With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“For my wrongs I’ve no excuses, I couldn’t blame you if you refused me” December 20, 2011


Please allow me to paraphrase from an Elton John song for just a moment; ‘ho ho ho grab a beer, the bearded weirdy’s nearly here’. Yes folks in just a few days Old Saint Nick will be giving your chimney a good clean with his beard. Don’t worry if you don’t have a chimney, in that case he’ll just break into your house. Of course he is the only person who illegally enters your property and leaves stuff rather than taking anything, well not counting the odd tipple or mince-pie of course. Anyway it’s now December 20th and therefore day 20 of my ABC of Motown Advent calendar. Which brings us to the letter T. For me this was an easy choice. It’s “Take Me Girl I’m Ready” from the stellar band that was Junior Walker and the All Stars.

Surprisingly for me Junior Walker wasn’t his real name. When he was born in June 1931 in Blytheville, Arkansas he was called Autry DeWalt Mixon, Jr. He played in a number of bands from the age of 14 including the Jumping Jacks and the Rhythm Rockers before settling on the All Stars. The band was spotted by Johnny Bristol who was friendly with Harvey Fuqua who had is own Harvey label. Fuqua signed the band in 1961 but they didn’t have much success until the Harvey label was bought by Berry Gordy to become part of his Motown empire.

Their first Motown hit was the timeless classic “Shotgun” which was written by Junior Walker and produced by Berry Gordy himself. It also featured Funk Brother James Jamerson on bass. That song reached number 4 in the US Billboard chart and was an US R & B number one in 1965. They had plenty more hits but the only one that equalled “Shotgun” in the charts was “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” in 1969, that song also hit number 13 in the UK. Sadly Junior died from cancer aged just 64 back in 1995.

“Take Me Girl I’m Ready” was originally an US hit in 1971 reaching number 50 in the Billboard chart. It was written by Pamela Sawyer, Gloria Jones and Johnny Bristol. Bristol produced the song which was arranged by Dave Van DePitte. It was a record I could never get hold of in my early teenage years, but then it was finally reissued in the UK in 1977. Obviously I bought it as soon as it came out. I no longer have the vinyl copy but I have it on CD and MP3.

I have blogged about this song before with regards to its appearance on a pub jukebox. Myself and a bunch of friends used to be regulars at the Windmill pub in Ruislip Manor back in 1977/ 78 and “Take Me Girl I’m Ready” was selection number 77A on the pub jukebox. Usually it was myself or my good friend Glen Voisey who were first at the jukebox and without looking we would always select 77A. However on one occasion I approached the jukebox as usual and fed my coins into it and then hit the buttons for 77A. I then started looking for what other tracks I would choose. After a few seconds of that scratchy stylus hitting plastic sound a familiar refrain started. However it wasn’t Junior Walker, much to my dismay and embarrassment it was “Save All Your Kisses For Me” by Brotherhood Of Man. My friends just started laughing and muttered about disowning me, but I was able to prove that I had indeed chosen 77A. The landlord stepped in to support me when he said that all the records on the jukebox had been replaced and the old tenant of 77A no longer lived on the machine. It was a devastatingly disappointing moment for me, but as they say, ‘what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger’!

So without further ado please enjoy the former occupant of 77A on the Windmill pub jukebox in the late 70s; “Take Me Girl I’m Ready” from Junior Walker and the All Stars. This one goes out to Glen Voisey, Keith Plant, Chris Skinner, Neil Payne, Phil Isaacs and Jonesy (aka Bryan Jones)!

RIP the Windmill Pub in Ruislip Manor. It was built in the 1930s and closed down in 2006. Like many of my old haunts it has been knocked down or put to use other than as a pub.

 

100th Post =100 songs December 1, 2009

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Well this is it then, my 100th post and as promised here are the 100 songs currently in my top 10 (ok I know that sounds stupid, but regular readers will understand!) If I were to do this again say for the 200th post there would be quite a few differences. This list is in no particular order, although Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” probably still remains my most favourite song ever! I would love to see your comments on the list; is there anything you really like or really don’t like on here, is there anything really embarrassing perhaps. What is your top 10 or top 100? Incidentally I can already think of many more that didn’t make the cut!

