Something I've Got To Tell You - Glenda Collins

This was released February 1966 ( b/w My Heart Didn’t Lie on PYE 7N17044 ) and like nearly all of Glenda’s singles, didn’t manage to turn her into a top 40 hitter. Still, Glenda’s work with the legendary Joe Meek is regarded as being among his finest productions and it was noticed that ( the famously explosive ) Meek was in a far calmer mood when Glenda was in the studio. ‘Something I’ve Got To Tell You’ was a song originally issued on the 2nd Honeycombs album, another Meek produced act. Where it fell somewhat flat when performed by The Honeycombs - this tale of infidelity was perfect for Glenda and also brought out the best in Meek.

If you compare this song and production to the expensive and lavish Phil Spector productions of the era, you’ll get something of a strange sensation yet also something of the genius of the Meek and Glenda partnership. Spector had an entire orchestra in one of the finest recording studios of the sixties, Joe had a few string players lined up on his staircase. Spector had the best microphones of the era and proper vocal booths, Glenda recorded her vocal on Meek made equipment and sang in his bathroom. Well, you get the idea I’m trying to make here, don’t you?

Now I’m not trying to make apologies here but it’s come to my attention that not everybody likes Glenda’s voice. It is kind of from another era and I’m not even talking about the 60s here. It’s like a pre-war voice, very correct, very pronounced yet Glenda was able to switch from scuzzed-up guitar pop through to ballads to kooky euro-pop and much more besides. Her voice was powerful yet capable also of delicacy and genuine emotion quite rare in any vocalist. To me, she’s alongside Sandy Denny and I personally can praise her no more. I’ll also explain that to me, and this also won’t make sense to everybody, yet to me this tune is my version of the love Brian Wilson has for ‘Be My Baby’. I can listen to it ten times in a row, I can listen to it when I’m sad or happy or in-between. It’s glorious and is now my favourite recording of all-time.

The strings come in, Glenda whispers seductively, nervously. The drums are pure Meek accentuating the drama and building suspense. The cheap strings gloriously frame the vocal and the melody and the drums come swinging back in, dum-dum-DUM as the melody swims towards the heavens. At the end, Glenda’s vocal trails off in trademark Meek echo and there we have it. A somewhat unexceptional description of one of the greatest productions the greatest era of pop music ever gave us. It was never a hit, which hurts, but if somebody that knows somebody that knows either a relative of Meek or knows somebody that knows Glenda, tell her we love her for this and always will. It really does mean that much to true lovers of the finest 60s girl-pop.

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River Deep Mountain High - Ike And Tina Turner

Ike didn't do nothing. You want to think Phil Spector would allow him anywhere near his all-out war, his crowning glory, his attack on absolutely everything, in the form of a multi-part three and a half minute song? Phil wasn't interested in Ike, he had enough guitar players of his own, but following Phil Spector's gradual commercial decline in the wake of The Beatles and the british invasion, the voice of Tina Turner was something he very much wanted. You needed a big voice to sit on top of this sound. "Wall Of Sound"? Compared to earlier Spector hits, 'Be My Baby', 'Then He Kissed Me', etc, etc - this was no wall of sound. It was just an entire planet and world of sound. The charts for the orchestral arrangements alone were so terrifyingly complex, it really was like a declaration of all out war. The songs subesquent failure to be anything like a sizeable hit in the US crushed Spector and he never recovered, but let's remember this. That Spector "Wall Of Sound"? This is it. It dwarfes not only his earlier ( and big selling ) singles but, released the same month as 'Pet Sounds' even puts the efforts of a Brian Wilson ( always a Spector disciple ) to shame. You wanna think The Beatles could have produced anything remotely approaching what we have here?

The commercial failure of the song can be put down to Spector failing to adapt to changing times. Gone was the time when a great song and a few dollars sent into the hands of greedy, dishonest DJs - ensured the song was played and became a hit. Not quite so simple anymore. Interestingly, the song was a big hit in England and music lovers remembered the voice of Tina Turner - ensuring she was favourably received went she eventually got out of the control of Ike and struck solo. People have long memories. One of the muscians present during the recording sessions apparently reported that Tina ( struggling with the endless takes, with the heat in the studio, with the immense sound and complex nature of the song ) stripped off and stood there in her underwear and bra and literally "lifted herself up" to reach the high notes. You know what I mean?! She gave the performance of a lifetime, it's impossible to think..... it's like a female James Brown, times ten - the vocal performance here. Such soul. Around the two minute 48 second mark, everything just explodes and the sheer noise is almost too much, layer upon layer of instrumentation, the backing vocals rise and rise - you wanted a wall of sound?? You got it.

The song ends with the distinctive melody played by a combination of bass and piano, so you have a sound that is neither, but rather a new sound ( a usual spector trick ) you might call a bass piano. Well, that's not even the half of it. This isn't a song to like or enjoy. It's a song to live in - it's no surprise that Spector went underground and quite frankly, a bit loopy - following the songs relative commercial failure. This blows everything else out of the water, everything. It may come across as more than a little scary, this huge sound. It was perhaps not of the times - perhaps ahead its the time - but it doesn't matter now. It's here, always.

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Surfs Up - The Beach Boys

The finished 1971 version of ‘Surfs Up’ may well have been four years too late, but it was worth waiting for. The Beach Boys were trying to piece together the fragments of ‘Smile’, but without Brian it was hopeless. Carl had stepped up as the main guy in the band in Brian’s absence. The completed ‘Surfs Up’ is maybe two-thirds the product of Carl Wilson, in terms of the actual performance and recording. Of course, Brian wrote the song with Van Dyke Parks and it was to have been an important cog in the ‘Smile’ wheel. The first half of the finished ‘Surfs Up’ then features the vocals of Carl Wilson. I’m not sure where the backing music comes from. I know it was then newly recorded, I believe it was based on a piece of Brian Wilson instrumental music recorded back in 1966 designed for ‘Surfs Up’, but never given vocals and never completed. The second half of the tune features an original Brian Wilson demo of Surfs Up, alone and sounding alone, singing at the Piano. When the backing vocals come in singing ‘Child Is The Father Of The Man’, possibly designed originally to be another Smile song altogether, possibly not, this listeners heart always bursts. In counterpoint to the lonely Brian, the other guys bring a dose of sunshine ‘child, child, child’ whilst Brian continues. Brian always wrote songs for children in a way, a child at heart. The melodies are universal. ‘Surfs Up’ was the point where Brian had grown up but wasn’t ready and didn’t want to be. The combination of Brian and band on the completed ‘Surfs Up’ is masterful, the difference in the emotions between Brian and band contrasting yet perfectly done. It’s guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings each and every time. Another masterpiece from the pen of Brian, but credit to Carl Wilson too. Remember them both this way.

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The Story Of The Blues - The Mighty Wah!

I have my elder brother Phil to thank for this, who probably doesn't remember that back in 1983 or so, I was avidly lapping up some of the stranger sounds he would occasionally allow out of his stereo speakers. This is a song about standing up and fighting off depression and keeping going. Pete Wylie is a British singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known as the leader of the band variously known as Wah!, Wah! Heat, Say Wah!, JF Wah! and of course, The Mighty Wah! 'Part Two' of this Spectorish, soaring and utterly brilliant song has a spoken monologue, possibly the best spoken monologue in the history of rock music. One of my all-time favourites, 'part 1' peaked at number three in the UK charts, by far Pete Wylie's biggest hit.

