Friday, 30 August 2013

Bhundu Boys - Glastonbury 1989

 Today would have been Uncle John's 74th birthday. In a similiar vein (well, actually there's no similiarity whatsoever, but I shall continue with the analogy regardless) to the Israelites roasting an unfortunate member of their cattle entourage as a sacrificial offering to The Gods for guiding them safely through their meandering journey towards Canaan, here is an audio offering that will hopefully reach and please the ears in the great bearded DJ booth in the sky.

Fans may have been polarised over the "Euro-friendly" production values of major label debut album Jit Jive, but live the Bhundus were still a force to be reckoned with, attracting large ecstatic dance-crazy crowds who made your average raver look like they were merely fannying about on a bouncy castle.

For a band whose music evinced unprecedented heights for highness of life it is painful and confounding to think of their well-documented tragic demise. Within five years of this performance three of the five band members were dead: two succumbing to Aids; lead singer and main songwriter Biggie Tembo, whose mental health deteriorated following his 1990 sacking, would take his own life while incarcerated in a Harare psychiatric hospital.

Peel famously shed tears upon first witnessing the Bhundus live experience on their debut UK tour of 1986. Death and poignancy looms large in this post and may bring a lump to the throat, but just one listen to this excellent quality performance is life-affirming and will eke out the last dregs of sunshine before summer fades into autumn once more.

Jit Jive

Both Bhundus Peel sessions are available on Youtube.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Wolfhounds - Peel Sessions 1986-88

Another eighties indie combo recently liberated from the cryogenics lab, the Wolfhounds create(d) their own inimitable brand of abrasive pop - Byrdsian jingle jangle played on Dragnet-era Fall guitars, mixed in with strangulated riffs and intelligent, socially-observant lyrics egested by the nasal operatics of Dave Callahan.

The first two Peel sessions have been bandied about blogsville in recent years, but the second session (in my humble opinion) is the best quality I've come across so far. For a long time I'd thought I must have imagined the final session from 1988 as it's not listed on the Keeping It Peel site and had never seen it on t'net until it magically appeared last November on the excellent Did Not Chart. I've unashamedly purloined those files and edited out the Peelspeak, plus raised the pitch a tad as the originals sounded a little slow to me. But if you diagree, click on the above link to hear the original files.

Anti-Midas Touch
Hand In The Till
Whale On The Beach

Boy Racers
Disgusted, E7
Rule Of Tumb

Non-Specific Song
Happy Shopper
William Randolph Hearse
Son Of Nothing

* Update 5/13/2015: new files for 1987 session added.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Nightingales - Fighting Cocks, Birmingham 1983

Here is the final Nightingales live offering I have for you. I expect my readership figures to plummet drastically - The Gales gigs seems to pull in the punters. Although I do have one to two more Bogshed goodies stashed in the Maggot Caviar vaults that I hope to share with you, dear reader, before the year's out.

As with the 1982 set from the same venue I posted last year, audio quality is excellent. Also includes Ted Chippington's set - whether you own Big Print's 4cd box set Walking Down The Road or not, you won't have previously heard this.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Black-I-Ts - Madweadziva (LP 1991)

I can find no information about this obscure Zimbabwean group whatsoever, or this album released in 1991 on the RTP label (RTP 22.)

I purchased this record recently from Henry's in Burton-upon-Trent, quite possibly the last of the great second hand record shops still standing. Turns out the owner is a mate of one Andy Kershaw (he can be seen pictured on page 120 of Kershaw's book, No Off Switch) and recently bought his entire 4000+ vinyl collection, of which the above album is/was a part.

Dohwaka Iwe
Zvito Zvako
Karinga Wangu

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Presidents Of The United States Of America - The Studion, Stockholm 29/3/1996

As the eighties drew to a close and the shambling C86sters ceased sucking on mummy's tit to get proper jobs to pay off debts accrued by commercial failure, and with most ravers either institutionalised or in morgues, the dawn of the nineties was largely the domain of workshy grungers (dressed, somewhat conversely, as lumberjacks or construction labourers) who ponced of their hard working girlfriends and wrote songs about how crap their lives were to pass time until their dealers arrived with a fresh batch of exotic phrmaceuticals. The UK's antidote to all this was to sing about daily life in Britain, including subjects on obese people dossing on park benches in the sarf and stoned dole-spongers walking down hallways faster than cannonballs.

Enter the Presidents Of The United States Of America who roused the nineties youth from teen torpor with songs about tinned fruit, unidentifiable species of pondlife, beach transportation and cocaine-snorting frogs and their curious musical instrument hybrid of guitbasses and bassitars.

