Ssoooooooooooo PROUD!!!

Anyone remember/notice my comment earlier in the week that Jess was stressing herself into not being able to sleep? There were two reasons for it. First was her flute Bronze Medal Test (a kind of Grade 1 trial run). Well that went well apparently, but she won’t get ANY feedback for at least another couple of weeks, as all exams are marked remotely from a video taken of her performance.

The other event causing her worry was her part in her school club’s entry into a Bradford Schools’ talent competition, known as the Junior Rock Challenge. This was the kinda local-only kid brother to the national senior schools’ Rock Challenge series, which in Bradford takes place at St.Georges Hall. Though there are hints the juniors may get promoted there next year, the fact is this year’s wasn’t a big affair, as the college hosting it could only cope with an audience of around 400, but still …

Anyway, half a dozen local primary schools all put together 5 minute dance interpretations of a chosen topic title [Be Your Best], and performed them to a full house of family members and three judges. The whole thing was properly filmed (so I’m hoping there’s a DVD to come), compered by a local radio DJ, and was actually pretty impressive.

GUESS WHICH SCHOOL’S PERFORMANCE BLEW THE OTHERS OFF THE STAGE AND CAME HOME WITH THE WINNER’S PLAQUE??

I’ll admit they were helped by pulling the last-on-stage ball out of the pre-show draw hat, but their set was truly excellent. Choreographed by Jess’ ex-cheerleading teacher (& private danceschool owner) Helen Wragg, how on earth the thirty of them got through a performance like that without knocking each other flying is beyond me, let alone delivering a performance that had me absolutely spellbound.

So yeah, I‘m almost as, no, I’m even MORE chuffed than my eldest daughter is, but that’s not actually my main reason for posting this. One of the factors in Shibden Head’s success was the soundtrack they put together for their five minutes, which was so in-yer-face infectious that their ever-so-slightly off-topic interpretation of the theme got past the judges without penalty. Based on a children’s book called Giraffes Can’t Dance, they had a five minute “Jungle” mash-up soundtrack, which was an absolute riot. Well, if I’ve finally got it right, here it is as a musical quiz.

NB – I do NOT, repeat NOT, have a list of artists & titles, so am in no position to issue ‘Spill points, but I figure you lot should be able to identify all of the snippets contained within. Fingers crossed . . .

Besides ……..

……….. No one ever plays the B-Side, do they? So no one cares what it sounds like.

OK, so you have an album out and you’ve picked the killer single, what do you do about that pesky flipside?

There are a few schools of thought;

1) Stick on another album track.
2) Put out something from the back catalogue that no one really likes enough to release on it’s own merits.
3) Use that song that wasn’t good enough for the album itself but is OK really.
4) Put the drummer’s new song on. It will stop him moaning that no one takes his stuff seriously.
5) Do a cover version of something you used to do live before you had a decent set-list.
6) Remix the single and bang that on.
7) Put on a really good song that will be a genuine treasure for the fans.

I suppose that there are other options but these seem to cover most bases, judging by what I’ve heard over the years.

I always liked singles back when they were releases in their own right, not radio fodder for the album’s marketing campaign, but most bands stopped doing that a long, long time ago.

I suppose that Factory, and also Rough Trade, kept on with the stand-alone single for longer than most, it fitted in with the real indie ethos that came out of punk and therefore, they probably kept the genuine B-side alive for longer than a lot of other labels.

Anyway, this is a rag-bag of different songs that in their own ways all fit into the options I’ve mentioned above.

In A Lonely Place was the B-side of New Order’s first single, “Ceremony”

A House Is Not A Motel was on the back of the USA single release of the great “Alone Again Or” by Love.

Dusty backed her single “Son Of A Preacher Man” with Just A Little Lovin’.

The Sundays I Kicked A Boy was the B-Side for “Can’t Be Sure”.

Him Dancing was remixed as the flip for Throwing Muses’ “Not Too Soon” (this though is the album version from “The Real Ramona”)

The Clash remixed “Magnificent Seven” as Magnificent Dance as the B-Side for that one.

Siouxsie and the Banshees put out An Execution as the B-Side for “Cities In Dust”, but left it off the original album release of Tinderbox.

AC/DC stuck another album track, Have A Drink On Me out when they released “You Shook Me All Night Long” from the classic Back in Black album.

Novelty was the B-Side on Joy Division’s “Transmission” single.

And finally, that well-known regular chart-topping beat combo King Crimson released the instrumental improvised piece Groon as the flipside for their 1970 smasheroo “Catfood”.

The Killer B’s

Renegade Soundwave – Positive Mindscape
Meat Beat Manifesto vs. Orbital – Mindscape (Mind the Bend the Mind)
Underworld – Cowgirl
Jah Wobble – Get Carter [Cliff Brumby Rmx]
Mark Stewart – High Ideals & Crazy Dreams

Cocteau Twins – Spangle Maker
Bill Nelson’s Red Noise – Acquitted By Mirrors
Jam – Butterfly Collector
Yeah Yeah Noh – Bias Binding
Skids – TV Stars

Gay Dad – The Not-So-Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle!!

I know Severin was only joking, but I often think about Gay Dad and couldn’t resist. Now, I won’t attempt a “Defence of…”, that may be beyond the powers of mere mortals like myself, but I think it’s a story worth telling. So, gather round and hear the ultimate tale of media manipulation, mass marketing genius, funny band names and mediocre indie rock.

Scene 1 – North Laines, Brighton, Spring 1998
Luke #1: (Reading the NME at home, or “studying” is perhaps a better word as these were the days when he used to read NME from cover to cover (including the adverts) every week. Looking at a full-page ad for the upcoming Reading Festival): “‘Ere Luke, ‘ave a look at this, there’s a band ‘ere called ‘Gay Dad'”” (he resolutely refused to use “h”‘s in those days).
Luke #1 & Luke #2 together: “Brilliant!”

The Back Story
Gay Dad, were put together by a not particularly well-known, but very photogenic (in a more indie-tastic and handsome Kurt Cobain kinda way) music journalist called Cliff Jones. After years of getting nowhere, he set about using his contacts to storm the charts and cement Gay Dad’s place in the pantheon of rock history. The fact that he failed miserably, makes it all the more fun!

They already had the mildly shocking and frankly brilliant band name: Gay Dad. The next step was to rope in some of the biggest names in rock to get behind them. They somehow got legendary producer Tony Visconti ( T-Rex, Bowie etc) to produce several of the tracks that became their debut album, which “leaked out” (as all followers of politics know, “leaks” are always deliberate) as a demo and through various music biz contacts got into the hands of Radio 1 afternoon DJ’s and cult favourites (including one ex-member of The Fall – but then again, who isn’t?!) Mark & Lard.

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Burns’ Night

Tonight is Burns’ Night. It is a date etched into my memory not because I am Scottish (I have no known Scottish ancestry) but because it is my birthday. This year,  I am 40.

It seems like the perfect day to listen to The Burns Unit (who seem to have made an impression on Sheddi; quite an achievement, as he is usually fairly resistant to many of my more off-beat folky purchases). Anyway, here is my current favourite from Side Show, “Blood, Ice and Ashes”, featuring the delectable vocals of Karine Polwart, with a rock-influenced backing: