Saturday, 24 October 2020

Saturday Snapshots #160


Welcome back to Saturday Snapshots - the quiz that has No Mercy. Hopefully you won't find this week's answers too (L.A.) Confidential... or have to go 8 Mile to find them.

Terrible puns all, but I'm saving the best / obvious one for the end of the post.

Anyway, you didn't come here for the puns (well, apart from Alyson), you came here for the clues... 

10. Ignominious 14th. Righteous Scrooge.

9. Mick's Zen octet plays California.

8. A Harts non-event, 4 prime.

7. Caviar in a spin. 

6. Stop trying to find fault, like Tom The Duck.

5. Coo-lumbo, Sherlock Homing and Agent Coop-er remove a lady's rear.   

4. Asda clothes take the mick, with a coral... um... hang on, hang on... I'll finish this clue in a minute...

3. Kate & Fred love them. Hahahaha!

2. Beautiful baptism bowl, full of potassium. 

1. Bother not, between the roads.

Fortunately, you won't have to wait 9 ½ weeks for the answer - they'll be here tomorrow morning. 

Friday, 23 October 2020

No Shame Fridays #1


I'm not saying this is going become a regular feature. We'll see how it goes down. I suspect it will go down really, really badly... in which case, I might well make it into a regular feature.

I had no idea who Rex Smith was until Tuesday night when I was watching a Robert Palmer video on youtube and found Rex in my side bar. I've no idea why that would be, as Rex is about as far from Robert Palmer as Ozzy Osborne is, but I suspect it's more to do with my youtube browsing history that the site now randomly picks some truly awful things to throw my way.

Except, this isn't awful.

Those of you who like the original will hate it. (But then, I like the original...)

Those of you who are too cool for school will hate it. (But then, remember the original mantra of this blog: irk the musos!)

Those of you with a soft spot for Rachel Sweet may well secretly like it, but just pretend to hate it because that's the cool thing to do.

Those of you with no shame at all though...?

Apparently, Rex Smith was a teen heart throb in the states. Apparently he played Jesse Mach in Streethawk, which I vaguely remember watching... but it was no Airwolf or Manimal. Apparently he was also the first actor to play the Marvel superhero Daredevil in The Trial of the Incredible Hulk. Which, despite being a huge Marvel fan, and the fact that I owe a lot of that to Bill Bixby, I have never seen. 

Apparently this was a Top 40 hit in the UK in 1981... but I'll be damned if I remember it.

Anyway, put your cool on hold and enjoy the cheese. Because they don't make pop videos or pop songs like this anymore... but they really ought to do!

Also, if you ever wondered where Survivor got the riff from Eye of the Tiger from...

Thursday, 22 October 2020

My Top Ten Social Distancing Songs


Step back, please. As we all head back into lockdown, it's time to social distance in song...

10. The Police - Don't Stand So Close To Me

Let's start with the obvious one, eh?

All the girls in Mr. Sting's class fancied their teacher.

9. Hall & Oates - So Close

A mismatched romance, contained one of the great lyrical couplets to describe such an inequality...

He fell like a rock, 
She kinda liked him.

But as for being relevant to our current predicament, try this...

We believe in tomorrow, though we're stuck in today.
Baby we're so close, so close, yet so far away.

8. Dire Straits - So Far Away

I'm tired of bein' in love and bein' all alone
When you're so far away from me
I'm tired of makin' out on the telephone
'Cause you're so far away from me

Bonus track with the same title...

Stephen Duffy - So Far Away

When I was a young, young man
Back in the Twentieth Century
Well, you made your own amusements then
Flying to the moon

The benefit of hindsight
Is always black and white
There always were contrasting ways
To help you through the night
From bright morning star to morning sun

But they are so far away
That I won’t even ask them to stay

7. Richard Thompson - Keep Your Distance

Keep your distance, keep your distance
When I feel you close to me what can I do but fall
Keep your distance, oh keep your distance
With us it must be all or none at all

6. Suzanne Vega - Solitude Standing

Solitude stands in the doorway
And I'm struck once again by her black silhouette
By her long cool stare and her silence
I suddenly remember each time we've met

5. Astrid - Distance

Now that you're far away
I can feel the distance
They say it's only fresh air
But I can feel the distance
And the sun always shines
When you walk my way
Baby, I wonder
Is it sunny with you today?

