If you know this song, then you surely love this song. Who doesn’t? It would be so easy to take it and its wonderful lyric for granted, as we might so many of Ray Davies’ songs – ‘Waterloo sunset’, ‘Dead End Street’, ‘Big sky’, to name just three – songs which sound like they have existed forever and will go on existing forever. But listen again closely, as if for the first time. Hear a melody which has in it all the melancholic joy of the lyric. Hear those words, as particular as a prayer you’ve said from childhood. Recite them back. Believe them of yourself as if you were Ray Davies and had just written them (whatever or whoever he wrote them about). Remember that one day back in the sixties he had to bring this song into being, that it hasn’t existed forever. Hear in its unfolding how it will go on existing forever, an echo that will outlast the species of creature which created it.
Think of Kirsty MacColl’s wonderful version of it; think of her no longer being with us, and be grateful for still experiencing days. Think of the scene in Until the end of the world, Wim Wenders’ follow-up to Wings of desire, in which it is played and sung along to while Jeanne Moreau’s character lies dying. Think of how you found this single four years ago in a wooden crate in an antiques shop, its record company sleeve dishevelled, the vinyl dirty and more than a little scratched. Think of the lift it gave you to find it, of how you didn’t care one jot about its condition or the glaring mistake of the unnecessary apostrophe in the song’s title on the label. Think of how you only ever played it a few times because of all the scratches. Think of how you play your CD copy to your daughter, who of course doesn’t yet get it, who won’t get it for a good long while, you hope, because she is in among her days and has yet to lose something, anything, anyone. Think of so many things, of how songs like ‘Days’ and ‘This strange effect’ interweave with lives and can bring us to tears and make us smile and sometimes both at the same time for reasons at once hard to fathom and entirely comprehensible to any outside observer. God bless the Kinks. God bless Ray Davies. God bless everyone who loves this song.
I was never as big a Buzzcocks fan as all that, as some of my friends were. But boy, they had their moments, and those from 1977-78 which are captured on Singles going steady – ‘Orgasm addict’, ‘What do I get?’, ‘I don’t mind’, ‘Love you more’, ‘Ever fallen in love (with someone you shouldn’t’ve)’, and ‘Promises’ – are up there with the best pop moments full stop. It takes some special magic to string together a run of singles as flawless as those, especially with B sides on a par; a gift for songwriting, of course, but every other ingredient has to be present and correct too. Instrumentation, production, the combination of cutting edge and pop, personnel and personalities – that blend and bond forged between singer and group.
Then there’s Pete Shelley’s simple and effective lyrical prowess across the course of those singles, which cover sex and love from first wank to last rites. ‘Orgasm addict’ seems incredibly plain-speaking for 1977, and was banned from being played on the radio at the time. Even today I doubt whether a lyric of its kind – blunt and more than somewhat alienated, rather than suggestive – would get daytime radio exposure.
Also making this a particularly notable release is that the sleeve comes dressed in a collage by Morrissey’s mate Linder Sterling, herself a singer in the group Ludus.
My daughter loved this when she was three. She used to dance around madly to it – ‘Dance dance dance to the monkey macaroni’ – the opening bars acting in a Pavlovian manner on her body. Now she looks a bit puzzled when I play it and tell her that she did. But hey, among other things she loves the Beatles, the National’s ‘Fake empire’ and that grisly Nick Cave song from Harry Potter and the deathly hallows: part 1 (or The lyre of Orpheus, depending on your point of reference), ‘O children’, so my role in her musical education is not going badly.
This is a piece of melodic punk rock to match the best you’ve ever heard on that front, whether that’s Wire’s ‘Outdoor miner’ or The Undertones’ ‘Teenage kicks’. Yes, I’d put it in that bracket, and as I don’t have either of those among my sevens, ‘Ring a ding ding’ will have to stand for all three of them.
This was another tough call – was I to pick one of my favourite ever charity shop finds, the very first self-financed and I suspect quite rare McCarthy single, ‘In purgatory’, or their third, the majestic ‘Frans Hals’, with its brilliant lyrical conflation of the painter exacting artistic revenge on his mean-spirited subjects and life on the dole in eighties Britain? Or indeed one of their excellent later singles, ‘The well of loneliness’ or ‘Should the bible be banned?’ Or should I go for their second, which made everyone in a small circle realise that McCarthy were special?
