Courtesy Of The BMX Bandits

Alex Chilton sings Carly Simon ! I know, I trawl the Y-tube so you don’t have to. The BMX Bandits & Teenage Fanclub both got to know & play with their powerpop idol in the 1990s. Alex asked Duglas T Stewart, the head Bandit, if he knew the song & promised to send him it on tape. Back home Alex could not find the record so got a couple of friends round and recorded his own version. So here it is.

Duglas T spent 3 years producing a tribute LP “Caroline Now. The Songs of Brian Wilson & the Beach Boys”. This is one of my favourite songs of the band (tho’ there is a long list). It is written by Dennis Wilson & first appeared on the “Holland” LP before Dennis recorded a solo version which was released on the whistles & bells, expanded edition of the extraordinary “Pacific Ocean Blue”. It is sung by Norman Blake off of the Teenage Fannies &, of course, the love & respect for the music shines brightly.

Blimey, I need to hear a bit more of that record. There’s a Kim Fowley track & one by the David Ritchie Coalition who, I think, is my new F-book friend…who knew ! (I have found this track, “Good Timin'” & it’s a belter). OK as 3 is the magic number I need another clip & as I have been looting the BMX Bandit’s stash for my own ends I must include one of the bands more recent appearances. This is “Disco Girl”.  I could add the obligatory should have beens and the injustice of overlooked talent but I only want to say that I enjoy the BMX Bandits, their music makes me feel good.

Judge A Song By Its Cover

My new friend & fellow blogger Mr Dave StrangeWorld loves the early music of the Rolling Stones & he likes his 80s rock chicks. So, I hope that this combination of the two is to his liking.

Ellen Foley’s first turn around was on a duet with Meatloaf. For the next few years all the moves she made were a lot cooler than that. “Stupid Girl” is a cover from her first LP “Night Out” (1979) & it’s a spirited charge at the Stones’ song. It’s a pity that the studio band were not playing with her because the sight of Ian Hunter & Mick Ronson, who produced the record, crunching into a Stones riff would be just the ticket. Any chance to hear Ronson play the guitar is one to be taken &, to be honest, is the most interesting thing about this LP.

For Ellen’s next LP “Spirit of St Louis” (1981) her then boyfriend, Mick Jones off of the Clash, took over the production. It is the lost Clash record, the band played on all the tracks & there are 5 Strummer – Jones songs on there. Again that reads better than it sounds but there will be no more Clash LPs so it is worth checking out. Ms Foley tried a little too hard to make it & she never found her own space. Her 3rd, & final record was made back in the USA with Vini Poncia, the man who bore some responsibility for prolonging the career of Kiss. I suppose that after “Sandanista”-era Clash the only way is down.

After that double whammy I will try for the triple. You can reach the Dave’sStrangeWorld blog by hitting the link on my “blogs I follow” list. There you will also find the Pop Goes That Crunch ! blog. Dave & Pop are both admirers of  Alex Chilton, a teenage pop star singer with the mighty Box Tops before forming Big Star, a band that made a wonderful noise that few people bought. Between these two groups Alex hung around Memphis recording studios & experimented with different voices, different sounds. He was still only 19 but had been burned enough by the music business to be cynical beyond his years. These tracks, cut in 1970, were not released until 1996. Some are wryly humorous (“I Want To Meet Elvis”), on others he is drunk (a cover of the Beatles “I’m So Tired”) & then there is “Jumping Jack Flash”.

This is the Big Star sound he was looking for. A combination of drive & melody which evokes the best of 60s British rock but has its own thing going on. The fluidity of Chilton’s guitar work is a thing of beauty & this cover, like the best of the band’s work, makes you go “Oh Boy! This is how it is done”. Every rock music writer ever has said their piece about Big Star. All I want to add is that halfway through their classic songs you go, Whoa ! if only all music was this good. My favourite Stones cover I think.

Chris Farlowe was one of Andrew Loog Oldham’s first signings to his Immediate label. Of the 11 singles he released 5 were Jagger – Richards songs. A driving soul version of “Think”, where Mick can be heard on backing vocals, got his face known before “Out of Time” gave him a UK #1 hit. He was getting first shot at these songs, in some cases releasing them before the Stones versions. Oldham & Jagger were producing his records & he seemed well set. “Ride On Baby” was the follow up to “Out of Time” & it just missed the Top 30. There were some quality singles to follow but it was the groups that carried the swing in 1967. Chris hooked up with Colosseum & Atomic Rooster as a voice-for-hire on the prog-rock scene, he is still around & as leather-lunged as ever.

There are some great Stones covers, Alex Chilton, Merry Clayton’s “Gimme Shelter”, Ike & Tina’s “Honky Tonk Women”. There are the poor ones, Melanie’s “Ruby Tuesday”, Melanie’s “As Tears Go By”. Then there is the catastrophe that is “Wild Horses” by Susan Boyle. These are just 3 random covers of early Stones songs that I hope my new American music-loving friends will enjoy.