Continuing on from the saneshane is revolting post – I thought I’d try being Guru – using the posters own comments – mixing up the lengthier posts with the shout outs.
It took a few hours to cut and paste the posts that caught my eye – edit out zedded songs.. and then I listened to the tunes, picking those that I liked… trying not to be influenced by my own personal preferences.
Ultimately it’s entirely subjective – on another listen through Karma Police , Float On, god’s cop, Almost Cut My Hair, Rubber Bullets,The Laughing Policeman, New York City Cops, Cops and Robbers, Law and Order, Black Boys on Mopeds, Good Cop Bad Cop, Psycho-Nazi Police Cadet in… “Where’s Your Muzzy Shock!”, Itinerant Child, …. etc, etc would make the 20.
I went too far in the black humour songs, trying not to make it ‘all coppers are bastards’ – as positive tracks had been requested.
They were few and far between, so I compromised… the formatting was the trickiest bit along with finding links from all the different set ups. (A pain when doing it for kicks – but would be fine if you’d been paid some pocket money for the pleasure!)
It was a load of fun, and it continues to astound me how interesting and pleasurable the RR collective’s taste in music is.
Hope you enjoy.
1 – Rory McLeod – The Singing Copper
2- Angelic Upstarts -The Murder of Liddle Towers
3- Chris Farlowe – Buzz With the Fuzz
4- Smiley Culture – Police Officer
5 – Dropkick Murphys- John Law
6 – N253 – Chris TT
7 – How Bizarre – OMC
8 – June Tabor – Bentley And Craig
9 -Dizzee Rascal – Sirens
10 – The Bonzo Dog Band -Rhino critic Oaths
1 – Peter Hammill – The Polaroid
2 – The Rolling Stones – We Love You
3 – Tigga Soundsystem – Police Peacemen
4 – Tom Paxton – What Did You Learn in School Today?
5 – Fred Wedlock*(spotify) – Bristol Bobby
6 - The Levellers -Battle of the Beanfield
7 – Quincy Jones – Smackwater Jack
8 – The Coup – Pork and Beef
9 – Poor Jenny – The Everly Brothers
10 – Arlo Guthrie* – Alice’s Restaurant Massacre
Chosen by saneshane. All words and opinions that of the relevant nominees. My comments in bold beneath:
19 March 2011 5:40PM
For the first time ever in the history of RR I’ve dropped in on a Saturday evening to find my song not yet taken by anyone else!
About a zillion years ago I picked up a CD from the bargain bin of the shop where I was working – mainly because the picture on the cover caught my attention: a busker tying his shoelaces with whistles, spoons and a couple of mouth organs scattered around him on the cobblestones… I was only going to listen to it while I was tidying up the shop, but it became one of my favourite CDs ever. The CD in question is Footsteps and Heartbeats by Rory McLeod and one of the songs on it describes the life of a policeman, from the policeman’s point of view
Well, I got the same problems as the people I arrest… I’m scared to lose my feelings when death becomes a trifle… Between the big criminals and little thieves it’s the big thieves rule the land…
Rory McLeod – The Singing Copper
It’s a song that would help give the playlist a balance, coming from the copper’s point of view – made all the more valid I think when the songwriter is as critical a person as Rory McLeod. If you follow the link you’ll get a video montage Rory McLeod made himself, portraying our police from the bumbling bobby of the Norman Wisdom era to the horrors of modern-day riot-shield aggression.
Rory McLeod I think of as a punk folk singer (I know, I know) – he’s authentic, a great storyteller, but there’s none of the fingers-in-your-ear-298-verses stuff. Give him a listen!
I was taken with Debbym’s write up – human, interesting and heartfelt…….