The latter, I think. ‘Red sleeping beauty’ is a swirl of musical exuberance and lyrical pessimism which the Manic Street Preachers – initially inspired by McCarthy as much as anyone – took on themselves in 2007, not entirely successfully. The original is played quite brilliantly by the group. In Tim Gane they had a melodic genius, and Gary Baker was a drummer so far above run of the mill indie that he was on a different planet. Which brings us to Malcolm Eden. Not naturally blessed as a singer, his weedy, reedy voice is somehow perfect for the songs he chose to write – dry, arch, full of double bluff. Back then, you soon attuned to Malcolm’s voice, and stopped thinking of it as a weak link. Unlike Bob Dylan, with his perfect not-perfect voice, Malcolm never became the voice of a generation, but he was nevertheless hugely important to the people in that small circle whose lives McCarthy touched, including mine.
So when I’ve listened to this song over the last ten years, I’ve heard the emotion, I’ve heard the reality of someone left behind, torn apart, but strangely, until I considered writing about it, I’d never spotted the personal application. Because once, long ago, I went off travelling, and left someone behind. And she loved me, I think, and wanted more from me than at that time of my life I was prepared to give, and she could easily have said then of my maps of France, ‘Wait… they don’t love you like I love you.’
Karen O’s performance of the song in its video is heart-breaking. Towards the end, there are real tears. The emotion of what the song meant to her was obviously still raw. I imagine even now when she sings it, she is inside the emotion and it all comes back to her like it was yesterday.
It’s by no means a complete collection, but I must have more seven inch singles issued by Sarah Records than any other label, give or take Rough Trade. Right time, right place, and kindred spirits, I suppose. I talk a lot more about the label here, but given their espousal of the seven inch record as the format of choice for pop music, it only seems fair to say a few words now too. The releases were hit or miss and freighted with a certain worldview (in both senses) but they captured moments of youthful excitement and confusion and melodic joie de vivre and bottled them, mostly in the form of ninety-odd seven inch singles. Each came with an insert which personalised the record-buying experience and gave you an insight into the characters of the two people responsible for releasing them. There were political and economic concerns which were often unfairly overshadowed by the caricaturing of the label as twee and trainspotterish. Though perhaps Clare and Matt only had themselves to blame, for the labels at the centre of the discs would often have images of trains at local railway stations and a series of records came with single puzzle pieces which collected together would give you the cheerful light red Pennant and creamy Bath stone façade of Temple Meads station in Bristol. I always saw this interest in transport as something of a trainspotterish play on the nature of obsession, the obsession which drove the label and drove people to purchase every record it released.
There at its inception, the Orchids released a string of great singles for Sarah, but the last of them is the one to get the nod here, both for the erudition of its title and for being a great song. ‘Thaumaturgy’ means miracle working, and it’s precisely what the Orchids do in the course of four minutes, because it’s very Scottish, very Sarah Records, yet also dubby, free and loose. The dubbiness they probably owed to producer-keyboardist Ian Carmichael, who was also in club-oriented group One Dove at the time. But the Orchids were nevertheless one of the more accomplished groups to record for Sarah, and atypically consistent too – subsequent LP Striving for the lazy perfection (the reissue of which gathers up ‘Thaumaturgy’ and its B sides) lived up to the billing of its title. As does this little dose of miracle-working.
New music by Michael Head is always going to create a ‘Hold the front page!’ moment round these parts. While waiting on the actual vinyl of his Red Elastic Band’s Artorius revisited EP, its purchasers have been sent advance downloads to listen to. (A CD version is now on sale for those who missed out on the vinyl.) Though 6 tracks are listed, it’s effectively 4 songs, with the opener and closer both being short instrumentals.
Of those four, ‘Cadiz’ leads the way and is the Michael Head classic you expect every record of his to be peppered with; the redemptive, liberating power of (the dream of) love paired – like the couple on a motorbike imagined by Mick – with a beautiful rise and fall of a melody. ‘Lucinda Byre’ stays at home, referencing a Bold Street, Liverpool clothes shop of that name, and positively aching with nostalgia. You can hear it in both Vicky Mutch’s cello and in Mick’s voice; the same ache with which he sang ‘Full moon’ on an early outing for the Red Elastic Band. Another Liverpudlian address, ‘Newby Street’, gives rise to a swift two and a half minutes’ chug, propelled by Andy Diagram’s and Martin Smith’s brass; it feels like it could have appeared on either the first Pale Fountains LP or the last by Shack. Finally, ‘Artorius revisited’ is inevitably imbued with the spirit or perhaps more accurately on this occasion the ghost of Arthur Lee, and is as close to being the song that accidentally got left off Forever changes as anything Mick has recorded before. I tend to like Mick’s pronounced Love moments less than when the influence and inspiration is simply stirred into the pot, but then again, who else can write songs to match or better Arthur Lee’s?