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God Only Knows - The Beach Boys from Pet Sounds

The centrepiece of 'Pet Sounds' although the use of 'God' in the title relegated this to the flip side of 'Wouldn't It Be Nice' in the US. Elsewhere this was the single played on the radio. In England it reached number two in the singles chart and cemented The Beach Boys position over here as a rival to The Beatles. I'm listening to the stereo mix on the 'Pet Sounds Sessions' as we speak. It sounds so clear! We have little horse type hooves percussion! We have the rising and rising to heaven bass lines. We have immense attention to detail in the backing track which is full of love and Carl's vocal is so pure. The heights his voice reaches sends a chill up your spine. The closing, interweaving harmony section ( featuring Brian and Carl ) is simply breathtaking. I've only said a little - words fail me when trying to consider or analyze 'God Only Knows'. Put simply it's a wonderful masterpiece of music. That bass pins it all together. Brian played bass of course. Carol Kaye played it on the session and it sounds like two hearts beating together. The rising melodies. The harmonies! Simply perfect.

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Nikolaj Juhl nikolajjuhl@yahoo.dk
Certainly the most beautiful song ever written according to me and Sir Paul! From the soft French-horn intro to heavenly harmonies of the Coda, it brings tears to my eyes every time. I too had a revelation upon hearing the stereo mix for the first time, the clarity of the arrangement is breathtaking, how did Brian do it?

The Electrician - The Walker Brothers

Those wondering how former seventies, washed up has-been, Sixties three hit wonder Scott Walker became just so revered during the 80s and beyond, look and listen to this six minute stunner. I cannot genuinely think of any other artist, ever, who took so along away from writing original material, then totally reinvented themselves, other than Scott Walker. From Spectoreque pop hits to cutting- edge, avant-garde pop with dark lyrics. Brian Eno became a fan, David Bowie became a fan and name dropped Scott and 'The Electrician' everywhere. David Bowie even lauded the entire 'Nite Flights' LP, later covering the title track. Bowie during those days had dozens of soon to be high-profile pop followers. Thus, Julian Cope getting involved, putting together a Scott Compilation, self-funded, Scott in exile yet signed purely because of his four songs on 'Nite Flights'. 'The Electrician' is awesome, absolute genius and better than anything you may have heard from 'Climate Of Hunter', 'Tilt' or even 'The Drift'. Indeed, it could be argued that with 'The Drift' in 2006, it took that long ( 30 something years! ) for Scott to catch up with himself.

Since the last original Noel Scott Engel songs released in 1970, Scott had changed his musical and lyrical approach. Thus, 'The Electrician' has fairly obtuse, yet immensely powerful lyrics concerning a man in the electric chair. Nobody else I can think of could write about such a subject and pull it off so well. The song therefore starts with quiet, ominous strings. Scott strings out his words, slowly the words come. Tension is being built up..... baby, it's slow.... when the lights go low..... there's no help, no until the song bursts into life. A bass line appears at 2.09, 'if I jerk the handle, you'll die in your dreams', and so forth. What?? Doesn't sound like 'Jive Talkin' by The Bee Gees really, does it? Everything stops, silence. Three minutes, eleven seconds in, this absolutely glorious string sequence comes in, as good as all those classic Scott 60s arrangements put together almost. At least, in terms of impact during this one song. It draws you upwards after being sent downwards and marks out esctacy as the character in the song dies. Then, we slow down again. Death, Puddy, twitches and finally back to silence with a quiet, ebbing violin to fade. Utter brilliance.

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lastfm - listen to 'The Electrician' by Scott Walker



Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks from Something Else

In 1967, thanks to such gems as 'Waterloo Sunset', The Kinks remained a very popular singles act, even if their UK album sales were falling dramatically. Falling for no real good reason it seems, certainly no good artistic reason! 'Something Else', as well as home to 'Waterloo Sunset' also housed Dave Davies 'Death Of A Clown', also a big hit single. Makes you wonder really why the album never sold. Ray would place the blame squarely upon record company shoulders, and he almost certainly had a point. Still, back to 'Waterloo Sunset'. It's a very simple song, imagine playing it on acoustic in a folk style? It's a nice picture - 'Waterloo Sunset' really is a folk song, after all. The lyric tells a story of two lovers and the whole thing is set around Waterloo Underground. Well, that much is obvious, that much is true. Less obvious in the 'Waterloo Sunsets' claim to greatness is the fact this genuis is less to do with the songs composition and more to do with The Kinks own classic performance of it. The harmonies are the best they ever did, Ray nails the lead down just right, just the right feeling. The songs guitar introduction is both distinctive and brilliant and the closing fade re-introduces this amongst yet more wonderful harmony work. Perfect Sixties pop from start to finish - sadly, they really DON'T make em' like this anymore.

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Eight Miles High - The Byrds from 5th Dimension

It was still 1965 when The Byrds first entered the recording studios to lay down an early version of 'Eight Miles High'. The Beatles had just released 'Day Tripper' to put this into some sort of perspective. The flip side of 'Eight Miles High', 'Why' had David Crosby enthusing so enthusiastically about the work of Ravi Shanker he entranced George Harrison with tales of Indian magic and Sitar solos. So, to say the ultimate release of 'Eight Miles High' was influential is the understatement of the epoch. 'Eight Miles High' was the result of stoned exchanges between The Byrds and The Beatles. Whilst the likes of 'Tomorrow Never Knows' was still many months away from being written, The Byrds were ensconced in RCA's recording studios laying down 'Eight Miles High'. Columbia Records, The Byrds record label objected to The Byrds using 'outside studios' so the song was re-recorded January 1966. Again, bear in mind, 12 months before The Byrds were not good enough musicians to play on their own 'Mr Tambourine Man' sessions! The rate at which The Byrds were progressing was truly phenomenal. A partial radio ban objecting to the supposed drug connotations connected with the title and lyrics to this finest Byrds single yet ultimately undid a lot of the rewards The Byrds were setting themselves up to receive. Given that previous singles 'Mr Tambourine Man' and 'Turn Turn Turn' had both made number one, 'Eight Miles High' stalling at number twelve was ultimately fatal to The Byrds commercial career. Other groups would take up the flame. And, I realise I haven't made any attempt to actually describe the sound of 'Eight Miles High'. I suggest you actually listen to it. It still sounds fresh.

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Readers Comments

Mr. Chimp simon.chimpanzee@post.cz
Cardinal example of psychedelic music. And Roger McGuinn with his rickenbacker is excellent.

Charles Hodges chodges21@cox.net
Thank you so much for remembering this song which was the outstanding song of its period. No other song has captured the incredible adrenaline rush of a jet plane taking off it reminds me of sprinting off the blocks. But there is much more to this, it has an inner depth and dark turbulence which can match and beat the finest classics. Here instantly modern and yet making a really great folk song is the finest musical evocation of 1965-66 you will hear. It makes the Beatles sound like commerical catchy pop music and the Rolling Stones somehow cheap or blunt by comparision. This is not white guys imitating black music it is white guys using a very strong folk tradition with electrical force. Whatever forces that tore the Byrds apart in the later period are in perfect orchaestration here with Hillman's powerful base perfectly completmenting McQuinn's incredible 12 string references to Mozart, Big Marlbourough Country and the Twilight Zone all at once. This song stopped me in! my tracks. When we were stationed in Germany Radio Luxemborg (a prirate station known for its bravery) got to play any banned songs it wanted and hit on this so much I assumed everyone in American had throughly absorbed it. Maybe it flew over their heads but this one has never been given the credit it deserves. Thanks once again!



