Cover Me – Number 26

nusrat

Taa Deem – Asian Dub Foundation

Originally by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Following on from last weeks piece about how songs become acclaimed.  We will now take your Gloria Gaynor disco classic and raise you a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan career.   But before that a (very) brief lesson in Punjabi music.  Qawwali is the devotional music of the Sufi tribe (if tribe is the right word – ethics ed).  It fuses traditional Persian, Arabic, Turkish and Indian musical traditions, and that is all the three of us at TSOBO actually know about it.

Let’s go back to Nusrat and if you think that there was a lot of love for Gloria Gaynor, then stand by.  Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was widely known as ‘The Emperor of Qawwali’.  Largely because he brought Qawwali to a worldwide audience – by scoring various films (I say various I mean like 50), and releasing ground breaking music (some of which went Top 5 in the UK) and was the first person to have Urdu language song in the UK charts.

He is also widely considered to be the most important person of Qawwal descent that has ever lived.  Additonally the Japanese refer to him as the ‘Singing Buddha’.  He’s featured on a Google Doodle (actually Badger is getting one of those for his 52nd birthday, it is  surprise, don’t tell him), had films made about him and he has an entire building named after him in his native Faisalabad.

Beat that Gloria ‘Queen of Disco’ Gaynor.

‘Taa Deem’ was first released on Nusrat’s 1990 album ‘Mustt Mustt’ which was fact fans released on Peter Gabriel’s Real World Label.

The Asian Dub Foundation version first appeared on their seminal album ‘Community Music’ and is all kinds of wonderful over six minutes of Qawwali wailing, throbbing guitars, pounding drums and this fusion of rhythms. Marvellous.

Memory War

Officer XX

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Our Favourite Record Labels of All Time – Number 9

food

Food Records

Food Records was set up in the middle of the eighties and was the home to bands like Diesel Park West, Crazyhead, Brilliant and The Woodentops.  All bands that when I was in my late teens I should have been listening to, but I was instead listening to Annie Lennox being spooky and a bunch of other stuff that is best not admitted to.

The first CD single that SWC ever bought was on Food Records.  It was the CD single of ‘Real Real Real’ by Jesus Jones (FOOD24).  He’ll deny that until the cows come home (actually no I won’t – it cost me £1.50 from Rainham Records and had a decent remix as track three, which featured a sample telling you to “Put a Live Chicken in your underwear” – SWC) but its 100% true.

SWC told me this after a drunken night in Wakefield, when we were in a rubbish 80s retro bar on St Patricks Day (called the Mars Bar, if I remember rightly, it was called something different in the early nineties).  This was after I told him that I had played once played live in the same bar in around 1991 as the guitarist in a student indie covers band.

He asked me what tracks we covered and I admitted that we always used to open with a three guitar rock out version of ‘Info Freako’ by Jesus Jones, which sounds just as bad as the way I have described it. A thing that SWC later used in a piece he wrote over at the T(n)VV on imaginary band The Badgers.

‘Info Freako’ remains my favourite record ever released on Food Records, however, TSOBO Rule #7 states that “You must never ever post a track by any of the following indie bands Jesus Jones, Molly Halfhead, Blab Happy or Thousand Yard Stare” so I am contractually obliged to agree with that.

So here are my next three favourite releases on Food Records

This Is A Low – Blur (FOOD 57)

Stars – Dubstar (FOOD 61)

Beautiful Alone – Strangelove (FOOD 81)

Oh and a note from SWC “If anyone has a copy of FOOD 33 ‘Maniac’ by Sensitize that they want to share with him please get in contact in the normal way – thank you”.

Now all things being good, today is Friday.  Which means that on Monday as part of Record Label rundown, we are due a quiz….Yup….A Quiz on a Monday morning.  With a prize.

 

Our Favourite Record Labels of All Time – Number 10

XL records

XL Recordings

It is perhaps unbelievable to think that a label that is responsible for releasing music by Radiohead, The White Stripes, The Horrors, Vampire Weekend and of course, Adele, actually started out as a label dedicated to the releasing of rave and dance music.  It was XL that released the first Freez records, and the first SL2 records and the first Prodigy records.

Out of Space (XLT35)

This was probably because their founder Richard Russell was himself a member of rave act Kicks Like A Mule and enjoyed some chart success with ‘the Bouncer’ way back when.

