The Attractions – Mad About the Wrong Boy (XXLP8)/Steve Nieve – Theme Music From the Film ‘Outline of a Hairdo’ (COMB1) (1980)


SAM_0751Graphic designer Barney Bubbles runs amok on this ‘solo’ Lp by Elvis Costello’s Attractions. Would that such an exceptionally weak ‘new wave’ record merited our Colin’s over-the-top efforts. Simply put, it’s as poorly sung and written an album as anyone with as much talent as the Attraction possess that you’re likely to hear–truly, the band’s abilities lie elsewhere. SAM_0750An overload of visual japes and absurdity abound.SAM_0752Kookiness and kitsch in ample portions.SAM_0754Steve Nieve assembles a phalanx of keyboards, enough to gag Rick Wakeman, for this instrumental faux soundtrack ep included with the (already generously packed 16 track) album. Fans of EC’s ‘Shot With His Own Gun’ et al. will recognise Nieve’s opulent Romantic style; he never met a glissando he didn’t like. Note that Bubbles appropriates the pianist’s image from the near-contemporary Get Happy!!!SAM_0755
SAM_0753Without vocals to distract, the ep is the slightly better bet.

But for fans of both Bubbles’ work and of paying £1 for their records in Folkestone, this package will do nicely.

Published in: on September 13, 2015 at 2:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

John Wetton – Caught In the Crossfire (EGLP 107) (1980)

SAM_0744Archetypal prog journeyman and go-to bassist (Roxy, Crimson, Asia, etc.), Wetton sings in an engaging tenor croon, which he puts to good, if inconsequential, use here. As its title and treated monochromatic Hipgnosis sleeve* suggests, Crossfire trades in the taut guitar-led ‘energy’ of the late 70s/early 80s, which means it’s often fast with little conspicuous virtuosity, trots out vaguely edgy anti-romantic lyrics and features slightly menacing keyboard four-beat crochets and angry barre chord riffs muffled by the player’s right hand. It’s funny, for a musician so steeped in the British progressive rock movement, Crossfire could be the product of Donnie Iris, Sniff ‘n’ the Tears or any number of enjoyable pop bands riding the coattails of the New Wave. Indeed, this very commecial sounding record might have been a hit, but, without one absolute killer, like say ‘Heat of the Moment’, it’s merely likable proficiency, though ‘Cold Is the Night’ possesses some genuine grandeur. One pound yesterday from a Hythe charity shop. SAM_0745*So what is up with that cover? In keeping with the misogyny of the times, it looks like our forlorn hero is ‘caught in the crossfire’ of some sort of bitch-fest between his icy wife and spoilt daughter. Women, eh?

Published in: on July 31, 2015 at 7:55 am  Comments (2)  

Nick Lowe – “Halfway To Paradise” b/w “I Don’t Want the Night To End” (BUY 21) (1977)

SAM_0434FACEBOOK, TWITTER IN MELTDOWN AS MILLIONS POST TRIBUTES TO SONGWRITER THEY’D NEVER PREVIOUSLY HEARD OF OR WERE ONLY DIMLY AWARE

(Columbus, Ohio) – Facebook reported temporary shutdowns today as hundreds of millions of ill- or partially-informed members posted mawkish tributes to Gerry Goffin, a lyricist of whom 99.97% had no or, at best, passing knowledge, who has died age 75.

“So sad about Jerry [sic] Goffin,” wrote Evagirl92 of the songwriter who hadn’t had a hit since 1989. “Ull b mist bae.”

Local Columbus songwriter and folk musician Tom Fox Tweeted enthusiastic praise, writing that wordsmith “Goffing [sic] was a legend in our business” who “had a sweet way with melody.” This brought to a total of one the number of times in his life Fox had made mention of Carole King’s former songwriting partner.

Coincidentally, Eric Weiss updated his Facebook status with a YouTube link to Nick Lowe’s endearing cover of Goffin/King’s “Halfway To Paradise” to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of a Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit show he saw at the Cleveland Agora.

Published in: on June 20, 2014 at 8:59 am  Comments (2)  

Patti Smith – “Because the Night” b/w “God’s Peed” (ARIST 181) (1978)

SAM_0432YOU ARSK, YOU ANSWER                                                           Thrifty Vinyl’s Interactive Trivia and Advice Page — Today it’s Patti v Patty and Smith v Smyth

Last week, an anonymous reader wrote to Thrifty Vinyl complaining that she couldn’t remember the difference between ’70s artistic New York singer-songwriter and poet Patti Smith and ’80s videogenic New York singer-songwriter and actress Patty Smyth. We asked readers if they could tell the difference and, if so, how. We were literally deluged with e-mails, so, with apologies to those whose letters we didn’t print, we present a small sampling of the scores of responses we received.  

