I might well be the only person here who’s even slightly interested in the following, but on the offchance, here goes. The Mercedes C111, shown above, was an experimental car that was used to attack a series of world records for diesel powered cars back in 1978. It was fitted with a standard 5 cylinder, 3 litre diesel engine, similar to those found in all those cabs and passenger cars that you see everywhere, I’ve owned three. I’ve long been a diesel fan and ever since this event I’ve been curious about it and some years ago I wrote this piece; what intrigued me was that though they came incredibly close, they were never able to break the 200mph average speed record though they came within .0055mph of doing so, but that record eluded them.
Now pay attention back there, this is dull and uninteresting and it might require a little concentration, turn on the music if it helps. It’s a piece from that era that the drivers might have been listening to, assuming someone thought to fit a cassette player in the car.
Autobahn – Kraftwerk

The 1978 Mercedes-Benz C111-III in pursuit of diesel world records at Nardo.
Daimler-Benz set out in 1978 to demonstrate the power potential of the diesel engine on the lightly banked 12.6-kilometer circuit at Nardo, Italy on April 29/30. The C 111-III car, which had been optimized not only in aerodynamic terms, with a sensational drag coefficient of 0.195, was fitted with a three-liter five-cylinder diesel engine developing 230 hp with exhaust turbocharger and intercooler. Nevertheless, it consumed an average of only 16 liters of diesel fuel per 100 kilometers. In the course of the 12-hour record-breaking run, six world best performances were clocked up over distances from 100 kilometers to 1000 miles, with a further three best performances over 1, 6 and 12 hours. Over the entire 500-km distance, an absolute top average speed of 321.860 km/h was measured for this record-breaking car which was designed for speeds of up to 325km/h.
The drivers were Rico Steinemann, Paul Frere, Moch and Dr. Hans Liebold and records achieved during the 12-hour record drive were:

100 km at 316.484 km/h
100 miles at 319.835 km/h
500 km at 321.860 km/h — ie 199.99453 mph.
500 miles at 320,788 km/h
1000 km at 318.308 km/h
1000 miles at 319.091 km/h
1 hour at 321.843 km/h
6 hours at 317.796 km/h
12 hours at 314.463 km/h

Some technical data:

Manufactured in 1978, a 5-cylinder inline OM 617 A, placed before the rear axle, longitudinally and standing upright, a four-stroke diesel with pre-chamber injection, a mechanically operated Bosch injection pump, turbocharger and intercooler, bore x stroke 90.9 x 92.4 mm, 2999ccm = ca. 183.2 cu in, compression 1:17.5, maximum power output 230 PS (NOT 320 PS!) = 169 kw at 4.200-4.600 revs, maximum torque 403 Nm at 3.700 revs, engine block made from grey cast iron, cylinder head made out of light alloy, detachable, 2 valves per cylinder, one overhead camshaft driven by duplex-chain, firing order 1-2-4-5-3, one glowplug per cylinder, electrical Bosch starter, vented disc brakes front and rear, rear-wheel drive, double plate dry clutch, ZF 5-speed manual transmission with integrated axle drive, central floor shift, recirculating ball steering, length 5380 mm [17.6ft], width 1715 mm [5.62ft], height 1045 mm 3.42ft], car weight 1400 kg [3086 lb], engine weight 244 kg [538 lb], one seat place, fuel tank 140 litres [37 gal], top speed 325 km/h = 202 mph, ((other sources report a top speed of 327.3 kmh = 203.4 mph)), drag coefficient 0.183, another DC source says 0.195, diesel consumption was ca. 16 litres/100km = ca. 17.6 mpg UK = ca. 14.7 mpg US.

You will notice that all those records were above 314.463 km/hr [195 mph] and that the highest average speed attained was for 500 km, 321.860 km/hr, ie 199.99453 mph. The average speeds declined after that to 198.273 mph for 1000 miles and to 195.398 mph for 12 hours. No matter how hard they tried, their lap speeds dropped every lap ’til the end, they were unable to break the 200 mph average speed barrier.

So the question is why were they not able to do so even though the cars max speed was 325 km/hr – [202 mph] and the car constantly lost substantial weight due to fuel usage and what simple modification to the engine would have allowed them to break the elusive 200 mph average barrier?