20 March 2011 9:25PM
Time for a bit of justification for my Upstarts nominations. Liddle Towers as many realise is about the death of boxing promoter Liddle Towers in police custody which was officially declared to be accidental death. The Upstarts made this the subject of their debut single and were very vocal about the issue. The strength of the song was in it’s simplicity – no subtlety (“Maybe I’m not too clever / Maybe I’m not too bright” states Mensi in the lyric, just pure outrage. The song drew the attention of the local police and Mensi says he experienced ongoing harassment for a long time afterwards. To my mind the Upstarts are the band for this topic.
Upstarts for the A list!
Sometimes if you shout loud, you’ll get in.
18 March 2011 12:36AM
One of my favourite records:
Chris Farlowe – Buzz With the Fuzz
This is a fantastic track, as the hip young cat details his hard partying lifestyle, and how the fuzz keep turning up and busting up his frankly nefarious activities (including speeding, smoking pot, sex with an underage girl, illegal gambling, fighting…) – I mean, what a bloody liberty!
Brilliant, tight brassy jazz arrangement with a supurb use of a hammond organ to simulate the police siren.
Concentrating on the tune – not the person – persuaded me to include
(sounds like a character I’d never what to line the pockets of)
18 March 2011 12:04AM
Smiley Culture – Police Officer
The weeks topical nomination – originally B listed in Law Enforcement by 1234Ramones
18 March 2011 12:04AM
Positive tunes about the police?
Dropkick Murphys - John Law ….and …err…must be one or two others…no ..that’s the only one!
The Guru wants a bit of balance so here’s further justification for the Dropkick Murphys’ John Law. The band felt that their local officer was a good man doing his bit for the community and deserved a shout. Fair enough
“When John Law’s not kicking ass on robbers and rapist
He’s helping little kids deliver newspapers
When John Law’s not chasing crackheads from their perch
He’s helping old ladies on their way to church”
I was a fan of them early on when Mike McColgan was singer. Had to nominate John Law really just for the novelty of a punk record expressing postive view of the police!
The last sentence says it all, in a theme where a million punk songs could be included, a big up for the Law is a unique occurrence.
19 March 2011 4:45PM
N253 – Chris TT
Susan’s walking down Stamford Hill . On a stormy evening in November. She’s being followed by an unmarked police car.
She can hear the buzzing 2-way radio noise . On the corner she stops to look around . You can run Susan, but you won’t run far.
Ostensibly about the 253 bus route that runs from the West End into Hackney the song turns into a much darker ode to urban living with police surveillance an ever present background threat.
A beautiful story telling song cycle of an album, firmly dated in a time and place – my self indulgent pick of the 20.
18 March 2011 8:28AM
Have we had:-
‘How Bizarre’ – OMC yet?
Brother Pele’s in the back, sweet Seena’s in the front, Cruising down the freeway in the hot, hot sun , Suddenly red blue lights flash us from behind, Loud voice “all will please step out onto the line”
Pele breathes words of comfort, Seena just hides her eyes, Policeman taps his shades, Is that a chevy 69?
How bizarre, how bizarre, how bizarre.
One hit wonder – perfect pop – is it even easier going than the Fun Loving Criminals?
