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Lost & Found: Graham Duff

Industrial, synthpop, kraut rock, fuzzy rock ‘n’ roll, punk, reggae, ethereal pop, funk and hip hop brilliants in new issue of endless pop music story by Graham Duff.

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David Bowie‘s third single, Bjork’s interpretation of Lou Reed’s iconic song ‘Sweet Jane’, Prince‘s song interpreted by Manchester’s Misty Dixon, a strangely deconstructed version of the rock ‘n’ roll classic, the cream of French down tempo hip hop remixed by Nightmares On Wax and more…

 

ENO & THE WINKIES – ‘Totalled’ (1974)

From the 1974 radio session for John Peel, this is an early version of the song which would become ‘I’ll Come Running’ on Eno’s ‘Another Green World’ album of the following year. At this stage, the song has yet to develop its reflective mood and distinctive stop start structure and is much more of a rock song. The lyrics are quite different too, including the lines:

“I’m gonna waste the rest of my days,
To all the dreadful things you might ask me,
Condemned to life as an ashtray.”

IMMERSION – ‘Always The Sea’ (2016)

From their new album ‘Analogue Creatures Living On An Island’, which sees the group returning after a 17 year hiatus. Immersion create a kind of electro-kosmiche which draws inspiration from German pioneers such as Cluster and Popol Vuh.

THROBBING GRISTLE – ‘AB/7A’ (1978)

Way ahead of the curve as usual, this is electronic music which pulses and glides with a real sense of excitement. Credited to Throbbing Gristle, this is in fact a solo recording by TG’s Chris Carter.

DURUTTI COLUMN – ‘Jacqueline’ (Live) (1988)

I think ‘Jacqueline’ is one of guitarist Vini Reilly’s most exquisite compositions. In this extemporised version, Bruce Mitchell’s fluid, expressive drumming is a virtual masterclass in how to use the brushes. But it’s around the 2:40 mark, when Reilly downs his guitar and essays an inspired roiling keyboard solo, that this performance truly hits the heights.

THICK PIGEON – ‘Subway’ (1982)

This is beautiful, glistening electronica. Vocals come courtesy of Stanton Miranda, whilst band mate Carter Burwell would go on to score numerous films, including the majority of the Coen Brothers outings. Best line:

“Boys like to urinate in the corners,
All over the concrete.”

DOUG ASHDOWN – ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On’ (1969)

Australian Doug Ashdown is better known for his more folk styled recordings. But here, he presents a strangely deconstructed version of the rock ‘n’ roll classic. The result is something fuzzy, edgy and intimate, which sounds light years ahead of its time.

DAVY JONES & THE LOWER THIRD – ‘You’ve Got A Habit of Leaving Me’ (1965)

David Bowie’s third single is a punchy mod soul workout, produced by Shel Talmy. The thrashy Who-inspired middle eight, which kicks off around 0:47 is a thing of great joy, with Graham Rivens’ bass guitar runs being particularly thrilling.

SOPHIA GEORGE – ‘Girlie Girlie’ (1985)

This hard working ray of sunshine was a number one hit in Jamaica, and also made the charts in several European countries. It would later be covered by Blondie. But nothing beats this. Sadly, despite popular belief, the lyrics do not contain any references to Curly Wurlys. The opening lines being:

“Young man, you too girlie girlie
You just flash it ’round the worldie.”

ANTENA – ‘Achilles’ (1982)

Stand out track from the French/Belgian synthpop trio’s debut album ‘Camino Del Sol’. The band would go on to produce further albums and Isabelle Antena (real name Isabelle Powaga) would record a string of solo albums, but nothing really topped the ice cool delicacy of this.

DANGEROUS GIRLS – ‘Dangerous Girls’ (1978)

Punk/reggae single from Birmingham’s Dangerous Girls. They released several singles, however they never topped this, their debut. Many punk bands appropriated reggae and dub into their sound. But this is an early example of a band developing their own take on reggae influences rather just aping the style.

CRASS – ‘Sentiment (White Feathers)’ (1982)

Musically, CRASS were frequently extremely abrasive and challenging. But here they are in a more gentle mode. This is a beautiful piece from the epochal ‘Christ – The Album’.

THE SUGARCUBES – ‘Sweet Jane’ (1986)

A lean and sprightly version of one of the Velvet Underground’s most iconic songs. Bjork’s interpretation of Lou Reed’s conversational lyrics really works, and the way she throws away the line “And me, I’m in a rock ’n’ roll band” is so beautifully judged I could listen to her say it all day.

THE AVENGERS – ‘The American in Me’ (1978)

Hailing from San Francisco, The Avengers’ take on punk was direct and streamlined, with Penelope Huston’s unaffected vocals delivering crisp and insightful lyrics. You have to love a chorus which goes:

“Ask not what you can do for your country,
but what your countrys’ been doing to you.”

JEWEL-T – ‘I Like It Loud’ (1988)

Sharp and brash hip-hop from the golden year of 1988. The key sample is from Bob James’s “Take Me to the Mardi Gras” and the rap has some great lines including…
“The Walls of Jericho can’t take my scenario.” And the fate tempting…
“You hear loud music every jam I enter,
Speakers stand tall like the World Trade Centre.”

JUSTIN WARFIELD – ‘Fisherman’s Grotto’ (1993)

Warfield released the superb album ‘My Field Trip to Planet 9’, containing this and numerous other inventive tracks. He went on to collaborate with Bomb The Bass amongst others, then he lost his way. Which is a real shame, because for a while, his Burroughsian vision of hip hop was one of the most exciting sounds around.

LA FUNK MOB – ‘Ravers Suck Our Sound’ (N.O.W. Remix) (1994)

The cream of French down tempo hip hop. There were numerous mixes of this, but Nightmares On Wax’s iteration takes the prize. From a period when the Mo’ Wax label could do no wrong.

LIFE WITHOUT BUILDINGS – ‘The Leanover’ (2000)

Sue Tompkins is one of those vocalists you either adore or find deeply irritating. Her lyrics and her delivery sound like stream of consciousness. But they are tightly structured. I think she’s very special indeed. The band released just three singles, an album and a live album. Every one of them is worth tracking down, but this song is definitely somewhere in my top 20.

TALVIN SINGH & LEONE – ‘Distant God’ (1997)

Languid and sensual, Leone’s slowly uncoiling vocal floats effortlessly above Talvin Singh’s spacious and sensitive arrangement. A one off track from the compilation album ‘Soundz of the Asian Underground’.

MISTY DIXON – ‘Beautiful Ones’ (2003)

Prince’s song interpreted by Manchester’s Misty Dixon, featuring vocals from the sublime Jane Weaver. This gives me goosebumps every time.

UGLY DUCKLING – ‘Potty Mouth’ (2003)

The creators of many, many great hip hop tracks, here Ugly Duckling get extra funky.

September 20, 2016

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