4. Bruce Springsteen - You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)

Mess around and you'll end up in dutch, boy

3. Justin Currie - You Will Always Walk Alone

Lying asleep at night under the watching ceiling light
Safe in the fortress of your home
Remember you'll always walk alone

2. The Temptations - I Can't Get Next To You

Can turn the grey sky blue
I can make it rain, whenever I want it to, oh I
I can build a castle from a single grain of sand
I can make a ship sail, on dry land tell 'em yeah
But my life is incomplete and I'm so blue
'Cause I can't get next to you

1. The Georgia Satellites - Keep Your Hands To Yourself

Still one of the great unsung rock 'n' roll songs...

No hug-ee, no kiss-ee... glad I'm not dating in lockdown.

If you want to leave a suggestion in the comments box, make sure it's at least two metres from anyone else's.

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Name That Tune: Our Top Ten Caroline Songs


This is Caroline Trettine. The only Caroline I own more than one song by. Largely thanks to Martin.

Caroline Trettine - Sleep With Me

Although there appear to be hundreds of songs featuring Carolines, there are very few song-makers with that name.

Only two other singing Carolines in my hard-drive...

Caroline & The Treats - Me And My Vibrator

Caroline Carter - The Ballad of Possibilities (Come Along)

And while I'm usually inundated with artist suggestions, the only other one this week came from Walter...

Carolyne Mas - Thomas Dunson's Revenge

Which led me to investigate the alternate spelling and discover...

Carolyn Franklin - All I Want Is To Be Your Woman

As well as this absolute gem of a suicide anthem...

Carolyn Sullivan - Dead

But a dearth of famous Carolines is good, because it means we can get straight onto the songs...

Let's start with your suggestions that didn't make the Top Ten...

The late, great Daniel Johnston - I Did Acid with Caroline (Lynchie)

Fleetwood Mac - Caroline (Martin)

Jefferson Starship - Caroline (Walter)

Lou Reed - Caroline Says I / Caroline Says II (Martin & George)

Old Crow Medicine Show - Caroline (Lynchie)

Cheap Trick - Oh Caroline (Martin)

Colin Blunstone (Formerly of the Zombies and then went solo) - Caroline Goodbye (Lynchie)

Jimmy Buffett - Woman Goin' Crazy on Caroline Street (Martin)

Talk Talk - Does Caroline Know? (Walter)

Now, I have to admit I get a bit rankled by Talk Talk, so when my millennial hipster politico friend, Ben, also suggested this one, I might have snapped.

You're not part of that whole "Spirit of Eden is the greatest album in the history of recorded music" conspiracy, are you? (Both Guy Garvey and Huey Morgan are among the disciples of this particular cult.)

My millennial hipster politico friend, Ben, replied:

It's a key album in the development of post-rock music. The blueprints are there but I don't think they knew what to do with it properly.

This turned into a whole argument with me railing against the very concept of "post rock" and Ben quoting Mogwai and post-metal and Math rock and me saying I'd rather listen to Twisted Sister. It got ugly. But there are worse ways to spend a Friday afternoon. 

Ben also suggested...

Jawbreaker - Caroline

Which is fine, but no postmen were hurt in the recording of that.

Also from Ben, a couple of great lyrical offerings... 

Pulp - Inside Susan

She's still thinking about this when the bus goes passed caroline lee's house where there was a party last week. There were some german exchange students there who were very mature; they all ended up jumping out of the bedroom window. One of them tried to get her to kiss him on the stairs, so she kicked him. Later she was sick because she drunk too much cider. Caroline was drunk as well; she was pretending she was married to a tall boy in glasses, and she had to wear a polo-neck for three days afterwards to cover up the love-bite on her neck.

