Saturday 30 November 2019

Saturday Snapshots #113

Top hat?


White tie?


Funny face?

They can't take that away from me.

OK, then. Shall we dance?

Ten clues (only ten this week!) to ten songs and their performers. Go!

10. Almost like a lone cuckoo, above its nest, on a rack, surrounded by water, screaming.

9. Bunch of evil bastards and feckless idiots, carrying a torch.

8. A small amount of fuel for Henry's car: pucker up, zombie Bruce.

7. See wild animals in the waves and obliterate them.

6. You should take one on de canal... drums after dark.

5. A make believe clock for short bosses.

4. Ask a Loser if he wants a cuppa... you'll be surprised by how many sugars he wants.

3. "They're all out to get me!"


2. Vowel-free gym teacher in the Yellowhammer state.

1. Artist not with Brand T gives up seat.

Let's call the whole thing off... at least until tomorrow morning when I reveal the answers.

Thursday 28 November 2019

2019 Contenders: Art Vs. Entertainment

There's no denying that Nick Cave's latest album is a work of art. A beautiful, haunting epic about the fragility of life, as Cave continues to work through his grief over the tragic death of his son. It's a worthy follow-up to one of my favourite albums of 2016.

The latest album by Jesse Malin, on the other hand, is a workmanlike rock 'n' roll record - albeit one of Malin's best in a long while. I was a huge fan of his debut album, The Fine Art of Self Destruction (which will be 18 years old next year... frightening) but Malin started to believe his own hype a little too much after that and his output has been only sporadically entertaining since. This latest effort ropes in Lucinda Williams, Billie Joe Armstrong and Alejandro Escovedo though, and Malin's forlorn vocals have never sounded better. Actually, workmanlike is damning it with faint praise. It's a definite grower.

Hardly a work of art though.

So how come, of the two, it's Malin's record I keep going back to?

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Hot 100 #30

30 Seconds To Mars are the band illustrating this week's post. A band that I've never been able to listen to because... I'm very sorry... Jared Leto is a tool.

Anyway, onto your suggestions...

Martin was first out of the traps, with a track that has already featured here twice, getting its final outing this week...

C30, C60, C90, Go! by Bow Wow Wow

And then, this:

30 Years in the Bathroom by The Wonder Stuff

Rigid Digit jumped in to tell us he loved the first two Wonder Stuff albums but doesn't rate them after that. Contrary as ever, my favourite Wonder Stuff record is their fourth one. Still, RD reckons their new song sounds like Jon By Jovi, so I might have to give that a try. ;-)

"Lyrically," Martin concludes, "you'll be here all day." (We probably will be anyway, thanks to Douglas, so I kept out of the lyrics search this week, unless you suggested them.) "I might as well get it out of the way and be the first to reference 30 years of hurt in..."

The Lightning Seeds featuring Baddiel & Skinner - Three Lions

As you know, I have little time for the Glorious Game, but I do like The Lightning Seeds. So as football songs go, this is one of the only ones I have any time for.

Next up, Rigid Digit had a couple of suggestions of his own...

Manic Street Preachers - 30 Year War

Scott Walker - 30th Century Man

Two fine suggestions, both of which were in my short list.

Charity Chic offered a couple I hadn't thought of though...

The Montrose Avenue - 30 Days Out

Blimey, I don't think I've heard that in 20 years.

Pere Ubu - 30 Seconds Over Tokyo

Keep it Peel.

The Swede rediscovered the countdown then...

"Splendid to see the Hot 100 countdown back in action, Rol, sorry I missed it last week."

"For No. 30 I can offer:"

16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought Six by Tom Waits 

Lynchie definitely suggested this for 36.

My Thirty Thousand by Billy Bragg & Wilco


Thirty More Steps by Webb Foley

Ooh, I like that.

Thirty Years by UK

That might take a little more time though.

"Lyrically, The Congos - La La Bam-Bam..."

...for thirty pieces of silver they sold Jah Rasta and why did they do that? 

"Plus a selection of Bob Dylan lines..."

Bob Dylan - Maybe Someday

...thirty pieces of silver, no money down...

