I was very surprised in doing a wee bit of research to discover that from Ceremony in 1981 through to Waiting For The Sirens Call in 2005, New Order had 30 different songs released as singles (I’m not including any of the Blue Monday or World In Motion remixes in that figure).

I’ve previously gone on record that Temptation from 1982 is my all-time favourite single. And because of that, I’ve never really sat down and tried to work out which order I would list the rest of the New Order singles in terms of personal favourites.

Actually, that’s a lie. Ceremony runs Temptation close for my all time favourite 45. Blue Monday isn’t all that far behind either. Beyond that, the remainder of the Top 10 would be quite fluid depending on the mood I’m in.

But I know that the comeback single from 1993 would be quite high on the list.

New Order had more or less imploded on the back of the recording of Technique which was released in 1989, notwithstanding that with the help of Keith Allen and sundry footballers they achieved their sole #1 single the following year with World In Motion. The fact that Factory Records had also gone under made many folk think the band would be no more, especially as each member was sidetracked by various solo projects. But after a hiatus of more than three years, this very fine piece of pop :-

mp3 : New Order – Regret

Aided by a bizarre Top Of The Pops appearance filmed live from the set of the then hit TV series Baywatch, the single climbed to #4 in the UK charts which remains, outwith of the afore-said World in Motion and one of the Blue Monday remixes the highest chart position they ever enjoyed.

There were three other available on the CD single:-

mp3 : New Order – Regret (New Order Mix)
mp3 : New Order – Regret (The Fire Island Mix)
mp3 : New Order – Regret (Junior Dub Mix)

The engineer on the New Order Mix was Owen Morris who within a matter of two years would become famous for his production work with Oasis, particularly on (What’s The Story) Morning Glory. The other two mixes were aimed at the dance market with production credited to superstar DJs Terry Farley and Pete Heller.

Happy Listening.

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mp3 : Beck – Loser

A hit in many parts of the world in 1994. But you really gotta love the great people of Norway who propelled it all the way to the #1 slot. Us Brits kind of gave up when it reached #15.

The four-track CD single had three songs that were previously unreleased.

mp3 : Beck – Totally Confused
mp3 : Beck – Corvette Bummer
mp3 : Beck – MTV Makes Me Want To Smoke Crack

Happy Listening. (You can see that I’m still kind of tired after the holiday at the lack of real effort that has gone into today’s posting)

lovely isnt it?

Although I have a vinyl copy of the LP Knife which was released by Aztec Camera in 1984, its one that I’ve never converted to mp3, partly because I’m not all that fond of it and partly because it has a scratch on one side of it that causes the tracks to badly skip and jump.

Last week however, I saw that a CD copy was on sale in a local record shop for £5, so along with a few other things I picked one up.

Having listened again in full to the record for the first time in at least 20 years, while still thinking it is a huge disappointment on the back of High Land, Hard Rain, the songs on Knife are a reasonable enough collection, albeit with just 8 tracks making the final cut, it still feels as if Roddy Frame had a wee bit of writer’s block at the time.

But something odd struck me as I was going through the booklet that comes with the CD…..

It features all sorts of information, including all the lyrics. It tells you that Roddy Frame was vocals and guitar, David Ruffy did drums and backing vocals, Campbell Owens played bass and did backing vocals and that Malcolm Ross was responsible for guitar and backing vocals.

There are credits for Guy Fletcher (Keyboards, Backing Vocals), Frank Ricotti (Perscussion), Chris White (Saxophone) and Martin Drover (Trumpet). The person who illustrated the sleeve , the photographer, the engineer, the assistant engineer and the studio Knife was recorded in are all clear to see.

But only in a smaller sized print does it say ‘Produced by Mark Knopfler for Straightjacket Songs Ltd’.

It’s almost as if everyone involved in the band, management and label want to forget that the Dire Straits frontman was ever involved in the process.

I remember well the furore when it was announced that Mark Knopfler was to take control of the second Aztec Camera LP, but the argument being that he was someone who was capable of getting the very best out of Roddy’s guitar playing skills. But the cynics among us knew that it was all about WEA trying to get some of the millions of folk who had bought Dire Straits records to show an interest in the latest Scottish band they had added to their roster.

The move backfired. Too many fans of old (and I count myself among their number) were quick to dismiss the record without really giving it a proper listen, while Dire Straits fans showed they were only interested in Mark Knopfler’s playing and singing and they shied away from the record. The result was that, despite a heavy promotional budget, the lead-off single All I Need Is Everything stalled at #34, while the follow-ups Still On Fire and Backwards And Forwards bombed completely. The album reached #14 which was a respectable enough showing, but nothing like as expected by the label.

