Friday, 27 October 2006

Plastic Record Bag

In need of some new music I secured several new CDs from the nice people at Amazon and HMV yesterday and have been listening to them on rotation today.

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Voices On The Air: The Peel Sessions

'Voices On The Air' is a collection of sessions for the John Peel radio show in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981 and 1986, 19 tracks in all and they all sound excellent. Siouxsie is on top form, spitting out the lyrics and you can almost hear her sneering in the earlier tracks over the very full sound. The earlier tracks sound more ‘live’ than the later ones, probably because they hadn’t learned the tricks of the studio yet and it’s those that are my favourites. The rawness, the anger, the determination and the sheer energy - don’t fuck with me, we’re going to play this song whether you like it or not. All tracks stand out but highlights are ‘Love In A Void’, ‘Mirage’, Hong Kong Garden’, ‘Helter Skelter’ and ‘Halloween’.

There’s a short essay from Paul Morley in the slim booklet with some wonderful phrasing:

Their first guerilla performance, outrageous and useless, where they were conceived and aborted, born and raised, heard and hated, bored and stunned, where they wished to do what they were doing at that moment, was at Malcolm McLaren’s 100 Club Punk Festival in September 1976. Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen' was number one.

She sang like there was no fluffy pink in the world, like it was obviously her job to defile sacred cows.

Siouxsie, possessed by herself, dressed to kill, glorious from top to toe, furiously female, dead alive, had the best hair I’d ever seen, hair that glamorously, dangerously cut through the plain air around her.

She has, of course, always had great hair. Even though there are no photos of the band in the booklet you need this CD to remind you just how great her hair was.

Gladys Knight – Before Me

Gladys’s new album, 'Before Me', is only available on import for some reason so it’s taken a while to get here but it’s worth the wait. It’s Gladys doing great songs by the singers who influenced her when she was younger – Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne and Nina Simone amongst others. It’s jazz-tinged, easy listening but with Gladys’s great voice that’s no hardship at all. She did a couple of songs from the album when we saw her over the summer at the Royal Albert Hall and it’s nice to actually have it at last. ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’, ‘Story Weather’ and ‘Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me’ show off her voice perfectly.

And the CD booklet has some nice photos of Gladys looking tres gorgeous in deep emerald green frock and jools. Lookin’ good, lass!

Indigo Girls – Swamp Ophelia

'Swamp Ophelia' is one of those records that I’ve looked at loads of times but never gone so far as to get my credit card out and buy it. Until I saw they had it in stock on Amazon so I clicked ‘buy now’ (as you do). I’m familiar with a few of the tracks but most are new to me and what a delightful discovery. There’s a certain ‘hardness’ to some of the tracks, a specific seriousness that’s somewhere in-between a lush full sound and the sparseness of some of their more folksy/country guitar-based songs.

I think this will take a few listens to properly sink in but I’m looking forward to hearing more as I become more familiar with the tracks. I think there are undiscovered rewards in this music.

Patrik Fitzgerald – The Best Of…

Anyone remember the ‘punk poet’, Patrik Fitzgerald? I bought his EPs and album (‘Grubby Stories’) way back when, when I was young and impressionable. He strummed his guitar and sang in a punk London accent, sang about love, commercialism and violence and, basically, being young in the late ‘70s.

'The Best Of...' includes most (all?) of his early works. Songs like, ‘Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart’, ‘Banging And Shouting’, 'Work Rest Play Reggae’ and ‘Buy Me Sell Me’ brought back memories and sound fresh and vibrant. I wasn’t sure how they would sound after so many years unheard but they sound just as I remember them. He was never going to set the world alight or be ‘the next big thing’, but I enjoyed his music. I still recall missing his show at the Oranges and Lemons pub in Oxford in 1978 and thinking, ‘next time…’. There never was a next time, but it’s nice to have the CD.

Various – And They Danced The Night Away

DISCO! O yes! A 4xCD set of some of the greatest disco-tastic toons ever to fill a dance floor! Sometimes you just need to shake your groove thang and this set will do it for everyone.

I’ve got lots of disco tracks on various CDs, ‘70s compilations and burnies but I thought it was about time that I got the full set for those moments when I need to get out the white suit and point at the ceiling (strike the pose!).

You know all the tracks – it’s almost impossible for you not to know ‘em. Cameo, Chic, Shalamar, Donna Summer, Voggue, Hues Corporation, Weather Girls, 5,000 Volts, Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang … o yes, they’re all here! Well, apart from the Bee Gees of course.

Hours of fun to be had with these CDs.

Various - God Save The Queen: A Punk Rock Anthology [DVD]

Because I’m a multimedia kinda guy, I also invested in a DVD when I saw it in HMV. Another one of those things that are picked up and put down – this time I kept it in my hand because it has a video of X-Ray Spex playing ‘Identity’ (my favourite) plus an interview with Poly.

Despite the title, The Sex Pistols don’t feature but other bands include: Dead Boys, Johnny Thunders, Iggy & The Stooges, Chelsea, Generation X and some others. Not la crème de la crème but an interesting selection.

Strangely, it’s an American import. I shall enjoy watching this one quiet evening.

Plastic Bag Tip of the Day

If any of these have intrigued you and you want a recommendation, then go and get Siouxsie’s album now – you won’t regret it.


redhairedqueer said...

That disco comp looks fan-diddly-tastic!

chrisv said...

I have them both as single cds you dafty!

oldskool said...

Well, the Patrik Fitzgerald songs are re-recorded and resung and a huge disappointment on my side. The originals are so much fresher and better! I am still looking for the original Grubby Stories, does anyone have that and could digitize it? You would make me so happy ...