As usual you will find the usual trivia content or comment along with the songs

No Woman No Cry        Bob Marley – Obviously I love this song but it has to be the live version and then preferably the one from the 1975 London Lyceum concerts. That album was called simply ‘Live’ and I wore out my vinyl copy completely

Police And Thieves        Junior Murvin – A classic reggae song, well covered by the Clash. Sadly the song is still all too pertinent today

Licking Stick     Desmond Dekker – Fun reggae at it’s best from the late great Mr Dacres

Cottage In Negril           Tyrone Taylor – Don’t ask me why but this is probably one of my favourite reggae songs ever. It makes me want to go to Negril

Rebel, Rebel     David Bowie – The first single from the wonderful Diamond Dogs album. A glorious Rolling Stones pastiche on which, unusually, Mr Bowie plays lead guitar

Heroes  David Bowie – Inspirational and also a song that I will have played at my funeral in 50 years. You should check out the versions he recorded in both French and German

Strawberry Letter 23       Brothers Johnson – Regular readers will know just how much I love this song. ‘Nuff said

I Want You Back           Jackson 5 - That opening piano run still sends shivers down my spine and frankly how can you not want to dance to this

Superstition      Stevie Wonder – Stevie rocks out more than many on this one which was originally written for Jeff Beck. More than enough to forgive Mr Wonder for “I Just Called To Say I Love You”

White Man In The Hammersmith Palais    Clash – In my humble opinion the finest song by the finest band ever!

London Calling  Clash – If my memory serves me well this is the only Clash song ever to feature in a Bond movie

Complete Control          Clash – A venomous attack on CBS, far more venomous than the Sex Pistols “EMI” in my view

Don’t Let Me Down        Beatles – My favourite Fab Four song which in fact was only a B Side! Also a song that I sing very badly at full volume when I’m drunk

Revolution        Beatles – Another moptops classic that I also sing very badly whilst under the influence of alcohol

Instant Karma    John Lennon – Karma is a powerful thing and Instant Karma is a powerful song!

Do Anything You Wanna Do      Eddie And The Hot Rods – In my teens this was probably one of the most meaningful and uplifting songs I knew. Even at the old age of 50 it still does it for me

Gary Gilmore’s Eyes      Adverts – For subject matter alone this would be in the top 100. Mr Gilmore was executed in the US in the mid 70s and he donated his eyes to an anonymous someone. That someone is the subject of the song!

Theme From A Summer Place    Percy Faith Orchestra – You might say that this is one of my guilty pleasures, well maybe, but it is a beautiful piece of music. It was also used to great effect in the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s Rose Red

Wild Is The Wind           David Bowie – Not a Bowie original but one written for a 50s movie, perhaps more of a torch song and one of Bowie’s best ever cover versions. It certainly makes up for his bloody awful cover of the Beach Boys “God Only Knows” in the 80s

What’s Going On?         Marvin Gaye – Great song from a great album, such a shame that it still rings true after nearly 40 years

September        Earth, Wind And Fire – E, W & F at their best, probably my favourite Saturday night song

God Save The Queen    Sex Pistols – Fear and conspiracy kept this from the number one spot in the Queens Silver Jubilee week in 1977. For me this is a major contender for the UK’s new national anthem!

Public Image     Public Image Limited – So many people thought that Lydon would do nothing after the Pistols, how very wrong they were.

Suspicious Minds          Elvis Presley – Elvis gets his mojo back after all those years of shit movie songs

She’s Gone    Hall & Oates – Taken from the Abandoned Luncheonette album, one of the saddest songs I know. I always play this when I’m in a melancholy mood. I also believe that Daryl Hall has the finest white soul voice in history. And what the bloody hell is a luncheonette?

Mack The Knife   Bobby Darin – I love story songs and this is easily one of the best. You have to tap your feet and click your fingers to this don’t you?

Karma Police    Radiohead – Probably the best band in the world today

Bernadette        Four Tops – Levi Stubbs RIP, I believe Mr Stubbs was the finest soul singer there ever was and ever will be. is this the only song about a Bernadette too?