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This Charming Man – The Smiths

For all the subsequent pretenders and clones, The Smiths had something different right from the beginning. If ‘Hand In Glove’ had flattered to fulfil the bands own faith in it, ‘This Charming Man’ was an instant. The chiming jangle of Johnny Marr may have drawn comparison to The Byrds but it was equally likely to have been The Searchers. Instantly striking and very poetic lyrics, very funny lyrics. ‘I would go out tonight, but I haven’t got a stitch to wear’ / ‘This man said it’s GRUESOME that SOMEONE so handsome should CARE!’ and so forth. A little bit of ‘Carry-On’ inspired humour here and there. A perfect two and a half minute single. The Smiths would go onto make other great single sides, but arguably none better or more important than the success of the classic ‘This Charming Man’.

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Atmosphere - Joy Division from Substance

In their short career, Joy Division produced a lot of great songs that could have entered this list - but for me, 'Atmosphere' wins over the likes of 'Dead Souls' ( the b-side! ) and the far more famous 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' entirely due to its sheer beauty. Ian Curtis as a poet? He improved as a writer of lyrics the more songs he wrote. There is an economy to the lyrics here, the mood of the song created with so very few words and always words chosen carefully. At the time the song was written, Ian Curtis personal life was in some state of disarray, and it's interesting to speculate who exactly he was writing the song for - "don't walk away, in silence...." but the fact remains that these lyrics are immensely evocative and very powerful. The melody sketched out by primitive yet fascinating and beautiful keyboards aids one of the finest, if not the finest ever, Ian Curtis vocal performance, and that's 'Atmosphere'. A perfectly named, and as good as dammit, perfect song.

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Geek Love - Bang Bang Machine

A song known to so few. Produced by a band from Birmingham, England. No one had heard of them and this was pretty much their first ever release. Limited edition 12" only. On a fledgling record label. Radio DJ and guru John Peel picked up on it and gave it a play. It received a tremendous response. This nine minute long song ended up being pick of the year by listeners to his radio show. It never did gain a full release though! It got another fairly limited release on CD but in edited form. If you get the urge to track this down, make sure it's the 12" version you get hold of. It starts out quietly. Ghostly female vocals. A guitar makes little ripple in water type sounds. The drums beats are regular. The voice? Well. It sends an immediate shiver up your spine. It bears a passing resemblance to Elizabeth Frazer of The Cocteau Twins. Its that kind of voice. Around the 2.25 mark the whole thing explodes. Samples, layer upon layer of guitar. The drum beat continues. The lyrics are full of 'love' 'being in love' 'to be in love'. All in that ghostly English voice. Trembling tones. The guitars start to do all sorts of things. You start to cry. Well, I've cried so many times to this song. So many times. I do realise I'm talking about a song almost none of you will have heard. All I can say is, those that have heard it have almost unanimously sung its praises. All have been affected emotionally. There are times when I do believe it's one of the greatest musical records ever. The way it fades out! I can't explain! Try and track it down. Please. You will not regret doing so. I'm sure out there somewhere in cyberspace is an MP3 version at least. Bang Bang Machine flattered to deceive over subsequent releases. This one shining jewel is their gift to the world.

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Readers Comments

Adrian Mules adrian.mules@btinternet.com
The samples in the background were from Tod Browning's fantastic 1932 film freaks, which was shelved for years as it's use of genuine "freaks" disgusted audiences and MGM alike. It was banned for 50 years, but since it resurfaced has become something of a cult classic.

james@the-moose-canning-factory.co.uk
is true, fantastic song, I recall there being about four mixes, they live in quiet contemplation next to this mortal coil on my shelf

Andrew Daley Tigerboy@btinternet.com
i have this track on an audio tape of the John Peel show, otherwise it seems to be pretty much unavailable. can't understand this state of affairs as there must be thousands of people who want to own this track and YES it does live up to its reputation. by the way, i always thought it WAS liz fraser on vocals.br>
Leigh Smith dreamsmith69@hotmail.com
This is my favourite song ever. It's like a transmission from another dimension. I produce a Bang Bang Machine fanzine called BANGMAN. In touch with Steve Eagles from the band who is a star. Love to see it re-released on CD or on DVD with the videos! Recently used a song by Steve Eagles as a score for one of my films and it's a classic too! I was gutted when BBM split in 96. Any BBM fans get in touch.

Rich Swainson swainson@zappo.com

Well, I have to agree that this song is my fave song ever. I'm lucky enough to own an original 12" white disc version as well as an MP3 version. I knew the band pretty well - especially Liz the vocalist whom I went to college with. I was gutted when they ended their singing days, but Liz is doing fine these days and I still play Geek Love VERY often! I just wish it had been released commercially in it's full 9 minute version. John Peel was right - it is an "awesome piece of musical history" .....

Karl C karl@sankey.force9.co.uk

Absolutely agree with your comments. Geek Love is stunning, one of those songs you cant get out of your head. When you listen you cant wait to hear what comes next, beautiful and as you say, very emotional. Haunting and simple. It just makes you wonder how these things are created, and vreation is the word. No strung together, crafted overlayed and honed to perfection. Certainly top 5 festive 50 fare, possibly top of the tree. What a guy, John Peel.

John Jones johnbarkerjones@btinternet.com

One of the best pieces of music ever produced - an absolute masterpiece. Still does it for me even though its on a 3rd generation, 12 year old cassete. Encapsulates why John Peel was so rightly worshipped.

paul watts paulwatts@optushome.com.au
I'd never heard this until I managed to find both the 12" (9.28) and 7" (4.07) versions available for download for a limited time (just a week or so)on a British site. I've now listened to it several times. Recorded in 1991/2 it features a spectacular vocal performance (apparently her name is Liz and she sounds not unlike someone else a bit better known- in the UK at least- also called Liz), superb guitars, magnificent atmosphere to the song. It's everything Adrian's review says it is. The four minute version doesn't do the song justice but is certainly good enough to have been a major hit. But had that happened, it would no longer enjoy the status it appears to among those who know the song. Bang Bang Machine aren't the first act in rock to have soared to such rarefied heights once only in their lifetime, and gone all but unnoticed in doing so. Jonathon Richman and the Modern Lovers with Roadrunner (a song that would make my Top 100 songs if ever I were t! o do one) springs to mind. In both cases, it is safe to say that a great many rock acts have achieved massive stardom, fame and wealth without ever having done anything half as good as this. And thanks Adrian for putting me onto this superb song.

