Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Hello , Hello I'm Back Again

No , sorry to disappoint you but this is not going to be a Gary Glitter post ! As you may remember yesterday we mentioned Steve Lillywhite whose CV includes production duties for Ultavox , Psychedelic Furs , Eddie & the Hot Rods , XTC and Morrissey amongst others , rather a shame really that he went on to work with Dave Mathews and Phish , still they do say that Beethoven was deaf ! For me some of his best and most sympathetic work was with his then wife Kirsty MacColl , who was sadly killed by an idiot piloting a power boat in December 2000 whilst swimming off the Mexican coast . I've just heard that the Mexican government have promised justice , after Bono dedicated 'I still haven't found what I'm looking for' to Kirsty during a concert in the Mexican city of Monterrey , just goes to show how useful it can be to have rich and powerful friends .
Her second LP 'Kite' , for me her best and the first to be produced by Lillywhite was released to the non appreciative masses in 1989 . A very mature and varied set of songs , it included the excellent 'Don't come the cowboy with me sunny Jim' a country style lament with witty lyrics concerning her hope for the future of her relationship with a somewhat typical son of a bitch - in fact in terms of subject mater not that far removed from 'Fairy tale in New York' . The LP also boasted a version of the Ray Davis 'Days' , managing to make the song her very own .
This was not her first outing on vinyl , as it was back in those days , in 1981 she scored a novelty hit with 'there's a guy works down the chip shop swears he's Elvis' , great title , disposable song .
It was in 1984 that I started to take more notice of her when Stiff Records released what for some , but not for me was the definitive version of 'New England' . Kirsty would later claim that recording the song was like having access to an unrelated Beatles song ! Despite the fact that people in industry thought she was mad , it was to be her biggest chart success .
Footnote concerning Kirsty while she was singing back up vocals in the Lillywhite produced Stones 'Dirty work' album she profited from the services of Keith Richard as guitar teacher , not bad !
recommended Purchase : 'From Croydon to Cuba ...... an anthology' a very reasonably priced 3 CD set released in 2005 and covering the whole of her career , includes the 2 mp3s posted , Still available , so no excuses .

This brings us nicely round to Billy Bragg , aka the bard of Barking or as I saw some where on the web recently the barking bard , maybe this was a joke or our American friend does not know where Barking is , answers on a postcard please ............Of course Barking is Billy's home town or rather the suburb of London where he was born . And I hope I don't need to tell you that it was indeed Billy that wrote 'A new England' , a tune that appeared on his 1983 debut mini album 'Life's a riot with spy vs spy' . I can remember my first exposure to him came from a late night John Peel show , I quickly bought the record and have been a fan ever since . The first of many occasions that I was to see him was almost on his , and my own home turf , a gig at the old Ilford Town Hall , I can remember that we were rather sparse in the hall but a great gig all the same with the one man Clash on stage with his guitar and amp , and that great play anywhere punk attitude . One of the highlights , was a song that was to be come a rarity 'A13 trunk road to the sea' Billy's great re-writing of 'Route 66' for his home grown Essex audience . A song that became a live favorite in the early years . Despite being recorded at least twice , once for John Peel and also during the 'Life's a riot' sessions , the song was to remain hard to come by on disc as only the Peel version received limited release . Billy was to be no stranger to cover versions , another rarity was to turn up as one of the extra song on the 1992 CD single 'Accident waiting to happen' , a live version of the Beatles 'Revolution' recorded I believe at the London Town & Country Club , November 1991 with his then backing band the Red Stars. A song that when you think could almost have been tailor written for him .
So what better way to celebrate the early part of his career than the soon to be released box set 'Vol 1' sadly lacking in imagination for someone that has displayed such passion , anger and wit in his music . the said treasure comprises of 7 CDs packed with rarities , and 2 DVDs , more info and ordering a copy signed by the great man here .Looks like one of this years highlights already and very reasonably priced at around £35 sterling .
To celebrate this release Billy we be out on tour details here , but being the good chap that he is the tour goes under the banner 'Hope Not Hate' , still preaching the good message. Sadly there will be no gigs in France , How about Montpellier , though interestingly he will be playing for the first time for many years (?) in his home suburb of Barking , fittingly enough a May day gig . SOLD OUT .

Monday, February 27, 2006


Why and welcome

So why go to the bother ? Quite simple really , having been bitten by the music bug at a rather young age , I now find myself wishing to share some of my thoughts , feelings , impressions ....... Regarding what I listen or as the case maybe listen to . I would like to add in my defense that my decision to go live has been encouraged by the pleasure certain other music blogs have given me , though I certainly don't think my modest blog will be up to their standards , maybe one day ?
So why call it sound of the suburbs' ? I must confess that despite liking the song , by the Members , it is far from one of my favorites . So a little bit of history will help you to understand . I was born in 1960 in London , to be more exact part of the east end called Forest Gate , only a stones throw from Stratford ( where they are to build the Olympic village ) . My teenage years where spent living in the borough of Redbridge , part of London's sprawling suburbs . It was indeed from Gants Hill underground station that my many nocturnal trips to see bands was launched as was the working day for thousands of suburban commuters . It was of course my geographical position that gave me the chance to see so many of those bands , and yes helped to form the man that I am today . So in my search for a title and not wanting any thing too clever , I thought that sound of the suburbs summed thing up very well . The Smarter ones among you will have realised that I'm both older than Beth Orton and younger than Keith Richards , random examples . Despite my age I still follow very closely the differing music scenes , and according to my spouse still spend too much of my money and time on it . All this to say that the music and artists found here might as easily be from 1966 as from 2006 , but what they have in common is giving my ears some pleasure . I intend posting music to Illustrate my posts , if you like these mp3s please support the artists and buy their work . I can't over emphasise the importance of buying music , it is not to make the multinationals richer , but to support young artists and talent so that you , I and our children will be able to experience the pleasure of listening to new music in years to come . I tend to use Amazon when buying music as their prices are reasonable their catalogue is extensive and their delivery charges non existent ( depending on order value ) , so for the Brits , and the Yanks , and not forgetting my French friends you can find your music here . Why on earth mention the French ? Quite simple really 18 years ago I came to France and still live here .
So a little bit about the Members . One of many bands formed in the later half of the 70s under the influence of punk . As their Biggest hit Sound of the suburbs would suggest they indeed came from the suburbs , Camberley in the county of Surrey not far from Londons Gatwick Airport . A classic line up of 2 guitars , bass , drums and vocals , and some very smart social commentary and observation courtesy of vocalist Nicky Tesco . Their debut single 'solitary Confinement' , the story of a young mans sad life in a London bedsit , was released by Stiff Records in 1978 . The media interest in the band and success of their single led to them being signed to Virgin and the release of their debut LP 'Live At A Chelsea Nightclub' , Which was very much a studio affair produced by the drummer Adrian Lillywhite's brother , Steve , the same Steve Lillywhite that went on to produce the first U2 albums as well as classic LPs by his then wife Kirsty MacColl . As with many of the more interesting bands from this period the Members evolved from their original pop punk origins to a sound taking on board reggae influences as displayed on the second long player 'The Choice Is Yours' . Despite this further chart success was to elude them . After releasing a 3rd and final album 'Going West' the Band called it a day in 1984 . For those wishing to listen to more their are numerous compilations available , for my money the best one being called Sound of the Suburbs .
Well I think that's enough for today , as I'm feeling rather tired after a days work and my first post , guess it will get easier with time . Hope to be back tomorrow with something leading on from today's post.

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