That joke isn’t funny anymore

1 Straight In At 101 Los Campesinos! want it to feel more like post coital, less like post rock…
2 Religious Songs Withered Hand how can he be happy listening to death metal tunes
3 Playboy Hot Chip Drivin’ in my Puegeot – 20 inch rims with the chrome now – Blazin’ out Yo La Tengo – Drivin’ round poppin’ with the top down ….
4 The Key Of C Jim Noir i want to be in the key of c, it’s easier to play it.
5 A Man Walks Into A Bar Jens Lekman
6 New Year’s Kiss Casiotone For The Painfully Alone not on a balcony with champagne lips..but in the pantry against the pancake mix

1 Against The Wall Jimi Tenor / Tony Allen I wanna do it dance hall – got my tightest pants on
2 Separated At Birth DJ Format (Featuring Abdominal & D-Sisive)
3 Public Park Ballboy
4 Cut Your Hair Pavement look around, the second drummer drowned, his telephone was found
5 Fonz Eugene McGuinness
6 Faraway Eyes The Handsome Family

1 Worries Gisli if you had a penis you’d worry about who to screw
2 The Happy Song The Aliens I’m happy every day even tho I’m stuck in Fife
3 All The Records On The Radio Are Shite… Ballboy except mine
4 Bad Cover Version Pulp heard an old girlfriend had turned to the church, she’s trying to replace me, it’ll never work.
5 Don’t Let The Record Label Take You Out To Lunch Jeffrey Lewis
6 Hell Is Round The Corner Tricky
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Cover yourself – in glory?

One of my favourite albums of the last few years is God Help The Girl – the album (and much more) from Stuart Murdoch’s side project of the same name. God Help The Girl

I particularly like the re-working of the track Funny Little Frog which originally appeared on Belle & Sebastian‘s The Life Pursuit and here gets a funky face lift, turning it into a sort of soulful torch song.

I always find it interesting when an artist takes another bash at an old favourite of theirs – and I don’t mean a remix or an acoustic version – I mean a whole new take on a song. Same lyrics, same chords but with an entirely different feel to it.

Diana – Prefab Sprout

Version one appeared as an extra track on the double-pack 7″ single of When Love Breaks Down. About five years later, a much slower and more downbeat version turned up on the Protest Songs album.


Felicity – Orange Juice/James Kirk

This early live favourite from the floppy-fringed, Glasgow art-school pospters first saw the light of recorded day in February 1980 when a live version appeared on a flexi disc given away with a fanzine. A slightly more polished version turned up on the band’s debut album, the seminal You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever in 1982.

Orange Juice are thought by many to be synoymous with Edwyn Collins – and of course Edwyn was always at the forefront of what made Orange Juice great but it would be wrong to underestimate James Kirk’s contribution to the band: a contribution which included penning Felicity.

Many years after Orange Juice‘s demise, James Kirk embarked on a solo career, the highlight of which was the 2003 album You Can Make It If You Boogie. And the album included a reworking of Felicity - a less-frenetic, more thoughtful version, I think you’ll agree.

Pop trivia: when The Wedding Present recorded their own version of Felicity, David Gedge introduced it with the words “this is a William Shatner song” – a reference to the songwriter, James (not T) Kirk.


You’re The One For Me – Jonathan Richman

In 1990, Jonathan Richman recorded a whole album of Country songs under the title Jonathan Goes Country. Alongside some Country & Western classics, he reworked a number of his own songs, including You’re The One For Me, a semi-autobiographical song which had originally appeared on the 1983 album, Jonathan Sings.

Both versions are fab …

You’re The One For Me
You’re The One For Me

Funny Little Frog – Belle & Sebastian/God Help The Girl

The inspiration behind this post. I had known the original B&S version for years before hearing the more soulful version which features on the God Help The Girl album.

Funny Little Frog
Funny Little Frog

And here they all are in one handy clickable thingy:

So there you have it. I've chosen four examples from my own collection which (I hope) illustrate what I'm wittering on about, but I know you've all got your own favourite reworkings …

Sausages and Mash with Onion Gravy

We haven’t had a food post for a while, so I thought I’d post one.

OK, it was a coldish and wet evening and I wanted some proper comfort food tonight – sausages with whole-grain mustard mash and onion gravy.

Sausages and mash is just one of the truly great things to eat. Porky loveliness plus silky mash and rich gravy. It is just heaven on a plate.

The sausages were Waitrose Gloucester Old Spot with sage, given a nice slow cook in a heavy black iron pan with a slick of oil (Matthew Fort-style sausage cooking) and the mash was made with Desiree potatoes that I put through the ricer and then reheated with butter, milk, Maille whole-grain mustard and finely chopped parsley.

For the gravy, I slowly cooked two thinly sliced red onions in some oil until they were coloured and beginning to caramelise, I added some flour, stirring to amalgamate the oil with the flour and added a slug of Marsala, making a roux to which I added some beef stock (I cheated here because I used a powdered beef stock base rather than a fresh stock) and simmered until it thickened slightly.

