Monday, May 25, 2015

Everybody Up! 4 - It Tastes Just Like *CHERRY* Cola

1-12. THE STOOGES "1969"

Here we fucking go!  The Psychedelic Stooges were part of Motor City's group of fantastic turn of the seventies rock acts, along with the MC5 and later Alice Cooper, who is oddly absent from this collection despite having a) definite glam links and b) some excellent tunes.

This is one of a number of tracks (about seven out of eight) on their debut album that are very tightly controlled up to a point, then go ape crazy at the end; second album "Fun House" dispensed with the tightly controlled bits altogether, and "Raw Power"...  Good lord, "Raw Power".  But that's another matter altogether.

An excellent blast of proto-punk, certainly, and from an act who took stage performances to a more theatrical level via Iggy's antics, its inclusion here essentially seems to hinge on their "Bowie Mates" status; a shame, really, as it doesn't seem massively relevant beyond that, which is a bit of a sad way to think of a brilliant song.

As we're about to find out, perceived relevance to the box's subject is a bit of an issue with the next few tracks - though I am at pains to refer you to the opening entry of this series, which did state that their relevance wouldn't be questioned, this is definitely a series of tracks that could have been lent extra context from tracks that could have been selected but for whatever reason were not, or where the artists may have been better represented by other selections.  Again, it's all opinion - try not to take it too seriously.

1-13. THE KINKS "Lola"

And speaking immediately of which, here's a tune whose subject matter seems to have bought its berth, rather than being part of the featured musical lineage, which other Kinks songs may have fitted more comfortably into - "You Really Got Me", for instance, though its lazy (whilst probably true) assumed status as the genesis of heavy metal tends to rule it out of other considerations.

The problem here, said the lazy journalist, is that because of the two controversies of the lyrics - one being the Coca-Cola vs Cherry Cola storm in a teacup, the other the acknowledgement of transexuality/transvestism on a mainstream pop record, there's been an awful lot of writing about what is a perfectly serviceable but not musically ambitious record, meaning that I'll have to cut this particular entry short.  Please accept the following picture of a weasel with our apologies.

1-14. HOTLEGS "Neanderthal Man"

Hotlegs are the answer to a question nobody asked: "what did 10CC do before they were 10CC?". 

Loping along on a repetitive beat, showing a lack of imagination that would not be out of place from a Neanderthal man...  Hang on, is that what they were trying to do?  Did they invent hipster irony thirty-some odd years early?  The world must know!

That possibility aside, this is pretty bad.  Whilst it has merit as a musical curate's egg, given what the core staff would go on to achieve, I am of the unfortunate conclusion that this track marks the end of a good, if briefly Lou Reed-scarred, run of tracks; certainly the best we've had on the boxed set to date.  So, what powerhouse of pre-glam will we get to re-energise us in the run towards the end of disk one?

1-15. BURUNDI STEIPHENSON BLACK "Burundi Black Part Two"



Here we have a 1971 track featuring the drumming of Burundi's Ingoma people, which would later influence seemingly everything Malcolm McLaren did post-Pistols.  It...  Well, it doesn't seem very relevant.  I think some parallels are trying to be drawn here between the hypnotic, beat-perfect rhythms often employed by glam drummers and those used here, but it doesn't exactly ring true.

Whilst I know this is building to something, having listened to the other disks (um, spoilers, probably), I don't know what that is - "Tiger Feet", perhaps.  There were probably tracks that could have been picked that would have made the case for this one a bit better, and I was genuinely surprised that Adam and the Ants don't make an appearance later, but that's not the set we got - so sadly I must consider this largely irrelevant.

1-16. CURVED AIR "Back Street Luv"

OK; much better.  This kicks off with a mysterious space-rock intro and verse that I wish someone would play to Muse, though they're probably too busy making a new piece of iPad software to turn their spindly indie also-ran tunes into lost Queen songs, before shifting seamlessly into a higher tempo chorus - or what passes for a chorus, as the song is at the edge of traditional structure.

It's pretty damn good, which surprised me; I'm not sure if was getting them mixed up with someone else, but I distinctly remember looking at the back of the box and thinking 'Curved Air?  I don't like Curved Air', with all the whininess of the barge driver from "Rosie and Jim" forlornly discovering that his mischievous woollen golems had tricked him into purchasing toffee yoghurt.

Bizarrely, this single got to number 4 in the UK singles chart, and none of their other singles did anything at all, though being in the psyche/prog end of things their albums were probably the main focus.  If they take nothing else away from their career, they can at least say that a beleaguered blogger compared them favourably to Muse, and thanks them for breaking the cycle of odd inclusions; the space-age futurism employed here would definitely have an influence on glam, and it is definitely a good song.  Hooray!  Closing on a high!

Join us next time for Love, Luv and Fanny.  And two others that don't form a part of a tenuous, childish piece of humour.  (More's the pity)