Still Water (Love)           Four Tops – Relaxing, powerful, beautiful, ethereal, there simply aren’t enough words to describe this gorgeous song

Into My Arms    Nick Cave – As love songs go this might be quite strange but it is undoubtedly beautiful too

Talk Show Host    Radiohead - My favourite song from the ‘Head by a long way. just a B Side and als on the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo And Juliet’ movie

Take Me Girl I’m Ready  Junior Walker – My favourite ever juke box record. In the late 70s this was number 77A on the jukebox in the Windmill pub in Ruislip

Woman To Woman        Shirley Brown – A real torch song, sets the hairs on the back of my neck on end

If Loving You Is Wrong   Millie Jackson – and the classic soul torch diva has to be Ms Jackson. I saw her live at the Victoria Apollo in the 70s

Ms Jackson      Outkast - Talking of Ms Jackson (although this is actually about Erykah Badu’s Mum) here is my favourite Outkast song. Don’t you think it sounds a little reminiscent of ‘Strawberry Letter 23′?

I Know What I like (In Your Wardrobe)     Genesis – Personally I think Genesis went downhill after Peter Gabriel left, what do you think? But this Gabriel era song is just sublime and what a fantastic title too

Metal Guru        T Rex – A song I used to mime to with my tennis racquet as a teenage wannabe rock star. So why did I go on to become a bloody accountant?

One Nation Under A Groove       Funkadelic - The ultimate dance song. I saw them live with companion band Parliament in 1978 at the Hammersmith Odeon. Still one of the best concerts I have ever seen

I Can See Clearly Now   Johnny Nash – This man has the voice of an angel, why are so few of his albums available on CD. Definitely one of my heroes, I reckon I would be lost for words if I met him

There Are More Questions Than Answers            Johnny Nash – A Texan singer that sings reggae? it shouldn’t work should it? But it does doesn’t it?

Solsbury Hill     Peter Gabriel – If I ever feel a bit down this is the song I play to pull myself back up. Written about his decision to leave Genesis just before they went towards mega stardom

I Was Watching You      Rosanne Cash – Regular readers will know that I have mentioned this song before. I do cry most times I listen to it and although it was released after his death it makes me think of my Dad

Hurt      Johnny Cash – Mr Cash covers a Trent Reznor off of the Nine Inch Nails song. You must be pretty hard if this doesn’t make you at least a tad emotional

The Man Who Sold The World    Lulu – One of the better covers of a Bowie song. If their respective labels had sanctioned it Mr Bowie was ready to record a whole album with Lulu. Sadly that didn’t happen

All The Young Dudes     Mott The Hoople – The greatest Bowie cover, in fact one of his greatest songs and he simply gave it to Mott!

Wishing Well     Free – Forget all the stuff he’s done with Queen, this was one of Paul Rodgers finest vocal performances

You Get What You Give        New Radicals – One of the most short-lived bands of the 90s, but what a legacy. Gregg Alexander also wrote (or co wrote) Ronan Keating’s ‘Life Is A Rollercoaster’ which I kind of like!

A Town Called Malice    Jam – Paul Weller. probably the greatest English rock star of his generation. I saw him live at the MEN in Manchester last year and he is even better in concert. Indeed he played this Jam classic too

The Look Of Love         ABC – For all my criticism of the 80s this song and the album it comes from (The Lexicon Of Love) is one of my favourites. Produced by the great Trevor Horn

Sheena Is A Punk Rocker          Ramones - 1, 2, 3, 4 and off da bruvvers go. Hey Ho Let’s Go is there really anything else to say?

Wuthering Heights         Kate Bush – Oh Kate my Lionheart, I love this woman and want to have her babies

The Man With The Child In His Eyes        Kate Bush – OK maybe I wouldn’t really do the male pregnancy thing with Kate, but she is definitely my favourite female singer

5.15      Who – My favourite song from the Who from my favourite of their albums, the classic ‘Quadraphenia’

Sugar Sugar      Archies – This was the first single I ever bought. I got it from Uxbridge market in 1969

Suedehead       Morrissey – For me Stephen can be a bit hit or miss but this is definitely on the hit side

William It Was Really Nothing     Smiths – How could I not include the Smiths in this list and yes I am being just a tad egotistical with this choice

New Years Day  U2 – The piano refrain is haunting in a rock kind of way. Also more ego coming out here too, my birthday is on new years day!