At the time of this session, PUSA were pop picking their to prosperity in the UK charts with Lumps. Debut album, originally released on a small independent label, was snapped up by Colombia and went on to sell several million copies worldwide.

The group would split up soon after the release of overlooked second album "II" in 1997, but in the noughties have periodically reunited for packed out tours and the odd album or two, most recently in 2008.

TV Eye
Kick Out The Jams
Lunatic To Love
Feather Pluckn/Baby, You're A Rich Man
Bug City
Boll Weevil
Naked and Famous
Man (Opposable Thumb)
Dune Buggy
Back Porch
Feel Like Makin' Love/Peaches

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Jasmine Minks - Living Room, London 8/6/1984

The Jasmine Minks were perhaps the great white hopes on the early roster of the fledgling Creation label. Legend (i.e. bullshit) has it that Alan McGee discovered the group after hearing sweet sounds emanating from a damp 'n fusty garage in the bad part of town and signed them on the spot.

Debut single Think! was released in spring 1984, the fourth Creation 7" and the first that wasn't a shambling vanity project of McGee's mates. Despite the giro-budget quality of the recording which didn't do the song justice, it seems the Minks were ahead of the pack when it came to songcraft and musicianship, and with the unique and distinctive soulful voice of Jim Shepherd, a singer who could REALLY sing.

However, on the night of this gig, McGee would prioritise his passions towards a young, undernourished bunch of social misfits from East Kilbride: The Jesus and Mary Chain.

By the end of 1984, The Minks would have the distinction of having the first non-various artists album released on Creation, albeit in the form of the ubiquitous mini-lp, which contained just six song, including both sides of second single Where The Traffic Goes.

A proposed Spiral Scratch-inspired 4 track ep was recorded and then left languishing in the vaults for several months, eventully surfacing in summer 1985 as What's Happening with just two tracks. Towards the end of the year they began recording their debut lp, originally titled Everybody's Got To Grow Up Sometime. However, McGee was unhappy with some of the songs, and the eponymously-titled album which emerged in spring 1986 was re-sequenced with two songs (Cold Heart, Forces Network) that had been recorded over a year prior to the album's release.

Adam Sanderson quit the group soonafter, but the group remained loyal to Creation and released another two albums by the end of the decade before going on an extended hiatus throughout the nineties. In 2012, the original line up reformed playing a handful of gigs, and recently have been recording new songs at home, some of which are available on Soundcloud via their Facebook page.

I've not previously stumbled upon any Jasmine Minks live recordings on t'net, and while this audience recording is decent enough, there is a distinct lack of bass. Highlights of the tape include two unreleased Minks originals, Cold Logic and Don't Wait Too Long, plus a cover of We The People's In The Past. You can almost count the number of people in attendance by the sparsity of applause. In addition to JAMC, The Loft were also on the bill - presumably recordings of these sets must exist in someone's stair cupboard somewhere.

The Thirty Second Set Up
What's Gone Wrong
Work For Nothing
In The Past
Somers Town
Mr. Magic
Cold Heart
Cold Logic
Don't Wait Too Long
Where The Traffic Goes

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Pigbros - The Mermaid, Birmingham 8/5/1987

Formed in Birmingham in 1984 by former Hysterics-era Nightingales guitarist Nick Beales, Svor Naan (sax, ex-Cravats), Jonathan Cooke (bass) and a teenage Fuzz Townsend who would enjoy commercial success later with Pop Will Eat Itself and Bentley Rhythm Ace.

Between 1985-87 Pigbros released four 12" eps and one lone long player during their brief career, as well as recording two sessions for the John Peel show. However, with the odd exception, none seemed to capture the excitement and intensity as their live shows, as this excellent audience recording will hopefully demonstrate.

Their sound conjured up images of a group perfrming in a disused warehouse on an isolated, vacated industrial estate post-Orwellian nightmare. The bari(mono)tone of Nick Beales vocal delivery sounded like Ian Curtis impersonating a heavy smoking Dalek with binary coded lungs saturated in phlegm! However, any permeation of pervading doom was lightened with the powerhouse - at times funky - grooves of Fuzz Townsend.

In fact the group were not adverse to dabbling with showmanship; whenever it was time to play Excessive, Fuzz would bring a tin bath onto the stage to bash out the rhythms on.

Like Bogshed, Pigbros have yet to receive the digital reissue treatment and were disappointingly not included on the recent Scared To Get Happy box set.

Many thanks to Paul Symons from The Yeah Yeah Noh Ropey Audio Emporium for the recording.

Past Caring
Face Of Baby
In Doubt
Still Goes On
Immensity Home
Hedonist Hat
Cheap Life
War Food
Word Up

Both the group's Peel sessions are available to download @ Cliff Richard's Neck