That was a very strong contender, partly because it scratches my "short stories in songs" itch and partly because it was the first Pulp song I ever fell in love with. But I guess I had to save it for Our Top Ten Susan Songs.

Stars - Personal

My name is Caroline
Cell phone number here, call if you have the time
Twenty-eight and bored, grieving over loss
Sorry to be heavy, but heavy is the cost
Heavy is the cost

Which, if I ever get round to completing it, will be a strong contender for Number One in My Top Ten Lonely Hearts Column Songs. Although it will obviously be up again Rupert Holmes.

Also on the lyrical side of things, strong calls from Walter...

Robyn Hitchcock - I Am Not Me

I say, "Caroline,
No need to spell it backwards
That's 'eniloraC'

The Undertones - Girls That Don't Talk

Caroline's dancing
Catina's at home
You get up every morning
Taking lessons on the phone

And Charity Chic...

Townes Van Zandt - Tecumseh Valley

The name she gave was Caroline
Daughter of a miner
Her ways were free
It seemed to me
That sunshine walked beside her

Time to venture into the darkest recesses of my hard-drive... for some very strong runners-up...

Low - Caroline 

Harry Nilsson - Caroline

Frank Turner - Least Of All, Young Caroline

Jake Thackray - Caroline Diggeby-Pratte

Mark Kozelek & Jimmy Lavelle - Caroline

Aimee Mann - Goodbye Caroline

Martin Stephenson and the Daintees - Caroline

Rhett Miller - Caroline

Barry Manilow - Caroline

Steppenwolf - Caroline (Are You Ready for the Outlaw World)

Tom Williams & The Boat - Caroline

Harry Chapin - Caroline

The Candy Darlings - That's Where Caroline Lives

The Posies - So Caroline

Tom Ovans - Caroline

Concrete Blonde - Caroline

As for that pesky alternative spelling / pronunciation...

Steve Wynn - Carolyn 

Ronnie Bond (drummer of The Troggs) - Carolyn

Cocteau Twins - Carolyn's Fingers

The Wedding Present - Carolyn

Finally, there was some discussion about the possibility of including Carolinas in this list, but I had to veto that on the grounds of Shaggy. Sorry.

Onto this week's winning ten...

10. Kate Nash - Caroline's A Victim

Because Kate Nash always makes me smile. And I need as many smiles as I can get these days.

See also...

Kid Creole & The Coconuts - Caroline's A Drop-Out

9. Colter Wall - Caroline

Over to our Canadian correspondent, Douglas...

I am enthused to be able to introduce you to another strong Canadian contender here!

If your willing to stretch out a little into the Country realm (as I believe by your other selections you are on occasion) my collection yields up the somewhat shocking voice of Colter Wall, from Saskatchewan (that's prairie town, Canada style if you are not up on your Canadian geography, the heart of Canadian Country music). A little test? See if you too, like the Proclaimers, "can say "Saskatchewan" without starting to stutter..." Anyway, give a listen to his song "Caroline" from 2015, and see if you can believe that the lad had barely turned 20 at the time of recording that song.

No, he certainly doesn't sound 20. I have heard Ricky Ross playing Colter on his Radio Scotland Country show, but I hadn't heard this one. It's utterly bewitching though. Thanks, Douglas.

8. Status Quo - Caroline

Because Jez would never forgive me if this wasn't in here somewhere.

7. Outkast - Roses

Can't argue with this suggestion from John Medd. How many other songs can you think of where the roses smell like poo poo?

Caroline (Caroline) Caroline
All the guys would say she's mighty fine (mighty fine)
But mighty fine only got you somewhere half the time
And the other half either got you cussed out, or coming up short

6. The Beach Boys - Caroline, No 

"Caroline, No" by The Beach Boys has to be a contender! says Lynchie.

And let's not forget the answer song, thanks to Rigid Digit...