18 March 2011 10:28AM
Last night’s nightmare involved a classic case of police ‘verbals’, (verbals: an allegation by the police that an accused person made an incriminating statement), the hanging of a backward youth with an IQ of 77 for a killing committed whilst he was in police custody, and the decoration with a George Cross of the only possible person who could have fired the fatal shot. Two teenagers, Christopher Craig, a 16 year-old with a penchant for weapons, and Derek Bentley, a 19 year-old with a mental age of 11, set out to steal sweets from a confectionary warehouse. The police arrived and Bentley gave himself up. Under questioning Bentley helped the police by describing Craig’s gun, a .455 revolver (idiotically sawn-off to fit in Craig’s pocket, leaving the weapon impossibly inaccurate beyond a few feet), and ammunition (modified .41 and .45 rounds). Detective Sergeant Fred Fairfax testified that Craig shot him in the shoulder as soon as he arrived on the roof, yet he was able to arrest Bentley, question him, and request that Bentley ask his friend to hand over the gun. Bentley was alleged to have shouted, with beautiful ambiguity, “Let him have it, Chris,” though both youths denied this phrase was ever uttered. A group of uniformed officers was sent up to the roof. Upon arrival, PC Sidney Miles was killed by a shot to the head. The police alleged that Craig had fired the shot, and both youths were charged with murder. Being under age, Craig could not be hanged, so Bentley was executed. There was a national outcry, but he was hanged anyway. The police initially denied that there were any armed officers on the roof before the fatal shooting. Subsequent investigations established that armed police were up there at the time. All bar one police-issue revolver were returned with the number of rounds that were isssued. DS Fairfax’s gun had two rounds missing. Forensic investigation could not rule out the possibility that Fairfax, who was awarded the George Cross, had panicked and accidently discharged his gun into the roof and was hit in the shoulder by the ricochet, then upon seeing a figure six to nine feet away, the distance from which the victim was hit, shot PC Miles in the head. Craig was forty feet away. Examination of Bentley’s ‘confession’ has revealed that it was written in police jargon and in no way reflected the idiom used by Bentley as demonstrated in the trial transcripts. In 1993 Bentley was granted a royal pardon. In 1998 his conviction for murder was quashed. Ewan McColl, Elvis Costello and Ralph McTell have written songs about the case, but I’m opting for this McTell cover . . .
“Derek Bentley cannot pardon you.”
JUNE TABOR – Bentley And Craig.
sonofwebcore’s words say it all – beautiful version.
18 March 2011 11:48AM
“Sirens” – Dizzee Rascal -kind of a modern “Guns Of Brixton” – crunching beats, and yes -sirens!
A good bit of old skool story telling from Dizzee and an interesting video too.
Yep – you’ve gotta have sirens in a Police playlist – powerful track.
18 March 2011 1:03AM
the Bonzo Dog Band -Rhino critic Oaths, which has the wonderful passage in it about the unfortunate undercover policeman trying to score drugs in a nightclub:
With a geranium behind each ear and his face painted with gay cavalistic symbols, six foot eight seventeen stone police seargent Geoff Bull looked jolly convincing as he sweated and grunted through a vigorous triscutine at the Fraga Gogo Viachella. His hot surge trousers flapped wildly over his enourmous plastic sandals as he jumped and jumped and gyrated towards a long-haired man. “Uh, excuse me, ma’am, I have reason to believe you can turn me on.” He leered suggestively. As if by magic dozens of truncheons appeared and they mercilessly thrashed him. Poor Geoff, what a turnout for the books.
(A policeman is also mistaken for a postman and attacked by Percy Rawlinson in the same song)
Brilliant lyric -(I’m not really one for funny Ha ha songs) – but this has charm with a musically entertaining backing.
18 March 2011 8:33AM
The list needs a humorous song about the police to lighten it up a bit, and so I propose Peter Hammill’s “The Polaroid“. A real oddity, this. PH is not known for his humour (in his songs, that is – he’s a lovely and witty man to talk to) but he came out with this bizarre ditty and released it as a single under his Rikki Nadir alias. Sung in a faux-cockernee voice, it’s a cautionary tale of a guy on a beach who gets his collar felt for taking a photo of a topless girl (with her consent, naturally):
“Just then I felt a hand on me collar, and it was a Boy in Blue. He says “You can’t take nude photographs on this beach,” and “I’m arresting you. “ I protested me innocence, but it was no use, the picture was forming; he gave me the official warning that day. He’d seen me Polaroid, so what could I say?”
I was looking for something that I just wouldn’t expect and this Peter Hammill tune lives up to that.
18 March 2011 12:08PM
I’m not the Stones’ biggest fan, but from the slamming of the cell door and Nicky Hopkins hammering piano, their nod to the Met’s tender ministry is a treat from start to finish – We Love You.
We don’t care if you hound we…
And love is all around we….
You will never win we….