Justified And Ancient    KLF and Tammy Wynette - There will never be anyone like the KLF. Were they a band or just art terrorists? Who knows and frankly who cares when they left songs and collaborations like this behind!

You Got The Love         The Source Featuring Candi Staton – Another uplifting song, although personally I tend to ignore the religious aspects! Recently Florence And The Machine have recorded a great cover of this song

Gimme Shelter  Rolling Stones – For me this song, especially the riff, evokes the 60s

It’s Only Rock N Roll     Rolling Stones – Now this is another I used to mime to as a teenager, well ok I still do! It might not be a pretty sight but I love doing it!

Hurricane          Bob Dylan – Dylan at his best, when riled or when he gets political he is untouchable. This song was about the plight of wrongly imprisoned boxer Reuben Carter

You Wear It Well            Rod Stewart – Most people I know would opt for Maggie May from his early 70s hits, I always preferred this one. Possibly even worth forgiving him for the awful ‘Baby Jane’ for

Wish You Were Here        Pink Floyd – One of the Floyd’s greatest and another song that gets me just a little emotional

You Can Make Me Dance Sing Or Anything        Rod Stewart And The Faces – I bet you can’t not dance to this. It’s one of the last songs the Faces recorded before Ron Wood and Rod the Mod left. It shows them going in a direction which I think would have been so good

Itchycoo Park    Small Faces – I actually remember hearing this on the radio as a kid. I didn’t have a clue what the lyrics were about then and I don’t think I’m much wiser now! Don’t go near the atrocious cover version by M People

Lowdown          Boz Scaggs - Taken from the excellent Silk Degrees album from 1976 and the track I use to soundcheck any new hi-fi equipment even now

I’m Your Puppet            James And Bobby Purify – This was actually a rerecording of their original 60s song. Guilty pleasure or great soul song? I’ll let you decide, but either way I love it!

Olympian          Gene – probably the best of the ‘Britpop’ bands, well in my opinion anyway. Sadly the band are no longer around, but I did manage to see them three times while they were. Another song that I will have played at my funeral in the very distant future too

Born To Run      Bruce Springsteen – I was always going to include something from the Boss and it was always going to be this song

Lose Yourself   Eminem - In my opinion Mr Mathers is the greatest rapper, although Jay Z does push him close

Too Late To Turn Back Now       Cornelius Brothers And Sister Rose – It took me more than 20 years to track down this song and now when I listen to it I reckon it is definitely a guilty pleasure

Stay Together   Suede – The most Bowie influenced of the 90s British bands. The combination of Brett Anderson’s lyrics and vocals along with Bernard Butler’s guitar is truly awesome

Skin Trade        Duran Duran - A Duran Duran song in my top 100? Yeah that surprised me too

1999     Prince – I love a lot of Prince’s stuff, but this remains a great party track

Susan’s House  Eels – Mark Everett is a superb songwriter and this for me is one of his best. His autobiography is bloody good too

Take A Look Around      Temptations – A terrific Norman Whitfield production and that intro still blows me away!

Let’s Get It On   Marvin Gaye – This great song has recently been sullied by it’s use to advertise pizzas on UK TV (I think it might have been Dominoes) But it still remains a great song for seduction and lurve ;-)

The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage          Smokey Robinson And The Miracles – Bob Dylan once described Smokey as the worlds greatest living poet. Listen to this song and you can see why!

Gimme A Little Sign       Brenton Wood – A great example of 60s soul and the song I sing most in the shower (along with the Monkees ‘I’m A Believer’)

The Love You Save       Jackson 5 – Another classic written for the boys by the Motown house writers billed as the Corporation

Staggerlee        Lloyd Price – Another story song and I reckon the best version by far

Once In A Lifetime         Talking Heads – The ‘Heads finest moment for me. This song has everything and makes me happy everytime I hear it

Pyjamarama      Roxy Music – Roxy before they became bland and frankly shit!

