One Dove’s lost second album?

One Dove were a band who in 1993 should have been enormous, but through a series of problems, mainly caused by the record company you wanted them to sound nothing like the dreamy dub/pop/indie/dance fusion sound they’d become known for. Also there were a load of great new bands flying around in 1993 in those pre-Britpop years and just after the early 90’s Grebo scene started dying out. It was a crowded time but for me One Dove gave me the soundtrack of a great summer in Bristol in 1993.

That summer was hot, sunny and brilliant. It felt like something was brewing, but we didn’t know what yet however we lived in the time and fuck me it was fun. And One Dove was my music of choice that summer as I played that first album to death. Sadly the album flopped though a cult following did emerge, and for a brief time in 95/96 there were rumours of a second album but nothing happened as by now the band had split up with vocalist Dot Allison going off to sing with the likes of Massive Attack.

So last week this video below popped into my YouTube feed. It isn’t an actual second album but is made up of demo tracks so there’s some rough edges which a good producer would iron out, however it sounds glorious in places. Untouched is a lost classic as is Stay, though the latter track is still a bit rough at the edges but that adds to the charm. Had this been released in 96/7 it’d have been swallowed up by the fagend of Britpop when crap like Kula Shaker and Mansun were an actual thing.

I’m amazed to find this though after decades of trying (I once spent a day going through Napster once trying to find a rumoured copy of the second album) so join with me and enjoy what could have been…

Debbie Harry was once a hippy

Whenever I think of Debbie Harry it’s her in her Blondie years looking and sounding like complete perfection. Even though I’ve seen here play only in the last decade or so I still think of her in her prime.

Before this she tried her hand in almost everything, but she started her mnusical career in a band called Wind in the Willows back in the 60’s and still very much a flower child. This 1968 album is a kitch mix of 60’s folk rock (I mean there’s a fucking kazoo on one track) but there’s a few good tunes however this is very much an album of its time. There is no other year in history this album could have been released.

The album is a confused oddity but a a bit of musical history it’s worth a listen. Just skip the kazoos…

Nothern Soul Girl meets The Joker

Levanna McLean made a name of herself seven years ago with this still gloriously joyous video of her dancing to Happy by Pharell Williams in the streets of Bristol. Since then she’s carved a niche for herself as the UK’s leading promoter of Northern Soul to a new generation which is quite fantastic. She’s become quite the minor celbrity in Bristol, and her latest video is just a stroke of bloody genius as she becomes Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker from last year’s film but on Christmas Steps in Bristol. Last time I went down those steps I was heroically drunk so it’s nice to see a decscent somewhat more graceful than mine.

So, here it is, enjoy…

Eddie Van Halen RIP

Eddie Van Halen has sadly passed away from cancer, which adds to the number of depressing things about 2020. I personally was never a huge Van Halen (the band) fan but you’d have to have a soul of brick not to love Eddie Van Halen’s ability with a guitar and what he could do with something people in his genre of rock could barely do. Van Halen (band and person) sat astride late 70’s rock and 80’s hair metal and really for someone like me who was a moody Indie Goth type I shouldn’t have likde his stuff but I did with of course what he did to Michael Jackson’s Beat It being a particular highlight.

Praise has to be laid to Jackson who took a large risk in fusing rock and pop which could have alienated his fans but instead it just introduced them to Van Halen. It’s one of the first big rock and black music crossovers in modern American music which is a lot more segregated than it was here in the UK.

But Van Halen could make guitars sing in a way few people can. Sure, there’s great guitarists and average guitarists can produce one or two great tunes, but Van Halen was someone who could bend the guitar to do what he wanted. in an age where a few tweaks on your laptop can produce a passing imitation the life, joy and soul he brought will be missed.

RIP Ennio Morricone

This one hurts because for all my life Ennio Morricone has soundtracked some of my favourite films. When I was young, I was allowed up late to watch A Fistful of Dollars and saw what is still once of the finest titles for a movie ever.

That music though was like nothing I’d heard before and I wanted more. When my parents said this was the first of three films I ensured I was allowed to stay up the next week for A Few Dollars More, however it was that third week with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly which blew my tiny little mind.

You knew from this opening credits score that you were in for something epic, something spectacular and you got something transcendent at the end of the film. I mean just look at what’s going on and story being told here, all made to work thanks to direction, editing and of course music.

Then I caught Once Upon a TIme in the West some months later. The end blew me away.