Then of course around 2000 all that changed.  They relaxed their rave policy and started signing bands who they considered to be original and inventive which when you consider that by 2005 they had released records by the likes of The White Stripes,  Basement Jaxx, The Avalanches, Dizzee Rascal and Peaches

Fuck The Pain Away (XLCD 163)

That kind of policy continued in the recent years, with the signing of Radiohead, Vampire Weekend, The Horrors and a bunch of other acts who in my opinion regular release brilliant, original and inventive records.

XL also signed and continue to release records by Adele, who some may say, is not the sort of artist that should be on an indie label (an indie label that made over £30 million last year).  I’m not a fan of her music (The Badgers are as it happens) but I am fan of her and if her records help this label continue to be able to release records like the one at the bottom of this page, then long may she continue.   Also, I’d just like to point out that when the Grenfell Tower Disaster occurred a while back, Adele was there night after night at the vigils calling for justice.  Not only that, she worked at the local fire station for free (unannounced and not for the publicity) answering the phones, cleaning, making food for fire fighters, because she grew up and still lives nearby.  It only came to light when a local journalist snapped her mopping a floor or something.  Also last year she did a (Guerillia) benefit gig in the local library in order to raise money to save it.  Much to the annoyance of Tory councillors.  If you ask me, anyone who annoys Tories is alright by me and Adele is as indie as they come.

Sea Within A Sea (XL 418)

 

 

 

Our Favourite Record Labels of All Time – Number 11

dfa

DFA Records (and a little bit of Mo’ Wax)

In 1992 Tim Goldsworthy set up a ground breaking record label with his mate James Lavelle, within months that label was at the forefront of trip hop movement that had exploded earlier that year.  That label was Mo’ Wax and it released some incredible music.

(And there should be a link for ‘Attica Blues’ here but I can’t find the CD.)

In 1992 I also set up and ran a record label.  I did honestly. I set it up with Dubstar Chris and it was called Wobbly Lampost Recordings.  It was called this because one evening in a street in the small Gillingham suburb of Hempstead we had worked out that if you shook a lamppost hard enough you could make the light at the top go out.

We didn’t take running the record label very seriously.  WBL001 was a compilation cassette made up of Dubstars Chris’s favourite bands.  WBL002 was a similar cassette made by me.  The Mock Turtles featured on WBL002, so it was hardly groundbreaking stuff.  Several other compilation cassettes followed – Dubstar Chris had the odd numbers, and I had the even numbers. We probably made about three copies of each.

The first (and only) release on Wobbly Lampost Recordings was WBL014 ‘Eskimo Tape 1’ – Eskimo was a band that I was in and the tape was us ‘recording’ in a workshop in Maidstone.  I’m glad I no longer have a copy.  We sounded like early Idlewild if you want a comparison – only early Idlewild were good obviously.

Wobbly Lamppost records ceased trading in 1994 when I relocated to Surrey.

Mo’ Wax went from strength to strength.

In 2001 after moving to New York (as you do) Tim Goldsworthy did it all over again – when he teamed up with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem to form DFA Records and the pair of them again changed music as we know it.

To hammer home their importance in the music world, this unbelievably was the first record to ever bear the DFA records name (only it wasn’t released on DFA Records).

Blood Money – Primal Scream

This was the first record that was released on DFA records – it features a man counting and a cow bell and it’s still bloody incredible and I think went Top 30 in the UK.

House of Jealous Lovers – The Rapture (dfa2121)

And if you ask me, this is sits at the top of a very very high list of essential DFA releases.

Losing My Edge – LCD Soundsystem (DFA002)

(Oh and this is our 300th post – thanks for sticking with us.)

Our Favourite Record Labels of All Time – Number 12

Deceptive Records_

Deceptive

Deceptive records was founded in 1992, by the current Lord of all indie – Steve Lamacq (a title he inherited from the late John Peel).  It provided him and a couple of his mates with the opportunity to release music from new and exciting bands that Lamacq and his friends saw in some of the smaller venues around the UK.  The label was at times chaotic.

The legend goes that when UK punk pioneers Snuff finally signed to Deceptive Records everyone was so drunk that the label actually lost the contract that had been signed.

One frantic and rather pointless search of the pub (the Monarch in Camden if I remember rightly) later, the contract could not be found and so record company executives (and by this I mean Steve Lamacq and his mates) grabbed a series of beer mats and rewrote the contract on the back of it – which the band then duly signed and the rest I think is probably history.

Come and Gone (BLUFF 023)

Another legend that circulates around Deceptive Records was that Steve Lamacq used to plug his labels records on his Radio 1 Radio Show – Elastica for instance were played on the show several weeks before any other show anywhere played the band.

