Monday, May 05, 2008

The Mod Squad

The Fileden account is up and running again, so I thought that I may as well take advantage of it before the bandwidth gets busted again.

Inspired by the accompanying election photo from Derek Wall's Another Green World blog, where it looked like Kevin Cummins* had been drafted in to do the publicity shots for the Green Party candidates at the recent London Elections, I thought I'd post three brilliant tunes from the second and third wave of Mod.

It's a tenuous link but, what the hell, it's my bastard blog and I get to conjure up the tenuous links and the *sampled* tracks and when I spotted the photo I couldn't help thinking 'Mod Squad'. A not so good remake from the last century.

The "fragrant" Sian Berry in the Claire Danes role (stick a Party Rosette on a good looking person and watch the political blogosphere overheat); Aled Fisher in the Giovanni Ribisi role (full of youth, snot and a haircut he can't quite carry off) and Alex Goodman standing in for Omar Epps ('cos if you want a Black Green Party Candidate, you have to travel stateside).

Tell me the PR Dept of the Green Party was thinking otherwise, and I've got a Basic Income Scheme I'd like to sell you.

I'm not going to try and match the tracks to the candidates. I'll just say that if the Green Party was half as good as the following tunes, I might even be tempted to tear up my party card and go over to the green side.

  • Makin' Time - 'Eating Up The Cold' mp3

  • Listen to the pipes on Fay Hallam. Absolutely brilliant, and up there with vocals of Big Sound Authority's Julie Hadwin from the same period. (85-87). Best known for the fact that it was The Charlatans' Martin Blunt's first band, 'Makin' Time were sadly a band out of time. Five years earlier and they would have blown the likes of Secret Affair and The Chords out of the water. Five years later and Tim Burgess would still be flipping burgers in a service station off of the M61.

    My one quibble about Makin' Time is that - akin to the aforementioned Big Sound Authority - they would switch up the lead vocals between the boy and girl. In Makin' Time's case, the vocal duties were shared between Fay Hallam and Mark McGounden, and when it's McGounden who is grabbing the mic it doesn't really grab me in quite the same way.

    More details about Makin' Time are available here. Fay Hallam's still shouting out the tunes, and the Fay Hallam Trinity MySpace page is at the following link.

  • The Prisoners - 'Reaching My Head' mp3

  • Despite the fact that they ticked all the right musical boxes, the second best band to ever come out of The Medways, The Prisoners, never really did it for me. Never thought their musical output matched up to the classics that they were obviously inspired by.

    Stumbled across 'Reaching My Head' years ago on an old NME compilation tape that I bought for a couple of quid in a charity shop and it is by far my favourite Prisoners track. No idea if it was especially recorded for the compilation - such musical geekery is not available on the blog - but the energy of Graham Day's vocals and James Taylor's organ playing is head and shoulders above any other Prisoners track that I've ever heard.

    (As an aside, one musical geekoid fact that i did discover on my extensive internet travels for this post is that Graham Day married Fay Hallam. As Karl Marx should have said, 'First time as tragedy, second time as the director's cut of Quadrophenia'.)

    The low down on The Prisoners is written up over here, and you can sample further Prisoners tunes over at a fan page set up for them over at - you've guessed it - MurdochSpace.

  • Squire - 'Stop That Girl' mp3

  • I've only just discovered Squire so apologies in advance for the following embarrassing exhibition of gushing admiration.

    Where the bastard hell have this band been all my life? A band this good but this undiscovered suggests that something must have been amiss. A visual thing, perhaps? Maybe Squire made Graham Parker, Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello come off as good looking bastards by comparison. We are in the shallow waters of pop music, after all. Mod journalist, Chris Hunt, provides a few answers here, and the photographic evidence suggests that Squire weren't smeared by Smash Hits' ugly stick. Just a catalogue of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tempted to suggest that they were the SPGB of the pop world but we've never been this tuneful. Not even in the early years when Marie Lloyd was a member of Elephant and Castle branch.

    They're best known for the track, 'Walking Down The Kings Road', - that being the track that appears on all the Mod compilations - but, despite the crisp guitars, the lyrics are a tad too gimmicky for my taste. 'Stop That Girl' is more to my liking but you can't go far wrong with checking out the compilation 'Big Smashes' for a whole fistful of modern(ish) mod classics from the musical brain of Anthony Meynell.
    Usual final paragraph: check out the MySpace page for a taster of other Squire tracks. 'My Mind Goes Round In Circles' is especially fine.


    It's not just the case that I've been neglectful in my duties in putting up my various blogrolls on the new template. I also need to permanently place the following disclaimer on the page again:

    The Secret Melody of the Class Struggle's policy on the mp3s posted

    As well as the rants about politics and footie, I do from time to time post mp3s on the blog. These are for sampling purposes only, and are only up for a limited time. I hope that you like the songs as much as I do, and support the artists featured by buying their albums, DVDs and coffee table books.

    Any bands or artists featured who don't want their music to be associated with bad taste in politics and dodgy football shorts, please email me and I'll take the mp3s down pronto. No hard feelings at my end, and *cough* thank you for the music.

    * I'm guessing that Kevin Cummins wasn't available for this other Green Party photo op from the elections just passed.


    Martin Wisse said...

    "such musical geekery is not available on the blog"


    Darren said...

    When it comes to musical geekery, it's just like my revolutionary politics: I'll always be a part-timer.