Saturday, 25 December 2010

Happy Christmas

Christmas time again; Santa, mistletoe, mince pies and Slade.

Always loved it when Mud were on TOTP singing’ Lonely This Christmas’ Les Gray doesn’t even attempt to cover up the miming. He just uses a ventriloquist dummy for the spoken part of the song.

So here it is Merry Christmas, hope you have a good one.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Glam's Greatest Lyrics

“This ain’t rock n roll, this is genocide”

I’m afraid lyrics are not one of glam rock’s great strengths, (Bowie aside) but here is a selection of the better lyrics from glam’s greatest and best.

I could include almost all of Bowie's output, but special mention goes to the following verses from 'Diamond Dogs'.

“Halloween Jack is a real cool cat
And he lives on top of Manhattan Chase
The elevators broke, so he slides down a rope
Onto the street below, oh Tarzie, go man go

Meet his little hussy with his ghost town approach
Her face is sans feature, but she wears a Dali brooch
Sweetly reminiscent, something mother used to bake
Wrecked up and paralyzed, Diamond Dogs are sableized

In the year of the scavenger, the season of the bitch
Sashay on the boardwalk, scurry to the ditch
Just another future song, lonely little kitsch
(There's gonna be sorrow) try and wake up tomorrow”
Diamond Dogs 1974

Also from Bowie via Mott the Hoople

“Television man is crazy saying we're juvenile delinquent wrecks
Oh man I need TV when I got T Rex”.

“And my brother's back at home with his Beatles and his Stones
We never got it off on that revolution stuff
What a drag too many snags”.
All the Young Dudes 1972

And blasting out of 1974 with regal abandon…

“She's a killer queen
Gunpowder, gelatine
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind (Anytime)”.
Killer Queen: Queen 1974


We all know that Marc Bolan died in a car accident, but he also liked to sing about them quite a lot as well. Cars not accidents I mean.

“You're built like a car, you've got a hub cap diamond star halo” 
Get It On 1971

“I drive a Rolls Royce 'coz it's good for my voice” 
Children of the Revolution 1972

“Just like a car you're pleasing to be hold
I'll call you Jaguar if I may be so bold”
Jeepster 1972

From the pen of glam rock’s Lennon and McCartney; Chinnichap

“I'm reaching out for something touching nothing's all I ever do
I softly call you over, when you appear there's nothing left of you

And the man in the back is ready to crack
As he raises his hands to the sky
And the girl in the corner is everyone’s mourner
She could kill you with a wink of her eye”.
Sweet-Ballroom Blitz 1973

“She's a hell raiser, star chaser, trail blazer
Natural born raver, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah”.
Sweet-hell raiser 1974

And Mr wizzard himself, Roy Wood

“As I was lying in my bedroom fast asleep
Filled with those famous teenage pictures that you keep
Will Dion still be so important to you on your wedding day?”
Wizzard-angel fingers 1973

Friday, 17 December 2010

Sweet: Chop Chop (album track), Tony Blackburn: Chop Chop (a-side)

Ah yes, songs about woodcutting, you don't get many of those nowadays.

It's the Sweet in a head to head with ex Radio 1 DJ Tony Blackburn singing a song composed by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn.

It seems that DJ's have always had a hankering to test the old vocal chords out on some song or other. It's hard to believe now but old Tony was seen as something of a sex symbol back in the early seventies. So it was inevitable that he would release a single at some point. 

I can see the headline now; "Superstar DJ shows audience his big chopper".

Chop chop is not one of 'Chinnichaps' greatest moments, but it has a certain charm I think.

The Sweet had already recorded this song for their 1971 debut album 'Funny How Sweet Co Co Can Be'. When Tony Blackburn recorded his version. 

The Sweet even played on the backing for the track, which is strange because at the time they didn't even play on their own singles.

Steve Priest said of the sessons, "Blackburn had no timing, we had to do the chorus over and over again until we virtually got it in time with him"

Blackburn would become a great supporter of the Sweet on his radio shows, and they returned to the studio with him again in 1972 to do more chinnichap songs.

This is from a review of the single in August 1971.

Tony Blackburn: Chop Chop (RCA) From the Chinn-Chapman current hitwriting team, a wee fantasy sort of song which suits Tony's style very well. It's into a bubblegum and rather undemanding sort of range, and the chorus is positively instantly catchy. The arrangement helps the story-line song along. I've a pretty confident feeling it's an upcoming chart-er.  (26 August 1971)

In 2007 Blackburn held a question and answer session for the BBC website, one of the questions was;

"If you could never hear one song again, what would it be"? 
His honest and simple answer was;
"My record of Chop Chop. It's atrocious".

All together now...."Timber, Timber"

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Brett Smiley: Va Va Va Voom (a-side), Hobnail: She's Just A Friend Of Mine (a-side)

Junk Shop Glam part 2

“Va Va Va Voom…A manic amalgam of vintage Marc Bolan and playful Bowie, brought to a shattering three minute climax by a brilliant Steve Marriott guitar solo and a characteristically dramatic Oldham production.