Bob Dylan - Lo And Behold!

...count up to thirty, round that horn and ride that herd - Gonna thread up!

Bob Dylan - Union Sundown

...the car I drive is a Chevrolet, it was put together down in Argentina 
by a guy makin’ thirty cents a day... 

...bringin’ home thirty cents a day to a family of twelve, 
you know, that’s a lot of money to her... 

Three wins. I might have to reconsider my position on this Dylan bloke.

Alyson was next to rediscover the countdown, with two interesting suggestions...

Vonda Sherpard - 7:30

Robert Downey Jr. - 5:30

He makes records too? What, like he doesn't have enough money already?

Alyson wondered if both her suggestions would be disqualified because they're times. No, because if I disqualified them, I might also have to disqualify this week's runner up...

The Supremes (and Jimmy Webb!) - 5:30 Plane

Jim in Dubai then offered...

Simple Minds - 30 Frames A Second

Thanks, Jim. I think I'll stick with Robert Downey Jr.

And then came Douglas.

Take a deep breath folks, because he's in it to win it this week...

"I was surprised how much tougher a round number like 30 was to find in my collection than I would have though. The best I could do pulled up some pretty great songs, but with references to 30 that were a little bit of a stretch, such as the time reference in

Planet Claire by the B-52's

Some say she's from Mars
Or one of the seven stars that shine after three-thirty in the morning
Well, she isn't!

"Another clock reference appears in the song Brian Wilson by The Barenaked Ladies:

Drove downtown in the rain
Nine-thirty on a Tuesday night
Just to check out the late-night record shop
Call it impulsive, call it compulsive
Call it insane
But when I'm surrounded I just can't stop...

"Now, I have never been the greatest BNL fan, despite their origins from the streets of my own home town of Toronto and the leg-up the received in airplay and support from our then-mighty local alternative independent radio station CFNY. But they have pulled together some amusing lyrics from time to time, and I have always found the above description of compulsive record shopping very poignant and pointedly relevant to myself and my closest friends of the time."

I think we can all relate to that, Douglas. I can take the BNLs in small doses. Particularly One Week and that lightbulb song.

"The final time-stamp I could find was on Bruce Springsteen - He's Guilty (The Judge's Song)"

Well the judge and the jury came into the court room
About 9:30, the 23rd of Jun
Now we're all here to try your crime
To see if we'll set you free or make you serve your time

Very early Bruce. Great bit of guitar.

"Perhaps more directly a 30 reference is in The Beautiful South's The Rocking Chair, where it expresses the disappointment and dissatisfaction with the situation one finds one in after the passage of years:"

So I'll take these high-heeled shoes
And yes I'll take these traditional views
I'll take this deep despair
Of a 30 year old square, to the rocking chair...

Paul Heaton went through a phases of writing some great songs about growing old, about 20 years ago. He doesn't seem to do that anymore. Too close to home?

Now, Douglas had one other suggestions, which we'll come to in a moment. Because I've a feeling that some of you may have already guessed that it's this week's winner.

I reckon George must have guessed I'd go for it... which is why he desperately searched his record collection for any alternative he could find...

Hank Williams - 30 Pieces Of Silver

Clyde McPhatter - 30 days

"And The Auctioneer by Leroy van Dyke mentions a 30 dollar bid," George adds, in a final, Canutian attempt to head off the inevitable.

Thanks, George. I've lost count of how many times that track has been suggested in the course of this feature. And it's a special favourite of mine since my dad was an auctioneer when I was a kid.

OK, before we get to the winner, what other 30s were clogging up my hard-drive?

Hold on...

Humble Pie - 30 Days In The Hole

The Reverend Horton Heat - Beer: 30

Lots of fun.

The Stranglers - Love 30

The Divine Comedy - 30th of January (four months and one day earlier than last week's offering)

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. - If I Had A Pound For Every Stale Song Title I'd Be Thirty Short Of Getting Out Of This Mess

Public Service Broadcasting - Signal 30

Reverend & The Makers - 18-30

CW McCall - Old 30

The Pernice Brothers - 7:30

Thea Gilmore - 30 More Days

Chuck Berry - Thirty Days

Cowboy Junkies - Thirty Summers

The Jasmine Minks - Thirty Second Set-Up

Tom T. Hall - Back When Gas Was Thirty Cents A Gallon

Skint & Demoralised - The Thrill Of Thirty Seconds

The Dresden Dolls - Thirty Whacks


But there could only be one winner, and although I had thought The Supremes would take it this week, Douglas's persistence finally paid off...