Song 2    Blur – Funny isn’t how the songs with barely any lyrics often sound so good. Whoo Hoo indeed!

Double Barrel    Dave And Ansel Collins – Another slice of superb reggae. For years I thought these guys were brothers, they’re not. Actually it’s Ansel Collins and Dave Barker.

Sorted For E’s And Whizz          Pulp – Jarvis Cocker is a lyrical genius and this is Pulp’s best example of his way with words

Spinning Around           Kylie Minogue – OK so there is a certain appeal to the gold hot pants, but as modern disco goes this is brilliant. Gotta love Kylie!

Love Rollercoaster        Ohio Players – One of my favourite funk songs, expertly covered by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers but it wasn’t a patch on the original

Hey Hey My My        Neil Young – A great song and one which found a degree of infamy as it was quoted in Kurt Cobain’s suicide note

Grace     Jeff Buckley – How big a star would he have been had he lived? Probably one og=f the biggest I think

Satellite Of Love           Lou Reed – Taken from the Transformer album which was produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson. Listen carefully and you’ll hear Bowie on backing vocals

Hey Ya      Outkast – The ultimate party record of recent times, a great video too

Since I Left You            Avalanches – Aussie DJs/ dance act, I can’t believe that this wasn’t a bigger hit

Seven Nation Army        White Stripes – Jack White has recently been named man of the decade by some UK publications, perhaps with some justification. The riff alone on this is worth the top 100

White Horses      Jacky – OK clearly this theme from a 60s TV show (strangely enough it was called White Horses) is very much a guilty pleasure but I really love it. I think Jacky’s only other hit was ‘Rupert The Bear’

D’Yer Make ‘Er  Led Zeppelin – Taken from Houses Of The Holy and in many peoples opinion Zep’s worst song. But I like to be different and this piece of cod reggae is wonderfully irreverent

Wild Wood        Paul Weller – England’s finest living rock star perhaps? Well after Mr Bowie anyway

Stay With Me    Lorraine Ellison – How much emotion can you squeeze into a song, not much more than Lorraine Ellison does in fact. Ignore the David Essex cover of this song at all costs!

Young Americans    David Bowie – What he himself described as plastic soul and one of the songs I can recite the whole lyric of

 

“So tonight gotta leave that nine to five upon the shelf and just enjoy yourself” June 26, 2009


OK so I haven’t posted much lately but I couldn’t let a momentous event like the death of Michael Jackson go by without posting could I? As many of you know the first gig I ever saw was the Jackson 5 at the Wembley Empire Pool (now known as the WembleyArena). I went with a school friend, Brian Taylor who later found fame as an incredibly talented drummer for the Tom Robinson Band and the Stiff Little Fingers amongothers. (Brian if by some weird twist of fate you’re actually reading this feel free to get in touch). The importance of the group to Motown was apparent in the choice of support acts; Junior Walker and the All Stars and a pre-fame Commodores.

Sadly I actually had a jacket similar to that, but it was the 70s!

Sadly I actually had a jacket similar to that, but it was the 70s!

If my memory serves me well the Jackson 5 had recently released the fabulous “Looking Through The Windows” single, which I still love to this day. In fact I still play a few Jackson 5 songs in my DJ sets. Most recently I ran “I Want You Back” next to “ABC“. Indeed the former has been the ring tone on my mobile phone for months now. Those early J5 songs were fantastically produced, supremely well written and perhaps most importantly performed so brilliantly. I think that at the time, perhaps because I was pretty much the same age as Michael Jackson (he was born in August 1958 and I was born in January 1959) the J5 were by far my favourite group. I’m not ashamed to admit either that I used to mime to those early singles in front of the mirror using my hairbrush (for in those days not only did I possess one I actually needed to use it) as a microphone. Go on there must be more of you who did that kind of thing, like maybe miming to Hendrix using your tennis racket as a guitar? Post a comment about it, let’s have a series of ‘Confessions Of A Teenage Mime Artist’