Kaiser Chiefs - Caroline, Yes

5. The Go-Betweens - Caroline And I

Surprised nobody picked this one.

Born in the very same year
Alive at a similar time
It gave me something small that I could feel
That maybe as you grew, you knew how I'd feel
And Caroline and I knew how you'd feel
Rattled through our teenage years
Battled and loved who we fought
The first time you left home on your own I knew
A little bit of you is gone when you do
And Caroline and I well we grew, well that's true
Caroline and I

4. Psychedelic Furs - Pretty In Pink

Clearly the best lyrical suggestion of the week, via Rigid Digit...

Caroline laughs, and it's raining all day
She loves to be one of the girls
She lives in the place in the side of our lives
Where nothing is ever put straight

3. Matching Mole - O' Caroline

A sweet '70s song this time, says C, with Robert Wyatt on vocals.

An utterly enchanting song, adds John Medd.

Alyson continues...

You've beaten me to it C, as that was the song I would have suggested. I think I discovered it from one of the other blogs a couple of years ago and was blown away it - there is a great YouTube clip with loads of '60s/'70s scenes in black and white which brings always brings on an overwhelming sense of nostalgia when I watch it: just matches the sound of the song so well.

The Swede concludes...

Spot on C, an absolute beauty. Another Robert Wyatt tune at least partially inspired by Caroline Coon (as well as Carla Bley and Marsha Hunt) is 'To Carla, Marsha and Caroline (For Making Everything Beautifuller)' from his 1970 LP 'The End of an Ear'. Not sure if Rol will allow that though.

That may bend the Song For Whoever rule, Swede, but it is quite lovely. Matching Mole for the win though... if only there weren't such stiff competition this week.

2. Kirsty MacColl - Caroline

Martin and Rigid Digit both picked this for Number One. I respect that. But sometimes there's just no competition.

Now I lie here with you, can't get her out my head
Do you think she knows that you share my bed
Well, I don't want to see Caroline
Don't want to see her face when she finds out you're mine
How could a friend be so unkind
Well, I don't want to see Caroline

1. Neil Diamond - Sweet Caroline

There are those of you who may not like Sweet Caroline, and I don't often say this, because everyone is entitled to their opinion and it's all subjective and opinions are like arseholes... but you're wrong.

Sweet Caroline has a wistful nostalgia about it. It starts small but grows and then explodes. This is where Nirvana got the whole quiet quiet LOUD thing from. And best of all, it has the "Der der ders!" which even Bublé can't beat. I'm really sad if you don't like it because when I'm down, Sweet Caroline can pick me up like virtually no other song.

Good times never seemed so good...

My millennial hipster politico friend, Ben, says...

"Also, if you do Sweet Caroline, make it the Hoff version or Me First & The Gimme Gimmes."

...which just goes to show you, there really is little hope for the youth of today.

David Hasslehoff - Sweet Caroline

Me First & The Gimme Gimmes - Sweet Caroline

I actually quite like the Hoff's vocal performance here, but the backing track is awful.

And the Me First... cover sounds like every other Me First... cover. Amusing the first time you hear it. After that...

Still, if it's covers you want, try these...

Bobby Womack - Sweet Caroline

More faithful than you'd imagine.

Roy Orbison - Sweet Caroline

Manages to make it his own.

Elvis Presley - Sweet Caroline

Just in case you're wondering how to dance in the der-der-ders.

Frank Sinatra - Sweet Caroline

Probably my favourite cover.

Still. There is no competition here.

Of course, you may prefer the Covid-19 version... if you're clinically insane, that is.

Washing hands
Reaching out
Don't touch me
I won't touch you

My god, 2020... how much worse can you get? 




Monday, 19 October 2020

Mid-Life Crisis Songs #54: Lost Loves


Among the first singles I ever bought must have been this one by Prince and Sheena Easton. The 7" vinyl is long since gone from my collection, but it popped into my head the other night and I had a distinct memory of the sleeve, of slipping out the disc and placing it onto my old music centre turntable, queueing it up to start and then hitting play & record on the tape deck to add this to a mix tape.