I love sausages with mustard, so I had a dollop of Dijon Mustard on the side, but English mustard would work well too.

As this was a hearty dish, most red wines would go well. We drank a Rhône red wine, a 2008 Vinsobres AOC, a wine that is a blend of Syrah and Grenache and a lovely fruity, spicy wine.


Erm, NC < 17 warning, just so's u know.

Freedom Jazz Dance

Currently reading ‘From Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz: The History of the UK Jazz Dance Scene’ by Mark ‘Snowboy’ Cotgrove which is a interesting read about the rise of this underground music from interviews with the major players in this scene, namely the DJ’s and the dancers. Here is a clip of the Nicholas Brothers who were, albeit subconsciously for many, a major influence to the Jazz Dance style that was exemplified in the Working Week video for ‘Venceremos (We Will Win). Watch and marvel …

It’s not you, it’s you

Just a quick note that I plan on keeping a lower profile for awhile here and RR. No one thing in particular, but the thrill is gone a bit and the DTs weren’t as bad this week as I thought. In fact, I got to listen to some music I didn’t even know I had! Plus, better to burn out than…no, better to fade…no, it wouldn’t be… it’d deffo better to… TIN, STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD. NOTHING TO TYPE HERE. GO BACK TO YOUR HOME.

EOTWQ’s – What’s Cool..?

I’ve always been a wee bit obsessed by the concept of cool. The difference in perception between seemingly similar kinds of people of what’s cool and what’s dasai (a Japanese word which is more eloquent than just saying “uncool” and more cutting than “lame” – it just fits best for me!) never fails to amaze me.
Some say that the modern concept of cool as we know it came from jazz musicians in the 1940′s, and really took off with the creation of the “teenager” and the advent of rock’n’roll, but i’m sure that as a process it’s been around from the moment cavemen first dyed their furs a different colour (allright history pedants, i’m sure it didn’t happen like that, but don’t ruin my illusion!).

So, to the questions/quintet:

I love the fact that you can be cool without actually being any good at something; cool is all about attitude and presence and the way someone or something presents itself to the world and in my book, there is nothing cooler than being cool!

1. What’s YOUR definition of “cool”?

I know there are loads of 60′s and 70′s counterculture films that set the agenda for cool at the time and that look even cooler in retrospect, but for my generation, Tarantino is still one of the only directors to consciously incorporate cool into his films, so i’ll go for “True Romance” as a film that just oozes cool:

2. What’s the coolest film ever made?

I’ll break the rules here as usual, i’ve said it before, but i’ll say it again, for me San Francisco supposed-punks Crime are hands-down the coolest band there ever was (I won’t justify too much, i’m planning a post on them…erm….soon-ish). so:

3. Who are the coolest band ever (not necessarily the best)?

When I was a teenager, the epitome of cool for me was keeping your fags in the sleeve of your T-shirt like River Phoenix in Stand By Me and Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest…..and I have to say, it still looks pretty damn cool today too.

4. What thing/person/action etc was the epitome of cool for you when you were younger? Do you still think so?

Wicked, kakkoi, radical, radically rare…. erm… me out here…….:

5. What synonyms did/do you have for “cool” in your part of the world?

Earworms (Aug 24)

The last decade has been pretty good for female singer-songwriters (as a whole, quite superior to their male counterparts’ output, in my opinion). I’ve come across Sharon Van Etten’s work very recently, and I’m already hooked. This a slow song has an intense subject matter, the kind of song where every cymbal, every organ flourish counts.
- lambretinha

The Peru native and her husband  Ricardo Pereira are responsible  for the recovery of harmonies and rhythms of the music of the almost forgotten Afro-Peruvian culture. The lyrics of some of her songs are based on poems by Pablo Neruda and Cesar Vallejo.    -  goneforeign

And what does young Tarrus want to be when he grows up? Parables, 2006 (debut); cheeky, boy full of himself pop/reggae. Challenges, 2008; mature, respected reggae album. Contagious, 2009/2010; Playful style disguises real meat. This lad could sell a lot of records, could touch a lot of people…and he’ll even do both if he wants.   -tin

This Paul Simon-produced debut album, like Frank himself, disappeared from view for several years. I’m sure the story and music will be known by some of you but for those, like me, who are new to it, this is his best known track and, so far, it’s the one that wormed its way most deeply into my consciousness.
- May1366
When you break up you’re supposed to say ‘let’s stay friends’ and yada yada yada. I say, pffft to that!    - tin

A wonderful group I saw several times in the 50s. Arranged by Neal Hefti, tenor solo by Eddie Lockjaw Davis, piano by Basie and the best rhythm section in the business. Even on a gentle low key tune like this they still swing, they used to call this band ’16 men swinging’.    -  goneforeign

This was due to auto-post Aug 24 a.m: Time for the Earworms mod to change on a 6-month rotating basis (sort of like the presidency of the EU, but without the staff car). Maki, who has been helping with the technical end here, takes over starting next week. Earworms email is now (which Maki will redirected to the new suckerBACKSPACEvolunteer when the time comes).