I think I’m right in saying that this is the first record Mick has made without his brother John being present on it. In his stead, Steve Powell plays lead guitar and produces, and – as you might expect of someone who has the pedigree of an engineering credit on The magical world of the Strands – he does a great job. But – and call me a nit-picking old sourpuss for saying this – he’s not John, and to these ears there’s inevitably not quite that instinctive, intuitive understanding and blending that Mick and John had developed through playing music together for the whole of their lives. Much as I love these new songs, and feel like I’m being unfair saying so, it does feel ever so slightly to me like something’s – someone’s – missing. Robert Forster and Grant McLennan had the same problem, in the years away from being Go-Betweens. And I wonder too, if there’s not a little bit of what Alexis Petridis identified in his recent review of Macca’s new album: ‘Perhaps therein lies the paradox of Paul McCartney’s latter-day career. The one thing he really needs is the one thing that he can’t have, because it doesn’t exist: an equal.’
That said, it’s great to have Mick back, and hopefully this is just the start of a run of releases nurtured into being with the same care and attention to detail as this first one from Violette Records.
When Martin Bramah and Una Baines splintered from the original incarnation of the Fall, they began creating music of a darker bloom, as the title of one collection of the Blue Orchids’ work has it. Bramah and Baines have obviously not had Mark E Smith’s long-ranging influence, but certainly they created music which possessed its own particular magnificence. Their musical muscle and work ethic honed through their contributions to the Fall, the new direction owed as much if not more to early Floyd than to Mark E’s shake, rattle and roll tendencies. The resulting psychedelia was shot through with punk, but also something other, something elusive and idiosyncratic, a kind of earthy mysticism at odds with the flowery brands on offer in the sixties, at once transcendental and firmly attached to a particular place at a particular time – Manchester in the early eighties. A duality which even the very names of Martin Bramah and Una Baines seem to bear out.
On their second single, ‘Work’, Martin Bramah would sing, ‘We’ll be the salmon swimming against the tide, the golden salmon swimming against the tide of life’ in what feels like an explicit tirade against what was expected of young salmon back then. Debut single ‘The flood’ is more diffuse, dangerous, out of control. The haunting melodic lines swirling out of Una Baines’ organ are the perfect foil for the ache and fire in Bramah’s imperfect voice. ‘SYMBOLSCRASH’ shouts the back of the sleeve, and they do, in all senses. There is a biblical element to ‘The flood’ which casts Bramah as a Macunian Noah; and then there is the strange audio sample at the beginning of the song, about which this helpful piece of commentary is put forward on YouTube:
‘In case anyone wonders what the sample in the beginning is, I can tell you it’s from a Swedish reciting of the Corinthian Letters, 13:3. They’re chanting “Och om jag gåve bort allt vad jag ägde till bröd åt de fattiga, ja, om jag offrade min kropp till att brännas upp, men icke hade kärlek, så vore detta mig till intet gagn.”
The 1984 international standard translation of this is; “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”’
They were that kind of group.
Claire: Why did you have to die? It really sucks. Everything’s unravelling since you’re gone.
Nate: That’s not true.
Claire: It feels that way. I miss you. I miss you so fucking much!
Nate: I miss you, too.
Claire: You know how I always used to tell you you weren’t Dad, after Dad died? It was such a waste of time thinking that way.
Nate: No, it’s just part of how you dealt with it. It kept you from missing Dad so much.
Claire: No, it kept me from ever knowing you as much as I really could have, and now you are so completely fucking gone! It’s just …
Nate: Claire –
Claire: What? It sucks!
Nate: Stop listening to the static.
Claire: What the fuck does that mean?
Nate: Nothing. It just means that everything in the world is like this transmission, making its way across the dark. But everything – death, life, everything – it’s all completely suffused with static. [makes static sounds] You know? But if you listen to the static too much, it fucks you up.
Claire: Are you high?
Nate: I am actually, yeah, quite high.