  • …the obvious distinction of the ‘i’ and the ‘y’ denoting the ‘i’ phoneme in the respective ladies’ surnames always reminds me that ‘Y’ is the first letter of ‘you’, as if ‘You cannot be serious!’ which, as we all know, is the petulant catchphrase of tennis star John McEnroe, who is, wait for it…Patty Smyth’s husband. — Mary Smoked-Trout, Glyndebourne
  • …clearly, Patti Smith is an anagram of ‘Tim, pat this’ while Patty Smyth reveals ‘Ty, tap myths’ when jumbled. Easy as you like. — Peter Manorhousegrey, Edinburgh
  • …the iconic photograph of Robert Mapplethorpe on the cover of the Lp Horses is of one or the other of the two women, I think. —Karen Catspaw, Truro
  • …back in my day, we had a school yard chant to tell them apart. It went: ‘Patti with an ‘i’ wrote a song with The Boss/But Patty with the ‘y’ couldn’t give a toss/Alas her solo career couldn’t hold a candle/To her MTV band that she called Scandal’. — Candy Matchstick, Crewe. 
  • …like all women, I tell them apart by which one I’d shag. — Bob Ammonite, Teddington.

We hope that clears things up. Next week’s challenge comes from Anna Mole’s-Breath of Exeter. She asks, “What’s the difference between blues guitarists Albert King, B.B. King and Freddie King? By the way, I’m not a racist, I can tell some black people apart.” Good luck with that one readers. 

SAM_0433Editor’s Note: this is Thrifty Vinyl’s 750th post.

Published in: on June 19, 2014 at 8:57 am  Comments (3)  

Early New Order Singles

SAM_0400I really liked the first few NO singles, but my keenness dropped of precipitously once they started taking Es and running dance clubs.

 

Published in: on June 2, 2014 at 9:27 am  Comments (1)  

The B52’s – “Rock Lobster b/w “52 Girls” (PSR 438) (1978)

SAM_0258High School Dance Vignette

Kevin’s heart raced. He couldn’t believe he was actually buying pot! Two joints. A dollar a stick. And now he was going to show up to dance drunk and high. Giddy and dramatic, he imagined this was a turning point in his life, like the denouement scene in a coming-of-age movie.

As he walked across the football field to the high school that Friday night sucking on a Mickey’s Big Mouth, Kevin fumbled with the first bone. Lighting it and drawing deeply, he tasted the unmistakable bite of…tobacco. He’d been taken.

The worst part was that he couldn’t complain about it; not to the “dealer” who’d probably beat him up, not to his friends who would laugh at his gullibility and certainly not to his parents, who were, under the circumstances, unlikely to be understanding. Deep disappointment.SAM_0259Nothing for it but to finish his beers and go to the dance anyway, deflated. As he entered, the unmistakable sounds of the B52’s “Rock Lobster” assaulted his ear. He surveyed the booming room. Kids, huddled in cliques, danced and laughed. Despite the promise of great times, Kevin, like other wall flowers without girlfriends, often found High School Dances awkward and dismaying. But now all of that was being swept out of the way as “Rock Lobster” played. Here was a song that united jocks and nerds, the cool and the uncool, the shy and the extroverted. A sense of ease and belonging washed over Kevin as he raced over to the dance floor in time to crouch and do “The Worm” with people he loved and hated, made fun of and laughed with, envied and felt sorry for.

Down, down
Underneath the waves
Mermaids wavin’
Wavin’ to mermen
Wavin’ sea fans
Sea horses sailin’
Dolphins wailin’
Red snappers snappin’
Clam shells clappin’
Muscles flexin’
Flippers flippin’
Down, down

Let’s rock!

SAM_0260Editor’s Note: this 7″ was a giveaway with the UK first edition of the B52’s debut. The original, earlier version of the song whose silliness, kitsch cool and aggression virtually defines New Wave. Another cool piece from the Island records batch from the end of 2013.

Published in: on February 6, 2014 at 8:26 am  Comments (2)  

The Special AKA – Nelson Mandela (CHS TT12 26/TT 26) (1984)

SAM_0190MANDELA SHOCK DEATHBED CONFESSION: ‘I NEVER LIKED “NELSON MANDELA”‘                                                       Freedom Fighter Found Special AKA Song Forced, Trite

(Johannesburg, South Africa) –  Calling them close for what his family assumed would final pronouncements of love, former South African president Nelson Mandela instead whispered a shock deathbed confession: “I don’t like The Special AKA’s ‘Nelson Mandela’ and I never have.”

“Obviously, I approved of the sentiment,” he sighed, managing the merest trace of a smile. “But I always found the lyrics trite and the ‘party’ air a bit forced.”

