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Going retro

Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run (live) (1975)
From the Live At The Hammersmith Odeon ’75 recording which was released on DVD released. One of the ultimate live songs. Who’s Wendy?

Johnny Cash – Ring Of Fire (1968)
Bonus track on the re-released CD of Live at St Quentin. As a kid in Germany, Cash was always on the radio in a context with whoever was uncool. So I grew up thinking the Man In Black was not cool. Lesson: Don’t look at the people listening to the music but listen to the music.

Dexys Midnight Runners – Geno (1980)
Dexys Midnight Runners – Until I Believe In My Soul (1982)
Every two years or so I go on my Dexys trip. In 2005, I revisited the young soul rebel to observe his 25th birthday and that of my weeks-long obsession with “Geno”; in July I shall celebrate the silver jubilee of the most wonderful Too-Rye-Ay. “Until You Believe In My Soul”, from which that twat Sting stole the idea for a jazz solo interlude, features Kevin Rowlands sneering the immortal line: “You have to be fuckin‘ joking”, at a time when swearing still meant something.

Tim Curry – I Do The Rock (1979)
The song from which I learned that John and Yoko lived at a place called The Dakota. Prescient Tim. This song made me into a Curry fan before I knew about that overhyped Rocky Twaddle Picture Show. One day in 1985 he came into a restaurant in London where I worked. Lovely, shy chap. The 80-year-old owner heard that someone famous was at Table 9, so he waddled over, stood for a minute at the table staring at Curry and female companion while rolling his tongue over his open mouth, and the blurted out: “So, you’re famous?” I caught a glimpse of Curry’s totally bemused look before I dashed to the kitchen where I ROTFLed.

Ram Jam – Black Betty (1977)
Those was mentioned on my favourite forum, populated by very clever people who know their music. One confessed that he had heard “Black Betty” for the first time today, on the radio. I associate this, and Bowie’s “Starman“, with the first club I frequented (without mother’s knowledge) as a 15-year-old.

Sweet – The Six Teens (1974)
Too easily derided as bubble-gum glam rockers, the Sweet had some killer tunes. “The Six Teens” had the group all grown up since their “Little Willie” days, borrowing a bit from prog, foreshadowing Meat Loaf’s operatic rock drama, and still sounding incredibly fun! R.I.P. Messrs Connolly and Tucker.

Immaculate Fools – Immaculate Fools
(1984)
December 1984 in London: my favourite pub in Notting Hill had a video juke box (ooooh!). This was on constant rotation. In Blighty these soft rockers (think China Crisis) were a one-hit wonder. Google tells me that the Fools became so big in Spain that they over there.

Prince – Starfish And Coffee (1987)
From Sign O’ The Times. How was this, one of Prince’s three greatest songs, never a single? The alarm clock at the beginning always gives me a fright. To recreate that effect upon others, I like to put this track first on mix-tapes (well, CDs, these days) for others.

The Stranglers – Nice ‘n’ Sleazy (1977)
This might have been my first “punk” single. This or Sham 69’s “Angels With Dirty Faces”. Other punk rock acts of the time included the Boomtown Rats, Ultravoxx and Elvis Costello, who were to punk what Tony Blair is to socialism. Still, “Nice ‘n’ Sleazy”, with its sneering riff and insolent vocals is a great, great song.

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  1. akashaman
    August 29th, 2007 at 15:44 | #1

    killer blog , just found it — should link u up !the sweet six teens , kicks so much ass its not funny. needs to be played very loud & proud. i love the stacked harmonies at the verses.probably my fave sweet track ; u have great taste.aka`

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