Well done everyone for making this into an ace feature. I look forward to being surprised every week now! – TCM

AOTW: Nathan Fake – Drowning In A Sea Of Love (2006)

Been a while since we’ve had electronic music as AOTW (probably because most of you don’t like it). Nathan Fake’s (real name) Drowning In A Sea Of Love is in the box. To get you warmed up, here is an epic remix of one of the album tracks by James Holden & a Grasscut remix Nathan did earlier this year. For more info & some free downloads, check out:

Russia in color, a century ago

I just came across these amazing photos from Russia, they were taken in 1910, one hundred years ago! They are not hand colored black and white prints they are actual color prints derived using a three plate camera that exposed three images through red, green and blue filters, from these negatives realistic color slides could be made, the slides were projected. It’s exactly the same process that Technicolor motion picture film used in Hollywood in the 1930′s except that a technicolor camera was a huge beast that ran three 1000ft rolls of B&W film simultaneously and had three lenses each with a color filter. The films that you saw were not produced photographically, they were printed on film in the same manner as color magazine photographs.
The prints are at:


Graduation/Leaving Home

Shoeteen #1, is moving out. Road trip tomorrow to set her up at college. She made a mixtape for some of her friends & here are some of the highlights. Bit short of time, so let’s make it a quiz (mainly so I don’t have to fiddle with those pesky wp player tags). Any other tune suggestions welcome.

Mad, Bad & Dangerous

I’ve never been one to hold musicianship in particularly high regard – I mean, not as a primary reason for liking a piece of music. What I mean is, I’m not drawn to music by the musical proficiency of a particular artist – I can admire it, in much the same way that I might look at a new brick wall and admire the craftsmanship, but that’s not what attracts me to the music in the first place and it’s not something that I usually spend a lot of time thinking about. Personally, I feel that musicians can sometimes get in the way of a really good song but that’s probably just me.

And when we had the question a few weeks back about our dream band the names I chose (with the possible exception of Johnny Marr) weren’t people who are in any way renowned for their musical virtuosity. They merely represented bands that I liked and I felt that they might have some sort of collective synergy (if such a thing can be said to exist).

The point of all this apparently mindless rambling (not to say, work avoidance) is that a friend of mine has just written (and had published) a book all about drummers and it got me thinking about the whole issue of musicianship and why it doesn’t grip me in the way that it clearly grips most ‘music fans’. I know that lots of ‘Spillers feel very differently about this so tell me – am I missing something?

The Shameless Plug

I haven’t read my friend’s book yet so I can’t give it an unreserved ‘go-out-and-buy-it-immediately’ type of recommendation but from a brief skim through it seems to be a damn fine read – particularly if you’re of the same sort of vintage as me (i.e. a child of the late 60s/early 70s).

Anyway, the author’s name is Spike Webb and I’ve known him since the aforementioned early 70s. Here’s an Amazon link to the book itself:

Mad, Bad & Dangerous

Available, as they say, in all good book shops, now …

Finally, here’s a fairly random Cozy Powell video.

PS. Apologies to tincanman for not taking part in the Drummers thread from a few days ago – for what it’s worth I would have supported maki’s – oops – magicman’s Steve Gadd shout.

Unfamiliar Energy

Two things came to mind when I saw this clip, first David Cameron and this Charlie Brooker piece, especially this bit:

Like an ostensibly realistic human character in a state-of-the-art CGI cartoon, he’s almost convincing – assuming you can ignore the shrieking, cavernous lack of anything approaching a soul. Which you can’t.

I see the sheen, the electronic calm, those tiny, expressionless eyes . . .

and second the line from Jay Electronica’s Exhibit C:

That’s why when you talk the tough talk I never feel ya.

You sound real good and you play the part well, but the energy you givin off is so unfamiliar.


I posted Groovin out on Life by Ken Parker this weekend to universal acclaim

Okay, so nobody noticed at all. AND I’M FINE WITH THAT! but I was thinking about the whole groovin/groovy phrase and wondering where it had started. I’ve decided to make a collabo spotify list instead of dropboxing, but I’m willing to open a folder there as well. I put songs I have in my iTUnes (thanks for the cannonball adderly, Nilfperd!) and a few choice numbers I probably will never own.