Bang Bang Machine on myspace



Who Knows Where The Time Goes - Fairport Convention from Unhalfbricking

Sandy recorded her classic composition a number of times. A demo was recorded in 1967 as well as a version with The Strawbs. A third version dates from a radio broadcast in 1969 featuring the bulk of Fairport Convention. The classic version appears on the Fairport Convention album 'Unhalfbricking' as well as numerous compilations. Further versions include live performances, the very last of which features on 'Gold Dust' an album drawn from the last official concert Sandy gave before her death. Folk singer Judy Collins did a cover version, and? Well, it's a truly timeless wonder of a song, and to this day remains her most famous and fully realised composition. The vocals of Sandy Denny and the guitar of Richard Thompson was a match made, if not in heaven, then somewhere supernatural. Perfect musical marriage, she never sounded better than during her first Fairport era. She generally wasn't confident in her own writing and had to go through a tortous process both to write songs and to have the nerve to present them for public gaze. One listen to 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes' just makes you wonder why the hell she wasn't aware of her talents, both vocally and in terms of writing. This is the single, definitive English folk vocal performance as far as i'm concerned. That certain fans don't even prefer the classic Fairport version over others, says it all. Can you improve upon perfection? The switching between loving and delicate sections to strong, powerful held notes at the end of certain phrases and back to quiet and affecting vocals again, perfectly naturally, is a thing to behold. The lyrics are poetic, timeless and perfect. I can't even scratch the surface, let's just say you'll never hear another song quite like this, sung quite like this by a voice quite like this again. It won't happen, times have changed.

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john, county kildare, ireland john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
thank you adrian for including this piece of aural ecstasy.i dont think mere words can sum up just how utterly sensational this song is.all i can say is that it reminds me of watery sunsets at dusk on lazy sultry evenings in late april,hearing a drone in the distance,and not being able to tell if it's a lawnmower or an aeroplane.if you really want to appreciate the splendour of wkwttg,go to laytown co.meath play it on your i pod,look at and smell the ocean and watch the trains zoom past.magical.





Forever - The Beach Boys from Sunflower

The best song ever written by Dennis Wilson. Fact. "Na, na, na na na", indeed. Brian fully supported the songwriting of Dennis and would later reflect that Dennis really had something special and spiritual going on. One of the most perfect love songs ever written, 'Forever' should be far better known than it is outside of the inner circle of Beach Boys fantatics. By 1970 of course, The Beach Boys had evolved from their early surfin and car songs to arrive at a place where every member, not just Brian, contributed. Their strongest album as a collective, 'Sunflower', failed dismally commercially and The Beach Boys never did truly recover from that failure. More great music was to come, but Dennis, who sadly passed away in 1983 at least has 'Forever' for everyone to remember him by. br>
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Jeremy Berg London
A contender for the greatest ever Beach Boys song. This is a piece of music so sublime that it could have only have been written by a Wilson and it is a fiting testament to the unheralded genius of Dennis. My daughter Tash, a Music student who understands more about melody and structure than I will ever know rates this as the best track ever recorded bar none, and as you hear the beautiful harmonies fade away it is hard to disagree,



The World Is As Soft As Lace - Felt

Classically trained guitarist Maurice Deebank with indie eccentric ( and not really a very good guitar player ) Lawrence. Felt seemed to pop up from nowhere with no obvious influences to guide a listener by. One of a number of eighties bands to appear and be absolutely brilliant, but never break into the charts. ‘The World Is As Soft As Lace’ is a tune and a half. Maurice plays this truly astonishing melody on his guitar, a really long guitar line that immediately places the tune somewhere near the heavenly stratosphere. It does indeed sound like it’s climbing, excuse the led zeppelin borrow, a stairway to heaven. Lawrence for his part plays rhythm guitar and provides the vocals and lyrics. He sounds like he’s drowning in a sea of sorrow whilst also reciting a Shakespearian sonnet to a loved one. Four minutes or so elapse and it’s enough to provide a comforting rug of safety and warmth to a listener in times of relationship need. It’s a downright beautiful song, one of several from the pen of Lawrence and/or Lawrence/Deebank.

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Cosmic Dancer - T Rex from Electric Warrior

‘Cosmic Dancer’ appeared on Marc Bolan/T Rex’s breakthrough LP, ‘Electric Warrior’. It was never released as a single, which to my mind is a shame, as it may have broken those accusations T Rex could only produce one type of song. ‘Cosmic Dancer’ I see as some kind of Marc Bolan manifesto. This is due to the lyrical rather than the musical content. The music isn’t a ‘Telegram Sam’ kind of glam racket, rather a relaxed and melodic ode to mysticism. Dancing in the womb, dancing those first steps to the final light fading in the room. Bolan was sent over the edge by the trappings of fame, as so many have been and lost his way. The simplicity and faultless musical/lyrical combination of ‘Cosmic Dancer’ would never be captured by Bolan as effectively again. It’s a gorgeous tune, no doubt about it at all.

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paul paulwatts@optushome.com.au
Cosmic Dancer represents a further development of the musical thread started by Marc Bolan on the Unicorn album, and the song on which Bolan as a performer of melodic songs reached his absolute peak, and what a glorious peak it is. Each of the intervening sets, “A Beard of Stars” and “T.Rex” feature several strongly melodic songs that point strongly to Cosmic Dancer (Great Horse, A Day Laye, Diamond Meadows, Root of Star, Seagull Woman to name but a few), but with the addition of strings and proper drums (where before bongos and other assorted percussion had been used), Marc Bolan certainly achieved one of his very finest moments. Lesser examples of the style can be found elsewhere on Electric Warrior as well, notably Life’s a Gas. The backing vocals of Mickey Finn along with ex-Turtles Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman suit Cosmic Dancer well, but are inferior to those of Steve Peregrin Took on Unicorn. The tasteful electric guitar in the song’s coda is just right. But for me,! it is the use of strings that make this song musically. I imagine we have the classical training of producer Tony Visconti to thank for that.The song concept again saw the light of day on the following set “The Slider” in the form of Mystic Lady, another lovely Bolan tune and certainly a stand-out on that set, but that was the end of the line, at least until 1977 when The Soul of My Suit hinted ever so slightly at these past melodic glories. One can only wonder whether a Marc Bolan in his 30’s and beyond might have rediscovered this side of his talent. It is a question that will never be answered.It is clear from Cosmic Dancer and the other lesser but still worthy songs of its kind (and certainly from the entire Unicorn set) that Marc Bolan had a talent for melody, but it seems it didn’t sit well with how he saw his place in the musical scheme of things. In an interview at the time he nominated Cosmic Dancer as his most satisfying song from the Warrior! set, yet he soon discontinued making this kind of song. What ! a pity.





Under Pressure - Queen & David Bowie

"And it's the terror of knowing, what this world, is about...." sings Dame Bowie, and who are we to disagree? Quintessential Queen here, with David Bowie becoming a rare, but famous, outside collaborator for them. This is a serious song, with serious lyrics and one hell of a catchy bass line to hold it together. It doesn't just have a catchy bass line, though. If it did, we'd have ourselves the excrement that is 'Ice Ice Baby' by Vanilla Ice, instead. So, what makes the difference? Well, both Freddie Mercury and David Bowie give superlative vocal performances that are a wonder to behold. Both trying to out-do each other, either one of them rarely ever sang better. Freddie does his be-bop nonsense syllables thing in places, Dave sings "slashed and torn" like only he can. The drums go supernova and the song deliriously explodes. What more could you ask for?

