A couple of years back, whilst paying a visit to some good friends in Leigh-on-Sea (Essex, UK) I got to sit on what has become known colloquially as ‘The Lee Brilleaux bench’. The late former frontman and blues harp player of Dr Feelgood passed away for a better place back in 1994 and, although the band continue (albeit without any original members now), the heyday years from 1971 to 1977 when Wilco Johnson left were (imho) their best.
The Doobie Brothers have been together as a band for over 45 years now. Yet, despite there having been over 30 members in the band in various line-ups over the years, not one of them has had the surname of ‘Doobie’ and none of them have been brothers!
Found in 1978 by Dave Robinson and Jake Riviera, Stiff Records was established at the outset of the punk/new wave boom and immediately signed acts as diverse as Nick Lowe, The Damned, Lene Lovich, Wreckless Eric, Plummet Airlines, Elvis Costello, Devo and Ian Dury.
Having previously headed ‘Kilburn & the Highroads’, Dury and his new backing band ‘The Blockheads’ went on to release four massive albums under Stiff…
- New Boots and Panties (1977)
- Do it Yourself (1978)
- Laughter (1980), and
- Jukebox Dury (1981)
Ian Dury lost his battle against cancer and left in March 2000. He was 57.
Courtney Taylor-Taylor, lead singer and guitarist from The Dandy Warhols, claims that he learned to sing from a tour with Ian Mcculloch (Echo & the Bunnymen)…
That was when I learned how to sing. It was our first real tour and I remember watching him every night just be absolutely awesome and thinking to myself, “Ok, I can do that”
The opening track to Dire Straits self-titled 1978 debut is ‘Down to the Waterline’
Although originally from Scotland, this song is a love-tryst tale from lead singer/guitarist Mark Knopfler’s teenage years in the city of Newcastle-on-Tyne.
References to the ‘waterline’ include inferences to the Dog Leap Stairs, an ancient set of stone steps leading down from the Castle Keep to the Newcastle Quayside.
Founded by Richard Fearless, Death in Vegas describe themselves as masters of the psychedelic trip hop genre. Formed in London in 1994, the band originally signed to Concrete Records under the name ‘Dead Elvis’. But, following complaints from the Elvis Presley estate, changed their name a little. ‘Dead Elvis’ became the title of the 1997 debut album instead.
Here’s the stunning ‘All that Glitters, the opening track from the debut, featuring the vocal talents of Ranking Roger.
Dream Police was Cheap Trick’s fourth studio album and their most successful commercial venture. Recorded at the Record Plant in L.A. and released in 1979, the album gave us several singles including ‘Dream Police’ and ‘Way of the world’.
Fronted by Cerys Matthews, Catatonia were formed in Cardiff in 1992. Their second album release “International Velvet” rose to the coveted Number 1 slot in the album charts and spawned two top ten singles to boot – ‘Molder & Scully” and ‘Road Rage”. Much of the album was recorded in Welsh, the title track being no exception.
Deffrwch Cymry csygld galad y gan
Dwfn yw’are gwendid
Bychan yw y fflam
Creulon yw’are cynhaeaf
ond per yw’are don
‘Da’ alaw’are alarch onig
Yb fy mron
Awaken sleepy Wales, land of glory
Deep is the weakness, small is the flame
Cruel is the harvest but fair is the tune
With the song of the lonely swan in my heart
Followed by the chorus to labour the point (just in case you missed it) – “Every day when I wake up I thank the Lord I’m Welsh“
Living the Blues was Canned Heat’s third album, released in November 1968. One of the first double albums to do well in the album charts, it featured Canned Heat’s signature song ‘Going up the Country’ later to feature in the film version of Woodstock. But the album was most notable for sides 3 and 4. Both are devoted to one track recorded live at the Kaleidoscope, Hollywood, California in the summer of 1968 – “Refried Boogie” just over 41 minutes in length!