But Morricone could do whatever he wanted in terms to variety. Here’s the opening credits to Danger: Diabolik with him in full 60’s mode.

Over the years it quickly became clear Morricone was scoring some of my favourite films, and sure, he could raise rubbish up from the depths, but he could add quality to quality, or take an average film and raise it to something else.

By the time he starts scoring Hollywood films, he’s already scored dozens of films. IN fact by the mid-70s his C.V. is enormous, but the hits still keep coming. Take a low budget Italian Z-Grade Star Wars rip off called The Humanoid. It’s a terrible film, but the soundtrack is Morricone experimenting with things like synths in a way he might not have with something a bit more expensive, and better.

My favourite of this time is for John Carpenter’s The Thing, which starts to ramp up the tension right from the start.

After that there were classics for films like Once Upon a Time in America, The Untouchables and Bugsy. All classic scores which pull these films into being something else, but in recent years he’s been scaling back the amount of work he’s doing with The Hateful Eight being the last big score most people will remember him by.

He’ll be missed because he was so varied, so good and just a bloody genius. I mean, just listen to his theme for Space:1999 when they released some edited together episodes to make a film.

Watch the first ever Rage Against the Machine gig

Working on a few big blogs, but the glorious thing about diving into YouTube is finding little bits of history thanks to the site’s algorithm. And this is a cracker. Rage Against the Machine are an amazing band live who I’ve seen a load of times over the decades but here’s their first-ever live gig. It really is remarkable how fully formed they are at this stage even if a few songs are not quite there yet, so enjoy a wee bit of history.

Return to Glastonbury 1994

If there’s a year where Glastonbury Festival musically hit a height then a good argument can be made for the line-up in 1994.

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I’d previously skimmed over 1994 mainly because much of it was a blur to me, but over the seven years since writing that post more has returned to me, partly through conversations with people who were there with me and through watching the TV coverage that sneaks onto YouTube.

1994 was a year that fell into the badlands between the burst of Britpop just later that year and the mix of American bands like Rage Against the Machine, and British bands still riding the last wave of the ‘Second Summer of Love’ from 89/90. Contrary to modern versions of history of the time, the early 90’s were a glorious time for British bands who were diverse in genres, as well as their members. Britpop came along and crushed that with its bland white homogeny that it eventually became after the initial exciting period.

That year was a blur because of various chemical substances, but also because it was impossible not to spend that year dashing between stage and stage to see acts. It was exhausting! It also was the first year television filmed vast chunks of it with Channel 4 and MTV being everywhere, so you had to get used to boom cameras being waved in the collective faces of the audience.

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I seem to vaguely remember turning up on the Thursday, pitching in front of the Pyramid (which had burned down a fortnight before the festival to be quickly replaced by a standard big stage) before going on a big adventure. See, in those days you didn’t turn up on the Wednesday unless you were one of the hardcore, were working or you could afford that extra day. Also nothing was on, well, nothing organised but once you made your way to the Green Fields you’d find things, and on the way back home you’d try to avoid the dark, dodgy corners of the festival. Back then there was an issue with gangs fighting for their territory and that spilled over a few times that year, most notably during Elvis Costello’s set on the Saturday.

Being much younger and fitter then meant it didn’t take too long to get between stages, and as I’d basically decided to do my own thing rather than hang out with friends who were happy setting up for large chunks of the day in front of the Pyramid or NME stage. I wanted to explore the site, meet people, drink and be merry which judging by my muddled head 26 years later, I seemed to have done exceptionally well. So the Thursday night I went up to the Green Fields, sat around drinking, chatting, and all manner of things til daylight. I didn’t want to waste time sleeping but managed to grab a few hours before being woken up by the early morning soundchecks.

Friday was all about Rage Against the Machine who at this point were the band everyone wanted to see at the festival, and they turned in one of the finest performances Glastonbury ever saw. Outwith of them, everything else is a blur. I remember bits of The Pretenders, some Beastie Boys and being underwhelmed at World Party.

At some point on Saturday morning, I got some sleep somewhere in the Green Fields before waking up to be offered a cup of tea by a lovely young hippy girl. Apparently I’d ended up in one of the tea tents in the wee hours gibbering like a loon talking about comics with a Tank Girl clone. At some point I’d closed down, and they chucked a blanket over me so when I woke up a few hours later to the offer of a tea I was actually not in much of a mess as I should have been.  I must have wandered off at some point because my next clear memory is brushing my teeth back at the tent.