Of course, I'm embellishing the memory. I did all those things, but do I actually remember? 

I don't remember when I first heard this song, but I know I heard it enough and liked it enough to buy it with my 15 year old's pocket money.

I don't remember buying it, but it was probably in Woolworths or WH Smiths or maybe Our Price, if that was around back then.

I can tell you that I probably played it that month more than I've listened to any one song this year... but I don't actually remember doing that.

I wish I could go back, just for an hour, and sit on my old bedroom floor, feeling safe, knowing my parents were downstairs and I had all the time in the world and I could just drop the needle and listen to the crackle before the first drumbeats kick in...

Here we are folks
The dream we all dream of...

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Saturday Snapshots #159 - The Answers


We currently live in the Badlands.

The Heart of Darkness.

Because the Apocalypse is happening right Now.

And while we wait - and pray - for a leader with the integrity of Jed Bartlett... all we can do in the meantime is enjoy the answers to this week's Saturday Snapshots.

10. Hello, green eyes & rosacea noses.

Green eyes = jealousy.

A big red drinker's nose is known as a Gin Blossom.

9. Jim, a British soldier, rejects a runaway... and loses two Euros from his money.

A British soldier was a Tommy.

Jim is James.

Shun Del, who sang Runaway.

Take the E from money, twice...

8. Woman found in Queen's wireless... it's a wicked affair!

Queen sang Radio Gaga. D'oh.

There are days I think this song was the last great pop song. A sure sign I'm getting old.

7. Berny Joe offers romantic flying lessons.

"Berny Joe offers" is an anagram.

6. La petite mort? Bet there will be lots of wrong answers here... 

Climax making you blue?

Such a great groove on that.

5. Mighty, like an Inuit, but self-sufficient... idiotic article.

The Mighty Quinn was an Eskimo. (Some debate about whether that term should be considered offensive these days, though the consensus appears no.)

Self-sufficient is independent.

Idiotic article = stupid thing.

One of JC's favourites.

4. Stabbed by spider's silk... ends up behind bars.

Want to see that suit in colour, George? Check out the video!

3. Scared of girls with fins, tiny robber? 

Fear... Gal... Shark... 

A great solo tune from the former Undertone... just a shame he made it his mantra once he went to the Dark Side and became a bullshit record exec interested only in persecuting harmless music fans.

2. Sam cornily considers your ego.

"Sam cornily" is an anagram.

I bet you think this song is about you - don't you?

1. Summer nights shampoo... like Mr. Benn.

Adam & Joe famously upset Mr. Grumpy by making fun of his name in a Wella-wella-huh! Tell me more, tell me more... stylee. The shampoo speaks for itself.

Mr. Benn was always changing into different outfits that led to adventures.

More Snapshots next Saturday. Be Sheen you then.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Saturday Snapshots #159

This is my boss – Jonathan Hart, a self-made millionaire. He's quite a guy.

This is Mrs. H – she's gorgeous. She's one lady who knows how to take care of herself.

By the way, my name is Max. I take care of both of them - which ain't easy; 'cause their hobby is... Saturday Snapshots.

Help them crack this week's clues and identify ten top tunes...

10. Hello, green eyes & rosacea noses.

9. Jim, a British soldier, rejects a runaway... and loses two Euros from his money.

8. Woman found in Queen's wireless... it's a wicked affair!

7. Berny Joe offers romantic flying lessons.

6. La petite mort? Bet there will be lots of wrong answers here... 

5. Mighty, like an Inuit, but self-sufficient... idiotic article.

4. Stabbed by spider's silk... ends up behind bars.

3. Scared of girls with fins, tiny robber? 

2. Sam cornily considers your ego.

1. Summer nights shampoo... like Mr. Benn.

When these clues met - it was moidah.

Answers tomorrow.

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