wherein the music speaks for itself. from beginning to...will it ever end?
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1978

1977

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1978

 

Brand New Cadillac

LiveAnother live rarity predating The Clash's more familiar version of this old Vince Taylor rocker. Fairly unremarkable cover with lo-fi tinny sound on the only version I've heard from a Band On The Wall gig in Manchester in 1978. The repeated shouted ending of 'Cada!...Lac!' is entertaining nevertheless.

 

 

 

 

Brand New Cadillac (live, Manchester, 1978)

posted @ 13.10 PM, Jan 30, 2014

 

My Condition

BackdropShort lived live rarity with the guitar line being a bit of a precursor to 'A Figure Walks.' Typically trundles along in early jaggy slightly out of tune Fall stylee. Classic MES band instructions at start - 'Take it easy - make it...sssnappy!'

 

 

 

 

My Condition (live, London, 1978)

posted @ 17.50 PM, June 23, 2008

 

No Xmas For John Quays

BackdropPoor old junkie. Can't even get any decent fags at Christmas. It's a miserable life: '20 No.6 for a headache' on the Totales version. So many highlights in this classic. The ah ah ahs and the shrieks at the 'Tell me why' bit; the 'silly bugger' Good King Wenceslas falling out the window; on the In A Hole version, 'Quasimodo was there. And his friend, Bugs The Bear.' And, of course, the bits where MES loses the rag on the Totales version: 'Come on, get the fucking guts in it.'; 'Fucking put the monitors up f'Chrissake.';'Will you fucking get it together instead of just showing off?' I could go on. And on. So I'll shut up now.

Live video: No Xmas For John Quays



No Xmas For John Quays (John Peel session, 1978)
No Xmas For John Quays (Live At The Witch Trials, 1979)
No Xmas For John Quays (live, from Totales Turns, 1980)
No Xmas For John Quays (live, from In A Hole, 1983)

 

Put Away

BackdropFrom the late 20th century - a fight! A lovely warped rockabilly vibe and a bunch of ba-ba-ba's that remind me of the Oop-ip-ip oop-ip-ip, yeah! from Love's 7 and 7 is, kick off a great wee song. There's some added kazoo goodness on the Dragnet version and excellent bass line meanderings near the end. I love the Dragnet album too much and this is a great end track to it. Although the Peel version is more polished it's not as lovely for me - its added lyricalness, though, includes the line, 'I used to drink a bottle of vodka a day.' Although not autobiographical I'm sure, I can relate to that. Don't mistake that for sarcasm or belligerence.



Put Away (John Peel session, 1978)
Put Away (Dragnet, 1979)

 

Mother - Sister!

BackdropPylon, creaking floorboard, see-saw and diminished returns? The beginning of the album version says it all - 'Uh, what's this song about?' 'Uh, nothing.' You could analyze it to death while flicking through your Rough Guide to Freud, so I won't. Good to hear the art of the rolling 'R' on this and there's some top screaming at the end of the Peel and Liverpool versions. Fantastic riff too. So, tell me about your childhood, Mr Smith, and 'Why did you put your head in?'

 

 



Mother-Sister! (live, Liverpool, 1978)
Mother-Sister! (John Peel session, 1978)
Mother-Sister! (Live At The Witch Trials, 1979)

 

Music Scene

BackdropUtilising the bass line of Fodderstompf by P.I.L. - a group admired by MES, this epic tirade and abuse fest, seems aimless and random, circulating loosely around the scummy irritating nature of the 'choosy scene' music 'skin' biz. The live in Liverpool version offers up extras to attack, such as Bryan Ferry, a revenge on reviewers rant, twists the cliché, 'Take it down' and clocks in at a masive 9 minutes. 'Your fears, your arrears, they're all here.' The Witch Trial version lasts just over 7 minutes and here's an interesting snippet, fact fans, the voice calling out the time - "six minutes!" "six forty!" was the band's driver- the son of the actor who played Len Fairclough in Coronation Street. Rock 'n' Roll. Phew.