Shake your groove thing


Groove it up, baby!

Remembering Abbey Lincoln

I don’t want to become the resident poster of obituaries but we can’t let Abbey Lincoln go without a word.

Abbey Lincoln, at 80, died Saturday as most jazz fans know by now. And most of Abbey’s fans know the details of her vivacious life. Her lounge singing start in the 1950s, her supreme acting in important roles in the 1960s films Nothing But a Man (1964) and For Love of Ivy (1968), both of which came after her 1962 marriage to jazz drummer and bandleader Max Roach.
Her personal and musical relationship with Roach would play an important part in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s as well as in Lincoln’s own musical career. She branched out from supper-club singer to jazz singer and songwriter, collaborating with a multitude of jazz giants over the course of her long career, including pairings with Archie Shepp, Eric Dolphy and Sonny Rollins, and, of course, Roach.
In the past two decades, Lincoln’s songwriting really hit its stride, with a string of fantastic, critically acclaimed albums starting with 1991’s The World Is Falling Down, 1993’s The Devil Got Your Tongue, 1994’s perfect A Turtle’s Dream and 2007’s ambitious Abbey Sings Abbey. There are a bunch of great albums in between too. No-one sings like her, she’s so clean and loud and honest, here’s two cuts from her 1959 LP ‘Abbey is Blue’, Kenny Dorham on tpt.Wynton Kelly on pft. Les Spann on gtr. Sam Jones on bs. and Philly Joe on dms.
Come Sunday by Duke
Lost in the Stars – by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson.

The 88-string guitar

The piano isn’t usually known as a folk instrument (as Tom Lehrer remarked) but here’s Beryl Marriott, who died on July 30, giving it some welly at a Fairport Ceilidh Band gig – the connection to Fairport Convention itself seems a little loose, according to the YouTube commenters. Beryl was, however, well known to and loved by FC in all its permutations. Here, direct to you from Maki’s box (thanks Maki!) are a couple of examples of her recorded work:

and here’s the Grauniad obituary.

Sun’s Gonna Shine

The song I picked for an earworm, Nina Simone’s Nina’s Blues, is actually a version of Trouble in Mind. It has the phrase “The sun’s gonna shine in my backdoor some day.” It got me thinking about all of the different songs that use that phrase. I have a few here…can anybody think of any other?

Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Trouble in Mind

Carter Family – March Winds Goin to BLow My Blues Away

Blind Willie McTell & Curley Weaver – I Keep on Drinkin

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee – That’s WHy I’m Walking

The Smiths – Hand in Glove (this one turns it around a little)

Earworms (Aug 17)

Only 5 this week to keep the overall length about the same.

A Paris-based Congolese guitarist and classically-trained pianist, he heard Jimi Hendrix and became a singer/songwriter. The vocal parts here are spectacular, with swooping harmonies guaranteed to stick around in your interior dialogue for the rest of the day. Royalties go into a fund to help Baka forest people buy their own land (!) to prevent encroachment by farming and logging companies.   - webcore

I got this LP after reading As Serious As Your Life – The Story Of The New Jazz by Valerie Wilmer – the only book on jazz I could find not written by a pompously goateed, balding, middle-aged man and that doesn’t drone on about chord progressions. I like the pace and power this track can produce just with an unaccompanied piano. (sorry about the scuffling sound near the start, I knocked the record player with my elbow by accident!!)
- Japanthersan
She’s got troubles, and she’s ready to lay her head on a railway track and let the 2:19 ease her worried mind, but the song itself plows through you like a trainful of jubilation, building as it goes, and gives me goose bumps every time.
- steenbeck
I think it is the bassline that has the actual earwormy hookiness and the song itself has that essential bright cheesy quality that distinguishes the true worm from pale imitators. The horns are also pretty hookworthy too.   – CaroleB

Here’s a dreamy, laid-back piece of gorgeousness. The earworm bit may have something to do with the 10 minute duration. With a title like ‘Star Blanket River Child’, you would never guess it was a bit psychedelic, would you?
Am off for a week(ish) but next week’s earworms are done and set to auto-post at the usual time. Submissions welcome for end of August.

AOTW: Roddy Woomble – My Secret Is My Silence

For those who don’t know, Roddy “Improbable Surname” Woomble is the lead singer of Scottish rock band, Idlewild. Bar the odd single (most notably “American English”), their stuff has never really grabbed me, but I think this album is an absolute gem. It’s not clever or flashy – in fact, it’s the complete opposite of flashy: it’s mainly quiet, contemplative, organic-sounding folk-rock. And it’s lovely.

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