• The Slits - I Heard It Through The Grapevine

    The Slits - Typical Girls

    Title: Typical Girls
    Format: 7"
    Label: Island
    Year: 1979

    Side A - Typical Girls
    Side B - I Heard It Through The Grapevine

    I Heard It Through The Grapevine

    By the time The Slits made it to vinyl with debut album Cut they'd reshuffled their early, ragged punk into a tight and rhythmic nod to all things Jamaica. They'd learnt to play how they wanted to and bonus charm was applied by reggae producer Dennis Bovell who was also keeping busy with The Pop Group around the same time.

    The album was preceded by the single Typical Girls featuring a non-album cover of Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong's I Heard It Through The Grapevine. Everyone knew the song as it had been big for Marvin Gaye in the late Sixties but this self produced B side blew the thing apart and took it to a whole new dimension. It could easily be the best Motown cover ever...

    I heard it through the baseline

  • De La Soul - Talkin' Bout Hey Love

    De La Soul Is Dead

    Title: De La Soul Is Dead
    Format: CD Album
    Label: Tommy Boy
    Year: 1991

    Tracks - Intro / Oodles of O's / Talkin' Bout Hey Love / Pease Porridge / Skit 1 / Johnny's Dead AKA Vincent Mason (Live From The BK Lounge) / A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays" / WRMS' Dedication To The Bitty / Bitties In The BK Lounge / Skit 2 / My Brother's A Basehead / Let, Let Me In / Afro Connections At A Hi 5 (In The Eyes Of The Hoodlum) / Rap De Rap Show / Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa / Who Do U Worship? / Skit 3 / Kicked Out The House / Pass The Plugs / Not Over Till The Fat Lady Plays The Demo / Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey) / WRMS: Cat's In Control / Skit 4 / Shwingalokate / Fanatic Of The B Word / Keepin' The Faith / Skit 5

    Talkin' Bout Hey Love

    The daisy age loops of De La Soul's day glo debut soundtracked the end of a lot of people's Eighties and if 1989 was the closest the decade got to 1967 then 3 Feet High And Rising passed a perfectly timed peace pipe.

    Pressure was on for the Long Island, New York trio's follow up De La Soul Is Dead which continued the formula but was noticeably patchier as the group passed comment on everything from hip hop's toughening up to their new found fame. Talkin' Bout Hey Love sees Posdnuos get an earful from an admirer and samples a bit of Stevie Wonder. It's still vintage cut and paste.

    So this is what this is all about huh? Doughnuts?

  • Bill Nelson - When Your Dream Of Perfect Beauty Comes True

    Bill Nelson - The Love That Whirls

    Title: The Love That Whirls (Diary Of A Thinking Heart)
    Format: LP
    Label: Mercury
    Year: 1982

    Side One - Empire Of The Senses / Hope For The Heartbeat / Waiting For Voices / A Private View / Eros Arriving / The Bride Of Christ In Autumn

    Side Two - When Your Dream Of Perfect Beauty Comes True / Flaming Desire / Portrait Of Jan With Flowers / The Crystal Escalator In The Palace Of God Department Store / Echo In Her Eyes (The Lamps Of Oblivion) / The October Man

    When Your Dream Of Perfect Beauty Comes True

    When Your Dream Of Perfect Beauty Comes True opens side two of Bill Nelson's second solo album The Love That Whirls (Diary Of A Thinking Heart). It may well have been inspired by an admiration for all things Yellow Magic Orchestra but the way he pushes a Roland TR-808 drum machine presages Acid House by a good five years.