He was, to put it bluntly, beautiful. Pouting, blonde and so pretty in pink, 19 year old Brett Smiley exploded out of British TV one evening in fall 1974, and if the country had not already been deeply in love with glam rock, he would have started it off there and then. At a time when David Bowie was still most people's vision of androgynous perfection, Smiley made Ziggy look like a bricklayer."
Dave Thompson, Goldmine, 1996

This track can be found on Brett Smiley’s debut album or on the ‘Velvet Tinmine’ CD available HERE.

‘She’s Just a Friend of Mine’ by Hobnail was first released in 1972 on a bell records EP. In 2005 RPM Records released a 20-song compilation called ‘Boobs the Junkshop Glam Discotheque’ available HERE.

Brett Smiley: Va Va Va Voom
Hobnail: She's A Friend Of Mine

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Rats: Turtle Dove (a-side), The Sensation: Black Eyed Woman (a-side)

The next few posts are from a sub-genre of glam that came to be known as ‘Junk Shop Glam’.

“Flick through any 50p record bins/racks in charity shops and record fairs and you will find them. Lost gems from glam rock’s 1970s heyday.

They were the worst bands of the glam rock era, shifting so few singles they were swiftly forgotten – until now. They may remain worthless on the collectors market, but they are what Junk Shop Glam is about – a foot-stomping concoction of the trashy, the brilliant and the bizarre.

The more raucous bands combined the DIY roughness of punk with the teen war cries of classic glam. Indeed, the best of these lost singles reveal punk and glam to be two sides of the same coin, a prole liberation music blessed with the power to piss off parents and muso peers alike.

Fallen idols they may have been, but it’s their pop purity that captivates, in all its trashy, bargain-basement glory”.
Tim Cumming, the Guardian, Tue 19th March 2002.

'Turtle Dove' is taken from the album 'First Long Playing Record' a collection of David Kubinek (ex World of Oz) songs recorded by producer Adrian Millar with session musicians. This is the only single released off the album in 1974 on the Good Ear label.  

'Turtle Dove', is a classic Junkshop Glam single, and features on the compilation 'Boobs: The Junkshop Glam Discotheque' (RPM 298) available HERE.

'Black Eyed Woman' is an obscure single from about 1974. This version is also taken from the Junk Glam compilation 'Boobs: The Junkshop Glam Discotheque'.

I couldn’t find much info about this track except a little bit on Foob’s ‘Underrated Albums’ website.

“This is an obscure single I was lucky enough to find in a sell-out bin over 15 years ago. When I started writing reviews for this site, I tried to find out something about it. But nada! It proved impossible to find any information about this band on the Internet. It's not even possible to find out what year this was released (the record doesn't tell) or where the band came from. So, I'm sorry I can't tell you anything more about this.

My guess is this is a release dating back to inbetween 1968 and 1974. The style is the kind of Glam Rock that was popular at the time. Bands like T.Rex and Gary Glitter topped the charts with stuff like this. What's interesting about this single is that it contains simple Glam Rock but with such a high fun level that it'll put a smile on your face. While the Boogie Rocker 'Black eyed Woman' is the best of the two tracks, it's 'Baby' that's the funniest, as the lyrics simply go "Baby, Babe, Baby, Baby" from start to end. Times were simpler then”.

The Rats: Turtle Dove
The Sensation: Black Eyed Woman

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Sparks would have featured before this on the blog, in fact they did for a few hours before the post was taken down by Blogger in response to a DRM notice. 

Fair enough, many people have commented on the rights and wrongs of this so I won't add to it, but it's a shame as Sparks are one of the more unusual and innovative artists connected to the glam genre, they released some great singles and in 'Kimono My House' one of the best albums from the early 70's.

Like many bloggers I was trying to give more exposure to a style of music that I love. Anyway here's the original (edited) post but without the music.

For most of the seventies I read ‘Marvel’ comics and one of my abiding memories is a holiday at Great Yarmouth where I picked up a 6p copy of The Avengers # 100 from a comic rack in some newsagent on the seafront.

My joy at finding this edition is further seared into my memory by the Sparks song ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us’ playing on the shop radio.

I spent the rest of the day trying to explain to my father why Hawkeye was a better 'Avenger' than Hercules. My father died four years later, so I remember this time with great fondness. I never did get him to understand about Hawkeye, or what “tacky tigers” meant.

Anyway, Sparks are an American band formed in Los Angeles in 1970 by brothers Ron (keyboards) and Russell Mael (vocals), initially under the name Halfnelson. Best known for their quirky approach to song writing, and the contrast between Russell's wide-eyed hyperactive front man antics and Ron's scowling, looking not unlike Adolf Hitler on a bad day.

They relocated to London in 1973 and recorded their breakthrough album ‘Kimono My House’ in 1974, scoring a # 2 hit with the single "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us".

“The rain is pouring on the foreign town,
the bullets cannot cut you down
This town ain't big enough for both of us
And it ain't me who's gonna leave”
(c) Sparks 1973