The Saturday Shuffle – Week 5

Good Afternoon, everybody! It’s another scorching day in the Shire, and I’m sure you’ve been waiting with baited breath for this next instalment! ‘Will there be more sodding Beatles tracks’, you’re possibly wondering…

  1. One of the 38 – Nick Harper. No, not the character from My Family played by Kris Marshall, this is the son of sixties/seventies folk rock stalwart Roy Harper (who happened to be mates with Led Zeppelin, so you can imagine the upbringing Nick had). He’s a genius with a guitar – if you get the chance, see him live. You’ll be falling over yourselves to thank me. This is a fairly recent song, and enjoyable at that.
  2. Sexy Sadie – The Beatles. It’s the greatest band ever. Again. Allegedly written by John about the Maharishi from their time in India (it was definitely written by John, the allegedly relates to the subject matter). Rumour has it that the spiritual leader tried it on with a lady when he’s supposed to be above all that sort of thing.
  3. Song 2 – Blur. Woo Hoo! Two minutes of dirty, heavy rock from the ‘Blur’ album that was such a massive departure from what went before. Let the head banging commence!
  4. If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will Be Next – Manic Street Preachers. A long song title. If my memory serves me correctly (which it sometimes does), this was about the Spanish Civil War. Which is nice.
  5. St Louis Slim – Seasick Steve. A bit of blues to finish off this week’s shuffle. Seasick Steve shot to UK fame off the back of an appearance on Jools Holland’s show and hasn’t looked back since. This is from the ‘Best Of’ album I purchased recently, because, sometimes, you need some Seasick Steve in your life.

And so ends this week’s shuffle. See you next week!!

The Saturday Shuffle – Week 4

It’s that time of week again!!

  1. Buddy – De La Soul. Ah, Buddy. Billed as De Le Soul, but featuring some ‘friends’ – Jungle Brothers and Q-Tip (if you haven’t got a clue, just Google it, or ask my brother). Not surprisingly, I have my brother to thank for this one!
  2. I Just Don’t Understand – The Beatles. Yes, I know. The Beatles again. But this is a cover from the first Live at the BBC album.
  3. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) – Bob Dylan. A recent winner of the Nobel Literature prize is Mr Zimmerman. Unlike him though, I probably won’t give a lecture using suspiciously familiar web content!! This is from the ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ album, which is the landmark album where he moved from the folk genre into the electric folk genre (he took plenty of stick for that). This is from the acoustic ‘Side 2’ (for those who still work in vinyl). It’s also seven and a half minutes long…
  4. Stop The Clocks – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. From the more talented Gallagher’s first solo record. If I’m honest, it’s probably one of the weaker songs he’s written. Definitely an album filler along the lines of ‘She’s Electric’ or ‘Magic Pie’.
  5. Tomorrow Never Knows – The Beatles. Not the finished version you hear on ‘Revolver’, but the work in progress first presented on the Anthology albums (the second one, to be precise). You can hear the basic track and rudimentary loops going on in the background, and the slight distortion of John’s vocal which he apparently wanted to sound like monks singing from the top of a mountain…

And there’s your five for today. I think we’ve all learned something…

The Saturday Shuffle – Week 3

Another Saturday afternoon comes round again. Which means more musical randomness and waffling from yours truly! On with the show…

  1. I’ll Be Back – The Beatles. The Beatles. Again. A nice song from the Hard Day’s Night album that wasn’t in the film.
  2. I Feel Fine – The Beatles. Is this shuffle thing working?!! It seems it is. The first mainstream pop/rock track to feature feedback. Some say it was an accident, others suggest it was deliberate. I don’t care, because it’s the Beatles and it’s brilliant.
  3. My Ever Changing Moods – Paul Weller. Ok, so it’s actually a Style Council song, but it was on a Paul Weller compilation that featured his Jam and solo hits too. Quite appropriate for me these days as I can change in the blink of an eye.
  4. Watching The Wheels – John Lennon. A song obviously written about his five year break from the limelight, where he gave up music and being famous to bring up Sean. He was quite happy to do so, and I guess others were confused by it. I sometimes wish I could take a break from being me.
  5. Cry For Love – Iggy Pop. I downloaded the best of Iggy Pop after watching the second Trainspotting film (who doesn’t love ‘Lust For Life’?) and this is on the album. I obviously copied the whole album to my phone without listening to the songs first because I don’t remember hearing this song before! It’s not bad though, if you ask me.

And there it is for another week. Maybe there’ll be no Beatles songs next time, who really knows?!