    Bill Nelson - La Belle Et La Bete

    Title: La Belle Et La Bete
    Format: LP
    Label: Mercury
    Year: 1982

    Side One - Overture / The Family / Sisters And Sedan Chairs / In The Forest Of Storms / The Castle / The Gates / The Corridor / The Great Hall / Dreams (The Merchant Sleeps) / Fear (The Merchant Wakes) / The Rose And The Beast / Magnificent (The White Horse) / Beauty Enters The Castle / The Door / The Mirror / Candelabra And Gargoyles / Beauty And The Beast

    Side Two - Transition No. 1 / Transition No. 2 / The Hunt / The Gift / The Garden / Transition No. 3 / Transition No. 4 / The Tragedy / Transition No. 5 / The Enchanted Glove / Tears As Diamonds (The Gift Reverses) / The Beast In Solitude /The Return Of Magnificent / Transition No. 6 (The Journey) / The Pavilion Of Diana / Transition No. 1 / Transition No. 2 / The Final Curtain

    The Garden

    Initial copies of The Love That Whirls were packaged with Nelson's ambient soundtrack to The Yorkshire Actors Company's reworking of Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast. The show was produced by a guy called Andy Winters who worked part time at the BBC in White City and ran a record label called Sharp that was releasing stuff by The Passmore Sisters. We met in 1985 when I was new in town and he placed an ad for someone to help out with the label's running around.

    Winters also played guitar in an early line up of Miaow and another group called The Yes Men with Food Record's Andy Ross as well as directing fringe productions including a stage adaption of the silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari that I saw at The Half Moon in Herne Hill again featuring music by Nelson.

    The Arts Council funded La Belle Et La Bete was recorded at Bill's home studio The Echo Observatory and came in the inner sleeve above with liner notes on each piece and its relevant scene. The Garden reflects the tenderest point in the production and sounds suspiciously like a blueprint for Boards Of Canada...

    There's some Red Noise here

  • Pixies - Here Comes Your Man

    Pixies - Here Comes Your Man

    Title: Here Comes Your Man
    Format: CD Single
    Label: 4AD
    Year: 1989

    Tracks - Here Comes Your Man / Wave Of Mutilation (UK Surf) / Into The White / Bailey's Walk

    Here Comes Your Man

    A couple of nights ago and twenty five years since I first saw them I was watching the sun set behind the Pixies as they played The Castlefield Arena, a sort of outdoor concrete amphitheatre surrounded by canals and railway bridges on the edge of Manchester city centre.

    Lovering, Santiago & Francis were joined by Kim Deal replacement Paz Lenchantin but other than the forced absence of Gigantic it really made little difference as the group roared through a setlist of highlights from Come On Pilgrim, Surfer Rosa, Doolittle and recent EP compiling Indie Cindy.

    As comeback records go, I reckon bits of IC are up there with the best of what Pixies previously offered although one broadsheet detractor disagreed feeling the reunion album sounded 'too like the Pixies'. WTF?

    I'm not sure why Bossanova and Trompe Le Monde were overlooked but they played pretty much everything a 5000 strong crowd wanted to hear with a full on fire rarely matched by anyone since the group's late Eighties heyday.

    Here Comes Your Man is Pixies at their most pop. The one they thought was too straight, too Tom Petty. I just love that opening chord.

    Outside there's a box car waiting...

  • P J Harvey - 50ft Queenie

    PJ Harvey - 4-Track Demos

    Title: 4-Track Demos
    Format: LP
    Label: Island
    Year: 1993

    Side A - Rid Of Me / Legs / Reeling / Snake / Hook / 50ft Queenie / Driving
    Side B - Ecstacy / Hardly Wait / Rub 'Til It Bleeds / Easy / M-Bike / Yuri-G / Goodnight

    50ft Queenie (demo)

    PJ Harvey has form for releasing early sketches. Debut album Dry initially came with a disc of demonstrations and follow up Rid Of Me received similar treatment on 4-Track Demos.

    In 1993 her eponymous trio split with Harvey claiming she'd outgrown the group. As proof she released a selection of solo home recordings for Rid Of Me and six that never made it.

    This ragged blueprint of 50ft Queenie howls out just as loud but there's a free spirit and fuzzy warmth to the demos that somehow got sucked out of the Albini produced second album...

    Glory, glory, Lay it all on me, 50ft Queenie, 50 and rising


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