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Readers Comments

Simon B slb23@shaw.ca
lol, it's so cool to find someone else who appreciates this song. i heard it for the frist time a couple of years back and was left speechless. it's so unusual, yet such an amazing piece of work.

insecured ajelston@yahoo.com
Superbly crafted song of perfect length and perfect drama. You don't have to be a Queen or Bowie fan to like this. I can think of few other collaborations that work as well as this one. Musically, I don't think Queen or Bowie produced anything better after Under Pressure.



Pale And Precious - The Dukes Of Straosphear from Chips From The Chocolate Fireball

Welcome to planet smile, and you will smile, and all the while your hair shines in the golden sunlight. All the while your smile makes my heart go "ba, ba, ba" and all the while grammer is ignored and all the while you shine. Your eyes sparkle and we are both re-born. A church choir sings, but really, it's you and me. It's personal, baby - it's the lovely, 'the lovely' - a phrase, a place - a chance to die and go someplace else where everything is designed by us. Just us, only for us. No waiting for a bus, no crime or punishment.

A golden beach stretching out as far as the eye can see. Jet blue sky, a cloud just off the corner of the eye - arm in arm. So pale and precious. I love you.

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Weed 0407350t@student.gla.ac.uk
Not bad for a piss-take, eh? I must admit I'm not a big fan of XTC (although 'Easter Theatre' stuns me senseless), I find Partridge's songwriting often sounds too contrived to have any real impact on me, which is why I find the Dukes of Stratosfear stuff so remarkable: if only the apparently more 'serious' stuff on their other albums soared as gracefully and effortlessly as this. A bloody beautiful song and an absolutely spot-on homage. I guess its cos I know that he can display a Wilsonesque skill for pure, effortless melody when he's not TRYING to be so self-consciously clever that I find a lot of XTC releases so frustrating. And why I cherish this song as such a precious (and... er, pale) thing. Well, that and the fact its just brilliant by anyone's standards. His voice sounds so sweet here, and the song ebbs and flows so organically! More like this please, Andy!





Love Goes On! - The Go Betweens

From the sixth album for the perennial commercial underacheivers that are The Go Betweens. Funny thing is, with '16 Lovers Lane' they were just about to make some kind of breakthrough. At least, that's how it seemed with the band in ever increasing demand in the USA. Anyways, 'Love Goes On!' is just such a good song, it's one of those tracks thats easily listened to over and over again in one sitting. It's also a song from an 'indie' band good enough to get any kind of music fan appreciating it. Believe me on that, I've played this song to many, many people. It's so happy, shiny, sunny. Yet, there is also a level on intelligence, a good one, on display throughout the very literate lyrics. Oh, this isn't an easy song to describe. It opens with a distinctive acoustic guitar pattern, strings enter the equation. A little spanish/mexican instrumental hook at various points. Strins that really enhance the track overall too, by the way. Ah, just get it off your favourite download emporium and wallow in the brilliance of The Go Betweens. That's it, really.

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Listen to The Go-Betweens - Love Goes On!

Cool Cool Water - The Beach Boys

Re-done for the 2004 issue of ‘Smile’ by Brian Wilson and almost equally as greatly, such is the mans talent. ‘Cool Cool Water’ was originally a two minute happy sounding instrumental, later given words during the ‘Smile’ recording sessions. Dusted off by Carl Wilson during the early 70s and finished with the help of Brian who actually roused himself from his bed and came into the studio and directed parts of the recording, almost like the good old days. I love the bubbling, burbling moog synth parts. I love the tranquillity and spirituality. If you watch the version on the ‘Endless Harmony’ DVD, Carl is utterly immense and totally immersed in the song. For the ‘Such a gas’ section, Mike is just goofing around, having little else to do with the recording. The backing vocals are amongst the best the guys ever did and that’s saying something. For the ‘Sunflower’ album, The Beach Boys had grown up and were singing adult songs and about themes related to their early car and surf adventures. ‘Cool Cool Water’, originally written for a coca-cola advert, instead becomes almost a hymnal ode to the glorious open waters of California. It’s a beautiful song, so delve right in.

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John County Kildare
Astonishing piece of music. Reduces me to tears everytime I hear it. Is it natural for something this perfect to come from this planet...?





Like A Daydream - Ride from Smile


Ride emerged from the shoe-gazing scene, although personally, I dislike that phrase. Prior to releasing their now classic debut LP ‘Nowhere’, Ride released 3 four track EPs. The final EP is available as bonus tracks on CD editions of ‘Nowhere’, the first two are now compiled as an album titled ‘Smile’. ‘Like A Daydream’ was the lead track on the second EP and it’s absolutely astonishing from beginning to end. Thick sounding guitars burst out of nowhere a second into the track, two guitars, bass and drums. The lyrics, never a strong point with Ride, are suitably vague yet containing enough striking imagery. The song is loud, it’s frantic and breathless and utterly exhilarating. There’s a brief stop a third or so of the way in, your heart almost stops in time. The song then rushes back in with ‘aaaahhhh’ vocal harmonies and the guitars step up a gear, melodic bliss. ‘Like A Daydream’ became not only the first top 40 hit for Ride, but also the first ever for Creation Records, soon to be a big player in the birth of Britpop. Ride would later falter of course, but they were a very important band indeed for a couple of years back then.

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Lazarus - Boo Radleys from Giant Steps

Was it really seventeen years ago The Boo Radleys released their ‘Lazarus EP’? It really came from nowhere, didn’t it? The Boo Radleys had previously released some nice noise-pop but the transition from their debut releases to ‘Lazarus’ was akin to The Beatles going straight from ‘Please Please Me’ to ‘Sgt Peppers’. So, we get a good few minutes of dubby bass and swirling discontent via the instrumental opening sequence. This fades out and when you come to know the song, this bit of fading out builds an impossible amount of excitement as very shortly after the trumpets jubilently announce the vocals, good lyrics fly past as Beach Boys harmonies keep it all going and then a rush of shoegaze guitars before another verse, repeat to close. Such a description actually does the tune scant justice, this was a small group from Liverpool reaching for the stars, which given the musical history of Liverpool, as well they might do. The astonishing thing is that with ‘Lazarus’, The Boo Radleys didn’t even scorch their wings, let alone lose them.

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Can't Stand Me Now - The Libertines from The Libertines

From the very first time I heard this song, I knew I was going to fall in love with it. The Libertines had returned from a hiatus to reform and the lyrics to this tune indicated the kind of struggles between Pete and Carl. The entire song just seems so perfectly executed. The wailing harmonica that closes the tune and plugs it straight into the roots of Rock music, for example. The almost tuneless humming towards the end also just seems right amongst the melodic racket the band produce. The cowbells at the start, the rock solid drums and of course, the inspired songwriting of Pete Doherty. Ignore the newspapers headlines and listen without prejudice.

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Brown Sugar - The Rolling Stones from Sticky Fingers

There are plenty of other Rolling Stones songs I could have chosen to appear here, and I was originally thinking of writing about the gorgeous 'Wild Horses' instead. But, here I am writing about 'Brown Sugar'. So? Well, The Beatles had split up, people were looking to The Stones now to carry 'the flame' so to speak. Well, some people were, the ones that cared. 'Brown Sugar' isn't radically different from other Keith Richards riff spectaculars from The Sixties, but the very fact it even exists, and ushered The Stones so damn sucessfully into The Seventies maintaining their reputation and more, deserves some kind of mention. "Brown sugar" is apparently slang for brown heroin, but it also refers to a black woman. The lyrics therefore include lines such as these, "Brown sugar, how come you taste so good ...just like a young girl should." The vocals were mixed down slightly in the mix to leave any possible 'obsence' nature of the recording up to the listeners imagination. But, whatever. Right from the opening Keith Richards guitar riff, this song is a classic from beginning to end. Simple as that. A good example of The Stones at their finest.

