Sunday, 7 February 2016

My bestest most favouritest songs ever ever - part 1

I can't do lists... certainly not hierarchical ones, I don't have Top Tens, etc. in anything.  But when it comes to music there are some songs which just endure - which always make me smile and still give me that special feeling.  It's hard to analyse exactly why, isn't it?  - maybe it's about the context as much as anything? - what it aroused in me on hearing for the very first time, where I was, what I was doing, thinking, etc.  Sometimes it's as simple as just having a particular penchant for a heavy bass-line or a hooky chorus, one common element in different and often disparate tracks which always satisfies something inside.  I've been through many phases and into several genres in over 40 years of listening to music (oh jeez) and as with most things in life I don't think you want the same again and again or forever, not the same food nor the same clothes, etc. so that also applies to this  - but there will always be the special examples which just never lose their original appeal.

I'm going to pick out a few here from time to time - expect a very varied selection!

To kick off, it's Modern Politics by The Panik from November 1977 (the first track on their  'It Won't Sell!' EP).   When I first heard this at the time of its release I just couldn't believe the sound of that bass rumbling its way through and I loved its stop-start punctuation, plus the (slightly over-ambitious) guitar solo...  it sounded so serious, so raw, but relatively 'slow' (hmm, sort of) for '77 punk, not too ramalama.  The band came from Manchester and listening to it again now I'm reminded of early Joy Division / Warsaw.  I've just looked them up in the excellent book 'No More Heroes' by Alex Ogg and indeed there is a connection: the record was co-produced by band manager Rob Gretton, plus drummer Steve Brotherdale  also played in Warsaw.  Apparently at one time they even tried to convince Ian Curtis to be The Panik's singer.



One to blow the cobwebs away - play loud (of course) and feel 14 again, listen here:

The Panik: Modern Politics


20 comments:

  1. Arrrggghhh, not familiar with that one and my "Anti-spam ad block- stop you having any fun" MAC NAZI APP (not it's real name!) won't let me download which is a shame as I'm eager to hear the (slightly over-ambitious) guitar solo" ;o) I remember stuff by Warsaw, loved Joy Division and would probably recognise it if I heard it. I'm sad that my cassette deck finally broke as I used to love little aural trips down memory lane listening to scratchy/boomy tracks taped from John Peel or the Sunday chart rundown. I actually had a little box cassette recorder and a mic I used to put next to the radio!!! How quaint...

    There are a few tracks that are always on my iTunes list but I'm like you in that my 'absolutely bestest ever ever favourite' changes regularly.... so does everything.... if you look up Fickle in the dictionary you get a picture of me basically. Guilty confessions:I went on a 70's disco bender a few months back, didn't even like Disco at the time!

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    1. Oh no, I've gone all hi-tec (!) on the music link and now you can't listen to it - typical!
      I completely relate to your scratchy tracks taped from John Peel etc. Love the box recorder and mic thing too. When I got my own hi-fi for my bedroom I spent hours with my finger poised on the clunky old Record and Pause buttons of the cassette deck, because for some reason I only wanted the music and didn't include Peel's intros and outros. In retrospect of course I wish I had.

      The 70s disco bender sounds perfectly fine, I hope you had the silver glitter to hand too. I find that a lot of music which didn't sound so good at the time sounds so much better now; I think I dismissed a lot because it didn't fit what I wanted to hear at the time and all the associations were 'wrong', so my taste was very subjective. One of the nice things about getting older is losing those sort of prejudices I think!

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    2. Yes, completely true. I used to go and dance to a lot of the 70's pure disco back in the day because my friend Juliette was such a typical Disco Diva. We used to go to keep her happy then head off down the "alternative" clubs where Myself and Art College buddy Leslie were more at home. It's kind of nice that we wholeheartedly embraced each other's fave music just within the confines of the club never bought the records or professed to like each others taste in music. We all lost touch but I wonder if Juliette listens to Joy Division and such now?

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    3. That's really heartwarming - a tale of loyalty between friends over-riding youth cult clique-iness!

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  2. Totally see the Warsaw/Joy Division thing - last time I heard this would have been about 78 tho !I think that Joy Division would have been better off with a few guitar breaks like that too (heresy I know...). The lyrics hold up quite well too, I shall be silently running 'Don't give me modern politics...' through my head every time I listen to or watch the news for weeks now.

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    1. I know just what you mean about the lyrics - I was thinking exactly the same, little has changed. Modern politics...or (gasp!) nearly 40-year old politics?!
      By the way apparently the pic on the sleeve is from a 1964 copy of Life magazine featuring (I quote) 'a parade of strutting gays'. I remember when I first saw it I just assumed it was contemporary. Looking at it again now it looks like something from the '80s. I love how that sleeve isn't obviously 'punk' to modern eyes but how it absolutely did seem it at the time.

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  3. That is a good one. Looking forward to the rest

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it SA. I'm getting excited about posting some more.

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  4. I was miles away, half expecting Peel's voice to come in at the end...'that was The Panik on Rainy City Records and here's The Cortinas...'.
    A punchy little time-capsule of a record, which I, like Bel Mondo, probably haven't heard since 1978. It's wonderful what memories and feelings can be evoked by particular pieces of music. I'm looking forward to reading more of yours.

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    1. Yes, very evocative of Peel isn't it?
      Glad you enjoyed and I'll have fun digging out a selection of tracks that have similarly endured.

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  5. I have a song up today from when I was 14 years old. Friggin' Bananarama. Would we have been friends? Anyway, this is a new one for me, but certainly something more up my alley now than Bananarama. Thanks for the introduction. This is going to be fun. Can't wait for the next installment.

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    1. I'm sure we'd have been fine, Brian. One of my sweetest male friends at college had long hair and liked heavy metal. We dealt with it!
      I hope you'll enjoy some more; I have quite a few tracks listed in readiness, even though I don't do lists ;-)

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  6. Although I've come across the band's name in various tomes over the years I don't think I've ever heard this before but it sums up the era perfectly. Love that rumbling bass. The sound of a great moment in time.

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    1. Yes it's a good sum-up on many levels I think - that fantastic bass, the vocal delivery, the almost-but-not-quite-there guitar expertise and those lyrics. I recall just how it stood out to me at the time, that's probably why I still find it so listenable.

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  7. Good choice, C. For me it's the bass being well up in the mix that causes it to rise above and stand out from others. I always think you're at your best when writing about music so I'm looking forward (along with everyone else, I suspect) to you airing more of your favourites.

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    1. Thanks John. You never know - I never know! - what I'm going to put on this blog next but music is a running theme, I'm looking forward to posting other favourites from across genres and decades, hope you enjoy them too.

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  8. I agree hierarchical lists are tricky and ever-changing. I haven't delved into 70s punk as much as I would like to yet, but I enjoyed the gem you shared and interesting to read why it's important to you. Hope you continue the series.

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    1. Thanks Chris. 70s punk was my first real, meaningful foray into music as a young teenager and was hugely important in my life, it came along at absolutely the right time for me, and was a significant part of my identity! I'll be interested to know your thoughts on what you find.

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  9. Remembr that one great choice...get that top 10 sorted out

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    1. Haha, sorry but top 10s are definitely out of my league!

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