St. Steven's Playlist
It’s Boxing Day; my daughters arrive tomorrow, and today I’ve had a day of thrilling idleness. And what better way to spend a few idle hours than batting around on You Tube?
First off, the greatest pop single ever. Or do you know better? The British people consistently vote Queen’s excreble Bohemian Rhapsody as the greatest single ever. In this poll of polls, Bo Rhap is the clear winner. Yet we all know that it just isn’t the best single ever. Is it better than, say, ‘Walk on By’? Or ‘Good Vibrations?’ Clearly not. So where does this leave democracy?
The Beach Boys version here is a little dodgy, given that only madmen would try to play Good Vibrations live, but I included this version for nostalgic purposes; because I was lucky enough to see them in 1976, on this very tour, at Wembley Stadium. That was a good day, given that other acts on the bill were Rufus with Chaka Khan, Joe Walsh, and The Eagles, not to mention plucky Stackridge, who opened the show. Top of the bill was Elton John, but I didn’t enjoy him much because who can top the fecking Beach Boys?
This year I’ve been mostly listening to Scottish bands. 2009 may see the largest economic collapse in living memory, but it should also see new albums from Camera Obscura and The Trashcan Sinatras ,so who cares? I’m Camera Obscura potty! Everyone should be! I love them utterly. Utterly. Unconditionally. The Trashcans have a legendarily slow workrate; I saw an interview with singer and writer Francis Reader (Eddi’s kid brother) where the interviwer asked what had been the delay in getting back into the studio. This question was prompted by the fact that The Trashcans had gone eight years between albums. Reader pointed out that they had been in the studio for the whole of those eight years, and that that was the cause of the delay. How poignant I find that, you can’t imagine.
We had the pleasure of welcoming The Scaremongers to Presteigne’s prestigious British Legion Club last September. It was only their second ever live appearance, and they rocked. Could this be the appearance that tips the Laureateship Armitage’s way?
And then a few oldies but obscurities. How about this from the top of the second division of the post Stone Roses early nineties league? And where are the New FAD’s now? Or how about some pub-rock fun from ’73? Nick’s haircut was well radical for ’73, let me assure you. Pub Rock afficionados will note that Ian Gomm is playing the bass here, rather than Nick. Ian Gomm used to get in Perry Venus’s shop, which I find hugely impressive. Or, finally, my beloved Denim. As Lawrence sings, it’s for you to choose what you listen to. ‘Last night I heard my Mamma singing this song…’
My friend, you are beautiful.
Since making their acquaintance here tonight, I share—utterly—your love for Camera Obscura, a magic Scottish band if ever there was one. Which there was, Cocteau Twins, whose Elizabeth Fraser Tracyanne Campbell reminds me of sometimes, while being her own uniquely beautiful performer. Creative videos, a perfectly lovable band.
Hello Ian, glad to hear that there’s another book on the way. I thought that you and your readers might like to know that some of us in the remote, isolated Scottish community of Glasgow have taken to gathering together on the long, dreich, dark winter nights as the North Kelvinside Popular Music Appreciation Society. It really is a lot of fun and perhaps something that your readers might like to do with their friends also. You can visit northkelvinpopsoc.com to see how it’s done. All the best!
That clip of the ‘Schwarz’ gives me goosebumps; it’s apparent simplicity and naivety is so appealing. For another hit of rockin’ pubrock nostalgia, here is Dr Feelgood!
Thanks for the “heads up” re;Stackridge ,Ian. You will be pleased to know that they are still live & gigging , with a new album under way. They play Glasgow in April, hopefully more Scottish Venues to be added.