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kake kmisra77@hotmail.com
Fantastic song on a fantastic album, even though its not my fav on here (that honor falls to the oh-ever-so-unmatched, Can't you hear me.., a song which ONLY the Stones - No I doubt George Harrison doing a Mick Taylor - can pull of). The real highlight (besides the brilliant riff of course) is the saxophone solo, played in so many different keys that its incredible. When the Stones at their best, no one touches them. This song is the proof.

fred letitbleed1969@hotmail.com
great vocals, great guitar riff just a great song

Matt Colville mcolville1@yahoo.com
I saw you addition of "Brown Sugar" to the choice cuts, I am a huge Stones fan myself. Thought it should be known that great opening riff was greatly influenced, if not written by, Ry Cooder, that excellent guitarist who plays that slide guitar on "Sister Morphine". Kudos to the Stones but Cooder often goes unnoticed.



Everyday Is Like Sunday - Morrissey from Viva Hate

The jangle of The Smiths guitar, and the sounds of newly solo Morrissey's debut single 'Suedehead', is replaced by an elegant and sweeping string section that frames his voice very attractively indeed. The lyrics are the key to the song though, the string section and rich musical backing just a lucky 'bonus', however well and perfectly it suits the material. "Trudging slowly over wet sand, on a bench, where her clothes were stolen, in a seaside town, that they forget to close down, armageddon, come armageddon....." and that 'come armageddon' section, repeated and repeated really is powerful. Everyday is like Sunday? Morrissey captured something hear that not everyone will want to listen to, and it's easy to dismiss the sound of someone apparently being miserable a lot easier than it is to dismiss the sound of someone obviously happy and full of beans - but trust me, this is a masterpiece of songwriting.

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Sexy Sadie - The Beatles from The White Album

'Sexy Sadie' was written by John to express his feelings for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, whom The Beatles had somewhat disowned just prior to the recording of The White Album. Some people were waiting for a guru, and along he came. In the anthology book, John Lennon is quoted as saying about the Maharisi "We thought he was something other than he was." The cause of The Beatles fall-out with the Mararisi may partly have been down to the fact he'd been witnessed taking a 'special interest' in a female follower. 'Sexy Sadie' originally had the Maharishi's name as the refrain. The song opens with Piano, bass comes in. John's vocal sounds disillushioned, harmonies arrive. John's vocal is the key to the song along with the Piano which sounds beautiful, if fractured, perhaps representing the sound of something falling apart. The harmonies bring a touch of beauty to the song, John's vocal is bitter yet powerful, and very very expressive. The lyrical content is of course notable, 'you'll get yours yet' being just one line that springs out at you. On an album full of delights it's difficult to pick out any one song for special attention, but this one, this song, always reaches me.

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Joseph Leiper Joseph.Leiper@Level3.com
It's good to see this tune singled out for appreciation. Along with "Cry Baby Cry" this is one of Lennon's White Album songs relegated to the second tier by "Dear Prudence" and "I'm So Tired." (Although for my money, "Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Lagothrix Flavicauda" is my Lennon fav on this record.) I love how each verse builds with Ringo solidly behind it, and George's 3-note flourishes right at the crest. The doo-wop "Ooohhowowoh" as the fade out begins is delightful. This song, like most of WA's, reveals fresh nuances with each listening. The record has impressive depth for an "underproduced" album. And, in my opinion, if there's a heavier rock song than "Helter Skelter" I haven't heard it. I hope someday the 24-minute take from which the album version is edited is released.

brian badger@gregory1972.fsnet.co.uk
Great song. I am also an admirer of the piano sound,see Radioheads,"Karma Police" for this songs influence.

Sadie Syka sadiesyka@yahoo.com
I happened to be very touched by the song. This is because my mother was a huge fan and I was named after a John Lennon Song!! My mother passed away when I was 11 and I didn't remember the song. When I finally got the courage to listen, I was 20 years old. It was a message that touched my heart. Its an intresting feeling. I absolutely love being named after it!!!

David suz_nyl@hotmail.com
A really great song. Those vocals are incredible. Lennon later said that in the original lyrics he wrote "Maharishi, what have you done?" but he changed it which is good, I think, because it makes the song more lasting. If I was to choose a song from "The White Album" it would probably be George´s "Long Long Long" or Lennon´s heartachingly beautiful "Julia". Such a great album, that. Killed off the 60´s with an unrelenting bash.



Peaches En Regalia - Frank Zappa from Hot Rats

'Peaches En Regalia' is such a magnificent piece of work, it renders me speechless. I can't actually describe it, so instead i'm going to write this piece in the style of a young, sexually aware female boyband fan.

Oh my god he's so hot I could stroke that moustache all day and his hair and his pecs and those horns and his big guitar! I used to really like Jimmy Carl Black but he left Frank was always my really favourite Mother but with this song he was all on his own he's so talented and fit!!! He's dead now but I don't care about that I have this big poster of him on my wall opposite my bed I get off on that one. I shouldn't say that my mom might be reading this. My friends all love Frank too they think he's cute and we made up words to this song because we think it's so great but they never play it at the mall. It's just sooooooo brilliant I can't explain how much I get off on Frank Zappa and this is my best song of all time apart from the backstreet boys but thats just wow you know a dumb thing to say.

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JPumpkinJane84@aol.com
lol, it's so cool to find someone else who appreciates this song. i heard it for the frist time a couple of years back and was left speechless. it's so unusual, yet such an amazing piece of work.

Alan Brooks freebiker69@yahoo.com
Break a leg to get the album HOT RATS so you can listen to this track.



Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan from Highway 61 Revisited

We open with pounding drums. Along with the swirling organ that repeats throughout the track, these drums are the most notable aspect musically. They are, well, deliberate sounding. Lyrically we have a series of put downs at some unspecified other. Sneering put downs. A fabulously biting set of lyrics to take into the pop charts! Piano is added to the organ. The organ traces the songs main melody ably supported by guitar & bass. Bob sings and shouts and stretches his words to add importance to particular phrases. He sits slap bang in the middle of this rich immense sound. Harmonica breaks after the verses. Verses in two parts rising in intensity to lead into the chorus parts. The organ swirls round and round. Bob kept asking for the organ to be turned up. Al Kooper was the makeshift player, volunteering for the instrument after realising the accomplished Michael Bloomfield would surely grab the guitar spot. Al initially fumbled his way round the changes. He was an inexperienced keyboard player at best. Bob liked the sound however and asked the engineer to turn it up louder. Thus was born an alluring mixture of organ and blues influenced rock music. Bob said that it captured the sound in his head.

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Frank Crane fcrane@link.com
Like a Rolling Stone simply has no peer in rock and roll music. Before it, the other songs on the list could not have been made. As great as some of these other artists are, they to would not have been what they became if it were not for Dylan. In the end, as in his life, he stands alone. The truth is he's the only one that measures up to his legend and like truth can't be dismissed. This song is more than his anthem, it's all of our anthems. How does it feel?

