Gathan Beaga

obscurity uncovered (iii)

Last year I ripped all my CDs. And I posted about it here and here. The (friendly) advice received was that I was doing it wrong (or at least, not to a sufficient bit rate if I was insisting on not ripping to FLAC). So I started from scratch. And now I’m finally there and I can pack the CDs into the ceiling space and never think about them again.

As before, I’ve found the need to take photos of a small proportion of CDs whose cover art doesn’t seem to be widely available. Given that most of the cover art I do use comes from the net in one way or another, I thought it best to give back: and so the following are roughly 200×200 pixel thumbnails linking to each roughly 1000×1000 original.

Abbasalutely: A Flying Nun Tribute to The Music of Abba Abbasalutely: A Flying Nun Tribute to the Music of Abba —oh how we laughed at the irony of it all as we purchased this CD, secretly pleased with the chance to reconnect with the music of our primary school years. Of course now, we just buy the 66-song Thank You For The Music from iTunes. For the kids, right? Just for the kids.

Baddiel & Skinner and the Lightning Seeds: Three Lions Baddiel & Skinner & Lightning Seeds: Three Lions —arriving in the UK in time for Euro ’96 I got this song the first time around. Not that it helped the English team very much: “30 years of hurt” is now “45 years of hurt” and counting.

Björk / David Arnold: Play Dead Björk and David Arnold: Play Dead —following on from her Debut, this is a lovely piece of sixties-inspired film theme music co-written with Jah Wobble (and so with a lovely big slow beat behind it).

Black Grape: England's Irie Black Grape: England’s Irie —and this was Black Grape’s Euro ’96 single, done with Keith Allen and Joe Strummer. That summer every man and their dog were doing football songs1 but you have to like the vocal layers of Ryder’s casual‘s chant of “Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough” with Keith Allen’s2 “We live in a land of crass hypocrisy / We’re gonna win the National Lottery”. Yes!

Black Grape: Fat Neck Black Grape: Fat Neck —Not one of their best.

Black Grape: In The Name Of The Father Black Grape: In the Name of the Father —this is more like it: the woozy dance drug-thuggery of the Happy Mondays tightened up: “Well I don’t do what you do / and you don’t do what I do / but you should do”. Er. no thanks, Shaun.

Black Grape: Kelly's Heroes Black Grape: Kelly’s Heroes —I love this cover. And if I knew more, I’d be able to tell you what pose Shaun is aping through those bilious Central Station Design colours.

Black Grape: Reverend Black Grape Black Grape: Reverend Black Grape —This is a brilliant single. “There’s nothing more sinister / as Ministers in dresses” is another great throwaway line—Shaun would not appear to be a fan of the Catholic Church—but I can’t really make any sense of the rest of the lyrics. Luckily the music carries it all the way home.

The Blue Hearts: Train Train The Blue Hearts: Train Train —I first heard this track in 1990 as the theme song to a Japanese tv programme. Not that I remember anything of the TV show, but I really liked the tune. Apparently The Blue Hearts were Japan’s answer to the Clash, and the song certainly sounded punky enough for me to insist on it getting into the playlist of Radio One in Dunedin when I came back from Japan.

Bluespeak: Late Last Night Bluespeak: Late Last Night —Auckland jazz-lounge featuring the multi-talented Greg Johnson, the standout track being about an obsessive women who makes sculptures out of fingernails.

Christine Anu with Paul Kelly: Last Train Christine Anu with Paul Kelly: Last Train —Another of those singles you like the sound of, so you buy. And then never get around to listening to because it’s not part of an album that you also own.

Cinematic: Cinematic Cinematic: Cinematic —Christchurch janglepop band, and former crew of our leader at the Wellingtonista, James.

Grant Lee Buffalo: Mockingbird Grant Lee Buffalo: Mockingbird —So memorable I’m having to play the song just so I know what it sounds like. At one point I had the album this single came from, but it’s long sold in the face of declining listening interest on my part. [Later: actually, it wasn’t bad, was it.]

The House of Love: Babe Rainbow The House of Love: Babe Rainbow —These guys were alt-MoR, now that I think about it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe that’s why their albums remain lower on my playlist many of their contemporaries. I need to revisit them.

The House of Love: Untitled [a.k.a. The Butterfly Album] The House of Love: Untitled [Butterfly] —this was their first on the major label they went to after Creation. It’s actually pretty good (as I skim through it to reacquaint myself).

The House of Love: Untitled [a.k.a. A Spy In The House Of Love] The House of Love: Untitled [A Spy In The House of Love] —If I remember rightly, this is an album of outtakes and lost tracks assembled from some abortive studio sessions between the previous two albums. It’s not as good as either, though it has its moments.