Arcade Fire are one of those groups about whom I feel the need to say, please leave your preconceptions at the door. I suppose they’ve only got themselves to blame though, getting all messianic with the gigantic misstep that was The neon bible. But either side of that, wherever you look, you see a great group. Their 2002 Arcade Fire EP (a.k.a. Us kids know) is especially good and includes the irresistible vehicular chugging and musketeer chanting of the original version of ‘No cars go’ and the sorrowful familial truth-saying and two-part orchestration of ‘Vampire / Forest fire’, while I also keep returning to 2010’s The suburbs in more or less the same way Win Butler keeps returning to his youth as a source of inspiration. That is, like a dog to a bone.
Their ferociously collective mind-set propels the songwriting of the core duo – Butler and Régine Chassagne – to the kind of heights it merits. Together, the emotional interplay between the two and the group’s committed performances allow them to create upwards momentum without necessarily hitting the switch labelled ‘crescendo’ or the foot pedal marked ‘rock out’. ‘Cold wind’ manages to be both understated and yet still to climax with a little of that rabble-rousing performance art meets circus troupe panache. I imagine it was their facing-down of death (or at least bereavement) on 2004’s Funeral LP which led to the song being featured in the consistently surprising and excellent TV series Six feet under, where it appeared in Static, the penultimate episode of the fifth and final season. In fact, it’s easy to imagine members of Arcade Fire drifting into Six feet under as characters; you certainly get that sense from their lyrical concerns. And that’s to nod also at the sense of humour and lineage which allowed them to record a version of Ary Barroso’s ‘Brazil’ as the B side of this piece of clear vinyl, as well as to issue a recording of swing musician Alvino Rey’s ‘My buddy’ as an earlier B side; Rey being Win and his brother William’s grandfather.
Nate: [as imagined by Brenda] I’m just saying you only get one life. There’s no God, no rules, no judgments, except for those you accept or create for yourself. And once it’s over, it’s over. Dreamless sleep forever and ever. So why not be happy while you’re here. Really. Why not?
(Quotes from Static.)
Possibly my best-ever charity shop find, this magical slice of frequently sampled P-funk, released in the UK in 1976, connects back to the previous 45 in the series in being a track which A Certain Ratio covered and issued as a single themselves in 1980, and which surely had a formative influence on their sound. On their debut The graveyard and the ballroom, acr tightened up Banbarra’s already taut funk to snapping point; their cover of ‘Shack up’ is a faithful, if darker version of the bubblier original.
The message of ‘Shack up’ seems quaint now, but in the mid-seventies, I guess it may have raised a few eyebrows – although if you were into your funk, you were probably loose enough to be hip to its central tenet, which is that it is better and wiser to shack up together rather than marry.
Like Television’s ‘Little Johnny Jewel’, also released in the US in 1975, the B side is a continuation; splitting the track in two does the A side a favour in terms of rendering it supremely punchy, but I imagine when it was played in Studio 54, you would have preferred to hear the two sides of the single seamlessly mixed into six minutes, complete with the second half’s thoroughly dirty guitar solo.
There aren’t many facts out there about the record’s creators, Joseph Anthony Carter and Moe Daniels, and this was Banbarra’s only release. I guess the duo must have realised that there was only one way from ‘Shack up’, and that was down.
With luck, in the world of pop, you can be a commercially successful group, or a successfully influential one. Very few are both, and most of course are neither. It must have been especially tough for A Certain Ratio to watch not one but two of their Factory label mates outstrip them on both fronts. But the pioneering spirit of acr – their openness to sounds from beyond the borders of Manchester and Britain, their contrariness, their blend of atmospherics, rhythm and song – that has surely had an influence on many groups since.
‘The big E’, a.k.a. ‘Won’t stop loving you’ is one of their finest songs. It came at a point when they had signed to a major label, and were clearly expected (or even expecting) to deliver. But the big hit single failed to materialise, despite the effort and attainment contained in these grooves. An anthem to refusing to bow to any kind of big elbow (and no doubt a cheeky reference to the Hacienda’s drug of choice, and the lift that awaits anyone who takes it), ‘The big E’ was still just a little too understated, a little too subtle to cut through the white noise of the time. And let’s face it, in Jez Kerr, they did not have a singer who imposed his character on a song, who dominated the rest of the group. After his early punk-funk stridency, he settled on a soft crooning tone which blended perfectly with acr’s meticulous music-making, but did not scream top ten hits.