“It’s a problem with a lot of Jerry Dammers’ music, but especially The Special AKA, that tendency towards polemicism,” continued the anti-aparteid revolutionary. “Please don’t let them over-play it on the radio when I’m gone.”

With his dying breath he allowed that, “‘Ghost Town’ was awesome,” before closing his eyes for the last time.SAM_0191Editor’s Note: A couple more from a batch of records given to me a few years ago by a friend. I’ve played it a few times today to remember the great man.SAM_0192

Published in: on December 6, 2013 at 2:28 pm  Comments (1)  

Graham Parker and the Rumour – Heat Treatment (6360 137) (1976)

SAM_0180Not a record of innovation, rather, consolidation and refinement. By 1976, these kinds of classic rock moves had been perfected (by Springsteen, Segar, et. al) and there was enough history for self-conscious, artful capitulation (American Graffiti, Quadrophenia, etc., etc.). So, having paid their dues, GP and his band made an album to stir the hearts of cynics who still believed in rock & roll as some sort of living, breathing salvation.

For some reason, it makes me think of Cleveland, Ohio.

Everything is in its place: Hammond filigrees dance, guitar fills sting, stop-time drums and horns punctuate with defiance and an everyman lead singer snarls and rails. Everything, indeed, that would grow stale and tired over the next few years in the hands of lesser songwriters, as well as Parker himself. Handling itself with an assurance borne of years on the road, the Rumour surpass the energy and focus of former employers, notably Brisley Shwartz. Only the Nick Lowe-produced “Back Door Love” succumbs to oldies pandering.SAM_0179A £1 treat yesterday from Ashford bootfair for someone who’s habitually dismissed Parker after not falling for the charms of his supposed masterpiece Squeezing Out Sparks.

Published in: on November 25, 2013 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Gorillaz

Hey Hey We're the MonkeysThe CD fightback continues apace with this Sunday Wincheap bootfair purchased Gorillaz bonanza. I’ve always like G’z singles and so this lot will do for an unrivaled computer playlist. My younger son already has third Lp Plastic Beach. Included are albums Gorillaz, Demon Days as well as compilations G-Sides, D-Sides (2 CDs) and Spacemonkeyz versus Gorillaz’ Laika Come Home.  I also got Albarn’s Chinese Monkey opera. All for 50p a pop.

But what’s the deal with the simian thing?

Published in: on October 7, 2013 at 9:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Elvis Costello v. Margaret Thatcher

SAM_1436

Thrifted lip from the one-time British DM* to the one-time British PM. “Veronica” was the Macca co-written single from Spike (1989), which also included the anti-Thatcher rant below. Robert Wyatt’s 1982 “Shipbuilding” single was, of course, penned by EC in reaction to the invasion of the Falklands. And finally, “Pills and Soap” was Costello’s oblique protest 7″, pseudonymously released on the eve of the 1983 British General election, to no apparent effect.

TRAMP THE DIRT DOWN

I saw a newspaper picture from the political campaign
A woman was kissing a child, who was obviously
in pain
She spills with compassion, as that young child’s
face in her hands she grips
Can you imagine all that greed and avarice
coming down on that child’s lips

Well I hope I don’t die too soon
I pray the Lord my soul to save
Oh I’ll be a good boy, I’m trying so hard to behave
Because there’s one thing I know, I’d like to live
long enough to savour
That’s when they finally put you in the ground
I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down

When England was the whore of the world
Margaret was her madam
And the future looked as bright and as clear as
the black tarmacadam
Well I hope that she sleeps well at night, isn’t
haunted by every tiny detail
‘Cos when she held that lovely face in her hands
all she thought of was betrayal

And now the cynical ones say that it all ends
the same in the long run
Try telling that to the desperate father who just
squeezed the life from his only son
And how it’s only voices in your head and
dreams you never dreamt
Try telling him the subtle difference between
justice and contempt
Try telling me she isn’t angry with this pitiful
discontent
When they flaunt it in your face as you line up
for punishment
And then expect you to say “Thank you”
straighten up, look proud and pleased
Because you’ve only got the symptoms, you
haven’t got the whole disease
Just like a schoolboy, whose head’s like a tin-can
filled up with dreams then poured down
the drain
Try telling that to the boys on both sides, being
blown to bits or beaten and maimed
Who takes all the glory and none of the shame

Well I hope you live long now, I pray the Lord
your soul to keep
I think I’ll be going before we fold our arms
and start to weep
I never thought for a moment that human life
could be so cheap
‘Cos when they finally put you in the ground
They’ll stand there laughing and tramp the
dirt down

*Declan McManus

Published in: on April 8, 2013 at 8:40 pm  Comments (2)