Anyway, back to what I was saying.

I had a look at my vinyl copy and the name Mark Knopfler is as prominent as anything else on the sleeve. 26 years on and it is a completely different story….

mp3 : Aztec Camera – All I Need Is Everything
mp3 : Aztec Camera – The Birth Of the True

Oh I should mention that the 8 tracks do stretch out to a shade under 40 minutes, but nine of these are taken up by the closing song Knife, one that even now I struggle with. I don’t deny there’s a really decent song buried among the rubble of a dreadful production……but it still is at least 5 minutes too long.

Still, given all that Roddy has done in recent times to help Edwyn recover from his various ailments, I’m more than happy to forgive him!!

Feel free to disagree.

But surely no-one can forgive Roddy those trousers.

“LED WHO”?

National Health glasses, unruly flaming hair, masses of freckles and braces on my teeth.

No I didn’t have a great deal going for me as a teenager.

But what I did have was an insane sense of humour, (much needed against the taunts my looks brought) and better taste in music than all my friends put together. While they were dressed in tartan trousers that looked too short for them and scarves around their wrists chasing after some strange looking Scots, swooning at The Partridge Family or sighing at The Osmonds, I much preferred music by The Kinks, T Rex, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin and many more. I did try and like the stuff my friends did but eventually ‘came out’.

1979 came along and my brother and two of his friends planned a trip to Knebworth in August as Led Zeppelin were going to be the main attraction there. After a great deal of badgering and blackmailing (I promised not to tell Mum about those magazines under his bed), he agreed I could go if I could convince Mum and Dad.

My incentive was not only the music and adventure but I also had a big crush on one of his friends. So I worked hard on Mum;

“I am 17 that’s old enough”.

“All my friends go to these kinds of things”.

I chipped away and wore her down until she agreed; she was great she understood my need to go. I gave her a hug then left her to break it gently to my Dad in thither room.

“Led who?” I heard him say as I shot upstairs to tell my Brother the good news.

August came we set off for the weekend on the Friday, drove the 170 or so miles, four and a half hour journey from Yorkshire to Hertfordshire, all packed into my brother’s old green Vauxhall Viva. We had more beer and cider than anything else, I wondered a few times on the way if it would make it. Luckily it did.

Along with the rest of the world it seemed, we parked up, pitched a tatty old borrowed tent and made camp. Drank beer/cider mix and ate crap food all weekend.

The atmosphere was phenomenal. Chas and Dave a couple of cockney lads were there performing Gercha, Rabbit and The Sideboard Song.

Although I have since read and watched mixed reviews about their performance, no self opinionated music critics analyzing can compare to the eager, young, alcohol fuelled opinions that Led Zeppelin were amazing.

Stairway to Heaven, Black Dog and every time I hear Whole Lotta Love it takes me back.

We drove back on the Sunday tired out from lack of sleep and too much drinking. The crush never did develop into anything; I was just Dave’s kid sister, to be treated like one of the lads. The old Viva had a puncture on the A1 just outside Peterborough on the way home. But there was nothing in the world that could dampen my spirits.

It was a fantastic experience that started my love affair with live music, grabbing every chance I could to watch anything live, I still do. It was the first time I had camped out, gone to a live venue and the first and last time I have ever eaten pickled onions and drank beer at six am in the morning!

mp3 : Chas’n’Dave – Gercha
mp3 : Led Zepellin – Whole Lotta Love
mp3 : Led Zepellin – Black Dog

Red and Ginger, Sunday 23 May 2010

And now she has done her first ever blog piece. R&G also supplied some great images to go with this piece, but sadly I wasn’t able to format them in time before I went away on holiday. So the photo is one I found browsing the net of some of the crowd who were at Knebworth in 1979.

A big welcome please to TVV’s first female Sunday Correspondent…….. although I’m not sure her songs of choice will last long as I suspect the dmca cops might come after us.