Line Up (BLUFF 004) 

Elastica were probably the most success band to have ever signed to Deceptive Records, and it is likely that their success started to bring about their downfall (the success of Elastica, led to questions being asked about Lamcaq’s role and forced to him to resign from the label and it shut a few years later).  Whilst they may have been the biggest band, Elastica were far from the best, Deceptive released records by Scarfo, Collapsed Lung, Placebo, Idlewild, Earl Brutus (all of which got regular plays on Radio 1) and perhaps the best of the bunch Jonathan Fire*eater.

Give Me Daughters (BLUFF 037)

By the way tomorrow will mark the publishing of the 300th TSOBO post.  For those that think that this 299 more than it should be.  You are probably right.  For those who want 300 more, thank you.

Our Favourite Record Labels of All Time – Number 13

Saddle

Saddle Creek

I have this friend, Sam, she lives in Washington and she is obsessed with Conor Oberst, the bloke from Bright Eyes.  I mean properly obsessed.  Sam is one of my favourite people on the entire planet.  She is an absolutely brilliant person.  Everytime I see her she will shove a memory stick in my hand and it will be filled with music from America who I have never heard of.  A large amount of these bands and acts are signed to Saddle Creek Records, the Omaha based record label set up in 1993, by Conor Obersts brother(?) Justin.

Train Under Water (LBJ 072)

When it first started out, it was a label that catered for Omaha bands, and the label quickly adopted an ‘Omaha Sound’ – basically lo fi Americana with a slight country twang, although you will regularly hear electronica and keyboards creeping in.  In 2001, the band started to sign acts from outside of Omaha and the sound connected to the label shifted slightly.

Let’s go back to Sam and bring in Badger, and two ladies he met in Australia, Valerie and Mary Margaret.  When I saw Sam last – in a saw dust bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans watching a jazz band play covers of early UK punk classics (way better than it should have been) – she handed me as usual a memory stick and for the next hour we talked about music and got heavily drunk.  As we staggered back to our respective hotels she told me that if I only listened to one track on that entire memory stick, I should make sure that it was track 17.

When Badger was in Melbourne last year, he met a couple of girls from New York, whilst in a bar one night with his wife.  They got talking and started to discuss music.  The girls told him that there was this new band that they were listening to at the moment, and that they imagined that fairly sure they would be well known in the UK relatively soon, that band was Big Thief.

When I saw Badger next on the way back from airport he asked if he could play some music in the car, and immediately dug out his phone, plugged it in and the first track he played was the same track that Sam had mentioned to me back in New Orleans.  This was it.

Mary – Big Thief (LBJ 255)

And brilliant as that is.  I still think that the greatest thing ever released on Saddle Creek Records is this

Horsehoe Crabs – Hop Along (LBJ 218)

This Weeks Featured Artist…..George Clinton…Number Seven

george clinton

Funky Jam – Primal Scream featuring George Clinton and Denise Johnson

I dug out my old Playstation 2 the other day.  I was talking about it with my daughter and wanted to show her it.  There was a disc still in the player, which was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a game that back when it came out literally broke the mould.  One of things I loved about San Andreas was that all your cars had preset radio stations (11 stations that contained well over 150 tracks of licensed music).  In the game it was perfectly fine to just jump in a car, and drive into the countryside listening to the radio station of your choice.  You could sit on the edge of the sea gazing out into the sea, whilst the radio station played away in the background.   Then run someone over, kill a prostitute and blow up a police car obviously.

My favourite station in the game was Bounce FM, just because it was voiced by The Funktipus, he was the DJ on the radio station and was actually one George Clinton.  That radio station, as well as soundtracking various killing sprees around the wild streets of Los Santos, also introduced me to whole bunch of artists who I had previously ignored.

Primal Screams fourth album is called ‘Give out But Don’t Give Up’ and if I am honest it was a disappointing come down after the heady glorious brilliance of ‘Screamadelica’.  It was an album where again, Primal Scream reinvented themselves as funk rock superstars, who wanted to be the Rolling Stones, Sly Stone (they do this by ‘liberally borrowing one of their basslines during ‘Rocks’) or George Clinton.  Somehow the band managed to persuade Clinton to persuade to appear on the album, not just once but twice.

Rocks

‘Funky Jam’ was one of the highlights of the album, a five and a half minute jam of blues rock and crazy lyrics.  If the whole album sounded like that it would have been nearly as astonishing as ‘Screamdelica’.  Nearly.

Clinton also appears on the title track

Give Out But Don’t Give Up