Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Zigzag 86—August 1978

Back at my folks’ house a few weeks ago, my Dad gave me a box: inside were various bits of paper, notes, magazines, fanzines, and concert programmes from the late seventies: the last kibble left behind when I left home.

Among the gems (more later) was this Zigzag. Founded by Pete Frame in 1969, this well-respected British Rock Journal had, by 1978, come thoroughly under the Punk Spell, thanks to new editor Kris Needs.

The layout is a curious hybrid: text is mostly properly typset (which in those pre-DTP days meant professional) but the subject matter and the then-current DIY aesthetic meant that layouts also included felt-tip scribbly headlines, rules and page numbers, giving a more fanzine-ish feel.

Like everybody else, I know in my heart-of-hearts that the music being made when I was in my teens is the absolute, ultimate, best ever. So if you’re in your mid forties like me, you’re sure to enjoy these articles on The Raincoats, Suicide, John Otway, Steel Pulse and The Human League. Even the piece on cover stars The Rich Kids is an interesting bit of “Slik-Pistols-Vox-Visage-Pistols-again” history. And there’s a column by the great John Walters to boot.

But the best piece has to be the interview with my then-favourite band, The Rezillos, by Cramps Legionnaire Lindsay Hutton. Here’s the Rezillos piece (click for bigger, readable pages):

...and here’s the whole magazine, rapidshared:
In Acrobat format
In Comic Reader format
As a ZIP archive of JPEG pages.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Harry Roy & His Bat Club Boys — My Girl’s Pussy

While searching for recordings of R. Crumb’s Sweet Shellac radio show (from BBC Radio 3, a few years ago), I came across this little gem of English double entendre thirties jazz. If you’re fortunate enough to have a copy of my Love at First Sound mix CD, you’ll have heard Crumb’s Cheap Suit Serenaders perform a loving remake of this sweet record, complete with cod-English accents.

The double entendre smut is laid on trowel thick: worthy of the great Mrs. Slocombe herself, in fact.

Of course you can find whatever you want on the ole international packet switching network, if you’re smart or dogged enough (or both), and I tracked down Sweet Shellac on eyecandyman's interesting blog of old-time music and Honk Honk exploitation movies. He’s even got video of R. Crumb and his fellow old-time music enthusiast Robert Armstrong listening to this very record.

Take care to remove your gloves.


Download it from rapidshare: My Girl’s Pussy.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Washing All Their Troubles away

We start with a track from Lee Scratch Perry's great Battle of Armagideon (Millionaire Liquidator) from 1986. A cassette tape of this album was always by my kitchen machine back then, and "Show Me That River" always seemed to come on when I was doing the washing up. It always seemed appropriate, with it's "Wash all my troubles away" line. But like a lot of Lee lyrics, it was just slightly crazy:


Download it from Rapidshare:Show Me That River.

Show My that river, Take me Icarus, And wash all my troubles away. Like that lucky old sun, I've nothing to do, But rolling in heaven all day.

Sounds to me like Perry's magpie, gadfly, creative mind has morphed "across" into "Icarus" here, under the influence of the sun mentioned in the next bit.

Then I found this Prince Buster Tutti Frutti LP in the 50p bin at my local second hand record shop; and the song "Wash Wash" seemed familiar.

Show My that river, Take me across, And wash all my troubles away...


Download it from rapidshare: Wash Wash.

Aha! "Across" here! Of course the music industry in general, and the Jamaican music industry in particular, have never been that fastidious about nicking bits of songs from each other. And before you Prince Buster fans out there start looking down on the Scratch fans, wait: Mr Bustamente nicked it himself.

That Lucky Old Sun was a big hit for Frankie Laine in 1949. It was written by Beasley Smith and Haven Gillespie, and was covered many times, by the likes of Vaughn Monroe, Ol' Frankie, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles. Here's Louis Armstrong's version.


Download it from rapidshare: That Lucky Old Sun.

This version, with its sacred, gospelly overtones, is clearly implying that the river being shown is the Jordan, and the point where the troubles are washed away is death. Or maybe the Styx, I suppose, but nobody ever got washed in the Styx, unless they got thrown overboard by the ferryman, maybe.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Susan Cadogan — Hurts So Good

I must have heard this song on the Radio in the early seventies, when I still had that child’s thirsty cultural-vacuum-cleaner brain: and for years later the chorus would leap back into my mind at odd moments, though I couldn’t remember the title or artist. Before I’d even heard of double tracking (recording a lead vocal twice to beef up a weak performance) I would think of it as that “hurts-so-good” sound. Until I eventually found it by accident on one of those cheapo reggae compilation LPs, in the eighties. And the reason it had stuck became clear: it was a Lee “Scratch” Perry production.


Download it at

But then I found out that it was actually a Millie Jackson song. Of course I should have known: Millie is, after all, the queen of the I-Love-You-You-Bastard genre. Here she is singing it on Soul Train, in 1973 at a guess:

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The Mighty Terror – Women Police in England

The best known story about the Mighty Terror is probably too good to be true: how, when he arrived in from Trinidad in London in 1953, he asked the taxi driver to take him to the home of Lord Kitchener. The terror was obviously (to us) referring to the Great Calypsonian, but the confused taxi driver at first thought he was referring to the long-dead British Imperialist War Hero. Hilarious consequences ensued. Right.

Anyway, for us bleeding-heart liberal middle class muddle-headed do-gooder pinko types, the only time we can tolerate Sexism or Affection for the Police Force is when it comes out of the mouth of an Ethnic Minority Person. Here's The Terror fondly dreaming of being arrested by a nice “blondie one”.


Download The Mighty Terror – Women Police in England MP3 (rapidshare)