Read this extract from a piece written by ctel on Friday 29th May 2009 as part of the month-plus long series of guest postings:-

R.E.M. – Country Feedback (Live) (2006): My little son has cancer. We are in hospital on the ward. He has just come back from neurosurgery for his brain tumour (his second in under a month). It is his last chance. But it could leave him blind, paralysed; who knows. The mix of fear and hope and trying not to have too much of either. I can’t sleep. I’ve been playing acoustic R.E.M. a lot. But this is the track that counts. The knotted tight emotions. The feeling that no-one else can understand. Like sex and drugs, you just can’t adequately explain how watching your child die over a protracted period feels to those who haven’t gone through it. And anger below the surface. I’m not normally good at hearing lyrics but the words “We’ve been through fake-a-breakdown, Self hurt, Plastics, Collections, Self help, self pain, EST, psychics, fuck all” express it all. The anger at the religious who in their pity will pray for you. The anger at the New Agers who will cure with crystals and incantation. The unutterable sadness from the repeated refrain of “It’s crazy what you could’ve had”. Knowing that he’s dying. Knowing I am right. And hating myself for it.

When he put this piece together, Ctel provided a great version recorded live in Stockholm. I cant locate that particular file, so instead I hope you’ll like one recorded in Athens, Georgia back in 1992 that made it onto the CD single Bang And Blame:-

mp3 : R.E.M. – Country Feedback (live)

The photo is of ctel’s little one, who sadly passed away in September 2007. I was living and working in Canada at the time, and when the news reached me, I was in tears. Even now thinking about it, especially reading what ctel said at the time over at the blog he kept throughout his son’s incredible battle will always make me cry.

Ctel’s music blog offered readers the opportunity to try and help find a cure for the sort of illness that took away his child’s life. The bastards at blogger prevented that when they threw Acid Ted onto the cyber bonfire. I’m honoured to have the button available at TVV. It would be nice if one or two of you gave it a click occasionally.

Thank You

I’m finishing off the look at the compilation CD Happy Ever Ever – The Best Of Kitchenware Records with four of the least known songs to most people.

Track 9:-

mp3 : Hug – Firebrands

Back in 1992, the NME described Hug as Newcastle’s answer to The Sugarcubes. Others said that vocalist Gemma Wilson sounded like Tanya Donnelly of Belly. Elsewhere it was said ‘mid-period Banshees, The Cure and The Pixies are suggested in the heavyish guitar patterns.’ All of which should have pointed to a big future. But instead they got nowhere. I certainly can’t recall much from them when they were around, and other than this song, I own nothing of theirs. Anyone out there got anything more?

Track 12:-

mp3 : Geoff Smith – Six Wings Of Bliss

The info with the CD advises the track was taken from the LP Fifteen Wild Decembers and that is was a recoding that was part of the Sony Classical catalogue (which means I’m almost certain to get a dmca notice).

I’m glad I had a look as the only Geoff Smith I could find on wiki was described as a musical performer and composer from Brighton, England. And I just didn’t associate such an act with Kitchenware. And love it or loath it, its the inclusion of a track like this which lifts the compilation a notch above the norm that record labels churn out.

Which brings us to Tracks 8 and 13:-

mp3 : Fatima Mansions – Behind The Moon
mp3 : Fatima Mansions – Blues For Ceausescu

Again, it is easier to extract from wiki to get a flavour of what this most underrated act were all about:-

Fatima Mansions were an art rock group formed in 1988 by Cork singer/keyboardist Cathal Coughlan, formerly of Microdisney. They took their name from a downmarket housing estate in Dublin.

They enjoyed some indie chart success and technically entered the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart in 1992 with a heavily reworked version of Bryan Adams’ song Everything I Do) I Do It for You, taken from an NME tribute album in aid of the charity, Scope. However, although this single was technically a double A-side, the flip-track, Manic Street Preachers’ version of Suicide Is Painless received most of the radio airplay and is by far the better-known track.

They also gained mainstream exposure by opening a European leg of U2’s Zoo TV Tour in 1992, although they were nearly booed off the stage and almost started a riot when front man Coughlan swore at a Milan audience and insulted the Pope. [

The band often courted controversy with religion, dictators, empires and general authority being targets for Coughlan’s vitriol. Despite this, The Guardian newspaper described him as “the most underrated lyricist in pop today”, and DJ John Peel said he could “listen to Cathal Coughlan sing the phone book”.

And that final sentence is reason alone to accept that Fatima Mansions are always worth paying attention to.

Behind The Moon is taken from the mini-LP Bertie’s Brochures, on which you can also find this incredible cover:-

If anyone has an mp3 of said track, I’d be delighted to receive a copy from you…….

And as for the single Blues For Ceausescu, that simply is a song that I enjoy and appreciate the older I get. Bloody marvellous it is. Cracking video as well….

And that completes my look at all 14 tracks on the compilation. I hope it wasn’t too predictable……

I’m back from Aruba over the weekend. Normal service should resume on Monday.