David Nylocks suz_nyl@hotmail.com
THE BEST SONG EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! well, of course. I like his words but with this (and the Desire album and other stuff) I am just left breathless by the sound of it all. The vocals, the organ... The album-version is the best but I love Albert Hall 1966 Live one where he starts screaming at that jerk who screams "Judas!" I´ve just listened to it if you´re wondering why I´m a bit wound up. It´s punk-rock, isn´t it?





Debaser - The Pixies

Slicing up eyeballs? What is that man gibbering on about? Well, an obvious influence on Nirvana, so obvious is doesn’t need stating, but I have anyway. Yes, it’s ‘Debaser’ by The Pixies. The quintessential Pixies song for many, ‘Debaser’ led off the bands ‘Doolittle’ LP, considered by many fans their finest work ever. Just what Black Francis is singing never quite becomes clear unless you cheat and use a lyric sheet, but that’s no fun now is it? ‘Shake!’, he sings. Shake what exactly? For a song not obviously about anything clearly, ‘Debaser’ is tremendous fun and wonderfully exhilarating. The Pixies, the band that introduced me to heavy music that could also not be about satan and could also contain a lorry-load of melody. Melody! Guitars! Screaming!! ‘Debaser’ is your man, ermm, song, errm happening. Yes. The happening. Did you like the way I clumsily led that into namedropping another Pixies song? No? Well, s***w you!

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Mr. Chimp simon.chimpanzee@post.cz
Cardinal example of psychedelic music. And Roger McGuinn with his rickenbacker is excellent.

Rudi Laze rudi_laze@yahoo.com
Hi Adrian,how are u doing?Just so you know,"Debaser" is Black Francis's tribute to the legendary spanish director Luis Bunuel and his movie "Un chien andalou"(he doesn't scream "shake" but "chien" which means "dog" in spanish,and the lyric "slicing up eyeballs" refers to the opening scene of this movie,where a woman slices an eyeball in half with a razor).Our Frank is a diehard fan of surrealism,this was his fantastic tribute to it.I'm Not going to write about the the immense emotion and fun "Debaser" is,you've proved it yourself,since you are a loyal fan of the Pixies,just like me.You're great man,keep the good work up.

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My Melody - Eric B And Rakim from Paid In Full

Eric Barrier, DJ and William Griffin, Lyricist. Eric B and Rakim who created a blueprint for 90s hip-hop with their stunning ‘Paid In Full’ debut LP. ‘My Melody / Eric B Is President’ actually appeared a year or two before the LP and to say it blew people away is a complete understatement. ‘My Melody’ remains stunning to this day, rawer than almost all modern hip-hop without sounding too dated and also, containing the very soul and essence of rap in its purest form. That’s not to say anything here is basic. Rakim’s flow arguably remains unsurpassed to this day, heck, he could throwaway a single line ‘pump up the volume’ in passing and have it sampled by Technotronic, who in turn, had a massive hit. Eric B creates an unrepeatable base here during the lengthy yet never dull ‘My Melody’, utterly awe-inspiring - although too raw no doubt for some - like having a cut right through your skin, into the flesh and beyond. It will hurt, but the shock will make you sit right up and realise what you never knew before. ‘My Melody’ is taken from an album full of highlights and although Eric B And Rakim never got their commercial due, ‘Paid In Full’ and ‘My Melody’ will both live on as classics.

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Alice - Tom Waits from Alice

Is it possible in music to do something absolutely nothing new in terms of your career, but just do it better than ever before? Without a 'shock' or 'excitement' of a new musical or vocal aspect, a song has to be something special indeed to be considered over and above other songs by an established artist with a long career. Fortunately for me, as far as i'm concerned at least, 'Alice' by Tom Waits is just such a song. Even forgetting its surroundings as part of a play? Or was it an opera? Forgetting its role in 'Alice', the album, does it work on its own? Yes is the short answer, all great songs do. Certain songs are difficult to describe, not because they are complicated but rather the sheer emotional response they provoke, seemingly without rhyme or reason. 'Alice' has haze, smoke and Jazz that sounds fifty years old, yet still recorded in a modern context. It sounds like it was recorded in a wine cellar someplace. Stupendous poetic and atmospheric lyrics match the stupendous, atmospheric and poetic music. The peculiar voice of Tom Waits doesn't sound a world removed from the voice of Tom Waits fifteen years previously. It also sounded a hundred years old back then, yet always sounds like someone who absolutely can sing, whether personally you like his smoky and cracked voice, or not. The vocal here is gorgeous, the lyrics gorgeous, the music gorgeous, especially the Piano. 'Alice' is a song that always comforts and fascinates me, always demands my attention, then half-way through playing, more often than not, has me weeping deliously. Yeah, it's that kind of song.

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Easter Theatre - XTC from Apple Venus Vol 1

A song celebrating the coming of spring and life’s cycle. Strings run throughout the track, sampled oboe's and bassoons add to the mixture of instrumentation. The lyric is frequently astonishing in its use of imagery but holding all of this together of course is the melody. Now, describing an actual melody is a hard thing to do. The song seems to be constantly rising and growing. The only obvious guitar appears around the one minute ten mark and a trumpet is introduced to bring the main melody line higher still. The bass in the verses sounds earthy in keeping with springtime I suppose. On top of all of this we have great vocals, especially in the middle section when the 'Easter in her bonnet' section comes in. The strings reach ever further heights - a crescendo, a sudden brief moment of silence, then bloom. The song goes back to the verse, repeated to close. The bass continues to rumble away - the lyric reaches a conclusion and harmony vocals to end. A song full of life, a song full of melodic genius as good as anything Andy Partridge has ever written. A sheer thing of wonder that works as centrepiece on the 'Apple Venus Vol 1' record.

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paul spectorsound@aol.com
the strings, the trumpets, the beautiful brian wilsonesque melody....as good as music gets.

Ellis ellisjones@gmail.com
Yes! Someone else who appreciates this song! It's one of my all time favourites too, maybe even the best XTC song ever. Apple Venus is such an underrated album, and this song encapsulates it. The way the chorus burst in actually sounds like Easter arriving, it's such a fantastic moment. I mentioned this song in my blog as one of the top five moments in music five-great-moments-in-music.html, and it is.





Moonlight In Vermont - Captain Beefhheart

It’s a strange kind of a pop song, really. Ok, so upon the first dozen or so listens it sounds like someone attempting to give a particularly grouchy cat some worming tablets whilst a local beat-group tune up in the background, but in reality, there’s simply an awful lot going on here. Beefheart sings with the drums, the drums sound like they are falling down a flight of stairs. The guitars bite and sound really metallic and harsh. It’s twenty-first century blues, Captain Beefheart with his ‘gimmie that old time religion’ moan and wail, sounding like Robert Johnson on Mars. Good use of echo throughout. Zappa produced the song by the way, turning on the tape recorder and pressing play and stop and the relevant points. In fact that’s true, but with Beefheart, got the band into a particular mood, got them lean, holing them up in little more than a shack with beans to eat. ‘I run on beans’, said Rockette Morton. Indeed. Anyway, a tremendous tune all round. You need to be adept at being able to listen to four instruments each playing slightly different songs, but that’s easy if you try. In this case, also well worth it for arguably the finest four minutes or so that Zappa ever committed to tape.