From what I remember, I spent most of the Saturday at the NME Stage mainly because Orbital were headlining and they could not be missed. Also I was a tad fragile plus I wanted to spend the night up at the Stone Circle, so Saturday I took it easy.

 

Again things are blurry but having enjoyed a brilliant festival so far, the Sunday looked to be a great final day but by now I don’t remember being myself as it were. I was lacking sleep (in thinking about it, I’d probably just about hit double figures. I did however want to see the sun come up and I’d arranged to meet the folk from the other night before heading to the Stone Circle. Thankfully this is 1994 and the Lord created speed so I managed to get my sunrise before getting some rest before the greatness of Johnny Cash.

From there it was a few more bands with Blur being one highlight before the now traditional final night wander around the site and the last night session which leads into an early return home, which in 1994 meant a long, sad drive back to Leicester and a vow that I’d try never to miss a Glastonbury Festival in my life, which was easy to say when you’re young and healthy.

These festivals will never return. Glastonbury has moved on to be something else which I still love, but it’s more curated, more organised and has long shed it’s major counter-cultural aspects though parts still linger on especially in the Green Fields. The more those times are documented before they get lost the more we’ll be able to appreciate what’s now gone forever.

Matt Hancock is the laughing death secretary

One of the many, many remarkable things about the UK government’s reaction to the coronavirus is how most of them look like they’re really not bothered about an estimated 60,000 dead and a confirmed 40,000 deaths. Top of the list is Health Secretary Matt Hancock who from the start of this crisis has been hopeless, but as the death toll rose he’s made himself even look worse by his complete lack of understanding.

Today he did an interview with Kay Burley, and it takes a hell of a lot for Burley to speak as a moral voice but she gave him enough rope to hang himself today.

I mean, what sort of sociopath do you need to be to laugh at perfectly reasonable questions and there’s 40,000 dead. Why make this face?

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What needs to be going through your head to think ‘ah fuck it, this is funny’ when England’s daily death toll is still in the hundreds?

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At what point does it go through a normal person’s head that this is fine, that this is a decent way to act when hundreds of people will die today and he’s sat at home having a laugh?

These people don’t care. 40,000 dead? So? They don’t care. They’re sociopaths.

Relive the 1980’s on MTV

The 1980’s is when the media landscape changed across the world, with the USA especially changing into a multi-channel future before much of the rest of the world. The channel which pretty much opened this new horizon for many was MTV, a channel which (and it isn’t hyperbole to say this) changed the world.

Many of you and I will have memories of MTV based upon late-night viewing sessions, whatever faded VHS tapes you might still have but really it’ll be what’s stuck up on YouTube. Well that changes now as someone has stuck a massive chunk of the channel’s output in the 1980’s up from the very first few hours through the 80’s and into the 1990’s. 

The sheer volume of material here is extraordinary, and this archive will keep anyone going so whether you want to see the first few hours after that first video by The Buggles, or Vincent Price introduce a Halloween special, or even all of Live Aid then dive in and be prepared to be lost for hours and hours.

RIP Andrew Weatherall

DJ, producer, writer, performer and musician Andrew Weatherall has died aged 56, which is far too young. Most folk will know him through his production of Primal Scream’s Loaded in 1990 but he wrote my life’s soundtrack for the early 90’s. I’ve touched upon this briefly before here.

I broke a tape replaying the first Sabres of Paradise album, Sabresonic, so much. The second one, Haunted Dancehall was the soundtrack to 1994 and of course Raise by Bocca Juniors in clubs in Bristol and London back in the day.

A Weatherall remix could earn you money, chart places and critical acclaim but for me the Weatherall project that welded itself to me was One Dove, their only album Morning Dove White and the song One Love.

I listen to that and I’m 20something walking into a club in Bristol hearing this shouting ‘WHO THE FUCK IS THIS?’ to a mate, who found out who it was, and that sparked me out in my mind as this was the sound in my head. Dot Allison’s vocals made everything perfect, while Weatherall’s guitar mix (he really was a great guitarist) is still a fucking tune and a half.

Weatherall mixed everything it seemed together to create glorious sounds, which as said, sometimes sounds exactly like what’s going on in my head. I could fill up pages and pages of his work but I’ll wrap up with a tune from Fuck Buttons, Surf Solar, which bizarrely ended up being used at the London Olympics in 2012. All those years dancing on the outskirts and suddenly his sounds are in the middle of one of the most establishment events out there.

Nobody will replace him. 56 is far too young and dear god, how badly will I miss his tunes…