Your uniforms don’t fit we…
A classic. (but hopefully not the obvious choice in a police playlist)
Inventive musically – featuring a visiting Lennon and McCartney on high harmonies – with clattering Jail sound effects and seething resentment for their drugs busts. A promotional film re-enacting the 1895 trial of Oscar Wilde enhances the already powerful performance. (And I’m with thewinslowboy in not being their biggest fan)
18 March 2011 12:10AM
Tigga Soundsystem – Police Peacemen
“Klaatu barada nikto!”
Out of this world psychedelic dub.
Much fun – and DarceysDad’s mood needed to be enhanced – has a musical motif in the background also used in a colourbox tune – if I was being paid for this I’d do some research!
18 March 2011 7:56AM
Tom Paxton’s – What Did You Learn in School Today?
I learned that policemen are my friends. I learned that justice never ends. I learned that murderers die for their crimes. Even if we make a mistake sometimes.
Tom Paxton – What Did You Learn In School Today?
I learnt to question authority today – thanks for asking.
18 March 2011 9:47AM
I’d like to nominate the late, great, wonderful Fred Wedlock – British (or Bristol) Bobby .
“I am a British Bobby, I pound a Bobby’s beat
You can tell it’s me what’s pounding by the banging of my feet,
It’s the Bobby’s way of keeping warm, in his Bobby’s uniform,
I am a British Bobby, from the wilds of Redland Green.
Why I joined the police force I will never know
Cos’ I was almost human till about a month ago.
One consolation to my song,
the customer is always wrong
I am a nasty Bobby, like the rest up Redland Green”
And so it goes on, with various asides and embellishments on the original Dave Turner song. Hilarious.
Dark humour again used wonderfully.
18 March 2011 10:39AM
I’m trying to think of nice songs about the police, but I suppose that that’s not very rock’n'roll. The only unique nom I can come up with is:
The Levellers, “Battle of the Beanfield“
which is about the clash between travellers and Wiltshire Police in summer ’85.
Too much subtlety in the list. Better get back to the basics: Bastards.
18 March 2011 1:19PM
The perp in this case isn’t necessarily the most deserving of even-handed justice but it’s probably not a bad thing that chiefs of police aren’t strictly supposed to deal with crime by rounding up a lynch mob these days. Still, a terrific character snapshot and I’m going to be greedy and nominate two versions, Carole King’s jaunty folk and Quincy Jones’ funky gospel.
Carole King – Smackwater Jack
Quincy Jones – Smackwater Jack
Now, big Jim the chief, stood for law and order
He called for the guard to come and surround the border
And now from his bulldog mouth as he led the posse South
Came the cry, “We got to ride to clean up the streets
For our wives and our daughters”
I’ve chosen the Quincy because as May1366 says – it’s funky. Love the Harmonica.
19 March 2011 10:55PM
The Coup – Pork and Beef. Mother fudgin awesome song. Trademark intelligence, humor and irresistible funky danceability
Don’t trust the police, no justice no peace
They got me face down, in the middle of the street
Pistol whip me with the heat, chicken shits sizzling
Trying to serve me the all-you-can eat murder beef
I’m a young, black, heterosexual male
Don’t drink no drank, don’t smoke, don’t sale
That’s the real reason that they want me up in jail
They want me to fail, I resist and rebel
See I give a fuck about the C-O-P’s
P-I-G’s I wonder if I can shake em’ like a P-I-T
Cause they wanna see me D-I-E
It’s so good! Somebody listen to it, pleeeeeeeese!!
If you beg – you have a very good chance of ending up in the list too.
18 March 2011 12:17AM
In “Poor Jenny” – The Everly Brothers, the party they were attending gets raided after a fight breaks out.
The Everly Brothers – Poor Jenny.
Fascinated by this – good call.
18 March 2011 11:45PM
Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant Massacre – hear it to believe it.
Well, there’s not much that lasts 18 minutes and 34 seconds.
The final part of the song is an encouragement for the listeners to sing along and to end war.
Sadly, nothing much changes.