendition of Theme From The Monkess which frankly blows their version clean out of the ballpark and then some. It is a mighty affair, so much so that I had to double check to make sure that it said his name on the label and it was not that of Zeus and all the gods of Olympus who had somehow crossed into the mortal plain in 1969 and proceeded to lay down such a breathless epic as this dazzling masterpiece.


13. STEVE BOWLEY: Jingle #3

A jingle by budding disc jockey Steve Bowley taken from an acetate. Not a single entry for Bowley on google (well until now) and that just about says all that needs to be said at this juncture.

14. RENE & RENATA It’s A Lovely Day



Renato Pagliari and Hilary Lester under the monica Renée and Renato scored the coveted Christmas number one in 1982 with the deliberately cheesy Save Your Love and plunged into the musical purgatory of One Hit Wonderland no sooner than the last copy sold. Hilary had already departed for pastures new by the time the follow up Just One More Kiss belly flopped its way to 48 and the b-side of said miss It's A Lovely Day possibly explains why as she has her own Lester fiesta moment on a song even cheesier than their number one. Suddenly two thirds of the way though her singing becomes almost primal scream like as she realises just what she is doing with her life. It’s a epiphany caught on tape and everybody involved understood what had just happened and let the take be the one they released. Renato later obtained household immortality of the best sort when he became the singer on the Just One Cornetto advert…..all together now…..

15. JIM BOWEN Jim Bowen Rap



Bullseye the darts and general knowledge based TV quiz show lasted an eternity of thirteen years. This seemingly unfathomable longevity of what was frankly a very bad idea to start with is entirely down to the down to earth affability of host Jim Bowen, a loveable scrotum faced northern comedian. He knew the shows was crap, we knew the show was crap but Mr. Bowen was anything but crap. With his twinkley eyed down in the mouth self deprecation and Oliver Hardyesque looks to camera he made the show his own and also into a Sunday afternoon institution watched endlessly by millions. On Jim Bowen Rap he some how does the impossible and distils thirteen years of grinding banality into three minutes of amazing fun over the type of rap backing track only a group of white middle England session lags more used to playing on Peter Skellen albums could conjure up. What a treat. Bring on the Bendy Bullies!



16. HYLDA BAKER Substitute


Hylda Baker a much cherished comedic turn on the variety stage in her youth began her acting career playing hatchet faced matriarchs in many a gritty northern black and white film drama of the times. But it was on her hit comedy show of the sixties Nearest And Dearest where she really nailed down the dotty to the point of eccentric, acid tongued but sentimentally soft, single, but muddled, minded persona that carried her through the rest of her show biz life. One unseen side effect of this new persona was a stunning (to say the least) singing style all too amply demonstrated here on her cover of South African disco band Clout’s big hit Substitute.




Hylda on Top Of The Pops (Honest)

17. XAVIERA HOLLANDER My Attitude To Sex



Time for another spoken interlude this time courtesy of Xaviera Hollander from her album The Happy Hooker on which she perversely doesn’t sound happy but certainly sounds like a hooker. The record is a mixture of dead eyed, empty soul nuggets of her joyless world view and improvised sexy sketches on which she demonstrates that her improv skills are up there with the Stephen Hawkings of this world. In other words well worth a listen.

18. MAVIN JAMES Together In Iceland





What can I say about Mavin James that hasn’t already been said before? Well in fact virtually everything because nothing much has ever been said before about him to be honest with you. Well that about to change because The gloriously infectious Together In Iceland is the track above all the riches on this collection that should be singled out as a hit. Mavin, a very late contender in the Canterbury Scene that spawned the likes of Soft Machine and Caravan waited until his late fifties before he wrote some songs and then sat down behind his trusted Bontempi home keyboard to immortalise them for us all. He recorded and self released just three singles in all, of which Together In Iceland is the mind blower and it sold enough at the time so he could finally afford to buy that leaf blower from Argos he’d had his eye on to help keep the back garden tidy. In a real and proper world Together In Iceland should have outsold Darkside Of The Moon and Tubular Bells combined and Mavin could have bought not just a leaf blower but the Argos company in total, but then this is not the real world. On first listen this track is deceptively lo-fi and some might say slightly peculiar, on second listen it is already rotting your teeth like the purest crystal meth and sticking to your brain like a velcro skull liner. And by the third you are hopelessly addicted and there’s no going back. It is there, lodged in your mind forever and only fairly drastic brain surgery could ever hope to silence it. But why would you ever chose to do that when Together In Iceland is such a wonderful friend, a true companion on your journey through life, always bubbling away in the deepest recesses of your id? No just best sit back and enjoy the ride. (Somebody needs to track down David McCallum and play this to him because all the answers his was searching for were maybe here all along.)