James: Laid (single) James: Laid [Single] —Probably James’ best known track (even more than Sit Down3) it is now more tragically known as that song in American Pie.

James: Seven (single) James: Seven [Single] —Just as with the previous James single, this is the confusingly named single from which the album takes its name.

The Jesus and Mary Chain: Blues From A Gun The Jesus and Mary Chain: Blues From a Gun —another single I brought home from Japan, this one is one of those fiddly three inch CDs. And I just happen to have lost the adapter that would let me rip it. Bother. Because this has a nice cover of My Girl on it.

Jean Paul Sartre Experience: Precious JPS Experience: Precious —in which former art-pop Flying Nun types go all crunchy indie-dance-ish and start affecting Thames Valley accents. This was a weird, but quite listenable transition.

Jules Issa: Dangerous Game Jules Issa: Dangerous Game —a declaration of intent from the Deep Grooves people. who went on to produce a rather awesome album of groovy tracks from many New Zealand artists.

Keeping The Faith: A Creation Dance Compilation Keeping the Faith: A Creation Dance Compilation —the change triggered by Andy Weatherall’s radical reworking of a jingle jangly Primal Scream b-side into a monster dancefloor hit was cemented in with this, an actual dance music compilation from Creation Records. There are a great number of awesome tracks on here. And I’ve burgled the intro to the Farley remix of Loaded herein for my ringtone.

Kenickie: Millionaire Sweeper Kenickie: Millionaire Sweeper —London, oh London! There I was, working a boring job in the photocopier room of Britain’s largest architectural firm. The highlight of my week was walking around the corner to the Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street and seeing what the cheap new release singles were. And this is one: second string brit-pop; but lovely all the same.

Morrissey: Everyday Is Like Sunday Morrissey:Everyday is Like Sunday —I would rate this single as one of the best things ever released by Our Moz. It has four beautiful songs on it, products of that wonderful immediate post-Smiths era4 when he worked with Vini Reilly from my long-time faves The Durutti Column.

Morrissey: Suedehead Morrissey: Suedehead —Not as good as the previous, when considered as an EP. The standout b-side for me is I Know Very Well How I Got My Name, a typically epically titled yet mostly acoustic and whiny Moz song5.

Morrissey: You're The One For Me, Fatty Morrissey: You’re The One For Me Fatty —surprise! Another Morrissey single!

The Muttonbirds: The Heater The Mutton Birds: The Heater —Continuing the theme of human-appliance interaction which started with that Front Lawn song about the bloke marrying his washing machine.

New Order: Round And Round New Order: Round And Round —Not sure why this was in the pile to have a photo taken. It’s another of those cursed 3” discs, so I haven’t managed to rip it yet. There’s yet another football song on here, of a sort: apparently it was a theme song the band did for a TV program on football, hosted by Tony Wilson.

One Dove: White LoveOne Dove: White Love —Contains an unbelievable 10 minute version, all squalling quitar, sweet vocals and Weatherall beats. Just brilliant, it used to be one of those listening-with-headphones-in-the-dark type songs for me.

The Shangri-Las: Leader Of The Pack The Shangri-Las —When I was a kid I’d fossick through my Mum’s collection of 7"s, bought (I think) mainly during her years in London in the early sixties. Thinking about it now, I bet some of them are collectable! Anyway, I always loved The Shangri-Las Leader of the Pack; hence this, which is another of those 3” discs awaiting ripping. It was one of a series issued in the eighties, each containing four of the best known songs of some sixties pop group. I really should have bought a few more.

I hope that’s the last time I have to do this job, fun though it it to listen to all these old tracks.

1 I also have the one Primal Scream did with Irvine Welsh and The Barmy Army; the latter being mostly those members of Tackhead responsible for one of the best Football songs ever written.

2 Who co-wrote both New Order’s World in Motion, a rather crappy song for the 1990 World Cup, and the amusing but appalling Vindaloo. He has form, does Mr Allen.

3 Whose best version, the rattlier, more acoustic original, may be found on Youtube here.

4 Viva Hate, the album, is a bit uneven. But I will use this footnote to announce that I once had a copy of the mis-printed Viva Hate called Education In Reverse, apparently its original title and the name on the first pressings in Australasia. Naturally I took it to London and sold it for profit (along with my lovely green vinyl 12" of The Cure’s A Forest). Sad, eh.

5 This song gives rise to one of the Holy Grail collectables for Durutti Column fans: an outtake called “I Know Very Well How I Got My Note Wrong” in which Vini epically flubs a note and both him and Moz get the giggles. In the roaring days of Napster I procured a copy of this song, since lost of course (and nowadays too low a bitrate). Luckily Youtube does provide.

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