"Perhaps y'all will forgive me when I mention that when I thought of the (Beautiful South's) use of "30" to express lost hopes and dreams of youth it immediately put me in mind of a song I recall went the rounds of my grade-school playground, lyrics being parroted uncomprehendingly by innocent young uns who must have heard it on the radio, for it did reach number 8 on Billboard's Top 40 in 1978:

Her name is Lola, she was a showgirl
But that was thirty years ago, when they used to have a show
Now it's a disco, but not for Lola
Still in dress she used to wear
Faded feathers in her hair
She sits there so refined, and drinks herself half-blind...

"Now after mentioning that, I think I will go off and drink myself half-blind as well, for I feel sure that is the first and only time Barry Manilow will be mentioned on these pages..."

However, as Douglas quickly discovered, that was not actually the case...

"Okay, I feel better now. After writing the above, I thought to do a search of the blog and found that what I said about Manilow was not true, and our esteemed author himself wrote in 2014, "...I'm not ashamed to say there are Barry Manilow records in my collection, or that I enjoy getting them out from time to time..." and in 2016, "I've never felt guilty about enjoying a bit of the old Bazzer boogie...". And "Copacabana" itself has been featured more than once in "Top Ten" lists, once reaching the giddy heights of No. 2! So perhaps, just perhaps, he may have a chance of bringing me victory at long last, and I can stop practicing my Marlon Brando voice, saying "I could have been a contender!""

A contender no more, Douglas. You are a champion! Although you did cut your lyrics short before they go to the best bit...

She lost her youth
And she lost her Tony
Now she's lost her mind...

From 30 Seconds To Mars to the Copacabana. That's this blog in a nutshell.

29, anyone?

Monday 25 November 2019

Cover Me Monday #1

Here's a new feature which I hope will act as a bit of a palate cleanser after a full weekend of Saturday Snapshotting. Especially needed after this weekend's accidental double bubble.

Simply put, a classic tune...

...followed by an interesting cover version.

At risk of stealing one of Charity Chic's old ideas, feel free to tell me which you prefer... though I doubt anyone will deny the original is best in the case. I hope you enjoy the cover though. I found it rather refreshing.

Sunday 24 November 2019

Saturday Snapshots #111 & 112: The Answers

Adrienne! Adrienne! It's the answers! Or, as some people call them, the expendables... two lots this week, 'cos my brain is all rocky.


10. Drat! Raving uzi mixed up with masterpiece.

Drat! Raving uzi is an anagram.

This song opens with possibly the worst rhyming couplet in the history of pop.

Adrian Gurvitz - Classic

I've not listened to that in years. It's worse than I remember.

9. Hell to get out of your shirt... coffee jazz.

The Ink Spots - Java Jive

Waiter, waiter, percolator!

Now that's how you write a rhyming couplet, Adrian!

8. Clean-up needed at Moe's... where there's nothing else around.

Moe's Tavern is in Springfield. Apparently it's pretty dusty.

Dusty Springfield - Middle of Nowhere

7. Funky procession to the ranch.

The Farm - Groovy Train

6. Contemporary Yankee spoken by desperate arsonist.

Desperate Dan burns things?

Dan Bern - New American Language

I can't believe this is (according to Labels) the first time Dan Bern has featured on this blog. That means the last time I wrote about him was on the old blog, nearly 8 years ago. I probably need to rectify that soon.

5. Beauty & fame... it's all anybody wants nowadays.

Beauty = belle. Fame = stars.

The Belle Stars - Sign of the Times

4. Ulysses & Stan with a woolly bison.

Ulysses S. Grant + Stan Lee + a buffalo.

Woolly is fuzzy.