Mike on the mic

Mike on the mic

Anyway back to the late great Michael Jackson as the J5 was the first live act I ever saw (I’m not counting the dreadful covers bands that played in hotels when my folks took me to Spain as a youngster – “Guantanamera” in-bloody-deed!) I was always going to interested in them to some degree. I followed their recording career quite closely throughout the 70s. Stuff like “Dancing Machine” is excellent. Then they left Motown to join Epic and produced some great stuff there too, for me the best being “Enjoy Yourself” and “Show You The Way To Go“. I felt that from around 1972 until “Off The Wall” Michael’s solo releases were at best patchy. But when “Off The Wall” hit the record racks that has to be the moment he began to ascend the stairs to super-stardom. He probably reached a level of fame that no one else ever has. In terms of fame he was probably far bigger than the Beatles or Elvis ever were. That level of celebrity must bring such pressure to bear on the way you need to live your life and maybe that’s perhaps where things began to go a little awry. Now is not the time to discuss the allegations of child abuse and whether I believe he was guilty or not is irrelevant. But I will say that it might have been better if he wasn’t surrounded by ‘yes men’ who did nothing to control his excesses. Did those people really care about him or about their own wealth? I’ll let you make your own minds up on that one! What is undeniable though is that he was one of the most talented individuals ever to have graced the world of music. His contemporaries from an age perspective at least were Madonna and Prince. Both of them are also supremely talented, but on the same level as MJ? I don’t think so. I reckon that Michael would probably appear in the top tens of more music fans than any other artist. What do you think dear readers?

A still from the Billie Jean video

A still from the Billie Jean video

The ‘Off The Wall’ album was the first in what proved in my opinion at least to be a trilogy of his greatest recordings. This was followed by the juggernaut that was ‘Thriller’ and then by the underrated (in my opinion) ‘Bad’. After that I never felt he reached those artistic highs again and I’m not sure that he ever would, but now we’ll never know will we?

‘Thriller’ sold in excess of 50 million copies worldwide, I wonder how many more copies will be sold now he has died? Remember that people tend to buy lots of product of immediately deceased stars. Just recall all the hits that Elvis and John Lennon had after they died, in some cases many years after they died

A still from the Zombie dance in the Thriller video

A still from the Zombie dance in the Thriller video

I would like to think that history looks reasonably kindly on Michael Jackson. He was a truly talented individual and yes he had flaws, some allegedly quite serious. But then how many of us can say we are completely flawless?

So let’s celebrate MJ’s life with another view of his superb performance at the Motown 25th Anniversary show in 1983. Click here to see it. Additionally Mojo Magazine has an excellent collection of Jacko videos on their website, click here to see them.

Also did any of you ever see his collaboration with my favourite author, Stephen King? It was a short but superb movie called “Ghosts”

I happened to visit HMV at lunchtime today and oh boy have they moved quickly. Nothing but Jacko on the sound system and stacks of his CDs now occupying prime positions in the store whereas last week they were all in the sale items (2 for £10). I know that sales people are often seen as cynical but to do that so soon after the guy is dead really takes the biscuit!

The tributes from other celebrities are quite interesting too, here are some words from Celine Dion; “He was not only a talented person, but he was unique – a genius. It’s such a loss. It feels like when Kennedy died.” Now it’s kinda strange that she seems to remember how that felt when Kennedy was killed in 1963 and Ms Dion wasn’t born until 1968.

Thanks to Popbitch for the following  joke I know that the usual crop of sick jokes are doing the rounds as well, but I actually found this one quite amusing, here goes, but don’t read it if you think you might feel just a little bit offended ok. You have been warned; 

 There will be a post-mortem today to determine which was the cause of death:

 A) Sunshine B) Moonlight C) Good Times D) Boogie

And a bit of fun to try and cheer up Jacko’s fans, here is an excellent Bollywood version of Thriller (thanks again to Popbitch for pointing this one out too)

Overall the BBC coverage of Michael’s death has been excellent, check it out here.

As a bit of an epilogue to this story I actually received my 15 minutes of fame this morning (well more like 15 seconds actually) when I made a brief appearance on BBC Radio York (thank you to Liam for arranging that!) this morning to comment on MJ and how it was the first gig I’d ever seen.

 

 
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