A couple of years after the release of this single, I reviewed A Certain Ratio for a local listings magazine, having seen them play in Bristol. My review was, I suppose, eight out of ten-ish, not quite a ringing endorsement, and may have dwelt a little on past glories in preference to current form. I subsequently got a half-appreciative, half-defiant note from Rob Gretton, whose label they were signed to at the time. To me, that seemed like the self-same Mancunian spirit with which ‘The big E’ was written.
- A Certain Ratio – The big E (I won’t stop loving you) [concludes with an audio snippet of John Peel!]
When I read them back, I can’t help but be more than a little embarrassed by the stories and music criticism I wrote twenty odd years ago. I wince at the callowness of the pieces, their fixed view of the world. But there were readers who liked what I did, and I know this, because they occasionally tell me so even now. The people they have become still hold within them that youthful application of affection, and I expect if they were to read back what they liked then, they would be reminded afresh of the characters they were, and accept that though they might now think their tastes then flawed, it was at least taste. It came from somewhere and meant something and stood for something, even though the grounds upon which they read – or listen – have almost certainly long since changed.
This is how I feel when I listen to ‘All fall down’. It’s definitely callow. Certainly it betrays a fixed interpretation of the musical world. Sure, out of context, you could find the feyness of Bobby Gillespie’s voice just as irritating as his later mid-Atlanticisms. But on the other hand, it remains a great tune, a perfect aesthetic statement delivered in a little over two minutes, and both my mind and my heart still warm to those not inconsiderable achievements for a debut single. Perhaps Bobby and his co-writer Jim Beattie look upon it now with a greater degree of fondness than they would publicly admit.
There were four pillars which supported the somewhat shaky edifice of 1980s indie-pop – not that we called it that then, being resistant to any label and preferring to spell out that the groups we liked were ‘punk rock’; independent rather than indie. And ‘pillars’ is probably too grandiose a term for what was held up by these four aspects. Regardless, they were:
- Sixties pop
- Seventies punk
- Animosity towards the prevailing culture and standard fare of the eighties
- An adolescent take on love
The best groups of time transcended these pillars, and built structures and a musical world of their own (thinking of say the Go-Betweens, McCarthy, Felt) but as ‘All fall down’ shows, it was still possible to make a great record using the above model, which after all, was newly minted at the time, despite some of the retrospective tendencies it espoused. Simon Reynolds to mention just one critic has lambasted the genre and the period for its slavish devotion to the past, but I think this is a problem of degree. No music is created in a vacuum; there are always nods to what has come before. Certainly indie had strong fixations, but there were plenty of groups whose vitality lifted them clear of the worst excesses of imitation (Biff Bang Pow!, Big Flame, the Wolfhounds).
The adolescent take on love is hardly surprising, given that the music was being made largely by people fresh from or still in the midst of adolescence, and likely as not more obsessed by pop music than pursuing relationships. The animosity towards the prevailing culture ranged from groups turning their backs on the times to others fronting up against what was going on politically in the eighties. There are arguments for trying to put yourself outside of the times, just as there are for engaging with them. In 1985 Bobby wanted out, in the same way the Byrds did in 1965. By the time I saw Primal Scream play in 1987, the Byrds influence was fading and that of the Stones was gathering, and I suspect as much to Bobby’s frustration as ours, they had somehow managed to misplace or lose what was magical about those early recordings.
After that, for me they faded in and out of view, peaking with Screamadelica (simultaneously managing to transcend and pinpoint the times) and grounding themselves at the bottom of the Atlantic with Give out but don’t give up. Their subsequent more politically motivated stuff has always seemed simplistic to me, holed below the waterline by being the lyrical equivalent of the Stooges’ noise, and far worthier of ridicule than that everlasting trio of perfect miniatures, ‘Velocity girl’, ‘It happens’ and ‘All fall down’.
From a resolutely 12 inch-oriented label came this far rarer double A side seven inch outing. In 1995 Beastie Boys’ keyboardist Mark Ramos Nishita produced an album of hit-and-miss musical vignettes, Mark’s keyboard repair, of which this was the highlight, pairing a scratchy but highly effective piece of organ-playing with a blue undertow of a groove, the music bracketed by seasoned audio of an American broadcaster talking about crickets. Be warned – once you’ve heard it, it won’t leave your brain, any more than the sound of a meadow full of crickets stridulating does. But allow Money Mark’s keyboard hooks in, and you will also learn how to tell the temperature by crickets, and that’s surely a valuable piece of knowledge in anyone’s book.