Music Scene (live, Liverpool, 1978)
Music Scene (Live At The Witch Trials, 1979)

 

Various Times

BackdropHistory lesson. Wherein the evils of racism in 40s Germany is compared to the evils of racism in 70s Britain and the future. A touch heavy handed perhaps, but the high pitched squeals of the chorus, 'human race', are another endearing MES vocalism to be added to the mumbles and ahs. In an old Sounds interview, MES explains, "We wanted the chorus to be a vocal noise, it wasn't intended to be understood." Another northern colloquialism I like in this song is, 'I'm the sort that gets out of the bath with a dirty face.'

 



Various Times (live, Liverpool, 1978)
Various Times (B Side, 1978)

 

It's The New Thing

BackdropA Smithsonian swipe at the predictable hyperbole surrounding the search for the next big thing. Check out the Travolta-esque pic sleeve poses. Nice. Not a particulary fantastic chune, but you have to love the crashing keyboards at the 'Crash, smash, crash, ring' bit and, of course, the lyrics contain several splendid MESses, eg. ' The Worst died because of you', ' Houdini believed his tricks/That is why he died' and the splendid, 'We are men, we have big toes!' Poetry. Aidan Smith of Scotland on Sunday once described MES as the Philip Larkin of punk. Surely an underestimation.

 



It's The New Thing (live, Liverpool, 1978)
It's The New Thing (single, 1978)

 

Mess Of My

BackdropThis is a wee gem of a song, supposedly written in part by Eric Ferret, the long-lost bassist for the group. The live version has significant lyrical differences, notably 'Swedish singers with DLT' instead of 'Inadequate writers, methadone stubbies' (non-Britishers note: DLT - a particularly obnoxious radio DJ given to spouting ego inflating nonsense about his 'farm' and 'wacky' lifestyle) - shame MES never used the DLT line in the BBC session. Other notable differences on the live version include the middle 'dream' sequence: "I dream about taking some terrorists out for a quiet drink/You know, and getting them to stick a bomb up the TV man's arse/The hedonist slide show bullshit arse." Fun stuff.



Mess of My (live, Liverpool, 1978)
Mess Of My (John Peel session, 1978)

 

Two Steps Back

BackdropBit of an early epic this one, with shades of the Velvet Underground lurking in the keyboard swirls and guitar fiddlings. Again some prosaic wisdom: "A cigarette goes out when you put it down" and inventive similes, free festivals being, "like cinemas with no films." The Julian who asks, "How was the gear?" apparently refers to their roadie at the time, Julian Cope, later of Teardrop Explodes, who was allegedly thrilled by the namecheck.

 

 



Two Steps Back (live, Liverpool, 1978)
Two Steps Back (Live At The Witch Trials, 1979)

 

Like To Blow

Backdrop"Sucker, sucker, sucker, sucker, sucker, sucker, sucker, sucker, sucker!" Marvellous opening to a song about a sucker who likes to blow. Obviously. The couch potato mentality exposed long before the phrase became common currency: "I live on snacks, potatoes in packs" Made funnier by the fact that this particular stoner/no hoper is a Spurs fan. (Non-British readers, note: Spurs = Tottenham Hotspur - a soft, southern soccer squad, m'lud). On the Witch Trials album, Crap Rap 2 precedes/segues into this, so we'll leave that for its own entry later. The drums on the live in Liverpool version appear to have gone missing and once again, the Peel version is the best.



Like To Blow (live, Liverpool, 1978)
Like To Blow (Live At The Witch Trials, 1979)
Like To Blow (John Peel session, 1978)

 

Rebellious Jukebox

BackdropFantastically simple melody and guitar lines make this almost a singalongaFall track. The rebellious jukebox in question appears to be rebelling by playing whatever it wants, whilst a "taxi for Mr Nelson" is ordered. I also love the "Noise resounds aloud/Noise resounds the lounge" wordplay. Brix Smith would later cover and rename it Searching for the Now, as a B-side to the Adult Net single, Incense and Peppermints in 1985.

 

 



Rebellious Jukebox (John Peel session, 1978)
Rebellious Jukebox (Live At The Witch Trials, 1979)