19. EDD BYRNES Like I Love You





Obviously inspired by the invention of the universal language Esperanto Edd Bynes decided the youth of late fifties America need their own more hip daddio universal language that wasn’t so uncool and square. And so came the bold social experiment that was Kookiespeak. Hundred of thousands of people learnt Esperanto but it never really caught on but unfortunately only Edd Bynes actually learnt the "speaking in tongues for the Fonz generation" that he had come up with. So to say Kookiespeak also never really caught on is a slight understatement of the highest order. That humankind failed so utterly to embrace Bynes and his new way of communicating must surely be viewed as a huge (possibly even fatal) mistake the repercussions of which are buried deep within the tattered social fabric of our failing global civilisation. A mistake that we can hopefully rectify here with the inclusion of "Like I Need You"

20. DAVID CARRADINE The Chicken Song



Shaking off the grasshopper slap headed slow motion kung fu typecasting in the only way he knew how, future killed Bill, David Carradine went the untried and untested route of recording a little country ditty about chickens taking LSD (at least I think that is what this song is about). It was a bold and masterful move and typical of the man that later died in an unfortunate accident while trying to find his way to Narnia through a wardrobe or something.....

21. PAUL DAMIAN: How To Say Llanfairpwllgyllgogerwchwyrndro bwllllantysiliogogogoch



The unenigmatic Paul Damian’s How To Say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
is not just entertaining but also education in song form, If you play this sunny little tune enough times in will actually teach you how to say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, there by broadening the scope of human knowledge by about a millimetre. But why, you ask do I need to learn to say
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch when I have long ago mastered how to say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from the Mary Poppins film? Well dumb arse supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a totally made up word (and before you start….yes I realise that technically all words are made up but here’s a word for you smarty pants: Pedantic) while Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is the actual Welsh name of a Welsh village in, er Wales. So it is entirely down to you here, either keep on using supercalifragilisticexpialidocious on social occasions and be thought of as a fool by your friends and family or learn how to say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch and impress and amaze all those around you with your dazzling and worldly wise knowledge. Damian also thoughtfully tells you the English meaning of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch during the middle eight so you can throw that added information into the social pot for extra kudos. And if you’re still not convinced, just get out the ruler and measure both words…in this case length really does matter (and before you start ladies, yes I know in every case….) Damian’s rumoured follow up single "How To Say The Antidisestablishmentarianism Of Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis While Standing On The Top Of Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu" never made it beyond rough demo stage when he realised he had bitten off more than even he could chew but it matters little because we still have How To Say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch to amaze, delight and teach us. I myself have heard it enough that I can fluently say Llanfairpwellogog…tum..sillygoch….oh hold on I think I need a top up.

22. PAUL FREES Let It Be




American impressionist Paul Frees did a whole album Paul frees And The Poster People in 1971 on which he impersonated old time film stars singing pop hits of the moment. How could such a brilliant concept fail to be anything less than enthralling? So we have Bela Lugosi vamp(ire)ing through Games People Play, Humphrey Bogart pulling out all the gruff stops on Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head and Sydney Greenstreet reimagining Sugar Suger like he’s singing into the Maltese Falcon itself. But the jewel in the crown has to be Warner Oland in the character of Chinese detective Charlie Chan delivering up what is the definitive reading of Let It Be in a way that Macca never dreamed was possible. Oh yes indeed Ret It Bee.

23. JOHN COLLIER The Saturday Night Suit



Another promotional advertising jingle single for a long gone product, in this case the John Collier Saturday Night Suit, that is so gosh darn persuasive that I’m now compelled to attempt building a time machine just so I can go back to 1970 to buy one and maybe, just maybe that was their plan all along....

24. PETER ANTHONY Song For Sefton

I just can't face talking about this one... look I'm already filling up just thinking about it....