I’m half-tempted to call Alison Goldfrapp the thinking person’s Madonna, but that would make the Hampshire-raised, part-convent-educated singer’s musical path, with all its attendant dressing up in character, seem rather more calculated than I suspect it is (as well as being somewhat unfair on Madonna, who, whatever you think of her music and persona, has made an indelible mark not only on pop music but the world). Alison has chosen to live out a dramatized, heightened version of life through song, and – I imagine – proceeds more by instinct than design. In character, she has taken on the role of, among other things, little girl lost, femme fatale, strict mistress, and pagan priestess. Often she seems poised halfway between Weimar Republic hedonist and soft-focus ’70s romantic singer-songwriter, although her modernised versions of both of those stereotypes are more sophisticated and complicated than the past’s. Despite this sometimes bewildering array of Bowie-esque costume and character changes, it’s impossible to overlook just what a great, multifaceted voice she has. Both vulnerable and strong, breathy and clear, she can do so much with it, and it brings to life the visual aspects of her songs, whether you can see Alison performing them or not.
And just as she seems to be a woman of contradictions, so too Goldfrapp the duo. A pairing of opposites; of mystery, whim and caprice on the one hand and steadfastness, attention to detail and vision on the other. Very much choosing to take the back seat and let Alison glow in the spotlight, Will Gregory manages to be still more absent from Goldfrapp’s projected image than the Pet Shop Boys’ Chris Lowe. But his musical input is obviously key, and based on their output, you’d have to say it’s a partnership built to last. Purely speculatively, you might then quietly wonder to yourself whether it’s that longevity which in the past allowed Alison a psychological romantic freedom, assuming there’s no smoke without fire. But it’s probably unwise of the music critic to step into the realms of psychological analysis. And yet…
‘A & E’ is at once one of Goldfrapp’s prettiest and most enigmatic creations. It feels like a ballad, and yet halfway through it picks up speed and becomes a supercharged blue, the blue of the afternoon sky on the Saturday on which it’s set. When you look at the words on screen, there’s not a lot to them. But lyrics are inhabited by their singers, and Alison invests these – ‘I’m in a backless dress on a pastel ward, the shining’ – with both mystery (she doesn’t know how she got there) and a desperate sense of melancholy, or a melancholic sense of desperation (she’s feeling badly let down by her lover). The end result is a song not quite as bleak in its assessment of the state of play as ‘Black cherry’, in which Alison’s character knows very well how the end came about, because she was the one who blew it. ‘A & E’ is one step short of that; here there is no resolution. Lying in Accident & Emergency with your life flashing before you, before you are fixed up to go back out into it, is the perfect place to portray that purgatorial confusion.
Sometimes I wish I had a greater number of old soul sevens than I do. I’ve a few charity shop finds, but I was never sufficiently hooked to become a serious collector of northern soul rarities and the like.
This one came not via a charity shop, but was instead gifted to me by my mate Tim, who I think used to see it as his duty to rescue records he already had himself from languishing unloved in record or charity shop racks, when for the price of a few English pence, they could be set free and spinning on a friend’s turntable. And this was at a time when I don’t believe he had all that much in the way of spare English pence, so generosity as well as a record collecting obsession was at work there.
Tim will be pleased to know that this seven inch has seen a lot of stylus action over the years; both sides of the record – which also appear on the LP Contact – are a joy. ‘Suddenly it’s yesterday’ could easily have been a B/w, with its over-the-top spoken intro, strings, and backing vocals leading eventually into a sinuous, falling melody in the verse, and a knock-out chorus. The A side opens with drumming as dynamic and dramatic as you could wish, providing an irresistible platform from which Freda can launch her affirmative tale of joy; the perfect complement to the flipside’s wistful sorrow. Both are Holland-Dozier-Holland numbers, and more than a match for the quartet’s UK number one of the previous year, ‘Band of gold’.
‘You brought the joy’ is far from being the only piece of vinyl which has moved on a free transfer between our respective collections – I have Tim’s copy of Gene Clark’s No other, while I’m pretty sure he has mine of Kevin Rowland’s solo LP The wanderer (and just to be clear, Tim, it’s on loan to you in perpetuity). If we put our minds to it, I’m sure we could recall others. So this 45 is a nod to the friendships that spring up around music; a tip of the hat to that pre-internet network of vinyl obsessives whose enthusing, mix tapes and gifts did as much as if not more than John Peel to shape my musical taste.