Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Lets Active: Viceroy Park, Charlotte January 23rd 1982 (Wee Three)

So from the last LA show, to a really early one...

Here's a little cracker. It's an ace soundboard from all the way from 1982. This show finds our hero in the three piece 'all girl' line-up, supporting some local band called R.E.M. Whatever happened to them?

This recording crops up on the net from time to time as 'Wee Three'. There's also the original mixes of 'Afoot' tacked on the end for good measure. Lovely stuff. It's great to see lots of love for Mitch on the almost restores my faith in human nature.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Lets Active: Pterodactyl Club, Raleigh, NC, February 14th 1990

Time for some more live's a great show from the latterday LA lineup. My favourite version, in case you're interested. It's a great audience recording (or a third/forth gen soundboard) - give the treble a tweak and it sounds fantastic. A great setlist and an equally great ensemble performance. The choice of songs is pretty heavy on the 'Big Plans/Every Dog' era stuff and so rocks a little harder than previous. Throw a few tasty Who/Hendrix/Beatles covers into the mix and you've got yourself an essential download.

(Lets Active, Live in 1989)

You need this. Really. You need this.

Lets Active Pterodactyl Club Raleigh NC 14 02 90

01 In little ways
02 Fell
03 Sweepstake winner
04 Get Free
05 Horizon
06 Still dark out
07 Too bad
08 Every dog has his day
09 Ms So and So
10 Bad machinery
11 Reflecting pool
12 Prey
13 All roads lead to Hell
14 Spanish castle magic
15 Ornamental
16 Badger
17 Orpheus in Hades Lounge
18 Rain
19 I cant reach you
20 Every word means no

Great Outdoors: Making Allowances For The Jargon

Coming from Birmingham, you learn to take the knocks. We’re always going to be in the shadow of London, Manchester, Liverpool…you know…’famous’ places. And Brummies have ‘that accent’…the one that TV producers and Advertising executives always use when they want to imply that a character is an idiot. If you want to befriend a native of Birmingham instantly, simply do a cartoon version of ‘that accent’. We love that. Hearing someone casually belittle millions of people with a mouthful of tangled vowels and catch phrases learned from ultra lowbrow TV programmes is a source of pure joy to us Midlanders. We have more miles of canal in Birmingham than there are in Venice don’t you know?…that’s where we hide the bodies of the people who try and do ‘that accent’.

This snobbery even creeps into Music. I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve been told something along the lines of: ‘Your band’s great…it’s a shame you’re from Birmingham’. Why? I’ve seen dozens of great bands come and go, making barely a ripple in the shark infested waters of the Music Business, primarily because of an accident of geography. Bah humbug. We did have a (kind of) renaissance in the 80s with ‘The Stourbridge Sound’. (Stourbridge is about 12 miles from Birmingham - a small but crucial distance). We gifted the world with The Wonder Stuff, Pop Will Eat Itself and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. You’re welcome. Recently we’ve given you Jamelia (now, less a performer and more a talking head on game shows..) and The Editors. Annoyingly, that's the tip of the tip of the iceberg. High profile we ain’t. But we should be.

If it sounds like I’m bitter and cynical it’s because I am. Indulge me, please.

'Making Allowances For The Jargon' LP
One band that fell down the cracks that was particularly close to my heart was The Great Outdoors. Just as I was getting into alternative music (particularly the ‘Paisley Underground’) along they came. And they were from Birmingham, which meant I could see them live anytime I fancied. That plan was somewhat scuppered by their ‘revolving door’ policy to band members…in fact, one local wag insisted that the band’s full name was ‘The Great Outdoors Seek Bass Player’. Ha bloody ha. Only frontman/songwriter Martin Silvers lasted the course, helming the band through a short lived golden era (national ‘Radio One’ airplay thanks to Janice Long and …ulp…Mike Read), a split and a brief reformation. This album – ‘Making Allowances For The Jargon’ was as close as they got to The Big Time, which, in reality, wasn’t very close. It’s a solid debut album with a very big tip of the hat to IRS era REM and a nice Byrdsy jangle throughout. 

('World At My Shoes')

Two singles were pulled from the album: the first being a bit of an undiscovered classic – ‘World At My Shoes’ got the airplay and a bunch of positive reviews, but the band couldn’t quite capitalize on it. This may have been to do with the fluctuating lineup. In fact one of the members listed on the sleeve of the album doesn’t actually play on it. He did look damn cool. Hell, they all did. ‘…Jargon’ has long been deleted, but a retrospective featuring demos and some unreleased stuff -‘Not Quite Cinderella’- emerged in 1994 and is still available through Amazon -just hit the link. A third album – ‘Water Cakes’ was recorded in 1997, but never officially released.

'Bird In The Hand' 45
There’s some great stuff on the record – occasionally the playing is a little stiff, but the tunes carry the performances through. For one, shining moment, it looked as if we had a contender here, but it wasn’t to be. At least one track on here, the aforementioned ‘World…’ is definitely worthy of reappraisal. This rip is from my vinyl copies of the album and singles – the album stuff is decent sound quality, but the singles…well anyone familiar with UK Indie pressings from the 80’s will know what I mean when I say they have a certain ‘crunchy’ quality… It shouldn’t deter from your listening pleasure.

I hope I’ve piqued your curiosity, gentle reader. Give it a whirl – it’ll cost you nada and it may enhance the quality of your life.

(Trainspotters may also like to know that it’s a Pat Collier production).

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Bert Jansch

Without Bert Jansch...
No Jimmy Page
No Paul Simon
No Johnny Marr

A towering talent and an innovator.

He'll be missed