25. JOE LOSS Steptoe & Son



We are all familiar with the knowledge of the staggering psychological impact of going to the moon for Buzz Aldrin and all the other astronauts who experienced such a mind-blowing thing. After doing that their lives were never the same, how could they be? They had walked on the moon for crispsake! Who could possible imagine what that must have been like for those fellows? (Certainly not Mr. String and The Police who’s only insight on their decidedly silly Walking On The Moon single seems to be "giant steps are what you take walking on the moon" which I don’t even think is technically correct anyway). I have to believe though that Joe Loss and his band must have experience something damn close after the recording on their big band version of Steptoe and Son. A stunning re imagining of Old Ned the theme tune of the brilliant BBC show Steptoe and Son, little did Joe and the boys in the band realise just what they were getting themselves into that fateful day in the studio. The original ambles along at a horse and cart pace as befitting a show about rag and bone men, Loss’s version begins like a full blooded gallop and escalates from there. Joe must have realised the once in a lifetime magic that had ignited as the exuberant waves of music slammed into his chest that day because at the end of the already full pelt first section he lifts his baton up and pushes the band up another level still. Basking in the harmonic hurricane swirling around him now he becomes a man possessed and though it seems beyond any reason or endurance he wealds his baton like a wand and cranks it up another impossible gear. It’s a roller coaster of wild abandon for the listener so god knows what it must have been like in the studio. But still it is not enough for Loss that the band are already playing beyond all rational power and they all lock eyes and smile and take it up another notch, and then another and another. The players a veritable volcano of virtuosity with Loss at the crest of the wave leading them onward and inward into previously undreamed heights of excitement fuelled energy. This Mr Hawking is what your Big Bang must have sounded like, a multiple orgasm of music mayhem and breath taking crescendos the likes of which has never been achieved before or since. I have to believe that all of the fine musicians who were there that day emerged from the studio, blinking in the early dawn light, changed men. For them and for us life would never be the same.


26. MICHAEL ELPHICK Gotcha



Back in the days of old school sexist, no means yes, chauvinistic attitudes, gravel voiced actor Michael Elphick’s paean to the joys of stalking women, Gotcha was supposed to come across as masterful in a real man knows what he wants and then goes out an bloody well gets it, sort of boorish way. It’s an oh dear type of record, a dubious pleasure without the pleasure. Even at the time it was, I suspect viewed as just a tad on the creepy side. These days it automatically comes across more a lot rapey than just a bit creepy. Despite the overwhelming media tits and arse tabloid enema that poisons our souls daily that might make you believe otherwise, this modern reaction to Gotcha shows that overall, in the years since it’s recording, humankind has grown slightly more enlightened than you might dared to have hoped. But only slightly.



27. TINA HARVEY Tina’s Song

Back in the days of swinging London aspiring bands with their one or two shots at a hit single, would more often then not end up with a throwaway record company sanctioned A-side of weak kneed pop and once the money lenders had departed with bland miss in a can leaving them alone with the studio engineer and a free reign for the unimportant B side (of our platter sports fans) a psychedelic classic of a flip side that is cherished by music fans to this day. By the time Tina Harvey got to do a single in the seventies nobody much was interested in putting any effort at all into the B-side. The best you could say if you ever went as far as flipping the record over and lowering needle to vinyl would be, I can understand why this got relegated to the B-side. It happened so often that in the end nobody could be bothered to even try the otherside and thousands of songs from that time were never heard by anyone at all. And generally the quietly dissappointing results of this mass B-suicide ennui show why. Not so our Tina who whole heartedly embraced the neglected warehouse of flipside medocrity and decided she could do one better in the throwaway stakes. Tina's song is barely a song, more a befuddled but strangly charming slight of hand monologue snatched from a visit to the hairdressers of surreal mundanity and set to music that's lost its way home. And then just as you start to be intrigued it's gone, not even making the two minute mark leaving you both baffled and bewitched. Yes you've just heard magic. Believe.

28. BERT LANDERS Peppermint Twist


Oh those crazy madcap Germans with their frankly bull goose loony attempts to jump on the twist craze dance floor. Heavens above I can't make heads or tails of whats going on here on the deeply wild and deeplier disturbing Peppermint Twist. It's crazy but crazy like wow. It's dancing in tongues. It shouldn't be allowed into our ears let alone our brains....but then we simply couldn't resist could we?

29. THE BARCLAY SUPERGROUP Barclay Girls


If back in 1970 you were were one of the young women swayed enough by the speaking and tunes on this flexi disc and the words in the accompanying booklet to actually get a job in a bank then you deserve every miserable tedious day of work you experienced by doing so. You stupid idiotic fool. Barclaygirl? Berk-laygirl more like.

