Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Show

She Moves In Her Own Way by The Kooks could well be one of just a handful of great songs that mention the whole business of song writing or The Show. "Saw her at my show on Monday…She came to my show just to hear about my day…At my show on Tuesday…." (That King Kook is a virtual Craig David when it comes down to days of the week)

It 's a terrific record though, with a great natural sounding beginning, as first the acoustic, electric and then bass and drums just slide into the song. The vocals are a bit mannered (I'm a bit sceptical about whether he really is a "better mon, moving on to better things") but the whole thing just sounds so joyful that I'm happy to spend the rest of the summer with it. Also for some reason it also reminds me of those bouffanted berks the Alessi Brothers and their Oh Lori.

Alas, thinking about songs that include references to The Show or Songwriting can take the discerning listener to some nasty places. When Spandau Ballet sang "Why do I find it so hard to write the next line" in True, my skin crawls (in a bad way) and by the time they get to the line "With a thrill in my heart and a pill on my tongue", well it's a Rennie that's on my tongue. Nauseous and noxious. Talking of which…Rainbow's All night Long has the stinker
"I know you've not come just to see the show…..I see you standing by the stage your black stockings and your see through dress"…. Fortunately Rodger Glover's sole concession to dressing up is wearing a hat.

It's not all bad though. Red Hot Chilli Peppers By The Way has "Standing in line to see the show tonight" as a line but also has an unfeasibly good chorus.

Both Robbie Williams and Queen have released songs called Let Me Entertain You. They're both Show related, but even without that clue, you just know that what mattered the most to both Rob and Fred, was that the world knew them as ultimate entertainers and performers. I was always baffled though as to how Robbie's Strong could have a verse that started so well and yet ended so badly
"Early morning when I wake upI look like Kiss but without the make up
And that's a good line to take it to The bridge"

Is it just down to the genre though? Apart from the Adverts One Chord Wonders, Punk bands never sung about The Show, whereas for the times when metal bands aren't singing about trolls then they're singing about Rockin'…. probably at The Show.

I can only think of one 60's soul record that does it, Warren Lee's Star Revue, however Rap acts do seem happier singing about The Show. From Schoolly D Getting Paid ("Don't give me that shit about after the show") to Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince's Boom! Shake The Room (I think he may also have wanted to " Ooh-ahh-ahh-ahh-ahh--ooooh!)
Public Enemy had Yo! Bum Rush The Show, but the final word has to go to Doug E Fresh's The Show. Simply for the reason that it's called The Show…sadly I can't remember anything else about it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Good point about their cover of Walk on by. It would be in my list of all time great cover versions even allowing for bolting Light My Fire by theDoors into the twiddly mid section meanderings. Loved Hugh Cornwall's vocals on the original line up's version

They really were a band who really were both loved and loathed. I was a big fan at 13 and so didn't actually notice the sexism. I did like horrible sounding aggressive music though. As a band they always just seemed unbelievably popular in small towns. It's that suburban shock value with great tunes. Girls liked them too. I know plenty of people who started playing bass (me included) because of JJ Burnell's bass sound.

I still play the first Lp and I'm still impressed by just how nasty the band sounded. A horrible scratchy guitar sound and ferocious bass. Sarky, unpleasant and with the smell of a possible beating. They sounded like a night in a hostel. In hindsight they sounded as unlovable as their personalities probably were.

I remember taping a John Peel session with tracks that would turn up on Rattus Norvegicus and having Hanging Around swirling round my head next day at school dinners. Also how about this for a 1977 combination? An In Concert feature on Radio 1 featuring half an hour of The Stranglers coupled with a half hour set by Dave Edmunds Rockpile.

The quality nose-dived after their third album Black and White, but you have got to salute them though for making the very silly (it's also very dire) Meninblack album before alien conspiracy theories really took off. Bet they didn't play anything off it though? Bet the audience were gladthey didn't too. Interesting thing about their vocalist turnover. Their last singer PaulRoberts was with them for longer than Hugh Cornwall. I once heard an interview when JJ Burnell complained that when Hugh left the band he did it over the phone rather than telling him face to face. I think it was for the same reason that no one ever told JJ to turn his bass down. JJ... HE WAS SCARED OF YOU