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Lady Of The North - Gene Clark from Flying High

"Flying...... high, above.... the clouds...... we lay in grassy meadows... the earth was like.... A PILLOW... for our dreams...." and the bass and the violin... that violin sound was crucial in persuading Bob Dylan to use violin/fiddle in his 'Desire' album. Bob was a huge fan of Gene Clark, easily reckonizing him as the best writer and poet within The Byrds. 'The Lady Of The North' is the sound of such longing for love, such beauty. It's a lost soul, matched to poetry, matched to nearly over the top music, production wise, but..... 'Lady Of The North' is the sound of a folk singer gone mad, a folk singer gone insane and infused with utter genius, Only 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes' by Sandy Denny betters this as a folk song, and both are as different as night and day. Gene surrounded himself with bass, drums, violin, etc, etc. But it was he that shone through. His voice quivering and shaking amongst the immense noise. The lyrics like a dream you had the other night when you were feeling lonely. There is immense feeling here, Gene gave us this. He gave us something special and that's a huge understatement, if ever there was one.

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Mr. Chimp simon.chimpanzee@post.cz
Cardinal example of psychedelic music. And Roger McGuinn with his rickenbacker is excellent.

jeffrey capshew jdcapshew@aol.com
i totally agree, what a nice description of perhaps the finest, most beautiful melding of folk, country and rock ever written and performed. gene clark, despite his devoted following, does have the widespread recognition he deserves.

Lady Of The North MP3 from AMAZON



Kathleen - Townes Van Zandt from Our Mother The Mountain

The respect the now sadly deceased Townes Van Zandt earnt around the country scene as a songwriter was immense. Emmy Lou Harris and many many others have covered his songs. This particular song came to me long before I'd ventured much beyond UK indie music. I hadn't even ventured into Sixities/Seventies stuff much at all. Still, I have the mighty Tindersticks to thank for bringing me Townes Van Zandt. They covered this song as single around 1995 and it just struck me so hard. The words are absolutely glorious poetry in their sadness, and i'll quote the first verse in full. "It's plain to see, the sun won't shine today / but I ain't in the mood for sunshine anyway / maybe I'll go insane / I got to stop the pain / Or maybe I'll go down to see Kathleen." - and then the strings come in. Not your usual country stuff then? Well, not quite, not quite. Townes Van Zandt suffered greatly from depression and was very eloquent at expressing this. He was rooted in Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie as much as he was country giants such as Hank Williams. His voice is rich and deep and steeped in feeling and the descending strings that come in to decorate the end of each line in the verses... just captivating. "There's crystal across the sand / and the waves, they take my hand. / Soon I'm gonna see my sweet Kathleen." Repeat last line to close. From his highly regarded 'Our Mother The Mountain' album, 'Kathleen' is a immensely beautiful, truly timeless song that deserves to be heard by a lot more people than it has been.

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John from Edinburgh bruntonjab@aol.com
Eloquent as always. Just got into Townes a couple of years ago, when I bought a double best of for a fiver in a well know music chain, and the depth to his stuff is unbelievable - sometimes funny and heartbreaking in the same line. Loved Steve Earle's quote: "Townes Van Zandt is the best song writer in the world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that". He should get much more recognition as a song writer. Much more to him than Poncho and Lefty!





Hip Priest - The Fall from Hex Enducation Hour

Arguably the highlight of their 'Hex Enducation Hour' LP set. It was featured in Silence Of The Lambs! Around 15 seconds or so of 'Hip Priest' is heard playing in the background whilst Hannibal ( anthony hopkins ) goes about his business. See if you can spot it. Sadly, it wasn't on the soundtrack album! Bah! 'Hip Priest' the song continues from the longer length song experiments on previous Fall albums such as 'The NWRA' and 'Spectre Vs Rectre'. Its not quite as long as either of those however and here absolutely everything plays it part. It opens quietly. The guitar does little fills here and there. The drums keep up a steady beat and Mark E Smith adds slightly sinister vocals over the top. The song suddenly explodes and explodes only to return to the quieter section again. Dynamics! The shifting between quiet and loud sections continues throughout the song until towards the end we have a wall of guitars and furious vocals. It all leaves you breathless. A perfect Fall moment and a wondrous piece of composition. Check it out!

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Jonathan kingdom@rapidial.co.uk
I thought this song appeared near the end of Silence of the lambs where Clarice Starling is searching for Buffalo Bill. It plays for like a minute or so, just so you can hear that disturbing guitar chord exchange thingy. Great song though.





Straight To You - Nick Cave

“The towers of ivory are crumbling, and the swallows have sharpened their beaks, this is the time of our undoing, this is the time that I’ll come running – straight to you, for I am captured, once again” sings Nick, and why the hell not? Yes, taken from the ‘Henry’s Dream’ LP ‘Straight To You’ is one of the mans finest ballads. Indeed ‘Henry’s Dream’ was an LP with almost the perfect mix of raucous Cave and ballad Cave. Me calling ‘Straight To You’ his finest ballad is some statement with songs are wonderful as ‘Into My Arms’, ‘The Ship Song’ and ‘Breathless’ in the mans catalogue. Still, the organ ebbs and tides wonderfully in the background, thanks Mick Harvey. Nick himself gives a performance full of sorrow, loving then rising to almost a commanding tone ‘You will love’, kind of thing. For a song from a band that evolved from the blood-torn Birthday Party, ‘Straight To You’ is pretty astonishing, really. Beautiful of course. Get it into your bloodstream today and calm yourself. Sway along to the ‘Blonde On Blonde’ sounding keyboard/organ work.

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John bruntonjab@aol.com
Doesn't boast an audacious opening line like "I don't believe in an interventionalist god" though. Personally, I love the Weeping Song and, more recently, Man in the Moon from Grinder Man (great album cover!). What the hell, they're all great.



Babooska - Kate Bush

I could have picked any one of half a dozen Kate songs, including far more obvious selections. I’ve just always adored this song right since I was a child. It’s weird sounding melodic patterns, the way Kate’s voice is right inbetween her early high-pitched wail and her later assured confidence. A song to be sung in pubs and clubs the land over, which isn’t something you could say exactly about ‘Wuthering Heights’. Your white-van-man or your milkman ( or woman! ) won’t be caught at 6am whistling ‘Wuthering Heights’. Well, it’s hard to whistle, isn’t it? It’s a great song in its own right, but its not swaying and all enjoyably bouncy ( in an intelligent way ) up and down. The lyrics always fascinate me, Kate was ( still is! ) gorgeous and a pop classic is born.

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On And On – Erykah Badu from Baduism

Every good single needs a distinctive introduction. This has one of the best, but as a lesson to all you budding song-writers out there, it’s oh so simple. Seven programmed beats, just seven, laying out a little melody. A lighter instrument picking out another melody for around 5 seconds before the vocals come in. ‘On And On’ is taken from her debut LP, actually the most straightforward of the three albums she’s released to date. That doesn’t matter, the vocals alone elevate nearly everything on it to a magical, spine-chillingly great level. When I think of ‘On And On’ in particular, I think of soul music and vice-versa. The soul just shines right through without Erykah needing to resort to any Mariah style theatrics. It’s a diamond jewel of a song and deserves to be known to a far wider audience.

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