30. CATHY BERBERIAN I Want To Hold Your Hand

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man, it is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity, it is the middle ground between light and shadow between science and superstition and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge This is the dimension of imagination it is an area which we call the Twlight Zone Of Beatles Covers. Witness, case to point one Cathy Berberian resident of New York who had won the adulation of her peers as an avant guard opera singer of great reputation amongst the cutting edge music elite of the day. We can only wonder what unknown and perverse serendipity brought shining from the deepest recesses of her creative soul this bright yearning to record a long playing record of Beatles covers done in a baroque operatic style. I present for your consideration Exhibit A: I Want To Hold Your Hand. Notice if you will the awe-inspiring politeness of the performance, the persistently inappropriate musical setting and the abiding use of unnecessary vocal flourishes. Witness the glorious whole that in a way beyond human perception and understanding delivers upon us a version that makes the original wither in the blinding brilliance of this reinterpretation. Of course, we all know that opera singers should never attempt Beatles songs and yet this one woman armed with only her dreams and an adventurous and free spirit could shift our reality into another listening dimension all together. It can only happen here in the misty region of the Twilight Zone Of Beatles Covers.


31. MAX BYGRAVES Ma He's Makin' Eyes At Me

What do call two raincoats in a cemetry? Max Bygraves of course. Dear old Max, one time movie idol, comedian, quizmaster (who can forget the magnificent shambles that was his time hosting Family Fortunes?) but most of all a warm and utterly relaxed singer, beloved by old ladies across the home counties, who has released more albums than Robert Pollard and puts the easy into easy listening without even trying. In the seventies Max hit a run on success with his Singalongamax album which spawn more sequels than Rocky, Jaws and Police Academy combined. His pension aged fan base just could not get enough of good old Max it seemed. There was even, if my memory serves, a Lingalongamax album...though precisely what linging was I never had the courage to find out. And maybe that's for the best. If this was middle of the road then the road was the M1 but even the longest road eventually reaches it's ultimate destination. And it is that destination that brings him tumbling into our sphere of interest here because in 1979 for the only time in his long career Bygraves took notice of what was happening around him and the result is the heaven sent masterpiece that is Discolongamax. The plan was a simple one; take a generous handful of beloved Max classics, Get Me To The Church (On Time), You Need Hands, Tulips From Amsterdam etc. and rerecord them in a disco style with a truly shit hot top of the range backing band (and I do mean Shit Hot..that's the legendary drumming genius Dave Mattacks (of Fairport Convention/Richard Thompson fame) driving the whole thing along) Ma He's Makin' Eyes At Me is a perfect example of the musical muscle up for grabs on this mighty album. The guitars wah wah like their lives depend on it, the bass thuds like Father Time himself is playing it and the string section swoop like hawks, all with such controlled frenzy that your jaw hangs open with amazement. Building and building like white hot magma fighting to be free of the earth's crust and then in drops Max as reasurringly relaxed as ever, seeming oblivious to the kick arse musical storm surrounding him. It's a dynamite combination. "I just hope that the folk who buy the album will feel like a bit of a dancealong too." says Max on the back cover...well hope away in vain Max because if your huge grey haired audience of Maxaholics tried to dancealong to this rocket fuelled monster then we'd have been deafened by the sound of a hundred thousand hips breaking (no jokes about break dancing here please). And as for the rest of us..well we're all so helplessly gobsmacked by Discolongamax that we can't even so much as twitch a toe while it's playing..let alone dance.

32. BALI Patel Rap


An affectonate homage to all those dedicated hard working business folk of the cornershop who make it possible to buy kingsize rizla and jaffa cakes right through to the wee small hours...a luxury we never had as kids...shops back then were all shut by five thirty and half day on Thursdays. If you find this funhouse of a song in anyway dubious then your political correctness gland is swollen beyond any saving by common sense and dare I say it, a sense of humour.

33.PIRATA Arrivederci

There was a time even resturants did their own promotional singles to hand out to their patrons after a meal. The question is why? The answer is so thirty years later we could have a suitably stylish close to proceedings.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

probably the 2nd best album of 2009

øשlqaeda said...

man all that info, zero download link. i been after this one fer a minute but it's sold out everywhere. any chance you could rip the album, upload it & send us a link? :) pretty please!?@

[uzine] said...

Thanks for the info! Can't wait for Volume 2! Is the Psychic Circle label still up and running?