Grant Lee Buffalo - Fuzzy 

3. Fashion news: we're all the same.

Depeche Mode are named after a French magazine, the name of which roughly translates as “Fast Fashion” or “Fashion Dispatch” or “Fashion News”. Martin Gore thought it translated as “hurried fashion".

Depeche Mode - People Are People

I can't understand what makes a man hate another man.

2. Small wonder - a copper's phone number.

A wonder is a marvel. A small one would be a marvelette.

Copper beech is a type of wood.

The Marvelettes - Beechwood 4-5789

Yes, kids, phone numbers really used to be this short. My mum still answers the phone "2381".

1. Fuzzy leather robot.


10. Exile Janet.

Outkast - Ms. Jackson

9. A Midsummer Night's fairy shrinks into the space between us, rejecting a little lass.

The imp in A Midsummer Night's Dream was Puck. Smaller would be a Puck-ette.

A union joins us together, but there's a gap in this one.

Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - Young Girl

8. Stop mucking about with the horn, ale lens ladies.

"Ale lens ladies" is an anagram.

Denise LaSalle - Don't Mess With My Toot Toot

(Youtube is attempting to convince me this song was called Don't Mess My Tu-Tu. Hogwash!)

7. Locomotive STD, switches to lorry.

You can get a cream for that.

Boxcar Willie - Truck Drivin' Man

6. French political activists refuse to leave.

Don't Leave Me This Way doesn't quite fit the clue.

The Communards - Never Can Say Goodbye

5. Time for an American beer? Magic!

Steve Miller Band - Abracadabra

Great song. Awful, awful video.

4. Trainer procurers dig down to grave depth.

Trainers are sneakers.

Pimps procure.

Graves are dug six feet under.

Sneaker Pimps - 6 Underground

3. Art's rabbits are born.

Art Garfunkel sang Bright Eyes, about rabbits.

Bright Eyes - First Day Of My Life

2. Lightweight vicars turn out the lights between midnight and one.

Parsons that only weigh a gram?

Gram Parsons - In My Hour Of Darkness

1. Cheeky fantasies accepted.

Cheeky monkeys, obviously.

Phew. Good job I work well in advance planning these things. Seriously though, if you want more Snapshots next Saturday... don't push me!

Saturday 23 November 2019

Saturday Snapshots #112

What a Jerk.

To be honest, it's a miracle I've managed 110 Saturday Snapshots without (so far) accidentally posting them on the wrong day.

Still, so none of you Saturday morning early birds feel cheated out of your early start... here's another ten to keep you going. As I type this, there are still a couple from yesterday that Martin didn't get, so help yourself to those too if you like.

10. Exile Janet.

9. A Midsummer Night's fairy shrinks into the space between us, rejecting a little lass.

8. Stop mucking about with the horn, ale lens ladies.

7. Locomotive STD, switches to lorry.

6. French political activists refuse to leave.

5. Time for an American beer? Magic!

4. Trainer procurers dig down to grave depth.

3. Art's rabbits are born.

2. Lightweight vicars turn out the lights between midnight and one.

1. Cheeky fantasies accepted.

I may not be The Man With Two Brains, but for this week only, I'm the Man With Two Saturday Snapshots. Answers - to both sets - tomorrow morning.

Friday 22 November 2019

Saturday... er, Friday Snapshots #111

How strange... it's another Saturday Snapshots... only on a Friday. Sorry, that was an accident.

Identify ten artists and titles from the clues below, please. Hopefully you don't have to be Sherlock to work them out...

10. Drat! Raving uzi mixed up with masterpiece.

9. Hell to get out of your shirt... coffee jazz.

8. Clean-up needed at Moe's... where there's nothing else around.

7. Funky procession to the ranch.

6. Contemporary Yankee spoken by desperate arsonist.

5. Beauty & fame... it's all anybody wants nowadays.

4. Ulysses & Stan with a woolly bison.

3. Fashion news: we're all the same.

2. Small wonder - a copper's phone number.

1. Fuzzy leather robot.

For those of you who feel cheated out of your regular reason to get up on a Saturday, there will be a bonus round tomorrow.

Struggling with any of the answers? Remember: when you have excluded the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Answers on Sunday.

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