The Saturday Shuffle – Week 2

It’s Saturday afternoon people. Which means only one thing – shuffle time! So, without any further ado, here we go…

  1. A Boy Like Me – Cast. Remember Cast? Unbelievably good band from Liverpool that were big in the 90’s? Well, they went away for a bit, and then came back a few years ago with a pretty damned good album called ‘Troubled Times’. This is from that record and it’s still got the classic Cast formula.
  2. Peacock Suit – Paul Weller. The Modfather. This was one of those songs I knew about but never really listened to it much. Then I bought one of his ‘Best Of’ collections and that was that. Does anyone know what a ‘Peacock Suit’ is? Do you have to kill the peacocks first?!
  3. Twist And Shout – The Beatles. With the large selection of Beatles songs on my phone, there was a pretty good chance a Beatles song would come on. Would everyone in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you can just rattle your jewellery. A classic Lennon line from the Royal Variety Performance before blasting this gem out. This is the album version that apparently shredded John’s voice after a long day in the studio.
  4. Swanee River – Hugh Laurie. Hmm. An interesting track. I can’t remember where I heard that Hugh Laurie had recorded an album, it may have been on Jools Holland’s show. But to be fair, it’s not bad.
  5. Paradise City – Guns N Roses. I was first exposed to this as a fresh-faced 7 year old boy thanks to my brother. He had the ‘Appetite For Destruction’ album on cassette (remember those?) and as a result of having neighbouring bedrooms, I tended to absorb a lot of his musical taste. There wasn’t much option!!

That was painless. Same time next week?

Song Title Short Story #7

A Day In The Life – The Beatles

It was half-past seven in the morning, according to my alarm clock. I woke from a rather peculiar dream, and eased myself out of bed. I shuffled across the landing to the bathroom – I’m really not a morning person – and stood in front of the bathroom mirror. Lord knows what I do when I’m asleep, because every morning, my hair has that ‘dragged through a hedge backwards’ look about it. And every morning, like now, I had to fight it with a comb and water just to flatten the damned thing. But, after a successful battle, I looked fairly presentable, so I headed downstairs. I sauntered into the kitchen and made myself a cup of coffee. I sat at the kitchen counter and noticed the clock on the microwave was flashing. Puzzled, I looked at the clock on the wall. It was almost nine o’clock!! I abandoned my coffee and grabbed my coat and woolly hat – it was a frosty mid-January day, after all – and rushed out of the door, slamming it behind me. I looked down the street and could see the bus about to arrive at my stop. I legged it down the street and just about made it. I emptied change into the bus drivers little tray, and he handed me my ticket without a word. He knew me, and I knew he was a miserable bugger.

I climbed the stairs to the top deck and found a quiet seat on my own. I took out a cigarette, and was about to light it, when a city-type with pinstripe suit and overcoat tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the ‘No Smoking’ sign stuck to the window by my shoulder. I shrugged and put my lighter back in my coat pocket.

I made it to work, and sat in my cubicle with the morning paper. I saw the headline about a car crash which killed a guy who was a member of the House of Lords. Below it was a particularly gruesome picture of the wreck, and in spite of myself, I couldn’t help but laugh at the bystanders who appeared to be craning for a better view of the carnage. I turned the page and read a few more stories that were of little interest to me. I stopped at the film review section and was grabbed by a review of a new film about the British Army in the Second World War. The critic was pretty scathing, but on reading the review, it had been based on a book I’d read and enjoyed, so I made a mental note to go and see it.

I was briefly interrupted by work tasks, but when I returned to the paper, I happened to find a bizarre story about the number of potholes in Blackburn, Lancashire. Four thousand, apparently, which if added together, would fill the Albert Hall. It was in a newspaper article, so it must be true, right?

Ode to the Compilation Tape/CD

Remember the days before downloadable music and mp3 players?
Remember putting together compilation tapes/discs for your new girlfriend/boyfriend?
Remember buying the ‘Best Of’ album by your favourite band and it didn’t have your favourite obscure b-side song on?

Well these are things that no longer plague us, thanks to the digitalisation of most of our musical history. Some will say that’s a great thing, and we should embrace the technology – after all, it means we are only ever a few clicks away from buying music, and that’s good for our cultural well-being.

But! Is there a greater thrill than handing a cd/tape over to your new love, containing a collection of songs that you love and hope that he or she will too? The hours of rooting through your music collection, finding the right song, with the right sentiment, or the right lyric, and then sticking on a tape/cd in a certain order?

And how about for all you folks with a behemoth of a music collection, but no mp3 player in your car?! You’re driving to work, and you fancy a bit of music, but you don’t want to listen to the one band all day. A-ha, here’s a CD with all manner of things on it! It’s easy, isn’t it?!

Personally, I’ve lost count of all the compilation CD’s and tapes I’ve put together over the years. I tend to create a new one every so often, usually to consolidate recent additions to my collection, like when I met Marisa and she introduced me to loads of new stuff I’d never heard before – Mando Diao and the early Fleet Foxes EP’s spring immediately to mind – and of course I wanted them all in one place. On a CD, in my car.

Another reason would be to produce my own ‘Best of’ compilations of bands I liked. It’s clearly not feasible to carry all my Beatles albums around in the car with me, and I don’t own the Red and Blue Albums, so I generally put together my own 1962-66 and 1967-70 collections together. Which means I can include such gems as ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ and ‘Hey Bulldog’ that don’t make it on to the mainstream compilations, but I like just as much.

And then, there are those songs that you like to listen to so damned much, you just want them all together, one after the other.

So, dear readers, here’s a challenge for you:
Imagine I’ve given you a blank CD and give me a list of 10 songs that you would put on it. They can be songs you love, your own ‘Best of’, or even just ten tracks you think I should hear.